Fudgy peppermint brownies

I know.

Two sweet and delicious recipes in a row.

But it’s Valentine’s Day and all I want to do is bake and eat chocolate.

And spread love.

And what better way is there to spread love than with a brownie?

And not just any brownie.

Oh no. You will never be able to even look at another brownies again after having these.

I admit,  I always reach for the box when a craving for brownies strikes. But, it being Valentine’s Day and all, I decided to put on my girl panties and go for it. From scratch.

And to whom did I turn when venturing into the world of real, made from scratch brownies for the first time? Pssh.

Do you even need to ask?

This recipe comes from the one and only Martha Stewart.

My little twist was to add some chopped up candy cane Hershey Kisses to the top because I love peppermint and chocolate and because I’m trying to use them up.

Necessity the mother of invention and all that jazz.

So. The recipe.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chopped up)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • chopped candy cane Hersey Kisses (optional)

This recipe is really pretty easy. I don’t know why, but I had always imagined that brownies would be harder and that the box was just so much more convenient. But really, this is a snap.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 baking pan.

fill a pot with about a one inch layer of water and set a heat-proof bowl in it. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Turn the burner to medium and add the butter and the chocolate to the bowl.


Stir the butter and chocolate until the melt, being careful not to burn,


When melted, remove from the heat and let cool.

Add in the sugar and stir until combined.


Add the eggs and vanilla, and again stir until combined.


Last, Gently fold in the flour.


Pour the mixture into the greased pan


Sprinkle with the candies (if you want to)


And pop in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

The peppermint candies will bake into the top and form a minty crust on top of the rich chocolate brownies.


Your Valentine will definitely be thine.

Butternut Squash Risotto



That word conjures so many thoughts. I instantly think of all the amazing risottos I’ve had at restaurants.

That’s right. At restaurants. Because until now, I’ve always watched chefs make risotto and thought, fussy, time consuming, so easy to mess up.

And then. I found this little gem on Martha Stewart. Instead of standing over the stove and slowly adding liquid, everything goes in a pot and into the oven! This was itty bitty city kitchen style risotto.

And butternut squash is in season right now, so this is the perfect way to use that yummy fall vegetable!

Martha’s recipe uses kale and thyme, but I tweaked it slightly:

  • 1 shallot, diced,
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • white wine
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a fairly large (all of the ingredients are going in it) oven-safe pot, drizzle some olive oil and add the shallots and the garlic.


When the shallot has softened, add the rice. Cook for 3-5 minutes to toast, stirring constantly.


When the rice is toasted, add in about a half cup of white wine. Season the rice with salt and pepper and let cook until the wine is reduced.


Meanwhile, peel and dice your butternut squash


The dump the squash and the vegetable stock into the pot and give it a good stir.


Bake, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed.


Dish out into big bowls and top with parmesan cheese.


Oven risotto? Life changing.

Quick lunch idea




I don’t want to give the impression that I find it within me to cook every single night. Because I don’t think anyone can.

Except Martha Stewart. And maybe Nigella Lawson.

But I am a mere mortal. I have not ascended to the domestic goddess ranks.

What I can do, is try to make sure I at least eat something healthy and homemade every day. This just takes a bit of planning ahead.

One of my favorite quick little things to mix up and toss in the fridge for the week is this little salad. A can of cannelini beans, rinsed and drained, two stalks of celery, chopped and a few teaspoons of tahini make for a fantastic little addition to some lettuce for an interesting salad for lunch.


The easiest scones ever. Period

I know.

You saw the word scone and you thought, yea okay, Martha Stewart. I’m really going to make scones.

Well, really.


You are.

Well, I am.

And then you’ll see how easy they are and then you will, too.

You’re thinking, scones? Why on earth will I ever want or need to make those? I can grab one in the morning at Starbucks if I really want one, but when in my life will there be an occasion where me making scones will be necessary or appropriate.

First, making these is cheaper than buying a breakfast pastry on your way to work.

Second, making scones is kind of impressive. I just made these for mother’s day and both my boyfriend’s mom (future mother-in-law ladies, pay attention here) and grandmother  (who is the most amazing home cook) went nuts for these.

Third, when someone asks you what you’re up to and you say making scones, you just sound so domestic. You might not know how to do your laundry without shrinking your blouse or how to get rid of that weird ring around the bathroom sink, but you say you’re making scones and you are a domestic diva in the minds of all of your friends.

And fourth. One word. Brunch. Scones are always appropriate and necessary at brunch.

But what about all that kneading and rolling out the dough? I don’t have the space for that. You promised I could make all this in my tiny kitchen.

Guess what?

No rolling out dough.



This recipe is easy, almost foolproof. And you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen. And if you don’t, then once you buy these ingredients, you’ll have all the baking basics you will need to make many more wonderful sweets.

Preheat oven to 400.

Now I hate measuring and haven’t given you precise measurements until now. But baking is different than cooking. So here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar (depends on how sweet you want them)
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • .5 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat buttermilk

The buttermilk is the only non basic ingredient. It’s like 2 bucks though. And you can make pancakes with it. And who doesn’t like pancakes.

So those are the ingredients for the basic scone dough.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Now, here is the trick to this recipe. This is the only important step in making these.


The butter needs to be cold. Really cold. Take it out of the fridge right before you are going to add it to the flour mixture. Cube it and toss it into the dry ingredients. The butter being cold will make the scones flaky and will give you these little buttery pockets to bite into.

If you’re fancy, you can pull out your pastry cutter to combine the butter and flour mixture. If you’re lazy, you can use your food processor to blend it all. If you’re like me, you know that your hands are the best tool. I just stick my hands in and start breaking the butter up into the flour. You want to end up with pea-size bits of dough.

Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Grab a spoon and mix until just combined.

The dough will be tacky and have a thick paste-like thickness.

This is your basic dough.

Now, you can go wild.

I added a handful of dried cranberries because I had them on hand. But raisins, dried apples, dried peaches, chopped hazelnuts, some chocolate chips or even just a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar will work. If you want, you can bake em off plain and slather em with strawberry jam, piping hot out of the oven so the jam melts into the buttery bites.

Once you have your mix-in mixed into the dough, scoop relatively even-sized blobs of dough onto a cook sheet. I roughly form them into a football shape. These won’t spread much, so you can plop them down fairly close together. I usually get about 8 scones out of this recipe.


I don’t go nuts about them looking perfect or being exactly the same size or shape. They will cook more evenly if they’re about the same size is all.

They take about 15 minutes. I check at the 13 minute mark and turn the pan if I need to.

Your kitchen is going to smell amazing.

These are not going to last long.

Brew a pot of coffee or some tea.

Pick out a witty British novel.

And enjoy.