Merry Christmas Jennie!
And so, my gift to you is a super easy, really one bowl recipe for gingerbread—or should it be called gingerbread cake? Perhaps I should eat one more slice to try and decide.
If you are at all like me, I am always looking for a gift that is very special at Christmas time when it comes to my family and friends.
Since I love food and trust me most people do…I look for unique cookbooks by unique cooks.
Homemade with Love
is one of those cookbooks.
Jennie Perillo is one of those cooks.
As the year 2013 comes to an end, I am looking back at some of the wonderful people, I have met this year.
Jennie is one of them.
Last spring, I was introduced to Jennie through a group of Instagram bloggers from NYC.
She was launching her first cookbook, Homemade with Love. At first, I was drawn to her by her story.
Jennie had lost her husband suddenly. She and her two daughters were left without their anchor. Jennie found solace in her love of cooking.
As she grieved for her husband, she began to create Homemade with Love.
During her publicity tour, Jennie stopped in Chicago where I live. She did a book signing at a small bookstore.
As luck would have it…I read about the book signing after the fact.
I was so disappointed…
Well, I took to Twitter and sent Jennie a message asking if she was doing any other signings.
But I was welcome to stop by her hotel and she would sign my copy.
I was more than thrilled.
Not only did Jennie sign my copy of Homemade with Love but she invited me to a media luncheon which she had prepared in her hotel kitchen. I was actually tasting some of her recipes and they were easy enough to make in this tiny kitchen.
I had fallen in LOVE.
I knew when I read about Jennie and read Homemade with Love…I was being reintroduced to my love of cooking again.
You see, I had been an empty nester after taking care of my own family and my mother and now I was helping to parent my granddaughter…I needed to cook again for a family.
Jennie came into my life and resurrected my love of cooking at a moment when I needed a new inspiration to cook again for a family.
Jennie, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of new horizons.
I love to cook…but over the years my “go to meals” have changed…
become somewhat boring…
I was losing my edge especially now…
that I very often am cooking for three generations in one house.
This morning, I read this piece from Jennie’s recipes in Relish Magazine
I smiled…as I adore pesto…
I have decided to try using parsley instead of my usual basil, omit the pistachios since….
there is a “nut allergy” in our family
I will add cheese to liven up the flavor.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I think about cooking for kids, pesto isn’t the first recipe that comes to mind. Yes, there are adventurous eaters out there, you know, those kids whose parents’ claim they eat everything. To that, I say spill the beans. No one likes everything, including myself, a professional food writer and recipe developer—and that’s okay. This is perhaps the most important tidbit of advice to remember when you approach feeding your children.
Yesterday, I went to a really delightful luncheon here in Chicago. It was an impromptu event invitation that I am so grateful to have had the time to attend.
Blogging and cooking are both loves of mine! Cooking has been a longtime passion of mine…blogging and reading blogs is a new passion.
Now, I have had the good fortune of meeting the creator of Homemade with Love, Jennifer Perillo.
I now realize that it was also fortunate for me that I missed her Chicago book signing, this past Sunday and that I am not afraid of twitter. To make a long story short, Jennifer extended an invitation to me to attend a very special small luncheon that she was preparing in her hotel here in Chicago.
To say, I was thrilled is definitely an understatement.
Among the invitees were some other bloggers, who are all much more recognizable than I…most were food bloggers, some were also writers, who represent various media and social media here in Chicago. A very nice mix of women and fun for me to meet, as my background is just so different, coming from nursing and social work.
What better way to relax everyone and encourage conversation with each other than to casually serve a delicious made from scratch lunch.
Jennifer did just that!
In the tiniest of working kitchen space Jennie created recipes from her new book Homemade with Love.
Firstly, we had some wine, sparkling water, or still water served with a strawberry compote to add a little bit of sweetness to our drinks…very refreshing.
Next we were treated to ….
Creamy Homemade Ricotta
Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Mozzarella Panzanella Salad
Chickpea, Parmesan and Fennel Salad
Orecchiette with Bolognese Sauce
Simple Roasted Chicken
Deep Chocolate Cupcakes with Deep Chocolate Glaze
It was a lovely marriage of flavors and Jennifer’s ease with preparing and serving made it obvious to me that I could make her recipes at home, as you will be able to do too after you buy her wonderful cookbook.
Jennifer also graciously signed copies of her cookbook for all of us.
I am impressed with her book, its’ layout, beautiful photos and helpful tips. There are icons on every page to tell you about each recipe. I love her Chapter on “Setting Up a Homemade Kitchen” which is surprisingly easy!
It helps that Jennifer is a warm and engaging mother of two, who understands what it is like to be thrown into single parenthood by the untimely death of her husband, Mikey. You can see her love for her kids and Mikey overflows into her passion for cooking.
She has truly written a delightfully beautiful cookbook that you can use in your kitchen to make your own family meals Homemade With Love.
Thank you Jennifer!
Thank you also to Kitchen Aid and the makers of Glad, two companies who helped to make it possible for Jennifer to share her recipes and cookbook with us.
This post was not sponsored. I did receive a copy of Homemade with Love from Jennifer. All opinions are my own.