Roasted Almond Butter

almond butter

The most delicious almond butter ever.

So, why make your own almond butter? I give you this recipe as The Answer.

I couldn’t find almond butter at the store with roasted almonds as an ingredient. So, I bought a bag of almonds and decided to do my own roasting. The recipe I found called for olive oil, but I had just a bit of coconut oil in the bottom of the jar, so I decided to use that instead. Adding a splash of vanilla is what really makes this recipe special – adding that home baked taste and sweetness without sugar!

This is a beautiful flavor combination, I must say. The coconut oil and vanilla add flavor and just a hint of sweetness without any sugar. So, so good. And healthy, too.

This should stay in your fridge for a few weeks, but I really can’t verify that because mine was completely gone after two days. I’m not saying that you should just sit and eat yours with a spoon, though, so yours might last longer. Just sayin.

(NOTE: The coconut oil will make the mixture very solid after it has been in the fridge, so let it sit out awhile to loosen up before spreading.)

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Jalapeno Relish: Your New Favorite Condiment

Jalapeno Relish: As easy as falling off a log, yet jazzes up just about any savory dish you can think of. 

Jalapeno Relish

Turkey Taco, featuring 3 Nanosecond Jalapeno Relish

I won’t even pretend to call this a Recipe, but simple as it is, it’s turned out to be my favorite new condiment and the best easy tip I’ve heard in a long, long while. So how could I not share it with you?  Tiny backstory: I had a major board exam to prepare for at the end of July, and my study buddy Elka and I did a lot of snacking and quizzing and snacking some more. One day we decided to whip up some fajitas, and she introduced me to this idea. ARE YOU READY? Here we go:


1 jar pickled jalapenos, drained

Pour into food processor. Pulse until mixture reaches relish/spread consistency. Transfer into smaller jar and add to sandwiches, fajitas, crackers, hotdogs, burritos, canapes, hamburgers, tacos, tostadas, flatbreads – you name it.

– posted by Anne


Quickles – Quick Garlic Pickles Recipe

Sassy and crunchy pickles – pronto.

Quick Pickles

Crunchy and sassy pickles you can make in minutes.

Home made pickles are surprisingly easy to make. Just pickle them in the fridge – not on the stove top – and you’ll be amazed at how easy, fresh and crunchy they are. These beauties take just a few minutes of prep time and are ready in just 2 hours of chilling.

I have tried for more than 30 years to find a pickle recipe that is easy and also has the perfect balance of flavors and textures – and THIS it it.

I followed the basic recipe of Mountain Mama Cooks Refrigerator Pickles, with a few tweaks of my own. I added just a bit of sugar to give the sour just a little sweet balance. And I added in some sliced red jalapeños for a touch of heat.

Perfect nosh for your next picnic!

– Posted by Donna


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Home Made Whole Seed Mustard – A Gift from Your Kitchen

Give the gift of home made, whole seed mustard!

Surprise your friends and neighbors with this  home made mustard - a flavor packed gift from your kitchen.

Surprise your loved ones with this home made mustard – a flavor packed gift from your kitchen.

Cookies are nice to receive this time of year – especially for our family, since I really don’t do much baking. BUT. If you want to delight the taste buds of all your friends and family this holiday season – give this flavor-packed home made mustard!

Not only is this DIY mustard delicious, you will also be giving the gift of health – mustard seeds are a nutrient dense food – packed with all sorts of goodness that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer and anti-lots of other bad stuff.

I love the tang of this mustard – but if it is too tart for your taste buds, just increase the honey in the recipe to your liking. This mixture will be very hot and spicy at first, but will mellow – just let it sit for a few days on your counter before eating or giving as a gift.

I ordered crushed mustard seeds from Penzeys‘ and  you can find cute jars at any import type store – I got mine at World Market for 99 cents each.

This mustard will keep for about two months in your fridge – so go ahead and make lots of it and stash it. It’s great for any recipe that calls for mustard – I like it in Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Fish. We also  like to eat it as a snack – just spread on some crackers like you would a nut butter and enjoy!

Happy Healthy Holidays, Everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Lemon Zest Vinaigrette Recipe in a Shaker Jar


When I started making vinaigrette at home, my approach to food was evolving. I started to believe that almost all things we love to eat could be made at home.

As a kid, one thing I loved was Good Seasons Italian salad dressing. It was my job as one of six kids to make salad for our dinners, and this was my go-to. There was something just magical about pouring in ingredients to the ‘fill’ line – all in pretty layers in the clear glass jar. Then you shake it and – voila! – salad magic!

So, when Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, one of my favorite bloggers, raved about her Shaker Jar Vinaigrette with Sumac, I decided to start up the tradition again of making a jar of vinaigrette and keeping it in my fridge to re-shake each time I use it.

I love lemon zest in so many things, and so I decided to try adding it to vinaigrette. It adds a brightness and tang that works with any salad. The other unusual ingredient in all my vinaigrettes is soy sauce instead of salt. I stole this idea from Melissa D’arabian, who learned it from a chef at a bistro in France. It adds a richness and umami that is so, so good in any salad dressing.

Keep this magical elixir handy – it is good on so many things – grilled meats, salads, vegetables. Splash it on most everything!

