Extending our Thanksgiving Table to You thanks to Cardstore

standard November 16, 2012 Leave a response

The foodie in our family is my sister. She thinks about food, blogs about food, and when we’re at her house cooks us amazing food.

You’d think that I’d be rushing to her table every Thanksgiving wouldn’t you? But I don’t. You see, Thanksgiving, given that we grew up in France, is one of those holidays that we adopted as grown-ups. We never had a Thanksgiving tradition growing up, so, once we’d moved to the United States, each to our respective sides of the country, we adopted our respective spouses’ Thanksgiving tradition.

In short, she celebrates Thanksgiving at her inlaws’ table with their very extended family. I celebrate Thanksgiving with my inlaws, more often than not at their country club.

In the past I’ve been fine with this separation. The country club meals were always festive and delicious and I’ve enjoyed hearing tales of their significantly busier event. This year however, I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Only a handful of people in attendance, and, as I start to plan my menu, I find myself wishing again and again that my sister could be planning with me.

My table will be beautiful and the food will be plentiful, oh how plentiful, and it will be a lovely event, but the sounds of her four children playing with my two would make it even sweeter, and having her cooking by my side would be simply wonderful.

Alas, wishes are rarely enough to make people appear in your kitchen, so I’ll have to do the one thing that will make my sister and her family feel a tiny bit closer. I’m making her carrot pudding.

I know. Carrot pudding. Doesn’t sound all that great. But, suffice it to say that this is the one “orange” vegetable dish that my husband will eat, ask for seconds of, and then have more for lunch the next day. It is utterly delectable.


I’m not going to share the recipe with you here, that would be too easy! Instead, I’m going to invite you to leave me a comment below sharing one of your own favorite foodie/family Thanksgiving memories. Cardstore will send you a sweet card from me containing the delectable recipe along with a Cardstore discount code to order a card of your own!

Please note: This post was sponsored by Cardstore. The stories, opinions, etc are mine and mine alone. (Except for the photo, that was borrowed, with permission, from my sister.)

11 Ideas for Great Halloween Cupcakes

standard October 24, 2012 3 responses

11 Ideas for Scary Cute and easy Halloween Cupcakes

So, our school is one of those schools that kindly ask that you refrain from baking class treats.

Let’s be clear, I’m not particularly a huge baker, but frankly nothing makes me want to bake cupcakes more than being asked not to.

I’m perverse like that.

So, what did I do when told I shouldn’t bake cupcakes for the class Halloween party that’s taking place just before lunch? Duh, I went to Pinterest and did a search for “Halloween cupcakes.” (What? You don’t torture yourself this way? Odd that.)

After much research I’ve found 11 awesome ideas for Halloween Cupcakes that I think I could totally be able to replicate even if I though I’m not allowed to attempt them for the class party, and one treat that I definitely could.

(Please note, I did not design any of these treats. Nor did I test them, because I’d have to eat them all… and that would be baaad. Click on through and read the comments!)

1) Monster cupcakes – Adorably scary.
Monster cupcakes

Recipe and photos by lifewiththecrustcutoff.com

2) Scary easy spider cupcakes – Eat ’em before they come get you.

Spider cupcakes

Design and photo by boxycolonial.com

3) Precious ghosts – I’ll pretend I could make these, you pretend they aren’t too pretty to eat.

Cute Ghosts

Design and photo by buttercreamblondie.com

4) Eye-ball cupcakes – Finally that extra eye you’ve always needed!

Design and photo by thedomesticrebel.com

Design and photo by thedomesticrebel.com

5) Low-fat Mummy Cupcakes – To balance out the bag of mini-Snickers I know you already ate.

Mummy cupcakes

Recipe and photo by Skinnytaste.com

6) Spiderweb cupcakes – So easy, even I could decorate these. Maybe…

Design and photos by thegraciouswife.com

Design and photos by thegraciouswife.com

7) Googly eyes cupcakes – If your kids don’t eat all your marshmallows.

Design and photos by thedecoratedcookie.com

Design and photos by thedecoratedcookie.com

8) Halloween Witch Cupcakes – For those looking to buck the traditional cupcake format

Design and photo from Parents.com

Design and photo from Parents.com

9) Owl-y Cupcakes – Hoo hoo knows how to use Oreos creatively?

