ACK {raspberry crumble}


Earlier this summer, we went to Nantucket.  And I was reminded that Nantucket is one of my favorite places.  My husband and I spent the morning walking around town, and then we headed to the top of the steeple at First Congregational Church to take in the views of the island.  The man who was on duty told us that we could see all the way to the Cape but couldn’t see the Vineyard. If we had been able to, the day would have been a 10.  As it was he declared it a 9.


The highlight of our trip to Nantucket, however, was an island tour and home-cooked meal from some of our friends who spend a few weeks there every summer.  They wouldn’t let us lift a finger to help with any of the preparations or a lick of clean up.  We ate outdoors, and after several days with only the two of us on the road, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of others.  Our dessert was raspberry pie, and my slice was heaven.  I was sitting outside on the most beautiful evening, sipping a glass of wine, and enjoying conversation with some of my favorite people.  What’s not to love there?  After that slice of pie, I swore to spend the rest of the summer eating as many fruit-centric desserts as possible.

raspberry crisp.

When I made this raspberry crisp for my own family, I was trying to bring back the feeling I had on Nantucket, when we ate a home cooked meal around close friends.  The raspberries weren’t nearly as sweet as the ones we had on the island, but that just means I’ll have to make it again when I find ones that live up to my ideals.

To make raspberry crisp for 6, you will need:

    • 4 cups raspberries
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup coconut (I didn’t have this so I added a bit more oats)

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, gently toss raspberries with sugar and 3 tablespoons of flour.  Pour the berries into a greased 8-in. square baking dish.
In another large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, coconut, and remaining flour.  Add in the butter and mix with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Lightly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the berries.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with ice cream, of course.



Cocktails {sidecars}

All of you non-Type-A-ers out there know what you’re doing, don’t you?  At least, when it comes to summers.


In the past, my summer lists have been chock full of FUN THINGS that I MUST DO.  Pretty sure that making any sort of to-do list in the summer is illegal.  Or, any to-do list with FUN THINGS.  FUN THINGS shouldn’t be on to-do lists to be crossed off as fast as possible.  They should be done because the mood is right and because you intend to enjoy them fully. That’s more what I was going for with this year’s list.  I wanted to kick my Type-A tendencies to the side and see where the summer took me.  I wanted to set an attitude for the summer and see if I could keep it up all 10 weeks.

So far so good.

When my husband and I sipped blood orange margaritas on the fourth of July (a new annual tradition I fully embrace), I asked if we could spend the rest of our summer trying out new cocktails.  He was game.


I’m not counting that as adding to my list.  I just want to drink more cocktails.  No specific plans for what they are, what’s in them, or how many I have to make.

We started with Elsie and Emma’s take on the sidecar. I didn’t have sweetened lime juice, so I made a batch of simple syrup (you can do it, dear readers, it’s called simple for a reason…boil 1 C water, add 1 C sugar, stir till dissolved), and added a squeeze of the fresh stuff.  We don’t have mason jars at home, but I hoard Bonne Maman jam jars like, well, it’s my jam, so I shake my cocktails in those.

To make one drink, you need to:

Combine 3/4 ounce triple sec, 3/4 ounce bourbon whiskey, 1/2 ounce sweetened lime juice (make your own or buy one—I used Rose’s brand), a small squeeze of lime juice in a small mason jar seal, shake and pour over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Puffin in Bloom Books


puffin in bloom anne of green gables.

Have you seen these new Puffin in Bloom books?  The covers were designed by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.  I’m seriously in love, and just pre-ordered a copy of each (using a gift card, so I’m technically not breaking my spending hiatus, right?).  I love when my bookshelves look pretty, and I can’t wait to style my shelves with these.

puffin in bloom heidi.

puffin in bloom little princess.

puffin in bloom little women.

{anne of green gables} {heidi} {a little princess} {little women}

A Two Bite Break [peanut butter sandwich cookies]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.



I vowed to bake less this summer, both because of the temperature and because of my waistline.

But it’s just not happening.  I can’t stay out of the kitchen, and I certainly can’t leave well enough alone.

Which is why when I read Cupcakes for Breakfast the other morning, I got an idea. Nikki sandwiched peanut butter and Nutella in between her shortbread cookies.

And I had been eyeing these peanut butter cookies on Food 52 for quite some time.  And boom.

Question:  Wouldn’t it be perfect to use Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s peanut butter filling in half of them, and use Nutella in the other half?

Answer:  Oh yes.  Yes it would.

Side note – I’m not one of those bloggers who always has her nails done.

Actually, I’m one of those bloggers who never has her nails done.

