Fire Sugar Cubes – Not Your Granny’s Sugar Cubes

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The holidays have arrived. Seasonal music floods retail stores and becomes all too common on radio stations; while on TV there is a seemingly unending stream of commercials touting the Christmas theme. As we check Thanksgiving off of our culinary and social list my mind instantly turns towards gift giving. Making a homemade gift is always nice and while cookies are a delicious way to go, I wanted to find that perfect gift to give that is a bit unusual. This concept takes hardly any time to make and will certainly be memorable.

Continue reading ‘Fire Sugar Cubes – Not Your Granny’s Sugar Cubes’

#thanks #giving

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

It’s easy to get caught up in the food festivities that surround the holidays. Traditional fare, too much of it, and an opportunity to hang out with ‘those’ relatives that often times create that intense and highly entertaining family drama you’ll eagerly recap at the water cooler at work come Monday. BUT what’s lost in this satirical depiction of Thanksgiving is that there are many families that can barely scrape by enough to provide this celebratory meal. Hunger in the United States is a reality that is not talked about often enough.

I would like to present you with the opportunity to change that reality. To give and provide something for others to eat. It takes but a moment and actually, if someone or a family is in need of a meal, they might very well be in need of more than just a Thanksgiving meal.

Annually I make this plight- I stop the foodie talk in hopes of opening up a very important dialogue. I am a supporter of No Kid Hungry. And as I sit down tomorrow I hope that my donation will allow others to sit around their table with family and friends enjoying some good food. It’s not that I have an abundance of cash lying around, it’s about making choices, and I’ll happily scale back on luxurious coffee drinks for a few weeks and share those funds where I can make a difference- giving to others. The impact $10 = 100 meals. Imagine what I can do in just a few weeks time.

And in light of all of the things I am thankful for today, I raise my glass to all of you – thank you for being my supportive blog family. You make the difference to me by feeding my soul.

Spicy Tahini Squash Bisque

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All I want right now is comfort food, a cozy blanket and a few hours to Netflix binge on some new popular show that I haven’t had time to see. >Okay, and if I am being honest then maybe I’d like to add a swanky cocktail to this fantasy.< It makes sense I suppose, animals hibernate in the winter and store their fat, why should we miss out on all that fun? We are meant to slow down and take it easy. Continue reading ‘Spicy Tahini Squash Bisque’

Warm Chai Coconut Koloa Coffee Rum Mylk

chai mylk down shot

There is some sort of strange energy that prevails once the end of the year hits. It’s as if we think we have to somehow squeeze everything into those remaining months. It feels like a continuous time crunch with no apparent end in sight. Yet, somehow I am happy to have this experience this year. I’ll take every last bit of it. I don’t want to miss a beat. Last year I could only wish to be going to parties and seeing family and friends, so I am reminded to manage the swells of activity that exist and to find the fun in the little moments. Continue reading ‘Warm Chai Coconut Koloa Coffee Rum Mylk’

Island Guacamole

top down island guac

This island has a way of enveloping all of your senses; it is a slice of magic on the map. From the wafting sweet floral and fruity fragrances to the contrasting aroma of its salty ocean water Kaua’i captured my heart from the first moment I laid eyes on it some eight years ago. I wish I could claim that I lived here – we visit as often as is possible, as soon as we save up enough for our airplane tickets, we return with smiles on our faces.

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Unusual Pumpkin Recipes & Reflections

Spoiler alert: this is not really a food post, it is a reflection on life and relationships. I know, just when you thought I might throw another pumpkin something your way I head the other direction.

Since I am reflecting, let’s compromise and I’ll share my recipe reflections on some of my favorite, not so usual, pumpkin recipes:

Cheesy Pumpkin Kale Lasagna

Quinoa Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Ginger Semi-Freddo Ice Cream

pumpkin reflections

Continue reading ‘Unusual Pumpkin Recipes & Reflections’

Pumpkin Chestnut Cornbread

pumpkin cornbread w-pumpkin

I really have no excuses. I tried to come up with one, however there is just no point. In the vein of transparency I will stick to the truth. Sometimes, despite how very well I am doing health wise, day-to-day life becomes all too consuming and I can’t pull out from under it. For me writing and recipe development is like an old friend. It is what nourishes my soul and satisfies my creativity; yet in the throws of a busy life filled with activities and obligations things can really become borderline >if not completely< overwhelming. So here I am, hat in hand, asking you to accept that I am doing the best I can to stay connected to you. Continue reading ‘Pumpkin Chestnut Cornbread’

Mt. Shasta Watermelon Refresher

watermelon refresher finished

I originally posted this recipe last year. It is one of my daughter’s favorites, as she will often ask me to make this ‘vacation drink in a bowl’ nearly every week during the summer.

When I think of watermelon I can’t help but think of her and about the Mt. Shasta Blackberry Festival. For the last 8 years we have attended the Blackberry Festival, which always falls on Labor Day weekend. Continue reading ‘Mt. Shasta Watermelon Refresher’

Matcha Berry Breakfast Bowl

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Life just feels rushed. There is so little time to reflect and focus on the finer points of day to day life as I find myself rushing from place to place. Given that reality, I’ve gone into survival mode on the food front. I refuse to compromise quality and creativity, so I am modifying what I create given available pantry and refrigerator ingredients to satisfy my crazy savory palate. I realize that this concoction may not be for everyone, but I also know that many of you really enjoy diving into new flavors so I am going to take a gamble.

I cannot quite pinpoint when my palate took a turn towards the savory spectrum of flavors. I’ve thought about it over and over again and come up with a zilch. I can only suppose that when my mom was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago that my tastebud transformation began to take hold in its infancy. Despite the fact that she has never been a big sweets eater, knowing that she was suddenly not supposed to have her favorite desserts seemed to make her crave them all the more. I compare it to when I’ve “attempted” to diet in the past. The thought of the word diet makes me suddenly want to eat all of the caloric comfort foods I can find. I digress…back to this savory breakfast post.

What you can expect to taste with this bowl of yum? It’s an explosion of textures and flavors. The creamy yogurt is a blank slate for the rest of the flavors that are combined in this recipe. The matcha and nutritional yeast lend a slant of saltiness, which is counter acted by the sweet plump fresh berries and the tart dried berries. Nuts provide an added crunch, while the mango chutney is both sweet and spicy. For the finishing touches, the maple syrup drizzle seals the deal with a hint of sweetness.

This recipe, yet another one of my go-with-the flow recipes, takes all of six minutes to assemble.

blackberry match 3 up close

Matcha Berry Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 handful blackberries or blueberries

1 TBS dried goji berries

1 TBS sliced almonds or salted marcona almonds

1/8 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 tsp matcha powder

1 TBS hot mango chutney

1/2-1 tsp maple syrup

Directions

Place yogurt in a bowl and then sprinkle with matcha powder, nuts and berries. Next add nutritional yeast, if using. Top with mango chutney and drizzle with maple syrup.

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Lemoncello Peach Salad

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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’