Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Let’s roast some pumpkin seeds to make a night of it! When I was growing up, we carved our jack o’lanterns…

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best roasted pumpkin seeds recipe

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Let’s roast some pumpkin seeds to make a night of it! When I was growing up, we carved our jack o’lanterns every year before Halloween, and my mom always roasted the seeds for a tasty snack.

Pumpkin carving night is still one of my favorite nights of the year, and now I carry on the tradition with my husband and a glass of wine. While I’m only a mediocre pumpkin carver, I’ve perfected my roasted pumpkin seed technique over the years. I’m sharing all of my tips with you today.

removing seeds from pumpkin

Roasting pumpkin seeds is really fun and easy when you know how to do it. When you don’t, you can make a big mess and end up with seeds that are either burnt, or never golden.

This foolproof recipe yields perfectly golden pumpkin seeds, every time! Keep reading to learn the easiest way to clean those slippery seeds.

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Caponata

Let’s make homemade caponata! This classic Sicilian appetizer or side dish is perfect for late summer meals. This recipe combines roasted (not fried) eggplant with sautéed bell…

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caponata with roasted eggplant

Let’s make homemade caponata! This classic Sicilian appetizer or side dish is perfect for late summer meals. This recipe combines roasted (not fried) eggplant with sautéed bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, olives and capers. Red wine vinegar and honey make it irresistibly tangy and sweet. If you generally enjoy these bold flavors, you’re going to love caponata.

Since international travel is largely off the table, I’ve been traveling vicariously through my food. This caponata is the perfect example. I’ve yet to make my way to Sicily to sample authentic caponata, but learning to make this dish has deepened my desire to explore the island. Mark my words, I’ll get there someday.

caponata ingredients

Caponata recipes vary from region to region and household to household. This recipe is where I landed. I took some cooking cues from my ratatouille recipe, which also features roasted eggplant stirred into a simmering tomato sauce. Caponata’s flavors are even deeper and more complex largely due to the intense agrodolce factor, or the interplay between sweet (honey and raisins) and sour (vinegar and capers).

I can’t claim this recipe is entirely authentic, but I hope it offers you a little taste of Sicily.

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Tom Collins Cocktail

Do you know Tom Collins? The cocktail? If not, you’ve been missing out. I used to serve Tom Collins way back when I was a bartender, and…

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best tom collins cocktail recipe

Do you know Tom Collins? The cocktail? If not, you’ve been missing out. I used to serve Tom Collins way back when I was a bartender, and I believe this classic drink deserves some more attention.

Tom Collins cocktails taste like grown-up lemonade. They’re irresistibly citrusy, fizzy and refreshing, with herbal notes from the gin. While lemonade can be cloying, Tom Collins need not be too sweet—I like mine with just a splash of simple syrup to round out the flavors.

tom collins ingredients

If you enjoy a cold French 75 or Bee’s Knees, you’ll definitely enjoy a Tom Collins. They all share a similar flavor profile. Tom Collins are the perfect cocktails for hot summer afternoons, since they’re served over ice and full of hydrating club soda. I’ll always choose a Tom Collins over a gin and tonic.

To make a Tom Collins from scratch, you’ll need a few basic ingredients (gin, lemons, club soda, and sugar or honey), a cocktail shaker and plenty of ice. Add a fancy cocktail cherry if you really want to do it right. Cheers!

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Easy Homemade Pickles

What took me so long to make classic pickles? As it turns out, homemade dill pickles are simple, easy and delicious. They’re the perfect little summertime project,…

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best cucumber pickles recipe

What took me so long to make classic pickles? As it turns out, homemade dill pickles are simple, easy and delicious. They’re the perfect little summertime project, if you even want to call it that. These pickles are ready after a short chill in the refrigerator (as little as one hour), and they keep for several weeks.

These pickles are tangy and refreshing, nice and crisp, and offer garden-fresh flavor. They remind me of Claussen or Grillo’s pickles—but they’re even better. In short, I’m in love with this refrigerator pickle recipe and I think you will be, too.

how to slice cucumbers

These pickles are made with simple ingredients, including vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar’s mild flavor), fresh dill (technically optional, but delicious), a couple cloves of garlic, and a few basic seasonings.

I added a touch of sweetener, too—just enough to cut the bite of vinegar. These pickles are decidedly tangy, and nowhere near “bread and butter” territory. However, the sweetness level is entirely up to you.

These pickles aren’t overwhelmingly salty, either, yet they’re fully seasoned. They are irresistibly just right—perfect for burgers, for snacking, and more.

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Refreshing Hibiscus Mocktail

I’ve indulged in my fair share of cocktails this year, but sometimes, I just want a fun, fizzy, non-alcoholic drink. Something cold to savor on a hot…

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sparkling hibiscus mocktail recipe

I’ve indulged in my fair share of cocktails this year, but sometimes, I just want a fun, fizzy, non-alcoholic drink. Something cold to savor on a hot afternoon, or an enticing alternative to chilled wine in the evening. Something party-worthy to offer my friends and family members, and all the cute kids who come with them.

This beauty is refreshing and hydrating, and so colorful that it makes a slow afternoon seem downright festive. The outrageous pink color comes from hibiscus tea, which is easy to find at the grocery store if you look for Tazo’s “Passion” blend.

how to make a mocktail

Once the tea has had a chance to cool, we’ll fill our glasses (or a pitcher) with ice. We’ll finish off these drinks with some honey simple syrup (as little or as much as you want), a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a gentle glug of Topo Chico, the finest of sparkling waters.

