Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Bunny Cookies

I love to sending in goodies to my little one's preschool class. I've had these chocolate chip shape cookies on my radar since St. Patrick's Day & want to change up the cupcake thing. I am really going to call these "abstract" bunny cookies but they taste great!!! Ha ha. I also attempted to make Easter eggs but they came out looking like, well, chocolate chip cookies :)

Everyone have a blessed Holy Thursday.

<3 Lishie

Easter Bunny Cookies 

slightly adapted from Nestle

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 c a-p flour
  • 2 c (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels (I used the pastel pink & yellow ones + milk chocolate)
  • 1 tube of decorative frosting or gel.
Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract & salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg yolk. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in morsels. Shape dough into 2 round discs; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until firm. *Lishie tip- I'd suggest placing the dough in the freezer- makes it easier & more pliable to work it.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Roll each disc to 1/4" thickness between two sheets of waxed paper. Cut into *bunny* (or any) shapes; place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate.

These are the Bunny Pockets I made to send in to Gabriel's classmates. I think they came out cute! I placed a fruit treat in each & on the back there's a label saying, "Hoppy Easter, ______" Love, Gabriel.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Sunday I rummaged through my crisper box & realized what I thought were 2 cucumbers were actually 2 zucchini! Easy mistake I think, right? (Wondered why I had 2 cukes in the left box & 2 cukes also in the right one, ha!) So I didn't even think what to make, just took the zucchini & chopped... Grabbed an onion... carrots, potato... & this came about.
<3 Lishie

Vegetable Lentil Soup
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cleaned & chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, either whole/crushed or minced
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • s & p
  • 1 TBSp tomato paste
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped into half moon pieces
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 3-4 cups water or chicken stock
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh Parmesan
In a large pot on medium heat, saute the onions, carrots & garlic with the olive oil, herbs de provence & s & p for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent. Add the tomato paste, then zucchini & saute for 10 more minutes. Add the lentils, then water or chicken stock, & lentils. Cover & bring to a boil. Reduce the heat&  simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Serve with fresh parsley & grated Parmesan.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Passover or Pesach!

March 25, 2013 is


Passover begins tonight! Passover is an eight-day Jewish festival that celebrates the emancipation of the Israelites. Jewish families usually celebrate Passover on the first two nights of the holiday. They hold seders to retell the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and to enjoy a festive meal eaten in remembrance of their ancestors' hardships. During the meal, the youngest child asks the adults four questions about the significance of the Passover symbols. Traditional Passover food is kosher and does not include any “chametz.” Chametz are leavened foods made with wheat, barley, or rye. When the Israelites fled Egypt, they could not wait for their bread to rise. Modern-day Jewish families eat unleavened matzo bread during Passover to honor this part of their history. To celebrate Passover...  Make one of these meals from DeLish DeMaria:     Matzoh Brei  Chocolate  Sea-Salted Matzoh     PS- Totally plan to make one of these with my little one: Seen on Babble:  

Happy Pesach!
<3 Lishie

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Palm Sunday

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday.

According to Catholicism
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9), when palm branches were placed in His path, before His arrest on Holy Thursday and His Crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent, , and the week in which Christians celebrate the mystery of their salvation through Christ's Death and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

<3 Lishie: Spend the day with family in reflection.

DeLish DeMaria RECIPE: Soft Sugar Cookies

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekly Menu Planning & Grocery List

Saturday mornings are for napping.
This post is meant to help you with your menu planning. I sure hope it does. Being a busy, working-outside-the home, commuting mom of a pre-schooler is tough. And I need all the assistance I can get. My sanity is in planning & staying organized. 

My friend Sarah at Early Bird Mom wrote a great guest article for Money Saving Mom on the subject. I do many of her tips & thought I'd share my family's planning method for you all.

My hubby & I shop together on Saturdays every week. We try to go at the same time, keep routine. I know this isn't something that everyone can do & I surely do not take for granted my hubby's help!!

