Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mini Apple Pie [New Feature: Sweet Twooth]

Hey All,

I am SOOO excited about this new feature I am working on called Sweet Twooth!  I hate wasting food and sometimes my husband and I just crave enough for a few bites, so I had a brilliant idea What if I can satisfy cravings for two? and What if I can make everything in a gorgeous tiny tiny cast iron skillet? Sweet Twooth was born.

Sweet Twooth | Satisfying cravings for two (do you love the tag line???)

Its no secret that I have a minor obsession with kitchen items.  I have made it a point to surround my kitchen with gadgets I love (hello Le Creuset Obsession).  While I was at my favorite kitchen store a few weeks ago I found this gorgeous Lodge 6 1/2 inch skillet stashed away in the corner.  I knew I HAD to have one and picked it up for $11.99 (hello great deal).  This blank canvas felt so raw and I felt such endless cooking possibilities.

I have scoured the web for small recipes and have found a few good sites but nothing that had my point of view of healthy and just for two!

This particular recipe is light/fluffy pie crust with oohy gooey apple filling.  I am actually quite proud of myself for bringing the concept of this pie to life on the first try.  I admittedly am not a huge fan of pie.  I'm not 100% sure why, but its just not my go to dessert, however the thought of depriving this gorgeous little skillet of pie was horrifying to me (and we went apple picking this past weekend).  When I think of my favorite parts of the pie its the gooey parts mixed with the crust, so first on my list was to equalize the apple chunks and the gooey texture as much as possible.

Normally the gooey parts (do you love how much I have typed the word gooey in this post) are copious amounts of butter mixed with a apple juices as the pie cooks.  Instead of butter I decided to mix the apple chunks with a good helping of homemade cinnamon apple sauce.  Let me tell you that you WILL NOT miss the butter and will LOVE the texture of the small apple chunks mixed with the apple sauce.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and this new feature - I am really excited to share it with the world!

Ingredients Pie Crust: (this makes one 6 1/2 inch pie with lattice topping)

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour
  • 1tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 4 tbsp of cold water
Directions for Pie Crust: 
  1. In a liquid measuring cup add 1 cup of water and 5 to 6 ice cubes and let sit
  2. Mix dry ingredients
  3. Cut COLD butter (butter MUST be cold) into small chunks 
  4. Blend in cold butter pastry blender (if you don't have a pastry blender you can use a fork to break up the butter pieces) until the mixture resembles crumbles 
  5. Add cold water 1 tbsp at a time (you will need to eyeball this as you may need a little bit more or less water depending on the weather conditions where you live.  You want the crust to hold together when you squeeze it but not be watery) 
  6. Form a patty and wrap with plastic wrap
  7. Place in fridge for 30 minutes or longer

Ingredients for the Apple filling: 

  • 1 medium to large apple (I used a cortland picked yesterday) cut into chunky squares 
  • 4 tbsp Apple Sauce (I made cinnamon apple sauce and will post the recipe soon) 
  • 1 tbsp flour 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt (smallish)  
  • Pinch cinnamon (depending on how much or little you like cinnamon)

Directions for Apple filling 

  • Add everything into a medium bowl and mix together 
Directions for Pie Assembly 
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Take cold pie dough out of the fridge and cut 1/3 of the dough away from the other 2/3) 
  • Take the 2/3 chunk and roll out into a circle that fits the 6 1/2 skillet (tip: roll pie dough between parchment paper to avoid sticking to the rolling pin) 
  • Place the 2/3 chunk on the skillet and push into place (including up the edges) 
  • Place the apple mixture into the skillet 
  • Roll out the 1/3 piece of pie crust into a small square (aprox 6 X 6) and cut 6 pieces 
  • Lattice the 6 rectangles onto the pie and squeeze the edges 
  • If the oven is not ready you can place plastic wrap over the pie and place back in the fridge (this is an amazing make ahead dish that you can pop in the oven) 
  • Bake for 40 - 45 minutes (once the crust is golden brown)
  • Enjoy (if you are not that hungry or just want a small taste you can cut into 4 pieces, you can also cut in half an enjoy just two pieces or if you are really hungry just eat the whole thing)!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Elephant = Happy Friday

As you know from earlier posts I have a bit of the painting bug!  When my mind slips into a daydream I usually see vivid colors, interesting shapes and happy things. This elephant is from a daydream and makes me happy! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

50 Days!!! [48 days once I finally hit post]

I can't believe I am running the NYC Marathon in 50 days!  When I started this journey 50 days from the marathon completely scared me and the mileage I am running also completely scared(s) me!  I completed 16 miles for the second time this weekend and had a very interesting emotional experience with my inner voice and posted the below on Facebook.

