Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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The Pantry

Entries in Cheese (7)


Create a Rustic Cheeseboard

On Saturday evening, we had a few friends over.

I got it in my head that I wanted to make a tricked out cheeseboard for our guests. At the end of the day, I could sit and eat only cheese at a party, forgoing all other eats.

Is that weird?


Though I adore these cute little reusable flags, which I've used in cheeseboards of yore...


this time, I didn't want to serve giant hunks of cheese. And no hunks = nowhere to put the flags. So I had an idea to cover a wooden cutting board with {slightly crumpled and then smoothed} parchment paper, set everything up how I liked, and then simply write on the parchment. I used a fine tip pen for this so that it wouldn't smudge or run onto the food (ack). The result was incredibly subtle, but sophisticated and sweet. I need to hunt down some better parchment-writing implements so that it's easier to read, but as Shaun pointed out, it was nice that the identifiers weren't the star of the platter, but were there in case anyone was interested.


For the cheeses, we served up aged cheddar, goat cheese hand-rolled by Shaun in an herb mixture of parsley, oregano and basil, a strong wedge of blue cheese, and a trio of Spanish cheeses, including drunken goat cheese, iberico and manchego.


We also added some sliced aged brasaola...


some honey (for drizzling on the blue cheese)


and some pickled beets.


Paired with a tall glass of red wine and it doesn't really get much better than that!

I really loved this idea and looked so pretty on the table. I can't wait to come up with some other ideas for future boards, like additional cheeses, fig jam and maybe some fruit, like apple slices or grapes.

So that's how I dolled up a basic cheeseboard. There's something so rustic about adding the crumpled parchment and I'm loving the fact that I can simply write directly on it so guests know exactly what they are getting!

Questions of the Day:

How did you spend your weekend?

What's your favorite thing on a cheeseboard?


Cheeseball Bites + Your Favorite Workout

Well helloooooo there.

I'm happy to announce that I went to the gym again last night. I know this might not seem like a big feat for many of you, but for me, it makes me feel good about myself. I just haven't been into running lately, and so I've been tracking down some workouts online.

On Monday, I did the Best of the Best from Oxygen magazine. Shaun actually did this workout with me (don't tell him it was from a women's magazine ;) ). My entire upper body and core was sooooooo incredibly sore after that one! This morning it finally feels a bit better but wow.

Last night, I changed it up slightly with some different moves and used Young Married Chic's Cookie Burn Workout, also adapted from Oxygen. I enjoyed that this one included some light cardio - I mixed it up between jumping jacks, butt kicks and fake jump rope (aka jumping without the actual rope).

Oh and I followed both with a little 8-minute legs...thanks to my sisters for the tip on that one! I am loving that quick yet effective workout!

I'm always on the hunt for new ideas so...What is your workout of choice?

So during football playoff season, I made these little cheeseballs. Because what's better than a giant-sized cheeseball? Little cheeseballs, of course :)

These were so easy and so fun. I whipped them up quickly, let them sit in the refrigerator for a little bit and then rolled them up. My cheeseballs of choice were feta and sharp cheddar. But you can really use any kind of cheese you want. I think goat cheese would be fantastic. Or maybe blue cheese, with a dollop of honey mixed in for good measure. Hmph.

I lined them up on a cute platter and served them with my favorite Club Multigrain crackers. You actually don't even need the crackers...after all, nothing says party like popping a cheeseball!

Duo of Cheeseball Bites

Each recipe makes about 16 cheeseballs
1 WW Points+ per bite

for the feta cheeseball bites:
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 oz. reduced fat feta crumbles (about 1/2 of a 5 oz. container)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic cloves, minced
black pepper, to taste
1/2 C walnuts, finely diced

for the cheddar cheeseball bites:
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 C reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp paprika
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/2 C walnuts, finely diced

To make either recipe:
Beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the cheese and beat to combine. Add in remaining ingredients/spices and beat until fully combined and fluffy.

Pour out the mixture onto plastic wrap. Wrap up and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Roll into 1 Tbsp-sized balls and roll in walnuts. Set on platter and serve with crackers.

These can easily be made in advance and refrigerated until serving.

So cute.

So fun.

And my favorite part is that you can really add in any ingredient you want. So go for it!

Questions of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of cheese? I love most cheeses and could pretty much eat it for every meal :) There is nothing better than a big plate full of manchego, brie, goat and sharp cheddar on crackers...with a glass of red wine!

What are your favorite workouts?


psst...it's link day on The Peach & The Pit! Head over to find some fun stuff from around the web.


Mushroom, Spinach + Cheddar Tarts

I love magazines. I love scouring them for all sorts of ideas, and food is no exception. This month's Real Simple magazine has been pretty jam-packed with good recipes. I've already made 2 of them and both have earned spots in my permanent recipe collection.

It's only fair that I share with you, don't you think?

And I really love this recipe. Not only does it utilize my friends puff pastry and white wine, but it combines vegetables with decadence. Perfection, wouldn't you say?

I love this recipe even more because it can easily be a weeknight meal yet it's completely appropriate for a dinner party, or even made into smaller pieces for a cocktail party. The earthiness of the mushrooms combine just beautifully with the sharp cheddar cheese while the white wine adds a depth of flavor that I just love so much. It's really a miracle ingredient.


Mushroom, Spinach + Cheddar Tarts
*Adapted from Real Simple
1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
1-2 pkg mushrooms, sliced (I used a mix of white button and baby bella)
2 C fresh spinach
1 shallot, diced
1/4 C white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 C extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
kosher salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add the shallot and cook for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes, but don't overcook them since they are going to cook in the oven too. Add the wine and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts and the wine starts to evaporate, just a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, unfold the puff pastry and cut into four equal squares. Prick them all over with a fork. Cover the pastry with half of the cheese, leaving a border around the edges.

This is also a good time to sample some of that cheese. You know, just to make sure it's tasty.

Add the mushroom-spinach mixture to the pastries and then cover each one with the remaining cheese.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pastry is golden brown.

We enjoyed this alongside a salad and it was the perfect, elegant, quick dinner for 2. Not to mention some sweet leftovers that Shaun took for lunch the next day.

Oh and the base of this recipe can be used about 100 different ways by simply changing up the vegetables and cheese. I'm envisioning goat cheese and tomato tarts, feta and artichoke tarts, these would even work as mini pizzas! The possibilities are endless.

Are you a magazine reader? What are some of your favorites?