I’ve been on a Topo Chico kick this summer, but really, any sparkling water will do. The end result is full of flavor, lightly sweet, and irresistibly bubbly.

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Mixed Berry Crisp (Gluten Free)

How about a fruity treat? On a summer evening, there’s not much better than a warm homemade crisp with cold vanilla ice cream. This mixed berry crisp…

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mixed berry crisp with serving spoon

How about a fruity treat? On a summer evening, there’s not much better than a warm homemade crisp with cold vanilla ice cream. This mixed berry crisp is the perfect use for those wonderful in-season berries. It’s easy to make (far less fussy than a pie) and just as good.

You can make this crisp with any combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries—use all four or just a couple. Or, use it as a template for a single-berry crisp (here’s a more straightforward blueberry crisp recipe). You can’t go wrong.

berries for berry crisp

This mixed berry crisp recipe is the latest addition to my growing collection of crisps on the blog. Like most of the others, this recipe just so happens to be gluten free, easily made vegan, and naturally sweetened.

I love the combination of oats and almond flour in the topping—the result is golden and crisp on top, and tender underneath. The topping keeps well to enjoy leftovers for several days. I like to eat it for breakfast with plain Greek yogurt. Why not?

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Gluten-Free Banana Bread (Made with Almond Flour)

Are we still baking banana bread? Is that still a thing? Of course it is. I developed this gluten-free banana bread recipe in response to one of…

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gluten-free banana bread recipe

Are we still baking banana bread? Is that still a thing? Of course it is. I developed this gluten-free banana bread recipe in response to one of the most common questions on my healthy banana bread recipe: “Can I make this with almond flour?”

While my go-to banana bread recipe offers other gluten-free options within the post (including a delicious oat flour option), the almond flour answer is not as straightforward. I think it took me seven tries to get this recipe just right!

This version required several modifications, so I’m sharing it as its own recipe today. I’ll also walk you through how I modified the recipe to work with almond flour, which might be helpful if it’s your preferred flour, or you happen to have a surplus in your pantry.

gluten-free banana bread ingredients

This banana bread is very tender, moist and decadent. These qualities are natural by-products of using almond flour and additional eggs to hold the bread together. This “bread” almost reminds me of pound cake in texture, and it could definitely pass as banana cake—perhaps you’d like to top it with cream cheese frosting.

While it’s different in texture from my favorite banana bread, this gluten-free banana bread is awesome in its own right. Like the other recipe, it’s easy to mix together—by hand, in one bowl, no less! It’s also naturally sweetened with honey or maple syrup. And, I believe it qualifies as paleo as well. Ready to make some?

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Easy Pineapple Mint Popsicles

Craving a refreshing summer treat? An easy little project? Something sweet, but not too sweet? These minty pineapple ice pops are just the ticket. They’re made with…

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pineapple mint popsicles recipe

Craving a refreshing summer treat? An easy little project? Something sweet, but not too sweet? These minty pineapple ice pops are just the ticket. They’re made with just two ingredients—pineapple and mint!

These popsicles are naturally sweetened with fruit alone. I actually make my pops with frozen pineapple, which is easy and inexpensive.

how to make pineapple popsicles

This recipe was inspired by a popsicle we enjoyed on a hot summer afternoon in Nashville last year. I insisted that we stop at Las Paletas for popsicles, even though our bellies were still full from lunch.

As our popsicles dripped onto the porch in the heat, I made a mental note to make similar popsicles at home. We can’t hop over to Nashville right now, but at least we can enjoy some cold pops in the backyard!

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Healthy Banana Bread!

Want to make someone’s day? Bake them some banana bread! Just yesterday, I said, “I’m going to bake some banana bread,” and watched a full-grown man’s eyes…

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healthy banana bread recipe

Want to make someone’s day? Bake them some banana bread! Just yesterday, I said, “I’m going to bake some banana bread,” and watched a full-grown man’s eyes light up like a kid’s on Christmas morning.

Banana bread is one of those classic, all-American comfort food recipes that fills the whole house with warmth and makes everything better. Banana bread is magic.

banana bread ingredients

I perfected this banana bread recipe for my cookbook and wanted to share with you here. This recipe has all the hallmarks of classic banana bread—it’s fluffy, moist, infused with sweet banana flavor, and beloved by toddlers and adults alike.

Bonus? This recipe requires just one bowl, a few measuring cups and some basic ingredients.

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Bee’s Knees Cocktail

When life gives you lemons… make a cocktail. How about that? My friends and I have been sending each other instructional videos on how to make our…

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The bee's knees is a classic gin cocktail with lemon and honey

When life gives you lemons… make a cocktail. How about that? My friends and I have been sending each other instructional videos on how to make our favorite cocktails for happy hour.

I’ll never be a gin and tonic girl, but I’ve been enjoying gin-based drinks as the weather warms up. Gin plays nicely with citrus and fresh herbs, so it seems just right for this time of year.

bee's knees ingredients

The Bee’s Knees is a classic Prohibition-era cocktail made with gin, lemon and honey. It’s brightly flavored, lightly sweet, and just an overall delightful drink—hence the name.

Enjoy one at home on a nice spring day. It tastes even better on a patio or balcony, if you have one. Cheers!

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