Sharing my honest feelings with the world is a HUGE step for me.  I am a very private person and only let a select few actually in.  I have never been the person with tons of friends, I have always had a few close friends and a lot of acquaintances.  A simple honest post like the below is BIG for me and I am sharing in hopes that this helps others.

I am so humbled and excited by the outpouring of support from my friends and family both emotionally and in support of my charitable goals.  The generosity has been amazing and I have raised my fundraising goal not once but TWICE.  I am now hoping to double my original goal and raise $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.  If you would like to support my goal and donate please do so here -

From the Facebook post above: 
50 days until the NYC Marathon!! 

Today I ran 16 miles! It was hard, not so hard that my body physically couldn't do it but hard on my mind. The first three miles (mostly uphill including the Brooklyn Bridge) were the most challenging, I kept hearing things like "turn around here" "you can't do this" "you don't want to do this" "no one will know if you don't do this". I didn't like what my mind was saying so I made a choice and at mile 4 I choose a different mindset. I started to shift from "I can't" to "I can". As I hit mile 4 I started to hear things like "you are good enough" "you can keep going" "you will do this" "you are doing this to fight cancer" "running is awesome".

I then started to started to think about why I am doing this. I am doing this because cancer sucks and I can do something about it. I am doing this for those who physically can't or who are fighting a different battle. The battle in my mind felt strong but was nothing I couldn't overcome today and while the battle to fight cancer is also strong its nothing that we can't overcome together!

If you are interested in supporting my marathon training and fighting cancer, please donate here

A HUGE thank you to everyone who have already donated, I was thinking about each and every one of you today and am every so grateful for your support!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract [follow-up - 7 month later]

If you remember my post from way back in February (when I was actually blogging on a regular basis), you will recall I showed HOW EASY it is to make your own homemade vanilla extract.  Its almost crazy that we would spend so much money or extract when its so simple to make at home.

This particular bottle was made on 2.14.13 (I should name it love potion) and has very nicely extracted!  This could seriously almost be perfume, if you love the smell of vanilla you may want to get a spritz bottle and just use this as your new scent.  I have actually been using the extract since the summer for baked goods and it comes out oh so delicious. 

Its so cool to see it go from clear to a deep carmel! 

A few tips I learned recently at a cooking class.  If you don't split the beans you can actually top off the vodka and use it for years.  They had a 14 year extract and it smelled of a deep dark sweet effervescence that danced around the room.  For my next batch I am not going to split the beans and hopefully have a 14+ year extract!  Until then my 7month old extract has treated me to a light sweet aroma and taste. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tears and Strength

[9.10.13] Last night I was feeling a sense of sadness.  I felt sadness in the city.  The city was speaking to me and together we were shedding a few tears.

[9.11.13] Tonight the city felt strong.  I felt the strength and I fell in love all over again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Fall is a bit depressing to me.  I LOVE the freedom that comes with long summer nights, beach trips, sand at my feet, sunshine on my face, nights skinny dipping in the pool, dining al fresco in the city that I love, grilling out, drinking copious amounts of champagne and margaritas and just enjoying the company of friends.  Fall means the end of summer and thus I am not a fan.

While the cool weather is not my favorite part of fall, I do love "fall food".  When the sunshine lets me down (literally because the sun starts to set early) I know I can count of the comfort of "fall food".  One of my favorite fall ingredients is pumpkin, I love it in both savory and sweet meals and was excited to try my first pumpkin recipe of the year.  You may be thinking there is not supposed to be chocolate in snickerdoodles, but in my kitchen chocolate ends up in almost every dessert and it does not disappoint!  If you are feeling a bit sad about the end of summer then I suggest you wallow (as I did) in your kitchen making these delicious and satisfying cookies.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies: 


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) 
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar) 
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure unsweetened pumpkin puree 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (did you know you can make your own)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (if you don't love bold cinnamon flavor, use 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips, but you can use whatever you have) 
Rolling Sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg 

