Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Panettone Leftovers

I hope you all had an amazing Holiday! Let me tell you what defines an amazing Holiday in my opinion. It's when your home is filled with people and about 7 or 8 conversations are going on at the same time and it all sounds like utter chaos. It's when you have gift wrapping paper up to your nose. It's when you feel like your head is going to explode by all the loud talking and laughing' It's when you have been sitting at the table for about 7 hours and there are still more courses coming. It's when you cant even bare to look at your kitchen because it looks like an explosion happened in there. It's when at the end of the day you want to burn your Christmas tree because everybody keeps bumping into it and ornaments keep falling off. It's when your stomach hurts so bad from overeating you want to quickly go put on a pair of sweat pants so the button on your jeans wont burst. It's when your cheeks hurt so bad from all your aunts and uncles constantly pinching them (yup it still happens at my age) and finally for me, it's when you look at your living room coffee table and see about 10 panettones and I think to myself  "what am I going to do with all of these". That's what defines an amazing Holiday in my opinion and I wouldn't have it any other way. Let's talk panettone for a second, if you're Italian then you already know and probably have at least 3 or 4 in your house right now and you're trying to find ways to use them up. It's a traditional cake that you eat every Holiday season and it's really a cross between a sweet bread and a fruit cake, a total must for me and I could not have Christmas without it. My recipe for Homemade Panettone is simple but incredible, a bit time consuming so feel free to buy one already made, I do that most of the time and I don't feel guilty about it one bit! 

One of my favorite things to make with panettone, is some french toast. Regular french toast is good, more than good even, but panettone french toast is out of this world good, and it makes the perfect breakfast for the day after Christmas. It tastes like all things Christmassy for me and I look forward to it every single year. It's become somewhat of a tradition to make it every year the day after Christmas - and I hope you give it a try too and make it a tradition in your family. 

The second recipe I wanted to share with you is a panettone bread pudding. It's incredibly easy to put together and everybody loves it. And this really is the perfect thing to make either for your new year's celebration or if you're having people over the week between Christmas and new years, it s a great way to use panettone and the texture and flavor is unbelievably good! 
I hope you're having an incredible Holiday Season and share what your idea of a perfect Holiday is :)

As always, all of these recipes are available on my website

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Christmassy Look

I am so excited that Christmas is right around the corner!! Of course you all know that I'm totally obsessed with cooking and eating. But aside from that, I also really love to play around with makeup, especially around the Holiday Season. When it comes to Christmas, anytime I get ready to put my makeup on I always reach for the tools to get that classic winged liner and red lip look. I think it looks super classic and chic but also festive and it's a look that really doesn't take a whole lot of time or effort. And it always looks good! I wear red lipstick quite a bit in the winter and every time I wear it on 'Laura In The Kitchen', I am always asked to let you know what kind of makeup I'm wearing especially the lipstick. So here is a breakdown of everything I wear to get this look! 

^^Here is the cast of characters^^

As always, I start with my Ponds Moisturizer and my EOS Lip balm

For the face:
Kat Von D Lock It Foundation, my shade is M52 (My new love and it looks gorg in pictures, run out and get this stuff if you want a flawless face)

For Concealer,

Time to give myself Eyebrows:
Anastasia Brow Powder in Brunette, I like to use the powder for the front of my eyebrows so it doens't look so harsh with the pencil
Anastasia Clear Gel to set them in place

To contour, blush and highlight:
Amazon Escape Amazonian Clay Eye and Cheek Palette, I used the color Exposed, the one on the right (I can't explain to you how much I love this palette!! It's a must and I love that it has some of my favorite blushes and eye shadows from tarte)

For the eyes:
Amazon Escape Amazonian Clay Eye and Cheek Palette, I used the first color on the left (the lightest one) all over the lid, then used the second color next to the lightest one in the crease followed by the last color on the top row to define the crease a bit more. (Can you see how much  I love this palette!?)
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Beige or Too Cool, both work the same for me (I prefer too cool under this particular shadow)

For the lips:
Revlon Colorstay Lip Liner in Wine, fill in the whole lip with it

Urban Decay All Nighter Spray to hold it all in Place

Happy Holidays!! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cookies Galore!

