prague charles bridge night

Eastern European Adventure | Prague

Sometime last spring I decided to stop whining about wanting to go on a “big trip” and booked something. From the moment I chose the beauty and history of Eastern Europe to the moment my flight was booked took about 12 hours. I knew I would have a few days alone in Prague, and then meet up with a tour group that would head east into Krakow, Poland and then down into Budapest, Hungary with plenty of stops along the way, but beyond that, planning was minimal. I bought a few books, because that’s part of the fun, but despite thorough readings and one active Pinterest board I just couldn’t make anything stick in my head. I’d find myself wondering “Which city has the baths again? Which one came out of WWII mostly unscathed? Which one serves a lot of pork knuckle?” (FYI – the answer to that last question is basically “All of them”) but I couldn’t connect the fact with the city. Finally, I just gave up and dedicated myself to assembling a monochromatic wardrobe and researching which pocket point-and-shoot camera to buy. FYI this ended up being a Canon  Powershot S110 — ain’t no way I was going to lug a DSLR around for 2 weeks.

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America’s Test Kitchen Baked Ziti

As both a pasta fan and meat foe, I appreciate the joys of a good noodle, tomato, and cheese casserole. Popular and portable, this baked ziti from the culinary maestros at America’s Test Kitchen has recently become my favorite “pasta casserole.” Baked ziti is great because it doesn’t require the layering of a lasagna or stuffing of shells, and this version is superb. Thanks to  a secret ingredient, the cheese and sauce stay rich and creamy (not rubbery noodles and gummy cheese here).

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Crispy Maple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

March might be my least favorite month of the year (and thank heavens it’s over), but the long and cold month’s one saving grace here in New England is that it’s also maple season — that heavenly time of year when the sap flows and the sweet amber syrup is bottled. Pancakes, marinades, glazes, cakes, and cookies benefit from a boost of pure maple syrup, and if you’re one of those people who prefers Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin “pancake syrup” to the real stuff, never tell me. I want us to stay friends. Continue reading

coconut curry chickpea soup spoon

Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup

Few things are better in the winter than a big bowl of hot soup (unless there’s a grilled cheese with the soup, which is better), and this easy Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup definitely fits the bill. The curry powder, coconut milk, lime juice, and brown sugar give it special flavor and sweetness, while the chunks of potatoes, zucchini, chickpeas, and fresh spinach add hearty heft.

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