Entries Tagged 'Holiday'

Fall Fest: Sour Cream Pear Cake with Pecan Streusel

Sour Cream Pear Cake with Pecan Streusel

Welcome back to Fall Fest!  I missed pumpkin party last week, but I really think this simple and delicious pear cake will make up for it.  This rich and spicy cake is filled with fresh pear chunks and topped with a buttery, crunchy pecan streusel. Continue reading →

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Fall Fest: Spinach Pomegranate Salad with Apples and Walnuts

Spinach Pomegranate Salad with Apples and Walnuts

Fall has finally arrived here in California, bringing thunder, rain, and the cooler temperatures I’ve been waiting for.  While these cool gray skies have me dreaming of hearty soups and warm baked goods, the theme this week for Fall Fest is fall salads.  I’ll save the soup-making and bread-baking for next week since my kitchen is still only half unpacked – an easy fall salad was the perfect thing for me to make this week.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Continue reading →

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Deviled Eggs for the 4th of July

Deviled Eggs

Don’t forget the deviled eggs this weekend!  Friends and family love these Deviled Eggs so much that the whole plate disappears quickly no matter how many I make.  I’ve learned that I need to hide a couple in the refrigerator if I want to eat any myself.  For an added kick, try sprinkling smoked paprika on top.

Best Basic Deviled Eggs Recipe

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Green Beans with Bacon and Tart Cherry Balsamic Glaze

Green Beans with Tart Cherry Balsamic Glaze

Bacon is good.  Bacon with tart cherry balsamic glaze is even better.  The nice thing about this dish is that once you pour this delicious glaze over a pile of healthy green beans, and you don’t even have to feel guilty about the bacon.

This is easy enough to be thrown together for a weeknight meal, but after you taste it you’ll want to serve it at a dinner party.  It might even find its way to your holiday table.  It’s that good. Continue reading →

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Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

On a whim, I decided to try making heart-shaped cinnamon rolls for a fun Valentine’s Day treat.  I had no idea if it would work, but I was thrilled  with the results.  They turned out so cute, I had to share the technique with you even if it’s a bit late to make them for today’s Valentine’s breakfast.

But who says you can only eat heart-shaped food on Valentine’s Day?

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

You can make heart-shaped rolls from any regular cinnamon roll recipe, but I happen to really like a dough made with buttermilk.  I improvised the dough for these rolls from the cinnamon bun recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Enjoy! Continue reading →

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My First Madeleines

Madeleines on Plate

I have a confession to make.  Before making them myself, the only madeleines I had ever tasted were from Starbucks.  No one had ever made them for me, I’d never had a special pan to make them myself, and somehow I managed to spend a weekend in Paris once without tasting either a madeleine or a macaron—sad, but true.

I’ve always been curious about madeleines.  I mean, is there really anything special about them other than their shape?  Obviously Proust thought so.  But what makes them so magical?  And the big question—are they cookies or tiny little cakes?  Well, curiosity got the better of me one day so I bought a little package of madeleines at Starbucks.  And even though I knew that what I tasted out of that little plastic package was probably not a great representation of the classic French cookie (or is it cake?), I fell madly in love with the madeleine. Continue reading →

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Butterscotch Corn Flake Candy

Butterscotch Candy on Plate

To me, nothing tastes more like Christmas than these sweet, salty and crunchy butterscotch candies.  They aren’t much to look at, but they are super simple to make, and I guarantee that your friends and family will rave about them.

For as far back as I can remember, my Nana always had a plate of these butterscotch corn flakes on the Christmas snack table.  One year, my mom got the recipe and started adding them to her plates of Christmas cookies, and so the butterscotch corn flakes got spread around to even more friends and family.  After I moved away from home, I started making them for my own friends and, after I got married, my husband’s family.  I’ve made them in Oregon, Florida, Sicily, and now southern Callifornia, and the recipe has been passed from friend to friend all across the country.   I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love them, and if you make these for your friends, be prepared to share the recipe!

With only three ingredients, and no baking required, these are probably the simplest holiday treat you will ever make.  Enjoy!

Butterscotch Corn Flake Candy

1 package butterscotch chips (11 oz.)
3/4 cup dry-roasted salted peanuts
4 cups corn flakes cereal

1.  Pour butterscotch chips into a large microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave, checking and stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are melted.  It took about a minute and a half in my microwave.  Be sure not to cook them for too long, or the butterscotch candy will seize up.  If you prefer, you can melt the chips in a double boiler, then scrape the melted butterscotch into a large bowl.

2.  Add corn flakes and peanuts to the melted butterscotch and stir until everything is thoroughly coated.  Line a counter top with waxed paper and drop spoonfuls of the warm corn flake mixture onto the waxed paper.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Candy may be stored in an airtight container or large zippered plastic bags for two weeks.

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen pieces

Butterscotch Corn Flakes

Butterscotch Corn Flakes on paper

Butterscotch Candy Up Close

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Spaghetti Squash Gratin

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

While we normally eat spaghetti squash tossed with nothing more than a a bit of olive oil and a handful of fresh-grated parmigiano reggiano, I decided to splurge this time around and used the versatile squash to create a rich and creamy gratin.

This gratin was inspired by a recipe I found at Laura Rebecca’s Kitchen.  I’m sure her sour cream version is wonderful, and that’s what I had originally planned to make, but when I realized that I had some heavy cream that needed to be used, I opted for that instead.  I also added some shallots along with the garlic, and decreased the amount of herbs (mainly because I was completely out of fresh herbs).  The resulting dish was absolutely delicious! Continue reading →

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