happy valentine’s day!

here’s a cute way to impress your sweetheart this valentine’s day! we posted a quick how-to, along with pictures, for these apple rose tarts over on the baltimore chef shop‘s blog. make them with your kids or with your valentine for a super fun afternoon activity! and send me a picture after you’re finished! ; )

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apple tart

the beauty of a good dessert is that it also doubles as breakfast. at least it does in my house. and this apple tart is no exception. it’s desserty, but not too sweet. and so pretty, it would look beautiful sitting on the breakfast table on thanksgiving morning! a really great way to feed (and impress!) family members who are staying over for the holiday. the best part is, you can make it the day (or week) before and put it in the freezer, then bake when you’re ready to eat. how easy is that!

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cinnamon pecan pie bars

my love affair with cinnamon continues. i’ve been trying, since returning from our honeymoon, to recreate this pecan pie / pecan bar / slice of heaven made by the chef at the dreamcatcher guest house. this is as close as i’ve gotten so far — and it’s so good, i’m not sure i need to keep trying. it is so caramel-y, so cinnamon-y, and best of all, since the chef at the dreamcatcher served it to us as a breakfast desert, that means it’s completely acceptable to eat first thing in the morning. right? nevermind, don’t answer that.

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smoothie talk

ever since we got the vitamix, we have been making so many smoothies. they really are the perfect breakfast. and they’re a pretty easy way to cut back on unnecessary carbs and calories. our pre-smoothie breakfasts (and, okay, our weekend breakfasts, too) are so sugary or carb loaded there was no way we’d drop a pound. chocolate filled croissants, cinnamon pancakes, last night’s dinner leftovers served on top of potato hash. it’s hard to cut out food that’s so delicious – but, we’re trying. and every little bit helps.

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(almost) no carb almond + banana muffins

the chef and i have committed the cardinal foodie sin. we went on a diet.

we cut out carbs for two weeks (not all carbs, we’re eating a TON of fruits and veggies. just the big ones: bread, pasta, rice). it was kind of a test to see if we could do it / if we would loose any weight. it’s been two weeks and it turns out we can / did. but after like day three of bacon and eggs for breakfast i thought i was going to crack. until i made these little guys. and they’re good.

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cold smoked salmon

i came home to the chef standing in the kitchen with a big, proud smile on his face. there he was, this mad scientist-looking lab set up on the counter, no “hello” or “I love you” — just a stammer of, “hey! look what I made! grab your camera, make a video! eat this!”

once he explained the tubes and the hookah and the burning coal it made sense. and to my satisfaction, it didn’t even make the house smell. that much. that chef, he’s pretty creative!

have you guys ever tried anything like this? or do you have any other DIY kitchen tricks?