Kitchen Living With Coryanne Kitchen Living for a Modern LIfestyle Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:50:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 #AlexiaSimplySpring Pinning Party Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:35:33 +0000 Spring is in full bloom and if you love Pinterest as much as I do, I’m sure that you have been pinning every spring baking, spring craft and spring party pin that fills your stream. To celebrate all things Spring, I’ve teamed up with Alexia Foods and some of my favorite lifestyle experts to bring you an hour of prizes, inspiration and spring pins to fuel your cravings for everything spring during our #AlexiaSimplySpring Pinning Party.

#AlexiaSimplySpring Pinning Party

Alexia Foods is passing out over $400 in cash and prizes during this hour long pinning party, and joining could not be easier. Simply follow the party board and join us at 8p EST on April 22nd. Pin, repin and comment on your favorite spring pins, and look out for the four prize questions pins that will be shared during the hour. To enter for a chance to win during the party, all you need to do is answer the prize questions by leaving a comment on the prize pin.

Follow the board by clicking the widget below and get a head start on your spring pinning. Looking forward to celebrating spring with you!

Follow Alexia Foods’s board Simple Spring-spiration on Pinterest.

Disclosure: I’m working with Alexia Foods on their spring time promotion and have been compensated to host their Spring Pinning Party.

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Provincial Fingerling Potato Salad Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:26:49 +0000 There is beauty in simplicity, especially when it comes to food. For me, the less complicated a recipe is, the more you can focus on the ingredients and when you can focus on your ingredients, that is when the flavors truly come alive. Fingerling potatoes are a testament to this because they require so little attention that you can make even the most simple of recipes taste like a culinary expedition. When I want all the flavor but not all the cooking, this Provencal Fingerling Potato Salad is perfect served warmed or chilled depending on the seasons. And the beauty of it is, left overs are even more fabulous than the first serving.

French Fingerling Salad by Coryanne Ettiene

Don’t let the laundry list of ingredients trick you into thinking this is complicated; most of them are for the dressing and if you are pressed for time, you can always substitute with your favorite prepared dressing. Watch me make this delicate summer salad in my new video for AOLon here, or press play below.

Fingerling Salad by Coryanne Ettiene

Provincial Fingerling Salad Ingredients

1/3 cup of chicken stock

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons drained capers

1 tablespoon anchovies, chopped

3 garlic cloves, roasted

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons basil, roughly chopped

1/4 pound French beans, topped and tailed

1 pounds of fingerling potatoes cut lengthwise

1 Bay Leaf

Small bundle of Thyme

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pop over to Idaho Potato for the full recipe and instructions by clicking here.

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Simple Handmade Monster Doll Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:44:33 +0000 As long as I can remember I’ve gone in and out of sewing little treasures.  I dare say, I’ve sewn nothing that requires a pattern… that would be too much like hard work, which is why I stick with the basics like hand sewn dolls, and the usual suspects like aprons, pillows and bunting. Everything I sew has a rustic look because perfection is too hard to achieve when you are working by hand, on a whim and in those little spurts of time that you find hidden in daily life.

Hand Sewn Doll by Coryanne Ettiene

Last summer I shared this hand sewn doll that I made for my darling niece on Instagram, there is not a week that goes by where someone does not ask for a pattern –which is why, several months later I am writing to share my pitiful how-to attempt.  The truth is, there is no pattern.  It was created out of a collection of drawings that we each drew for her, and then collectively decided which elements  would make up the final doll.  We call it a “Monster Doll”. It is a tradition that has been going since our children were small.  They draw me something, and I sew it to best of my ability. When they were small the drawings and the dolls were so easy…as their artistic imaginations grew, so too did the cursing that wafted across the midnight air while I tried with all my might to make their drawings come to life.

Over the years I have learned a few things about Monster Dolls, most of them common knowledge to those gifted with the art of sewing, but to someone like me that just wings it, there might be a few gems in there to help you create a family treasure of your own.

  • When you use stretchy fabric, it stretches when you stuff it.  So cut small, stuff light and don’t get upset when it is not perfect.  It’s a monster doll after all.
  • Use a basic stitch if you are sewing by hand.  Little stitches make stuffing easy, just remember that when you stuff it, you might see little patches of the thread.  I’ve embraced this aspect and often use a different color thread just to give it that “I was meant to look like this” effect.
  • If you are going to embroider the fabric, do that before you sew it.
  • The thicker the fabric, the more your fingers will hate you for it.  Keep thick fabric for small accent pieces and use a softer, lighter fabric for the main parts.
  • Don’t toss out old scraps of fabric.  You never know when you might need one for an accent piece.
  • Use old clothes to make it really special. I always try to work in an old piece of clothing into the dolls. It gives it a certain history that you can’t get when you use cut fabric.
  • Give yourself more time than you think you need.  Your fingers get tired, your eyes get tired, you get tired…and life can get in the way.  There is nothing worse than staying up all night to power through a doll only to not love it as much as you would if you took your time.

DIY Monster Doll by Coryane Ettiene

I created Sailor the octopus in stages once we agreed what she would look like:

Stage 1:  Cut out an small oval for the head, and a large oval for the body.  Stitch the face to the head using embroidery cotton, then stuff and sew the body and the head together.

Stage 2:  Cut 8 equal lengths of fabric into various long shapes, fold them across the waist and then sew them to create tubes.  To twist them right way around, use a knitting needle or a pencil, they are long thing strips and the process can be a long one.  Once stuffed, leave the top of the tube open, and then  sew them directly onto the body.

Stage 3:  Cut out an A-frame dress using the body as a guide for how big it should be.  Sew the dress up the sides, slide the body into the dress, and then sew the dress to the shoulders. I added an accent strip to the dress just to be fancy, you can always skip this.

Stage 4:  Cut a two 3 inch lengths of fabric so that they are wide and long.  Then cut strips into each fabric in 3’s, leaving an inch at the top.  Braid the strips, secure with a piece of string, and then use the inch of remaining fabric to sew the braid strip onto the top of the head.

Stage 5:  Fold a traingle of fabric into a bandana shape, sew on a strip of fabric for an accent, and then tie it to the head of the doll.

These are not the world’s best instructions, but they are all I have and I hope they offer you some inspiration to create your own little Monster.  Just remember, a Monster Doll is meant to be imperfect, handmade and meaningful.  Like all great gifts, it is the heart behind it that counts.  Just make it pretty….no one likes crap.




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#ChildHungerEndsHere Power Hour on Twitter Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:53:20 +0000 APOLOGIES, THIS POWER HOUR HAS BEEN POSTPONED – PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR A NEW DATE. THANK YOU!
Disclosure:  I’ve partnered with ConAgra Foods to raise awareness around their #ChildHungerEndsHere initiative. All opinions are my own.  

I’m honored to be included in the #ChildHungerEndsHere program and would love for you to join me in ending childhood hunger during a Power Hour on Twitter Wednesday April 8th.  Together we have a unique opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of children who struggle with hunger.

#childhungerendshere power hour


Please join us for a special evening, Wednesday April 8th.  Together we have a unique opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of children who struggle with hunger.  ConAgra Foods recognizes our collective power and they will be sponsoring not only this Power Hour, but two more – one in June and another in August.

To participate in the Power Hour you will need to look for or find participating products (see the brands below) in your kitchen pantry with the red push pin pictured above.  Then snap a photo & share it with us using #ChildHungerEndsHere during the #PowerHour. Our friends at @ChildHungerEnds will enter the codes for you and for every photo posted ConAgra Foods will donate two meals to Feeding America! Your image of  ConAgra food products should show the front label & pushpin ( Do not post photos of the 8-digit code.) During the Power Hour, there’s no limit on code entry, usually you can only enter five product codes per day.



WHEN:  Wednesday, April 8th at 8:30pm  ET

WHERE:  #ChildHungerEndsHere on Twitter

HOW:  To participate use the party hashtag #ChildHungerEndsHere and follow @DawnSandomeno @Partybluprints @CoryanneEttiene and @Crissy

SPONSORS AND BENEFACTORS: @ConAgraFoods @RealReddiWip @ChildHungerEnds @FeedingAmerica


Each gift card will be to the winner’s preferred retailer (Walmart, Harris Teeter, etc.). If a gift card to a preferred retailer is not available, a VISA gift card will be provided.

  • Four (4)  $50 Thank You Gift Cards
  • One (1) $150 Thank You Gift card + gift basket with ConAgra Foods eligible for code entry.
HOW TO WIN:  To be eligible for a thank you gift,  participants must 1.) follow @DawnSandomeno@Partybluprints , as well as  ConAgraFoods @RealReddiWip and most importantly @ChildHungerEnds and @FeedingAmerica 2.) participate during the party hour using the party hashtag #ChildHungerEndsHere, 3.) if selected for a thank you gift guest must DM their full name and mailing address within 15 minutes of the announcement.  Open to U.S. residents, age 18 or older. Gift recipients will be selected at random from eligible power hour participants.

Family Favorites That Help Fight Hunger

Look for these participating brands from ConAgra Foods® and King’s Hawaiian® when you’re looking for the red pushpin and code to support Child Hunger Ends Here. Check your pantry for brands you might already have, or add them to your grocery list. It’s just one more reason to feel good about the food you love.


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Roasted vegetable and brown rice salad Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:32:34 +0000 When I feel like eating, but not necessarily cooking, I make a big plate of roasted vegetables and brown rice salad.  There I said it, I don’t always feel like cooking. That’s just the reality of life, no matter how much you enjoy cooking, there are days when you’d rather not.  And when those days strike, I let my oven do all the hard work because frankly, there is nothing more lazy, and more satisfying that a big tray of roasted vegetables.  It gives a certain validity to the saying “Peace, love and brown rice’.  Peace because brown rice is soothing, earthy and is the sort of thing that makes you stop and enjoy what your eating.  Love because I never tire of this dish – served chilled in the summer, or warm in the winter, I eat it year round and it never looses its allure.

Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice salad by Coryanne Ettiene

I’m taking a short cut by using Veetee Rice, it takes all the waiting out of cooking brown rice, and makes serving a quick healthy dinner a breeze…..  Click here to watch my latest AOL video featuring this salad, or watch it below.

Dressing Ingredients: 

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 10-12 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Garlic bulb, separated
  • 8-10 Asparagus stalks
  • 5 Small sweet peppers, topped and quartered
  • 2 Summer squash, top, tailed and diced
  • 2 Zucchini, top, tailed and diced
  • 2 packets of Veetee Brown Rice
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Splash of chicken stock


    1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Combine all the vegetables in to a big mixing bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil; and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Toss until they are evenly coated, and then transfer to the baking sheet.
    3. Roast the vegetables for 35 minutes or until they are tender and light golden brown, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
    4. While the vegetables roast, combine the mustard, vinegar, herbs honey, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk together before slowly adding the oil and whisking again.
    5. Once the vegetables are roasted, remove from the oven and allow them to rest while you prepare the rice by adding 2 packets of Veetee Brown Rice and a splash of chicken stalk to a sauce-pan.  Gently simmer for 2 minutes to heat through stirring occasionally.
    6. Transfer the rice to a serving tray, top with the roasted vegetables and garnish with the dressing before serving.


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10 Ways to jazz up lemonade Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:33:58 +0000 There is nothing better on a hot day than a glass of freshly made lemonade.  But why stop with just lemons?  I love the simplicity of homemade lemonade and how simple it is to jazz it up using basic ingredients that you already have on hand in the kitchen. What’s more, you can let it rest all day and when the clock strikes 5, add a little something something.

Having a lemonade stand is a right of passage that all children should experience, and this summer we are ringing in that tradition in a big way.  Thanks to my friend Sam from Today’s Nest, we have an HGTV approved lemonade stand that is sitting in the garage waiting for the perfect Saturday afternoon to set up shop.  Truth be told, if it was not for Sam’s stand, the children would not be selling in style, which means that we can’t just have any old lemonade, we need fancy pants lemonade to match the fancy pants stand — check it out here.  And not one to miss an opportunity to play in the kitchen, darling Xander is recipe testing his favorite recipes for the occasion.  The house favorite is the classic strawberry lemonade, but there is much more to lemonade than just adding fresh strawberries.

10 ways to jazz up lemonade by Coryanne Ettiene


The tartness of lemon plays so well with fresh herbs and sweet fruit that it is a shame not to play with them all in some form.  Next time you reach for you lemonade pitcher, try mixing up a batch of these great recipes, recipe tested by Xander, and greedily drunk by yours truly.

  1. Blueberry  and Lavender — Is there anything more aromatic than lavender?  We like this one a bit on the pulpy side and use an immersion blender to smooth out the blueberries and then add the lemonade. Lavender, can be quite aromatic, I like to use it as an accent rather than infuse the lemonade with it.  Of course, Gin goes beautifully with lavender; just saying.
  2. Peach, nectarine and rosemary — Show stopping Italian stallion of the lemonade world.  More for the grown ups than for the children; I love this made with sparkling water and  splash of Limoncello. The rosemary can be very strong, so use it sparingly.  Either as an accept once the lemonade is done, or infuse your simple syrup with just a 1 inch sprig.
  3. Cherry — Seriously great stuff.  There are 2 ways to make this, fresh cherries chopped or by making a quick cherry compote, allowing it to cool and adding a spoonful to the lemonade.  When I make it for the children, we freeze a few cherries and use them as ice, when I make it for me….dare I say I soak the cherries in Bourbon first?
  4. Cucumber — If you need a spa moment, this is a great second option.  Really hydrating and so easy to drink.  I really should drink more water and when I make this, I drink gallons of it.  Thinly sliced cucumber, lemon, water…no sugar and when I’m feeling fancy, a sprig of mint.  Perfection.
  5. Mango and coconut — Need a vacation?  This will take you there.  Swap out the water for coconut water, and add chopped mango and if you are feeling fancy, a  few sprigs of mint.  If you need a little something something, splash in some white rum.
  6. Raspberry and Peach — Nothing sweeter on the planet. This is a favorite in our house.  I take shortcuts by buying frozen peaches and mashing up fresh raspberries, then adding a little fizz by using sparkling water.
  7. Cantaloupe – Our middle son is a melon lover, and this is by far his favorite lemonade.  It is crisp, sweet and tart without being sugary. Ball out a cantaloupe add it to the lemonade, skip the sugar and use flat water.  Summer in a glass.
  8. Cilantro and  Jalapeño — A little taste of the border, this packs a punch and is fabulous served with … Tequila.  Slightly grassy with a heat that hits you at the back of your throat, this little number is a back yard party in a glass.  Just add 1 thinly sliced, de-seeded Jalapeño and a handful of cilantro to a tall pitcher of lemonade made using a simple syrup.
  9. Ginger — Oh yeah, this one is a winter favorite that I can’t help but serve chilled in the summer.  Grate a 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger into your lemonade, add a splash of simple syrup and if you want a little taste of fall, a pinch of cinnamon.
  10. Slush is up — On a really hot day, take any of the recipes above, and blend them into a lemonade slushy.
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Berry Clafoutis recipe to celebrate #Pyrex100 Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:05:41 +0000 Disclosure:  I’ve partnered with Pyrex® to share a recipe that is special to me with you! #pyrex100 #RaiseYourGlassSweeps

Baked custard, or as the French call it “Clafoutis” when you make it with cherries, is a recipe that my husband grew up on and we’ve had at our brunch table as long as we’ve been serving brunch. Not quite cake, not quite custard, it is a buttery flan like dish that we change with the seasons depending on what fruit we have on hand.  You can almost clock the seasons by our ingredients: berries in the spring, cherries in the summer, apples in the fall and pears in the winter — there are so many variations of this dish that it is hard to find one that is our favorite.   Served room temperature, great with cream, heavenly with a little Brandy when it is made with cherries; this is one dish that makes me feel like I could, quite possibly, be a French baker.

Baked Berry Custard by Coryanne Ettiene

As amazing as it tastes, this is one of those dishes that requires so little clean up.  When I make it, I use my 4 Cup Pyrex® measuring cup so all the mixing is done in one dish…  little clean up, quick prep time, amazing taste….  what more could you ask for? Truth be told, I also take a short cut by melting my butter right in the pie dish and then pour it into my mixing cup once it cools — it not only saves me a step of buttering my pie dish, but it reduces the number of dishes I have to clean.

