Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free)


I’m so excited to share this cheery little forest with you! 🌲 🌲 🌲

But first, how were y’all’s Thanksgivings?

Mine was wonderful. I worked in the morning, where I witnessed so much goodwill that I was literally jumping for joy (traditional sense of literal). It put me in a good mood right then and there.

I thought I was going to be wiped out by the time I got off, but everybody’s kindness must of energized me. I went home and changed and didn’t even need a nap before heading over to dinner.trees8

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, large gatherings make me nervous. But for some reason, I was fine almost the whole time. I got there late, so everyone had already eaten and where heading out for a walk.  That was really nice, too. I feel like in my family, everyone would have waited for me to get there. Then they would have laid on major guilt about making everyone wait.

Since everyone had eaten, there was no awkward “you go first no you go first” line and I just scooped up leftovers here and there, taking as much as I pleased. Mainly I ate cheesy potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Jason’s aunt makes some really good cheesy potatoes. I might try to steal her recipe, but add jalapenos or something.

It was the most relaxed Thanksgiving I’ve ever been to, and I got to hold a baby in my lap the whole time.*

*this does not mean I’m ready to have one of my own. 

So. I love my family, but Thanksgiving with Jason’s kin pretty much won over every Thanksgiving I had with my own folks.

Also, Jason’s family uses paper plates, which meant FEWER DISHES.


Okay, okay, enough about the holiday. Let’s talk about the cheery forest. I wanted to call it a magical little forest, that reminds me of bad paperbacks from the discount bin.

But these trees really are magical. Peanut butter with chocolate is enchanting in almost any form, but particularly if said form is a Christmas tree!

They are wonderfully easy to make. Ground up cereal, melted PB, and coconut oil come together to make this nice pliable dough to form the trees with. Then just a dip in melted chocolate and you’re good to go.

Since they include ingredients almost everyone enjoys, they are a great choice to bring to your next Christmas party. I feel like they’re already a classic in our home, and I hope they’ll be a classic in yours too. 



Chocolate Peanut Butter Chexmas Trees


  • 1 12 oz box of Corn Chex
  • 1 and 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • holiday sprinkles


  1. Use a food processor to grind the Chex to a fine, sandy powder. Mix in the salt.
  2. Use a double boiler to melt the coconut oil peanut butter together. It's melted enough when the peanut butter-coconut oil mixture drizzles in a thin, smooth stream off your spatula
  3. Turn off heat, but do not remove peanut butter from heat source. Mix Chex powder, 1/4 cup at a time, into the peanut butter.
  4. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then shape into a ball.
  5. Place the ball on a pan, then tap the pan against a hard, flat surface several times to allow the ball to flatten into a disk that is approx. 1/3 inch thick, diameter 9—9 1/2 inches.
  6. Cool disk in fridge for 5-8 min.
  7. Cut different size triangles into the disk — 28-30 of them.
  8. Stand the triangles up. For the larger triangles, curl the two bottom edges back slightly. They will resemble a slight c-shape from above. This will allow them to stand up without falling.
  9. Place triangles in freezer for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Melt the chocolate. Holding the trees on one side, use a silicone spatula to "paint" the chocolate onto the front and back of the trees. The larger trees will need to be set in the chocolate while you're doing this.
  11. Add the holiday sprinkles.
  12. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.


For a more kid-friendly method, melt the pb in the microwave and then put the pb bowl over a bowl of warm water while you mix in the cereal.


Sweet Avocado & Mint Tacos


How do you feel about breakfast? Some folks say they can’t eat early in the morning, but I’m definitely not in that category — I wake up thinking about food. There’s a Cathy comic where she packs herself really healthy lunch, and then eats it all before her husband even has coffee. I would say that’s an accurate description of my relationship with breakfast. This morning, for example,  I made Jason a huge stack of pancakes to soothe his pain while he watched the Big Ten game recaps. In the mist of this syrup-fueled harrumphing at Mark May, he looks at me and goes, “well, aren’t you gonna eat?”

“I already ate, babe.”  I’d had cheese, an orange, apple butter, and some really good rum apple bread. I didn’t tell him any of this. He didn’t need to know the details.


Of course, there are days when I don’t want a smorgasboard first thing in the morning. I want something lighter, and that’s where these tacos come in. They actually originated as a late night snack, but they were so good that I had them again the next morning. They make a wonderful lighter breakfast. Enough calories to get you going, but not so many that you need to turn around and take a nap. This recipe is for only two tacos, but totally make more if you please.

