pumpkin spice & walnut granola 

october 9th, 2015

homesweet-pumpkin

Lately, I've been desperately trying to slow down the hours, days, and weeks. It's my favorite time of year (much like everyone else in New England) and I'm savoring these crisp and sunny days before the winter air settles in. It can be easy to let this time of year pass you by in the city. You see trees with scarlet and gold leaves here and there, but the colors don't overwhelm you the way they do in the mountains.

This past weekend I zipped up to my old stomping grounds in Vermont, and boy, do I miss it there. I moved to Burlington when I was eighteen, and quickly fell in love with its mountains and its people. Vermont felt like home right away. My first fall there was basically my first fall, ever. I remember walking down to Lake Champlain, looking out to the Adirondacks and thinking that their slopes and ridges looked like they were on fire. The colors burned so bright they blazed, and it took my breath away year after year. Still does. From September to November I was determined to spend as much time as I possibly could outside. There were sunrise and sunset hikes on Camel's Hump, weekends in the apple orchards, pumpkin picking, and long solo runs along the lake. Though the air grew cooler and the days shorter, I always found myself feeling indescribably warm this time of year. A combination of beautiful views, good company, and the sweet and spicy scents often floating from the kitchen made for happy memories in one of my happy places. 

So, this granola. While it can't take me back in time, it sure does bring back a whole lot of happy memories with it's warming, nutty, and spicy flavors. It's cozy and inviting and makes both your heart and belly feel full. I like to make big batches of it to sprinkle on yogurt, add to oatmeal, and to snack on morning, noon, and night. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as I do :).

pumpkin walnut granola

ingredients - 

  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 1/3 cups raw walnuts, halved or chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds 
  • 2 dashes of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flax seeds, walnuts, pepitas, spices, and salt.

In a small pan, melt the refined coconut oil and then whisk in pumpkin puree and honey. Mix well until the contents are evenly combined. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until all dry ingredients are coated. 

Spread half of the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 7 minutes, stir contents around a bit, rotate, and place in the oven for another 7 or so minutes. *Keep an eye on it! It can go from crispy to burnt to a crisp quite quickly (speaking from experience.) 

Once golden brown, remove your granola from the oven and let it cool. Enjoy warm over yogurt, with a splash of milk, or store in an airtight container to enjoy at a later time. 

Let me know how your pumpkin granola turns out by tagging #HSrecipes on instagram, and be sure to follow me @homesweet_mary. Happy baking! 

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

september 22nd, 2015

homesweet

On Monday I woke up cold. It was 5:30 am and this wonderful, crisp, breeze was blowing through my window. I burrowed under my down comforter and snoozed for another hour before hopping out of bed to warm up with a cup of tea. Slow and cozy mornings like this are my favorite, and they're downright rare on a Monday. It's September 21st, and a year ago today I moved into my little Beacon Hill apartment. 

Time flies. It really does. This year has gone miles a minute at moments and crawled by at others. A year. How is it possible that a year ago I was driving up the gravel road on the farm, teary eyed and feeling so so heavy-hearted after a difficult goodbye. The chill in the air yesterday took me right back to those moments, and I felt all sorts of nostalgic. Seasons seem to have a way of doing that. The length of the days, the way the air feels, and the produce popping up in farmers' markets brings about new routines in the day to day. 

It wasn't until I moved to the Northeast that I truly learned what cooking and eating seasonally meant, and I soon fell in love with the rich flavors and warm colors fall brought about in the market and in my kitchen each year. This weekend I moseyed through the Boston Public Market, a Sunday pastime that has quickly become part of my weekly routine. I ate a cider donut because it was finally below 70 outside (and because why not), munched on some Vermont cheeses, scooped up a small bouquet of dahlias, and found myself obsessing over all of the colorful winter squash varieties that have popped up overnight. I had at least 5 different kinds in my arms before I zeroed in on these adorable "sweet squash," a miniature version of the butternut squash.  Promising to be a gorgeous orange hue and just sweet enough, I grabbed a few and went on my way. 

Eager to test out the texture of these babies, I decided to roast them simply and mix them in with a few favorites. This warm barley bowl is bursting with color, tasting and smelling warm and spicy as well. It boasts baby kale and dried cherries, hints of thyme and cider vinegar, and is topped off with a poached egg and parmesan for creaminess. It warms you up from the inside out, and is the perfect dish to welcome the new season. 

