Author Archives: lindsay

Hearts Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette


I can’t remember where I originally saw this recipe but it’s delicious! I love the fresh flavors and the white balsamic vinaigrette adds a tangy sweetness that works so nicely with the strawberries and greens. It’s a perfect salad as a side dish or starter for a date night, or any night! You could even add some grilled chicken and have it for lunch.

When making the dressing I used a good olive oil to give it a rich flavor but I also used a grape seed oil. I saw Tyler Florence (he’s my favorite!) do this on one of his cooking shows. Olive oil is great in dressings but the grape seed oil lightens it up and makes the dressing less heavy. I get my hearts of palm and artichoke hearts at Trader Joe’s. They come in a jar instead of a can and I find that they stay fresher that way. They’re not floppy or mushy.


1 qt. fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
1 can/jar hearts of palm, halved and sliced
1 can/jar artichokes hearts, patted dry and halved
salad mix, such as baby greens or arugula

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Strawberry Pie Cakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I just couldn’t resist. What’s not to love? It’s pie, it’s cake, it’s Pie Cake! I also have a special place in my heart for all things mini and these are the perfect individual size treats. Creating the lattice topping was a bit tedious so I did it on half of the pie cakes and created a typical pie type topping for the rest. If you wanted to cut down on some of the prep time you could use pre-made dough but this dough recipe uses more sugar than a typical pie dough to sweeten it up a bit.

The original recipe was for a Vanilla Peach Pie Cake but peaches are definitely not in season and the strawberries I’ve been finding have been super yummy so I decided to shake it up a bit. I also just picked up my free Penzey’s cinnamon sugar with a catalogue coupon so I added it to the whipped cream.

Strawberry Pie Cakes 
Makes 24 standard sized pie cakes


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons shortening, cold
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
6-8 tablespoons cold water

2 egg whites, at room temperature (save the yolks to use in an egg wash, if desired)
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon1 baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 quart strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced thin
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons corn starch

To make the crust: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds to combine, then drop the shortening evenly on top in chunks. Process until the mixture looks like wet sand. Evenly distribute the butter on top and pulse until the mixture has pea sized chunks in it. If mixing by hand, cut the cold shortening in with a fork or dough blender, again until it resembles wet sand. Then cut the butter in until you have pea sized pieces.

If using a processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Add about 6 tablespoons cold water and begin mixing with a spatula. Using a spatula, mix the dough by ‘folding’ from bottom to top and pressing down with each fold, adding more water if the dough is too dry.

Once the mixture has just formed a dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface. As quickly as possible, finish bringing the dough together by hand, kneading as little as possible.

Divide the dough in half evenly and shape into two disks, roughly 4 inches across. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or over night.

Once chilled, make cake filling: Lightly coat muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk together; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about three minutes. Add the egg mixture in two small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 15 seconds. Set aside while you prepare the pie crusts.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove your one of your disks of pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut several 4 to 5-inch circles out of the dough, re-rolling the remaining dough, as needed. Place each circle into the cup of the prepared muffin pan, pressing gently into the corners and trimming any excess dough away. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, make the pie filling: Combine the strawberries, sugars, and spices in a medium bowl, tossing to coat the strawberries thoroughly. Stir in the lemon juice and corn starch until well combined. Spread in a glass baking dish; set aside to bake with the piecakes.

Remove the pie crusts from oven and immediately fill each muffin cup with 1 tablespoon of the cake batter.

Bake the filled pie crusts and the pie filling for 10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom, halfway through baking.

Remove the piecakes and filling from the oven and place about 2 tablespoons of the pie filling on top of each piecake. Roll out the remaining pie dough and cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch strips and weave the pieces into lattice tops on each of the piecakes. Return to the oven and bake until lattices are light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream


1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the cream on medium high speed until it begins to thicken and form very soft peaks. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the cream and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Stir in the vanilla. Chill until ready to serve.

Source: via Pinterest

Crispy Breakfast Pita

If you asked me to eat runny eggs about a year ago I would have sooner eaten my right shoe. But recently I have become fond of them. In fact, when I saw this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine cover adorned with a bacon and egg breakfast tart with a runny egg I couldn’t help but buy it. When I read through the magazine I found this crispy breakfast pita recipe as well and I couldn’t resist. It was part of a feature on Giada’s Weeknights with Giada book.*

Sure this recipe would be great for breakfast or lunch but I’m always on the lookout for yummy and quick food to make on weeknights for dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner, right?! This was perfect. It didn’t take too much time, was delicious, and not too heavy. I think my husbands words after eating this meal were “this is definitely a recipe to make again!”