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Marinated Artichoke Hearts from Scratch – with a Southwest Spin

Southwestern-Style Marinated Artichoke Hearts

I love adding marinated artichoke hearts to all kinds of recipes. Even as a kid, it was one of my favorite ways to dress up an otherwise drab salad. But lately I’ve been wanting make everything homemade that I can possibly pull off. Why not these? I’ve been playing with a few versions of my standard old standby brand, Cara Mia, but thought I might try using a different flavor profile altogether.

Since I seem to have inherited (thanks Donna!) a powerful preference for Southwestern fare, I ventured into that realm and came out with a new staple. I admit, this was most likely influenced by dreaming of attending BlogHer in Austin last weekend. Sorry I had to sit this one out – I always have such an excellent time. Anyway, these would be great added to a burrito, chopped up and added into a white enchilada sauce, or just on top of a bowl of black beans, rice and corn.  Simple, savory, from scratch.

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60 Second Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe

Home made mayonnaise in one minute, max.

Mayonnaise Recipe

Homemade 60 Second Garlic Mayonnaise

“Mayonnaise is a food best made at home and almost never made at home. This has robbed us of something that is both healthy and an absolute joy to eat with gusto.” Tamar Adler

I love this 60-second mayonnaise made with a stick blender. I use light olive oil, which gives the mayo a nice, light texture and taste. The raw garlic and lemon juice brighten it up, too. Let’s call it Summer Mayonnaise ~ so bright and sunny in your mouth.

This flavorful homemade mayo takes only 60 little seconds. It takes me less time to whip this up than it takes me to find that jar of half full mayo at the back of my fridge! Why wouldn’t you make this???

Bonus: you can make it and store it in the very same jar if you use a stick blender. So handy. Win-win, food fans!


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10 Minute Caramelized Onions with a Surprise Ingredient

Perfect Caramelized Onions in 10 minutes flat.
Caramelized Onions

Are you ready to have another standard culinary technique shattered? How about when it results in the best caramelized onions you have ever eaten?

I wish I had a dollar for every minute I have spent in my life caramelizing onions. Most recipes call for low heat and anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes to caramelize onions to a deep brown. This technique is an answer to all those lonely minutes stirring, stirring, stirring onions: Quick Caramelized Onions. Just add a pinch of baking soda to the oil and onions in the pan and they will caramelize perfectly and quickly. I was skeptical, but I gotta tell you, this really works. These are not only deep and rich in flavor, but they also do not turn to mush, which happens too often when I try caramelizing onions. These are delicious, and are soft but have just enough body to them.

Another trick I learned recently – do NOT add salt until the very end. The onion slices need their moisture, and caramelize better without drawing out the water while they are cooking.

I love Vidalia onions for this recipe – so sweet – but you can use any type in a pinch.

This trick works like a dream – your onions will turn dark and rich and flavorful, but still have some body to them. I’m not saying I ate the whole batch, but hey. In my defense – these are truly addicting.

New Resolution: Caramelized Onions on Everything!

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Snow Covered Cranberries for Festive Holiday Garnishes

Snow Covered Cranberries 500

Snow Covered Cranberries

Cranberries are an odd fruit. I mean, seriously, what kind of food grows in a bog? They are tart and delicious when cooked down into a sauce, but you just can’t rinse them and munch on them like you can other berries, or usually eat them raw at all. At least that’s what I thought until I was talking with a friend recently.

“You actually eat raw cranberries?” ask I, stupefied.

“Have you ever eaten them with a powdered sugar coating?” she replied.

“Whaaaaaaaaaa ? ? ?,” my unintelligible response.

She just rinses them and rolls them in powdered sugar, she calmly explained, like it was the most normal thing in the world.

I was skeptical. I mean, they are so, well  . . . woody and so sour and so not good eaten whole and raw. Before now, I have only made one recipe with raw cranberries that I actually love: Cranberry Clementine Salsa. But – just whole raw cranberries? That is a different story.

I tossed my whole cranberries in orange juice concentrate, thinking the classic orange-cranberry flavor combo is a winner. Turns out, you have to get almost all the liquid off the cranberries, or the powdered sugar will be too thick and clumpy. So: toss them in the juice, then dump them out onto a paper towel to drain off the excess. Then, just roll in powdered sugar like you would marbles in a cigar box.

These are so pretty to add to a platter and surprisingly yummy. Tart and crunchy, to be sure, and the sweet-tart thing is a winner – a Christmas-y cranberry crunch. Be sure to make more than you need, because you will find yourself absentmindedly snacking on these when making them.

They look very Martha-ish in between cookies on a platter, and so I highly recommend rolling some for your next holiday event. What’s Christmas without cranberries?


Instant Martha Christmas Garnish:
Snow Covered Cranberries

 Happy Happy Cranberry Season, All!

– posted by Donna

Cranberry Pear Chutney: A Little Foreshadowing of Fall

Spicy, Tangy Cranberry Pear Chutney

I’m lucky to be living in a house that has two fruit trees in the backyard, a pear and a plum. All summer long it’s been positively miraculous to see them growing from amusingly adorable miniatures (have you ever seen a tiny baby pear? As cute as a fruit can be) to real, bona fide, all-grown-up-fruit. The time has finally come and the pear tree is positively exploding with its bounty.

Though I also fantasized about poached pears in wine, frangipane tarts and fresh fruit salad, I knew months ago that what I wanted to make most was chutney. I thought cranberries would pair beautifully with the pears, underscoring the tangy, slightly sour tartness of a good chutney – I love how they hang in the balance between sweet and savory. …

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