Showing posts from 2013

Red Velvet Kiss Cookies

I love Red Velvet cakes, cupcakes, and cheese cake, anything red velvet.  So I said why not take one make these delicious Red Velvet Cookies and top them with a Hershey's kiss.  My Red Velvet Kiss Cookies was born! So good, so festive for your holiday cookie tray.  Did I mention easy too!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, I like Ghirardelli
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 3/4 cup flour

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with a electric mixture on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, vanilla then red food coloring until combined.  Stir in flour mixing until flour is all mixed in and batter is red.  Chill for about 1 hours to make dough is easy to handle.

Preheat over to 350.  Shape dough into one inch balls.  Place …

Savory Mediterranean Cheesecake

Everyone loves Cheesecake!  Instead of a sweet cheesecake I made this savory dish for a book group meeting and it was a big hit.  This cheesecake is extra savory with 10 cloves garlic and fresh herbs. (You can use dried too!)  Oh did I mention tangy feta cheese? Cheesecake savory or sweet is very, very rich so just eat a small slice with this deliciously creamy texture so satisfying.  And you can change up the ingredients very easily to match the season. For Christmas try I'll use sun dried tomatoes or in the summer use sauteed vegetables

Savory Mediterranean Cheese Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Parmigiana crust.
Parmigiana Crust: 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese 1 cup toasted Panko bread crumbs 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
Mix cheese, bread crumbs, rosemary and butter in a small bowl.  Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan.  Chill.

Prepare Cheesecake Filling
Savory Filling: 10 cloves garlic, un…

Quick and Easy Kaleslaw

Sometimes you just want to make something that is quick and easy.  Fast to the table but still healthy full of delightful flavors.  My quick and easy Kaleslaw is a family favorite that I can get on the table without any fuss or bother.  What I love about this dish is that you can change it up to fit what you have in your pantry or to your personal taste.  Don't want to use Chinese noodles, then use unsalted, shelled roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.  Want to add snow peas to the blend, go right ahead.  Experiment with different taste and textures.  I like to make this differently each time!


4 ounces chopped kale, washed and dried
1 package(14 ounce)  classic coleslaw
1 bunched sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely snipped Italian parsley
1 can(15 ounce) Mandarin Oranges, in light syrup, reserve 1/2 cup light syrup
1 can(15.5 ounce) Garbanzos beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Chinese noodles or…

Loving everything about Christmas I hope that like Scrooge people say of me "It was always said of her, that she knew how to keep Christmas well!"

My earliest memories are of my love of Christmas and the Holiday Season. Our family tradition growing up was that while we children sleep, Santa came bringing us our presents piled up under the biggest Christmas tree that I ever saw, we had twenty foot ceilings in our home. After we went to bed our parents would work into the early morning decorating our tree and putting together all our toys so that we awoke to a magical Christmas morning.  
As a young child I could not contain my excitement anticipating waking on Christmas morning to the joy that filled our home.  My parents were just as thrilled as we children to share our happiness on that special day.  After opening our presents, having breakfast, we piled into the family car off to visit all our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, finally returning home for a Christmas feast that my mother loving prepared.  Thus started my love of Christmas and Christmas traditions.  
Even as I grew older I was the sibling that gravitated t…

Sunday Bistro Dinner, Delicious and Easy!

Sometimes you just want to shake things up. So tonight instead of a big Sunday dinner I opted for a casual, easy Bistro dinner.  It was so delicious and simple to make I have to add to my list of favorite quick meals.

Mussels, cheese plate, steamed artichokes and french bread. Oh I almost forgot Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Ginger Jam.

Two pounds mussels scrubbed and de-bearded,  I love P.E.I mussels, so sweet!
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
12 rainbow heirloom cherry tomatoes
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme.
1tabelspoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup dry white wine

Saute olive oil, garlic and shallot for 5 minutes, don't brown. Add tomatoes and fresh herbs continuing to saute for another five minutes. Add wine,  cook on low for another five minutes.  Add mussels, stir, cover, continue cooking on low for ten minutes until until mussels open.

4 sprigs parsley
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 lemon…

One Classy, Glamorous, Wedding in Shimmery Gold and Cream at the Fairmont Copley Plaza with out the normal Wedding drama!

How do I start to write about my daughter Mandi's wedding.  One year and a half in the planing plus putting all my heart and soul into creating just the right wedding to fit the couples personality and the venue. The wedding had to be dramatic, classy, fun, young, traditional with a modern flair.  Wow!  A gigantic task but I was more than happy to tackle the project.  
First, a little background: Mandi and Dan are two young actors living in LA pursuing their dreams of making it in the entertainment industry. Mandi is beautiful, bright, fun loving, wacky at times, with an iron will that can overcome all obstacles. Dan is handsome, smart, caring, the straight man to Mandi, so focused and supportive of their goals. Their love beautifully glows radiating out into the universe. Mandi and Dan met while attending Boston University with one of their special memories of their early romance attending the BU Ball at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Having their wedding in the Grand Ballroom at the …

Savory Fruit and Nut Stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey

I love to add fall fruits to my holiday stuffing to capture the smells and flavor of the season. My Savory Fruit and Nut stuffing combines apples, pears, and cranberries with toasty pecans.  A wonderful addition to my stuffing favorites. You can either stuff the turkey or bake to serve. 