I wasn’t going to share these because this is such a simple recipe. But I’m realizing that people like simple recipes, they like simple recipes involving avocado, and they really really like it when said recipes can be eaten in the morning. That’s why everyone’s obsessed with avocado toast, right?

This is just as freakin’ good as avocado toast. Maybe even better. It’s layered with mint and juicy pomegranate and just a teeny bit of lemon. It’s the time of year for red and green things, and for eating as much pomegranate as you can get your little paws on.  I love saying “little paws,” and use it at any chance I get.  👋



Sweet Avocado & Mint Tacos

Yield: 1 serving, easily multiplied


  • 2 soft corn tortillas
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 6-8 big mint leaves
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • pinch of fine flake kosher salt


  1. Toast the tortillas till warm but still pliable. Smash the avocado on them, then add the mint. sprinkle the arils, lemon juice, and salt over top. Enjoy.



Cookies and Coffee with Friends

This is a new segment where I talk about all the sweet/salty/cheesy yum stuff I saw on the interwebs this week. 

Halloween was day 1 of this cranberry gin. It’s since turned to a deep ruby color. If things turn out like I hope they will, I may have a cheery cocktail to share with you soon. And by “turn out,” I’m referring to the pictures. ‘Cause the drink itself…well…cranberries and gin, you can’t go wrong.


This morning at work wore me out.  I think I’ll take a nap and dream about all the beautiful food I saw this week.  Take a look:

There is no doubt I love cheddar, and I’m endlessly looking for new ways to indulge in the cheese life.  Such as this Ale, Cauliflower, and White Cheddar Soup. 

Do you ever have those nights when you’re so exhausted, you just end up eating dip for dinner? Chips and salsa aren’t nearly as filling or as healthy as this Pumpkin and Adzuki Bean Dip.

Imagine that you knew me semi-well and that we went out to dinner together. And we looked at the menu and you noticed this on it. You’d know right away that it’s what I would order. And then pretend not to be embarrassed for me when I ordered a second plate to take home.  Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs

Deez Knots. Parmesan, garlic, rosemary. Will anybody notice if I eat all of them? Shut up, pants, I wasn’t talking to you.

Why can’t I be as cool as Sue and her Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Allspice Dressing? 

This incredibly precise mushroom and gruyere tart. I’m to tired to articulate how much I want a slice. Just….will you run to the kitchen and grab me one? or two?

Coffee is both my friend and foe. We have a very complicated relationship. But we are in a good place when it comes to this Chocolate and Amaretto Affogato.

I’m always looking for a good veggie burger, especially if it has a healthy dose of beets. And lots of pickles. Royal Vegetarian Bean Beet Burger.

This amazing assortment of cheeses. If this were the cheese plate at Thanksgiving, nobody would care about the actual meal. Aged Cheeses from the Vermont Creamery. 

Also, I’ve been talking about how fine I am with using Jason’s old camera from college. But I think I’ve been lying to myself and everybody else, because I’ve really started to lust after something a little higher def. Even though Christmas is right around the corner, I’m sure that everything on my list will be practical, like cold weather gear and clothes for spring semester fieldwork.  We’ll just have to see what happens. 💁 Ahem.


say love,


Cheesy Caraway Pesto Pasta


I usually don’t make pesto, because I find if far too addicting. If there’s pesto in the house, I will go at it with a spoon — or a piece of crusty bread and olive oil.  But my week has been insane and I wanted something that would come together fast. And pesto is fast. You don’t even have to boil it, like tomato sauce, or stir it or anything.  You just put in in your blender and it makes itself.

That, and the fact that I wasn’t going to be home enough to eat it all, so I was safe. Sort of.

I have been going through a caraway phase — sprinkling it on roasted veggies and other things. But sometimes the little seeds get stabby going down your throat and that’s not a pleasant feeling. So I decided to make them into a pesto. Stab me? I’ll grind to a pulp.

Um, I’m not actually a violent person.


I need to save just a little of this cause my mom’s coming into town and she loves pesto. Are y’all ready for your folks to come trooping into town?

