Author: Stacie Billis

Thanksgiving pies that deliver, deliciously

We recently shared our essential tips for how to make a homemade pie, but have a feeling that some of you may skip out on the baking this Thanksgiving. No judgments here if you’d rather place an order and have your Thanksgiving pies delivered. In fact, we’ll help you find the best mail order pies around. Bon Appetit is one of our most trusted sources for foodstuff and they recently did the hard work of tasting 75 mail order pies from around the country. Hard job, right? (I don’t feel bad for them either.) They’ve narrowed it down to...

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8 tips for how to make homemade pie perfectly. Or, you know, nearly perfectly.

We might as well call the holiday season “pie season” if you ask me. That’s honestly what it is—or at least what it should be. Who’s with me? Even if you’re not (and we’ll settle this later), Thanksgiving and the winter holidays create the perfect excuse to bake up a pie or seven which, despite what the saying suggests, is pretty easy to do. Especially if you follow these 8 easy tips for how to make homemade pie like the not-quite-pros but really enthusiastic home cooks that we are..   1. Start with a great recipe. It’s simple: A great...

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9 amazing fall salad recipes that will keep you from missing summer. Or at least summer salads.

Fall is all about stews, chili, roasts, and salads. Yes, salads! Roasted veggies are delicious, but roasted veggies tossed with greens and a delicious dressing are sublime. And don’t forget about fall fruits; they make for delicious salads, too. These 9 amazing fall salad recipes are enough to keep us from missing summer salads. Now if only they could keep us from missing summer weather. I’ve never seen a recipe that makes Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli—all mixed together!—look so good. Maybe that’s the power behind this Fall Kale Super Salad (above) from Seasons and Suppers.   We can’t talk...

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A Chanukkah gift set from Vosges that takes the holiday cake or, er, chocolate.

Those of you who don’t celebrate may not know that before Christmas became the blockbuster that it is today, Chanukkah was a pretty quiet affair. And as hard as Chanukkah tries to keep up (at least in my house where we celebrate both holidays), it’s always a few steps behind Christmas. Until now. The Festival of Lights Chanukkah gift set from Vosges gourmet chocolates is swanky—and delicious—enough to make Chanukkah the winter holiday. At least that’s how eight days of chocolate makes me feel. Like everything that Vosages does, this gift set is beautifully designed. The lucite menorah, which I had the chance...

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Sustainable food storage: 3 eco-friendly plastic wrap alternatives

November marks the beginning of the holiday cooking season and if there’s one thing that will get you through—whether you’re responsible for holiday meals or just trying to get dinner on the table between holiday shopping, travel, and gatherings—it’s planning ahead. Prepping food ahead of time means storing food which, for a lot of us, means plastic wrap. Lots and lots of it. These 3 plastic wrap alternatives make it possible to ditch the plastic clingy stuff for safe, sustainable food storage.   I recently purchased a set of linen dish covers  similar to these from The Green Home...

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How to roast pumpkin seeds: 6 amazing recipes from sweet to salty, mild to spicy

With Halloween behind us, it’s time to collect our gourds and go home. If you haven’t already carved yours, now is the perfect time to gather your pumpkins and put them to (actual) good use by roasting those pumpkin seeds for a nutritious snack. Here is our favorite tutorial on how to roast pumpkin seeds, plus 6 awesome roasted pumpkin seed recipes with a flavor for every taste.   Oh She Glows is my favorite stop for natural snacks and, as expected, Angela came through with this great tutorial on how to roast pumpkin seeds. Each step comes with...

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8 Halloween cocktail recipes to die for.

Candy may be the only Halloween treat that my kids are interested in, but with Halloween falling on a Friday night this year, I’m also looking forward to a fun Halloween cocktail to usher in the weekend. Whether you want a sweet sip, a serious drink, or a cocktail that can easily be adapted for kids and non-drinkers, one of these 8 Halloween cocktail recipes will surely do you right.   My favorite thing about the Vampire Cocktail (above and top) from Self Proclaimed Foodie is that it’s interactive. I mean, who doesn’t want to squeeze fresh raspberry puree through a syringe to...

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Keep Halloween fun-spooky for little ones with mad scientist party treats. No scary-creepy allowed.

When celebrating Halloween with little ones, there’s a fine line between fun creepy and scary creepy. Lucky for me—a firm believer that the creepier the better—my kids are finally old enough to handle scary Halloween. I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the safe creepy Halloween thing, though, and my favorite theme is mad scientist. If you’re looking for a rated-G entree into Halloween spookiness, these mad scientist party recipes will set the perfect hair-raising mood. You know, in a ha-ha way.   These monster guts (above and top) from Sugar and Cloth are a perfect safe-creepy specimen. They are also...

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5 candy corn recipes — because you can never get enough of a good thing.

Of all the throwback candies, candy corn reigns supreme. More than just nostalgic, it is among the most popular Halloween candies year after year. (Because it’s awesome, that’s why.) It’s also the inspiration for these fun, delicious candy corn recipes. When it comes to Halloween, I believe you can never have too much of a good thing.   There are tons of Halloween cookie recipes that call for candy corn, but I love this simple, wholesome approach. With a little bit of food coloring (we love these all-natural food dyes), Jenna at PBS Food turns simple sugar cookies into Candy...

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Amazingly easy Halloween party recipes that make you look like a super chef.

Last year I threw an awesome Halloween party for my kids. (Really! There’s video, complete with Halloween dinner recipes, to prove it.) It was a blast, but now my kids want to do it again. I’m game—anything to show off my rockin’ Cleopatra costume—but it has to be easy. So I’ve found these super fun, easy Halloween party recipes that are just right to keep your Halloween festive without too much hard work. Because Queen Cleopatra doesn’t do hard work, thank you very much. Three cheers for Halloween Candy Bark (above) from Just a Taste. Candy on candy: It’s the only way to go on...

