Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about sugary sweets, of course. Though kids do clamor for those conversation hearts and pink jelly beans, they may get enough of them elsewhere this week. So I’ve put together ideas for non-candy Valentine’s Day treats that make a sweet surprise for your little ones without the sugar of candy—and hopefully without a major letdown. I think they’re all deliciously cute. In other words, your kids will definitely feel the love, just not the massive sugar rush. Serve up the color of the day with this naturally pink Strawberry Applesauce spied on Lemon Tree...Read More
3 ideas for family-friendly Valentine’s Day dinners: How to adapt them from kid-friendly to adult-friendly later on.
Every time we parents make dinner, family cooks work to strike a balance between what the kids are willing to eat and what the grown ups actually want to eat. Sometimes holidays make this balancing act even harder. Ever make a heart-shaped pizza and call it dinner on Valentine’s Day? Yeah, me too. This year, if you’re staying home for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a better idea. With the help of Ashley Rodriguez, a favorite family cookbook author and a top food blogger to follow in 2015, we’re offering up 3 great ideas for Valentine’s Day dinners that will make all of your loved ones happy, even if you...Read More
Recently, there was a whole lot of controversy about marketing Nutella as a healthy breakfast food. Apparently, someone thought that the kids of the world need help eating toast by slathering it in a chocolate-hazelnut spread. But on World Nutella Day, I’m giving everyone a pass. I’m happy to limit my daily dose of Nutella to snack-time the other 364 days of the year, but I think this weekend, we may celebrate with one of these Nutella recipes for breakfast. Or hey, maybe hold the ideas for Valentine’s Day. It does fall on a weekend this year after all, which leaves plenty of time...Read More
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about candy, of course. But I don’t see why it shouldn’t be, if you make the candy from scratch, with love. Okay so maybe I’m justifying. but still, these DIY Valentine’s Day candy recipes–all of them easy enough for your kids to make along with you–are a fun project for the givers and a delicious treat for the receivers. My goal: to be both. Turn plain conversation hearts into something special with this recipe for Conversation Heart Marshmallows from Passion 4 Baking. (Manuela has her blog set up to translate from...Read More
I’m not much of a football fan, but I am a sucker for game day eats. Nachos, chips and dips, wings–you name it, I’ll eat it. This can be a problem since I’m also trying to maintain a healthy diet, so instead of giving up on my favorite tailgating foods, this year I looked for lighter versions that are big on flavor and lower in fat and calories. Healthy game day food for the win! This Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven brings all of the flavor of hot wings without all of the calories. I’m not...Read More
I recently tried to figure out how many food blogs populate the internet. The answer: A lot. I couldn’t find an exact number—not a recent one, at least—but it’s big enough to demonstrate that yes, there can be too much of a good thing. With so many food blogs to follow out there, it’s hard to know which you can count on for great writing and reliable recipes, especially for families. To help, I’ve combed all my favorious resources, and put together a list of some of my favorite food blogs to follow in 2015, with a particular focus on...Read More
This is that time of the year that I’m still totally dedicated to super healthy eating (seriously!), but also craving hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals because, well, winter is in full swing. Every year, my answer to this conundrum is the same: baked sweet potatoes. Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, sweet potatoes can be topped—no, stuffed—with nearly anything to make a delicious meal. If you don’t believe me, check out these 8 stuffed sweet potato recipes—and just try to resist stuffing your face with them. What happens when you make a simple black bean taco using a baked sweet potato in place of...Read More
If you ask me, the most important aspect of throwing any cocktail or dinner party host to know is how to make a cheese plate. And not just any cheese plate, but knowing how to put one together that looks fancy, even when it’s made with affordable supermarket ingredients. Because we don’t all happen to have Murray’s Cheese Shop in our hoods (mmm…) I’ve put together this simple primer on how to make an elegant, people-pleasing cheese platter without the help of a top cheesemonger and definitely without spending a ton of money. 1. Start with a variety of cheeses. As in, a...Read More
Another year, another pile of cookbooks. I’ve added some amazing titles to my cookbook collection this year, but eight in particular are in heavy rotation in my family kitchen, which I think makes them among the best cookbooks for families–indispensable resources especially for parents. Because hey, we aren’t just home cooks; we’re time-crunched, picky-busting, budget-watching home cooks who are constantly trying to feed multiple tastes. There are many fabulous cookbooks from this year, but it takes special cookbooks like these eight that I’ve narrowed down, to provide parents just what we need to get the family cooking job done right. In no particular order,...Read More
4 easy, semi-homemade pasta dinners that taste great, save time, and don’t have a single artificial ingredient.
