Dessert Calzones



Whether you have leftover pizza dough or make a double batch when making grilled pizzas, a great way to use it is to make dessert calzones!

I made a S’mores calzone and a Banana-Nutella one, but you can fill them with anything you like!

 Dessert Calzones  (click here to print recipe without pictures)

1/2 of single batch pizza dough (see Grilled Pizza for recipe), divided into 2 pieces
1/2 banana, sliced
2 tbsp Nutella
2 marshmallows, cut into quarters
8 pieces of chocolate bar (I use Ghiardelli semi-sweet bar)
coarse salt for sprinkling
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to highest temp possible (500 degrees F on my oven). Place oven rack on highest location. If using pizza stone, place stone on rack. If not, prepare baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal. Dust pizza peel with cornmeal.

2. Shape each dough into 6-in round and place on prepared baking sheet or pizza peel.

3. Fill bottom half of 1 round with Nutella, banana slices and a sprinkle of coarse salt, keeping 1/2-in from edge clear. Fold top half over and pinch the edges together, making sure there are no holes (or the chocolate with seep out). Repeat with the other dough with the marshmallows, chocolate and a sprinkling of coarse salt.

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4. Bake for 10-15, until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack for 5 min, then dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!! (be careful though, the melted chocolate is hot!)

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London and Paris - a 2 week adventure




We spent 2 weeks in April 2012 traveling to London, Normandy and Paris. The weather wasn’t great, mostly overcast and drizzly, but it didn’t stop us from exploring these wonderful areas! (we planned ahead and brought along raincoats).

Our trip started in London. We got in at 9am and couldn’t check into our hotel (Citadines in Covent Garden) until 3pm, so we decided  to visit the British Museum.

The museum is free, but does ask for a donation. It is absolutely stunning when you first walk in and there is a TON to see.


including the Rosetta Stone!!


They also have A History of the World in 100 Objects, which consists of (you guess it) 100 objects laid out throughout the museum that follows human history, from 2,000,000 BC though 2010.

One item is this Head of Augustus, the first Roman emperor




The following day we walked around London visiting a variety of touristy places including

St. Paul’s Cathedral (here photographed from a super reflective piece across the street)



The Monument – a tribute to the Great Fire of London which occurred in 1666 and consumed hundreds of houses. It is 61 meters tall, which is the distance from the start of the fire (a bakery) to the monument and it takes 311 steps to go up.


Walking up the 311 spiral stairs


The views from the top are totally worth the climb!

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Our next stop was The Tower of London. This was where the famous wives of Henry VII spent the last few days of their lives. There is a torture room (really creepy), ravens and amazing tour guides called Yeoman (highly recommended to join them on the tour included in the ticket price). There is also the Royal Armories collection, which includes coats of arms from all over the world and from different centuries. Also housed here are the Crown Jewels.




We then walked across the London Bridge

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Once over the bridge, we made our way to Borough Market, an open air (sorta) market where you can buy fresh produce, wine/beer and get a delicious lunch!





Since it was our first time in England, we decided to do a day trip to Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge. It was very well organized and took all the thinking out of visiting these sites.

Windsor castle is the official royal home and has beautiful architecture and grounds. We even got  to see the change of the guards!

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Next stop was Bath. Bath is about 1.5 hours west of London and is the site of ancient Roman baths built over hot springs. It is very well preserved and has an audio guide that walks you through the multiple rooms of the bath house.

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During the excavation, old coins were found, which were amazing to see!



Our final stop was Stonehenge. We were all-touristy-out by this point, so it was a good last stop, since there isn’t much to see. It was interesting to see the huge stones and imagine how people in 2000 BC accomplished this task.



The following day was the London Marathon and we got a view of the city during this event.

Big Ben


Marathon finish line at Buckingham Palace


Countdown to the London Olympics



We had some awesome food and visited great pubs while in London.

The pubs: Harp Pub, Princess Louise Pub, Lamb and Flag Pub

The eats:

Mr. Kong (delicious Chinese food, there is a great Chinatown in London)

Hummus Bros – oh how I wish they come to the US. You get a plate of perfectly smooth hummus with a choice of 1-2 toppings (we got chicken and avocado salad)


You have to get fish and chips with a side of mushy peas while in England. One of the best places to get this is at Rock and Sole. I’m not a huge fan of mushy peas, but the fish was flaky, light and yummy



Down the street from our hotel was Belgo – a Belgium mussels, frites and beer place. It was wonderful! Just look how excited the monk is on their signature glass!




