Persian Love Cake with a Video!

For Amin’s 30th birthday, I wanted to do something really special. Amin is half Iranian and over there they love the flavors of lamb, rose water, cardamom, pistachios, and saffron. So I made him an amazing rack of lamb (which I hope to write about in the future), and then I came across this recipe from Kokocooks. The first time I made this I went all out and even candied rose petals which you can do, but it takes six hours and it’s really just a garnish so I omitted it.

I chose it not just for my husband’s heritage but also because of the story behind it. As I looked at different recipes I found a website that said the origin came from a story of a woman who fell in love with a handsome prince, and she made this cake in order to win his heart hence why it’s a love cake. I told my husband the story when I gave this to him as well and it definitely won his heart over.

You have the rosewater and saffron frosting which is amazing balanced by the cardamom cake. The only word of warning I give here is please be careful with the rosewater…even if you think it smells good, only add the recommended amount because it can not only overwhelm the other flavors, but it can become the only thing you smell and taste for a while. This is where I would like to say that if you watch any food competition on TV if rosewater is involved it usually means someone is getting voted off for using too much. Okay. I’m done with that rant now for the recipe!

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What to do on a Motherless Mother’s Day

I remember when it happened. It was my first year up here in Massachusetts and I was walking through the Macy’s at Burlington Mall when this very sweet middle age lady in the perfume section asked me if I had remembered to get something nice for my mother for Mother’s Day.

It wasn’t her fault. She couldn’t have known that just a year and a handful of months ago I had been at my mother’s funeral.

I smiled though and told her that I already got my mother something really nice and thanked her. I lied….because I didn’t know what else to say…this was mother’s day, without my mother.

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Seven Layer Dip in Cups for Cinco De Mayo!!!

Cinco De Mayo is just around the corner!!!! I grew up in Tampa Florida which has a really strong Latino demographic. I had fantastic Cuban neighbors who taught me how to salsa dance, and would roast an actual pig on a spit! The longer the night went and the more drunk people got they’d dress up the head which they kept on a pike. My parents begrudgingly stayed since they weren’t really the partying types, but I LOVED IT! I was able to step into a world where the family ties were strong, and people knew how to really have a lot of fun. I still listen to Reggaeton Music when I’m feeling nostalgic. So while I don’t have any Latino heritage, I like to remember the role that those people played in some of the best memories of my childhood!

So for me, I like to celebrate Cinco De Mayo as a way to have fun like I did at that party.

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Ham and Split Pea Slow Cooker Soup Recipe

Growing up I LOVED Easter! It was so much fun! I remember all the cool candy I’d get in my Easter basket, but one thing I absolutely adored was the food. My mother would make egg sandwiches with the hardboiled eggs my sisters and I dyed and we would have an Easter ham. Now personally, I’m not a fan of having the same protein every day for a week, I remembered discovering how much I didn’t really like Turkey past Thanksgiving (and even then I was never really into poultry). My mother was a leftover mastermind though. She was one of those people who could pull random things out of the fridge and somehow reinvent it and it would 9 out of 10 be amazing. One thing I looked forward to was her split pea soup! Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe for what she made, BUT I found this recipe which tastes exactly the same AND it’s a crock pot recipes which means you can set it and forget it while you go about your day!

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My Top 5 Favorite Motivational YouTube Videos

Blogging can be tough. I’ll admit, when I started this, I was hyped up on all six seasons of Sex in the City and the movie Julie and Julia. I had these cute little images in my mind of sitting down at my computer and writing about whatever popped into my head over a coffee, or a glass of wine, and that I’d magically have people reading my blog, sending me stuff, and then before I knew it, I’d have a book deal and a movie out on how I made it all happen!…. I had no idea, how much effort it takes to actually do a blog well or exactly how many hats I’d be wearing.

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How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs

One of my favorite childhood memories was coloring Easter eggs with my sister in the backyard under our maple tree which was much smaller back then. I remember my mother setting up little-colored plastic cups, and filling them with water and vinegar and then we’d watch as the little fizzy color tabs would dye the water. I’d scribble flowers, hearts, and lines on my little egg and then pop it into one of the six colors. Eventually, though, all the eggs seemed to end up the same kind of greenish khaki color from being dipped in too many additional colors. We would then put stickers on them of bunnies, chicks, and flowers and present them proudly to our mother who would say how pretty they are. She would politely ignore multicolor dyed hands of her children in favor of our smiles, and she would dutifully clean up the mess of spilled dye and leftover sticker remnants on the little table outside. As an adult, the smell of vinegar still reminds me of those days.

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Penna Alla Vodka to make You Look like a Pro

My husband and I got a book called “The Gourmet Cookbook” by Ruth Reichl. We got it mostly for the really interesting (and expensive) recipes, because, well it’s fun to read about how to cook escargot.

In the pasta section, there was an affordable gem that Amin and I now make regularly. It’s called Penne Alla Vodka and I swear you’ll never go back to eating jarred pasta again once to see how crazy easy it is to make and how absolutely pro chef it tastes. Below, not only will I walk you through it, but I’ll give you a video to watch to see how it’s done first hand!

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My Spring Cleaning Schedule

Oh man! I know some people HATE cleaning but for me, I really enjoy it ESPECIALLY if it’s spring cleaning. To say I just “hate” winter would be an understatement. I absolutely loathe and at times have actual panic around the season. It’s miserable. Everything is dead and it’s so cold that while I don’t want to be stuck in my home, the idea of going out is not all that appealing either. If I’m not careful I can actually get depressed. I sleep longer, it’s harder to get out of bed, my goals can suffer, and it just sucks (sorry for those who love winter).

So the day that it’s warm enough that I can throw all the windows open, it’s like a spiritual experience. I am so in the moment when I feel that first, slightly chilly breeze run through the home. I make a real event of it. I’ll play upbeat music, and really take note of how happy my soul feels even if I know next week is going to bring a cold snap. That first “thawed out” day is as a reminder that better days are ahead, and that things don’t stay bad forever, every season has its end.

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Baileys Martini

I had good intentions. I went to the store to buy ingredients for last weeks Guinness, Jameson Whiskey and Baileys Irish Cream Recipe. The problem was, I didn’t exactly know how much Baileys to get, so faced with spending $40 on a massive bottle I wasn’t sure I’d ever use, I grabbed ten of those little airline bottles worth and brought them home. Needless to say, the cupcake recipe went really really well, but now I had Bailey’s leftovers, as well as one of the worst colds I’ve had in a very long time.

Considering this post is for St. Patricks day, it’s a fine time to try out a drink recipe! While hopped up on Dayquil and snooping around Pinterest I found a link that went to another link which eventually led to the Baileys website with a recipe on a basic Baileys Martini!

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