Rainbow Salad

There is nothing better than a good, delicious, healthy salad for lunch. I especially love to combine fruit and nuts with my regular base for added texture and flavors. I am also a firm believer of eating your colors – mix as much color vegetables as you can at each meal!


1/2 head of radicchio, chopped

1 head of red lettuce, chopped

4 big leaves lacinato kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

6-8 large strawberries, halved

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup mint, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the raddichio, kale, strawberries, tomatoes, mint, feta and almonds in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until coated.






Photos by Kate Bolt


Soup for the Soul

Growing up my mom will always make soup during the Winter months. Coming home from school to a comforting bowl of hot soup was just perfect. I’m carrying on this tradition with my own family. This soup is one of the favorites in my house, between the girls and J the pot will be empty and gone in two days.

Split pea and Kale soup

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium size onion, chopped

2 medium size carrots, diced

2 red peppers, diced

4-6 big leaves lacinato kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 pound bag of dried split pea

1 qt chicken stock

1 1/2 cup of frozen petit green peas

2.5 qt water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, peppers and sauté for about 10 minutes with the cover on. Add the kale, garlic and parsley, stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Rinse the split pea in cold water and add to the pot. Add the chicken stock, water, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partly covered, for 30 Р40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the split pea is starting to disintegrated. Add the frozen green peas, and cook for another 20 minutes.

Soup is best if made one day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Thin with water if necessary.





Photos by Kate Bolt


5 Minute Snack

In Israel as a girl, strawberries were a Winter treat. It was simply impossible to get them year round. So, we would make the most of it during the Winter and eat them in every shape and form.

My favorite version is to mix them with sour cream and a bit of sugar. The sour cream creates a light coat over the strawberries without taking over. The texture is creamy and thus more enticing then plain yogurt. Five minute of work and you have a fabulous snack or dessert.

All you need:

Strawberries, blueberries, a few scoops of sour cream and sugar.

Depending on their size cut the Strawberries in half and toss with Blueberries. Sprinkle with one or two teaspoons Sugar and mix in two tablespoons of sour cream. Mix well until the sour cream coats all fruit. For an added bonus: sprinkle a little bit of candied Pecans.





Photos by Kate Bolt



I must write a post about one of my favorite dishes. It is my signature¬†dish for brunch or for a light dinner. This is another traditional dish and¬†I grew up with my dad’s version where he used a lot of diced peppers. My version is more Greek in its style using kalamata olives and feta. Shakshuka is a super easy dish that can serve as the star of any gathering. All it needs is a good white bread to accompany it. For best flavors serve it with Tahini on the side.

2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can of rustic cut tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
2 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add kalamata olives and garlic. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes to allow the olives to soften (this will remove some most of their bitter flavor). Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook further for about 10 minutes.

Make 4 little dips in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pure each into its own dip taking care not to break the yolks. Sprinkle the feta over the eggs. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the eggs are set. Remove from the heat, and leave for a couple of minutes. Spoon into individual plates and serve with tahini.

Note: This recipe I only used 4 eggs since it was only made for two. This base is good to use with up to 10 eggs.





Photos by Kate Bolt


Stuffed Peppers

This is one of those recipes that every family has. My late grandfather used to make it using only green peppers since he liked the bitterness in them. I only use the red ones since I love the sweetness in them. Some will precook the rice to shorten the cooking time and some will use only dry rice and let the peppers cook longer. Every family has a story of her own. This is mine.

Note: The peppers are cooked in a tomato sauce. Mine changes each time, according to what I have at my pantry. The sauce should be easy and simple to accompany the peppers. 

Sauce, peppers and seasonings
7 red bell peppers (Try picking the big ones that can hold the stuffing)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 large can of rustic cut tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sugar in the raw, salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup basmati rice
1 pound sirloin ground beef
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp baking soda
Salt and freshly ground peppers

Start with the stuffing. Cook the rice according to direction on the package. Limit cooking time to 15 minutes until the water is absorbed but the rice is not fully cooked. Set aside.

Place the ground beef in a large mixing bowl and add the baking soda. Using a little bit of ice cold water, mix the baking soda with the beef (this is a family trick that will make the beef airy). Add the dill, dijon mustard and season with salt and freshly ground black peppers. Pour over the rice. Mix everything together well (you may need to use your hands).

Using a small knife gently remove the top cap of the pepper while keeping it intact. Use the knife to remove any seeds left inside and random white pieces. Without forcing the peppers, stuff each one with an equal amount of the mixture. Close each pepper with its top.

In a large pot (which you have a tight-fitting lid for) pour the tomatoes and season with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground peppers. Depending on how acidic the tomatoes are you may need to season with a little bit of sugar to balance the flavors. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Carefully arrange the peppers. The tomato sauce should almost cover them. Add hot water if necessary to reach that level. Bring to a boil again and then lower the heat, cover the pot and cook for about an hour. The stuffing should be fully cooked and the peppers tender but still keeping their shape.

