2 1/4 c flour
1/2 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt
2 Tb lebkuchengewurz (see below)
1/2 ts finely ground white pepper
1/4 c almond meal (not almond flour)
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1/4 c molasses
5 Tb unsalted butter
3 Tb milk or cream
1 large egg

For the glaze:
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
3-4 Tb hot water
anise oil or almond extract

For the lebkuchengewurz: Traditional German gingerbread spice
1 1/2 Tb ground cinnamon
2 ts ground cloves
1/2 ts ground allspice
1/2 ts ground coriander
1/2 ts ground green cardamom
1/2 ts ground ginger
1/2 ts ground star anise
1/4 ts ground mace
1/4 ts ground nutmeg

Mix the spices together and pour into a jar. You'll have some leftover after making this pfeffernusse recipe.

1) In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, lebkuchengewurz, white pepper, and almond meal. Set aside.

2) Combine the brown sugar, honey, molasses, butter, and cream or milk in a medium saucepan and heat, stirring frequently until melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes. Stir in the flour mixture. Once incorporated, stir in the egg until thoroughly combined. The dough will have a glossy sheen and be very sticky.

3) Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, pat into a square and wrap tightly. Refrigerate at least overnight or up to two days. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP! The cookies will be a sticky mess if you try to roll them without chilling.

4) Preheat over to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and immediately roll it into two strands, each 3/4 inch think. Slice the strands into 3/4 inch thick rounds and roll each round into a ball. Work quickly while the dough is still chilled.

5) Place the cookies on a line on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

6) To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, water (more for thinner glaze, less for thicker, what ever you prefer) and either anise or almond flavoring. If your anise is like mine, you only need a TINY bit or it will be very strong.

7) Dip each cookie in the glaze and set on wire rack to harden.




Homemade pickles that are great alone or paired with a sandwich!

1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp crushed red peppers
1 tsp thyme
2 cucumbers, sliced

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake lightly to thoroughly mix.  Let sit for at least an hour. These keep for two weeks and get better with age. Easy and quick! 

Recipe from CSJ


Gingerbread Muffins with an Orange Zing

1 small/medium ripe banana
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1/2 and orange
1 tsp orange extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400℉. Grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the banana  and egg together using a fork until only small lumps remain. Use a spatula to stir in the vanilla, orange zest, orange extract, spices, and salt.

Add the oil, molasses and milk, incorporating fully between each ingredient. Add the sugars and mix. Stir in the baking powder and soda. Fold in the flour just until combined. Don't over mix.

Pour into 10-12 muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes at 400℉ and then reduce temperature to 375℉ and bake for 7-9 minutes more until a toothpick comes out clean. For moister muffins, remove muffins from oven when toothpick comes out with just a bit of crumbly batter.

Cool for 5 minutes. These tasty muffins are best served warm and are delicious with butter.

Adapted from recipe from Fork Knife Swoon.


Warm Moroccan Chicken and Sweet Potato Salad

For the Chicken:
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 lb. total)
1 tsp. mild curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

For the Salad:
2 tsp. mild curry powder
1 Tbs. ground cumin
7 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Place the chicken in a large saucepan with the curry powder, cumin, and salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is tender, 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and discard the liquid. Let the chicken cool.

When the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the bone and tear into pieces. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 375℉. Mix the curry powder, cumin, and 1/12 tsp. salt. Toss half of the spice mixture with 1 Tbs. of oil and the sweet potatoes. Spread in a baking pan and roast until tender, 30 minutes.

Toss the almonds and pumpkin seeds with the remaining spice mixture and 1 Tbs. of oil, place on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until the almonds are seeds are golden, 10-12 minutes. Set aside.

For the dressing. whisk the vinegar, garlic, and remaining 5 Tbs. of oil.

When the potatoes are done, add the chicken pieces, almonds, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, green onions, chopped cilantro, and dressing. Mix well.

Serves 6


Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Brown-Butter Pecans

10 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (2 cups)
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb dried ear shaped pasta (the recipe I followed asked for orecchiette, but you could use medium shells)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (walnuts will also work)
1 large shallot, minced (may substitute with a couple cloves of garlic)
1/2 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the lower third of the over, set a heavy rimmed baking sheet on the rack and heat the oven to 500℉. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil over high heat.

In a food processor, slice the Brussels sprouts. Transfer them to a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss until well coated. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the sprouts on it in a single layer. Roast, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, until the sprouts are tender and flecked with charred bits, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.

In a medium heavy-duty skillet, melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is deeply browned and the pecans are toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Melt the remaining 1/2 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots (or garlic) and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream/milk and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add the Gorgonzola and stir until melted.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola sauce, and lemon juice and toss well.


Adapted from recipe in CookFresh



I learned how to make this recipe from an Indian friend of mine and it is amazingly easy and very delicious.

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
 1 cup milk
1 egg
1 Tb vegetable oil in a bowl to moisten fingers when forming bread

1. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar together.
2. Whisk milk and egg together.
3. Slowly add milk/egg mixture to dry ingredients to form a dough.  It should not be too sticky.  If so, add more flour.
4. From dough into golf size pieces.
5. Roll out dough balls thinly and cook over skillet on the stove.  Flipping after about 2 minutes.
6. Brush butter over the top, if desired, and serve.


Lemon curd

This curd is great with tea scones.  The flavor is intense and so fresh!

2 large lemons, juiced
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 and 1/4 tsp lemon zest (from lemons above)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter, diced

1. In a saucepan combine the lemon zest and the sugar.
2. Whisk in the yolks and then the whole eggs.  Add salt.
3. Slowly add the lemon juice from the lemons. The mixture will be thick.
4. Put the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously, until thickened. The mixture will physically change from just thick and light to more bubbly and thick.
5. Remove from heat and add bits of butter while whisking until all butter is added and melted.
6. Let cool and enjoy!

