Heart Shaped Pancakes

Posted on February 11, 2017

Hi Everyone! If you’re a breakfast lover, I have a cute Valentine’s Day breakfast idea for you! It’s funny how something as simple as changing up the shape of pancakes will make them a little extra special, like these mini heart shaped Valentine’s Day pancakes! There may be other gifts that come about later in the day, or even in a more…steamy situation in the evening (I have one friend who got their partner a heavy hitch for the big Vday – I never knew what it was before that conversation!), but starting the day with a sweet sentiment can set the mood right from the start. Though, truth be told I never used to be a big breakfast eater; I would always run out the door in a hurry with a granola bar and a strong cup of tea in hand, but I have since learned the importance of having a good (and at least somewhat nutritious) breakfast that will actually keep me energized throughout the day. On most Saturday mornings, we have a big breakfast; there are waffles and pancakes, eggs and bacon, fruit and lots and lots of tea. I love those slow weekend mornings, they’re my favorite. If you want to make an extra special Valentine’s Day breakfast for someone next week, these mini heart shaped pancakes are a sweet, simple idea! Let’s just say that the first couple I made were more blob shaped than heart shaped, but once you get the hang of the technique, they are really easy to make! Here’s what you’ll need and how to make these…


Pancake batter
Heart shaped cookie cutter
Cooking spray/ Cooking oil or melted butter & pastry brush

Heart Shaped Pancakes


  1. First, make your pancake batter. I poured my pancake batter into a measuring cup to make pouring it into the heart cookie cutters easier, but you could spoon it in too. Heat either your griddle or pan, and place the cookie cutter on it, then quickly spray the inside (mainly the sides) with some cooking spray, or brush with some oil or butter. Pour in some pancake batter (don’t fill up the cookie cutter all the way to the top) and let the pancake cook until you start seeing bubbles on top.
  2. Using kitchen tongs, carefully grab the side of the cookie cutter (DO NOT use your hand as the cookie cutter will be very hot!) and gently pull it off (the pancake should hold its heart shape at this point), then flip the pancake and cook until done! Keep repeating the process, then serve pancakes with fresh berries, a dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup!

Heart Shaped Pancakes

Heart Shaped Pancakes

For another fun heart shaped Valentine’s Day treat, check out these Valentine’s Day Watercolor Heart Cookies!

Valentine's Day Watercolor Heart Cookies

Valentine’s Day Watercolor Heart Cookies

Posted on February 4, 2017

Hey Everyone! It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday morning here, I can hear birds chirping outside the kitchen window and it feels like spring has started it’s long journey towards us! I hope that February has been off to a good start for you… it’s been a busy week here, but I wanted to stop by and show you these fun Valentine’s Day cookies today! I love that everything turns pink in February. Because I love anything pink any time of the year, I love Valentine’s Day. These heart shaped sugar cookies are so fun and easy to make; all you need to do is bake basic sugar cookies and cover them with icing, and then get creative painting them with food coloring as you would paint a watercolor picture! It’s a fun technique and an easy way to personalize cookies, too!

Valentine's Day Watercolor Heart CookiesVALENTINE’S DAY WATERCOLOR HEART COOKIES

Sugar cookies (like this basic sugar cookie recipe)
White icing (I used this recipe, but modified the sugar quantity & only made half a batch)
Food Coloring (I used gel food coloring)


  1. First, bake your sugar cookies and let them cool completely. Next, make your icing. I used the same icing recipe as I did for my gingerbread house, but I made it a little thinner by adding less confectioners’ sugar, so that it would be easily spreadable. If you’re using this recipe, make sure to add the confectioners’ sugar in batches, adding just enough to get the desired consistency and thickness.
  2. Once you have your icing, fill your piping bag with it, and cut it at the end. Pipe the heart outline first, then flood the cookie evenly to get a nice, smooth surface. I always tap the cookie on the table surface a couple times, just to make sure there are no bubbles in the icing and it dries nicely. You will need to let the icing set completely, I let mine set overnight so that the surface would be completely dry and hardened and ready for you to paint on!
  3. So when the icing has dried and you’re ready to paint, get your food coloring out and use a plate as your paint palette. This is where the watercolor technique comes into play – you add a little bit of the food coloring to the plate and thin it out with water, and using a clean paintbrush, paint your designs on the icing! Make sure you paint very lightly and gently over the icing so as not to pierce or damage the surface. I just did simple Valentine’s themed designs on my cookies, but you can get really creative with this, and use this cookie technique for any season!