Use tongs to remove peppers from the pot. Spoon sauce in a moat around them or slice open peppers and douse with sauce on top. Enjoy!








Photos by Kate Bolt


A Drink to Die for

Halloween is tomorrow so blogs and magazines are all about DIY crafts. I am not a crafty person, so I chose to do Halloween with an adult twist. Obviously, i turned to my partner in crime Kate (who by the way takes most of the photos for my blog). Last year at our book club’s holiday party she served us a cocktail to die for. Seriously, I was quite hung over the next day after two glasses. This is a slightly different version, but still a perfect fit for Halloween. Cheers!

The James a-la Kate
4 Tbs Raspberry Stoli vodka
2 Tbs St. Germain Elderflower liquor
Half lime, Juiced
Using a cocktail shaker, mix in with ice and a splash of club soda. Shake well and serve over an icy glass.
Don’t forget to chill glasses prior to trick or treating!
Photos by Kate Bolt

Happy Birthday P&C!

A year ago, I embarked on a new journey and started “Peonies and Caramel”. A blog where I share my inspiration and my passion for life. I have enjoyed every moment of my first year. Each post made me a better blogger.

My only wish is that this year will be just as good and even better.

Thank you for following, commenting, sharing and just visiting.



PS¬†– it can’t be a birthday without a party… Take a look at the birthday¬†luncheon¬†I hosted at my¬†house.¬†











Photos by Kate Bolt


Summer cool

I’m always looking for new recipes to try. I love making recipes that are simple, easy and don’t require any special ingredients. My father is visiting with us and we have been cooking and baking all week long. He is by far the best cook I know! ¬†That being said, it is difficult getting recipes from him because he cooks and bakes from the heart.

Last weekend was so hot and humid, and he immediately decided that it was time to make cucumber yogurt soup. I think his wife created the recipe and he add his own touches along the way. The combination of the dill and mint makes this cool dish even more refreshing. Serve it between courses at a dinner party or for lunch with toast and salad. The soup needs a good 24 hours in the fridge before serving.

Naturally when we made this it rained the next day, but I still had the perfect lunch!

Yogurt cucumber soup

2 containers Greek yogurt
8 oz sour cream
6 green house cucumber, unpeeled, chopped 
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon garlic oil
1/2 cup dill and mint chopped 
freshly ground pepper and coarse salt for seasoning

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt and sour cream (If the yogurt is too thick, add a little bit of milk). Mix in the cucumber, garlic, salt and pepper and stir well. Fold in the dill and mint, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Serve chilled, garnished with fresh dill.







Clothing ETC., EAT, OUT & ABOUT

11 Things for Summer

I’m good at making lists. I write¬†them constantly¬†to help me keep organized. I also love to make fun lists of things I’d like to do, clothes that I’d love to wear, food that I want to make and places I wish to go.

Summer in Michigan¬†is the best! We have daylight from 6AM to 10PM, we have beautiful beaches, great local farmer’s markets and lots of outdoor time. We usually spent most of our time either at the pool or on¬†the beach. ¬†I love to have friends over for ¬†BBQ¬†on our deck, and I’m always on the lookout for fun summer recipes. The list below is a little bit of everything – beach and pool items, and¬†food and entertainment ideas.

I hope they¬†will inspire you the way they’ve inspired me. I already made the¬†Sangr√≠a for a dinner party I hosted last week, and I just bought the Beets for the salad.


  1. Beach chairs by Serena and Lilly
  2. Beautiful summer table setting by Crate and Barrel
  3. Lace Caftan by Miguelina
  4. Striped bikini by MIKOH
  5. Gold plate flat sandal by SEE BY CHLOE
  6. Illesteva Leonard Mirrored Lense Sunglasses
  7. Fresh flowers including my favorite pink peonies
  8. White Sangría with Mint, Peaches and Plums
  9. New Balance MINIMUS ZEO V2 in white, blue and coral.
  10. Vans for J Crew slip-on shoes
  11. Crushed Beets with Lemon Vinaigrette salad by bon appetit

An afternoon delight

Sometimes, I¬†wish I¬†could live in “Downton Abby” days – having afternoon tea, eating on fine china while dressed in ball¬†gowns. Then, I remember how much I love my espresso machine and amazon prime.

So, I decided to take out the fine china and macaroons and have an afternoon tea.

I made cucumber sandwiches with ricotta cheese and dill, mini puff pastry rounds with goat cheese and balsamic reduction and of course macaroons (that I did not make. I am not that ambitious).  To decorate the table I used  mini Gerber daisies that I found at a local flower shop and mini fabric flags I ordered from Etsy.

The china, silverware and crystal glasses are all family heirloom. They belonged to my husband’s grandmother. I never met her, but always heard the stories of how much she loved to entertain and have family and friends over. I’m honored to have some of her treasured dishes and I love the idea that we are keeping her tradition alive (with some modern twists).

Afternoon tea was simple, elegant and full of fun. Perfect way to spend an afternoon.












Photos by Kate Bolt