As someone who develops recipes professionally, you’d think that I’d always have a plan for feeding my family dinner. Just like everybody else, though, the busier I get, the harder it is to get dinner on the table. Thanks to natural brands like Three Bridges (who is our newest, awesome sponsor — yay, welcome Three Bridges!) being time crunched doesn’t have to mean relying on take-out or heavily processed foods loaded up with preservatives. Their natural and organic pastas (including gluten-free raviolis!) plus ready-made pasta sauces make it possible to throw together fresh, simple meals like these easy pasta dinners. These four meals...Read More
Chocolate candy is a must over the holidays. Festive sweets make a special treat to have around the house, serve as part of a holiday dessert spread, or give as a gift. Store bought is great—we love supporting local chocolate shops—but it can get expensive, and who needs that when homemade takes 5 minutes to prep? These 7 delectable holiday chocolate bark recipes are a cinch to make, totally affordable, and look absolutely gorgeous. Now if only gift wrapping were this easy. If you’ve never made bark before, you’re in for a treat. This basic chocolate bark recipe from Martha...Read More
We’re always looking for ways to save time and money grocery shopping, especially during the holiday season when we’re all feeling stretched thinner than usual in every way. We’re spending more on holiday gifts and family travel, and even on household groceries for all those relatives coming to visit. Some longer than others. (Just kidding, we love you relatives! All of you.) Because every minute and every penny counts for us these days, we’re really happy to be working with our newest sponsor hiku, a very cool new gadget and app combo designed to streamline your grocery shopping list and save you tons of time. Let’s just...Read More
Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be a blockbuster affair. In fact, some of the best holiday gatherings are small, impromptu get togethers and relaxed gatherings with easy cocktail party foods, festive snacks and, of course, seasonal drinks. During the holidays especially, I stock my pantry with these snack foods so that I can invite people over whenever the whim strikes. With these goodies on hand, I know my guests will be well fed—without any hard work. Lesley Stowe Crisps Crackers are a must at any gathering, and I’m not talking about everyday butter crackers. Don’t get me wrong, those...Read More
There may be more talk of picky eaters than foodie kids, but some kids really dig food. I know for sure that these seemingly rare creatures exist because I happen to be mother to one. My older son loves eating, looking at food magazines, and is fearless in the kitchen. If you’ve got one like him on your hands too, and are like, eh, he has enough toys…then check out these fun ideas for holiday food gifts for kids. And come to think of it, take a look at these holiday food gifts even if you have a picky eater. Sometimes giving...Read More
Whether we like it or not, all of us parents become the family cook at some point, and even those of you who hate to cook know that it doesn’t get us out of it. (Darn kids and their need to eat.) These fab kitchen gadget gifts are some of my very favorites. They make the job a little bit easier, or at least more fun. And I imagine that every family cook—from the passionate to the uh…reluctant—will love having a cool new kitchen gadget like these. Some products may contain affiliate links from Amazon or reward style Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper ($19.99 at Bed,...Read More
I have a weakness for beautiful desserts, and our Pinterest boards are full of recipes I can’t wait to try. I’d love to serve a new cake at my holiday parties this year, but you know how brand new recipes and big events sometimes don’t go so great together, especially that time you really need everything to be perfect? Yeah. The Nibble cake pan with a tasting cup is my newest strategy for making sure my party treats aren’t a Pinterest fail. Oh, who am I kidding. It’s really for those of us who just can’t wait to get a little bite of whatever we’re...Read More
The Big Last Minute Thanksgiving Help Guide: Recipes, printables, hotlines and more recipes. We’re here for you!
You need last minute Thanksgiving help? We’ve got it for you. We’ve put out so many amazing features from the best Thanksgiving recipes of all kinds to fun printables to keep the kids busy, that we wanted to put them all in one place for you. Happy prepping, cooking, serving, and then? Sleeping. You can do it! How to cook a turkey: 5 easy Thanksgiving turkey recipes If you’re still deciding how to make it, these should help. How to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey Right down to carving tips. So helpful! Thanksgiving 911: 4 cooking helplines to save your Thanksgiving Put them on speed dial; they’re not just for turkey. 13 Make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes to make cooking easier Ready to put that slow cooker to work? 8 seriously amazing mashed potato recipes for Thanksgiving Stuffing or mashed potatoes? We vote both. 7 cranberry sauce recipes for every taste From sweet to savory to spicy, we’ve got you covered. Best ever Thanksgiving stuffing recipes We can’t pick just one, and often don’t. 6 cute Thanksgiving treats for kids On the chance that some of yours won’t eat that turkey you slaved over. Like ours. Sigh. How to make homemade pie perfectly: 8 easy tips And some of our favorite classic recipes too. The best Thanksgiving mail order pies It’s not too late to have someone do it...Read More
We’ve been gearing up for Thanksgiving all week with amazing mashed potato recipes, the easiest cranberry sauce recipes, killer stuffing recipes, tips for how to make homemade pie, and a guide to best mail order pies in the country (a tasty, timesaving approach to Thanksgiving dessert). Now it’s time to talk turkey. Foodies the nation over will be debating the merits of brining, whether to spatchcock (yes, I said that), if frying is worthwhile, and otherwise discussing ad nauseum how to cook a turkey. The rest of us just need a good, easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe, and one of...Read More
Stuffing is one of those Thanksgiving dishes that I’m always changing. One year cornbread, the next sourdough. Sometimes sausage, other times bacon. Every once in a while I make it in the bird, though mostly it’s done in a separate pot. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to approach stuffing this year, but I know that one of these 8 amazing Thanksgiving stuffing recipes is going to be on my table–and you might be thrilled to have them on yours, too. I’m guessing there’s something here for everyone, no matter how you like your stuffing. Even if you call it dressing....Read More
As a professional home cook and recipe developer, I’m always game to change things up, even at a holiday meal. But, if you ask me, certain holiday dishes, like cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving are essential. You can play with them, but don’t think of skipping them. Making cranberry sauce is easy to do—you can even use your slow cooker—and you may be surprised at how inventive you can get, if you want. Check out these 7 cranberry sauce recipes and prepare to be inspired. Jaimie at My Baking Addiction keeps it simple with her version of Homemade Cranberry Sauce. This recipes...Read More