It’s funny how some food kicks just kind of sneak up on you. Case in point: my popsicle obsession? You know, the one that brought about this and this in the past few weeks? Well, that’s kind of a recent thing. I’m usually more of an ice cream or froyo or just plain old fruit kind of girl. But this summer, it’s been all about the popsicle, whether I’m in a healthy mood (pure fruit bars!) or in a not-so-healthy mood (see both of the previous links). 

I’d like to think that these creamy roasted cherry popsicles fall somewhere in the middle of healthy and not-so-healthy. On the one hand, they’re chock full of fresh cherry goodness, roasted to bring out a luscious texture and extra sweetness. On the other hand, there’s a touch of added sugar (which I suppose you could skip if you get an extra-sweet batch of cherries–mine were not), and of course, there’s the cream.

I used a combination of half and half and coconut milk to try to maintain a balance between healthy, plant-based fats and less healthy (or maybe not?) animal fats. Feel free to go fully with one or the other depending on your own personal preferences. The bottom line: creamy base + sweet roasted cherries + frozen popsicle format = one of the yummiest things I’ve eaten this summer. 

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DIY Nursing Cover

The baby sewing project train continues. After two variations on flat rectangles, this week our project is…another variation on a flat rectangle! Isn’t it nice how so many useful items of baby gear can be made out of sewing large, flat rectangles? Thanks, babies, for inspiring so many functional yet simple sewing crafts. 

There are a few things I like about this cover in particular: First, it’s double sided, so you can use it both ways and you don’t see any unfinished fabric anywhere on the cover. I think this also provides a bit more defense against the possibility of the cover being see-through, and also makes it look a bit more finished. And second, it’s a bit bigger than some store-bought ones I’ve seen, which I prefer because I like having more coverage. 

Since this is another glorified rectangle project, I’ll spare you the pictures of actually sewing the rectangles, and only diagram the (slightly) tricky parts. 

DIY Nursing Cover

  • Two 46″ x 32″ pieces of fabric (or smaller if it suits you better) (can be of the same or different patterns)
  • One 30″ x 4″ strip of fabric
  • One 6″ x 4″ strip of fabric
  • Two 1-1/2 Inch D Rings
  • 14 inches of Plastic Boning

1. Clip or pin together the two large pieces of fabric so that the right sides are facing each other. Stitch together 1/2 inch from the edge, leaving a 3-inch hole unsewn. 

2. Turn the fabric inside out through the unsewn hole, being sure to poke out the corners so they are square. Topstitch all around the rectangle, as close as possible to the edges. 

3. Take the 30 inch strip of fabric and fold each long edge in by 1/2 inch, ironing to flatten the folds. Fold in half and iron so that you have a 1 1/2 inch-wide strip. Sew along the edge to secure the fold. For each of the unfinished ends of the strip, tuck the fabric of the ends inside the strip, and sew to secure. Repeat with 6 inch strip of fabric.

4. About 1 cm. down from one of the long sides of the rectangle, sew a line straight across the length of the rectangle. Your fabric pieces should look like this: 

4. If you sewed the rectangle exactly a 1/2 inch in from the edge of the cut fabric, your rectangle will be 45 inches long. If this is correct, measure 15 inches from each end of the rectangle and mark that place on the space between the line you just sewed and the edge of the fabric. (If your rectangle is bigger or smaller, adjust accordingly–you want to basically measure out a 15-inch line that falls in the center of your fabric.)

5. Using very sharp scissors, cut the fabric open on the two spots you just marked, leaving the edge of the fabric, the line you just sewed, and the other side of the cover intact. You want to slit through only that first layer of fabric, and only a small enough space to fit your boning through. 

6. Slide boning through fabric and center between the two cuts. 

7. Take the 30 inch strip and pin one end of it over one of the slits. Sew in place.

8. Take the 6 inch strip and loop the two D rings over it. Fold in half and pin over the other slit. Sew in place.

Et voilà, another simple baby sewing project. 

Today’s recipe is brought to you by one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. There are so many levels on which this entertains me:

Oh, parents.

Oh, texting each other when you’re in the same house.