10) Skeleton cupcakes – Hands down my favorites, and not just because they don’t have hands.

Design and photos by cookiesandcups.com

Design and photos by cookiesandcups.com

And last, but not least, one non-cupcake treat just because we’re cray-cray like that around here or maybe just because I really do think I could get these to look just like the picture… or close.

Actually, many things taste better than thin feels

standard August 29, 2012 8 responses

The sign on the fridge at my inlaws’ vacation home is hand printed in colored pencil, each letter a different shade. The yellowed paper looks like it came from a child’s loose-leaf notebook. Despite the appearance the message isn’t quite what you’d expect a child to be sharing.

“Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” ~ Twiggy

I can never pass that sign without thinking of at least three things that do in fact taste better than thin feels, and no, not a single one is made from chocolate.

Until recently, the sign just made me chuckle. Now that my girls are old enough to be sounding out words and deriving meaning from what they read, the sign is giving me pause.

Food for me is so much more than sustenance. It’s comfort, it’s love, and it so often symbolizes time with friends, with family.

My mother cooked us hot meals every night. She’s a magician in the kitchen and, other than how delicious everything always was, what I remember above all was how much she enjoyed cooking those meals.

She’d pour over cookbooks and cooking magazines mumbling to herself as she came up with ideas. Then she’d cook. A dash of this, a splash of that, a quick stir with a wooden spoon, and presto, a hot family meal. (Presumably my mother still does this daily. I’m just not there to witness it.)

Now, I’m not saying that all that kitchen magic guaranteed that we’d have a 50’s TV sitcom inspired family dinner. We had our share of squabbles, tantrums, silent dinners. But the food was always good and I could taste the love in it.

(My sister fuels her cooking much the same way which is why I so love going to her house.)

There are so many ways to take ingredients and spin them into heavenly concoctions. So many ways to create flavors that make your mouth sing and your eyes light up with delight. Being thin, buying small clothes, turning heads never made me feel that way.

Last week I read an article in Self Magazine about a woman who lost her sense of taste after taking an antifungal medication. As she tried more and more foods that either tasted like paste or cardboard depending on their consistency, she slowly lost the will to live. Dinner with her family became a chore. Meals out with friends were downright painful. You see, she could smell everything, she just couldn’t taste any of it.

Her sense of taste came back after many long months and with it an appreciation for what food meant to her, an appreciation she had never felt before.

There’s a reason taste is one of the five senses. Without it the picture isn’t complete. We need to eat to subsist, but to really live we need to be aware of what it is we are eating. It lends color to our lives.

I don’t want my girls growing up thinking that some societal ideal on what women should resemble will ever be more satisfying and fulfilling than a great meal prepared with love and care. And for the record, both my mother and sister are thin women, both living proof that you can be passionate about food and still take care of your health. But still, there are much better things to worry about.

I’m putting different messages on our fridge. Things that I hope will give the girls food for thought as they reach in to get the ingredients they need to create food for their souls.

Tillamook: More than just cheese – Sponsored Video

standard May 29, 2012 1 response

Every Saturday at noon you can find us in the kitchen blending the ingredients for M’s favorite meal: crepes. Once the blender has stopped whirring he pulls out the grater from the cabinet and the cheese from the fridge.

We could use pre-shredded cheese, but that wouldn’t be right. Nope, crepes are such a simple food that you just can’t skimp on the ingredients. We only use Tillamook in ours and we shred it ourselves. And yes, if we’re out, someone runs to the store. We can’t not have crepes!

Our Tillamook love affair has been long standing and was only enhanced when we got to go visit the factory a few years back. There’s nothing like watching your cheese being made to make you a lifelong loyal customer!

Knowing that Tillamook is more than just good cheese just makes the whole endeavor taste better somehow. I love backing companies who really love and believe in what they do. I love feeding my family something that tastes great and is made by such a great company.

Please note, I’m being compensated by Tillamook to share this video with you, but my obsession with Tillamook is all mine! And yes, you too can have some Saturday crepes. Just be here by 12:15 because they go fast!