I have something really special for you guys today.

Have you seen the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook?

Americas Test Kitchen cookbook

This cookbook is the best cookbook I’ve ever seen. It has over 600 recipes, 18 chapters, and 2,500 beautiful color photos—yup, 2,500 pictures. It’s like having all of your Pinterest food boards wrapped up in a book cover!

Americas Test Kitchen cookbook

I mean….look at just that one page of pictures for sticky buns! I always want more pictures in cookbooks, and this one delivers.

The book brings together all the techniques, tips, and the best recipes ATK has developed in the kitchen. It’s actually a direct outgrowth of the interactive, video-based online cooking school launched by the test kitchen team two years ago. Thousands of students have taken online courses taught by test kitchen experts. In the process, the instructors have learned at what point home cooks are likely to get tripped up when making a recipe. The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook is designed to anticipate common cooking problems—and prevent them.

Americas Test Kitchen cookbook

Even though I’ve been cooking now for almost 10 years, I picked up a bunch of new tips and techniques after reading through the book. And if they had this book years ago, I probably would be much better than I am now! I can’t even imagine how helpful this book will be to someone who is new to cooking.

My biggest issue when I first started cooking was knowing what certain stages looked like in a recipe – whipped egg whites, for example, or knowing when meat has been appropriately browned (I always turn it too fast).

But all these pictures? They make sure you know exactly what to look for.

Don’t believe me? Check out the Test Kitchen blog for more reviews. But I think everyone should have this book.

perfect fried eggs

My first thing to make using this book? Perfect fried eggs. Their recipe/pictures in the book really do make for perfect eggs.

The best part of all this is that I have one copy of the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook to give away!

If you want to win this book for yourself, tell me what dish you’ve always wanted to make.

Want some extra entries?

  • Like America’s Test Kitchen on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway (mentioning @branappetit and @TestKitchen)
  • Tell me one thing you always mess up in the kitchen – we can be honest here. Me? I always have problems with mashed potatoes. I don’t know what it is! It should be super easy, right? I’ve got issues.

Good luck!!

Vanilla Bean Yogurt with Orange Cranberry Sauce

Winter is not my favorite.

vanilla bean yogurt with orange cranberry sauce

And I don’t even wait until the “official start of winter” to be gloomy about it. Winter, for me, starts as soon as all the leaves are off the trees. Which is now. And it’s cold and already dark when we get home from work and I just don’t like it.

Sometimes the snow makes it better. A little prettier, for a day or two. But then it just gets messy and gross.

Honestly, there are only a few good things about winter in my book:

1. Holiday time with family and friends

2. Boots, scarves, cute hats.

3. Citrus fruit.

4. Cranberries.

5. ….and now that I’m hooked, the return of Downton Abbey.

vanilla bean yogurt with orange cranberry sauce

When I get home to complete darkness and it’s 5:45, all I want to do is get in my pajamas, pour a bowl of cereal, and get into bed. Winter makes me lazy. It’s so tempting to not do anything that I really have to fight my way through the season.

And that’s why I’m so thankful for citrus fruit and cranberries in the middle of winter. When most foods are heavy and covered with gravy, they bring a bright flavor and lightness to an otherwise dark time of year.

vanilla bean yogurt with orange cranberry sauce

One of my favorite ways to use cranberries is to make my own cranberry sauce. But I don’t use this at the Thanksgiving table. This one gets swirled into yogurt or spooned on ice cream or mixed into grain salads.

If you’re a fan of plain yogurt (like me), but get into ruts with your mix-ins (like me), here’s a new one to try. The cranberries and oranges break down into a thick, syrupy sauce that’s perfect to mix in with your yogurt for breakfast, snack, or dessert. I use honey as the sweetener, but it’s also insanely good with maple syrup! Buddy the Elf would definitely approve.

vanilla bean yogurt with orange cranberry sauce

Vanilla Bean Yogurt with Orange Cranberry Sauce

A new spin on a yogurt parfait, this vanilla-speckled yogurt and ruby red cranberry swirl is a fun new way to start your day. Or, you can layer in some poundcake and freshly made whipped cream and make it a show-stopping holiday dessert.


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


  1. Pour the cranberries into a medium saucepan.
  2. Peel the oranges and cut into sections, making sure to remove any seeds.
  3. Add the orange sections and honey to the saucepan and put over medium-high heat. Stir the fruit together and bring the mixture to boil. Lower the heat to medium and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries and oranges have mostly broken down (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool before placing in the fridge. You can serve this warm or let it cool before mixing in with your yogurt.
  5. To serve, mix the yogurt with the vanilla bean paste and divide the yogurt between 4 bowls. Add about 2 Tbsp of the cranberry sauce to the yogurt, swirl in, and enjoy.