Oh, and since our hotel had a fridge, we were able to sample a plethora of British cheeses!

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Next up: France

We flew into Paris and took a train to Rouen, a city in Normandy. We stayed at Hotel Sisley in the Gaugain room.

Our view from the hotel



I had the best dinner in my life at an extremely small restaurant in Rouen: Auberge Saint Maclou. We got a fish tagine with chickpeas and a perfectly cooked salmon with a piece of foie gras that was as large as the salmon! To say it was mouth-watering amazing would be an understatement! (check out my yelp review).


Since Rouen is a university city, there are a ton of fun bars to try. We went to Delirium Cafe, which had a great beer selection.




The main reason we went to Normandy was to visit Le Mont Saint-Michel – a monastery built during the 700s. It is an island during high tide and a peninsula during low tide (so watch the tide schedule if you plan to drive and park your car!)


Inside is a main street that winds up the ‘mount’ that is lined with small touristy shops and restaurants.



The church is filled with beautiful walkways and views of the surrounding area



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The other big thing to visit in Normandy is the Normandy American Cemetery, a tribute to the American soldiers that died during D-Day and the months after to help win WWII. It is serene, beautifully maintained and very peaceful. (You need your passport to enter since it is technically US soil).





We took the train back to Paris, checked into our hotel near the Opera House (Hotel Westminster) and enjoyed our complimentary drink at the bar downstairs.



Dinner that first night in Paris was on Passage des Panoramas, a delightful little alley lined with tiny restaurants serving mostly French food.




The following day we took the RER train to Versailles, which is only a 20 min ride! The walk through town is lovely, though it isn’t very well marked, so pay attention to the minimal signs. (On the way back to the train we stopped at a farmers market to pick up some delicious cheese!)


We bought our tickets online, so we didn’t need to wait in line to buy tickets and then again to get into the palace. Also, we went really early to avoid lines (there weren’t any) and the hordes of tourists that flock to the amazing palace every day



The Hall of Mirrors was the main room to dine and entertain hundreds of guests. It is breathtakingly huge and has windows that overlook the perfectly manicured grounds and gardens.

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The Gardens:




The Grand Trianon (or the Pink Palace) was Marie Antoinette’s palace. While smaller than the main palace, it was just as decadent with grand halls and pink marble throughout.



The following day, while I took a nap, Kevin explored the Louvre by himself. (I’ve been there too many times to count).

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Mona Lisa

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Venus de Milo


Odalisque (Kevin took this photo without even knowing that it is my favorite painting in the Louvre)




Monmatre is the big hill in Paris that overlooks the whole city. Atop the ‘mount’ is Sacre Coure, a white church which is the highest point in Paris. This is the area where the portrait artists sit to paint your picture and the best place to get crepes (in my opinion).



The walk up is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a Nutella crepe!



You can usually see the whole city from up here, but it was so foggy, you couldn’t see much. My sister (who just happened to be in Germany for the week) met up with us for the weekend!!!




Around Paris:

Bridge of Locks – where people place a lock to symbolize their love (we didn’t have a lock though). Apparently a section of the bridge collapsed in June 2014 form the weight of all the locks!




My favorite museum in the world is Musee D’Orsay. A train-station-turned-impressionist-museum  houses one of the world’s largest selection of impressionist art, including Degas’ original Little Dance of Fourteen Years scuplture (absolutely stunning!)



That night we had some beers and some more local French cheese and charcuterie!

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And, of course, we went to the Eiffel Tower. We walked around Paris and just happened across it. Even though I’ve seen it many times, it is just as beautiful as the first time I saw it. There was a crazy line to go up to the top, so we didn’t get a chance to go up, but I highly recommend it!



Around the corner from the Eiffel Tower is Notre Dame, with its crazy architecture and flying buttresses.

It was amazing trip. Paris truly is an amazingly romantic city and London is a ton of fun! Next time we will spend more time exploring Pars.


Taste of Cambridge



This is the second year we went to Taste of Cambridge and it was just as fantastic as last year!! There is live music, a TON of food and fun drinks. It takes place in a small park, right off of Mass Ave, which is the perfect location for a night of eating, drinking, dancing and mingling with wonderful people.

I started the night off with East Coast Grill Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings you can imagine!!

Everything is pickled in-house and they have 6 different hot sauces to add to your Bloody Mary. I haven’t been there to eat yet, but this put them farther up my list!



I was greatly impressed with Art Bar‘s bites: gazpacho gelee and avocado-shrimp-corn salad. The gelee was amazing!! A perfect bite of every flavor of gazpacho!




One of my favorite breweries was there: Slumbrew, sampling their Trippel and their Island Day – both were fantastic!! They are opening a Taproom in Assembly Row in August!! Super excited to try it out!!



Another wonderful surprise was the O’hara Stous Meatloaf Sliders with Horseradish sauce from The Asgard. I am usually not a fan of meatloaf, but this was so flavorful and juicy, it took everything in me not to get seconds!




And who can resist meeting Jason Bond of Bondir!!??! I was so excited! He was the nicest person! And, of course, his bite (beef tartare) was delicious!



The Cambridge Historical Tours group was there to discuss their walks around Cambridge. And we got to try on some fun costumes!


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It was a lovely night! Can’t wait for next year!!!



Mushroom Hunt


So I finally did it! I’ve been meaning to join the Boston Mycology Club for years and this past weekend we went on our first hunt! And it was fantastic!!

The club goes about once a month in the summer, more often in the fall. They don’t advertise their locations, but are happy to have you come along if you tell them that you are interested. Then, if you like it, you can join the club for $25 annually. (which I promptly did after the hunt)

We went to an undisclosed location and chatted with some fellow mushroom enthusiasts. Then went walking around, staring at the ground, and picked multiple samples of mushrooms. I found that I can smell them out! Mushrooms have a very distinctive musty, woodsy scent. My nose worked about 60% of the time!

Here are some examples of what we found:

Amanita (poisonous – don’t eat)


(don’t remember)


black trumpet (totally edible!)





I even made a little friend!




After the 60-90 min walk, we met up back at the beginning and displayed our finds so the guides can identify them. It’s amazing how many types of mushrooms people found!

Since we found the black trumpets, we had them for dinner that night!!! Just saute them with a little bit of butter and garlic – delicious!!






Grilled Pizza


Pizza may be my most favorite food in the world. It is perfect – delicious bread, cheese and tomato sauce (I’m a pizza purist)

I have used this recipe to bake pizza on a baking stone in my oven, but when summer comes, we use the grill!

The key to success is to have everything lined up and ready to go since the dough cooks very quickly on the grill.

Pizza Dough:   (click here to print recipe without pictures)
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 3/4 – 2 cups bread flour (plus more for kneading)
3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tbsp olive oil
cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir together yeast, 1 tbsp flour and 1/4 cup warm water in a measuring cup; let stand until mixture appears cream on surface, about 5 min (if it doesn’t, discard and start over with new yeast).

2. Stir together 1 1/4 cups flour and salt in bowl of stand mixer, then add yeast, oil and remaining 1/2 cup warm water. Mix until smooth. Add enough of remaining flour (1/4 -1/2 cup) for dough to come away from side of bowl. (This dough will be slightly wetter than other pizza doughs).

3. Change to dough hook and knead for 5-8 min, add flour as needed to make a smooth, soft and elastic dough.

4. Divide in half and form into 2 balls, then dust with flour and place each in separate medium bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead, covered and chilled after rising; bring to room temp before continuing)

5. Pat dough into circle and stretch by hand into 10-in pie. Place on baking sheet or peel. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. Let rest for 10 min while you prepare your toppings.

6a. To bake: preheat oven to 500 (or highest setting). Position rack to top of oven and place baking stone, if using. Cover bottom of baking sheet with parchment paper and cornmeal (or dust a pizza peel generously with cornmeal.
Spoon sauce to cover dough to 1/2-in from border. Top with cheese and other toppings. Brush border with olive oil. Bake for 5-10 min, until dough is golden and cheese is melted

6b. To grill: Preheat grill on high. Brush one side of pizza with olive oil and place directly onto grate and brush top side with olive oil. Cook for about 1 min until golden. Flip and place toppings quickly, close top of grill and cook for another 1-2 min until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

(adapted from epicurious)

Super Easy Tomato Pizza Sauce:
1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp olive oil (good stuff)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Process all in food processor until smooth, about 30 sec. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

While I am a pizza purist, every once in a while, I like to put broccoli on it! (I steam the broccoli ahead of time and toss with salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil).