Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups chocolate chips, divided
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, baking soda and salt. Give the dry ingredients a quick whisk and then set this mixture aside.
  3. In a large stand mixer, combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Turn the mixer on medium high and cream together the butter and sugars, making sure to scrape down the sides so everything is incorporated. Add the egg, vanilla and pumpkin and combine. Add the dry ingredients into the mixer and mix until the dry mixture is just combined. Add in 1½ cups of the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
  4. Spray a 13x9 baking sheet with baking spray. Place the mixture into the baking sheet and level it out. Sprinkle on the remaining ½ cup chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes and then remove from the oven. Let cool before cutting and serving.


Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots

Can you believe we are now in the month of November? We have exactly 2 months left in 2017 and we have finally arrived at the time of year when we move into daylight savings time, take out the cozy throw blankets and start thinking of about the wonderful world of “Sides”.

I just live for “Sides”. Forget about the main course. I could be just as happy with a side of potatoes and roasted broccoli for dinner. Sides rule and today we get to talk about a new extra special side made with carrots.

Last year I crossed paths with an interesting package of Tri colored carrots at my local Trader Joe’s Market. My first thought was “pretty”. These little carrots looked so pretty in the bag. I knew that once I got them home washed and peeled them they might transform into something drop dead gorgeous. So I did just that and …….Wow in the end they looked stunning.

But this was not the grand finale. I then took these drop dead gorgeous carrots and made a maple/dijon marinade and proceeded to slow roast them in the oven. They tasted out of this world…..OMG ….again I will never be the same. A new “side” to love and my hope is that you will love them too!


Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 5 - 6
  • 2 Pounds multi-colored carrots, rinsed, trimmed and peeled
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Handful of Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup Pistachios, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place trimmed carrots on top. Whisk together maple syrup, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Pour ⅔ of the mixture on top of the carrots and toss to coat completely. Place in oven to bake for 35 minutes, tossing half way through to cook evenly on both sides.
  3. Once carrots are done cooking, heat up the ⅓ leftover mixture (this can be done in the microwave) then pour over the cooked carrots. Topped with a little extra salt, parsley, and pistachios before serving.


  • “Go vegetable heavy. Reverse the psychology of your plate by making meat the side dish and vegetables the   main course”-       Bobby Flay

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

There has always been that “Something” about Cinnamon. It’s the something that translates to the feeling of “All things warm, fuzzy and sweet in life.” When I was a young girl, I remember coming home from school during those crisp fall afternoons, I’d open the door to my house , walk in the kitchen and see my mama’s beautiful warm smile and there in the air would be the comforting aroma of “Cinnamon”.

Yes mama’s -Cinnamon Sugar Toast bread with dripping butter. That was one of my favorite after school delights.

So today I will celebrate Cinnamon and make Cinnamon Roasted Almonds. They are so super easy to make. Great for treat bags, snacks or making as a jar to give as a gift. They taste just like the cinnamon roasted almonds you get at the fair, and nothing get’s better than that!



Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups whole almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F .
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  3. Beat egg whites and vanilla extract in a large bowl; add almonds and toss to coat. Stir brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and salt into almonds until blended. Spread almond mixture into prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until coating is dry, about 75 minutes.




Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

As the weather slowly makes it’s transition from Summer to Fall I gradually start to think of “The Crockpot”. You know that wonderful time saving pot that every college student, newlywed, bachelor and wife needs in their life. I mean it’s just pure genius. Which recently prompted me to ask the question, who was the smart guy who invented this masterpiece? Here is what I found. A brief little history on how it came to be:

“The Crock Pot  invented by Irving Naxon, in 1938, while he was trying to make his grandmother’s “Cholent Stew.” Cholent was the name given to a meal eaten on Saturday, the Sabbath, by Eastern European Jews known as the Ashkenazim. Naxon’s unit consisted of a ceramic pot that was heated by electric coils.

