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.


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.




Eating Rainbows

health pizza

My Whole Food Discovery……..


I grew up with a mother who was very good at serving us a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It’s hard to remember any dinner that she made us that didn’t include a salad. So needless to say I have always been a big fan of including  my “greens” or  “The Digestive Detergent’s” into my diet.

As the years progressed I became more and more exposed to all the many colors that could be found in the rainbow of the Veggie & Fruit World. With so many flavors and textures to explore. I found that you can taste natural hue of “pepper” in an Arugula salad, that a ripe heirloom tomato can really stand on it’s own or be turned into something extra special just by sprinkling a pinch of Kosher salt and The Avocado “Oh my word where do I begin” the affection runs deep.

So very recently I have found a whole new appreciation for Whole Foods (and I’m not talking about the grocery store). In the beginning of July , I embarked on a clean eating challenge via Fit Girls Guide. They offer a 28 day challenge to commit to clean eating and cooking. So I signed up and so far I’m halfway through the challenge and “Loving It”. Now here is my plain truth I have the worlds biggest sweet tooth. I also am addicted to cheese and baguettes. Yes not the the world’s healthiest of combos. So at first I fretted and maybe protested a bit in my mind. Then one day about two months ago at the urging of my friend Jessica I entered the front door of a local healthy eatery called Luscious Lorraine’s Juice and Food Bar. I ordered a Raw House salad that consisted of – Raw shredded beet, zucchini, carrots, cabbage on mixed greens, with avocado & avocado-tahini dressing. Simple and “Oh My” so full for beautiful flavor. Little by little I found myself going back over and over again. So then it came to me to “Go for It” and take a dive into the world of Rainbow Eating and it’s been once of the highlight’s of my summer so far!

So here are a few of the Veggie “Hits” I’ve prepared this month, that I am sure you too will find surprisingly delicious yourself. Believe me this whole clean eating got has been a very humbling experience so far. I had no idea that all this “Good for you Food” would rock my world like it has. I have so much more energy these days, my sleep has been solid and sound and my taste buds have been taken to new heights. So I encourage you to give some of these recipes a try. You might very well Surprise yourself!


First up is the “Mexi Power Bowl”




Mexi Power Bowl
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4 Servings
  • 1 Bag Organic Green Mix
  • 1 Cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Cup cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 Avocado Diced
  • 1 Red Pepper Diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper Diced
  • 1 Cup Sliced Grape Tomatoes
  • ½ Cup Diced Green Onions
  • ¼ Cup chopped Cilantro
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • The juice of 1 Lime (freshly squeezed)
  • **Optional - a few shots of hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula)
  1. Layer all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with Oiive Oil, fresh Lime Juice and hot sauce.
  2. Add a sprinkling of Sea Salt for extra special flavor.



Individual Veggie Pizza’s



Individual Veggie Pizza
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 Whole Grain Pita Breads
  • 1 Jar Organic Marinara Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Carton Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 Red Pepper (Rough Chopped)
  • 1 Yellow Pepper (Rough Chopped)
  • 2 Cups fresh Spinach
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. To a pan add Olive Oil, Mushrooms, Peppers, Spinach and sauté until all veggies are soft (try not to overcook them) you still want the peppers to have a bit of a small crunch to them. Season with Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper. Set pan aside.
  3. On a cookie sheet line up the 4 pita rounds and spoon over Marinara sauce on each one. Then add the vegetable mixture generously to each pita and sprinkle with the grated Mozzarella cheese.
  4. **** For extra special seasoning you can add a small sprinkle of dried oregano , parsley or basil to the top of each pizza.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the pita edges are crisp.



Veggie Tostadas


Veggie Tostadas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 6 Organic Corn Tortillas
  • Olive Oil spray
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Red Tomato , chopped
  • 1 Cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Cup fresh spinach
  • 1 Large Avocado Cubed
  • 1 Carton of Crimini Mushrooms
  • ½ Cilantro Chopped
  • Sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese
  • ** Optional Jalapeno's in a jar for garnish and spice
  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees
  2. Spray the corn tortillas with Olive Oil spray on both sides. Line on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 mins or until crisp.
  3. Add Olive oil to a saute pan ,then add the spinach and mushrooms add a little and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until softened.
  4. To Assemble: Load the baked tortillas with the cooked veggies (mushrooms and spinach) then garnish with avocados, cabbage ,tomatoes, cilantro , jalapeño and cheese.
  5. *** Optional- squeezed a little lime juice and drizzle with hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula).


The “Cali” Power Salad




The "Cali" Power Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 Servings
  • 1 Package of Chicken Tenders (Cooked)
  • 1 Bag Organic Greens
  • ½ Radicchio - Shredded
  • 4 Mini Persian Cucumbers chopped
  • 1 Large Avocado Cubed
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • ½ Cup Pepitas
  • ¼ Cup Toasted Almonds
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste
  • Dressings that can be used on this salad are (Balsamic Vinaigrette & Green Goddess)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line the chicken tenders on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until tender. Once chicken tenders are cooled , Chopped into bite size pieces and set aside.
  3. Combine all the Greens, Radicchio, Cucumbers, Avocados, Dried Cranberries,Pepitas and Almonds in a large salad bowl. Season with Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.


