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Summer Corn & Tomato Salad

The end of summer is here and I find myself in a place for which I’m truly grateful and also filled with a spectrum of feelings. Do you ever find yourself in a place of flow? The best way I can describe it is a place you arrive at (hopefully) after finally committing yourself to veering away from so many distractions that are forever swirling around and placing your attention on the little voice within. And this can take years. It’s not easy and it’s so easy, all at the same time.

Novio, Peter, our wonderful website builder, and I just completed the jacket design for my documentary, Life On The Bridge. And last week we picked up 200 DVD copies of the first cut of the film. The support I’m receiving is amazing. And that will be my springboard to move this project forward to share the message it has for others. For more information, check out

There’s new stuff to report on the Bumbleberry Breeze front too. I am excited  to alert you to a few changes to the site, both in appearance and in function.

There are updates on the header and the sidebar. Best of all, I can now offer you a user-friendly way to print recipes without being bombarded by all the photos spewing out of your printer and without needing to do the copy & paste method. Simply click on the Print Recipe link immediately preceding the recipe (on the right). A new document with the recipe ONLY will pop up which you can print.

I’m looking  at all the bounty here in Southern California at summer’s end and reveling in all the delicious food, with all its colors and textures and flavors. We’re eating lots of salads but we don’t always want greens to be the star. The heirloom tomatoes just keep showing up . They’re so sweet, we don’t need to do much with them, other than enjoy.

heirloom cherry tomatoes

I love corn on the cob, especially the yellow and white ears. Grilled corn is SO good, but when no one is doing the grilling and my grill pan is buried at the bottom of the drawer, I love to use this method.

yellow and white cornWash the ears.

corn in waxed paperWrap each ear in a piece of waxed paper. Twist the ends closed, Tootsie Roll-style. Microwave for a few minutes, and they’re perfect. Two ears take about 4 minutes.

corn kernelsFor this salad, shave the sweet kernels off the cob.

I wanted to add some heft to the salad so I mixed in two different types of beans. Of course, that’s your choice.

kidney and garbanzo beans

Added to the mix are diced celery and red onion, for flavor and crunch.

salad ingredients

fresh herbsFresh herbs brighten the salad even more.

salad is ready

Print Recipe

Summer Corn & Tomato Salad


2 ears yellow and white corn

1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes (or regular cherry tomatoes)

1 stalk celery, diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 14-oz.can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 14-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 T. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (or oregano or tarragon or cilantro)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. red wine vinegar

1 t. honey

salt and pepper


Wash ears of corn, removing all silk threads.

Wrap each ear in wax paper, large enough to roll and twist ends, Tootsie Roll- style.

Place 2 ears in glass pie plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes.

Use care removing glass dish from microwave.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Holding cob vertically, shave kernels off cob with a sharp knife.

In a large bowl, combine corn kernels, tomatoes, celery, red onions and beans.

Combine oil, vinegar, honey in small glass jar and shake vigorously.  Pour over vegetables.

Season with salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs and toss.

Serves 6.


Summer corn and tomato salad





Tarragon Chicken

My life is at a very special place these days… I am about to give birth to a creation that  began  growing 17 years ago but has really been forming for 40 years (see About Me... August 2015).


How am I supporting my self through this time? By being as aware as I can about taking care of my self. Number One is getting the rest I need…. I’m really listening, Frank…. though the intention isn’t always followed by the action. The action of rest, that’s an interesting phrase.

Taking care of our selves absolutely includes eating foods that are wholesome and good. And not processed.

My dear friend (and adopted niece) Nancee is a dietician. And she’s good. Really good. Nancee told me that this  documentary is awesome and I HAVE to see it right away. And I did. And she’s right. The film is Fed Up.

And I completely agree with its message. Get it. Download it. Watch it.

Every time you can, eat food that’s straightforward, simple and delicious.  Like this recipe. Enjoy!

I used fresh tarragon as my main flavoring. Using fresh herbs is a great way to boost flavor without needing a lot of extra salt.

You can prepare  this recipe with fresh rosemary or oregano or sage or thyme or parsley, to name a few. In a pinch, use a dried herb, about 1/2 teaspoon, depending on your likes. But I’ve got to tell you, using fresh herbs is what makes this dish come alive.


Add to that the mighty trio of olive oil, fresh lemon and garlic. Add just a bit of salt and freshly  ground black pepper.

olive oil, lemon, garlictarragon and paprikaPaprika will add more flavor and color to the dish.

