Raspberry Brownies and a Giveaway

Are you still full from Thanksgiving?  No?  Well good thing, because I am holding an Instagram giveaway for some delicious looking Roost cookbooks including My Darling Lemon Thyme, The Vibrant Table, and Lomelino’s Ice Cream.  I knew I wanted to highlight a recipe, and once I flipped through all three books I couldn’t help coming…

squareAre you still full from Thanksgiving?  No?  Well good thing, because I am holding an Instagram giveaway for some delicious looking Roost cookbooks including My Darling Lemon Thyme, The Vibrant Table, and Lomelino’s Ice Cream.  I knew I wanted to highlight a recipe, and once I flipped through all three books I couldn’t help coming back to these Raspberry Brownies from My Darling Lemon Thyme.  Of course I should have focused on something healthy that we could have had for dinner…but where’s the fun in that?!  My sweet tooth always gets the best of me.  These were honestly the best brownies I have ever made- chewy, moist and full of flavor.  I really like brownies that have more going on than just chocolate, so I loved the bright bursts of raspberries and the nutty crunch of pistachio and pecans.  These brownies perfectly walk the line between fudge-y and cake-y, and they are a fantastic treat.  I would highly recommend bringing them to a holiday cookie exchange (if you can bear to part with them!).

To enter my GIVEAWAY, pay a visit to my Instagram page!  I will pick three winners, and each will receive one of these titles, along with a signed copy of Little Bites!

Raspberry Brownies

Slightly adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme by Emma Galloway (Roost, 2015)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup olive oil
7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unrefined raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup ground almonds
2/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup raspberries, frozen
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup pistachio, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 7 x 11-inch baking pan with parchment paper

2. Place olive oil, chocolate, sugar and salt in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring continuously until smooth and melted.  Remove from heat, add vanilla, and set aside to cool slightly for 5 minutes.  Whisk eggs into mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add ground almonds, oat flour, cocoa and baking powder.  Mix to combine.  Fold in half the raspberries and all of the pecans.

3. Transfer to baking pan, and top with remaining raspberries, and pistachio, pressing them down gently into the mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool before slicing.  Brownies will keep, airtight, at room temp for 2-3 days (though I highly doubt they will last that long!).

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Home Again

In past years I have gone through a mourning period upon returning home from Michigan.  This year it felt good to be home, and that, my friends, is HUGE.  I have struggled for years to accept Providence as my home.  I have always enjoyed this city, but it always felt like a semi-permanent residence, despite…

_MG_3772In past years I have gone through a mourning period upon returning home from Michigan.  This year it felt good to be home, and that, my friends, is HUGE.  I have struggled for years to accept Providence as my home.  I have always enjoyed this city, but it always felt like a semi-permanent residence, despite the fact that we own and love our home and have found a great community.  But this was the year where it all fell into place, and I worked really hard on adjusting my thinking to view my city in a positive light, despite its issues.  Because let’s face it…there is no such thing as a perfect place.

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_MG_7410Upon returning home the first thing we did was pay a visit to our farmers market.  Oh how I’ve missed our market.  We are in the middle of some major kitchen work (more on that later) and so I was limited in what I could buy since we are without a place to cook for the next two weeks.  So basically we just bought a ton of fruit and ate it all day long!  The following day the boys and I drove to the Cape to help my friend Sarah celebrate her daughter Emily’s birthday.  It was the loveliest party and I was once again blown away by Sarah’s creativity.  Would you look at those cupcakes and cookies?  She made it all, even down to the starfish hair clip (embellished with french knots) in Emily’s hair.  Although we are already midway through August, summer still feels delicious and although we ache for the lake, and miss my parents terribly, it sure is good to be home.

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Join Me This Weekend

It’s been pretty amazing to see the response to Little Bites now that it has been out in the world for a few weeks.  I especially love seeing it on Instagram on kitchen tables, joining cookbook collections, and alongside finished recipes (you can tag it #littlebites, instagram above by Cara Brostrom, below by My Darling…

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 11.26.08 AMIt’s been pretty amazing to see the response to Little Bites now that it has been out in the world for a few weeks.  I especially love seeing it on Instagram on kitchen tables, joining cookbook collections, and alongside finished recipes (you can tag it #littlebites, instagram above by Cara Brostrom, below by My Darling Lemon Thyme, ).

