chocolate malted whopper drops


I’m a pusher, plain and simple. My friends can vouch for this and you, gentle readers, probably can, too.

The thing is, we all work hard. I don’t care if you do a 9-5 office-type job, a stand-on-your-feet-all-day job, a mom job, a dad job, a super-secret-spy job: you are working your butt off. And you deserve to treat yo-self! Sometimes that means a new purse. Other times, a relaxing vacation. In my world, it almost always means baked goods.

To me, there are few desserts more perfect than a delicious, chocolatey cookie. Which is why Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops totally siren-songed me. How can I resist chocolate and my FAVORITE candy (Whopper it up!) rolled into a single, amazing treat? The answer is, I can’t. So I made a full batch of these to share at work…not before I sampled a few, of course. Safety first.

These are really simple to pull together. Just 10 or 15 minutes of your time will produce a bowl of sweet, sweet batter. And three batches of cookies later, you’ll have a fantastic display of chocolate discs almost too pretty to eat. Almost being the operative word.

I tried these with a glass of cold milk and a cup of coffee. Both were fantastic. And, hey, you can’t go wrong with a cookie served over some vanilla bean ice cream. YUM.

So what are you waiting for?

zucchini goat cheese pizza


Where the heck did June go? I distinctly remember flipping my calendar at work and thinking, “Smell ya later, May showers.” I admired the picture that would become my June view (a porch in Tuscany…yes, I own a calendar of porch views. Don’t judge me). And then apparently life happened (birthdays, graduations, a four year anniversary (!), cook outs, a trip to the beach, etc.), and I neglected my poor, little blog. If this blog was a kid, CPS would’ve been called ages ago. Maybe if this blog cried or smelled bad when I ignored it, then I’d be more inclined to check in. Hear that, WordPress gods? A stinky blog is an updated blog. Just an FYI.

But I’m back now with a new-found resolve to keep the cobwebs off this tiny internet space. And I want to reinvigorate you with a truly delicious dinner. A dinner that is PERFECT for May June whatever month this is: Smitten Kitchen’s Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza.

Have you finally jumped on the homemade pizza bandwagon I’ve been trying to get you on for the past year or so? It’s SO EASY and the pay-off is huge. Start with KAF’s pizza crust. On top of that goes goat cheese and lemon juice and salt and pepper. Then zucchini. Then lemon juice. Then olive oil. Couldn’t be simpler. Couldn’t be tastier.

I made this for dinner, but it would make a really fun appetizer for a party. Especially with the cocentric rings of yellow and green zucchini. People will think you’re super schmancy and will feel bad about using the hand towels in your bathroom. These are things you’ll just have to get used to when you make this pizza for friends. You’ve been warned.

sprinkle sugar cookies

Sprinkle Sugar Cookie

Confession: I will buy any lotion, lip balm, candle, body mist, foot cream (!) that boasts a scent identical to sugar cookies. Clearly, this is a sickness.

I think my obsession started with the super-soft sugar cookies my Mom would pick up from Mars (Baltimore’s finest grocery store chain). They were big and sweet and covered in crunchy sugar granules. They were also the very likely cause of some extremely awkward chubby years between ages 11 to 13.

Sprinkle Sugar Cookie

With time, my love of sugar cookies has evolved from just devouring them to baking THEN devouring them. (I believe this is called progress.) So you can trust me when I say that these Sprinkle Sugar Cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen are a sugar cookie connoisseur’s dream. The cookie itself is perfection–light and airy, soft, with a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Then it’s taken to 11 with the ridiculously delicious almond-sugar glaze.

Nate had me leave a few unglazed (he claims that the icing was just gilding the lily), but I think the glaze is a MUST. Do they have marital counselling for baking disagreements? Because, seriously, that’s an untapped market right there.

Now if you’ll excuse me, these GLAZED cookies won’t eat themselves!



mocha madness ice cream


Hi friends!!!

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? My blog calendar tells me I haven’t posted since May 1, which means I haven’t written a thing in 25 days. Yikes.

Now, I know that excuses are for the birds, but I actually have a pretty decent one to explain my absence: we went to Italy! And for almost two weeks I ate pasta and drank wine like a champ.

Our trip started in a house in Umbria (next door to Tuscany)…

Umbria HouseView of the pool dsc_0082

There was a cooking lesson (I’ll be sharing more about that in the future!)…


A day trip to Florence…


And a stay in Rome…

dsc_0581The Colosseum dsc_0701dsc_0747dsc_0600

After all of our travels (and all of our eating!), I’m finding it difficult to stay focused in the kitchen. Maybe it’s being away compounded with the fact that it’s pretty much summer and all I want to do is play outside, but I’ve noticed that I only have the attention span sufficient for quick meals and desserts. And since ice cream is one of THE EASIEST and most satisfying desserts, I figured I’d share with you King Arthur Flour’s phenomenal Mocha Madness Ice Cream (you know, in case you’re in the same “attention span of a gnat” situation I’m in).


