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Thanks to my awesomesauce fiance for fixing my computer and figuring out why my photos weren’t uploading! I can go back to regular posting, including getting through this big backlog of recipes. shukshuka, shakshuka, shakshouka, israeli, jewish, eggs, tomatoes, garlic, poached, breakfast, hot, spicy

Being in Israel this summer opened me up to so many new culinary flavors and opportunities, while also reminding me that no matter what, there are some things I will always find repulsive. Cucumbers, being one of those things. And tomatoes.

Or so I thought, until I tried Shukshuka for lunch. It turns out that when you break down the tomatoes and simmer them with spices and garlic, and then poach a few eggs in it, it doesn’t taste like slimy fresh tomatoes.

Not only is shukshuka a fun word to say, but it’s an awesome dish that can be adapted to suit your preferences. The three main ingredients are tomatoes, spices, and eggs. It’s basically eggs poached in tomato sauce, but it makes for a hearty and delicious meal that I never get sick of.

You will need:

shukshuka, shakshuka, shakshouka, israeli, jewish, eggs, tomatoes, garlic, poached, breakfast, hot, spicy Continue reading

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Signs I’m not quite nailing this “adult” thing

  • I’m paying for my wedding photographer today…using checks from 2005 that have puppy dogs and kitties on them.
  • My to do list has, in three separate and distinct entries, directions for doing laundry:
  1. do laundry
  2. fold laundry
  3. put fucking laundry away
  • I’m wearing batman underwear beneath my fancy work dress
  • I think I’ll eat halloween candy for lunch
  • I can’t figure out why wordpress isn’t letting me upload my pictures so I can finally get rid of the huge backlog of posts I’m sitting on!

so for your amusement, until I can get my shit in order, hang out on buzzfeed.


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Recipe roundup: Homemade pasta sauces

In Starting from Scratch (which is selling pretty well on Amazon, btw, and has gotten more than a couple emails from happy readers!), there is a scene where Emily finds Maw Maw’s spaghetti sauce recipe on the back of an old photograph, and challenges herself to cook it. The recipe tied her story together with her grandmother’s, bridging the generation gap a little bit.

I wanted to post a stellar homemade pasta sauce recipe that Maw Maw would be proud of, but I don’t have any! And rather than throw together a recipe and claim it’s an old family favorite or that I’ve made it dozens of times to great success, I figured I could gather a bunch of recipes from equally talented bloggers, and let you pick and choose which ones to try.

Top Row:

Pasta All’Amatriciana from Livliftoo
Easy marinara from twopeasandtheirpod 
Fresh tomato sauce from theviewfromgreatisland

Second Row:

Pasta Bolognese from theviewfromgreatisland
Bolognese sauce from tasteloveandnourish
20 minute tomato sauce from runningtothekitchen

Third Row:

Quick and fresh basil tomato sauce from chocolatemoosey
Lemon basil marinara from ingoodtastemag
Spicy 30 minute tomato sauce from nutmegnanny

Bottom Row:

Slow cooker vodka pasta sauce from the frugalfoodiemama
Italian tomato sauce from kitchentreaty
Spaghetti and sausage ragu from ErrensKitchen

Be sure to let the authors know you tried and loved their recipes, let them know you found their link from my site, and don’t forget to get your copy of Starting from Scratch!!

smallerbook cover-01

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Mint chocolate chip cookie dough dip

chocolate, mint, chip, cookie, dough, dip, ice, cream, dessert, eggs, oreos, thin, mints, girl, scout, cookiesIn the spring I discovered, purely by accident, that there is such a thing as cookie dough dip. And I was intrigued.

Then I found a recipe for Mint chocolate chip cookie dough dip, and I knew I had to make it. I mean, what could be better than a dip that reminds you of cookies that reminds you of ice cream? It’s pretty great.

Recipe taken directly from Host the Toastchocolate, mint, chip, cookie, dough, dip, ice, cream, dessert, eggs, oreos, thin, mints, girl, scout, cookies Continue reading

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White Sangria

white, wine, sangria, summer, fall, spring, fruit, fresh, orange, lemon, lime, triple sec, apples, reisling, Riesling, spritewhite, wine, sangria, summer, fall, spring, fruit, fresh, orange, lemon, lime, triple sec, apples, reisling, Riesling, spriteI made this in June, but I had such a hectic summer that I’ve had almost no time to edit pictures and blog. But, I figured that since this Sangria has apples, It would totally work for fall.

It’s very simple to make, and would be perfect for one last summer hurrah. I love Autumn as much as the next person, but it is a little bittersweet knowing that after one month of beautiful weather and that crisp, clean air smell we’ll be stuck with about six months of dismal, dreary winter. Blech. 

Unless you live somewhere warm, in which case I hate you, but go ahead and make this Sangria anyway, you lucky jerkface.


