A Little Claire-ification

bright ideas for the busy & budget minded…

The Holidays At Home – Traditions: Homemade Pierogies

Food - Pierogies FINAL

It doesn’t matter to me how you choose to spell it – pierogi, perogi, pirogi…  just know that I WILL eat them.  Pierogies are a traditional Polish dumpling of sorts that are stuffed with a cheesy potato mixture or sometimes with sauerkraut, ground beef or even fruit (although I have never tried a dessert pierogi!) (yet).  Once they are made, the pierogies are first boiled and then pan fried for a bit with some onions and butter.  We also fry up  some sliced kielbasa and it’s just a heavenly accompaniment to the pierogies but you vegetarians can skip that part, of course.  I’ll eat yours.  😉  Now I personally  am a cheesy potato filling kind of girl (heavy on the cheese, please!!) and I love having pierogies and kielbasa on Christmas morning.

While we are of Irish descent, one of my Mom’s dear friends Helene, who was also my Godmother, was Polish.  Making pierogies with my Mom and Helene was an annual tradition for many, many years when I was growing up.

Helene, her daughter Meg (also my Godmother) and her Husband Steve (circa the late 70s)

I can still remember the flour all over the counter and the dough being rolled out.  We would make TONS of pierogies because they could be frozen and enjoyed all year long, which also made my Dad extremely happy.  Breakfast of champions!!

This year The Husband and I decided to carry on the tradition and try our hand at making pierogies both to serve on Christmas morning and to send home with the family to enjoy throughout the year (I’m just saying that because they might read this… we’ll see if any are left!) 😉  So here’s how we made ours with the potato cheese filling:

Directions (link to the full recipe at the end):

Pierogi Dough
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overmix. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Prepare the Potato, Cheese & Onion Filling:  Peel and boil the potatoes until easily pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop 1 large onion and saute in butter until soft and translucent.
Mash the potatoes with the sauted onions and 8oz of grated cheddar cheese (we used white cheddar), adding salt and pepper to taste.
You can also add some minced garlic, fresh parsley, bacon bits, chives, or other enhancements if you desire.  Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1″ balls.

Prepare the Pierogies
Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8″ thick.  Cut circles of dough (2″ for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2″ for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass.



Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.




At this point, place the prepared pierogies in freezer bags or alternately sealed containers with the layers separated by freezer paper.  If gifting, make sure to include cooking instructions! We don’t need any microwave incidents with uncooked pierogies!! 🙂

We boil the pierogies (no need to defrost if frozen) a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes).


Rinse in cool water and let dry.

Sauté chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft.  We also sautéed some kielbasa, as mentioned above.  Both the onions and kielbasa are optional, as you can just pan fry your pierogis with butter if you would like.

Food - Kielbasa and Onions cooking

Set aside the kielbasa and onions and then pan fry the pierogies for a few minutes on each side until lightly crispy.  We mixed up 1/2 cup sour cream and the chopped scallions (also optional) and placed a dollop on each pierogi – it was divine.

Food - Scallions and sour cream

So yes, I have already sampled a few. Ok, maybe half a dozen, just to be SURE they were good of course. 😉  They are exactly as I remembered.  Delicious!!  I can’t wait for Christmas morning!

Food - Pierogies FINAL

Here’s the full recipe:  http://alittleclaireification.com/recipes/cheesy-potato-pierogies/

Do you have any traditional dishes that you and your family prepare every year at the holidays?   I would love to hear about your traditions and recipes too!



Linking Up To Some Fabulous Parties!

Saturday Show & Tell @ Cheerios & Lattes


The Holidays At Home – Best Of The Weekend #4

I hope that everyone had a great weekend!  I know a lot of people said they were in “full-on decorating mode” so can’t wait to see more decorations, pictures and great ideas from your homes.

Ahhh.  The “Holidays at Home”.  There is something to be said for not traveling and just staying put for the holidays, right?  Snuggling up.  Hunkering down.  Nesting.  Whatever you want to call it…  it’s just so nice to wake up on Christmas morn in your own bed and thoroughly enjoy the day with family, isn’t it?