#Pyrex100 with Coryanne Ettiene




  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest (when possible I use a Meyer Lemon)
  • 2 cups of fresh berries
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • dusting of confection sugar


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F, add the butter to the pie dish and watch while melts, then remove it and allow it  cool to room temperature.  Use a pastry brush to spread the left over butter across the pie dish.
  2. Add the flour, salt, sugar and zest to your mixing bowl and stir until they are fully blended.  (In a hurry?  You can whiz through the prep by adding everything to a food processor and blitzing one step at a time).
  3. Add the eggs and butter to the dry mix, and stir until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the milk and vanilla to the batter, and stir until very smooth.
  5. Blanket the bottom of the pan with fresh berries, and then pour the batter across the top.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
  6. Once fully cooked, removed it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before dusting with almonds and sugar.

Berry Clafoutis by Coryanne Ettiene

It seems only fitting to make this classic family recipe in a vintage inspired Pyrex® dish, I suspect that many baked custards have been made in this dish and I am so excited to have one in my kitchen…. it quite possibly the best dish for making Clafoutis.  In addition to this fab pie dish, Pyrex® is releasing two limited-edition product lines to celebrate their 100th anniversary. In an ode to the popular “New Dots” collection of the 1960s, both of the 2015 lines will feature the familiar Pyrex® dot motif in a variety of colors. To learn more about the Pyrex® 100 product line, visit the Pyrex100 website>



You’re invited to join the celebration and win prizes, all you need to do to join the celebration conversation, and learn more about the amazing sweepstakes, live events and giveaways is to connect with Pyrex® on all their social channels!

Facebook: Pyrex Home
Twitter: World Kitchen, LLC
Instagram: Pyrex Home
Pinterest: Pyrex Home





The Pyrex® 100 Days of Giveaways is sponsored by World Kitchen, LLC. There is no purchase necessary to enter. In order to participate, you must be a legal resident of the fifty United States or the District of Columbia and must be at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Entries will be accepted from March 22, 2015 at 10:00:00 a.m. ET until June 30, 2015 at 9:59:59 a.m. ET.

Pyrex® 100th Anniversary Giveaway

Disclosure: I have happily partnered with World Kitchen LLC to share the wonderful Pyrex® 100th Anniversary product line. All opinions are my own.

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How to stock your pantry like a pro Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:12:05 +0000 We all have those days when menu planning gets overlooked, the trip to the shops gets pushed aside and you find yourself facing a hungry family to feed at 5 o’clock on a Wednesday. I’ve been there more times than I care to share, I think I have something, and then at the last minute, I realize I don’t and the entire meal goes from brilliant to a bomb (not The Bomb).  But with a well stocked and organized pantry, that mid week shuffle will be a thing of the past and grocery shopping will be so much easier.  The trick is to pick and choose which items work best for how you cook, and ensure that you have plenty of staples on hand to produce a last minute meal in a hurry… that and to always remember that heat, moisture and light can degrade food’s nutritional value, so use what you buy and buy what you use. And by all means, if you are in love with glass storage jars like I am, keep them in a dark shelf no matter how pretty they look on your kitchen counter.

How to stock your pantry by Coryanne Ettiene

Every quarter I go through this list and restock anything that has a tendency to expire (like flour) or that we simply just need more of to keep ourselves well stocked (tinned tomatoes) .  It is a rather big production, and the recycling men almost expect a big collection because I have an aversion to product boxes and turn my kitchen into a repackaging plant with everything coming in to the kitchen in boxes, and then moving  into the millions of jars and storage containers that clutter our cabinets.

This is where I tell you how neurotic I am.  Just for giggles, you won’t have to look long to find the following post it notes in my pantry….just trying to keep it real, and let you know that in our house, our pantry is rarely magazine ready, unless it is “post it note quarterly”.

  1. “Last One”  — When I buy multiples of the same thing, there is always one that has a post it note that reminds me that I am nearly out.
  2. “Don’t Open” — yes, I buy packed cookies.   When time is on my side, I’ll only bake fresh cookies but sometimes, packaged cookies make the world a better place.  That is until your children swoop in and eat the entire box when no one is looking.
  3. “Ask Mummy First”  — reserved strictly for Nutella consumption because in our house, food warnings mean something all together different (see my Don’t Open comment).

How to stock your pantry like a pro

All-purpose and wholemeal flour
Granulated, icing and brown sugar
Baking powder
Chocolate bars (for cooking and for bribing your loved ones)
Vanilla extract
Cacao powder
Tins of beans and pulses (various types)
Arborio, brown, white and basmati rice
Tinned tomatoes all varieties
Dried pasta
Chicken, Beef, and Vegetable stock
Worcestershire sauce
Coconut Milk
Cereal (boxes and boxes of this stuff)
Red wine, Apple Cider, Balsamic, White Wine, and Rice Wine Vinegar
Ketchup, mayo, mustard
Soy Sauce and Teriyaki sauce
Peanut Butter
Walnut, Peanut, Vegetable, sunflower and Olive Oils
Favorite Hot Sauce
Dried Fruit
Cookies (shhh, our secret)

Spices:  Everyone has their own take on how long to store spices and herbs. I have learned that if you do not cook with them that often you won’t really notice them fade, and if you cook with them often they will be used long before they fade. The rule is that if you can smell them and taste them when you open them, then they should be fine. That being said, I am crazy about freshness so I chuck my spices every 6 months if I have not used them all. For the re-stock, look over your spices, check them and then re-stock what you need and use.


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5 upcycle projects for spring planting Mon, 16 Mar 2015 21:18:06 +0000 Upcycle is the new repurpose, or the new recycle depending on who you are getting your shabby chic design tips from.  Either way, I love repurposing old things and using them as planters.  With spring just around the corner, I’m trying out all my repurposed treasures that I have been hoarding and giving them a new lease on life in the garden, or really any place that will hold a plant.  The benefit of living in a historic neighborhood is that nearly everyone has a bunch of ‘junk’ they are trying to get rid of, some decades old and most so fabulous that I come home with a trunk full of treasures that I really have no Earthly use for every time I leave the house on the weekend.  I blame that character trait on my mother who would drag the 8 year old me to a flea market nearly every weekend when all I really wanted to do was watch cartoons and eat Lucky Charms.  Who knew that the kicking and scream bratty girl would grow up to do the same to her children; ah, the cycle of life.

DIY garden pots by Coryanne Ettiene

  1. Votive holders are great for succulent clippings.  You can see the water line, watch them grown and then whey they are big enough, moving them is as simple as turing them upside down. Even better, they give you  instant satisfaction, no fussing around with decorating them.
  2. Bowls are great for succulent gardens.  I call this a bowl, but then I’m not really sure what it first held apart from a very big candle.  After scraping off as much as I had the patience for, I filled it with sand and soil and turned it into a little garden for my desk.
  3. Succulant planting by Coryanne EttieneOld Lanterns make great hanging gardens.  Never one to pay any attention to the many camping supplies I find at flea markets, I did notice a fabulous hanging lantern that I can’t wait to spray paint gold and hang in our garden.  It is as if old lanterns were meant for small ground cover patches.  If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be posting pictures there soon, if not, connect with me on Instragram  here  
  4. Vintage drawers make great raised beds.  Think small thin sewing machine drawers, big boxy dresser drawers, even wooden wine boxes; there really is a box to fit all needs, and the beauty of using boxes is that you can stack them in a way you simply can’t do with pots.  One day, when I’m able to grow something other than mint and succulents, I’ll have a drawer garden filled with all of my favorite veggies.
  5. Work Boots.  Yes, old, tattered, someone else wore them for years work boots.  Not sure what it is, but one of my neighbors had a pair of work boots filled with flowers and every year I would look at it with such envy. So this year I am on the hunt for a pair of fabulous second hand workbooks for my pansies.
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DIY Simple Distressed Herb Planters Mon, 16 Mar 2015 20:25:09 +0000 I love herb planters, especially ones that look like they have spent a lifetime dedicated to growing amazing herbs.   They remind me of my mother’s backyard where weathered clay pots are adorned with leafy herbs.  Which is why, when I can’t find distressed pots at the flea markets, I quickly distress new pots to capture the look my mother has so authentically crafted over time.

Distressed Planters By Coryanne Ettiene


It really is a simple as a few brush strokes if you opt for a simple design.  I’m not talented when it comes to painting, so simple is always my goto option. I stuck with one and used the same idea on all my pots, regardless of size so they look like a collection.  The other alternative if you are as challenged as I am, is to find a stencil you like, and transfer it to the pot, but that is an all together other tutorial.  Watch my latest video for AOL or follow the short cut instructions below.

To get started, wash and dry your pot, then use grey or black paint to paint the design onto your pot. And don’t worry if it looks less than perfect– the beauty with this is that you can distress away the imperfections. Once the design is dry, white wash your pot with a cream or white paint by using diluting the paint so it is runny, then apply with a paper towel or old cloth.  Layer on the white wash, allowing it to be darker in some areas and absent in others.  Allow the white wash layer to dry, and then use a light sand paper to complete the distressed look.  I did the whole process on a sunny afternoon, but it can be spread out over a few days if the weather, or time is not permitting.


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Cascarones for Easter Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:55:44 +0000 Cascarones…  go on, say it slow and let it roll of your tongue. Cascarones, Cascarones, I’m crazy for Cascarones, this Easter.  These delicate glitter and confetti filled eggs are simple to make and are sure to put a spring in your Easter step this year.  Unlike traditional Easter Eggs, these festive eggs are a Mexican tradition used at carnival times and meant to spread good cheer.  In my latest video for AOL produced by Sam Henderson at Savour Imagery, I show you just how simple they are to make. Watch it here.

How to make carscarones by Coryanne Ettiene

You’ll need tissue or gold foil for the seal, a bit of clear drying craft glue and traditional egg dying tools to adorn them.  The trick is use a spoon of tap off the top of the egg and drain the egg (perfect excuse of cheesy scrambled egg if you ask me) and rinse them well before drying for 24 hours.  I typically turn them upside down in a egg crate to ensure that they dry well on the inside.  Once dry, adorn them any way you like, and then allow them to dry again for 24 hours.  Then the fun part:  once dry fill them with glitter…. and if you are feeling flush a dollar bill for an added treat.  Then use a square of gold foil or tissue paper and clear drying craft glue to seal the top shut.


Not sure how to use them?  Replace your traditional Easter eggs with Cascarones — there is no better hunt than one that ends in a glitter festival! Or use them as place settings for a festive table top.  Really anything and everything because once you start cracking them, you simply can’t stop.


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Simple Candied Pansies for Easter Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:28:10 +0000 Simple is such an over used word, but really, when something takes no skill, hardly any time and has amazing results, I struggle to find a better fitting word.  Candied pansies, or any edible flower, is effortless.   They look complicated and artfully crafted, but simplicity is not only what makes them so stunning, it is also what makes them my favorite spring time treat.  5 minutes of work, 8 hours of drying, one stunning Easter table, and a lifetime of compliments…..   wouldn’t it be divine if everything  in life was that simple?

How to Candy Pansies by Coryanne Ettiene


In my latest video for AOL, I teamed up with Sam Henderson to create a simple “how to” video to show you how to jazz up your spring time cupcakes and turn ordinary goodies into show stopping Easter delights.  Don’t stop at cupcakes, give your spring brunch a floral make over and add them to cocktails, sparkling water, salads or my favorite, sprinkle them on a homemade vanilla ice cream. I am partial to Pansies, but you can candy Violas and Roses as well, the process is the same regardless of the flower.  Simply (have I overplayed that yet?) mix an egg white with a teaspoon of water, use a small brush to apply it to the petal, taking care to brush each petal, leaving no space untouched, and then sprinkle with fine white granulated sugar.  Allow them to dry on a wire rack in a well ventilated space, usually around 8 hours, before moving them to an air tight jar where they will happily live for up to 6 months.

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How to sew an apron Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:09:10 +0000 In the last 10 years I’ve had a sewing machine stored deep in the back of a closet collecting dust because I simply could not figure out the bobbin.  Call it stubbornness, but I opted to hand sew everything rather than read the instructions.  Even the thickest of fabrics or the largest of projects had me head down with numb fingers hand sewing…no project was too large for my needle and thread, so I ditched the sewing machine for good last year and thought I’d never look back.  Oh I’m a foolish, silly girl and all it took was a pretty apron I saw on Pinterest to put me in my place.  It was one of those fabulous canvas aprons that all the rock star chefs wear — industrial, sturdy, classic and all natural.  I was not willing to spend $200 on it, so I thought, “I could make that, sure, why not?”  So I pulled out an old painters drop cloth in my craft room, washed it a million times, and sat down with my needle and thread.

How to sew a drop cloth apron By Coryanne Ettiene

It took me all of 5 minutes to realize that my fingers were going to fall off before I finished it.  But I’m stubborn, and I was not going to buy an apron that I could easily make.   So I sewed a few more stitches, huffed, puffed and then went and bought a new sewing machine.  The way I see it, I did not spend $200 on apron…..I spent $200 making an apron.  So I’m a winner. Right?  Now all I have to do is make a dozen more to justify my new toy.  And I can easily do that because the apron took less than 20 minutes to make….  it was that simple.

How to sew a drop cloth apron By Coryanne Ettiene

All you need to do is wash and dry the painters drop cloth (or any canvas material that you fancy) a few times to soften it up and ensure that all the shrinkage is done.  Then cut a rectangle that measures from your waist to your knees, and around your waist; leaving a 1/2 inch for the hem. Then take an smaller rectangle to create the pocket (I wanted a larger pocket so I measured it from the front of my hips across and 11 inches tall), fold in the hem around 1/2 inch again, and sew it to the apron.  Take your canvas ties, sew them on to the top corners of the apron and tie it on.  Now….there are many serious seamstresses that are puling their hair out at these pitiful instructions.  In the ideal world, there are measurements, and your rectangle should really be a trapezoid… but I like the ‘rustic’ look; just look at me, hair frazzled, no make up on, rustic works for me, don’t you think?

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Brown Rice Farina Spiced Apple Cereal for #BRMBreakfast Thu, 12 Feb 2015 02:23:24 +0000 Breakfast in our house is as predictable as the rising sun.  Our mornings are quiet, almost robotic with only the sounds of the kettle bubbling and cold cereal cascading into bowls echoing across the room.  We are together, but lost in our own early morning thoughts. It reminds me of the calm before the storm, because the moment we all leave that comforting cocoon of the kitchen, frantic steps march up and down the stairs, homework papers shuffle into backpacks, and shouts of “love you” are carried onto the front porch until the sound of the door slamming shut signals the start of the day.  Occasionally the routine will break with the sound of cracking eggs, or excited conversations about a new adventure taking place that day, but for the most part, weekday mornings reside in stark contrast to our evening routine where sound, energy and motion fill the kitchen. It is this contrast that creates a hunger for weekend mornings, because on the weekend, our kitchen is equally bathed in morning sun and the sounds of kitchen conversations because we break free from the routine, set the table, create a morning feast and linger at the table until we are truly satisfied in mind, body and soul.

#BRMBreakfast Bobs Red Mill Breakfast by Coryanne Ettiene

I’ve teamed up with Bob’s Red Mill® to share my family recipe for Brown Rice Farina Spiced Apple Cereal.  You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a pudding because I’ve served it as a pudding as many times as I have served it as a breakfast cereal.  It’s rich, creamy, sweet, aromatic and heavenly; but forget all of that, it is also so very good for you, packed with high fiber, iron and protein, Farina is also Gluten Free. The creamy texture of the Farina makes it soft and absorbent, which means that anything you add to it will immediately change the flavor of the Farina.

You can keep it simple with a quick 8 minute dish by adding brown sugar, dried fruits and nuts for times when you need a quick breakfast, or you can linger in the kitchen and turn it into a morning feast by adding roasted fruits to it.  Like most hot cereals, the trick is to not over cook them, and keep them smooth by cooking them with either your favorite milk product or water.

Roasted Appple Breakfast by Coryanne Ettiene


Brown Rice Farina Spiced Apple Cereal Recipe

  • 1 Cup of  Bob’s Red Mill® Brown Rice Farina Cereal
  • 3 Cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of mincemeat  (get my recipe here)
  • 1 Galla Apple, thinly sliced and seeded
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Warm milk, optional


  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.  Add the sliced apple to a sheet of parchment paper, top with brown sugar and butter, and then fold over the paper before sealing the sides to create an ‘En papillote” cooking package.  (Don’t be discouraged by the French cooking term, that simply means to cook sealed in parchment.) and bake for 20 minutes, or until you have fork tender apple slices.
  2. Bring the water to boil in a medium sauce pan, add the salt and Farina, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the rice is cooking evenly.   The result should be a creamy rice texture.
  3. Once the rice is done, drain in that beautiful apple package — cooking juices and apples — let nothing go to waste, and the mincemeat.  Gently fold together before serving.