Coconut Almond Joy Bites


Coconut Almond Joy Bites
Serves: 10 - 12
  • 2½ cups flaked coconut, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate for coating
  1. Pulse the coconut in a food processor until sticky crumbs form. Set aside about ¼ cup of the mixture.
  2. Mix the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir in the coconut from step one. Form the mixture into small balls by squeezing until a ball forms. The mixture will be crumbly, so it doesn't work to put the mixture in your hands and roll it. You have to squeeze it. There will be a little bit of excess oil - that's okay.
  3. Once you have the balls rolled, refrigerate for 1 hour or so until they are firm. At this point, if you want, you should be able to take them out and re-roll them to get the shape just right since they'll be firm and malleable.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut and shake or stir constantly for a few minutes until the coconut is lightly browned and fragrant.
  5. Melt the chocolate for a minute or so in the microwave. Stir it until it's smooth. Dip each coconut ball in the chocolate and remove with a fork, letting excess chocolate drip off. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and top with the toasted coconut from step three. Freeze or refrigerate to set the chocolate.
  6. These yummy treats taste great when kept in the refrigerator.

Good Health to you!


Coconut Tapioca Pudding



Tapioca with a serious tropical twist. Not to sweet – Just a little smooth blend of coconut with a tad bit of fresh pineapple and toasted coconut to finish. Tapioca is made from the root of the cassava plant, it’s used as a thickening agent in puddings, soups and fruit pie fillings. You can find Tapioca in the pudding section of the supermarket.


Coconut Tapioca Pudding
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 can (13½ ounces) coconut milk
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup small pieces of fresh pineapple, or 1 can (5½ ounces) pineapple chunks, drained and cut into smaller pieces.
  1. In a medium saucepan, lightly beat egg. Add coconut milk, milk, sugar, and tapioca; whisk to combine. Set aside, at least 5 minutes, until tapioca is slightly softened.
  2. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat; stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let cool until no longer hot, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours (or up to 3 days).
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast, tossing once or twice, until golden, 10 to 15 minutes; let cool.
  4. Just before serving, whisk pudding to loosen. Divide among four serving glasses or dishes; top with pineapple and toasted coconut.




Cannoli Dip



I’ve always have been a huge fan of Cannoli. The very first time a tasted one of these little cuties filled with pure “awesomeness” was at Mike’s Pastry in the North End of Boston.

I could only dream that there would be a bakery like this back here in California that could match the “Heavenlyness” (is that a word?) of Mikes Pastry, but so far I haven’t been able to pin one down.  This Cannoli is a nice “Plan B”- Because you get all the fun that comes with a Cannoli but it’s half the work. It’s alway’s been a real crowd pleaser and lets face it. How could you turn your back on something so pretty!


Cannoli Dip
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 32oz container part skim or fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marinier
  • Toppings:
  • Mini chocolate chips, to top
  • Chopped pistachios, to top
  • Fresh orange zest, to top
  • Fresh Raspberries, to top
  • Wafers or graham crackers, to dip
  1. Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Top with mini chocolate chips, chopped pistachios,raspberries and orange zest.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Serve with dippers of your choice.




Homemade Marshmallows

What would a cup of hot chocolate or a s’more taste like without the Marshmallow? Its something I don’t even want to think about.

We are now entering the beginning of Winter time. Which means “Time for Marshmallows”. I promise you that after making these you will never want to go back to the store bought ones. In fact these are so yummy that if you took a taste of those store bought ones after having the “Real Deal” they will as Ina Garten once said “Taste like rubber”.

Ina’s recipe for Marshmallows are so easy to make. No need to be intimidated. The only thing you may want to buy before making them is a candy thermometer. It is well worth the little $5.00 investment to ensure the perfect batch of Marshmallows every time.

You can dust these little beauties with powdered sugar or jazz them up by dusting a cinnamon/sugar coat or toasting up some coconut and rolling them around in it.



Homemade Marshmallows
Serves: 20-24
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. Combine the gelatin and ½ cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  4. With a sieve, generously dust an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.
  5. Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. Dust them with more confectioners' sugar.



