Category: Food + Recipes

The Wines of Westeros: Here’s to you, Ned Stark

If you’re pining for more Game of Thrones like I am (can’t it just run every week for forever?) at least now there’s a way to drown your sorrows with the Wines of Westeros. Created as a fan project by Australian ad agency agency Common Venture, I think they’re maybe the coolest geeky hostess gift I’ve seen. Unlike any mead ever served at Inn at the Crossroads, these actually look like decent Australian  wines – Sauvignon Blancs to represent Stark, Arryn, Greyjoy, and the Wildings;  and a Chardonnay for House Tyrell (Margarery totally strikes me as a Chardonnay drinker, so, perfect).  As for...

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6 killer hot dog recipes to spice up summer: Move over, yellow mustard.

Hot dogs are a simple pleasure, I know, but even the classics can use a little jazzing up sometimes. Not that there’s anything wrong with yellow mustard (okay, there kind of is, but still…) but I suggest you ditch it for a moment and kick the grilling up a notch. You may never go back again. Hope you enjoy these six creative hot dog recipes, all the perfect kind of fun for your summer dinner table.   I’ve been seeing a lot of Asian-fusion hot dogs on menus lately and, having tried a few, I can tell you that this trend is a...

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5 spectacular summer Mojito recipes to celebrate National Mojito Day

Friday July 11th is National Mojito Day, which, if you ask me, is as good an excuse as any to whip up a batch and raise a glass to the classic Cuban cocktail. Traditional mojitos are excellent – you really can’t go wrong with white rum, sugar, lime, mint and club soda – but a celebration in July calls for summer flavors like those found in these five absolutely irresistible summer mojito recipes. Grab your favorite summer fruit and get drinking. I’ll be right behind you.   The Peach Mojito recipe  from Katie’s Cucina is perfect for right now thanks to peak season peaches. (And you...

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Regular Coffee is better than regular coffee. Discuss.

There are different levels of coffee geekery, from grocery store grounds to K-cup fans, to the Starbucks obsessed to my beloved Chemex and the luxurious, gourmet, single-origin beans to which I owe much of my sanity and creative output. So I’m excited to introduce a monthly coffee subscription that makes it super easy to get great coffee at a great price without too much thought. S Somewhere between Folgers and Tonx is Regular Coffee, and I will say it’s better than regular.   Regular Coffee selects a quality blend of fresh coffee beans from around the world, roasts them in Grand Rapids, Michigan,...

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Phin and Phebes: Gourmet ice cream worth its salty caramel

The freezer aisle in even the most conventional market these days offers gourmet ice cream in every flavor imaginable. I’d started to think that this ice cream social was at maximum capacity until I tried Phin & Phebes, and oh boy am I glad that they’ve joined in. Phin & Phebes Ice Cream started as a weekend project between two friends in Brooklyn. Fueled by a belief that ice cream should be simple, fun, unpretentious and delicious for both kids and adults (yes!), they started churning out flavors so fabulous that they were able to sell their products at local markets. They...

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5 gorgeous summer pie recipes to make right now.

When I first started writing about food, seasonal eating was mostly a concept for food geeks. The idea of summer pies was laughable to all but those farmer’s market shoppers and serious gardeners. So I couldn’t be happier that only five years later, there is widespread interest in seasonal food. Especially in summer and with good reason – because even the coldest parts of the country are teeming with ripe, juicy blueberries, strawberries, cherries and (mmmm….) peaches. When nature gives us all of that good stuff, there’s only one thing to do: make seasonal pies. Immediately. As in now. I hope these five spectacular summer...

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July 4th party ideas: Easy red, white and blue recipes

I’m okay with the fact that most holidays involve a lot of cooking, but a party on the 4th of July should be easy and laid-back, summer style. Put out some sparklers, throw food on the grill, make lemonade—and maybe a pitcher of one of these skinny summer cocktails—and throw together one of these festive red, white and blue recipes. Then sit back and watch the fireworks–and I don’t mean the explosions coming from your kids.   Since I’ve already mentioned cocktails, why not start by serving up just one more. These Red, White, and Blue(berry) Margaritas  from Gimme Some Oven look gorgeous and sound delicious....

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10 camping recipes so good you may never go back to an oven again.