This past week I read more beautiful, inspiring posts.  Posts that just made me want to sit in our big, over-sized comfy chair and wrap up in a blanket and drink hot cocoa while listening to holiday music in front of a beautiful fireplace.  And, if you recall, I live in Florida, so that says a lot!   I love posts that inspire!  SO much talent out there.

So once more – in no particular order – a handful of my favorites from this past week.  If you are featured or have been featured in the past, feel free to grab the button above and proudly flaunt it on your site.  I will be posting this on FB as well, so come on over and “Like” my page so I will know you saw it!  🙂

A Beautiful Christmas Mantel @ The Lilypad Cottage

I just came across Kelly’s blog this past week.  I love this mantel.  You will see that I like a lot of mantels. Kelly also has a lovely “Home Tour” on her blog too!

christmasblog12 105

Homemade Vanilla @ Love Pomegranate House

This is a GREAT holiday gift idea  and I love good vanilla!!  Thanks Talitha!


Sweet Candy Cane Sauce @ Echoes of Laughter

What an easy and sweet gift idea Angie has posted!  I can just imagine this over ice cream!  Yum, yum, yum!

Candy Cane Sauce

Easy Vintage Holiday Decorating @ Number Fifty-Three

First of all – our main tree is all greens and blues and silvers this year so I am WAYYY in love with the look of these vintage ornaments and the way Angela has used candlesticks to display them.  This one is definitely something I have to try out!  Beautiful!


Hanging Greenery Pouch @ Under The Table & Dreaming

I think these would make a beautiful hostess gift!  So pretty and what a great way to recycle cardboard paper towel rolls! Think I will be using some of that extra burlap I have to make a few of these!  Thanks Stephanie Lynn!


Tufted Wool Wreath {Anthropologie Knock Off} @ It’s Overflowing

I love great knock offs.  I love Anthropologie. And I LOVE that Aimee gives a video tutorial on making easy pom-pom balls.

That’s a lot of love.


12 Days of Christmas “6 Geese A-Laying” Ornament @ 52 Mantels

It’s almost too hard to describe.  But as Emily says in her post “Feathers. Pearls. Glitter. Burlap. Lace. Yep, it’s all there.”

Too much fun – as is doing an ornament for each of the 12 days!

52mantels.com six geese ornament2 copy

Printable Reindeer Food Box @ A Typical English Home

This is so cute.  My kids love to sprinkle “reindeer food” on the front lawn on Christmas Eve (for us that is usually a mix of oats and glitter!) so I will have to print this one so we can have “official” reindeer food this year!


Memory Ornaments @ Calico & Cupcakes

This was actually posted in October but I just stumbled across it this past weekend.  What a wonderful idea to do with your kids or even just an annual tradition with your significant other – place all of the best memories from the past year into a keepsake ornament.  I love this!


No-Sew Ruffled Tree Skirt @ I Heart Naptime

This is an adorable project and no sewing machine required!  Think of all the fun patterns and textures you can mix up! Thanks Jamielyn!


Hope you all have fun looking through these creative ideas and if you make any of them, make sure to send me a picture!  I may have to go back and do “reader side-by-sides”!   Have a great week and stay inspired!




30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 25 – Best of The Weekend #3

Wow!!!   So many inspiring & creative posts this past week and I am so excited to share some of them here.

First, today I am thankful for those that teach our children.  Teachers are generally under paid and under appreciated.  I am very grateful that my boys have some super teachers this year and that they are all doing so well in school.  Thank you to all teachers!!

Now that does not in any way mean that the kids are ready for the Thanksgiving break to be over, mind you.  🙂

So here we go, in no particular order, with the “Best Of The Weekend” – a handful of the “bestest” and “funnest” things that I have come across this past week.  We’ve been traveling this week so, while I may not have had time to post much myself (I’m asking Santa for better “planning ahead” skills this coming year!), I did still find some time in the wee peaceful hours to hop all over the glorious web and check out some great things!  If you are featured or have been featured in the past (hey, even if you just like the cute lightbulb – knock yourself out), feel free to right click on the button above and slap it right on your (“claire”ly fantastic) post.  Or your fridge.  Whatever makes you happy.

