Wednesday, July 31, 2013

S'mores anyone?

Two weeks ago we packed the kids into the car and headed Northeast for a weekend away. It was our first time in Cape Cod since a wedding years ago and I forgot how special the area is. I'm a sucker for a clam shack along a single-lane highway. I die for beach walks at low tide. Bike rides along the coast make me giddy with excitement. It was all-in-all a wonderful weekend. It was pure summer.

That weekend I was a guest at the Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club representing the blog Luxury Travel Mom. While it was a press trip with a full itinerary - I was still able to sneak away and enjoy the peace and quiet of this lovely 429-acre oasis. I walked away knowing it was a place I wanted to return to.

One of the highlights of our trip was an evening of s'mores and wine on the resort's private beach. The ambience would be hard to recreate at home but thankfully I can still hold fast to the memories by making the resort's unbelievably good "S'more Cookies". Undoubtedly one of the best cookies I have ever tasted. They are perfection for an outdoor August barbecue.

S’Mores Cookies
As created by Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club's 
Executive Chef Philip Flath
(Yield: approximately 3 dozen)


2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Salt
1 Cup Butter, Softened
¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
½ Cup Graham Crackers, Slightly Crushed
1 Cup Mini Marshmallows or Large Marshmallows cut into small pieces


1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Mix and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, preferably with a paddle attachment, add Butter, Granulated Sugar, and Brown Sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated and mixture becomes slightly fluffy.
4. With mixer running, add eggs, one at a time until each is mixed well.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low, slowly add flour mixture, allowing to be mixed in well.
6. Add Chocolate Chips, Graham Crackers and Marshmallows, fold in on low speed.  Do not overmix to avoid crushing chips and crackers.
7. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, bake for 8-10 minutes, or until done. Allow to cool for 6-8 minutes, remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

For my full review on the resort - head on over to Luxury Travel Mom where I am now a guest writer. You'll see plenty of pictures I captured from our summer weekend. The resort does not disappoint!

Monday, July 29, 2013

For Little People

Camp is done. Kids are home. And we plan on spending two weeks lounging in jammies, picnicking at the beach, and soaking up some long August days by the pool. I know that as summer creeps to an end I will inevitably spend time thinking about the fall and new beginnings. Two birthdays have passed this summer and soon school days will start anew. Once babes dwelling in cribs - my two very grown-up-seeming girls are now officially sharing a room. I find myself lingering outside their door at night to listen to their precious conversations. Bedtime books are read with both of them snuggled up in one single bed. Afterwards they beg to sleep in the same bed and cling to each other when we pull them apart and tuck them in across the room from each other.

They love this shared space that feels so new to them. That being said - I feel it is time to refresh their space. The carpet, stained with water marks from spilled sippy cups and old play-doh is ready to be retired to the land of kid-carpets gone awry. The walls feel dingy and need a fresh coat of paint. The toys hang over the edges of baskets and crave new less-cluttered bins. It is time to purge and start anew.

I envision a space that is cozy and comfortable - a place where they can lie on the lush carpet flipping through their favorite books. A place that feels welcoming but also orderly and peaceful. The women of the Pless clan love to acquire "things". Tchotchke has become a favored word in our home. I am eager to find some simple storage options and a few items that add a bright pop of color to what I envision will be a mostly white room. The carpet feels like the most important part. I am on the hunt. Below is my inspiration.

How have you created space for your children? Do tell...

Artwork via Mondocherry


House and Home

Blue Hydrangea

Architectural Digest

Nicole Hanley Mellon's Home in Vogue

Jennie Kayne's Home in Architectural Digest

Lonny Magazine

House and Home


Christina Murphy Interiors

Better Homes and Gardens

Diane Bergeron

Better Homes and Gardens

Coastal Living

J and J Design Group

Daffodil Design

Unlabeled Images: Pinterest

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

That Which Nourishes

Don't we all crave good food? Food that nourishes the body, the mind, and the soul? Good food should have a pure history. We should be able to trace where it comes from and how it was grown. Do you know where your food comes from? Whose hands have plucked it from Earth? I want to know - and I think I am about to get closer to the answer thanks to a new friend. A farmer of sorts and a true gourmand. 