  • In a large bowl (with a hand held mixer or your standing mixer) cream butter until light and fluffy, add sugars and pumpkin and beat for aprox 1 minute until fully mixed, add in egg and vanilla until fully incorporated 
  • Add in flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon until fully incorporated (with your mixer) 
  • With a fork mix in chocolate chips until just combined 
  • Cover dough with plastic and chill in your refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  
  • While dough is chilling preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment paper 
  • Mix rolling sugar together 
  • Remove cookie dough from refrigerator.  Using a spoon (or your hand) scoop out dough and roll into balls.  Take cookie balls and roll the balls in the sugar mixture (make sure every part of the ball is coated in the cinnamon sugar).  
  • Place sugar coated cookies on your baking sheet and and press so they become a bit flat
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of your balls, remove and cool on a cookie rack.   
  • Enjoy! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup and Fancy Grilled Cheese

I am back to cooking (my true love) and so excited to debut this delicious recipe.  Its not quite cold out but I have been so ready for soup season that now is as good of a time as any to try this delicious soup!  We decided to pair this with Fancy Grilled Cheese (which is my take on grilled cheese).  

This soup is so good you MUST not wait for Fall weather to come (depending on where you live maybe its already here).  I am not going to say much more other than this soup is so easy and the flavors are so must run to the grocery store and make it!

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup 

  • 1 to 2 tbsp of good olive oil (we use dry creek olive oil from California)
  • 1 small to medium red onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped 
  • 2 roasted red peppers 
  • 1 russet potato (pealed and chopped) 
  • 1 sweet potato (pealed and chopped) 
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock (If you like a thicker soup use 3 or 4 cups)
  • 1 28 fl oz crushed tomatoes (you can use whole or chopped if that's what you have)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasonings (either store bought or homemade or use whatever you have that is close)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 


  1. Roast red peppers in oven, peal skins and cut into pieces (or buy roasted red peppers and skip this step)
  2. In a large pot, sauté onions & carrots in olive oil over medium heat (until the onions are translucent) 
  3. Add in vegetable stock and tomatoes and Italian seasonings and stir 
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and add in the potatoes 
  5. Cook potatoes in tomato mixture until soft, aprox 15 to 20 minutes 
  6. Add in roasted peppers and salt and pepper to taste 
  7. Blend soup until smooth (either use a stick blender in your pot or pour soup into a blender)

Fancy Grilled Cheese
  • Good Whole Wheat Bread (if you plan ahead I would recommend making Artisan Bread)
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Olive Oil Sprayer (I use a Misto)
  • Side Note: you can make these any way you want (with anything you have), just make sure to call them Fancy when you serve them J

  1. Heat your Panini press (if you don’t have a Panini Press you can just use a cast iron pan or regular skillet
  2. Cook the turkey bacon until done and crisp
  3. Lay the bred out and put cheese on both sides of the bread
  4. Place the turkey bacon on one piece and place the other piece on the other
  5. Spray olive oil on one side and place olive oil side down on your pan or press, spray oil on the top side and press down
  6. Cook aprox 3 to five minutes (or five minutes per side)
  7. Cut and serve

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NYC Marathon - My Story

For those of you that I'm friends with on Facebook or follow me on Instagram then you already know I have been training for the NYC marathon.

This race has been a long time in the making.  I ran the Marathon in 2008 and while it was a great experience I pledged not to run it again (it was HARD - and I didn't forget).  And while i have the saying never say never, I really thought I had conquered that mountain and that I would move onto other athletic adventures.  In fact, after the marathon I didn't run for a few years (here and there small runs on the treadmill but nothing serious).  I was just really burnt out by the toll the Marathon took on my body and wanted to move on. 

Fast forward to 2013...I have been exploring my health goals and thought I would apply for the NYC Marathon.  This year I was serious and wanted to explore it as an option.  I have actually applied for the NYC Marathon every year and been rejected (which was fine with me) and have always said if I get in I'll train and run!  To my amazement I had automatically qualified based on three rejections the past three years (yes you get automatic entry if you don't get in for three years in a row).  So there was my answer, I was going to start running again and train for a marathon!

This year's marathon is extra special as the 2012 Marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and the energy around the marathon is palpable.  It is also extra special for me because I decided to join the Facebook Team in Training group and I have support from my colleagues as well as the TNT Brooklyn group!  I was terrified of raising money as I had always struggled with fundraising in elementary school (yes I was scared from an experience over 20 years ago). 

Training is hard, fundraising is a joy and teamwork is FUN!

I am 74% of the way to my goal of $3000 (because of all the amazing support from my network I have raised my fundraising goal 2X and will continue to raise it as I hit additional milestones).  If you want to donate, click here:

I will continue to write about my runs, how I feel training and where I am towards my fundraising goals.  Thanks for continuing to read through my journey (especially since I took a 6 month hiatus from blogging)!  

My 15/16 mile run yesterday!