pumpkin rice pudding

Pumpkin Rice Pudding | daisysworld.net

I have been a big fan of rice pudding since I discovered it at Rice to Riches, in New York City. Sweet and creamy,  it is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I love its versatility since it may be eaten warm, right out of the pan, or cold, after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so. Rice pudding makes a wonderful dessert, afternoon snack, or as a delicious alternate to oatmeal in the mornings. It is also easy to customize with a variety of spices and other flavorings. (For inspiration, check out the Rice to Riches website as they offer over 30 flavors!) Rice pudding is cooked in one of three ways: on the stove, in the oven, or in a crockpot. I prefer to cook mine on the stovetop because it is ready in about 30 minutes and has a softer and creamier consistency. Continue reading

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apple and pear crisps

Apple and Pear Crisps

This  time of year is fraught with temptation, from the leftover Halloween candy to turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, to toffee and fudge, Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookies, and Santa Hat Brownies. I don’t plan on cutting out all of these sweets completely, but, this year it is my goal to practice more restraint, maintain some sort of fitness routine, and indulge in healthier treats. Continue reading

honeycrisp apple sangria

Honeycrisp Apple Sangria
I used to think of sangria as more of a refreshing summertime drink, but it can really be a year-round beverage if you use seasonal fruits. This white wine sangria is flavored with apples and honey, along with spices like cinnamon and cloves, for a fantastic autumn-themed cocktail. Continue reading

apple crisp with oatmeal walnut streusel topping

Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Walnut Streusel Topping

Growing up, my mom loved fruit and always kept a variety in the house which she encouraged my brothers and I to eat.  However, one fruit that was conspicuously  absent was the apple.  It was not the taste she didn’t like. Rather it was the sound of someone biting into one that bothered her. It was like fingernails on chalkboard and the sound literally gave her goosebumps and sent chills up her spine. Continue reading

apricot pistachio oatmeal cookies

Apricot Pistachio Oatmeal Cookies

Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.

~ Robert Fulghum, author

Imagine if we could do that, just like when we were kids.  I agree with Mr. Fulghum, the world would be a better place.  The only question is… Continue reading

peach pie smoothie and a giveaway

Peach Pie Smoothie

I like milk. I like its creamy, buttery taste and, to me, it’s best ice cold with a chocolate chip cookie or two. On the other hand, I’ve never liked soy milk. Years ago, I tried it and I didn’t care for its watery flavor and chalky texture. Recently, however, I was convinced by some fellow bloggers to try it again and surprisingly, I found that it actually tasted good and not gritty. While it doesn’t compare to the flavor and texture of milk, I have had a change of heart. I still prefer to drink regular milk, but I have started to use soy milk, specifically in smoothies. My first attempt at making a soy milk smoothie, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie, was such a success that I am using soy milk again for this one. Continue reading

at the county fair: funnel cake

At the County Fair: Funnel Cakes

For many Americans, going to the state or county fair is as much a summer tradition as baseball and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Despite the searing heat and sweaty crowds, we flock to the fair to enjoy the carnival games, rides, attractions, and, of course, the food. For me, the food is only one reason to go. Shocking, right? I can skip the games (I’m way too old for stuffed animals), the rides (I never understood the appeal of spinning really fast while suspended in mid-air), and the animals (too smelly, too hot, and ewww, too smelly). I just can’t skip the corn dogs, grilled corn, and, of course, the funnel cake! Continue reading

strawberry rhubarb mini-tarts

Strawberry Rhubarb Mini-Tarts

I don’t often repeat things on the blog, but I love the concept of tarts made with puff pastry so much that I made another version, this time with a strawberry and rhubarb filling. These simple and easy to make tarts come together quickly once the sheet of frozen puff pastry is thawed, so these mini-tarts are great if you’re pinched for time. The best part is that they’re absolutely delicious. I love the flaky layers of dough as the base for tart rhubarb, sweet strawberries, and an almond crumble flavored with a hint of cinnamon. There’s also a hidden layer of orange-scented cream cheese on the bottom that gives these mini-tarts a touch of creaminess.

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chocolate pecan cinnamon rolls with mascarpone orange glaze

Chocolate Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Mascarpone Orange Glaze

We normally have my family over for a big Easter Sunday celebration, complete with an egg hunt, but not this year.  Since I’m getting too old to be crawling around the bushes hiding eggs, and my nephews are way too old to be hunting around for them, our family plans never materialized. My husband and I ended up having a quiet holiday weekend alone, with plenty of chores, and our taxes, to keep us occupied.

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strawberries and cream muffins

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

Strawberries and cream. They make a great pair, don’t they? In their simplest forms, they are spectacular, but they’re even better when baked together, like in these muffins. As soon as I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Fortunately for me, strawberries are available year-round in Southern California.

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rugelach

Rugelach

Rugelach (literally meaning “little twists” in Yiddish) is a cross between a cookie and a pastry. This crescent-shaped cookie is made by rolling a triangular piece of dough around a sweet filling such as preserves, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts, or cinnamon sugar. Rugelach is easy to make and it is a perfect addition to a holiday cookie platter!

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pumpkin cookies with brown sugar & orange glaze

pumpkin cookies

Aaaaah!  It’s finally starting to cool off here in Southern California, which really gets me in the mood for fall baking. I look forward to this time of the year, when I can relax with a cup of hot cocoa and a sweet treat.  A couple of weeks ago, I featured a pumpkin coffee cake, and this time, I have a pumpkin cookie recipe to share with you. If you are a fan of soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, you will definitely like these. They are tender and fluffy, almost resembling mini cakes.

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pumpkin swirl coffee cake

Today I’m doing my best Paula Deen imitation with this recipe for Pumpkin Swirl Coffee Cake which requires almost 12 ounces of butter. I certainly don’t recommend baking with and eating this much butter all the time, but it is a nice indulgence once in a while.  The result is quite possibly the most buttery and moist cake I’ve ever made. It is also  light and tender with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The crumbly pecan and brown sugar streusel made for a great topping, as well as a base, for the cake. My kitchen was filled with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, reminiscent of Thanksgiving, which, by the way, is a mere 56 days away!

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the “baked” brownie

Chocolate symbolizes, as does no other food, luxury, comfort, sensuality, gratification, and love.

 Karl Petzke and Sara Slavin

Today is my husband’s birthday, and to mark the occasion, I chose to bake something chocolatey.  I came across this recipe that I knew he would love, so move over birthday cake, and make room for birthday brownies!  I wanted to bake a special treat and these certainly are!!  These made-from-scratch brownies are utterly decadent, intensely rich and dense and are best eaten with a glass of ice-cold milk.  I added a little bit of ground cinnamon since I know Chris loves a touch of it with chocolate. Continue reading

chocolate cinnamon crinkle cookies

I am not normally a made-from-scratch cookie baker.  For many years, I’ve been buying frozen cookie dough from my nephews’ school as part of their fundraising efforts.  When both boys moved to different schools, the fundraiser ended and with it went my ready-made cookie dough supply.  Now, I am “forced” to make cookie dough myself.  I don’t really have any go-to cookie recipes aside from my Snickerdoodle Cookies so I’ve been testing out recipes I’ve seen on different blogs and websites. So far, I’ve discovered a couple of keepers, like the Pistachio-Tangerine Cookies and the Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies that I featured in previous blog posts. Continue reading