Tag Archive for 'dessert'

Coconut Pistachio Bites – Mermaid and Cinderella Stories

Life gets tricky, relationships get complicated and the unknown can be terrifying. There are certainly a lot of ways to read or read-into that last sentence so I should explain.

Tricky=We are all stretched by time constraints. Picking and choosing what to spend our free and work time on is something that we all navigate.

Complicated Relationships= just a fact. With true communications skills on the decline it is easy to become isolated and wonder if the subtext is really a declaration of more.

Unknown= there can and is some sort of anxiety around that which we cannot yet understand. Even excitement can bring with it elements of this emotion.

And yet, despite all of those factors, life has some amazing high points. Times when you realize just how great it is to be in the midst of your life, and enjoying the here and now. These past few months in many ways felt surreal with a dose of magical.

Dress shopping for my daughter’s junior prom brought with it all of the excitement of a Disney princess movie, eg Cinderella heading off to the ball, with elements of tricky, complicated and the unknown lurking. Life as a young adult is not easy and it wasn’t when I was growing up either. Technology now plays a more prominent roll in the lives of this generation; the struggle is real.

And as you may have read in my last blog post, there was some questionable feelings I had as I approached this next decade of my life. Regardless, this next half century of my life (to quote my daughter), was ushered in by people that brought with them contagious happiness and more fun than could be bottled up. In her usual way, my daughter required me to ‘sparkle’ and I went out of my comfort zone and dawned my mermaid-esque top to show that I would not run or hide but meet this new phase head-on.

With so much fantasy in the works…princesses and mermaids alike, the reality was that I was living large and consumed a few too many calories. It was fun, and well, at a certain point I have to get back to the basics. And while this recipe is hardly glamorous food, it fits the parameters of trimming the waistline, providing fuel and eating on the healthy end of the plant-based spectrum. Like all dichotomies, for as much as I love to get all slicked up for a formal event, I also like to wear my faded blue jeans and embrace my pseudo-inner hippie roots (growing up in Marin County in the 70’s and 80’s had a way of seeping into my blood). This carries over to my food vibe too. I love food that is a showstopper and yet I also love food that is simple and healthy.

Coconut Pistachio Bites – This simple combination should not be underestimated, the flavor of the oats, nuts and maple syrup gives this recipe a good texture and subtle sweet flavor. The recipe is quick to assemble, great leftover and a good energy booster.

Coconut Pistachio Bites


1 cup raw, shelled pistachios plus more for sprinkling on top

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup unsweetened coconut

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp salt

2 TBS olive oil

honey (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a food processor, using an S blade, combine pistachios, oat and salt and blend for 30-seconds until it is the consistency of a meal. While the motor is still running, slowly add the wet ingredients (maple syrup and olive oil). A dough should start to form.

Firmly press the dough evenly into the pan and sprinkle with coconut flakes and chopped pistachios. . Bake 10-12 minutes until the coconut is golden brown and the dough is baked. Set aside to cool.

Carefully remove the cooled bites out of the pan by holding the sides of the parchment paper. Cut into squares. For extra sweetness, drizzle with honey.

Small Batch Carmel Corn

The holiday season brings with it heaps of food memories. For me, the smells and tastes are triggers. As we work our way through so many of the traditional Sicilian dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation, I feel blessed and cursed. Blessed to have a family so very steeped in traditions in their love of food and cursed that these time intensive delicacies rob me of what little free time I have. There is certainly joy in finding time to cook with my Aunt, Cousin and my Mother, but there is so much pressure to get things done for the big day.

My husband and I are both products of divorced families. As children, having multiple Christmases has its silver lining – seemingly infinite gifts. As adults, the silver lining can sometimes be overwhelming – driving, shopping, cooking (repeat x 4). I end up feeling energy depleted and trying to figure out how I might lighten the load next year.

There is no sugar coating it; four Christmases is A LOT to be merry about. That’s not to say that each celebration is not coveted and special; I love them all. We all do. And we love all of the nice interactions with family and extended family and friends. Yet this year I think I reached my saturation level. I’ve declared that next year I will take the year off. I want to truly appreciate how special it all is, and in order to do that I need to be able to have a holiday where I can just relax. As I shared this with our families the response was very mixed if not perplexed. Even my children were wondering why such measures would be necessary. The reason is simple. I’d like next Christmas to be different. Not complicated or time consuming but indulgent. I am not looking for an epic adventure, just long lazy days, a book and a walk on the beach followed by some festive red cocktail as we head out to dinner.

So I’ve got a dream. Let’s see if I can make it happen. As we head into these final days of 2017, I am making my wish and resolution list and I am going to be a bit selfish with how I spend my time in 2018.

For those interested in a preview (or inspiration) this is what my list is starting to look like.

• Finding the peace in quiet moments

• Work life flow; in the direction of ‘life’ (admittedly there is no ‘balance’)

• More fun, more smiles, more memories, more laughter

• First Friday gatherings with my girlfriends, make a standing date to see the ladies I adore with zero planning

• Travel!

• Be spoiled…

While reflecting on food memories I was ‘reminded’ by Facebook about my favorite childhood caramel corn recipe. This was a ‘camp’ recipe shared with me by the mother of one of my friend’s, and it’s something I’ve never outgrown. >I use the term ‘camp’ loosely because this interlude hardly involved tents or camp fires; it was time away from home in the summer and it was pretty darn amazing!<

This easy Caramel Popcorn is the perfect salty/sweet combo! It starts with fluffy, freshly popped popcorn then it is glazed with real butter and decadent brown sugar, and nuts of your choice — pieces of almonds, cashews and/or pecans make for an irresistible crunch.

Small Batch Carmel Corn


2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

½ cup corn syrup

6 quarts popped corn (1 cup uncooked kernels)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

pecans, walnuts or cashews, to your liking


Put popped corn and nuts into large bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Boil sugar, butter, syrup and salt for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in baking soda. Stir well over popped corn and nuts. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring in 15 minute intervals. Remove from oven and cool then store in air tight container.

Dark-ish Chocolate Pistachio Bark – Help Santa Slay Christmas

Dear Santa,

I’d like to quit Christmas this year. Let’s be honest. You get all the credit. I do all the work, and this year it seems quasi impossible to make it as dreamy as days of yore. I know, it is the most wonderful time of the year – unless, you can’t keep up with the to-do list of shopping, tree trimming, house decorating (inside and out), baking, cooking and well…the list continues. Now excuse me for not being reverent, but if this is feeling merry, how much longer can it last? I think it is time to take a stand. If I do nothing for Christmas well then I might just have some time for me. Continue reading ‘Dark-ish Chocolate Pistachio Bark – Help Santa Slay Christmas’

Spicy Blackout Eclipse Cake & The Little Things

I recently read an article that in the end of our lives we will realize that it is probably all of the little moments that were the most important ones. It encouraged me to take a step back, to realize that even when I am rushing through my day to meet all of the expectations placed on me that maybe I should take a second to appreciate what I have- wonderful family, friends and health. Continue reading ‘Spicy Blackout Eclipse Cake & The Little Things’

Sloppy Joe-lene (Italian Ice Cream Sandwich- Focaccia Gelato)

I am often asked how I got started with my passion for cooking and yet when I reflect back it was more of an evolution than one life changing revelation.

I wasn’t any sort of prodigy in the kitchen. I certainly enjoyed good food and that is probably what eventually led me down this path. Continue reading ‘Sloppy Joe-lene (Italian Ice Cream Sandwich- Focaccia Gelato)’

Tea and Pineapple Infused Blood Oranges


Lessons learned. Sometimes I feel that despite my age, I remain a student of life’s lessons. There is an inherent energy that comes with this type of continual adrenalin rush that toggles the line between invigorating and insurmountable.

Continue reading ‘Tea and Pineapple Infused Blood Oranges’

Chocolate Reckless Love Cocktail

2 drinks and koloa bottle

Love. Love. Love.

How can you not remember your first love, your first crush, your first adult obsession, or your first slow kiss? There is something so indescribably powerful about that emotion packed chemical reaction. The closest thing I can equate it to is a craving for chocolate. I’ll be the first to confess that I am obsessed with chocolate. Not just any chocolate, I like a standout. Continue reading ‘Chocolate Reckless Love Cocktail’

Lemoncello Peach Salad


Missed me? I’ve missed you!

So much has transpired that I hardly know where to start. The quick snapshot looks like this…epic vacation, followed by catching up at work (yes, I have a ‘real job’ outside of recipe development) and THEN my website becomes infected with malware and my creative writing comes to a screeching halt. Continue reading ‘Lemoncello Peach Salad’

Anytime PBJ Toast – The Make-Over

PBJ MakeOver jpg

I know, I’ve been silent. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to share, but rather too much to share to know where to begin. I am at some sort of a beginning and I’ve yet to crystallize my thoughts, but time and distance are moving me closer to that bridge. Right now I am the most simple version of me that I can ever recall. There is time to observe what’s going on around me, and even time to think through a situation and examine if my life pre-Cancer was all that amazing and worth repeating. Continue reading ‘Anytime PBJ Toast – The Make-Over’

Raw Double Chocolate Nut Carmel Mousse Slice

nut slice

There is no denying the beast within. The Bowl Licker chocolate fest continues. There is not much that needs to be said about this raw chocolate slice. It fits all of my new passions- raw, vegan, chocolate, nutty, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free and totally satisfying. The challenge is trying to keep it from disappearing. Continue reading ‘Raw Double Chocolate Nut Carmel Mousse Slice’