*Note:  My husband loves this with a splash of warm milk in his bowl, it makes is all the more creamy.  I prefer it without.


While my goto is the Farina, this recipe works well with all of their hot cereals:

  • 10 Grain Cereal: Combines 10 grains and seeds for a flavorful blend with a hearty texture that plays well with the sweetness of the apple.
  • Gluten Free 8 Grain Cereal: Combines 8 gluten free grains and seeds for a unique blend that is hard to replicate and when blended with the mincemeat, it is perfect for a power breakfast.
  • Organic Creamy Buckwheat (GF): A creamy cereal milled from nutty buckwheat. It’s a complete protein, so this cereal delivers a nutritional punch. It has an earthy flavor that is almost meant to be paired with mincemeat and apple.
  • Organic High Fiber Cereal: A high fiber blend of oats, flaxseed meal, wheat germ, oat bran and wheat bran. It delivers essential Omega-3s and 10 grams of fiber per serving. I often add more apple when I serve it this cereal as I like the sweetness it brings.
  • Cracked Wheat: This is a chewy cereal that is wonderful with nuts and dried fruit, I often add in the mincemeat and make cereal bars with it.

Disclosure:  Compensation for this post was provided by Bob’s Red Mill® .  The opinions and recipe expressed herein are my own.

An employee-owned company since 2009, Bob’s Red Mill® Natural Foods produces more than 400 products, including a full line of certified gluten free products and an extensive line of certified organic products. With a wide variety of whole grain products—from flours and hot cereals to baking mixes and grains—Bob’s Red Mill has “whole grain foods for every meal of the day.” Bob’s Red Mill is the nation’s leader in stone milling whole grains. With all the sophisticated knowledge of recent times, no machinery has yet been developed that grinds grains into flour as well as these slow-turning, flint-hard quartz millstones of the kind used by millers since ancient times.  Learn more about Bob’s Red Mill® and follow the breakfast conversation at #BRMBreakfast across social media:

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Quick Mincemeat Recipe Mon, 09 Feb 2015 16:40:19 +0000 Quick mincemeat recipe… as in, quick to make; but to really enjoy it, you have to wait a few days, even a week before it really dances on your tastebuds.  Traditionally mincemeat is associated with Christmas, but in our kitchen, mincemeat is like a winter houseguest that lingers until the first spring sunrise because we never tire of it when the weather is cold and spices are the only thing that can warm you from the inside out.  There are a million and one ways to make mincemeat; each with a unique blend of booze, dried fruit, sugar and spices…. truth be told, I’ve yet to try a mincemeat that was not utterly brilliant.  The trick is in finding what speaks to you and make it the central ingredient.  For my husband, mincemeat is dark, zesty, sweet and sour.  For me it aromatic and sweet.  Somewhere in-between we’ve found a comprise and keep a batch in the fridge to spread on toast, add to puddings and even hot breakfast cereals.

Quick and simple mincemeat recipe by Coryanne Ettiene

Unlike other recipes where ‘tasting as you go” really helps you understand the flavor profile of the dish, mincemeat is more like “hold your breath and hope for the best” because the beauty of it unfolds only after time has allowed it to come together.  Like a fine wine, or amazing cheese, age is the key to a stunning result.  I typically find mincemeat a bit sharp on the first day, and then it mellows as time unfolds. You can add variety to your mincemeat recipe by swapping zest for candied peels, changing the spice ratios, replacing the Brandy with Apple Cider, omitting the dark brown sugar or creating a whole new variety of dried fruits.  The options are endless….  the results are always amazing if you are a fan of mincemeat.


Quick and simple mincemeat recipe by Coryanne Ettiene | Perfect  on toast, on baked pears or in your oatmeal.


  • 2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of cold brew coffee
  • 1 Teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon zest, or Meyer Lemon if you like it sweet
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg, more if you love the flavor
  • Up to 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar (I’m always hesitant to add the full amount when using Dates, so I add half and taste it before adding more)
  • 1/2 Cup of golden raisins
  • 1/2 Cup of raisins
  • 1/2 Cup of Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 Cup of dried currants
  • 1 Cup of Brandy, or enough to soak the dried fruit
  • 1/2 Galla Apple, peeled, cored and diced


  1. Add the dried fruit to a large bowl and bathe in Brandy.  Allow it to steep for an hour before draining off the excess Brandy.
  2. Add the juice, coffee, zest, sugar and spices to a small bowl and stir until blended.
  3. Add the apple, dried fruit and liquid to a blender, and then blitz for around 30 seconds; just enough to mince the ingredients, avoid over blending as you will end up with a paste (which is just as fab, but…well, it is a paste).
  4. Transfer to a canning jar or air tight container and store it the fridge for up to 8 weeks.

Note:  Zest can make it bitter, so sugar is helpful in balancing the recipe; but if you are using candied peels or dates, be cautious with your sugar. Oh yes, that left over brandy….  I usually sip it so it does not go to waste.  You can also skip the blitzing stage and simply fold the ingredients together if you prefer a chunky mincemeat, we like to spread ours on toast, so a quick blitz gives us the right consistency.


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Must Have Cookbooks Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:10:45 +0000 I grew up in a house where cookbooks were read like novels and only the best were adorned with dog eared pages and pencil markings.  I’ve only noticed that I’ve taken this tradition to new levels when I reached for my most treasured cookbook and found pages stuck together with batter, text splattered with various cooking sauces and thumbprints stained with berries littered across those pages that have fed our family for years.  It is this tender loving care of cookbooks that often finds me in second hand book stores looking for the worst treated books in hopes of finding a gem amongst those neat and tidy pages that frequently line the thrift store shelves.  Like the food they share, it is the human element that makes them so special to me, which is why I find it almost impossible to source new cookbooks.  I open the pages and they are crisp, clean and with a strong spine that whispers an almost apologetic self doubt when it is cracked for the first time.  But I forage on, in hopes of finding the gem that will rest tattered  next to other much loved cookbooks in my kitchen.    For me, a cookbook must tell a story, not just in the ingredients, but in the history of the dish.  I long for the “why” in every recipe and in those books where it is void, I look at the recipes likes sheets of music….reading the connection, hoping to find one that inspires a new “why” within me.

Coryanne Ettiene's favorite Cookbooks

With so many cookbooks to choose from, I thought I would share a few that carried me through my journey of learning to cook and offered me inspiration once I got my balance in the kitchen.  All unique, all with something very individual to share, they are the crutch I lean on when I need a kitchen muse to get me out of my everyday menu or to give me that needed push to recreate a tired recipe.

I play favorites with anything from River Cottage.  Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is a brilliant story teller with a passion for food that first inspired me to understand not only where food comes from, but how to truly appreciate a food centric lifestyle.  I could have listed each of his books here, instead, I chose his Meat Book because if you eat meat, this book should be in your kitchen.  Check out all of his books and his passion for food on his site River Cottage.

Tucked neatly behind Regent Street in the civilized nook of Mayfair sits one of the greatest cafe destinations in London — you can’t help but sit down and order one of everything on the menu at Ottolenghi .  I bought their book when were were moving to the US as a reminder that comfort food comes from everywhere.  It was through this cookbook that I began to remember moments of my travel, most importantly the tastes of the countries that line my collection of tattered passports and really began to play with my ingredients with a certain confidence.

A collection of Coryanne Ettiene's favorite cookbooks

Unless you’ve only just found me, you will know that Nigella Lawson was the driving force behind my transformation from London Party Girl to Domesticity.  More than any other collection of books, her books are the most weathered.  It was in her book Feast, that I first noticed the sticky pages and near Jackson Pollock impact I’ve on those once neat pages, and it was her Domestic Goddess book the helped me gain my baking confidence.   She has yet to write a book that has not inspired me or made me a better cook.  But more important that that is her way of bringing you into the pages and blanketing you in her memories of each dish.

They say that you should not judge a book by the cover, but with Jane Cumberbatch, her books are so tactile that it is hard not too fall in love the second you have them in your hand.  Her book Recipes for Everyday is like a treasure of English tradition.  Reading it I feel like I am back in London suburbia eating butterfly cakes and swapping Cottage Pie recipes.  She is charming, approachable and frankly, the sort of person you’d love to have over for dinner, or tea on a sunny day.  When ever I long for home I reach for her books.

I suspect that I am a closet Hipster…  I adore Brooklyn and the fabulous eaters found within.  If there is one cookbook that captures this sentiment it is Edible Brooklyn.   It sits at the heart of the slow food movement, fashioned high in fresh ingredients and adorned with accessible recipes that make cooking for everyday obtainable.  Nearly as fabulous as the recipes are the images….  if you get excited about food photography, this book will rock your world.

Tyler Florence is not my typical kitchen guru but …  when I found his Real Kitchen Cookbook at a thrift store and looked inside, the new cook inside me  was hooked.  His recipes are dead simple, but flavorful; and he has a ton of quick little tips littered throughout that help you understand the cooking process.  While it is void of any real story telling, it is a great book for someone who needs the skills, not the flowery stores that can clutter the lesson.  It has become the book my children lean towards more and more, making it all the more special.

When my friend Tiffany from the Gracious Pantry wrote Clean Eating Freezer Meals and asked me to review it last year, I was immediately drawn in because in our house, we live out of the freezer.  I am always making more than I need to feed a small army and then freezing it for mid week meals…  her book gave new life to our eating from the freezer menu and gave me new ideas on adding a twist to some of our classic recipes.

Follow Coryanne Ettiene’s board CookBooks on Pinterest.

When I mentioned that cookbooks were like novels, Aphrodite by Isabel Allende is most certainly the cream of the crop.  I’ve read every novel she has ever written and fell helplessly in love with her ability to tell a story well.  You know the game, which 6 people would you have at your dinner party?  Well……  she would be in my 6 and this book most certainly makes her a contender for “can’t have the party without her”.  It is more of a story about food than a cookbook, but I never tire of reading it — a little on the racy side, but if you can handle my antics, you will enjoy her story telling; and most likely never eat a peach the same again.

I must admit, I’ve not cooked anything from this book, nor have I soiled any of the pages….yet.  But I have great plans to dive into with a hunger.  The Heirloom Cookbook by the Beekman 1802 is what I hope will become my America version of River Cottage. I love it not only because of the recipes, but because it allows me to dream of a time when I can spend hours making jam, planting carrots and raising farm animals.  Not that I really want any of that, but I love the idea of how charming that life appears when you don’t have to think about all the hard work that goes into it.

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#MedjoolDateDay Twitter Party Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:48:57 +0000 Time for another prize packed Twitter Party with Natural Delights Medjool Dates!  I’ve made it my mission this year to bring you better topics, bigger prizes and more fun to every Twitter Party in 2015, and the brands I am working with agree….   they all want to treat every Twitter Party like a celebration, and this next party is one big celebration of fitness and healthy eating in honor of National Medjool Date Day — you see, P-A-R-T-Y!

Growing up in Yuma Arizona, I spent my childhood eating Medjool Dates, so I’m often surprised when I meet someone who has never tried one…  sweet and earthy like nothing else, they are great for baking or, my personal favorite, wrapped in bacon.  As I child I didn’t really care how good they are for you, but as I get older, I appreciate all the fiber and potassium they provide…(wait, was that an overshare?) During the party we will be sharing date recipes, fitness tips, healthy living motivation and of course…  ideas to get you motivated for a healthy 2015.

#MedjoolDateDay Twitter Party


You’re Invited!

When:  Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Time:  8pm – 9pm EST

Where:  Twitter on #MedjoolDateDay

Who:  Follow @CoryanneEttiene and @NDMedjoolDates

Prizes: More than $1200 cash and fitness themed prize packs from Natural Delights Medjool Dates

RSVP:  No need to RSVP, everyone is welcome.

Rules & Regulations:  Prizes are open to US residents over the age of 18. Winners will be selected at random and announced during the Twitter Party by @CoryanneEttiene.  Must follow @NDMedjoolDates and @CoryanneEttiene to enter.  No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  For a full list of rules and regulations, contact Ettiene Media LLC.

Disclaimer:  I have partnered with Natural Delights Medjool Dates to promote Medjool Date Day,  and have been compensated for this partnership. All thoughts expressed are my own.

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Easy Egyptian Koshari Recipe Wed, 28 Jan 2015 02:09:42 +0000 I love street food, especially when it comes with the sights and sounds of the city moving around you.   If I sit and think about it long enough, almost every street dish that I call a favorite, includes rice in some fashion.  If  I were to connect the dots of all the street carts I’ve dined at around the world, rice would be the common thread that connected them all — you can take rice and make it something exotic and personal just by changing the ingredients, perhaps that is why even today when I long for comfort food, I also long for rice.

The first time I had Koshari, I was 23 years old in Cairo wandering the streets looking more like a wide eyed deer than an experienced globe trotter.  Everything about the city captivated me because it was in stark contrast to any other city in the Middle East I had been to. The noise was invasive, the color explosive and the smell of sweet perfume and browning onions mixed together to bring you an aroma unlike any other.  I remember holding a cup of Koshari in my hands and diving into this amazing melody of North African delights….  like the city, it grabbed hold of me and quickly became a dish I would never forget.

Quick and Simple Kosheri by Coryanne Ettiene

 When we lived in London I would stop at every Egyptian cafe I found to sample their Koshari until I learned that no 2 bowls are the same.  The beauty of Koshari is in the spice medley and rice.  It is an art where heat, aroma, sweet, savory and nuttiness combine; a balance so fine that the story of the Koshari is told in the cooking, not the recipe; so it makes sense that one of the first dishes I learned to make was Koshari, a dish that would change as my cooking confidence increased, and will most likely evolve as I continue to play with my ingredients.

Koshari can be a complicated dish made using very simple ingredients.  It’s not an ideal mid week meal because of the layers of flavor that go into the perfect cup, but with a few shortcuts, like using Veetee Basmati rice, you can trim off cooking time to make it more accessible on any given Wednesday night.   I first discovered Veetee Rice when we lived in London — and trust me when I say I was more than excited when I heard they were coming to the US.  They have an exclusive technology that allows you to cook the rice in just 2 minutes — in other words, you can add it to you soups, stews, skillet dinners, stir fry dishes or Koshari pots at the last minute saving your time and cooking steps in the process, while also delivering consistently great taste & texture.

Simple Egyptian Kosheri by Coryanne Ettiene


Koshari Recipe - traditionally served with a spicy tomato sauce, you can soften it up with a cucumber and yogurt salad if you’re looking for something with less bite.

  • 1 1/2 Cup of green lentils
  • 1 Tray of Veetee Basmati rice, or 1 Cup of Basmati rice
  • 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Vermicelli noodle, broken into small 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 Cup of Chicken Stock, with more on reserve should you need it
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg, or a 1/4 teaspoon if you like it stronger
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon of  ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  •  4 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 White onions, thinly sliced.
  • Pinch of white granulated sugar
  1. Wash the lentils under cool water then add them to a large sauce pan filled with water.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce, cover and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes; taking care  that you do not over cook them.  Once cooked, remove from the heat, strain and allow them to rest at room temperature.
  2. Lightly coat a frying pan with olive oil and warm the pan on medium heat before adding the onions and cooking slowly for 20 minutes.  Stirring occasionally to avoid over browning (aka, burning).  Just before they are golden brown, add in a pinch of sugar and stir for an extra note of sweetness.
  3. In a large stock pot, warm the butter and then toss in the raw noodles, and cook on medium heat until they start to crips and brown.
  4. Add the chicken stock, seasoning and spices to the large pot, stirring to fully coat the noodles and then allow them to simmer for 5-7 minutes before adding the tray of Veetee Rice.  Fold the ingredients together and allow continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
  5. At some point you will have 3 pots going at the same time. One for the onions, the other for the noodles and the third for the lentils.  Once they are all done cooking, add the lentils and onions to the large stock pot with the noodles and rice blend.  Fold together and then transfer to a serving dish.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and feast.

Disclosure:  Compensation for this post was provided by Veetee Rice USA.  The opinions expressed herein are mine and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Veettee Rice.   Veetee Rice comes  in 10 varieties: Wholegrain Brown, Long Grain, Basmati & Wild, Thai Jasmine, Pilau, Spicy Mexican Style, Golden Vegetable, Basmati, Chicken Flavor, Thai Lime & Herb all with a 12 month ambient shelf life.  Be sure to join the conversation at #VeeteeValentine and connect with them on Facebook and Pinterest.