Valentine's Day Watercolor Heart Cookies

Valentine's Day Watercolor Heart Cookies

Valentine's Day Watercolor Heart Cookies

I hope you all have a great, sunny February weekend! Happy Baking!

Elegant DIY Flower Arrangement

Posted on January 27, 2017

Hey Everyone, I hope you’ve all had a good week! The sun finally came back out this week after what feels like a lifetime, and it’s crazy what a difference it instantly makes in your day. Of course it’s gone again now, but the sunny skies were nice while they lasted! They remind me how much I love spring, and that it can’t get here fast enough. Fresh flowers always feel like the best way to bring a little life and color into your home and so on one of those dark January afternoons this week, I picked up a bunch of flowers and created this simple arrangement that I’m sharing with you today… Because some days need all the brightening up they can get! Do you have those creative things that just feed your soul? This is one of mine. I could spend hours shopping for flowers, arranging them together and watching an empty container transform into something beautiful. Sometimes, the simplest things like a beautiful flower arrangement sitting on a stack of books or next to a big bowl of fresh fruit make such a difference in a room and in your day. Fresh flowers are the perfect way to instantly brighten your home during these cold and dark winter months!

Elegant DIY Flower Arrangement

To create this arrangement, I picked up a variety of different flowers and channeling my inner Ina Garten, I stuck to a simple color palette of just greens and whites. It makes the arrangement look fresh and elegant, and since Ina always knows what she’s talking about, I’m sticking with her advice! I picked up some green and white hydrangeas, ranunculus (one of my all-time favorites!), eucalyptus (a current favorite!) and white roses with mixed greenery, but there are so many other beautiful flower options and color palettes that you could go with instead! I always like to use a low glass vase, either round or square because it lets you create an arrangement that’s the perfect height to have on your dining table (people can still see each other across the table). Small glass containers like this are great to have on hand – if you have a round dining table you could make one larger arrangement for the center of the table, or if you have a longer rectangular table, you could use several of these low containers to line the center of the table!

Elegant DIY Flower Arrangement

I wanted the flower arrangement to look nice and full, so I used the hydrangeas and white roses as the bulkier space fillers. I started with those, adding a couple hydrangeas around the outside, then adding in some of the white roses, and gradually building the arrangement. I then started adding in the more delicate, smaller flowers (like the ranunculus) and where the arrangement needed some height I added in the eucalyptus. It’s really just an organic, creative process of creating a balanced, full looking arrangement. If you want to create a simple centerpiece for a dinner party or are looking for DIY centerpiece ideas for an event or wedding, something like this is an easy to do, beautiful option – it took me about 20 minutes and under $25 (thanks, Trader Joe’s! This isn’t a sponsored post or anything, it’s just where I usually buy flowers…) to create this arrangement!

Elegant DIY Flower Arrangement

Elegant DIY Flower Arrangement

Elegant DIY Flower Arrangement

I hope you all have a great (and hopefully sunny!) weekend! This is one of those weekends that I feel like I need to catch up on life… there are piles of laundry to do and a (creative – ha!) mess in my office I need to clean up among other things! As always, thank you so much for stopping by today, I hope you have a great day! See you back here again soon!

Mitten Sugar Cookies

Posted on January 23, 2017

Hey Everyone! I hope that 2017 has been off to a good start for you! I love the start of a new year. As much as I love the whole holiday season and all the baking, decorating and fun that comes with it, as soon as Christmas is over, I am so ready to take all the decorations down, de-glitter every surface (which pretty much seems impossible, since even after multiple cleanings, I am still somehow finding glitter around) and get a clean, fresh start on everything again. I don’t really make new years’ resolutions, but there are some things I want to do more of in 2017, and blogging is one of them… so here’s to keeping that up (at least somewhat consistently) all year long! I thought it would be fun to make these mitten sugar cookies this winter, but it turns out this has been the warmest January I think i can ever remember! It seems like every time the East Coast gets snow, it misses the DC area completely and we just get stuck with rain for days… I’m still hoping for at least one big snowstorm this winter… and knowing this crazy weather, it won’t come till April! But regardless of the weather, these are fun cookies to bake up this winter! You could obviously eat them, but they would be fun to use for a kitchen garland of some sort, or kitchen decor in general! Here’s how I made them…