If you like, slice a lemon on a greased roasting pan.

sliced lemonsSet up the chicken. It”s simply a matter of assembling…

chicken before roasting… and baking.

baked chickenNo cooking required. (I mean messing around.)

roast chicken

Print Recipe



1 1/2 lbs. skinless boneless  chicken breast

2 T. olive oil

Juice of 1 small lemon or 2 T. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small  lemon, sliced (optional)

1 T. chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 t. sweet paprika

salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375º.

Rinse and pat dry chicken breast.

Lightly grease roasting pan large enough to fit chicken breasts, leaving space between.  If using lemon slices, lay them down on the greased pan. Place chicken breasts over lemon slices, leaving space between each piece of chicken.

Salt and pepper chicken breast followed by olive oil and lemon juice.

Distribute garlic over each piece.

Sprinkle paprika followed by fresh tarragon over each breast.

Roast in oven for 25 minutes. Chicken should be just cooked through. (I check by cutting one in half.  That’s the easiest way.)

Remove from oven and loosely tent with a piece of aluminum foil for 5 minutes.

Serves 3-4.

Tarrapon Chicken Pinterest








Raspberry Streusel Oat Bars

There’s a lot happening these days.  And when I have a lot going on, evening snacking hits a peak. My good friend tells me she has the same thing going on. All the time. So her solution is that she keeps a bowl of freshly washed berries in the fridge and when she feels the urge for a little something sweet, she goes at one or two or twenty to satisfy her craving. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Our bodies love ’em. And so do our taste buds.


I bought extra raspberries at the farmers’ market. And before I munched up all of them, I wanted to use them in some kind of fruit bar. I was thinking of a shortbread-type bar where you make a shortbread dough, press half in the pan, do a fruit center with preserves, crumble the rest of the dough on top and bake.

preserves and berriespreserves made better with berries

Then I remembered a struesel bar I’d tried in the Baker’s Dozen Cookbook. It’s more rustic than a straight shortbread bar. It’s got oats so that means we can call it a dessert bar that’s eligible for breakfast standing!

If you don’t know about this cookbook and if you enjoy baking, it is politely asking you to make some room on your shelf for it right now. A group of  terrific Northern California bakers (one of them was Marion Cunningham, who has a permanent spot in my heart) got together regularly, all baked their versions of the same thing and compared notes. Thus, a book was born. And a darn good one.

oats with shortbread doughI mixed  the oats in with the shortbread dough. Melted butter or oil will work for the fat.

press dough into panLine a pan with foil and press half the dough into the bottom and a bit up the sides.

Preserves, dried fruit cooked a bit, fresh fruit. Or a combination. The opportunity to be creative is alive! alive!

fresh raspberries with preservesI added almonds to the leftover dough to be crumbled over the top. More nutrition. More logic in calling it a breakfast bar.

almonds added to streuselBake until the top begins to turn golden.

golden streusel bars

Once they were cooled, I cut them into bars and froze them. An easy way for me to share the love.

freezing streusel bars

Everybody loved these bars. Everyone from my mom to my postal carrier. OK, maybe not so objective.  The participants in my market research all generally love what I give them. But seriously. They are good. I managed to sequester the last four in a container and took it with me when we went to visit the niece and family in Ohio. Said niece agreed. All three loved them.

And speaking of love, little Sam is beyond delicious. Not only does everyone want to kiss him, but he wants to run around kissing everyone he likes, which is most people. Every time he ran up to me, wrapped his delicious arms around my leg and kissed it, my heart melted. Every time he leaned in to plant a lip-smacking kiss on my cheek, same effect. And every time he took my arm in his little hands, bent over and landed a kiss on my hand….. sheer heaven. Now that’s what memories are made of.

raspberry square with tea

Print Recipe

Raspberry Streusel Oat Bars

adapted from Apricot Streusel Bars in Baker’s Dozen Cookbook


1 c. flour

1 c. old-fashioned oats (also called rolled oats)

¼ c. lightly-packed dark brown sugar

¼ c. sugar

½ t. baking soda

¼ t. salt

½ t. cinnamon

1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted OR ½ stick butter plus ¼ c. canola oil OR ½ c. oil

6 T. great-quality raspberry preserves (the kind you can’t wait to spread on a buttered piece of whole grain toast, or a fresh scone, or a warm biscuit)

16-20 fresh raspberries (about 1 scant cup)

1/2 c. sliced almonds


Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º.

Line the bottom of an 8″ square pan with aluminum foil, leaving a bit extra foil on either end for handles. Lightly grease foil.