In my years of questioning, researching, and listening to successful people I have learned nothing creates success like passion. Passion drives us to get better answers. To understand bigger questions. Mike Geller, founder of Mike's Organic Delivery, is full of passion. He is passionate about education, farming, health, and wellness. Those passions have driven him to create a brand that commands respect and elicits happiness from those who truly love food. He cares about who he partners with and it shows in the product he delivers. The product he delivers is fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, chicken, and cheeses. They are dropped at your door with a wink and a smile. You taste and then you know you are giving your family good food.

Mike's Organic came to visit this week and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the fruits and vegetables in the basket he delivered. The corn on the cob was so ripe and sweet that I ate it raw right off the cob sans-cooking. The golden beets, when sautéed, tasted like candy. The carrots un-peeled were the perfect snack for the minis. And the heirloom tomatoes were bursting with flavor. I was - in heaven. Friends had told me Mike was not-to-be-missed. They were right. Get to know him. I venture to guess you'll want him and his company in your life too. 

Q&A with Mike Geller of Mike’s Organic Delivery

How and why did you start Mike's Organic?

I started Mike’s Organic a little over 3 years ago (we’re in our 4th Summer Season) and my focus has always been to bring great food to great people, support local farmers, and help consumers reconnect with their food, a connection that has been almost entirely lost over the past 20 years in this country. It has been an incredible adventure.

5 years ago I quit my job in advertising and spent over 3 months living in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. I was helping to build a photographic safari camp and spent the entire time with almost no contact with the outside world.

When I was in the local supermarket in Maun, I noticed that all of the produce, eggs, vegetables, fruits, looked better than they do at any supermarket in America. 3 Months later I emerged from the Bush, was in unbelievable shape, and also filled with questions about our food system in this country.

After spending almost a year working on farms (Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY), studying agriculture in the Northeast, and immersing myself in the culture of sustainable farming, Mike’s Organic Delivery was born.

Mike Geller

What is your service and what do you deliver? 

Mike’s Organic operates under a very simple premise. We believe that food tastes better, is more nutritious, and cleaner, when it is grown locally, and by farmers who care about the end consumers of their products.

Every week we visit up to 12 different small, local (within 55 miles), sustainable farms and bring all types of food to people in their homes.

You can either sign up for the remainder of our season (approx 13 weeks) and do one of our Full Season Packages, or just order on a week to week basis as you need. Whatever works best for you!

We source only from farms that we have partnered with and offer: Fruits, Vegetables, Pasture Raised Beef, Pork, Chicken, Lamb, Cheese, Pasture Raised Eggs, and Raw Local Honey.

Clients just go to our website, place their orders by Friday, and the following Tuesday or Wednesday we are at your door with incredible local foods - wearing a smile of course!

What farms do you work with?         

We work with some awesome farms, some of them are:

·      Hepworth Farm- Certified Organic Vegetables, IPM Fruits
·      Sepe Farm- Pasture Raised Lamb
·      Hemlock Hill Farm- Pasture Raised Beef
·      Meili Farm- Pasture Raised Pork
·      Pigasso Farm- Pasture Raised Chicken
·      Pine Hill Farm- Pasture Raised Eggs and Raw Local Honey
·      Sprout Creek Farm- Cheese from Pasture Raised Goats and Cows

All animals are antibiotic and hormone FREE and are out on pasture all day, they behave as they have for hundreds of years and are treated with respect, something that is very important to the farmers and to us.

Why is it important that we teach our children to eat fruits and vegetables and to help them understand where they come from?

