friday links

Happy Friday!

Are we still eating?
I am!
I managed to keep eating well after 10pm.
I did good right?
My last meal at 10pm was a slice of my gooey Nutella stuffed chocolate chips bars, which I
PROMISE to post the end of next week.
Coming up Tuesday, we have an interview with Greg Henry of Sippity Sup to talk about his TWO cookbooks: Savory Pies and Savory Cocktails.
And Greg has decided to donate THREE cookbooks for the giveaway!
Come back on Tuesday to read all about it.
My "crunchy" pumpkin bread bundt.
And by crunchy I mean 'sugar & nut coated crunch!'
When I posted this on Instagram, you all wanted the recipe NOW.
Easy peasy.
Take one Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix; make as per box directions; grease up a bundt pan;
pour in half the bread batter; sprinkle on chopped walnuts or pecans in middle; pour on rest of bread batter; then top with more nuts AND coarse sugar (I used Sugar in The Raw).
Bake a little less time than what box directions say as bundt bakes up faster.
The light from the sunrises and sunsets on cape cod have been magical.
I was sent a copy of the cookbook Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer by Sanford D'Amato.
And I do love a good cookbook that has a story to go along with it; not just recipes, but a lifetime of cooking/learning and teaching stories. "....Sanford D'Amato, the restaurant D'Amato opened in 1989 and sold to his longtime chef de cuisine in December 2012, has been one of the highest-rated restaurants in America over the past 20 years, earning accolades from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire, Wine Spectator, Zagat Guide, and the James Beard Foundation. D'Amato has cooked for the Dalai Lama and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and was one of 12 chefs chosen by Julia Child herself to cook for her 80th birthday celebration. The story of Sanford and Sandy D'Amato is in part the story of America's embrace of fine dining and its acceptance of chefs as master craftsmen....."
So if you weren't able to visit his restaurant, now you can partake in his personal recipes with Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer
Tarte fine aux pommes (Apple Tart) pg. 231
Ginger Snap Cannoli w/ dried cherry mascarpone cream pg. 349
Steak au Poivre pg. 239

Around the Web:

just put the f**king turkey in the oven
how can you look more "photogenic" in photos
nordic diet an alternative to Mediterranean diet?
researchers find drug that could halt kidney failure
stocking stuffers: I want them ALL!
clean your arteries with pomegranate? (true or false?)
DIY adjust your outside motion detectors (very helpful!)
little drummer girl--her talent is unbelievable (last 30 seconds she KILLS it)
eat more potassium
apple pie (paleo, gluten, grain free)
ryan gosling coloring book is here
rainbow pencils (I'll take some)
who's into this tinybook stuff?
meals for good skin
honeybee's can be trained to detect cancer
temporary tattoo's: brilliant
TRUE GMO dangers; stuff the media will never cover
3 productivity tips for small business owners
11 secrets to choosing the right perfume
DIY snowy gingerbread village in a jar (love!)
what to eat when you're broke
sweet potato-ginger cookie
9 whole foods for healthy, gorgeous hair
cheesecake pan for 2 (want!)
10 inflammatory foods to avoid like the plague
DIY bone broth (the good for you kind)
the divine: now online
how to fill the emptiness in your life
DIY: anchor a towel rack permanently
how to photograph snowflakes +incredible photos
WONDERFUL summary of what is insulin
why squinting helps you see better
overrated health supplements
creamy slowcooker chicken soup
fancy & gorgeous cakes to whip up when you're short on time (bookmarked!)
happy & sad Jack after his wisdom teeth removal
holiday cookie contest with craftsy!
8 helpful tips for your next Skype job interview
10 tips India teaches the world about living well
how to choose gratitude over stress
saturated fat isn't as bad as we once thought? Hmmm
healthy peanut butter recipes
magnesium for migraines?
healthier pumpkin pie smoothies
pressure cooker veal osso bucco

Have a wonderful weekend!


cranberry toaster strudel (no mixer)

