• Consider bringing local fruits and veggies for a farm fresh vacation!

    Farm Fresh Vacation

    Consider bringing local fruits and veggies for a farm fresh vacation! We’re on vacation this week in Cape May, New Jersey. The drive up from Maryland was fairly uneventful, except for a few stretches about 20 miles out from the shore where we averaged 5 mph. Painfully slow, especially when you have a five year old and a one year old in the car and there’s no A/C. But there was one good thing that came out of the slowwwwwwwww drive (60 minutes to drive 10 miles, to be exact!), I was able to take in all the local produce stands on the side of the road. Seriously, there must…

  • This homemade fresh salsa is so good you'll never buy it from the grocery store again!

    Bring Your Fresh Salsa!

    This homemade fresh salsa is so good you’ll never buy it from the grocery store again! Years ago a good friend of mine started making fresh salsa as part of her annual Cinco de Mayo party. Everyone always raved about it, especially my husband, so she made sure we left with a “to go” container after the party every year. My friend made no bones about where she got the recipe—it’s from the Better Homes & Gardens red and white checker cookbook that almost every house in America has on its shelves. Rather than make my husband wait 364 days to have his next dose of  salsa, I decided to…

  • Once you know how to hold a knife properly you'll wonder how you ever managed in the kitchen otherwise!

    How to Hold a Knife

    Once you know how to hold a knife properly you’ll wonder how you ever managed in the kitchen otherwise! I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post may contain affiliate links. I’ve never understood why people prefer a food chopper to a nice chef’s knife. If you know how to hold a knife properly (which, by the way, does not include putting your index finger along the knife’s back), you can chop an onion or any other vegetable just as fast—if not faster—than the food chopper.…

  • The Top of the Riverfront restaurant at the Millennium Hotel is a beautiful way to see downtown St. Louis at sunset.

    Top of the Riverfront in St. Louis

    Have you ever eaten at a rotating gourmet restaurant on top of a 28 story hotel? I was in St. Louis on business a couple months ago, and had the opportunity to dine at Top of the Riverfront on the 28th floor of the Millennium Hotel. Sounds fancy right? It was fancy, but also really cool, and different than any other restaurant I’ve been to, mostly due to the fact that the restaurant rotated 360 degrees. What a beautiful way to see downtown St. Louis at sunset. Here are my top three things to note if YOU decide to eat here: 1. GO HUNGRY From hors d’oeuvres like Prawn Martini and Asian Duck…

  • The courtyard at Volt Restaurant in Frederick, Maryland.

    Volt Restaurant

    The outside courtyard at Volt Restaurant is just as charming as the inside, full of ambiance with strings of lights, a rustic brick patio and all the greenery — perfect at dusk. As an avid Top Chef watcher, I was doubly intrigued when two Frederick natives, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio (brothers!), were not only on season six, but made it to the very end as winner and runner-up! Returning to his roots, Bryan, the runner-up, opened a restaurant downtown in an old brownstone mansion in 2008. Successful before Bryan appeared on TV, Volt has become wildly popular since the show aired in 2009, with waiting lists for a reservation — some going…

  • The very best banana bread EVER.

    The Best Banana Bread

    Inevitably, we always end up with a bunch of bananas on the counter that are over-ripe. There are many different ways you can use them: banana muffins, banana pudding, banana cream pie, banana pancakes. All of these get better the riper the banana. By far, my favorite recipe to use over-ripe bananas in was inspired by this recipe I found via Food Network. I follow the measures in the base of the Flour’s recipe to the letter, as you should when making any baked good (being specific with measures, that is). Then I make a few tweaks here and there, based largely upon what’s in my fridge and pantry on the day I…

  • Emeril's delicious and unbeatable Key Lime Pie recipe, with a few tweaks—it might even be better frozen!

    Unbeatable Key Lime Pie

    This is my twist on Emeril’s deliciously tart key lime pie recipe — it’ll become a fast favorite in your house!  I love pies. Specifically, I love tart, creamy, gooey pies. I was on the hunt for a good key lime pie, and as many of my recipe searches did in 2010, this one started with the Food Network site. There were easy recipes, difficult recipes, recipes with five stars and some with none. I sorted by my favorite chefs, and then unsorted. Then, finally I came across *the* recipe. It was simple without being artificial, had a short ingredient list (some of which I already had in my kitchen),…