Felt & Jute Christmas Trees @ Living Well, Spending Less

I simply adore these.  Ruth gives a great tutorial with beautiful pictures (as always!).  I may have craft envy. 😉

Beautiful Holiday Gift Wrapping @ Red Head Can Decorate

Julie has some gorgeous gift wrapping tips.  I am currently plotting and scheming a way to convince her to come wrap all of my presents for me!!

Christmas Decorating Inspiration @ Perfectly Imperfect

Well, if you aren’t quite inspired to decorate this might just help.  Shaunna’s amazing style and beautiful pictures would inspire even the grumpiest of elves!  And while you’re over there, make sure to read her posts about her beautiful new store she just opened a couple of weeks ago in Troy, AL.  I cannot wait to visit someday. Gorgeous!

How To Make Mercury Glass Plates @ The Shabby Creek Cottage

I am just in awe of Gina and this post.  Are you kidding me how easy and inexpensive this is??  My head is already full of spin-off ideas (and THAT, my friends, is what real inspiration is all about!!)

Simple 5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken & Vegetable Pot Pie @ Atta Girl Says

Not only do I love pot pie, but Amy’s posts are just plain funny and fun to read.  And, in case you are wondering, I was born under “the sign of pizza” (but you’ll have to read her post to understand!).  😉

DIY Advent Calendars @ The Sweetest Occasion

My kids are already asking when we can bring out the “calendar with the little doors”.  🙂   And I’ve seen several posts about DIY Advent calendars but haven’t seen so many ideas in one convenient post.  Definitely some great ones that I have not seen before!

Ballard Designs Holiday Table Runner Knock-Off @ At The Picket Fence

I bookmarked this a week or so ago and just remembered!  How cute is this runner that Vanessa made?  I absolutely love Ballard Designs – my catalogs are dog-eared (and drooled on) and, as you can tell by my hand painted holiday pillow, I also love great knock-offs, don’t you?

Whimsical Hand Painted Christmas Chairs @ Lake Girl Paints

These just make me want to whip out my brush and paint anything that is wooden and not nailed down.  Deb did a great job on these and who doesn’t need a little holiday whimsy?

Holiday Burlap Bunting @ Shabby Art Boutique

Lots of “Shabby” cuteness in this post, no?   I am just love, love, loving the burlap this year. This is super cute and easy to make.  Thanks Kerryanne!

50 Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Teenage Boys @ Silver Boxes

Being a Mama to three boys, one being a very hard to buy for teenager (yup, I am just surrounded by testosterone on a daily basis), I especially appreciated this post!   And in a more recent post there is also a list for Teenage girls too.  Great ideas, thanks Steph!

Now that’s a whole sleigh full of fun stuff right there, huh?  Hope you enjoy looking through it all and please let me know if you have any great holiday crafts or recipes, etc.  that may inspire me and everyone else who pops in!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, my friends!




30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 19 – Delicious Butter “Silk” Tart (my FB Contest Entry!)

Happy Monday!  Wish I could have gotten this out sooner but it was not to be.  That’s ok.  I know some of you are night owls like me so maybe I’m just really early!!  🙂

Today I am thankful (as always) for my sweet Husband.  It was another crazy work day for me.  So many deadlines before the holiday and then preparing to come back into projects right after… I need strength.  Or at least more caffeine.   My sweet man has been working tirelessly all day going through the last boxes and tools that need to be organized to get our garage finished.  He’s such an amazing help and is always calm when I get frazzled and feel like my head might explode.

And all of his organizing was amidst Littlest & Middlest “bouncing off the walls” since it’s holiday break.  The Oldest must be so happy that he can finally drive right about now.  I considered texting him 4 little words as he was about to leave to “hang out at Chik-Fil-A” (or do some other important teenager thing):

“Take. Me. With. You.”