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 3.23.43 PM copyOne of the most thrilling things to happen was seeing it reach #1 Best Seller in its category on Amazon.  I think every author dreams of seeing that little orange #1 banner next to their book, but rarely does that dream become a reality.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 11.07.20 PMAnyway, on Saturday I will signing books and doing a cooking demo at Stock in Providence, from 11am-1pm.  I would love to see you there, and I will have some delicious treats on hand!  Come by for a bite, or a signed copy of Little Bites, or just to say hello!  It’ll be a great time, and it is on the way to the Hope Street farmers market, so stop in before/ after your shopping!

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Little Bites Launch!

Just like that, after two years of work, Little Bites is heading out into the world.  Today is the launch of my second book and I am a bundle of excitement and nerves- sending all of our hard work into the world and hoping that it resonates with people definitely brings out a range of…

Little BitesJust like that, after two years of work, Little Bites is heading out into the world.  Today is the launch of my second book and I am a bundle of excitement and nerves- sending all of our hard work into the world and hoping that it resonates with people definitely brings out a range of emotions.  I wanted to take this moment to fill you in on all that is going on.  Sarah’s sharing a recipe over on her blog today for the insanely good Peach Frozen Yogurt from the book, and throughout the next few weeks, I’ll let you know as other bloggers share recipes.  We also have some fun events coming up, and I do hope you’ll join us:

LITTLE BITES EVENTS

July 15: Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard.  Join Sarah for a talk, tasting and book signing starting at 7pm.

July 20: Cook the Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard.  Join Sarah for a cooking demo and book signing at this annual event that celebrates local and regional cookbook authors.

August 8: Stock, Providence, RI. Join Christine for a talk and book signing, 11am-1pm.

August 13: West Tisbury Library, Martha’s Vineyard.  Join Sarah for a cooking demo and book signing starting at 5pm.

August 23: Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, Boylston, MA. Join Christine for a talk, tasting and book signing, 2-3pm.

And now, a peek at what you will find inside the pages…

_MG_8197 copyINTRODUCTION: It’s our hope that the info-packed introduction will be really helpful for health-conscious families, with topics such as The Family Pantry and Cooking with Local and Seasonal Ingredients.  There is also a great section on packing food with health and sustainability in mind.

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A few favorite recipes include:

  • Asparagus Fries with Parmesan Cheese (pictured above)
  • Cherry Chocolate Pudding Pops
  • Roasted Sesame Peas
  • Ratatouille Baked Egg Cups
  • Cherry, Coconut and Walnut Bread

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SUMMER

A few favorite recipes include:

  • Blueberry Baked Oatmeal Cups (pictured above)
  • Summer Corn Fritters
  • Green Smoothie Pops
  • Zucchini and Squash Wheels with Marinara Dipping Sauce
  • Black Bean Cakes
  • Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • Peach Frozen Yogurt

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A few favorite recipes include:

  • Brussels Sprout Crisps with Parmesan and Lemon (pictured above)
  • Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
  • Cranberry-Orange Buttermilk Snacking Cake
  • Apple Ring Pancakes
  • Broccoli-and-Cheese Soft Pretzel Knots
  • Spinach and Ricotta Egg Muffin Cups

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A few favorite recipes include:

  • Crispy Root Vegetable Patties with Yogurt-Dill Sauce (pictured above)
  • Maple Brown Rice Pudding
  • Vegetable Dumplings
  • Sweet Potato-Quinoa Nori Rolls
  • Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies
  • Sweet Potato-Cornmeal Muffins

Little Bites Trailer

I am thrilled to share with you the trailer for Little Bites.  We had so much fun making this video, though I will admit that with four little guys on set it was a bit chaotic!  But that is life, and that is the reality of our time spent in the kitchen.  It’s messy, and…

I am thrilled to share with you the trailer for Little Bites.  We had so much fun making this video, though I will admit that with four little guys on set it was a bit chaotic!  But that is life, and that is the reality of our time spent in the kitchen.  It’s messy, and real, and wonderful.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Little Bites.  I’d certainly love to hear your thoughts!

Quick Pickled Radishes

It was our first day at the beach, and the nip in the air made it clear that we’re still in spring, not to be confused with the blistering heat of summer.  What an odd spring we’ve had around here.  Very dry and chilly, with hot days thrown in here and there.  We are in…

_MG_3970It was our first day at the beach, and the nip in the air made it clear that we’re still in spring, not to be confused with the blistering heat of summer.  What an odd spring we’ve had around here.  Very dry and chilly, with hot days thrown in here and there.  We are in dire need of some good rain, and I feel horribly guilty about watering my yard every other day, but I am desperate to keep the few plants we have alive.  My garden plot is coming along slowly.  I planted much later this year than ever before, and so it feels like such a slow start.  I am hoping by next week to start harvesting salad greens.  I just hate buying greens at the grocery store and market this time of year.  I should be swimming in them!  I managed to harvest one measly bunch of radishes, and decided to try a quick pickle.  I used the recipe from Cookie and Kate, with a few tweaks.  They are fabulous on everything from my morning eggs to dinner salads and sandwiches.

