Pavlova for your lov-a this Valentine’s Day!

This is the recipe that finally changed me from a chocolate-only dessert lover.  Before I was introduced to this recipe if I made a dessert with -gasp! – sugar,  it’s a pretty good bet that it would be made with chocolate.  Why risk disappointment when we so rarely have something sweet? That all changed when a friend from New Zealand introduced me to this authentic New Zealand recipe.  In fact, I love it so much that I made it for Christmas this year and my husband’s birthday.  And my chocolate loving kids even chose this over a chocolate cake at our holiday party, asking for the “cake with the cucumbers on top.”  Fortunately, there are no cucumbers, but there are kiwi and strawberries – a little healthy fruit to go with all the sugar. :)

Although the recipe isn’t hard, you do need to use superfine sugar (find it at gourmet food markets, kitchen stores, and online at amazon.com), and be sure to bake it low and slow (around 225 degrees for 90 minutes).  Somehow it magically bakes into a “cake” with a crisp outer layer and a soft, gooey inside.

If you’re looking for a change from the traditional chocolate this year this sweet treat is sure to impress your Valentine!  Enjoy!

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Easy (healthy!) Halloween Treat Idea!

It seems like Halloween is the official kick off for “school party season”.  I’m always trying to think of party food I can bring in to my kids’ classes that’s not junk food, but also not so “healthy” that they’re embarrassed that their mom is the “apple and raisin mom”.   I made these this weekend and think they’re the perfect solution!  A quick, easy and healthy Halloween treat idea – perfect for a school party.

Just spread natural peanut butter on the end of a pretzel rod and roll in a topping.  I used raisins and mini chocolate chips, but I think unsweetened coconut and chopped nuts would also be good.  Stick a plastic “witch finger” on the end of the rod and slip the pretzel into a plastic pretzel bag.  I found these witch finger tips at Michaels craft store, but I think they sell them everywhere.

Enjoy!

witches fingers

Flaky Crust and Apple Turnovers – comfort food with truly comforting ingredients!

Every year around this time I start adding more “comfort” foods into our menu.  When the weather gets cooler I  just start craving things like apple pie and bubbly warm casseroles.  It recently occurred to me that a lot of these fall recipes call for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, and if you’ve taken a look at the ingredients in these you’ve realized the list is definitely not comforting! Continue reading

Kids, cottage and cobbler

One of the things I love most about my husband, in addition to his great sense of humor, big heart and blue eyes, is his 127-year-old family cottage on an island in Maine.  This magical place is the most amazing playground for our boys, with no cars, just boardwalks and paths through green forests with tall pines, spongy moss floors, fresh natural springs that you can drink right out of, tons of wild blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes and even a very cool (slightly dangerous) tree fort in the middle of it all.

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Shark Birthday Party!

The twins’ much anticipated shark themed birthday party finally happened this weekend! … Anticipated mostly by them, while I was  mostly apprehensive about pulling it all together. I’ve been worrying for weeks about how to create a birthday party that didn’t include the usual party “crashers”  like soda, processed pizza, candy, artificial colors, preservatives, and loads of sugar.  Now that they’re in kindergarten and on the “party circuit” there’s a certain level of expectation to be met, and I could tell they were a little worried about whether their friends would end up with carrot sticks in their goody bags. mask Continue reading

Birthday Breakfast Ice Cream

Yesterday was our twins’ 6th birthday and they could not have been more  excited.  For the past three days they’ve been asking us to sing “Happy (Almost) Birthday” to them every morning — something that their brothers were getting pretty tired of indulging them with every day.  They also put their order in days ago for what they wanted for their “birthday breakfast”,  you guessed it – ice cream!

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