I have seriously been bit by the holiday bug, all I think about and want to do revolves around this festive time and trust me, I am not complaining about it one bit! I am not by any means going to suggest that you get as crazy as i do (I can be a bit much, this is what my friends tell me anyway) but honestly, what else would you rather do on a cold winter night then bake some yummy cookies, while sipping on some white chocolate mocha and have Home Alone playing in the background?! I would't want to be anywhere else but my kitchen, with my awesome friends around and cooking and baking all day and night. This week I've been baking cookies like a mad woman (again, so they tell me) to deliver to different people in town. These are what I chose to make this year and to be honest, I make them year in and year out because I know that people just love them. 

My Christmas Spritz cookies are a total must-have and when you eat them you will totally agree (you will if there is any justice in the world) buttery, crumbly goodness in a cute little shape, can it get any better?! I think not! 

Oatmeal Scotchies, a completely addictive combination that in my opinion is really hard to beat. My brothers-in-law look forward to these every year, even though I make them throughout the year, I guess for them this is a symbol that Christmas is around the corner. 

The last one I'll leave you with is my Holiday Biscotti. I could not and would not dream of having Christmas without them. I love making biscotti in general and this festive version is my favorite version. It's filled with all things I love and adore and trust me when I tell you that these cookies really are perfect for dunking in a good cup of tea. I can't wait to dig my teeth into these. On that note, I must go grab myself a cookie or two (oh Laura, come on, who are you kidding, more like seventeen cookies) 
Have a fabulous Holiday Season and don't lose sight of what's important.
Happy Holidays!! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pork Lollipops by Mikey G!

If you watched today's episode on 'Laura In The Kitchen', you will know that I made a roasted rack of pork with a super awesome apple and onion stuffing. I had good friends, Mike and Brie over that night - they sampled some of the food of course (I always say, sharing is caring). They loved everything but what I thought was hysterical  was my friend Mike calling the roast "pork lollipops" I mean he's kind of right, when you carve it, each chop has a bone to hold onto and that's where pork lollipop came from. He kept walking around with this "lollipop" in his hands and all I could think about was the episode from friends where they went to London For Ross's wedding and Joey was eating a T Bone steak with his hands like it was no big deal. Anyways, I figured I would share this little funny story with you, I still crack up every time I think about it. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful and hysterical friends in my life, who pick me up when I'm feeling down and are always by my side supporting me every step of the way no matter what crazy project I'm working on. 

This is me and Brie on my birthday last year, isn't she so fab!!!? 

With Brie and Mikey G peeking in ;)

This was a pic of their whole wedding party. Joe and I were beyond honored to have been apart of their special day. It was a magical day and we will never forget it. By the way, how gorgeous are the colors she picked!?! Gorgeous tangerine with cream and pastel blue, beyond gorg!

If you haven't seen the episode on the "pork lollipop" check it out! 

Happy Cooking! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Gift Idea: Favorite Tools!

With Christmas right around the corner, I figured I would share some ideas with you about some fun and easy gift ideas for the food lover or cook in your family. For today's post, I thought I would put together a basket with a few of my favorite tools around the kitchen. While I think it's amazing if you could give someone a fancy Kitchen Aid mixer or something like that, I also think that going with a few smaller and more practical items might be a better idea, especially if the person you are buying them for has a smaller kitchen (with less counter space) or just started getting into cooking and therefore, it might be to early in the game to get them such a pricey item. These are a few of my favorite items that I couldn't live without.

Wooden spoons are something I use practically every single time I cook, I have had my bamboo wooden spoons for years and I love them!! They are my favorite tools for stirring just about anything and they are particularly close to my heart because this was the tool I used to use a child to stir cake batters, cookie dough and just about everything else. It's an absolute must-have tool in every kitchen!

Having a good knife set is definitely something worth investing in but if you don't want to get a whole set, I suggest at least getting a good quality chef's knife. It will make your life so much easier and gets the job done so quickly if you have a good sharp one an hand. 

A Microplane is such an awesome little maggighy wiggy (I make up my own words for things, haven't you noticed by now?) this tool is pretty awesome to grate pretty much any kind of citrus, hard cheeses or even whole spices like nutmeg. A total must for me and I actually have several of these because I can't bear the thought of having just one (one is good, two is better but three is just so awesome!) 

