Don’t mess with Pesto

I don’t pretend to be a good cook, but there are a few meals that I do right. And pesto is one of them. Mine is kick-ass. That’s why we eat it weekly in the summer and usually just serve it straight up on pasta.  I’ve never been one to experiment with add-ins or toppings, because as the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  However, when we went to St. Louis’ new vegetarian restaurant and whiskey bar (yes, you read that combo correctly), Small Batch, I was inspired to branch out and try their pesto. It’s conventional with basil but had some crazy toppings.  And well, it was amazing. Soo amazing, that I was inspired to recreate it for my family later that week. My concoction is below. Please note, this is not Small Batch’s recipe, but rather my interpretation of it. Theirs was good…but mine was too. So here’s what I made:



The bar at Small Batch.

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The Black Friday

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When a friend gave us some cranberries from her CSA this week I think she intended I use them for my Thanksgiving dinner. Well, I used them on Thanksgiving, but in my cocktail instead.  Imbibe after your Black Friday shopping to help forget about the lines, traffic, money you spent, etc.

1 part sweetened cranberry Juice
2 parts prosecco
a squeeze of lime
top with frozen cranberries and garnish with a lime

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. See you back here on Monday!

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Dinner for a cause

In case you think you’re reading just any old blog, you are wrong. You are reading the blog of a St. Louis Fashion Week Blog Ambassador. Impressed? I thought so. As such, I attended lunches, dinners, shopping parties and events around town that highlighted both important issues in our area and cool spaces in St. Louis.


Mixing up Blogger Cocktails at Central Table (photo courtesy of Ashley Kuenstler photography)

One that I found very humbling and informative was dinner with the Missouri Eating Disorder Council (MOEDC), Socially Jen, and Lori Coulter Swim at Central Table. Perhaps because I have two young girls, this event really hit home. The dinner aimed to break the silence and debunk the myths associated with eating disorders and was appropriately entitled Feed The Facts. The facts were startling and I’m ashamed to say, totally new to me. Take a look at these: 90% of the people who get eating disorders are women, 90% are ages 13-23, less than 10% of those affected will receive treatment and 20% of those affected will die. DIE. Did you know that? I had NO idea. The discussion really focused on getting people with this disease help. You can help by learning about the disease and speaking up. If you live in Missouri (and even if you don’t), visit the Missouri Eating Disorders Council website for resources and more information.

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Bloggers learning about the MOEDC’s new Myths Campaign, striving to educate the public on eating disorders. (photo courtesy of Ashley Kuenstler photography)

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The Living Room

The other day I was in Maplewood looking for a furniture store. I never found the furniture store but did stumble upon the cutest place for lunch. The Living Room is on Sutton just off of Manchester Rd., in the building that formerly housed the Black Cat Theater. It has a baked-fresh-daily menu that ranges from quiches to scones to granola parfaits. And while the food is delicious, the coffee is their forte…these guys were really passionate about it (all roasted fresh, in house) and knew a lot about the beans they use and their origins. I asked for a regular drip coffee but was informed they only hand brew, but not in a coffee-snob kind of way. They couldn’t have been nicer and didn’t even balk when I asked for cream – and lots of it – to put in my gourmet Guatemalan pour over.


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My kind of science experiment

Just blocks from Tower Grove Park in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis lives an ice cream parlor that feels a little like a chemistry lab. Meet Ice’s Plain and Fancy. Start with Ice’s homemade liquid mixture in a flavor of your choosing, add nitrogen (-325 F), stir. Throw in a few ohhh’s and ahhhh’s by my children anxiously watching from behind the glass and you’ve got a recipe for success. We ordered peanut butter vanilla, but I think the beauty of this place lies in the ability to personalize your order.  Since every batch is literally made while you watch you can add or subtract whatever you like. We went with friends on a Friday afternoon, so also indulged in the Boozy Ice Cream treats. A Fruit Loops, Rum Chata and vanilla combo was ordered by the over 21 set. Who knew happy hour could taste this good?

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The Foz!

Guess where we went this weekend? The only sandwich shop in town with a vegetable garden, neon green picnic tables and an airstream parked out back in case the cook needs to make a quick getaway. Yep, Fozzie’s.  My go-to is the “pretzel” with parmesan ranch chips.  But my husband would argue the Philly cheese steak is where it’s at.  Top the whole meal off with a milkshake and there’s no need for dinner.


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Not-just-a-summer pasta salad

This pasta salad is easy and healthy. The ingredients below are just to my taste- add or subtract as you like. Or, since this blog does not discriminate, use quinoa noodles to make a gluten free variation or nix the cheese if you’re a vegan…or do both if you’re a gluten-free, vegan (wow).

1 pint cherry tomatoes – quartered
4 oz jar sun dried tomatoes with Italian Herbs – julienne cut
4 oz. jar kalamata olives – if yours don’t come quartered, do that
1/2 lb. sharp cheese – I use provolone, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
Good Seasons Italian dressing (you have to make it, but very easy. Buy a starter kit and add oil, vinegar, and water…if this is too much then use either plain balsamic vinegar or your favorite balsamic dressing)
1 cup basil, chopped
12 oz. Fusilli pasta

Boil water. While waiting, combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Once pasta has cooked, let cool, then add to tomato/olive mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pour on Italian Dressing to taste. Add cheese. Once mixed, add basil and stir gently. Bon appetite!


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Meet: St. Germain

If you haven’t met already, you’ll thank me later for this introduction. Reader, meet St. Germain. I’ve been obsessed with this elderflower liquor all summer.  It’s fragrant, sweet flavor is a welcome addition to any drink (and the cool looking bottle doesn’t hurt a bit).  St. Germaine is made from the elderflower, a tiny star- shaped white flower that blooms for six short weeks every spring in the alps of France (feeling fancy yet?). While always popular in Europe, the elderflower as “ingredient” is making its way across the ocean- predominately in the form of this liquor. You can’t miss St. Germain on a cocktail menu – its taste livens up any drink, but not all are easy to make at home. That’s why the recipe below is a keeper. Refreshing, yummy, and only three ingredients, so it won’t break the bank. Although I should point out that a bottle of St. Germain will set you back ~$32.

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Concert and Picnic Anyone?

One of our favorite things to do on a summer evening is to find local outdoor concerts. Pack a picnic dinner, some cold beers and a blanket and you have the recipe for a perfect night. Sometimes we pick up a fried chicken dinner from our grocery store, but on nights when it’s too hot to eat hot food (we do live in St. Louis after all) there’s nothing like fresh fruit and salad. Last night I made my go-to Curry Egg Salad. Scoop into mini pita pockets add tomato and you have the perfect summer dinner for little hands. Then, the best part: coming home to a clean kitchen. Priceless!




p.s. And don’t even get me started on the seedless-but-not-really watermelon. My kids wouldn’t even go near it. And to think that’s all I knew as a kid. #champaignproblems

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Eat local…

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When a friend asked us to pick up her CSA (Community Share Agriculture) it was as good as Christmas in July. The concept: buy into a farm share, let someone else do all the heavy lifting, then you pick up your portion of the harvest at a local house weekly. The catch:  you never know what produce you are going to get from week to week… it’s whatever the farm has harvested and is in season. Ours was loaded with colorful carrots, lettuce, tomatillos (confession: I did have to Google to determine their identity) and tomatoes.

The novelty wore of a smidge when I found myself chopping all day Sunday- for fear that the vegetables would spoil before we used them up. “Fun, CSA!” quickly turned into “F&$#ing, CSA.” Sometimes it’s just easier to eat processed food. That said, here’s what I made:

Curry Carrot Soup // Taboulleh // Green Salsa

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