  • A few of the essential ingredients at a glance



  • Remember don’t forget that Candy Thermometer


  • Slowing add the mixture and beat for 15 minutes


  • Marshmallow mix will turn white, smooth and beautiful


  • Now it’s all ready to spread onto a dish dusted with powdered sugar



  • Here one of the extra embellishments – Toasted Coconut Flakes


  • Or you can give them a dusting of Cinnamon Sugar


  • A beautiful Old Fashioned result every time !!!!!!!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle




Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 cup unsalted butter -- softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup finely chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Using a mixer or by hand, combine the butter, vanilla, salt and sugars in a large bowl and beat together until well blended. Stir in flour until just mixed. Add chocolate chips and pecans.
  3. Break the dough into small pieces and scatter them over entire surface of the ungreased, un-lined half-sheet pan or large cookie sheet. Press dough in a thin, even layer, but don't worry if the dough doesn't touch every edge and corner . Spreading the dough in a thin layer will give you the shortbread/brittle texture you want.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until medium brown. Check at the 20 minute bake time, then watch cookies carefully; they go from brown to burnt around the edges very quickly. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Using your hands, break the brittle into pieces, then store in an airtight container.


Creamy Lemon/Rasi Bars


When I had the chance to go to Ms. Paula’s Cooking school there was something very valuable that she shared with the class. This was the advice that when you have a recipe even an fabulous one “Don’t be possessive over it, instead share it with others”. I loved that. I mean really isn’t that what makes life extra sweet is “sharing with others”? I think so.

She also encouraged us to take a recipe any recipe and feel free to add your own personal twist on it. That’s what makes it fun and exciting. So that’s exactly what I did with this one. I took Ms. Paula’s Basic Lemon Bar recipe and added a little spin on it. I thought lets give it a cream cheese filling and a little flavoring of raspberries. I hope you enjoy the results of this very pretty bar. I call them the “Girly Bars” almost too pretty to eat!


Creamy Lemon/Rasi Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
  • Lemon Bars:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter softened
  • 1 8oz stick of Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Cups of Powder Sugar
  • Raspberry Sauce
  • 1 container Fresh Raspberries
  • 2 Tablespoons Powder Sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan.
  2. Make the crust by combining the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioners' sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the filling, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Pour this over the baked crust and bake for 25 minutes longer
  4. While bars are cooling mix all the ingredients for the cream cheese filling together in a mixer. Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla together. Then add powered sugar to mixture 1 cup at a time. Once bars have completely cooled spread cream cheese mixture over the top and then put into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. To make the Raspberry Sauce just combine the fresh raspberries and powdered sugar in a blender or food processor until pureed.
  6. Drizzle the Raspberry sauce on the top of the cream cheese layer of the lemon bars. Cut into squares and garnish with fresh raspberries .




Cinnamon /Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Biscotti



“Biscotti” is the plural form of biscotto. The word originates from the Medival Latin word biscoctus, meaning “twice-cooked/baked.” It defined oven baked goods that were baked twice, so they were very dry and could be stored for long periods of time. Pliny the Elder boasted that such goods would be edible for centuries. Such nonperishable food was particularly useful during journeys and wars, and twice baked breads were a staple food of the Roman Legions.


Now that we are done with the history lesson (lol) lets cut straight to the facts. How good is this biscuit (especially when soaked in a cup of coffee)?  Truth be told I always thought that this would be hard to make. However I found the process to be very easy and enjoyable.There have been many variations of this Italian Biscuit, here is my favorite of the kind I sampled in a great bakery in Brooklyn, NY called BAKED. I sat with my beloved on bench in Brooklyn Heights that glorious day end enjoyed every last bite.




Cinnamon /Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: Makes 18 Large Biscotti
  • 1⅓ cups sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups blanched hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1¾ cups (10 onces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar mixture together until the color is uniform and the mixture is thick. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds. Add the flour in two batches and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix for a few seconds more. Add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and beat until just combined.
  4. Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into a log about 16 inches long, 3½ inches wide and ¾ inch thick. Use an offset spatula to smooth the surface of the dough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until firm, but not browned. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes.
  5. lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  6. While the log is cooling, whisk the egg white and 2 tablespoons water together and use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash onto the top of the log.
  7. Cut the log into ¾ – inch slices with a serrated knife, set them on the baking sheet cut sides up and down, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual biscotti to a rack to cool completely. The Biscotti will keep in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.



 The Biscotti will keep in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.





For the love of Lemons – When life gives you them you make – LEMONIES

The Lemon version of a brownie without the chocolate. I never thought I would turn my back on a brownie but with these I make an exception. Simple ingredients that you may already have sitting right there in your kitchen can produce a moist heavenly lil lemon square that will make you want to make them all over again and again.

** Sweet tip – I love to serve these with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and a sprinkling of fresh berries an assortment of (Raspberries, Blueberries and Strawberries).



Recipe type: Dessert , Sweets
Cuisine: Dessert
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour {King Arthur All-Purpose Flour}
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt {Sea Salt}
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Tart Lemon Glaze:
  • 1 rounded cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8 teaspoons lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease/Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter/cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Zest and juice two small/large lemons; set aside. {whatever you have}
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will be dry. {even with the yummy glaze}
  6. When Lemonies are cooled completely, make the glaze…sift the powdered sugar, add lemon zest and juice, and whisk together all three ingredients. Spread ½ the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula. Let glaze set. Spread the remaining glaze over the bars, and let it set. This glaze does not harden like most. Cut into bars, and serve!