Books and Cooks

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Personal & Round Ups

I meant to get this post up – my Christmas week menus – Christmas week, but as usual, life got in the way. My baby got sick, so we spent a few miserable days cuddling as he recovered in time to enjoy lots of family visiting, and, of course, Santa. Since I’m late, I’ll give you the menus, and a little bit about what I’ve been up to, and why it’s been so quiet on the blog over the past few weeks.

So as I said, at the start of Christmas week, my sweet boy came down with a nasty virus and ear infection, making him a pitiful sight. We had a couple of rough days, sleeping all day, eating very little, and trouble breathing at night. Thankfully, Nutterbutter started recovering and returning to his normal, happy baby-self just as family started to arrive.

This was the first Christmas since I’ve been with my husband (8 years) Tree!where we weren’t traveling for Christmas. We ended up with a full house – several members of my family came for the holidays, as well as some close friends, our “local family,” as we think of them.

The week was amazing. I LOVED seeing my little ones crawling over and smiling at my 85-year old grandfather, teasing my uncles, begging my brother to color… It was the first Christmas where my daughter understood that Santa was coming, and her reaction on Christmas morning was priceless. She was absolutely speechless, eventually stuttering, “so… many…presents.” We truly had the perfect Christmas.

My mom stayed until New Years Eve, to watch the munchkins while daycare was closed. I love when my mom stays, but it’s always tough – I’d rather be home and hanging out with her instead of working or being productive at home.

Once my house emptied out, I focused on returning life to normal – getting through the laundry, putting away the Christmas stuff, finding a new home for all of the toys, etc. The normal, boring stuff. But most of all, I was knitting like crazy. My sister-in-law’s baby shower was this past weekend, and I really wanted to finish the baby blanket I had started for my first (!) nephew. Knitting was pretty much all I did for the better part of a week, but it was worth it. I finished it the night before the shower, later than I would have liked. I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out, and think both my brother and sister-in-law liked the blanket.

Never one to sit for long, when my nephew’s baby blanket was finished, I turned to organizing my photos (which I slacked on for the past few months) and finishing my son’s 3-6 month photo album. (I’m creating digital scrapbooks, four for the first year of his life.) I’m really making an effort to stay on track with finishing his albums – Nutterbutter is almost 9 months old, and I’ll have another album to start on very shortly. I can’t get behind! My daughter is almost 3 and I’ve yet to do any of her albums. (#fail!) I still have a long way to go on this project, but I feel better having started getting back on track.

So life is returning to normal after all of the winter holidays. I am getting caught up on or finishing some projects, and after a short break to focus on my home and family, I’m ready to get back to blogging. I’ve got a number of posts to finish up, and several new ones I’m planning, so stay tuned for regular updates. Without further ado, I give you my Christmas week menus! (Hey, you can still bookmark them for next year! 🙂 )

CHRISTMAS WEEK MENUS

Sweets for the Week

With unexpected additions from some family members, I decided to skip formal desserts for the week.
Instead, we had an assortment of cookies and candies.

White Chocolate Covered Oreos
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caramels
Spritz
Polish “Chrust”
See’s Chocolates

Wednesday, Dinner for 8

Beef & Sausage Lasagna
Spinach Lasagna
Garlic Ciabatta Bread

Thursday (Christmas Eve), Dinner for 12 Adults, 2 Toddlers

Crab Cakes with Creole Sauce
Rice Pilaf
Roasted Carrots
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Friday (Christmas), Breakfast for 10 Adults, 1 Toddler

Tomato & Asiago Frittata
Raspberry Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins
Mimosas

Afternoon Appetizers for 12 Adults, 2 Toddlers

Spanokopitas
Antipasto & Cheese Platter

Dinner for 12 Adults, 2 Toddlers

French Onion Soup*
Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Salad
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

* I wasn’t super excited about the version of French Onion Soup that I made on Christmas Day, so instead I linked to my tried and true recipe.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”
― Jane Austen

This past year, I felt like I read very few books. Unusual for me, but I guess natural with all I had going on in my life. So this year, with an almost 3-year old and a new baby arriving halfway through the year, I decided to shoot to read 30 books this year – enough to keep me in the habit of reading (and to prevent me from falling too far behind on books by my favorite authors!) but also a high enough number so that I couldn’t slack off.

