Recipe for a Great Book Club

IMG_5014This week was actually rather busy for me, as I’m improving my Expat social calendar weekly. I started a Book Club here in my neighborhood and I hosted the first meeting. We read the book, “The Miniaturist”, and I have to admit it was not as good as I had hoped. It had everything to make it great, with a historical and lovely setting, a promise of mystery and intrigue, and promising complex characters, but it all fell short. To me, the book seemed like it touched on everything but fully developed little. Read more

Recipe for Meatball Tortellini Soup

I made a delicious soup the other night, if I do say so myself, and several people asked me to post the recipe, so I’ve decided to post it here as it’s easier to add images, etc.


Who doesn’t think fall is the perfect time for soups???

So, here it is! ( Read more


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1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

4 ounces PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar and pumpkin pie spice on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugars, vegetable oil and eggs.
Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
Scoop a spoonful of batter evenly into the muffin tray. Drop 2 teaspoons cream cheese filling into the center of each cup. Top with remaining batter to completely cover the filling. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, beating just until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, approximately 1-2 minutes.

No Bakes

I hosted a few of Dragan’s co-workers today for a light lunch, as they wanted to bring us a wedding gift, and I wanted to bake something delicious. At FIRST I had my mind set on the greatest cookies in the world——Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I found this recipe off a great blog that I love. 

I highly recommend many of her recipes, especially the vegan and healthy cookies and brownies. I used to make these for my co-workers at HomeNY all the time!

Anyway, after cleaning the house and enjoying breakfast at my new slow pace, I realized I didn’t have enough time to make these. I also realized I needed brown sugar and chips for the lunch so I walked down to my grocery store. There is a tiny tiny section for baking and standing there, I thought……”Gosh! I would really love some no bakes and they take only about 10 min!”. I kept trying to ask if anyone knew where the cocoa was that does not have sugar, as that is what you need. However, My attempts at “Excuse et moi…….désolé pour mon Français…..avez vous Cocoa sans sucre……..” was not being understood as I continued to be directed to hot chocolate. “Whatever!!”, thought I, and bought what appeared to be hot chocolate mix from the organic section.

As anyone knows, you are certainly supposed to make no bakes with regular baking, non sweetened cocoa, but ALAS, for those in a dire situation (or perhaps a foreign country, such as myself) you can use Hot Cocoa mix! I also didn’t have enough granulated sugar, so I melted down our sugar cubes. haha!!  They turned out sweeter than normal, of course, and I’m not sure that the Frenchies liked them, but they were still really delicious! Keep in mind the French don’t like Peanut Butter so it’s a rough go for any sweets with PB. Sigh. It’s so exhausting trying to get Dragan on board, to no avail. I plan on winning him over in Ohio with pb Fudge. Granted, I won’t get on board to eating Fois Gras or most seafood in general, so we are even. I know……….I know……….

Anyway, here is the recipe for no bakes, and keep in mind, you CAN make substitutions. Also, I always always always put more PB.


Best No BAKES!!

1/2 Cup of Milk

2 Cups of Sugar

1/2 Butter

3 Tablespoons Baking Cocoa

3 Cups of Oats

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter ( But go heavy!!!)

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Start melting the butter and add the milk, sugar, cocoa and slowly bring to a boil.

As you are doing this, put your oats and peanut butter and vanilla in a bowl so it is ready to go! Also, lay down some wax paper so you have a spot to drop the cookies. Once your other mixture reaches a full boil stir continuously for 1 minute. IMPORTANT!!! Wait until it is at a full boil to time your minute. As soon as your minute timer beeps, pour the oats and pb in and stir it all together until it beautifully begins to mix and thicken. Then just start scooping out and let dry. If you over boil the mix, the cookies will be dry. If you underboil, they won’t form. I always have them turn out right though, by doing the above instructions! If anyone reading this, has tips too or suggestions or reviews, or anything, feel free to add!!!Image



This is a great soup I made last night with tons of fresh vegetables!
It’s super easy as I was able to make it despite not understanding the metric system or how to measure my ingredients!
Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Squash, Zuccini, Red beans, Chickpeas, Spinach or Kale, Canned tomatoes, corn, water, Spices and chicken stock……yes ; you call it “bouillon de poulet” here. :-))
Soooooooo good and great for the fall season!