This recipe is simplified and based off of the recipe at cafejohsonia.


Quick Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This quick bread is perfect when you don't have time (or simply can't wait) for cinnamon rolls. Tom said it best when he told me, "Mom, you should make this more often."

2 cups flour (I like half whole wheat and half white)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk*
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tsp milk

*You can fake the buttermilk by mixing 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp white vinegar and allowing the milk to "sour" for 5 minutes.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk butter and egg then buttermilk together; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. (Over mixing will result in a rubbery bread.) In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and 1/2 cup brown sugar.

2. Grease the bottom only of a 8"x4" loaf pan. Pour 1/3 of the batter into pan; sprinkle with almost half the cinnamon-sugar. Spoon another 1/3 of the batter and sprinkle with almost all the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Spoon last 1/3 of the batter, sprinkle with the last couple teaspoons of cinnamon-sugar; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

3. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine powdered sugar and enough milk to reach desired consistency; drizzle over loaf and enjoy!


Healthier Beef Stroganoff

1 lb. ground beef (lean)
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove garlic, diced)
3 tablespoons Worchestshire sauce
Salt to taste
12 oz. pasta

1. In a large pan, sauté onions in olive oil until tender. Add ground beef and brown.
2. In a sauce pan bring water to boil and cook noodles according to package instructions. 
3. Add chopped cauliflower to onions and beef and sauté for a few minutes. Add broth. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes, or until broth has thickened. 
4. Remove from heat. Add Worchestshire sauce and yogurt. Stir. Add salt as needed. 
5. Serve on top of prepared pasta. 


Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Is there anything better than a mug of hot cocoa after playing in the snow on a chilly day? Not really. And now you can make your own mix! I usually whisk up two batches of this per winter for our family. So easy and no funny ingredients. 

2 1/2 cups powdered milk*
2 cups bakers cocoa
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 tsp kosher salt (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

* I've found that the very fine powdered milk like Argason Farms (sold in a #10 can at Walmart) works better than the granulated powdered milk.

Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 5 1/2 cups of dry mix.

Mix 3-4 tablespoons hot cocoa mix with a cup of boiling water. Stir very well and enjoy! Cool with a little milk or half + half if desired.


Giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

ala Great Harvest... large, flat, chewy, buttery, addicting, etc.

2 to 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp molasses or honey
1 Tbsp milk
2 cups rolled oats
1 (12 ounce) pkg semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar together until well combined. Add eggs, vanilla, molasses, and milk and beat well. Add oats and mix until just incorporated. Add dry ingredients and mix until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop dough and drop about 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets then remove and cool on racks.


Autumn Harvest Apple Pie

5-6 crisp cooking apples, cored, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick or so
Juice from half of a lemon (1Tbsp-ish)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cornstarch (optional - for a less runny pie)

Mark Bittman's Flaky Pie Crust
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter cut into 16 pieces
3 Tbsp ice water

1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare pie filling by tossing apple sclices in lemon juice, sugar, spices and cornstarch if desired, and set aside. OR if you prefer a par cooked filling: place apples in a saucepan, squeeze lemon juice over the top and stir to coat. Heat over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes until apples begin to soften. Add sugar, spices and cornstarch if desired, bring to a bubble for a couple minutes, and remove from heat.

2. Prepare pie crust by whisking flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl. Add butter and quickly work it in by rubbing it between your fingers until mixture resembles a course meal. Add ice water and mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. Form into 2 flattened balls, wrap individually in plastic and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate or at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).

3. Sprinkle a clean countertop with flour, put one ball of dough on it, and sprinkle the top with flour and roll out. Drape over pie plate and fill with apples. Roll out the second ball of dough for top crust.. Drape over pie, trim excess dough, and crimp edges with a fork or your fingers. Using a sharp paring knife cut several slits in the top to vent the seam (a star pattern is quite nice).

4. Bake 50-60 minutes or until the pie is golden brown. (It's not a bad idea to place a cookie sheet on the rack below in case any filling bubbles over.) Do not underbake. Cool on wire rack before serving warm or at room temperature.


Buttermilk Spice Cake

The perfect autumn cake and one of the reasons I love this season. (Happy birthday to me!)

1 3/4 cups cake flour
4 large eggs, room temp
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups loosely packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp all spice
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
1 recipe maple frosting (below) OR your favorite frosting

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350º. Generously grease two 8- or 9-inch round pans and line with parchment or wax paper circles. Grease paper circles and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla with a fork in a bowl and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt ans spices in the bowl of a mixer and beat for 30 seconds to combine. With the mixer running on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time; mix until the butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly with some pieces the size of peas after all the butter is added.

3. With the mixer still at the lowest speed, add approximately one cup of the egg mixture then increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the remaining egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. Stop mixer, scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat again a medium high until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.

4. Divide batter equally between two pans; spread to the side of the pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake until cake tops are light gold and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 22-25 minutes (add ~5 minutes for 8-inch rounds). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the pan to loosen. Invert cakes on to a large plate, peel of the paper and reinvert to cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.

Maple Frosting
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp maple extract

Beat butter in a small bowl until light a fluffy. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, salt, maple extract and 1 Tbsp milk. Mix slowly as the sugar incorporates then faster as is becomes smooth. Add remaining sugar and milk and repeat mixing. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add more sugar or more milk to achieve desired consistency (but no more than 1/4 sugar or 1 tsp milk).