Category Archives: Her Kitchen

Made with Love

In the lead up to Mother’s Day, Bon Appetit posted “Mother Knows Best” a compendium of food and cooking related advice from BA staffers’ moms.

This one, from Senior Food Editor Dawn Perry, really stood out:

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Biddy says, “A peanut butter and jelly sandwich tastes really good when someone else makes it for you.” Essentially, it’s the thought that counts. She’s the best.” 

I think about all of the things that we make, or that are made for us, and how the act of someone preparing a meal, even as simple as a PB & J sandwich, can be a real sign of love.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Both of my parents are great cooks, but the perfect PB & J comes courtesy of my dad.  Now, this recipes predates the gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, all-natural almond butter days, but that is also what makes it so good (and simple!).

  1. Two slices of Publix challah (egg bread) – it’s got to be challah and it’s got to be from Publix – toasted just ever so golden brown.
  2. A heaping knife-full of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter on both pieces of bread.
  3. An almost equal and even layer of Polaner All Fruit Seedless Strawberry jelly on both pieces of bread.
  4. Press together and eat, quickly, with a big glass of milk.

Thanks, Dad!  What do you enjoy more when other people make it for you?

Also, here is some additional PB&J inspiration: kid-friendly options and outrageous spins on a classic.

Monday Menu: Go Nuts

Almonds, a favorite nut of mine, are rich in plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. But the health benefits are lessened, when if like me, you call peanut m&m’s  protein and eat candied almond by the handful.

Over the holidays, I decided to swap out the store bought for an equally delicious and healthier version of cocoa dusted almonds – sans butter or oil – that still satisfies a salty sweet tooth.


Cinnamon Cocoa Almonds
3 cups of raw almonds
1.5 tbsp of agave syrup
3 tsp of Dutch-processed cocoa
1.5 tsp of cinnamon
.5 tsp of nutmeg
sprinkle of salt

This couldn’t be easier to make or more delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, combine almonds and all ingredients.  Stir so that almonds are fully coated.  Taste and adjust for a more chocolatey or cinnamon-y flavor.  
Scatter on a parchment paper covered pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven; almonds will have a glossy sheen and feel slightly sticky.  Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.

Weekend Reads: Health for the New Year from A to Z

It is the end of the first full week of the new year.  How are those resolutions holding up?  Been to the gym everyday?  Cut out meat/dairy/gluten/sugar/food altogether?  Training for that marathon yet?

Just kidding!  Health is a process that is often more than 1, 2, 3.  In fact, it may be closer to A, B, C… to Z.  Read on for a healthy weekend!
A-Z for Health

DC Foodie: Sweetgreen

Sometimes (read: all of winter) I’m like “ick, salad” and other times (most of summer) it seems like the most perfect idea.

This month – which how is it possible, that it is already half over??Sweetgreen, the as locally-sourced-as-possible, salad brain trust of local Georgetown grads that is taking the NE + MidAtl corridor by storm has figured it out, almost.


Their July Salad features mesclun greens, basil, peaches, slivered almonds, goat cheese and balsamic dressing.  Normally, I’m a big fan of goat cheese, but on a whim (and because they were out) we swapped for white cheddar.  This is a good move, I promise.  The white cheddar offers an extra salt kick in an otherwise pretty close to perfect summer salad.

Get your greens – before they wilt!

Gifts Ideas for the Domestic Goddess: Reading Material

As a young cook, cookbooks have been essential in my learning my way around the kitchen.  My most helpful cookbook has been one that my mom compiled for me of favorite family recipes.  If you don’t have my mom’s recipes to share these are great for those on your list.


I have either used all of these books or enjoyed these authors recipes online with great success.  So they are kitchen tested and approved.

Gifts Ideas for the Domestic Goddess: Kitchen Clean Up, Made Cute

This is the gift giving season, but it is also the whisking, mixing, baking and mess making season.  If you’re all about the cute, and you probably are, these are the perfect helpers for your kitchen clean up and kitsch decor.

I have posted about Studiopatro before (for Fall 2011) but I had to share the new items for winter 2012.

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These make a lovely and generous gift for a friend, a holiday hostess or for yourself.


What to do this Weekend: Dinner with Friends

It’s August, we’re officially closer to fall than spring.  While we’ve complained about the oppressive (really, it has been) heat, in as many weeks we’ll (I’ll) be complaining about the colder temperatures.

So, in this order: invite some friends over, fire up the grill, open up a bottle of wine, eat, talk and laugh too much.

Dinner with Friends! Grilling by Jon, Flowers by Kristin

Dinner with friends doesn’t have to be fancy.  It could be new flavors or old favorites – the company is what counts!

Need ideas for some dishes?  Connect with me on Pinterest for some yummy inspiration.

Must Have of the Week: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

Each Thursday I am going to feature a must-have. It could be something or the wardrobe, home, kitchen or otherwise. But it is getting the Daily Batch seal of approval.

I picked up PB2 at Whole Foods last week after hearing about how amazing it is from my sister-in-law. PB2 is powdered peanut butter. The ingredients are roasted peanuts, salt and sugar. The oil has been pressed out and all that remains is a fine powder. It becomes peanut butter when you add 1-part water for 2-parts powder.

The real benefit is that it is absolutely delicious and tastes just like peanut butter but for about 1/4 of the calories in traditional peanut butter. It is perfect on toast, can be added to smoothies, oatmeal and cereal or yogurt.

Perfect healthy snack – available at Bell Plantation, Amazon and health food grocery stores.

Must Have of the Week: PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

New Old Kitchen

I am sorry I have been a little quiet these past few days, maybe even weeks, but we have been very busy in our house.  In fact, in the past month we cleaned, staged and sold our house.  Last week we packed it all up and moved.

Where to begin… Two years ago we moved from our condo to a rowhouse in central DC.  It was big and spacious but in the end we realized, for us, it was too big and too spacious.

Exhibit A.

My Old Kitchen

We have since moved back to our old condo, more on that later.  When you leave a kitchen this large you have to think thoughtfully about what you need, not just want in your new space.

Here are my space saving kitchen must-haves:

Shop: Bowls, Pot, Utensils, Cutting Boards, Knives

Where space is a premium you have to be smart.  Bowls and dishes should be multifunctional and stackable, gone are the canisters and jars of utensils, no longer are we cluttered by a big knife block when we only use two knives anyway.

We thought long and hard about and have right-sized our supplies to fit our needs and space.

Do you have a big kitchen or a small kitchen?

Stovetop Truffle Parmigiana Popcorn

This week I made popcorn.  Not pre-popped from a bag or from a microwave.  Homemade popcorn, made right on the stove…  And it was delicious and easy!

Parmigiano Reggiano Truffle Salt Stovetop Popcorn, recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
1.5 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or any high smoke point oil)
1/2 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
Truffle Salt to Taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
A drizzle of truffle oil
Large sauce pan with a lid
Other flavor options include classic salt and butter, salt and pepper, hot sauce, cinnamon, curry, whatever you fancy!


Set the pan over medium-high heat and drizzle the grapeseed oil.  Add to the pan 3 popcorn kernels and cover with the lid.

When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Add a conservative amount of the truffle salt. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.

This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat and keep the lid slightly ajar. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping really gets going gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.