Naxon was the head of Naxon Utilities Corp., which originally marketed the slow cooker as Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker. This small company was bought in 1970 by Hack Miller’s Rival Manufacturing Co., and then reintroduced the Naxon Beanery as the Crock-Pot. It has been popular ever since. People loved it for creating easy one-pot meals, and it was a great way to slow cook cheaper cuts of meat, making them tender with very low cooking temperatures over long periods of time”.

There are hundreds of things that can be made in it. Our family favorites have been slow roasted garlic chicken, beef stew and hot artichoke dip to name a few. Today we will use it to make Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate. I call it dessert in a cup!


The best part  -There are only 6 ingredients

Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate
Recipe type: Hot Beverages
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 (12 oz) package high quality chocolate chips
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • Whip Cream
  1. In 5qt slow cooker mix your sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, milk, chocolate chips, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and stir well to combine.
  2. Heat on low for 3 hours or high for 1.5 hours stirring frequently.
  3. Pour desired amount in glass and top with whip cream and pumpkin pie spice if desired.


Ultimate Autumn Salad

What can be any prettier than a hearty Autumn salad? This amazing creation begins with a crunchy kale base and mix-ins ranging from roasted root veggies, tart apples, toasted nuts, and Pecorino cheese, this salad is far from shy on flavor.  Not only is it healthy it will only taste better the next day.


Ultimate Autumn Salad
Recipe type: Salad
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 bunch chopped kale (about 6 cups)
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups cooked farro
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups chopped apples (about 2-3 apples)
  • 4 ounces shredded Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon chopped shallot
  1. Peel, scoop out seeds, and cube butternut squash.* Toss in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp ground pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes at 400°F, or until squash is tender and golden brown.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast walnuts until golden brown and fragrant.
  3. Combine kale, farro, apples, squash, walnuts, cheese, and cranberries in a bowl.
  4. For the dressing, whisk 1 tbsp olive oil, orange juice, mustard, shallot, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a bowl until fully combined.



Pumpkin Bread 101

For many, walking into a kitchen with the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the morning can be considered “bliss”. But imagine walking into the kitchen with the smell of coffee and warm Pumpkin bread baking in the oven!

Omg, one word comes to mind “Heaven”.

Yes it’s that time of year again. My favorite time of year , Fall. Even though I don’t get to experience colored leaves in Southern California what I do know is I get the chance to dive deep into all the glorious tastes and smells of baking during the season of pumpkins, squash, cinnamon, apples, walnuts and salted caramel.

So lets kick things off with a true classic. Pumpkin Bread 101. It’s pure comfort food delight. You can eat it plain or throw your very own twist on it by adding in a handful of chocolate chips or pecans. Or if you are really looking for pumpkin bread “dreamland” then add a layer of cinnamon cream cheese frosting on top!


Pumpkin Bread 101
Recipe type: Breads
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water and eggs; beat well. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts if desired. Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 65-70 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack


Dutch Pancake




The summer before I was set to start my senior year in high school, I took on my very first job as a stock girl/sales clerk at a very cute and unique gift shop in our local mall.

It was called “A Touch of Country”  one could find most unique handmade gifts, pretty scented candles, greeting cards and in the back of the store was a HUGE cookbook section. My boss “Barb” was an avid cook. She assigned me to take care of this section of the store and I was in complete heaven.

It was in this little corner of the store that I discovered who Martha Stewart was and were I cracked opened the Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” for the very first time.

Back in the 80’s cookbooks were not as colorful and picture oriented as they are now. You had to read instructions to recipes without really getting to see what the end result may look like. I stumbled across a recipe called “German Pancake” (also referred to as “Swedish” or “Dutch” Pancake”) it seemed simple and yummy. But I never made it , I was too preoccupied doing all the things teenage girls do and staying home on a Saturday night to make “German Pancake” was just not a priority back then.

Until one day “Barb” took me to a pancake house for breakfast. It was on this day that I had “The German Pancake” a glorious concoction of 2,000 plus calories that was puffy like a beautiful cloud, had crisp little edges and smothered with melted butter. Then it was finished off with a fresh twist of lemon juice and sprinkled generously with powered sugar……..WOW it was life changing.