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How to make simple syrups Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:46:06 +0000 Sometimes I like to get fancy, especially when the process of getting fancy takes so little effort.  Nothing is as fancy as an infused simple syrup, and trust me when I say, nothing can be more simple.  Hence the name, simple syrup.  I generally make a batch of a few flavors and store them in the fridge for up to a month so I can add them to any number of drinks.  There is no end to what you can concoct when you start dreaming of simple syrup flavors, my favorite is to take inspiration from what is in season; or more realistically, what’s in the kitchen when I get the inkling to get fancy.

How to make Simple Syrup by Coryanne Ettiene

When making a simple syrup remember to measure out equal parts water and white granulated sugar.   Simmer it down for 3-5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and it coats the spoon.  Then allow it to rest at room temperature until it is cool enough to store in a glass container.  You can dream up any flavor profile by playing with fruits, herbs and spices.  Like all great recipes, taste as you go.  If you find that the flavor is too strong, add in more sugar and water to dilute it, if it is not strong enough, add a bit more infusion until you have the right balance.  Or…if you don’t have the patience to fiddle with imperfection, embrace it and play with your drink ingredients to balance out the imperfections.  On any given day I have one of these bottles in the fridge and they never disappoint.

  • Lemon Simple Syrup is a great addition to a sparkling water or tonic, or go one further and add it to your Vodka Tonic for a little zing.  Sharp, crisp and zesty, I add in the zest of 1 lemon to a mixture of 2 cups water to 2 cups sugar.  For an added lemon burst, squeeze in the juice once the sugar is dissolved and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Citrus Simple Syrup is a fun blend of practically any citrus you have in your fridge.  I like to add the zest of 1 lime, a one inch peel of grapefruit and the juice of an orange  to a mixture of 2 cups water to 2 cups sugar.– it leans towards a sour blend but I love how it adds a bouquet of citrus to any berry inspired drink or takes your Gin and Tonic to a whole new level.
  • Vanilla Simple Syrup is irresistible. Warm, aromatic and earthy, it is beautiful in coffee or hot chocolate, even more delightful in a sparkling water topped with a splash of cream.  You can keep with the classic method of cutting a Vanilla Bean length wise in half and adding to a measure 3 cups of water with 3 cups of sugar, simmering for 5 minutes then straining to clean up your syrup; or you can add a teaspoon of extract to the same mix for a less bold flavor (and much easier process).
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Super Bowl Party #FarmRichHack Mon, 19 Jan 2015 03:38:22 +0000 I’ll never forget my very first Super Bowl party, I went a little over the top with game day favors and flavors.  In fact, I would go as far to say that I spent as much time on my Super Bowl party planning as I did on Christmas Dinner.  We had a crafting table for the children, a flag football game arranged, an outdoor snack stand to make the experience come alive and once the game started we had more dips, and slow cooked dishes than my table would allow for.  In the end, what really mattered was the seating, the drinks and that everyone had something to nibble on that did not require a cutlery set.  I was 30, I was determined to have the best party of the year, and by the time the ball took flight, I just wanted a nap.  I learned two things that year; the first is that no one I know really watches the game (thank goodness because we know nothing about football) and the second is that finger foods make life so much easier, especially when you are entertaining a big crown in a small space.

Lettuce wrapped chichen wings for Super Bowl snacking by Coryanne Ettiene


This year I am taking a lesson from my 3o year old self and embracing the simple, not the complicated, aspects of entertaining a big crowd on game day.  I’m calling in all sorts of favors from the children to help me get the food ready, which means that the dishes need to be easy to navigate to ensure that I can focus on getting the décor and drinks ready.  I’m not sure which I am more excited about, working with the children on party prep or actually being relaxed enough to sit down and enjoy the half time show.

Super Bowl Party by Coryanne Ettiene

I’ve been slightly obsessed with 1920s TV dramas lately, so it came as no surprise to my husband when I started compiling vintage elements for our buffet table.  I wanted natural tones, rustic charm and if I could have found them in time, battered football trophies.  I love mixing the neutral tones with the bright green astro turf, it reminds me of a stadium from days gone by where everyone wears a flat cap and peanut shells line the stairs.  There is a certain, relaxed notion that comes with a party where you are encouraged to eat with you fingers which is why this year our buffet table is full of fun, easy bite size foods set out on a table where you are practically invited to leave a little mess behind.

Nothing says tasty and quick like wings, and if there is one thing I have learned since being in Texas, it is not a party until someone sets out a plate of wings and crispy Dill pickles.  Which is why we are serving both this year.  The first is the traditional spicy buffalo wings, with a boneless BBQ version from Farm Rich wrapped in an lettuce leaf for a dressed up twist on this classic finger food.

Super Bowl Party Food  #FarmRichHacks

And of course, our new favorite, crispy Dill pickles.  I mean, what is not to love about these pucker up and embrace the sour savory delights of these little gems?  Dipped in ranch?  Yes Please!  And for those that want a little extra kick, we’re serving Jalapeño Peppers.  With all of our finger foods from Farm Rich this year, that meant that the children really could play a vital role in helping set up the Super Bowl party because food prep is simple and fast.

Vintage Super Bowl Table By Coryanne Ettiene

The table décor is really simple to create and nothing I used is hard to find  because most of it came from the hardware store. A few planks of fence posts fastened together to create a back drop with wooden baskets stained to match, a sheet of astro turf and a fun vintage sign to add a bit of rustic game day charm is all you need to capture this look.  You can go the extra mile by setting up a craft table for the children to create tissue paper pompoms (and if you do don’t be surprised if a few grown ups get involved in the process), everything you need to get started on those pompoms is here.

DIY PomPoms by Coryanne Ettiene

No game day is without a festive drink. To allow for everyone to enjoy the buffet, I made simple syrup mixers that can be added to either tonic water, or a cocktail.  With Vanilla, Orange or Lemon on hand, everyone has something different try.  These fun vintage looking bottles just added to the vintage football theme, especially with the gold spray painted football cut outs and handy little DIY chalkboard signs to let everyone know which bottle is which.  For more great #FarmRichHacks, visit Farm Rich and Kitchen Daily

Disclosure:  Compensation for this post was provided by Farm Rich via AOL Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Farm Rich or AOL.   


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Vodka Tomato Soup Shooters Sun, 11 Jan 2015 23:20:43 +0000 I like the idea of hot soup on a cold day; I love the idea of adding a little something something to that soup to make it warm the soul.  I love serving this on Valentine’s Day, the red bursts across the table, and who isn’t romanced with a little comfort food?  The beauty with cooking with Vodka is that it burns off to leave a distinctive taste that you can’t get without cooking with Vodka.  Yes, Vodka is “neutral” in taste, but when you cook with it, it unleashes a chemical reaction that makes your ingredients dance, shimmy and shake like nothing else can. Nowhere is that more apparent than with a tomato.  And when you serve a Vodka tomato soup at a party… well, it just elevates the party mood that little bit more, if only because people tend to feel a little fancy when they are ‘eating’ booze.  There are 2 ways to make this recipe, the first is to soak the tomatoes in Vodka for 30 minutes before cooking, the other is to just toss it in.  When life hands me an extra 3o minutes, I opt for the slower method, but when life hands me a last minute party, I just roll with it.  The taste is slightly different, but really, no one will be able to tell.

Soup shooters by Coryanne Ettiene


  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 3/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of Vodka
  • 28 ounces of canned whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of white granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • A dozen Cherry tomatoes, halved


  1.  In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil and the butter over medium low heat until the butter melts, and then add the onion and garlic.  Stir occasionally until the the onions and garlic are tender but not browned.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock, Vodka, tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.
  3. While the soup is cooking, add the fresh Cherry tomatoes to a roasting rock and cook them at 400F until they are tender and tacky, usually around 40 minutes.
  4. Once the soup is cooked, use an immersion blender to purée the soup to a smooth finish.  Rim your shot glasses with salt, and slowly ladle in the soup.  Top with a fresh basil leaf and an oven roasted Cherry tomato and serve.



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You’re invited to a #StonefireAtHome Twitter Party Fri, 09 Jan 2015 17:24:42 +0000 You know me, I love a good Twitter Party.  And next week I am working with Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads to bring you another prize packed Stonefire Party to celebrate your inner “home body”.  We’ll be talking restaurant swaps, homemade pizza, Super Bowl party tricks and getting your children more involved in family cooking.  As if the conversation is not enough to get you excited, the team at Stonefire will be giving away a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer so you can really tuck into cooking your way through those cold winter nights, along with a little cash to ensure you have all the ingredients you need.  I hope you will join us, and come armed with your favorite winter recipes and cooking tips.  Joining is simple, participating is fun and who knows, you might be one of the lucky guests walking away with a Stonefire prize.


#StonefireAtHome Twitter Party


You’re Invited!

When:  Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Time:  8pm – 9pm EST

Where:  Twitter on #StonefireAtHome

Who:  Follow @CoryanneEttiene and @StonefireNaan

Prizes:  1 $25 Visa Gift Card, 1 $50 Visa Gift Card, 1 Stonefire tasting pack and 1 Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer all courtesy of

RSVP:  No need to RSVP, everyone is welcome.

Rules & Regulations:  Prizes are open to US residents over the age of 18. Winners will be selected at random and announced during the Twitter Party by @CoryanneEttiene.  No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  For a full list of rules and regulations, contact Ettiene Media LLC.

Disclaimer:  I have partnered with Stonefire to build the #StonefireAtHome promotion,  and have been compensated for this partnership. All thoughts expressed are my own.



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Quick Superbowl PomPoms Mon, 05 Jan 2015 01:39:01 +0000 We celebrate the Super Bowl because life grinds to a halt on Super Bowl Sunday, not because we are football fans.  In an effort to mask our total lack of football knowlege we over compensate by having all the fan-fair possible.  Finger foods, drinks, snacks, football bingo and a whole slew of DIY goodies like megaphones and pompoms adorn our sitting room ready to pack a whole season of football into a single day.  There must be a name for us, I think “Poser” fits…. but who cares, we have fun posing on Super Bowl Sunday; any excuse for a party right?

DIY PomPoms by Coryanne Ettiene

I love pompoms.  They shimmy when you shake them and they offer a quiet fun that does not distract from the conversation.  That is until you let a 6 year old take control, and then everything pauses to feast on the one man parade taking place.  Out of all the pompoms I have made in my life, I prefer the quiet rattle of tissue paper to any other material.  That, and using tissue paper makes them so easy to put together than you can make them on the spot, creating a fun Super Bowl craft for anyone more interested in crafts than football.

SuperBowl PomPoms by Coryanne Ettiene

If you are looking for a last minute Super Bowl project or just want to shimmy around with pompoms, this one is for you.  You’ll need 10 minutes, a clean table, scissors, tissue paper (around 20 sheets per pompom)  and some sort of ribbon or twine.

Step 1.  Position 5 sheets of tissue paper on top of each other and cut 1 inch strips along the longest path of the paper for a longer pompom like we made, or along the shorter path for stubbier pompoms.    Repeat this until you have a pile of around 50 strips of tissue paper.  More if you want them fuller.

Step 2.  Place your tissue strips in a stacked pile and tie your ribbon/twine around the center of the pile securing it with a knot.  Then fold over the tissue so that it fans out and folds back onto itself to create a fountain of tissue strips.

Step 3.  Use a 6 inch piece of ribbon/twine to tie around the the bottom of the pom pom to create the base for the handle.  Secure it with a knot, and then loop the remaining ribbon in place big enough for a wrist.  The final loop will be how you hold your pompom.

Step 4:  Cut off the remaining ribbon to create a neat final pompom.  Shout, shimmy, cheer your heart out.



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Healthy Snacking Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:00:59 +0000 With so many New Year Resolutions going around, the one that I hear more frequently is to eat healthier…especially when all you need is a quick tide me over until dinner, or in my case at 1opm when I just need a little something something before I tuck myself in for the night.  I’m the worst at offering advice for healthy snacking because more often than not I find myself snacking on salami and saltine crackers; not quite the worst snack but if there is one thing I do in 2015, it will be to ensure that every snack I reach for has something fresh to offer, because one cannot snack on salami and saltines alone.

Healthy Snacking by Coryanne Ettiene

In my quest to liven snack time up, I embracing simple, traditional flavors from what I always have in the fridge.  Bright, sweet, juicy tomatoes wrapped in Prosciutto and basil gives me that taste of summer that is lacking in the winter months, and so easy to make that you can wrap up a dozen in one go and snack on them all day long.  I’m partial to the YELO tomato, but a Roma is just as fab in this case.  Just make sure it is sweet, juicy and perfectly ripe because half the fun is the juice flying around and giving the Prosciutto a tangy infusion.  And while I am never one to miss an opportunity to jazz up the simplest of dishes, if you are hosting a party, drizzle a bit of vodka over them…even if it is a party for one and you are the only guest.

For more great healthy snacking options for a healthier 2015, check out  my Healthy Snacks Board on Pinterest.  From granola, to fruit drops, to savory bites, there are over 50 pins full of healthy inspiration certain to help you get your healthy on in the new year.  I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to try the Basil Flatbread crackers from Martha Stewart.


Follow Coryanne Ettiene’s board Healthy Snacks on Pinterest.

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Champagne Whipped Cream for New Years Eve Mon, 29 Dec 2014 18:10:38 +0000 I’m a fan of the fizz. In my house every party is a New Year’s Eve party because I am never far from my favorite bottle of Prosecco.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Champagne, but my bank balance combined with my love of bubbly steers me towards Prosecco more times than not.  But on those special occasions when I ignore the numbers and go for pure pleasure, I go with a bottle of Champers in hand.  Tossing all sense out the window, I open a bottle and look for everything and anything to bathe in Champagne because when you celebrate New Years Eve properly, grandiose measures are required.

Champagne Whipped Cream by Coryanne Ettiene

Yes, you can soak berries in Champers, mix up the perfect Champagne punch, or even sip it right from the bottle at midnight, but you can also turn everyday whipped cream into a party that tickles your tastebuds.  Light, airy, crisp, creamy and sweet, I’ve been know to eat Champagne whipped cream with a spoon right from the bowl.  It’s pure pleasure, almost impossible to resist, and adds a certain charm to nearly everything it touches.  By nature it will be softer and less stiff than traditional whipped cream so dollops, not peaks, are the nature of this party beast.  Serve it chilled, with Champagne soaked berries for the ultimate last minute party treat.

Champagne Whipped Cream for New Years by Coryanne Ettiene

To make Champagne whipped cream, add 2 cups of heavy whipped cream and 1/2 cup of confection sugar to a stand mixer and beat on high for 2 minutes, or until the peaks form.    Scrape the sides, and give it one more quick spin before reducing the speed to medium and slowly add 1/2 cup of Champagne. If you add the Champers too quickly it will curd so take your time, have a sip from your glass and carefully watch the cream.  Once all the Champers is folded into the mixer, finish it by turning up the speed to high for 30 seconds to thicken the batch to near peaks.  Move the cream to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Wishing you all a fabulous New Year’s Eve spent with the ones you love.  Cheers to an amazing 2015!


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Christmas Sugar Cookies Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:00:25 +0000 Whoever said “no one likes a know it all” never met a Cookie Guru.  Everyone should have Cookie Guru in their email signature and leave a trail of sugar lips in their wake. Cookies blanket your home with the aroma of love, turn dull moments into cherished memories and make fast friends out of strangers.  Cookie Guru’s make the world a better place. But who has time to become a Cookie Guru with all the Fra, La, Laling going on at Christmas?  Shortcuts darlings, take plenty of shortcuts, like turning one dough into 9 different cookies, that is my solution and we have laid out all the recipes and how to in Box Nine Magazine.

Sugar cookies are heaven sent, you can do anything with them and make them as fancy pants as you like, or embrace their original rustic charm and let little fingers turn them into works of art.  Sandwich them, hand shape them, or cut them….  When making Box Nine Magazine we went gaga for cookies; because frankly, what is a Christmas season without eating your body weight in cookies?  

Box Nine Sugar Cookies photo by Sam Henderson

The beauty with a basic sugar cookie dough is that it will keep in your fridge for days and you can pretty much let your imagination go wild. Box Nine is full of ideas, my personal favorite, the candy cane sandwich.  It sticks to your lips like only the best of cookies should and it practically sings carols to you while you take each bite.  But if you are more of a modernist, try the cookie fries.  Yes, cookie fries.  A very happy accident that came about when we realized we did not cut enough shapes…  enter the potato ricer and presto…  cookie fries.  

