Lemon Curd Linzer Cookies for a Frozen Birthday Party

April 21, 2014 in Desserts, Holidays, Oh My!

A Frozen-Themed Birthday Party featuring gluten-free Lemon Curd Snowflake Cookies

Elsa & Candles on the Icy Mountain. Fabulous Frozen Cake courtesy of the very talented Amanda Hill.

For the First Time In Forever: My daughter Lily turned SIX last week, and like just about every elementary-age child, Frozen is the obsession du jour. Being me, I of course seized the opportunity for a theme party. And I will go ahead and state for the record that I deliberately avoided looking at Pinterest AT. ALL. for any of this. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest for all kinds of things, but for parties, I enjoy the process of coming up with ideas 100% from my own brain, take it or leave it. Scroll down for the cookie recipe, but first, check out a few shots of the other offerings.  Read the rest of this entry →

No Cook Blender Lemon Curd Recipe

February 28, 2014 in Desserts

 No cooking required for this easy blender lemon curd.

Blender Lemon Curd Tarts

The easiest Lemon Curd ever. And yet so delicious.

This lemon curd is so seriously delicious that most of it never made it out of the blender and into the tiny tart pans. The Hubs and I just ate it with a spoon. Very large spoons.

My sister Sandy is an amazing cook and is the genius behind Everyday Southwest – and is a holder of an actual pastry certificate from an actual culinary school. She recently made a graham cracker crust that I just had to make. And I had a recipe for blender lemon curd tucked into my wallet, and it has also been calling my name recently.  Yes, the culinary stars aligned on this one.

For the filling, you just throw everything in the blender and then you blend it for what seems like an eternity (FIVE minutes) so that the heat from the blender gently cooks the curd. ( I used my trusty Blendtec blender, which I love, love, LOVE ) Then, you just chill until set. It’s that simple. I used Meyer lemons for this – but you could try regular lemons or even limes – and I think you would get the same delicious results.

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A Very Valentine’s Roundup

February 13, 2014 in Desserts, Holidays

A round up of both sweet and savory Valentine treats!

My Heart Beets For You Salad

If you haven’t whipped up any Valentine’s treats yet – grab a pen for your shopping list. I love that every holiday brings a new chance to marvel at the ingenuity of fellow food bloggers. In that spirit, we thought we’d share a few of our own Valentine’s Day creations, and then share recipes and ideas we love from other bloggers, too.

If love be the music of food, play on.

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Updated English Pound Cake Recipe

January 3, 2014 in Desserts

An olive oil update of traditional English pound cake. Smashing!

Olive Oil Cakes – A Classic English Pound Cake Recipe, Updated

Who doesn’t love pound cake? This classic English dessert is so-named because its name is also its recipe: a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of sugar – and some eggs. So, what better dessert to celebrate the new season of Downton Abbey this Sunday evening on PBS?

Kelly Family 2013 Downton Abby Feast

Last year, our family had a Downton Abbey feast in honor of the upcoming 2013 season – with sticky toffee pudding as a finale. This year’s finale: Pound Cake!

Because I love both the taste and texture of olive oil in desserts, I decided to swap out the butter in classic pound cake for olive oil. These cakes would be a fabulous pair with most any fruits – I had strawberries on hand this time, but other fruits – mangoes, peaches, blueberries – would also be smashing!

I will be tuning in this Sunday – with a slice of this English delight!

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Classic Cherry Pie Heirloom Recipe – with a side of Lessons on Life

December 19, 2013 in Desserts

Classic cherry pie – THE best recipe of all time.

Cherry Pie Perfection

Cherry Pie Perfection

Flaky lattice crust top. Rich cinnamon almond cherry filling. Creamy texture. All this and more was lovingly baked into a pie by my mom.

Carol’s cherry pie is a labor of love – the pie crust must be just right – tender and rich. The filling has to have just the right balance of cinnamon and almond flavor. And the cherries must be tart – sweet cherries will ruin this pie. The texture must be creamy and thick but not too solid. Too much flour will destroy the tang and texture of this pie. And then, the lattice top crust – a labor of love. So it is with Carol’s cherry pie, and so it is with life – a balancing act. Layer upon layer of goodness, and with each layer comes a chance to make things right.

My mom Carol has been a beacon of excellence for us kids in all areas of her life. Whatever Carol does, she does with style and grace and perfection.

I remember one time I had done some dumb teenage thing, and my mom said to me: “You’re better than that.” Those four words have stuck with me all my life. Whenever I am tempted to do something wrong, or halfway, or sloppy, Carol’s words float into my mind: “You’re better than that.” Those words have made me a better person.

The 70′s was a decade of tacky food.

As proof of the 70's tackiness, here I am making a holiday turkey vegetable centerpiece. No, really.

As proof of the 70′s tackiness, here I am making a vegetable turkey. No, really.

But my mom bucked the trend. This pie is Carol on a plate – classic elegance with a richness and zest for living life at its fullest. And the most important ingredient: love. A love for life, and a love for those of us lucky to be a part of Carol’s life.

This recipe is my holiday gift to you all.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas at my house without Carol’s Cherry Pie for dessert!

Love and Joy unto you all  this holiday season ~

– posted by Donna

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Creamy Chai Panna Cotta: 5 Minutes, 5 Ingredients

December 12, 2013 in Desserts, Holidays

Creamy Chai Panna Cotta, an easy 5 ingredient Christmas dessert in 5 minutes.