I have been in thousands of kitchens over the last 3 years, talking to parents about food, how it’s grown, etc. One of the most amazing aspects of what we do is the connection we are able to build between children and their food.

For most kids, there is no story behind their food. It is wrapped in plastic or shows up on their plate and there is no connection with it at all. There is also very little flavor in supermarket produce.

When we show up with a box of fruits and veggies and explain to the children, even very young ones, that a farmer grew these carrots just for them, or picked these cherry tomatoes this morning, it helps to establish that connection.

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from moms saying “My son eats Kale Chips now!” or “My daughter is eating cherry tomatoes instead of Sour Patch Kids!”.

When children learn to eat and like fruits and vegetables at a young age, it shapes their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

There are a lot of myths out there about organic? Is your stuff truly organic? 

I’m not really a big believer in the “USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC” label on most items you see in the supermarket. Certified Organic Gummy Bears? No thanks.

A certified organic tomato from Mexico in February does not mean that much to me, personally. What I want to know is, where was it grown, who picked it, what were the farmer’s growing practices? Can you get any of this information from that label? Next time you are at the supermarket and buy a Certified Organic Fruit or Veggie ask the produce manager “What farm is this from?” See what he or she says.

We have chosen to work with farmers that do things, what we call, the right way. Some of our items are Certified Organic (all our vegetables are), but we are more interested in how they actually grow things. Many times farms that are not “Certified Organic” are growing at higher standards than large Certified Organic Farms but can’t afford to get certified or don’t agree with certain premises of Certified Organic.

Again it is all about the connection with the food and being able to directly ask the person growing your food the important questions you want to ask. Mainly - should I be feeding this to my kids? The answer with our farms is yes!

Sounds great but does it cost a lot more than buying stuff at the grocery store? 

You would be surprised, but I have many, many clients who have told me how much money they save using my service. There are several reasons why.

1. You don’t go out to eat as much.
2. You have more nutritious, filling meals and feel more satisfied.
3. Our produce is so fresh, so it lasts longer, and you end up throwing less away.

We have also done cost comparisons with some of the large organic super markets and found that the value of our $50 Mixed Fruit and Veggie Basket is closer to $60-$70 if you were to buy the items at the supermarket.

There are some items from local farms that are more costly than if you bought them at the supermarket, but they taste so much better and are so much better for you. If there is one place we should not be SO consumed with price it is the food we put into our bodies.

What else do you provide your customers with aside from the food products?

When you order Fruits/Veggies from us you don’t pick them out, we talk with the farmers every week to determine what they are picking, and what is freshest. That is what we deliver to you. We then bring you a $50 Mixed Fruit and Veggie Basket that contains 9-10 different items.

Since you will sometimes receive items or varieties you are not familiar with, we always provide you recipes for what you are getting, so you always know what to do with your produce!

Besides the recipes, we do everything in our power to make sure that you are happy, healthy, and taken care of. Our job is to make something that is inherently inconvenient (sourcing quality, local foods) and make it convenient for busy parents who might want to drive to a dozen farms each week, but don’t have the time.

How is the crop looking for end of summer/fall? 

Is fantasterrific a word? If so, then it looks like that.

All of the best produce is coming in now and over the next 13 weeks we will have everything from: Peaches, Plums, Nectarines, Apples, Pears, Concord Grapes, Sweet Corn, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, Pumpkins, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and more!

Where can people learn more about you and the service? 

We have a great website where people can go to learn more about our service, our farm partners, organic farming, or to place an order. We’re always available to answer any and all questions so feel free to give us a call!

* Sign me up. The Sent is fully on board and ready for my next basket.

** Stay tuned because Mike will be back on the blog regularly with: 
  • Kid-friendly recipes
  • A full-on cook off where we see how Mike's products hold up against traditional grocery store fare
  • How to eat fruits and veggies within their natural seasons

*** Tune in when the ultra-fabulous blog, My Life In Parties, has Mike cater an event with all his own products next month!

images: Lindley Pless