Barefoot Contessa Makeover: Mini meatloaves

barefoot contessa mini meatloaves

WE HAD COMPANY OVER CHRISTMAS, including a 3-year old guest from Amsterdam. Phoebe was thrilled to have another “big girl” around but as you may know (and be reminded daily), it’s not easy to guess what will go over at this age. But when in doubt, I say go for comfort food. This recipe is… 

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Cookie Recipe Makeover: Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

Chocolate snowcaps on

GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT OF both Christmas and New Year’s (and least where resolutions are concerned) me and my team of mini-bakers set out to makeover a cookie recipe from the master, Martha Stewart. As you may or may not know, I used to work at MSLO. Not as a cookie expert, but rather a… 

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Salmon-vegetable chowder

veggies for salmon chowder

IN TIME TO GIVE IT A TEST RUN, we’re considering this salmon-vegetable chowder from The Food Network magazine for Christmas Eve dinner. It’s packed with veggies and just enough seafood to qualify for the Feast of Seven Fishes, a catholic tradition sometimes observed here in Italy. It’s a nod to the Roman Catholic tradition of… 

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better for you sugar cookies

Christmas cookies Foodlets

THEY’RE NOT CALLED SUGAR COOKIES for nothing. Most recipes involve at least a cup of sugar, sometimes more, and up to three sticks of butter. Those are no doubt delicious but for this pregnant lady and mother of two, they just won’t do. Let me be clear. I love sugar. And butter. As Julia Roberts… 

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Carroty macaroni & cheese (an excerpt from A Way to Garden)


A GREAT IDEA FROM A GREAT BLOG. I’ll take it! This better-for-you mac & cheese recipe comes from Melissa Clark’s book, “Cook This Now”, by way of the best gardening blog around, A Way to Garden. An excerpt from Margret’s masterful gardening site introduces one of my favorite makeover ideas for comfort food: MELISSA CLARK… 

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Banana muffins with millet

Banana muffins with millet on

YES, MILLET. THIS GOOD-FOR-YOU GRAIN is not only a source of protein but also heart-healthy magnesium and niacin. Plus it and adds a mega-dose of fiber to unsuspecting muffins like these. A regular food source in Ethiopia, it’s uncommon in the US (except for bird seed!) and usually found in health food stores. We love… 

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5 ways to make any dessert recipe a little healthier


IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR. Once the tree goes up, the Christmas cookies come out and most of us, my pregnant self included, aren’t kidding around when it comes to enjoying the festivities! But if you want to avoid a sugar-induced meltdown (or two, or seven…) for the smaller members of the household here are… 

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Spice muffins with cream cheese frosting…and a secret ingredient

Spice muffins with cream cheese frosting

THESE MUFFINS STARTED OUT AS Pumpkin Bars from Paula Deen. In their second life they became a healthier version of pumpkin mini-muffins. Now they’re carrot muffins. And they’re delicious. Canned pumpkin is virtually non-existent in Rome and I’m not sure which Italian variety of zucca would work well enough to go through the cooking and… 

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Traveling with babies & toddlers: On-the-go snack ideas

Estelle eating stirfry

HEADING OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH the traffic? If you’re flying, driving or otherwise slugging your way through the crowds to be with loved ones this year, you’ll need sustenance along the way (and maybe booze, but that’s a different blog). Since we live overseas, this post will be geared toward plane travel but it… 

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10 gift ideas for grown-up cooks

Le Cruset cookware set

IF SOMEONE COOKS FOOD in your house, this list is for you! Based on years of collecting, experimenting, ditching, investing and trying new stuff again, these are my must-have, best-of kitchen essentials. Most aren’t cheap but they’re excellent tools and literally guaranteed to last a lifetime. That’s my kind of investment. All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware… 

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Baby food recipe: Roasted zucchini

Sliced zucchini_

UNLESS YOU’RE A TODDLER, roasted zucchini is one of the most delicious ways to eat this ubiquitous squash. (If you’re a toddler, you will likely only try a bite because you’ve been promised a sticker and even then will probably spit it out. A sticker can only get you so far…) But if you’re a… 

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Chinese BBQ pork with noodles, carrots and broccoli

BBQ Chinese Noodles with Carrots and Pork

WELL, I REALLY MESSED THIS ONE UP. Let’s just say feeding the toddler two pieces of peanut butter toast 90 minutes before dinner wasn’t a recipe for success. Even when said dinner involved pasta and barbecue sauce, two things she holds dear. It’s a shame though because this was so good! We’ll try again another… 

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Baby food recipe: pureed plums

Pureed plums

WINTER FRUIT FOR BABIES isn’t always easy to come by, especially if you’re looking for seasonal or local produce. Pears yes, bananas no (unless you’re enjoying Christmas in the tropics and if you are, we’d like to join immediately). Apples yes, oranges no (unless your baby is over a year or so, according to pediatricians’… 

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15 gift ideas for mini foodies in the making

IT’S HERE, THAT SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR when kids start asking for everything and the only thing that makes it tolerable is your ability to threaten them with Santa’s List. Ah, Christmas. Actually ours are still too little to have gimme fever–just wait until next year–but I’ve still got lots of great ideas to foster… 

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The Salmon Loaf Standoff

I’m delighted to present a guest post from Barbra Austin who is a freelance writer and co-editor of Paris by Mouth; she blogs at *** The Salmon Loaf Standoff of 1983 was the most heated food-related battle ever to take place on Mars avenue, rivaled only by the Mint Brownie Massacre of the same… 

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Baby food recipe: Roasted beets

Roasted beets

NOTHING IS EASIER. Except maybe frozen peas, but let’s get back to the beets. Since we’ve got both a baby and a toddler here, one who is very into “cake”, these beets are doing double duty. At 9 months, Estelle eats them, mixed with whole wheat baby cereal but we’ve also thrown these beets into… 

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How to make a brownie mix healthier in seconds

Wheat germ Christmas brownies

IF YOU’VE GOT A BUSY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE this one’s for you. This weekend we had a Christmas party for the playgroup that Phoebe used to attend (and love). For the fun of seeing old friends plus 30 others who just speak English, we baked up four dozen mini brownies and headed out. On the bus,… 

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