I first tasted this treat at a friend’s house. She topped my bowl off with an Oreo and I thought, Wow, so cute! And then I tried a bite and thought, GIMME THE BUCKET OF ICE CREAM AND NO ONE GETS HURT. My inner hungry girl can get kinda scary sometimes.

Not one weekend later, I made this recipe for myself and the rest is history. I think this might be my tenth time making this ice cream, and since this isn’t my first rodeo, I do have a few notes:

1) Add one more tablespoon of espresso powder–the coffee flavor is intensified and it is awesome.

2) I’ve eaten this after it’s been frozen for a bunch of hours, and I’ve eaten this soft serve-style, right after churning. Either way, it is perfection.

3) I have used 2% milk instead of the whole milk to no ill effect. But if you try to swap out the heavy or whipping cream for something lighter, I will have to un-friend you.

4) Three words: Chocolate-Filled Oreos. The original is fine, but these are extra credit.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope it’s filled with lots of food and fun!

vanilla bean marshmallows


You might not know this about me, but I’m something of a local celebrity in these parts.

I wish it was because I made the best apple pie in town or because I could skip really fast or something cool like that. Instead, my fame extends only to the sweet Korean and Vietnamese women I live near and their astounding interest in my translucent skin.

I started noticing my star power when I would go to the local dry cleaners to have my pants hemmed (short ladies REPRESENT!). The sweet woman who would measure the hem would always say things like, “You are so fair!” and “Your skin is like milk!” while gazing admiringly at my bone-white legs. I knew right away that she meant these to be compliments, but in a society where tanner is better, it’s a little disheartening to have other people LOUDLY exclaim that your skin reminds them of “the snow.”

Obviously, I had to ask a Vietnamese friend about my new-found popularity.  She promptly pointed me to Shiseido’s skin bleaching line and told me that I’d be “big in Vietnam.” With information like that, it’s hard not to let this fame go to my pasty white head.


But until I can save up for a one-way ticket, it only makes sense for me to keep on keepin’ on here in the Condo’s kitchen. This week, I decided to stick with the alabaster theme and bring you fat, fluffy, and perfectly white vanilla bean marshmallows.

Taken directly from Jessica of How Sweet It Is, this recipe is awesome because a) it’s really easy, and b) no candy thermometer is necessary! WOOT. I’m a HUGE marshmallow fan (I could eat a whole bag of the things, the s’mores-sized kind being my favorite), and these do not disappoint. And hey, speaking of s’mores, can you imagine one of these beauties in between two graham crackers with a couple of rectangles of a Hershey’s bar melted in the center? Because I can. *Drool*

easy no-knead loaf bread


You know what’s annoying? Trying to type a blog post when your cat is grooming herself in front of your keyboard.

You know what’s annoying-er? When said cat decides to stop grooming and instead starts batting at the mouse arrow sweeping across your computer screen. Sigh. Sometimes I think she doesn’t understand that she’s totally blog-blocking me. Other times, I think she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing (“La la la, groom groom groom, you should probably just pet me, since you can’t reach around me to type, la la la…”). Touché, kitty cat. Touché.

Luckily, other than occasionally getting under foot, this cat hasn’t figured out how to slow down my groove in the kitchen. Which is good, since I couldn’t possibly try out (and share with you) AWESOME recipes like Alicia’s No-Knead Bread from Posie Gets Cozy without my uninterrupted kitchen time.

For a long while, I’ve been on the hunt for a quick and easy, no frills but still delicious, loaf bread. The stuff from the store is so blah and thin, and I just knew that there had to be a better way.

Alicia’s bread takes only a few minutes to go from ingredients to dough. It rises for just 50 minutes. And thirty minutes of baking gives you TWO (I split my dough up, since my pans are in the 8″x4.5″ size range) loaves of buttery, flufferly, loverly bread. That’s a huge ROI (Return on Investment, for those of you who don’t speak in office jargon all day).

Make this, eat this, love this. And while you do that, I’m going to try to teach this lazy bum cat to blog.


Her posts will probably be very fish-focused, but they’ll also be exceptionally cute.

baked mushroom risotto with caramelized onions


This past week, for the first time in months, I have been able to go without my puffer jacket, woolen beanie, and leather gloves. It’s been warm in these parts. In fact, it’s been downright hot, and I love it.

