North Pole Arbor Artisans Open House + Art Sale in So. Pasadena

New pics are up! I was invited to make sweets by Jewelry by Monica Lauren for a holiday event last weekend. Check out her beautiful pieces. The open house and sale donates a portion of their proceeds to community needs. The event was hosted at a grand old craftsman home in South Pasadena. Each artist was featured in a different room of the home. My decorated Texas chocolate sheet cake bites  were hosted outside. The event started at noon and people immediately began rambling through the home speaking to artisans about their wares and purchasing on the spot. Many vendors sold via the Square market and made sales on mobile devices. You can tell from the pictures this is a bunch of incredibly talented artists. I made fresh chocolate mini cake bites some were decorated with chopped pecans others with crystallized iceberg rose petals. The best part is the buttery fudge frosting on the top.

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Holiday Decorations: Balboa Park, The Zoo and Extraordinary Desserts

I’ve been meaning to post these since they were taken last Christmas Eve and days after. I found a parking spot right in The Prado lot and while we still can pulled in to take a quick walk through the Botanical Gardens before they closed for the day. Lovely. Also went by at night and snapped some, and the San Diego Zoo lights too, very cool! We live in a wonderful city! On our way out we stopped at Extraordinary Desserts for a Cream Cheese Brownie with overtones of coffee. Really yummy. Enjoy!

Old Globe Theatre Tree

The SD Zoo

Our Holiday Sweets in fotos

Here are holiday sweets we enjoyed this season from cookies to pies, candy to cheesecake my waist has seen it all. Can’t wait for New Year to get here…
Lemon Pecan Pie from Hob Nob Hill Restaurant to go

 love Cotton Candy!

Cream Cheese Brownie from Extraordinary Desserts

Sof’ella Caramel Monkey Bread Mix from World Market

Post Nap remnants of Monkey Bread and Caramel Sauce

Sugar Cookies

Peanut Blossoms


Cheesecake Factory Key Lime and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Yum!

Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond

I had to pass along this yummy recipe from The Pioneer Woman. 

I love Laura Ingalls Wilder and all things Pioneer, so I have to try this tempting recipe. Thanks to Ree Drummond for this post. You must click over to this amazing site full of great inspiring thoughts and images. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 25 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 15 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Intermediate  |  Servings: 8


  • Caramel Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • Pinch Of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • Crust
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
  • Filling
  • 2 pints Ice Cream (1 Pint Each Of Different Flavors)

Preparation Instructions

To make the caramel sauce:
Mix butter, brown sugar, half & half, and salt in a saucepan over medium low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off heat and pour sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold.
To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add sugar and salt and beat on high until stiff. Fold in nuts. Spread mixture all over the bottom and sides of a non-glass pie pan, making sure to adequately coat the sides. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, watching toward the end to make sure crust doesn’t get too brown. Remove from oven when crust is golden brown. Allow crust to cook completely.
When crust is cool, remove ice cream from freezer. Allow to soften. When soft, spread one pint of ice cream (I used Butter Brickle) over the bottom of the crust. Spread the other pint (I used Vanilla Bean) over the first flavor. Cover with foil and freeze until very hard.
To serve, cut slices of pie and serve on individual plates with cold caramel sauce spooned over the top. *Note that the crust will be a bit sticky…but it’s oh, so good!

Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond

Rainbow Cherry Jigglers! – Style-Elise

I posted this over on my style blog at Tumblr a few days ago – Click here for the link to My personal blog is a micro blog full of images and inspirations. I love the bright colors of this photo and I adore anything jello. Enjoy this recipe from great blogger you might want to follow at jellyshottestkitchen. The post has all the details on where to get colored marachino cherries online. Enjoy

Scroll down for a copy of the recipe: Here is link to original post Rainbow Cherry Jigglers Recipe – Tablespoon.

PHOTO SOUCE: Jelly Shot Test Kitchen’s photostream

PHOTO SOURCE: jellyshottestkitchen

Rainbow Cherry Jigglers! – Style-Elise

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies | Recipe Binder

Light, tender, lacy texture almost enhanced by Corn Flakes cereal. One cup of butter + one cup oil = cookies remain tender and crisp at the same time. Best eaten first day baked.