So, Saturday morning, before ice skating lessons for my little one (or whatever is on schedule), I grab 3 things- 1) pad/pen, 2) supermarket flier, 3) my coups. Organization is key!!! I actually keep my coupons in a zippered pencil case along with a little pad & pen- it helps a lot.

CREATE a list.

Firstly, I see what we NEED. Toilet paper? Soap? Personal things/Deodorant? Check.

Secondly, I write all of the things we ALWAYS need. Milk-CHECK, bananas, CHECK, etc.

But here's the kicker to my list- I organize my list by aisle... Yes. We start in produce first so... Bananas, peppers, onions, apples, parsley, potatoes... gets written first. Then along from there... Specialties refrigerator bins come next- Pancetta, hummus, fresh pasta. Cereal aisle next... And so on. Makes shopping so much easier! Really, truly, it does!

KNOW your pantry.

Thirdly, I see what we have that may spark ideas for the next meal.
Opening cupboard... Hmmm canned water chestnuts? Stir Fry!!!
What else do I need for the meal? Need to get chicken, sugar snap peas, etc. *Make sure I have reduced sodium soy sauce! And Chinese 5 spice!
***That is one night down. Friday, we always have pizza with my in-laws. Two nights down!*** Write down the days & list after them the meals:
Opening freezer... Ohhh ravioli?! Need to get some fresh basil for sauce.
***Three nights down! but wait, this idea leads to four- make a big 'ol pot of pasta & meatballs for Sunday. Which leads to a forth... Leftover meatball subs***

READ/get store weekly fliers!

Fourth, open weekly circular flier & see if anything is on sale that your family loves.
Flier reads- Fresh Flounder on sale! Added. Need- Zucchini & squash

UTILIZE your purchases twice.

Fifth, See if you can re-purpose extra veg side into another dinner.
Zucchini & squash for the fish? Well, make garden pasta sautéing the zucchini & squash with onion & garlic & herbs.

This is the end result:
Saturday- Stir Fry
Sunday- Fresh sauce& meatballs & pasta
Monday- Flounder w/ julienned veg
Tuesday- Ravioli
Leftover meatball subs
Thursday- G
arden pasta Friday- Pizza

I hope this helps some of you with your planning!
Have any tips to add?!

<3 Lishie

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy National French Bread Day!

March 21, 2013 is

National French Bread Day

Today is National French Bread Day! French bread, also known as a baguette, is a crusty loaf baked in a long, thin shape. The French have been making long sticks of bread since at least the mid-eighteenth century, but the baguette didn’t become an iconic symbol of French cuisine until the twentieth century. A new law passed in 1920 banned workers from beginning their shift before 4am, which made it difficult for French bakers to have fresh bread ready for their customers in the morning. They turned to the fast-baking baguette for a solution, and soon it became a part of daily life. While the baguette claims the title of “French bread,” France produces many other famous types of bread including: croissants, brioche, pain de campagne, batard, pain de mie, and fougasse. To celebrate National French Bread Day, buy or bake a delicious loaf of fresh French bread to share with your family!
Or make this from DeLish DeMaria:
<3 Lishie

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Jell-O Cookies

I spotted these on Pinterest & remembered having them growing up. What a cute way to put color into cookies & the holidays! The color comes from the Jello, not extra food coloring :) And what I love is you can use any Jell-o flavor/color! The cookies taste like good, bakery-style cookies with a mere hint of the gelatin flavoring. And you can gussy them up with sprinkles!!! I <3 sprinkles.

Have fun with these!
<3 Lishie

St. Patrick's Day Jell-O Cookies
slightly adapted from Gwenny Penny
  • 3/4 cup of margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3oz package of Jello gelatin (any flavor will do, but I used lime)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2½ cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • sprinkles (optional)
Cream together your first five ingredients: margarine or butter, sugar, dry Jello powder, eggs, & vanilla.

Carefully add the remaining ingredients: flour, baking powder, & salt. Mix well.

Grease & flour baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into 1½" balls & place on the baking sheets. It helps to add a little flour to your hands before rolling. I actually used my melon baller, sprayed with cooking spray first), then using the back of the melon baller, pushed down onto the "lump" of cookie dough.

Add sprinkles!