It still is life changing and you would be foolish to let time pass you by without ever making it. It’s too easy for words to make and the the toppings for it are endless. Recently I made two of my own versions of this. The base of this recipe was found in Chrissy Teigen’s – Cravings Cookbook.





Here is a list of possible toppings for this gorgeous pancake:

Melted butter

Fresh squeezed lemon juice


Mini chocolate Chips

Fresh chopped berries- Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries

Chopped nuts: pecans, walnuts, pistachio’s, toasted almonds


Salted Caramel

Chocolate Syrup

Dutch Pancake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 4
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick ) butter, melted, plus softened butter for serving
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees
  2. In a blender, combine the flour, eggs, milk, salt and 2 tablespoons of melted butter and blend until smooth with no lumps. 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. In a 10 inch cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over high heat until foamy. Add the batter and immediately put the skillet in the the oven. Bake until the outside of the pancake is puffed and a deep golden color. 17 to 18 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, drizzle with melted butter and cut into quarters.
  5. ** You can also pour syrup over the pancake and sprinkle with powdered sugar**







Bacon/Parmesan Popovers


Amazingly light, airy and moist popovers made so easily with one bowl. No mixer needed here!

Oh for the love of Popovers- They can be eaten for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. There are no rules.


This version pairs so well with a simple egg in the morning. Today was the day!  Now it is noon and they are all gone. I sometimes refer to it as the “Morning Popover” the added touch of bacon and fresh grated Parmegianno Reggioano Cheese make it all so memorable. It’s so good you will wake in the middle of the night just thinking of them!









Rainbow Power Salad

Remember your mama saying those famous last words “Eat your Veggies”? Well she most likely knew that all those rainbow of veggies would contribute to you growing up strong and healthy.

Lets all shout out a big praise of “Thanks” to all of our Mama’s for introducing us to the wonderful world of vegetables and color. With amazing flavors that would last all of us a lifetime. This Power salad has everything. It’s beautiful and it really fuels you for the whole day. I like to add protein to it every once in a while (grilled chicken or roasted shrimp). You can also be extra creative and add your own twist of garnishes.

Here are a few ideas: Pumpkin seeds, Toasted Almonds, Roasted Pistachios, Gorgonzola Crumbles, Fresh Herbs – Basil-Parsley-Dill or Thyme.

** My favorite addition to this salad is diced ripe creamy Avocados**






Rainbow Power Salad
  • 4 Cups Organic Mixed Field Greens
  • 1 Cup of canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 Red Pepper diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper diced
  • 1 Orange Pepper diced
  • ½ Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ English cucumber, chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • Basil Vinaigrette
  • 1 Shallot, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon koasher salt
  1. Salad Assembly:
  2. Put all the mixed field greens in a bowl. Arrange the other ingredients in groups on top of the greens (creating the rainbow).
  3. Serve with the Basil Vinaigrette on the side.
  4. Basil Vinaigrette
  5. Combine all the ingredients for the basil vinaigrette in a high powered blender or food processor for about 60 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Lemon Rosemary Pound Cake


Light – Fragrant – Divine!


Three little words that describe this simple yet lovely little pound cake. The little secret ingredient to this cake is (Vanilla Yogurt). It can be served with a small dollop of Vanilla Bean ice cream or whipping cream to make it extra decadent.

But it really does stand on it’s own when paired with a cup of afternoon tea. I have served this pound cake at many baby showers over the years. It’s a true “Springtime Favorite”.





Lemon Rosemary Pound Cake
  • ¾ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup Organic Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup Vanilla Yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Rosemary sprigs (optional)
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Add yogurt, and add eggs one at a time. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Mix for an additional minute, scrapping the bowl, until everything is smooth and combined. Next pour batter into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan, and cool completely on a rack.
  3. Make the glaze by whisking powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add more sugar and lemon juice as needed. Drizzle over cake and add rosemary sprigs. Let glaze stand until completely set.