These rich, two-bite cookies have a crisp crunch that gives way to the silky filling inside.  You can’t go wrong with whichever filling you choose.  Nutella is a great complement to peanut butter, and takes the richness to another level.  On the other hand (or in the other hand, if you’re smart enough to double fist these cookies), the peanut butter filling is studded with chocolate chips that are like little gifts in the middle of busy day.  These cookies are a two-bite respite from whatever weekday craziness is in your life.  They’re a chance to indulge, albeit briefly, in something completely decadent, and totally worthwhile.

To make 40 sandwiches, you will need:
(essential ingredients in bold)

For the cookies:

  • 6 oz. unsalted butter (Mrs. Wheelbarrow wants you to use the best quality you can buy.  Try Plugra or Kerrygold, both at Whole Foods), at room temperature
  • 3/4 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar (just the regular, granulated stuff)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scrape seeds (or, 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt

For the peanut butter filling:
*A note – this is the recipe given in Food 52, so it makes enough to fill all of your sandwiches.  I halved this recipe.

  • 8 T butter, at room temperature
  • 2 C confectioners sugar
  • 1 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 C chopped chocolate chips, or mini chocolate chips
  • 4-6 T heavy cream (confession: I had skim milk, so that’s what I used)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Nutella filling:

  • Nutella!

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Comine butter, peanut butter and sugars in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat at medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes.  Add egg, beat to combine, and add vanilla.  Beat till combined and lightened again.

Stir flour, baking soda, and salt together in small bowl.  Fold into butter mixture gently, and mix just till combined.

Place rounded teaspoons of dough onto the pan, about 2 inches apart.  I typically use my regular spoons to scoop out dough, but here, I’d recommend using either a teaspoon measure, or a small cookie scoop.  Because you’re sandwiching the cookies together, you actually do need them to be the same size.  Press down gently with a fork to get that classic peanut butter cookie look.  After lots of cookie making, I finally figured out it’s a lot easier to slide the fork off when finished, rather than trying to lift off.

Pop the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes, until they’re just barely golden brown.  The cookies will still appear soft when they come out, so make sure they cool completely before handling.  While they cool, prepare the sandwich cream.

Beat the butter, sugar, and peanut butter together.  Stir in vanilla.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Add cream until consistency is spreadable.  Spread filling on one side of cookie, and press another on top.

I made two sandwiches before I buckled and ate one!

*Original post here.

Valentine’s Day Plans [cherry chocolate granola]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.



What are you up to on Valentine’s Day, dear readers? Do you make a big deal out of the day and get together with your loved ones?  Or do you hide under a blanket with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s?

Valentine’s Day and I have a love/hate relationship.  There are years when it goes unexpectedly well and I concede that maybe it’s not so bad.

And there are others where it seems everyone is making plans to outdo everyone else and I’d rather just put my pajamas on and call it a night.

So far, this is shaping up to be one of the better years.

For one, I helped stage a flower sale/fundraiser at work, and delivered over 700 flowers to some unsuspecting folk.

And for another, there are lots of little ways this particular day will be special.  Starting with breakfast.

Annie posted a recipe for Cherry Chocolate Coconut Granola on her site earlier this year, and I was drawn to it right away.  It was almost identical to a granola I built for myself one morning at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago.  The only major difference I spotted was that Annie’s had chocolate (the minor was that I used cranberries instead of cherries).  So basically, she made things ten times better.  And a million times better than the bowl of Cheerios we were planning to eat.  Even if they were honey nut.

I inhaled a big bowl of this for breakfast this morning, and it was like eating a chocolate chip cookie.  A chocolate chip cookie that tastes like a chocolate chip cookie, but doesn’t have butter, eggs, or added sugar.  And how better to start a day that’s practically dedicated to chocolate, than with a couple of morsels tucked into your first bites?

The best part of this whole granola-making endeavor is that one crunch into my cereal and I realized I never need to purchase the overpriced granola from Whole Foods that I love so much ever again.  The homemade stuff is ten times better, and cheaper, when it comes from your own oven.  Throw on your Birkenstocks and embrace it.  You know you love granola, too.

To make 7 C Cranberry Chocolate Coconut Granola, you will need:

  • 1 C shredded coconut (sweetened, or not)
  • 1/3 C walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 C almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 3 C old fashioned oats
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C dried cranberries
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I had mini chunks so I used those)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a skillet, toast coconut over medium heat, stirring often, until light brown.  Transfer to small bowl, and set aside.  Wipe out skillet and add nuts, toasting 3 minutes, until lightly browned.  Add oats and oil and toast, stirring until oats are toasted, about another 3 minutes.