Crispy Breakfast Pita


6 6-inch pita breads
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 ounces) mascarpone cheese
Grated zest of 1/2 large lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 packed cups (3 ounces) arugula or baby spinach
8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush each side of the pita breads with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Remove from the grill and cool slightly.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs directly into the pan and cook until the egg whites are set, 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Add the arugula and toss until coated.

Spread each pita with 2 tablespoons of the mascarpone mixture. Divide the prosciutto on top. Divide the arugula and mound on top of the prosciutto. Carefully place a fried egg on top of each pita. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper, and serve.

*Also featured was her Breakfast Tart which I make regularly for girls brunches or as a make ahead for breakfast for overnight guests. I’ll definitely post it next time I make it. It’s a favorite and I love to play with the fillings.

Source: Weeknights with Giada via Food Network Magazine 
Photography by Chris Davis

Matcha Cookies

My friend recently bought me some matcha powder to make some green tea cupcakes. Well, I never got to making the cupcakes but I made these matcha shortbread cookies instead to go with some nice hot tea. They were pretty simple to make and had great green tea flavor. I highly recommend giving them a try. They might be a nice addition to a St. Patty’s Day party! I found this recipe on another blog via Pinterest.

Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
from Lovescool

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tbsps matcha green tea powder
10 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup flour
3 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar (to coat the dough)

Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and matcha powder together. Beat the butter and matcha sugar mixture together in a stand mixer (use paddle attachment) until the butter is smooth and light. Add the flour and stir until just combined. Mix in the egg yolks until they are incorporated and the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it into a thick disc. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until it is firm. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Use a small cookie cutter (about 2-inches) to cut shapes from the dough (I made mine a little smaller and used a 1 inch star cutter). Roll the cut shapes in granulated sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until they begin to turn golden at the edges. Makes about 5 dozen 1-inch cookies (probably 3 dozen 2-inch cookies). Store in airtight container away from sunlight as the color will fade with exposure to sun.

Photography by Chris Davis

Chipotle Lime Chicken Tacos

Tacos are a favorite meal in my house and I’m always looking for new ways to make them. Recently, my husband and I finally stopped at the food trucks we’ve always eyed off the highway just north fo where we live. Since then I’ve been hooked on corn tortillas and simple toppings with flavorful meats. This recipe is a mix of what we like best and what I’ve made in the past. We love chipotle peppers and the citrus juice adds a fresh flavor that goes nicely with the kick from the peppers. We like spice so I tend to have a heavy hand with the chipotles but you can you as little or much as you like but definitely use them because they have amazing flavor! The corn tortillas also add amazing flavor and are a healthier choice when compared to flour tortillas.

I cook the chicken in a Le Creuset braiser. They can be pretty pricey but they are magical. They cook evenly and because they are enamel coated the clean up is a breeze. A Le Creuset this size retails for $205+ but I found my at a HomeGoods store for $139. If you don’t have one I highly recommend the splurge! Keep your eyes open at a Marshalls, TJMaxx, or HomeGoods… and you may be rewarded with a deal!


1lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 chipotles in adobo plus 2 tablespoons sauce
(you can use more or less depending on how much spice you like)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
juice of 1 ½ limes
juice of ½ lemon
2 cups water

corn tortillas and taco toppings

First prepare the marinade for the chicken. Chop 3 chipotle peppers in adobo and place in a medium bowl. Add the sauce from the peppers, cumin, coriander, olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cut chicken thighs into 4-6 pieces each and add to the bowl. Toss to coat. Transfer to a gallon zip top bag and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a dutch oven or other oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown on all sides. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the juice of the limes and lemon and water. Cover and transfer to the oven.

Cook for 1 ½ hours with the lid on. Then remove the cover and continue to cook until the liquid mostly evaporates (about 10-15 minutes longer). Break the chicken up in the pan and serve with your favorite taco tortillas and toppings.

I like to keep it simple with fresh avocado, tomatoes, lime wedges and cilantro. I also use non-fat plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I like the tang and it cuts back on some of the fat.