A good set of tongs are so crucial in any kitchen, you would be so surprised to see how many times you will use these. From flipping chicken cutlets to tossing spaghetti or salads, they are a must. If you have never owned one of these before and you're getting your first set now, you will soon start asking yourself  "how did I live without these my whole life" you will question your life choices just from not owning a pair of these, trust me, I've been there. 

Last but not least, is an immersion blender. This is the tool that will change your life. I can't begin to tell you how much i love this tool and this one in particular. If you have been following me on LITK for a while then you know I used to have a different one with a plastic base DO NOT GET THAT ONE!! It was a pain to clean and would always just stop working on me and finally the plastic base broke in half. I was so aggravated and my husband ordered me this one and I cant even put into words how much I love it! It's nice and sturdy and I love that cup that comes with it. It's perfect for pureeing dressings, salsas, or anything else and it's a total breeze to clean.
An immersion blender is such a multi-purpose tool, from pureeing soups, to dressing and blitzing up marinades, this is a tool that I would feel incomplete without. I don't have to whip out a blender or food processor to quickly puree something. I love this tool!

I wanted to show you how cute this little basket is, obviously my tools are no longer in their original packages but you get the idea. Weather you gift someone one or all of these tools, they will be over the moon to add them to their collection. From one foodie to another, having the right tools makes the job so much more enjoyable and easy! 
Happy Holidays, my friends! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

500th Episode!!

Yesterday marked the 500th episode milestone on Laura In The Kitchen. I am overwhelmed by the love and support we have received from the very first episode. It means the world to us to have you all be so kind and encouraging throughout this journey and I know that with your continued support, we will be dishing out (no pun intended) tons more episodes. Here's to 'Laura In The Kitchen' taking over the world!! Haha, just kidding. For the big 500th I wanted to share a fun recipe and one that included one of my favorite ingredients in the world, Nutella. It comes as no shock to any of you that have been following me for a while, I am obsessed with Nutella, if I'm not eating it, I'm dreaming about when I will be eating it again, this thought consumes my mind at night (no seriously, it does). I also thought since so many people asked so nicely if my husband could make an appearance for the special episode, I thought I would do my best to convince him to come on just for a couple minutes. He was so nervous he was literally shaking and he almost didn't come on because of how nervous he was. He never realized he would feel so much pressure in front of the camera and when we were done (and I wiped the sweat off his forehead) he looked at me and said "I am so proud of you and I just have so much respect for you for putting yourself out there and sharing your passion with the world". These words almost brought me to tears. I know that he is proud of me but I am equally as proud of him. He helps me with LITK in every way and without him, it would not be possible. He is the brains behind the operation and he just completes me in every way. I'll stop with being so sappy, but what can I say, I love this man and he really is the sweetest thing in the world (Nutella and Kinder aint got nothin' on his sweetness). Check out the latest episode if you haven't already, until tomorrow my friends! 

I love this man! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Most Worn Makeup for Laura In The Kitchen

So when i film 'Laura in The Kitchen' episodes, so many people ask me what kind of makeup am i wearing and the specific product. So of course my makeup changes from time to time, but for the most part, this is what I wear. 

The very first thing I do is moisturize my face and my lips,
I use ponds moisturizer and EOS lip balm for my lips

I then go on to apply my primer, foundation and setting powder

I then apply my blush, bronzer and highlight (I like to feel like a glowing ornament haha)

Then it's time to fill in my brows (or the lack there of) and keep them in place

Then it's time for concealer and setting powder for my concealer (and trust me, I need something to cover up those dark circles)

Then it's time for my eye look and I also like to use a cream base to make the shadow really pop and stay on all day (and I need that for when I film for 12 to 14 hours straight)
NYX Eyeshadow Palette in Caviar and Bubbles, (I use a couple of the lighter shades on my lid and a dark shade in the crease)

Time to make my lips look delightfully plump (yeah right!!)
Urban Decay 24/7 Lip Liner in Illegal (fill in the whole lip) 
NYX Lip Liner in Nude Beige (outline my lips)

I like to finish everything with a setting spray to keep it in place all day long and make all the powder set so it doesn't look cakey. 

And this is what it all looks like when you see me on 'Laura in The Kitchen':

Keep in Mind that the Estee Lauder Double Wear does not photograph well, (It gives you a terrible white cast) but makes you look flawless in person and lasts all day long. One of my all time favorite Foundations. A must try for sure! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crispy Crisps!