Pour oat mixture into large bowl and toss with cinnamon, salt, and honey, till combined.  Pour mixture onto baking sheet, pressing till you have an even layer.  Bake, stirring every few minutes (I forgot this part!), for 15 minutes.  Remove baking sheet, toss in coconut and cranberries, stir and move granola to one side of baking sheet.  Using spatula, press granola into flat slab.  Let cool to room temperature.

When cool, break granola into pieces.  Add chocolate bits and serve or store.

P.S.  How great would this be if you’re having people over for brunch?  Just add eggs and mimosas.

*Original post here.

What I’m Reading

bridge pic.

I took this picture completely by accident as we were driving over a bridge and I completely and totally love it.

Mauricio Estrella’s passwords have slowly but surely been changing his life.  I totally want to try this.


When it comes to making small talk, I could not be worse.  If I’ve only met you a handful of times, I apologize, but I will be at almost a complete loss in terms of what to say to you.  I like the idea of throwing this question out there.  I’d love to say I’d travel, but I think the honest answer is clothes.  I just did a bang-up job of spending my way through two weeks in New England, and I think it’s time for me to put myself on a spending freeze for another month or two.

In other, clothing related news, I own one of the dresses Joanna posted was awesome for summer (ergo I must be awesome).  Not surprisingly, it is the blue and white striped dress.  I have approximately 8 billion blue and white striped dresses and I would buy approximately 8 billion more.  This is another blue and white striped item that would be hanging in my closet already if I wasn’t putting myself on a spending freeze starting yesterday.

LOVE this post from Cup of Jo as well.  I am such a touch-er (that sounds so weird), always tapping people on the back or reaching out for an arm in conversation.  Must be my inner French lady.

Exciting Stuff! [prosciutto and fontina panini with arugula pesto and pickled shallots]

Dear readers, it’s summer break ’round these parts, and that means I’m not tied to my computer like I often am in the colder months.  I’ve been digging deep in the archives to find  some recipes worth sharing again.  These all aired in the blog’s earlier days, but I’m pretty sure the only people who were there to see them go live were CV(D), Wooden Nickels, and Cari Faye.  They are my tried and true staples, and they’ll run for a few weeks while I enjoy the good life.  I’ll check back in with you later this summer dear readers.



Things in my life that I am currently excited about:

1.  New seasons of Top Chef Masters and Glee!  My Tivo is ready to go.

2.  The impending end of grad school.  Finals coming up and one more summer class before I’m finished with school forever!

3.  Wedding season.  Lots of new invites and save the dates gracing our fridge this week.

4.  This sandwich.

I have never been a sandwich person.  There were about 8,000 sandwich shops within a mile radius when I was in college, but I never found one I couldn’t live without.  I’m from Philadelphia, you know.  We handle sandwiches a little differently.

So it surprised me when I flagged Big Girls, Small Kitchen’s Prosciutto and Fontina Panini with Arugula Pesto and Pickled Shallots (that’s a mouthful).  I learned about the Quarter Life Cooks the same way you all probably did, by watching Phoebe on The Barefoot Contessa.  But that’s not where their fame and glory end.  This particular sandwich was featured on Food52, the brainchild of food writer Amanda Hesser.

Let me tell you why this sandwich was featured.  Because it made me a sandwich person.  You get a little bit of everything in each bite, and though this contains a lot of ingredients, each stands on its own and speaks for itself.  We’ll begin with the arugula pesto.  Milder than basil, it makes a fresh, perfect spread on a good loaf of ciabatta.  Next would be the shallots.  What a nice complement to the flavors of sandwich, and not a bad crunch either.  Combine that with prosciutto and dreamy, creamy Fontina cheese and it all just works.  The perfect dinner for those 90 degree April nights that I can’t escape from.

Their recipe makes enough to use the whole loaf of ciabatta.  How many it will feed depends on how hungry your friends are.

Prosciutto and Fontina Panini with Arugula Pesto and Pickled Shallots

*adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen

  • 1/4 C toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 C arugula
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 C evoo
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 lb prosciutto (about 10 slices)
  • 1/3 lb fontina cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced lengthwise

To make the pesto, pulse the pine nuts, garlic, arugula, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor until combined.  Stream evoo in the feed tube until the pesto is the consistency you like.  Stir in the parmesan.

Saute the shallot slices in the butter until they get brown and a little crispy.  Proceed to think twice about ever buying French’s fried onions again.

Spread the pesto over the cut sides of the bread.  Layer the bottom with cheese and prosciutto and the top with the shallots.

Smush the sandwiches into a panini press.  Don’t have one?   Grill them.  You could even cook this like a grilled cheese in a skillet and top it with a heavy skillet or Dutch Oven to weight it down.  You have options.  Don’t wait to make this one.

Slice the sandwich with a serrated knife.

Original post here.