  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 medium oranges, washed and sliced
  • 1 medium lemon, washed and sliced
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Riesling or other sweet white wine
  • 1 medium tart apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 2 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • Ice cubes

white, wine, sangria, summer, fall, spring, fruit, fresh, orange, lemon, lime, triple sec, apples, reisling, Riesling, sprite

Squeeze that lemon.white, wine, sangria, summer, fall, spring, fruit, fresh, orange, lemon, lime, triple sec, apples, reisling, Riesling, spriteCut those fruits. Continue reading

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Rockin’ Guacamole

Starting from Scratch is finally done! I’m so proud of it, and while it wasn’t nearly as easy for me to write as Baking Bree, I feel as though I did justice to Emily’s story while still retaining the light-hearted humor and steamy romance that made Bree so popular with readers.

You can get it here on Amazon:

smallerbook cover-01

And just like last year, when I posted some Baking Bree inspired recipes, I’m going to cook, photograph, and write about some of the things Emily and Nick eat throughout the book. Starting with my absolute favorite recipe:


guac, guacamole, chipotle, home made, fresh, avocado, hass, cilantro, onion, easy, appetizers, party, spicy, jalapeno, peppers, tomatoes, starting from scratch, baking bree, recipes, Emily, Anderson, Nick, Bree, Sarah West, dip, chip, salsaThere are very few people in the world who don’t like guac, and I pity them. I’ve only been eating it for a few years now, but I’m certainly making up for lost time by eating a lot of it. Like, a lot.  Continue reading

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Book Reviews

On this, the eve of publication of my third (and long-awaited) novel, Starting from Scratch, I figured I needed to post about book reviews.

I don’t intend to speak for every author in the world, but there’s generally a reason they climb out of bed each morning, shuffle their way into the kitchen and turn on the coffee maker, and then sit in front of their computer screen until they have a headache and they can’t feel their butts anymore:

They have an idea for a story, and they can’t rest until it’s written down. 

Yes, being an author is so charming and quaint and it’s such a cool lifestyle, blah blah blah. You can wear hipster glasses and go to coffee shops and drink huge steaming cups of tea. And obviously you’ll be rich, right? The reality of it sucks so much more.

You have an idea, great! It’s turning that idea into a 300+ page novel with realistic characters, a believable plot, momentum to keep the story moving, mind-blowing sexual tension…that’s the difficult part. And I haven’t even talked about editing and formatting and re-writing, or any of the other crap that comes after you finish writing.

So why do authors do it? Why did I spend a year and a half writing and re-writing a story that I promised my readers would be out in the Fall of 2013? Why not just give up? It certainly wasn’t the book sales from Baking Bree or Passion’s Tide. So why do it at all?

“This is truly one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. I easily found myself engrossed in it and had a hard time putting it down. I found myself saying , “5 more minutes” and looking at the clock thirty minutes later knowing that I needed to put it down and go to sleep. Looking forward to the next book in the series.”
“This was such a cute, heartwarming story, and a great read – in fact, I found myself laughing out loud several times at the many comedic moments in the book – totally my sense of humour. Bree’s quirky personality was authentic and adorable, and as one who started out learning to cook by burning spaghetti, I loved reading about her misadventures in cooking. I’m definitely looking forward to more books by this author!”
“This is an amazing book! I couldn’t put it down. There were a lot of emotions in this book. I was laughing my butt off in lots of it, then there were parts that I was actually really irritated at the characters( the mom and sister). Then times that I felt a tug on my heart. Not all books can do this, but when it happens, it is a wonderful combination. The love story is….wow….I was completely smitten. Can’t wait to read the next book about the sister Emily. I will definitely be reading any books that Sarah West comes out with.”

I am so touched by the positive reviews I get on Amazon. Hearing that I made people laugh and cry makes me want to write another book that will do the same! Learning that readers related to so many characters inspires me to bring the characters back in a new story that will keep my readers happy. Getting irritated emails from readers demanding to know where the book that I promised them six months ago is, really makes me write faster.

And you know what? I love my negative reviews, too. I know that not everyone who picks up a book is going to love it. Hell, I’ve written some pretty negative reviews myself. But as long as they are honest, clearly state what they didn’t like (typos? I can fix those. Hated the sex scenes and swearing? Sorry, mom, that’s not going to change) I appreciate all feedback. I am always looking to improve, and I’m not afraid of some constructive criticism.

So the next time you finish a book you read, take two minutes and write three sentences explaining what you liked or didn’t like. You’re helping other readers, who might be on the fence about buying a book, decide whether or not to get it, and you’re helping me by giving me feedback about what works in a story and what doesn’t work.

In fact, if you’re bored at work or stuck inside on a rainy day, go to amazon and click on your recent purchases. You can go down the list and review everything you’ve purchased. It’s sort of fun! And the authors, sellers, and other shoppers will thank you for your opinion.

And now I’m going to climb down off my soapbox and publish my damn book! Recipes to follow.

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The return of Doctor Who

I’m not doing any real blog posts until I get my website settled (moving to a new server, bear with me), so this is just an old photo set I never got around to posting.

You might remember that I made Doctor Who cupcake toppers for the 50th anniversary episode last November (holy crap that was a long time ago) to go with Tracy’s amazing jammy dodger cupcakes. I also got curious about my sculpting abilities, and tried my hand at crafting a small bust of one of my favorite Doctor Who species, the Silurians.

I decided to sculpt one wearing the cool mask we see in The Hungry Earth episode, mostly because I wasn’t certain I could sculpt the actual lizard-sapian face accurately enough to satisfy my OCDness. I think, looking back, that I could have done it justice. But for now, I’m proud to show you my Silurian. Silurian, Doctor Who, sci-fi, alien, fondant, sculpted, buttercream, rice krispies, crispy, edible, sculpture, BBC, Vastra, Matt Smith, Capaldi, I finally decided to post her after watching the new season of Doctor Who this weekend, with the brand new Doctor, Peter Capaldi. While I miss Matt Smith very much, I am eager to see what Capaldi, a brilliant actor, will bring to the character.

The episode also brought back some delighful characters that I’m always happy to see, Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Madam Vastra is, of course, a Silurian. And a beautiful one at that. Silurian, Doctor Who, sci-fi, alien, fondant, sculpted, buttercream, rice krispies, crispy, edible, sculpture, BBC, Vastra, Matt Smith, Capaldi,

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Eating my way through Israel


Oh hey, internet. Remember me? It’s been awhile.

If you’ve forgotten about me, allow me to jog your memory. My name is Sarah, I’m 26 years old, I live in Western NYS, and I like long walks on the beach. I am recently engaged, and I spent two amazing weeks this summer on a Birthright trip in Israel, which is the main reason I’ve been so bad at blogging. Firstly, you know, being out of the country makes it difficult.

And secondly, when you are gone for 15 days you come back to a LOT of stuff piled on your desk, and some unhappy coworkers who are angry at you for extending your trip an additional four days without notifying them. I also had to juggle jet lag, a huge pile of laundry, a book that needs to be published, 2k photos that had to be edited, a wedding to plan, Bioshock Infinite that needs playing, TV to catch up on, and battling depression from missing all of my new friends.

And the food.


Oh, man. The food.

I love the food there. Granted, I got pretty sick of it by the end of the trip, but now that I’m home and can’t find authentic Israeli food I miss it like crazy. You can see more of my pictures on FB, but for now I’ll walk you through some of the different foodie adventures I had!

10530765_10202836736744083_7937800979033206851_nFirst up is Shawarma. Made famous by Robert Downey JR in the Avengers, Shawarma is awesome. 10411008_10202895602375687_3008836517927407288_n

See that log of meat roasting in the back there? That’s shawarma. They shave the meat into a pita (which are nothing like the stale, brittle pitas we have here. In Israel they are like fluffy clouds). The meat is typically turkey, and you can get it made with all sorts of sauces and vegetables. These top three pictures were taken in Tsefat. Continue reading

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Someday my pinch will come

This Dash has finally met her Pinch Charming!

photo 3WHAAAAAAT?!?!?!

Kevin proposed last week while we were having my birthday dinner at Aperativo in Schenectady, which has been our favorite restaurant since we started dating. The ring is absolutely stunning, and he got my style so perfectly. It’s unique and antique and shiny and really pretty and shiny!

photo 2The funny thing is, I had joked about him proposing at this dinner for weeks, saying it would be so perfect and convenient, not really expecting that he had purchased a ring and had hidden it away in the pocket of his shark shorts:

10403969_10202492918028830_8002313760625845671_oHow romantic 😛

To be fair, as we were getting dressed for the evening, he offered to change. I believe my exact words were, “hells no, I want you to propose wearing shark shorts!”

cartoon-tyrannosaurus-rex-15156091After I got out of the bathroom and my creme brulee showed up, he reached for his pocket to grab the ring. Too bad I was hyper alert and was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” So he took out his phone for a birthday photo instead. Then, when I was distracted by sugar, he got down on one knee.

photo 1I was crying and laughing, and pretty much unable to see the ring in close enough detail because I was wearing contacts, but all in all, it was a great night.


We had to keep it secret for a day so that we could tell our families in person, but we had a lot of fun announcing it. His caption for this photo was “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

So basically, super stoked. No idea when/where the wedding will be, but we’ve started looking at places online together. It’s adorable that he’s involved, and I’m just so lucky to have a wonderful guy to put up with my craziness. Plus, he’s got a sweet present coming 🙂

In other news…one week until I leave for Israel!





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