Coco Morante's Recent Articles
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Recipe: Greek Chicken Salad
Salty, briny feta and olives, and crunchy, lemony croutons are delightful little flavor bombs, making every forkful of this Greek-style salad a pleasure to eat. It’s one of those salads that works well as a one-dish meal — a great lunch or dinner that comes together in just a few minutes. While you could make this recipe even faster by using store-bought croutons, they are so simple and inexpensive to make at home. Furthermore, you can flavor them any way you want.
Mar 5, 2015
Recipe: Chicken and Barley Soup
With grains, protein, and vegetables all in one pot, this soup is a complete meal unto itself! Ladled into bowls for a quick weeknight dinner, or stored in a thermos for a comforting hot lunch, it’s the perfect antidote to your winter cooking needs. It’s great to have some go-to recipes up your sleeve for using leftover, cooked chicken, and this soup is one of my favorites.
Mar 4, 2015
Recipe: Chicken and Potatoes Sheet-Pan Supper
Sheet-pan suppers are one of my favorite no-fuss ways to get dinner on the table. Most of the cooking time is unattended, so you’re free to leave your kitchen post while your dinner is doing its thing in the oven. Pour yourself a glass of wine, kick back, and relax as the oven does all the work — rendering your chicken skin crispy and turning your potatoes golden-brown. This meal is not only super simple to put together, but it’s also very easy to customize to your liking.
Mar 3, 2015
How To Make a Kitchen Chalkboard
Renters, rejoice! There’s a fun way to give your kitchen a little chalkboard love without painting a wall, drilling holes, or spending a lot of money. A trip to the craft store will provide you with the tools for this fun, easy DIY chalkboard, perfect for scribbling grocery lists, menu plans, or notes to your housemates. When my husband and I first moved into our apartment, we discovered something unfortunate about the walls.
Feb 15, 2015
How To Decorate Napkins with a Potato Stamp
Even if you’re not the craftiest crafter in Craftland (I certainly am not), you can make a potato stamp. These sweet little napkins will add something special to your Valentine’s Day table without being too precious. I just love how they turned out! Inexpensive and easy to make, they’re more unique than any table linens you can buy in a store. Everyone I’ve talked to about this project has said something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, we did those in preschool!
Feb 7, 2015
5 Reasons Why I Love My Stovetop Panini Press
Did you acquire an electric or stovetop panini press during the late 1990s craze, only to use it once or twice? Before you think about culling it from your kitchen, consider a few of the ways I use my stovetop model. It’s great for more than just sandwiches, and I find myself pulling it out of the cabinet often. Allow me to tell you about my top five uses for one of my favorite tools!
Jan 29, 2015
How To Repair Small Cracks In a Butcher Block or Cutting Board
Small cracks in a wooden butcher block or cutting board aren’t just a cosmetic annoyance; they can also harbor bacteria, rendering your butcher block unsafe to use for food preparation. While major cracks and warps require professional repair, smaller hairline fractures can be repaired at home simply with just a few odds and ends from the hardware store. Here’s how to get your butcher block back into useable form!
Jan 27, 2015
How To Make Ant Repellent Spray
When it’s cold and wet outside, be on the lookout: That’s the time when ants are on the march towards your kitchen, looking for warmer, sugar-stocked climes to hide out in for the winter. The solution? Make a bottle of this potent natural spray to use on your window and door frames, baseboards, and anywhere else the little critters tend to sneak into your home. There are plenty of ways to prevent ants from taking over indoors.
Jan 20, 2015
10 Ways to Use Up Hot Sauce
It’s so very easy to keep acquiring hot sauces until, what do you know, they’re taking up most of the prime refrigerator door real estate. That’s how it goes in my house, anyway, as my chili-head husband seems to add a new one to his collection each week. Here are a few ways I’m planning to get through some of our spicy condiments! 1. A few drops on your morning eggs. If you make it a habit, you’ll be surprised how quickly the bottle is gone. 2.
