Author Archives: Virginie Martocq

Tequila lime pie

Margarita pie, or key lime tequila pie

I’ve got March Break on the mind. It happens to us Northerners some time in March. We’ve endured as much winter fun as one should have to, and as the days get longer, the birds start chirping a little louder and the occasional patch of muddy grass pokes through the snow piles, we start to think about warm places. March is really a mind jam – you think spring is coming, but there’s still a ways to go, and the days are frustratingly unpredictable. So many many many many of us head south for a week or so, just to give us the strength to endure the slow tease of springs unveiling.
With that in mind, I thought it might be fun this week to look for a recipe that combines the fun of a classic spring break cocktail with the sin of a sticky sweet treat. The result is a stunning dessert that will leave you feeling like you’ve indulged in a romp at a beach side restaurant without the hangover!


4 large egg yolks
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 C Margarita mix (see below for homemade margarita mix)
1-2 T tequila
1-9 inch prepared graham cracker pie shell
Unsweetened whipped cream (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Position rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350. Whisk together the yolks and the condensed milk. Add the margarita mix and whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in the tequila. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake until filling is lightly, but evenly set and the edges of the shell are lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 2 hours. Top wedges with whipped cream (optional) to serve.

Home made Margarita mix

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh lime juice
Mix all ingredients. Cook in a saucepan until all the sugar has dissolved, and mixture has thickened somewhat, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Will keep refrigerated about a month.

Perfect Negroni cocktail

There’s no doubt cocktails are having a real moment. And why wouldn’t they. There’s something so deliciously pleasing about taking a bit of time to prepare a perfect cocktail, whether it be a boozy one like the classic Negroni, or a mocktail with fresh and innovative ingredients. The entire ritual around preparing a cocktail is a real joy for me- I love setting the mood with the right music and lighting, getting the ingredients out, choosing the right glassware (this is very very very important in my house!) and mixing it up. That first sip just sets the mood perfectly for a relaxing evening ahead.
Maybe it’s a result of the pandemic, but I’ve definitely seen more and more personal recipe books with incredible cocktails in them, which inspired me to put up this recipe for my fave classic cocktail. Well, to be honest, it’s a toss up between the bitter and sweet gin based Negroni and the smooth bourbon Manhattan. Both are pretty easy to make.


1 ounce gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Garnish: orange peel


Add the gin, Campari and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass filled with ice, and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes.

Garnish with an orange peel.

Superbowl worthy crispy chicken wings

Superbowl worthy air fryer chicken wings

I’m new to the Air Fryer trend, but ever since we got ours, I’ve been experimenting with cooking different things in it. It’s definitely a useful appliance! But its moment of glory is really when it comes to cooking things extra crispy without deep frying them. Take the humble chicken wing. It’s like it was meant for the air fryer. And with the big game coming up on the weekend, we can’t think of a better time to use this trendy appliance!

Ingredient list

2lb chicken wings
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredient list

In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, paprika cayenne pepper, and salt. Sprinkle dry mix over wings, and refrigerate for 60-90 mins, uncovered.
Heat air fryer to 380. Spray the rack with non stick spray. Line chicken wings on the rack in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch one another. You may need to cook them in two batches. Cook 12 minutes, turn, cook another 12 minutes.
While they are cooking, mix butter, hot sauce and pepper in sauce pan and cook over low heat until melted.
Turn the heat up to 400 and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until crispy.
Remove wings and toss in hot sauce mixture, or serve as a dipping sauce. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing!

Ultimate chocolate chip cookie

The very best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

If you are looking for the ultimate oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, look no further. This is the perfect family recipe. They are chewy and moist and will not last 24 hours, promise! I’ve played around with different ways to incorporate the butter, and have come up with the fastest cookie method ever by simply melting the butter. No stand mixer, no creaming, and it all gets made in one bowl. Yup, one bowl moist delicious cookies you definitely need to make. You will want to create your own cookbook of cookie recipes once you know this recipe!


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup melted salted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


Melt the butter completely.
In a mixing bowl, mix sugars, then pour in melted butter and whisk for a few minutes. Add the egg and mix for a few minutes. Add vanilla.
Dump flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda on top of mixture, and mix with a spatula until mixed. Add chocolate chips and mix.
Refrigerate dough 30 minutes min- I usually cool it for an hour or so.
Heat oven to 350.
Using a cookie scoop or spoons, spoon dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet, about 1 1/2″ apart.
Bake 10 minutes. When the cookies come out, slam the sheet down onto the counter to flatten the cookies. This makes them extra chewy.
Let cool and move to a rack.

Chili spiced braised beef

Here is a warm and cozy family favorite recipe that’s been updated with a spicy twist. Enjoy it on a cool winter night with corn bread or rice.