5 Minutes, 5 Ingredients: Chai Panna Cotta – A perfect cup of creamy Christmas cheer.

Continuing our theme of 5 Minutes + 5 Ingredients = Fast and Festive Holiday Treats, I present this easy and elegant panna cotta. What, I ask, is simpler to whip together in literally five minutes flat? The time in the fridge for it to set up and chill is totally inactive.

The chai flavor in this is subtle, really letting the simplicity of the creamy not-too-sweetness come through. I grated a little nutmeg on top for the picture, primarily just to avoid photographing a bowl of off-white (it can be done, but by people far more skilled and equipped than I). Consider it an optional flourish.  Read the rest of this entry →

Perfect Poached Pears Dessert

November 3, 2013 in Desserts, Healthy Fare

Perfect Poached Pears are possibly the most elegant and the easiest fall dessert. This dish comes together with just minutes of prep time with a flavorful broth of red wine, orange juice, lemon peel and cinnamon sticks. Classy. Easy. Elegant. Healthy. Most of all, delicious!

Poached Pears

Poached Pear Perfection

I have wanted to try poaching pears for 50 years.

As a little girl I thought they looked so elegant in my mom’s issue of Gourmet magazine.  I would daydream and picture myself in a pretty white apron serving these beauties to all my guests and getting not just Oooohs and Aaaahs, but applause!

I was worried that this dish wouldn’t live up to the scene in my head. I was wrong. It was even better. Okay, I admit I didn’t have a white lacy apron over my black satin cocktail dress with heels and silk stockings. I didn’t serve them on my grandmother’s silver tray. I didn’t have a room full of foodies cheering as I waltzed to the table, smiling graciously.

But the Hubs and my son ate every last bite – even the lemon peel. And that scene was even better than the one I had dreamed.

I served these up with a cinnamon ice cream for my family and ate mine without – either way these truly are stunningly good. The surprise is the lemon peel. I added it just for flavor – but it turns out that it is also edible and as delicious as the pears!

Our family was lucky enough to live in a valley that grows most of the pears Americans eat – the Hood River Valley. Our friends still own an orchard there and have a fruit business which they appropriately named The Fruit Company. Their fruit is superb and I highly recommend ordering some for gifts this holiday season – especially their pears, which truly can’t be beat. And No, they are not paying me to say this and they don’t even know I am writing this post. But their fruit is the best out there, and you won’t be disappointed if you order a basket or box. Do yourself a favor and order their chocolate dipped pears right now!

Happy Fall all!

– posted by Donna

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Cranberry Maple Blondie Bars

October 21, 2013 in Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten Free

 

Cranberry Maple Blondies: Gluten, dairy, and even grain-free.

 

I have a current reigning all-time-favorite brownie recipe, and that’s this piece of brilliance by Elana’s Pantry. I must have made them at least 5 or 6 times now, always with great results. The last time I made them, though, Trader Joe’s happened to be out of their roasted almond butter.* I decided to chance it and use the raw almond butter instead. Totally still successful – but the difference in color was noticable, even with the added cocoa.

So, it struck me that using the raw almond butter would make for great blondies, using the same method as the other brownies but changing up the flavors a bit. And lo, a fun new fall dessert was born. Read the rest of this entry →

Dessert Apple Rings Recipe

September 19, 2013 in Desserts

Like onions rings – only for dessert.

Dessert Apple Rings. C'mon. You know you want to eat these.

Dessert Apple Rings. C’mon. You know you want to eat these.

Apple rings are the onion rings of the dessert world. And this recipe makes me happy when apple season comes!

love crave worship daydream about onion rings. They are one of my very most favorite guilty pleasures. In fact, when choosing a burger joint, I always choose the one with the best onion rings. Burgers are burgers, but onions rings, well . . . they are a culinary wonder.

If you own a set of varying size biscuit cutters use them  to make these rings by cutting  the apple slices into rings of different shapes.  If you don’t, just core the apples and slice in 1/4 inch slices.

Make sure you peel the apples first before starting, because the batter won’t stick to the apple peel. Then dip and fry. You must watch closely, so the rings don’t cook too quickly, but really, that’s the only tricky part.

Drizzle with your favorite syrup or warm caramel sauce. Then, just sit back and wait for the OOOooohs and AAAaaahs.

Happy Apple Season, Everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Ten Minute Fresh Peach Tart Recipe

September 3, 2013 in Desserts

Peach Tart

Got Ten Minutes? You, too, can make this fabulous Peach Tart.

If there were a list of culinary miracles, frozen puff pastry would be on that list.

Just whip it out of your freezer and you become an instant pastry chef in the eyes of your devoted diners. And yes, I have made a quick version of puff pastry from scratch. It is something to cross off your culinary bucket list: Make Puff Pastry from Scratch. Check. But the store bought kind is even easier than this.

Puff pastry works wonders with just a few ingredients tossed on top – five, to be exact. And with just 10 minutes of prep time ((No, that’s not a typo!))

Here is the entire recipe: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut one sheet of puff pastry in half. Slice two medium sized peaches into 1/4 inch thick slices. Spread slices overlapping on center of each piece of frozen puff pastry. Brush peach slices with a mixture of 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until pastry puff around edges and is browned.

Serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is not optional. You won’t be sorry.

– posted by Donna

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