Stephanie



A Year in the Life: May Musings

May 25, 2017

A homeschool mom shares what's on her mind as the school year winds down and the allure of summer waits ahead.

A Year in the Life: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

May 18, 2017

Sometimes learning comes from a book, but real-life experiences are the most memorable and fun.

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Tortellini Soup

May 11, 2017

A creamy, spinach-filled tortellini soup, perfect for a quick family meal.

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: A Speedy Taco Tuesday

May 4, 2017

Bring Taco Tuesday into your home with some time-saving shortcuts that will keep busy weeknights running smoothly.

A Year in the Life: Spring Break, Homeschool Edition

Apr 20, 2017

We're immersed in the learning process, but also looking forward to the more-relaxed, slower paced summer ahead.

A Year in the Life: Spring Break, Homeschool Edition

Apr 20, 2017

As a homeschool family, we get lots of questions about how we handle snow days, school breaks, and the like.  In the most technical sense, the lines of “break” can be blurred for many homeschoolers, as students don’t get up each day and board a school bus.  Our family follows my husband’s schedule (...

A Year in the Life: U.S. Geography

Apr 10, 2017

Whether your children attend school or learn at home, studying geography and trivia can be a fun part of your daily outings.  I don’t recall being particularly enthralled with U.S. geography as a student.  We learned the about the 50 states, their capitals, and memorized a United States map.  In mus...

A Year in the Life: Life Skills

Mar 30, 2017

Many of the things I want my kids to learn don’t come from a textbook.  In fact, some of them don’t even have anything to do with school.  Throughout the homeschool day we spend plenty of time learning academic subjects.  I hope they’ll retain it, but odds are, much will be forgotten until they lear...

A Year in the Life: Minestrone Revisited

Mar 23, 2017

This time of year begs for warm, comforting, hearty dishes that come together quickly.  Who has time to spend in the kitchen when there’s two feet of snow to shovel?  The beauty of minestrone soup is that it’s never the same twice and doesn’t get boring, at least not in our house.  The basic f...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chicken and Waffles

Mar 16, 2017

I grew up in New York.  We serve chicken for dinner, and waffles for breakfast (unless you’re having breakfast for dinner, then waffles may grace the table).  Chicken and waffles together, though?  I don’t get it.   My husband, the meat eater, totally gets it.  So much so that he ordered it in a res...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chinese Food Night!

Mar 9, 2017

My favorite recipes are the ones that can easily be gluten free (or not) will little modification.  I find these types of meals more accessible and well-liked.  A friend just recently found out she has Celiac Disease and became gluten free. Chatting with her about favorite cookbooks, resources, and ...

Spotlight on Hudson Valley Families: Homeschooling Outside of the Norm

Mar 1, 2017

Homeschooling has grown dramatically in recent years.  Reasons to homeschool vary as widely as the families themselves.  The Hudson Valley features families homeschooling for so many fascinating reasons, worthy of sharing.  To the mainstream public school community, the secret life of homeschoolers ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Feb 23, 2017

Stuck inside during this cold weather, I decided to clean out my pantry.  Noticing the boxes of lasagna leftover from Christmas (our main lasagna-eating time) I wanted to use them up but make something different.  This sat in the back of my mind until I was making my shopping list.  I suddenly felt ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Creamy Chicken Chili

Feb 9, 2017

Now that cold temps and snow have finally arrived, soups, stews, and chili call like sirens from the kitchen.  I’ve shared my turkey chili recipe before, and it’s one that we always enjoy. I typically make a double batch, freeze half for the future, and all’s well.  I came across a...

A Year in the Life: A Day in the Life

Feb 2, 2017

A day of homeschooling is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re gonna get.  Not only do our activities vary from day to day and week to week, but the children offer more surprises than the schedule.  As their personalities develop and knowledge broadens, we engage in on-going discussi...

A Year in the Life: The Homeschooling Mom

Jan 26, 2017

I receive the gamut of responses when sharing that I homeschool my kids.  Everything from, “Wow, that’s amazing, I could never do that,” to “My kids would never listen to me, yours must be saints,” to “You think you’re better than the teachers?  Do you even have a teaching degree?”  Many people ask ...

A Year in the Life: The Tired Mom

Jan 19, 2017

When I was a mom of just one, I devoted tons of energy to fun projects.  I kept a water table in the kitchen, and filled it with rice, oats, shaving cream, or soapy water and toys. We did crafts with feathers and toilet paper tubes, walked through paint to create footprints on paper tapped to the fl...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Bananas

Jan 8, 2017

Somehow, we always end up with too many over-ripe bananas. In the summer, they’re easy to toss into smoothies, yet this time of year, they pile up. Eventually, I peel and store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, but who needs 100 bananas in the freezer? I’m a recent Instagram convert (...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Breakfast Potatoes

Dec 29, 2016

My girls had a friend sleepover the other day, and they woke up hungry and wanting a breakfast that was “not cereal.”  Fortunately we’re on holiday break, so I could indulge their wishes and save cold cereal for a busy school morning.  I had some other tasks on the agenda, so I loo...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Baking for Success

Dec 22, 2016

No matter what holidays your family does (or doesn’t) celebrate,  sweet treats are everywhere this time of year.  If you or someone in your life happens to be gluten-free, most of those babies are off-limits.  Instead of feeling left out, decide on what you’ve been missing the most, and ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chicken Potato Soup

Dec 15, 2016

It’s no secret that I love a) my crockpot and b) soup.  Combine a + b and I’m one happy mama.  With the busy holiday season and cold days, coming home to a warm, healthy meal that was prepped in the morning is a gift in and of itself.  I was looking to make something different the other ...

