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Pantry Basics

Easy Homemade Granola
February 26, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Homemade granola is the only way to go for those of us who find all the store-bought granola far too sweet. This granola is even-textured, great for parfaits, doesn't make big clusters. Making clusters takes sugar, and quite a lot of it.

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Family

Pack a Lunch Your Kids Will Eat
February 23, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

The big challenge is to pack a lunch your child will actually eat instead of trade or dump. Here are some suggestions to increase the chances your children will eat the lunches you pack:

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Pantry Basics

Belgian Waffles for Brunch
February 20, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Belgian waffles are easy to make, but might take a bit more time than we can spare on a busy weekday morning. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, they’re a clear favorite for a leisurely weekend breakfast or brunch.

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Family

Top 10 Table Manners
February 16, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Consistency is key in teaching children table manners. When there is little or no difference between “company manners” and everyday manners, there will be fewer of those embarrassing incidents when dining out or when guests are present.

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Entertaining

That Versatile Southern Favorite
February 13, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Pimento Cheese is an iconic Southern food that's been around for over a hundred years. There are many variations, but it's basically shredded sharp or medium Cheddar, mayonnaise and pimientos. It is delicious on a hamburger, hot dog or bacon sandwich. You can also stuff celery with it, spread it on crackers or dip tortilla chips in it. See what I mean by “versatile”?

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Family

The Importance of the Family Dinner
February 9, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

We instinctively know that having a meal together every day as a family is a good thing. Now statistics have proven that children who dine with the family are healthier, happier and more successful in school; that the more regularly a family eats together, the less likely the kids are to engage in risky behaviors.

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Family

How to Help Your Picky Eater
February 3, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Dealing with a picky eater can be a parent’s greatest challenge. Should I force him to eat the offending food? Should I cave in and let her grow up eating nothing but corn flakes and marshmallows? Here are five tips to help you.

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Entertaining

Change It Up on Game Day
January 30, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Even though I’m not a football fan, I once found myself hosting a Super Bowl party! Being the über-hostess that I am, I went into full research mode and learned which menu items were “musts” and then threw in some of my own ideas as well.

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Baking

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater
January 26, 2012

Pumpkin pops up all over restaurant menus in the fall and winter, from savory soups and risottos to decadent flans and cakes. When it comes to the home kitchen, though, it seems to be a "one trick pony" reserved for pie making, but there's so much more to do with this vitamin and flavor rich vegetable.

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Entertaining

How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea
January 22, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Coffee drinkers have it made. There’s a place to get a good cup of coffee on nearly every corner. It is nearly impossible to get a proper cup of tea in the US without making it yourself.

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Family

Veggie Baby
January 21, 2012

If you want to raise your child as a vegetarian, there are many inventive ways to create an interesting, nutritious menu.

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Pantry Basics

The Gluten-Free Pantry
January 13, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

People in greater numbers than ever before are discovering they have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten. Whether it’s a slight sensitivity or full-blown celiac disease, it calls for a complete overhaul of the pantry.

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Family

The Welcome Wagon
January 12, 2012

In the early days of take-home parenting, when you are scrambling around sleep-deprived, trying desperately to get the hang of things. How can you conjure up some hospitality for the welcome wagon while preserving your need for private time to get acquainted with your newbie?

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Family

Making Meals and Memories
January 8, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

Mothers used to encourage only female children in the kitchen arts. Today's moms know that their sons also need to know how to cook. Of course, some children are simply not interested. Others are eager to help, often when we really just need to get down to business and get a meal on the table.

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Family

It's All Relative
January 3, 2012

When you're pregnant, friends and relatives galore will likely offer up their babysitting services at some point and time. But when the kid shows up, many of those offers conveniently (well-not for you!) evaporate into thin air.

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Family

Life of the Party
December 16, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Life as a working parent is a constant juggle. Throw in the added pressure of preparing for the holidays, and well, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some tips for keeping the Merry and Happy front and center during school celebrations this holiday season.