I don't think I have to talk too much about how much I love cranberries do I?! It's pretty obvious since I seem to be putting them in everything I cook and bake, but I cant help myself people, I'm obsessed! I made a ginger, cranberry and pear crisp the other day that really blew my mind with how good it was (don't judge me for tooting my own horn, toot toot!) I am dead serious when I tell you that I was no longer interested in having anything else for dinner that night except for this crisp. In fact, I woke up the next morning and knew that I had to have a little bit of it for breakfast - and I did, topped with a little Greek yogurt, it was amaaaazing!!! (yes I used four a's, that's how good it was). Now I've made crisps for years, all different kinds of crisps, and every single time I make one and eat it, i want to quickly slap myself upside the head for not making them more often. What's not to love about a soft juicy fruit layer topped with a crunchy crispy delight?! I'm already writing down lots more ideas for crisps for the future and the great thing is that you can make a crisp out of everything, from fresh fruit or even frozen. Let me take you down memory lane with some of my favorites. 

Let's start with the latest one which is the ginger, cranberry and pear. It's sweet yet tart from the cranberries and a bit hot from the crystalized ginger, oh boy what a winning combination, a total must try and perfect for the Holiday season.

This next one is perfect when all those gorgeous berries are in season and when they aren't, a couple bags of frozen mixed berries will work just as well. Looking at those beautiful juices bubbling up as it comes out of the oven makes my mouth water like crazy, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is really the perfect thing to top this with. 

The last one I'l leave you with is my peach crisp. So wonderful and full of flavor especially since I like using fresh peaches for this, it adds a really wonderful fresh peach taste that I think makes this as delicious as it is. But of course, if you can't find fresh ones or they are just not in season when you want to make this, a couple cans of peaches or a couple bags of frozen ones work just fine. 

Now that we have talked about crisps, I'm suddenly in the mood for some (this is when I slap myself upside the head because I don't have any on hand) so off I go to find something crispy to munch on. Happy cooking! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Food Haul!

I am asked just about every single day if i can start doing food hauls. It't a bit hard to film it but I figured I could start blogging it since it's a little easier to do. Over the years, I have developed a strategy for when i go food shopping, I used to be in the grocery store for hours at at a time, but now I'm in and out in no time with the exception of one day a month. The 1st of every month, I make my list of all my non-perishables, things like flour, sugar, canned tomatoes, pasta, oil, vinegar, stock, basically all the things for my pantry, this way when i do go from week to week, I only shop the perimeter of the supermarket and it means that I can be in and out of there in about half an hour. This week I ran out to get a few things for the week, I just needed some veggies and meats, and i was only in there for about 20 minutes. I make a list at the beginning of every week for every meal I plan on making that week. This helps me stay on track and organized but it also means that i wont be over buying and wasting money.  So this what i got this week,

Broccoli rabe, clementines (I can't survive this time of year without them at all times) kale, sweet potatoes, granny smith apples (my husband's favorite) tomatoes, cucumber, lemons, blueberries, a couple pears, chicken breast, a whole chicken and finally pork chops. 
I had a few things still on hand so this was all I needed to pick up and with these ingredients and a few extras these are some of the dishes i made this week.

One of my husband's favorite meals in the world!! He loves anything with chicken and it's a really easy dinner to make. I love the fact that I get plenty of leftovers and one of my favorite ways to use it up in a really quick way is by making the following soup:

I love this quick soup, in fact it's what I'l be having for lunch today. 

Pork chops with hot peppers is what i made a couple nights ago with those big pork chops. I had some friends over and this is something we all love and its super easy to throw together on a weeknight. 

I served these awesome sweet potato fries along side (I am aware that I bought a huge box of sweet potatoes, but what can I say, I'm a bit obsessed.. Obviously!) 

And because I needed a bit of something green on the plate with the pork chops (and because if you eat pork chops without broccoli rabe in my family you get disowned) I had to make my broccoli rabe. I could, and many times have eaten a big plate of this all by myself. So good with a big chunk of bread with it, what else do you need?! 
And to end the meal, we sat around the table eating clementines and ginger pear crisp which i will share with you all very soon on 'Laura in the Kitchen'. Happy Cooking!