This will be the first full-sized Thanksgiving in about 5 years. Lately it’s been just me and my mom, or just me, my mom, and Jason. And for the past two years, this has been the main course for me and my mom, with ground turkey tacos for Jas. Now that we live in Ohio, we’re going to have a big family Thanksgiving — my first with his family. I’m kinda glad that I have to work Thanksgiving morning so that I don’t have time to freak out. I like Jason’s family a lot, but sometimes being around a lot of people makes me nervous, no matter who they are. If I go to a party, I’ll spend most of my time talking to the little kids or the dogs. You know the type.  Lucky for me, there are going to be a lot of little kids there. Last time there was a big party, I got to play with plastic farm animals and a pop gun. Talk about fun 😀

Cheesy Caraway Pesto Pasta

Serving Size: 4


  • 3 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp pecan pieces
  • 2 cups packed parsley
  • 1 huge garlic clove, or 2 medium garlic cloves
  • salt to taste
  • pasta
  • 4 servings of pasta (I used GF)
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar


    for the pesto:
  1. Combine the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the caraway seeds and let them soak in the liquids for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the pesto ingredients and blend till combined. Add salt to taste.
  3. for the pasta
  4. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  5. Grate the cheese
  6. Toss the cheese, pesto, and pasta together, until cheese is melted. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.

3 in 1: Quick Roast Veggies, Leftovers Pancakes, Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’re all busy in our kitchens, cooking up some love for our families. But holidays are also a stressful time, and keeping yourself happy while keeping the rest of your family happy can be hard. Here are a few things that I hope will make your life a little easier over the next week or so.

The first is a way to roast veggies in under ten minutes, no joke. The second is a delicious way to use up leftovers of this and that; to reduce waste where you can.

The last is extra special. A simple candy that almost anyone can make. Only a handful of ingredients (two for a pared-down version, four for the fancy version), with a crunchy, addictive result.

Quick Roasted Veggies 


My favorite busy night dinner is roasted Brussels sprouts with either potatoes, tortillas, or pasta. And then I cook Jason some chicken or turkey keilbasa, with one of the three aforementioned carbs, and some salad. I dislike cooking meat, but if I didn’t cook it for him, he’d eat it elsewhere.

I used to love drowning the sprouts in cheese, which essentially negates the whole point of having veggies for dinner. My clothes were feeling a little tight and uncomfy, and I knew cheese was the main culprit. My running felt sluggish, which inevitably puts me in a bad mood. So I made this sauce as a way of scaling back on the cheese. It’s just as a satisfying and stupid easy, and Jason loves it.

I came up with a quick-roast method of making my sprouts so that I could still have my favorite veggie even when I got home from work late. Sure, the flavor isn’t as deep, but you still get the soft sprout under a caramelized crust. If you’re rushing around trying to get the house ready for guests and still need something healthy for dinner, this is a great option

Quick Roasted Sprouts 

  • 1 cup sprouts (or more), quartered
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • seasoned salt

Turn on the broiler. Put the sprouts in a microwave and oven safe dish. Microwave for two minutes. Add oil and seasoning. Broil for 3-4 minutes on one side, turn, and then broil for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

Easy Cream Sauce

  • 1/3 cup good quality fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt to taste

Stir all ingredients until an even color and consistency is reached.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes 


I have a great appreciation for using up leftovers. Food waste is a terrible problem in this country, and it happens far too often. I’m guilty of it myself (comes with the food blog territory), but I try to keep it to a minimum. These pancakes were made using leftover cornbread mix, and the pumpkin was leftover puree.  This topping reminded me of why I used to love pumpkin pie. In the past few years, I’ve fallen out of love with it, preferring to the mix the squash with chocolaty things, or really just about anything that wasn’t straight-up pie. But this brought me back. Maybe because it’s so scaled down. Maybe because it doesn’t have the density that can sometimes kill an otherwise lovely pie. Maybe it’s because the fall flavors lend themselves well to breakfast. Here, they are not the full-of-stuffing-and-Beaujolais dinner denouement. They are the sunshiney greeting to the start of your day.

This makes just a small batch, enough for one or two people, but it’s easily multiplied.


  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gf cornbread mix, or other similar cornbread mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • coconut oil, for the pan

Combine egg and milk, then combine cornbread mix and baking powder. Wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Bring a pan to medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Spoon 1/8th cup (2 tbsp) of the pancake batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook for 2 – 2 1/2 min on one side, flip, and cook for another minute or so. Serve with pumpkin topping. Makes about 15 dollar size pancakes.