In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, and baking soda, and salt.  Add melted butter (or oil, if using) and cinnamon and stir well.

Press half the oat mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Spread raspberry preserves over oat mixture and top with fresh raspberries, evenly spaced over the preserves.

Add sliced almonds to remaining oat mixture, and mix.

Crumble remaining mixture on top and gently pat into the filling.

Bake until streusel is golden brown and is set in the center, about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool on rack for at least a couple of hours.

Lifting foil handles, remove from pan, cut into 16 or 20 bars.

Stores well in freezer or refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Note: Variations on raspberry can be apricot, or half a cup of coarsely  chopped dates or pitted prunes.

bb note:  Save all those yummy crumbs and keep them for ice cream or yogurt.

streusel crumbsHumble Crumbs

yogurt topping= Awesome Yogurt/Ice Cream Topping

and the berries keep turning up – can’t get enough of them!

Raspberry Streusel Bars

Guess?The Kisser

Steamed Broccoli with Tangerines

We’re looking at broccoli today. It’s time to re-acquaint ourselves with an old and maybe under-appreciated friend. Kale gets a ton of press these days. And that’s fine. Kale is Kool. But just because something is in vogue doesn’t mean we pass the broccoli on by at the market. Can you believe that a big ad agency, Victors & Spoils, was actually hired to create a campaign for our good buddy Broccoli? I kid you not. I read about it a couple of years back in the Sunday NY Times Magazine section (Nov. 3, 2013). They came up with slogans like:

The Meat of Any Salad

Melts Butter

Since When Do Super Foods Have To Be Super Trendy?

The battle was ON between “alpha” broccoli and “trendy” kale and it only helped boost sales on both sides. (Anyone remember the old war between Coke and Pepsi, in which, according to the advertisers, there was no loser? Except for the general public drinking the ____. But that’s our business, not the advertisers.)


So I was leaning with my elbows on the counter, as I’m wont to do, thinking about the lovely broccoli I had just gotten from the market. It was sitting next to a beautiful bowl of tangerines. Green and orange… one of my favorite color combinations. Broccoli with citrus. Beautiful! Lovely as a side.


We’ll do a little something with Mr. Broccoli first. Steam it with a bit of fresh ginger and garlic.

And this combo is just as lovely presented on a bed of greens for a light salad. I generally like to throw a cooked veggie in my salads. And I often throw some type of fruit in my salads – diced apples, pears, orange or tangerine segments, strawberries, peaches, dried fruit. Whatever’s  around… locally.

tangerinestangerine segments

Add some olive oil…oil and vinegar for broccoli

… and a light vinegar. Throw in a squeeze of lemon too.

 Ta Da! Simplicity Rules!

As my good friend Ann, reminded me the other day, “I like to stick with the KISS system in life.” You know. Keep it simple, Stupid. Novio informs me that the term was initially coined in a recording studio. Whereever it was born, it’s definitely a good one to remember.

broccoli and tangerines



2 c.  broccoli

1 clove garlic, sliced lengthwise

1″ piece of ginger, sliced lengthwise

2 small seedless tangerines

2 green onions, sliced

2 T. olive oil

1 T. lemon juice

1 T. orange Muscato vinegar (or any light fruity vinegar)

salt & pepper to taste



Steam broccoli whole or cut in pieces,  along with ginger and garlic. If whole, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes and remove from heat to let rest for 2 minutes. If cut in bite-sized pieces, steam for 3-4 minutes, to your desired level of tenderness. Let rest for a minute. Place in bowl and set aside

Segment the tangerines and toss with broccoli. Sprinkle oil and vinegar over. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. That’s it. Seriously.

Delicious, wholesome food is not hard to do.

bb Note: There all all kinds of variations building on the broccoli-tangerine pairing:

  • add spinach or greens to make a salad
  • add a cup of cooked quinoa with or without cooked chicken for a main-dish salad
  • add greens and goat cheese for a dairy salad

greens, quinoa & chicken

a main dish saladone terrific main-dish salad


Broccoli Tangerine Salad

Pecan Cookies

These simple and quick cookies are like pecan pie… hold the pie! Not as sticky or gooey, they are definitely chewy. Grab a bunch of pecan halves and get going-


I found the recipe for these gems in a Temple Sisterhood cookbook back when I was doing my Annual Passover Research. Yes, they are Passover-friendly. And they are also gluten-free. And they are also dairy-free.