As always, be sure to check out my website for all of the recipes with measurements and processes. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Apples, Apples and more Apples

So, you all probably know by now that I love and adore anything with apples, and I have made who knows how many apple recipes on 'Laura In The Kitchen' (seriously who knows? can you guess how many I've made?) but I really don't think one can ever have enough apple recipes, at least I can't. Let me send you down memory lane on some of my apple recipes. Starting off with the newest one, Apple Tarte Tatin. 

It's gooey, sweet, buttery, crisp and totally decadent! This dish is not only one of the most delicious things in the world, but one of the easiest as well. It's also really impressive, especially if you invert it in front of your guests, they will think you are some sort of dessert goddess (and they should think that because you are).

Next is my nonna's delicious apple cake. If you haven't tried this recipe yet, you must my friend, it's almost a cross between a pound cake and apple pie flavored panettone (that totally makes sense in my head) I make this at least once every 10 days or so because it lasts for about 4 days and we just love it with coffee or tea and since my dad really really loves this cake I usually make two, so I can give him one (this is how I continue to be his favorite child, I make him food, try it yourself it totally works) 

The last one I'l leave you with is the good ole' classic, American apple pie. Just saying the name makes me feel warm and cozy and I think that this is a pie that's meant to be shared and gifted. It's easy to make, but looks beautiful and I just think that who ever you present this to will be delighted to receive it. It tastes like a dream, sweet and flavorful filling between flaky pastry, what more could you want?! 
These are just a few of the apple recipes on my website and I encourage you to give them a try (and I mean right now) I'm going to go make some apple cake right now! Happy Cooking! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Out to dinner!

This past weekend, my husband and I went out to the city for dinner with our two friends. We ended up going to Amis Trattoria, which some of you might have heard of already and some of you might have not since it is relatively new, about a couple years old. It was our first time there for my husband and I but our friends had been there before and let me just say that it will definitely not be our last. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was wonderful, we really enjoyed ourselves. 

So Let's go back to the beginning of the night and start with what i choose to wear, since I had not been there before, I wasn't sure if I should get really dressy or keep it a bit more casual, so i figured i would go with a bit more on the casual side but still look put together.  I wanted to wear something that was comfortable but still kind of dressy so I decided to wear a dark pair of skinny jeans, a simple peplum top, but really make the outfit fun by wearing an awesome pair of fringe peep toed booties, it made the outfit perfect for a night out in Philly, and I was very comfortable! 

Top: Forever21 
Pants: Express
Shoes: Nine West
Necklace: Target (old)
Earrings: Target (old)

For my makeup, I decided to go with a simple neutral eye and some eye liner, a nice warm toned blush, and a bit of highlight. And for lips, a peachy nude shade with some gloss.

Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear in Tawny (WARNING: This foundation gives you a horrible white cast in flash photography as you can see, but it makes you look flawless in person and lasts all day!! )
Setting powder for Concealer: Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder
Eye Shadows: Naked Palette: Virgin (highlight) Sidecar (all over lid) Smog (crease) Darkhorse (just to deepen the outer corner)

We first stopped over our friend's place for a quick drink (I love me some wine!!) Cheers to Saturday nights!! 

Me and handsome hubby in front of Mike and Brie's adorable tree. 

Me and my gorgeous friend Brie in front of the Restaurant. 

And a picture of me and my buddy Mikey G! I seriously have the most amazing friends in the world! 

This was what I ordered for dinner: I had the veal Milanese with a simple side of lemony arugula and a side of super crispy lemon Brussels sprouts, it was amazing!! The veal was cooked to perfection and it the simplicity of it was just what I wanted. Don't get me started on those Brussels sprouts, they were the most delicious Brussels sprouts I have ever eaten!! So crispy and salty and lemony, all things I adore, they were out of this world!!  Something really simple but done right and they definitely did just that! I wish I had taken pictures of our appetizers, I had the most amazing buffalo ricotta bruschetta (I was too busy eating to remember to take a pic, haha what else is new) But I will next time we go I promise. 

For dessert, I knew what I was going to have before I even walked in that place, (i looked up their menu online) waffles with nutella and semifreddo. Oh Em Gee!!! what a delight this was, can any of those things possibly not be good?! And when you put them all together it's unbelievably delicious, my husband and I shared one because as you can see, they are rather gigantor, and I mean that in the best possible way. I am so recreating that for 'Laura in The Kitchen' very soon so be on the lookout for it! 

Hope you all had a fabulous Saturday night!! Cheers to you all!