Celebrating with Cookies

The holidays are officially here, and to celebrate the Christmas type I’m sharing a post a day on my creativity blog. For those who celebrate Hanukkah I’ll be sharing some ideas next Friday right here. Whether we’re talking winter, spring, summer or fall, just about every get-together involves people, food and fun. I love how the holidays bring people together and give us a chance to enjoy special treats and share those treats with each other.

That’s really what I love about holidays, sharing different foods that we’ve discovered over the last year, bringing back foods that we haven’t had for a year, making foods that remind us of family and friends who aren’t with us anymore and food is usually a safe way to bring us all together without fighting over what’s on TV, where we’re going or who is hosting. Yes, all of those things come up, but the pleasure of the whole experience is getting the chance to sit down and enjoy and share food together.

One of the foods I love the most (but aren’t eating this year with my new diet unfortunately) are cookies. I think they’re one of the best foods because they’re so universal, they’re small, they’re easy to share, you can create a big variety and everyone can have a favorite without offending anyone else. That’s not something you can say about too many other foods or gifts, right?

Of course, those same reasons that I love cookies are a really good reminder of what the holidays show us: that we may all be people, but we’re not all the same and that’s to be celebrated. Celebrate your differences this holidays season, rather than fighting over them.

“I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know? They’re incredibly popular. But everybody thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies. A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays.” Bobby Flay

Giving Thanks

Just a few days remain between us and the celebration of Thanksgiving. I’m already working on my list of things I’m thankful for, and I am so thankful that the list is so long! I know that there are many people around the world who cannot claim that, so that makes me extra grateful. In thinking about Thanksgiving this week and the topic of being thankful over the past month I’ve shared that thanksgiving is about receiving and giving thanks. What I’ve found is that those who are most grateful aren’t those who have things like being alive (without relationship to serious illnesses), having a job (which they hate), or having people in their lives (who they can’t stand) on their thankful lists. No, those who are truly able to experience the fullness of Thanksgiving are those who have worked hard to achieve the victories they’re celebrating this Thanksgiving.

It’s true that most good things take work to achieve or attain. The shallow victories and accomplishments that some chalk up as great can’t deliver the feelings of pride and satisfaction that those who worked very hard to make happen experience. Knowing that you worked with your bare hands to create that amazing project or contribute to someone’s life in that way is rewarding in and of itself.

But as I said before, Thanksgiving, much like Christmas, is an action-oriented celebration. Thanksgiving is about giving (expressing) thanks for all you’ve been blessed with and about blessing (giving) others with even just a little of what you’ve received, often through an invitation to join you for Thanksgiving dinner, a Box of Love or donation to a charity.

This Thanksgiving I would encourage you to not wait for the good stuff to find you, but to go out there and bless others and give them a reason to be thankful.

Satisfying Seafood

October is National Seafood Month, so I thought I’d share some recipes that you can try to spice up your date night, or try with your family!

Seafood dip

Hot shrimp dip

Red chile seafood soup

Shrimp bisque

Savannah seafood gumbo

Spicy shrimp and bok choy noodle bowl

Spaghetti with pinot grigio and seafood

Scampi on couscous

Seafood mac and cheese

Seafood risotto

Sicilian rice salad with seared tuna

Asian broth poached shrimp, scallops and soba noodles

Quinoa and curried shrimp

Crab ravioli with citrus shrimp

Bucatini with shrimp and spicy cherry tomato pan sauce

Sea bass alla fiorentina

Shrimp boil with clams and lemon

Grilled seafood salad

Spicy seafood potpie

Grilled fish tacos

Scallops with orange and honey

What are your favorite seafood recipes?

Trying New Things

I am not the type of person to go out there and try new things if I don’t think I’ll like them, or if I’ve had something similar and didn’t like that. But I usually will try it, especially if it comes in a small enough package or portion for me to try without buying a ton. I tried a new hummus this week and I was definitely not a fan. So I’ve portioned it out to add to soup that I make over the winter rather than eat it with carrots or celery. So as I was thinking about this and it being Columbus Day this past Monday, it got me thinking about what it means to try new things, and why it’s so challenging for us.

