August 13, 2016

Grilled Veggies & Shaved Piave

This is one of my favorite go-to dishes for entertaining in the summer! 
I feel it adds a feminine touch to a manly bbq;
 strong enough to fly solo, and/or a nice companion to any protein you choose to grill.

Feel free to add or subtract any vegetables you like & don't feel like you need the shaved cheese...
I just think everything is better with a little cheese;
Have fun with it! 

This should be a stress-free venture.

 (if you can call it that!)

- Veggies, sliced large for grilling (although chopping them smaller after they have been grilled is a nice, eater friendly option); 
I try to get a variety of colors and textures to make an interesting dish. 
My usuals are Portobello mushrooms, red & orange bell peppers, red onions, jersey sweet corn, zucchini & asparagus...

-Vegetable Oil/Balsamic Vinegar/Salt and Pepper for basting

-A mixture of chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary & tarragon are my favorite, but use what you have available)

-Optional: truffle oil, shaved hard cheese such as Piave/Provolone/Parmesan etc.

Simply baste the veggies and grill on medium with the lid open until tender and marked. Cut to desired size. Season with herbs, salt and pepper. Arrange on a large platter for serving.

*Note: This also makes a great pasta salad; 
just cut the veggies into small pieces, add favorite noodles of choice, and make a vinaigrette using olive oil/balsamic vinegar/chopped herbs and salt and pepper. 
Toss to coat and serve at room temperature.


August 12, 2016

Celebration! Ripe Tomatoes!

There are few things better than a homegrown tomato. 
I basically boycott tomatoes all year long because those pale pink imposters sold at even the best of supermarkets are an insult to such a beautiful fruit.
The only problem, if any, is once they come, they come on strong.
So strong that you feel guilty not maximizing every meal with some sort of tomato based dish.

Here is one attractive, super simple, crowd satisfying appetizer that really honors and celebrates the tomato.

Recipe (if you can call it that...)
1 fresh, ripe garden tomato
fresh mozzarella
pesto (homemade or store bought)
balsamic reduction
Optional: Lemon zest or freshly squeezed lemon juice &/or freshly cracked pepper

Do you really need directions?!


August 11, 2016

Blueberry Bliss

On the way home from vacation the other day, I decided to take a detour and stop at a local blueberry farm.
I couldn't stand the idea of getting home to unpacking, laundry, cleaning...Pokemon hell...

What a great wholesome activity, 
and an awesome way to stave off the inevitable slew of chores that awaited me at home; 
Thank you Paupack Blueberry Farms for making me feel like a good mom.

Our Bounty!

The Blueberry Tart that killed my diet.

Oh well, I can start again in September...

Blueberry Tart Recipe:
I love this recipe because it is so approachable. Basically the baby sister of the pie, this beauty makes you feel less piggy about your indulgences.

1 pie crust (I simply bought one at the store because I'm lazy...I know it is nowhere near as delicious or rewarding as making your own, but who is judging... we are all human, right?!)
3 cups of blueberries, picked over for stems and rinsed clean
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 lemon; juiced
1/2 tsp of lemon zest
flour or cornmeal for sprinkling 
egg wash for crust (egg yolk and a tbsp of water, whisked together)

Toss blueberries, sugar, flour, & lemon juice/zest in a bowl.
Line a tray with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour or cornmeal. 
Place the crust on the tray;
Mound the berry mixture in the center, fold over the edges to encapsulate the goo as it cooks, and brush the crust with the egg mixture to ensure a nice golden brown color after baking. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30+ minutes until the blueberry mixture is bubbly. 
*If the crust browns before the blueberry mixture is bubbly, simply tent with aluminum foil 

Allow to cool before serving.


August 9, 2016


I feel like I have been eating cheeseburgers and soft serve vanilla ice cream for two months...
probably because I have.

Today, let's do this instead; 
My go-to-green-juice!
I know I've posted this a million times, 
but I got such a fun shot and it is so so good.

Two Golden Delicious Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 large handfuls of Spinach
A much needed meal break

*If you don't have a juicer, just pulse in a mixer/blender and strain through a fine-mesh sieve, or a colander with teeny-tiny holes;
It is messy this way, 
but it is worth it and you will feel somewhat better about yourself. 

I think it is the green color that has that effect as well... 
I'm healthy today! 


August 6, 2016

Chillin' Out

This is not rocket science, but it is pretty serious business...

On a recent trip to Florida my son discovered not only that he could order food and drinks poolside without our permission 
(ahem...can we discuss spoiling your kids rotten!?!),
 but also that they had the most amazing cookie-ice-cream sandwiches ever.

So, in true competitive fashion, we had to recreate them at home;
so easy & so satisfying...
and a total crowd pleaser; 
The kids go wild over these simple treats!