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. They are done when you just start to see a light brown ring begin to creep up from the very bottom of the cookie. Move to a cooling rack & enjoy!

This is a great all-purpose recipe... you can change up the color and decorations to match any holiday or occasion. And Jello comes in so many flavors, there are lots of possibilities. Have fun with it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy National Chocolate Caramel Day!!!

It’s National Chocolate Caramel Day! The union of chocolate and caramel is arguably one of the greatest flavor combinations ever conceived by man. These two ingredients appear in countless candy bars, ice cream flavors, confections, and desserts. Did you know that Milton Hershey began his career at a caramel company? In the late 1800s he began experimenting with ways to improve caramel candy and found some German-built machines for manufacturing chocolate. His attention would eventually shift completely to chocolate, but Hershey’s first product was a chocolate-covered caramel! To celebrate National Chocolate Caramel Day, enjoy some of your favorite goodies made with chocolate and caramel!

DeLish DeMaria's
Stuffed Brownies
<3 Lishie

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Oatmeal Cookie Day!

March 18, 2013 is Oatmeal Cookie Day

It’s Oatmeal Cookie Day! Oatmeal cookies have been around since the late 1800s. They originated in England, and evolved from the savory oatcake. In the Middle Ages, soldiers carried oatcakes with them in case they needed a quick boost of energy during battle. Although our modern-day version is much sweeter, oatcakes and oatmeal cookies share many of the same ingredients including spices, nuts, and raisins. Oats are an excellent source of iron and fiber, which explains why oatmeal cookies are the healthiest type of cookie! Make a batch today to celebrate Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Celebrate with these from DeLish DeMaria: 
<3 Lishie

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy National Artichoke Hearts Day

March 16, 2013 is National Artichoke Hearts Day
Today is National Artichoke Hearts Day! Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to man. The plant originated in the Mediterranean region and is part of the sunflower family. According to Greek mythology, Zeus turned his mistress Cynara into the first artichoke plant when he caught her sneaking away from Olympia.   Although we usually refer to it as a vegetable, the produce we eat is actually the flower bud of the artichoke plant. If you let the flower blossom, it turns a beautiful violet-blue color. People enjoy artichokes boiled, baked, steamed, grilled, deep fried, and stuffed with all sorts of yummy fillings.Almost every artichoke produced in the United States comes from California. Did you know that the town of Castroville, California crowned its first “Artichoke Queen” in 1947? The winner was a young actress named Norma Jean Mortenson who later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe!
To celebrate National Artichoke Hearts Day, try out a new artichoke recipe for dinner tonight!
Like this one:
 DeLish DeMaria's Favorite Artichoke Pasta  
<3 Lishie

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day ~ Leprechaun Cupcakes

Happy St. Patrick's Weekend!!!
(And beware of the Ides of March)

My little one's school is celebrating today with green so I thought I'd send him in with these cute little cuppies for his classmates. They are Leprechauns with their Pots O' Gold. Very simple to make- but adorable...

Take a batch of your favorite cupcake recipe. I used my basic Yellow Cupcake one. But I folded in 1/2 cup of rainbow colored sprinkles in at the end since all little leprechauns need RAINBOWS! Whip up a batch of a simple vanilla frosting... 

OK, for half of the cupcakes, I made them the "usual" way in cupcake liners.
The other half? I filled the liner up HALF-way, then placed a flat-bottomed ice cream cone, UPSIDE-DOWN into the batter-filled liner. Yep.  Then baked as usual. Easy as that.

Allow all cupcakes to cool.

For the "Pots O' Gold":
Frost with vanilla topping then dip into yellow decorating sugar. Top with 5-6 strategically placed Captain Crunch pieces.

For Leprechauns:
Carefully peel away the cupcake-liner the ice cream cones were baked in; discard wrapper. Thinly frost with vanilla topping, then decorate using 
1) Captain Crunch pieces for hair & beard 
2) a large red or pink candy for the nose (I used the Lucky Charms cereal balloon marshmallow but an M&M would do, or large, round sprinkle, etc.) & 
3) 2 candy Wilton eyes.
Carefully place your leprechaun onto a new cupcake liner/wrapper.

