• Homemade Vanilla Extract
    DIY,  Pittsburgh

    Vanilla Extract

    I love Ina Garten. You can just tell she has fun and loves what she does. I love her approach to cooking and entertaining and wish I could be more like her! Plus, anytime I make one of her recipes, it always turns out and is delicious! She has come to Pittsburgh on both of her last book tours and I’ve been able to hear her both times. So, what does this have to do with vanilla extract? Well, the last time she was here, someone from the audience asked what brand of vanilla extract was her favorite and she mentioned making her own. She said she always has a…

  • Sour Milk Doughnuts
    Breads,  Breakfast

    Sour Milk Doughnuts

    I’m a bit of a history buff. I love reading about history, historical fiction novels and traveling to places to see and learn about the history of the area. I also love food history and learning about food traditions. That history is even more interesting to me when there is some sort of a family link. So imagine my delight when a few weeks before Christmas I received a letter from my Father’s cousin and enclosed was this copy of a very old recipe from his Great Aunts, for Sour Milk Doughnuts. I’m guessing the recipe is from the late 1800s to early 1900’s – it’s a guess but based…

  • Instant Pot Beef and Barley Stew
    Entree,  Soup

    Instant Pot Beef and Barley Stew

    On a cold winter night, there is nothing better than a good hearty stew. Over our holiday vacation, we had a couple of really chilly nights when this was just what we needed. One of our favorite stews is my Beef and Barley Stew and making it in the Instant Pot delivers a stew that tastes like it has been “stewing” all day long! I love kitchen gadgets! I typically ask for one for Christmas every year and usually, it’s just something small. But last year, to my surprise, my wonderful husband gave me an Instant Pot. I didn’t ask for it, but he knew it was the “new” thing…

  • Holiday Cranberry Crostini
    Featured Recipes,  Holidays

    Holiday Cranberry Crostini

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I was reminded of that last night as we went to dinner with friends and toured one of Pittsburgh’s treasures, Phipp’s Conservatory and their winter flower show. It was so nice to be able to take a break and just enjoy spending time with our friends! I normally love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Finding the perfect gifts, baking, entertaining and spending time with family and friends. But, it can be exhausting too, so having quick and easy recipes for entertaining is a lifesaver. That is why this little appetizer, my Holiday Cranberry Crostini, is a favorite of mine.…

  • Creamed Turkey and Peas over Rice
    Entree

    Leftover Turkey with Peas and Mushrooms

    Every year after our Thanksgiving dinner I wrap up some of the leftover turkey in Ziploc bags and throw it in the freezer for later. I’m usually busy either traveling or entertaining right after Thanksgiving and other than making a quick soup or using some of the really nice leftover pieces for a sandwich, I don’t have time to use all the leftovers, but I really don’t want them to go to waste. This year, Mark and I were traveling for Thanksgiving and had our own Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before. I didn’t have time to make anything with the leftovers before we left so I packed up the scraps…

  • Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce in a pretty container
    Dessert,  Fruit,  Holidays

    Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

    There is something about the smell of apples and cinnamon cooking. The house just smells cozy and on a dreary fall day, that is just the smell I was looking for! Homemade cinnamon applesauce is easy to make and your house will smell wonderful all day long! I used Honeycrisp apples for this batch. They are naturally sweet so you don’t need to add any sugar but there are so many varieties of apples to choose from. If you can’t find Honeycrisp, Macintosh or Ambrosia will work nicely. The US Apple Organization and Washington Apple Commission both have good resources about the different varieties of apples that are commercially available…

  • Cranberry Orange Breakfast Muffins
    Breads,  Breakfast,  Featured Recipes,  Holidays

    Cranberry Orange Muffins

    One of my favorite things about fall is cranberries. The slightly bitter flavor works nicely in both sweet and savory dishes so I tend to use them a lot this time of year. But, my favorite way to use them is in baked goods, like these Cranberry Orange Muffins. I think they are just perfect on a cool, crisp fall morning! I remember my Mom making a cranberry orange nut bread that we would have Thanksgiving morning. She could make it ahead and then have an easy but delicious breakfast that was perfect for Thanksgiving. I still make that bread, but since there are just 2 of us, muffins work…

  • A picture of the Dexter Grist Mill in Sandwich Massachusetts
    Travel

    A New England Grist Mill

    Mark and I love to travel and one of the things I like to do when we visit somewhere new (and he is a good sport about it) is to go on some type of food tour. It often is a full-blown walking tour. We walk all over town sampling food from a variety of shops and learn the history of the area. Other times we go to one place and learn about a specific food and its significance to the area. On our most recent vacation, we toured one of the oldest New England Grist Mills in the area. A few weeks ago we took a vacation to Cape…

  • Fish Recipes for Cod
    Seafood

    Cod Veracruz

    I love finding and creating fish recipes. Trying interesting ingredient combinations, new varieties of fish and even preparing traditional dishes with a little twist to make them my own is fun. Maybe it is because I’ve worked in the seafood industry, for StarKist, for 10 + years, but honestly, I’ve always liked fish. And, since October is National Seafood Month, I decided this was a great time to tell you about one of my new favorite fish recipes! Cod is a perfect type of fish to experiment with, especially if you are just learning to cook fish. It’s probably best known as the fish you find at Friday night fish…