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Natural Halloween candy that tastes as good as the stuff you’re used to.

Being a food writer who focuses on (mostly) healthy family eats is a funny thing during the Halloween season. I get a lot of nervous laughter and jittery explanations from friends about giving into the bloodbath of candy—as if I don’t do the same (or as if I’m judging your choices–rest assured that I’m not). Halloween is about candy. And, other than being sensitive to kids who have to stick to allergen-free candy, I’m down for whatever. However, with these five fantastic choices for natural Halloween candy that taste as delicious as the more traditional candy brands, I don’t see why we...

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6 delightfully easy, deliciously snackable pumpkin spice recipes. You know you want them.

You may be tired of hearing about pumpkin spice flavored foods and drinks, but I’m going to bet that you’re not sick of eating them. Because when they are good, they are oh-so-good, like these six easy, delectable pumpkin spice recipes that hit just the right note without going too far (Leave my hummus alone, pumpkin spice.) If you love a good special occasion pumpkin pie, these Pumpkin Spice Pop Tarts (above) are the perfect everyday fall day treat. This recipe from Southern Fatty calls for scratch dough which is surely worth the effort, but you can also keep this...

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Think outside of the cookie box: 7 easy, festive recipes to make use of your Halloween cookie cutters

I’m taking a stand: No more seasonal cookie cutters for a single use. If I can’t use the cookie cutter for multiple purposes I’m not buying it, and I don’t think you should either. Now we just have to figure out how to use the pile of cookie cutters that we already have! With Halloween coming up, I found seven easy, delicious ways to use your pumpkin-shaped Halloween cookie cutters. Now you just have to find them in that junk drawer. PS: If you don’t already own pumpkin-shaped Halloween cookie cutters, now you can officially buy a set. You’re welcome.   These...

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Two new healthy cookies for toddlers that you’ll steal bites of, too.

I hate to admit it now, but I was one of those first time moms who didn’t feed my son cookies until he was nearly two. I am proud to say that I was much more relaxed the second time around, and I’d like to think that I would have been more measured from the beginning had there been healthy cookies for toddlers when my kids were little like these two new options. It may be too late for me, but there’s still time for you toddler moms and dads to adopt a healthy, everything-in-moderation approach to snacking thanks to...

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The new queen of nut free snacks comes bearing Chocolate No-Nut Butter.

What’s a chocolate-nut spread without the nuts? Chocolate No-Nut Butter is what. It’s real and according to reviews it’s delicious, too. The catch is that this spread made by Missy Chase Lapine, better known as The Sneaky Chef (and by me as the queen of nut free snacks), is not widely available yet. Missy’s Kickstarter campaign to launch her Chocolate No-Nut Butter spread just got funded with 42 hours to go–fantastic news, because we’re already dying to see it on shelves. It’s been a couple of years since The Sneaky Chef released a cookbook and now we know why. Missy has launched a...

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7 keep-you-healthy, karate-chop-those-sniffles super foods for cold and flu season

Am I the only one with a kid who has a runny nose already? From the state of my little one’s classroom, the answer is no, I am not. Cold and flu season has arrived, but is hasn’t yet taken hold. It’s time to take preventative measures and keep those sniffles from turning into full-blown sickness. These seven foods for cold and flu season are natural preventative and cold remedies that can help keep you and your family healthy all winter long. The obvious place to start: Chicken Noodle Soup (above). The restorative power of chicken soup is not just an...

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8 savory apple recipes for dinner — sweet!

We all know that apples shine in sweet recipes for tasty apple snacks and delectable apple desserts, but this versatile fruit also rocks the dinner table. And not just in salads, I’ll have you know. There are lots of ways to use apples in all three meals of the day. Here are 8 of my favorite apple recipes for dinner.   In salads, apples are often paired with blue cheese, walnuts, fennel, or kale, which is why I love this unexpected Spicy Thai Mango Apple Salad at The Pickled Plum. It’s refreshing in concept and taste, and can be turned into a...

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5 copycat coffee drink recipes as good as the overpriced ones at the coffee shop: Our gift to you this National Coffee Day.

We know you love coffee, so we thought long and hard about what to give you for National Coffee Day today. We’ve already shared our favorite iced coffee recipes and coffee recipes from around the world. We’ve made it easy to make your own cold brew and hot buttered coffee. So what else can we serve up for your sipping enjoyment? How about five of the most delicious copycat coffee drink recipes so that you can enjoy your favorite coffeehouse drinks at home on the cheap. That’s right, java lovers: Five new recipes and for each one, five bucks you get to keep...

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3 healthy hot cereals and breakfast ideas that go way beyond oatmeal

Everyone’s always talking about how hard it is to get a good dinner on the table, but I find that breakfast is way more hectic, with less time and no delivery options! There’s always cereal, but unfortunately most cold cereals completely lack what we need to start the day off right. There’s oatmeal too—these oatmeal recipes saved me last winter—but I still need more. These tasty, quick-cook hot cereal brands and recipes are the answer.   Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Hot Cereals   Purely Elizabeth has been around for a little while but I just wasn’t so into their products when...

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Cookbooks and baking blends to make a gluten-free diet delicious

My experiments with gluten-free cooking and baking have taught me that it can be a seriously tricky endeavor. Not only is it hard to find great gluten-free breads and pastas, but avoiding all of the foods that surprisingly contain gluten—from soy sauce to sausage—can be a painstaking chore. These four awesome gluten-free cookbooks and two gluten-free baking blends offer tons of inspiration, recipes, and mixes that make eating a gluten-free diet easy and, more importantly, totally delicious. The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen America’s Test Kitchen is the place to start...

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