A Year in the Life: Lady Leaf Lover

Dec 8, 2016

Pre-kids, I was fairly laid-back.  It was easy to be carefree and fun-loving when my job was pretty much to worry only about me, myself, and I.  Fast forward twelve years, and my responsibilities have broadened to include caring for my two girls, three pets, a husband, and sometimes extended family,...

A Year in the Life: Homeschooling Hacks

Dec 1, 2016

Throughout a typical stretch of homeschooling, we have productive days yet plenty of cringe-worthy moments.  Homeschooling is as much about the journey as it is the destination. It’s not just about what the kids learn, but how they learn it.  Ideally, with some passion, excitement, freedom, cr...

A Year in the Life: The Elf on the Shelf

Nov 27, 2016

We’re an Elf family.  Our little sprites (Johnifer and Glinda) come to visit us sometime after Thanksgiving, and stay until Christmas Eve.  Even though they add one more task to an already busy season, I believe it’s worth it.  The innocent excitement that comes along with the daily hunt for the el...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chicken and Rice Soup

Nov 17, 2016

Another busy time of year is here again.  That hectic time leading up to the holidays that can overwhelm even the most organized, Zen parent.  School parties, work parties, family parties.  Shopping, decorating, wrapping.  Helping the less fortunate by participating in clothing, gift, or food drives...

A Year in the Life: Maintaining Sanity Post-Election

Nov 10, 2016

Throughout the election season, I was careful to shield myself (and my family) from sensationalized, mainstream media and heated discussions.  Instead, we tried to gleam information from various sources and sides, so that we could make up our own minds.  At home, we talked as a family about the issu...

A Year in the Life: Teaching Textbooks

Nov 3, 2016

We’re in our fifth year of homeschooling, and have tried quite a few approaches to math over the years.  We’ve used purchased curricula, worksheets, workbooks, and topics compiled from the internet.  At best, my kids have excelled; at worst, there have been tears, intentionally crumbled ...

A Year in the Life: Art

Oct 27, 2016

Part of homeschooling for our family is continual exposure to the arts.  In addition to music and art lessons, camps, classes, and performances, I like them to research the arts and do hands-on projects on their own.  We enjoy the book series Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists and ...

A Year in the Life: Nature Journaling

Oct 20, 2016

I think I fell in love with nature when I went to summer camp.  Hiking and horseback riding were regulars on the schedule, and I couldn’t get enough.  It wasn’t just the activities themselves, but equally important, the feelings of peace and solitude that accompanied being outside. As a parent, it’...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gluten-Free Small Bites

Oct 13, 2016

Let’s get right down to it… Mac and Cheese.  There, I said it.  I’ve always been a mac and cheese girl.  It’s a direct route to my heart, the first thing I try at a buffet, my favorite comfort food.  Even when I find a recipe I love, I keep trying new ones, because who knows?  There might be one I l...

A Year in the Life: Settling In

Oct 6, 2016

Not unlike kids attending public school, homeschooling families go through an adjustment period at the beginning of the school year.  I find myself experiencing amnesia every September, and forgetting that growing pains come with the territory.  As with most aspects of parenting, a little patience a...

A Year in the Life: Man Eating Plant

Sep 29, 2016

One of the cool things about homeschooling is the ability to take advantage of some activities that occur during the day, which we may otherwise miss.  This week, those non-traditional activities were carnivorous plants, and acting. One thing always leads to another, and we end up down a rabbit hole...

A Year in the Life: Week One

Sep 8, 2016

Following my teacher-husband’s schedule so that we can be off when he’s off, we started school last Thursday (September 1st).  In previous years, we have hit the ground running at full speed, working through our curricula like Olympian athletes training for the big day.  While we certain...

A Year in the Life: Not Back to School

Sep 1, 2016

In the homeschool community, “not back to school” is a popular phrase.  It implies a celebration of resuming formal schoolwork but not returning to a brick-and-mortar school, and of community resources such as museums and parks becoming much less crowded.  Some homeschool families take trips, others...

A Year in the Life: Inspiring Learning

Aug 26, 2016

Did you ever notice how little kids are like human sponges, taking in the world around them?  Even as infants, they watch us so closely, mirroring our vocal inflections, facial expressions, and moods.  As they get older, kids become little mini mes, taking on the language and persona of parents, gra...

A Year in the Life: Back to School Planning

Aug 19, 2016

As we’ve gotten into mid-August, it’s kind of hard to deny that planning mode has begun. Even though I could live the summer life forever, school resumes and fall shows up whether I like it or not.   It’s hard to embrace September knowing that the easy, breezy days are done, but I haven’t found a wa...

A Year in the Life: Making a Portfolio

Aug 12, 2016

At the end of each school year, I assemble a portfolio of my kids’ work and special memories from the year.  Even before we homeschooled, I began doing this.  It’s kind of like a scrapbook, kind of like a hoarder who can’t bear to part with any beautiful little piece of artwork made by her babies, a...

A Year in the Life: Random Musings

Aug 5, 2016

We’re in the August lull.  I love it.  Since my husband is a teacher who’s crazy busy from September through June, we spend a lot of July focused on productivity and around-the-house projects that don’t get enough attention during the year.  As a homeschooling mama, I spent mid to late August preppi...

A Year in the Life: Socialization

Jul 29, 2016

Socialization is possibly the hottest topic in the homeschool community, especially to those considering the leap to homeschooling.  I have to admit, as I considered pulling my daughter from third grade, I worried about whether or not she’d get enough time with peers.  A very wise friend pointed out...

