Yes, I’ve moved and you can now find me at the new TheCookbookDiva.com. I hope you’ll visit and see what’s cooking in my kitchen.

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

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Remember when reusable bags first hit the scene? They were utilitarian, boring and uninspiring. But today, they are fun and fashionable. So really, there’s no excuse not to use reusable bags. Actually, I think it’s a fashion faux paus not to use them. :)

Kristen, over at Mind Your Bees and Trees, is having her very first giveaway. One lucky reader will win one 24-7 bag AND one set of 5 produce bags from Flip& Tumble.

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Go on over and have a look around, check out some of her posts and be sure to leave a comment. She has all the rules listed.

Good luck!

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

Inspired by Valentine’s Day, many of my favorite blogs were cooking up a lot of love this week. It was like a chocolate feast! Thank goodness photos are calorie and fat-free. Enough with the writing, lets talk dessert.

Lori, over at RecipeGirl, shared her recipe for Nutella Ravioli. Heart-shaped, wonton wrappers filled with Nutella, fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Can it get any better than that for a quick treat? I don’t think so.

Haniela, over at Haniela’s Food & Photography, took a traditional recipe and made it Valentine’s Day perfect. Her Boston Cream Pie Hearts will be a dessert to remember and isn’t that what all bakers really want?

Jen, over at My Kitchen Addiction, makes sure that we have a perfect little love shack for Valentine’s Day. But her love shack is built out of gingerbread. Pop over to her site and see how she built a cozy and adorable Gingerbread Love Shack. Be sure to check out the heart candy walkway. Love it!! I’m so making one next year.

Now to be totally blown away and be warned, you are going to want to have ganache prepared ahead of time because you will want to make this dessert. Shawn, from Shawn’s Plate, showed us how to prepare a Heart Shaped Box Cake that is simply beautiful. A work of art. And it’s not hard to make. Serve this on Valentine’s Day, on an anniversary or anytime you want to show someone how much you love them and they will be blown away. And having a “wow” dessert in your recipe box is always a nice thing to have.

Before I go, I’d like to remind you that last year I posted my favorite Red Velvet Cupcake recipe.

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Whatever you decide to make this year to celebrate Cupid’s day, know that you aren’t just serving up food. When we are in our kitchen preparing a meal, a dessert or even a snack for the people in our lives there is one thing the written recipe doesn’t include but it’s in every stir and that is love. We don’t just set down food on our tables, we present our hearts to those we love.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

Blogging is more than about just writing and taking pictures. It’s about taking chances, leaping into the unknown and having enough faith that in the end it all works out. Just like life, a blog that isn’t open to change can never grow and flourish. So it is with that belief I am tipping my toes into the deep waters of making videos. Okay, it’s more like just diving into the deep, deep waters without a life jacket since I haven’t figured out how to edit yet. What this means is that this video (my first EVER) is unedited. Pretty much, it is what it is. Hopefully over time I will get better which means my videos will get better. Fingers crossed.

I am participating in the Monday Mingle hosted by Eightymphmom.com. She decides on three questions participating bloggers will answer during their video. I hope I got the right questions. :) After you watch the video, please visit Jennifer’s site to have a look around. I’m sure she’d be happy if you visit.

Again, watch this video at your own risk. :)

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

I thought I’d share some of my favorite blog posts from some of the food bloggers I visit on a regular basis. Some of these gals are like old friends to me, they just may not know it. :) These are the bloggers I’ve been visiting for quite some time. Then there are some new food bloggers that I’ve recently discovered. Of course, I hope that they too become like old friends.

Speaking of friends, I’ve recently made some new ones and it’s all because I decided to move forward with the blog and dive into a blog challenge. The SITs Girls are offering the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog One of the first assignments was to find a blog buddy. Well, I not only found one but found three. We all share the same interests, the same vision and the same drive for success. I can’t wait to find out where we will be in a year from now.

But, I’m not going to wait a year to introduce these gals to you. Pauline, Kristen and Shawn are apart of my Blog Tasting this week.

Pauline, over at The Lipstick Cafe, shared her recipe for Tomato Almond Pesto. I’m thinking of pairing this up with grilled chicken for a weekend lunch.

Kristen, over at Mind Your Bees and Trees, shared her video on how to make a pumpkin roll. She’s a girl after my own heart. I love pumpkin any time of the year.

