December 3, 2011

Corn Pesto with Bacon, Tomatoes and Asparagus

corn pesto 2

Hmm…yeah, so about this blog. It’s obviously been neglected lately. I have lots of excuses. I’ve been perpetually sick due to the little carrier monkeys (AKA 6th graders) I spend my days with. I’ve been going to happy hour more than is prudent. I’ve been fixing up my place. It all takes time, ya know?

corn pesto 1But I did make this pasta with corn pesto and I want to share it with you because it is really, really good. It’s based on this recipe from epicurious. In my mind pestos are green but apparently epicurious considers anything blended up with olive oil pesto and, since they’re the food experts, I’ll take their word for it.

In my version, bacon is browned until it’s crispy and then corn and onions are caramelized in the bacon fat. Everything gets pureed with lots of parmesan, broth and olive oil. Sautéed grape tomatoes and asparagus are stirred in at the end. The bacon and cheese are salty, the corn and onions are sweet and the tomatoes are tangy and just a little acidic.

corn pesto 4 


1 lb of pasta (capatavi is my favorite, but use what you like)

6 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2” pieces

1 medium onion, diced

4 cups of corn, from frozen that’s been thawed or from 5-6 fresh ears

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp pepper

2 cups grape tomatoes

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1” pieces

1/2 cup grated parmesan

2 Tbs olive oil

1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth


Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Remove from pan to a paper towel to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Add onion to pan. Cook until translucent. Add corn, garlic, pepper and salt. Cook until corn is tender and onions are golden. Place corn mixture in a bowl and set aside.

Add a bit of olive oil to the skillet and increase heat to medium high. Cook tomatoes and asparagus until tomatoes are softened and asparagus is bright green. Remove from heat.

Place 3/4 of the corn mixture and parmesan into a food processor. Pulse a few times. With food processor going, slowing drizzle in olive oil. Drizzle in broth until pesto reaches the desired thickness and is smooth and creamy.

Add bacon, pesto and remaining corn mixture back into the skillet with the vegetables. Stir in pasta. Serve with additional parmesan.

corn pesto 3

October 28, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Pretzels


These are all over Blogland right now, but if you haven’t seen them yet here’s a quick and easy recipe. They take maybe 5 minutes to prep and another 5 minutes to heat them up and then top them with pecans. They travel well and they are delicious.


A  bag of Rolos (about 50 candies)

50 small square pretzels

50 pecan halves


Preheat oven to 350. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Spread pretzels out in a single layer on sheet pan. Unwrap Rolos and place one, wide side down, on each pretzel.

Bake pretzels for 3-4 minutes until the chocolate barely starts to melt.


Press a pecan into each Rolo and let them cool. That’s it!


October 8, 2011

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Three Ways


If you’ve been carving some of these:


Then maybe you should make some of these:


Cinnamon Sugar

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 egg white

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp clove

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger


Salt and Pepper


1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 egg white

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp coarse sea salt




1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 egg white

3 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp onion powder


Preheat oven to 400. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few tablespoons of salt. Boil pumpkins seeds for 10 minutes – similar to pasta. Drain seeds and let cool a bit. 

In a small bowl, beat egg white until slightly frothy. Beat in spices. Mix in seeds until well coated.

Drain excess egg mixture off of seeds and spread onto parchment.

Bake Cinnamon Sugar seeds for 12-15 minutes (careful, these burn fast) and Salt & Pepper and BBQ for 17-20 minutes until crispy and barely browned.

October 4, 2011

Quick and Easy Thank You Postcards


I’m horrible about writing thank you cards. It’s not that I’m ungrateful but making, writing and sending a stack of cards can take a LONG time. So I opted for the quick version – a postcard with a stamped sentiment on the front and a short note on the back. You don’t even have to stuff it in an envelope if you don’t want to.

If you would like to whip up some postcards of your own, you will need: coordinating scrap paper, a postcard size rectangle of cardstock, sentiment stamp, ink, a square of cardstock for the stamp, a square for the border and adhesive.


Tear a strip of paper that is a little over half of the width of the postcard. Adhere it to the bottom half of the card and trim the edges.


Tear a strip of coordinating paper that is about 1” wide. Adhere it over the torn edge of the other paper. Stamp and mount the sentiment. Attach it to the card with adhesive. I turned my cards horizontal but you could also keep them vertical.


Here is a “Thinking of You” version:


October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

pumpkin bread pudding 3

Bread pudding might be the ugliest dessert ever. Especially when it’s pumpkin orange and dotted with chocolate chips.


It tastes good though. I promise.


1 loaf of sturdy, day old bread, cut into 1” slices

2-3 Tbs unsalted butter

3 eggs + 3 yokes

2 cups milk

1 cup cream

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves


Preheat oven to broil and position top rack 5-6” from element. Butter a 13x9 baking dish.

Butter both sides of bread. Cut into 1” cubes. Spread bread on a sheet pan and toast under broiler until edges of cubes start to brown. Turn cubes over and toast the other side. Reduce oven to 325.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk and cream until combined. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, salt and spices. Add bread to egg mixture and let stand for 3o minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon bread into prepared baking dish. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until custard is set and top is slightly browned. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


August 26, 2011

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


I’m sure there are a ton of recipes for “the best” chocolate chip cookies but this might really be it. These cookies are soft and chewy in the middle and slightly crispy on the outside. They taste like rich, buttery toffee. But in a cookie. And with chocolate. Mmm!


And these cookies are perfect for ice cream sandwiches.


What makes these chocolate chip cookies so good is browning the butter. Melting the butter makes a chewier cookie and browning it provides a deep toffee flavor. I used a recipe from Cooks Illustrated and tweaked it a little.



14 Tbs unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 (or you can wait to crank up the oven and just let it heat while the dough chills). Make some room in your freezer or fridge for pans of cookies. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large skillet, melt 10 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Cook the butter, stirring frequently, until browned and nutty smelling. It helps to use a stainless steel pan so you can see the color of the butter better. Stir in remaining butter. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla. Whisk in butter. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes and wisk again. Repeat two more times. This helps to dissolve the sugar in the butter, making a chewier cookie.

Stir flour and baking soda into batter. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon dough in large mounds (about 3 Tbs) onto parchment lined sheet pans, at least two inches apart. Place cookies in fridge or freezer until firm and cool to the touch. Last time I made these it was hot as heck in my kitchen and it took about 10 minutes to cool them down in the freezer.

Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Load them up with ice cream and enjoy.


August 13, 2011

Sparkly Straight Pins


I’ve been using the same pins for years and they’re pretty dull so when I saw these pins on No Big Dill I had to make some.


You can make dozens of them in just a few minutes. All it takes is glue (E6000), small beads that have small holes and extra long straight pins.


I used a skewer to apply a little bit of glue to the end of the pin.


Then I slid a bead on and wiped off the excess glue.


I covered an overturned basket with a piece of paper and poked all of the pins into it to dry.


Pretty and useful. I think they would make a great gift for a seamstress or tucked into a little purse-sized mending kit.



August 10, 2011

Pin Cushion from a Pimiento Jar


I made these sparkly pins the other day (tutorial coming soon) and needed a place to stick them. I have an old school tomato pin cushion but it rolls all over the table. It usually ends up on the floor prompting some choice words as pins start to pile up in my mouth, beside my sewing machine and other places they shouldn’t be while I search for it.


This guy has a heavy, flat base so hopefully it will stay put.

I started with a pimiento jar (baby food jars would be perfect), paint, a little batting, some barley and few scraps of fabric.


I squirted some paint into the jar, put the lid on it, shook it up and then let it dry upside down. If your jar doesn’t have a lid, you can use a brush to smooth out the paint like I did here.




To make the top, I stacked up circles of batting and then gathered up the edges to form a spherical shape. The poof should be a little bigger than the opening to the jar. I ran a few stitches through the gathered part and cut off the “tail”.


Then I cut a circle of fabric about 3 times wider then the jar and wrapped it around the batting. I gathered up the loose edges and ran 3-4 stiches through the middle to secure it. Then I cut off the excess fabric.



I filled the bottom of the jar with barley (because that it was I had) and hot glued the cushion into the mouth of the jar.



I top-stitched a strip of fabric to cover the jar threads but ribbon would work just as well. I hot glued the fabric around the mouth of the jar and inserted the pins.



August 8, 2011

Painted Wooden Bowl Fail


I have a habit of seeing something for sale and thinking to myself, “I’m not going to buy that. I’m going to make it.” Point in case: dot bowls from The Bocket Store  spotted by Erin at Host-It Notes while perusing the Renegade Craft Fair. Sarah Bocket’s bowls are stunning. Mine are wrinkled. I should have shelled out the change for one of hers.

However, I think I’ve fixed the problem, so if you want to try your hand at painting some bowls, you will need:

a wooden bowl, thoroughly scrubbed and dried

sand paper

a damp cloth

masking tape



paint brushes




Sand the bowl really well. Sand it some more. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth and let it dry.

Tape off the part of the bowl you don’t want painted. I used a kazillion little pieces of tape to go around the lip of the bowl. I’m sure there’s an easier way to do it, though. Maybe using contact paper and just cutting a bowl-sized circle out of it and sticking it onto the rim?


See how the bowl is still a little glossy? I should have sanded it more.

Ok, prime and paint the bowl, letting it dry between coats. I didn’t prime mine, which according to my friend, the painter, was my big mistake.


It’s helps to paint little stuff like this in a box. Then there isn’t paint flying all over your garage or driveway.


Paint on the dots by dipping a small paint brush straight down into your paint (I used acrylic) and barely touching the tip of the brush to the bowl.



Before I sprayed on the sealer (which I have used many times before with the same exact paint and without any problems) the paint looked perfect and smooth. I let the bowls dry over night and then hosed them down with sealer. The paint immediately wrinkled. I wanted to cry. Apparently this was mistake number 2 (3?). The previously mentioned painter friend said I should have let them dry longer. They seemed completely dry but it was raining out side and chilly so I probably should have given them some more time. Ugh.


I’m using them anyway, but I’m bitter about it. If you decide to paint some bowls let me know how it goes. Or if you have any tips for keeping paint from wrinkling, I would love to hear them.