Cajun Salmon Pasta

I just realized that, since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve only posted one non-baked good, and it was a big pan of Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham. That’s crazy! I’m more than baked goods! I am also all the other carbs!  Like this recipe for Cajun Salmon Pasta. It starts out sounding healthy (cuz y’know, salmon) and then BAM 💥 PASTA! But let’s be honest for a second, things are whacked out right now. I will worry about my relationship with carbs later. Or not. But, right now, we all just want to eat something that will fill this empty hole where normal life used to be. That’s healthy, right? I think so! Seriously, this is a (generally) healthy meal, with a zip of spice, all those Omega-3 fatty acids everyone is raving about… and some noodles. Doesn’t that sound nice? Yes, yes it does.  (Read more…)

Hero Sandwiches (aka Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies)

Hey. Hi. Hello. Starting Week 9 of the lockdown here in New Jersey and I’m (just) holding it together. I’ve been keeping busy in my usual fashion by finding new dishes to cook every day (I get bored eating the same things), watching Survivor from the very beginning (how cute is baby Amber in Season 2?), and thinking about what to bake for The Boy and his hospital (hero) coworkers on Saturdays (also low-key fearful of the revolt if I stopped doing it now 😳). I had a few ideas rolling around in my noggin this week, but at the last minute I pivoted to these Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. I mean, what‘s better than two crunchy peanut butter cookies hugging a fluffy peanut butter filling? Right. Decision made.

The Boy experienced a little separation anxiety as he watched all of these beautiful cookies get packed up this morning, but after I gave him a calm down cookie and showed him his private home stash he was good to go. So, listen. If you have any spare time, and someone you know needs a calm down cookie, I highly recommend making a few dozen for yourself them. (Read more…)

(p.s. but hey, let’s not just call them heroes, let’s pay them like heroes, yeah?)

Birthday Cake Cookies

In these unprecedented times, we are being constantly bombarded with gentle-voiced reminders of how unprecedented the times truly are. I mean, could times be any more “challenging,” “trying,” or uncertain?” Are we doing enough to “stay connected” despite the “distance between us” as we “stay at home?” The incessant reminders that {insert-car-company-here} is now in the “people business” and are “here for you” is enough to make anyone want to disconnect. Well, guess what? I’m “here for you” too, with a recipe that you can eat “all alone,” and “all by yourself.” Remember the perfectly sized  Confetti Snack Cake we made a few weeks ago? It was just enough Un-Birthday cake for two or three people to enjoy? I have a faster, easier, just as delicious alternative, for when you really, really (really) need some time (and cookies) to yourself. My Birthday Cake Cookies have all the fun and flavor of my confetti cake, in a portable, hoardable, pocket size. Trust me, there’s nothing “challenging,” “trying,” or “uncertain” about these cookies.  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Blondies

And now, a very special episode of Cook Sleep Read:

A good friend recently told me that baking is one of the few things that really gives her some measure of stress relief lately. Following a recipe exactly and creating something delicious gives her days a little more structure; something a lot of us are missing now, what with the whole global pandemic thing. Then she told me that she was considering not baking anymore because there were just too many sweet treats and loaves of bread in her house for her and her husband to consume on their own. But studies have shown that exercising your creative side in some way can help people feel more relaxed and happy in times of stress, so, especially now, it’s important to find a way to keep doing the creative stuff you enjoy. I suggested she might share them with neighbors, pack them up and deliver them to a local hospital, or even freeze them for later, more-structured days, when she has less time to indulge in the baking arts. For me, I’m giving my family some reprieve from my ever-growing mountain of sweets by baking up something yummy and packing it for The Boy to take to work with him in the Emergency Room every weekend. I even package up any extras and leave them at our neighbor’s door for a surprise treat. Sharing home-baked goods is my solution to all the stress of life today. Being in control of something, when we have so little control of so much, is no small thing. So bake someone happy, especially if that someone is yourself!  (Read more… )

