Hermit cookies


Spicy and sweet cookies packed with dried fruit and sometimes nuts, hermit cookies are a classic New England treat.

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Growing up in New Hampshire far from relatives in the Midwest, we would occasionally join church friends at their home in Woodstock, Vermont, for Thanksgiving.

Safely tucked in my childhood memories is the image of their classic, white colonial house with black shutters and a thin blanket of snow covering the lawn. After crunching up the gravel driveway we entered the house through the back door that led straight into the kitchen. Inside the room was warmed by a wood burning stove and a braided rag-rug on the polished floor. A copper lantern chandelier hung over the oval kitchen table. It was a quintessential New England scene.

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Talk of a Chicago Cubs victory party started way before the Cubs actually made it to the World Series this fall. (This is what happens when you marry a fourth-generation Chicago Cubs fan.) And at this party, it was promised that Italian beef sandwiches would be ordered from Chicago’s iconic Portillo’s restaurant.

I said I’d take care of the chocolate cake.

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A simple banana bread recipe is a quick way to make a new kitchen smell like home.

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I’m in the process of having my kitchen renovated, which means I’ve been limited to my electric tea kettle and my microwave to make something hot to eat or drink when at home.

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Toast may be trendy in hipster restaurants but the concept is older than sliced bread. Croque monsieur with creamy béchemal sauce has long been a classic French comfort food.

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Chicken soup from ‘Soup for Syria’ by Barbara Abdeni Massaad/Photo courtesy of Interlink Publishing

“Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate our Shared Humanity,” by Barbara Abdeni Massaad, is a cookbook with a humanitarian purpose: 100 percent of the profits goes to support Syrian refugees. Visit soupforsyria.com to see how you, too, can make a difference.

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Pumpkin spice is everywhere (again) this fall so why not join the fun with this delicious combination of pumpkin, spice, coffee, and chocolate for a decadent gluten-free pudding topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream? It may just give pumpkin pie a nudge at your holiday table.

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I’m suddenly surrounded by Cubs fans. And last night I found myself in front of a giant living room TV rooting on a team that is perfectly acceptable to support in the middle of Red Sox Nation because (1) they are not the Yankees and (2) the Cubbies clubhouse is packed with former Red Sox affiliates. Plus, nobody understands a Cubs fan’s pain quite like a Red Sox fan.


I offered to bring lasagna to the watch party and settled on this super easy recipe because I didn’t have a lot of time in between weekend activities to boil my own noodles and prepare a lot of vegetables.

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Couscous1Couscous is a grain and a staple throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The boxed, pre-steamed versions you can find in the supermarket makes it a convenience food and an alternative to rice or pasta. Serve it as a side with meat either plain or mixed with vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts.

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