Box Nine Magazine Cookie Fries By Sam Henderson

Get the full run down of how to become a Cookie Guru in Box Nine Magazine for free by clicking here.  And a huge shoutout to Sam Henderson for his amazing photography, not just in these images, but in the entire magazine.

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How to make Christmas salt dough ornaments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 16:00:49 +0000 Christmas is a sensory experience, and when you break it all down to sight, sound, touch, taste and aroma, there is not a single element of this festive season that cannot be traced back to the Christmas tree. As our family grows, so too does our Christmas tree tradition. What started with a simple “My Tree” and “The Family Tree” tradition, soon became a “Yours”, “Mine” and “Ours” tree collection.  (….and if you are reading this and thinking, this sounds familiar, thank you for reading Box Nine Magazine, we are so excited about it!)
Mine because it is only glanced upon from a distance and comes with a do not touch unspoken warning that quite possibly is  the most OCD display of my personality — I spend hours making sure that everything is evenly spaced, correctly hung and trimmed to the point of a coordinated headache.  Yours because the children have complete control over how to decorate their 4 foot tree that is bursting with color and personality (not to mention a tinsel garland that I hope one day will become discarded).    We got along quite happily with this tradition until one night, after few bottles of wine, the idea of an edible tree was born.
My husband Alex and I knew that at a certain point the magic of Santa would fade away and we wanted to be sure that when it did, there was plenty of magic to keep the festivities memorable and full of anticipation.  At every turn the conversation became animated with talk of our childhood Christmas memories, and at the core were the moments we shared at our kitchen table. For him it was board games and hanging chocolate coins on the tree, for me it was making salt dough.
Box Nine Magazine Salt Dough Ornaments for Christmas Decorations by Coryanne Ettiene Photo by Sam Henderson
As a child my mother would gather my brother and I around the kitchen table for a night spent making salt dough ornaments.  My mother whose artistic talents have never stopped amazing me, would create these brilliant hand crafted ornaments, while my brother and I fumbled with the cookie cutters that resulted in wonky stars and imperfect snowmen.   The table would fill with laughter, our fingertips would be dry and salty from the dough, and the anticipation of hanging them would fill the air.  I remember the  concept of  making  ormiments when you could buy better ones at the store being both exciting and curious at the same time, that beaming pride of seeing yours hung on the tree,  and of the care my mother took to make a weekend event of the whole process.  Somewhere between being a curious child and a feisty teenager, that memory was all but forgotten, but sitting there sharing this memory with my husband, made me giddy with anticipation to rekindle the tradition my mother started and share it with our our children.
How to make salt dough by Coryanne Ettiene
Knowing that the salt dough process can take a weekend to go from start to finish, we looked for other edible tree projects that we could double up on to make the entire weekend dedicated to trimming the tree that would bring us together as a family.  No longer a home with a “My Tree” and a “Your Tree”, rooted somewhere between tradition and accident “Our”  tree became a significant event in our Christmas celebration.   Focused around the kitchen table where  our modern life slows to a space in time where the clock stops ticking and memories are made in a room that triggers the 5 senses. Gingerbread wafts through the air, gumdrops linger on the tastebuds, salty fingers carefully crafting, eyes watching as the family comes together in tradition and laughter lingers between us.  We don’t care what the tree looks like, or who hangs what, we only care that we are there, in the moment, embracing our Christmas tradition.
  • 1/2 Cup of Table Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of warm water
  • 1 Cup of All purpose Flour


In a dry mixing bowl add the salt and the flour and mix until fully blended, then add the water and kneed until the surface is soft and smooth.  Roll into a large ball and portion out smaller balls to each person making ornaments.  Cover with a slightly damp cloth to keep the unused balls from drying out while you are busy creating.  Either opt for the simple option of rolling out the dough into thin slabs and cut with a cookie cutter to create your shapes, or get busy sculpting more elaborate decorations.

Once your ornaments are complete, place a toothpick at the top of each ornament to create the hole needed to string it later.  Bake at 200F for 4-6 hours to completely evaporate the moisture from the dough.  Once dry, use acrylic paint to decorate, then spray with clear varnish to seal the ornament and give it a bit of holiday shine.

Essential Tools:

  1. Parchment Paper, great for using as a worktop surface that can be transferred right on to a baking sheet;
  2. Rolling pin;
  3. Cookie Cutters, Play-dough equipment, potato ricer, butter knives, forks, and anything that you can think of to give your ornament a little razzle dazzle;
  4. Toothpicks or wooden skewers to pierce a whole;
  5. Various baking sheets;
  6. Acrylic Paints, Paint Brushes and cupcake wrappers to use as paint pots;
  7. Clear Varnish;
  8. Ribbon, wire, or string to hang your ornament.

See our Edible Christmas tree in the new issue of Box Nine Magazine, free on ISSUU by clicking here.

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Roasted Rose Petal Beets Mon, 08 Dec 2014 00:09:33 +0000 I know very few jokes, and the ones I do know, I over use.  Strangers think I’m funny, but that is only because I use up all my good jokes in the first meeting.  By the time we have our second ‘date’ they are, in all honesty,  old and tiresome.  The way I see it, if you are still laughing with me and not at me by the time you hear them again, then we will be life long friends.  Such is the case with “The beet goes on“. Classic right?  But if you follow me on Instagram you are either still laughing or wondering when I will get new material because every single time I post a photo of  beets, I let this one fly right past my lips and onto the screen.  It’s funny right?

But like my 5 old faithful jokes, I have the same old tiresome beet recipes that I make time after time…because they are damn good and why should I really go to all the trouble of changing a good thing?  But then I got fancy at Thanksgiving and thought I would take a walk on the wild side by dressing up my roasted beets.  They are more like a work in progress then finished masterpiece.  I want to play with them, give them a few new tricks before I share a recipe,  but I like where it is headed so rather than wait, I thought us fellow beet lovers could collaborate, explore and discover the next best thing together.

Rose Roasted Beets by Coryanne Ettiene

Slicing them was simple.  Coming up with idea of a garlic head centerpiece was easy.  Arranging them a breeze (so long as you have enough).  But the tricky part comes when you start to roast them.  I like my beets, soft in center, slightly firm on the outside and slathered in roast chicken drippings.  Clearly roasting them like this means that you miss out on all the drippings so I scattered a few bacon strips in there for good measure — pure genius frankly, but still the exposed edges crisped to quickly for  my taste, and the center is not quite perfect.  So I turned down he heat the next time, and cooked them for longer… nearly there but not quite.  My next attempt will be thicker slices.  But if you like your beets crispy, 400F for 40 minutes will tickle your fancy, especially if you are generous with the bacon slices and use thinly sliced beets.  I’m having a fabulous time perfecting this rose petal beet dish, especially since every failure leaves me with a hearty portion of roasted beets perfect for a winter salad.



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Holiday Donut Tree Tue, 02 Dec 2014 00:08:39 +0000 If you are looking for a last minute Christmas party that will fit in with the chaos of the season….  host a Christmas brunch.  Somewhere between endless evening invitations and the long lingering holiday lunches we all love stands the neglected hour of where rules are forgotten.  Sugar dusted donuts and savory bacon linger on the same plate while strong coffee and cocktails perch side by side, while the sound of children giggling and grown ups talking waft over the table.  This is the witching hour where anything is possible and entertaining is easy.  Everyone’s sweet tooth is satisfied, savory delights are dished up by the spoonful and time stands still between morning and afternoon.  The holidays are not complete without a family brunch, epically when there is a donut tree involved.
I really wanted a donut tree for no other reason than I did not want flowers.  With a neutral theme, a hoard of pinecones from the thrift store, and a long forgotten bag of crafting snow, the idea of a golden winter forest started taking shape with the sugar donut tree as the focal point.  Sometimes the best ideas come from a pile of junk, which is why I adore this table — it is a table of “misfit toys” brought together to create the perfect holiday brunch table.


Out of all the pages our new #Box9Mag free on ISSUU, this page captures everything I love about the holidays on one page…  sugar dusted lips, tiny pinecones, gilded chargers and enough seating for my very favorite people.  Watch me bring this table to life in my latest AOL video by clicking here or watch the full video by clicking on the video box below.  And once you’re done, pop over and get your free copy of Box Nine Magazine here.



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No Kid Hungry Fundraiser Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:53:35 +0000 In my twenties I had a wanderlust that took control of my better judgement and took me to the most unlikely of places across the globe.  No matter how impoverished the area, one thing I knew I would hear was the sound of children laughing.  I was too young to understand it at the time, but in places where shops were not an option, weekly markets were; in areas where urban sprawling took hold, so too did a sense of community.  Food poverty never really crossed my path until I landed back in the US 20 years later and noticed that I could not turn on the news without some reference to children struggling in food poverty.  Frankly, it did not make sense — the obesity thing I could grasp, but to know that children were starving in the US simply did not.  This year, nearly one in five children in America will face hunger.  That’s more than 16 million children who will count on a school meal as their only meal of the day.

Hearing the figure and then watching my children at the kitchen table fills me with mixed emotions — on one hand hand I am doing everything I can to keep the sanity in-between “Did I eat enough dinner for pudding?” and on the other hand, knowing that there is a child out there that would give anything to be at our kitchen table and a mother who is saying “I’m sorry there is not more food”.


I’m inspired by the passion and commitment of people all across the US who have hosted bakes sales, awareness events and virtual donation drives to aid in this cause.  Like them, I want to do more than just raise money, I want to raise awareness.  Which is why I have joined No Kid Hungry and am participating in Share Our Strength’s  Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry  Share our Strength is working to connect hungry children with programs that can help them get the food they need to thrive.  Every dollar raised will make a difference in the life of a child facing food poverty.

  • $1 can help provide a hungry child with 10 healthy meals.
  • $46 can help connect a child to meals all year long.

From now until November 30th, Domino Sugar and C & H Sugar will match all proceeds raised up to $75K.  That means if you donate funds to my virtual bake sale before November 30th, they will each match your donation; all you have to do is donate here.  If you are unable to donate money, awareness is equally as important. Please help spread the word by promoting our team funding page, sharing this blog post or even better still, continue to spread the message that 1 in 5 children in the US are faced with food poverty.  If I have inspired you to action, I would love you to join my team, and host you own bake sale in 2015.


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#AlexiaHolidays prize packed party week Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:56:27 +0000 If there is one thing I have not learned, it is how to get through the holiday season without a twinge of guilt for all the people I could have seen, the many places I could have gone and the show stopping dinner parties I could have hosted.  I race around like a checklist robot in hyperdrive doing everything I can to cram as much jingle bell merriness into the space of a few weeks only to find myself utterly exhausted by the time January rolls around; if you have ever seen Christmas Vacation, now is a good time admit that I often sympathize with Clark, especially when he announces with exasperated enthusiasm that Santa will arrive to find a jolly bunch ( I might have summed up this quote for obvious reasons).

So this year, I am finally listening to my husband and embracing a guilt free holiday season that includes just as many quiet nights at home as it does outings, parties and errands.  I’m trying with all my might to block out time to re-charge, and rather than feeling guilty about not hosting enough parties, or accepting every invitation this December, I’m remembering that January is an equally fabulous month to visit with friends.

This new approach to the holiday season  is why I am so excited to be partnering with Alexia Foods for a week of simple guilt free holiday inspiration in 2 prize packed parties with some of my favorite food and lifestyle friends.  Together we will be giving away over $600 in cash and prizes from Alexia Foods, and  hosting an #AlexiaHolidays Pinning and Twitter Party sharing a week full of inspiration for simple holiday party ideas, easy Christmas DIY projects and plenty of guilt free recipe ideas.

#AlexiaHolidays Pin & Twitter Party

Can’t wait for the parties and inspiration to begin?  Follow the Alexia Foods party board, and join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ using the tag #AlexiaHolidays to see what is inspiring us in the run up to the the holiday season.

Follow Alexia Foods’s board Holidays Made Simple & Guilt Free on Pinterest

When:  Monday December 1, 2014 8pm EST on Pinterest |  Wednesday December 3, 2014 8pm EST on Twitter

Where:  Use the #AlexiaHolidays tag to join the party on Twitter, and follow the Alexia Foods party board on Pinterest

Follow: @AlexiaFoods on Pinterest  |   @CoryanneEttiene @CelebrateAtHome @TonyaStaab and @DineAndDish on Twitter

Prizes: Over $600 in cash and prizes to be won courtesy of Alexia Foods.

Rules & Regulations:  No RSVP required, open to US residents over the age of 18. Winners will be selected at random.  Pinterest winners will be contacted via Pinterest Message by 930pm EST on December 1, 2015 by Coryanne Ettiene; Twitter winners will be announced during the party by Coryanne Ettiene.  No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  For a full list of rules and regulations, contact Ettiene Media LLC.

Disclaimer:  I have partnered with Alexia Foods to build the #AleixaHolidays promotion,  and have been compensated for this partnership. All thoughts expressed are my own.



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Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping Tips Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:00:08 +0000 I’ve yet to meet anyone who looks forward to navigating the grocery store and watching their bank balance bleed out in the run up to Thanksgiving.  Including me, and my idea of retail therapy is grocery shopping.  When it comes to shopping for your Thanksgiving meal remember that The early bird gets the worm.  Whether you’ve been shopping all month, or left everything to the last minute, getting to the stores before 10am is the best way to avoid the crowds and find the aisles restocked. Before you write your list,  watch my lasted featured video for AOL with tips on how to save money by buying the right ingredients for your pumpkin pie and how to avoid a leftovers hangover by buying the right amount of turkey.

Click here to watch the video or click play on the video embedded below.

While I am spilling the beans on spuds and drumsticks, I might as well be totally honest about the photo below.  No, I’m not grinning from ear to ear, nor do I have nearly enough lipstick on, but I love it because this is what it looks like when a tiny spark of the big wild dream you have twinkles.

Coryanne Ettiene on location with AOL

This is me, trying to look composed, professional and as cool as can be.  Actually, I was standing in the produce aisle for a while getting chilly…but seriously.  I’m standing there with a group of handsome men, a slew of camera equipment and 2 amazing women looking after me like I am royalty, while all the while curious shoppers stand back and watch the whole thing as if any moment they are going to place me.   And then suddenly they “did” and started telling the world that they saw…  you guessed it, Tina Fey.  Who knew that time could fly by so quickly, and yes, I had the time of my life despite the looks of disappointment when the onlookers learned that no, I was not Tina, but Coryanne.  Wishing you and your family a fabulous Thanksgiving.



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Cranberry Custard Pound Cake for #RieslingToFeast Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:41:51 +0000 Holidays can be a wonderful mix of laughter and mayhem.  And this year with only a few short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas I’m taking all the short cuts I can to ensure that there is plenty of time for laughter, and mayhem lingers on the sidelines; especially in the kitchen where all the merriment is born.  My freezer is bursting with short cuts this year, among them is my favorite treat of all…..pound cake.  And while I have teamed up with Sara Lee and Pacific Rim Wines for a Riesling To Feast to create a fabulous holiday treat, this is a good time to admit that despite loving pound cake dolled up,  I eat it frozen too. Sometimes right out of the box because I’m a sucker for ice cold pound cake, and a glass of wine, especially at midnight when I need a little something before I head off to bed.

Cranberry Riesling Poundcake by Coryanne Ettiene

Rieslings are incredibly versatile and pair well with a variety of holiday dishes, including dessert. The various styles of Pacific Rim Riesling from Washington State (Dry, Off-Dry, and Sweet) make the perfect pairing for holiday desserts and pair well with the spice of pumpkin pie, the tart of cranberry, the tang of peppermint and the heavenly sweetness of caramel.  My recipe for Riesling Cranberry Custard Pound Cake was inspired by one of the #RielsingToFeast recipes — I love their fun winter trifle idea but wanted to put my own spin on it so I added hot vanilla custard and fresh cranberry sauce to make a warm winter version.  And how could I not add the Dry Riesling to the cranberry sauce; it is the holidays after all.