A Year in the Life: Raising (and Schooling) the Creative Child

Jul 22, 2016

This is the inside of my third-grader’s brain.  Well, in truth it’s the inside of her backpack, but I tend to think they’re one and the same.  I know I’m not alone in this- I look inside of a little backpack or bin, and I find everything and anything—feathers, hairclips, broken bits of pottery or c...

A Year in the Life: The Summer Apprentice

Jul 16, 2016

I’m a firm believer in allowing your kids the chance to serve as an apprentice.  Long ago, it was how kids became adults, whereas now, kids are often disconnected from this process. Whether your sous chef in the kitchen or your tool holder while you do repairs, there is so much to be learned when ki...

A Year in the Life: Online Learning

Jul 8, 2016

Children are drawn to technology- most toddlers know how to operate their parents’ devices.  My kids can do more on my phone than I can, and I frequently find the wallpaper changed, or new apps.  Many kids also love video games, and streaming online.  It’s easy to steer this love of screens to benef...

A Year in the Life: Homeschooling FAQs

Jul 1, 2016

People tend to be pretty interested in homeschooling when they hear that we do so.  I get asked a lot of questions.  I never mind the questions, because I asked lots of questions to others before we began.  Genuine curiosity is always fine (sometimes there’s some judgment, but whatever) and we’re al...

A Year in the Life: Learning through the Summer

Jun 26, 2016

Many homeschool families don’t follow a typical school year schedule, but instead learn throughout the year.  They schedule breaks around holidays, vacations, and whatever works best for the family.  Others do follow a more traditional schedule and take a summer break, but might continue certa...

A Year in the Life: Coping with Loss (Through Love)

Jun 17, 2016

We’ve seen a lot of sadness in our corner of the world this week.  Lots of loss, massive losses to our community, and none warranted or expected.  It’s been hard to get off my mind, as I’ve watched both adults and children question, mourn, and try to make sense of events that truly cannot be underst...

A Year in the Life: Homeschooling

Jun 10, 2016

Recent trip to the Yale Art Museum.  Here we’re analyzing Vincent Van Gogh’s  The Night Cafe with a museum docent.   Yes, I’m your food blogger, but cooking is only one part of my day.  In an effort to mix this up a little, I’m going to be sharing some other facets of my...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken

Jun 3, 2016

BBQ season has arrived.  My husband is delighted with the possibilities– ribs, and burgers, and steak, oh my!  Personally, I’m not such a huge BBQ fan, especially since I only eat poultry (and grilled salmon- but it has to be marinated just right first).  This weekend my husband had meat...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: A Summer Lunch

May 27, 2016

A staffer at Hudson Valley Parent recently asked me to blog about a “recipe for someone who doesn’t cook.”  I’ve spent some time thinking about it (A smoothie prepared in a blender?  A sandwich?) and decided to share a meal that I often enjoy in summer, on hot days when no on...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Making your own seasoning mixes

May 20, 2016

It’s a really simple step, but making your own spice mixtures instead of using packets is something you can do to improve the taste and health benefits of your foods.  When we became gluten and dairy free, I began seeking out recipes so that we could avoid the allergens, preservatives, food dyes, an...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Breakfast Cookies

May 13, 2016

Breakfast cookies.  An oxymoron, perhaps, but a delicious one.  Sometimes you need something to grab during a busy morning, but it doesn’t have to be something that will lead to a processed-food sugar high.  Followed by that infamous slump shortly thereafter.  You get my drift, we’ve all been there....

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Letting Kids Cook

May 6, 2016

I talk a lot about kids making dinner. There’s a few reasons.  #1 It is a great skill for adulthood.  Who doesn’t want kids to learn how to shop resourcefully, have confidence in the kitchen, make healthy meals instead of relying on take out, and dazzle you with a dinner party one day? #...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Make Your Own Burrito Bowls

Apr 29, 2016

Make Your Own Burrito Bowl Night is always a favorite in our house.  My kids love the fact that they get to decide what goes in their bowl, and I love their enthusiasm, and the fact that they can help prep dinner.  At the end of the night, you’re the coolest (and most well-rested) parent in th...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Easy Crockpot Taco Soup

Apr 22, 2016

It’s been one of those weeks. Seriously.  Jam-packed with activities, my husband working late hours on a project, and the nice weather luring us outside as much as possible.  There are two nights a week that require me to pack our dinner into a cooler in the early afternoon and take it along t...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Corn Risotto, Sautéed Spinach

Apr 15, 2016

Although we do love returning to old favorites, I find it more exciting to find a new dish and bring something fresh to the dinner table.  For some reason, many of our recent side dishes have consisted of some form of potatoes, and it was time for a change.  I was juggling (yet another) busy afterno...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Taco Explosion

Apr 8, 2016

I was looking for something different to do with ground turkey, feeling kind of tired of the usual tacos, meatballs, burgers.  I came across this recipe for a taco casserole-style dish, and was contemplating whether or not my family would like it.  My younger daughter came up behind me, looked at th...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gnocchi

Apr 1, 2016

Gnocchi was a pasta we enjoyed prior to becoming gluten-free.  Since then, I don’t think I’ve once seen an alternative in the store.  I made them a few years ago, but thanks to a surplus of mashed potatoes after Easter, I decided to make them this afternoon.  They’re not difficult,...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Paleo Scones

Mar 18, 2016

These absolutely delicious scones come from gluten-free goddess Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free On a Shoestring (who has a recipe for just about everything).  They’re amazing, and one of favorite breakfast treats.  Paleo eating has become quite popular lately, whether for health reasons or just to try so...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Tuscan Sausage Vegetable Soup