Four ingredients in addition to the pecans. Yes, that’s right, only four.  Amazing!

four ingredients

The awesome flavor comes from toasting the pecans first. And not for too long. We don’t like the smell of burnt nuts.

After testing this recipe, I came up with this:

Don’t chop the pecans- it takes forever to get them fine enough. Use your food processor instead. I  used my mini food processor because I hate to get the big one out of the cabinet. My mini food processor has a chop button and a grind button. Stay away from the grind button or you will get nut butter. I did that in one of the batches. The texture wasn’t right.

chopped nuts

Chop the nuts in small batches. I chopped  the two cups in 4 batches. That will help you achieve the consistency you want.

the mix

Roll the balls small enough so that you get about 36 (a good number :)).

cookies ready to bake

cooling cookies on a rack

cookies to serve



2 c. PLUS 3 dozen pecan halves

3/4 c. light brown sugar

1/8 t. salt

1 egg white

1 t. lemon juice


Preheat oven to  300° F. Toast all the nuts on an unlined baking pan for 4-5 minutes until fragrant.

Turn oven up to 375° F.  Place parchment paper on 2 baking pans.

Use a mini food processor or a regular  food processor to chop 2 cups of nuts finely. Be careful not to over chop and turn the nuts to butter. The easiest way to do this is to chop in small batches, pulsing until very finely chopped.

Place nuts in medium bowl and add brown sugar and salt. Add unbeaten egg white and stir.

Form mixture into  small balls, with an eye on making 36 (you make get 30-32) . Place on prepared pans. Press a pecan half onto each ball and flatten it a bit as you do.

Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack.

These cookies freeze well.


Pecan Cookies

PS A word on the china:

My parents bought this beautiful set that’s a child’s hot cocoa service for two in Vienna after the war. Not sure how they brought it over safely to New York but they did. My dad was always an excellent packer. My mom gave the set to her baby (me) and it holds a treasured place in my heart and in my hutch.

I baked these cookies  as part of a whole dessert spread to celebrate with a few people who, together with me, could take a moment to appreciate a miracle– the 40th anniversary of my doing kidney dialysis–wow.

I think I’ll start pulling out this sweet set and make hot cocoa for me and my Novio every now and then.

Be well, everyone. Be strong. Be here.


china set


Passover Granola

Here I am, Dear Readers. Life On The Bridge, the documentary about my personal journey, has been keeping me on my toes. Check it out by clicking on the name. Plus, I’ve had the opportunity to be at more conferences. I’m speaking to doctors and nurses to get the conversation going about increasing the quality of life for people with ongoing health conditions.  I know, I know. I can’t get stretched too thin. It would make me look like Gumby. I don’t want that. Neither does Novio.

So I’m finally back in the bb kitchen. Just in time to gear up for Passover. The bags filled with Passover goodies are steadily building in the freezer, including Chocolate Matzah Farfel Clusters (find the link below).

This granola recipe first floated on over to me years ago by way of a handout at a Judy Zeidler Cooking Class presented in the basement kitchen of the beautiful Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.  The kitchen is a part of Skirball that most people don’t get to visit. I took the elevator down and snaked my way through narrow hallways with exposed pipes and insulation on the ceiling. When I pushed the heavy door open to the kitchen, there was Judy, petite with short blond hair. energetically presiding over a group gathered around a counter. Judy’s somewhat of a kosher celebrity in LA – she’s done a lot – catering, cookbooks and restaurants. Zeidler’s Cafe at the Skirball? Yep, that’s hers too.

So, thank you Judy, I’ve been making all kinds of versions of this granola ever since…

matzoh farfel

almonds cut in half

I like to begin my toasting the matzoh farfel (or you can use matzoh, broken up very small), with almonds and coconut.

unsweetened coconut

Then I add oil, honey, a pinch of salt and cinnamon.

pre-baked granolaHey, almost forgot the cinnamon!

dried fruitDried fruit awaits

baked granolaOnce it’s nice and golden, it comes out of the oven.

 granola with dried fruit

In this version, I used golden raisins and diced apricots.

We don’t have to use overly sweetened and processed food for Passover. If we don’t do that during the year, why do it on Passover? Stick to wholesome food and you can’t go wrong.

Pesach Granola feature

Check out my Mains, Sides and Dessert Categories for ideas. You’ll find lots to choose from –  here’s a sampling, modify for Passover ( i.e. omit use of  certain seeds, like mustard) where you need to:

For More bb Goes Pesach Ideas, head on over to Matzoh Love

granola parfait


adapted from Judy Zeidler recipe


2 1/2 c. matzoh farfel

1 c. raw whole almonds, cut in half around the middle

1/2 c. unsweetened coconut

3 T. honey

3 T. canola or safflower oil

1/4 t. sea salt

1/2 t. cinnamon

bb notes- try with different dried fruit or nuts. Swap out honey for maple syrup.