My joy over the ushering in of spring/summer after a long winter can’t be overstated. My toes are painted, my sun dresses are out in full force, and–perhaps best of all–I can drive around with the windows down while blasting my favorite tunes. Sidebar: Do you also secretly hope that someone will drive up next to your car when you’re blaring your 90s alternative mix and think, “Wow, I am totally impressed by this stranger’s musical selections and can tell that she is unquestionably, effortlessly cool.” No? Just me? Okay, moving on…

I bought the ingredients for this risotto when it was cold out. I made it when it was 90 degrees. So I speak from experience when I say that this dish is awesome in any weather. It’s hearty and flavorful and everything a risotto should, nay, must be. And this is coming from a risotto aficionado.**

**Just so we’re clear, in my world, “risotto aficianado” = eats a lot of risotto. But you probably figured out that for yourself.

Make this, okay? You won’t be sorry.

chicken b’stilla

Chicken B'Stilla

There’s a restaurant where I live called Casablanca. And as you might imagine, it serves Moroccan fare. But what makes this particular restaurant extra awesome is the kitschy decor (so much fake gold leaf!), the giant pillows that you sit on instead of chairs, and the belly dancers that shake and shimmy around you.

I’ve been to Casablanca a bunch of times–it’s one of my favorite places to take guests, since it’s so over the top. Better still, the food is actually really good. My favorite starter has always been the B’stilla, which is essentially a savory chicken pie covered in a phyllo dough topped with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. It may sound a little strange, but It. Is. Awesome.

I found this particular B’stilla recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. And while it’s not the simplest recipe around (nor is it the quickest), it is really, truly delicious. Better, I think, than its nearby counterpart. Maybe it’s the soupçon of love added in? Or perhaps it’s just the honey. Either way, yum.

mean green juice

Mean Green Juice

A couple of weeks ago, when I was home with a relentless cold, I started watching all sorts of health- and food-related documentaries on Netflix. I figured that if I couldn’t feel vibrant myself, at least I could watch other people cutting carbs, eating green, and generally feeling like a million bucks. I’m also a sucker for transformation stories, and these documentaries always deliver.

At a friend’s recommendation, I checked out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. In the film, Joe Cross goes from being 100 lbs overweight and a slave to all sorts of daily medications to keep his autoimmune disease in check, to a healthy, active guy. For Joe, the key was replacing his meals with green juices made with fresh produce he picked up at farm stands across the country.

Now, there is no way I could make it through a day (let alone 60, like Joe) on juice alone. One time in college, I tried the South Beach Diet for A SINGLE DAY, and I was so nasty that my roommate begged me to stop. But adding a juice a couple of times a week, especially when I could use a natural boost? Yeah, I could do that.

So I bought this juicer from Amazon, and got to juicing. My first attempt consisted of me throwing any vegetable I could find into the juicer, and ended with me trying to choke down the bitter, godawful result. I quickly got smart and picked up the ingredients for Joe’s Mean Green Juice (the one he touts in his movie). With celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon, green apples and kale, this drink is filled with nutrients and tastes delicious and refreshing. I love it as an after work pick-me-up and can’t wait to enjoy it on our porch this summer.

Have you seen Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? Are you on the juicing bandwagon, too?

maple olive oil banana bread


I’m afraid my doctor thinks I’m a hypochondriac. What’s more, I’m afraid I am a hypochondriac.

Today I went to the doctor. My throat’s been all owie and frowny-face, and I’ve been hating it. Mainly because anything even a hair outside of normal gives me the palpitations. So, I spent part of my day off sitting in a waiting room, listening to Kenny G’s sweet, sweet sax playing on the office’s radio, and sizing up my competition (i.e. the other patients).

Some of them clearly had me beat (like the lady with the walker–i.e. the waiting room trump card). But I still felt like I had some clout, considering I was pretty much positive I had strep throat or some other condition that Web MD assured me could potentially lead to death.

In actuality, I have nothing. I mean, I do have a sore throat that needs some time to heal. But you know it isn’t all that bad when your doctor says, “Gargle with salt water,” and, “Take a Tylenol.”


The funny thing is, I was kinda bummed out that I didn’t have anything real. Mostly because I had to report my prognosis to Nate, and I knew I could no longer use my “condition” to garner pity. So I decided to baby myself by making a major comfort food favorite of mine, banana bread. But since I’ve made all sorts of “standard” b-breads, I knew it was time to try something new. Something like Shutterbean’s Maple Olive Oil Banana Bread.

This bread is great. It’s delicious. If your standard banana bread is the theme, this is the best variation. It is different, but in a fantastic way. A little less sweet that what you’re used to, it’s a comforting treat and exactly what my battered throat (and ego) needed.