Mar 12, 2016

Before it gets too warm for soup, I had to sneak one more in there.  My favorite thing about soup is how many different vegetables I can include, and that everyone says, “Yum,” as I fill the bowls.  Soup is filling without being too heavy, and usually a healthy meal.  It’s also easy to vary the prot...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Black Bean and Cornbread Cobbler

Mar 4, 2016

I was looking for something different to make the other night, and had a box of Trader Joe’s gluten free cornbread mix calling to me.  I started Googling ideas and came across a recipe for a “cobbler” that sounded appealing.  I couldn’t find one that used a cornbread mix or had exactly what we wante...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Minestrone Soup

Feb 26, 2016

Winter, especially these recent chilly days with rain or snow, is the perfect season for soup.  A bowl of comfort food is always appreciated, even more so at the end of a cold day.  This minestrone soup recipe hits the spot every single time.  We aim for meatless meals once to twice a week, and this...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: A Quick, Crustless Quiche

Feb 19, 2016

Quiche is often served for brunch, but as an adult, I realized I love quiche not only in the middle of the day, but for dinner on Meatless Monday (or Tuesday.  or Wednesday.  I don’t discriminate). Quiche seemed intimidating until I began making it.  Early on, I learned how to make a crust tha...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Letting the Kids Help

Feb 12, 2016

The older my kids are getting, the more I’m appreciating their help around the house, especially in the kitchen.  I can easily hand off making salad, prepping ingredients, and sometimes, an entire part of the meal.  We had a quiet afternoon this week during which I was able to make a crustless...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Slow Cooked Meat Sauce

Jan 29, 2016

After stocking up at the Can-Can sale, I found myself staring at an unholy number of cans of tomatoes.  It was time to do something with them, and fast.  What better than to use some on a dinner that would mostly cook itself?  We’re still getting over winter illnesses here,  so I needed someth...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: “Mamma’s Homemade Alfredo”

Jan 22, 2016

Many of our meals have been recreated without dairy, due to food allergies that run in the family.  Every once in a while, though, we can revisit dairy for a special meal.  I found some freshly made gluten-free pasta recently which just begged for a homemade sauce.  My family requested Alfredo, and ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Hibernation Meals

Jan 15, 2016

This cold weather has me in hibernation mode.  I’m doing everything that needs to be done, but feeling like what I really want to do is surround myself in warmth (blankets, multiple layers, my fuzziest slippers) and go under cover.  Meals have been simpler and quicker, which works out just fin...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Weekly Meal Planning

Jan 8, 2016

When you’re busy, meal planning is a helpful tool for minimizing the last minute “what’s for dinner” panic.  It also will cut-down on unplanned grocery runs, and reliance on frozen meals or take-out.  Being gluten-free, this is even more essential, as there’s limited ta...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jan 1, 2016

We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, and my daughter asked if she could make cookies to bring.  As we got out our usual recipe, we remembered that one of the friends that will be there has a nut allergy.  I recalled another recipe we had enjoyed before, so we looked it up and w...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Holiday Morning Breakfasts

Dec 25, 2015

Whatever you celebrate, it’s a memorable tradition to wake up to a special breakfast, especially one that doesn’t require mom or dad to be stuck in the kitchen.  A few years back, we chose a meal that can be made in advance and enjoyed without fuss on a special morning.  Whether your spe...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Cookie Time

Dec 18, 2015

Cookie time is a fun time of year.  Most cookie bakers have their collections of recipes and anxiously anticipate baking season.  Some people make their tried-and-true recipes each year, while others enjoy mixing in a new variety.  If you’re gluten free or baking for someone who is, here are a...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Holiday Gatherings

Dec 11, 2015

As someone who has to follow a special diet, I can tell you that attending get-togethers this time of a year is a challenge.  Yes, I’m absolutely happy to see each and every friend and family, and it’s about the company, not the food. That said, most gatherings focus heavily on food, and usually fal...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gift Giving

Dec 4, 2015

Come holiday season, you can find food baskets, homemade cookies and candies, and the infamous fruitcake everywhere you look.  What’s your friend with food allergies to do?  Next week, we’ll talk about how to host a gathering that makes your gluten-free friends feel welcome, but today, w...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Berry Danish

Nov 27, 2015

If you’re looking for a special morning treat to serve guests or bring to a holiday gathering, this one promises not to disappoint.  We had family visiting for Thanksgiving morning and made this Danish.  Alongside some scrambled eggs, it was a sweet way to make breakfast extra special. It̵...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2015

Thanksgiving is a great time to be gluten-free.  Or not.  Most of the stars of the day (turkey, vegetables, potatoes) are naturally gluten free and require little to no alterations in their purest state.  Trickier are the baked goods– stuffing, rolls, gravy, pies.  Whether you’re hostin...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Barbecued Chicken Baked Potatoes

Nov 13, 2015

A few years ago, we ate dinner at a BBQ restaurant that featured barbecued chicken with a baked potato.  I thought it seemed kind of unusual, but decided to give it a try.  My daughter and I shared and loved it, and it stuck in my head as a future dinner idea.  The restaurant has since closed and I&...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Grain-Free Breakfast Cookies

Nov 6, 2015

We were looking for something different for breakfast the other day, but it was a school morning, so it needed to be quick. We have a go-to breakfast cookie recipe that we love, but it takes a little while to put together.  I found a recipe for a Paleo breakfast cookie that only required a handful o...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Sunday Dinner