8 to 10 dried ancho chilis (2 tbsp ground if you can’t find them)
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
One 4- to 5-pound chuck roast or tri-tip roast, cut into 1-inch cubes, or try short ribs for richer, but fattier version
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoons sugar
2 bay leaves

Preparation instructions

Add the chilis and garlic to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off half the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender, puree the peppers, garlic and remaining liquid until smooth. You can skip this step if you are using ground chilis.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the meat with the salt, pepper and spices. When the oil is hot, add the meat to the Dutch oven and brown on all side. Set aside.
Add the tomato paste and onion to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, sugar, bay leaves and pepper puree to the pot and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot and cover. Cook in the oven until the meat is fall-apart tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Remove the bay leaves. You can serve this as is as a stew, or pull it apart and serve it in tortillas as you would carnitas. Garnish with cilantro.

6 tips for hosting a cookie exchange

1. Keep the guest list small

I recently hosted a cookie exchange and after the year and a half of lockdowns, was really craving some company. So I invited all the neighborhood moms I knew. And they all said yes. We had 16 women attend, which mean if we all wanted to exchange 4 cookies, we had to make 64 cookies each! And I needed room to plate 1024 cookies in my tiny house!

2. Stick to cookies you know how to make

This is not a competition, and certainly no time to try to replicate the beautiful professionally decorated cookies you see in magazines. (I used to work on photo shoots for magazines, I know what’s involved with making those stunners!). If you have a lot of cookies to make, and like me, you’re short on time, you won’t have time to scrap an entire batch of cookies if they don’t work the first time. Trust me from experience here. A delicious no fail recipe is all you need.

3.You don’t need to serve a whole lot of other food

Something about the site of dozens (in my case over a 1000!) cookies just cuts everyone’s appetite. Keep the nibbles simple- some delicious crackers, nuts if guests don’t have allergies, maybe a cheese and charcuterie platter is all you need.

4.Give your guests something to bring their cookies home in

This is a fun opportunity to dress up a plain box with some tissue paper, maybe some scrapbooking stickers. Give everyone their box so that they can bring all those delicious cookies home to their families, or freeze them until they need them over the holidays!

5.Label the cookies

With so many food intolerances these days, it’s a good idea to provide a label, or little easel (you can buy cheap ones at Michaels) with the name of the cookies, maybe the name of the person that made it, and any allergens. In my case, my husband and son are allergic to nuts, so I kept the nuts cookies in a different room and asked everyone to help themselves to the non nut cookies first to avoid contamination.

6.Consider making a cookbook of cookie recipes

Take photos of the cookies and guests throughout the evening, then ask your guests if they are comfortable sharing their recipe. You can then make a holiday cookie recipe cookbook to give to your friends as a surprise holiday gift after the event! A little cookbook with color photos will cost less than $10 to make, and commemorate a very special evening!

4 Restaurant Items to Add to Your Family Cookbook

Food is a human essential. A favorite restaurant is a destination, a place to gather with family and share delicious food and memories. We gather together around food and through the food we connect with other cultures and people and learn about the world. And then, COVID-19 hit.

Due to COVID-19, our favorite restaurants are shut down, and many of us have had to go without visiting our favorite restaurants or eating our favorite dishes. But don’t fear! Many world-famous cooks have tried to brighten these dark times by releasing their tried and true recipes online. Not only can you save money by cooking at home, but you’ll also get to enjoy your favorite restaurant meal at home.

Make your own cookbook from your favorite family recipes and include a few favorite restaurant recipes. It is a great way to share your love of food and create memories with the people you love. In this post, we’ll give you some ideas on how to make a recipe book with restaurant recipes to enjoy during lockdown or years after.

Here are some restaurant classics we’ve gathered up to share with you. They make great additions to a custom cookbook and your family will be thrilled they can make their favorite restaurant dishes at home. Plus, these recipes don’t always stick around so it’s a good idea to save them while you can.

1. Andersen’s Famous Pea Soup

If you’ve ever taken a family road trip to California, you may be familiar with the Buellton cafe. Famous for its Andersen’s Split Pea Soup, generations of travelers have made the stop for some home cooking and delicious soup. It’s so famous that the visitors’ bureau even gives out copies of this famous recipe, now available online.

The recipe is easy to follow and has been a favorite for decades. It’s the perfect heartwarming comforting recipe to make for your family while we’re all at home.

2. Buddha Bowl from Fresh Restaurant

If you are looking for a delicious healthy meal that is full of freshness and flavor and is sure to please the masses, look no further than this recipe for the Buddha Bowl from Toronto’s Fresh Restaurant. The flavourful creamy peanut sauce over rice with tofu and fresh vegetables has been one of their most popular dishes for over a decade.

Make up a batch of this fresh and spicy peanut sauce and pour it over rice or noodles and add your favorite fresh vegetables.

