As Michiganders, we are accustomed to the beauty of our state. The large expanses of crystal clear lakes, the white sand beaches, and the abundance of greenery. Trees, particularly maples, sumacs, dogwoods, and oaks tower above us and provide a spectacular display of color in the chilly fall months. There is no better way to describe our state than as being #PureMichigan!
Hot fudge sauce is the tall dark and handsome of the liquid toppings family. If it were at a bar, it would be the Hitch watching every other pick up line attempt fail while smirking into its G&T. If it were an athlete, it would be captain of the basketball team and quarterback of the football team.
Chocolate sauce begins with chocolate (cacao beans to be precise). Cacao beans have a very long and rich history beginning with ancient South American cultures. Aztec cultures were said to have ground the beans into a paste and created a rich drink similar to modern day hot chocolate. The bitterness of the drink was said to turn off the conquistador. In order to temper the bitter flavor of the chocolate, the conquistador’s added honey and/or sugar.
Do you ever wonder how the first pastry was invented? As a chef, sometimes I wonder these things. Especially about the complicated recipes like mini pies. What happened, someone decided they liked the least desirable part of bread and ripest fruits available so much that they wanted to wrap them up together and roast them over flames?
Allegedly, pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians. It is said that pies were originally made simply to store the filling for eating later and not to eat the crust with the filling. Thank god someone made the mistake of taking a bite out of the full pie...
We all have smells or tastes that take us back to a place in time of significance. The smell of honey and oranges takes me back to a very special time and place in my life.
I have lived in many places, traveled to far away countries, explored hideaways, and have had the opportunity to explore my passions and true callings. The places I have traveled and lived all have significance in one way or another, whether it is the people, the place or time in my life.
By now many of you know that I am a former professional pastry chef and food/product photographer. Yes, that was a shameless promotion for myself as a photographer! But seriously, I pull a lot of my recipes from experiences, trials, and errors from working in professional kitchens. Over the years, many of my recipes have evolved and grown into popular creations for many professional venues. I am always tweaking, adjusting or adding to my core bank of recipes.
Cheesecake is a simple dessert that provides an incredibly rich and decadent flavor and creamy texture.
Homemade Chocolate Cherry Soufflé
By now many of you know that I was a chef for many years, a pastry chef to be exact. I loved the fast-paced, creative outlet that working as a chef provided. What I did not like was the 14-hour days, odd hours and lack of time I had to spend with my family and friends. You definitely form a camaraderie, a bond with your kitchen staff, they essentially become your family. Continue reading
How To Make Soda
Soda, pop, or cola all regional names for the iconic drink we have all grown up with. A sugary sweet carbonated beverage that gives us the kick of caffeine that has gotten us through long nights of cramming for exams and early mornings. Soda is a relatively new creation that only dates back to the 1780’s. Chemist Joseph Priestly invented the process of carbonating water while attempting to carbonate the beer brewing process in Leeds, England.
Homemade Almond Milk
I was having dinner with a few of my close girl friends and even though we are strong businesswomen our conversations rarely drift to talks of business. Children, home and husbands dominate our personal conversations. We are all at different points in our lives; some have small children still at home, a few of us have transitioned into school age children and one or two have children that are almost at the point of transitioning into adulthood. Food, care of children and our husbands fill the few precious hours that we have together. Being a former chef and a health conscious consumer, the health of family and what they eat on a daily basis is of utmost importance to me. Anytime that I can eliminate unnecessary processed foods or I can create it completely from scratch I do. It is not always possible due to time restraints and the availability of fresh seasonal ingredients but when I can I do. Homemade Almond milk is a great example of a recipe that is simple and the ingredients are available all year long.
Recipe: Peanut Butter Candy Cookies
The peeps are out; bright yellow, green and shocking hot pink round out the line up. I’m referring to the fluffy marshmallow concoction covered in colored sugar that only makes their appearance during the Easter holiday. This is the time of year that sweet pastel candies of every shape and flavor hit the stores, some traditional to the Easter holiday and others created in a new shape or flavor to add to the traditional Easter morning basket.
Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe
It's been a long week, your eyes open slowly and the warm sunshine kisses your cheek. You realize it’s Saturday; a day for sleeping in, a leisurely cup of coffee in the sunshine filled dining room and the aroma of freshly baked pecan sticky buns fill the house. The warm aroma of cinnamon and roasted pecans slowly wafts down the hallway and up the stairs to greet the rest of the family. Gradually the teens begrudgingly make their way down to the breakfast table with hopes of a strong cup of coffee and a slice of whatever woke them from their 14 hours of beauty sleep.
Pecan sticky buns can awake even the laziest of teenagers with its sweet aroma and tantalizing warm cinnamon and roasted pecan aroma but the long list of ingredients and even longer preparation can seem like a daunting task. Continue reading
The smell of ginger cookies baking is in my opinion one of the most beautiful aromas. The combination of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon are intoxicating and permeates the entire house. One of my first big “corporate” positions as an executive pastry chef was in a restaurant where I had the distinct pleasure of helping to build from the ground up. Endless hours were spent purchasing equipment, assisting in the design of the kitchen, and creating recipes. Our team was incredible and the desserts that we produced were some of the best in the area. Although I loved pretty much all of the products, my favorite is, and will always be, our ginger cookies. Soft and chewy with beautiful hints of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Our ginger cookies are a delightful treat!
It snowed this past weekend! I know, we live in Michigan and the snow inevitability returns every November, but it still catches me off guard. The first snow is still magical. The leaves have all fallen and the branches are bare and snow clings onto the newly bare branches that form a canopy over our drive. As the sun begins to peek through the gray clouds, the light catches each snowflake and they glisten with the brightness of a layer of glitter. The laughter of small children in the neighborhood can be heard as they gleefully attempt to catch each flake on their tongue. The first snow is also a reminder that the holidays are coming. Holiday parties, dinners with loved ones and family are on everyone’s agenda.
Winter Storm Bella will bring the first, heavy accumulating snow of the season for us here in Michigan and across the Midwest this weekend. Cold temperatures will be setting in with single-digit windchill values.
As we prepare for the winter storm this weekend, many of us will bundle up and hunker down by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. Let's welcome this winter storm with something other than plain hot chocolate to warm us up. How about a caramel hot chocolate with homemade caramel corn instead? Now we're talking!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Begin your day with a bowl of hearty and soul satisfying Vanilla Bean Chia Oatmeal. Chia oatmeal can be assembled quickly the evening before and eaten cold or warmed in the morning. Highly portable and infinitely nutritious, you'll wonder why you didn’t make this sooner.