I recently asked a food poll-type question on my Facebook page about pop tarts.
What kind do you like and what are you looking for if you could make your own?
There was an overwhelming response for a "toaster strudel" type pop tart.
And of course you wanted easy--well, as easy as one could get with a pastry tart.
I made this toaster strudel fairly easy.
I don't have a mixer--so everything was done by hand, BUT done in as few steps as possible.
I also cheated a bit by using a cranberry butter for the filling (the Trader Joe's Cranberry-Apple butter is fabulous and it's ready to use; already has pectin in it, so no need to add cornstarch).
The hard part, if we have to have one is measuring out the dough into rectangles.
I highly suggest using a ruler next time to get straighter lines, if you want such a thing.
My lines were that straight, I was more "rustic".
The basic dough is a pate brisee dough from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery here in Boston
and Flour the cookbook.
Very easy to dough to put together; came together very fast for me, and I did not use a mixer!
Everything was done by hand; used my hands to get the dough to the right consistency.
Actually I prefer using my hands when dealing with pastry doughs and breads, as we all know they can be tricky, and once you over-mix, the dough turns 'tough'.
But not all pastry doughs can be done by hand, a mixer is a must.
If you don't have a mixer and want to give this a go, then follow along with me, if you feel safer using a mixer then please do so.  The original recipe with mixer instructions can be found here.
Add butter chunks to flour and use your hands to make crumbly.
This is what is looks like after you add in the egg mixture. Will be sticky.
Pretty easy right?
It's really not that hard.
To be honest I'm not that good at measuring out the rectangles, but I did rush it.
I highly suggest getting a baker's measuring board, like this one or something similar.
I have one on my wish list.....
I made my glaze very thick. I did not want a runny glaze, I wanted a thick frosting.
Sprinkles make it all better don't they?
I got these "all natural" sprinkles from Whole Foods; no dyes or chemicals.

Cranberry toaster strudel
Pate brisee dough recipe from joanne chang
print recipe

Pâte Brisée
8 pop-tarts or one 9-inch double-crust

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TB sugar
1 ts sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks ) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 egg yolks
3 TB cold whole milk

½ cup of cranberry butter (or any filling you wish)

egg wash for gluing edges AND glazing tops:
1 egg, mixed

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 TB whole milk
Rainbow sprinkles for sprinkling

Cook notes:
You can use whatever filling you wish.  If you use a jam, please mix a little bit of cornstarch with it to thicken it as it bakes (about ¾ ts cornstarch mixed with a little water and then add in ½ cup jam).
I do not have a mixer, and did this all by hand. Don’t run away!  It was actually quite easy and you might prefer it because you will get a better feel for the dough, and will be less inclined to overmix it. The less you work the dough the more flaky the crust. Of course if you have a mixer and feel more comfortable, then please go ahead and use it.
I made my glaze very thick, as I did not want it to dribble down the edges.  If you prefer a more runny glaze, then just add a bit more milk.
I used the cranberry butter from Trader Joe’s; you can use any type of cranberry butter you like though.
I was horrid at measuring out the squares for the dough; I did not follow my own instructions!
Bad baker.  If you follow them you should get 7-8 rectangles; I only got 7.
And remember if dough gets too sticky while your measuring or filling it, just pop it back in the fridge.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, and salt) until combined.
In a cup, whisk the egg yolks and milk until blended; set aside.
Get a large sheet of plastic wrap ready, and set aside, near your workstation.  This is what we will place the dough in once it’s mixed.
Place butter chunks in the flour mixture, and using your hands just crumble everything together until you have a crumbly dough, and dough holds together well when squeezed.  And making sure there aren’t any giant clumps of butter left; small clumps are fine though!
Don’t worry if there is still flour in bottom of bowl—that’s fine!
Add in the egg mixture and mix again using your hands until you have a nice sticky mess.
At this point I’m supposed to dump dough onto a floured work surface and knead a little bit; I did not see the point in this as I wanted to work the dough as little as possible.
Dump the dough onto plastic wrap, flatten to about 1-inch thick in a circle or square, cover very well, and place in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Do not let this sit in fridge more than 48 hours; it starts to turn a little sour and will harden.