  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
  • toasted pecans and salted butter, for serving

Combine all ingredients, except for the pecans and butter. Serve warm over cornmeal pancakes.

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks


Jason LOVES these. A few days ago, I made a batch and left them in the fridge for him, in a paper bag with a big heart on it. When I got home from work that night, I found the following scene: husband fast asleep on the couch, Netflix playing softly on the TV, and the bag, torn into like a raccoon had gotten to it. And it was completely empty. Which was fine, since I’d made them for him, but also, it was a huge batch. These are super addictive, so proceed with caution.

The are also ridiculously easy. If you need just one more dessert, or need something quick to bring to a party, this is it. And you don’t even have to make it yourself. Enlist a bored relative to help you out, or round up a few of the kids. PS, I still consider myself one of the kids. That’s probably because I don’t have any yet. whew!

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

  • 2 cups of Rice Chex
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (optional. I like them with coconut, Jason likes them without)
  • food coloring for the coconut

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour over the cereal, and stir gently, being careful not to break any of them up. When the cereal is completely coated, lay some wax paper out on a cookie sheet. Make rows of cereal – each piece touching the next, but not overlapping. You can make the sticks as long or short as you like. If you want longer sticks, reduce the cereal to 1 3/4 cup, so that there is more chocolate on each piece and the bonds are stronger. Sprinkle with coconut. Place in the freezer to harden, then gently peel them off the wax paper. Enjoy! This makes about 18-20 sticks of assorted sizes.



Wassail Kale Salad

Let’s all go a-wassailing among the kale so green 🎶

Oh gawd, Annie is a total dork. Is she singing carols about kale? Nerd.

I won’t contest the nerd/dork point, but the carols I make up to annoy my husband aren’t blog appropriate, okay?  💨 💨 💨 So we’re gonna holler a little kale jingle instead. The dressing was based off a traditional wassail recipe, and because of that, it truly makes the salad sing.


I know that fall produce kale salads are done a lot, but that’s because they’re wonderful. Besides, this is a warm kale salad, my favorite kind, drizzled with toasty spice citrus flavors that invoke joy. Thick socks and a good book by the fire. A trot outside on a crisp day. A smile from an old friend. This. This is what those carolers were carrying on about.

Or maybe they just wanted to party. Wassail is pretty much all booze, and it you were going from door to door, you’re gonna get plastered. Which is funny, cause what about that line about being “the little children you’ve seen before?” Maybe they had a kid wassail bowl and a grown up bowl. On the other hand, it’s been well documented that kids regularly drank weak booze, as it was safer than other options.

There’s no booze in this dressing, just some fresh squeezed juice and a handful of walnuts and some classic spices. Even though it’s an ugly muddy color (and my weak photo skills don’t do it any favors), I’m so in love with this dressing that I’m going to start making it year round. Why wait to the end of the year to celebrate, when you can do it every day?



Wassail Kale Salad

Yield: 2 main salads, or 4 side salads


    for the salad
  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 5 cups packed kale
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • about 1/8th red onion, thinly sliced
  • olive oil and seasoned salt for roasting the squash
  • a little salt to taste
  • for the dressing
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Deep Red grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves


    for the salad:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Peel and slice the squash. Brush a little olive oil on, sprinkle it with some seasoned salt, and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet
  3. Roast the squash 25-30 min, turning halfway through.
  4. When you notice the squash is almost done, start preparing your kale. Put the kale in a large pot over medium head and sprinkle in a little salt. Cover the pot and allow the kale to wilt, about 4 - 4.5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the kale won't stick to the bottom.
  5. Combine kale, squash, pomegranate, and onion.
  6. For the dressing
  7. Put the walnuts in a blender with the grapefruit juice and blend until you see an even consistency. This shouldn't take any more than 20 - 30 seconds or so.
  8. Add the vinegar, the sugar, and the spices to the grapefruit -nut blend. Stir well to combine.
  9. Put the dressing in a small pot and heat until just warm. Serve over the salad, with a little salt to taste. Enjoy!





Parsnip n’ Pears Mac n’ Cheese


I am so very excited to share this with you, because it contains two of my favorite foods: cheese and roasted veggies. Even those who have known me even for a short while know I am obsessed with cheese in most of its forms; and the bulk of my dinners usually consist of roasted veggies. So this dinner is very, very me.

