Introducing the Recipe Index and Seasonal Recipe Suggestions!

Don't you hate when you follow a food blog and then can't find that recipe you saw just days ago?  Bugs me too.

Or when you want something seasonal but that's not easy to find either?  Annoying.

I got my act together and created a Recipe Index page  and a Seasonal Recipe Suggestion Page.  It's my virtual bouquet of flowers to you.  Check it out and know that the index will be updated when new recipes post!

In other news, the blog can now be found by simply typing in  Much easier to remember, don't you think?

{Maple Glazed Salmon}

This recipe can be tucked away in your go-to weeknight meal file.  It's incredibly easy and quick to make up.  It's also a crowd please and easy to make for company causing it to look like you put a lot more effort into dinner than you really did.

The spice mix can be stored in an airtight container and you can use whatever is left, or double the batch, for next time.

{Recipe adapted from Cooking Light}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • cooking spray for the broiling pan
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1.  Preheat the broiler and mix the spice rub ingredients together- paprika through salt.  Rub onto the salmon and place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.

2.  Broil for about 6 minutes or until just about done then brush with maple syrup and return to the oven for 1 last minute.  Serve it up and enjoy!

{GIVEAWAY} Pink Hydrangea Bag

Check out this super cute and summery bag made by Michelle of Pink Hydrangea.  A mother of two (almost three), Michelle knew she had to design this bag with functionality in mind!

"I designed the bag for the giveaway because I love to be at the beach, and I wanted a bag that was quick and easy to clean (and would fit EVERYTHING in it!).  I also wanted a bag that would fold up nicely!  I think it does both"

I've known Michelle, or rather Michelle has known me, since I was in middle school.  That said, we've seen each other in the most awkward stages of life.  Her shop is full of fresh fabrics and functional gifts and accessories for everyday from yoga mats to changing pads and wipes.  She's designed everything from bedding to birthday banners and then some. One of my favorite new items of hers is the picnic blanket that is laminated on one side- perfect for easy cleanup and long beach days!

{More on Michelle}

I am Michelle, a Navy wife and mother of (almost) three kids.  I was given a hand-me-down sewing machine after my daughter was born, and started sewing.  At first it was a project here and there, and has developed into a passion (and something to pass the time when hubby is gone!).  I sew from patterns and create my own things.  I love fabrics!  I started "pink hydrangea" in the fall, as a way to get my work out there.  We lived in Rhode Island for the winter, and it gave me lots of time indoors to develop a love affair with my sewing machine!  We are on our way to Hawaii for the next few years, and hopefully that will bring more inspiration!

Be sure to check out her blog and her shop.  If you have questions about her goods she can be reached at sewpinkhydrangea AT gmail DOT com

{How to Enter}

  • Comment on this blog as to why you'd be an awesome owner of this happy tote
  • Email me your email (if it's not linked to your entry) so I can be in touch with you should you win!
{Extra Entries}
Remember to email me if you do extra entries so I know!  Voting is open until Thursday at Midnight Eastern Time and open to US residents only.  Winners will be announced on Friday!

{Classic Ragu Bolognese}

I first fell in love with Bolognese at Ca'Dario in Santa Barbara.  My friend ordered a bowl and I found myself wanting more and more bites of the delicious meaty ragu.  The other week a friend and I ordered it while out at an Italian restaurant near us but something was missing.  I wanted more from it so of course I decided to make some at home.

What I love about this recipe is that the ingredients are all fairly basic.  I had some ground beef on hand and because I'm cheap (or frugal) right now, I opted to not get the ground veal.  You could go right ahead and get 6 oz. of ground veal and 6 oz. of ground beef, but instead I did 1 lb. of ground beef.

What really surprised me about this recipe is how sweet it was. The onions and carrots cooking down for awhile gave off lots of natural sweetness that made the husband wonder if I'd added nutmeg.

Although this recipe takes some time, I'd highly recommend it for a good go-to bolognese sauce.

{Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, serves 4-6}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cups beef stock, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 lb pasta- spaghetti or your choice
  • grated parmesan for serving
1.  Heat oil in a large pot then add onions, celery, and carrots.  Saute for 8-10 minutes then add in the beef and pancetta and saute until browned, about 15 minutes.

2. Add wine and boil for 1 minute, scraping down any brown bits.  Add 2 1/2 cups of stock and tomato paste and and stir to blend then allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.  In another saucepan bring the milk to a simmer then add it to the beef mixture.  Stir together then loosely cover the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 45 with the heat on low but simmering.  Add more stock if you need to. (I didn't)  These steps can be made 2 days in advance and just reheated before serving.

