Apple Crisp

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“It’s as American as apple pie!” Although I cannot say the same for us;  us being my husband, my daughter and I. Little James, however, was born right here in New York City, a fact that permits him a certain freedom that the rest of us fought so ferociously to obtain.

As I rode the taxi from Newark Airport towards my home in Battery Park, that long-awaited day we were finally able to re-enter the United States after 13 months in Toronto, Canada, I couldn’t help but chuckle, a most sarcastic of chuckles.

The Toronto skyline

I had been telling the cab driver why we had been away, “awaiting our Green Card”, I told him, and he in turn narrated for me his personal immigration story: having arrived at the airport in New York in the ’70s and being handed a Green Card on the spot, just like that, without any bureaucracy, without anything at all really. I responded with, “well… things have changed a little bit since then.”

Had they ever. What was supposed to have been approximately 8 months, turned into 13. We were away from our home, without most of our clothes, toys, my dear kitchen supplies, and of course more importantly, our friends.

Enjoying the view in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Fortunately for us, we were blessed with meeting and knowing, who we now call our close Torontonian friends, who made our difficult journey much less difficult and much more rewarding.

So here we are; was it worth it? There is so much criticism of America, especially when speaking of the current political climate, the racial unrest, the healthcare system and gun control issues, and it is hard to ignore especially coming from such a peaceful, positive and open-minded country such as Canada.

A bird’s eye view of Manhattan

I answer as so: my home is where my family is, and there rests my heart. America has provided us a job, a job which permits us a home, food on the table and clothes on our back. It has gifted us friends that we can call family, and for this I am eternally grateful.  While those issues previously stated do weigh on my mind, like all issues we are faced with, we deal with them, not run from them, and we find a way to live above them.  So yes, it was worth it.  And with that, it may not be as American as Apple Pie, but it certainly tastes just as good.  I give you Apple Crisp.


Apple Crisp


3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)IMG_7045

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

1 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)

3 lbs apples (such as Gala, Empire, Braeburn), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.

Cut butter into flour using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal.

Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large moist clumps form.

Transfer to fridge to chill while you prepare apples.IMG_7053

In another bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

Transfer to shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture.

Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet to prevent spilling onto oven racks, and bake until golden brown and bubbling. about 55-65 minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.


Note: It is best served while it is still warm from the oven, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.  

Also, the secret to a chunky topping is working the oat mixture into large clumps with your hands;  this helps the topping hold together while toasting to a golden brown.

Click below for video instruction:


Mom’s Carrot Cake

Let me just start by exhaling: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It’s so good to be back, back in the kitchen and cooking, writing, taking photos, filming and editing.  I missed it oh so much.  It’s good to be home in New York and good to be back to my “normal” life, as normal as my life could get. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My return to the adventures of cooking and blogging was a moment I had been anticipating and mentally preparing for for a while. Deciding when to do it was my biggest hurdle;  I didn’t want to jump the gun and start too early, surely resulting in not being able to fulfill all my tasks or maintain a consistent schedule.  It was all about getting my ducks in a row in my home life, and then going for it.

So here I am. Ducks in queue, apron on, I can do this.

I put it to little Chloe to decide what our comeback recipe should be.

Her response: “Carrots!”

Simple, yet effective.



The timing couldn’t be better.  Besides having a plethora of carrots sitting in my fridge just waiting to be eaten, Easter is approaching! Enter springtime, wearing your Sunday best to Mass, the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs and of course, Easter recipes.  And while the recipe we have chosen may not be exclusively an Easter recipe, its foundation is built on carrots! Carrots… bunnies… Easter… sweets! You see where I am going with this?!  Having said that, please do not hesitate to prepare this irresistible recipe ANY given time of year. It deserves it.

When I think of Carrot Cake, there is only one that stands at attention: my mom’s.  Funny enough, when some people think of my mom, they think of her delicious carrot cake! 533922_10150637269341846_907897585_n
I could always count on mom to whip up a good ol’ carrot cake to treat my classmates, gift a teacher, contribute to bake sales, reward hard work or simply cheer someone up on a blue day.  I dare not alter this recipe in any way.  It is simply perfect as is.