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Baking

Gingerbread Muffins
December 12, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I love gingerbread cookies, but my schedule doesn't always allow time for the rolling, cutting and decorating required. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy the flavor of my favorite cookie.

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Entertaining

Tips for Packaging Homemade Holiday Treats
December 7, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

You’ve got your list of cookies and cakes to bake, but how do you plan to pack them up for gift giving? Here’s a checklist to make sure you’ve got all your holiday packing materials.

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Pantry Basics

The Holiday Pantry
November 30, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Right around this time of year, there’s lots of talk about making a list and checking it twice. When it comes to holiday baking, this is especially wise advice. Before you preheat the oven, add these ingredients to your shopping list, and you’ll be ready for almost any recipe that catches your eye during this busy baking season.

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Entertaining

Coffeehouse Quality at Home
November 26, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I sometimes like to satisfy my sweet tooth with a cup of joe. I steam some milk and create my own coffee drinks at home. One of my favorites is a mocha, and the “recipe” is just three ingredients—decaf espresso, steamed milk and a teaspoon or two of chocolate ganache.

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Entertaining

Countdown to Thanksgiving
November 23, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

The annual cooking marathon, otherwise known as Thanksgiving, started weeks ago for some homecooks. Others are bustling about jotting down lists of last-minute ingredients. With only two days left, you may be wondering if you bit off more than you can chew. No worries, though—we’ve got a few tips to help make your holiday hosting easier.

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Family

Baby’s First Thanksgiving “Cheat Sheet”
November 20, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

The turkey is sure to take second place this year as everyone oohs and ahhs over your little one’s first Thanksgiving celebration. Your little one’s digestive system is still developing, so you’ll want to avoid dairy-laden mashed potatoes and gravy. The good news is there are still plenty of ways to indulge her new appetite for solids at your Thanksgiving table.

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Entertaining

Butternut Squash Three-Ways
November 14, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Butternut squash, one of my favorites, is sure to grace many Thanksgiving tables next week. With the right preparation, it can go from the littlest one’s first Thanksgiving plate to the appetizer course, and even a side dish. The trick is roasting it first. My favorite way to enjoy it is in this easy-to-make soup, a perfect prelude to the main course.

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Entertaining

Butternut Squash Three-Ways
November 3, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I love the cool, crisp days in New York City this time of year. It’s nice to say hello again to fall’s hearty bounty. Pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash—they’re all overflowing at the farmer’s market right now.

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Family

How to Make Halloween Fun & Memorable
October 26, 2011 • Posted by Kim Foster

When I was growing up in a small town in upstate New York, I remember that Halloween was one of the best nights of the year. We got to be anyone we wanted, and run the streets at night, bumping into friends, comparing costumes, getting as much candy as we possibly could. It was scary, but fun scary. I will never forget it.

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Family

Homemade Chocolate Milk
October 23, 2011 • Posted by Kim Foster

My husband, David, is not a cook. When I’m not home for dinner, he’s shuttling the kids off to the neighborhood Japanese restaurant, or out for shrimp cocktail at the local Applebee’s. But the one thing that always bothered him is our daughter’s love for chocolate milk, and how much sugar was in every glass. So he decided to do something about it.

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Entertaining

Homemade Spiced Popcorn
October 17, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Once the kids were tucked in, and finally asleep, my husband and I used to love curling up on the couch with a movie or to catch up on whatever shows we had recorded. A few months back I went through a phase of making seasoned popcorns for our late-night snack. I’m partial to Parmesan & black pepper, or straight-up movie-theater style with some melted butter, but Mikey was a salty-spicy guy. Add the crunch factor of homemade popcorn, and it was an easy, homemade treat to satisfy his snack tooth.

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Family

Snack Mom, Snack Dad
October 15, 2011 • Posted by Kim Foster

What constitutes a “good snack”? Most of us can agree it’s not a sugary cupcake but are dried fruit and granola too extreme? Throw in food allergies, and snack duty can be a downright draining responsibility. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it’s your turn to bring the snacks:

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Family

Eating Out with Kids
October 8, 2011 • Posted by Kim Foster

This year a restaurant in Pennsylvania banned children under six. Hardly anyone noticed. Children, unlike senior citizens, are not a protected class, but this has only reinforced my belief that parents should make it a point to bring their kids to restaurants.