All parents have the challenge of getting their kids to eat something different, something other than what feels like the same 4 dishes and snacks, when you’d really like to cook or make something else, not just for your sake but because just eating the same 4 dishes can’t be balanced nutrition. I know that cooking things differently and seasoning them differently, not to mention correctly, can make a big difference to liking or disliking something. So don’t be afraid to try some different versions.

Unfortunately, we are all different with different palates and different preferences. What tastes good to you won’t taste good to someone else. If they try it and don’t like it you can’t blame them. But don’t let their fears of trying something new stop them from trying. All of the stories of Columbus tell us that he had a really hard time convincing people of his beliefs on the true nature of the world and that there was more land to be found. Columbus didn’t give up just because others had tried and failed, he kept trying.

So this weekend, don’t be afraid to try something new for dinner, go with your partner on a different date than you usually do, pick out different clothes the next time you go shopping, or try a different approach for handling things at work. As Columbus discovered trying new things can have great results.

Plans with Popcorn

Today I’m sharing lots of popcorn recipes to get you ready for the World Series, scary Halloween movies, or just a yummy afternoon snack.

Chili Lime

Cheesy garlic

Mexican chocolate


Chocolate almond

Sweet and spicy crunch

Macadamia butter crunch

Kettle corn

Sweet and nutty

Sesame ginger

Aztec chocolate and caramel

Cranberry orange caramel

Herbs de Provence and asiago cheese

Carmel apple monster munch

Slacker jacks

Grandma Paul’s caramel corn

Theater style butter

More Treat Ideas

Chewy caramel popcorn and pretzel bars

Golden popcorn squares

Toffee almond popcorn balls

Gooey Halloween popcorn balls

Candy corn popcorn balls

What toppings have you tried and enjoyed with popcorn?

Awesome Apples

Today we’re celebrating a delicious fall food: the apple!


Cinnamon apple twist bread

Cinnamon apple pull apart bread

Apple muffins

Apple cranberry spice muffins

Apple dumpling slices

Fresh apple cinnamon scones

Apple cinnamon pull apart rolls

Cinnamon apple flat bread

Apple cranberry toasted bread pudding

Double apple walnut bread


Old fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting

Apple upside down cake

Apple skillet cake

Fresh apple cake from Georgia

Caramel apple cheesecake

Apple coffee cake with crumble topping and brown sugar glaze


Classic apple crisp

Cranberry and apple crumble

Crusty apple pie

Flat apple pie with perfect pie crust


Apple tortilla bake

Slow cooker apple butter

Apple strudel

Apple phyllo triangles

What are your favorite apple recipes?

Love for Ice Cream

There’s nothing quite like having a bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day, so today I thought I’d share some yummy ways you can top your favorite flavors at your next family event.

Marshmallow spread

Salted vanilla caramel icing

Salted caramel sauce

Caramel sauce

Butterscotch sauce

Chocolate maple sauce

Peanut butter sauce

Hazelnut mocha sauce

Dark chocolate fudge sauce

Hard shell ice cream topping

Praline ice cream sauce

Orange ginger ice cream sauce

Apricot orange sauce

Tart cherry sauce

Raspberry sauce

Homemade sprinkles

Rainbow sprinkles

 What are your favorite ice cream toppings?

Fresh Food for Summer

With summer just a few weeks away today we’re taking time to look at some delicious recipes that you can use to incoporate more fresh fruits and vegeables into your diet!  Yummy choices like tomatoes, corn, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, cherries, melons, peppers, avocados, and more are great choices to add to your diet, as well as taste yummy when combined with other ingredients.