When ready to bake, take dough out of fridge and let it sit about 15 minutes; if your kitchen runs hot or the season, then you might not need to let it sit.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Divide dough in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card).

Brush the edges of the rectangle with the beaten egg; this will be our glue to stick the rectangles together.  Important step!
Spoon 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of cranberry jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle; don’t let the jam go to the edges!
Place the second large dough rectangle directly on top of the first.
Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other.  I then used a fork to crimp the edges.  You can also use a fluted roller if you have one.
Place the rectangles about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are evenly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

For the glaze:
Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, and milk until you get the right consistency you want.  I made mine very thick, like a paste. If you want thinner just add more milk or a hint of vanilla extract.
Sprinkle with sprinkles for a nice decorative touch.  You might have to push the sprinkles down a lot to make them stay put in the frosting.
You should get 8 rectangles; I only got 7 but that’s because I didn’t measure them right.


friday links

Happy Friday!

What's yours?

A Massachusetts native came up with "Mensch on a Bench" after he and his son were shopping
in Bloomingdales son asked if he could have the "Elf on a Shelf" and he replied "no, we're Jewish". Confused, son asked what do we have, and Dad being quick-witted said we have "a Mensch on a, um, a, bench!"  And so began the creation.  So very clever.  And so popular that they are already sold out for 2013, taking orders only for 2014.

I was asked to try out the Fruttare Fruit Bars.
I only wish I had found these this summer.
They are so good.  Fruit and milk frozen treats, almost like a fruit-cremesicle.
I loved the banana and peach.
But they have a whole line of other flavors: strawberry, coconut, lime, mango, lime.

So this happened this week, and it was quite good!

My dear friend, Meagan Micozzi of Scarletta Bakes has her first cookbook out: The New Southwest.
I am so proud of you girl!
If you love southwest cooking, then you'll love this with southwest flavors in a modern twist.
The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi: "...when Meagan Micozzi relocated to the desert of Arizona, she literally felt like a fish out of water. Finding comfort and inspiration in local foods, flavors and ingredients, Micozzi soon had a new mission: interview native home cooks, research recipes, and then perfect techniques until she had them just right. She launched the Scarletta Bakes blog in 2011 to document her adventures in the kitchen. Since then, thousands of readers have sought out the blog for its innovative approach to southwestern food...."

If you can believe it, my friends are still surfing!
I think we all get together just to "be & watch the beauty of the surf" (a surf thing), but yesterday the swell was decent and the sun was bright.
I didn't go in, don't have a winter wetsuit...yet.  Hope to get one soon.
But isn't this photo stunning?
It was a good day.

Do you need a few ideas for holiday gifts?
Why not make homemade candy?
Candy has a better shelf life than a cake, cookie or bread. And who doesn't love a creative. homemade candy all wrapped up in a nice pretty box?  I know I would love it.
Here are a few ideas:

Espresso Buttercreams

cookie butter-cream cheese trufles

My favorite: white chocolate-mint Nestle Crunch Bars

coconut-cream truffles

homemade peanut butter cups
dark chocolate peanut butter cups

ginger-peanut chews
ginger peanut caramel chews

Around the web:

Polenta pizza (looks so easy)
DIY mini fondant figures
sweet potato & bacon tots w/ creamy mustard sauce
can turmeric ease arthritis?
a review of Lay's Chocolate covered potato chips
how the flu escapes immunity
I really, really, really want these long fingerless gloves from Ibex.
DIY homemade bacon (yes it's that easy!)
Attention espresso lovers! coffee may help perk up your blood vessels!  
5 obvious things you must do to be healthy
LOVE this -----> map of the modern writer's mind
a very easy gingerbread cookie recipe
newest fragrance love: Turquatic by MAC. Get the rollerball!
how to make 8 grilled cheese sandwiches at once
gingerbread-almond butter
the differences between men & women (funny!)
vegan baking guide
wonderful! how to temper chocolate
the no sleep podcast: for those who LOVE horror stories
top neurologist says grains are bad for your brain (agree/disagree?)
science of cake baking: 6 common baking pitfalls to avoid
roasted cinnamon-date bars
ugly christmas sweater cookie kit
how to make kanafeh (sweet cheese pastry)
waffle maker hash browns
DIY novelty print cotton dress (so cute!)
watch a crab climb out of its shell
nut consumption linked to reduced death rate
have kids on a time out?  use this DIY "relax bottle/time out timer"
canadians rescue a shark choking on a moose
how to de-seed a pomegranate in 3-seconds
DIY homemade white chocolate
how to take panoramic photos
Gabriella Miller (2003 - 2013) talks about the need for constant awareness of childhood cancer

