Halloween Desserts

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I love Halloween. How could you not love a  night where eating as much candy as humanly possible is totally acceptable?  This year I am especially excited for Halloween because our new neighborhood gets lots and lots of trick or treaters – I just went to Walgreens and bought 50$ worth of candy in anticipation. (And the good candy not that crappy cheap stuff, I am talking about snickers and peppermint patties) Since this is the  first time living somewhere that actually gets trick or treaters I cannot wait. Friday night I plan on sitting on my front porch, drinking some cocktails and watching all the cute costumes go by, all while snacking on 50$ worth of candy and maybe handing some out.  But if you plan on being a little more social than me, here are some ideas on how to create the perfect Halloween desserts.
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Huevos Rancheros

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One of these days I will post something other than food. I am not sure when that will be but I promise sometime soon. I need to give you an update on the house for sure! Lots of changes happening which is keeping me busy. Good busy, but busy. But… since we are on the topic of food (and to be honest, when am I not?), I wanted to share one of my most favorite breakfasts, huevos rancheros. It is on a short list of dishes that I will always order off a menu if I see it. Warm corn tortillas soaked with salsa and black beans all topped with an egg and some cilantro, it might just be my idea of perfection on a plate.
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Sweet Potato Grits

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People often ask me where I get my food inspiration from – sometimes I see an idea in a magazine, sometimes Pinterest inspires me, cookbooks are always great resources for inspiration,  but a lot of times it is random nights out that I come across a new food that I love and try and re-create it myself.  Last month when I was on the East Coast, we had dinner at American Seasons in Nantucket. I remember one thing from that meal, other than it being very good: the sweet potato grits. The perfectly cooked- maple syrup infused grits topped with cheddar cheese. It was just a side dish but we ate the whole dish in about 2.5 seconds wondering if we should get another order- it was that good. Since I am still dreaming about those grits, here is my take on sweet potato grits – you should make them this weekend. Or maybe right now..just saying.
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Apple Cider Donuts

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I am excited to share that I am going to be contributing some recipes and food posts to one of my favorite lifestyle and design blogs – Sacramento Street. I have been a fan since discovering the blog (funny enough when I actually lived on Sacramento Street in SF) and have loved reading it over the years. A dear friend connected me with Caitlin, the blogger and interior designer behind it and tada now my recipes are going to be on there twice a month. First up, my apple cider donuts, in honor of all things fall.
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Rosemary Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

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So I rarely talk about my day job as a test kitchen cook on here mostly because this is a place where I can try out my own recipes and talk about random things like travel and kitchen design. (I do post a lot of pictures from the test kitchen on Instagram) But there are a couple outstanding recipes that I have tested recently that I want to make sure you all know about. These rosemary olive oil shortbread cookies are one of them. This is a sleeper recipe. You look at it, think it looks good but pass it on for more glamorous cookies like chocolate chip. But don’t pass it up, I promise these are amazingly addicting shortbread cookies. The best part is, they are doused in olive oil right out of the oven making these impossibly delicious.
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East Coast trip to Nantucket and Boston

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Last week I took a quick trip to the East Coast to visit Boston for my 10 year college reunion (I have no idea where those 10 yrs went!!). Some girlfriends and I squeezed in a trip to Nantucket before Boston making this trip a serious whirlwind (plus I added on a night in NYC at the end of the trip just for good measure). I tallied it up and by the end of the 5 day trip there were 2 trains, 1 ferry, 2 plane rides and 1 car ride- it was literally planes, trains and automobiles but it was amazing and totally worth the exhaustion. Here is the round-up from the trip.
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Summer Recap

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So I am going to finally accept it, summer is almost gone. I am headed back to Boston for my 10 year college reunion (yikes, when did that happen?) and it is going to be full on fall there with changing leaves and crisp cool New England nights.  I wanted to hold onto summer in one last post and recap some of my favorite summertime moments, both in food and travel.

1. Watermelon and Tomato Salad – the quintessential summer salad

2. Bahamas – an epic family vacation to Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

3. Zucchini Tart – the perfect way to use up all of that zucchini that seems to be laying around in the summer

4. Carmel and Big Sur – a spur of the moment trip that ended with the most magical sunset

5. Strawberry Basil Gin Fizz – the drink that started my love affair with gin

6. Big Sky Montana - a long weekend under that big beautiful Montana sky

Thank you summer,  you were awesome, you keep on getting better and better each year. Ok fall, bring on the shorter days, cooler nights and all things pumpkin and apple.

Figs with Mascarpone, Honey and Pistachios

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To me, figs are the quintessential summer food. Truly seasonal, you can rarely find figs (other than dried) outside the months of August and September.   Figs are lusciously sweet with a unique taste and texture  – chewy on the outside, sweet and creamy on the inside with just a little crunch thanks to the seeds. There are a lot of different ways to eat figs—they are great on flatbread with arugula and prosciutto, you can bake them into a pie or galette, you could wrap them in bacon and grill them or simply broil them with some feta and top with mint. But my all-time favorite way to eat them, which might also be the simplest, is to serve figs with mascarpone, honey and pistachios.
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