shaker chicken noodle soup

the summer i left for my second year of college, my mom photo copied a few recipes for me. after all, i was out of the dorms and into my own apartment. there was homemade macaroni and cheese (perfected by my mom and her brother), my all time favorite mushroom bisque, a few cookie recipes from her betty crocker, held together by a rubber band, and this soup. all in all i have made this soup at least ten times - at least once every winter since.


thomas keller's chocolate chip cookies

i'm about six months early on my chocolate chip cookie craving. but lately, with all this talk of turkey and pumpkins and everything else leading to turkey day, my mind has been on one single thing: a perfectly crunchy, chewy chocolate chip cookie.


chicken & baked risotto with melted tomatoes

while i can't boil a pot of white rice to save my life, i can whip together a risotto in no time. and since i haven't had much trouble with risotto, the time commitment can be a pain in the you-know-what sometimes, with all the stirring and babysitting. so when i saw this recipe for baked risotto - completely hands off - i made it the very next day.


apple cider glazed chicken

there's been a heck of a lot of sweet treats around here lately, and not a single bite of apple goodness. which is surprising, since a couple weeks ago we made our annual trip to the orchard where we picked a mere thirty three pounds of apples and picked up a gallon of fresh pressed cider. apple pie was made the next day, followed by one of my fall favorites: apple chicken chili.

i love love love the combination of apples and chicken together, so as soon as i saw this recipe in cooking light, it was ripped out and stuck to the refrigerator, patiently waiting for cider. and man, was it worth the wait. not only is it a mere five ingredients, all of which i had in my pantry, but it comes together in way under thirty minutes and tastes amazing. cooking light suggests serving the chicken over brown rice, but our leftover mashed potatoes served us just as well.


baked's german chocolate cake

for the last almost five years, it's been my own mission to make an amazing german chocolate cake. i've only had it a few times in my life, and really only one that's worth remembering. almost five years ago, on my birthday, i cut myself a big piece of homemade german chocolate cake - made by my grandmother's best lifelong friend - and was sitting in my grandparents dining room eating it. after a couple bites, dad told me german chocolate cake was my grandma's favorite. how fitting that afternoon - of my birthday and her funeral - was the day i realized how much my grandma and i actually have in common. 

it's taken me almost five years to get up the courage both to make it and to eat it. and this cake was definitely worth it. the cake and the filling sound a bit complicated, but couldn't be easier to throw together. and while this cake is pretty damn good, nothing can beat my twenty fifth birthday cake.


pumpkin sheet cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

this year, just as years past, mom hosted her halloween soiree. while this year's wasn't as big, scary, or as theme based as years past, it was fun none the same. and even though i didn't intend to - i started my own theme with pumpkin cakes. last year it was this iced pumpkin chocolate spiced bundt and this year - i swapped the bundt pan and the chocolate for brown sugar and cream cheese. best decision i ever made.

and while we were all too busy munching on popcorn (like snoopy in a charlie brown thanksgiving), crunch bars, and chocolate spiderweb cupcakes, everyone took some home. and the email requests for the recipe started the very next day.


secret recipe club: gingerbread muffins

my husband and i did not take what i would call a 'traditional' honeymoon. we spent a week in prague, where it snowed each and every day in october, and spent a second week roaming around germany and austria. while we were too early for all the christmas and holiday festivals and markets, the market in nuremburg germany was full of lebkuchen. not too sweet, perfectly spicy, some dipped in chocolate, some decorated with whole almonds, we feasted on lebkuchen for days. while germany's gingerbread is distinctly different from what i consider traditional american gingerbread - ours rolled thin, cut with cookie cutters, and decorated and their drop cookies, chewy and soft - i couldn't get enough. while i was always a sucker for good spicy gingerbread before, that trip - and those cookies - sealed the deal for me. now every time i so much as get a whiff of gingerbread, i'm transplanted back to that market, sitting on the edge of a statue, sharing a cookie and hot chocolate with jason. it's funny what food does to our memories.

so this month, when selecting my secret recipe club recipe, i had a cold, hard stop when i came upon camilla's recipe for gingerbread muffins at culinary adventures with camilla.

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