strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream

the last couple weeks i was pregnant, i was on a cupcake kick. while other soon to be moms are sitting with their feet up (or is that an illusion, and we're all still working like crazy?!), i was baking cupcakes each week. and these definitely didn't disappoint. i love how the fresh berries cooked down and turned almost jam-like in the middle of the cakes, so each bite had some jammy goodness. they're a great way to use up some overly ripe berries.

and i found the perfect finish. ever since i made this white layer cake with blackberry buttercream - which is still one of my all time favorites - two summers ago, i've been looking for an excuse to make the buttercream with different berries. and this strawberry version is just as good - if not better - than the blackberry.


strawberry greek frozen yogurt

a couple months ago i got the bright idea of making frozen greek yogurt. coincidentally, this was the same time ben & jerry got this same bright idea. the first time i made it, i literally froze a container of vanilla greek yogurt in my ice cream machine. yes, it worked, but because greek yogurt is so thick, the frozen version was almost too much for me. too thick and creamy. so i assumed cutting the richness with fruit would be the perfect fix.


strawberry jam bars

i spent my last few pregnant saturday mornings at the rochester public market, looking for the best local strawberries. every week i found them sparsely hiding behind the boxes and boxes of driscolls. perfectly dark red, the biggest berries the size of my thumb, and perfectly sweet. every week i was surprised by how many people stuck their noses up at the real berries and headed instead for the imposters. 


white bean & chicken chowder

yes, it's june. yes, it's warm out. but every year, there's always a week or two about now where summer sneaks away and we're left with cool, rainy days, and even cooler nights. filled with fresh vegetables, chicken, and cannillini beans, this chowder is perfect for one of those cool summer nights.

you aren't still buying your beans canned, are you? a couple years ago our good foodie friend chris picked up a small pressure cooker on clearance for us. ever since then, i ditched the cans and make beans in my pressure cooker. it's insanely simple and works well for black, cannellini, and kidney beans.


tin roof ice cream

as a kid, i almost always had black raspberry ice cream when we went out for cones in the summer. i loved the smoothness of it - i despised chunks as a kid and all those weird kid flavors, like bubble gum and cotton candy - and it was exotic enough at the time that the only place to get it (or so i thought) was when we went out for ice cream. in other words, it wasn't a usual treat.

as i've gotten older, while i still love a good black raspberry every once in a while, my ice cream cravings are dominated by "stuff." chocolate fudge swirls. peanut butter chunks. chocolate covered peanuts. the more stuff mixed into ice cream, the better.


samoa cookies [12in2012]

most people don't realize i was a girl scout for a good chunk of my elementary school years. we had meetings at school in the evenings where we made candles out of wax and crayons and pencil holders for father's day out of popsicle sticks - all while my husband was learning how to start a fire from sticks and camping every weekend with boy scouts 1,500 miles away. don't get me wrong, i don't mean to knock girl scouts, i just hope they're focusing more on life skills rather than sleepovers and arts & crafts.



butterscotch pudding

royal: i'd like to order some ice cream for my daughter, please. what would you like margot?
margot: nothing. i told you i have to go in five minutes.
royal: oh.
margot: i'll have a butterscotch sundae, i guess.

back about nine years in college, a good friend of mine turned me on to wes anderson and his movies. i was instantly hooked. the royal tenenbaums had come out a year or so before and i can't tell you how many times i watched that movie in the next couple years. by the time i graduated a couple years later, i had it memorized - tenenbaums and most of the scenes from rushmore and bottle rocket, anderson's first two movies. to this day, i still watch it four or five times a year. and each and every time i hear or think about butterscotch, the scene when royal and margot are in the ice cream shop is always the first thought in my head.


garlic brown sugar chicken

as soon as this recipe for garlic brown sugar chicken from jessica at the novice chef popped up in my google reader, it instantly went to the top of my weeknight dinner choices. it's the perfect combination: chicken sauteed in butter and garlic, topped with just enough brown sugar to make a sweet sauce in the bottom of the pan. spooned over rice pilaf, the sauce is like liquid gold. it doesn't hurt that it's ready in under thirty minutes.


buttermilk skillet cake with strawberries

while june has a brand new meaning for us this year, it's still the start of fresh produce at the market and one of our all time favorites: strawberries! last year, i jazzed up mojitos with them, turned them into sorbet and ice cream, rolled puff pastry around them, transformed them into jam which went into cookies, and added them to lemon bars and cake. this year, i'm kicking off berry season with this simple buttermilk cake topped with sweetened berries cooked ever so slightly. it's perfect for summer barbecues and since it can be whipped up in less than an hour, last minute picnics.


secret recipe club: white chocolate macadamia nut blondies

i love it when two completely unrelated thoughts come together and lead to the perfect food. a couple weeks ago, in anticipation of our first born, we threw a pre-baby bash - aka the last party before we can no longer call ourselves dinks. and one of our friends brought blondies. i've never been a huge fan of the blondie - if given the choice, there better be a good reason not to choose a chocolate brownie - and the once or twice i've attempted them myself, i've been disappointed. but these blondies were unbelievable. not only were they perfectly chewy and sweet, but they were loaded full of chocolate and butterscotch. i was happy to see the next morning a few were leftover for breakfast.

seemingly unrelated thought: when was the last time i had a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie?!


chicken marsala risotto

chicken marsala is one of my all time favorite dinners, but i rarely order it in a restaurant. maybe it's just me, and my dumb luck, but almost every single time i've ordered it, there's something drastically wrong. rubbery mushrooms. the sauce is too thin. the sauce is too thick. the sauce is tasteless. there's no garlic. dried out chicken. chicken drenched in uncooked flour. either way you look at it, a decent chicken marsala is hard to come by around these parts.

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