It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite part of camping is campfire cooking. There’s something satisfyingly primal about giving up my stove and cooking over an open fire in the great outdoors. And with the right camping recipes—like these 10 for every meal of the day—the results are incredibly tasty. Impressive, even. Too bad I can’t say the same about giving up my hairdryer.   A CAMPING BREAKFAST IDEA THAT’S NOT PANCAKES Pancakes breakfasts are easy enough to whip up while camping if you have a large griddle. However if you don’t, flipping flapjacks to order in a small cast...

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9 awesomely impressive appetizer ideas for summer parties that can make a whole meal

With summer here it’s definitely party season: Dinner parties in the backyard, Fourth of July celebrations, graduation gatherings – we love all of them. But when it’s too hot to put out a whole roast, we’ve curated  some fantastic appetizer ideas and hors d’oeuvres for summer parties from around the web. No plain chips and dips here, no ma’am. These recipes are all creative, impressive, and substantial enough that when you offer plenty, they can become the entire meal. (Think protein!) But then, having plenty of food on hand isn’t just about being  good host or hostess. Related: 7 party appetizers for adults that should please...

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Yellow Tail Sangria: The taste of spain without all that fruit chopping

I am definitely a sangria gal in the summer–or whenever tapas is around–and while I am dying to make all of Stacie’s recos for great skinny sangria recipes, I’ve gotta admit, I’m lazy. Unless I’m entertaining a group of friends, I’m probably not going to take the time to cut up all that fruit and look for the right brandy blah blah. That said, I’m fairly skeptical about anything pre-made in a bottle. And yet Yellow Tail Sangria? I have to say, surprisingly tasty! I was worried that it would either have that sickly, oversweet taste like a bad wine cooler from...

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Pucker up, natural remedy fans: Urban Moonshine is bringing back digestive bitters.

Owners of a grumbly tummy or troublesome digestion, I have good news. There’s a new old-fashioned weapon in your arsenal, and it’s all-natural and even helps me be more aware of what I’m eating. Whether you fight bloating, crave sugar, or just ate too darn much, Digestive Bitters might help you as much as they’re helping me. The company is called Urban Moonshine, and the idea is that the human body craves bitter flavors but is often denied them by today’s diet. Digestive Bitters come in three flavors: Original, Maple, and Citrus, all based on organic roots and herbs...

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5 truly phenomenal milkshake recipes that will bring all the kids (and grownups) to the yard.

Popsicles and icies are good, but when you want something great you need to grab some ice cream, milk, and your favorite mix-ins to make a killer milkshake. This summer, if you want to make a frozen treat that will bring all the kids (and grownups!) to the yard, try one of these 5 milkshake recipes. I guarantee results. I can’t promise as much for your dancing. Key lime is one of my favorite flavors, and I’ve been curious about key lime-flavored marshmallows for a while now. I know that goes against all my natural food tendencies but, you know, everything in moderation....

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Vegetarian Father’s Day recipes for a bacon-free feast

This just in: Not all dads eat bacon. I mean, my own dad and the father of my kids do—like, they really eat bacon—but plenty of men are vegetarians and vegans. Or Kosher. Or they just don’t like it. So since all dads deserve to eat well on Father’s Day, I want to celebrate them too, with a menu complete with Vegetarian Father’s Day recipes. It’s even got hearty vegan recipes thrown in for good measure. Hearty Vegetarian/Vegan Mexican Dinner A Mexican feast for Father’s Day means tacos and I’m dying over these amazing vegetarian tacos at Wild Greens and Sardines. As the title...

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A whoopie pie recipe to die for, or a way to have them delivered if you’re not up to the task.

First it was cupcakes, then Rice Krispies treats and donuts, too. Next up on my approved-dessert-trends roster: whoopie pies. Father’s Day is the perfect excuse to get in on this trend and Batter & Cream, an online specialty whoopie pie bakery, makes it easy with this whoopie pie recipe that Cool Mom Picks has got exclusively for you. And this is no ordinary whoopie pie recipe my friends–this is their Chocolate Stout Ganache Whoopie Pie with Peanuts, which sounds perfect for Father’s Day, don’t you think? Or you know, any day.   Chocolate Stout Whoopie Pie with Peanuts (printed with permission) Makes 12-14...

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Here come more healthy kids snacks, if the Goodkid Kickstarter takes off.

We’re always searching for new delicious and healthy kids snacks, and we found another snack bar to add to the list. Goodkid bars are made with a short list of simple ingredients and I like that they have only 6 grams of natural sugar. For perspective, that’s nearly half of what you’ll find in other popular snack or energy bars. (Because kids totally need more energy—ha!) With a little Kickstarter help from us, these better bars can hit supermarket shelves, giving us much-needed better options in the snack aisle. Like with so many great family products, Goodkid bars were invented in the Mitchell family kitchen...