I picked up these parsnips late one night after work. The grocery store was nice and quiet, and I could carefully browse the produce without being in anyone’s way. These were just calling to me, under the soft hiss of the auto-misting. And since I am a cheddar lover (understatement), I knew just to pick up next.

The roasted parsnips turn into a full-bodied nutty cream, wonderful enough to spoon all on its own, and I kind of wished I’d purchased more of them so I could eat them plain. Next time.


I also wish I’d gotten more pears! I didn’t get too many because they can be hit or miss. You can get a great pear, and then you have the dry, hard ones . Those are so disappointing, don’t you think? But every single one was perfect. You broil them to get the juices going, and they get nice and soft and sweet. If you let them sit for a bit before serving, they get even softer and sweeter. They are a perfect complement to the ample creaminess of the parsnips and cheese. A few toasty onions get tossed on top simply for spirit’s sake. I’m used to eating mac-n-cheese with hot sauce on top, which I did not think would go well here at all. So onions.

Incidentally, if you have any leftovers (and I did, because there are only two of us and this has a generous yield), blend up the cheese sauce with some kale and spread it on toast. Crunch crunch.




Parsnip n’ Pears Mac n’ Cheese


  • 2 large parsnips
  • 8 oz sharp white cheddar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 scant tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • a dash of pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 -3 Bartlett pears
  • a little bit of brown sugar
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 servings of pasta (I used gf, it works just fine)
  • a small handful of nuts or seeds, for crunch


  1. Preheat the oven to 450
  2. Peel the parsnips and slice them into coins. Lay them on a parchment-covered baking sheet and brush lightly with 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. Roast for 20-22 minutes, until nice and golden.
  4. Place the parsnips in a pot and use an immersion blender to purree them. They will be super lumpy.
  5. Place the pot over low heat and add the liquids (the milk and the water), one cup at a time, continuing to blend as you go. The mixture will become smoother.
  6. Add the cheese in. Just break it up into chucks and toss in. No shredding involved, the blender will do that for you :)
  7. Keep on blending until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated
  8. Add the thyme, celery seed, and pepper
  9. Bring the heat to medium, stirring continually, until mixture is hot.
  10. Allow to cool a bit and then add the salt to taste.
  11. Turn on the broiler. Slice up the pears and sprinkle brown sugar on both sides. Broil them for 2-3 minutes on one side, and 1 minute on the other side. Remove from heat.
  12. Prepare the pasta according to package directions
  13. Slice up the onion. Put the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and allow to warm till shimmering.
  14. Add the onions and let them sit for a little bit, and then start stirring gently. Keep cooking for about 5-8 minutes, until nice and toasty looking but still crisp. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  15. Spoon the sauce over the pasta, and add the onions and pears over top of that. Add a sprinkle of nuts or seeds over the top, for a bit of crunch. Enjoy.


Splendid Cranberry Marscarpone Cornbread Custard

Hey! How was everyone’s week? Mine was super busy, but I don’t mind busy. I did miss y’all, but looking at what everyone else was cookin’ up helped.

There was Amanda’s oatmeal raisin cookies, which looked so soft and chewy and caramelly.

The snacks that people made were the kind of things that you want to ruin your dinner for. Spicy-sweet roasted chickpeas. Fried olives. I will have a handful of each, please.

Karen made  beautiful buttermilk mashed potatoes in a slow-cooker. I have no idea how she made mashed potatoes look so stunning (it’s a lump of potato….it’s not usually a pretty thing), but I am a wee bit envious of her photography skills.

And can someone stop the bus, because I need to have one of these Fluffernutter Cookie Bars. It has been far too long since I’ve had a flutternutter…but if you’re gonna put in in cookie form, I’m not going to bother. Skip the sandwich, go right for the cookie.

Then there were these crispy, veggie-stuffed, buttermilk/breadcrumb wrapped, toasty ravioli. Um, would it be rude if I skipped the fork and just picked it up with my hands? Because a fork would just get in the way of me eating as many as possible. Also, I really want to thank Nicole because she’s been so welcoming. Thank you!


Anyways, I’m mentioning all this because I would like to start a section about things I love from around the blogosphere. I have no idea what to call it. Cookies with Friends? Or maybe Can I Have Some of That? Licking the Spoon? Lick the Bowl? Coffee Cups? Right now I’m leaning towards Cookies and Coffee with Friends.

