Fresh Basil & Chive Pasta w/ Tomato Sauce

Neil bought me a pasta rolling attachment for my kitchenaide mixture a couple years ago. It was actually a gift for finally completing my financial certification. I have to admit, at first I was a little annoyed by the “gift”….I mean, isn’t it more of a gift for him? Does he expect me to make him fresh pasta on top of all the other home cooked meals I make him? Why not buy me jewelry or a designer bag? Well, Neil knew what he was doing, and he wasn’t being selfish. Any gift at all is a kind gesture, which I lost sight of. Also, he knew how much joy this would bring me. As time would tell, I became obsessed with this gadget and have been playing with it ever since….and yes, I did thank him for it :)

I often dedicate an entire day to making loads of fresh pasta and ravioli. It’s fun, relaxing, and therapeutic. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you do, it’s like second nature. It’s also peak tomato season, so it’s the perfect time to show off fresh pasta with a light, refreshing, uncooked tomato sauce. Recently, I made a basil/chive pasta and dressed it with a fresh tomato sauce recipe that I’ve been using for years. Neil calls it “Summer Pasta”, and rightfully so, because it’s a summertime favorite in our house. Hmm…part of me still thinks that this gift wasn’t completely selfless :)

See Fresh Basil & Chive Pasta Recipe!
See Summer Tomato Sauce Recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes w/ White Chocolate Icing

It’s been a while since I posted something sweet. Nothing’s sweeter than a cupcake! My mom use to send a huge box full of cupcakes to school for our bdays. It’s sad to think that homemade treats aren’t even allowed in most schools these days! I remember one scorching hot May bday on which the icing on the cupcakes she sent had all melted. I was so concerned that nobody in my 3rd grade class would eat them and my bday would be ruined (yes, I can be a bit of a drama queen). But, they ended up tasting way better that way…all gooey due to the melting, moist, and yum. The cupcakes were a hit and so was I for day…but soon back to loser status :) We grew older, and somewhere along the way my mom stopped making cupcakes, and I went on to making cakes.

I’ve been getting a tired of baking cakes lately. Cupcakes are just more fun, and nothing is more nostalgic. They are also way cuter than a cake, and if you haven’t noticed, oh so trendier. So, I tried to convert some of my cake recipes to cupcakes, w/ little success. As whole cakes, the recipes were fine, but didn’t double as cupcakes. They didn’t have the soft, moist texture that a cupcake should. Some were too dense, while others were dry and flaky. I almost gave up and bought a box mix (which btw, are also great), but I held out. I did some more trial and error, and found a chocolate cake recipe that used mayo instead of eggs/butter/oil. Believe me, this recipe makes the perfect chocolate cupcake. Perfect texture and taste. Don’t get turned off by the mayo. Give it a chance! I made a creamy white chocolate icing to go on top.

This time I returned the favor and gave some to my mom to take to work. I hope she was a hit :) Next I’ll be experimenting with Red Velvet cupcakes. If you have a good one, please send my way!

See Recipe!



Spanakopitas have always been one of my favorite finger foods. I remember chasing down the servers at weddings and corporate events to get my hands on as many as possible...flakes falling on to my dress with every bite. I love the combination of spinach, onion, herbs and tangy feta all wrapped up in a buttery, flaky pastry. But think about the possibilities! You could do roasted peppers, squash, mushrooms, basil, brie, GOAT CHEESE, etc. This appetizer is so versatile, that I fill it with whatever veggies/cheese I have and make “vegikopitas”. I seriously feel like Rachel Ray, giving it made-up name, but I think it’s fitting. Don’t worry, you’ll never see her “naan-chos” on this blog. I do have my limits!

The most awesome thing about these is that you can make them well in advance and freeze for months. Just transfer straight to the oven when you have an unexpected guest! This is a great meze for a Mediterranean themed night as well, as I did for the Turkish feast.

See Recipe!