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Holiday Cookie Baking

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…cookie baking time! I love baking for the holidays, it just gets me in the giving spirit. This year I invited a few friends (including my baking hero George Waldron) to come over and decorate cookies. We snacked on some appetizers from Ina Garten’s new cookbook and learned some simple, easy tips to decorate cookies like a pro! 

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Panzanella & Summer Garden Pasta



The season is rolling along and we have our favorite summer recipes on repeat. Ina Garten’s Summer Garden Pasta is a summer staple – when you have fresh, local tomatoes at your disposal you look for every tomato recipe available! And this year, I finally made Ina’s Panzanella. This recipe gets rave reviews but I never made it myself. Now that I’ve made it, I may never stop.

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp - Sheet Pan Dinner

Lemon Garlic Shrimp - Sheet Pan Dinner

We are having a great summer, but we are busy. Traveling, camp, sports - lots of proverbial balls in the air and unfortunately, cooking a legit family dinner doesn't take top priority. Earlier this year I came across a list of ways to help simplify family routines and address the 'what’s for dinner' conundrum. Through that article, I found some recipes for easy sheet pan dinners – one pan, minimal ingredients and a healthy tasty dinner for my family. Perfect for a busy summer. This lemon garlic shrimp and asparagus was the first one I tried and it’s been a hit, so I decided to share. I’m on the hunt for more sheet pan dinner winners – so please leave us your thoughts and suggestions!

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In The Kitchen - Healthy-ish Muffins

In The Kitchen - Healthy-ish Muffins

Muffins. Not always the most exciting thing going on in our kitchen, but my family has grown to love them – even the ‘healthy’ ones. As I’ve mentioned before (many, many times) I do my best to offer my children healthy options when it comes to meals and snacks. But I am not a short order cook, and unfortunately we don’t live on an organic produce farm. Also, my kids like cake and donuts and anything that is offered in ‘snack size’. That’s why I am so into these muffin recipes. Lucky for you, I’m sharing our favorite recipes here!

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Cassandra's Year Of Birthday Cakes

Cassandra's Year Of Birthday Cakes

In 2017 I made a little deal with myself, I wanted to make all of my family’s birthday cakes (thanks, Ina Garten and Barefoot Contessa for the inspiration). I enjoy baking with my kids and thought that letting them help with their own cakes would create some great memories and foster their love for cooking and baking. The birthday cakes weren’t perfect works of art, but they were prepared with love - so they tasted even better!

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Dinner Party for 16

Dinner Party for 16

Fall is finally in the air!! School and sports are in full swing, so we’re usually home on weekend for the kids’ soccer games, cross-country meets, birthday parties (you get the idea). Lucky for us most of our friends are in the same boat, so we decided to throw together a ‘little’ weekend dinner party. What started small ended up as a party for 16, complete with corn hole (it’s a bean bag toss game) and of course, some of Ina Garten’s great appetizers and side dishes!

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In The Kitchen - Ina's Roasted Ratatouille

In The Kitchen - Ina's Roasted Ratatouille

During the summer months, we spend as much time outside as we possibly can and because it’s hot outside, our dinners tend to be simpler. This week, we had a few cooler days so I thought I would step out of my comfort zone and try something new that I’d never made before. I flipped through Ina Garten's latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook Cooking For Jeffrey and decided on Roasted Ratatouille with Polenta.

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In The Kitchen - Ina's Flag Cake

In The Kitchen - Ina's Flag Cake



The famous Ina Garten Flag Cake. I would bet that if you’ve lived in America for any amount of time or even happened to visit in the summer months, you’ve seen some version of the Flag Cake. This time of year, the fruity stars and stripes are all over checkout aisle magazine covers and cooking shows. It’s so festive and fun - even Taylor Swift and her famous friends are fans of Ina’s Flag Cake.

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In The Kitchen - Melted Ice Cream Cake

In The Kitchen - Melted Ice Cream Cake

One of my favorite traditions in our house is the Birthday Meal. The birthday gal (or guy) gets to pick what they want to eat for dinner on their birthday. And, of course, they get the cake of their choice. For the past few years, my daughters have been really into Trifle cake. Thankfully, this year my daughter Lexi wanted a change so, together, we invented Melted Chocolate Ice Cream Cake. I promise, it’s better than the name suggests and you’ve probably had it before – just never gave it a name!

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In The Kitchen - Tomato Basil Soup

In The Kitchen - Tomato Basil Soup

I love tomatoes. They are by far my favorite vegetable (or are they a fruit?). In the summer it’s a no brainer - the tomatoes are bursting with flavor and I can literally cut them up, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper and eat them right up. In the winter, it’s a different story. Thank you, Ina for your Roasted Tomato Basil Soup – the perfect way to enjoy tomatoes in February!

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