Confetti Snack Cake

I know that, coming from me, two posts in one week is kind of crazy… but I had to share the big news! I have finally discovered the secret to emotionally surviving the current quarantine: Birthday Cake! In particular, a sprinkle-filled, cream-cheese-frosting-covered Confetti Snack Cake. Before you ask, no, it does not have to be the birthday of anyone you know. I thought very long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that it is someone’s birthday, somewhere, every day. And if you make them a cake, light them a candle, and eat some cake in their honor, you will be at least 45% happier. And they, wherever they are, will also be at least 45% happier, without even knowing why. 75% happier if you have some strawberry ice cream on the side. I say this with all the confidence of someone who just ate the last piece of cake.  (Read more… )

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Hello from my Pandemic Pantry 👋  I know that on an average day in a normal world we all do our best to “eat right.” We try to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet, consume less (or no) meat, decrease our carbs, and eat more whole grains.  But these days are not average days, the world is far from normal, and we all just want to eat something comforting. Besides, finding fresh anything can be challenging right now, and when is the last time you felt comforted by a bowl of farro? By now most of us have given up on even pretending to live a low carb lifestyle. Carbs have not only crept back into our lives, we have embraced them with the enthusiasm of greeting a long lost friend. For instance, here is my old chum the potato 🥔  Not a fancy guy, he’s kinda drab and earthy looking, but take the time (now that you have so much of it) to really look deep inside and get to know his fluffy and  tender heart. Then layer that  fluffy tenderness with cream, and cheese, and butter, and throw some ham and onions on it… okay, you get it. Right now, I just need a little comfort.  Is that so much to ask?  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Life can be… stressful, right? And while I normally wouldn’t advocate eating your feelings, now seems like a good time to break that rule. The world, in the words of The Fresh Prince, “got flipped-turned upside down” recently, and these Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats are here to fill a social-distancing sized hole in your diet.  (Read more…)

Cinnamon-Cardamom Mini Donut Muffins

It seems weird posting a recipe in the middle of a Global Pandemic, but, like a lot of you, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do with myself right now. As I write this, The Boy is working his sixth shift in eight days in the Emergency Department. Luckily for most of us, our only responsibility throughout all of this is to stay home and help slow the spread through isolation. There’s not much else I can do for him or the rest of his coworkers, but I realized that there’s one thing I can do: Bake. So, I’ve been making treats and sending them into the Emergency Department with him. It’s not going to save lives, but it’s going to do a small part in saving me from boredom, and maybe put a smile on a few hard working faces. Maybe you’re bored, scared, mad, lonely… maybe you can bake yourself some happy too  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies

Where’s the peanut butter? Is there peanut butter? Can I have peanut butter? We’re out of peanut butter? If you hear any (or all) of these questions with any frequency at all, I’m here for you.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been embarking on my own little Brownie Journey, and at every crossroad I have heard one of those questions from The Boy.  He suffers from a little known nutritional malady known as Peanut Butter Insufficiency. If you, or anyone you know, suffers from this condition, I’m here for you. I have taken my Classic Fudge Brownies, and stuffed them with peanut butter filling. Edge to edge peanut butter. In the interest of science. I hope this helps you, or your loved ones, through troubled times.  Eat responsibly. (Read more…)

Salted Caramel Brownies


So, last week I introduced you to what I believe to be the BEST Classic Fudge Brownies. Mostly fudgy, a tiny bit cakey, double-chocolate Nirvana ⛅️ So, I’m done right? Dust off my hands, hang up my apron, I made the best brownies, I’m outta here! But wait. There’s more. Let’s put stuff INSIDE and ON TOP of the best brownies ever seen in my lifetime! I know! Let’s fill it with chunks of salted caramel candies (that we make ourselves because we’re amazing), top it with EVEN MORE caramels, sprinkle on some flaky salt, and bake it until molten lakes of salty caramel lava form inside and out! Sounds like a good time.  Got an hour? Let’s go!  (Read more…)