Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies


I feel two things when I'm at the airport about to fly with my kids: relief and fear.  Relief, because, I've made it this far.  I've packed all the snacks and chargers and iPads and crayons and diapers and extra clothes and emergency lollipops and flasks of vodka (hahaha just kidding, or am I?).  Even if I've forgotten something (like the great Christmas Blizzard of 2010 when we flew from LA to NY without Jack's winter coat), the relief is still there because there's not much to do at that point (other than to feel like the worst mom ever and pull out that flask you didn't pack).  And then the fear.  The fear because of what lies ahead... five hours trapped in a tunnel with your small kids who might behave?  Maybe?  Maybe not?  Doesn't really matter, because you're going to be pumping them with those emergency lollipops and Benadryl (HAHAHAHAHA just kidding. Or am I?).  

That's how I'm feeling right now as I type this on my phone from the airport.  But what I'm REALLY here to tell you about are the cookies I made yesterday, the glorious, glorious cookies.  I've had this recipe bookmarked for quite some time.  Audra at The Baker Chick sure knows her baked goods.  Everything you love about a cinnamon roll and everything you love about a sugar cookie, at once!?  Yes please!!  They were delicious.  Thanks Audra!  And now it's time to board the plane... pray for us. 

Tuna Casserole + Fried Chicken


I had a blast this morning (as you can tell from photo above) cooking one of my favorite childhood dishes: Tuna Casserole (or Tuna Casserola as we called it as kids, don't know why).  I LOVE the traditional way my mom made it (with crushed potato chips on top, obviously) but I put a modern twist on this version.  Carson made his mom's Fried Chicken (which you can also read about here).  In case you missed it (or are interested in the recipes), you can check it out here.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mama's out here, I hope you have splendid weekends!  I wrote a little story about my mom here, if you'd like to read :)    

(Images by Samantha Okazaki, and Jumpsuit from J.Crew)

Bourbon Balls


Sorry for my lack of posts this week.  MY HOUSE IS FULL OF THE SICK.  That's right, The Sick.  I'm going to call it that, because it's so mighty it deserves it's own title, capital letters and all.  It started with one kid, and just as that kid showed signs of getting better, another kid went down.  The Sick likes to overlap, oh, and The Sick is many things.  It is a viral hacking/snotty nose in one kid, it is pinkeye in another, and a fever/barf in the last kid.  I'm calling them "kid" because I can't even remember their names.  I've lost it SO MUCH, in fact, that I threw out pinkeye kid's eye drops the other night, completely absentmindedly (which led to a night-long search ending in the dumpster).  

However!  We still managed to have a fun weekend celebrating the fight and the baseball and the hockey and the draft and the basketball and the Derby... which is where these Bourbon Balls came in (recipe here).  Oh, hello Bourbon!  These are not for kids (although maybe they would help sick kids?  Hmm...).  They are very bourbon-y.  But delicious.  And rich!  And did I mention the Bourbon?  (Recipe here.)

And finally... Carson and I are doing a cooking segment on the Today Show tomorrow!  It's a Mother's Day segment in honor of our mama's... tune in!

Another Chocolate Chip Cookie...


Bread flour, cake flour, all granulated sugar, all brown sugar, some powdered sugar, muscovado sugar, coconut sugar, browned butter, salted butter, shortening, chocolate discs, layered dough, chilled dough, pudding mix, cake mix, oatmeal... YOU NAME IT, I've tried it.  I have tried one BILLION variations for chocolate chip cookies.  And when I think there is nothing new left, something comes up.  However subtle the change, I will try it.  Do you know why?  It's an excuse.  It's an excuse to bake and to eat spoonfuls of cookie dough.  "Oh, in the name of research I should probably find out what happens if I use some turbinado sugar as well as the brown and granulated sugar!"  Which is what I just did with these cookies (recipe here).  They were quite lovely, the turbinado sugar (aka "sugar in the raw") gave the cookies a subtle crunch.  

So, anyone have another variation I just HAVE to try?? 

Boursin Pasta with Spring Peas


Are you familiar with Boursin Cheese?  I add it to almost every cheese plate, and it's always a hit.  It sort of tastes like flavored cream cheese, and as a devout cream cheese lover I obviously find that wonderful.  Well, the other day I was trolling around blog land, and I came across a PASTA in which the sauce is made entirely from Boursin cheese.  Not only did that sound like CRACK to me, it also sounded incredibly easy.  And it was!  Pasta, Boursin cheese, frozen (or fresh) peas and lemon zest.  And don't forget lots and lots of pepper.  I ate this until I felt really, really full, and if anyone has any suggestions on how I can implement portion control into my life, that'd be great.  

You can find the recipe here.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup


If you're like me, then you frequently buy roasted chickens at the grocery store because you can't handle how good they smell when you walk past them.  If it weren't taboo (or illegal) I would stop what I was doing, open the plastic lid, and eat a drumstick with my bare hands right there in the market.  Instead, I put the chicken in my cart like a law-abiding citizen, purchase it, and take it home with all sorts of plans in my head.  A pre-roasted chicken is really the best shortcut when it comes to making salads, sandwiches or soups.  Like this light and creamy tortilla soup, which would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo, by the way.  With only a couple of tablespoons of cream, you don't have to feel guilty eating bowlfuls of this... and you will eat bowlfuls, it's very delicious.  We topped ours with avocado, queso fresco and crispy leeks.  Go forth, and steal- buy, buy a chicken!   

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Serves 6-8)
Printable Recipe

2 T olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 T all-purpose flour
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 T half and half (or heavy cream, or milk)
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups shredded roasted chicken
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add cilantro, ground seasonings and salt and pepper.  Saute for a few minutes more.  Add flour, and sauté for one more minute.  Then add tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.  Add cream and stir until combined.  Add chicken stock, and bring to a boil.  *Remove from heat, and with a handheld immersion blender, puree until desired consistency is reached (I like mine still somewhat chunky).  Return pot to a low simmer (medium or medium-low), and stir in chicken and corn.  Simmer slowly for 15 minutes.  Serve with toppings of choice!

*You can skip this step if you don't want a creamy soup.  And if you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer soup to a blender to puree, working in batches.  

Crunchy Parmesan Sugar Snap Peas


Holy BAD WORD these are good.  These are really, really good.  

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I should write for a food magazine with my elaborate descriptive words.  Holy bad word?  Really, really good?  Ugh, I'm sorry.  It's just sometimes my kids do not sleep and my brain is mush and this is the best I can do.  Only, guess what?  They DID sleep last night.  All of them, all night long!  And when that happens, there's this little devil in my brain that says WAKE UP!  WAKE UP AND THINK ABOUT NONSENSE, ALL NIGHT LONG!

But back to the really, really good sugar snap peas.  I loved these.  In fact, a friend who doesn't like peas tried them and SHE loved them.  They are super simple to make... just toss sugar snap peas with olive oil, parmesan, panko (or bread crumbs) and salt and pepper... then roast!  A perfect spring appetizer or side dish.  Find the recipe here.

On a side note: I wrote a new article for the Today Parenting Team, which you can find here.  If you like it, please share and vote!  Thanks so much I love you.


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