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Family

Pumpkin Smoothies!
September 28, 2011 • Posted by Shaina Olmanson

One of our favorite breakfasts and snacks is a simple smoothie. They're great for mornings when you're on the go, and kids of all ages can agree on a breakfast that feels like a treat. Moms can get behind whole fruits and vegetables even when slurped through a straw.

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Family

Mother Knows Best
September 23, 2011 • Posted by Marisa McClellan

Years ago, I was on the phone with my mom when she said abruptly, "Just a second, there's a recipe I want to read to you." She had just re-discovered a pumpkin cookbook that dated back to her newlywed days and wanted to share a little of her culinary history with me.

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Pantry Basics

Apple of My Eye
September 18, 2011 • Posted by Marisa McClellan

Last year, one of my favorite orchards offered an incredible deal. For just $20, they’d let you fill a half-bushel crate of apples up to the very top. That’s approximately 25 pounds of apples. Being one who cannot resist the allure of a good deal, I indulged in this bargain.

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Family

Kids in the Kitchen
September 15, 2011 • Posted by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

If your little one is anything like mine, he probably doesn’t even need an invitation into the kitchen. Children are naturally drawn to the heart of the home because of the good smells, curious gadgets and, let’s face it, that’s where they find YOU most of the time. But those hands are fast, and attention spans are short. How does one get anything accomplished with a two or three-year-old ‘helping’?

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Family

Spotlight on Superfoods: Butternut Squash
September 10, 2011 • Posted by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

Fall whispers its entrance with cool evenings, blushing trees, and the laughter of school children. With it comes an array of colorful squash, my favorite of them being butternut. Fall squash are not only pretty and decorative, but they are tasty and loaded with complex vegetable carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The butternut happens to be my favorite because its thin skin is easy to peel and there is a high flesh-to-seed ratio in each squash.

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Baking

In Season: Pears
September 6, 2011 • Posted by Marisa McClellan

Pears aren’t as eye-catchingly glossy, but they grab my attention far more than apples. They have a certain culinary humility and lack of flash that makes them good players in baked goods and preserves. Pears also dress up better than apples ever can, achieving easy sophistication simmered in honeyed wine or baked into an elegant tart.

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Entertaining

An End of Summer Feast
September 2, 2011 • Posted by Marisa McClellan

The secret to end-of-season party planning is keeping it easy. No need for complicated cocktails or loads of decorations. It really helps that there’s so much amazing food in season right now. Here are some ideas to celebrate the labor of summer’s fruits (and vegetables).

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Family

Tummy Time
August 29, 2011 • Posted by Jessica Shyba

Along with all of the other various trials that come with having your first baby, tummy time proved to be the first that challenged my instincts as a new parent. It seemed as though just at the moment when we got to know each other, I needed to place my son into this awkward position on the ground that made him more than a little uncomfortable.

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Pantry Basics

Preserving Tomatoes: Tomato Ginger Jam
August 23, 2011 • Posted by Winnie Abramson

Ever since I started growing my own tomatoes, I looked forward to making tomato jam each summer. I make all sorts of salads, salsas, and sauces, too, but there's just something magical about this jam: the spices and the ginger make it reminiscent of an Indian chutney, but it's thick, perfectly sweet, and spreadable.

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Pantry Basics

Tomatillos: Salsa Verde
August 18, 2011 • Posted by Ethan Adeland

Show me someone who has never heard of salsa verde (green salsa) and I will show you someone who will fall in love with the taste of it as soon as they give it a try.

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Pantry Basics

Cold Peach & Mint Soup
August 16, 2011 • Posted by Ethan Adeland

I know, I know, cold soups aren't for everyone. But I've found that most people don't like the idea of a cold soup because they haven't actually tried it.