Jan 19, 2015
Kick Your Caffeine Habit with These 4 Coffee Substitutes
First thing in the morning, I am nothing without my steaming hot mug of coffee. Truth be told, you’d have to pry it out of my hands to get me to give it up! However, I have a one mug-a-day limit — any more caffeine throughout the day starts messing with my mood and sleep, and the acid isn’t so great for my tummy either. When I want the warm, comforting sensation of a cup of coffee without the acid and caffeine, I reach for one of these four substitutes instead.
Jan 15, 2015
How To Make Spoon Butter or Cutting Board Cream Out of Beeswax & Sunflower Oil
You just need some beeswax and sunflower oil.
Jan 13, 2015
A 3-Ingredient Dessert Trick with Instant Oatmeal
Instant oatmeal can be a lifesaver on busy mornings, but it’s also great when you want to throw together a quick dessert! With just two more ingredients, this pantry staple is transformed into a hot, comforting fruit crumble. Read on for easy instructions for this warming weeknight treat for two. One packet of instant oatmeal makes enough crumble topping for two servings of dessert, and you can use any flavor you’ve got in the cupboard.
Jan 6, 2015
Rachel Khoo Makes Us Fall In Love With French Food All Over Again
Cookbook: My Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo Overall Impression: Drawing inspiration from her travels throughout France, Rachel Khoo puts her distinctive stamp on the country’s regional cuisines. What do you do when you’ve got a case of Parisian ennui? Why, cavort all over France with an ace photographer, gathering gorgeous images and riffing on classic recipes from the country’s various food-producing regions, of course!
Jan 5, 2015
5 Cookbooks with Fresh Ideas for Your Slow Cooker
If you’re looking for some new inspiration for your slow cooker, I have five cookbooks you definitely need to check out. Each one features recipes you’d never imagine could be made in a slow cooker. Whether you’d like to dip a toe into a new-to-you cuisine, make an effortless, hands-off dessert, or go vegan for a Meatless Monday, these books will give you tons of exciting new ways to put your slow cooker to work.
Dec 17, 2014
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark
Cookie-baking season is in full swing, but I’m going the no-bake route this year! Instead of turning out sheets of sugar cookies, I’ve been melting chocolate into batch after batch of holiday bark — first with this White Chocolate Cheesecake Bark, then with this Elvis Bark, and now today’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark. This version is my favorite so far. White and dark chocolate get swirled together to form the base (so pretty!
Dec 17, 2014
10 Ways to Use Up Mustard
Mustard is one of those condiments that just seems to improve everything it touches. With a magical combination of acid, salt, and spice all in one cheery yellow spoonful, it’s my go-to for brightening and perking up the flavors in so many savory dishes. When a salad dressing, marinade, or sauce seems to be lacking a little something, mustard is my no-fail secret ingredient. Here are a few of the ways I like to use my most favorite condiment.
Dec 11, 2014
Why My Grandmother Is My Hero, in the Kitchen and in Life
Growing up, I always knew that I inherited my love of food and cooking from my Grandma Rachael. A consummate hostess, she had a way of making the most ordinary holiday gatherings into truly special parties, punctuated with food-centric traditions that the family looked forward to all year. For the longest time, I took for granted the pleasure of attending these events that she had planned down to the smallest detail.
Dec 10, 2014
This Cookbook Gave Me New Uses for My Pots (and Pans, Too!)
Cookbook: One Pot by Martha Stewart Living Overall Impression: Clever recipes make this a great cookbook for nights when you want to make an easy, one-pot meal. The latest release from the editors at Martha Stewart Living is based on a simple premise: cook your whole meal in one cooking vessel, and you’ll get a great dinner with minimal cleanup.
Nov 17, 2014
Hold the Bread: 5 Ways to Eat Your Favorite Sandwich as a Salad
I’m always looking for ways to get more produce into my diet. Whether it’s keeping a crudité platter in the fridge, adding cooked carrots to a sweet afternoon snack, or swapping spiraled zucchini for noodles, I’ll use any trick I can to fill my days with lots of vegetables. Here’s my favorite new way to swap out starch for greens in my lunchtime routine — turn a classic sandwich into a salad!
Nov 11, 2014
Recipe: Carrot Cake Power Bites
These snacks are vegan, require no baking, and come together quickly in the food processor.