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Sweet Loren’s: Frozen natural cookie dough as delicious as the so-not-natural at all stuff.

Hold onto your baking sheets, cookie lovers.  Sweet Loren’s all-natural cookie dough for ready-to-bake cookies has arrived and will make eating your favorite sweet treats way easier and with less guilt. Packed with 100% whole grains, natural sweeteners, and [edited to clarify] fewer processed and refined ingredients than similar products from other brands, these cookie doughs wait ready in your freezer and bake up in minutes whenever you–uh, I mean the kids–are craving a treat. Sweet Loren’s award-winning cookie dough was created by Loren Brill, a long time sweets lover and cancer survivor who committed to clean eating after her recovery. She...

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MOUTH introduces a new online liquor store for indie wine and spirits. Cheers to that.

By now it’s no surprise that we’re huge fans of MOUTH, a rocking online indie food marketplace where you can get anything from an edible gold chocolate Jesus to a gourmet food subscription filled with artisanal goodies like pickles or cookies. And now—praise that gold chocolate Jesus—they’ve launched an online liquor store just for indie spirits, wine and gifts for the imbibing set. We can’t decide if we love MOUTH more because they find the most delicious small-batch food products, or for their dedication to supporting indie food makers in growing their businesses. In true form, the curators at MOUTH are on the cutting edge of the indie spirits...

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7 delicious skinny cocktails for your summer drinking pleasure

I’m not one for dieting, but sweet summer cocktails can be surprisingly high in sugar and calories. It’s hard to resist the idea of skinny cocktails that are just as delicious as the original versions, only with a fraction of the calories–especially since it means I can have two for the price (so to speak) of one. Here are just a few that look like they might make my personal cocktail list for the summer when we’re entertaining, or just enjoying a little grownup time after the kids are in bed.   The Skinny Honey Bee Martini (above) from Family Fresh Cooking...

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Kollar me bad.

I’m evidently going through an artisanal chocolate phase–though considering it’s been a decade or so, not sure if that’s actually a phase or a way of life. Either way, I love visiting small towns or scouring the web for outstanding local chocolatiers like Laughing Moon in Stowe, Vermont, Chicago’s addictive Ugly Truffles, or my most recent obsession, Fort Meyers’ Norman Love chocolates. Now, I’ve got another to add to the list: Napa Valley’s Kollar Chocolates. While my thighs are saying “no, bad…” my mouth is saying, “yes please. 18 more, just like that one.” These gourmet truffles from chef Chris Kollar may come...

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An indoor s’mores recipe in case your campfire plans get rained out. Consider it a chocolately, silver lining.

Monday is Memorial Day, and my family has big plans for swimming and grilling which of course means s’mores. I’ve been hoping we’d be outside all day, lathering on the sunscreen and catching up on some summer reading but there’s one problem: The weather forecast. Boo. Our just-in-case back-up plan includes making s’mores indoors with Style Me Pretty’s one-bite s’mores recipe that we just found. They’re simple enough to make that the kids can help–which keeps them from running through the grandparents’ house like crazy people–and these s’mores look so delicious they may just move from plan B to plan A. Even if we’re singing, Rain,...

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How to make ice cream without a machine: Our favorite easy ice cream recipes

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer (whoo!), which is also the official start of ice cream season (double whoo!) So break out the cones, whip up some homemade magic shell, and start making ice cream. No worries if you don’t have an ice cream maker, because we’re going to teach you how to make ice cream without a machine. And, of course, we’ve got lots of easy ice cream recipes so you can give one—or all—of these three methods a try and see what works best for you. Oh, the drudgery…   If we’re going to make ice...

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Time for an ice cream shower! Wait, no. Just customized ice cream cups for a baby shower.

“Dear baby: on the day you were born, we ate ice cream with your name on it. It kind of stopped the shower when my water broke, but I finished the whole cup of mint chocolate chip, darn it. And it was delicious. Because it was named after you. And because mint chocolate chip.” File that under Things That Would Be Hilarious In a Baby Book. It’s no secret that we love eCreamery, so we’re especially excited that you can now order your delicious, custom-churned spoonfuls of heaven in a pack of 24 customized ice cream cups, just for baby showers....