4. Boil water and toss in your pasta of choice.  Serve the warm ragu over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.

{Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies}

You may be catching on to the fact that I go through magazines and tear out recipes I want to make, make 'em, then blog 'em here.  This recipe was clipped out years ago and when I found myself the lovely recipient of many a strawberry I turned to this cookie.  Strawberry shortcake in cookie form was a must-try.  

I must say, these cookies were best first thing out of the oven and for the first day.  Because of their cake-like texture they lost some pizzazz and don't keep very well.  I'd make them again, but only to be consumed that evening or day.

{Recipe thanks to Martha Stewart}

{Ingredients You'll Need}
  • 2 cups of strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine the berries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles crumbs.  Stir in the cream until the dough comes together, then stir in the strawberries.

2. Drop the dough by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 25 minutes until they're golden.  Let them cool just a tad on a rack then enjoy right away.

Sundays with the Babe: Cousins

This is how excited Owen is to meet Anderson.  It was his response when we asked him about it.  

Really it was his response when my Mom was talking to him in a high pitched voice that sounded exactly like my Grandma June.  Can you really get over the little rolls and smiles?  At just 6 weeks he's still such a babe but growing up so fast.  Holidays with the boys will be fun as will watching them grow up together!  

Benjamin apparently had red hair when he was born.  According to the things I read if we could see it we could tell now what color Anderson's hair is.  Granted it all supposedly will fall out again before his 'real' hair comes in but I do

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

When I thought of using ricotta in pancakes I thought they'd be a bit heartier and cake like.  I was wrong.  These pancakes are so light they brought me back to Paula's Pancakes in Solvang.  That light thin pancake that you find so often in the little Dutch town nestled just above Santa Barbara.

Since they are so light you might think the batter needs more flour, or that you should flip them later than you think.  They do need some time on the griddle but as you'll see they get nice and golden edges when cooked well.

I have to admit I had some kitchen frustrations while making these.  Why are they so runny?  Ugh what's going on?!  Then Benjamin took over the last few and showed me they needed to cook a bit longer per side.  Also I was probably hungry.

{Recipe thanks to loosely modified from Food and Wine}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Unsalted butter for the griddle
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (but thawed) blueberries
  • Lots of Pure Maple Syrup for serving
1.  In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks with the milk, ricotta, sugar and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth.

2.  Beat the egg whites until a soft peak forms.  Fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain.

3. At this point you can add the blueberries to the batter.  Heat the griddle and spread on some butter til it's melted.  Drop just about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook a couple minutes per side until set.  Keep in a warm oven until you're ready to serve or serve them right up with good maple syrup.

As much as I had kitchen frustrations over this batter, writing about them makes me want them again. I guess you know what's in my future... blueberry ricotta pancakes!

Cucumber, Mint, and Basil Soda

Hello refreshing summery drink.  This bevy has all the flavors of summer I love so dearly.  Cucumber, Mint, Basil.  Can you really go wrong?

Make sure you have a batch of this simple syrup on hand for the weekend.  Great for those not drinking alcohol though if you are it's a fun summery syrup to add to your drinks for that hit of freshness.

{Recipe thanks to Bon Appetit}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced plus more for garnish
  • 24 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • soda water
1.  To make your simple syrup put the water and sugar together in a saucepan and heat on medium until sugar dissolves.  Let it boil and then remove from the heat.

2.  Add cucumber slices, mint, and basil.  Let steep for 30 minutes then strain into a jar, pressing on the solids.  

3.  When you're ready to serve fill a 12 ounce glass with ice.  Add 2 tablespoons syrup and top with about 1/2 cup soda.  Stir to combine and garnish with cucumber and mint.  

I hope this helps you cool off!

Veg Box: What I Cooked Up

It's Thursday which means a whole box of surprise produce will greet us this evening.  I'll have fun skimming through recipes I've clipped out and looking through cookbooks for new ones on how to use up the veg.

As a recap here's what we got last week, and how I used it.

I really hope we get peaches this week.  Please oh pretty please...

Grilled Kale with Creamy Sesame Dressing

As great as kale chips are I needed to do something else with the bunch I got from our veg box.  We got a handy grilling basket which is changing our (summer) lives so I decided instead of putting them straight on the grill I would toss them in the basket already torn up a bit.

This recipe also gave me an excuse to go buy tahini- the base to many a good homemade hummus recipe which I'll plan on making more of soon.  I know some 1 year old's who love the stuff.

I'd make this recipe again easily.  The husband loved it and I think it took out the broccoli like taste kale has which, if you don't like broccoli may turn you away from the nutrient packed greens.