Oct 29, 2014
With Gina Homolka’s Cookbook, You Won’t Think Healthy Food is Boring Ever Again
Cookbook: The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor by Gina Homolka Overall Impression: Looking to drop a few pounds while still feeding your family meals they’ll enjoy? The Skinnytaste Cookbook is your new best friend. Blogger Gina Homolka shows readers that when you put a healthy twist on traditionally indulgent recipes, low calorie cooking doesn’t have to mean boring food.
Oct 20, 2014
Recipe: Barley with Shiitake Mushrooms & Sage
Here’s a quick and easy side dish worthy of any fall table! Barley makes a satisfying and easy side dish, especially when seasoned with sage and studded with intensely flavorful shiitake mushrooms. A serious upgrade from the usual pot of steamed rice, it might just steal the spotlight from your main dish. This dish comes together just as quickly as a pot of regular rice or quinoa.
Oct 15, 2014
5 Books That Fueled My Childhood Love for Food
I spent the better part of my formative years with my nose in a book, and in my case, many of them had some relation to food or cooking. My mother was the book buyer for my parents’ toy store (yes, I grew up in a toy store!), and she had a knack for picking out the best titles to spark my imagination. Here are five of my childhood favorites, all of which may inspire little ones to get curious in the kitchen!
Oct 15, 2014
We Tracked Down and Tested the 10 Best Pumpkin Goods at Trader Joe’s
This last week has been unseasonably warm in California, but you’d never know it at my neighborhood Trader Joe’s! The place is cozied up for fall with harvest-themed displays, cold weather produce, and orange packaging galore. Heat wave aside, we are officially in the midst of Pumpkin Spice Season. Here are ten of the best buys from the over three dozen pumpkin and pumpkin-spiced products on offer at TJ’s right now.
Oct 10, 2014
5 Ways to Pizza-fy Your Leftovers
A fridge full of leftovers feels like a blessing some nights, and a guilt trip on others. I don’t always want to eat the same thing for two nights in a row, but I usually can’t bear to let things go to waste. To make a repeat meal feel new again, I’ve come up with a no-fail way to revive yesterday’s dinner: I put it on a pizza.
Oct 2, 2014
Recipe: Jammy Granola Bars
These granola bars are the most decadent thing to emerge from my kitchen in quite a while, and let me tell you, they’re worth every rich, buttery, jam-filled bite. They’re the perfect hiking snack, bake-sale treat, or homey dessert (à la mode? Don’t mind if I do!). Or have one for breakfast, along with a strong mug of coffee and a side of self-satisfied bliss.
Oct 1, 2014
These 10 Pans Will Get You Even More Excited About Fall Cooking
Every year, I look forward to ushering in autumn with oven-baked dishes, both savory and sweet. Finally, the weather is cool enough to warrant turning on the oven, and my colorful Dutch ovens and stoneware get to come out of sideboard storage. This year, I may have to add one or two more fall-themed dishes to my collection — check out this adorable assortment of cocottes, Dutch ovens, and cake pans. 1 Staub Cast-Iron Pumpkin Cocotte, $149.
Sep 29, 2014
5 Books To Help You Decide What Healthy Eating Means to You
There are many, many ideas out there about what it means to “eat healthy.” It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and end up totally confounded — believe me, I know from personal experience! These days, food and I have a much less fraught relationship. While no foods are off-limits, I have a clear sense of what I consider healthy and aim for that. I also support sustainable and ethical agribusiness practices when time and budget permit.
Sep 26, 2014
10 Savory Pumpkin-Shaped Bites for a Halloween Soirée
October might as well be National Pumpkin Month. Everyone’s favorite orange squash shows up on dessert menus and bakery displays, in coffee drinks, on the end-aisle of the grocery store in bright orange cookie form — and with all the sugary attention it receives it’s easy to just think of it as a sweet treat. But these creative bloggers have given pumpkin a savory spin, which feels so fresh and fun.