Serves: 24 Preparation time: 35 Cooking time: 10 Difficulty: Easy – for beginners


Photo Source:

3 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla*
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
12 ounces chocolate chips

*I also use butter-vanilla flavoring in place of vanilla,from


Preheat oven to 350*.

Sift together flour,baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In Large bowl beat butter, sugars and egg, milk, and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture alternating with oil.

Add cereal, oatmeal and chips.

Drop by spoonfuls or scoop onto cookie sheets. (I spray mine with buttered Pam cooking spray. Due to oil cookies brown on edges sooner so be careful)

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until done.

Makes nine dozen.

See this recipe and more at: Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies | Recipe Binder

Pine-cones and Pie: Driving Trip to Julian – Fall 2012

The pie in these photos from Julian Pie Company was straight from the oven, hot and juicy with apple tastiness! Perfect day in Julian, California. Stopped into Julian Realty and said “Hi” to  Dennis Frieden, Owner/Broker and long time friend. Photos include views of Mount Laguna, California and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Enjoy

Slideshow and links after the jump.

Blueberry Bar recipe from Water’s Fine Foods shared

Water’s Blueberry Bars, a summer tradition

I noted this recipe for Blueberry Bars recently listed on Waters Fine Catering Facebook page. Back in the early 90’s, I worked for Mary Kay Waters at Water’s Catering. She was my neighbor, which also made me the occasional family babysitter. I held the position(s) of sous chef, catering secretary/assistant; creating menus, proposals, working parties and prepping in the kitchen for credits towards my culinary arts/hospitality degree.

Today her enterprise has expanded to include Water’s Fine Foods to Go, with  two locations, one near Mission Hills on W. Morena Blvd, and the other in Solana Beach. Also new, Fibonacci’s Campus Pointe Bistro by Waters brings delicious, quality artisanal food to La Jolla’s UTC area. Recipe after the jump with more photos.

Be sure to take a trip by Water’s Fine Foods to Go and pick up some Water’s Brand Hand-Crafted Granola, Salt & Pepper Blend and Salted Peanuts. Perfect gift ideas!

Lemon Bar Recipes

A recent family request for recipes has my mouth watering. Following are some of my favorite recipes for tart, tangy, mouth puckering Lemon Bars. Classic takes, a lite version, and an inspired variation with grapefruit from a contest blogger. Enjoy

1) Ina Garten Lemon Bars Recipe
Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Serves: 20 squares or 40 triangles

For the crust:
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
2) Cooks Illustrated Lemon Bars Recipe
The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated | Baking Illustrated | America’s Test Kitchen, 2004 | Makes 16 bars

Lemon bars are pretty easy to make, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get them just the way you want them. Whether from bakeries or home recipes, the crust is often quite soggy, and many versions are too sweet and lack true lemon flavor. The warm filling must be added to a warm crust. Start preparing the filling when the crust goes into the oven. Be sure to cool the bars completely before cutting them.—the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
Active time: 25 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes, not including cooling time.
Ingredients| metric conversion
For the crust
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more to decorate the finished bars
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the lemon filling
  • 7 large egg yolks, plus 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (from 4 or 5 medium lemons), plus 1/4 cup finely grated zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional
Make the crust
1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit the second sheet in the pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly. Add the butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Make the filling
4. In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170°F (76°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm crust immediately.
5. Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over the bars, if desired.
3) Cooks Country Lower-Fat Lemon Squares

They had me at “lemon”.  Add “lower fat” and I pretty much ran to the grocery store for supplies.  Cook’s Country came out with this recipe in their June/July 2011 magazine.  These bars are wonderfully lemony!  The butter was decreased from 12 Tbsp. (in a traditional lemon square recipe), down to 4 Tbsp! 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Lemon Topping:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped lemon zest
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar, for dusting top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in the middle.  Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with aluminum foil, allowing foil to hang over pan edges (you will used these foil handles to lift the squares out of the dish after baking).  Spray foil with non-stick spray.
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cornstarch, zest, baking powder and salt until combined.  Add butter pieces and milk and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Pour into pan and press down evenly (I use the bottom of a glass so I don’t get finger divots).  Bake until edges are lightly brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
To make the lemon topping, whisk sugar, eggs, egg white, flour and salt together in a bowl until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice and zest. Pour over cooled crust and bake until filling is set, 15-20 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar.  Using foil handles, lift lemon squares from pan and cut into 9 squares.