landfill dogs.org 
   These are not just cute pictures of dogs. These are dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home. Each week for 18 months (late 2012–early 2014) I bring one dog from the county animal shelter and photograph him/her at the local landfill.

   The landfill site is used for two reasons. First, this is where the dogs will end up if they do not find a home. Their bodies will be buried deep in the landfill among our trash. These photographs offer the last opportunity for the dogs to find homes.

   The second reason for the landfill location is because the county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value: homeless cats and dogs are just another waste stream. However, this landscape offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures.

   As part of this photographic process, each dog receives a car ride, a walk, treats, and about 2 hours of much-needed individual attention. My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance. This project will continue for one year, so that we can see the landscape change while the constant stream of dogs remains the same.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


sea salted pumpkin-oat cookies

I do love a good salted oatmeal cookie.
A nice thick, crisp outside, soft in the middle, salted oatmeal cookie.
Just enough sweet in the middle to offset the salty top.
And now we can add pumpkin to it!
So this is for all those pumpkin emails I received asking for MORE pumpkin cookies recipes that aren't terribly time consuming.
Speaking of pumpkin, I hope you've tried baking with pumpkin butter?
pumpkin bread chocolate bark
pumpkin snack cake with buttercream frosting
pumpkin butter crunch bars
AND of course the ever popular pumpkin oreo's!
I got a lot of compliments on these cookies.
A nice gentle pumpkin flavor, the nuttiness of the oatmeal and just the right amount of sea salt on top to balance all the flavors out.
I love that pumpkin butter adds the flavor of pumpkin without all that wetness that a pumpkin can sometimes do to a cookie.
I can't tell you how fast the 1st batch and then the second batch were eaten!
Like a vacuum sucks in air---gone baby gone!
I do like making my cookies a tad bigger than most people (shocker I know).
Here I used a medium ice cream scoop.
If you want smaller cookies-please go ahead; you might want to reduce the baking times.
And please, don't forget that little bit of sea salt on the tops?  OK?
Right out of the oven they will be very soft and delicate--just let them rest a bit and firm up;
it will be worth the wait--I promise
salty pumpkin-oatmeal cookies
recipe from vanillasugarblog.com
print recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (16 TB)
¾ cup light brown sugar, NOT packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3 oversized TB pumpkin butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 ¾ cups bread flour
¾ cup flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1 ts sea salt
½ TB cinnamon
2 cups of rolled oats (not quick cooking!)
sea salt for sprinkling the tops

Cook notes:  I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter.  You can use any type of pumpkin butter.  I do like to make my cookies larger than normal, so if you wish to make smaller cookies just watch the baking times as smaller cookies may need less time in the oven. Once the dough is mixed, it really needs to chill and set up; if you skip this step you might have flatter cookies.
As always I like to remind everyone that I don’t have a mixer, so everything I mix is by hand; if you have one lucky you!

In a medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients.
In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugars; add in the eggs, pumpkin butter and mix.
Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix till just combined--don't overmix.
Next, by hand, add in the rolled oats.
Cover dough well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight (I let this sit in fridge 48 hours and it was fine).
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line up two baking sheets with parchment paper or whatever method you use for baking cookies.
Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out and place on cookie sheet about an inch apart.
Sprinkle tops with sea salt before baking.
Bake for about 13-17 minutes.
Rotate pans halfway through baking.
You'll know they are done when the bottoms are almost crisp/set up and the tops have a gentle crisp to them. It's really easy to overbake them, so definitely check at the 13-minute mark.
Makes about 18-22 cookies? (I’m sorry I can’t remember!  LOL)


friday links

Happy Friday!

