Why, Hello There!

I truly believe food is love; it calms the soul, and lightens the heart. I am pleased you are here to share my many recipes, crafts and thoughts. Thank you so much for joining me, and may you always eat, drink, and be merry!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I thought I had convinced myself that I hated raisins, and it seems like half the time I really do.  But I admit there are moments when something chock full of raisins sounds perfectly yummy.  These cookies are some of the best to add raisins to, and the dough is horribly addicting. This recipe is fairly easy, and very adaptable.  I like to put left over dough in the freezer and make several small batches. This recipe can also be doubled or tripled for lots and lots of cookies!  

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies


 (make sure to use best quality, organic ingredients if possible)

1/2 C butter, softened
2/3 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 C rolled oats
** Choose as many of the following as you would like to equal 3/4 C**
--chocolate chips

How To:

With a hand, or a stand-mixer, cream butter and brown sugar.
 Scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add in egg and combine.

Next, add vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; mix well.

 Stir in flour, oats, and 3/4 C any combination of chocolate, raisins,
 and/or walnuts, until just incorporated. Make sure not to over mix this step,
 or cookies will become tough.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

...and try not to eat too much of the dough...

  ***Preheat oven to 350 degrees***

Scoop heaping 1-2 tablespoon amounts of dough
onto a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet.  You can roll them
into neat spheres if you prefer.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden-brown.

Let cool completely, or eat warm.  Bon appetit!

*Makes a modest 14-20 cookies depending on the size you choose.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Jack Horner's Plum Pie

Jacob didn't used to like to try different foods.  If it were left up to him, he would have lived off of mac and cheese, chocolate peanut butter pancakes, and root beer for the rest of his life.

He knew the basic tastes, and when it came to fruit, he was very familiar with the apple, orange, strawberry and banana, but that was about the extent of his fruit knowledge. I remember practically force feeding him a plum one day, and now they are his absolute favorite fruit.  We have come a long way since then.  Thankfully Jake is well versed in the delights of many, many foods now. 

Jake loves pie, and frankly, who doesn't?  He has informed me he will not rest until I agree to letting him have a 'groom's pie' instead of a cake.  Today I have created a great recipe, it will be another first for Jacob, for he has never had:

Plum Pie


2 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 C unbleached sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4C - 1/2C ice water
1C cold butter, cubed

2lbs fresh plums, quartered
3 Tbsp butter, cubed
1 Tbsp all spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2C unbleached sugar

 Directions for Crust:

First pulse flour, sugar, salt until thoroughly combined.  Add cubed butter. 

Pulse in butter, and add ice water slowly, as needed.

Divide dough in half and wrap individually in plastic.

Put disks in the refrigerator for about 1/2 an hour,
while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Directions for Filling:

Combine flour, sugar, all spice and salt in a medium sized bowl.

Rinse, remove pits, and quarter plums

Coat the prepared plums in the spice mixture

There will be extra spice mixture, save this for later.

Directions to Assemble Pie:
**Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Take the chilled dough out of the fridge.
 Roll out and press one disk into the bottom of a buttered and floured pie pan. 

Sprinkle and spread the remaining spice mixture in the bottom pie crust.
Fill the bottom  pie crust with the coated plumbs,
and dot the filling with butter.

Roll out the second disk and lay it atop the filled bottom crust.
Trim any excess dough from sides.
 I used the left over dough
to make a twist around the edge of the pie for decoration.

Bake on the lower rack of the oven at 375 for an hour.

Top with vanilla ice cream; we like Alden's Vanilla Bean...

...and bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Little Things

I love Jacob; I don't know if it is possible for me to love anyone else in this world as much as I love him. When I got home from work today what did I find?  Jacob in the kitchen, full of smiles, ready to surprise me.  He was putting the finishing touches on a lunch that was bursting with vegetables and herbs from our garden.  Alight with pride, he led me outside where he had set up a romantic, refreshing lunch for the two of us.  He hooked my frilly Disneyland parasol on my chair outside, to shade me from the sun.  He picked lavender for the table, and brought me my favorite iced drink.  After almost 4 years of constantly being by each others side, I am still shocked at how thoughtful and wonderful he is on a daily basis.

From our garden

 The setup 

I am so lucky

and so happy

Thank you Jacob

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tribute To Arthur Weasley...I Mean Arthur Wellesley

Arthur Wellesley was the first Duke of Wellington, famous for winning the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon in 1815.  It is theorized that it was in his very kitchen that Beef Wellington was created.  He was a supposed lover of beef, mushrooms and truffles; thus the dish was created in his honor. 

For a variety of reasons Jacob and I rarely eat beef.  We have probably had it a total of three times in the past two years.  Because of this, the flavor of beef surprises me each time I eat it.  The meat is succulent, rich, deep and flavorful. 
A sweet little birdie came by my house today and dropped of $40 dollars for no reason at all.  I feel blessed to be so loved. With the gift I made dinner fit for...a duke.  It is a simplified version of the classic Beef Wellington of old.  Here is the recipe I conjured up tonight:  

Mini Beef Wellington Pockets


Serves 3-4 generously

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
5-6 large button mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg white
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves only)
1 pound beef sirloin or tenderloin (grass fed, local)

Mix Seasonings (salt, pepper and dried thyme) together in a small bowl.

In a food processor combine roughly chopped garlic, and onion, the
mushrooms, half of the seasoning mixture, wine, oil, and the rosemary leaves
 by pulsing until ingredients are finely minced.

Cook prepped filling in a sauce pan over medium/high heat
until most of the excess liquid is gone (about 10 minutes.)  Set aside in a bowl.


Trim away fat. Sear the beef in a skillet.

 Remove from skillet, and let the meat cool enough to handle.  All the while 
being weary of cat thieves!

Cut meat into about 2 inch chunks.

Rub beef with the remaining seasoning, and set aside.


Thaw the puff pastry.  If needed, add flour to the dough and roll it
out into a thin, large square.  Cut pastry dough into as many squares
as meat chunks cut.  Make sure to make the dough squares
big enough to seal later, about 4 inches.


Scoop a spoon full of filling (about 1 tablespoon) and place it in the middle
of a dough square. Spread slightly, leaving at least a half inch border plain.
  Place a chunk of seared, seasoned beef on top of the filling.

Fold the dough over the filling and the meat.
 Seal all corners, and patch any holes.
Set aside on a stick free surface (I floured mine), 
and repeat until all the meat is gone.

To finish, brush egg white over the sealed pockets, then poke holes in the
tops with a fork for venting. Grease a baking sheet with butter,
and place assembled beef wellington
pockets on the prepared sheet.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

***Stone ground Dijon mustard is really yummy in the pockets as well. Spread a thin layer on the puff pastry square before adding the rest of the filling, still leaving a half inch border plain.