Super Easy Sorbet


With summer right around the corner, I got the urge to dip into my recipe box for a fun sorbet. There’s nothing more refreshing than a tangy, cool summer treat. Since I recently snagged a bunch of fresh produce I decided to make lemon, grapefruit and strawberry sorbets.

The basic recipe is fairly easy to follow. It’s really just frozen simple syrup and a puree/juice. When using a puree to make my sorbet, I like to do 1:2 simple syrup to puree. In this case I did one cup of simple syrup and two cups of strawberry puree. (Full recipe below.)

Not all fruits lend themselves to a nice puree. As a hater of pulp, I stick to using the juices from my favorite citrus-y (but pulpy) fruits. When it comes to using juice to create a sorbet, I tend to do a 1:1, simple syrup to fruit juice. Since you’re lacking the solids of a puree, if you do 2:1, simple syrup to juice, you’re going to end up with a popsicle. For the lemon and grapefruit sorbets, I used one cup of simple syrup and one cup of fresh fruit juice. (Full recipes below.)

The creation process is as easy as the recipe. To create a cup of simple syrup, heat a cup of water in a sauce pan and dissolve in one cup of sugar. Stir over medium heat until the sugar fully dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Let it boil for one  minute and remove from the stove to cool. (If I’m being impatient, I will put it in the fridge to cool.)

While the simple syrup cools, create your puree or juice your fresh fruit. I like to add a splash (about a TBSP) of lemon juice to all my purees for that extra tart taste but it’s not necessary.

Once the syrup is cooled, combine it with the puree/juice. At this point, if you have an ice cream maker, just toss the mixture in there and you’re all set! We have the old-school Waring ice cream maker from the early ’90s. Despite the horridly designed box and graphics, you can’t fault it for being reliable. The only downfall is that the thing is SO loud. I seriously think I’d rather sitting on the tarmac at Laguardia Airport than sit in the same room as that ice cream maker. Since I just didn’t have the patience for that noise, I decided to use the freezer method.

Strawberry Sorbet

Dump the mixture into a 9 inch, metal baking dish and stash it in the freezer. Check it every hour or two and when the mixture is a little more than half frozen, pull it out, break it up with a fork (this shouldn’t be too hard) and run the whole thing through the blender or food processor. This will help infuse some of those delightful little air bubbles into the sorbet that you would naturally get from the churning of a traditional ice cream maker. If you’re busy chasing kids or catching zzz’s, it’s not the end of the world if you skip this step. But if you’re intent on following the directions you can always pull out the totally frozen sorbet, let it melt on the counter for a while and then blend it up again.

Without further adieu, here are the recipes that I used:

Lemon Sorbet

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c fresh squeezed lemon juice

Strawberry Sorbet

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 2 c fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice

Grapefruit Sorbet

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

Enjoy a Purple Sunrise every morning

Now that the temps are rising outside, I find myself craving smoothies, so why not make them healthy? I’ve found that pineapple and mango have the perfect citrus-y flavor to cut through the sometimes bitter flavors of spinach and kale. (Read: they cover up that gross, healthy taste). It takes a few test runs to really get something right, and I’ve tasted my fair share of (sort of gross) smoothies in the process so without further adieu, I give you Purple Sunrise:


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c fresh cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 c frozen mango
  • 1 c packed kale
  • 1/2 c frozen blue berries
  • 1 c orange juice


Purple Sunrise Smoothie

Specialty Pizza – Made by You

Who doesn’t like pizza? Even after I became lactose intolerant I couldn’t resist the chewy goodness of a freshly baked pie. After more than a few stomach aches, I taught myself to make my beloved pizza at home. Thankfully, making pizza is basically the easiest thing ever.

DIY Pizza Dough
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can likely make a pretty good pizza dough with ingredients that you have around the kitchen.

  • 3 1/2 to 4 c flour (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c water, 110 degrees F
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Grease the mixer bowl (or another large bowl if you’re into doing dishes) with a bit of olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it rise for about an hour. The dough should have about doubled in size. Divide it into 2 equal pieces and let them rest for 10 minutes before rolling out.