Preheat oven to 300º.

Spread matzoh farfel, almonds and coconut on a foil-lined roasting pan and bake for 5 minutes.

Move into a mound on the pan and pour over the oil and honey. Sprinkle on the salt and cinnamon. Toss to completely coat the mixture. Hands work very well. Or you can always use a spoon or two.

Bake for 10 minutes and stir the granola.

Pop back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes, until the granola turns golden and is fragrant.

Remove from oven and sprinkle dried fruit over the granola while it’s still warm.

When it cools, transfer to glass jars or plastic containers. Keeps at room temperature for about 2 weeks.

Enjoy the granola with yogurt and fruit, or with milk or just by itself as a great snack!

Pesach Granola and Parfait 2

Happy Pesach!

Happy Springtime!

J & JN. and me celebrating 8 years of marriage with a glorious pizza from Gjelina in Venice. (Not Passover yet!)

Winter Fruit Salad

or Part Two of what I served at the Food Bloggers LA Brunch.

This post can also be known as the continuing saga of Judy’s knee OR can one knee actually have so many crazy things going on inside it? In my case, a resounding YES! Oh, I’m just so unique- As of this post I am finally able to stand up and walk around a bit.  This, dear readers, is most definitely a step in the right direction (pun resoundingly intended). And yes, I DID go to New Orleans (I took my chariot with me AKA wheelchair, also called wheelie) and had the terrific opportunity to speak at two conferences, motivating physicians and nurses to aim higher and encourage people to make their own choices whenever possible. (What can I tell you? I’m hard-wired… just look around at the women in my family… to get up and go.)

Speaking of choices – check out what else… cherry-vanilla almond granola… I served at the FBLA brunch by clicking here.

Back to featured recipe. What to serve for a winter fruit salad? There are apples, pears, winter citrus. OK But there’s also dried fruit. What about a combo? I’ll leave the winter citrus aside for now and go with the apples and pears.

apples- tart & sweet

Yes, I can soak the dried fruit and mix some raw fruit into it. That’s one possibility. Or let’s say I do a combination of a dried fruit compote and fresh fruit together. Not bad. So what do I use? I was thinking of dried apricots and figs. Then I thought of using apricots that have a richer flavor. Turkish apricots most definitely fit that bill. But I didn’t find any Turkish apricots in the market that day. What I did see were apricots that were sun-dried. Fantastic!

These apricots admittedly, look a little nasty on the outside. I tried one when I got home and they were very, very chewy. I mean very chewy. Kind of like chewing gum.

sun-dried apricots

But, when I boiled water and added a couple of cinnamon sticks, a whole nutmeg, a little brown sugar and threw in a handful of these apricots, it yielded apricots that were soft, luscious, with a rich depth of flavor. Ahhhhh.

dried fruit  plumpingdried fruit gone a-plumping

bosc pears

cut-up applespears and apples ready to join in the fun


winter fruit SALAD


inspired by a Smitten Kitchen version


2 c. water
3 T. brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

1 whole nutmeg

zest of 1 lemon (grated or peel cut into long strips)

2 t. pure vanilla (or use half of a vanilla bean & remove after cooking)

8 dried Turkish apricots (or sun-dried apricots), cut in half
4 dried figs, quartered (or a small handful of dried apple slices, cut-up)
Juice of the zested lemon
3 firm Bosc pears, cut into bite-sized chunks or slices, your choice
2 apples, Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Fuji, cut into chunks or slices, your choice

[See bb note below before cutting apples & pears]
2 T. pomegranate seeds (optional)


In a medium saucepan, add water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cook on medium heat, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the dried figs and apricots. Continue to cook until liquid is reduced by about half.  Add vanilla. Remove cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and lemon zest (if in long peels). Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, peel and core pears and apples. Before cutting, refer to note below. Cut into bite-sized chunks or slice thinly lengthwise and place in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice.

Once the liquid with dried fruit has cooled, pour it over the apples and pears. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, ladle fruit into a serving bowl. Optional: sprinkle pomegranate seeds over each serving.

bb NOTE: If you want a more compote-like dish, cut apples into chunks and cook for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and add pears.