Cranberry Custard layered pound cake by Coryanne Ettiene


  • 1 Sara Lee All Butter Pound Cake
  • 12 Ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 Cup of white granulated sugar*, plus 4 Tablespoons for the custard
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 Tablespoons of Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Dry Riesling
  • 2 Pinches of salt
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Cup of whole milk
  • 1/2 Cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract


  1. Slice the pound cake while it is frozen and allow it to thaw while you prepare the berries and custard.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar, wine, orange zest, orange juice and cranberries to a medium saucepan and bring to a medium, low temperature while you stir the contents together.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until the berries start to burst and seep.  Turn up the heat and add your water if you are using it, stir the pot and sprinkle with salt.  Then allow it to simmer for a further 10 minutes until all the berries have bust.  The result will be a thick berry compote, if you want a saucy finish, add more water or…wine to the blend a tablespoon at a time until you have the right finish.
  3. While the berries are cooking, start the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until well combined.  Pour the milk and cream into a warm,  heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and simmer on medium heat until the liquid is fully warmed through.   Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour the milk mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once fully combined, pour the mixture back into the saucepan, add the vanilla and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula for around 5 minutes, or  until it coats the back of the spatula.
  4. Place a slice of pound cake on a plate, top with hot custard, layer with another slice of pound cake and then top with the cranberry compote to complete the dish.  Or serve it family style like we do…  place the pound cake in a bowl, then top with custard and cranberry sauce.

*Note, this is a sweet dish, if you are looking for a tart finish, reduce the amount of sugar in your cranberry sauce.



Disclaimer:  I have partnered with Pacific Rim Rieslings from Washington State and Sara Lee to share my recipe for a #RieslingtoFeast and have been compensated for recipe development. All thoughts expressed are my own.



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Christmas Magic with #Box9Mag Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:51:12 +0000 Try as I might, I can hardly find the eloquent words needed to announce that my latest venture with Sam Henderson is live.  I mean, it’s a magazine.  Like a, you’ll need to sit down with a pot of coffee by the fire kinda magazine because it is packed with over 60 pages of recipes, party tips, DIY projects and interviews from amazing personalities in the lifestyle area ……kinda magazine.  You see, eloquence escapes me, I’ve been reduced to a 6 year old  in a candy store shouting in a high pitched voice with her arms widely flailing about because I’m that damn excited.  Need a visual, here is a behind the scenes look of just the antics I am talking about.  My six year old is more composed than I am…..

Get inspired with an edible tree this Christmas from #box9mag

For the last 3 months I’ve been watching my hair turn silver, my eyes get baggy and my nights filled with sugar plum fairies while my days are spent working in an office turned into a winder wonderland.   You can read the journey in the magazine, but this I want you to know before you click on the first page:  Now that Box Nine Magazine is live, I take back all the “I’m never going to do this again” drama because every single learning curve, writers block and sleepless night was worth it; I really did love every second of making this magazine, and now that I am on the other side looking back, I am so utterly proud of this collaboration with Sam Henderson.  He is a pure wizard in design and photography, and my family adores him; what more could I ask for in a partner?

#Box9Mag Sam the Photog

You see, I’m gushing and I really don’t care.  Right at this moment, I could give Gwyneth a run for her money in that infamous Oscar speech she gave. It goes without saying I am pretty excited to share my holiday tradition of an edible tree with you, we had such a great time shooting it, despite the 100F weather.  And my fabulous husband, bless his heart, read over the magazine a million times in the last week, and stood in the background taking photos of us taking photos so I could share some of the behind the curtain fun we had making this magazine. And while it really was an ‘all hands on deck’ production, Margeaux was there for every photo we needed, always with a smile and forever ready to help spread Christmas cheer when my inner Grinch started to appear.

#Box9Mag Margeaux the star

I’m bursting with anticipation, click it darling, tweet me, Facebook me, send me an email….  tell me what you think because there will be another one and that one will sizzle this summer.  And if you need a stiff drink while you read it…  here is a little hot off the press inspiration screen grabbed from our premier issue on ISSUU.

10 ways to spike hot cocoa from #Box9Mag

Read the magazine by clicking here or reading the embed below.  And then join us for our launch party on Twitter Wed 19 November 8pm EST using the tag #Box9Mag.  We’ll be giving away $100 if prizes and sharing tips from the magazine plus ideas on how to give back this holiday season.  No RSVP needed, just use #Box9Mag to join the party.



And by all means, have a cookie while you are at it.  I must have gained 10lbs recipe testing with Sam and won over every neighbor in the process.  Neighborhood approved, road tested Christmas cookies, just for you.

Christmas Cookies Recipes from #Box9Mag



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Cooking “En papillote” Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:48:11 +0000 En papillote. It rather rolls off the tongue.   The French method of cooking anything in parchment paper that offers the same effect as pan frying but with an added infusion that makes everything come together in an intoxicating aromatic finish. I love it because  in our kitchen it translates to less dishes, more flavor and watching our children gain cooking confidence.  It sounds fancy, especially when you add to it that it is a French cooking process, but it is by far the most accessible and simple cooking process I know of — so easy that Xander can whip up a batch of fingerlings while I gaze on like a proud mother. Cooking en papillote makes for quick mid week meals, fabulous side dishes for your Thanksgiving menu and the perfect dinner party dish.

Parchment Roasted Fingerlings for quick family meals by  Coryanne Ettiene

In my latest Idaho Potato series I asked Xander to join me in the kitchen to demonstrate how simple it is to embrace en papillote cooking….  If you can fold a sheet of paper you can master the art of en papillote.  He turned a bag of fingerlings into a side dish that made us all long for more, and had I not eaten most of them while filming, we would have had more (bad Cory, bad Cory).

The process is really as simple as washing and drying your fingerlings, then slicing them lengthwise, tossing them in olive oil, and placing them at the center of your parchment paper.  Garnish with garlic, herbs, and salt, then seal and bake.  I wish I was more complicated, but frankly, it really is that simple.  You can cook anything this way…. fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, anything that you can pan fry, poach or steam, you can en papillote.  At home we make a big parcel and dish them on to a serving tray, but you can jazz up your next dinner party by making them into single serving parcels and allowing your guests to open up the parcel on their plate — they will think you are a cooking genius and the presentation always makes for a great conversation starter.

Get the full recipe on how we made these fingerlings on, and click on this link to watch how Xander makes them here.






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How to host Thanksgiving dinner Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:41:14 +0000 Thanksgiving is coming and with that comes the massive shopping lists, the hurried menu planning and the stress of pulling of a memorable occasion for your friends and family.  And if this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving, be ready for all of that fabulous anxiety to triple.  I loathe being the one to say it, but hosting Thanksgiving, for all the amazing moments it will give you, is a mixed ball of good and evil.  Well beyond  just cooking up an fabulous meal, it is a the one meal that requires military  planning.

How to host Thanksgiving 2014 by Coryanne Ettiene

Thanksgiving in our family is a tradition that is passed on from grandmother to mother, and in our family, my mother always hosts a crowd of 30.  On the rare occasion when I am not home for the holidays, I venture into hosting a smaller feast, with a handful of adopted family members and straggling neighbors. We skip the traditional Thanksgiving meal and opt for a pot luck brunch.  We keep the menu focused on a turkey dish of some kind and season it with the traditional trimmings is one form or fashion, but focus more on sharing the day with those close to us in a relaxed, very casual fashion.

I dare to think what it is like to host for 30 people and still make it through the day with enough energy to pour myself a celebratory glass of bubbly.  Wether it be for 30 or 15, these tips will ensure you make it through the day when hosting a traditional Thanksgiving meal; and if time is not on your side, embrace our version of a Thanksgiving potluck brunch.

1. Map out a plan. 4 weeks before Thanksgiving, map out a calendar that includes grocery shopping, ordering your turkey, party rentals, invitations, menu planning and cooking; taking care to be realistic with your goals and open to the idea of enlisting family members to lend a hand where needed.  Don’t worry if you don’t have enough plates, know how to make stuffing like a rock star or have a fridge deep enough to store al the advanced meal prep — with a little planning and help from party rentals and guests, it will all come together.

2. Advanced meal prep.  Many dishes can be made in advance of Thanksgiving morning. When menu planning, build your menu around dishes  like mashed potatoes, fresh bread rolls, gravy, pie crusts, soups and basting stocks to ensure that you have less to cook on the big day.  All of these items can  be made up to 2 weeks in advance and frozen to help lighten your cooking schedule.

3.  Create your table theme.  Easier said than done for most people.  Keep it simple with white dishes, and accent with heirloom pieces.  If decorating a table is not your strong point, keep it simple by accenting a plain table cloth with corn husks, mini pumpkins and candles.  Of all the things to stress about over the Thanksgiving meal, don’t let dressing the table be one of them.

How to host Thanksgiving 2014 by Coryanne Ettiene

4. Consider your seating arrangements. Assigned seating is the best defense against conflict at the table – it not only allows you to arrange your guests by temperament, it ensures that you are seated next to those that will bring you the most enjoyment of your holiday gathering. When mapping out your seating plan, place elderly guests in the middle so they can hear the conversations, pregnant guest at the end so they have plenty of room and can nip away if they need to, and always place yourself nearest the kitchen so you can leave the table without disrupting the conversation. If you don’t have enough chairs or tables, hire them, or ask your guests to bring them.  Stressing about matching chairs, or cramped dinner space is easily solved if you allow yourself to ask for help.

5. Keep your guests busy: Plan pre-dinner  activities that a variety of generations will enjoy.   Board games, walks, football and family slide shows are all popular alternatives to simply sitting in front of the TV and make memories happen with ease.

6. Allow for generational gaps: If space allows, and when several children are on the guest list, hire a bouncy castle or some sort of play equipment to keep the younger generation entertained for hours. Older guests will appreciate a quite place to relax, simply setting up a sitting room for them to escape for a few minutes peace will be greatly appreciated.

7. Family Feuds: No one brings drama to a party quite like family. The best defense against family tension and flaming tempers is to be prepared, play offense, and enlist the help of those around you. And if all else fails, remind everyone why you are together, and how much a harmonious day means to you – a little sugar coating can go a long way in these incidents. And if it happens, don’t let it spoil you day, trust me… every family has a Thanksgiving moment they would rather forget.

8. Stay calm. Be prepared for late guests and cooking dramas. A calm host that deals with Thanksgiving disasters with confidence and humor will give her guests a holiday they can both laugh about and enjoy without letting a few disastrous moments get in the way. If it makes you feel any better, last year I burnt the carrots and forgot to make mashed potatoes….needless to say, I was so very grateful we had plenty of other sides to keep our guests fed.



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Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:48:33 +0000 Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Spiced….  everywhere I look this Thanksgiving, pumpkin everything is within arms reach.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore pumpkin pie, and I love pumpkin bread, but I’m not sure I want everything I taste this November to taste like pumpkin pie; after all, isn’t sitting down to your first slice of pumpkin pie one of the secret joys of Thanksgiving dinner?  I remember waiting with anticipation for the pies to be presented after our Thanksgiving meal.  My taste buds would tingle, my eyes would light up and I would be holding my pie fork so firmly in my hand, heaven help anyone who tried to take it.  Some might say that turkey is at the heart of Thanksgiving — let them have it.  I’ll take the pie, because you simply can’t have Thanksgiving without a huge slab of pumpkin pie with heavy, dense whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake by Coryanne Ettiene

But….despite ranting on about pumpkin spiced everything, I could not resist grabbing hold of the bandwagon and giving it a test drive.  We’ve got pecans falling from the sky, blanketing every corner of our house and I’ve been staring at this tin of pumpkin for a year and simply can’t look at it any more.  That, and our neighbors so kindly brought over pumpkins for the children, and I thought that the best way to say thank you for the pumpkins would be with a pumpkin spiced pecan cake.

I spent a few hours on this cake, for no other reason than I really wanted to.  I could have cut corners by pre-glazing my pecans, or making a standard frosting, but I was in heaven and nothing else was more important to me than making a cake that showed how much we appreciated the pumpkins.

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake with salted caramel buttercream frosting  for Thanksgiving 2014 by Coryanne Ettiene


Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Salted Caramel Buttercream Cake  

I candied my pecans with maple syrup and brown sugar, but to be honest there is so much flavor in the cake, I’m not sure it needed that extra touch, simply roasting them in butter would have been enough.  Or if you are in a hurry, go for raw pecans, just don’t skip them out all together because they offer a fabulous crunch when you layer them inside the cake.  I started by making my frosting and pecans, and then moved on to the cake.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup of white granulated bakers sugar
  • 3 medium room temperature eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup of tinned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

Directions:  Pre-heat your oven to 350F and lightly butter and flour dust your round baking pans, then line the bottom with parchment paper.  Add your dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together until fully blended.  In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, start on a low speed then move to medium to get that creamy finish.  And then add your eggs one at a time on a low speed before adding the pumpkin.  Turn up the speed to medium to fully blend the batter. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl before adding the a 1/2 cup of the dry mixture and turing the speed to medium, alternate between adding the buttermilk and dry mixture until both are included in the batter.  Stopping half way through to scrape the sides of them mixing bowl.  The result will be a thick orange aromatic batter.  Pour into you baking tins and cook for 35-45 minutes or bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, let rest for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack before frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, more if you like it extra salty
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar, less if you don’t want it so sweet
  • 12 tablespoons of butter

Directions:  In a warm sauce pan, add the water and then stir in the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil over medium heat.  Allow it to cook, resisting the temptation to stir until it you have a dark amber color.  Remove it from the heat and slowly pour in the cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until you have thick, smooth caramel.  Set it aside and allow it to cool at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  Combine the butter and salt in a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using the paddle attachment until the butter is creamy.  Reduce the speed to low and add the powered sugar and mix until fully blended together before adding the caramel.  Beat for another minute, before scraping the sides and then beating for another minute to ensure that the buttercream is fully blended.  Remove from the stand, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm before using.


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Zombie “No Carve” Pumpkins Mon, 27 Oct 2014 00:16:12 +0000 Halloween is around the corner, and with the week have lined up, we will have little time to carve our pumpkins.  Rather than stressing about when we are going carve out time (Pun?  What pun?) we are going the no-carve pumpkin route and embracing easy street. I originally thought we might go for glammed up black pumpkins, but we are now taking a wild turn and embracing smashed pumpkins, or zombie pumpkins as we call them… beware scardey cats, this is more trick than treat.

Halloween No carve zombie pumpkins by Coryanne Ettiene

I got the idea while decorating the school halls for our annual Halloween festival.  I created both a “Day time happy as jack-o-lanten” photo both and a “Zombie Patch” photo booth.  Originally the zombie cart was going to have a variety of carved pumpkins and a zombie pushing the cart, but the space was too small so I turned the pumpkins into zombies with very little skill and even less time.  It turns out the zombie pumpkins were a huge hit and when I saw our children go bonkers for them, I wasted no time suggesting we do the same at our house….(hook, line and sinker).

Halloween No carve zombie pumpkins by Coryanne Ettiene

Zombie pumpkins could not be more simple.  Put the pumpkin in a large rubbish back, tie the top and smash it on the floor until it starts to crack.  Untie, and split the pumpkin in half to create the “open mouth” look.  Set the pumpkin on the sack and lightly dust with spray paint until you have the look you want.  I sprayed the inside to make sure it had a rotted look.  Once dry, insert the pumpkin fangs and drop in an electric candle light once the sun goes down.  Add a little drama with a few skeletal remains, orange lights and if you have it, plenty of spider webs and hay.


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How to shop at a farmers market Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:48:17 +0000 I’ve always been a fan of farmers markets. There is a certain intoxication associated with stalls of fresh seasonal produce and handmade products.  With over 10k farmers markets dotted across the US, America is quickly building a relationship with local, season food.  I’ve shopped at markets in all over the globe, and have always been captivated by their sense of community. I’m lucky enough to live near the fabulous Chestnut Square in McKinney Texas and have quickly developed a relationship with local farmers and artisans making my weekends all the more rich because of it.

How to shop at a farmers market by Coryanne Ettiene

Photo credit: Sam Henderson 2014

In my latest video for AOL On I take you on a tour of my local market and share with you a few of the tips I’ve picked up from my years of farmers market shopping.  Because no two markets are alike, and no two market days are the same, when you arrive at your market, take a quick loop around to see what is on offer, and get there early for the pick of the crop, or arrive late to get the best deals.  And whether you are pro or a first time market shopper, you’ll get the most out of your market experience if you befriend your grower – there is noting more rewarding that knowing the person behind the stall.  Watch the video via this link or click play on the screen below.

Shopping in the transition season between summer and Fall can be tricky — but also rewarding.  You have all the ripeness of that late summer harvest and all the excitement of the new Fall produce.  Right now your local market will be packed with a variety of fresh autumn squashes, pears, apples, radishes, and potatoes.  And positively brimming with canned and perceived items that burst with the flavors of summer.


