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from the table to the pot

Thanksgiving table

It is always a good idea to use seasonal produce in a centerpiece, especially on a Thanksgiving table. After all, the holiday is all about bounty and nothing looks more bountiful than beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Of course, we don’t want to be wasteful either, so using that produce for meals in the days to follow is a must!


Our Thanksgiving centerpiece consisted of pomegranates, tangerines and persimmons (later used in a salad) baby zucchini and pattypan squash (sautéed as a side dish that weekend) along with the winter squashes of butternut, acorn and delicata, used for the following soup recipe.

The recipe is the same one I used for a cooking class last Wednesday at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. The only difference was that instead of seven cups of mixed squash, I used 3 cups of butternut along with red bell peppers and sweet potatoes.  The variation for that soup is included.


Here is one more photo from our holiday dinner – one of the placesettings.

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December 7, 2015   1 Comment

It’s all about the packaging!

As you know, I am not a baker. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t have the patience for it. I am not good at it. Even so, there are times when I do have to bake. When teaching cooking, for example.

This last recipe from my “Gifts of Food” class at Les Gourmettes is a dozy. I decided to add it to the class for one reason and one reason only – the packaging.

Big mistake for a person who doesn’t enjoy baking!


But sometimes packaging is everything. At times, cute packaging is all it takes to cause you to make a bad purchasing decision. Buyer’s remorse sets in soon afterwards.


But come on! How cute is this cookie, that looks like a mini double crust lattice pie, in an adorable little scalloped window box, on top of a doily and all tied up with bakers twine?!?  To me – it’s Irresistible!

I’m sure most of us can admit that we’ve bought something only because of the packaging and not so much for what was inside. These bad decisions not only happen when purchasing something, though. Making this cookie to teach in front of a class of students is a case in point.

In my defense, I do know how to and do enjoy doing lattice work with pie dough. On pies! Turns out that making lattice work with cookie dough is not the same thing! Not by a mile! Pie dough is flexible and easy to work with. Cookie dough is delicate, tears, falls apart and needs to be refrigerated over and over again.

  • Time and Patience!
  • Qualities a baker has.
  • Qualities I do not!

So if you’re a baker – this recipe is for you!

If you’re not, but you have a friend who is – a very good friend who will let you call the cookies your own – have them make them for you!

Or just make the dough, roll it out and use decorative cookie cutters on it.  The cookies are not only pretty – they are quite delicious too.

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December 2, 2015   No Comments

coffee cubes


It’s obvious that I’ve been away from blogging too long. I’m not quite back in the grove because I somehow missed my traditional Thanksgiving post. So here’s wishing you and yours a love and fun filled Thanksgiving weekend.

Back to the business at hand.

I hesitate to share this next “Gifts of Food” recipe. I was thinking I should try to market it to my dear friends Steve Kraus & Tram Mai to sell in their Press Coffee Roasters stores. The packaging is so cute that even though I don’t drink coffee, I’d buy these puppies just for the sweet little sack!

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November 27, 2015   No Comments

cookie snow globe

This is the favorite of the six recipes I taught for my “Gifts of Food” class last week at Les Gourmettes.  It’s just so darn cute and has so many elements I love.

  1. Cookies
  2. Food in jars
  3. Pretend snow (isn’t cold and doesn’t melt!)
  4. Adorableness in abundance

snow globe

I mean, seriously, how happy would you be if someone gave you this?  Not only cute, but yummy too!

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November 25, 2015   1 Comment

salt of the earth


The third of the six recipes I taught at my “Gifts of Food” cooking class at Les Gourmettes was the gift of flavored salts.

You don’t need to be a wonderful cook to make these. But every wonderful cook you know would love to receive them!

The Wild Mushroom Salt is fantastic to use in soups and sauces, and makes the perfect seasoning for all meats or for sautéing fresh vegetables.

Use the Smoked Paprika and Ancho Chile Salt in every Mexican, Spanish and Southwest recipe you can think of! Or be adventurous and rim your margarita glasses with it.

Lime-Ginger Salt is also great to use to rim a drink glass and is fabulous to sprinkle on chicken or fish before grilling.

The most versatile of the four salts, use the Herbes de Provence Salt to season everything from meats and poultry to soups, vinaigrettes and sauces.

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November 24, 2015   No Comments

fall granola

Last week I told you I had nothing new in the way of recipes for  Thanksgiving this year. On second thought, I do have a little something for you.

my poached pear

I made a delicious pumpkin granola for my “Gifts of Food” class at Les Gourmettes. If you are looking for a last minute simple and healthy Thanksgiving dessert, this granola, paired with poached pears, fits the bill. Plus,the granola doubles as a great gift to package and give at Christmas.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Recipe adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin purée

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 ½ tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/2 cup toasted pepitas
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together salt, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, pumpkin purée and sesame seeds until smooth. Stir in coconut oil.

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November 23, 2015   2 Comments

you warm my heart <3

thankful for

All y’all sure know how to make a girl feel good!   *I can use that fabulous Texas phrase because I have a daughter who lives in Austin, y’all.

Between the lovely and welcoming comments left here on the blog, the comments and “likes” on Facebook, the personal texts, phone calls and emails – well, I feel the love and it makes me even more energized to be back. Thank you!

So … Thanksgiving is less than a week away and …

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November 20, 2015   3 Comments

Kim’s Bruschetta assortment


Kim made a delicious and beautiful assortment of four bruschetta for Marissa’s bridal shower. All flavors in the variety are inspired by the bruschetta menu from ever popular (since its opening in 2001) Postino Wine Cafe. Kim didn’t have recipes to give me, since she just throws these babies together organically and naturally. But don’t worry, I’ve written up recipes for you. There are no specific quantities, make as many or as few as you need.

At Postino, French bread is used as the base and then the slices are cut in half after they are topped. For the shower, Kim used baguettes to make smaller, more individual-sized pieces.


  • 1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • Olive oil
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves, flattened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and bake at 350 just until warm and slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and rub with garlic cloves let cool for a few minutes before topping.

lunch plate

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May 20, 2015   No Comments

Barb’s tart

two tarts

Here is the recipe for Barb’s delicious tart…. enjoy!

arparagus red bell pepper tart

Asparagus and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tart


  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ice water


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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May 19, 2015   No Comments

bridal shower recipes


My dear friends, Barb and Kim, made the most delicious food for Marissa’s bridal shower. Kim made four different bruschetta and Barb made a beautiful salad and savory tarts.

I didn’t get any photos of the individual dishes, so I’ll do the best I can cropping from the few buffet photos I do have, my apologies ahead of time because the photos won’t do the recipes justice.

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May 18, 2015   4 Comments