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Baking

Save It for a Rainy Day
August 11, 2011 • Posted by Rebecca Marber

The other day as the sun crept behind the clouds, I could tell a storm was about to break loose. Most were troubled by this interruption of summer weather; however, I couldn’t help but welcome a night of relaxation. I cozied up onto the couch and flipped through some channels. However, I quickly realized that something was missing: the smell of fresh baked goods to replace the cold air taking over my apartment.

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Family

Summer Road Trips
August 2, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

In a few weeks, we’ll embark on our annual family vacation to Cape Cod. This is a trip my husband and I have been making for some 16 years, and the way we get there has certainly changed since children came into our lives.

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Pantry Basics

Corn on the Cob 101
July 30, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Farmers’ markets were not a full-time affair growing up, so in the off-season, most of our vegetables came from a can. Come summertime, though, I remember by mom rifling through mounds of fresh-picked corn on the cob. She’d gently pull back the husks to peek at the top kernels, making sure it was worth the asking price. Try doing that today, and your friendly farmer may start giving you the evil eye.

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Family

Got Water?
July 26, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

A dip in the pool seems the perfect cure for summer’s scorching temperatures, but water’s refreshing effects extend far beyond a few laps. Staying hydrated is especially important when kids are running around outdoors.

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Pantry Basics

In Season: Eggplant
July 21, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I’ve been eating seasonally for some time now, and it certainly has its advantages. Every veggie and bite of fruit is bursting with flavor, having only been picked hours before, generally within 100 to 150 miles of where I live. The downside to this approach means I haven’t had eggplant parmigiana in the winter in about five years.

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Family

In Season: Cantaloupe
July 19, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Summer is the perfect season for so many reasons. School is out, meaning kids and parents can take a break from the daily homework grind. Pools, and sprinklers for us city folk, provide a fun reprieve from the sun’s melting rays. The best part, by far, though, is the sight of all my family’s favorite foods coming into season at the farmers’ market.

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Baking

Easy Summer Baking
July 14, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Turning on the oven is the last thing most people want to do come summertime. Sure there’s good reason to take dinner outdoors when the temperatures rise into the 90s, but with a little planning, baking can still be a part of your summer dessert strategy. After all, berry season means it’s time to make pies!

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Family

Got Calcium?
July 12, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

After years of being a voracious milk drinker, my oldest daughter has taken to sipping mostly water. On the surface, this may seem nothing to worry about since water is essential for proper body functions, especially during the summertime. My cause for concern was more about her calcium intake, and the August issue of Parents’ magazine shed some light on my worries.

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Entertaining

Cool Summer Sippin'
July 2, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

An icy cold beer is pretty perfect with a hot off the grill burger. On sunny summer days though, I’ve found a cooling refresher that doesn’t leave me feeling sleepy as the day progresses is sometimes a better pairing. We always seem to have watermelon in the fridge this time of year since it’s the kids’ favorite fruit. This July 4th, and the rest of the summer in fact, I plan to turn it into some fun mocktails the whole family can enjoy.

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Pantry Basics

Egg-free Homemade Pasta
July 1, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

One perk of my job as a food editor is getting a sneak peek at cookbooks before they hit shelves. While browsing through a new Italian one scheduled for release this fall, I was reminded there’s more than one way to make pasta at home. We often rely on eggs to make pasta at home, but there’s good news if you’re allergic to eggs. Next time you’re in the supermarket, read one of the labels and you’ll see most boxed pasta are made with semolina flour and water, not an egg in site. You can make this at home too.

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Family

Spotlight on Superfoods: Blueberries
June 29, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Kids will probably chuckle if you tell them blueberries are a superfood, especially boys conjuring up images of Superman. While they can’t make them fly, rest assured this is one fruit you want your little ones to become best friends with for life.

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Pantry Basics

A Berry Easy Dessert
June 27, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Here in New York, we wait for the short window of time when strawberries come into season. While the hope is that each batch is filled with juicy, sweet berries, it’s inevitable that some need a little help. My solution for the tart berries in the bunch is to make jam. Recently, I realized if I took this one step further, I could have a tasty way to the beat the heat too with homemade strawberry frozen yogurt.

