sunshine and picnics

So I survived the hurripocalypse with little incident. I know there was some widespread damage farther down the East Coast, and my heart goes out to those affected, but in New Jersey, Irene was severely overestimated. Shouldn’t complain, though; I had a lot of food in my fridge and freezer I would have been pretty upset about losing. But seriously, I hope everyone is safe, and that those affected this weekend are getting back to routine.

I don’t have a good segue for this recipe other than it reminds me of picnics and sunshine, and that’s what we’re left with in the wake of Hurricane Irene. I give you: pesto and sun-dried tomato tuna salad (adapted from one of my favs, The Curvy Carrot)! Continue reading sunshine and picnics


come on, Irene

Hurricane Irene is on her way, and people in New Jersey have straight up lost their minds. I have never seen a store’s bakery rampaged quite like I did tonight. The flashlight section? A barren wasteland. The candle stock? Only the ones that smelled like feet remained. People were pushing multiple carts, each filled with 17 cases of bottled water and three gallons of milk. I understand we’re probably going to spend the next two days inside, but it’s not the zombie apocalypse, people — it’s just some rain.

Nevertheless, most people aren’t going to want to leave their houses while this storm sweeps through, and sometimes cooking with just the things in your house just isn’t that fun. Lucky for all of us, I stumbled across’s version of KFC’s mashed potato bowl, and you should have close to — if not everything — you need on hand to make it. Continue reading come on, Irene

welcome home float

I was saving this dessert post for a special occasion, and it feels appropriate share now that the circumstances are aligned with the circumstances under which it was first attempted.

Less circuitously, I made these root beer float cupcakes when my best friend came home from Europe on winter break earlier this year, and she’s just returned to the States for the foreseeable future. I figured I’d give her a little ‘welcome home’ nod, especially because when she left, she said, “Don’t make anything awesome while I’m away,” and — as I’m told — I didn’t listen. Continue reading welcome home float

not falling flat

Up until this summer, I had never worked at a full-time job closer than 45 miles away. I was either planning ‘leftoverable’ meals for dinner so I’d have lunch for the following day, or I’d drop at least $5 a day to get a somewhat satisfying midday meal. Having a job is awesome, but having a job where you can come home on your lunch break is even better. Now that I’m home during lunch, though, I’m faced with a new challenge: What can I make, eat and enjoy in 40 minutes?

My favorite answer so far: mini pizzas, more specifically buffalo chicken flatbread and “loxish” flatbread. Continue reading not falling flat

small packages

You know what they say about small packages, and when it comes to dessert, I belong to the ‘best things come in small packages’ school of thought. I don’t want a giant slab of seven-layer cake or a “Man V. Food” kitchen sink full of ice cream sundae. Impressive as they may be, they’re not stimulating my salivatory glands quite like a bite-sized bit of awesome. Continue reading small packages

we jammin’

The day my Food Network Magazine arrives in the mailbox is quickly becoming my favorite day of the month, and one of my favorite parts is the “50” ideas inserts they include. Last issue was all about potato salads. This month? BACON. It’s a heart attack handbook, but I’m dying to start cooking through the list.

This sandwich isn’t on there, but I thought it’d be fun to pay homage to bacon in my own way with this bacon & jam panini, courtesy of my fridge. Continue reading we jammin’

soda and pepper

Everything appears to be going so well in my kitchen lately that you’d think I should lose the ‘neophyte’ moniker, right? Not so fast. Because my posting frequency took a nosedive during the busy summer months, I’d really only been posting some of my more successful culinary adventures. But now that my assorted activities are winding down and I’m starting to get my life back, I have a little more time to post, and thus, share with you some of the horrible, horrible things that have been happening in my kitchen.

Exhibit A: the Dr. Pepper and jalapeño meatballs. Continue reading soda and pepper