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Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies with Sea Salt

This recipe is a variation on my standard Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Instead of toffee pieces, I’ve done pretzel pieces and even chopped maraschino cherries. (I like to save those for the Holidays.) If you can’t find the toffee pieces, these cookies are positively delicious with just chocolate chips and sea salt.

A few things before we start: I try to use mostly organic ingredients.  I am conscious about my food and how it’s processed.

Spicy Asian Noodle Soup For What Ails You

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Spicy Asian Noodle Soup, A Family Favorite

The fall cold season settled heavily upon the Labianca/McDaniel household.  With three sick kids sporting four infected ears among them and two sniffly parents, I decided it was time for some Spicy Asian Noodle Soup.

This soup is a family favorite and is great to clear up sinuses and help break a fever when you’re sick. (Just add extra ginger and chilis to the broth.) It is also just a delicious,

If You Relish Pickles, You Will Love Our Pickled Vegetables

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Every year we host at least 2 big outside parties – the pig roast on the 4th of July and Oktoberfest in the fall. One of the first things I do to get ready for Oktoberfest, once the hot sauce is bottled, is to make some crunchy, briny pickled vegetables to balance out the beer and brats. I raided the garden for cherry tomatoes, cherry peppers,

Early Taste of Fall | Chicken Pot Pies

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Ingredients

  1. 1 lb. of chicken – either breast or thighs
  2. Salt and pepper to taste
  3. extra virgin olive oil to cover the the bottom of the Dutch oven
  4. Diced vegetables of whatever is in season (one of each)
  5. 1 cup of frozen peas
  6. 1 small red onion
  7. 2 cloves of garlic
  8. 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  9. 1 and 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  10. Ready Made biscuit dough (i.e.

Baskets of Hot Peppers in the Garden? Make Hot Sauce!

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Our garden this year has been a juggernaut – kale that grows faster than we can eat it, tomatoes everywhere, carrots with greens shooting up over our kids’ heads, and even more chili peppers than I know what to do with.So what does one do with all those peppers? You know what they say: when God gives you hot peppers, make hot sauce!

But given I’m trying to get rid of a couple dozen habaneros,

10 Tips for a Killer Outdoor Party

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If you’ follow this blog, you know that Gary and I like to throw parties – like the 4th of July Pig Roast. In the beginning of October, we host an Oktoberfest aptly named, McTomberfest. My husband’s name in McDaniel. Get it?  Moving right along…

We have this outdoor thing down to a science. Here are a few tips to help you master your next party.

Italian Comfort Food, My Mother’s Baked Ziti

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Baked ziti is Italian comfort food. Several pounds of rich, delicious cheese, pasta, and my marinara sauce are the key components added to this dish. To me, there’s nothing so creamy and tangy and warming than a luscious bowl of baked ziti.  Bake an entire tray and feed your family for week or bring it to your sick, stressed, or mourning neighbor along with a loaf of Italian crusty bread,

My Marinara Sauce

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It’s said that each Italian knows how to make good marinara sauce. It’s learned by watching the elders, but never participating in the act. They cook for YOU, they don’t teach. A young Italian needs to think ahead, knowing that at some point, he or she will need to hone his or her own recipe. Only this Italian will teach the next generation.

Please note, that this is just a suggestion.

An Outdoor Bar Cart for Your Fine Lawn Party and Boozy Needs

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GOAL: Makeover a rusty mid-century modern three-tiered shelving unit on two wheels into an elegant outdoor bar cart for my stone patio.

On our last moving run from our South Orange house house to our Maplewood house, we thought we finally got everything. We were wrong – my husband forgot my grandmother’s mid-century modern metal bar cart. And it’s not like you can go back after closing and say,

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Roasting a Pig in a Box | A 4th of July Pig Roast to Remember

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How the hell does one go about roasting a pig in a box? 

If you’re like Carla and me, you love good food, good friends and you LOVE a good pig roast. So what better for the 4th of July than to buy a 100 pound pig and invite over 100 of your best friends? But the question is, how the hell does one go about roasting a pig in a box?