Sep 22, 2014
How To Line Kitchen Drawers & Shelves with Cheery Paper
Whether you own or rent your home, lining the shelves and cabinets is a great, low-commitment way to spruce up your kitchen. Con-Tact paper couldn’t be simpler to apply, and it comes in tons of colors and prints — you’re sure to find one that coordinates with your decor. Here, we’ll show you the easiest way to get a neat, professional-looking result, with no bubbles or wrinkles in sight.
Sep 16, 2014
Why You Shouldn’t Use Glass Cutting Boards
Tempered glass may seem like a great material option for a cutting board — it’s sturdy, treated for thermal shock, and easy to sanitize in the dishwasher or sink. However, there are good reasons why I’ll never go glass when it comes to my cutting surface. Allow me to explain. Wooden cutting boards may take a little bit more maintenance and care than the tempered glass variety, but they’re way more gentle on your knives.
Sep 5, 2014
Recipe: Broiled Salmon with Spiced Butter
Broiled salmon is one of the all-time great weeknight meals — the effort-to-deliciousness ratio really can’t be beat! Topped with a pat of spiced butter and served on a bed of fluffy brown rice, this is my favorite way to serve up tender fillets of fish. There are plenty of ways to cook up a salmon fillet, but searing and broiling is my hands-down favorite method.
Sep 2, 2014
Did You Know You Can Eat Pumpkin Leaves?
When it comes to gardening, I have more of a knack for killing plants than producing any kind of successful harvest. As such, it has befallen my husband to take full charge of tending to our summer garden, and his most treasured plant is this enormous, enthusiastic pumpkin vine. Its produce will be of the Halloween carving variety, not so great for eating. Luckily, I’ve still got some plans for its smaller, younger leaves, which as it turns out, are edible and popular in many cuisines.
Sep 2, 2014
How To Add Loops to Dishtowels for Hanging
Have you ever noticed that the nicest kitchen towels have a nifty little loop, perfect for hanging on a kitchen hook? It’s easy to add a loop to any towel yourself, making it that much more functional. Even better, this is a DIY you can knock out in all of a few minutes.
Aug 26, 2014
Cooking from Simple Thai Food Wasn’t Exactly Simple, But Lunch Was Amazing
Cookbook: Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen by Leela Punyaratabandhu Overall Impression: Simple? Not exactly. But totally worth it to make beautiful, delicious Thai food at home? Absolutely! Toasting grains of rice over low heat for a half hour tested my patience. I didn’t realize it was possible to dirty quite so many bowls for the sake of one lunch.
Jul 28, 2014
How To Clean a Wood Rolling Pin
When well cared for, a rolling pin can last for generations. My French-style model has been by my side for over a decade, and I plan on keeping it around for a long time to come! Here’s how I take care of it after each use to keep it clean, dry, and free from cracking or warping. Like a nice wooden cutting board, the best wooden rolling pins are made of an untreated, well-sanded hardwood such as rock maple.
Jul 22, 2014
Recipe: Hawaiian Burgers with Grilled Pineapple
We’re a few weeks into grilling season, and that means it’s time to stretch beyond the basic burger and start getting creative with toppings. An unusual favorite of mine that’s perfect for summer? Grilled pineapple! Brushed with whiskey glaze and accompanied by sliced jalapeños, these burgers are a little steakhouse, a little Hawaiian vacation, and a lot delicious.
Jul 14, 2014
If You Want to Eat Way More Vegetables Keep a Crudité Platter in the Fridge
When I was a teenager, my mom picked up a habit that she’s kept ever since — keeping a plate of crudités in the fridge at all times. It’s her favorite way to have a healthy snack on hand, and now it’s mine, too! If I’m rummaging around in the kitchen for a snack, my usual M.O. is to grab whatever’s most convenient.
Jul 14, 2014
The Lightweight’s Guide to Drinking at Summer Weddings
Summer wedding season is here! It’s time to don your most festive duds, celebrate with friends and loved ones, and hopefully, come out on the other side without having made a drunken spectacle of yourself. It’s far too easy to overdo it at the open bar without a game plan, so I’ve come up with a strategy that helps me avoid ending up under the table. Here are some ground rules for the bar, and five low-alcohol sips to see you through.