Anyway, we made it through another Monday and now here’s the Butter “Silk” Tart!   This yummy custard tart recipe replaces buttermilk with “Silk” vanilla soy milk and there is NO skimping on flavor!  I used a round tart pan but if you just have a pie pan to work with, you will be just fine!

The background story:

Recently, I got an email that “Silk” was hosting a recipe contest.   I am not a vegetarian, but we absolutely love “Silk” Soy Milk – both Vanilla & Chocolate – around here.  And I am not getting paid to say this (I wish!) so when I saw this contest, I thought it might be fun to replace the buttermilk in one of my favorite recipes with Vanilla “Silk”.   Long story short, I signed up for the (again, non-sponsored) contest on the “Silk” FB page!  If you can take just an eensy second to vote for my recipe it would just make my day  month.  I really want to win that $1000 to put towards The Oldest’s upcoming college tuition!  Oy!    Anyway it’s reeeeally simple – all you do is go to the “Silk” Facebook page and click “Like” (if you never have before) and then click on the “Recipe contest” icon, then vote on the “Delicious Butter “Silk” Tart by Claire” entry (as opposed to the “Delicious Butter”Silk” Pie by Claire –  yes, I am clearly a scatter-brained goofball and accidentally called it a pie instead of a “tart” ANNNND the correct entry is now somehow showing twice so just vote for the middle one as I am going to see if they can’t delete the last duplicate entry).  ::sighs::   I am obviously challenged (I promise I am not responsible for any of the voting issues in Florida!).

Anyway, provided they don’t call and ban me from the whole thing for being a dork, and provided that you aren’t snoring by now, thank you (thank you, thank you, thank you) in advance if you can take a minute out of your busy day to do that!!

Wake up!  Back to the recipe.    I personally think that buttermilk pie is better than most custard pies – it’s slightly firmer and tastier in my opinion.  If you like custard pie, you will most likely love this one.  Fun fact:  the mixture of soy milk and a little lemon juice creates a great buttermilk replacement so if you are lactose intolerant, this is the perfect recipe for you!   And if ALL dairy is a problem for you, I am sure you probably have some ideas for replacing the butter in this recipe as well.  I don’t and I should maybe be buried with some fresh bread, cheese and a stick of butter.  And some bacon.  Feel free to share your butter replacement ideas if you have any!

You might remember my easy and super savory tart / pie crust recipe from my “Green Onion & Goat Cheese Tart”?  Well this Butter”Silk” tart  incorporates my favorite sweet pie tart crust recipe, which is a take off of Martha Stewart’s pâte sucrée (AKA “sweet pie dough”).

The Ingredients

For The Tart Dough:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup ice water


For The Filling:

 4 egg yolks at room temperature

1 cup of sugar

2/3 cup flour

¼ tsp. salt

6 tbsp butter, melted

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup (less 1 tbsp)  Vanilla “Silk” Soymilk

¼ tsp. baking soda

Making The Tart Dough:

This yields two tart / pie crusts so you will have an extra to freeze for your next recipe or you can double the filling and make two Butter”Silk” tarts!

First, place the flour and the sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer or a food processor.  Process for a few seconds to combine.  Add the chopped butter into the flour mixture and mix or process until the mixtures resembles pea sized crumbs.  This will only take about 10 seconds in a food processor – be careful not to over mix.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and ice water and beat lightly to combine.  With your mixer or food processor running, slowly add the egg mixture JUST until the dough holds together.  About 30 seconds.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half, forming two discs  Do not over work the dough.  The chunks of butter staying intact will produce a flakier tart  Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before baking.

Once thoroughly chilled, roll out one disc of your tart dough on a lightly floured surface.  It is really important to work with chilled tart dough so if you are rushed or busy, do not skip that step!

Lay the dough into the pan and form the dough into your tart or pie shell.

Once formed, place your dough lined pan back into the fridge and chill again while your oven heats.  {Make ahead tip: If you are baking the next day, wrap your formed tart / pie crust extra tightly before chilling overnight}.

Preheat your oven to 400*.

Once your oven is heated, remove the tart shell from the fridge and line with aluminum foil and ceramic pie weights  {Handy tip:  Dried beans can be used as pie weights.  However, as I’ve mentioned in the past, once beans are used as pie weights they cannot be re-used for cooking  / eating, so if you DO use dried beans, grab a mason jar, etc. and recycle them for future use as pie weights in your next recipes}.

Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes then remove the foil and pie weights and bake for 5 minutes more – you want the shell to be a light golden brown.

Making The Filling:

 While the tart is baking, add the lemon juice to a measuring cup;  Add the Vanilla “Silk” until it reaches the “1 Cup” line and stir to combine.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.  Add the baking soda to the “Silk” mixture and stir until dissolved.

In the bowl of your mixer, add the eggs and sugar and mix until combined and it is a lemony yellow color;  Mix in the butter, and then add the flour gradually so it does not clump.

Ha!  I happened to also grab a yellow mixing bowl so the egg yolks are almost camouflaged in this picture.  Oh well, there goes my chance at being “The Next Food Network Star” (now I REALLY need help with that college tuition).

Add the “Silk” mixture to the eggs and mix until combined.  This may appear to be slightly curdled – it’s totally fine.   Stay calm.

Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings.  There will be drippings y’all, especially if you are using a tart form.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shell to just 1/4” below the rim of the crust. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400*.

Reduce the heat to 350* and bake for another 25 -30 minutes.

It should be a beautiful golden brown at this point;  The sugar and the “Silk” creates a gorgeous thin crispy, sweet crust over the top.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.   Allow to cool completely (or as long as you can wait!) before releasing from your tart form and serving.


Let me know if you get a chance to make this and have a great Thanksgiving week!



Linking Up to:

Wednesday Extravaganza @ Hungry Little Girl




30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 12 – Best of The Weekend #1

Today, I am very thankful to have “met” so many amazingly talented and sweet bloggers (albeit virtually) over the last 5 weeks.  And of course, thankful to continue being inspired by some that I have followed for almost two years!



Today is my first ever “Best Of The Weekend” post – a list of 10 blog posts that I read this weekend that inspired me the most-est, even if some were posted prior to the weekend.  DIY projects, fantastic food or recipes, crafts and everything else in between that just tickled my fancy or touched my heart and made me want to bookmark it.   I’ll start by saying that I will probably always have more food posts than anything else because I love to cook and I love to eat good food but I do try to highlight a great variety of things!!

Oh and you should also know – there were WAY (way, way, wayyyy) more than 10 posts that I bookmarked and so enjoyed reading this weekend.  Like, a LOT more, but I have to narrow this down somehow!  Here goes, in no particular order:

Simple Living & Eating: Ground Beef Stroganoff

Not only does this look delish, I was also  touched by Diane’s story about her family being without power for 7 days after “SuperStorm Sandy”.  Her pictures of her family cooking up the contents of their fridge and freezer reminded me of what we went through in FL after Hurricane Charlie with no power for 6 days.  But we weren’t freezing cold!

Fairhope Supply Co. : A Veteran’s Day Story

So glad to have read this today…

Lizy B: Fall Leaf Cookie Tutorial

I am definitely trying these (gorgeous) cookies out ASAP!

Life In Grace: 12 Days of {Handmade} Christmas

All I can say is that I am SO making some of these felt scarves for me AND for gifts.  Talk about adorable AND thrifty!  LOVE!

Country Cleaver: Breakfast Reuben Sandwiches on Pumpernickel English Muffins

Kill me now.  I cannot wait to try these.  I am thinking about Christmas morning with my Dad’s hash browns.  You might see this one again before Christmas!

Living Well Spending Less: Operation Christmas Child

I posted this on Facebook and I will say it again – this is a FANTASTIC way to teach your family about the importance of giving back to those in need!  Ruth gives all of the details out in her great post – check it out and start a new tradition with your kids!

Today’s Creative Blog: Washer Lined Tray

I love this and I know it’s something I could make too!  Pretty darn cute!

Home Is Where The Boat Is:  Mini Pumpkin Pies

I make all kinds of “pumpkin-y” goodness between now and Christmas so these are right up my alley!

Fox Hollow Cottage: Decorating With Thrift Store Finds

Fantastic – I love finding something at a thrift store and turning it into something new!  Great for holidays on a budget!

Life As Mom: Busy Holiday Cooking Plan (Freezer Cooking)

I know – food again!  But, as a working Mom of three boys I have an extra fridge/ freezer AND a chest freezer in my garage – I don’t mess around!   I love to cook and we love to portion things out and freeze them for meals throughout the next few months.  I coupon shop the sales and freeze items for later.  I’ll be posting about this within the week as it pertains to our holiday prep!

I hope you all have a fantastic and blessed week!




30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 10 – Green Onion, Goat Cheese & Thyme Tart (YUM!)

Time to make another one of my favorites – my Green Onion, Goat Cheese & Thyme tart!  This is a also a great idea for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day breakfast if you have guests staying.   Hey, you’ll be up getting that turkey ready for dinner anyway!  Might as well have a little something in the bellies to stave off the crowd until Turkey time!  Tips below on what you can prep the night before.

At the time of this writing, there was less than 1/4 of the tart left so I am glad I got pictures!!  Today I am SO thankful for food in our bellies.

I love working with pastry dough, both sweet and savory.  This savory tart is super simple and one that everyone raves about and, once you master a tart like this, you can add so many variations to it and just make it your own.

I started with a basic tart dough (AKA “Pâte Brisée”).  Easiest recipe ever  so don’t for a second think you can’t make it.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks cold butter, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. each of salt and sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ice water

Once you start working with dough, you will know when to add a few more drops of water if it’s needed until it just comes together. The chunks of butter make it extra flaky.  Combine your dry ingredients in the food processor (you can also use your stand mixer); Add the butter and process until it forms pea sized crumbs (do NOT over process) and slowly add the water in a stream while processing until the dough just comes together.  So important not to over mix so that the butter is still in little chunks.

Once the dough was made I divided it in half, creating two rounds, wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and I put them back in the fridge to get them good and chilled again.  Always work with cold dough.  Can’t say that enough!

Then, it was ready to roll out on a floured board…

and be laid into the tart pan:

This recipe makes two tart shells:

But for today I was only making one tart, so I wrapped the second tightly and placed it in the fridge, and will make it in the next day or so.  If you have a hungry crowd, however, you can go ahead and double this filling and make both!

 Once in the tart pan, I again covered it tightly with plastic wrap and once again set to chill in the fridge for about 15 more minutes while I started to prepare the filling. (**Make Ahead Tip:  At this point, the tart dough can chill overnight to bake in the morning.   Just make sure it’s wrapped tightly).

Once chilled, line one of the tarts with aluminum foil and place some pie weights in to keep it from rising up too much (you can also use dried beans, but then you can’t cook them later so if you use beans, just save them to recycle as future pie weights!).

Into a 400* oven it goes to pre-bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 375*, remove the pie weights and foil and bake until golden – about 15-20 minutes more.

In the meantime, I chopped about 20 scallions, an inch or so in length,  and two cloves of garlic

and grabbed a few sprigs of fresh thyme from our patio garden.

Store bought thyme is fine too but if you DO use dried thyme, just remember that dried herbs are a little stronger than fresh herbs, so use a little less.  Fresh herbs are always best if available, but there are just times (thymes?) when I know it’s not possible!

On medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan.  Once the butter is melted, toss in:

  • scallions
  • 2 cloves or roughly chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

After a few minutes cooking on high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover;  sauté until the onions are soft – about 15 minutes.

Scallions sautéing with two roughly chopped garlic cloves, thyme and chicken stock:

While those cook down, combine the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1/4 lb Chevre (goat cheese) – I have also used Manchego, which is delicious so just use your favorite soft cheese.
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs

Uncover the green onions and raise the heat to high, stirring until all of the liquid is evaporated – about 3 minutes.