Have you tried the new gourmet line of natural flavored icings by Amoretti?
They are found at Williams Sonoma
Come in these flavors: banana, blueberry, bubble gum, bulgarian rose, chocolate, coconut cream, cotton candy, eggnog, espresso, fudge brownie, gingerbread, hazelnut, key lime, lemon, maple bacon, orange cream, passion fruit, peanut praline, pecan praline, peppermint, pineapple, pistachio, pistachio praline, pumpkin pie, raspberry, red velvet, salted caramel, tiramisu, vanilla bean, wild strawberry and plain.
You can find Amoretti products (and these icings) at their online store.
I can't wait to make some pop tarts and try the icing on the top.
I recently splurged and bought one of these pricey, very pricey candy bars.
Yes it was very good, but at over $2.00 per small bar?  OUCH
Can you see this person?
He was running, ok running, on a treadmill while texting!!!
I don't know if he's talented or stupid.
Every time I tried to look over and watch, I would get dizzy on my own treadmill where I HAVE to hang on with both hands!
My favorite snack from Trader Joe's
This was really good, and I'm super fussy over Trader Joe's salads.
I saw this at Trader Joe's and put it back on the shelf!  lol
They're baaaaack!
Man these sound good!
If I bought these?....They would be gone before I got home.  Anyone tried them?
Wow, these were good.  I hope the Ginger People send me some samples and/or have a giveaway for
my fans!  Seriously tasty.  Just like a gum drop, yet with a nice layer of gentle heat.  Good for you too!
I was sent a sample of Nicciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread.
And they have seriously taken great pride and craftsmanship into creating something this tasty that is literally all natural, organic, made with hazelnuts, cocoa, sugar cane and milk.
Like a Nutella but far stronger, richer, smoother, and more satisfying.  Very rich.
You can find this in Whole Foods and most all natural food stores as well as gourmet food stores.
I put a little bit in my morning espresso--so good!
Attention chocoholics!
This cookbook is for you!
Now this would make an awesome Christmas gift for a die-hard chocolate fan.
Crazy About Chocolate by Krystina Castella is the kicked up/creative book of all things chocolate
recipes.  Very creative indeed.
Here are a few examples of what you can find inside the book:
chocolate cream cheese king cake, chocolate carrot cupcakes, cocoa spiced turkey chili, black forest brownie bites.....over 200 recipes--all chocolate!  Sweet AND savory!
Here is a sample recipe from the book: the chocolate carrot cupcakes!

Around the web:

the man who invented the calendar
for homesteaders: winterizing your flock
best leg workouts for women (love the ballet reference)
THIS is on my bucket list--I want to fly!
butternut squash blondies! YUM
DIY glittery, snowy playdough
7 immune boosters you might have overlooked
quite possibly the most terrible real estate photos ever!
DIY vanilla extract (crazy easy)
french silk pie on a stick
how to bounce back after a bad night's sleep
crazy john claude van damme is at it again
the long road to nashville +fried chicken (from one of my favorite writers)
bacon jam & brie filled pretzel rolls
santa hates you christmas cards! (very cute)
homemade st. john chutney (bookmarked indeed)
making "neo-classic" genoise
modernist cuisine is now in an app (FINALLY!)
japanese photographer wraps couples in vacuumed sealed plastic bags 
DIY list of 24 homemade holiday gifts for the home
peanut butter cheesecake cookies
handyman tip: increase entry door security
this man has set nearly 400 guinness world records
peanut butter pretzel bon bons
snowflake fudge (so pretty)
little girl walking on ice---gah!
7 apps to ease holiday shopping (let me know if they help)
I've fallen in love with this blog: burr's bar method blog (I LOVE deep stretching became addicted to it after my physical therapy for my knees. Deep stretching helps tremendously with  leaner, stronger legs).
an open letter to paleo-diet enthusiasts (hilarious, might offend some...)
money saving tips for holiday shopping

Have a wonderful weekend!


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