Winter Mitten Sugar Cookies


Sugar cookies (like this basic sugar cookie recipe)
White icing (I used this one, but modified the sugar quantity & only made half a batch)
Shimmering sugar for sprinkling

Winter Mitten Sugar Cookies


  1. First, bake your cookies and let them cool completely. Make sure you give them enough time to cool, you don’t want the icing to melt all over them! Next, make your icing. You can use any basic white icing recipe; I used this one, which is the same recipe that I used for my gingerbread house, only I changed the amount of confectioners’ sugar to make it less thick and more easily spreadable. If you use this recipe, add the confectioners’ sugar a little bit at a time, adding just enough to make it your desired consistency and thickness (also taste it to see if it’s good!). I also only used about half of this recipe for all the cookies.
  2. Once your cookies are completely cooled and your icing is ready, fill a plastic piping bag with some of the icing and cut the end of the piping bag. Next, pipe the outline of the mitten. Then, flood the inside part of the bottom of the mitten (the part that’s going to be covered with the shimmering sugar), and immediately shake the shimmering sugar over the whole area. Let it sit for a couple seconds, then shake the excess sugar off.
  3. Next, flood the whole surface of the mitten with icing, and let the icing set completely. Once I flood the cookie with icing, I like to tap it gently on the table surface, just to make sure there are no small bubbles in the icing.
  4. Once the icing has set, you can pipe on some of the detailing. I did a couple different sweater patterns on the mittens (just making it up as I went along..!) and then piped an outline around the mitten to make it nice and neat. Let the icing set completely and you’re done! You could of course make the mittens all colorful with different colored icing or shimmering sugar, I just liked the wintery white look here… the possibilities are endless though!

Winter Mitten Sugar CookiesWinter Mitten Sugar Cookies Winter Mitten Sugar Cookies Winter Mitten Sugar Cookies Winter Mitten Sugar Cookies Winter Mitten Sugar Cookies

Happy Baking! I hope you all have a great week, thanks for stopping by today! Come back again soon!

Gingerbread House 2016

Posted on December 11, 2016

Hey Everyone! I hope you are all having a great December and holiday season so far; it’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away now! So little time, still so much to do… I don’t know about you, but I feel like time just goes faster and faster every year! I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas traditions with you today, which is my gingerbread house! I’ve made one almost every year for the past couple of years (I shared this one and this one on the blog) and so I wanted to stop by and show you this year’s! My gingerbread house seems to get progressively more complicated every year, which means the process seems to get progressively more stressful every year… because there is seriously nothing more frustrating than something you’ve worked on for hours collapsing into a big sticky mess! This house would never pass a home inspection (ha!) but fingers crossed it’ll make it till Christmas! I had this vision of a New England-cottage-looking house in my mind, and this is how it turned out! Let me tell you a little more about how I made it, and some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Gingerbread-House-684x1024.jpg

I always start out with a picture in my head of what I want my gingerbread house to look like… I’ve never really followed a picture or an example, but there are so many out there that you can use for guidance and inspiration! I drew a couple rough sketches of what I wanted to make, and then made templates out of card stock (*Tip: save those templates for next year! It’ll save you time if you want to make a similar looking house again). The process of making a gingerbread house can be pretty time consuming, so one of my favorite shortcuts is to use a store-bought gingerbread cookie mix. I almost always make everything from scratch, but for the sake of time, I always use a mix for this dough! (I used one package of gingerbread cookie dough mix for this house.) I roll out the dough pretty thin, then lay the templates on top and carefully cut around them, then transfer them onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Baking time will vary for the different pieces (longer for larger pieces, shorter for the smaller ones), so just watch your oven!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Homemade-Gingerbread-House-684x1024.jpg

Make sure all the pieces are completely cooled before you start, you could even bake everything off the night before. I’ve played around with different icing recipes, but this year I used this one, with just a slight alteration – I didn’t use quite as much sugar. This is another thing that you just need to play around with. Add the sugar in portions, adding just enough to make the icing thick enough so it’s not runny anymore, but not too thick where it won’t go through a piping bag. My biggest tip is definitely to decorate each face and piece of the gingerbread house BEFORE putting it together! It is so much easier to have the pieces laying on a flat surface than trying to do it once it’s all put together! I like to cut the tip of the piping bag as little as possible so I can get really thin lines, it just makes everything look cleaner.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Gingerbread-House-2-666x1024.jpg

