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Posts from — June 2013

better than your average chocolate chip cookies


Last summer, I introduced my Illinois bestie, Jen, to Pinterest. One of the first things she spotted was these cookies. We went directly to the store and bought the ingredients.

Best. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever!

Since they are so fabulous, I have not made a batch since!

Don’t act surprised, you know why… I’d eat them before they had a chance to cool and then loath myself for days on end. Yesterday I decided to tempt fate. I whipped up a batch, set them out to cool, and left the house.

Upon my return, I immediately packed them up and placed the cookies in the freezer. I did not eat a one.

Little miracles happen every single day!

Later this week, the frozen cookies will board a plane with me to Canada and be served at a 4th of July picnic.

Classic American Holiday + The Canadian Wilderness + Extra-Special Chocolate Chip Cookies = Perfection.


I used the reddish Alaea and the white Kona sea salts I brought home from Hawaii for two of the baking sheets of cookies and the pink Murray River salt for the third one. Use whatever sea salt you have on hand.

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June 30, 2013   2 Comments

worth repeating

This is a recipe I posted nearly four years ago, very soon after the birth of this blog.

Since it’s been so long and is buried deep in the archives, I feel it’s time to remind you about the summertime goodness and refreshment of my cucumber martini.

Cool cucumber, tart lime, luscious lime-simple syrup, herbal gin, and a boat-full of ice  …  what more could a parched girl living in a sweltering, arid, suffocatingly hot, dry, scorched, oven-like desert want?

OK, honestly, maybe a bowl of ice cream … but even without the ice cream, this cocktail will do just fine!


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June 29, 2013   No Comments

the best laid plans

happy hour

On Wednesday night, Peggy, Anne, and I made a 6 PM date for an impromptu happy hour at my house.

I had planned to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up some nibbles and wine, but the day slipped away from me (hijacked actually) when something unexpected came up.

Sometimes, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do … with what she has on hand.

I raced through the door at 5:15; pulled a loaf of bread and a package of prosciutto from the freezer, chilled a couple of bottles of wine I had on hand, jumped in the shower, then threw together this quick appetizer… all before Anne rang the bell at 6:00.

3 ingredients

Victory is Mine!

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June 28, 2013   9 Comments

yes I did!

Basket of talent

I said I was going to shellac the lovely chalkboard cookies I received as a gift … and I did!

coat and adhere

I didn’t end up using shellac. Instead, I preserved and sealed the cookies with an acrylic clear matte coating and then I put them in a shadowbox.

I first tried to use Glue Dots to attach the cookies to the burlap backing … that did not work … but Velcro fasteners did the trick.

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June 26, 2013   3 Comments

Fresh Watermelon “Cake”

fresh watermelon layer cake

Watermelon and summer go hand-in-hand. Here’s a fun way to serve it up!

This recipe comes from an image I found on Pinterest. It is important to use full fat, not lite, coconut milk. Lite coconut milk will not whip.

Placing the coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight is also a must. It will cause the cream to separate from the milk. The thick cream is used, the milk is poured off.

If you’d rather skip the coconut cream altogether, I have another Watermelon “Cake” photo from Pinterest at the end of the post, no recipe needed for it.

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June 25, 2013   3 Comments

my sister is HIP

On June 11th my sister, Sloane, invited me to a 10th anniversary dinner and celebration for a non-profit organization.

Sloane Hansen

Hospitality Industry Professionals (HIP) is a not-for-profit organization designed to promote professionals doing business in the hospitality, restaurant and event planning industry by providing networking, educational and philanthropic opportunities.


Image by Ben Koller Photography

Ten years ago, Sloane, along with MaryLynne Christman and Keri Mahoney, founded HIP.

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June 24, 2013   1 Comment


THIS is what I said in a post back in March, “I am amazed and in awe of people and their talent.”  Do you recall that?


Well, you may not recall that very post, but someone did.

And now, I am in awe of them!

Elizabeth's Thank You note

I am in awe of my student, Elizabeth and her mother, Shelley, who is a loyal follower and regular commenter on this site!

In awe of their kindness and thoughtfulness. No, not just kind and thoughtful… their extreme and awesome thoughtfulness!

Elizabeth hand-crafted the beautiful card you see above. She wrote the sweetest message to me inside.

Basket of talent

The card was tucked into this lovely basket.

Fabulous Cookies

A basket full of these gorgeous chalkboard-effect cookies.

The cookies that I blogged about loving … way back in March!!!

rolling pin cookie

Aren’t they fabulous!?!

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June 22, 2013   4 Comments

lazy cook’s pulled pork

slow cooker pulled pork

This pulled pork may take over 10 hours from start to finish in a slow cooker, but it takes a minimal about of hands-on time.

Start it before you go to bed.

In the morning, shred the meat and enjoy soon after for a picnic lunch, a late afternoon snack, or for a big family dinner.

Heck, it’s so tasty, maybe all three!

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June 21, 2013   1 Comment

food flags for the fourth

6 kids 2 food flags

The 4th of July is two weeks from today. It’s not too soon to start planning the menu for your party or the dish that you plan to bring to that party you’re invited to.

Even if the “party” is just you and the kids waving around sparklers in your backyard, you need some fun festive food.

I’ve got just the thing for you.

Berry Banana Fruit Flag

Food Flags! Dishes that are assembled to resemble Old Glory.

I am in the middle of a week-long set of private cooking classes. We made a super simple Fruit Flag for dessert. Obviously no recipe needed!!

assemble the fruit flag

Skewers + Strawberries, Blueberries & Bananas = USA Flag

Fruit Flag

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June 20, 2013   6 Comments

Cider Vinegar Baby Back Ribs

Father's Day dinner 2013

The meat from these baby back ribs is fall-off-the-bone tender and oh so flavorful!

Dave requested vinegar based ribs as his Father’s Day main course. Done! Although the ribs were delish, they weren’t the best part of Father’s Day.

On the Thursday night before, I received a text from my sister-in-law, Teresa, saying that she was on her way to town for an unexpected visit.

Teresa and my older brother divorced over 20 years ago, but she and I have always been close… since high school actually. She and my four nephews moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho some 19 years ago. Sadly, we rarely see each other.

My dad gets up to Idaho to see his grandsons and Teresa every couple of years, but we haven’t been there since 2003.

Teresa wanted to know if she should call Dad or if I thought she should surprise him on Father’s Day instead.

Surprise, of course!

coady girls

So Teresa, her sister Jennifer, and their mom, Judy, walked in about a half hour before dinner and surprised Dad. He was overjoyed and has been talking about it everyday since. There is nothing better than seeing and catching up with family!

Jen, Judy, and Teresa are pictured above. Love them! xoxo

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June 19, 2013   5 Comments