Vanilla Cookies

30 Jul

We have six friend’s over for a playdate tomorrow (that’s six children plus their mums) so I set out to make cookies this afternoon.  My elder son loves the vanilla cookies from Wholefoods so today was my first attempt at vanilla cookies.

I began by googling vanilla cookies and found this recipe from Melissa on which is based on one that from a bottle of vanilla extract.

Very easy to make and they tasted pretty good.  And only 5 ingredients (although I sprinkled cinnamon on top because my son likes that on the Wholefoods version).

Vanilla Cookies

Jamie Oliver I love you

29 Jul

This weekend I bought myself two gifts at Barnes and Noble: Jamie Oliver’s “Meals in Minutes” and “Food Revolution”.  More on the second one in a later post.  If by chance you don’t know who Jamie Oliver is click here!

Although I am a big fan of Jamie’s these are actually the first cookbooks of his I own. I’ve had recipes passed on from friends and I’ve used the website but to actually have his cookbooks in my hands is a real treat (especially Meals in Minutes which is hardcover; I love a hardcover recipe book).


I kicked off the weekend with “super fast beef hash with baked potatoes and beans and bacon”.  Given that Jamie Oliver encourages sharing recipes (read Food Revolution) I’m sure it’s ok to share the recipe here but I highly recommend the book.


Beef Hash

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Chicken Pie

24 Jul

Tonight I am making a delicious chicken pie- sort of a cross between chicken and leek pie and chicken pot pie.  Sure to appeal to everyone in the family!

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In Defense of Food

20 Jul

Have just started reading Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food”.  Halfway through and really enjoying it.  Recommend it if you are interested in understanding how people think about food and how our thinking has been shaped.

To be a better cook…

18 Jun

Had to share a great quote from Michael Symon (co-host of ABC’s “The Chew”)

“the first thing to do to be a better cook is to buy better ingredients”

And with that I need to make a plan to find a nearby farmers market that I can manage with two kids in tow over the summer 🙂

Life’s little pleasures

4 Jun

One of the most annoying things about moving countries is leaving behind electrical appliances which aren’t compatible.  Sounds dramatic but I hated leaving behind my coffee maker.  As far as I’m concerned nothing beats the smell of freshly ground beans and espresso. I got through the first few months here drinking filtered coffee (I use the term loosely) before deciding something had to be done.  We are not here permanently so spending $800 to replace my coffee machine didn’t appeal.  Now, I’ve always steered away from pod coffee machines because I like fresh ground beans. But after trialling my sister-in-laws Nespresso I’m a convert.  After returning from our trip visiting her I marched straight into Macy’s and bought myself one. Now my coffee is my daily treat.  After dropping son number one off at school son number two and I return home for a half hour of down time before the chores and errands and playtime begins.


Oops- red food dye

1 Jun

Really disappointed tonight.  Last Sunday I did my weekly menu for this week and was excited to come across a recipe for butter chicken using tandoori paste (my kids love the Pataks jars of butter chicken sauce but I’m not a fan and it’s expensive to buy these all the time).  Anyway, I made up my shopping list and was pretty happy to find we already had tandoori paste in the fridge thanks to one of my husband’s previous shopping trips.  But, as I’m ready to put it in the pan tonight I read the ingredients to find that it contains Red 40 color.  Given that we try to avoid all artificial colors I was really disappointed but too far into the meal to change now.

I did a google search for tandoori paste without red food coloring in but couldn’t find anything.  I did find a blogger who was also annoyed to find artificial color in tandoori paste and set about to make her own (I’ll reblog this).  I don’t mind making my own but I’ll be crossing this version of butter chicken off my list as a quick family meal.

Note:  Patak’s butter chicken simmer sauce is free from artificial colors, preservatives and flavors so a much better option.

The Meat & Potatoes of Life

By Lisa Smith Molinari



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