Whole wheat zucchini chocolate chip bread

Baked zucchini sticks and sweet onion dip

Zucchini fritters

Grilled zucchini rolls with herbs and cheese

Avocado, bacon and tomato sandwich

Avocado and corn tostaditas

Confetti corn

Corn chowder

Sweet corn with baby beets and basil

Stuffed cherry tomatoes

Tomato and beet salad

Grilled portabello mushrooms

Grilled eggplant flatbread

Eggplant Parmesan

Roasted tomato and eggplant soup

Roasted red pepper and walnut dip

Shaved summer salad

Grilled summer vegetable paninis

Balsamic grilled vegetables

Summer rolls

Summer soup

Veggie melt

Veggie dip

Veggie chips


Mango salsa

Strawberry shortcake

Strawberry rhubarb pie

Rustic peach tart

Peach cobbler

Peach jam

Stone fruit compote

Watermelon slushies

Blueberry hand pies

Blueberry muffins

Blackberry oat bran muffins

Blackberry skillet cake

Sour cherry pistachio crisp

Raspberry scones

Raspberry swirl cheesecake

Cherry chocolate chunk ice cream

Cantaloupe, tarragon and vodka sherbet

Tropical fruit with lime dressing

Summer fruit pizza

 What are you growing and cooking this summer?

Perfect Pasta

March is National Noodle month, a month that most kids and parents love.  Noodles are part of many of our favorite foods including lasagne, mac and cheese and chicken noodle soup.  Today I thought we’d recognize this favorite food with some yummy recipe ideas!


Homemade egg noodles

Homemade pasta with sage butter

Gluten free pasta

Fresh herb pasta

Fresh dough for ravioli

Red pepper

Fresh beet dough


Chicken noodle

Spicy shrimp and Bok Choy noodle bowl

Spicy shrimp and noodles

Confetti chicken

Pasta e Fagioli


Greek pasta salad

Cilantro-lime pasta salad

Garden pasta salad with chicken

Pasta salad with fresh herbs

Buckwheat noodle salad

Pasta salad with broccoli and peanuts

Wacky Mac pasta salad

And More

Lasagna rolls

Fettuccine Alfredo

Creamy orzo

Cheesy pasta primavera

Grilled tomato and corn pasta

Pasta and white beans with broccoli pesto



Nutrition, Naturally

If you’ve been following me for a while you know I love food.  It’s something I think about almost constantly.  I never leave home without a snack in my bag (never can be too careful!).  But before the Christmas holidays I made a decision about what I was eating because something had to change (simply put: tummy trouble).  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been the type to curl up on the couch and eat a whole container of ice cream, box of Fruity Pebbles and couple of Twinkies (yes, I like sweet things). But something wasn’t right and I’d been ignoring my body for a while.

I won’t go into details but I’ve cut a lot of processed foods, most white flour and a big percentage of (white) sugar from my diet.   It turns out that there’s some truth in the health professional’s opinions that those “food” groups are some of the biggest causes in our dis-health.  Of course the biggest challenge was figuring out what I could eat that didn’t involve those foods/ingredients.  I’ve learned a lot from these months of eating different stuff, and I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more.  But since it’s National Nutrition Month I thought I would share a few of the lessons I’ve had to learn and work with that can help you whether you’re on a special diet or just really busy.

1-snacks: it’s really hard to know that if you want a snack it will take prep time.  With the exception of a handful of nuts, craisins, or a yogurt just about every vegetable or fruit takes preparation.  I still sigh every time I get hungry because I know it will take a lot more work to feed me than just grabbing some cereal or a pbj.  Preparing celery sticks, carrots and finger fruits (strawberries, grapes, berries) 2-3 times a week instead of on demand helps to cut down on some of that stress.

2-dinner time: everyone struggles with that ‘just got home, am starving, what’s for dinner’ issue.  Again, having finger vegetables and fruits on hand helps cut the hunger enough that you can focus on preparations.  The other big key is planning ahead for the whole week.  By doing a weekly schedule of dinners you know when you can have a less-healthy snack because you’ve planned for a very healthy dinner or that you need to eat better during the day because you’re going out for dinner.

3-feeling good is worth it.  I feel a lot better, that’s the bottom line.  As I said I wasn’t a really bad eater, but obviously my body knew better than I did.  Knowing that I’ll make it through the day and go to bed feeling good is pretty strong motivation for taking the extra time to eat right.

What has food taught you?