Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, Sweets

Lemon Puppy Chow

What was in last weeks mystery box?

Mystery Box

Mystery Box

I like wikipedia’s description best “Puppy chow, also typically known as muddy buddiesmonkey munch, or reindeer food, is the name for a homemade snack made in the United States”  It is crunchy and sweet and quite honestly hard to stop eating.  Nowadays it is not a homemade snack as you can purchase the pre-made mix but it is so simple and quite honestly only semi-homemade to begin with.  I decided to make a lemony version of the treat using white chocolate and lemon juice in place of chocolate chips and peanut butter.  I did not make up this recipe, but thought it was worth sharing as it was something I have never heard of or tried before last week. I also think it is a great treat looking forward to spring.


  • cups Corn Chex™ cereal
  • 1 1/4cups white vanilla baking chips
  • 1/4cup butter
  • 4teaspoons grated lemon peel (or 1tsp lemon extract)
  • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2cups powdered sugar


  1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
  2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; gently shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.


Dining, Food, NYC, recipe, savory, Uncategorized

Lemony Chicken Piccata

Since I had extra capers in the fridge a great way to use them up is making chicken piccata.  This dish is super flavorful with the addition the the acidity in the lemons and white wine, but the flour is the key to avoiding tough overcooked chicken.  The recipe is adapted from Skinnytaste.

Todays post includes a mystery box…  There is only one hint here.  There is also lemon in this recipe.

Mystery Box

Mystery Box

Lemon Chicken Piccata

  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 (2-inch) strips lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Spread 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Pound each chicken breast half into thin cutlets (for 4 cutlets total). Dry cutlets with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge one side of each cutlet in flour, shaking off excess.


Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, lay 2 cutlets, floured side down, in the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip cutlets over and continue to cook until no longer pink, about 1 more minute. Transfer cutlets to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining 1 Tablespoon oil and 2 cutlets.

Add capers and garlic to the skillet. Return to medium heat and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon flour until incorporated. Whisk in broth, wine and lemon zest strips, scraping any browned bits for additional flavor. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly and reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10 to 15 minutes.  I also sautéed the lemon slices in this step.

Return cutlets into the sauce, simmering until heated through and spooning sauce over chicken, about 30 seconds. Transfer chicken to serving plates. Off heat, remove lemon zest and whisk lemon juice and butter into sauce.

Serve to individual plates and spoon sauce over the chicken.  I served mine with a simple side of green lentils with celery, carrots, mushrooms and onions.

Food, NYC, recipe, Sweets

Lavender Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars, but they are anything but healthy.  I decided to make a lightened up version based off Gina’s Honey Lemon Bar recipe from her Skinnytaste blog.  I wanted to incorporate my culinary lavender as I knew it would pair well with the lemon and shine through this simple dessert without messing up the consistency or bake.  The only downside was the use of so many lemons!

Honey Lemon Bars *adapted from Skinnytaste

For the crust:

  • 6 tbsp white whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits and chilled
  • 1 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar, for dusting on top


Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Prepare an 8-inch square pan by lightly spraying the inside of the pan with baking spray before lining it with 2 long sheets of aluminum foil folded to fit inside and placed perpendicular to each other in the pan.  This is so you can get the bars out after they are cooked, so don’t skip this step.

Simmer honey with 1T of culinary lavender for 30 minutes before straining solids.

Cut the sheets long enough to hang over the sides to use as handles to lift out the baked lemon bars before cutting into squares.  Spray the inside of the foil lined pan with baking spray.

For the crust: In a food processor combine the flours, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and process until well combined.  Add the butter and yogurt to the flour mixture at once and pulse at least a dozen times before turning out into the prepared pan and pressing into an even layer.

Bake until evenly browned about 20-22 minutes.  Cool the crust on a metal rack for at least 15 – 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Prepare the filling by whisking together the eggs, honey, lemon zest, flour and the salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and pour over the cooled crust.  Bake until filling is set, about 22 minutes.  Cool completely before lifting the bars out of the pan with the foil.  Cut into 9 squares and dust with confectioners sugar. *Note be prepared for the sugar to “disappear” if refrigerated overnight.  Do not dust until bars are cooled and are ready to be served.

Food, Fun, Ohio

Cooking with Dice Part 2

25386_zoom1I get to travel and spend time with friends and family a lot over the summer and this time I rolled the dice with my sister and her boyfriend.  We rolled a list of ingredients that pair extremely well together.  I was just thrilled to get to use the grill which in my three night trip to Ohio I grilled every night.  Here are the results….


Green Beans






We ended up grilling two different types of fish (the mahi mahi is not pictured) and paired it with grilled zucchini, a whole grain rice mom luckily had in the cupboard, and of course green beans.

TIP: I was thrilled to get both lemons and fish as I read that placing fish on top of lemon slices while grilling enables the fish to cook through without it sticking to the grill.

I also tend to caramelize onions when I know I will be cooking for several people as they can be used with anything from meats to a salad topper.  In this case we added them to the snapped and blanched green beans and of course added lemon and oregano because those were our special ingredients.

This was a simple meal but a lot of fun to make thanks to my foodie dice (holla cousin Amy:)

Next post is everything Ohio! and there was a LOT of cooking to be had there!

Food, Fun, NYC, recipe, Sweets

Simple Lemon Cheesecake Cups

I had a brick of cream cheese to spare and I went on the recipe hunt.  I love cheesecake, but most recipes call for at least two bricks and I came across another great recipe for individually portioned cheesecake bites that are super simple to make.  I modified the recipe and used cinnamon sugar graham crackers as the base instead of a vanilla wafer which worked perfectly.  I had cardboard cups that I preferred over the traditional paper cups as they stood nice and tall after baking.  I also added some fruit to the top to make them even better and more picture perfect.  Note that although the recipe is quick and simple, it takes time for the cream cheese to come to room temperature and for the cheesecakes to cool and set (although I tried one still warm and thought it was great).

The paper lined cheesecakes

The paper lined cheesecakes


  • graham crackers
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 24 berries


Heat oven to 350°.

Line cupcake tin with liners. Place a graham cracker broken into bits at the bottom of each liner.

Gently beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in fat free yogurt, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest and flour. Do not over beat. Pour into cupcake liners filling half way.

Bake 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature. Chill a few hours in the refrigerator