3. Ikea Meatballs

If you’ve been missing your regular dose of Ikea Meatballs after a marathon family shopping trip then look no further. The famous Swedish store has released the recipe for their famous meatballs with cream sauce. Normally gobbled by the plateful by hungry shoppers, you can also buy them frozen to go. These are a traditional Swedish meatball recipe with a cream sauce.

4. Dollywood’s Famous Cinnamon Bread

Ok, so it isn’t a well-known restaurant, per se, but the cinnamon bread served at Dolly Parton’s theme park Dollywood, in Tennessee is so popular that they can sell an average of 350 loaves an hour to hungry visitors.

Dolly’s famous Cinnamon Bread is comfort food at its best. It is sweet, gooey, and loaded with cinnamon and butter – with a secret recipe direct from the Tennessee songbird herself. What could be better during a quarantine?

We hope you’ve enjoyed these family recipe book ideas. Don’t forget to include your family’s favorite restaurant meals in your custom cookbook. It is a great way to share food, share memories, and create new ones safely at home until we can all be together again. If you have any questions about how to make your own custom cookbook, or for more recipe ideas, contact us.

Cookbooks as a pandemic activity

Community Custom Cookbooks as a Pandemic Escape

A great find at any local thrift store is a copy of someone’s well-loved community cookbook. It’s often a bit dogeared, with spatters of food on favorite pages. You’ll not only find great recipe ideas inside, but you’ll also get a peek at the heart of the community that put the cookbook together.

These community cookbooks historically are created by women’s community groups. They are also a great way to raise money for important causes in the community. During COVID-19, when we are all separated from our friends and family, creating cookbook fundraisers together is a great way to collaborate with friends and neighbors.

Here are some ideas for cookbook fundraising to help create your cookbook safely during the lockdown.

Connect Through Food

During the pandemic, many people have turned to cooking and baking as a way to pass the time at home or to relieve stress. This extra time has also sent people searching through old cookbooks for nostalgic comforting recipes. Community cookbooks are a great source of homemade, comfort food made by real people.

Often these community cookbooks are curated by community members to raise money for a local school, church, or charity. The recipes inside feature family favorites and show what the people in that community love to eat, drink and feed to their families. It’s a history book with a social twist and a time capsule of a community.

Sharing recipes and stories are also a fantastic way to stay grounded in uncertain times. Some people take up running, others learn to bake sourdough. If you can’t visit friends and neighbors to offer support, create something together. Sharing a cookbook with the community can bring people together and offer a bit of hope and comfort in uncertain times.

Collaborate Safely

A great benefit of creating a cookbook fundraiser these days is that most of the work can be done online. Contributors can easily submit recipes with a click of a button and include fabulous pictures and stories to make the recipe come alive for readers. It is a way to capture a taste of the community, but also a snapshot of this time we are living through.

As an organizer, you don’t need to meet in person – simply send out an email asking interested participants to send in their recipes. If you have a team working on the project, you could schedule a zoom meeting or two to catch up – and even cook your favorite dish and share a meal as you meet. It’s the perfect way to connect and collaborate together, even if you have to stay apart.

Raise Money

Community cookbooks are historically a way for community groups to come together and fundraise for important causes. Now that in-person events and charity events are canceled, many causes are feeling the pinch. Community cookbook fundraisers are a way that the community can come together and raise funds safely.

Once you’ve put together your cookbook, offer it for sale to the community members who contributed and ask them to pass it on to their networks. Contactless drop-offs or porch pickups make delivery safe for everyone. Cookbooks make great unique Christmas presents that not only provide great recipes but support important local causes.

Heritage Cookbooks is proud to be a part of this long-standing tradition of bringing communities and people together to support causes that are important to them. We are especially proud to help bring families and friends together in these uncertain times.

Connect with family and friends this holiday through your virtual cookbook

Tips on Creating a Virtual Custom Cookbook

We’re heading back into winter lockdown. It’s a depressing thought, as it also means being apart from friends and family over the holidays. But hold on, we may not be able to get together for a holiday feast, but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect over food.

Technology like zoom and other video messaging apps means that you can keep your loved ones safe and stay connected and have fun. Here are some ideas for sharing food and joy virtually this holiday season.

Share Family Recipes

A great way to connect with relatives is through passing on treasured family recipes and sharing food. Often, you can’t find these family favorites anywhere in a professional cookbook. They are handwritten, scrawled in grandma’s writing on a stained recipe card, or kept as a closely guarded secret.

Why not create your own recipe book to collect and share all these family favorites? You can also add stories and pictures to personalize each recipe. This kind of cookbook not only passes down generational knowledge, but also becomes a treasured heirloom for future generations.