Oh, lightly fried fish fillets. For better or for worse, the phrase stuck in my brain, and also gave me a wicked craving for some fish. 

This pan fried catfish is inspired by the way my parents used to make it growing up–seasoned very lightly and quickly fried in a nonstick pan with very little added oil. This makes for a crisp outer coating and a tender, flaky interior. It’s one of my favorite ways to make fish for a quick dinner. You don’t need very many ingredients or very much prep time to put this meal on the table–just healthy, fresh ingredients and a light hand.

And just to add a little summer twist, this peach pico de gallo is the perfect complement to the fish. I love the light sweetness it adds to the fish, and the way it freshens everything up so nicely. Since the flavors are so simple, it’s important to use very ripe, sweet peaches–the best that you have–or you may need to add a bit of sugar to balance out the lime. It’s a tasty little mixture of fruits and aromatic veggies that also tastes great on a salad or a little bit of toasted french bread. 

So is this recipe more about the fish or the pico de gallo? Maybe I’m biased, but for me, it will always be about the lightly fried fish fillets. Just try to keep from chuckling to yourself with every bite you take. 

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Way back in January, my husband and I went on our first trip to Europe together. Zurich, Athens, and Rome were our hosts for a glorious two weeks or so. The food was amazing just about everywhere we went, but each city had its standouts. Switzerland had its chocolate. Greece had its glorious grilled meats. And Italy, of course, had its pizza.

Actually, I think Italy’s pizza was tied with its pasta, and gelato. Just about everything seemed to have been made to perfection out of gorgeous ingredients. But Rome offered pizza like we had never seen it before. The sheer variety and quality of all the pies we tried left a lasting impression on us. 

All I have to say is, food ideas make the best souvenirs. 

This pumpkin and squash blossom pizza is inspired by one of our favorites from our time in Rome. These squash blossoms look almost too gorgeous to eat, but don’t be fooled; they’re delicious. Atop a sauce of garlicky pumpkin puree, the squash blossoms taste subtly of zucchini and are delicately floral. Milky, aromatic goat cheese pairs beautifully with it all, rounded out with a bit of honey. Shredded mozzarella melts beautifully under the broiler, the perfect finishing touch to a uniquely tasty creation.

Special pizza toppings call for an extra-special pizza crust. Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough fit the bill perfectly. Crispy on the outside but somehow still tender, it provides the perfect base to the intricate toppings. 

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When I was a kid, we’d occasionally host our cousins from Taiwan for a few weeks during the summer. Those days were always filled with our typical summer activities like grilling sweet corn and taking bike rides while it was still light at 7:30 in the evening, but they were made extra special by having friends around in the form of long-lost cousins. As a family that loves to eat, food always figured into the equation too, and there was no better summer treat for us than fresh fruit.

I happen to love the fruits I grew up with, but it’s difficult to compete with Taiwan’s lush tropical fruits. My cousins would go on and on about the fruits they usually enjoyed during that time of year: mangoes the size of dinosaur eggs, juicy lychees fresh off the branch, speckled dragon fruits in their vibrant pink shells. But among our humble selection of summer fruit, one stood out even to my cousins: blueberries. They couldn’t get enough of them. That was when I first began to realize how special blueberries really were. 

Even today, I have a hard time doing anything with fresh blueberries other than just eating them raw, in their pure, unadulterated state. That’s probably because they’re only really great for what seems like a few precious weeks before going back to being less-than-ripe and discouragingly expensive. But the other day I was given a huge box of blueberries that we didn’t end up devouring right away. For once, I had blueberries to “use up.” It isn’t every day that inspiration just falls into your lap like that.

These blueberry streusel sweet rolls are packed with blueberries and topped with crumbly, buttery streusel. While my taste-testers thought these were yummy on their own, I personally thought that the rolls could use a little extra moisture, so I whipped up a blueberry cream cheese to serve on the side, which was the perfect touch. 

If you don’t have an abundance of blueberries, or you simply can’t bear to spare any for baking, don’t worry. I understand. Luckily, frozen blueberries will do just as well in these.

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