Pumpkin Granola Bars


As much as I'm always sad to see summer go, there is something about this time of year that is so magical.  The air, crisp and cool, smells of new beginnings, of transitions and fresh starts.  Orrrrrr it's still humid AF and your kids miss their friends from last year, but you know what I mean.  I'm trying to be poetic about fall, because to me it's simply lovely.  Since moving to New York, I've found I appreciate it even more.  The change in temperature and scenery is dramatic, and matches the change in lifestyle.  Even when I lived in California where the difference in weather was more subtle, I've always loved embracing a new season.  Usually, I do so with food.  Aaand decorating my house with splurges from the dollar(s) bin at Target.  But mostly food.     

Of course, it's now time for everything pumpkin!  With my love of pumpkin flavored foods (except for pie, gross), and my need to pack school lunches and snacks every day, I created these Pumpkin Granola Bars.  They taste just like you want them to: soft and chewy, just sweet enough and bursting with the flavors of the season.    

Pumpkin Granola Bars
Serves: 10 rectangle granola bars, 20 square granola bars

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of allspice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so that it's hanging off two of the sides, and spray with baking spray.  Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, almond butter, honey and vanilla in a small bowl and stir until smooth.  In a large bowl, stir together oats and all spices.  Add pumpkin mixture to the oat mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Using a rubber spatula, add mixture to baking pan and press down to flatten.  Bake for 20 minutes or until sides start to golden.  Let cool, and then slice into squares or rectangles.

*I added a small amount of almond butter, but if you have nut allergies you can definitely omit that and add some applesauce or melted butter instead.  

Corn and Avocado Salsa


The lyrics, "back to life, back to reality" have been playing in my head all morning long as I pack up five weeks worth of STUFF we've accumulated in California over the summer.  We've been away from home for a long time.  There has been a lot of sweet family moments mixed with extreme sibling rivalry, large home-cooked dinners mixed with lots of take-out, busy packed days mixed with endless hours of summer boredom.  Now that it's all said and done, I'm ready to get back to routine.

Also, I'm not ready.  I've had moments of sheer panic over the past few weeks.  Moments where I've questioned just about everything in my life.  Is my middle child really ready for kindergarten?  Do they all have "cute enough" back to school clothes?  Did I sign them up for enough activities?  Did I sign them up for too many activities?  Am I volunteering enough?  Am I blogging enough?  Posting enough on Instagram?  Am I keeping up with my cookbook writing?  Am I going to fail?  Am I keeping up with my friends while I'm gone?  Am I planning enough things for September?  Am I planning too many things in September?  Am I neglecting my husband?  

Are you sick of these questions yet?

Then, as if she knew I needed it, a friend sent me this article, titled "What if All I want is a Mediocre Life?"  It's written so beautifully.  She writes, "what if I am most happy in the space of in between, where calm lives?"  I have to remind myself, it's okay to not have the answers to all of those questions above.  It's okay to take baby steps, each and every day, towards a life of balance.  It's okay that this lovely, refreshing, deliciously simple Corn and Avocado Salsa is the only thing I've posted in weeks.  Right?  Tell me it's okay.  (Recipe HERE)  

Now I'm ready to get back to my mediocre life, my mediocre reality. 
(And I'm ready for school to start...)

Spicy Edamame Dip


I recently tried out Our Harvest back east, which is basically an online farmer's market experience.  You pick out fresh, organic, local foods and then either have them delivered or you pick them up at a convenient location.  Everything we picked was so good, but I was especially impressed with an Edamame Dip that was made in Brooklyn by a company called MOMO Dressing.  It was SO tasty, and after reading the simple ingredients on the packaging, I knew I could recreate it at home.  And so I did.  And now I am sharing my version of the recipe with you.  Amen.  

Spicy Edamame Dip
Serves 8

1 12oz. bag shelled edamame, cooked per instructions on bag
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeƱo, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic, stems removed
1 handful cilantro, stems removed
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, about 1/4 cup (more or less depending on desired consistency)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine.  Stream in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached.  Season to taste with sea salt and serve along side crackers or veggies!

White Chocolate Blueberry Truffles


I'm going to take a wild guess that wherever you live, it's hot.  Humid too, maybe?  Sort of like you're living in an armpit?  Or maybe it's a nice dry heat.  Like you're stranded, naked, in the middle of the dessert.  With a pet camel.  OR it's totally beautiful and you have no idea what I'm talking about...

Anyway.  As much as I love to bake, I usually don't want to turn the oven on in the middle of summer.  That's why I was so excited to come across this truffle recipe.  I've made truffles before (here and here), but a rich, dark chocolate is usually the star of the treat.  These stood out because they are made with only 5 simple ingredients, two of which are sweet blueberries and creamy white chocolate.  They were extremely easy to throw together, and my kids had fun helping me roll them into truffle balls!  I highly recommend for a no-bake summer treat.     

Recipe here.

Rao's Lemon Chicken


The other day, Carson and I were watching the Food Network and we caught Frank Pellegrino show Ina Garten how to make his famous Lemon Chicken and then the following happened...

Carson only had to look over at me, and his eyes asked, "you are going to the market, aren't you, to go get all of the ingredients to make this, aren't you?"  I looked back at him, and my eyes replied, "yes, yes I am going to do that, just as soon as you get the kids away from me so I can go shop in peace."  And then my son said, out loud, "why are you guys staring at each other like that."  He doesn't understand Eye Talking, I guess.  Alas, I did go later that day and picked up a chicken (and had the butcher butterfly it and remove the spine), some fresh lemons and parsley.  I had the rest of the ingredients at home, that's how simple this dish is.

As Ina says in the episode, if you're going to call something 'Lemon Chicken' than it better taste like lemon, and THIS tastes like lemon.  The chicken is juicy, the skin is crisp, and the lemon flavor is off the charts.  For the recipe, click here.

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula


I have never met a pasta that I didn't like.  Honestly, I can't think of a single one.  But this pasta, this one is up there with a really good Carbonara, or a Cacio E Peppe, or a Spaghetti al Pomodoro (like this OMG).  It's made with Fusilli (but you could sub in any pasta you have on hand), a ton of fresh lemon juice and zest, cherry tomatoes, peppery arugula and a delicious cream sauce (that has 2 cups of heavy cream... just pretend you didn't read that part... FORGET IT NOW).  The recipe calls for broccoli, but I omitted that because, I don't know, I wasn't feeling it that particular night.  That's the beauty of cooking, my friends.  Do what you want!  You the boss.  

(Sorry, I've been watching too much Boss Baby.)

Recipe HERE

Some HUGE news...


I'm beyond thrilled to tell you that I am writing my first cookbook, titled Siriously Delicious.


Sorry for shouting at you, but this is the type of news that requires the caps lock button, and happy dances, and celebratory handfuls of chocolate chips (which I guess are different than my regular handfuls of chocolate chips?).  Even to say it out loud, or to see the words on paper, makes me feel giddy.  I am writing my first cookbook, and I am so excited to finally share this news with you.

I am working with TimeInc Books, and the process has been incredible so far!  From recipe development, to taste testing (hard job), to our first photo shoot last week... it has been one pinch-me moment after another.  One of the most incredible was having the gloriously talented Ellen Silverman shoot our lifestyle and cover shots (the magical force behind some of my favorite cookbooks).  

Here she is at work...

Mr. Photobomb...

I can't wait to share more of the process with you as we move forward, so continue to check in here or on Instagram or Twitter.  And come back tomorrow for a perfect summer pasta dish!  Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go eat more chocolate chips, and I think you should too.  


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