Top it Off
Now that you’re all rolled out, it’s onto the important part – toppings! I personally love salty toppings (Hawaiian pizza confuses me) so I’m sharing my favorite combination. Prosciutto, arugula and goat cheese.

  • 1/2 c arugula
  • 2 slices thinly cut prosciutto
  • 1/4 c goat cheese
  • 1/4 c mozzarella

This is pizza so feel free to add or subtract ingredients or adjust the amounts according to your taste. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes (depending on your oven).




Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I’m a serious snacker. It has always been my diet downfall and the only way I know to combat it is to keep healthy, filling snacks around me at all times. Because of this, I go through about a dozen cliff bars and the like weekly. I got to thinking that making them can’t be all that hard, right? Here goes nothing:

1/4 C coconut oil
1 C peanut butter (I used Teddy but I’m sure anything natural will give you the same results)
1/2 C agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 C quick oats
1/2 C shredded coconut
1/4 C sliced almonds
1/4 C salted sunflower seeds
1/2 C chocolate (I used our leftover chocolate easter bunnies because those are NOT snacks that I want sticking around.)


  1. Line an 11 x 7 baking dish with waxed paper
  2. In a sauce pan, melt coconut oil, peanut butter and agave nectar, stirring consistently.
  3. While you’re melting, combine oats, shredded coconut, almonds and sunflower seeds in a separate bowl.
  4. When the peanut butter mixture is melted and smooth, remove from heat and fold in vanilla and dry ingredients.Image
  5. Press the mixture into the prepped pan, on top of the waxed paper. You have to really press it in there or the bars will come out crumbly. I used a meat tenderizer to press it in but I’m sure a heavy-duty spatula or the back of a small bowl would work just as well.
  6. Because I was upcycling some chocolate easter bunnies, I broke them into small pieces and melted them in the microwave by nuking them on high in 25-second increments until they’re melted.
  7. Once melted, I just used a spatula to spread the chocolate on top of the bars.
  8. Because I’m impatient, I tossed the whole pan in the fridge to cool but I’m sure you could just leave it on the counter for a few hours. Once cooled I dumped the whole batch out onto a cutting board, diced em up and wrapped them individually with plastic wrap.


Homemade Popcorn

I’ve been on a make-at-home kick lately so I decided to make my favorite snack – Popcorn!

Popcorn is about the easiest (and cheapest) thing in the world to make yourself, just a little oil, kernels and any desired accoutrements.  For a salty snack, I decided to go simple with a truffle butter popcorn with sea salt.

Truffle Butter Popcorn w/ Sea Salt

4 TBSP Canola Oil
1 cup popcorn kernels
2.5 TBSP butter
.5 TBSP truffle oil
Sea Salt to taste

Put canola oil and kernels in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Place a lid on the top, slightly cracked to let out the steam.  Kernels should start popping after about 5 minutes.  Don’t remove the lid because these little suckers fly.  A few shot across my kitchen as I tried to snap a photo.

While the popcorn is popping, microwave butter and truffle oil until the butter is melted and runny.  I like to give the pan a shake every now and again to make sure the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom of the pan.  As the pops slow down (less than 1 per second) remove the pan from the heat.  Some kernels may still pop at this point so watch out for flying popcorn.

Dump the freshly popped corn into a large bowl (you might need two).  Drizzle truffle butter over popcorn evenly, mixing with a large spoon.  Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.


Spiced Cake Donuts

I have really fond memories of going after church to get donuts with the whole family.  As much as I still love the tasty treats, I’m wise enough to know that they are packing some major sugar/oil/fat content that I really don’t need to be eating.

I’m definitely not a martyr for moderation so my solution to these kinds of conundrums is to try to make it at home.  For this project I managed to pick up a donut pan for a few bucks at the discount store by my office – those big box discount stores are a goldmine for random kitchen utensils.  The only downfall is that they are stocked by chance so I would have grabbed two if they had been there but, alas, I only go the one.

Homemade Spiced Cake Donuts

  • 2 c cake flour
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP shortening
  1. In a large bowl mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla and shortening and beat together until well blended.
  3. Fill each donut cup about 3/4 of the way and bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

Maple Glaze

  • 2 TBSP pure hot maple syrup
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  1. Heat the maple syrup and combine powdered sugar with a whisk until smooth.