Once you’ve decorated all the sides, the fun part begins… trying to put everything together! This is honestly the part when I tell myself I will never make one of these ever again, because trying to get all the parts to stick together can be a serious nightmare! This is why you need your icing to be pretty thick, so it can act as the glue and it doesn’t run all over the place. Build the four walls first – it’s a good idea to have heavy things like cans or bottles on hand to secure the walls until the icing dries. Next, add the roof and any other pieces on top. It’s probably a good idea to build the house on whatever surface you’ll be displaying it on, so you don’t risk it falling apart when you move it, but if you do move it, just make sure all the icing has set and dried completely. I carefully moved mine onto a white cake stand that I lined with some fresh greens for a clean & simple look. And that’s pretty much all there is to it! I hope you have fun making your gingerbread house if you make one, and enjoy all your Christmas traditions that make the holiday season so special! Thanks so much for stopping by today, have a wonderful week!

Fall Front Porch

Posted on October 30, 2016

Hi Everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great weekend! It’s hard to believe that November is almost here, especially given the fact that it’s been so unseasonably warm this fall. We spent the majority of September painting the exterior of our house, and now that it’s all finally done, it’s been so fun adding some fall touches to the front porch! I thought I would show you a little bit of it today. Painting the house was a much bigger project than we expected (as most house projects have been so far…!) but it’s definitely been worth it. We bought our first home, a cape cod style house, last summer, so we’ve been here for a little over a year now and we’re finally getting around to working on some of the projects we’ve been wanting to do since we moved in. Our house was a pretty saturated yellow color when we first bought it, and although it was cute (and easy to spot when driving up the hill on our street!) we wanted to tone the colors down a little and paint it a more neutral color. I knew I wanted to paint it light gray, and I thought navy would be the perfect color to use on the front door shutters to complement it. Since we were painting the house in September, I already had fall decorating in mind, and the gray and navy colors worked out to be the perfect backdrop for all the fall oranges, reds and yellows!

Outdoor Fall decor

I centered all the fall decor on the front porch around the front door and just tried to create a full arrangement on either side of the door using lots of different colored and sized pumpkins and mums. Whether it’s fall decorating or any other decorating and design, the best way to create a full looking grouping is to use objects of varying sizes at different height levels to create balance and depth. Hay bales are a great and easy way to add height and create an additional surface for displaying pumpkins and mums. I also created a pumpkin topiary by simply stacking three different colored and sized pumpkins on top of each other, to add another height element to the grouping. This is what it all looks like today (…because I keep adding to it and changing it up every day…)

Fall Front Porch

As for the paint colors we used on the house, that’s a whole other long story… If you’re very particular when it comes to colors, or if you’ve ever just tried picking paint colors for your house, you will know how overwhelming it can be! I went through gazillions of grays to find the perfect gray, only to find that it was way too light when we started painting. Of course I realized that after I had already bought several gallons of it… One of these days I will learn to buy paint samples and save myself (and my poor husband…) hours of frustration! So back to the store it went to be tinted and darkened. Thankfully it’s much easier to make a color darker than it is lighter! I’ve frantically taken gallons of paint back to the store to get them lightened only to find out how hard it is; this was luckily the opposite case and a pretty easy fix. The gray paint color we used is called Stone Eagle, by Sherwin-Williams, but we had it darkened just a tad so it’s not as light as the original color. It’s a cool, true gray color, and I’m really happy with how it finally turned out!

Fall wreath

As for the front door and the window shutters, I ended up going with Naval, also by Sherwin-Williams. There were a couple different navy paint colors I was deciding between, but this looked like a true navy to me, that was still vibrant and blue, for a lack of a better description, as opposed to others that were almost black or had purple undertones to them. We did several coats of it on both our window shutters and the front door, and I’m really happy with how it looks against the light gray, it really pops! I love the way it looks with the fall colors right now, and I’m thinking it’ll be a great backdrop for Christmas decorating too, where you could pair it with traditional reds, whites, silvers or golds… but one holiday season at a time!

