The Best Cannolis in NYC & Boston

I am constantly searching for the best cannoli.  I recently visited Boston and went to Mike’s Pastry where I had the best cannoli I have ever eaten!  Click the link to follow them on Twitter!

The Classic Plain Cannoli at Mike's Pastry

The Classic Plain Cannoli at Mike’s Pastry

The crust was crispy and the filling was sweet, creamy and delicious.  But because I live in New York City, I am still looking for something better and something local.  I have eaten cannoli’s in Little Italy but I have not come across a very memorable one.  People from New York tell me to go to Rocco’s in the west village.  On their menu their cannoli is described as “Rocco’s World Famous Cannoli.”

 

"Rocco's World Famous Cannoli"

“Rocco’s World Famous Cannoli”

Unfortunately I am on a diet, which I NEVER do, but I think I eat way too many desserts everyday so it’s time to cut back.  After my trip to Punta Cana, I am going to try Rocco’s and give you all an update!  If you’re reading this and know of a great cannoli place, comment and let me know!


Top 5 Smoothie Recipes

1. Four-Berry Smoothie (Southern Living)

Four-Berry Smoothie Recipes

So as I scour the internet for good summer time recipes I came across these different smoothie recipes for something that tastes just as good, if not better than the traditional smoothie shop or truck down the street.  These are an easy and fast healthy dessert, snack or meal when you’re lounging or on the go.  You can add or take away fruits based on your tastes and even make them a little sweeter by adding your favorite sorbet or ice cream!

I have modified this recipe (I took out the ice cream) because I like a healthier version of the recipe, but if you click on the picture you can get the exact Southern Living recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of frozen, sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries
  • 1/2 cup cranberry or white grape juice
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Add sugar to taste

Directions:

1. Combine fruits in blender and blend until smooth

2. Add yogurt and blend to incorporate the ingredients

3. Add the juices and if necessary add ice to desired texture

Enjoy!

2. Paula Deen’s Pina Colada Smoothie

Picture of Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons honey, optional
  • Pineapple wedges, for garnish

Directions:

In a blender, combine the pineapple chunks, coconut milk, banana, ice, and, if desired, honey. Puree until smooth. Pour into 2 large glasses. Garnish each serving with a pineapple wedge.

3. Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Banana Soy Smoothie (I recommend this recipe for people who are lactose intolerant)

Ingredients: (modified recipe)

Directions:

Combine ingredients and blend until smooth. 

4. Giada’s Raspberry-Vanilla Smoothie (Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of ice

Directions:

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, simmer until the sugar has disolved and let cool for about 20 minutes

2. Pour the cooled syrup into the blender, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth

5. Strawberry Banana & Chocolate Smoothie w/ Rice milk

My best friend’s mother created this simple and delicious recipe and I found it refreshing, healthy and I believe it had just the right amount of sweetness to it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup ice
  • Hershey’s chocolate milk powder mix (add amount to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of rice milk OR almond milk

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth


Summer Sangria

Summer is all about fresh fruit and refreshing cocktails, well at least in my opinion!  Who doesn’t love to lounge on the beach and sip on a cool beverage.  Here is a cocktail recipe that is perfect for summer!

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This Strawberry Basil Sangria is a lite drink made with white wine that will surely be a delight to have with a few friends, or even to have as a signature cocktail at a summer barbeque or graduation party.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of fresh strawberries
  • 1 apple
  • 1 ounce of fresh whole basil leaves
  • 1 bottle of Chardonnay
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of club soda
  • 1 cup of white grape juice

Directions:

1. Slice strawberries and chop apples

2.  Score basil leaves with a fork so their flavor is released

3. Layer the fruit, sugar and basil in a pitcher and let the sugar absorb into the fruit

4. Add the club soda and then the remaining liquids, stir and serve!


Summer Baking Inspirations

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So my new favorite thing to do in my free time is to discover new recipes on Pinterest, if you do not have a Pinterest account you should definitely sign up for an invite! Not only does Pinterest have great recipes, but there are also all kinds of interesting posts including decorating tips, fashion advice and a variety of work out routines.  My favorite summer recipes usually include fruits, so this coconut and key lime recipe looks like something that would be delicious and refreshing and one of my top picks for the summer!

