baking :: blueberry oatmeal crumble bars

I believe it took living sixteen years here in New England before I realized that blueberry picking was even possible.  Last summer was the first time my daughter and I made the drive up to Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA to try our hand at the pick-your-own blueberry experience.  It was a particularly hot and humid summer day, and as the sweat on my forehead fogged up my sunglasses I wondered why in the world we were even there to begin with!  (It was still fun and worth it … just sweaty!)

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recipe: chewy oatmeal raisin ginger cookies

This is quite possibly the best batch of oatmeal cookies I’ve ever made.  They are chewy and moist with a lot of great flavor.  I got this recipe from All Recipes but altered a couple of ingredients and skipped the step where they tell you to press them down with a sugared fork.

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catalyst + area four (cambridge)

So like what’s up with slacking on the restaurant posts, right?  I looked back and realized that my last post about any restaurant outing was way back on July 29, 2013.  Say what??!  It’s not like I haven’t gone out to eat since then, but I partially blame things like Instagram and mobile phone updates because well, let’s just say they make it easier to share sometimes.

Anyway, I went out last night with another mom friend and it was awesome.  We’ve been friends for almost eight years now and met through crafting channels, yet we’ve never been out on a one-to-one outing before.  With family responsibilities, job duties, and all the other crazy life stresses we just were never able to make things work out until last night.

I wanted to check out a restaurant called Catalyst in Cambridge (Kendall Square) because a) it’s new to me and b) I haven’t been out to a restaurant in that area in a long time.  The bonus was that neither had she so we could check out a new place together.

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sunflower granola bars with chocolate (a recipe)

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My friend Maryea, the writer behind the Happy Healthy Mama blog, posted a recipe the other day for a 4-ingredient peanut butter granola bar with chocolate that was also vegan and gluten-free.  I was intrigued.  I’ve been looking for some sort of recipe for a relatively healthy snack that I could eat using oatmeal and this seemed perfect: quick to make, few ingredients, and I could possibly substitute the peanut butter with one of my new favorites – sunflower butter!

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chocolate coconut cookies (a recipe)

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Sometimes having cabinets that are deep can be a bad thing.  If you’re like me, it’s easy to forget what’s in them when things get pushed to the way back.  I put together this recipe one night as an effort to use up some stuff in my baking cabinet, and I have to say that it was a delicious experiment in the end!  Enjoy!

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peanut butter chocolate cookies (photos)

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I’m a fan of the Smitten Kitchen blog (who isn’t, right?) so I was excited when I unwrapped a Christmas gift and saw that it was her cookbook.  After flipping through every single glossy page and bookmarking things I want to try to make, I decided to make a batch of the peanut butter chocolate sandwich cookies on page 203 as a birthday present for the friend who gave me the cookbook.  Since it isn’t my recipe to share, I’ll post the photos from making these delicious (and adorable!) little cookies instead.

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chocolate peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (a recipe)

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If you’re a person that likes to bake like I do, there are times when you think: “I would like to bake some ______ right now.”  And if you’re occasionally unlucky like me, then you shuffle over to the cabinet or pantry only to be faced with the fact that you’re either very low on or completely out of a specific ingredient (or ingredients) in order to make _____ right now.  And it’s also too late to go to the store and/or you’re already dressed down into too-casual-for-public-viewing comfort clothes to leave the house.  That was the case the other night when I decided I wanted to make some chocolaty chocolate chip cookies for my husband: I only had about a cup of flour, remnants of chocolate chips, and very little chocolate baking squares on hand.

Luckily, I remembered this crazy peanut butter cookie recipe that a friend told me about in high school that — to this day I can attest — miraculously works despite the fact that it has the fewest ingredients ever for a cookie recipe.  All it is is one cup of peanut butter, one egg, and one cup of sugar.  Seriously.  Bake at 375 for about 12-15 minutes and voila!  You have yourself some really delicious peanut butter cookies.  So with this in mind I decided to elaborate a little bit and put together my own cookie recipe.  They turned out really yummy and even our 14-month-old daughter approves of them!  Enjoy!

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giulia (cambridge)

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What a nice way to start off the new year: dinner with a great friend at a new restaurant!  That’s right – you read it here – this mommy was granted another night out, so my friend and I decided to try out a new Italian restaurant in Cambridge called Giulia.  It opened about five weeks ago and replaced Rafiki Bistro.

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chocolate chip cookie dough ice pops (a recipe)

First an apology for a lag in posts but life’s been busy with a baby that can now crawl, and a few other life events that prevent one from jumping on the computer to blog.  A birthday has come and gone since my last post, and with it came a Zoku quick pop maker.  Pop, as in an ice pop (not the other word for ‘soda’).  Hmmm … make my own ice pops?  As in, kinds that I can actually eat because they don’t contain corn syrup?  What to make, what to make?!

I decided to try a recipe I saw on Pinterest of “Invisible Cookie Dough Ice Pops” which was adapted from a recipe from “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook“.  The recipe said it would make 10 ice pops at 2.5 ounces each so I cut it in half and managed to make exactly 6 with the Zoku device.

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potluck party

This Memorial Day, we decided to have some friends over for a casual potluck party.  The weather was perfectly warm — not too hot, with an occasional cool breeze — and a clear blue sky overhead.  It was a good time with good friends and good food.  Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed that day, starting with a beautiful fruit salad above.  You may also find a recipe or two in this post.  🙂

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