Take the cooled donuts and dip them in the maple glaze.  Return to cooling rack to harden.

Sugar Cookies with a Lemon Glaze

Like all great recipes, this one comes from my grandmother.  Being the slovak that she is, if she could use lard for everything, she would.  Unfortunately for her, here in America, her doctor says no and the pescetarian in me thinks that is just gross.  But as far as I’m concerned, the real secret to fluffy sugar cookies is crisco.

Simple Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 C Shortening
1 1/2 C Sugar (I subbed Splenda this time around)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla

As with all cookies, combine dry ingredients and then mix in the shortening, egg and vanilla.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  In my opinion, these cookies should be a tiny bit golden brown on the edges and never over-baked.

Lemon Glaze (simplest thing in the world and it sounds really fancy)
1 C Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 Drops Yellow Food Color (optional)

Just whisk this up in literally 30 seconds.  I added yellow food coloring just to make the cookies a little prettier but it’s definitely not necessary.  I usually take the lazy-man’s approach and wait until the cookies cool and then dip them directly in the glaze.   This is the least messy option.

Evernote is my new favorite thing

I’ve been using Evernote for a few months and have found it moderately helpful for keeping my life in order.  With the addition of both the Nook and Kindle tablets into our lives over the holidays, the program has become invaluable for the home chef.

I have a notebook dedicated to my recipes that I can search through my topic (dinner, dessert, etc) or by ingredient (chocolate) to find what I need.  Even better, I can view these recipes on my phone so I have a grocery list at the store on my way home from work.  And possibly my favorite use it while I’m cooking, I set up my nook in the kitchen to play pandora and read the recipe instructions.

Evernote seems to be one of those programs that actually becomes more useful as you add more viewing devices so I’ve also added it to my boyfriend’s devices so he can feed himself when I’m away and I can update his grocery list in real time.

Although I’m sure there are much fancier (read: more expensive) options out there, this works really well for the casual cooking couple.

(The above post is not sponsored and solely based on my own opinions and experiences.)

For my puppy loving friends…

I got really into making a ton of gifts this year for no reason other than I had a lot of vacation time and I’m not good at vacation.  As a dog-lover and frequent pet sitter, I have been hearing about homemade dog treats and figured it couldn’t be all that difficult.  And it turns out I was right.

I used a recipe that I found on which was really simple.

1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used the creamy kind)

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In a separate bowl, combine flours and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Place dough on flour dusted surface. Roll or press dough out to about 1/4” inch thick. Use a small bone cookie cutter to cut out cookies. My cookie cutter was a 5-inch bone-shaped , but for small dogs you may want to use a small cookie cutter (around 2″). Roll out leftover scraps and cut out as many as possible. Put cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Caramel Chex

Gluttony over the holiday season is a family tradition.  So this year, to do my part, I made a big batch of this Caramel Chex mix which was an instant hit.  It’s one of my new favorite gift recipes because the compliments to prep time ratio is totally in your favor.  I made the entire thing in the microwave in 25 minutes.  Gotta love it.

Here’s what you need:
6 cups rice chex
6 cups corn chex
1 bag Brach’s caramels
4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Here’s how to make it happen:
In a glass (microwave safe) bowl mix unwrapped caramels, milk and butter.  Microwave on high for about 4 minutes – stirring well after each minute to avoid burning – until the caramels are completely melted.  Add in the cereal and stir until coated.  Microwave the cereal mixture on high for 4 to 5 more minutes – again, stirring well after each minute to avoid burns – or until the mixture begins to brown and smells all nutty and delicious.  Spread onto a wax-paper covered baking sheet to cool.

In a smaller glass (microwave safe) bowl pour chocolate chips for melting.  (Helpful Hint: I also add a bit of shortening to make the chocolate smoother and better for drizzling.) Microwave on high – stirring after each minute to avoid burning – until the chocolate is completely melted.  Drizzle over the cooling cereal mix.

Let stand for 30 minutes, or until cooled.  Break into small pieces and store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Caramel Chex