Sweater Trees: Holiday Inspiration

Okay these sweater trees are so fabulous, you will fall in love. I simply adore the fact that you can use old sweaters you have at home to create something classy and awesome for your house. They are seriously easy and cheap, but look awesome! Sweater Trees use just a few items that you probably […] … »

Little Treats: Williamson Tea

This past month has been a bit of a whirlwind here – lots of late nights in the office followed by weekends away with blogger events and meet-ups in between. November has gone so fast that it’s hard to believe that December is on our doorstep. I don’t know if it’s something to do with […]

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Chocolate – Pear Biscotti – A #Cookielicious Exchange Party

As much as I detest the actual holiday “day” of Christmas (too much traveling, traffic, to-do lists, timing and people in general for this anti-social girl!), the holiday season is always a special one for me. I adore the preamble to the big day: the general “giving” atmosphere that infuses everyone around this time (even as they shove each other out of the way for the last “must have it” toy on their kid’s wishlist), the cheesy, grainy reruns of Rudolph and How the Grinch Stole Christmas on TV, dragging out the stack of “play it once a year” CDs (including my mom’s copy of Handel’s Messiah, which my sister and I mock ruthlessly), clamouring for the absolute awesomeness that is a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert and of course, the month-long bake fest that perfumes every nook and cranny of the house with aromas of butter, sugar, spice and happiness.

I bake a fair assortment of treats every year to accompany the various canned Toast Toppers and sauces, granolas and candy nestled into the gift boxes destined for friends and family. Aside from the quintessential shortbreads, nothing stays exactly the same from year to year. That said, the same themes repeat with more or less regularity: some form of ginger-laden cookie for my all-time favourite teacher (now a co-worker!), at least one gluten – free and vegan offering for the ladies at my hair salon, kid – friendly drop cookies for my friend’s brood and a few batches of biscotti for the Italian clan. The biscotti are almost always my “ace in the hole” during the holidays – not only are they the ultimate “keeping” cookie, but the basic formula is infinitely variable. With a few years of twice-baked batter under my belt now, I’ve started to apply the “re-bake” theory to leftover muffins and quickbreads as well. The “muffinscotti” taste like a perfect marriage of cookie and cracker, and have won over even the most vehement anti-crunchy cookie people I know.

Roasted Pear and Bittersweet Chocolate Biscotti

These particular biscotti are a marriage of “traditional” and “nouveau” ideas. I say that because they are made from a dough that I always intended for biscotti and baked the “traditional” way (i.e. a single log, then sliced and rebaked as sticks). Unlike traditional biscotti, though, this dough is actually a scone recipe that is filled with roasted fresh fruit and dark chocolate. I figured that if I could biscotti-fy banana bread, why not a simple scone? All I had to do was make one big, long scone “block” instead of individual wedges (baked proportionately longer, of course), then follow standard twice-baking procedure.

The result? Absolutely indescribably delicious! Buttery, just sweet enough, filled with occasional bursts of just tender, caramelized fruit and decadent, bittersweet chocolate chunks. Crunchy, but not “break-your-teeth” hard, they make perfect coffee dunkers as well as traffic-jam snacks!

Today’s cookies are entered in a special event put on by the great team at #SundaySupper. December is all about cookies, and we’re kicking things off with A #Cookielicious Exchange Party! Check out the decadent sweet treats from the partygoers below, and be sure to stop in on Tuesday for our Twitter chat!

Join us for a #Cookielicious chat at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, Dec. 1, on Twitter We will be sharing tips for cooking baking along with stories about our favorite family recipes. Follow the #Cookielicious hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great cookies recipes, check out our Cookie Jar Pinterest board.

Chocolate – Pear Biscotti 
Inspired by General Mills’ Scone Biscotti
Makes 12
2 large pears, peeled, cored, and cut into ½” chunks
1 cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tbsp baking powder
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp salt
¼ cup cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp non-hydrogenated shortening
⅓ cup half and half cream
1 egg
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chunks

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Spread the pear chunks out in one layer and roast for 15-20 minutes, until browned on the bottoms. Cool on the sheet at least 1 hour, then transfer to a bowl or plate and reserve.
  3. Reduce oven to 350°F and place a new layer of parchment on the baking sheet.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, cardamom and salt.
  5. Cut in butter and shortening, then stir in cream and egg until evenly combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chunks and roasted pears.
  7. Place on the sheet and form into a log about 1” thick.
  8. Bake for 44-45 minutes, until firm.
  9. Cool 30 minutes on the sheet, then slice diagonally into ¾” thick slices.
  10. Reduce oven to 325°F
  11. Place slices, standing up, back onto parchment lined sheet pans ½” apart.
  12. Bake 35-40 minutes, until crisp and browned. Cool on the sheets.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 182.9
Total Fat: 9.0 g
Cholesterol: 28.5 mg
Sodium: 36.3 mg
Total Carbs: 23.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 3.2 g

