cranberry-vanilla bean curd

It’s officially December and the start of holiday baking/cooking!  I’m totally excited because my son and I have a few cookie exchanges and kids’ holiday events to attend so I have even more motivation to start baking this year.  My list of have-to-make cookies is growing by the day so let’s just cross our fingers that my stamina can keep up with my vision.

This is a recipe I made a few times almost a year ago but never got around to posting it. Thankfully, I’m  getting around to posting it this year because I really feel it’s that good!  I love, love, love making curd with Meyer lemons but since they’re not quite in season yet, I’m using  cranberries.  I didn’t make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and to be honest, I totally forgot about it.  I mean, when you make two turkeys, a kale salad, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese and a couple appetizers, something is bound to fall by the wayside.  Hopefully this makes up for it!

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spiced cranberry-apple muffins

Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving!


Even though the holiday is less than a week away, I’m actually feeling pretty calm about the whole day.  This year we’re staying local and having some family friends over, so I’m grateful we won’t be alone and relieved that this will be a much needed, low-key event.  I keep telling myself that I don’t really have to cook a ton of food, that nobody will care how many appetizers and sides there are or that everything is homemade.  However, knowing myself, I’ll throw all this out the window and start making lists upon lists of dishes I want to serve and groceries I need to buy.  Hmm..we’ll see how all this goes.
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honey chai-spiced roasted nuts

Since we’re in the middle of autumn and all things spiced, I have another snack for you. But instead of pumpkin spice, chai spice is the star!  I love having roasted nuts around as a quick snack, so these fall flavors are perfect.  With honey as a natural sweetener, you can feel pretty good about indulging in a (more than a) a few handfuls of these nuts at a time!

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Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

honey chai-spiced roasted nuts

For a quick and easy treat, toss walnuts with warming chai spices, roast ’em up and get snacking! Walnuts are my favorite but almonds, pecans or cashews would work just as well. I also added in a mixture of sesame, flax and chia seeds that I had on hand and those could certainly be omitted if you don’t have them available.

  • 3½-4 cups raw walnuts
  • ¼ cup mixed chia, flax and sesame seeds, optional**
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 2-3 tbs chai spice (see below)
  • regular, coarse sea salt or vanilla salt if you’re feeling extra fancy (which is what I used)

Preheat oven to 325° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.  Pour in the honey and whisk again until both are combined, then add in the chai spices and mix again.  Add walnuts and mixed chia, flax and sesame seeds (if using) to honey and egg white mixture.  Fold nuts into mixture with a spatula until completely covered.

Pour nut mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread evenly, making sure they’re in one layer.  Sprinkle liberally with vanilla salt.  Put mixture into oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Keep in a

Sprinkle on the vanilla salt.

Return the nuts to oven for another 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately place into glass jars for storage as they’ll harden while they cool.  Will keep in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

DIY chai spice

  • 4tsp cinnamon
  • 4tsp ginger
  • 2tsp cardamom
  • 2tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp all spice

Mix all spices together in a small bowl and store in a glass jar.

(adapted from Edible Perspective)

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cream cheese-swirled pumpkin bread

Fall is here and it’s actually starting to feel like it in Northern California.  After experiencing 100º+ temps just the other week, we’re finally waking up to cooler temperatures and cloudy skies and I honestly couldn’t be happier! Bring on all the fall essentials: PSLs and plaid, pumpkin patches and apple orchards, warming spices and cozy nights.

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shawarma roasted chickpeas 

When I have the time and motivation, roasted chickpeas are a snack staple in our house. If you didn’t think you could eat two whole cans of chickpeas by yourself, this snack may prove you wrong.  Lucky for me, I have a toddler who loves them just as much as I do so they’re the perfect thing to share.

The flavor combo is adapted from NYT’s chicken shawarma recipe (which, by the way, is SO good) and I wanted to try it out on these little guys.  And guess what?  It works!

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