Naptime Simple Tips: Fun & Essential Tips for Your Kitchen


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:

How to Roast Garlic Final

Kitchen Basics: How to Roast Garlic

This is a quick post about a basic roasting method everyone ought to know. It relates to a great recipe I am posting next Tuesday and I thought everyone might want a little refresher. I use roasted garlic in lots of dishes. It lends terrific flavor to soups and sauces. It also makes the best kind of garlic bread when you squeeze it onto a piece of toast and sprinkle a little cheese on top. Next week I am going to use it in a new favorite way – in salad!

5 Ways to Brighten Your Kitchen Mood

5 Ways to Brighten Your Kitchen Mood

It is time to brighten the mood in here. I’ll admit this winter, with the endless gray skis and perma-layer of snow is beginning to wear me down. I am cooking a lot of the same old stuff and am feeling somewhat uninspired. Time to snap out of it! Luckily, to help me take a step in the right direction my pals at Sunkist sent me a huge box of amazingly fresh citrus last week. The little oranges and apples were perfect for my children’s hands, we’ve all been chowing down. I also made yet another batch of Meyer lemon marmalade because I am truly dealing with an addiction at this point. This sweet care package is definitely helping me move in the right direction mood-wise. So, I thought today we’d talk about getting back in the swing of things and thinking spring.

Apple Snack Muffins

Baked Goods for School Snacks 101

Moving is for the birds. For. The. Birds. I seriously never, ever want to move again. Though, I really do want to try living all over the world during my lifetime, the actual act of moving is the pits. Next week I’ll share some tidbits from our new location. But, in the mean time, I will chat a little more about school. This year I have to pack my daughter two snacks. One for morning, one for afternoon. All this on top of lunch. It is a lot of food every day! But, I know she needs it to keep her little body going so I am happy to take on the challenge of sending her to school with as much homemade grub as I can handle.

Back-to-School Cooking 101

Back-to-School Cooking 101

Today is the day. My daughter is back in school and we are in officially in back-at-school mode. For her this means a fresh start with a new teachers and classmates. For me this means it is time to revisit our quick dinner favorites, lunch box ideas, and stock the freezer with homemade snacks. While the jist of back-to-school cooking is that meals should be fast and healthy, there is still a lot that goes into it. A lot of things I make in advance and I am always mining the freezer for sauces and herb mixes I’ve made in bulk. I draw on all of my resources to get dinner on the table every night! Luckily, the new baby is on a great new nap schedule I can return to naptime cooking, but I still have to be smart about my time with everything else on the docket. Here are a few tips for your own back-to-school cooking and our family favorites I’ll be making a lot this fall!