Happy Equinox friends :)

harvest barley bowl + maple cider dressing

serves 3-4 

ingredients - 

  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water 
  • 2 "sweet squash" or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, roasted, & diced
  • generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch or two of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 handfuls baby kale
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • handful pepitas
  • 3 - 4 eggs (dependent on serving size), poached
  • a bit of parmesan cheese, shaved

dressing - 

  • 1/3 cup really good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, the real stuff
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Bring barley and water to a boil in a medium pot and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed completely, 35 - 45 minutes. *Check every 10 minutes or so to be sure you don't overcook. 

Place your whole squash on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. This will soften the tough skin, making it easier to cut into chunks to roast. Remove and let cool. Careful not to burn your fingers, cut the squash in half length wise and peel. Remove the seeds and cut into bite size pieces. Spread the squash out on your cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Top with thyme sprigs, and roast in the oven for another 30 minutes, until a bit browned and tender. 

While the squash cooks whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. 

Once the barley and squash are done, combine in a large bowl with baby kale, dried cherries, pepitas, and dressing. Top off this grain salad with a perfect poached egg and some sharp parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

double dark chocolate chunk cookies & vanilla bean ice cream sandwiches 

September 14th, 2015

homesweet_cookies

My mom always added nuts to baked goods when I was growing up. She'd throw them in cookies and banana bread, insisting that they made the finished product that much tastier. I wasn't so crazy about nuts at the time, and was always sure we left a generous number of cookies nut free. It wasn't until I left for college that my taste buds seemed to snap to and realize that adding nuts to baked goods is a must and absolutely delicious. If you disagree, no hard feelings, I understand where you're coming from. These cookies can easily be made sans walnuts. 

Anywho, anyone who knows me knows how much I love chocolate. Dark chocolate almonds are a weakness of mine, and I can finish off a Liberty Chocolate Bar (my all time fav,) no problem. It's a craving I tend to indulge, and these cookies are no exception. These double chocolate cookies are rich in color and taste, filled to capacity with dark chocolate chunks and walnuts for crunch. They're a snap to whip up, and are made even tastier with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream sandwiched between two. A perfect treat for the last weeks of summer, these ice cream cookie sammies celebrate sunshine and warmth while ushering in those first feelings of fall. 

Enjoy :)

double dark chocolate chunk cookies + walnuts - 

makes about a dozen cookies 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling - maldon is my fav
  • * 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream, or flavor of your choice 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and melted coconut oil for 1 - 2 minutes. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until evenly combined. Add chocolate chips, chunks, and chopped walnuts and mix well. Chill for 20 - 30 minutes.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Roll dough into 1 inch round balls, press to flatten slightly with your palm. Put the cookies in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes, mine were perfect at 9 minutes. Pop them out of the oven, sprinkle with flaky salt immediately, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, scoop some vanilla bean ice cream onto a cookie and sandwich it with another. Enjoy while chocolate chunks are nice and ooey-gooey.

rustic rancheros at the hacienda

september 1st, 2015

homesweet-rancheros

I feel like the most authentic version of myself when I’m outside and a bit disconnected from the busyness of the day to day. When I made my move to Vermont some years ago, I found myself falling fast for the surrounding mountains and lake. Weekends were full of belly laughs, hearty food, cheap beer, and outdoor adventures. Living in a city has made me appreciate these experiences even more, and I take every opportunity I get to return to the mountains and get off the grid. 

This past weekend I retreated to The Hacienda, a tiny mountain cabin in New Hampshire off the beaten trail. We were invited by my good friend Emily, a travel blogger, fellow UVMer, total foodie, and wonderful adventurous spirit. Catching up with Em is always comforting, motivating, and inspiring. We went for a long walk and talked about our crazy dreams, float n’ soaked in the pond, cooked great food, and shared lots of good laughs around the table with the best people.

