Cooking Whims is on a Permanent Hiatus

Hello my always faithful and amazing readers!

I stopped posting here in June. It’s now February. At first, it was a temporary hiatus. Summer rolled in and my photography took off and I got extremely busy with that. And I didn’t really catch a break from that until December when I photographed my last wedding of the year. It was harder for me to keep up with two blogs, so I decided to put Cooking Whims away. “I’ll come back to you, little blog!” I’d say. But sadly, I never did. Then my life changed drastically. And instead of opening up an old chapter of my life, I’m trudging forward and opening new doors.

So I stopped back here to officially say “Farewell” to all of you. This blog is a great documentation of five years of my life. It chronicles my transition from a recent college grad into an adult who found a career, grew in that career, and re-discovered my deep rooted passion in photography. If I hadn’t started this blog, I never would have met all my amazing friends through blogger events and social media. I love keeping up with all of your lives via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Though I don’t blog, I still feel a strong connection with my blogging family.

Without this blog, I never would’ve dined at so many amazing Boston restaurants. This blog gave me opportunities to explore the city in a way I never would have without it. I had five course meals. I got to attend fancy charity events. I got free cookbooks. I met the cast of America’s Test Kitchen and tasted food that they made. I brunched at some of the best places in Massachusetts, surrounded by the best company anyone could imagine. I had so so so so much fun cooking up a storm in the kitchen and then taking photos and blogging about it.

As I close this chapter of my life, I’m excited to open up another door. To explore what else life has to offer. Life is always changing. We are often faced with troubles and hurdles we never imagined, or hoped we never would have to deal with. But yet, we do. And our only options are to jump over them. To get past the challenges. And to build from them. I am grateful for all of you, my family, and my friends, who are always willing to jump hurdles with me and explore this amazing life and world with open hands and hearts.

I will always cook. I will always bake. I will always document those experiences, because without food, we have no fuel to live through this incredible journey. So indulge, but keep a well rounded plate. Sprinkle your muffin batter with chocolate chips or drizzle with Nutella. Share your food with your family and friends. Laugh over meals. Go out to fancy dinners and brunches. But also order takeout and eat it in your sweats with a cheap glass of wine. Do this while cherishing every day and being thankful for what you have now. You’ll never get now back, which is why I love photography. So I can freeze these moments forever and look fondly upon them in the future.

Keep following me on all my networks. I may not update here, but I’m always around. Enjoy the archives and keep cooking.

But most importantly, keep smiling.

Lots of love,


Cooking from the Archives


, , , , ,

The other day I was staring fondly at my bookshelf that was covered in cookbooks. I have a pretty awesome collection of titles — Cooking Light, America’s Test Kitchen, Julia Child, Joy of Cooking, New York Times, Dorie Greenspan, Better Homes and Garden, and many, many more.

“Gah,” I thought. “I used to read all of you before bed or when I had downtime at night and make up lists of new and intriguing menus and recipes for the week. What happened??”

Life, I replied to myself. Life happened! I do love and always will love thumbing through cookbooks. Whether they have pictures or not, many of them are calming to read. Anything that has to do with cooking usually calms me down :)

But I quite honestly have not submersed myself into any new recipes lately. Usually selecting a new recipe takes me a while. I have to decide several things: a.) Is it healthy? b.) Do I think it will taste good? c.) Does it take less than an hour to make? d.) Will Chris like it, too, so I’m not the only one eating it? e.) Are the ingredients affordable? It’s a lot of criteria, and a lot of hemming and hawing, and then if it’s an unusual ingredient I need to get, I don’t like to have to hunt for it. The Shaw’s down the street basically needs to have it in stock, because that’s as far as I’ll travel for fresh flavors.

And lately I haven’t had the time to do new recipe research! Part of it is pure laziness….part of it is the opposite of lazy where I’m going out for walks at night after work. I only get to enjoy these summer months for a short while, and before I know it, they’ll be gone. It’s a waste of my time to spend my nights in a hot kitchen with no windows!

So what I’ve been doing is turning to my trusty archives. I’ve been making a lot of the same things over again, but I don’t mind. By the time I get sick of it, the days will be shorter and colder and I’ll be looking for reasons to stay inside.

So this works out pretty well :)

Here’s what’s been on my menu lately:

Skillet Lasagna My mom introduced me to this recipe a while ago, and I freaking love it. All the tastes of lasagna without all the annoying hassle of assembling it. It’s ready in about 30 minutes.

frozen chicken dinner 2

Crockpot Freezer Meal: Chicken Cacciatore Every few weeks I’ll buy the ingredients for this freezer meal, dump them in a bag, and then cook it when I’m fresh out of dinner ideas. Bonus points for not making the apartment hot at all during summer months.

split pea soup 3

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup I have a small obsession with this soup. Mainly because it’s delicious, but ALSO because it’s the cheapest thing you’ll ever make for dinner. Peas, potatoes, carrots, celery, and broth. It’s a great budget meal and keeps you full for hours. Top it with sour cream to make it extra delectable.

Quesadillas O.m.g. Quesadillas are a lifesaver dinner option when you are exhausted after work and don’t feel like doing anything. You stuff two tortillas with delicious ingredients — leftover chili, avocados, mushrooms, veggies, and most of all, CHEESE. Then you grill it and dip it in bbq sauce and sour cream and life is pure bliss.

beef stew 2

Crockpot Freezer Meal: Beef Stew Another freezer meal fave. I’ll admit it’s not the healthiest, but the crockpot is essential in the summer and when I’m in a I-don’t-like-meal-planning phase of life. Make ahead. Don’t even have to think about it.

Creamy Parmesan Orzo I found this recipe the first year we moved in, and have gone back to it time and time again. It’s a great side dish. It’s also a great main dish — make it as the recipe states, or add in veggies or chopped chicken. I think it’s quite honestly one of my favorite recipes on this entire blog.

pumpkin quiche 2

Quiche I make quiche at least once every other week. I do something different with it every time. Sometimes it’s layered with sweet potatoes. Sometimes it’s a fritatta (crustless). Sometimes I put amazing goat cheese in it. Sometimes I put spinach, sometimes I don’t. I have lots of quiche recipes on the blog that you can refer to for inspiration, but after about 5, I sort of stopped making new entries for them because I figured you guys got the hint: Quiche is amazing. Make it.

granola bars

Oatmeal Bars I make oatmeal squares a lot. They’re healthier than the packaged granola bars, and taste better, too. Lately, all I do is take 3 mashed bananas and mix them with 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats. Then I mix in some vanilla and some peanut butter and some chocolate chips, bake them for 20 minutes, and I have my snacks for the week.

Pita Chips Once in a while I’ll go overboard and buy a ton of flatbread or pita pockets for wraps and sandwiches. And then a week and a half later, I’ll still have a ton leftover that are either going stale and/or I’m afraid will turn moldy. So I cut them up, toss them in some salt, pepper, and olive oil, and bake them in the oven. Ta da! Chips!

Chilis Like quiche, I have made so many kinds of chilis on this blog, that I eventually just stopped documenting the new recipes I come up with. Now, when I make a chili, I usually follow a base — ground beef, beans, onion, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chilies, cumin, chili powder — then add in different kinds of veggies and/or beer if desired. It’s another cheap meal that can be either thrown in the crock pot, simmered on the stove all day, or made in a half hour. Very good for leftover lunches, too.

Spaghetti Squash Ahhhh I loooove spaghetti squash. I bake the whole thing in the oven for an hour, then scoop out the insides and saute it in butter and garlic along with whatever veggies I have on hand. Sometimes I add sausage. And it’s so incredibly tasty and delightful.

Chicken Fingers Instead of baking the frozen chicken nuggets from the store, I prefer to bread chicken breasts in Panko crumbs and other delicious spices and bake them — then serve them with a healthy veggie on the side. Dipping them in a blend of honey and dijon mustard is the best. Try it.

greek yogurt cookies 1

Toll House Cookies Finally, the treat that gets baked time and time again are Toll House Cookies. A family favorite. A staple in my life. The best chocolate chip cookie out there.

So there you have it, folks. Yet another one of my roundup posts. Sorry there isn’t anything new! But like me, I hope you’re enjoying the CW archives. I hope you all have some favorites you’ve found on this blog that you make over and over again. I have about 4 years of recipes on this blog, and I figure, hey, I should make them over again if I loved them so much the first time!

Hope you’re all enjoying the warmer weather and the long days of sunshine :)

‘Til next time — !

The Boston Brunchers Ride and Dine at SoulCycle and Brio, Chestnut Hill


, , , , , ,



The Boston Brunchers had a different, energetic, healthy, and awesome experience this past weekend. We got to ride (spinning at SoulCycle), and then eat all the calories we just burned at Brio — both in the new Chestnut Hill Square (same plaza as the new Wegmans!)

So basically, here’s how the day went:

First of all, I bike almost every day. I have a stationary bike in my apartment and that is my main form of exercise ever since my incredibly frustrating knee injury last year. Since it’s low impact, it’s a great way for me to stay in shape without putting a lot of pressure on my knee. But here’s a little secret…I’m kind of a slacker at home. Yes, I bike for 30 minutes every day, but not at high speeds or high resistance. And I’m usually watching really laid back TV like cooking shows, so I’m not that motivated to go very fast.

So I was excited to pump up the volume after reading about SoulCycle on their website. “Nice, I thought. An exercise I can do with a little more intensity than my regular biking!”

But I was in for a huge surprise.

When I walked into Soulcycle, I was first told I had to sign a waiver to participate in the class. “hmmmmmmm,” I thought. “This may be a bit more intense than what I originally imagined.” Then a woman at the desk asked me while I was filling out the form, “Do you need shoes?”
“Shoes??” I wonder…? No, I think. I’m wearing my sneakers…why do I?… “No,” I said aloud. Then she handed me an intense looking pair of shoes that had a buckle contraption at the bottom.

Luckily Erica from Boston Rookie was standing next to me and I remarked to her, “Why do we need shoes for this???!” And Erica, who has been to intense spin classes like this before, said, “Oh yea…..they’re designed so your feet lock into the bike.”

LOCK? I was beginning to get scared.

Then the previous class session got out. And I got even more intimidated. Everyone exiting the classroom looked like they had just taken a swim, not a spin class. The brunchers, many of whom had never taken one of these classes, began murmuring to each other.

“Is that what we’re going to look like after?”

“I’m scared.”

I took a deep breath and followed our crowd into the spin room and was a bit perplexed. The room was black — the only lights were up at the front casting a red and orange hue over the room. I walked over to my assigned bike and tried getting my feet locked in….which was confusing and embarrassing because I couldn’t do it. But luckily one instructor came over to help me. Once I was locked in, though, it was a very weird feeling, because the bike at the lowest setting almost just pushes your legs along. It was like being on a bike treadmill. Once you’re on, you’re on. Your legs keep moving whether you want them to or not.

Then our very fit six-pack ab instructor gets on her bike. And her voice, loud and booming over the microphone, instructed us to get pedaling. Beginner? First time? Get ready because you’re in for a ride. There were a few regulars in the class, and they followed her instructions promptly, pedaling as fast as they could. Meanwhile, back in row 3 is me, cruising along. I started at a slow stride, a little timid at first because my knee said to me “you haven’t done a bike session like this on me…ever…I’m usually chilling out while you’re watching cooking shows…SO BE CAREFUL.” Then the music got louder and faster and everyone around me stood up on their bikes, I was like Ohhh my god I look like such a wimp! I sort of felt like I was in my high school gym class, and the instructor was my gym teacher who always noticed me faking it in the back and never hesitated to call me out on it. At one point she was like “HOW YA DOING, BACK ROW?” And at another point in the session as I stopped to take a huge gulp of water, she yelled again, “If you’re stopping to take a sip of water, how’s THIS for water?” And took her water bottle and sprayed it directly into our faces.

Regardless as to whether the comments were actually directed at me, in a class like that, I’m sure all the newbies feel like they’re getting yelled at and are incredibly intimidated.

But. Needless to say. I biked with much more intensity than I do at home. And I was definitely feeling it afterwards. (PLUS, my knee was NOT sore after. I was amazed!)

Best part? We got to re-fuel after our bike session! So we wiped off the sweat, changed our clothes, and headed off to Brio next door.

The Brunchers after our intense SoulCycle workout! Photo courtesy of Renee from Eat. Live. Blog


brio 2

Brio is an Italian restaurant. And it’s conveniently located in the Chestnut Hill Square — so after a few hours of shopping, you can stop in for lunch or dinner. I also like the fact that it has a Sunday brunch.

brio 1

The brunch fair was typical that you’d see on other brunch menus. They started us off with a large platter of fruit.
brio 3

After the fruit they brought out cute trays of french toast stuffed with mascarpone cheese and covered in fresh fruit and powdered sugar. So cute!

They also brought out eggs benedict — which was on top of a beautifully fluffy biscuit with a choice of ham or sausage — uh. yum. (not pictured because of my silly phone accidentally deleting the image)

Also on the table was a beautiful hash! (pictured above)

I’m so happy they gave us this brunch family style, too. I would hope if a big crowd such as the brunchers came in for brunch, they would open the menu up to that option, because then everyone would be able to try everything on the menu — much like a buffet :)

If you couldn’t guess….I ate everything!

Thank you SoulCycle and Brio for hosting the Boston Brunchers. I hope to be back soon!

Note: Both the SoulCycle session and brunch at Brio were provided to me free of charge. All opinions in this post are my own.

The Only Cheesecake Recipe You’ll Ever Need


, , , , , ,


Hello, dear readers of Cooking Whims!

“Where have you been???” you all ask. “And whyyyyyyyy?”

Well, to simply put it, things have changed for me.

First of all, I’m busy. I’m doing Megan Kellett Photography on the side. So during the day I have my day job, and on the weekends and at night, I’m spending a lot of my time taking pictures, editing them, and promoting myself. Photography has always been a big passion of mine. Creating this blog inspired me to buy a DSLR and experiment with it, then I got a portrait lens, then my friends started asking me to take their engagement pictures, then I took pictures of a wedding, then I created a website, and then I started getting actual clients. It’s really exciting and amazing. But it is hard. And now that it is more than a hobby, it takes up most of my free time. So aka — time usually spent on photos of food is now spent on photos of people.

Second, there was that thyroid thing I was writing all about a few months ago. What’s the status, you’re wondering??? I’m back to normal. Yes, it was a really long and difficult struggle. Not being in control of my emotions or my weight was really, really, really discouraging and confusing. I hated the way I processed my thoughts. I hated socializing with people. I hated how I looked. I hated almost everything. And getting better was an incredibly gradual and frustrating process that took a lot of trial and error, and a lot of crying, but I’m finally feeling like my old self again. I enjoy these nice Spring days instead of longing to enjoy them. I enjoy cooking again. I have the energy to go out on the weekends and socialize with the people who missed me during my absence. And I’m grateful they all welcome me back to this beautiful world with open arms. (And I’m also eternally grateful to my husband, who was the most patient during this process.)

So where does that leave Cooking Whims? Well, I still cook and I still snap photos of my food here and there, but I don’t have the time to post as frequently as before. But I will when I can :) So check back once in a while to see what I have cooking in my little corner of the world!

In the meantime, here is a really fabulous cheesecake recipe. The only cheesecake recipe I ever followed was the one on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese package. And although that’s OK, I was in for a surprise when Kathy Can Cook suggested I make the Dorie Greenspan cheesecake recipe for her birthday bash. She assured me it was the best and only cheesecake recipe I would ever need for the rest of my life. And I trust Kathy with all my heart in the kitchen. So I obediently made the cheesecake…and was floored (like, delicious cheese lead in my belly kind of floored) when I ate it a few hours later.

She could not have been more right.

I loved it so much that I made it again for Easter (using reduced fat cream cheese, which is a sin in Kathy’s book, but totally OK with my health-conscious family!!) And everyone loved it. There was not a crumb of the cheesecake left after dinner. Not. A. Crumb.

So now I will introduce you to the best cheesecake recipe in the world. The only one you’ll ever need.



The Best Cheesecake

Serves 12
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Printable Recipe


For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate chip cookies, crushed — I used Chips Ahoy (or graham crackers, whichever you prefer)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 pounds (four 8 ounce boxes) of cream cheese at room temperature (you can use 1/3 fat cream cheese)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • OPTIONAL (for half chocolate, half white cheesecake): 7 oz (7 squares) unsweetened or dark chocolate


  1. To make the crust: Liberally grease a 9 inch springform pan with butter or cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with foil and place pan on foil lined sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the greased springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. (Depending on how big your sides are, the crumbs may or may not go up the sides halfway. Don’t worry about that — just make sure it evenly lines the bottom.)
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Then set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. To make the cheesecake: Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream.
  5. If you are making this half chocolate, melt the chocolate squares in the microwave or over a double boiler until smooth. Take 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture and put it in a separate bowl. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  6. Take the white filling and put it over the pre-baked crust in the springform pan. Then take the chocolate batter and smooth it evenly over the top.
  7. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 15 mins – 1 hour and 30 mins or until the top has cracked slightly.
  8. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate overnight — or a few days until ready to eat. Drizzle with chocolate sauce, top with fruit, or enjoy plain. (It can also be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to a month.)

 My Two Cents

What are you waiting for? Go make this!!!


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Apple Muffins


, , , , ,

pumpkin apple muffins

I bake a lot of muffins. And I try to make them as healthy as possible, because they’re small and easy to pop into your mouth like candy. Especially when they have pumpkin in them.

Because pumpkin anything = amazing.

At least in the CW world.

I’ve been baking oatmeal bars and pumpkin muffins this past year to take to work for snacks instead of cardboard granola bars.

And I’ve been making these ones a lot. First of all, this recipe makes a lot. And the muffins freeze well. Second, they’re really delicious. And third, you can add anything to the batter. Really. Omit the apples — add some nuts — add chocolate chips — dried fruit.

Oh, and totally vegan.

You can’t go wrong!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Makes 24
Adapted from Thrifty Veggie Mama
Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups apples, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin tins with liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the oil, maple syrup, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla to the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the hot water and the apples until evenly distributed
  6. Spoon batter evenly into muffin tins.
  7. Bake 20 – 25 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

pumpkin apple muffins 2

My Two Cents

These are fun to bake alone with the country music cranked up late at night when your husband is at law school.

Also I think I mentioned before that they taste good.

Enjoy! :)

Crockpot Freezer Meal: BBQ Chicken with Veggies


, , , , , , , , ,



Another recipe!

This week I give you a lovely crockpot freezer meal — BBQ chicken. But not just your typical pulled BBQ chicken to stuff in a bun or tortillas — this one is loaded with veggies. I love that! A BBQ chicken that is more dynamic and complex, yet still incredibly simple.

This was part of my large crockpot freezer meal batch that I made a few weeks ago. I’ve gone over this before, but every few months I make a big batch of freezer meals to make my life a bit easier (this month I did it with my sister-in-law — we were making them for my other sister-in-law who is about to have a baby, aka I have another nephew on the way and I can’t wait to meet him!!!)


So I came home to this meal after a long day at work and when I walked into my building I could smell the barbeque sauce from down the hall. Simply irresistible! Chris and I were so happy with the meal — served over rice — a completely satisfying meal to enjoy :)

Crockpot Freezer Meal: BBQ Chicken with Veggies

Adapted from Mama and Baby Love
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe


  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped (peeled or unpeeled — either works)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced (or 1/2 bag of baby carrots)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce


  1. Put all the ingredients into a gallon sized freezer bag. I suggest double bagging this one because there are a lot of ingredients. Lay flat to freeze.
  2. When ready to cook, take out of the freezer the night before and place in the fridge. If it’s still too frozen to get out of the bag in the morning, place in the microwave for 5 minutes on defrost. (You can also put it in the microwave on defrost for 7-10 minutes if you forget to defrost it in the fridge.)
  3. Place in crockpot and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
  4. Serve over rice.

My Two Cents

Make crockpot meals. That’s really the best feedback I can give you ;) You will be so grateful you put in 3-4 hours to make 5-6 meals!

Here are the other crockpot freezer meals I have on the blog:


    - bids8 - bids3 - auctions9 - site4