Add the green onion mixture to the goat cheese filling and stir to combine well.  (**Make Ahead Tip:  If baking the next day, cover the filling tightly  once cooled, and refrigerate overnight).

Pour the filling into the partially-baked tart shell and for about 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  One the tart has cooled for about 10 minutes, I removed the tart from the pan.  Hello, gorgeous!

Just yummy, flaky goodness that even the smaller boys enjoyed!   Tarts are perfect for breakfast, lunch OR dinner!

Guess I better go grab a slice before it’s all gone…

Happy Baking!  Be sure to let me know if you make it or tell me about your favorite tart recipe!  I’ll get this posted over on my “Recipes” page soon.




Linking up to some fabulous parties:

Wonderful Food Wednesday @ At Home Take 2


30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 6 – Vote For Chocolate Orange Snickers Cake

Happy Election Day!  Did you all write me in for President??  There’s still time!!  😉

Today I am thankful that we live here in the USA and that we have so many freedoms, including the right to vote.

I am also extremely thankful that all of the political ads will end.  #enoughalready

Annnnnd, what could be better after waiting in line for hours to vote than a delicious slice of chocolatey goodness??  Not too many things are coming to mind, actually (although another Bermuda vacation is a close second, however):

{my birthday 2007}

I digress.  Back to the chocolate.

Anyone else out there with too much Halloween candy??  You could really make any variation on this recipe by using Butterfinger or Reese’s Cups, etc. (and with or without the orange – I just love chocolate and orange flavors combined!).

The main things you need to know are that it has fresh orange zest (that’s the healthy part!!):

and chopped up Snickers bars (well, nuts can be healthy too, right?)…

that have been melted with a little heavy cream (um… dairy?).  Ok, that’s a stretch, I know:

Yeah, it is not a dessert for the faint of heart.   It is just oooey chocolatey goodness, y’all.  Wish I could say it were healthy, but this one is not.  All things in moderation.  Just eat little bites. 🙂

Got a little carried away with the Snickers drizzle since Littlest really wanted to help!   So.  Yummy.

The recipe is here – enjoy!!  And I hope you all had a fantastic day!!




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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 5 – Homemade Pasta (and Family Traditions)

Happy Monday!!

We were cooking and baking all day yesterday so for Days 4 & 5 –  I am so very, VERY thankful for the food that we have and the ability to create meals for our family.  It is something not to be taken for granted, that is for sure.  I am also thankful that The Husband loves to cook just as much as I do and he does so along side me quite often (and we don’t kill each other in the kitchen!).  It is something that we both really enjoy, and that is a huge bonus.

We were on a cooking (and baking) rampage yesterday.  I think we were overdue!  I will have to spread these recipes out over a few days.  Too much yummy goodness (and a LOT of pictures to post!).

First, I made pancakes for the boys yesterday morning.  Now I know this may sound obvious to some, but I’ll say it anyway for anyone out there that is intimidated to try and cook anything:  Homemade pancakes are super simple to make.  If you don’t have a boxed mix it’s ok!  You will be surprised how fast you can whip up some pancakes from scratch and it takes hardly any extra time at all.  The recipe is here.

(these disappeared within minutes)

Nothing fancy there and that was just to appease the hungry hoard while we got started on some other craziness in the kitchen!

Next, the Husband decided to make fresh pasta today (yay!!).  It is definitely a family tradition for my Husband and the boys like to get involved too (especially during the eating part!).

First, he started by taking his flour combination and made a (cute) little well:

(a little well of goodness!)

Then the eggs went in…

(he’s very neat – I would SO make such a mess here)

And then he combined it slowly, at first with a fork and then by hand:

Then kneading the dough…

And once the dough came together, he formed it into a ball and wrapped it in plastic wrap to let it rest for a while.  It will not rise (or look) like bread dough:

Once the dough was able to rest for an hour or so, it was time to bust out the pasta machine, which is a good old fashioned version with a hand crank given to The Husband by his Grandmother.  We love you Grandma Chetta!!  (I just know she is looking down from Heaven and is so proud of her Italian Grandson right now!!)  🙂

The dough is cut off in chunks and cranked through the machine several times until it is super thin:

(trying to show how thin the pasta gets before going through the actual cutter)

Littlest helps crank for a bit…

… until his arms “got tired”.

