January 24, 2017

Cookies, Cakes & More!

Salted Caramel Brownies | The Naptime Chef

Brownies with Salted Caramel Swirl & Chips!

There is nothing I love more than a good baking session with my kids. We love getting into the kitchen for a fun baking session and going crazy. Yes, it is messy, but who cares? It doesn’t matter to me as long as we are all having fun. Last weekend we had three days off for the holiday so I used some of that time to bake with my kids in anticipation of my son’s birthday. Pillsbury had sent us a whole box of fun mixes and I let them pick what they wanted and then we got to work!

We had so much fun baking up a storm on the cold winter’s day. Our first activity was the birthday cake. We elected to make the classic chocolate cake in a bundt pan. I love that the cake mix can be used for cakes, cupcakes, and more, and in this case the bundt was requested! Then we frosted it with vanilla frosting and sprinkled it with LOTS of sprinkles. My son loves sprinkles so they were the most important part to him.

January 20, 2017

3 Tips from My Latest Book Obsession: In a French Kitchen

I am a little late to the game with reading Susan Loomis. My mother handed me a whole stack of her books last winter and I noticed the first one was written over a decade ago! Needless to say I read them cover-to-cover in just a few weeks and have steadily cooking my way through a lot of her recipes. My favorite of her bunch is In a French Kitchen. I’ve recommended it before and am here to do so again.

In a French Kitchen | The Naptime Chef

My favorite part about this book is how it delves deep into the inner workings of French kitchens and the home cooks who run them. There is all kinds of information from how stock your pantry to how to approach your morning breakfast routine รก la Francaise. It even includes month-to-month menus (with recipes!) so you can eat seasonally appropriate French food all year long.

January 19, 2017

Easy Slow-Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup | The Naptime Chef

This is the season I like to take it slow. Life doesn’t slow down, but the cooking does. Instead of chopping loads of fresh vegetables from the local market I use my favorite frozen ones and add them to the slow-cooker. It is an easy approach to the delicious soups and stews to keep us warm during the busy, cold days of January.

January 12, 2017

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie for the New Year

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie | The Naptime Chef

Eating lighter doesn’t have to be miserable. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can have your cake and it too! Of course, I don’t mean literally, but eating better doesn’t mean you have to give up every single thing you love like chocolate and ice cream. My recent favorite chocolate treat that manages to match my resolutions goal, yet still satisfy my cravings, is this raw cacao smoothie. It is filled with chocolate raspberry flavor, a snap to make, and perfect for everyday sipping.

January 10, 2017

Zucchini Bread Trifle

Zucchini Bread Trifle | The Naptime Chef

The January blahs are setting in and I am doing everything I can to keep my kitchen fresh and exciting. Sometimes a little change and break us all out of the rut, it doesn’t have to be anything momentous. Just enough to make us look as something with fresh eyes. Over Christmas vacation my mother gave me some delicious chocolate zucchini bread from a friend. My kids enjoyed a few slices but then grew a little bored with it.

January 5, 2017

Roast Chicken Thighs & Broccolini in 23 Minutes

Panasonic CIO | The Naptime Chef

January is the season of resolutions and I am no different. It’s time to cut back on the sugar and pasta and focus on the healthy, lighter fare. Last fall I went to Napa Valley to attend the media reveal of the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven. It was a wonderful trip and I really enjoyed learning more about oven and its many features. I’ve been using it a lot since I received mine and it has truly made my cooking life easier than ever. I can roast, bake, and reheat in a fraction of the time I can do any of those things in my regular oven!

December 27, 2016

Berry Sparkly New Year’s Punch

Berry Sparkly New Year's Eve Punch | The Naptime Chef
New Year’s Eve is a bit of a conundrum with children. Do you get a babysitter and stay out until midnight? Do we just do a kids celebration and go to bed early and skip the hoopla? For the past few years our answer has been making punch, having dinner with friends and doing something a little inbetween. Since we don’t have an all out bash I don’t go crazy making a dizzying hard liquor punch. Instead I make a sparkly punch with a hint of booze, so it is tasty without being too over the top. It is perfect for family events and New Year’s Eve celebrations alike.