Oct 30, 2015

Although weekends are busy, they’re often the only time to prepare a nicer, more extensive family meal. We were celebrating my parent’s anniversary last weekend, and I wanted a simple but enjoyable meal that didn’t involve the BBQ.  Instead of using my regular recipes, I gathered some from the inter...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Oatmeal cookies

Oct 23, 2015

There’s a secret to getting your kids to make you cookies.  Let them cook with you as soon as they’re old enough to sit up, pour, stir, and make your kitchen a mess.  The time and effort spent on these early endeavors will return to you in spades.  My kids, now almost eight and 11, can ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Zucchini Carrot Fritters

Oct 16, 2015

Zucchini carrot fritter.  I could give them all kinds of introductions, but zucchini, carrots, and fritters kind of speak for themselves.  I had some fresh zucchini to finish up and found the recipe online.  The fritters were fried in the recipe, but I wanted to bake them to make it a little healthi...

A Year int he Life of a Kitchen: Zucchini Carrot Fritters

Oct 16, 2015

Zucchini carrot fritter.  I could give them all kinds of introductions, but zucchini, carrots, and fritters kind of speak for themselves.  I had some fresh zucchini to finish up and found the recipe online.  The fritters were fried in the recipe, but I wanted to bake them to make it a little healthi...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Asian Chicken Meatballs

Oct 9, 2015

One fun way to find new meal ideas is to eat at friends’ homes.  Years ago, we went to a potluck at my friend Sarah’s house, where she served Asian Chicken Meatballs.  They were cute, uniquely shaped, chunky little bites full of flavor and paired with a slightly sweet, slightly kicky sauce.  There w...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: French Toast Casserole

Oct 2, 2015

I might blog about breakfast a lot, but that’s only because cereal can only go so far.  Sometimes, the family is hoping for warm and filling, but only on the weekends can I pull off a full morning meal with the time to clean up afterward. The beauty of French Toast Casserole is that you make i...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Rolls

Sep 25, 2015

I used to cook and bake all.the.time.  Looking back at the early days of my blog, I was churning out homecooked meals and freshly baked bread and rolls three meals a day.  How did I do it?  I’m not really sure… I had a preschooler and toddler… where was I finding the time to both c...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Decorated Bananas

Sep 18, 2015

My kids (all kids) are snack monsters.  If left to their own devices, I think they’d eat snack every seven minutes.  Even before we were gluten free, I was never one to rely on packaged snacks.  It was always more rewarding to put together a little something special that would give the kids en...

A Year of Life in the Kitchen: Crockpot Pancake

Sep 11, 2015

I shared this recipe years ago, but it’s time to share it again given early weekday mornings, or busy evenings.  A crockpot pancake cooks itself with minimal preparation, and is the perfect opportunity to sneak in some fruit to start your day.  With the ability to use either a pancake mix or y...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Tacos and Sangria

Sep 4, 2015

Taco night is perfect for a busy weeknight evening, or even a get-together with friends. For us, it was both… friends in town on a Thursday night, which happened to be during the first week of school. We needed a kid-pleaser, but something that would come together quickly amidst some chaos. I ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Granola Bars

Aug 28, 2015

As kids get ready to go back to school in the next few weeks, I’d like to share this recipe for an extra-special homemade treat to boost your child’s health and send along some love during the school day. Even though my kids are homeschooled, they greatly enjoy taking a homemade snack along on a fie...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Picnicking, Boscobel, and Chicken Skewers

Aug 21, 2015

Boscobel House An outdoor picnic presents a challenge, both to be creative and practical. There’s something inherently fun about packing up a meal and eating it later in a fun and outside location, and to me, part of that fun is in the uniqueness of the menu.  Every summer we enjoy an afternoon o...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Banana Bread

Aug 14, 2015

There are as many banana bread recipes out there as there are, well, bananas.  We bake with bananas often, usually when enough overripe bananas are waiting in the freezer that they’re blocking the ice.  Although I have a go-to recipe, if  I see a new one that looks good, I try it to see how it...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Prepping for Fall

Aug 7, 2015

It may still be summer, but August brings with it the reminder that the school year is soon to begin, and following that, Fall. There are some very sweet Fall moments… apple picking, the feel of pulling on a cozy sweater on a brisk day, the crunch of leaves under the blue sky. With it, though,...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gluten-free Cheerios!

Jul 31, 2015

Breakfast can be a carb-laden meal in most homes. Toast, cereal, waffles, bagels; basically, a gluten-fest. It’s often easier, healthier, and more affordable to eat naturally gluten-free alternatives- for example, eggs, turkey bacon, yogurt, fruit, or homemade options. Almost always, gluten-fo...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Popovers

Jul 24, 2015

On hot summer day, it’s often too hot to justify doing much baking.  I tend to make an exception when oodles of zucchini or berries are upon us and waiting to be baked into muffins, breads, and pies, but we’ve been eating our produce too quickly to have any left over for baking.  One oth...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Lemon Bars

Jul 17, 2015

My daughters and I were sitting in a waiting room, and on television was a woman sharing her recipe for lemon bars and feeding them to a crew of construction workers. The next morning, Pioneer Woman scrolls across my Facebook newsfeed with the status, “Here are the lemon bars I made on televis...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Muffin cupcakes

Jul 10, 2015

What’s the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Frosting! This weekend we had both a birthday party and wedding to attend, and for our gluten and dairy-free family, events are always BYOD (bring your own dessert). Other than fruit, the odds are low that we’ll find anything on the d...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Dairy-Free Pesto