4) Texas Pink Grapefruit Bars with Cardamom Shortbread Crust by Camilla Cooks
Cook’s Country Cookie Contest 2007



1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated grapefruit zest
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Optional: 3 drops red food coloring (optional—to further tint the filling pink)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch metal pan with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Process the flour, brown sugar, cardamom and salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. While shortbread is baking, prepare topping.

Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, grapefruit zest, lime zest, grapefruit juice, lime juice and food coloring in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until pudding-like consistency, about 6-8 minutes. Strain over warm crust and spread into even layer.

Bake until filling is set, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. Cut into 2-inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Makes 16 bars. 

Bacon on Apple Pie? Maple Bacon Donuts? Yum!

Tasty Trials: Not your grandma’s apple pie

I’m not entirely sure either of my grandmothers even made apple pie. My mom tells me that she remembers her mother making the occasional apple pie for my grandfather, and if it was for him, that explains why I never saw any. He was known for hiding his pies from people. Not even his adorable granddaughter (that would be me!) could finagle a piece out of him.

So, although I don’t know what my grandma’s pie actually tasted like, here is how I imagine it:

It would be the quintessential apple pie made with the utmost grandmotherly love. We would have made it together when I was staying for a sleepover, after playing countless games of Cootie and Old Maid, eating cheese puffs, and going to the book store for a special treat in her red hatchback Pinto. She would be wearing her pink, purple and white skirt that I loved so much and wished I could wear. She would never get exasperated or impatient with me when I did something wrong, and would always let me lick the spoon. We might have some fun trying on her wigs or smelling her vast collection of Avon perfumes while waiting for the pie to bake. I would be pleased knowing that later that night I got to sleep in her bed (with Granddad relegated to the couch…maybe he should have shared his pie!), where I would always, and I mean always, wake up with my feet where my head should be. And when the timer went off, and she took the pie out of the oven, the smell would forever remind me of her. (That and the smell of Avon perfume that was slightly past its prime.) The pie would be mounded high with cinnamon-sugar apples, and topped with a gorgeous lattice pastry crust. It would be my inspiration for apple pie when I got older. Until…

I decided that apple pie is WAY better with bacon!

With no offense to my grandma’s imaginary apple pie, I present to you my Bacon Makes Everything Better Apple Pie, created as my entry for a chance to win the Baconalia challenge, a recipe contest by Foodbuzz and Denny’s.

Recipe and more after the jump…

Bacon Makes Everything Better Apple Pie

Makes 2 mini pies

8 slices bacon (applewood smoked, center cut, thick sliced), divided use
1 sheet refrigerated pie crust
2-3 small granny smith apples (2 cups yield)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided use
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons flour (plus more for rolling dough)

To make the lattice tops, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of bacon in half crosswise, then again lengthwise (to create long strips). Each lattice will use 8 strips – 4 horizontal and 4 vertical. Weave them together to create a basket-weave pattern. Place lattices on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, top with another piece of foil, and finally another baking sheet to weigh down the bacon. Bake for about 17 minutes, until bacon is brown and slightly crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

With remaining 4 slices of bacon, chop in a small dice and fry in a large pan. Cook until bacon is very crispy, then drain on paper towels and let cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in pan.

Once the bacon bits are cool, place 2 tablespoons in a grinder (I use a coffee grinder designated for spices) and run until the bacon is ground to a fine dust. Reserve remaining bacon.

For the pie shells, turn oven down to 350 degrees. Sprinkle flour on counter and roll out pie dough slightly to about 12 inches across. Cut out circles larger than the tart pans. Sprinkle bacon dust over each crust and press in lightly with rolling pin. Fit dough into tart pans, tucking excess dough underneath to create a thicker edge. Press buttered foil into shells and fill with beans or weights. Blind bake shells for 20 minutes. Reserve.

When ready to fill pies, peel and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter very thinly (about 8 slices each), then cut in half crosswise. In the same pan you cooked the bacon, heat the 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Add apples and remaining bacon bits. Sauté until softening, then add sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Cook for another minute until mixture becomes like caramel. Remove from heat and stir in flour.

