Fall On The Central California Coast

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We recently visited this beautiful place where we lived and married - hanging out with family, hitting the beach, vineyards, fruit stands, farmers markets, restaurants and shops. Never taken for granted, the Central Coast has it all! Avila Fruit Barn has barn animals for the kids. It also boasts a paradise of produce, homemade fresh pies and cookies, canned goods and gifts galore. Pick (or not) your own pumpkins, or wander about in the homemade ice cream and candy store. The barn has always b...

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Quadruple Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Got chocolate chips? Oh yeah, stocked in my freezer for those chocoholic baking and munching moments. This recipe came together at the 11th hour, a last minute dessert to take to a party. I thought 4 kinds of chocolate chips = a decadent cookie...right? Well hopefully, without being overkill. It's easy to break from tradition every now and then, and mix things up. Mission accomplished here - cookies gobbled with rave reviews; some say even better than my standby Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Wh...

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Vegetable Fried Rice

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Some Asian recipes can be overwhelming and intimidating to cook at home - whether the multiple ingredients or the many steps. Fried rice is a good place to start; it's a favorite of my husband and also myself. A basic understanding of the ingredients and how flavor, balance and texture work is a prerequisite. I've got most of the staples in my pantry and fridge. More importantly, Tyler Florence's Shrimp and Egg Fried Rice With Napa Cabbage is my guide. I learned about proportions and balance, an...

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Organic (gluten-free) Apple Crisp

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Fruit crisps are the perfect substitute for pie, especially when you find you’re pressed for time. I’m an apple pie person in the all-American sense, but when on short notice or just have an abundance of fruit on hand (in this case apples), this is a dessert I throw together, that everyone likes. It's apple season  once again, and time to take advantage! For my husband, I’m went gluten free in this recipe with almond flour. I also used coconut and cane sugar which made for a mildly swe...

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Cobb Salad Inspiration

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I raided the fridge, freezer, pantry and herb garden in this colorful deconstructed recipe. We wanted a big fresh meal in one salad for dinner. I grilled chicken, boiled eggs, and par-cooked and grilled corn. I diced, cut, shaved, sliced and chopped veggies and cheese, and lined it all up - getting carried away, running out of space for the lettuce. A traditional Cobb salad it isn't...not a fan of bleu cheese and was out of bacon. No problem. My homemade Red Wine Shake Vinaigrette complimented t...

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Fancy Pomodoro Sauce…for pasta

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  Fresh, ripe, organic Romas (tomatoes) are an Italian cook's delight. I love making sauces for pasta, and in this one I broke out of my comfort zone - for the sake of expanding my learning curve. To be clear, this Pomodoro (tomato-basil) sauce is not my Italian mama's sauce by any stretch; it's a chef-style sauce you might find at a modern fine Italian restaurant! By fancy, I mean a luxurious texture that clings to pasta, and a creamy rich flavor; elegant and filling.  I adapted this version...

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Chili-Lime Marinated Grilled Chicken

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Can you have too many chicken recipes? I don't think so, and that applies especially to marinades - this time something aromatic but light. This recipe infuses flavor without the use of sugar and vinegar. Olive oil, lime, garlic, cumin, chili powder, honey and cilantro will do the trick in just a few hours. I've used this marinade with tenders (for satays) and  boneless, skinless breasts - feel free to use on drumsticks and thighs. Thinly sliced leftovers are perfect in a wrap or salad. For ...

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16 Cold Summer Treats

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Fresh Nectarine Popsicle It's been hot here in NorCal, so far this summer. So I thought I'd literally refresh you a bit, wherever you live. Here are some of my cold summer recipe links (click on the titles)...to lick, bite, drink or whatever. Nothing satisfies more than cold refreshing treats this time of year, so treat yourself, stay cool,  and enjoy your summer! Raspberry Gelato Sparkling Minty-Lemon-Lime Refresher Luscious Lemon Gelato Baby Boomer Fudgesicle Blackberry Gelato...

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Better 3-Bean Salad

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Bean salads seem to taste best in the summer, at bbq's and potlucks. But I never find them all that appealing, and I love beans. So I make my own (fresher, better) version - with beans from scratch, fresh green beans and a homemade vinaigrette...yum. I also toss in diced red and green bell pepper, shallot and black olives - for more texture, flavor and general attraction. We scarf it down (at my house) like a couple of protein craving vegetarians...which we're not. That said, this is a good side...

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Mint Chocolate-Chip Gelato

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If I had my way, I would probably own a gelateria. I make gelato year round...it's pure goodness! There's something about the rich flavor and creamy texture that out-does traditional ice cream for me. And of course I'm Italian, so perhaps that's it. I like to tinker with flavors without getting too sophisticated or fussy, until they come out just right. That said, if I had a commercial equipment I'd really go to town! This fresh minty gelato, dotted with chips of dark chocolate, is yummy. There ...

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