Fall wreath

I hope you all have a great week and that Monday treats you well… Thanks so much for stopping by today! Happy Fall!

Cranberry Orange Scones & Memories of Vermont

Posted on October 25, 2016

Hello, Friends! It has been a while. A little over a year, actually, since I’ve stopped by here and shared a little bit of my world with you! It has been a busy year, to say the least, but I’ve missed blogging and thought it was about time I got back into it. I have been focusing on growing my socials like Instagram with the help of Nitreo which should in turn help my blog prosper. I made these Cranberry Orange Scones last week, and thought they would be the perfect thing to share with you today! If you’re a scone lover, you will love these! I’ve tried so many different scone recipes, and I love the consistency of these. They are soft and buttery on the inside, bursting with fresh flavor from the tangy cranberries and fresh orange juice and zest. They’re the perfect fall treat with a hot cup of tea or coffee on a cozy afternoon! The recipe is from The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, which was created by the family that owns this traditional New England general store. My husband and I spent a couple days in Vermont over the holidays last year, and fell in love with the area instantly! We’ve loved every single recipe from the cookbook so far and opening it always brings back memories of the cold, snowy days we spent up there; driving on remote snow covered country roads, walking through quaint little towns filled with New England charm, eating the sharpest cheddar cheese and every meal involving maple syrup in some form or another! On our way to the little Bed & Breakfast we were staying at, we stopped for dinner and at the end of our meal we ordered the richest, most decadent bread pudding I have ever had, that was drowned in a thick pool of maple syrup. Since it was late and the roads were getting pretty icy, we took it to go, and within about two minutes I managed to spill the maple syrup all over the front seat of the car… needless to say, it was a sticky mess for the rest of the trip. A sweet smelling sticky mess, thanks to which the smell of maple syrup will always remind me of Vermont and that perfect snowy Christmas! Sometimes the worst messes turn into the best memories… But back to the scones!

*Makes 6 scones*
(Recipe adapted from The Vermont Country Store Cookbook)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for sprinkling scones)
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS baking powder
3/4 of a stick of unsalted butter, cold (6 TBS)
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 TBS fresh grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg
A couple TBS of milk for brushing tops of scones

Cranberry Orange Scones


  1. First, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder (I did this in my electric mixer bowl). Next, cut your butter into small pieces (make sure the butter is very cold!) and mix it with the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. (*Note – the original recipe says to grate frozen butter into the flour mixture, but I found this to work just as well.)
  2. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the fresh cranberries and the grated orange zest. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, heavy cream and orange juice, then pour it into the flour mixture while gently stirring just until a dough forms.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425 deg F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a rectangle about 2 inches high. With a knife, cut the dough into 6 equal sized triangle shaped scones.
  5. Place the scones on the parchment paper lined baking sheets leaving enough room in between them, as they will definitely rise and get bigger as they bake! Pat the scones down just a little, and brush the tops with a little bit of milk and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake the scones for about 18 – 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned on top and around the edges (watch them carefully the last couple of minutes so they don’t burn!) Once baked, let them cool for a couple minutes before eating!

*Note: The original recipe is for 12 scones, so simply double this recipe if you want to make 12! They are definitely best eaten fresh and preferably the same day as you baked them (which won’t be hard to do, trust me!) but you can definitely store them in an airtight container and they will be good for a day or two!

Thank you so much for stopping by A Homemade Living today! I promise I’ll be back again soon! I hope you have a great rest of your day, and that you’re enjoying some beautiful fall weather wherever you are!

Framed Family Recipes

Posted on September 17, 2015

Hi Everyone! I wanted to share this simple and easy idea for framed family recipes with you today! A couple of weeks ago, we moved into a new house and even though there are still a couple of boxes to be unpacked, furniture to be bought and things to be fixed, it is slowly turning into the home that I had envisioned when we first bought it. So much has had to be moved in that we needed to hire moving vans like Southern Van Hire, so we could fit everything in for the day we needed! Moving is stressful no matter which way you do it. When it comes to interior design and creating your home, I think it’s all about layers. You begin with the basics, your walls, your floors, your furniture… and then you begin to build more layers – you start introducing more colors, more textures, more accessories, and all the personal touches that really make a home come to life and give it its heartbeat. For instance, I really like the photo prints I’ve seen on Bumblejax and am actually thinking about introducing some into my home to liven up the place somewhat!