Savory Fruit and Nut  Stuffing

1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup celery
2 apples
2 pears
1cup fresh cranberries
12 cups dried bread cubes
4 eggs
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh snipped thyme
2 teaspoon dried sage or 2 teaspoons fresh snipped sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook about 5 minutes until tender but not browned. Add apples, pears and cranberries; cook for 5 minutes more until apples are tender. Remove from heat.
In an extra large bowl toss together onion mixture and bread cubes. Let stand 10 minutes.
In a small bowl stir togeth…

Sneak Peek at a simply elegant classic old Hollywood style Glamour Wedding!

A sneak peek at my blog about planning my daughter's wedding, a year and the half in the making.  So worth all the time, effort, and care to make Mandi and Dan's wedding just perfect.

The Bride:

The Groom:
The Ceremony:

The Bride and Groom:
The Wedding Party:
The Reception:

Happily Ever After:

More details to follow!

A Tribute to my Grandparent's Sunday Dinner Tradition

Sunday Dinner a cherished Family Tradition

As long as I can remember my family celebrated Sundays together feasting on delightful homemade food and baked goods.  My grandparents immigrated to American from Italy leaving their family behind.  No other members of their family left the mountains of Abruzzi to come here to start a new life.  Having just each other as soon as they started to have a family they began their Sunday tradition of bountiful family dinners.  My grandmother started cooking early in the morning before the family left for church.  On their return from Sunday Mass cooking started in earnest.  My Grandmother fried home made pizza dough then dusted each piece with powered sugar, to her grandchildren delight, for our snack until dinner was ready. Big vats of tomato sauce brimming with sausage, meat balls and pork ribs simmered on the stove.  My grandfather’s specialty pans of veal and peppers cooked in the ovens all ready for us as we all descended on my grandparents. …

Mandi's Bridal Shower Tea Party

When my daughter got engaged I knew that her Bridal Shower would be an elegant Tea Party.  She and I have been going to high tea since she was a little girl continually finding wonderful tea houses to visit during our travels. Living in the Boston are I found the perfect venue in the Soiree Dinning Room at Upstairs on The Square in Harvard Square.  The whimsical gilded designed dinning room looks like Alice just fell through the looking glass! I found my dream location for a fanciful Tea Party.
Next I went to work with my daughter-in-law Jackie to make the perfect invitations to compliment the look and feel of the Soiree Dinning Room.  We didn't need to look any further than The Paper Source with Nicole helping us pick out the perfect invitations to make.  Gold polka dot invitations mounted on hot pink paper with a hot pink envelope finished with a sparkly gold liner.  Bright, fun and beautiful!

Next onto the favors.  I am not a tchotchke/knick knack person so I like to have the fav…

Love the Peplum look!

I just had to shot out to the Peplum look.  So lady like, so elegant, so Good Dinner Mrs Mellen!  My style perfectly designed for my classic retro look with a flair.  So I have to admit I am going a little crazy with my purchases but I just can't help it! Oh I've bought two dresses, one Alice and Olivia, one Banana Republic.   Did I mention the three tops that I bought, one long sleeve black knit from Banana Republic, two short sleeve, one black, one red from Alice and Olivia.  I'm now on a hunt for a great little peplum jacket, I could do a whole wardrobe out of peplum.  I know enough! Obsessed much!
What is it about the peplum that drives me to buy so many.  For me it is the classic lady like silhouette just fit my petite body type.  Anyone who is petite knows that fashion is not always flattering on petite woman.
Let me just caution woman that the peplum isn't for everyone.  Use fashion sense and a good mirror to make sure you look good.  Hint, hint. A peplum is a …

Garlicky White Bean Soup with Truffle Oil and Croutons

What do you do during a blizzard that blankets over 24 inches at your home?  You make soup: Lots of soup.  I love creamy soups without using cream that adds fat and calories.  In this soup I used a head of cauliflower as the base to create a creamy texture with out using cream or half and half.  I have to say that I love this garlicky richly flavorful soup that I added a drizzle of white truffle oil and home make croutons.  So good and so easy to make.

Garlicky White Bean Soup with White Truffle Oil and Croutons

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 cup chopped leeks, white and pale green parts only
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 boxes(32 ounces) vegetable broth
1 head cauliflower, use the florets
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cans(15.5) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

White Truffle Oil for drizzling

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add onion, leeks, and garlic: saute until tender, about 6 m…

Best Ever Guacomole!

3 Haas Avocado, halved, seeded, peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 Tablespoon prepared Salsa, I used medium salsa
1 clove garlic, minced

Mash Avocado in medium size bowl. Add remaining ingredients until combined. Serve with Nacho chips.

Spicy Lentil Chilli perfect for cold winter day!

I love anything that is healthy and taste good.  My Vegan Lentil Chili is a perfect example of a so good for you tasty meal! I eat this filling yet light chili after a hot power yoga or on a cold snowy day.  Combining lentils with chick peas adds protein and fiber to the vegetable mix. I make a batch freezing individual serving for later eating!

2 boxes(32 oz) organic vegetable broth, I like Full Circle organic
1 medium onion, chopped
l large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 cup sliced baby carrots
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons salt-free chili powder
1 (16 oz) package brown lentils
2 cans(15 oz) cans no salt added diced tomatoes, I like Del Monte petite cut
2 cans (15.5 oz) Chick Peas, I like Goya Premium
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring one cup broth to simmer in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onion, pepper, carrots and garlic cooking about 8 minutes.  Stir in chili powder cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add rest of broth and remaining ing…