I came close, but didn’t reach my goal. My reading definitely in the latter part f the year, as we traveled and entertained more. I didn’t review everything I read this year (see here for reviews from this year, the most recent first), but I did track it. If you’re interested, you can check out that list here.

So, without further ado, I give you some of my favorite books that I read this year (in the order in which I read them).

Labyrinth

Labyrinth (by Kate Mosse) – I actually just barely finished this one in 2014, but blogged it in 2015, so I’m going to count it. I enjoyed the story, the blend of two story-lines, one past, one present. There was a little history, a little mystery and suspense, and a little magic. It had something for everyone.

Snitch

Snitch (by Brooker T Mattison) – A quick suspense novel that stands out from others in the genre for it’s poetic prose and depth of characters.

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project (by Graeme Simsion) – A light fictional novel about a socially awkward genetics professor and his search to find the perfect wife. It’s sequel, The Rosie Effect was a little disappointing (although it could have been my frame of mind), but The Rosie Project definitely ranked up there in my top books of the year.

Daughter of Smoke & Bones Trilogy

Daughter of Smoke & Bones Trilogy (by Laini Taylor) – A young adult/fantasy series, I was hooked pretty quickly. The trilogy has a little bit of everything – angels, monsters, and humans; love and war; dark and serious characters and others that are more relaxed, funny, and witty. I flew through this set of books and definitely had a hard time putting them down.

What were  your favorite books of 2015?
Is there anything you’d recommend that I check out?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Confetti Cake Milkshake from Sprinkles Bakes

Confetti Cake Milkshake from Sprinkles Bakes

Today is the last in my Frozen Fridays series, and I’m sharing an assortment of frozen beverages – milkshakes, cocktails, and other concoctions – that had me tracking down where we put the blender when we moved.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these roundups and have gotten some good ideas for your own kitchen adventures. I didn’t try nearly as many of the recipes as I would have liked, but that seems to be the story of my life.

{Frozen Fridays}

Frozen Beverages

  1. Almond Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie (from Cooking with Ruth)
  2. Cherry Lambic Milkshakes (from Love and Olive Oil)
  3. Confetti Cake Batter Milkshakes (skinny!) (from Sprinkles Bakes)
  4. Cookie Dough Milkshake (from My San Francisco Kitchen)
  5. Frosted Blueberry Lemonade (from Pinch of Yum)
  6. Iced Snickerdoodle Latte (from Feed Me Seymour)
  7. Kahlua Mudslides (from Sugar Dish Me)
  8. Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream Floats (from The Sugar Hit)
  9. Raspberry Colada Smoothie (from The Housewife in Training Files)
  10. Rice Krispie Treat Milkshake (from Beyond Frosting)
  11. Salted Caramel Bailey’s Milkshake With Vegan Irish Cream (from Spabettie)
  12. Skinny Mocha Frappuccino – Starbucks copycat recipe (from Healthy Sweet Eats)
  13. Strawberry Almond Smoothie (from Healthy Recipe Ecstasy)
  14. Strawberry Riesling Slushies (from Annie’s Eats)
  15. Toasted Marshmallow Peanut Butter Milkshake (from Honey and Birch)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

So we’ve made it through ice cream, toppings and servers, and popsicles. You might be wondering what else is left. Why, desserts, of course!

This week, I’ve desserts that don’t fall into one of the above categories. They’re frozen pies, cakes, sandwiches, and other ice cream-like creations. Some are simpler to make and others have a number of steps. The thing they all have in common? They’re sure to impress your guests!

Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Cake curtesy of Diary of a Recipe Collector

Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Cake curtesy of Diary of a Recipe Collector

 

{Frozen Fridays}

Desserts

  1. Banana Split S’mores Ice Cream Cake (from Beyond Frosting)
  2. Blackberry Icebox Cake (from Beyond Frosting)
  3. Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwiches (from A Sprinkle of This and That)
  4. Cherry Almond Chocolate Ripple Semifreddo (from Girl in the Little Read Kitchen)
  5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Bars (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
  6. Coconut Brownies Sundae (from Roxana’s Home Baking)
  7. Fried Ice Cream (from Overtime Cook)
  8. Frosty S’mores Cups (from Easybaked)
  9. Frozen Chocolate Cherry Bars (from Running to the Kitchen)
  10. Fudgy Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie (from Through Her Looking Glass)
  11. Funfetti Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie (from Beyond Frosting)
  12. Ice Cream Crepes (from French Press)
  13. Lemon Cloud No-Bake Ice Box Cake (from The Slow Roasted Italian)
  14. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake (no-churn) (from Cupcakes and Kale Chips)
  15. Mocha Brownie Ice Cream Pie (from Handle the Heat)
  16. PB&J Ice Cream Sandwich (from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook)
  17. Pan-Fried Banana Split (from Taste and Tell)
  18. Root Beer Float Pie (from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch)
  19. Rum-Soaked Grilled Pineapple topped with ice cream (from Gimme Some Oven)
  20. Reeses Ice Cream Cake (from Lemons for Lulu)
  21. Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Cake (from Diary of a Recipe Collector)
  22. Salted Peanut Caramel Ice Cream Bars (from Not Without Salt)
  23. Strawberry Sorbet Cookies (from Epicurean Mom)
  24. Toffee Ice Cream Brownie Bars (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
  25. Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Blueberry Terrine (from Cooking and Beer)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Peach-and-Blackberry-Margarita-Popsicles-from-Real-Food-by-Dad

Photo courtesy of Real Food By Dad

If you’ve been following Books n’ Cooks for a while, you know that over my past two pregnancies, I ate like a 6 year old during my first trimester – very little, mostly popsicles (or as I call them, ice pops) and my childhood favorites (bagel pizzas, peanut butter sandwiches, etc). It wasn’t a problem during my first pregnancy, but during my second, my daughter watched me eat ice pop after ice pop. She knew what it meant when the freezer opened and she heard the crinkle of a wrapper. She would come running to share whatever I opened. (I’m ashamed to say that I used to wait for her to go to bed so that I didn’t have to share.)

Now that my son is here, I’m eating a lot less ice pops, but we still have some in the house. It’s beautiful weather, so it’s a refreshing treat. And, I now have the energy – some days, anyway – to make my own. I recently made boozy Raspberry Sangria Popsicles (link below) for my hubby and I to enjoy after the little ones went to bed. That batch didn’t last long. Now I have to decide whether to make them again (they were a hit!), to try another boozy popsicle recipe, or to try out something my daughter can enjoy. What do you think?

{Frozen Fridays}

Popsicles

 

  1. Banana Split Pudding Pops (from The Kitchen McCabe)
  2. Berry Beer Popsicles (from Floating Kitchen)
  3. Blackberry Cheesecake Popsicles (from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen)
  4. Blueberry Greek Yogurt Pops inspired by Frozen (from A Mindful Mom)
  5. Coconut Salted Caramel and Chocolate Popsicles (from The Foodie Teen)
  6. Dark Chocolate Fudgesicles (from Annie’s Eats)
  7. Earl Grey Latte Pops (from Dessert for Two)
  8. Green Monster Popsicles (from Pink Parsley)
  9. Honey Yogurt Berry Pops (from 1-2 Simple Cooking)
  10. Key Lime Pudding Pops (from A Spicy Perspective)
  11. Lime Creamsicles (from Prevention RD)
  12. Limoncello Pops (from A Spicy Perspective)
  13. Milk & Cereal Breakfast Popsicles (from In Katrina’s Kitchen)
  14. Nutella Brownie “Cow” Popsicles (from Lady and Pups)
  15. Peach & Blackberry Margarita Popsicles (from Real Food by Dad)
  16. Peach Creamsicles (from The Cookie Rookie)
  17. Rhubarb Coconut Popsicles (from In Sock Monkey Slippers)
  18. Raspberry Coconut Popsicles (from In Sock Monkey Slippers)
  19. Raspberry Sangria Popsicles (from Chef Savvy)
  20. S’mores Popsicles (from The Crafted Sparrow)
  21. S’mores Ice Cream Popsicles (from Smells Like Home)
  22. Strawberry Basil Green Tea Popsicles (from The Healthy Apple)
  23. Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles (from Smitten Kitchen)
  24. Thai Tea Ice Pops (from The Novice Chef)
  25. Tiramisu Pops (from A Spicy Perspective)

