Naptime Simple Tips: Fun & Essential Tips for Your Kitchen

Silky Tomato Sauce

The Secret to the Silkiest Tomato Sauce Ever

I make lots of homemade tomato sauce, especially in the cooler months. Pasta is one of my family’s favorites and I prefer to make tasteful, healthy sauce from scratch since we eat it so frequently. There are several ways to make tomato sauce and I’ve highlighted my favorite recipes here in the past. But recently I’ve discovered this cool trick to making the sauce super duper silky.

Indaba Chenin Blanc

3 Wines I Love Right Now

As I mentioned this summer, I am slowly dipping my toe into wine writing and have been teaching myself about wine bit by bit. It is so much fun, but also very hard. Sometimes I fall so in love with a wine that I want to serve it with everything I make forever and ever. I have to force myself to take a break from it, move on, and try something new. Not always easy! Tasting wine is all about detecting nuances in flavor and texture which, I find, can be so much harder than declaring a recipe a success or failure. I am loving the new challenge and doing my best to keep track of my tasting notes. Here are a few new favorites I’ve been loving so far this fall:

Banana Bread mUffins

Back to School Lunchbox Ideas

I have packed my daughter’s lunchbox four times already and I know I have at least one hundred more times to pack it before next June. In the spirit of sharing ideas I thought I’d round-up a few of our personal favorite lunchbox ideas. Please share yours!

Fall Refresher: Kitchen Safety

Fall Refresher: Kitchen Safety

Every fall I spent a little time freshening up my kitchen. I get rid bits and pieces of food left over from summer, dump out the last bites of jam from jars, refill the maple syrup pitcher, and give my pots and pans a good scrubbing. I also pull out a fresh roster of recipes to make with my daughter since she loves to help me in the kitchen these days. She is learning her way around a recipe slowly and surely and I want to encourage her as much as I can. However, before we dive into a new round of food I like to review a few kitchen first aid with her to make sure we are on the right track.


National Can-it-Forward Day + Ball Jar Giveaway

I’ve been canning up a storm in Cooperstown this month with my Dad. As I’ve outlined before, we love canning fruits and vegetables each summer. It is a time for us to bond, plus we get to reap the rewards all winter long. I also give a lot of the preserves we make away for holiday gifts. I am excited to work with my friends at Ball Jar for the second year in a row to celebrate International Can-It-Forward Day. It is coming up this Saturday August 16th and you don’t want to miss it if you are a canning enthusiastic, or a novice who is eager to learn.

Roasted Peach Lemonade

Summer Classics to Play Over and Over

Every summer I fold a new selection of recipes into my repertoire. But I also spend a lot of time revisiting old favorites. It is kind of like that saying “make new friends but keep the old.” I spend all winter looking forward to our summer classics just as much as do trying new recipes. Here are some of the tried-and-true family favorites I’ve been making this summer. They deserve another go ’round in the spotlight in case you missed them the first time:

Talentin Double Dark Chocolate

Talenti Gelato for National Ice Cream Month

Earlier this week Talenti Gelato sent me the most ah-mazing care package. I’ve always loved their brand but it seemed particularly fitting to get a gigantic box of it during National Ice Cream Month. It also came during one of our hottest months which means we are eating ice cream left and right. Yes, I’ve even considered serving it for dinner and skipping the healthy stuff altogether. Here are a few ways we’ve been enjoying it:

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

Mid-Summer Garden Update

We are about halfway through our first gardening season in the new yard and it is time for an update. So far I’m happy to report that my year of experimentation is going fairly well. I’ve learned quite a bit about our climate, the sun patterns, and what critters I have to contend with around here. Here are some photos if you’d like to see:

A Few Watermelon Salads

A Few Watermelon Salads

Here is the thing about watermelon salad, I never make it the same way twice. But, it always tastes great no matter what I through at it. Today I thought I’d share a few different variations for how you can make it at home. And, please, share your additions and tell us how you do it!

Arla Dofino Cheeses

Cheese 101: Natural vs. Processed Cheese

Working with Arla Dofino has given me the best education on cheese. I’ve always loved (LOVED!) cheese and done my best to buy only the highest quality cheese I can afford for my friends and family. Naturally, this means avoiding processed cheeses since they are known for not being as healthy. However, up until now I didn’t really know why processed cheese wasn’t so good for me.

8 Tips for Using Blue Apron + Special Discount!

8 Tips for Using Blue Apron + Special Discount!

Last week I received a big box from Blue Apron, the online meal delivery service that sends recipes with pre-measured ingredients for three delicious dinners straight to your doorstep. Even though I do most of my own cooking from scratch, I was excited to try a service that promised to breathe new life into my weekly repertoire. Lately I’ve been in need of fresh inspiration for the new season so this was the perfect time to give it a whirl.

Making Maple Syrup 2014 | The Naptime Chef

Sugaring Off: The 2014 Maple Syrup Adventure – Part 1

Last month we embarked on our first ever sugaring off experience and it was such a blast. Inspired by my friend Aimee, we tapped the healthy sugar maple in our backyard to see what would happen. As it turns out – a lot! This year was a learning curve for us. Next year we’ll definitely tweak our methods to make the process more efficient with a higher yield. Here is how it all went down: