sparkling cider floats with caramel sauce

Hello there, lovely readers! I apologize for my absence, life got a little hectic with the start of my new job. You forgive me, right? How about if I make you one of these sparkling cider floats? Psst… homemade caramel is also involved.

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It’s about this time of year that I start getting antsy for Fall weather. According to the calendar, we’ve still got almost a week left of Spring, but you wouldn’t know it here. Warm mornings give way to blazing hot days, and uncomfortably gross nights. It’s a paradise, I’ll tell you what. I’ve lived in AZ for my whole life and somehow, the summer heat still takes me by surprise. So I got to thinking — what could I create that would combine the refreshing qualities of summertime with the warm, sweet, crisp flavors of Fall? Sparkling cider floats to the rescue!

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hello, 2014!

The beginning of a new year usually means people are throwing on their running shoes, buying gym memberships, and searching Pinterest for healthy new recipes. What am I doing? I’m daydreaming about how I can re-create a gorgeous cheesecake dessert that I ate during my NYE trip to Vegas. Clearly I’m not like most people. If you happen to fit into the former description rather … Continue reading hello, 2014!

roasted pistachio ice cream

Several weeks back, Local First Arizona hosted their 4th annual Fall Fest in downtown Phoenix.  It was a wonderful day filled with local food vendors and craftspeople from around the valley. My friend Dusty joined me, and together we got to sample lots of great local food and check out plenty of other awesomeness (like some amazing handmade, vegan and organic soap from Strawberry Hedgehog!). One of the food samples that stood out to me was the pistachio gelato from Grateful Spoon. Up until then, the only pistachio ice cream of any type I’d ever had was the passable version from Ben & Jerry’s. Grateful Spoon’s gelato was thick and rich, with none of the overabundance of almond flavoring so often added to pistachio products. It was chock full of little bits of roasted pistachios, so their flavor was front and center. I knew after I tasted it that I wanted to make my own at home!

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peach pie ice cream

Well, it’s September now.

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Summer as we know it is officially over and everyone’s back to school and back to work. If Pinterest is any indication, one would think that Fall has already begun. Pumpkin fudge! Pumpkin brownies! Drill holes in a pumpkin to make it look like a lantern! And let’s not forget, the sacred and holy pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. God help us, it’s already in stores!

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firecracker macarons!

Happy birthday, America! I made you some macarons. I hope you like them!

IMG_1121Is there any dessert more trying to a baker’s patience than the elusive French macaron? I’ve made them about 8 times in the past 3 years to varying degrees of success. This recipe comes from the always lovely Tartelette, a recipe that I’ve used a few times and decided to come back to for this 4th of July treat. I’ve tried other recipes, and while some of them have worked beautifully, others have been a sad disappointment. I find myself glued to the glass door of my oven while these little beauties are baking, holding my breath until I see the first signs of feet forming (“pieds“, if you want to be fancy, the little ruffly/bubbly edges at the bottom). The first time I made these and got feet to form, I literally jumped up and down in my kitchen,  no joke.

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cherry vanilla popsicles

So. It’s been hot here lately.

Like, really hot. 108 degrees, hot. If there’s one thing you can count on in Phoenix in mid June, it’s relentless heat. Sadly, the calendar still thinks it’s springtime, but you wouldn’t know that if you stepped outside here on a random day at 3 PM!

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strawberry balsamic + black pepper popsicles

When I think of summertime, I think of popsicles, and when I think of popsicles, I think of my childhood neighbor Eric. My family moved in to the house across the street from Eric’s family when I was 5, and he was the same age as me and my twin sister. I remember standing at the end of our driveway with my two sisters the morning after we moved in, shouting to Eric as he sped up and down the street on his bike trying to impress us with his skills. All we wanted to do was introduce ourselves to him, because oh boy, here was a potential new friend! Eventually he stopped his feats of daring on his child’s bicycle, came over and talked to us, and the rest is history.

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Most days after morning kindergarten, my twin sis and I could be found hanging out with Eric at his house. In the storage room off of his family’s carport, they had a big deep freezer that, to my kid brain, seemed chock-full of nothing but popsicles (because that’s all I ever saw his mom pull out of it). Among the typical cherry, orange and grape-flavored pops, his favorite always seemed to be the Flintstones sherbet push-up pops. When the weather turned warm, you could rest assured that Eric’s mom would keep him in a never-ending supply of popsicles from the deep freezer.

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lemon-strawberry ice cream

Recently, my roommate brought home a bunch of lemons from a co-worker’s lemon tree. These lemons were HUGE. Like grapefruit-sized, huge.

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Since there were so many, I wasn’t quite sure how to utilize them. I solicited ideas, and was met with suggestions for lemon pound cake, homemade limoncello, lemon bars, you name it. Even with all these lovely ideas swirling around in my head, I always have a weakness for ice cream, and I’m one of those crazy people who could eat ice cream even in the dead of winter. Thankfully it’s not that cold where I live, so ice cream can always been in season! When life gives you lemons, you make a whole bunch of lemon-strawberry ice cream! Well, you do if you’re me.

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