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Family

Summer Sun Safety
June 25, 2011 • Posted by Kim Foster

Australians take their sun protection pretty seriously - a hole in the ozone layer over the country means that Aussie’s get a lot of UV radiation and presumably a higher rate of skin cancer than many other countries. That means they have adopted some of the best, more rigorous skin protection regimes out there.

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Family

Seasonal Spotlight: Zucchini
June 23, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

My eyes lit up a few weeks ago when I spied the first zucchini of the season. I decided to use roasted zucchini as a springboard for a new dip recipe. Since both the kids love hummus, I decided to add a familiar flavor and included tahini in my final recipe. A fresh squirt of lemon brightened the flavors too.

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Family

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
June 14, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Since I had my own phobias with rhubarb, I knew it would likely be a hard sell to my daughters too. Well, what kid doesn’t love pie? I made them kid-sized, so they could hold them and happily snack on a homemade treat and still have room for an icy cold glass of milk.

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Pantry Basics

A Fresh Take on Zucchini
June 8, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Every week I’m greeted with sightings of old favorites making a comeback at the farmers’ market. Recently, I blinked and rubbed my eyes in surprise to see the first zucchini of the season. June has snuck up on me, though, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all.

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Baking

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
June 7, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

The strawberries are here! If you were anywhere near the farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn a week or two ago, you may have heard me singing the praises of the season. After what seemed like an endless winter, and more than three feet of snow here in New York City, those ruby red orbs of fruit were enough to make me do a happy dance.

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Pantry Basics

Sweet Pea Pesto
June 3, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Rhubarb was the first sign of spring, its ruby stalks brightening up the rows of root vegetables at the farmers’ market. Now strawberries have made their presence known too. Before long, sweet peas will also be in abundance—I already spied a few, but they were expensive. Thankfully I have one last bag of fresh-frozen peas from last year’s harvest. I’m happy I planned ahead too, though a bag of frozen peas from the supermarket is perfectly fine in a pinch.

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Family

Finger Foods
May 30, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

As the weather gets warmer, heating up the kitchen first thing with a home-cooked breakfast isn’t my favorite way to start the day. That doesn’t mean we survive on cold cereal Monday through Friday, though. A little planning on the weekends means breakfast comes together quickly, and easily, as I’m getting everyone off to work and school.

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Entertaining

Hot Off the Grill
May 27, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

This weekend signals the unofficial start to grilling season, so kick it off on a spicy note and add some zing to your usual burger line-up. A few months ago I took the plunge and tried a new ingredient, and since then harissa paste has become my new secret cooking weapon. A little bit adds lots of flavor, so start off small if this your first time cooking with it.

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Family

A Berry Good Breakfast
May 23, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

We’ve all been told breakfast is important to jump start the day, but as the weather gets warmer a hot plate of food isn’t always appealing. A sure fire way to get my daughters, ages 3 and 8, interested is by offering something frosty they can sip.

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Pantry Basics

A Savory Summer
May 19, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Before summer rears its hot, humid head, there are some winter dishes I’m not ready to bid adieu. While strolling the market a few months ago, I happened upon a pile of onions. Actually, it was more like tripped over them. Anyone who’s spent a winter season in the northeast knows January is the land of root vegetables and tubers.

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Family

The Ice Cream Man Cometh
May 16, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

The moment temperatures peek above 60 degrees you’ll find Mr. Softee waiting outside the schoolyard. I find no charm in his music. The fumes that release into the yard and neighboring park border on criminal behavior in my book. I wouldn’t call myself one of those moms. You know, the ones who forbid any sweets. Frankly, with my job as recipe developer that would be near impossible. I just don’t see why an ice cream truck should be allowed to park right in front of a school every single day.

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Family

Garden Days!
May 9, 2011

Gardening does not come as easy to me as cooking, so this isn’t exactly my comfort zone. Unlike the kitchen where things come instinctively, the yard takes a bit more effort and focus. Of course the kids just want to dig dirt, and I’ve finally come to accept it isn’t such a bad thing—as long as they stay away from my vegetables, flowers and herbs.