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Family Cooking: A new Idaho Potato Video Series Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:20:47 +0000 It is no secret that I started cooking when the tiny people scurrying around my kitchen starting eating.  I was plunged into a world of grocery stores, ovens and perishable food kicking and screaming the entire time, until slowly those kitchen disasters became fewer and fewer.  Potatoes have been part of my kitchen story since the moment I first put on a pot of water and held a masher in my hands — like old friends, I find comfort in potatoes because they are forgiving, easy to work with and make the family cooking experience all the more enjoyable.  That and, I’m rarely overheard saying “eat your potatoes” which means that the family meals made with potatoes are just as fabulous as the cooking experience.

Over the last few months, I’ve been enlisting the children in my culinary adventures, encouraging them to celebrate a variety of cooking methods. By the sounds of it, some of these methods can seem advanced, but when you take away the fancy names and simply just follow the steps, they are so simple that I’ve been able to stand back and watch them grow in the kitchen.  I must admit, I do hover a bit when the oven is involved, and offer a bit too much direction when it comes to knives… but they love me all the same.

Simple, healthy recipes that get children cooking  | A new video series from Coryanne Ettiene

In my latest video series for the Idaho Potato Commission Margeaux and Xander each took center stage in cooking — sharing their favorite cooking methods and showing first hand how simple it is to include these methods in your family cooking experience.  I wanted the new series to be a more honest approach to our kitchen life, not too staged or scripted, just honest.  You’ll see me concentrate with a serious brow while I’m flipping the potato pancakes, the caption should read “oh rats, I left them too long, hope they are not burnt”; our middle son  Sawyer quietly waiting for dinner as he always does;  little Xander starting to wander off while cooking because he is 6 and, well that is what you do when you are 6;  and for the first time ever….  my husband cooks with me.  As usual, Margeaux graciously steals the show — her understanding of where to look, how to cook and how to do it all at the same time amazes me; watch out world, she is awesome.  This is how we live, this is how we eat, this is who we are.

Simple, healthy recipes that get children cooking by Coryanne Etteine

Watch all the videos on the Idaho Potato Commission Youtube channel links below, and get the full recipes from the Idaho Potato Commission website.

  • Idaho Potato Pancakes 3 Ways    :  Perfect for brunch or a mid week left over option, we love these simple cakes.  Great for anyone over the age of 8 that can handle a hot pan, and perfect for those busy mid week dinners.  Get the recipe here.
  • Parchment Roasted Fingerlings :  Simple does not even begin to describe this, once you try it, it will be a weekly favorite.  Great for anyone over the age of 3, this is the perfect intro to cooking dish that everyone loves to eat. Get the recipe here.
  • Toad in the Hole :  Millions of Englishmen can’t be wrong, this is our kinda family dinner.  There is something for everyone in this meal, carve out an afternoon and make a day of kitchen living family style. Get the recipe here.
  • Yukon Gold, Ham, & Gruyère Gallet  :  Rustic charm that backs a fabulous flavor; put your own spin on it.  Great for anyone over the age of 5 with supervision, or anyone over 10 if you fancy standing backhand watching it all unfold.  Get the recipe here.



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Mini Duchess Potatoes Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:00:14 +0000 As you know, I never miss an opportunity to eat with my fingers.  Emily Post could write a whole passage about my mischievous adventures devouring everything with my hands.  Food tastes better when you can touch it, there is something intimate about finger foods that soften the shoulders, allow you to let you hair down and embrace the flavors of the food you are eating.  Mind you, I know when to use a fork, I just prefer food that does not require it, which is why I absolutely love these mini Duchess potato bites and will be serving them every chance I get this holiday season.

Quick Holiday Party Food:  Mini Duchess Potatoes by Coryanne Ettiene

It is almost ridiculous to mention a recipe they are that easy.  And if you have plenty of mash left over, the task is even more simple.  I used mashed potatoes for this, but they are equally as fabulous with sweet potatoes.  If you know you have a big party planned, pipe out the potatoes and freeze them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper for up to 48 hours before the party.  Allow them to thaw before baking to ensure that they bake evenly.

Holiday Party Food:  Mini Duchess Potatoes by Coryanne Ettiene


  • 5 pounds of Yellow Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup half and half, plus a splash for the egg wash
  • 1 cup of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, more for garnish


  1. In a large pot, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
  2. Drain in a colander, let sit 5 minutes, and then return to the pot.
  3. Add your butter, 3 egg yolks and cream, and then mash until smooth enough to add to a potato ricer, and then rice until extra smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fill a piping bag with the potatoes and create 16 equal tiny mounds on the sheet, and then use your index finger to create a dent.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until firm.
  6. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  7. Whisk together remaining egg yolk and a splash of half and half, then brush the wash onto the potatoes and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.
  8. While the potatoes cook, add your cream cheese and thyme to a bowl and fold together until fully blended, then store in the fridge to set.
  9. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool to the touch before topping with a dollup of the cheese blend.  Serve immediately.


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Caramel and Almond Cookie Recipe + #TollHouseTime Twitter Party Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:41:38 +0000 It’s #TollHouseTime, everybody dance.  With the holidays coming and every aisle in the grocery store reminding you that you need to turn your kitchen into a semi professional baking kitchen, I’ve partnered with Nestle Toll House to bring you a prize packed Twitter party full of  all the recipes, tips and ideas you need to get started on holiday baking.  As you know, I confessed my total lack of baking skills 2 years ago, and if it was not for Toll House, my children would never have seen a fresh cookie come out of the oven; and while I still keep a stash of Toll House dough on hand for last minute treats, I’ve discovered my inner baker and now have a pantry full of morsels for those moments when we want to enjoy those special family moments around a mixing bowl.

This summer I was in bakers heaven, and star stuck by the company I kept while visiting Toll House.  Truth be told, I kept looking around and thinking (sometimes out loud)  “how did I get on this superstar list’?  I spent 2 days baking up a storm with celebrity bakers, trying my hardest not to physically attach myself to them while we sampled the latest product line from Toll House. Oh this line…. wait till you try it, it has something for everyone.

#TollHouseTime with Coryanne Ettiene

The product that will quite frankly rock your “I want a cookie but don’t have the time” world, is here.  Taking their ready made fridge dough one step further, they have launched a frozen ready dough.  Fabulous cookie dough discs frozen and ready to place on a baking sheet.  You can literally go from craving to eating in minutes.  Midnight snacking never tasted so good.

Packing a flavor bonanza and simply delightful, are the new DelightFulls:  Chocolate morsels filled with mint, cherry flavor, peanut butter or caramel.  There is no stopping what you can do with them.  I raced home with a bag and quickly made a batch of vanilla mint ice cream that was eaten nearly the second it set in the freezer.  For a more traditional approach, I surprised my neighbors with a bundle of caramel and almond cookies made using the Caramel DelightFulls. At first I thought these might be a tad grown up for my children, but as it turns out, I had to keep an eye on them while I wrapped them up in twine to make sure I had enough to for the gifts I had planned.

Who doesn't love a fresh from the oven cookie?   Try these Caramel and Almond Cookies by Coryanne Ettiene

For the recipe, and I know I should not mess with greatness, I slightly altered the Toll House classic cookie recipe and gave it my own spin.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose non bleached flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup  butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2   eggs
  • 2 cups of Nestle Toll House Caramel Delightfulls
  • 1 cup of chopped almonds


Preheat your oven to 375F.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl, and set aside.  Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a stand  mixer on medium speed until creamy. Then reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time until the batter is smooth and wet.  Gradually beat in flour mixture until thick before adding the Caramel DelightFulls and almonds. Beat until fully blended and then using a cookie scooper, scoop the cookies onto a baking sheet, allowing enough space between dollops for the cookie to grow.   And then lick the bowl, yes, this will keep you from looking at the oven every minute.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until golden brown, and then remove them for the oven and allow them  to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

#TollHouseTime Twitter Party

You’re invited to join me in celebrating the launch of these new products in a prize packed Twitter party! And if you simply can’t wait for the party and have to share your #TollHouseTime moments, there is a surprise in store…  tag a Tweet Pic of your baking creation with #TollHouseTime #Entry for a chance to win more prizes.  See you at the Twitter Party!

When:  Wednesday October 22nd, 2014  8pm-9pm EST

Where:  Follow the  #TollHouseTime hashtag on Twitter to join the party, and tag your tweets with #TollHouseTime to join the conversation.

Follow:  @CoryanneEttiene and @NestleTollHouse on  Twitter

Prizes: Over $200 in cash and prizes to be won courtesy of Nestle Toll House.

Rules & Regulations:  No RSVP required, open to US residents over the age of 18. Winners will be selected at random and announced during the party by @CoryanneEttiene.   No purchase necessary.

Disclosure:   I have partnered with Nestle Toll House to celebrate the launch of their new holiday line and am being compensated to host the #TollHouseTime Twitter Party.  All thoughts expressed are my own.  

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Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:13:58 +0000 Slow cooked anything makes me weak in the knees…. and not just because you spend the whole day smelling the delights to come, but because it is a meal that cooks itself allowing you more time to unwind after a day spent juggling any number of daily events.  Slow cooking is pure comfort, it tugs at the soul, and  beckons you to curl up with a bowl to savor every moment.   In my dream kitchen I have a pantry dedicated to dutch ovens, slow cookers, a hoard of tinned beans, and bags of pulses…. until the kitchen fairy graces me with such good fortune, I have a pantry busting at the seams the moment October rolls around.

Indian Stew by Coryanne Ettiene

This week I am sharing one of my favorite recipes on the Delish Dish Blog for Better Homes and Gardens.   I first discovered their recipe for Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew last year and immediately gave it a personal touch from the lessons I learned from a London neighbor who cooks the most amazing curries.  I’ve been making a variation of this recipe for years, always trying something new with heat or vegetable varieties depending on who I‘m making it for.  The beauty with this recipe is that you can build upon it, give it layers of heat and change it with the seasons to keep it fresh all year round.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew by Coryanne Ettiene

Pop over and see how I put my own spin on their recipe for Slow Cooker Indian Chicken stew by adding my homemade curry powder and a few fresh ingredients picked up at my farmer’s market.  Simple to make, tangy with a slight kick to warm you from the inside out, tt really is the perfect Fall dinner.  Get the recipe here.


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Top 5 Fall Food Trends Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:00:53 +0000 Red is the new Green; Stalks are the new Kale….  I am loving the new Fall food trends, not just because a few of my favorite items have made the list, but also, between us, I loathe Kale.  There, I said it.  I don’t like Kale and have never once made a Kale Chip or a Kale Salad.  Do you still love me?  But I do love broccoli and am twirling in my apron at the the news that broccoli stalks are trending.  Yes, there are a few things on the list that I am trying to wrap my taste buds around, but I’m willing to give them a go and see if I can embrace all 5 trends with gusto.

5 Fall Food Trends by Coryanne Ettiene


Dulse.  You might have seen Dulse making an appearance on your summer salads; it’s a red seaweed that grows on rocks and is a perfect for adding to a salty finish dish, Fall soup, and roasted salad dish. The beauty with Dulse is that you can eat it fresh or dried. It comes in a ready pack dried and when you add it to any liquid it offers the most amazing salty finish.  On the plus side, it is vibrant and makes the color of your dish pop, just look at the deep red in the photo above.

Rooibos Tea. Earthy, mellow and mild, it makes a great compliment to stews, or you can go wild and mix up a fabulous fall cocktail with it like I did with my Sparkling Rooibos Tea Cocktail.  As a teenager, I would drink it hot, milky and sweet in South Africa.  And as a decaffeinated blend, it is light enough to tuck you in to bed on a cold night.

Teff.  Most people are just getting used to using Quinoa, but Teff is quickly making news in food blogs everywhere.  I first tried Teff when I was North Africa years ago and loved the sweetness if offers; its hearty, almost earthy and like Quinoa, it is a great substitution for rice.  Teff is harvested in Ethiopia and is Gluten Free, rich in fiber and packed full of iron. If you’ve used Teff flour, you will love the grain.  Fun fact:  Did you know that Teff is the worlds smallest grain (use that at your next trivia night, the crowd will love you).

Food Trends 2015 by Coryanne Ettiene

Broccoli Stalks.  It seems that every farm to table restraint across the US is filling up their menu with some variation of this wonder vegetable.  I first tried stalks while living in China: braised in ginger on a bed of steaming hot sticky rice and my world vision changed forever.  There is no end to what you can do with stalks: pan fry them in butter toss in a few strips of bacon and feast on the glory; bake them with your next mac and cheese casserole; add them to soups; toss them in a batter and fry them; or be a purist and steam them as a tender side dish.

Ramen Noodles.  Step away from the instant noodles, traditional Raman is nothing like the 40 cent college version, and has emerged as the super star of the new food trend.  Unlike the instant kind, they are silky, heavy and add a great full-bodied flavor to any dish that calls for a pasta of some kind. I love adding them to soups because they absorb all the flavor of the broth, especially if you cook them directly in the broth.  What’s more, they are really inexpensive and take 4 minutes to cook.




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I’m an open book Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:13:08 +0000 I’m a blogger.  An influencer.  An expert.  A wordsmith.  A content slayer.  A community builder.  Call it what you may, but I spend my time taking photos of pretty things, and linking those images to something seasonal, emotive and inspiring, all with desire to incite others with an overwhelming need to share it, make it and go to sleep with my words dancing around their head like sugar plum fairies.  My business is content, expertise and influence.  So people pay me; sometimes well, others not so much, but I like them, so I keep them around for kicks. Unlike other professional bloggers, I write content for people rather than focus on a structured content calendar on my blog.  Loyal readers will know that there are weeks where I fall off the radar, and weeks where I fill their inbox with such malarky that they wish I would stop and smell the roses. Some of my posts are sponsored by the brands I work with, others are labors of love that I create simply just to share.  I’ve gone through a roller coast of branding transformations, not because I don’t know who I am, but because as I grow my business, I feel more confident in “singing loud for all to hear“.  I love social media, but I love video even more; that is when the real me, the part that takes sight and sound to really experience, comes to life.   My dream, in case it is not clear, is to have a lifestyle empire…  TV shows, product lines, magazines, the whole kit and caboodle.

I’m quirky, sassy, slightly off color at times, and  with  a talent for dramatics.  I’m like my 6 year old son Xander, give me an inch, and I’ll take a mile…. entertaining people, it would seem, is my second nature.

Coryanne Yummy Mummy Mug


I eat with my hands.  I drop clothes on the floor leaving a trail of debris behind me when I walk through the house.  I’m a night owl; heaven help anyone who tries to wake me before 8am.  I love my skinny jeans even though my stomach suggests I should be looking for another fashion statement.  I sing in the car like I’m at a concert with thousands of adoring fans, and I have this undying need to talk; silence kills me and has gotten me into so much trouble.  In fact, the last spell of silence I faced, I filled the conversation with the offer to host a block party; and the time before that invited a near stranger to our home for a dinner party.

At home with Coryanne Ettiene

My children call me Mummy….and I love it.  My husband calls me Cory and it makes me swoon.   And I wish like Hell the neighborhood children would call me Mrs. E…only because it sounds cool, and I’d like to think that I am cool.  I’m insecure.  I’m emotional.  I’m restless.  I can’t spell and really should not be responsible for the editing that takes place on this blog (you know exactly what I’m talking about).  I’m impatient.

But there is more.

I’m nice.  I laugh at my own jokes and love it when I make other people smile.  I’ll flirt with anyone; I love the way it makes people blush.  My grandfather is everything to me, and his globe is one of my most cherished possessions. I have a dear friend in India that I think of everyday and never have time to call, and I miss her.  I have a whole slew of dear friends in London that I long to share a bottle of wine with again, and one day  I will.

At home with Coryanne Ettiene

I don’t like it when people give their children electronics in the grocery store, or don’t bring their own grocery bags.  I especially don’t like it when people are rude. I often sit back and think of all the things I could have said “in that moment” and hope that one day…  I finally nail it.  Until then, I have the best comebacks, only they are a few hours too late.

When I am busy, I’m focused and rarely smile or talk. I’ve been told I have a “look” that tells people to stay away.  I guess that is why no one ever comes into my office to chat with me while I’m working.

I like saltine crackers and Spice Drops. I’m happy. I have great memories and a bright future.  The present is fabulous and so are the people I share it with.  Life is good.  Life is fun.  This is me….  I’m an open book.


