One word – Funfetti

Here’s what I want you to do.

You’re in a city right?

Surrounded by lots of busy men in suits with serious faces rushing around from place to place while scrolling anxiously through their emails on their smart phones.

Find the most harried, most stressed, farthest from a smile one.

Now walk up to him and say one word.


I dare that man not to crack a smile.


The name itself is just happy. It’s fun. It’s rainbows and sunshine.

I mean, it’s rainbow sprinkles in a cake. And the Pilsbury Doughboy is on the box. And when you see him, you just have to think woo hoo!

Funfetti really is just vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles inside. But for those of us of a certain generation, it’s so much more than that. It’s birthday parties and cupcakes you brought to school. It’s the smell of mom’s kitchen. It’s childhood. In a box.

You may already know my obsession with boxed cake mix.

I always buy it when it’s on sale because I like to be prepared in case I need to whip up a quick dessert, but also, because a homemade, from scratch cake, is not the same.

My boyfriend agrees.

I grew up baking Pilsbury or Betty Crocker cakes with my mom and grandma. They were easy, and more importantly, they were easy to make with a child.

Most of us have these cakes as our earliest kitchen memories because they were simple enough to assemble for mom to leave us to it. The mixing part at least.

Here, crack two eggs. Here pour in this water. Now add this oil. Ready? Here’s a spoon. Stir it up!

And you did. You stirred and stirred and stirred and stuck your finger in the batter and stirred and stirred and licked the spoon and stirred some more.

Mom or grandma would come along and help you pour the batter into the pan and put it in the oven.

But you did the hard part. You did the mixing. You made the cake. And once it cooled, you would get to do the finishing touches of adding the frosting.

Funfetti just looks like a cake a kid would make. An explosion of colors.

And because it’s bright and cheery, and because it always marked special occasions in our lives, it was the first thing that popped into my head when my boyfriend called me with good news.

He was getting a promotion at work!

That clearly called for Funfetti.

I didn’t feel like making a cake though.

So I was thrilled when I found a gem of a recipe for Funfetti cookies on the Pilsbury site. My last venture in cake batter cookies was a great success, so I jumped into this one too.

You will need

  • 1 box Funfetti cake mix. (Yes you can use vanilla and just add sprinkles, but no it’s not the same. You need this box.IMG_0657If you have to ask why, you will never understand. But you should call your mom and why she deprived you, why she never made you a Funfetti cake as a kid)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375.

Pour the cake mix, eggs and oil into a bowl.


Grab the wooden spoon, and like when you were a kid, start mixing. The batter will form a dough ball.


Spoon out the dough onto a greased cookie sheet. I went with my usually golf to ping pong ball size dough blobs.


Bake for 11 minutes.

Okay. Mine took 11 minutes, but yours might not. 8-12 minutes let’s say.


I got 28 cookies out of the dough. Most recipes I found online said you would get 30, but I think I made mine a little bigger. I maybe ate some of the dough before it got baked, but definitely not two cookie’s worth.

Bigger cookies. Yea that’s where the two cookies went.

Let cool.


Don’t they just look like a celebration on a plate? I would send some to Tukka Rask if I could after the Bruins just swept the Penguins (yup, Bruins advance to Stanley Cup), but since I don’t have his address, we’ll just have to overcelebrate the promotion and eat the whole batch ourselves.

You can frost them with the Funfetti frosting if you want, but they’re perfect just like this.


Mexican Chili

The best friend of the itty bitty city kitchen is the one pot meal.

Only pot to make room for on the limited counter space.

And more importantly, only one pot to wash.

This is especially important after a long day at work. It’s even more important on hockey night.

Two nights ago, the Rangers thwarted the Bruins plans for a sweep, winning game 4 in the series in overtime 4-3. The series stands at 3-1. Bruins win, they’re in. Rangers win, they force a game 6 and hold onto Stanley Cup hopes.

This is going to be an intense game. You’re not going to want to have to wash stacks of dishes.

It’s supposed to be summer. It’s supposed to be time for seafood and burgers and freshness.

But, like I said before, in New York it’s 53 degrees with 23 mph winds.

Dinner calls for something that will warm us up. And be easy to eat during the game.

But after a long, cold winter of soups and stews and potatoes and roasts, I needed something different.

I am so ready for summer, and summer makes me think of Mexican.

Peppers, black beans, avocados, spicy chorizo, a crisp refreshing Corona.

How to take those flavors and make an easy to eat meal (tacos are too messy for hockey-watching on the couch) that will chase away the chill in the air.

This is my Mexican chili

You will need:

  • 1 bell pepper (any color is fine. I used green because those looked the best at the store)
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 2 cans black bean
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatos
  • 1 can corn
  • olive oil
  • chorizo (note if you want to make this vegetarian leave out chorizo and add in some taco seasoning instead)

Drizzle olive oil in the pan. I like to use my aluminum pot here.

Add the chopped onion and pepper and cook until soft.


Chop the chorizo and add to the pepper and onion.

Let cook so the chorizo flavors the oil and the peppers and onion.


Add the cleaned and chopped portabella.