Brush the pie shells with 1/2 tablespoon of syrup each, coating sides and bottom. Fill the shells with the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. While the pies are baking, coat both sides of each bacon lattice with remaining maple syrup. After 12 minutes, place a lattice over each pie and return to oven. Bake for about 13 more minutes, until bacon is slightly crisp.

Cool slightly before cutting.

Cue the angels singing and the light shining down from the heavens; I am officially in love. I’ve long considered myself a bacon lover, but this? Words escape me…this dessert left me speechless, stunned, in awe. Sweetness and saltiness mingle, then reveal hints of maple and cinnamon with bacon running through every bit of every bite. Bacon baked into the crust, bacon mixed into the filling, apples sautéed in bacon grease, maple-candied bacon on top {gasping for breath}…my head is spinning with all this bacon-y goodness. Think I’m exaggerating? Go ahead…make this for yourself and see. Soon you too will be singing the praises of this decidedly un-grandmotherly apple pie.

Vegetarian friends be warned…I’m thinking of implementing a new rule in the house: going forward, all desserts must contain bacon in some form. Sounds reasonable, right?

Tasty Trials: Not your grandma’s apple pie

Maple Bacon Donut from Swiss Bakery
And here is a fav foto from Voodoo in Portland

Maple Bacon Voodoo Doughnut (365:167)

Chocolate Chip, Pecan & Bacon Cookie from Save-On Meats
Bacon Chili Cupcake & Breakfast Cupcake (filled with bacon and egg custard) from ManCakes Bakery

Here is my recipe for a Maple Bourbon Apple Pie with a Bacon Pecan Crust. Bacon and apple? Not uncommon. Pecan and apples? Not uncommon. All together and topped with maple and spiked with Bourbon? Uncommon, and delicious! I’m so tempted to throw cheddar cheese into the crust so it’s even crispier, but I’ll start you off slow with my unconventional non-Stepford wife recipes!
My recipe for this was inspired by a Maple Bourbon Ice Cream Sandwich I ended up eating with bacon at an epic foodie BBQ this summer – see here. This is the pie version of it, made 2.0. It is a sweet, savoury and nutty dessert that’s perfect for summer BBQ’s… or breakfast. Bacon for breakfast and you get your serving of fruit too! I’m so efficient! I’d call it a great start to the day, and a “healthy balance”… okay well maybe it’s not doctor approved, but it’s Follow Me Foodie approved.
Note: The measurements are a bit rough, and you may have to taste along the way and adjust accordingly to your own preferences.

Maple Bourbon Apple Pie with a Bacon Pecan Crust Recipe

Serves 8.
¼ cup of crispy fresh bacon bits (cooled)
¼ cup of toasted unsalted pecans (cooled)
2 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes
4 tbsp ice water, or more until dough bind together
12-15 strips of uncooked bacon
1/4 cup crushed pecans lightly tossed in maple syrup
3-4 Medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla
5 tbsp Bourbon
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into cubes
Maple syrup for brushing bacon strips
1. Coarsely grind together the crispy bacon and toasted pecans until a coarse crumble forms.
2. Combine flour, sugar, bacon and pecan mixture.
3. Using a food processor add the chilled butter to flour mixture and pulse until the butter is the size of peas and combined.
4. Add ice water a tbsp at a time until the dough forms into a ball. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 375°F.
6. Roll out dough and cover bottom of pie pan. Peirce dough with a fork about 10 times and bake in oven for 30-35 minutes of until fully cooked and browned.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, Bourbon, cinnamon and butter in a large skillet and toss over medium high heat until liquid starts to bubble and apples get fork tender. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
3. Bring to a simmer and allow juices to reduce and thicken into a syrup. Transfer apples to separate bowl with 4-5 tbsp of syrup from the skillet.
4. Fill pre-baked pie crust with apple mixture and syrup.
5. Take uncooked bacon strips and create a lattice crust by alternating strips – see here if you need help.
6. Brush bacon strips with maple syrup and sprinkle maple syrup coated pecans on top of pie.
7. Bake the pie for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and fully cooked and pecans are caramelized.
8. Optional: Serve with maple Bourbon ice cream, or maple pecan/walnut ice cream and bacon bit sprinkles on top.
Maple Bourbon Apple Pie with a Bacon Pecan Crust Recipe! | Follow Me Foodie