Ok, ’nuff about that. Do you want to hear about this cornbread custard? It is so good. And it’s so much easier that it looks, cause it starts with a cornbread mix – Bob’s GF, to be specific. (not sponsored content. I just like it) I was so pleased with the texture, it came out exactly as I wanted. It’s a spoon-or-fork deal when warm, and when it’s cold, you can pick it up with your hands. The custard itself is not too sweet,  but when you bite into a cranberry, you get a big mouthful of nectar. A drizzle of honey over top goes well.

This is just brunch perfection. It’s funny I should say that because I think the last time I actually ate brunch was 6 or so years ago. (eww….she doesn’t eat brunch? that girl is weird) But if I were to throw a brunch party, this would be on the menu. Damn. Now I’m craving mimoas. This would best friends with a mimosa. Can’t you just see the little cranberries partying away with some bubbly? Note to self: Try some of Lori’s cranberry mimosas.


This recipe doesn’t use the entire package of cornbread mix, which is wonderful because that means you can use if for other tasty things. I whipped up another little treat after I was done with this, and I hope to share it next week. Thank you so much for stopping by, say love!

Splendid Cranberry Marscarpone Cornbread Custard


    cranberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • custard
  • 1 1/2 cups of Bob's Red Mill gf cornbread mix (or a similar cornbread mix)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 8 oz room temperature marscarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups room-temperature milk
  • for serving
  • warmed honey, if desired


  1. Place the cranberries in a small skillet with the brown sugar and the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Place the egg whites in a very clean, very dry bowl. Add the cream of tartar. Beat the eggs on high for several minutes, until firm peaks just start to form. Set aside.
  3. Beat together the marcarpone and the egg yolks for 2-3 min, until fluffy and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat again, until well combined.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350.
  5. Add the milk to the marscarpone mix. When you beat it in, it might appear a little curdled. That's fine.
  6. Add the cornbread mix to the wet ingreadients. Beat on medium for a few mintues unitl a smooth, creamy, even texture is reached.
  7. Gently fold the egg whites into the other ingredients.
  8. Line a 9.5 inch springform pan with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment the and the sides of the pan. Pour in the batter.
  9. Swirl the cranberry mix over the batter.
  10. Bake at 350 for 38-40 minutes, until the center bounces back at light touch.
  11. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.
  12. Just before serving, drizzle some warm honey over the top. Enjoy!

adapted a little bit from here, with some help from here


Simple Granola


I have mixed feelings about this granola.  ha.

I apologize to you for opening with such a terrible granola joke.  Apparently I get all my schtick from popsicle sticks.

This granola is – forgive my hubris – simply amazing. I love it and I couldn’t keep my little paws of out the bowl. I finally had to seal it up and put it int he freezer so I would stop thinking about it.  The mixed feelings come from the fact that this started out as a savory snack. I’ve been trying to develop a decent savory-spicy granola for a long time, and have been failing. For a long time.  This was oh, version 3.5 of testing. “3” meaning the third time I’ve tried, and “5” meaning the fifth batch of the third attempt. After the batch 3.3 failed, I just gave up (ahem, temporarily set aside) the idea altogether and decided to go with traditional sweet granola. Like most things in life, tradition can be both good and bad. Granola good. Patriarchy bad.

Out of the fury of wasted oats comes this a crisp little snack.   It’s crunchy, of course, with little chewy pockets that surprise you. There’s citrus and spice, brown sugar, cinnamon, love. And just a small bit of cayenne because I couldn’t give up the fire altogether. Honestly, you can barely taste the cayenne, but the fact that it’s there makes me feel better.


Speaking of batches, this is the second reincarnation of this blog, which is why the url and the blog name are different.  There’s a long story behind that, which I won’t go into now. Although I probably should, eventually. You see, at the advice of Abby, I put an SEO plugin on here and it scolded me and told me my posts were too short. I was shocked, because I’ve been told that people just want the recipe, so keep the chit-chat to a minimum, little girl.

I’m glad I can relax now and talk a little longer, even though the SEO felt a little naggy. Word count, what, am I back in school or something? Oh, wait. I am back in school. Speaking of which, I have a few items coming up that will require invested attention. I might be around less in the next two weeks or so, because real life sometimes has to come before virtual life.