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Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes

  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn

Directions:

1. Thinly slice radishes into rounds and place them in a canning jar along with the black peppercorn.

2. In a saucepan combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, giving it a good stir.  Pour the brine over the radishes, and allow the mixture to cool.

3. You can serve the radishes immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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_MG_3985It simply wouldn’t feel right to let Memorial Day pass without acknowledging the men and women who have so bravely served our country.  My brother is one of those men, and he is our hero.  He’s the shirtless one (of course!) and we love him dearly.

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Little Bites

A few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Boston to meet with Jenn, my editor at Roost, and pick up a copy of Little Bites.  It’s hard to describe how it felt to hold the actual book in my hands after working on it tirelessly for the past few years.  It surpassed all…

littlebitesA few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Boston to meet with Jenn, my editor at Roost, and pick up a copy of Little Bites.  It’s hard to describe how it felt to hold the actual book in my hands after working on it tirelessly for the past few years.  It surpassed all of my expectations.  The paper quality is gorgeous, the pictures translate beautifully, the size is perfect, and the design is spot-on.  The team at Roost has such vision and I could not be more thrilled to be one of their authors.  I’ve been showing off the book to friends and family, and everyone that has held it and flipped through the pages has fallen in love with the recipes, the words and the pictures.  As one friend said, “This book was made with such intention.”  I love that.  That is what I aspire to both in life and work; creating with intention.

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050115_0101_uncroppedI had the idea for Little Bites when Vijay was about 18 months old.  He is now closing in on 5.  To say that this book was a labor of love would be an understatement!  What’s funny is that I need this book in my life now more than ever.  I have two hungry, active boys to feed and a large part of each day goes into preparing them nutritious and delicious food.  I’m thrilled that Little Bites now lives in my kitchen, where I can browse through it at any given moment for snack-time inspiration.  Below is a peek at what you’ll find inside…in addition to 100 recipes for healthy, kid-friendly snacks, there is a jam-packed introduction and seasonal field trip ideas scattered throughout.  The idea is to make seasonal eating fun, wholesome and accessible!  Children associate snacks with fun, tasty, easy-to-eat foods, but as parents, we know that the very best snacks are all that and more. Snacks, when done right, serve an important purpose–they give our kids a needed boost of energy. Instead of settling for processed crackers or bags of sugary treats, we used our creativity and love of food to develop wholesome snacks that are easy to pack and simple to make.  Sarah is a genius when it comes to feeding kids; her recipes are both inventive and approachable.  It was truly an honor to work alongside her for the past few years.  Without a doubt my culinary skills have improved greatly just from cooking alongside her!  I simply can’t wait for you to try these recipes in your own kitchen.  I can promise there will be much more book talk in the months to come.  Little Bites releases in July, but you can preorder your copy now!

(top three photos by my fave, Forrest!)

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Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen

We’ve been doing some spring cleaning around here, though there has been very little in the way of spring weather in New England.  Allow me to get personal for a moment: my dear husband has always been a phenomenal athlete; a top ranked Canadian junior squash player, All American collegiate athlete, and Brown Athlete of…

_MG_2868We’ve been doing some spring cleaning around here, though there has been very little in the way of spring weather in New England.  Allow me to get personal for a moment: my dear husband has always been a phenomenal athlete; a top ranked Canadian junior squash player, All American collegiate athlete, and Brown Athlete of the Year his freshman year.  He’s tall and lanky and he’s never had to worry about his weight.  He’s always joked that even if he puts on a few pounds, he’s just one good squash match away from his ideal weight.  And for most of his life, this has been true.  But while I was pregnant with Vik, he put on some “sympathy weight” and around the same time celebrated his 40th birthday.  Just like that his metabolism, which has always been set to high speed, took on a more leisurely pace and the pounds started adding up.  It has been two years now, and finally he decided that it was time to get serious. Because he’s an athlete I think he was more resistant to the idea that he needed a health “makeover.”  When you’ve always been in great shape, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that your body isn’t what it used to be.  Of course he probably got sick of my nagging as well.  With his family history of heart problems, I was ON HIM to get himself in shape.

_MG_2858Over the past month, we’ve cut out refined sugar and gluten (mostly- we’re not super strict, but we’re probably about 95% gf) from our diet.  We’ve also recommitted to eating at home for the majority of our meals.  While I was busy writing two cookbooks over the past two years, ironically, our family meals suffered because I would spend all day testing recipes, and have little energy left to make dinner.  We were eating at home, but things were getting pretty boring.  When my husband wasn’t excited by my offerings, he would go out foraging, usually turning to high calorie comfort foods (Indian, Thai, pizza, etc.).  It was time to make things exciting once again in the kitchen.  In addition to our diet changes, my husband also started working out with his personal trainer again, and has been playing squash on a regular basis.  He has already lost 15 pounds and looks phenomenal- his goal weight is only 5 pounds away now, but more importantly, he is leaner, fitter and feeling better.  This past year was a tough one for our family with the whole job transition and my husband’s travel schedule, and frankly, things have been full-on since Vik was born.  Parenting two wildly active boys, 21 months apart in age, is no joke.  We are often both tired and running on empty by the end of the day, but since refocusing our eating habits we’ve been feeling so much more energetic.  We’ve always been healthy eaters, but I think we just needed to hit the reset button.  For inspiration, I picked up two new cookbooks while I was in NYC, and I am totally smitten.

_MG_2862My New Roots by Sarah Britton is a gorgeous book focused on seasonal, plant-based recipes.  The pictures are mouthwatering, and the recipes feel incredibly fresh and original.  I was immediately pulled in by the Carrot Rhubarb Muffins, which I thought would make the perfect after-nap snack for the boys.  The batter came together with ease, and the result is one of the most delicious, interesting muffins I have come across in my baking career.  The walnuts and shredded carrots add a nice heft and crunch, while the applesauce sweetens to deal.  The rhubarb becomes soft and warm, like sweet jewels studded throughout the batter.  My boys went nuts for these- they perfectly satisfy a sweet tooth craving, though they contain no refined sugar (the sweetness comes from maple syrup and coconut sugar).  I have my eye on so many of the other recipes, including Raw Key Lime Coconut Tarts, Tempeh Mushroom Breakfast Bowl, Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats, Thai-Style Coconut Soup with Zucchini Noodles.  Well, those and pretty much every other recipe in the book!

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_MG_2898Sprouted Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs, and Sara’s first book, The Sprouted Kitchen, is in constant rotation in my own kitchen.  I love the idea behind her second book, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon.  This book echoes the way I love to eat- bowls full of grains, protein, and produce topped with a sauce that brings it all together.  Sara’s husband, Hugh, is responsible for the gorgeous pictures, which are so simple and full of life.  They never feel over styled, which is what I love about them.  They make the food feel very approachable.  I’ve bookmarked the following two recipes to try first, but there are many more on my to-cook list: Tahini Kale Slaw and Roasted Tamari Portobello Bowl, and Smoky Tortilla Soup.

_MG_2871I love that we are heading into spring feeling healthy and balanced.  Spring produce is only going to help our efforts.  If you are looking to do a bit of spring cleaning in your own kitchen, I would highly recommend these two titles.

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An Island Escape

When I talked of having a stressful year in 2014 much of that had to do with my husband leaving his position at Brown University to strike out on his own.  There were ups and downs, as there are whenever you take a risk and start your own business, but he landed on his feet…

_MG_0759When I talked of having a stressful year in 2014 much of that had to do with my husband leaving his position at Brown University to strike out on his own.  There were ups and downs, as there are whenever you take a risk and start your own business, but he landed on his feet as we knew he would.  And not only did he land on his feet, but he has been given the opportunity to work on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands for the next three weeks.  Of course we followed him here.  You can’t pass up an opportunity like that!  And so we are camped out in a small cottage on an organic farm perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean.  It is rustic, and I am slowly making peace with the mosquitoes, spiders and roaches (eek!), but we are having such an adventure.

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_MG_0937We begin our mornings on the porch eating breakfast, feasting on fresh fruit from the farm.  The boys enjoy picking our daily pineapple and bunch of bananas.  Most mornings there is a light rain and we are greeted with a rainbow that soars over the green mountains and lands somewhere out in the ocean.  It is quite magical.

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_MG_0808We then pack our bags full of beach toys and snacks and head to one of the many pristine, hidden beaches around the island.  We spend the day crashing in the waves and building sand castles.  It is a simple and beautiful daily routine and it tires the boys right out.  We find ourselves turning in early, around 7pm after a dinner of jerk chicken or grilled fish and veggies.  I’m writing this from a small coffee shop- the only one on the island- as we have no internet or cell service anywhere else.  It is so refreshing, but I did want to take a few minutes and share a slice of sunshine with you.

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A Roost Giveaway

For the past year and a half, I have been consumed with the writing, photographing, and editing of my second book, Little Bites.  This week my coauthor, Sarah, and I will receive the page proofs- seeing for the first time all of our hard work come together.  I am simply beside myself with anticipation.  This…

coversFor the past year and a half, I have been consumed with the writing, photographing, and editing of my second book, Little Bites.  This week my coauthor, Sarah, and I will receive the page proofs- seeing for the first time all of our hard work come together.  I am simply beside myself with anticipation.  This book feels extremely personal- it is how our families eat, how we feed our kids, and our approach to food.  Food is personal.  Food is passion and love.  Food provides both sustenance and joy…and in the best case, both.

_MG_7053Writing about food has turned into an intense passion…but the amount of work that goes into a cookbook is astounding.  From the recipe development to the testing, from the styling to the photography, not to mention the copious amounts of writing….it is a ton of work.  When I come across a gorgeous cookbook now, I have so much respect and admiration for the author.  It is no small feat.  That is why I am so excited to bring you this giveaway for two amazing cookbooks.  I am very selective about the books that make it into my kitchen, but both of these have earned a place on my shelf, that is to be sure.

_MG_7097The fact that these cookbooks are both published by Roost, my beloved publisher, is part of their appeal., because Roost produces books that feel like so much more than just cookbooks- they are filled with personality and stories, not just recipes- and I love that.  Plus the look and feel is amazing- quality paper, hard covers.  Quite simply, Roost publishes books that they wholeheartedly believe in…and you can feel it when you pick up one of their titles.  To be included among the ranks of their talented authors still blows my mind.  But enough of that…let’s get to the good stuff.

_MG_7198 First up, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin.  I am finding this book incredibly useful as it both teaches you how to cook with whole foods, and provides you with amazing recipes.  Part One of the book is all about stocking your pantry- how and why to use ingredients- and cooking from your pantry.  I love this section as I am always looking to expand my knowledge of whole foods, plus the photographs of Amy’s pantry made me absolutely green with envy!  I especially loved reading “A Week of Meals in My Kitchen,” which details Amy’s approach to daily cooking, including when she fits in the prep work.  I appreciate how she makes whole food cooking a priority while practicing efficiency.

_MG_7167Part Two is all recipes, and they are so vibrant, nutritious and delicious sounding.  I was in a soup kind of mood this past week and I tried the Simple Red Lentil Soup (which is actually found in the pantry section).  I added a few things- this book inspires creativity in the kitchen- and the result was warm, spicy, and comforting.  My kids loved it, as did my husband.  To turn up the spice factor for him, I topped the soup with red Thai chili peppers from my garden, deseeded and thinly sliced.  I also sprinkled a few kale chips on top (loosely based on this recipe).  For dessert I made a batch of Cherry Pecan Cookies, using cacao nibs instead of cherries.  I also doubled down on the nuts, adding ground almonds to the batter, along with the pecans.  The cookies were crisp on the outside, while remaining soft, chewy and nutty on the inside.  They were gone in one sitting!  I’m excited to cook my way through the rest of this book.  It will easily provide us with nutritious, warm, comforting meals throughout the colder months.

page Secondly, I have to tell you about Quench, the latest title from Ashley English.  I so admire Ashley as an author.  She consistently turns out beautiful, useful, inventive books at an awe-inspiring pace.  I don’t know how she does it!  Quench is just beautiful- I have been taking it to bed each night, flipping through the pages and dreaming of making every single drink.  I’ve been promising myself for ages that I would learn to make a few signature cocktails, but I never seem to get around to it.  I’m hoping this book will change that!

_MG_7191The point is that both of these books have me excited to be in the kitchen, and that is the sign of a great cookbook.  I can only hope Little Bites will inspire the same sentiment.  It feels like such a long wait for my own book launch (July 2015- that is like a lifetime away!) but in the meantime, I’d love to give away a copy of these two books to one lucky winner.  Leave a comment here letting me know what’s cooking in your kitchen during this lovely fall season, and I’ll draw a winner next week.

**Giveaway is now closed**

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