Jul 3, 2015

Looking for an easy dish to bring to a BBQ this weekend?  A pasta pesto salad will travel perfectly! I could sleep in a bed of fresh basil leaves.  I can never get enough of it.. added to pasta, on top of pizza, mixed into salad.. wherever, however, whenever.  Yet, I was always wary of pesto, as I w...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Slow Cooker Meatballs

Jun 26, 2015

I don’t think my Italian grandma would approve, but I decided to try Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s Slow Cooker meatball recipe. Growing up, meatballs were lovingly fried on the stove, then simmered for three hours in a large pot full of Grandma’s “gravy” (homemade pasta...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Salad for Lunch

Jun 19, 2015

Lunch is an ever-changing meal for us. Sometimes we’re packing lunch for field trips, other times we’re quickly transitioning between homeschooling and getting out the door for afternoon activities. Being gluten-free, the quick PBJ or turkey sandwich is not always an option, so we also h...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Zucchini

Jun 12, 2015

One of the wacky cucumbers from our first garden Once upon a time, I had a kick-a$$ vegetable garden.  It was purely beginner’s luck… we’d just bought our house, had a smidgen of property for the first time, and jumped wholeheartedly into gardening.  The next year, our compost attr...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: White Bean Chili

Jun 5, 2015

Chili is a comfort food, but mostly a fall and winter dish due to its heavy nature. We were having a vegetarian friend over for dinner and chili came to mind, but it being a spring day, I wanted to go lighter. I remembered seeing an interesting chili recipe in Make It Fast: Cook It Slow, so I dug it...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gluten Free Classic Snacks

May 29, 2015

Nicole Hunn of the Gluten Free on a Shoestring series has a theory. If it can be made with gluten, it can be made without. As a fellow mom of a child who cannot eat gluten, I share her passion. No one wants to see her child missing out, especially when all of the other kids are indulging. Hunn’...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chia Seeds

May 22, 2015

Chia seeds rock my world. They can stand in for eggs in baked goods, they pack a punch of vitamins and even some protein when added to smoothies, and most recently, we’ve been enjoying them in “puddings.” I say puddings loosely because the puddings we make with chia seeds are, well...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: BBQ Season

May 15, 2015

Spring is here (we’ve even had a few days that felt like summer!) and suddenly it’s the time of year when your dinners can transform. Instead of heavy soups, stews, and baked casseroles, meal prep moves outside for grilling. I have three favorite things about grilling. One, there’s...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gluten Free in the Bread Machine

May 9, 2015

My bread machine and I have been pals since my grandma gave it to me as a wedding gift. I’ve used it to make countless loaves of bread, dough for rolls and pizza, even jam. Then we became gluten free. Screeech thump (that’s the sound of my use of the bread machine hitting the wall). Glut...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chinese food

May 1, 2015

Chinese food was always a “we’re tired and hungry, let’s get take-out” kind of dinner for us. Then we became gluten-free, and for the first few years, Chinese food was off the list. Eventually, a few places in our area caught on and began to offer gluten-free Chinese food, bu...

A Year in the Life of the Kitchen: Cooking with Kids

Apr 24, 2015

Muffins that my little baker made by herself. She was so proud when they came out as expected! I’ve had my kids helping out in the kitchen since they were old enough to sit up. It goes without saying that cooking with kids will take longer in the beginning… sometimes much longer… a...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Beans

Apr 17, 2015

I’m  not very creative when it comes to utilizing beans in our dinners. I can make a mean chili, chickpeas frequent our salads, black bean go into quesadillas with zucchini, and I sometimes use them to make a dip or hummus. I’ll also admit that I never quite understood dried beans. Havin...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Quiche Reinvented

Apr 10, 2015

Quiche is a fan favorite in our house. It’s easy to make, hands-off while it cooks, and everyone loves it.  Yet, quiche is tricky once you begin to accommodate food allergies. When we became gluten-free, quiche stumbled, so I tried out a few crust recipes and settled on one that we liked. We w...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Flour

Apr 3, 2015

When we first discovered that my daughter and I had celiac disease, I was ready to go off the grid and make every-single-morsel my family ate.  On any given day, you could find me grinding rice for our own rice flour, which I blended with four other flours to make our own flour blend for baking; mak...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Slow Cooker Chinese Orange Chicken

Mar 27, 2015

I have a rule about slow cooking… it shouldn’t require too many steps or pre-cooking, otherwise, quite honestly, why am I using my crockpot? If I’m going to get out the skillet, lots and lots of ingredients, follow complicated steps, etc., I may as well just make it on the stove. T...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Baking Comfort Food

Mar 20, 2015

Last week I baked up some fresh goodness for a friend of mine who had unexpected surgery.  Due to Celiac disease and food allergies, she cannot have gluten, soy, dairy, or nuts.  Feeling limited while recovering, she welcomed the thought of some comfort food that didn’t come from a package.  W...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Black Bean Burgers

Mar 13, 2015

(Not to be confused with black bean spaghetti, if you read last week’s post. Just a coincidence, I don’t own stock in beans or anything). Once we became gluten-free, I learned that many veggie burgers have wheat as a binder. Disappointing. I also learned that making your own veggie burge...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Black Bean Spaghetti

Mar 6, 2015

Being gluten free often means stretching your creativity. As in, how do you prepare black bean spaghetti in an interesting and palatable way that your family will enjoy? Should it be Mexican-flavored (black beans?). Should it be Italian-flavored (spaghetti?). I’d never even heard of black bean...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Breakfast on the Road