When the mushrooms are cooked down, pour in the can of diced tomatoes.

Stir and let come to a bubble.


Wash and drain the beans and drain the corn. When the tomato juices bubble, add the beans and the corn to the pot.

Stir. Cover. Let all the flavors come together.


Serve in bowls and add toppings as you wish.

Some ideas are taco cheese, monterey jack cheese, salsa, my avocado yogurt sauce (see here ) or even some crushed tortilla chips.


Lime. Corona.


Or, even better, try this little drink concoction.

Panache. (Also called a Shandy.)

This is a fantastic summer cocktail.

You just need any light beer and limonade.

Limonade is a French soda. It’s like a carbonated lemonade.

Going with the Mexican food thing, we used Corona.

Pour the beer into a frosty glass and add some limonade – roughly 2 parts beer to one part limonade. If you want it more citrusy, you can go one to one.


Chili. Chips. Panache.


Oh. And the game. Don’t forget to turn that on.

Let’s go Rangers!

Summer, Tomato, Avocado: menage a trois!

First, to quell your curiosity, no. He did not get home last night soon enough to get me a piece of cake. I had to untangle myself from the couch and cut a slice myself.


He was late because the Rangers and Bruins went into overtime.

Then the Rangers lost.

(Double boo!)

But that was yesterday.

And this is about today. Today. The first morning this year where I woke up to a tinge of stickiness in the apartment.

Despite the air conditioning cranking away, I could catch a hint of humidity in the air.

This is the first sign of summer in the city.

The first indication of those steamy nights to come when you leave the office and the heat the pavement absorbed all day is released and burns your ankles. Those nights when all you can do is sit on a roof with a drink in your hand as the condensation collects on the glass and slides onto your fingers.

It’s a sign of tomatoes and avocados.

I have a confession.

I love avocado.

It’s border-line obsession.

I cut it up in a salad, I add it to tacos, I throw some slices onto my tuna fish sandwich.

Avocado has like 20 essential vitamins and minerals, good fat and it has the all important ability to add richness to a dish without packing on the calories. It is high in calories, but not in the way that butter is- remember those 20 vitamins and minerals.

Okay. Enough nutrition.

When I padded into the kitchen this morning and felt cool rather than cold tiles on my feet, I knew a summer sandwich was the order of the day for my bring to work lunch. (I made him one too, of course. It was the least I could do after the Rangers lost game 1 of the series).

This is my favorite preparation of avocado.

And it combines two of my favorite things.

Right now, Greek yogurt is THE hot thing. Everyone’s making it, everyone’s eating it, everyone’s cooking with it.

My boyfriend’s Greek, so we’re not jumping on the bandwagon here.

Let me take a minute to extol the virtues of Greek yogurt. First, of course, it’s better for you than other yogurts because it provides more protein. Second, the taste is just incomparable to any other yogurts- the tangy quality cannot be found in your typical fruit on the bottom yogurt cup. Then there’s the thicker texture. It just feels more indulgent. And last and most important to the tiny kitchen is its versatility.

When fridge space is limited, this one container of Greek yogurt packs a lot of uses. Why buy mayo, sour cream and containers of yogurt when instead you can buy one big container of Greek yogurt? (Plus it’s better for the environment- one big plastic container instead of all those individual plastic yogurt containers). Save some valuable fridge real estate. Also, save some money! I don’t know about you, but I can never seem to finish the may or the sour cream before they expire. That’s just money in the garbage, and with the rent being so d*mn high, I just can’t afford to throw out some of my paycheck with spoiled food.

SO Greek yogurt. Save space, save money and save your waist line – it’s far better than mayo and sour cream.

Okay. Enough with nutrition.


Greek yogurt and avocado. I use one avocado for two people. The yogurt ratio depends on how tangy you want it to be. I tend to two heaping teaspoons of yogurt to one avocado.

Split the avocado in half and remove the pit.

Holding the avocado half, slice through the flesh, stopping at the skin, longways. Turn ninety-degrees and cross hatch your slices. Like this.


You should be able to easily scoop or squeeze out the avocado into a bowl.

Add the yogurt.

Remember that potato masher?

Remember that senior partner that pulled an attitude with you today?

Channel him.

Start mashing!

The consistency is up to you. You can leave it a little chunky or go for all smooth. If you want it perfectly smooth, you can of course use a food processor. But who has room for one of those? And who has the patience to clean one of those?

So this is good to go. A squeeze of lemon or lime if you want to add some brightness.


How to use this wonderful creamy deliciousness?

In place of guacamole as a dip for chips or celery sticks

As a spread for taco night in place of sour cream

A sandwich spread instead of mayo

Possibilities are endless really.

How did I use it this time, you ask?

Much as I could just sit there with a spoon and eat it from the bowl, I restrained myself and used it for the best lunch to bring to work ever.

Toasted English muffin, slathered on both sides with avocado spread, slices of ripe, juicy tomatoes and crumbled feta.


The rich avocado coats your mouth. Bright, crisp, juicy tomatoes pop through. Feta adds the salty bite to break through the unctuousness. An English muffin gives the right amount of chew and the right amount of crunch.

A nice break in the work day.