{Recipe thanks to and loosely modified from Sunset}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 1 bunch kale
  • olive oil to sprinkle on the kale
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Tahini
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon honey
1.  Sprinkle the kale with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and toss.  Throw either in pieces into a grill basket or the whole thing onto the grill.  Toss the greens every few minutes or turn until just softened and streaked brown about 5-6 minutes.

2.  While the greens are cooking whip up the dressing in a large bowl.  When the greens are done just chop them (carefully if they're too hot) and toss in the dressing.  Serve up and watch people eat and enjoy kale!

Shaved Summer Squash with Prosciutto Crisps, Mint and Feta

This salad surprised me with it's goodness.  I wasn't so sure how raw squash would turn out but I'll go ahead and tell you it was a great dish.  Perfect for when you want to throw a salad together with minimal cooking time.  The dressing is simple and the flavors really pop with the crunchy prosciutto and tangy feta.

This salad would pack well for a picnic or if you're worried about the toppings just bring them in separate bags and toss in at the last minute.  It's quite beautiful too, isn't it?  Serve it up to impress and I'm sure you will.

{Recipe thanks to Cooking Light}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 3-5 small zucchini and yellow squash or 3 larger ones
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
1.  Shave the zucchini and squash either with a kitchen mandolin or vegetable peeler.  Discard the seeded parts.  Place the strips in a bowl and toss with salt.

2.  Combine mint and next 4 ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk or fork.  Pour over squash and toss with your hands.

3.  Heat a skillet and crisp up the prosciutto for about 2 minutes.  Portion out the squash salad onto plates then top with proscuitto and feta.  

All the right flavors are there.  Salty, sweet, tangy.  This is quite simple too!  Enjoy at home while you impress your family, dinner guests, or on a picnic with family!

Raspberry Lemon Bars

This bar is your perfect relationship between a lemon bar, key lime tart, and a raspberry cobbler.  The shortbread crust is the perfect base for the creamy lemon and raspberry topping.  These keep really well so if you make them and serve them a couple days later, you'll still be fine.

I found myself wanting to justify why these should be eaten morning, noon, and night.  There's fruit in there, right?  And cream cheese for some calcium, and shortbread crust with butter for well, more dairy and carbs.

No matter how stuffed you may be after a barbecue there is always room for these...

I found this recipe because my Mom tore it out of a Better Homes and Gardens and said, "don't these look good?"  That was all I needed to know I should make them for Fathers Day weekend when we'd all be together.  Good eye, Ma.  These turned out great and might just be competing with my love of lemon bars.

The recipe calls for lining the 9x13 with aluminum foil.  I ran out so buttered and floured by pan which was fine but next time I'll go the aluminum foil route so they're all the more easy to get out of the pan and into my mouth.

Recipe thanks to and loosely modified from Scott Peacock's

{Ingredients You'll Need for the Crust}

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup) cut into 1 inch chunks and softened. plus more to brush around the edges of the aluminum after you bake the crust (if you're using it)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
{Ingredients for the Topping}
  • 3/4 cup seedless strawberry preserves (or raspberry if you have that)
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour your 9x13 or line it with aluminum foil, allowing some to come over the edges as you'll lift the bars up at the end to cut them.  In a mixer beat the butter just about 30 seconds.

2. Add brown sugar and salt and beat until incorporated.  With mixer off add in the flour then beat on low until blended then increase the speed so that it makes a nice crumbly dough.  Break dough into pieces and place in the bottom of your prepared 9x13, pushing it together with your fingertips.  Bake for 20 minutes until just golden then let to cool for 5 minutes.

3.  If you're using aluminum foil brush it with butter so it will keep from sticking around the edges.  Now add on your jam and spread it out evenly then sprinkle with the raspberries.  

4.  In a mixer beat the cream cheese for about 30 seconds then add in the sugar and flour until blended.  With the mixer running add your eggs, lemon zest, juice, and vanilla.  Mix it all until smooth.  Pour over the raspberries and tilt the pan just a bit so it goes throughout the bars.  

5.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, just until set.  Cool for an hour at room temperature then place in the fridge to cool for 2 hours.  When you're ready to enjoy them either cut them straight out of the pan or lift them out with the aluminum foil and cut them up from there.

I think I'm making these again this week.  They're too good not to make again and again.

My (Urban) Gardening Tips

If I had rasied beds and heeps of soil I'd write a different article.  But since we're cramped for green space, as are many in the DC area, I wrote an article for Metrocurean on urban gardening tips.  Enjoy here or check it out on Metrocurean!


It's not easy growing greens in a big city. In fact, if you've had a garden or any form of green space in another life, thinking of planting a garden with the teeny 3-by-3-foot space you may now have can be downright depressing.

Consider myself someone who recently had the shock of walking through a garden center realizing I couldn't grow tomatoes or zucchini or chard this year. My plot was too small and my sunshine lacking. Instead, I opted for some potted herbs that I hope to see partial sun and an array of red and white impatiens for the shady plot of soil I do have.

If you're not so lucky to have soil, perhaps there's a place for you to put some pots — even a sunny spot in your kitchen. Growing food in a city is all about being resourceful.

Here are a few helpful green thumb tips:

Potted herbs are a great starting point. Mint likes its own pot or it'll take over if it's with others.

Basil and tomatoes love the sun.

Cherry tomatoes work well for small areas as they don't grow too high or become as cumbersome as full sized tomato plants.

Thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary are great culinary herbs and can do with partial sun.

Whether you're gardening in pots or the ground, take the time to prepare the soil with a good organic mix like Bumper Crop.

Raised beds with all new soil are a good idea for urban back yards. The existing ground soil can have undesirable elements like lead.

No room for green space at all? Look into community gardens around town. Washington Gardener offers some resources for finding a garden near you.

And the Winner Is....

Congratulations, Erica!  Erica commented that she should win 
"because I can at least look good when my cooking doesn't"  

Names were drawn out of a hat, literally, and chosen at random.  Too many fun responses I couldn't just sit there and pick favorites!  Those of you who 'liked' either the FB pages or store got double submissions.  Remember for the next giveaway to please either leave or email your email address so I can get in touch with you should you win!

You still have until the 23rd to get 15% off Cross Country Boutique when you mention LB's Good Spoon!

Sundays with the Babe: Sanding and Painting by Daddy

The nursery room project seems to be well under way.  We've moved out just about everything in it which means the rest of our upstairs, mainly our bedroom, is in shambles.  I'm hoping it'll just motivate us to get things done more quickly so they can be all nice and organized.

Now that the room looks the way it does it is easy to think of other things we might want painted around the house.  We'll have no place with a babe around to paint things so now is the time.

Benjamin is loving his power sander- the true reason why he's so excited to paint the furniture.  He's beyond motivated about it all and said this experience is kind of his first present to the baby.  It's making things more real for him since he doesn't get to carry it around and feel it kick all the time like I do.  I know he's going to be such a great Dad and can't wait to see it all in action.  Pretty sure that'll just make me fall in love with him more.

Everything else is going well and I'm enjoying this time before I get uncomfortably big.  It feels like the days of nausea and not wanting to cook were so long ago.  Now it's the time of feeding this baby well (cake and smoothies included) staying active (by signing up for water aerobics!) and anticipating his arrival!

Realizing my Love of Hush Puppies: Our Trip to Louisiana

A few weeks back we headed down to a one stoplight town in Louisiana to surprise and celebrate Papa for his 80th birthday.  We saw lots of family and overall it felt a lot like Christmas seeing Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and lots of kids we otherwise wouldn't see if it weren't for such a great occasion.  We also ate just about every hour to top off the holiday merriment.  Egg casseroles, dips, homemade ice cream and of course all things fried filled my belly.

The weekend was well planned out and the party was set.  Mamma T made a Happy Birthday banner of course and when Papa and Manet drove up he had to stop the car as he was stunned to see so many of his family's faces.  He got a little teary eyed, as did I.  Benjamin even told me later he maybe got a little emotional too.

It was a really beautiful weekend enjoying one another, drinking lots of iced water, and staying inside.  When we arrived I made the mistake of asking why people would have ceiling fans and air conditioning.  Yankee error.  I soon realized as well why Benjamin puts ice in his water all the time.  Down there you need to do anything to cool off and ice sure helps!

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was visiting Jerry Lou and their farm.  It was quite picturesque and fun to watch Scarlet enjoy the cows, chicken (who she called Nugget) and cucumbers growing in abundance.

I'm not sure when we'll get there next but I do know that Benjamin will want Anderson to eat some good home cooking, have Papa's fried catfish and some hush puppies too.  I learned over the weekend my love for hush puppies.  I made some the other night which I'll share with you, though I need to doctor them up a bit.  They weren't sweet enough or something.  Heck, I'm not Southern but I know something was missing!

Anderson will also need to go on a golf cart ride and drive through the fields and see some creatures I'd rather not- like the large rat like animals that apparently hang out in the water by the cows.  Glad I missed that part of the tour.

Until next time...ya'll.