Category Archives: Food

Happy Hour: The French 75

French 75

Admittedly, I am not a big cocktail person. In college, I drank mostly whiskey and cokes, which typically led to lots of dancing and other shenanigans. Since then, I often find myself completely confused by cocktail menus, because I have no idea what I like. After ordering one too many failed drinks while out, I typically choose to have a beer or a glass of wine instead. Continue reading


Grilled PB&J

One of the biggest perks to having kids is that you can start to eat things like pizza, corn dogs and PB&J’s without judgment. In fact, it’s expected. You know, because those are the things kids like.


Before having Ellie, lunch was always a bit of a struggle. Coming up with something to eat usually resulted in a Lean Cuisine or meal out. For some reason, I don’t think either of these options will really cut it with the kiddo.

So, I’ve been relying on experts. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Catherine McCord of Weelicious fame. She is a genius at transforming classic “kid” dishes into healthy, tasty meals people of all ages will love. Seriously, I’d recommend her cookbook, Weelicious Lunches, to anyone who packs a lunch. It’s really good.

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a PB&J in the style of a grilled cheese.
I’ve never been much of a cold sandwich eater, preferring mine hot. It may not look like much, but the peanut butter becomes almost dessertlike after being heated between two slices of bread. The whole thing only takes a few minutes to make, and you probably have the ingredients at your house already. So make it for your kiddos (or yourself), I won’t tell anyone. Continue reading

Around Here


The weather has been bleak, but these dwarf irises are a lovely reminder that spring is around the corner.


Ellie has been making a lot of coffee lately. She spends most of her time running from the table to the bookcase, carrying one piece at time, until everything is just right. “Sit down,” she’ll say and point to a specific point on the floor. She may need to work on her hostess skills.

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Amped Up Cocoa

After a week of really perfect weather, actual February temperatures can seem blisteringly cold. It might be nice to warm yourself up with something special – a Mexican-inspired hot cocoa, for example.

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I had planned to share this recipe and technique with you last week, but thought you might not be so interested while frolicking in the sun. But today, I have a feeling you might be more convinced. Lightly spiced, this was the best cup of cocoa I’ve ever had. Period.

I first read about spice-infused milk in Martha Stewart Living. I loved the concept. Basically, aromatics and spice steep in milk to create unique flavors. The infused milk can then act as a base to things like oatmeal, coffee, chai tea or cocoa. While I have only tried the version listed below, I think the possibilities are endless. Continue reading

Chicken Fried Rice

When I was on my Food Matters kick, I learned a life-changing way to make fried rice via Mark Bittman. It’s simple, but the results are anything but. Just ask Ellie.

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Here, I’ve included a classic recipe with carrots and peas. I’ve also made it with mushrooms and red peppers, which was equally good. In the recipe, you’ll find I give varying amounts for chicken and vegetables. Feel free to scale any of the ingredients up or down to suit your tastes. As long as you follow the process, you’ll have great results. I’ve made it with more vegetables, less chicken and less rice. It turned out really well regardless.

The key to this recipe is prepping all of the ingredients before you start cooking. It all comes together really quickly, so you need to have everything ready before you get started. Even with everything prepped, the last few steps are a bit of a mad dash. Continue reading

Around Here

Ellie spotted these ice skaters and after a few short minutes of watching tried to walk out on to the ice. Needless to say, we had to leave before she had any other big ideas.

I have been cooking from this non-stop since getting it for Christmas. Making lunch has always stumped me, but this cookbook makes it simple. Catherine McCord’s recipes are easy, quick and inventive. Weelicious Lunches is full of kid-friendly recipes adults can feel good about eating.

A few weekends ago, Ellie and I headed to Emporia without Keegan. He was tasked with switching the little one’s room with my office. Her room has shared a wall with our living room, and after watching TV for over a year at a barely audible volume, it was time for a change.

Whenever I’m in town, I try to swing by one of my favorite spots in Emporia the Sweet Granada. If you find yourself there, you should definitely check it out.

The room I stay in while at home has a wall full of books. Tucked in one corner are some of my favorites from childhood.

I had forgotten all about this children’s book until I started flipping through it. I remember trying to decide which character I wanted to be.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day early at Collection, Celina Tio’s new restaurant. It was fantastic. I wanted to eat everything on the menu. If you go, be sure to get the warm cookies as your dessert.

My littlest Valentine and I went to Dolce Bakery for a quick cupcake. It is one of my favorite places to go with Ellie. Here she is checking out her fellow customers.


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As soon as Ellie started eating dinner with us, I immediately started worrying about our vegetable intake. I mean really. Could I be more cliché?

As far as vegetables go, Ellie is actually pretty responsive at this point, and I’m making the most of it while it lasts. The big problem we face is that her parents like very different vegetables. One of the veggies we all like are carrots. Pre-Ellie, we  almost never had them, which is silly, because they’re inexpensive and delicious. Roasted with olive oil, cumin seeds, salt and pepper they’re addictive. Lately, I’ve been serving them as a mexi-fries with turkey burgers, and we can’t get enough of them. Literally, I worry about making enough.

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To make my mexi fries, you cut carrots into 1 – 2 inch matchsticks. Then, in a separate bowl, combine oregano, garlic powder, cumin, ancho chili powder and brown sugar. Add some evoo to make a slurry. Toss the carrots around in the bowl. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes and voila! Carrots! Continue reading