If this isn’t enough for you, check out last year’s round-up for another two dozen recipes that caught my eye.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Fresh Cherry Sauce (photo and recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Fresh Cherry Sauce (photo and recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Considering the dozens and dozens of ice cream recipes that catch my eye, I’ve seen surprisingly few homemade servers (bowls, cones, etc) and toppings. I guess if you’re making your own ice cream, the flavor is so vibrant that you don’t want or need a topping for it. However, there are a couple of these goodies that caught my eye recently. If they’re as good as they look and sound, they’ll be sure to elevate any ice cream – store bought or homemade – to another level.

{Frozen Fridays}

Servers and Toppings

 


Want more? Here’s a dozen more ice cream servers and toppings.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Chocolate-Hazelnut and Toasted Marshmallow Gelato from Floating Kitchen

Chocolate-Hazelnut and Toasted Marshmallow Gelato from Floating Kitchen

Growing up, my mom used to make this fantastic Oreo ice cream. I don’t remember her making many varieties other than vanilla and Oreo, but the Oreo ice cream is the one we all loved. Mom only ever used Double Stuffers, because, really, the frosted center is the reason for eating the cookies. The trick was to get the biggest chunks of Oreo cookie that you could. The cookie would be soft from the ice cream, and the super sweet frosted center would shine through. That ice cream was summer for me.

Now, I look forward to the warm weather and when I can break out my ice cream maker. I never have the time to try even a fraction of the recipes I bookmark, but I enjoy trying. So far this year, I’ve made a classic vanilla ice cream (that only lasted 2 days in the house) and tried out a new recipe for sangria popsicles. I’ve decided that the trick is that I have to make the ice cream, stash it in the basement freezer, and clean up the evidence before my hubby knows I’ve made some. Unless I’m a mean wifey and make something I know he’ll dislike, once my hubby knows there’s ice cream in the house, he’ll have (and I’ll inevitably end up joining him) a bowl a night until it’s gone.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s begin the second year of Frozen Fridays – a new roundup of summer treats every Friday for the month of July. This week, I present to you two dozen ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, etc recipes that caught my eye recently. If you give any of them a try, please come back and let me know what you thought of them!

Raspberry Pistachio Coconut Ice Cream from The Foodie Teen

Raspberry Pistachio Coconut Ice Cream from The Foodie Teen

{Frozen Fridays}

Ice Creams, Sorbets, and More!

 

If this isn’t enough for you, check out last year’s round-up for another two dozen recipes that caught my eye.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Almost two weeks ago, we welcomed Luke Jordan into our little family. Arriving more than two weeks early, Luke is a tiny little thing – 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 inches long (11% percentile in weight and 6% in height).

20150505

Everyone is home – healthy and happy. Luke sleeps amazingly well and tolerates all of the loving his adoring big sister lavishes him with. Sophie is constantly looking for “my Luke.” She loves to hold “it,” cuddle him, and kiss him. She’s been helping Mommy burp the baby and bathe him, and is already trying to share her toys with him.