One the the best things about real life is your real life persona has tastebuds, and your virtual persona doesn’t. And as long as we’re gonna be living our real, late night, early morning, headache, stack-of-responsibilities lives, we should keep our taste buds content.




Simple Granola


  • 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 3/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 tsp dried orange peel
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Blend up 1/2 cup of the oats.
  3. Combine the blended oats, the whole oats, 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 cup of the pecans.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, the orange peel, the flax meal, cinnamon, vanilla, and cayenne.
  5. Add the olive oil to the grapefruit mix.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the oat mix and stir well.
  7. Spread the oat mix over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Break up the rest of the brown sugar into chunks and sprinkle in spots over the granola.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven. Do not open the oven. Leave there for 4-4.5 hours, until hardened.
  9. Break into chunks of desired size.
  10. Add the remaining nuts and seeds
  11. Add the chocolate chips and dried fruit.
  12. Enjoy

clumping method taken from here

Double Caramel Banana Chocolate Oat Bars (vegan and gluten free!)



So. I might just be in love with caramelizing bananas before using them in baking. It adds an extra layer of flavor and sweetness, subtle and toasty. And a little nutty. Even if you cover the banana flavor with other things (like with the Sour Cherry Scones), the toasty nuttiness remains. Heck yes, I’m tooting the banana horn here.

I’m apparently 8 years old because saying banana horn makes me laugh.

I didn’t use to like bananas, not in smoothies, not in cake, not in anything. But life doesn’t stay the same, and tastes don’t either. Did you ever think that you’d be obsessed with roasting cauliflower? I certainly didn’t, yet it’s rather popular. Probably because roast cauliflower is awesome, as long as you slice it thin enough.bars4

Wait, why am I talking about vegetables at a time like this? Y’all are here today for the caramel chocolate.

These soft, gooey bars get their sweetness twice. Once from the caramel bananas, and then again from a generous pour of a vegan caramel sauce. They are very rich and sweet, which is why I like to cut them into smaller triangles instead of huge bars.  They are more enjoyable that way…and um, you can always go back and get another or two or three. Or call up your favorite people and have them all over for an impromtu caramel party.  That’s a thing, right?



Double Caramel Banana Oat Bars

Yield: approx 22 small bars, less if cut into large squares


  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, liquid part only (you'll use the solids for the caramel topping)*
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • topping
  • solids from the can of coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp old fashioned oats


  1. Grease a small skillet with 1 tsp coconut oil and place over medium heat.
  2. Slice the bananas into the skillet, as thinly as you can get them.
  3. Cook the bananas for 9-12 minutes, stirring occasionally (about once every minute or so), making sure they aren't burning or sticking to the pan. By the time you're done, they should be in an lumpy and mashed in appearance. Remove from heat.
  4. Grind up the cup of oats to a soft, silky flour.
  5. Combine the oat flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set aside.
  6. Measure out the liquid from the coconut milk. There should be about 1/2 cup. If you don't have half a cup, fill up as much as you can with the coconut liquid and then add water or almond milk to compensate the rest of the way.
  7. Puree the bananas with the coconut liquid, the vanilla, the flax, and the brown sugar. Blend till smooth.
  8. Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until combined.
  9. Add the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and grease with the remaining coconut oil (this step is optional, but it makes cleaning the pan so much easier and also you get all caramel staying on the bars, and not on the pan)
  12. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.
  13. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  14. Sprinkle the 2 tsp oats over the batter.
  15. Measure out 1/2 cup of the coconut milk solids. There should still be some solids left over, which you won't use for this recipe. If still in a very solid state, warm up in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes liquid and pourable.
  16. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the coconut milkfat. Stir until an even color and consistency is reached.
  17. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the batter.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes.
  19. Allow to cool before cutting into small triangles.
  20. Enjoy with a cool glass of almond milk.



* In order to get the coconut milkfat and liquid to separate, leave a can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. You can also put in the freezer for a shorter amount of time. Be careful not to shake the can. When sufficiently chilled, you should be able to scoop the milkfat right off the top.


If you are the kind of person who likes "extra caramel drizzle" at Starbucks, I suggest increasing the coconut milk solids to 3/4 cup, and the brown sugar to 3/4 cup. This will make them extra sweet and extra caramelly. I prefer to use 1/2 cup of each, but you do you boo boo. ;)