Feb 27, 2015

I have these fond memories of early morning family day trips that began with getting an egg and cheese on a roll from the corner deli as we drove out of town.  I’m not sure where we were headed, but it really doesn’t matter.  Getting a special breakfast as we left for the day was part of...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Feb 20, 2015

There’s no bread in our house… living the grain-free lifestyle while healing my daughter’s tummy, meals are kinda boring.  Sweet potatoes are as exciting as it gets. Meanwhile, I was looking back through old recipes and photos, and happened upon a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread I’d made quite a while...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: An easy, healthy stir-fry

Feb 17, 2015

We’ve had an unusual food week.  My oldest is on an extra restricted (GAPS) diet due to some stomach issues, so we’ve had to get very creative in the kitchen.  We’re avoiding gluten and dairy as per usual, but have added soy, fructose, and all grains to the list.  What’s left to eat, you ask?  [R...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Split Pea Soup

Feb 6, 2015

Winter is the time for a bowl of good soup, and everyone who knows me knows that I am always looking for a new favorite to add to our repertoire.  My friend Sarah mentioned recently that she was making her mom’s split pea soup recipe, and I was cautiously intrigued.  I’m not a fan of […]

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Crepes

Jan 30, 2015

I’ve really been into breakfast lately… we wake up feeling energized and adventurous, wanting to create something fun and exciting. I wish I could say this carried over into dinner, but our evening meals have been lackluster and uninspired. Perhaps sooner or later this breakfast energy will appear a...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Muffin in a Mug

Jan 23, 2015

We love to cook and bake in our house, and somewhere along the lines, my kids got spoiled.  Cereal for breakfast is an insult… if it isn’t hot and doesn’t involve ingredients, it doesn’t count.  That said, I’m not running a diner, and can’t be expected to serve up...

Living the Paleo Life

Jan 16, 2015

Paleo eating entails a diet of meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and avoiding dairy and grains.  It’s more complex than that and there is lots of controversy surrounding it, but that’s enough to get started.  Personally, it is not something I could follow exclusively because I love m...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Smoothies and Ice Pops

Jan 9, 2015

It seems kind of ironic to share a chilly beverage or treat recipe during this cold snap, I am aware. Yet, with all of the New Year’s resolutions and detox plans, a smoothie seems like the perfect way to start your day. And since Santa brought us awesome ice pop molds, you better believe we [&...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Not your frozen blueberry muffin

Jan 2, 2015

I have collected a lot of recipes over the years, and they all have something in common… my trademark cooking smudges and penciled in notes all over them.  Partially because I tend to be a bit picky and like to make substitutions; partially because I funnel my creativity into primarily two ave...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Feeding your gluten-free friends

Dec 22, 2014

Hosting a guest with food allergies (or bringing food to the home of someone with food allergies) can be nerve-wracking. Many aren’t sure what is safe, and are afraid to make their guests sick.  As we visit and host friends, I frequently get asked what my family and I can eat. Read on to safel...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Christmas Cookies

Dec 16, 2014

I have fond memories of Christmas cookies… I remember rolling dough in powdered sugar with my mom, and my Grandma’s crisp sugar butter cookies are legendary.  Her cookies were even kept in a motion-activated singing tin, because my sister and I were so likely to sneak a sample while we waited for di...

A Year in the Kitchen: Soup

Dec 12, 2014

This is the time of year that just begs for soup.  It’s already bone-cold, and we look forward to a warm bowl of soup after a busy afternoon out.  Soup is typically pretty quick to prepare, and a nice way to sneak in veggies that can be pureed or otherwise disguised, if you happen to […]

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread

Dec 5, 2014

Whether you’re gluten-free or gluten-loving, there’s nothing like freshly baked bread.  If you are gluten-free and have experimented in the kitchen, you know that some bread recipes fall, well, flat.  Poorly made gluten-free bread can be crumbly, wet, dense, or taste peculiar.  What’s a sandwich, sc...

A Year in the Life of a Gluten-Free Kitchen: Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken

Nov 28, 2014

I love my crockpot, and anyone who has and uses one knows why.  I cook, a lot. So then I clean up, a lot.  We run around, well, a lot.  Enter the magnificent crockpot… at 9 am, when I am still feeling alert, energetic, even optimistic about how much we will accomplish that day, I […]

A Year in the Life of a Gluten-Free Kitchen: Thanksgiving

Nov 21, 2014

Thanksgiving is upon us and I couldn’t be happier. I tend to be a bit Grinchy once December rolls around, but I end November on a high note with all of my favorite foods, people, and holiday. Special occasions can be tricky when you’re gluten-free, but over the years we’ve put together a menu that [...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: (Gluten-Free) Christmas Cookies

Dec 19, 2013

Santa’s almost here, and that means it’s Christmas cookie time. We plan to make our cookies on Monday and Tuesday so they’ll be fresh for Christmas eve. If you’re looking for a recipe for a simple, kid-friendly cookie that the little ones can help create, check out a few of o...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: The Can’t Cook Book

Dec 12, 2013

Jessica Seinfeld’s first two cookbooks utilized pureed fruits and vegetables in her recipes, to incorporate a little extra nutrition into family meals. Her third book, which just hit the shelves recently, takes a whole new approach. The Can’t Cook Book is a gentle, informative, hand-holding cooking ...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: 365 Slow Cooker Suppers

Dec 5, 2013

I have a special place in my heart for Stephanie O’Dea, food blogger and author whose new cookbook, 365 Slow Cooker Suppers, just graced my kitchen. Is it because we share the same name and both love to cook and blog about it? Is it the fact that her recipes are for the crockpot (my […]

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Black bean zucchini Quesadillas

Nov 30, 2013

I was going through my recipes recently and stumbled upon one I’d near forgotten about. This was a dinner I’d made fairly frequently and the whole family enjoyed. I dusted it off, made it for dinner, and it was so good I had to make it again a week later. Simple, nutritious, gluten-free,...