Find all the goodies on the full site: yummysmells.blogspot.com


Foodie Quotes #62

“Real food, I’ve found, is actually better than dieting.”
– Angelina Jolie … »

Why Use Wisdom Panel 3.0 DNA Testing For Your Dog

Earlier this year, my family and I had DNA testing done.  It was exciting to find out the many heritages… read more

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How to make Light Balls

These Light Balls are sure to WOW your neighbors! They are easy to make with only a couple supplies. You can hang them in your tree, decorate your front yard and more! Let us show you how to make light balls for your holiday decorating.  When I spotted the Christmas Light Balls before sharing them […] … »

Bacon Apple Cheddar Dutch Baby #‎BakeItForward

My first Bacon Apple Cheddar Dutch Baby…and it was awesome! FYI… Food Network will donate $1 for each share of this post to one of my favorite causes, No Kid Hungry! Just make sure to include this message, with the ‪#‎BakeItForward‬ hashtag! So, share, share, share! Chef Perry www.joinmykitchen.com Bacon-Apple-Cheddar Dutch Baby A Dutch baby […] … »

The Lékué Deco Pen – My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

Outline cookies, then flood with icing and decorate as desired.

This is by no means a sponsored post. It’s not even a situation where the company sent me a product to sample. I just like it so much, I had to share my thoughts!

I received a set with my birthday presents over the summer but hadn’t gotten around to using it until icing some cookies last week. Now I’m wishing I had thought to use it when piping melted chocolate to make the gate for my Graveyard Cake – it would have come out a whole lot better!

For whatever reason, I have no problem using a piping bag for frosting, meringue, or  even marshmallow, but when it comes to icing, I’m a complete disaster. I either squeeze too hard and too much pours out, or I’m trying to do detail work and the bag is obstructing my view or flopping around. It got to where I was just using a tasting spoon to flood the cookies and a lobster pick to draw on any details. Once in a while, I’d pour the icing into a snack-sized zip-top bag and snip out a corner, but these deco pens are awesome! They’re a great size, easy to fill, come with four different tips, and they’re silicone, so they are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe. 

I have tried piping squeeze bottles, pens, you name it – this is the first product that really worked with me rather than somehow working against me. At $18.00, they may be pricier than other products, but I think they’re well worth it. As a matter of fact, after using it last week, I immediately went online and ordered two more. They arrived in the mail today, which is what prompted me to write this post.

They come in a few different sizes, but I stuck with the 3 oz. version for easy handling. They even have a larger one that comes in a set with a stenciled mat for piping and baking macarons. 
There’s still time … if you plan on icing holiday cookies this year, or like to smear plates (there’s a tip for that) or drizzle other dishes, you should definitely consider this handy little gadget!

And ahem (clears throat), should anyone at Lékué happen to see this post and feel compelled to send me a different product of theirs to try out, I’d be more than happy to oblige!  😉

Oh, and I would have included more pics and the recipe for the cookies I used them on, but they were my test batch of a new recipe I came up with for my annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap cookies, and I can’t officially share them until December 16. Sorry, you’ll just have to tune in on the 16th to check them out.

To order your own …


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Slender Ham and Zucchini Rollup Appetizer – 5 Ingredient Friday!

Slender Zucchini Rollup Appetizer with Ham and Cheese

This slender appetizer takes zucchini ribbons and rolls them up with a tasty combination of salty ham, ricotta, and parmesan cheeses. Now that Thanksgiving 2015 is a thing of the past, I’m working on holiday appetizers that won’t break the calorie bank. Since today is 5 Ingredient Friday, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to…

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The post Slender Ham and Zucchini Rollup Appetizer – 5 Ingredient Friday! appeared first on Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right.


Salem Food Trucks Give Away 150 Thanksgiving Dinners

SALEM, OR – Though it was below freezing Thanksgiving morning, the sun was shining. Under the rays, nearly 150 people in need gathered under the Marion Street Bridge to get a Thanksgiving meal from the Feed the Need food truck event. One man, after having filled a bag of food, said, “I’m blinded,” referring to […]

The post Salem Food Trucks Give Away 150 Thanksgiving Dinners appeared first on Mobile Cuisine | Food Truck, Pop Up & Street Food Coverage.