Shawn, over at Shawn’s Plate, takes Super Bowl Sunday entertaining to a new level with her recipe for Sausage Puffs. This is genius. The guys will love the sausage filling and the gals will be in awe of how pretty it is. Shawn scores a touchdown with this recipe.

Over at Smitten Kitchen I found a recipe on how to make Potato Chip cookies. I’ve never heard of such a cookie and now I’m intrigued.

Cookbook author Susie Middleton, over at Six Burner Sue, shared her recipe for Roast Cauliflower with Double-Lemon Ginger Dressing and a Spritz of Arugula. This looks like a great side dish, so check it out.

That’s all I have to share today. I hope that you will be able to visit these blogs and see what’s cookin’ on the web.

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

I admit I multi-task whenever I can and combining exercise with watching television is no-brainer for me. I do it whenever I can and the other night while on my treadmill I watched Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentiis. Talk about perfect timing. I’d been thinking about what I would make with those lemons Ellie sent me. There were three recipes featuring lemons. I struck gold! Or, lemon.

Get your lemons ready and a pot of tea nice and hot because these cookies were perfect for a wintery afternoon. The cornmeal added a nice but unexpected texture. The lemon zest powdered sugar that the cookies were dredged in was awesome. I just loved it. It was kind of like biting into summer when I bit into the cookie. That little zing of citrus was perfect. From their appearance they looked light but they really are a hearty cookie that isn’t sweet. This cookie has landed a spot on my Christmas Cookie list. Enough writing, lets get baking.

I measured out the flour, cornmeal, powdered sugar and salt.

The juice of a few lemons and their zest.

Pine nuts were toasted. Be sure to keep an eye on them, you don’t want to burn them.

Beat butter and powdered sugar. Then add vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

Pulse dry ingredients until finely ground.

Combine wet and dry ingredients to make cookie dough.

The dough needs to chill for thirty minutes.

Take remaining powdered sugar and combine with remaining lemon zest.

Time to scoop and roll. With the dough out of the fridge, I used a small ice cream scoop to get cookies the same size.

Ready to go in the oven.

Now for a little cookie luv.

And finally, a snow day wouldn’t be complete with taking Susie outside for a run in the snow. I swear, she thinks she’s a St. Bernard.

I hope you’ll be inspired to try the Lemon Nut Cookie recipe. You’ll find the recipe over at the Cooking Channel. Enjoy!

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

This weekend significant snow finally came to Connecticut so it was the perfect weekend for comfort food. I was inspired by Fine Cooking’s article on Macaroni & Cheese.

Fine Cooking magazine cover

The premise of this article is that you can follow a simple method to customize the dish to your liking. And that’s what I did. I followed their guidelines for amounts of ingredients and added the cheeses I wanted. This time around I opted not to add extras, likes peas or bacon or broccoli. I did follow their recipe for the topping. But the next time around I’ll be changing that. More on that later.

Here’s my version of mac n’ cheese using Fine Cooking’s guidelines.

Get your topping ready. Breadcrumbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese. You’ll also melt 3 tablespoons of butter.

Next, grate the cheese.

Vermont Cheddar.

Parmesan

Monterey Jack

Melt Butter for the cheese sauce.

Once the butter is melted add the milk, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, kosher salt then add the cheeses.

When the cheese sauce is cooked add the 1 pound of elbow macaroni and stir.

Transfer the pasta to a baking dish and cover with the breadcrumb mixture. Cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

The recipe said to serve immediately. But, this being a food blog there had to be some pictures snapped first.

The mac n’ cheese was delicious. Creamy, cheesey, gooey. Comfort food at it’s best. I also loved the garlic in the bread crumbs. It definitely added another dimension to the flavors. However, the topping was a little too much. As you saw in the picture how thick the topping was and for me it overwhelmed the pasta and cheese. And lets face it, that’s the star of the dish not the breaded topping. I also don’t think the fifteen minutes was enough to get the whole top browned and cooked. There were some spots of the topping that tasted uncooked.

With that said, my baking dish may be a smidge smaller than the one used in the magazine, so that could account for some of the “extra” topping I had. Now, if you like a thicker breadcrumb topping then this is perfect for you.
So, will I make this cover dish again? Absolutely. I’m excited to try some of the other combinations. I’m intrigued by the suggestion that I could use fresh baby artichokes and goat cheese I have want to.

I’ll leave you with one more picture.

:)

Debra
The Cookbook Diva

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