It would be naive to think that my passion for cooking today wasn’t directly influenced in part by my mom’s own passion and skill in the kitchen.  Growing up, I could always follow the trail of some irresistible scent brewing in the kitchen, to something delicious to eat on the table. She was always taking risks and trying something new, all the while not forgetting our tried and true culinary favorites.

I aim to do the same. So mom, with this post, I salute you.


Mom’s Carrot Cake


2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (Do not use olive oil)

4 eggs

3 cups grated carrots (Grate the carrots at least a day before and place in freezer. Take them out to thaw in time for the recipe. Include the juices! This little secret will help make your cake as moist as ever! Shh! It’s a secret!)

1 tsp vanilla (pure)



Preheat oven at 350F.

Sift together sugar, flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.

Stir in oil.IMG_7020

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add carrots and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.

Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2 inch cake pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool.

Spread cream cheese icing (see recipe below)


Cream Cheese Icing


1/2 cup melted butter (not margarine)

1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 lb box of confectioners sugar



Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla, mixing well.

Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.

Spread on cooled cake.

Note: You may have some extra icing with this recipe; it all depends on how thick you like your icing.


For video instruction, click below:

Buon appetito!!

1 Year Young

Today marks one year that I embarked upon my little pet project: My Little Kitchen Project.

It was born amidst one of the most difficult periods of my life, but gave me comfort, perspective and a creative outlet that I had been so desperately craving.

I had taken a leave of absence from my adventures in cooking and blogging as of recent in order to give priority to my family, in this time of transition, moving from one country to another, and to give myself enough time to fully recover from the surgery I had this week.

About a year and a half ago, my mother had noticed a lump in my throat. Of course, being the person that I am, I didn’t take it too seriously and brushed it off, something I wouldn’t recommend to others.

But as time passed, the lump grew, and upon investigating further, it was discovered that I had a cyst growing just above my thyroid.

As explained by my doctor, the cyst was very common and quite likely benign. After pondering over it for quite a while, I decided to have it removed, partly out of sheer vanity (I really didn’t want an Adam’s Apple anymore), and partly because I didn’t want it to develop into anything more serious.

It was removed this week. It was benign, but much larger than the doctors had originally imagined. It was attached to the thyroid, so as a result, a piece of my thyroid was also removed.

My goal was to be well enough to return to my blog by today, its one year anniversary.

But I just can’t. I am just not ready. And that’s ok.

But I would just like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of those people, friends, family and even strangers who have ever taken the time to read my little blog. For those people who write me to tell me, “I’m making your recipe today!” Every person who has ever commented, shared or simply just “liked” 👍🏼 a post. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Quite on the contrary. You are the reasons I keep writing, cooking and blogging. So I thank you.

I thank you.

I hope to return to my little kitchen project very soon, now settled in my little New York kitchen once again, to bring you more recipes and stories to enjoy.

Angela XO

Family First

As I write this, my little family and I are on our way to Montreal from Toronto where we approach the final step of our American Green Card process.

As most of you may already know, for the past year, we have been temporarily situated in Toronto, Canada, awaiting this very moment. There were some grueling days, months, but there were some treasured ones as well. Always striving to be the eternal optimist, I choose to see EVERY one of those times as a lesson, an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

Almost one year ago, I started this little project, my Little Kitchen Project that could. It was born during one of my most darkest times, in the midst of a Canadian winter, without my husband for 80% of the time, and before having met the amazing little group of women I can now call my friends, my family, here in Toronto.

I’m pressing pause.

In the next couple of weeks, we will pack up our things once again, back into the boxes from which they came, cross that oh-so-close, but yet-so-far border and move back to New York City, the home we had made our own in 2015, before this immigration adventure threw our lives onto what seemed like a never-ending roller coaster.

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, fighting for. It’s time.

And while my greatest stress release, my greatest pleasure, comes from my littlekitchen, and sharing with you a little piece of me, I need to save all of me for my little family for a while.

So, I bid you farewell, but just for a while. I will be back in my little New York kitchen in the blink of an eye, and hopefully cook my way back into your hearts.