The children will love them! I hope.
<3 Lishie

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip & Peppermint Cookies

Oh goodness, these were yummy. I made them in December & am just now getting around to blogging. But do not fret! You can substitute nuts or butterscotch candy pieces or jolly rancher candy pieces or white chocolate chips... the substitutions can go on & on for the peppermint!!! Try pastel mints for Easter!

<3 Lishie

Chocolate Chocolate Chip & Peppermint Cookies
very slightly adapted from Hershey's
  • 2-1/4 c a-p  flour
  • 1/3 c Cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2  eggs
  • 2 c Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c  peppermint pieces
Heat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar & vanilla in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips. Add peppermint pieces. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Apricot~Pistachio Biscotti

Aw, biscotti... the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon tea or coffee. I love to make these for company of for my father-in-law who loves them. When they are fresh, they aren't too hard, just perfect.Add in apricots & pistachios... just, well, yum.

<3 Lishie

Apricot~Pistachio Biscotti
  • 2 1/4 c a-p flour, plus more for work surface
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 3/4 c dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, pistachios, apricots, baking powder, & salt. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs & vanilla; add to flour mixture, & mix until combined (dough will be stiff; use hands if necessary to incorporate flour). Divide dough in half.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll each dough half into a 12" log; transfer logs to a baking sheet, & gently press to a 7/8" thickness. Bake until risen & firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. On a cutting board, use a serrated knife to slice logs into 1/2"-thick slices. Lay slices in a single layer on baking sheet; bake until dry & just starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Favorite Artichoke Pasta

We have a really good Student Food Courts at NYU, & this recipe was conceived from a lunch I had at the Kimmel Center Market Place Pasta station... You pick your pasta, your sauce & items to put in the sauce, just like a salad bar. And these are mouth-watering sauces & additions. I wanted to replicate the lunch at home for my family & lo & behold, it has become a staple in our house!!! I've dubbed it "our favorite artichoke pasta". But you can call it what you like! :) <3 Lishie

Favorite Artichoke Pasta
  • 1 lb. medium pasta shells
  • 1 TBSp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 oz. chopped pancetta (or bacon, can be turkey)
  • 1 can of artichokes in water, drained
  • 1 can petite, diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella
  • fresh parsley
  • grated parmesan, optional
Cook the pasta to box instructions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on medium, add the shallot for a minute. Add the pancetta, stir for a minute. Add the artichokes & allow to cook for a couple of minutes, "dry out". Pour in the tomato sauce & the full clove of crushed garlic. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Pull out the garlic clove with tongs; discard. Add in the mozzarella, stir. Top with fresh parsley; Serve w/grated parmesan, optional.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage

This past Sunday, after seeing the gorgeous cabbage already at the market readying for St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make Stuffed Cabbage. This is a departure from this Irish girl's usual Italian sauce Sundays... And it was a yummy one!
<3 Lishie
PS- no worries, I will be bringing my Irish for St. Patrick's Day too! 

Stuffed Cabbage (or Galumpkis)
adapted from All via Pinterest

  • 1 c cooked white rice
  • 8 cabbage leaves
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • s & p
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • fresh parsley
  • 1, 29 oz. can tomato sauce

Bring a large, wide saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves & cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until softened; drain.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, 1 c cooked rice, onion, egg, s & p, garlic powder & parsley, along with 1/2 c of tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly.

Divide the beef mixture evenly among the cabbage leaves. Tuck them under & secure them.

In a large skillet over medium heat, place the cabbage rolls, tuck down, & pour the remaining tomato sauce them. Add 1/2 c water. Cover & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low & simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring and basting with the liquid often.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Green Eggs... Cuppies!

Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!!!!! ~March 2nd

I thought I'd help my son's pre-k class celebrate with some fun cupcakes & saw these from Reading Confetti. Super cute & easy for this working, tired mama!

Hopefully, no one will be saying this: "I do not like green eggs cuppies [and ham] I do not like them ___-I-Am."

<3 G's mommy

If you are in NYC, come vist ME, Lishie: