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Leena Makes and Bakes: A Butterfly Birthday Cake!

By on Jun 1, 2014 in Cakes, Desserts, Leena Bakes | 0 comments

Hey guys. I’ve been busy for the past few months writing food articles for Chow.com, but I’m back and full of food stories and recipes to share. My daughter’s third birthday was a little while back, and I had a lot of fun figuring out how to make her dream cake: pink with butterflies. I ended up making a cream cheese frosting flavored with homemade strawberry jam for the pink requirement. I used the jam because I have tried using fresh strawberry puree in the past, and it ends up making the frosting too wet, which makes it drips off the cake and just look ugly. For the butterflies, I ended up using this tutorial from How To Cook That for chocolate butterflies. And you guys—it was actually pretty easy! Do you remember making those butterfly paintings in preschool? The ones where you paint one half of the butterfly, then fold the paper in half, smoosh it a little,...

Leena Cooks: Toddler Pizza Making Party!

By on Mar 18, 2014 in Leena Bakes, Leena Cooks, Pizza, Recipes, With kids | 1 comment

I love pizza—making it, baking it, eating it, the whole shebang. I also happen to dig hanging out with kids (in a non-creepy way) and teaching them how to cook. The first time, it was with the world’s most adorable toddlers (who are now in grade school!) before I ever had kids. Then, I got to try it out with my own offspring, which proved adorable, slightly annoying, and delicious. I even had the crazy idea to teach teens how to make pizza dough from scratch, and that was…messy. So of course, what is the first thing I think about doing when we were returning a babysitting favor for a few friends with toddlers? PIZZA PARTY! Yeah. I may be insane. Or the coolest mom ever. It varies from day to day 🙂 The details on the set up and more after the break! So, first thing to do is prep the hell out of the recipe. For dough, this is my go to recipe, but feel free to use your...

Leena Cooks: Pizza with her toddler!

By on Aug 12, 2013 in Leena Cooks, Pizza, Recipes | 0 comments

So forever and a day ago, back in 2009 to be exact, I took my childless ass up to Wisconsin to hang out with a college friend and teach her kids (then 2 & 3) to make pizza from scratch. The post was mainly photos, but it gave me first hand experience trying to “cook” with toddlers. Fast forward to today, where it was time to get my own two year old in the kitchen cooking (mainly to keep her busy while making dinner. And because watching another episode of Caillou or Dora the Explorer would make me puke). This time, I’m including my favorite pizza dough recipe so you can try it for yourself. Photos and the recipe after the jump! But just for you? A sneak preview of the cuteness you are in for: So “cooking” with toddlers really means you cook and prep all the ingredients you need BEFORE the toddler gets involved. Otherwise you’ll be cleaning flour...

Leena Cooks and Bakes: Ella’s 2nd Birthday Party!

By on May 28, 2013 in Cookies, Cupcakes, Desserts, Fruit, Leena Bakes, Leena Cooks, Meat, Pickles, Recipes | 0 comments

I can hardly believe that my baby, my first kid, my Ella has finally turned two. Except when she pitches the LOUDEST FIT EVER because I won’t let her do something obviously fun, like drive the car home from the grocery store or poke the cat with a stick like a pinata. Then I am pretty certain she is two. As much as I didn’t want Ella to become obsessed with licensed characters at an early age, somehow, probably during a road trip or a morning when I was sick on the couch, she discovered Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and of course, the infamous Minnie. The obsession came fast and fierce, and when I stumbled across a dress that looked exactly like a Minnie Mouse knock-off at Old Navy (aka–affordable!), I knew I had found her birthday party theme. In December. 5 months BEFORE her party. Some of my fellow mom friends thought I was being quite ambitious, starting party planning...

I’m back and filled with more food than ever!

By on Jun 25, 2012 in Leena Bakes, Leena Eats, Leena Lives Life | 1 comment

Hey there! Sorry for the several month break there. I have been busy chasing after a 1 year old (she is one now!!), dealing with hospitalizations (yay IBS!) and eating my weight in summer produce. Here’s a quick review of what you’ve missed. First, and most importantly, Ella turned one! She REALLY got into her cake eating. Big surprise there—she IS my offspring! For her first cake ever, I made her a delicious chocolate cake topped with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. She loved it. She also loved staying up until 11pm, which is what happens when you flavor your chocolate cake with real, caffeine-filled coffee. Joy. Since the birthday party, I have been baking enough pies to feed an army of hungry goats. There is just something about the summer and all it’s seasonal fruits that turn me into a crazy baker. Luckily, this pie obsession has not rubbed off on my...

Leena Bakes: Banana Bourbon Chocolate Muffins!

By on Jan 25, 2012 in Breads, Desserts, Fruit, Leena Bakes, Muffins, Recipes | 2 comments

Not too long ago, a pal and fellow food blogger Emily Hanhan of Nomnivorous hosted the first of many supper clubs called Whisky and Salt in the NYC area. In her awesome and drool-inducing post about it, she revealed that she made whisky and chocolate chip muffins as take home gifts from the supper club. I have been looking for an excuse to pop these bad boys out, and a small party with some fellow parents and babies on NYE gave the perfect excuse. But let’s be honest, vacuuming the living room is the perfect excuse for these muffins, they are that damn good. The recipe and heaps of food porn after the jump.         Banana Bourbon Chocolate Muffins : Inspired by a recipe from Very Small Anna http://verysmallanna.com/2011/01/a-balanced-breakfast/ 1 3/4 cup AP flour 3/4 cup sugar 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup melted...