Five Years of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to our fellow Americans! Today’s post will be brief. Our friends arrive this morning and soon the cooking and feasting will begin. But first, we want to celebrate you, our readers for whom we are truly grateful. And in keeping with the spirit of the holidays, we have THREE special giveaways to share with you. Continue reading


(Overly) Sweet Thanksgiving Memories

In our family, like many other American families, Thanksgiving is a feasting holiday. The buffet is endless and we eat until the thought of one more bite makes us cringe. We eat until it hurts…. Continue reading



Pies, pies, pies. So many pies this month. That’s okay. It is a month for feasting festivities. Still, I figured I’d counterbalance the caloric overload with a beautiful veggie dish. (Yes mom! I used beautiful to describe a vegetable – and a green one at that!) Continue reading

pumpkin french toast with apple cider syrup

Sharks & Rangers – A Pumpkin Recipe Round-up

This week I have a shark running around the house and a National Park Ranger chasing after him. That can mean one of two things…either the stress of planning this sabbatical has completely gotten to me, or it’s almost Halloween! Continue reading


Oops and Gratitude

If you received a post notification today and stopped over only to find it missing, I apologize. The post (detailing a certain 7-year old’s birthday dinner of choice) will go live Monday. Until then… Continue reading

It’s Time to Vote….Chopped Challenge 2015

Sure we hardly have time to blog let alone cook these days, but we’re not about to miss our annual Chopped Challenge live blogging event! It seems it has become a sacred family tradition. As Mike and I were trying to figure out how to logistically pull it off this year, the kids became quite adamant that it still happen on Super Bowl Sunday (Sunday, February 1st). It appears the kids take this just as seriously as we do, and why not, it’s always a ton of fun.

Remember this mess from 2012:dirty dishes

Or this delicious winner from 2012 (Chiptole Grilled Lobster over Stir Fried Buckwheat Noodles):chopped main course

We kicked things up a notch in 2013 with homemade pasta versus lentil burgers. The homemade pasta won the prize, but the lentil burgers have been made many times since. Black Beluga Lentil Burgers with Muffaletta Olive Salad

beluga lentil and artichoke pasta

And last year, well the competition got stiff. Chopped Challenge Teams 2014Arghboozing

The kids favorite dish from last year – Toasted Apple and Bacon Tortellini. fried tortellini

So are you ready for this year’s cooking challenge? Below we’ll have three polls – one for appetizers, one for the main course, and one for dessert. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the format, we base this off of the Food Network’s “Chopped” series. The premise is simple, contestants must use the ingredients in the basket (no matter how crazy they seem) to create a dish. There are three rounds (appetizer, main course, and dessert). The winning dish of each round is selected based on taste, presentation and creativity.

Well, below you’ll find three basket options for each round. This year we’re pulling from the baskets that didn’t make the cut in the past three years. Some of the baskets are clearly more kind than others; though we won’t name names. We’re excited about them all and look forward to the challenge. So, please select one basket (hitting “vote” on each poll – total of three) for each of the three rounds. The winners will then be announced in our live cook-off event on Sunday, February 1st, as Mike and I will go head-to-head to see what we can cook-up (will Mike be able to knock me off the winner’s circle this year?). Mr. N and Miss A will again serve as sous chefs, though teams have yet to be picked.

So without further ado…vote early and often! Voting remains open until Friday, January 30th. And make sure to stay tuned for the live blogging event and subsequent recipes. We can’t wait to see what you drop in our baskets this year!

For the Appetizer Basket we selected the non-winning baskets from 2013.

The Main Course options were taken from the non-winning baskets from 2014.

And the Dessert Basket comes to us from our very first year’s non-winning baskets in 2012.

Thanks for voting and we’ll be back, live (all day) on Sunday, February 1st for Chopped Challenge 2015!!!!