After the dough goes through a few times, it is ready to go into the cutter and the pasta comes out…

(yummy goodness)

(angel hair for the boys – fettucine was next)

That little bit of dough makes a LOT of pasta!

Into some boiling water for about 3-4 minutes and…


Fresh pasta is such a treat.  And yes, I know that it is definitely easier to buy boxes of store bought pasta – especially with store BOGO sales – for about $.65 per box (and sometimes less with coupons) and we do!  But when we can, making our own pasta is not only delicious, it is also rewarding and it also furthers a tradition for our family.  So very worth it!

And I think these guys agree…

(left hands in their laps while shoveling it in… we try!!)

I would love to hear any family cooking traditions that you and your family share – this month or throughout the year!




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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 3 – A Gorgeous Day

Happy, happy Saturday!  I was thankful today for perfectly gorgeous weather for our garage sale.  77* and blue skies!

I generally dislike garage sales – well, I don’t mind stopping by one – that’s fun, but having them can sometimes be exhausting (like when people knock on your door at 6:30AM before a 7AM sale… “Got any antiques for sale?”  Maybe, but now you now pay double!! 😉 ).

But this sale was pretty low key and easy since our neighborhood was hosting and we didn’t even have to advertise in the paper or put out signs!   We were able to get rid of about half of our designated pile (although the train table didn’t sell 😦 ).  I swore that anything that did not sell would not be allowed back inside! Grrrr.  But… I can’t bear to set it by the street – it’s in perfectly good condition and the boys used to have so much fun with it when they were younger.  Memories!  So we decided that we are going to take it Harbor House, which is a women’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse.  Many times the women that show up there have their children with them, so we figured they could definitely use several of our items that didn’t sell.  Anyway, if you have some (gently) used items that you need to get rid of and aren’t up for a garage sale, a local shelter may be another option aside from the larger national charities that everyone thinks of first.

Once we get that last pile donated / delivered, I can finally post the garage reveal.  I know you are all waiting with baited breath.  haha!

And now…

I am just in a cooking AND baking mood after all of this organizing!  I don’t know if you have been online as much as I have over the last few days (bordering on unhealthy??) but there are soooo many yummy Fall recipes out there.  I feel consistently hungry staring at all of these beautiful sweet and savory treats!  Think it will be a foodie post on Monday!  Stay tuned!

Here are a few of my favorite savory food posts I’ve read in the last couple of days (I could probably list 100+ but I would NEVER get to Sunday’s post!) :

Tomato Pie

(photo courtesy of OceanBreezesandCountrySneezes.com)

Y’all, I am a cheese FREAK and this savory tart looks so yummy and is topped with a melty combination of cheesy goodness.  My mouth is watering…  check out my friend Mary over at “Ocean Breezes & Country Sneezes” (so sweet!) for this recipe.  I can’t wait to try it out!

Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Gnocchi

(photo courtesy of marianhd.com)

My friend Marian over at “For The Love of Food” posted about this delish dish.  We LOVE gnocchi and my 100% Italian Husband is ready to try this right away (like yesterday)!  As an aside, Marian and her Husband also did an amazing week long experiment called the “SNAP challenge” where, for one whole week, they lived off the same benefits that those receiving SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) have to live on.  This Govt. program allows about $30 / week per person.  This is an extremely humbling post to read and I don’t want this to get lost so will most likely mention this again one more time before Thanksgiving.

Crock Pot Balsamic BBQ Pulled Pork over Cornbread

(photo courtesy of simplyscratch.com)

Now this just looks like MAJOR comfort food right here!!!  And over cornbread??  Oh my.  I found this on Pinterest and the original post is by Laurie at SimplyScratch.com.  One more that I must try soon!

Ok – off to do some of my own cooking! Hope you all have an AMAZING weekend (and enjoy that extra hour of sleep too, thanks to Daylight Savings ending!).




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