20150430

We couldn’t have asked for a happier, more loving welcome for our sweet boy. We’re looking forward to creating new memories together as a family of four.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This final week of Frozen Fridays is a roundup of all sorts of tasty treats that sort of fall into their own category. Most are based on homemade ice cream, but all have a little something extra designed to impress.

Roasted Cherry Sundae from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Roasted Cherry Sundae from Confections of a Foodie Bride

{Frozen Fridays: Round Up}

Frozen Desserts

  1. Bailey’s Spiked Ice Cream Cake (from Beyond Frosting)
  2. Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bites (from Busy in Brooklyn)
  3. Chocolate Dipped S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches (from Love and Olive Oil)
  4. Cookies and Cream Icebox Cake (from Baked Bree)
  5. Dipped Oreo Ice Cream Pops (from Snappy Gourmet)
  6. Frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie (from Bakers Royale)
  7. Ice cream Chimichangas (from Diethood)
  8. Ice Cream Petit Fours (from 17 and Baking)
  9. Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Brown Butter Cookies (from Donuts, Dresses and Dirt)
  10. Mudslide Ice Cream Cake (from Endless Simmer)
  11. Neopolitan Ice Cream Cake (from Heather Cristo)
  12. Roasted Cherry Brownie Sundaes (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)
  13. S’mores Ice Cream Cake (from Annie’s Eats)
  14. Snickers Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake (from Life Love & Sugar)
  15. Strawberries and Cream Sandwiches (from Alida’s Kitchen)
  16. Tartufi aka Ice Cream Truffles (from Annie’s Eats)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When I was pregnant with Sophie, I ate like a 7-year old. I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches (no crust) and bagel pizza bites. I didn’t want water, as important as it was, so I’d have popsicles. By the dozen. My hubby used to yell at me for when a box of popsicles was dinner.

At the time, I was so exhausted that I ate store-bought “ice pops,” as I grew up calling them. But now that I’ve found a new routine with a toddler running around, I’m enjoying experimenting with making my own. This week, I give you several of the popsicle recipes that are on my “to make” list.

If you try any of them, please come back and let me know how you liked it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles from Cara's Cravings

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles from Cara’s Cravings

{Frozen Fridays}

Popsicles

  1. Banana Coconut Cream Popsicles (from Spoonful of Flavor)
  2. Berry 7-Up Popsicles (from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks)
  3. Berry Coconut Popsicles (from Pint Sized Baker)
  4. Blackberry and Lime Popsicles (from Baked Bree)
  5. Blackberry Mojito Popsicles (from White on Rice Couple)
  6. Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt Ice Popsicles (from The Slow Roasted Italian)
  7. Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles (from Pink Parsley)
  8. Citrus Basil Mojito Pops (from Gina’s Skinny Taste)
  9. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles (from Cara’s Cravings)
  10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Pops (from Annie’s Eats)
  11. Coconut Lime Spa Pops (from Mom Foodie)
  12. Cookies and Cream Popsicles (from Just Baked)
  13. Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Pops with Rumchata (from Pass the Sushi)
  14. Limoncello and Raspberry Whiskey Sour Popsicles (from Bakers Royale on Endless Simmer)
  15. Margarita Popsicles (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)
  16. Orange Creamsicles (from Bakers Royale on Endless Simmer)
  17. Oreo Pudding Pops (from Tatertots & Jello)
  18. Raspberry Lemonade Yogurt Ice Pops (from The Slow Roasted Italian)
  19. Strawberry Margarita Popsicles (from Bakers Royale)
  20. Sweet Cream and Raspberry Pudding Pops (from Country Cleaver)
  21. Watermelon Agua Fresca Popsicles (from Little Inspiration)
  22. White Sangria Popsicles (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

 

And if this isn’t enough, check out Endless Poptails Endless Poptails (cocktail popsicles) on Endless Simmer

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Disclosure

Books n’ Cooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Some links on Books n’ Cooks may be affiliate links – links books and kitchen supplies that I love and would recommend. If you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!

Sunday Supper Movement