merde macaroons


Last night I put all of my extra down time to good use, by baking up a batch of coconut macaroons to give the dancers as a little congratulatory treat in honor of the opening of Sleeping Beauty tonight.  The little confections were sticky, fragrant and fun to make, and the end result yielded a pile of perfectly golden brown, crisp, mini-domes of sweet coconut goodness.  To add an extra level of decadence, I decided to half-dip the airy little cookies in chocolate.  Is your mouth watering yet?

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So, my fellow dancers, my colleagues, my friends, my ballet family- Merde, and bon appétit!

keeks in the kitchen: quinoa salad improvisation


Last night, I decided to make quinoa salad, as part of my continued effort to develop skills other than pirouetting while I am on my ballet hiatus.  I didn’t have a particular line up of ingredients in mind, just a plastic cup full of uncooked quinoa and a fridge full of veggies!  So I got to work, and here’s what I came up with…

1 cup of quinoa (I used this cooking tutorial)

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1/2 can black beans

1/2 chopped red bell pepper

1/2 chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped baby spinach

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

For the dressing, I used this amazing recipe (also where the inspiration for the salad itself came from), omitting the ginger and using agave instead of honey.  This dressing is AMAZING you guys, and I’m not the biggest fan of peanuts or anything remotely tahini-flavored.  This quinoa came out delicious!  Can’t wait to eat a little bowl of it for lunch today!


Bon appétit!

keeks in the kitchen


In an attempt to stay distracted busy during my “injured time”, I’ve decided to tackle some of my less-developed life skills that have since been overshadowed by ballet.  Par exaaample, I have never been a regular Top Chef.  I can make a mean grilled cheese.  Seriously.  My grilled cheeses should win awards.  But recipes longer than 3 steps (butter bread, stack [dat] cheese, grill) has always slightly intimidated me.  So, with some free time on my hands, a constantly-hungry tummy and some courage, I will take on the kitchen, one easy dish at a time.

For my first trying endeavor fun cooking experiment, I chose a Pinterest-inspired recipe for garlic roasted asparagus.  I do think it turned out pretty well, although next time I think I could ease up on the garlic just a bit.  I was having too much fun mincing it up, I guess!

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In the end it only took about 20 minutes from start to finish, but I was so hungry by the end I wasted no time serving it up (to myself) over a bed of mixed greens with some of my rommate’s famous homemade salad dressing and a nice big glass of white wine.DSC00762

Ahh, nothing like freshly prepared veggies.  Until next time, bon appétit, mes amis!

criss cross apple sauce

Let’s just get right down to it- although I try to post recipes and cooking how-tos every so often, I am no expert on the subject.  There’s a short list of dishes I can make successfully, and truthfully most nights the salad bar at Whole Foods calls my name so much louder than my own kitchen down the hall.  That being said, there is one treat I’ve always had a knack for: applesauce.  It’s true, when it comes to applesauce, Motts ain’t got nothin’ on me!  This 3-ingredient recipe may seem simple to some, but there’s something about achieving a perfectly lumpy, mushy, yet smooth consistency that’s extremely rewarding.  It’s sweet, fresh, and the packed with cinnamon-y goodness.  A few years ago when I was living with my brother, I made more applesauce than any person should ever be able to consume (that boy loves his apple sauce), and people are always asking me for the recipe, sooooo without further ado…

To make your own applesauce, peel and chop apples into cubes (cut a few larger pieces for chunkier texture).  Pile apples into a large pot and add water (not so much that the apples are covered, just enough to allow the apples to be mixed with a wooden spoon).  Heat the apples, stirring occasionally until the apples begin to soften.  Then, gradually add in sugar 1/4 cup at a time- tasting as you go.  Season liberally with cinnamon (if you have any cinnamon sticks, throw those in too!).  Serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!

florida photo diary

I went instagram-WILD on my trip to Florida last week!  Between daily beach time, two art openings, a ballet class taught by my very own roommie, several delicious meals (including homemade dumplings), numerous cocktails, and an awesome gourmet pizza party, there was a lot to document.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed my time down south, all good things do come to an end and I’m happy to be home in the dry, cooler surprisingly humid weather of Providence!

Bunny trail

Between a friend’s birthday and Easter, there has been quite a bit of baking going on around here.  After visiting several different grocery stores to assemble the ingredients and tying on my apron, the roooommie and I tried our hand at cake pops, using spoons to shape them into eggs and melted Ghiradelli white chocolate in place of candy coating.  Although they didn’t turn out as visually pleasing as anticipated, they sure were delicious!  The tasty little morsels even got my dad’s enthusiastic seal of approval at dinner last night (which speaks volumes when you consider the “sampler platter”  he crafted in order to sample every dessert item present ;). We also baked Ina’s chocolate cupcakes  and topped them with homemade cream cheese frosting and almond M&Ms.  Then, as if all of the sugary treats weren’t enough, the Easter bunny showed up early this year- and left us some fantastic surprises!

Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread has always been a favorite of mine.  With fluffy raisin-packed loafs popping up all over the place (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day), my roommate and I became inspired to make some of our own.  We collected the ingredients about a month ago, but of course life got in the way and we never got around to using them.  This morning, I realized it might be nice to bake the bread and gift it to my landlady who lives upstairs (she’s 94- and spunky!).  The recipe resulted in rich delicious bread, and an incredible-smelling apartment.  Soooo, without further ado, LA RECETTE:


4 cups of flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp butter

1 cup raisins

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Using your hands or two knives, gently work the butter into the flour mixture, until it becomes coarse.  Then, add in the raisins.  Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and add egg and buttermilk to the well.

   Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.  

Lightly flour hands, then knead dough for a short time- just until you are able to form a loose ball- DO NOT OVER KNEAD.  Transfer balled dough into slightly greased oven-safe skillet.  Using a serrated knife, score the top of the dough with an “X” about 1 1/2 inch deep, allowing heat to reach the center of the dough while cooking. 

Place entire skillet in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes (until top is golden and a skewer can be cleanly inserted and removed from loaf).  Allow bread to sit for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Culinary Concoctions

My friends always make fun of me for notoriously photographing my food before eating it.  I can’t really argue- by the time I’m done getting that perfect angle on my shrimp salad, everyone else has already moved on to desert.  But there’s something I love about preserving the beauty of a nicely put together dish…above you can see all of the delicious concoctions I’ve been creating/photographing/eating lately. :)

Lemon rosemary chicken~Greek frittata~grilled shrimp Caesar salad~Mexican pulled chicken, corn and black bean salad~fresh fruit salad~Superbowl appetizer platters~cranberry/pear/feta salad with homemade croutons

Chocolatey Treats

Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love baking.  The process, the messiness, the smell of a warm, homemade dessert fresh from the oven…but when I saw the 100% stress-free recipe for these adorable (and Christmas-y!) pretzel bites, I knew I had to make them.  As a long time fan of combination sweet and salty treats, I was immediately drawn to the idea of chocolatey pretzels without the tedious dipping process.  I whipped up an experimental batch for my sister’s Christmas party, and found myself reaching for them all night…definitely a sign of success!  I will absolutely be adding these little guys to my list of annual holiday snacks!

You Will Need:

  • small waffle pretzels (I like Snyder’s ‘Snaps’)
  • Hershey’s Hugs chocolates
  • M&Ms (red and green for a Christmas party, of course!)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fill with as many pretzels as you can (in one layer).  On each pretzel, place one unwrapped hug.

Bake for 4-6 minutes or until hugs are slightly melted.  Remove from oven and gently place one M&M in the center of each hug. 

Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to set.

And enjoy!