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Valentines Day is almost here!

So Valentines Day has always been one of my favorite holidays and since I haven’t posted any desserts for quite some time I thought I would gather a few recipes from my favorite bakers and put them on here!

So first, my go to gal is Paula Deen because I honestly love butter just as much as she does…

Above is Paula’s Sugared Rose Parade Layer cake, which I find to be completely beautiful and delicate.

It is a layered red velvet and white cake with cream cheese frosting between each layer covered with sugared rose petals.  I think this is a really interesting recipe because it is made with real rose petals, which makes it very unique and it is actually much simpler to create than you would imagine!

 

Okay, so Martha Stuart is also one of my favorites and she has several great Valentines Day ideas not only for baking but for crafting as well!

Here are some cute cookies I found that are perfect for the occasion!

These heart sandwich cookies are a delicious treat for yourself or as a Valentines day gift!

Above is a twist on the traditional heart candy, but I think these are tastier.  These are Martha’s Conversation Heart cookies, which are very simple and are just a little more creative than the next cookie because you can personalize your messages!


Summer Berry Cake

Here is a cake that is both festive and delicious that can be made for the Fourth of July or any party during the summer.  I decided to make it for my Nana’s birthday which was last weekend and it was eaten up so fast that we made it again this weekend!  The great thing about this cake is that it tastes light and it is covered in fresh juicy berries.  It is also a very easy recipe because all you need is one box of cake mix, whipping cream, sugar and fresh berries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of  cake mix, I have tried it with both white and french vanilla flavors
  • 1 pint of heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/2-3/4 cups of white sugar
  • blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries
Directions:
  1. Bake the cake mix as directed on the box and use two 8 x 8 inch round cake pans
  2. Wrap the cakes individually in saran wrap and store in the refrigerator until cool, or overnight
  3. When the cake is cool and you’re ready to add the whipped topping gather the remaining ingredients
  4. Combine the pint of heavy cream or whipping cream and sugar and start beating with an electric mixer until it becomes very thick.  If it does not seem thick enough add more sugar and whip at a higher speed
  5. When the cream is prepared place one layer of the cake on cake dish and cover the top with 1/3 of the cream
  6. Place the other half of the cake on top and use the rest of the whipped cream to coat the cake
7.  When the cake is covered with the whipped cream then you can begin rinsing and drying the fruit.
8.  The only fruit that needs to be cut are the strawberries.  To slice those you can cut the top off and then slice them in half
9. Once the berries are prepared you can arrange them in whatever design you would like on the cake.  Make sure you only put fruit on TOP of the cake because it will fall down the sides.  I put the remaining fruit on the sides of the plate.  Below is a picture of what I did:

10. Store the cake in the refrigerator until served and make sure to make it the day you are serving it…it will only last 2-3 days after it’s made because it is made with fresh whipped cream.


Baking M+M Cookies with the Kiddies!

This is the second summer I have babysat for Mya and she loves to help me bake.  We decided to find a recipe for M+M cookies and I modified it so that it would be just right.  These cookies are chewy and delicious and are great for any occasion!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of M+M’s
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  3. Combine shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and blend with an electric mixer until smooth
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a second bowl and then add gradually to the mixture while using the electric mixer
This is what it should look like:
5. From there you can add the M+M candies and fold them into the batter using a large spoon
6. Once you have spread the candies evenly you can spoon the dough onto the cookie sheets and bake for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit
In the picture above they are just about done.  When the cookies are finished take them out and use a spatula to remove them from the cookie sheet and place them on a cooling rack.
When they are cool store them in an airtight container to save for up to a week!
Enjoy!!