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Entertaining

Happy Mother’s Day!
May 7, 2011

What would be my idea of the perfect Mother’s Day? Not washing a single dish ranks high on that list. This means taking a break from cooking for the day too, but going out for brunch isn’t necessarily what I’d consider a peaceful Sunday morning.

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Entertaining

Flex Your Mussels
May 3, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

After tasting my first bowl of mussels, prepared with a spicy, garlic-laced tomato sauce in my early 20s, I was instantly hooked. It became my go-to appetizer whenever we visited a small Italian restaurant nearby.

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Baking

A Royal Breakfast
April 28, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

This week, Prince William is getting married and there hasn’t been an affair this grand since his mother, Princess Diana walked down the aisle. I’ll be in attendance this Friday morning. It’s perhaps the best wedding invitation too—no fussing with gowns, hair or make-up. My pajamas, fuzzy slippers and a pot of hot tea to enjoy with a fresh batch of English scones is all I’ll need to make my grand entrance.

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Family

The Food Dye Debate
April 25, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

A few weeks ago, artificial food colorings fell under scrutiny from the FDA. Parents around the country hoped the U.S. would come to its senses and realize our children don’t need the 15 million pounds of food dyes currently used in processed food annually. Yes—15 million, a staggering, and alarming, amount.

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Pantry Basics

Make Every Day Earth Day
April 22, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Reduce, reuse and recycle is how I normally approach life. Each day, week, and month, I build on that philosophy as I learn new ways to lessen my family’s carbon footprint. The same can easily be applied to food. Before you scrape leftovers into the trashcan, think about how you can make them into something delicious again.

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Baking

Easter Treats
April 20, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Come Easter dessert time, the last thing I want to do is serve another sugar-loaded sweet. This year I decided to make carrot cupcakes, figuring I could convince the kids they’re the Easter Bunny’s favorite too.

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Family

Earth Day Fun
April 18, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

My two-year old says her ABC’s, mostly in order, and even counts to 20, more often than not. What makes me most proud, though, is she knows to ask what canister to put trash in. While she’s still too young to understand the concept of recycling, she does knows that paper, plastic, tin and glass do not go in the same bin as a banana peel or the scraps from our dinner plates.

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Baking

Passover Treats
April 14, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Next week is the start of Passover, and I’ve been thinking about what dessert I’ll serve for a while now. Not having been raised Jewish—I’m an Italian-Catholic gal who married a Jewish-Italian guy, I don’t have staple recipes that were part of my holidays growing up. A few years back, I came across a recipe that seemed a perfect marriage of my Italian food history and the restrictions from using flour and butter in kosher Passover desserts.

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Entertaining

A Tasty Twist on Hummus
April 10, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Rather than risk spoiling my daughter's dinner—and my hard work in preparing it, I try to have a healthy snack on hand to keep us both happy. Something filling, but not so much so that it stops her from enjoying dinner an hour later. A bowl of hummus with some pita or carrot sticks usually does the trick. One afternoon I happened to be fresh out of chickpeas. Rather than panic, I decided cooked navy beans could assume the role of garbanzos. The resulting hummus was smoother, creamier and now a regular on our snack time menu.

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Pantry Basics

A Better Butter
April 6, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Recently, at a local restaurant, my friends and I enjoyed the salted molasses butter that arrived in a tiny pot. One taste, and the oohs and ahhs flowed so freely, you’d have thought we were looking at baby pictures. Someone said “I wonder how you’d make it at home”. I promptly replied it’s easy—just whirl some softened butter with molasses and salt in a food processor. Turns out I was right...

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Family

Get a Grip on Portion Control
March 31, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Childhood obesity is a hot button topic, and for good reason. The way we feed our children sets the foundation for how they will eventually feed themselves. While we all know making healthy food choices is key, portion size plays a big role too. All portions are not created equal, and what’s appropriate for adults is different for children.