**tiptoe-ing back in**

So…..it’s been a while, huh? I won’t stay in this pity party for long, I promise. I mostly just want to say that I miss all of you! Ever since our completely unplugged summer vacation, I’ve had a really hard time getting back into the swing of things. Especially dealing with the computer. But I’m making my way back.

roasted shisitos

I’ve been cooking! And taking photos! I have a stockpile of recipes, ready to share. Now I’m just working on getting back into the routine of sitting and writing again. And now that our Downton binge-watching session is over, I definitely have more time to devote to these recipes.
Am I the only that’s this late to Downton? And seriously, people. Why didn’t someone make me start watching it before now? I can’t handle the last episode. I just can’t. I’m so ready for the new season to start. That will make the end of college football a little easier on me, knowing that I have new Downton episodes to watch.
Besides being glued to amazon prime for the past month, my other newest addiction (that I know I’ve already mentioned) is still homemade mayo. It is honestly the easiest thing I’ve ever made. And it impresses people….which makes it even nicer that it only takes 60 seconds. Yup, a minute. Less than a minute, actually. I’ve timed it.

Oregon Vacation Snippets

I’ve been sitting on our vacation pictures for way too long, and these aren’t even the best ones! I’m still planning to do a full post / recap of our trip, but I need to move pictures around and figured I might as well post a few of these now. One reason is just to share some little snippets from August and the second reason is to remind myself of how great our week was.

No phones. No internet. No tv. No radio. Just cabins, family, the lake, and gorgeous weather.

I’m ready to go back already.

Full recap soon, I promise!







Oregon owns a big chunk of my heart.

And there’s some new recipes coming soon, too. Things have been a little crazy between the new job, puppy sicknesses, family time, and football season – but I’ve got some great ones in the queue!

Keep It Sweet Desserts Giveaway

You guys are in for a treat today – and it’s from another blogger and insanely good dessert maker!

keep it sweet 3

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Keep It Sweet Desserts, it’s an online bakery specializing in artisanal mail-order desserts that have a quality and taste that always exceed expectations.  Their products range from classic favorites like Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies to modern day twists like buttercream filled cookie sandwiches. They also offer a Cookie of the Month Club (um…hello, perfect gift!), gift baskets, seasonal gift options, special event catering (in the New York tri-state area), favors and corporate gifts.
keep it sweet 1
From Lauren, owner of Keep It Sweet Desserts:
“I started the Company last spring and it has definitely been a roller coaster!  I’ve catered events for Anthropologie, filmed a TV show pilot, brought desserts onto the set of Royal Pains (we love that show!).  Even Will Forte is now a fan!  There are definitely ups and downs in running my own business but I wouldn’t trade my current situation for my old finance career for a minute.”
keep it sweet 2
Lauren was nice enough to send me some of her desserts to sample before holding a giveaway for all of you.
For our first taste of Keep It Sweet Desserts, we tried the Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies, Fudgy Caramel Pecan Brownies, and the Peppermint Mocha Cookies. I would say that the brownies were my favorite….but I’m a sucker for anything mint + chocolate, and those peppermint mocha cookies were some of the best I’ve ever had.

Lucky for one of you, Lauren would like to offer a dozen sweets of the winner’s choice to you or for you to use as a gift for someone else.

keep it sweet 4
Want to see all the desserts Lauren makes? Make sure to check out her website and see all the varieties she has available.
All of the seasonal items can be found here.
She also has a special promotion going on right now.  Customers can get $5 off the Pumpkin Package if they enter WELOVEPUMPKIN13 at checkout.  The offer is only valid through 10/31, so don’t miss out!
To enter the giveaway:
- Leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday treat
For extra entries:
- Tell me the Keep It Sweet dessert that you want to try the most
- Like Keep It Sweet on Facebook and tell Lauren that I sent you
Good luck! And Happy Monday!

Easy Peach Praline Cobbler


I know what you’re thinking.

Easy, Praline, and Cobbler all in the same sentence?

easy peach praline cobbler 4

I know, I know. I thought the same thing. Bu I promise – it really is easy.

Even when I was reading the recipe and looking at the list of ingredients and the steps, I thought “This doesn’t look easy – it’s going to take me forever!”.

And then I started working on it.

easy peach praline cobbler 1

And surprise, surprise. The title is right.