Framed Family Recipes

I have a big stash of old family recipes that I somehow wanted to display in our kitchen and dining area. Some, like the one in the photo above, were handwritten by my great-grandmother in the early 1940’s, some were written out on a typewriter by my grandmother, and others are cut-outs from old newspapers, cookbooks and pamphlets. What I find so interesting is how much you can truly see into the lives of the people of the time just by reading through their recipe books. The handwritten Czech recipe above, as many others in my great-grandmother’s notebook, is entitled “Wartime recipe for…” From reading the ingredients, you can see what there was a shortage of at the time and how creative cooks became with learning to substitute various more readily available ingredients for the more sparse and expensive ones. Many of the recipes are for meatless dishes, and many use beans and potatoes (including desserts! — pastry cream out of white beans!), since that was what was available.

My Cookbook

There are many personal stories that you can begin to see as you read between the lines of many of these recipes too. As a single woman living before the outbreak of the Second World War, my great-grandmother moved to England from Czechoslovakia, and several of the recipes I read in her notebook that she wrote later as a married woman upon her return home were clearly culinary memories of her years in London. These recipes, not just in their physical written form, have travelled many miles, countries and continents, and as I hang them up on my wall here on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, I wonder which of our current family favorites will survive the test of time, and where life will take them one day!

Old recipes

This simple craft idea really needs no directions or explaining. All you need is a picture frame and your recipe. I think adding a mat elevates the framed recipes a little bit, and gives them a clean, crisp look. If you don’t want to use the original recipe, you may want to just scan it, adjust the size, then print it out and frame it. Another fun idea may be to print a scanned copy of the recipe for family members, frame each copy and give them away as gifts (along with the cooked/baked recipe!) – a fun holiday gift idea! What are your favorite family recipes? I would love to know! Thank you so much for stopping by today, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!

Beef Stew with Roasted Garlic

Posted on September 1, 2015

Hi Everybody! Happy September! Although this crazy heat and humidity sure doesn’t feel like September fall is on it’s way, I’m hoping I wake up to a cool and crisp morning one of these days… because I’m so ready for it! As you may be able to tell by another fall themed recipe! I know I’ve shared several different stew recipes with you over the past couple of years, but I couldn’t resist sharing another. Stews are one of my favorites things to cook; not only are they so hearty and cozy, but I also happen to love the slow cooking process. All the chopping, peeling, and stirring is curiously comforting as the ingredients in the big cooking pot begin to fill the kitchen with such warmth and deliciousness! I would also love to make goulash soon too. The flavours are amazing and the food has a very interesting history too. Another thing I love about making stews, is that no stew ever turns out exactly the same; you can add in different herbs, seasonings, vegetables, even meats, depending on what may be in season or what you have on hand, and somehow, it always turns out delicious! I love this particular stew because of all the fresh herbs, but also because of the roasted garlic. It’s a simple way to add more flavor, and really it’s not just for stews, you could use this in any sauce, dip or spread, to give the garlic such great sweetness and softness. Another great thing about stews is that they get better the longer they sit… the flavors marry and intensify, making it the perfect make-ahead meal!

Beef Stew with Roasted GarlicBEEF STEW WITH ROASTED GARLIC
*Serves 4*
(Recipe adapted from Julia Child & Epicurious)

3 1/2 lbs beef, cut into about 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 head of garlic
A couple of tbs of olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 carrots
8oz mushrooms, sliced
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 – 4 cups beef broth (homemade or low sodium)
2 cups red wine or extra beef broth
3 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs all-purpose flour
Salt & Pepper
To serve with beef stew: crusty white bread and/or mashed potatoes

Beef Stew with Roasted Garlic


1. The first step is a sort of “pre-step” and that’s roasting the garlic! Preheat your oven to 400 deg F and cut the top off your head of garlic. Place the garlic cut side up on a piece of foil, drizzle it with about a tablespoon or so of olive oil, then bring up the sides of the foil and make a little “garlic package”, making sure it’s sealed well. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until the garlic cloves are nice and soft. Once soft, take the garlic out of the oven, and let it cool a little bit, then squeeze the softened garlic out!