On Saturday morning we made a big breakfast of 'rustic rancheros,' a hearty mix of black beans, spicy sausage, eggs, and vibrant veggies. We cooked outside surrounded by pine trees and blue sky, blistering cherry tomatoes, grilling sausages, and charring corn tortillas over the fire. We diced, dashed, and grilled, sipping on bloody mary's all the while. This meal is simple, satisfying, and imperfect. It was a hit with the cabin crew, winning over the very hungry men who patiently watched us take pictures of their breakfast. It's definitely a repeat meal that I'm already looking forward to making again. Eat up, and enjoy the outdoors these last few weeks of summer :).

rustic rancheros -

serves ~ 5

  • 5 corn tortillas, blackened
  • 1  15 oz. can black beans - no salt added, rinsed & drained
  • 4 links spicy chicken sausage or chorizo, grilled & diced 
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt 
  • 3 large handfuls of sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large avocados, halved and sliced
  • small bowl of mixed greens
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved & blistered
  • 5 eggs, over easy
  • plain greek yogurt, to taste 
  • hot sauce of choice, Cholula is my go to 
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne, more if you like spice 
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste 

*We had a wood fire with a grill top going, but these could just as easily be thrown together using a traditional grill or your stove top. 

Once your heat source is hot and ready, place the olive oil and diced onion in a pot. Heat until onion is soft and translucent. Add black beans to pot and stir. Add cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. While the beans are cooking, place chicken sausages on the grill top as well. Rotate periodically to cook evenly. Remove the beans from heat once they have heated through entirely to avoid any burning. Cover with foil or lid to keep warm. 

Throw your halved cherry tomatoes in a cast iron skillet and cook until charred and blistered. While your tomatoes are cooking, fry eggs in a skillet, watching closely to be sure you remove before the yolks cook through. *I love runny yolks, but cook longer if desired. Remove the sausages from heat, dice, and set aside. Remove tomatoes from heat when blistered. Meanwhile, throw the corn tortillas on the grill top and char desired amount, flipping to heat both sides. 

Assemble rancheros by piling your tortillas high with beans, sausage, cheese, tomatoes, greens, an egg and avocado slices. Top with a dollop of greek yogurt, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. 

¡Salud!

homesweet-blog

cheesy pesto grilled sammie + white peaches & arugula

august 23rd, 2015

home_sweet.mary

I'm all about simplicity in the summer. I want food I can eat with my hands and fresh food that tastes like the season. Farmers markets have been bursting with produce, and I've been having a blast mixing a bunch of colors and textures for every meal. 

This morning I walked on over to the Boston Public Market for the first time, and let me tell you, it will not be my last. It's a year-round, indoor market full of fresh and locally sourced foods from New England, the only of it's kind in the United States :). I bounced from farm stand to flower shop to bakery for the better part of my Sunday morning and could not have been happier. I left with a new tote bag full of hot cider donuts (yum), a big ol' bag of arugula and white peaches from Siena Farms, and a crusty loaf of bread baked right over in Cambridge, MA.

This cheesy grilled sammy is a product of today's market haul. It's simple but feels decadent, and strikes a tasty balance between sweet and savory. It will definitely be one of my go-tos for the rest of peach season. Enjoy this sandwich in good company, bon appetit!

peach_arugula_panini

cheesy pesto grilled sandwich + white peaches & arugula - 

  • 1 organic peach, sliced - local will taste best :)
  • handful of arugula
  • sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced - i'm partial to cabot!
  • 2 large slices of your favorite crusty bread - i love Iggy's Bread Francese loaf

lemony arugula pesto -

  • 2 cups arugula, packed
  • ~ 1 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • fresh ground pepper to taste 
  • salt to taste 

For the pesto - 

Throw the arugula, parmesan cheese, walnuts, lemon juice and garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse, and add olive oil to the mix until it reaches desired consistency, you may not use the full cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

For the sandwich - 

Preheat grill pan to medium-high heat, coat with a thin layer of olive oil.

Spread pesto on both slices of bread, a little goes a long way! Assemble the sandwiches by layering the cheese, peach slices and arugula on one side, topping with fresh ground pepper and then with the remaining piece of bread. 

Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Remove from heat, cut in half and enjoy warm. 

Note - you can easily use a barbecue in place of a grill pan.

 

 

no frills kale salad + crispy chickpeas 

august 18th, 2015

Summer days are flying by in a blur and sometimes I just feel like I can't keep up! Work has been busy, weekends packed with roadtrips and friends, and then suddenly you blink and it's mid-August. I recently spent a long weekend on Nantucket with some good friends and absolutely fell in love with the island. We spent our days biking miles and miles, laying on the beach, and enjoying classic New England summertime fare. There were late night BBQ's, outdoor showers, hours spent in the waves, and the best shrimp cocktail I've ever had. Ever. 

My diet mainly consisted of burgers, hot dogs, fish tacos, and daily picks from the raw bar, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. When in Rome right? However, after some long summer days spent in the little slice of heaven that is Nantucket, I felt the need to reboot and re-energize before a long day at work. I wanted to make something quick and satisfying, something flavorful and refreshing. Balance is key in my book, and this kale salad has a crunch and a zing to it that I enjoy any day. It's a snap to whip up and will convert kale skeptics into kale lovers (tolerators at the very least). Dig into a big bowl for lunch or serve as a side for dinner. Be well, and let me know how you enjoy this simple salad :).

no frills kale salad + crispy chickpeas - 

  • 1 bunch curly kale

garlicky green goddess dressing - 

  • 1 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon 
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup really good olive oil, more if needed
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • a couple dashes fresh ground pepper
  • a couple dashes red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

crispy chickpeas - 

recipe from the wonderful Minimalist Baker

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Tandoori spice blend* 
    •  Can be found at Whole Foods, or made at home by blending the following ingredients/ratios - 3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp paprika, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp coriander, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp cardamom. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and cover evenly with olive oil and spices. Spread out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden brown and slightly crispy. Set aside.

Place all dressing ingredients except the parmesan in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Fold in the parmesan cheese. 

Tear kale into bite size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing 30 minutes before serving, allowing the kale to soften and absorb all flavors. Top with spiced chickpeas and a pinch of flaky salt if desired. This salad is best fresh, but will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. 

Serve and enjoy!

 

cornmeal shortcake + what i've learned from my mom

july 23, 2015

homesweet-shortcake.jpg

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She is the most wonderful woman I know, has a beautiful heart, and is my guidepost for everything. My mom has given me so much, my sense of adventure, my love for simple and beautiful food, and my wild mane of curls. Beyond that, she's filled my head and heart with tips and life lessons every step of the way. These are just a few of the many that I carry close to me.

  • always pack your bathing suit in your carry-on
  • live simply & within your means
  • practice kindness. always
  • be thankful for every day 
  • it's always ok to say no
  • a sense of humor is everything
  • that a little lipstick can change your day
  • always wear sunscreen (promise I do!)
  • confidence
  • always, always pack a black cashmere sweater. No matter where you're going or what season it is, you'll need it. (she's always right with this one)
  • how to make a kick-ass veggie spread
  • your health is your wealth
  • treat others the way you wish to be treated 

I could go on and on. But anywho, let's talk about all of this deliciousness! This is a simple and sweet summertime treat inspired by my mama. It plays on seasonal fruits and always turns out perfectly imperfect. We just love fresh berries, and I can’t wait to pick buckets and buckets together in the fields of upstate NY in a short week! I love you to the moon and back Mom, happiest of birthdays! 

cornmeal shortcakes + blueberries & peaches

serves 6 - 8 

for the shortcakes - 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (stone ground if you can get it, my fav is from Maine's Grange Corner Farm)
  • 2 Tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 egg, for brushing
  • splash of heavy cream, for brushing
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling on top

berries & whipped cream - 

  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • blueberries, fresh picked if you can!
  • 1 -2 ripe peaches, sliced
  • lavender sprigs, if you like

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, cornmeal, flaxmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the chilled butter into the dry mixture with two butter knives or a pastry cutter. Slowly add in the heavy cream, forming a flaky ball of dough. *Warning- don't add too much heavy cream, you want the dough to be somewhat flaky and not too sticky. Place your dough on a piece of parchment paper and flatten until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Beat the egg and a splash of heavy cream together and brush on top of the dough. Sprinkle generously with raw sugar and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

While the shortcake is cooking, pour 1 cup of heavy cream and vanilla extract into a chilled medium bowl. Whip the cream into soft peaks and set aside. Once the shortcake is done, let it cool for 10 minutes. Arrange the peach slices and a couple handfuls of blueberries on top, follow with a few generous dollops of whipped cream, and finish with a sprinkling of blueberries and lavender blossoms. 

Enjoy :)