Ever try to come up with something thoughtful to gift to that guys-guy you know? I’m talking thinking of something small to give to a friend, your neighbor, or brother. I feel like small thoughtful gifts for women are easy: wine, flowers, a candle and you’re good. Guys? A bit tougher.
Inspired by keeping things simple (and that fact that most guys really don’t care all that much about fuss), I decided to just wrap up a bottle of beer — in a brown lunch sac. No big deal and still thoughtful.
While participating in a cooking challenge at the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Innovation Center, we were inspired by Brazilian appetizers and came up with this play on the traditional monte cristo recipe. It’s made with guava paste which pairs so perfectly with the saltiness of the ham inside. Puff Pastry sheets replaced bread and this buttery, flaky flavor means all of your guests will love these — kids and adults!
I had never worked with guava paste before. It is a really interesting ingredient and added just the right amount of sweetness to this sandwich.
I recently headed to the Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center to take part in their first ever blogger event. It was a great day of inspiration, taste testing and an exciting cooking challenge. Read more about it here.
Over the past six months, I’ve been collaborating with Pepperidge Farm and sharing my original recipes using Puff Pastry. Along the way, my readers were asked to submit ideas for recipes they would like to create using puff pastry and just a few weeks ago one reader (Sharon from Cupcakes and Cutlery!) got the news she would be heading with me to the Pepperidge Farms Innovation Center to compete in our own version of a Top Chef inspired cooking challenge.
We arrived with several other bloggers and guests for a day of inspiration, taste testing and recipe development! Above is Sharon and I in the Pepperidge Farm test kitchen. It was SO cool!
With aprons tied, we worked together to create two dishes that would be presented to the judges. Our mission was to create two recipes each inspired by a new food trend –Brazilian influence and using Greek yogurt in a savory dish. Above were our two dishes.
My youngest daughter is seven now, but ever since she could stand up she’s been helping me in the kitchen. Prepping, cooking, baking, eating — she absolutely loves it all. I love how she gets excited about the entire experience; from gathering ingredients, to putting in the hard work in the kitchen, to sitting down and savoring the meal.
The kitchen seems to be a place where she problem solves often. Whether it’s substituting an ingredient or brainstorming ways to use items grown in our backyard garden, she’s always thinking. So when I learned about Unilever Project Sunlight’s latest film, The Way Kids SeeIt I knew this would be something her and we’d both enjoy. The video shines a light on the unique ideas and the magic that children all over the world apply to tackle all sorts of environmental and social issues. It’s pretty inspiring! Check it out:
The end of the school year is fast approaching and it’s during this time that I like to think about a few thoughtful things I can do for my girls to help them get excited about summer. Every year, I like to have a small gift for them to kick-off the first official day of summer – and this year, I’ve created “jars of fun.”
Although we are constantly doing fun things during the summertime, my kids still seem to find time and ways to “be bored.” That’s where these little jars of goodies come in. To help keep boredom at bay this summer I’ve filled these jars with a variety of fun items to keep them busy in between scheduled activities and trips. They’ll find everything from small toys to an animal stamp set, bookmarks, mini slinky’s and bouncy balls. Because all the items fit into a jar, it’s also an ideal gift for travel.
For older children you can place in gift cards to the movies or an ice cream shop, crossword puzzle books, or even a new pair of shades for the summer.