white christmas cake

The Christmas season is always my favorite part of the year. The lights, ornaments, decorations, food, music, family time, the tree, the movies and of course snow. Sadly I never get snow on Christmas here in AZ, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing for it!

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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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crunchy little peppermint meringues

What do you think of when you think of Christmas time? I think of my mom’s homemade cranberry bread, twinkly little lights around the windows, Mickey’s Christmas Carol on TV, and Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”.

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I also think of all things peppermint. There’s no better time of the year to break out the peppermint extract! Any other time of year, and you’ll just look like a weirdo. Since it’s December, you’re safe for the time being.

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caramel pears

Pears are better than apples.

There, I said it. I’ve never been a huge fan of apples, they always smell better than they taste, to me. I do enjoy a few varieties that I’ll snack on if the rare mood strikes (Pink Lady, Honeycrisp), but I’d rather eat a pear than an apple, any day of the week. That’s why I decided to create a new cool-weather staple: enter the caramel-dipped pear!

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spiced apple butter bars

Back a few months ago when I made these Strawberry-Lime Crumble Bars, all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to make a fall-inspired version! The strawberry and lime ones were amazing, but when the weather turns cool, you just want something with cinnamon, vanilla and warm spices, preferably with some apples included, to ring in the season.

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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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honey-almond peach crisp

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to make a trip down to Apple Annie’s Orchard in Willcox, AZ. I’ve been several times in the past to pick my own pumpkins in the fall, but I had always missed out on picking peaches from their orchard in the summertime. I was super excited to go!

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Happy 237th Birthday, America!

It’s the 4th of July, and what better way to celebrate than with food? Holidays + food = ‘Merica! If you need a salad to offset all the grilled meat you’re sure to ingest, this quick and tasty Brussels Sprout Salad with Radish + Feta should fit the bill nicely. It’s chock-full of fresh brussels sprouts, spicy radishes, crunchy pistachios, salty and creamy feta, and … Continue reading Happy 237th Birthday, America!

grapefruit brûlée bars

I have many fond memories of spending time at my grandma’s house as a kid. She lived right next door to us, so it wasn’t unusual to go over and spend the night at her house on the occasional weekend. When it came to meals, breakfast was one that my grandma always wanted immediately after she woke up, even it that meant sitting down at the table around 5:30 a.m. My grandma was never one for hearty breakfasts of fried eggs, bacon, pancakes and the like. She’d make little muffins that she called “breakfast cakes”, usually with healthy things like raisins and bran cereal flakes, or chunks of pineapple. My sisters and I would each get a microwave-warmed “breakfast cake” which she’d pulled from her ever-present stash the freezer, accompanied by a tiny glass of orange juice and a steaming, scald-your-lips hot mug of hot cocoa, always made with water and not milk.

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My grandma’s breakfast of choice, the one that she always came back to after countless batches of tiny muffins, was a simple grapefruit half and a cup of hot tea. I never knew anyone who ate as much grapefruit as my grandma! I don’t recall if she ever put sugar on her grapefruit before she dug in with one of her little sharp-edged grapefruit spoons, but whenever she’d serve me a half for breakfast, I was sure to load it up with lots of crunchy white sugar. My favorite part? Drinking the super sweet grapefruit juice left in the rind once all the fruit had been eaten.

Fancy was not necessarily my grandma’s style when it came to breakfast, so there’s no wonder that she never sprinkled sugar on her half of grapefruit and then shoved it into the broiler to create a thin layer of caramelized goodness on top of the fruit. I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve always been intrigued by the idea. Grapefruit? Good. Sugar? Good. Grapefruit and sugar? Gooooooood.

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diy sno-balls!

It was a sad, sad day for junk food lovers everywhere when Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January. I remember the day after the news spread about the brand going under, I was at my local Target and the shelves that had previously held boxes upon boxes of Twinkies and cupcakes were totally bare. Even the end caps filled with packages of mini donuts were picked clean.

Homer's Phobia

Bart’s a smart one! Much to Homer’s chagrin, he picked the sno-ball!

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