If you want more of a salad-type dish, cut apples and pears into thin slices, place in bowl with lemon juice and pour dried fruit mixture over. Either way, this dish is very satisfying…  especially when mandelbread slices are served alongside (click here to see the recipe for this bb classic)!

Another bb NOTE: The dried fruit mixture is delicious so put a little aside to be used over oatmeal or yogurt!

Winter Fruit Salad


Cherry-Vanilla Almond Granola

It’s the New Year and… wait, we’re already halfway through January… I can’t let anything slip by you, can I?

I had the best of intentions, but my little body had other plans for me. You see, I’ve been busy preparing to go to New Orleans to give a couple of talks motivating physicians and nurses to become more fully engaged in their work to help achieve better outcomes in people with chronic conditions. That sounds like a lot of jargon, doesn’t it? But it’s not. It’s just about opening people’s hearts and minds a little bit more.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I think my right knee is the window to my little musculo-skeletal system. I tried to get up last week and nasty pain came screaming out of my knee. Stand on it? No way. Anti-inflammatories, x-rays, an MRI and a cortisone shot later, I’m finally re-surfacing. It’s a little grisly inside that knee, but it’s mine and I love it. If I don’t, who will?  It needs some rest so I’m tooling around in a wheelchair this past week, bumping into Novio a lot. Maybe my knee wanted to give me some R&R before I go. Maybe it couldn’t see walking all around a convention center. Maybe I have an active imagination. We’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’m finally here to report this:

My Food Blogger LA friends were heading over to our house for a beginning-of-the-year brunch. Since my kitchen is kosher, I planned a healthy vegetarian brunch, no meat and no shellfish. I knew it would be amazing. And it was: Salads with kale, black-eyed peas and more, Pears poached in saffron sauce, Two-Nut Phish Salad (a creative vegan take on tuna salad made with garbanzos, almonds and tuna salad-type add-ins), Baked  French Toast, Galette des Rois (French King’s Cake). Wow. Special thanks to Nancy and our friends at Melissa’s Produce for providing all the terrific winter citrus (check out the bowl filled with Pixie tangerines in the middle of the table).

FBLA BrunchFBLA does Brunch

French Galette

Poached saffron pears

winter fruit saladI put together a Winter Fruit Salad (post to come – one day)… a combination of a cooked compote and a fresh apple/pear salad, in addition to the granola I will eventually get to…

bloggers eatingsome bloggers eatin’

bloggers posingsome bloggers posin’

We always have a theme and this month’s theme was Visions to Reality… turned out to be a relaxed open discussion covering why we began our blogs, what we’re up to now and visions for the future.

My blog has to shimmy over a bit and share the room with my new project, the documentary I am busy with these days . It’s called Life On The Bridge and it’s about overcoming challenges and creating joy. We just developed the website that goes with it and…. well, go check it out here, spend  a little time and you’ll get why it’s going full speed ahead.

Back to the brunch. I wanted to serve homemade granola. Offer fixings to make a parfait… fruit and yogurt topped with super-delicious granola. I looked in my pantry  and spotted an unopened container of dried sour tart cherries, that didn’t get used over the baking adventures of the past month. Cherry-Vanilla. An automatic association. Plus, I like to say it. What’s a natural combo with cherries? Definitely almonds. Voila! A new version of granola! Priscilla has a very similar version on her great blog She’s Cookin. I used the same technique she uses and heated the liquid mixture before folding it in.

oats, coconut and nutsI toast the oats, nuts and coconut a bit first.

coconut and cherriesflavor boosters

liquid flavorsOlive oil, maple syrup,brown sugar, vanilla and salt –

we can’t go wrong with this combo

pre-baked granola

Baked granola

dried cherries on granolaAdd dried fruit after granola is baked

storing granolaStore granola in whatever works for you


adapted from


3 c. rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal)

1 c. slivered almonds

1/2 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 c. canola, olive or grape seed oil (a mixture works too)

1/4 c. maple syrup

3 T. light brown sugar

2 t. vanilla (you can use 1 t. vanilla…  but I like a lot)

3/4 t. salt

3/4 c. dried sour tart cherries, roughly chopped



Preheat oven to 300ºF. Place oats on an unlined rimmed baking sheet.and bake for 8 minutes. Add coconut, slivered almonds and pepitas. Stir and bake for 6 more minutes.

Meanwhile heat up oil, maple syrup, brown sugar over a low flame  and stir to blend. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Place oat-nut-seed mixture in large bowl. Pour warmed liquid mixture over the top. Add salt. Blend well until dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.

Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place granola in a flat layer on the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned.

