Top 5 Red, White & Blue Desserts

Ready for fireworks? I’m not talking Roman candles, either—I’m talking the oohs and ahhs that will commence when you set down a tray of brightly colored goodies in front of your July 4th guests. And honestly, who can blame them? Desserts too often hide in shades of brown and white (not that I’m knockin’ chocolate, mind you…). But just in time for Independence Day, treats take a turn toward the bright and beautiful—a trend spurred on by the abundance of ripe red and blue berries. So in honor of our nation’s birthday, here are a few of my favorite patriotic treats, including berry-topped mini cheesecakes, a stunning ice cream cake and that grand ol’ showstopper, an American flag cake.

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Lunch-Box Confessions

Please tell me I’m not the only one whose lunch-packing routine looks like this: Wrap peanut butter & jelly sandwich in cellophane. (Pause for large sip of coffee.) Add assorted fruit and veggies to lunch box. (Detach toddler from my legs.) Toss in thermos of milk. (Glance at clock; have mild heart attack.) Pop lunch boxes into kiddos’ hands and hustle ‘em out the door. (Grab coffee again.) It’s something I can do half-asleep (and I do frequently)—but the food? It’s just meh.

So for everybody’s sake, I’m shaking things up in the brown-bag lunch department. Here are three perfect-for-packing recipes that I’m adding to my kids’ lunch boxes in the near future (and probably to mine, too!).  Continue reading

Festive Treats on the Cheap

Elephant-in-the-room time: The holidays don’t exactly come free. There are gifts to consider, and travel expenses, and Santa Yoda tree-toppers. So what’s a budget-conscious person supposed to make when invitations to Ugly Sweater Party potlucks arrive? You could hole up at home for the season. (Not fun.) You could blow your budget in the name of holiday spirit. (Not wise.) Or you could make one of these three wallet-friendly treats and smile inwardly about their price point. If you don’t tell, I won’t!

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Pumpkin: Celebrate Fall’s Best Flavors with an Easy Mousse Pie

Having grown up in Vermont, it probably goes without saying that the strikingly beautiful colors of fall foliage hold a special place in my heart. Fall is easily one of my favorite times of the year—I just can’t help but love feeling the cooler air, wearing light sweaters, wrapping up in blankets on the couch and watching weekend football. But you know what I love even more? All the wonderful pumpkin desserts! Continue reading

A New Pumpkin-Cheesecake-Inspired Fall Go-To Dessert

Bring on the pumpkin! While I can pretty much enjoy pumpkin treats throughout the year, pumpkin really becomes the star of my dishes once the chill of fall is in the air and the leaves start to turn. I love making this Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Lush Dessert — not only is it easy to make, but it’s crowd-pleasing as well. The cheesecake pudding, gingersnaps, pumpkin-flavored topping and crunchy pecans magically meld overnight into one lush and creamy dessert. Continue reading

A+ Apple Recipes

Every year we take a family trip to the orchard, where we drag a wagon from tree to tree, twisting off low-hanging fruit. After a long, hot summer we are glad to be in sweatshirts and sneakers, energized by a nip in the air. What with that mellow September sunlight, the kids, the trees and the apples, this outing is my secret favorite moment of the season. The apples we pick are not always the roundest or reddest, but each one is scrutinized by the kids and each one is uniquely tempting. We start baking as soon as we get home; we’ve got the oven preheating before our jackets come off. Here are some of our tried-and-true faves, plus a brilliant way to keep sliced apples fresh and crunchy!

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Chocolate Ice Cream the Easy Way

If those childhood afternoons spent sitting on the grass, scratching mosquito bites and waiting for your turn to crank the ice cream maker taught us anything, it’s that nothing tastes better than food that you’ve worked for. And while the old-school ice cream maker is something I still love to pull out occasionally (rock salt, anyone?), my kids and I can make this delish Chocolate Chunk & Marshmallow Sundae anytime we feel like getting together in the kitchen and creating a little magic. Continue reading