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How to freeze herbs and stock your Fall freezer Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:05:03 +0000 Oh how I love my freezer.  Especially in the Fall when there is still plenty of fresh summer produce to choose from.  This time of year my freezer is stocked with baking trays lined with parchment paper and any number of summer goodies from herbs, berries to ready made meal accents.  I dare say, my freezer does look I am waiting for the world to end… but then again, when it comes to meal planning, or there lack there of, a full freezer is my best friend.  The trick with freezing anything is that you need to keep the frost from sapping all the flavor, so plan your freezer attack carefully and be sure to date everything you store in your freezer with a nod towards knowing that in 3 months, anything that is left behind will loose all freshness.

Top tips for stocking your Fall freezer, plus how to freeze herbs  by Coryanne Ettiene


  • Parchment Paper
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Baking trays or cutting boards, anything with a flat surface to ensure your goods freeze evenly
  • Freezer safe bags in a variety of sizes
  • Ice cube trays
  • Sharpie

Tips and Tricks

  1. When freezing anything fresh like fruit, vegetables, or single herbs, lay them flat on a sheet of parchment paper so they have plenty of room to freeze without touching, and top them with another sheet of parchment paper to keep the burn off of them.   Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag for storage. When bundling herbs, tie them with a length of butchers twine, and make sure that you have a variety of sizes… after all different dishes call for different size bundles.
  2. When freezing with ice cube trays, take care of spills and wipe them clean before freezing.  To avoid frosting your trays, seal them with plastic wrap or inside a freezer safe bag. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag for storage.
  3. When freezing oils, fat or wine remember that they will not freeze solid.  Even a moment outside of the freezer will cause them to melt, so if you have a temperamental freezer, make sure that your freezer bag is sealed, double sealed, and sealed again.
  4. When freezing liquids and sauces place them inside a freezer safe bag, gently fold them over so that they lay flat and place them on a flat surface to freeze.  Having them in stackable shapes will make storage simple and avoid cluttering your freezer.
  5. Label everything, both with what it is, and when you froze it.  This helps avoid any cooking confusion and keeps your freezer stocked with items that taste as fresh as the day you froze them.  A good rule of thumb for fresh ingredients is 3 months, and 4-6 months for sauces, soups and meals.

Top tips for stocking your Fall freezer, plus how to freeze herbs  by Coryanne Ettiene

Looking for more ideas on what to freeze this Fall?  This is what I currently have stock piled in my freezer in addition to the normal herbs, and summer produce items:

  • Infused Oils:  Freeze fresh herbs and olive oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil in ice cube trays, and use them as needed to create aromatic roasted vegetables, fabulous soups , or accent your roasting tray.
  • Bacon Drippings:  Freeze your bacon fat in ice cube trays or in measured amounts using freezer safe bags, and then add them to your gravy or roasting tray to give your roasts that added sizzle and flavor.
  • Wine:  If, on the odd occasion, you have left over wine, add it in measured amounts to a freezer safe bag and then use it to create fabulous sauces or post Thanksgiving stews. Or do what I do and buy a bottle and sacrifice to the freezer.
  • Mash Potatoes: Save time prepping mid week meals by freezing your mash potatoes in a freezer safe container, and then reheat them in the oven prior to serving.  This is a favorite trick of mine during Thanksgiving, oh how it saves so much oven space on the big day.
  • Gravy:  Roast chicken bones, vegetable scraps, onions and garlic in a pan, then add chicken stock to the mix to create a gravy base.  Freeze it in a freezer safe bag, and then add it to your roasting pan to for easy gravy.
  • Celery:  Celery is a stock stable and essential for adding flavor to your roasting tray and left over soups — but it takes up so much room and never lasts as long as you wish it would.  Wash, dry and then seal in an air tight freezer safe bag.  Just drop your frozen celery into your roasting pan or stews as needed.
  • Butter Cream Frosting:  Keep the children happy with fresh butter cream cupcakes, by making a batch and freezing it an an air tight freezer safe container, and then thawing it.  Once thawed, frost and serve with little to no effort.
  • Pesto & Tomato Sauces:  Storing your fresh pesto or tomato sauces in the freeze is a great way to whip up a summer inspired meal or add a spot of flavor to your Fall cooking.  Store it in a freezer safe back in cup measurements for bigger meals, or in ice cube trays for a splash of flavor.
  • Root Ginger:  Skip breaking off just what you need from the grocery store and buy the whole root.  Ginger freezes beautifully and what’s great about frozen ginger root is that is grates easier than thawed ginger root.  Simply grate when you need, when you need it and return it to the freezer when your done.


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Rooibos Fall Sparkling Cocktail Mon, 06 Oct 2014 01:48:45 +0000 I’m never one to miss a trend, especially when it involves one of my favor teas.  I first tried Red Bush or Rooibos Tea when I was a Rotary Exchange Student living in South Africa.  It was the first thing my host mother gave me when I arrived… like English Tea, drinking Rooibos Tea is like taking a bath on the inside.  Served warm, milky and with 2 spoons of sugar, it was the hug I needed after the long flight from home. I had it every morning and every day after school for a year; always warm, sweet and milky, never chilled.  In fact it never occurred to me to serve it chilled until I started experimenting with iced teas when we landed in Dallas.  Why, oh why I’d never thought of it before now is beyond me.  Earthy and mellow it blends beautifully with citrus and cinnamon making it the perfect early Fall cocktail.

Food Trends:  Rooibos Tea Cocktail by Coryanne Ettiene

Rooibos Tea is emerging as the new “It” tea…move over Green Tea, Red is the new black (or shall I say green?).   You’ll see Rooibos Tea cropping up in infusion drinks, baked good and even stews this Fall.  I’ve started making a concentrated batch of cold brew and keeping it in my fridge, experimenting with it every chance I get.  I like making a concentrated batch because it keeps the flavor strong and allows me to dilute it according to the recipe I’m working on.  Concentrated cold brew is simple (and to be honest a tad lazy).  Simply add 2 standard tea bags to an 8 ounce pitcher, fill it with water and then brew it in the sun for 4 hours.


  • 4 Ounces of concentrated cold brewed Rooibos Tea
  • 12 Ounces of sparkling water
  • 3-4 Ounces of Vokda
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Handful of lemon slices
  • Handful of apple slices
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Ounce of simple syrup, optional


Add all the ingredients to a tall pitcher and stir.  Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and allow it to steep  at room temperature for an hour before removing the cinnamon stick and serving over ice.  *Note, if you prefer your cocktails on the sweet side, add an ouch of simple syrup.  As we move into cooler weather, I have great plans to replace the sparking water with still water and simmer the cocktail on the stove for a warm version, maybe even add a slash of apple cider to the mix to really embrace the fall spirit.

Rooibos Sparkling Tea Cocktail By Coryanne Ettiene







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How to dry, paint and preserve fresh acorns Thu, 02 Oct 2014 18:02:33 +0000 I’m a tad squirrely when it comes to decorating this Fall thanks to the dozen or so huge Oak trees within arms reach of our house.  The sky is literally falling; I can’t go 2 feet without stepping on either a fallen Oak Nut or Pecan … the squirrels have all but devoured every possible Pecan, leaving a blanket of acorns underfoot.  I’m not sure why I never noticed how fabulous they are, how delicate they can be and how stunning they look.  I’ve seen countless photos on Pinterest with them dark and glossy, stunning in itself, but I much prefer them as natural as possible — matt, weathered and in a variety of muted brown tones.

Hand dried acorns by Coryanne Ettiene

I’d never dried acorns until the Fall, so I set about reading everything I could on how to dry them, not just for this fall, but for years to come.  It would seem that everyone has something different to say about how to dry acorns, and very few talk about those bright big green ones that the squirrels stay clear of.  Drying acorns, like any drying process takes time…loads of time.  The most time consuming part is weeding through your bundle of acorns looking for any that have cracks or wholes in them — if I had it to do over again, I would have done this as I was foraging for them (but you live and learn).  Whilst drying takes time, it is effortless if you have a kitchen timer to help you keep track of the rotation.  The smaller the acorn, the quicker it will dry; the bigger or greener the acorn, the longer it will take.

How to dry Oak Nuts by Coryanne Ettiene

I was so smitten with my acorns, that I dabbled in a little painting experiment.  I knew that I did not want to paint them all, but wanted a splash of color somewhere to help a few stand out.  I much prefer the white washed hats to the full acorn being painted — it gives it a dusting of snow look that will transition well into our winter decor; in the mean time, I’ve got bowls of them littered around the house with little splashes of pink and white that I am gradually removing to revel just the white dusted caps and natural matt acorns.


  1. Weed out all the bad acorns; anything with a crack or hole.
  2. Rinse your acorns in cool water and gently remove any dirt or debris, then soak them in a big pot of water for an hour.  The water line should be about an inch above the acorn line.  Some will float, these acorns are very dry already, scoop those off the top and roast those on a separate baking tray.
  3. Transfer your acorns to a drying mat or towel, and allow them to air dry for up to 2 hours.  You can speed this process up by drying each acorn by hand.  Joy.  
  4. Separate the dried acorns according to the floaters, the small brown ones, the large brown ones and the green ones.  Each batch should rest on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and then cooked at 220F until dry.  The smaller ones and the floaters will dry quickly — about an hour.  The bigger ones will take 2-4 hours, and the green ones will, quite frankly, take all day.  Every 30-45 minutes, use a wooden spoon to stir the tray and rotate the acorns so they dry evenly.  If you are roasting green acorns, be prepared for the caps to fall off as they shrink.  In fact, most of the acorns will shrink, that is the nature of drying.
  5. Once dry, allow them to cool at room temperate.  Once cool, spray them with a varnish (I opted for a Matte Varnish) and allow that to dry before painting.  I doubled up on the varnish and re-varnished the acorns I painted, but you can skip this over protective step.
  6. For the white washed cap I used a small children’s paint brush and blended a bright white and cream acrylic paint. And lightly, rather half heartedly, painted the caps.  I was not going for perfect, I wanted distressed.  There are a few fully coated ones in the photo above to give you an idea of how different they look.
  7. For the painted acorn body, I embraced muted rose by blending pink and cream acrylic paint together, and used a craft sponge brush to apply a thick coat of paint.  If I do this again, I will likely use a paper towel and blot the paint on for a distressed look.



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Vanilla Nutella Sandwich Cake Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:10:39 +0000 Motherhood, like childhood, goes by in a flash.  One moment you are folding teeny tiny onesies for a newborn, and the next, you are watching that baby dance around the room excited for another birthday while he folds his own t-shirts… then it hits you, that deep dark guilt that gnaws at you for not completing his baby book or spending 3 days trying to sculpt his  T-Rex drawing into what he said would be “the most awesome cake in the universe”.  Luckily, I’m his mummy…and with that comes a little forgiveness for not delivering “the most awesome cake in the universe”, but instead a pretty damn good one based on his favorite snack.

Nutella Vanilla Cake by Coryanne Ettiene

Nutella, is all but banned from our kitchen.  We all love it, a little bit too much frankly, so we went cold turkey a a few years ago and only recently started hiding a jar of it in the back of the pantry with big bold red letters scrolled across the lid warning certain punishment for twisting the lid and tucking in without permission.  Xander, given half the chance will slather nearly a whole jar on a single slice of toast…  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

This is not a light cake; rather it is a dense, heavy cake best served chilled with a tall glass of milk, kind of cake.  This heaviness plays well with the sandwich idea that inspired the recipe, and even more so if you opt to generously  butter the sides of the pan like I did, to give it a crusty bread finish around the edges.  The buttercream frosting is so simple, not a single shortening, just buttercream like it was intended — butter, cocoa, sugar and vanilla — mixed with a heaving measure of Nutella.

In a nod to the T-Rex cake, I plonked a rubber dino on the top, handed over an extra large reptile hat and watched little Xander wish upon a star. Needless to say, like all birthday’s in our house, we will all be feasting on cake for breakfast — I’m pretty sure it is written someplace that cake for breakfast is rule.

Nutella Vanilla Cake by Coryanne Ettiene

Vanilla Nutella Sandwich Cake


  • 2 cups of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • Splash of whole milk
  • 4 cups of confection sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup of Nutella
  • 4 tablespoons of heavy cream


  1. For the cake, pre-heat your oven to 350F, dust your pans with flour, line the base with parchment paper and butter the sides.
  2. Beat the granulated sugar and 1 cup of butter until it is creamy, then add 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the eggs (the whole egg, not just the yolk), and mix until smooth.
  3. In a dry bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together and then gradually add it to your butter blend, alternating between the buttermilk and dry mixture until you have a thick creamy batter. Add a splash of milk if your batter is too thick. And then transfer to your round baking pans and bake for 35 minutes, or until done. (note: I was not paying attention when I set my oven and ended up cooking them for 20 minutes on the convection setting).
  4. Once done, allow them to cool on a cooking rack at room temperature, and then transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour before frosting the cake.
  5. For the frosting, add the butter, confection sugar and coco powered and beat on low speed until creamy.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and the cream, then turn up the speed and beat for a further 2 minutes. Once creamy, add the Nutella and beat for a further minute to ensure that everything is fully blended.


Coryanne Ettiene | | 2014

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Fall Bunting Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:18:24 +0000 Every now and then I catch myself on the porch and think “life is amazing”….  because when you stop and look around you, it really is.  I’m not talking about the amazing feeling that comes with having a spare million dollars in your bank account, and a trip to Aruba in your calendar kind of amazing; I’m talking about the pure happiness that comes from knowing that your children are fed, healthy and still look at you like you are a rockstar kind of amazing.

Being a working mother frequently plagues me with guilt, which is why I never miss an opportunity to include my children in my work.  They each bring something unique to my working mother experience, and this weekend when I passed the camera to 8 year old Sawyer  and asked him to take a few pictures, I was reminded that seeing your children discover a talent is another element that makes life amazing.   As if he took the words right out of his mouth, Ansel Adams captured Sawyer best with “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” This weekend my life truly was amazing… a little bubbly on the front porch with Fall bunting blowing in the wind just added to the fact.

Simple No Sew Bunting by Coryanne Ettiene

Like most things in my domesticity, life as I know it has been inspired by lessons learned while living in London.  There is something so utterly simple and soothing about a string of colorful triangles hanging from corner to corner to remind you that life is a party just waiting to happen.  Truth be told, I had a sewing machine for years and never touched it; that whole threading the bobbin thing really made me feel inadequate, so when I can’t stitch by hand, I use no sew binding tape.

Fall Bunting By Coryanne Ettiene


Directions and Supplies for No Sew Bunting

  • A cardboard triangle shape
  • Scissors (or a fabric rotary cutting tool)
  • Ruler (or fabric cutting edge)
  • Fabric pen
  • No-sew binding tape
  • Iron
  • Fabric starch (optional)
  • Fabric

Step 1: Cut a triangle shape out of cardboard. Traditionally bunting is 6 inches from center top to center bottom with a length that is longer than the triangle is wide; but you can use any shape triangle you like to create bunting that fits with your needs.  I wanted a bigger bunting and opted for a 9 inch triangle.

Step 2: Lay your fabric flat, and then use your fabric pen to trace out the triangle onto your fabric.

Step 3: Once all your triangles are complete, cut them out.  Scissors are fine, but for a quicker step and a cleaner line, use a fabric rotation cutter with a cutting mat and a straight edge to keep your bunting neat and your prep surface protected.

Step 4: Place 2 triangles against one another and then position the no-sew binding tape in-between the two pieces.  The position of the tape is where the “hem” will be, so take care to keep it neat and as close to the fabric line as possible.

How to make quick no sew bunting by Coryanne Ettiene


Step 5:  Iron each triangle along the “hem” line until the binding tape is secure and properly melted to the fabric.

Step 6: Once all the triangles are sealed, cut out a long rectangle shape to use as the ribbon that will connect your bunting. Place your triangles along the bottom of the rectangle with a strip of binding tape between the triangle and the rectangle to secure, then fold over the top of the rectangle and do the same for the facing side as shown above.  Iron the rectangle strip in place on both sides of the bunting to ensure that each side is secure.

Step 7: If your desired length of bunting is longer than your rectangle strip, use no-sew tape to bind the lengths of bunting together.

To make 20 feet of bunting using a 9 inch triangle and 2 inch wide strip to secure it in place, I used 5 fabric patterns measuring 1.5 yards each.  I’ve been making bunting for years, each time I do so I find new shortcuts to save time.  In the past, I’ve used fabric pins to secure all the fabric in place between ironing — this time I lived dangerously and skipped that part (turns out if you alternate the triangles when you stack them, rather than making a neat pile, you don’t need to use pins to keep the pairs in place).    I used upholstery fabric for this project which meant that the fabric was naturally stiff.  If you are using a light cotton fabric, apply fabric starch while ironing if you want a more stiff bunting appearance.

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