Do not stir to create chunks as well as loose granola.

Cool in pan. Sprinkle cut-up dried cherries over the top.

Using a spatula, break into pieces. By using this technique (instead of stirring it every 10 minutes) you will end up with some chunks. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up with too many chunks because I ate most of them standing at the counter.

Allow granola to come to room temperature before transferring to storage container(s). You may want to lightly tent with waxed paper or paper towel to discourage passers-by (including yourself) from decreasing the inventory.

Stores well in the refrigerator for a few weeks,

Excellent over yogurt and fresh or cooked fruit. Terrific mixed with  cold cereal, oatmeal or any hot cereal. Of course,it’s great as a snack.


Cherry-Vanilla Almond Granola

Eat in Joy

Protect Your Knees

Macadamia Shortbread Brownie Bites

Sing to the tune of  “Where have all the flowers gone?”

Where have all the people gone? Munching on rich desserts everyone…. Oy vay, the sugar that’s in me… oy vay the su-gar that’s in me…

Forgive me dear Readers, we just returned from a Chanukah party where Novio was quite the bandleader with his group, Jolt City (what a voice that Novio has, what fingers, playing those songs on the keyboard, not to mention the rest of the guys- Phil (guitar), Mike (drums), Eli (bass) and Chazzy (super-cool sax). Why weren’t you on the dance floor with me? Well, next time – the guys were great! And in between, you could find me at the dessert table -so that’s why my brain is a little odd right now – it’s the sugar!

I can’t exactly classify these little babies that are featured here as healthy. But I am not one of those people who eliminates things (like this) completely from my world. I used to, but it got kind of old. I believe in moderation (or at least aiming at it) with an occasional splurge. This is definitely a splurge item but I do keep an eye on portion control. And that’s how I deal.

You generally can’t go wrong with Alice Medrich. This recipe is right out of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies (how’s that for a title?). If I want to splurge, I proceed quickly to that book. Although Alice, you do have some amazing and healthier treats in there too, like your Fruit-Nut Bars.

So back to portion control. One easy thing to do is make the bars smaller. Also, make the brownie top a little lighter by using less chocolate and butter. A little trim here. A little trim there. Everyone is busy oohing and aahing and no one notices anything.


I’m into butter made from grass-fed cows.

Up with sunshine – hurray for Vitamin D!

Irish butter

Macadamia nuts are more flavorful when you chop them.


shortbread batterBasic shortbread dough

nuts over shortbreadsprinkle nuts over batter and press in

shortbread doughuse your fingertips to ease dough into corners

baked shortbreadbaked dough

Back to the chocolate part of our programming

brownie ingredientshow easy does this look?

brownie layerbrownie layer spread over the top…

… and “over the top, it is”

(insert your best Grouch Marx impression here)

cutting brownie bites

brownie minis

They came with me to the Food Bloggers LA Cookie Swap
Table 2where every cookie was delicious! I also brought the Lemon Rosemary Biscotti (below), set up by the Brownie Bites (for Lemon Rosemary Biscotti recipe, click here)

MS Br Bits-1

Macadamia Shortbread Brownie Bites

slightly adapted Alice Medrich’s

Chewy  Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies


Shortbread Crust

5 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 c. untoasted macadamia nuts, salted or unsalted, medium-finely chopped
Brownie Top
4 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 c. unbleached flour


Preheat the oven to 350° and position rack in lower third section.Line a 9″-square baking pan with two layers of aluminum foil with corners tucked in snug and the bottom layer cut a bit longer with the ends hanging over (for easy removal).

To make the crust, combine melted butter with sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Stir in the flour to make a very soft dough.

On a piece of aluminum foil, pat the dough into an even square layer slightly smaller than the bottom of the 9-inch square baking pan you’re using. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the nuts and press them in. Slide the dough on foil on a cookie sheet and place  in freezer while preparing brownie layer.

For the brownie top, using a medium glass bowl, melt together chocolate and butter  in microwave. Take care not to overheat the chocolate. Melt for one minute at full power, and then in increments of 1/2 minute at half-power. Stir at each interval to combine until smooth. It should take about 1 1/2-2 minutes.

With a wooden spoon, stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add one egg, stirring until incorporated. Stir in second egg. Sprinkle flour over the batter and lightly mix until all the flour is incorporated and batter is starting to come away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove the dough from the freezer. Invert it, nut side down, into the bottom of the lined pan and remove the top foil. Let the dough soften for a few minutes.  Then press evenly against the bottom of the pan, making sure to reach the edges of the pan and into the corners using the tips of your fingers.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is lightly brown all over. Spread the brownie batter evenly over the hot crust and bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownies begin to show fine cracks. Let cool completely in pan on a cooling rack.