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Baking

Childhood Memories
March 24, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

We didn’t eat a lot of candy growing up, but I do remember my mom’s favorite were Chunky Bars. I found them intriguing, that dome of chocolate studded with raisins and nuts. I always thought there were peanuts, but a little research revealed it was really a mix of brazil nuts and cashews. The original confection was created right in my hometown in New York City, a fun fact I can’t wait to share with mom.

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Family

Homemade Kale Chips
March 21, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

My three year old daughter topples into my lap most evenings, and greedily gobbles up my raw kale salad, lightly dressed with a lemon Parmesan vinaigrette. I know this is not normal behavior. Most kids’ reaction to kale follow that of my husband, though he is coming around.

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Pantry Basics

A Hint of Spring
March 17, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Four years ago this spring, my husband and I took a long awaited honeymoon to Venice. We hadn’t called it that officially, but with an almost three year old, we realized it was time for a kid-free getaway. Family graciously stepped in and our daughter was in good for care with her nana, uncles and aunts while we strolled the narrow, often confusing streets of one of the most romantic cities in the world.

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Family

First Foods: Hello Avocados!
March 13, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Making your own baby food is easier than it seems, especially if you think green. While apples and pears cook up quick enough, some foods require little more than peeling and mashing before serving. Such is the case with avocados. Baby will love the creamy texture of this easy-to-make first food, and you’ll feel good knowing she’s getting a dose of vital nutrients with every bite.

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Family

A Twist of Taco Night
March 9, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Taco night is popular in our family, but sometimes the clean up is daunting once you set out all the fixings. On busy weeknights, quesadillas are more my speed. The kids love it just as much, maybe even more, because they really feel like their helping mommy cook. My older daughter helps shred the cheese using a box-style grater—a very grown-up feeling task for a 7 year old. Her little sister sprinkles the cheese on top of the tortillas. I set out the remaining ingredients and let the kids assemble their own quesadillas.

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Pantry Basics

Quick & Easy Italian Flatbread
March 5, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

A few weeks ago I mentioned on twitter that I was making Italian-style quesadillas. Within minutes someone in Tuscany replied they really have a dish in Italy called piadina, and it’s very similar to what I was preparing for dinner. All it took was a few clicks and keystrokes, and bingo, the homemade flour tortillas I usually make just needed a few tweaks to become a quick and easy Italian flatbread.

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Baking

Time to Make the Doughnuts
March 1, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Light and airy, yeast-raised doughnuts were a favorite growing up, especially glazed ones with sprinkles. As an adult I became more partial to cake doughnuts. The sturdier construction ensured it stood up well to a few dunks in a mug of coffee. The problem, though, is those calories were much easier to burn as a kid than as a busy mother of two—chasing after a toddler is workout of another kind.

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Family

DIY Dinner
February 25, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Let’s face it, you can’t please everyone every night when it comes to dinner. On those nights when I want something with more grown-up flair, hot pots are the perfect answer. This isn’t a classic Japanese-style hot pot but it is filled with big, bold flavors that will leave you longing for seconds.

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Pantry Basics

The Heat is On
February 23, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

The truth is there isn’t one definitive reason for high obesity rates or nutritionally void food choices. Schedules are busier than ever, processed foods are cheap, placed front and center at supermarkets—it’s a perfect storm of sorts. The most important change you can make to beat this battle of the bulge is to simply get cooking.

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Family

The Breakfast Compromise
February 21, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Ever since my oldest daughter could eat pancakes, they’ve been her favorite breakfast. I much prefer a protein-rich meal to energize me for the coming day. What we needed was a compromise—whole wheat pancakes fit the bill.

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Family

A Well-Balanced Diet
February 17, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I always felt a sense of pride that milk or water were the beverages of choice for my oldest daughter once she made the switch from breastmilk to cow’s milk. What I hadn’t prepared for was the onslaught of juice introduced to her diet when she began pre-school. Rather than forbid it all together, the last few years have been about teaching moderation.

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Family

This Little Piggy
February 12, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Parenting the second time around is an interesting experiment. I played it safe with my older daughter. Devoured and dutifully put to use everything the magazines said I should do. It wasn’t until my second child five years later, that I realized people have been doing this for thousands of years. Parenting I mean, and they didn’t have monthly cave drawing subscriptions to Parents magazine.