Again, this is not rocket science;
All you have to do is make (or buy) your favorite cookies, soften your favorite ice cream, and put them together.
Imagine the possibilities though...oatmeal, lemon, shortbread...big, small, extra large...vanilla, pistachio, rocky road...make your own ice cream sandwich bar!?!

The key is to refreeze them before eating, otherwise the ice cream will smush out the sides and all over your lap.

And if you are in the mood to be completely gluttonous, go double decker!

The perfect summer treat!

April 29, 2016

Black Bean Brownies

Back by popular demand!
(get it?! Black Bean Brownies?! haha. I'm so clever!)

This is not my recipe, but it is definitely my go-to crowd pleasing sweet treat.
People can never believe that there are black beans in them, so it makes it fun.

Here is the link for the recipe;
 I simply added candied walnuts, dried cherries, and topped them with raw sugar and flaked sea salt for a little extra deliciousness, but this is certainly not necessary.

Simply search 'Black Bean Brownies'
 (Melissa d'Arabian), and the recipe will appear.

I love this recipe so much,
 and it serves as a great conversation piece to boot. 
I also like to pretend they are a "healthy" alternative to regular brownies, but nutritionists might say otherwise...

Happy Friday Everyone!

January 22, 2016


Who does not love red wine?!
No friend of mine!

Here is another fun one for the Food Series I've been having a good time with over the last few months.
Made primarily with gouache and red wine concentrates, this is a fun one for any oenophile!

Gouache, Red Wine Concentrates

If you get close enough you can smell it...but please don't lick.

Enjoy 'Vino,' and the other paintings from my Food Series at Five Corner's Cafe all winter!

Strawberry Fields Forever

The best way to get back into drawing and painting after a hiatus, in my opinion, is to do a quick contour drawing. 
I used to have so much fun doing these simple technique building activities with my 
Drawing students of all levels;
the trick is to not look at your paper when you are drawing something (look at the object)...and to take it a step further, make one continuous line by not picking up your drawing tool.
Try it!

Here, I did peak at the paper for composition sake, 
and then used simple gouache paint and fine tip markers for pops of color.

Can you follow the line in each section?!

Wouldn't this look pretty in a little girl's room!?

January 21, 2016


50 seems like such a big number.
But then you meet Todd and that number diminishes.

Cheers to the youngest 50 year old I know!

What do you get your man when this big number rolls around?!
I wanted to make it big...something for the 50 days leading up to his birthday Elias and I gave him one gift per day.
It was fun!
Some days were bigger (tickets to NYC/Peter Lugers), and some were smaller (toothpaste), some were personal (hand painted canvas from Elias), and some were silly ("It took me 50 years to look this good" t-shirt); but overall it seemed to be a hit.
You knew it went over well when you heard his guy friends telling their wives to do it for them!
Maybe I'll get 40 to 40 this summer?!
Hint, hint...

Since he didn't want a big party, I tried to pay attention to the small details...and I know from experience that cocktail napkins and matches do not go out of style in this household...

Seriously, the cake of all cakes.
Two layers of dark chocolate cake with peanut butter chips, two layers of "zebra" cake (Elias' addition), alternated and glued together with peanut butter cream cheese frosting.
The chips hide the imperfections...
With only one cake pan to my name, this took a LOT longer than one would assume...
labors of love...

Half Full Baby!

He may kill me for publishing this...

The birthday crown, courtesy of Elias

Todd's Bar

Todd's Bar set up for the family dinner.
Personalized 1965 poster;
I found out Todd was born the same year as the Pop-Tart! It was meant to be!

Not a very good picture, but these individual crab and avocado salads were to die for.
Yay me.

Ready to party!
Yes, that balloon has been inflated since Father's Day!?!

The Bar List...not that anyone used it.
I should have known; A bowl of lemon peels was sufficient with our crowd...but it looked pretty!

Party hardy!


The End

I wish I had more pictures of the food and party, but it was a success!

Happy Birthday Dada.
We love you. 
Cheers to making next half overflow!


November 20, 2015

Food for Thought

I just got an email from my gym that read "The average person gains 6-10 pounds over the holiday season..."

Let the holiday baking begin!

There is actually nothing special about this pie, but thought this was a cool shot.

Have a great Thanksgiving week dear friends!

November 1, 2015

Outstanding in the Field

Due to the fact that we live on a small (very) farm, my husband thought that going to eat dinner in the middle of a field with a bunch of strangers was the most ridiculous concept ever. 

That's why when the summer tour schedule of 'Outstanding in the Field' was launched,
 I bought myself a pair of tickets, for my birthday;
this way, there was no argument.
No asking.
No begging.
No agreeing.

So, with the date set, and the room booked, we set out for Sharon Springs, NY & The Beekman Farm on a beautiful summer day. 

Happy Birthday to me!

Look! There are our plates on top in blue!
I made these in Grad School, and couldn't have been happier to bring them to such an event.

The table is set!

Todd and I in front of The Beekman House



Look! I got him to smile!
The Menu

The Chefs & Outstanding in the Field Director

The highlight; meeting Brent and Josh of Beekman 1802; they were the most lovely, gracious hosts. So friendly and personable.
Thank you for signing all of my (your) cookbooks, and opening your home to us!

What a great time & one thing off of my bucket list.
Click here for their winter schedule:

Bon Appetit!

September 17, 2015

Food Series

I am so delighted to send these babies off to Old Forge, New York to be exhibited at Five Corner's Cafe this Fall!

This series is more whimsical than a lot of my past work, and draws from my love of food and gardening. 
You will see that I've actually incorporated natural dies made from concentrations of coffee and alcohol in the painting process, and stay tuned as I am working on a few more pieces that are made strictly with natural dies. 

Come see them for the "First Friday Artwalk," and then again all winter!

"Roots I"
Mixed Media: Gouache, Graphite, Concentrations of Coffee, and Vodka on Canvas

"Circus Harvest"
Mixed Media: Gouache, Graphite, and Vodka on Canvas

Mixed Media: Gouache, Graphite, Concentrations of Coffee and Vodka on Canvas

"Roots II"
Mixed Media: Gouache, Graphite, Concentrations of Coffee, + Vodka on Canvas

"Bumper Crop"
Digital Photograph Taken on iPhone 5s

"Tomato Spectrum"
Digital Photograph Taken on iPhone 5s

"Roots III"
Digital Photograph Taken on iPhone 5s

Digital Photograph Taken on iPhone 4s

"Adirondack Spring"
Mixed Media: Gouache, Oil, Alcohol and Salt on Canvas

Thank you Paul and Kathy for exhibiting my work again this Fall and Winter!

I love seeing my work in my favorite restaurant!

For those of you not in the know, check them out; it is hands down the place to stop for dinner and drinks if you are in Old Forge:

See you guys there!

August 21, 2015


Yesterday we had the best mini-vacation. 
We drove the rural routes three and a half hours north to the small town of Sharon Springs, New York.
So quaint.
So full of history and promise.
We stayed at this great little joint called 'The Nash," and it made our trip.
Once an old bank and general store, this wonderful couple has renovated it into an amazing gem.
The rooms were sleek, simple and very clean.
The restaurant had an amazing menu and wine list.
These people have taste.

But that isn't what made the stay.
The owner Jim made the stay;
He was so lovely, hospitable, fun and kind.
It was evening cocktails with him at their refurbished bar after our event that made the trip...

Thank you Jim and Norm for having us; 
the wonderful and plentiful wine, 
the gracious hospitality, 
the clean room to rest our heads,
 the top notch, farm fresh breakfast...all of it.

I wish that The Nash was closer because I would be there all of the time. 

I also wish we could have stayed for dinner! 
Breakfast was a sure indication that the meal would be ground shaking.
I guess we will just have to return!
To eat. 
To drink.
To play 'Cards Against Humanity'. 
To Enjoy Life.

ps. When you go, take a moment to look at the wooden floors.
Norm sanded the entire space by hand!!!

August 17, 2015

Coloring Books Aren't Just for Kids, Right!?

Oh dear...
Here comes another addiction.
Watch out.

In my futile attempt to unplug, I dug out a coloring book I purchased a few years ago, along with my son's Crayolas and went to town.
Then, due to the fact that I am obsessive and detail oriented, I went out and bought a fancy-dancy set of fine tip markers and a few advanced coloring books.
What a great fetch!

It sounds cheesy, but this is really relaxing and therapeutic. 

You can tell that I obviously didn't unplug 100%...hence the numerous photos and Instagram posts documenting my new found obsession.

But, at least I didn't max out my data...

I even relinquished control and gave Elias a chance!

This boy.
You can tell he means business when the tongue comes out!

...I had to include this one...

So, in all seriousness, this is officially my new hobby, and I can't recommend it enough. 

Now you all know what you will be getting for Christmas....

And if you can't wait for the holidays, 
you can purchase these coloring books on Amazon or at any Barnes & Nobles, and it is definitely in your best interest to pick up a high quality set of fine tip markers at any arts and crafts store (AC Moore, Michael's)...and don't ever pay full price! 
They always have sale coupons in their flyers or online. Most times you can get at least 40% off. 
Regardless, if you invest in a good set they will give you the most control over details, better results, and will last forever.