Milwaukee, WI Edition: Wolf Peach

Wolf Peach

Wolf Peach was next on the culinary tour of Milwaukee. The name “Wolf Peach” stems from European folklore:

“When the tomato was first introduced, it was widely considered poisonous. Aristocrats dined on pewter; the acid in tomatoes reacted with the metal, causing lead poisoning. Peasants ate from plates made of wood and were unaffected, so tomatoes became the poor man’s food. The legend grew, as legends do, to include stories of witches using tomatoes, a member of the deadly nightshade family, to conjure werewolves. The wild tomato’s Latin genus name, Lycopersicon, translates to “Wolf Peach.” Wolf Peach pays homage to rustic European cuisine that draws inspiration regional ingredients – including the illustrious tomato.”

Wolf Peach

I had actually made reservations for this restaurant, but, because I’m stupid, I got the reservation time mixed up with the time change to Central from Eastern. This led to us walking around the entire area for about an hour until it was actually time for our reservation.

Wolf Peach

Wolf Peach does things a little differently. For one, they have communal dining in one part of the restaurant so that folks who don’t know each other can eat together. Also, they bring dishes out as they are ready, as opposed to coursing the dishes to “ensuring that they are fresh, bright and ready to enjoy.”

“Fueled by passion and a 6,000-pound wood-fired oven, we pair beautiful ingredients from local farms, purveyors and artisans to create food to feed the soul. Our style of service is casual and communal … We believe dining should be as much about enjoying the company as it is about savoring the fare … Our menu is an eclectic mix of large and small plates designed to encourage sharing, cultivate interaction and foster a sense of dining at a family table.”

Wolf Peach

We started off our dinner with an appetizer of the smoked bone marrow. Yes, bone marrow – which has become trendy in recent years. It has this odd, carnal appeal – scraping animal bones free of the rich, gelatinous marrow. But, it has become this sort of delicacy – as raw or grisly as it may seem.

It was served with sea salt, parsley, red onion jam and fresh bread. It has this buttery but almost sweet flavor. The red onion jam gave it more of a sweetness, and the bread gave it some much-needed texture. This was good, but mostly it was interesting.

We ordered a pizza with whipped ricotta, baby summer squash, garden tomato, and fresh oregano. When I read this on their menu online, it included a honey Sriracha sauce and something else. I had my heart set on that already, and when we got to the restaurant, the pizza was slightly different. I still wanted to go with it.

Wolf PeachI wish I had taken a closer look at some of the other options, because this definitely did not wow me. It was actually pretty bland. It needed a heavy-handed dash of salt and other spices. The vegetables were not particularly flavorful, either. I wanted something light, but not flavorless. That honey Sriracha drizzle could’ve done wonders. I ended up taking the leftover sweet onion jam and putting it on the slices of pizza. If you visit, opt for a different one. Many others sound tasty.

Grade: B
Wolf Peach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Holiday Mint Chocolate Truffles & A $160 Amazon Giveaway

You know that phrase, “when life hands you lemons…”  Well….life handed me mushy fudge, so I made truffles.   I have… read more

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First visit to Oaks Crossing (San Antonio, TX)

On Tuesday, I paid my 2nd visit to the new HEB at Hardy Oak & Wilderness Oak in San Antonio. It’s the nicest HEB I’ve ever visited, BTW. While there, I paid my 1st visit to Oaks Crossing, HEB’s restaurant inside the store. They have a diverse menu&… … »

Hot Chocolate Cake

This showstopping Hot Chocolate Cake has layers of moist chocolate cake, pudding, whipped topping, marshmallows and yes, it has hot chocolate too. I don’t know about you but I love a hot, steamy mug of hot chocolate almost more than anything. Whether you top your hot chocolate with marshmallows, whip cream, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, […] … »

Frozen Themed Hot Chocolate Bar: Holiday Inspiration

Raise your hand if you love hot chocolate. It’s probably one of my favorite things ever! And Your Home Based Mom really brings it home with a Frozen Themed Hot Chocolate Bar. I personally think this would be great for any kid or adult party. I think winter is a great time to have hot […] … »

Blissful Eats Holiday Gift Guides + How I Put Them Together!

Happy Black Friday! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday and enjoyed your time with your family. We enjoyed every second over here.  Over the past 2 months I’ve been creating Holiday gift guides for Blissful Eats. Day 1 today, is The Paleo Foodie. I coordinated with over 60 brands to bring my customers 6… 

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The post Blissful Eats Holiday Gift Guides + How I Put Them Together! appeared first on Nicole Culver.