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Entertaining

Super Bowl Salad
February 7, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Early on in our courtship, my husband and I started cooking up a Mexican spread—or at least an American version of it, for Super Bowl Sunday. I’m not sure how it started, but as time went on it became tradition. This year I intend to mix things up a little, and put a twist on the salad portion of the evening.

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Family

The Rice Cereal Debate
February 2, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

First foods are an evergreen topic, and for good reason. Those early tastes help set the stage for good habits later on down the road. Recently, Dr. Alan Greene, a renowned pediatrician who has also written many childhood nutrition articles, made a heady claim on ABC’s Good Morning America show. Dr. Greene believes feeding white rice cereal is not only bad for baby, but thinks it’s the root cause of childhood obesity.

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Family

Tummy Time!
January 31, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I remember carefully cradling my oldest daughter in my arms with all those new-parent jitters. I’d never held a baby before, and was worried about properly supporting her neck muscles. Then suddenly we blinked, or at least it felt that way, and we hit an important milestone: tummy time.

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Pantry Basics

How To Make Oat Flour
January 27, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I’ve never been one for resolutions, but as 2010 faded into my memory, I awoke with the goal of getting more whole grains into my family’s eating habits. Since I’m the head cook in our house, that is a very doable resolution. I’ve dabbled in whole wheat flours for years, but had never been wowed by any recipe to make it twice.

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Pantry Basics

Cabin Fever
January 24, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

The holiday may be over, but these fragrant, spice-scented muffins are the perfect treat year-round with an icy glass of milk for the kids—and hot cup of coffee for mom.

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Pantry Basics

A Real Steel
January 20, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Oatmeal is one of those foods I didn’t fully appreciate until adulthood. My early introductions were granules poured from a packet and mixed with water. I know instant oatmeal is a booming business, but it doesn’t qualify as the real thing, and in my case turned me off the delicious nutty grain for a good 20 years

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Family

Baby's First Foods
January 13, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Ask any parent at what point you can start feeding baby solids, and you’re likely to get as many answers as people you ask. The best advice, though, will always come from your pediatrician. When my second daughter was born, I remember my surprise at her four-month check up when her doctor said the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had revised their guidelines and were now advising parents to wait until six months of age before starting solids.

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Pantry Basics

A Better Resolution
January 10, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

I remember the first, and only, time I’d ever sipped fresh-made almond milk. It was a palate-opening experience, and I longed to recreate it at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

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Pantry Basics

Cooking Under Pressure
January 6, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Winter is all about braising, but truth be told, I don’t have patience for traditional stew recipes. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll be ready to dig into a hearty meal simply by using a pressure cooker

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Family

Baby, It's Cold Outside
January 3, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

It looks like this winter has the potential to be a long and cold one for more than just us folks here in the northeast. Places I once thought were free from cold and ice, like the southern United States, are getting hit with record-breaking temperatures. This season, play it safe with these tips for dressing your little ones before heading outside.

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Family

Getting to Know Your Roots
December 29, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Parsnips are a hard sell with many kids. An easy fix might be making a puree, except my daughters aren't fans of mashed textures. Instead, I turn to roasting, a simple technique that slowly coaxes out the natural sweet and nutty flavors.

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Family

Santa’s Little Helper
December 23, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

There’s been much talk in our house about what to leave out for Santa come Christmas Eve. Recently the conversation turned towards a healthier note. After discussing the merits of gingerbread vs. chocolate chip cookies, my two and half year old pointed towards the fruit bowl on the counter. I said “you want you leave Santa some clementines”? Not only did she say yes—she decided he might like some bananas and apples too.

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Family

Baking with Kids
December 20, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

This time of year brings out the baker in everyone—my oldest daughter has been helping since she was old enough to sit upright on the counter. Before you break out the butter, set a plan so you can all rejoice in mission accomplished and cozy up with a warm cup of cocoa to reward a day of baking fun. Here are some tips to make sure kids of all ages have a fun and safe time in the kitchen.

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