Even better, make a date to cook together with your family over zoom. Gather the ingredients you’ll need ahead of time and cook the meal together while everyone is safe in their own homes. You’ll get to see your loved ones, eat some delicious food, and you’ll still have a chance to ask your grandma about her secret ingredient in her famous chicken soup.


Share Cultural Connections

Greenest City – a community organization in Toronto, offers a free online community program called Soup and Stories. Participants can pick up a free order of soup prepared by an expert community chef and then tune in via zoom later that evening for a story about the dish. It is a great way to try something new and learn more about the food’s cultural connections from the chef who made it.

You could do your own version of this event by organizing a cooking party with your best friends. Create a recipe book together that includes favorite recipes from your group of friends. You can even include recipes that remind you of memories you share, such as that epic BBQ at the beach or your trip to Thailand.
Ask everyone to submit a few recipes and stories online. Once it is all together, ask everyone to pick a dish from the cookbook to try out at home. Then meet on zoom to eat the meal together online. You can talk about the dish you prepared or talk about the recipe you contributed and the history behind it.

Have Fun

If hanging out playing games is more your thing, why not make a date to cook your favorite food and then meet by Zoom to play some online games with your friends and family? Bring out your favorite board game – one person may have to be the game master or get everyone to join in online through an online drawing and guessing game.

Many free versions of the games let you connect and play with friends online. Jackbox games offer many group games to choose from, like Drawful or Quiplash, or there are online trivia games that are sure to make for an epic night.

These online dinner parties may not be the same as hosting a private party for 10 in person, but at least online, you’ll get a good meal, connect with friends, stay safe, and have way fewer dishes to clean.

For help creating your own recipe book, take a look at our FAQs. We’ve got easy to follow, step by step online instructions to help you create a virtual cookbook to help connect your family and friends this holiday season.

How to Create a Fundraising Recipe Book

A cookbook is a great way to raise funds for a cause, a charity, or a community organization. It doesn’t just serve as a way to raise money – it can collect meaningful recipes together, creating a valuable compendium of knowledge that might otherwise go unrecognized.

However, if you want to make a cookbook that’s financially lucrative as well as nostalgic, you need to make sure it looks as good as the recipes within. Not just any old cookbook will sell. Any cookbook you’re using to raise money for a cause should be as appealing as if it was being sold in a bookstore.

4 Tips for Making a Cookbook that Sells

Here are some of the essential building blocks of any successful fundraiser cookbook, as well as some of the best ones we’ve seen come out of the Heritage Cookbook website.

1. Let us help you

One of the many ways that Heritage Cookbook supports fundraising efforts is by offering community organizations, non-profits, and individuals free premium memberships when they’re making a cookbook as a fundraiser. This helps to save money by letting you access premium fonts and designs for free Just fill out the fundraiser form and we’re happy to support you by fully waiving your membership fee.

2. Have a Clear Message

If you want people to buy your cookbook, it should have a clear message. You can choose whether the message focuses on the contents of the cookbook (ie, the origin of the recipes, or type of cuisine), or the fundraising goal.

One of our most successful fundraiser cookbooks is the Recipes That Rock Cookbook. It had many visually appealing photos of food on the cover, alongside a clear image of the fundraising organization’s logo. The way they designed the cover made it clear what type of recipes were featured, as well as the organization that would benefit from the buyer’s donation.

3. Personalized Design

Creating a visually appealing cookbook is key to attracting customers. However, the design of your fundraiser cookbook also needs to set it apart from the crowd. A great way to do that is by making the design personal. People in your community will be more likely to make a purchase if it’s clear from the design what they’re supporting.

If you’re doing a cookbook for a school or youth program, consider asking some of the young program participants if they can lend a hand with the artwork for the cover, like the designers of Palisades Cooks did for their preschool fundraising cookbook.

4. Take Advantage of Bulk Pricing

To funnel as much money as possible towards your fundraising goal, anyone making a cookbook should focus on lowering their overhead. When you design a cookbook with Heritage Cookbook, the easiest way to do that is through bulk ordering. The more books you order at any one time, the less you’ll have to pay per book.

You can get a sense of numbers by surveying your community before you start designing your cookbook, to see how many people would be interested in making a purchase. Every community has a different price point they are comfortable with, so play around with bindings, or ask us about our special fundraising binding that really maximizes profits!

Create a Meaningful Fundraiser Cookbook with Heritage Cookbook

The Heritage Cookbook platform makes it easy to design and print beautiful cookbooks that can be used to achieve any fundraising goal. Our simple tools and easy-to-use templates make collaboration a breeze. After you’ve finished your design, just choose one of our seven beautiful binding options, including the Silver Standard, a specific binding we developed for fundraising books that deliver quality at a reasonable price point.

Eager to get started? Learn more about how it works, then log on to start your fundraising cookbook today.