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Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought author series. Because burritos go better with bon mots

While we try to cook most of our meals at home–with the help of all of the awesome recipes curated on Cool Mom Picks by our resident foodie, Stacie Billis–sometimes dining out is a necessity. You get it. And now Chipotle’s new Cultivating Thought author series is a very cool effort that just put the chain at the top of my list for our next pit stop. Author Jonathan Safran Foer apparently came up with the idea to print writing selections on cups and bags after stopping for a bite at Chipotle one day, then finding himself with nothing to read. He pitched the Chipotle CEO, who loved the...

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Awesome ideas for Frozen movie party recipes—because kids just can’t let it go.

If your kids are anything like mine—or every other kid I know—they are way into Frozen. Still. Until they let it go (cheap shot?), I say we embrace it. For me, this means whipping up Frozen-inspired recipes that are perfect for a movie-viewing party, a Frozen themed birthday, or a surprise movie night dessert. Because if you’re going to watch it for the 67th time–this week–here might as well be something delicious in it for you all. The entire snow theme is a great help as far as Frozen  movie party recipe ideas, and I love the tasteful Vanilla Snowflake Cupcakes...

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TOMS Roasting Co: Delicious single origin coffee from an unlikely source

I more than love my single-origin coffee. You could say we’re involved. But it can be hard to find delicious, high-quality beans that aren’t shipped out on someone else’s schedule as part of a curated monthly subscription. Sometimes, I want to select my own beans and have them shipped to me right away. Thank goodness our pals at TOMS have added TOMS Roasting Co to their marketplace of ethically-sourced, carefully crafted products that give back. Which is a far cry from shoes, and yet…it works. My current obsession is single-origin whole bean coffee, ground daily and brewed in a Chemex,...

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Let her eat cake! 5 easy Mother’s Day cake recipes that make a perfect last minute surprise.

We’ve talked Mother’s Day brunch, Mother’s Day dinner, and every Mother’s Day recipe idea in between. And you know what every one of these meal ideas comes down to? Dessert. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what Mama wants: A sweet treat to end her meal, no matter what time of day. Well, at least, that’s what this mama wants. And this mama is really excited about these 5 Mother’s Day cake recipes. Easy, delicious, and sweet. I can’t imagine what mom wouldn’t agree, even if you’re the one baking. I’ve been dreaming about this Butterscotch Peanut Butter...

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Kidstir: Yummy new subscription boxes for kids to learn about good food

We cool moms love great subscription boxes for kids. We also love a good meal kit delivery. Put the two together and you’ve got Kidstir, a clever new cooking kit for kids delivered to your door every month that’s aimed at getting them excited about cooking and eating good food, something we’re on board with too. That pretty much makes Kidstir my new favorite thing. Fortunately, my kids agree. The parents behind Kidstir bring together the fun of kids cooking classes with the delivered-to-your-door convenience of kids’ cooking magazines like ChopChop. And, as every busy parent knows, fun and...

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8 easy, elegant Mother’s Day dinner recipes to celebrate motherhood

It’s funny that Father’s Day recipes are always hearty dinners like steak or chili, while Mother’s Day tends to focus on light brunch. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good brunch (and we’ve got plenty of Mother’s Day brunch recipes to show for it)  but this year, I’d like to toast the joys and travails of motherhood over dinner, thank you very much. If you’re looking to whip up—or request—a Mother’s Day dinner, too, these Mother’s Day recipes that can help you put together a thoughtful, homecooked meal are a delicious place to start.   Did someone say champagne cocktails? We’ve got those....

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Easy DIY Cinco de Mayo party ideas and recipes. Including guacamole. Of course.

I don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the same vim that I used to, but it remains one of my favorite holidays. It might have something to do with the fact that I’ll drink a margarita any day, any time, because it really is always 5 o’clock somewhere. I’ve even found a bunch of super fun, family-friendly, easy DIY Cinco de Mayo party ideas from crafts to decorations to very yummy recipes, all of which make me love it even more. Check them out, so you can do the same. With a margarita on the side. Even a virgin...

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Plated’s home meal delivery service. Delicious, but is it worth it?

When you’re feeling frazzled, winding down at the end of a busy day, the last thing you want to do is dig through the freezer to figure out what to fix everyone for dinner. Or worse, make a trip to the grocery with kids in tow. That’s what makes the new Plated home meal delivery service so appealing. Select from their gourmet meals online, and they don’t deliver the meals, but the fresh ingredients you’ll need in the exact portions for the recipe.   Plated responsibly sources their ingredients, using local, seasonal produce as much as they can. They’ve partnered with groups like...

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