A Year in the Life of the Kitchen: Pumpkin scones

Nov 17, 2013

In our home, November wouldn’t be, well, November, without some kind of pumpkin-spiced goodie baking in the oven. We cook with pumpkin as an accent year round, but at some point it takes center stage. This recipe popped up on my Pinterest board last weekend, and after one look, I knew it would be Sa...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Chicken fried-rice

Nov 13, 2013

Hello, my name is Stephanie, and I like love am addicted to Chinese food. But my family is gluten-free. What to do? When we became gluten-free a few years ago, I asked the local Chinese restaurants if they could prepare gluten-free food. Their response? “Free delivery?” Fortunately, ther...

Almond Flour is a Powerhouse

Nov 7, 2013

One nice aspect of being gluten-free is the opportunity to experiment with different flours and the various nutritional and textural properties that result.  Almond flour is a powerhouse, with its low glycemic index, high fiber, and incredible protein profile.  It’s also grain-free, for those follow...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: (Crockpot) Chicken Teriyaki

Oct 24, 2013

I don’t know about your Fall season, but mine is insane. In between sports practices, dance classes, girl scouts, art class, piano lessons, and a morning of homeschooling, my free time is… wait, am I supposed to get free time? I’d better review my contract (ha ha). Being gluten-fre...

A Year in the Life of a Kitchen: Apple Crisp

Oct 16, 2013

I’m not sure how I’ve gotten this many years into food blogging without including a recipe for apple crisp, but please forgive me. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for apple crisp (the tattered recipe my sister gave me at my bridal shower, eleven years ago, confirms this...

Day Trip: Dia Beacon

Oct 7, 2013

Tucked away in the corner of Beacon, an unusual and stimulating gem quietly beckons visitors. The Dia: Beacon is a local museum that pushes the art envelope. Check any preconceived notions you hold about “art” at the door, because the Dia will take you on a wild ride. Installations at th...

Day Trip: Roosevelt Estate

Sep 28, 2013

I’m not sure if you know it, but you own land in Dutchess County. To be more specific, we all do. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Estate in Hyde Park is a National Park, which means we all own a little piece of it. If you haven’t been, a trip is in order. The FDR Estate […]

Day Trip: Apple picking

Sep 25, 2013

It’s that time of year again… school back in session, cool blue skies contrasted with changing leaves, and that crunch of foliage underfoot. Not to be missed… apple picking. We’ve gone every year since my oldest was a toddler, but one of my best apple picking memories is actu...

Day Trip: Long Dock Park

Sep 15, 2013

I’ve shared a number of my favorite Hudson Valley destinations, but I’ve kept my most favorite a secret. Perhaps I wanted to keep it all to myself? The common trend in all of my beloved spots is the presence of water, and Beacon’s Long Dock Park is no different. As you reach the wa...

Day Trip: Dover Stone Church

Sep 5, 2013

A hike is great, but a hike with a unique waterfall and stone structure at the end is even better. Enter Dover Stone Church, one of the most unusual sites in Dutchess County. Its recorded history dates back as early as the 1600s, when, as the legend goes, a Native American warrior hid in the […...

Day Trip: Bash Bish Falls

Aug 29, 2013

Two of the best things about living in the Hudson Valley are its proximity to the hustle and bustle of New York City, and its proximity to so many breath-taking natural wonders.  Bash Bish Falls is without a doubt one of those spots.  Bash Bish Falls is a 200 foot waterfall whose beauty is surrounde...

The Renaissance Faire

Aug 22, 2013

Going on weekends through September 22nd, the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, NY is a fun family day trip.  My husband and I thought our kids would enjoy the history and spectacle of the Faire,  so when I found out it was going on, we decided to check it out.  Not having been to the […]

New labeling standard for “Gluten-Free” food

Aug 15, 2013

Last week, renowned Celiac Disease researcher Dr. Peter Green helped the FDA reform the gluten-free food labeling standards (which currently allow up to 200 parts per million of gluten) to a voluntary compliance of up to 20 parts per million.  As exposure, and the resulting gastrointestinal distress...

Day Trip: Splashdown Beach

Aug 2, 2013

Summer in the Hudson Valley is something I look forward to all year long.  Not only do I enjoy the lush, green woods and the blue skies (finally!), but also the affordable, family-friendly outings and day trips just waiting to be planned.  Our family keeps a running “day-trip bucket list”...

A Year in the Kitchen: Pretzels

Jul 26, 2013

If you’re gluten-free and go out in the world, you’re barraged pretty frequently with things you can’t eat.  Though much of that food isn’t good for you anyway, that’s beside the point. You can’t eat it, which is very different from not wanting to eat it.  With pl...

A Year in the Kitchen: Cool snacks (gluten-free)

Jul 20, 2013

I don’t know if it’s just me, but in this heat wave, I can’t seem to muster up the energy to do much of anything. Well, other than swim, of course, but on the hottest days we stayed indoors.  However, the family needs to eat, and there’s no way around that.  Little ones get b...

Gluten-free summer living

Jul 12, 2013

Summer is a great time for quick, healthy, on-the-go meals.  I don’t know about your family, but mine loves to spend summertime poolside, out hiking or enjoying a picnic at an outdoor concert or movie.  Since many convenience foods are prepackaged, processed and not typically gluten-free, packing a ...