Remove brownies from the pan by lifting the ends of the foil and transferring to a cutting board. Cut into 25 squares with a heavy knife.

The brownies can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.


Macadamia Shortbread Brownie Bites

Happy Holidays!

Lemon Rosemary Biscotti

Can you believe it’s December already? That’s ridiculous … time is amazing and crazy, the way it can rush by or drag on and on. I remember sitting in physics class in high school and staring at the clock across the room, trying to WILL the minute hand of the big clock to move along so I could scoop up my things and get out of that room. The teacher was droning on and on (or I thought he was – what did I know?) and I felt my eyes crossing. When I think of all the hours upon hours I spent doing that I just shake my head. Small wonder I’m the other way now and time moves along at a brisk clip. When I’ve got the mojo, watch out…

This past weekend, off I went to my Food Bloggers LA Annual Cookie Swap. What a group! It was wonderful to see everyone and I missed all those who couldn’t make it. The table looked unbelievable when everyone set up all their offerings. Can you imagine? Bringing several dozen cookies and taking home the same amount?

TAble 3

Novio,  friends and neighbors will all be smiling over the next few days, not to mention me.  🙂 Thank you Judy, Natalie, Valentina, Christina, Kelly, Nancy, Sara, Cathy, Ellen, Andrew to name only a few… and thanks to Erika Kerekes for opening her home to us!


Table 2

I  chose two cookies very different. One dairy-free, no chocolate. The other with dairy (but can made dairy-free), with chocolate. Both slightly tweaked and from VERY reliable sources. What were they?

Oh, yes… Lemon Rosemary Biscotti (simple) and Macadamia Shortbread Brownie Bites (a bit more labor intensive but worth it every now and then). The latter – the little babies in the paper cups next to the biscotti, are set to arrive in the next post… stay tuned…

LR BiscottiLet’s start with the very lovely and classic pairing of lemon and rosemary.

lemon rosemary duet

This cookie is a lighter and smaller version of biscotti and is from Paula Shoyer‘s The Kosher Baker, which I’ve referenced several times here on bb. Paula organizes the book by levels of complexity — moving from fairly quick and elegant to multiple-step desserts. I’m working my way through the simple and elegant section and taking you along with me for my favorites. I’ll let you know if and when I move into the deeper waters.

But for now, I’m working with a straightforward dough.

biscotti doughlemon zest and chopped rosemaryadding the flavorings… lemon zest, juice and finely chopped rosemary

eggs in dough

finishing dough

flat loavesAs biscotti go, these loaves are fairly flat.

just-browned loavesjust-browned loaves

sliced biscottiCutting is easy with a heavy knife.

Lemon Rosemary Biscotti RRosemary for dessert, anyone? Yeah!

Lemon Rosemary  Biscotti

barely tweaked from Paula Shoyer’s, The Kosher Baker


1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1 c. + 1/2 t. sugar, divided (1/2 t. is to sprinkle on top later)

1 t. baking powder

2 t. lemon zest (from one lemon)

3 large eggs (or 2 eegs + 1 yolk for batter, 1 white to glaze biscotti)

2 t. pure vanilla extract

1 T.  freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)

1 t. finely chapped fresh rosemary leaves

Note: You can use all regular flour. I like upping the fiber content in baked goods and whole wheat pastry flour is so light, no one ever  notices it. I swap out half the amount of regular flour a lot too.


Preheat  oven to 350°.

Line a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and lemon zest.

Add the 2 eggs plus 1 yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and rosemary.

Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. You can also use a stand mixer for this.

Divide the dough in half. Form two logs, about 3 x 8 inches each. Place the logs on the pan, leaving space between them

Lightly beat  the reserved egg white and brush the tops of the logs.

Bake for 23-28 minutes, until logs are slightly golden on top. Slide the parchment paper with the loaves onto the counter. Let them rest for 5 minutes.

Cut each log crosswise into half inch thick slices. They will be slightly soft in the center. Place sliced cookies cut side down directly onto the pan and place back in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes until slightly browned. The longer you bake the biscotti, the harder they become. I prefer softer biscotti, so I always bake it for the minimum number of minutes.

Place the biscotti on a cooling rack and let cool.

Makes 30 to 35 biscotti. They last for up to three months in the freezer (if you can keep from visiting them).