Cooking for my family is one of the most therapeutic things that I can do-for myself and for them-on any given day. I knew the basics and could prepare a few meals before we moved to New York, but in the four years that we’ve lived here my skills and comfort level in the kitchen have increased considerably. My mom taught my sister and I this food-religion though living it herself, just as it was passed from her grandmother on to her. For me and my family, cooking is really a ritual of love-which is just one of the reasons that I have gravitated towards my friend Jennifer Perillo and her blog In Jennie’s Kitchen over the last few years.
If I could, I would spend most of my time in the kitchen, tons of money on the best ingredients, equipment for cooking, and the prettiest dishes to serve on. I would have a large and grand cooking space with plenty of room for my children to perch on stools and enough room in front of them to chop, knead and stir whatever it is we’re making. I don’t have these things right now, but I don’t need them to make some pretty outstanding dishes, especially with the help of my littlest companions. Jennifer’s new cookbook, Homemade With Love, embodies everything I believe in about cooking and loving and healing though creating beautiful dishes, and doing it all simply and modestly.
When Amazon delivered my copy of Homemade With Love, I immediately ran out to grab the ingredients to make her Golden Vanilla Birthday Cake with the kids.
Jack and Zoe love to cook with me or anyone that asks. I don’t do it as often as I’d like to, but I’ve found that every recipe that we’ve tried from Homemade With Love has been simple enough to involve them (Beau just plays with the water in the sink and makes a major mess. At least I know he’s safe and entertained though!).
The cake was much easier than other recipes that I’ve tried-all of the ingredients are added together rather than separately, and to my surprise it was easily the moistest, best-tasting cake I’ve made.
We also made Jennie’s Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting-and added a little blue food coloring per Zoe’s request.
It’s not as pretty as the one in the book, but it sure tasted great.
A week later, my mom came to visit and I presented her with a copy of Homemade With Love (sometimes these things just make sense, you know?). She was eager to cook for us using one of Jennie’s recipes, so after a long day at the Met’s game, she made the Drop Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie with Beau. The recipe actually calls for leftover chicken, so we used an organic rotisserie chicken from Fairway Market and it was finished in about an hour-the quickest pot pie recipe-and it was happily devoured by our hungry family.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend a couple of events in celebration of Homemade With Love, my favorite being the one held literally in Jennie’s kitchen. She made a variety of dishes from Homemade With Love; It was the ultimate treat to be there in her home-her heart-and taste the magic that she seems to just create endlessly.
Vegetarian Lentil-Ricotta “Meatballs”
Chickpea, Parmesan and Fennel Salad and Homemade Cheese Crackers
Even Zoe had an opportunity to cook with Jennie at her event with Chef Toni’s Cooking Adventures and Kidz Vuz, a totally safe video sharing site for children ages 7-12. She made Jennie’s super moist and delicious chocolate cupcakes with the help of a couple of friends. She even got to meet Jennie-the first “celebrity” experience that I’ve ever seen her get excited about. You know it’s a good recipe when it turns out perfectly, even when made by children. They had a little guidance, but it was made all by their own hands.
Jennie has poured herself into her cooking and her writing since the untimely death of her husband over a year ago. You might remember when we made her chocolate peanut butter pie in honor of her, Mikey, and their girls. The love and passion that she has poured into her cookbook is such a beautiful thing, not to mention how incredibly inspiring she is in life, her blog, and now her cookbook. I couldn’t be happier for her or more proud to call her my friend.
“There’s always a happy ending in life, you just have to create your own happy endings. Go out and live your dreams. Dream big. Aim high. We are the best inspiration to our kids”.
I’m also thrilled to have a little piece of her in my kitchen with Homemade With Love to be a part of our meal time and some of the most important moments that I spend with my children and my family. In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend her recipes and new cookbook, and I hope that you’ll pick one up!
A few of my friends and bloggers have reviewed Homemade With Love as well. Enjoy!
Chickpea, Parmesan, and Fennel Salad from Gina from Bowl Licker
Flexing my Mussels in Jennie’s Kitchen from Ilina from Dirt and Noise
Food and Friends from Selfish MomBaking with my Kids from Homemade with Love from Selfish Mom
Easy and Delicious from Homemade with Love from Selfish Mom
Bruschetta with Homemade Ricotta and Slow Roasted Tomatoes from Chefdruck: French Foodie Mom
Dude, I Made the Best Pizza Last Night from Kim of House of Prince
Food is Delicious When It’s Homemade from Kim of Hormone Colored Days
Homemade with Love from Jessica of Momma’s Gone City
Homemade with Love Lunch with Jennie from Toni of Food Just Sayin’
I wasn’t compensated for this post in any way.