Jul 8, 2014
Recipe: 4th of July Wine Sparklers
Fourth of July recipes can be so fussy, instructing you to carve watermelon baskets, make precise stripes of fruit on flag-shaped desserts, and whip up elaborate, food coloring-tinted layer cakes. Yeah, definitely not my thing! Enter these spritzers…er, sparklers. (See what I did there?) A cocktail with two ingredients, made right in the serving pitcher, with a cute fruit garnish for a little patriotic flair? I’ll take it!
Jul 1, 2014
How To Make Watermelon Stars
Whether you’re making a fancy cocktail garnish, putting together a festive bowl of fruit salad, or serving appetizer-friendly fruit skewers, cutting your watermelon into stars adds a fun element to any summer spread. Here’s our simple method for cutting a whole watermelon down into cute little stars! Cutting watermelon into stars is easy. Once you trim the melon and cut it into slices, all you need is a star-shaped cookie cutter to stamp those stars out.
Jun 30, 2014
Recipe: Breath-Freshening Dog Treats
Like most beagles, ours has a major weakness: food in any form, especially dog treats. He goes crazy for these homemade biscuits, and little does he know, they help with his doggie breath, too! With a mix of whole-grain flours, healthy fats, and pooch-friendly, breath freshening ingredients, they’re great to have on hand for your favorite four-legged friend.
Jun 27, 2014
How To Cut a Pineapple in the Prettiest Way
Cutting up a whole pineapple can seem like a daunting task. With prickly leaves and a tough outer skin, it’s a surprising pick for the international symbol for hospitality. Nonetheless, it’s easy to break down a whole fruit with the method I’ve laid out here! Pineapples are available year-round, but did you know that it’s peak season right now? They’re at their best from March through July, just in time for all of your favorite tropical, warm weather recipes.
Jun 17, 2014
Recipe: Vegan Strawberry Orange Julius
You guys, you are in for a treat today! Just for you, I’ve plucked the beloved Orange Julius straight out of my childhood memories, veganized it, and added strawberries for a summery twist. I’m super pleased with this version, and I think you’ll love it too. I was first introduced to the Orange Julius by Jeanette, a.k.a. the best babysitter of all time.
Jun 10, 2014
How To Clean Stainless Steel Countertops To a Shiny, Streak-Free Finish
Are you the proud owner (or renter) of a set of stainless steel countertops? They’re very common in commercial kitchens, but I haven’t seen them in many homes, save for an industrial-grade island or cart like the one in Julia’s kitchen. I don’t know why they haven’t remained in vogue — of all the quirks of my 1940s era kitchen, they’re the one feature I’ve truly fallen in love with.
Jun 3, 2014
TruRoots Organic Sprouted Green Lentils
Have you wanted to try sprouting at home? It’s really not that hard, but it does take some pre-planning. Enter the shelf-stable, sprouted and dehydrated lentils from TruRoots, which take just ten minutes to prepare. What a timesaver! Truth be told, sprouting your own lentils (or any other legumes for that matter) is not a difficult business.
Jun 3, 2014
Andrea Slonecker’s Eggs on Top Made Me Fall In Love With Eggs All Over Again
Cookbook: Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg by Andrea Slonecker Overall Impression: An enthusiastic thumbs up for this informative and authoritative primer on egg cookery, with restaurant-style recipes to boot. Eggs are an indispensable part of my routine. Whether fried over easy to top my morning avocado toast, hardboiled and sprinkled with salt and pepper for an afternoon snack, or slipped into a spicy shakshuka, they make their way into my diet on a daily basis.
May 12, 2014
Fizzy & Light on the Booze: 7 Mule Cocktails
The copper cup is a nice touch, but rest assured, you don’t need one to enjoy a mule! Also referred to as a buck, this type of cocktail has just three required ingredients: ginger beer, citrus juice, and a jigger-full of your alcohol of choice. Here are some of our favorite versions of this breezy drink, perfect for spring and summer entertaining. 1. Dead Man’s Mule is one of a trio of cocktail recipes on this post from the blog Death to Sour Mix.
May 7, 2014