2. While your garlic is roasting, begin cooking your stew. In a large pot, heat up some olive oil and the two tablespoons of butter, and brown your beef. Make sure you do this in a couple of batches so you don’t crowd the pot. Let the beef brown on all sides, then remove it from the pot, and add the diced onion as well as one diced carrot into the pot, season with salt and pepper, lower the heat and cook until the vegetables soften.

3. Add the flour to the vegetables and cook, stirring, for about a minute, then add the beef back in, and add the tomato paste at this point as well. Stir everything gently until the vegetables and the meat are coated in the tomato paste. Add the fresh herbs and roasted garlic (I mush it up with a fork before adding it. Also, add as much/little of it as you like, depending on how garlicky you want the stew to be! If you want it extra garlicky, you can roast more than one head of garlic!) and then drown everything with 2 cups of either red wine or beef broth. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, then add 3 cups of beef broth, cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours, checking on the stew and stirring every 15 minutes or so. Then, uncover the stew, and let it cook for another 1 1/2 hours.

4. While it’s cooking, saute the sliced mushrooms until tender in some olive oil, then about 15 minutes before the stew is done cooking, add the mushrooms, as well as the remainder of the carrots (peel and cut them into chunks), and the rest of the beef broth if necessary – if the stew looks too thick, add in some extra broth to thin it out (you can use more than one cup if you need to). Discard the bay leaf and fresh herb sprigs, and check that the seasoning is right, adding in more salt and pepper if you need it (sometimes I add in a pinch of sugar at the end to balance out the flavors). Serve with mashed potatoes, fresh crusty white bread, and an extra sprig of fresh rosemary on top! Bon Apetit! (said in Julia Child’s voice, of course!)
(*Note: To make fishing out the herb sprigs easier, you can make a “bouquet garni” which basically just means placing the herbs in a piece of cheesecloth and tying it up, then placing that in your cooking pot. You could also just tie up all the herbs and place them in the pot. I would definitely recommend doing one of these, otherwise you will be spending time trying to fish those sprigs out, and there will be way too many little pieces of rosemary swimming around your stew!)

I hope you all have a wonderful day, and enjoy this hearty, cozy stew!
Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Spiced Applesauce Muffins

Posted on July 26, 2015

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re all having a great summer! Sorry it’s been quiet around here for the past couple of weeks, life has been busy to say the least! It’s been a crazy hectic summer this year, between traveling, new jobs, looking for and getting ready to move into a new house… all exciting things, but overwhelming at the same time! But since I’m having a quiet Sunday afternoon at home today, I thought I would share this sweet treat that I’m having with my cup of tea right now with you! This year was the first time in a long time that I was looking forward to the summer. Last winter was so long and cold that I couldn’t wait until the day I could trade my winter boots for flip-flops and get in my car without having to get mountains of snow off of it first! But now, a couple of weeks into the heat and humidity that we get here on the East Coast, I remember why I always dread this time of the year, and why I usually spend the summer impatiently waiting for fall to come already… That sort of explains this recipe. A craving for fall.

These Spiced Applesauce Muffins are basically a taste of fall in a delicious little package! They’re light and fluffy because of the applesauce, and have that distinct fall taste and smell thanks to all the warm spices. I usually bake muffins or some sort of quick bread on Sundays, so that I have something that’s easy to grab on my way out the door in the morning for the rest of the week. If you’re as anxious for fall to come as I am, you will love these! And if not, save the recipe for September!

Here’s how to make these…

Spiced Applesauce Muffins

*Makes 12 muffins*
(Recipe adapted from Epicurious)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Spiced Applesauce Muffins


1. First, preheat your oven to 400 deg F, and line a standard sized muffin pan with 12 paper liners. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In your electric mixer bowl, whisk together the eggs and the brown sugar, then slowly begin pouring in the melted butter, and mix until you have a smooth mixture. Add in the vanilla extract and applesauce, then begin adding in the dry ingredient mixture. Gently fold in the chopped nuts (you could substitute raisins for chopped nuts, those would work well too!) and then divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cups (you want them to be about 3/4 full). Sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon sugar topping mixture (this will form a thin “crust” on top of the muffins as they bake), then bake the muffins for 18 – 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Once baked, let the muffins cool for a couple minutes before eating.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend, and enjoy this recipe if you try it out!

Back to top