caramelized almond rocky road bark

caramelized almond rocky road bark

Do you want to guess how many times I typed caramelized onion rocky road bark?

Every time, that’s how many times. Apparently I love caramelized onions so much that my typing hands have a memory for them.

Mmm, they are good.

…and so are caramelized almonds. A totally different technique to make those, but just like a pan of caramelized onions, I could stand at the kitchen counter and eat a whole pan of these almonds.

Onions almonds onions almonds – confused yet?

dark chocolate rocky road bark

During the holidays, I ordered several cases of …

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strawberry hazelnut bars – Vegan Valentines

strawberry valentines bars

More Valentines, this time a deep delicious red. I warned you about my feelings on Valentines and the colorful and chocolatey treats that must accompany in my house. Keeping the love going today.

Flavorful layers of summery strawberry and Oregon hazelnuts combine in this simple and healthy Valentines treat.

vegan strawberry bars

My recipe is over at Ricki Heller’s place today – please go say hello!

strawberry hazelnut bars


I shared this recipe with Healthy Vegan Fridays.


strawberry walnut kulfi

strawberry walnut kulfi

We recently had dinner with friends at Departure – one of our favorite Portland restaurants. They offer a fantastic vegan menu, and we ordered several plates to share as a table, family style. Everything was amazing, and I left with the intent of recreating the dessert we shared – a pistachio cardamom kulfi.

Kulfi is a dense and creamy Indian dessert, similar to an ice cream. It is a perfect dessert presentation wise, as it takes longer to melt due to its consistency. I used one of my fun ice cube molds to make small square shaped kulfi – and now I really want to serve this to a large group of people!

strawberry walnut kulfi

When several of us were sharing our suggestions for the final letters of Meatless Monday A-Z, I was hoping W week would be walnuts, because I had an idea for my own take on kulfi that would be a great Vegan Valentines dessert as well.

Walnuts have many benefits – they are a great source of Omega-3, and rich in many minerals and phyto-chemicals. My notes from a recent class include walnuts, listing them as a potentially lowering risk of cancers, inflammation, heart disease, high blood pressure. A small handful of walnuts each day seems to do much good.

Traditional flavors of kulfi seem to include pistachios, cardamom, and saffron. These are all flavors I love, and I look forward to making more kulfi soon. I also have a few more unconventional ideas, as you probably could have guessed.

My Google search brought up a blog I love – Vegan Richa. She has a couple recipes for kulfi and many ideas for flavors – I used her pistachio almond kulfi as a guide.

Can I say? this is amazing.

strawberry walnut kulfi

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Valentines Day recipes

dark chocolate mint truffles

You have several more days to plan something for your Valentine – a sweet breakfast, a batch of pink cookies, a luxuriously decadent truffle.

You may know, Valentines Day is my all time favorite. I love to celebrate love, whether it be with Jason or my favorite friends!

You may know, giving gifts of food is another all time favorite. Each of these recipes is Valentine approved, vegan, gluten free, and deliciously good.


Baileys and black tea French toast


dark chocolate mint truffles

dark chocolate mint truffles


peanut butter cups – wasabi, ginger, or graham


homemade Twix – peanut butter or caramel filled


vibrant pistachio lime bites

vibrant pistachio-lime truffles


raspberry cheesecake cookies

raspberry lemon cheesecake cookies


saffron doughnuts with rosewater icing


salted caramel milkshake (with homemade Baileys)


strawberry lemon rice crispies

strawberry lemon rice crispies


raspberry cheesecake oreo bars


salted toffee crunch truffles

salted toffee crunch truffles


pink thumbprint cookies with whiskey ganache


Valentines spicy hot shots


pomegranate cranberry hearts


sparkly spiked cran-raspberry granita


Meyer lemon mousse in chocolate cups


…and Portlanders can visit Blossoming Lotus for their prix-fixe Valentines Dinner!


Happy Valentines Day!


dark chocolate mint truffles


Chocolate Mint Truffles

I had a conversation about tempering chocolate the other day.

Actually, the conversation was partly about how I am doing it wrong – this is my own declaration. I do not use a double boiler, I do not use glass bowls over water, I definitely do not use a microwave (okay, so I am not doing it completely wrong…)

Mint Chocolates


If you have read any of my previous truffle recipes, you may already know this – all I do is chop chocolate, then melt it in a pan at the absolutely lowest setting my gas stove allows, stirring constantly and rapidly with a spatula. That’s it.

Works every time, and whether dipping truffles or painting chocolate into molds for filled truffles, it hardens into the shiny coating you find sparkling back at you from the chocolate counter at the candy store.

These truffles have a rich melty center with the perfect hint of mint. I am making them for my valentine, and for a few well deserving friends…

Today I am not only sharing with you my absolute favorite truffle recipe ever, but I have a giveaway as well – with four winners!

Dark Chocolate Mint Truffles


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Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Cookies

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Cookies

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Cookies – soft and fresh with sweet berries and a tangy cheesecake flavor, these cookies are everyone’s new favorite!


Raspberries are high on my list of favorite fruit.

My favorite are the local farmers market berries I inhale by the pint, and I cannot wait for those. In the meantime, I buy them every so often from the co-op.

This next recipe for Vegan Valentines – raspberry cheesecake cookies – is one I have had in my head for a bit. I have wanted to add fresh fruit to a cookie, and a cheesecake component just naturally fits with raspberry, doesn’t it?

These cookies are at their best warm fresh from the oven, which is why this recipe is a small batch. I store them in the refrigerator, and put them in the toaster oven for a bit – bringing back their warm freshness.

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Cookies


My go to dessert is rarely a cookie, but this …

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strawberry lemon rice crispies

strawberry lemon rice crispies

Yesterday was World Cancer Day.

Yesterday was the day I spent the morning with my dad and the head of oncology at our hospital. Hearing a new cancer diagnosis, with an accompanying recommendation of a laryngectomy. Dad will have his voice box removed permanently, and with it, the cancer. Hopefully permanently.

Surgery is scheduled for this Thursday. Which is a good thing, because I will not be able to think of anything else until then.

strawberry lemon rice crispies

I want to say Thank You, again. Thank you to all of you who continue to pray and send good thoughts, ask about Dad and ask about me. You all have made this experience much more bearable. Sometimes, even happy.

I think it is appropriate that I originally made this recipe as a Thank You for someone who has been a huge lifesaver to me.

My strawberry lemon rice crispies are dessert number two in my …

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Baileys and Black Tea French Toast

Baileys and Black Tea French Toast – crispy and soft, this vegan French toast is richly steeped in black tea and Irish cream, making this a brunch – perfect toast!


Baileys and Black Tea French Toast @spabettie

I have told you about the time we were able to get almost the whole first class cabin of a flight to change their drink order to Baileys and coffee. Baileys and coffee was also a standard mid morning indulgence when we were snowed in for three weeks a few years back. We’d go on walks in the snow, come back home, start a fire and enjoy a coffee.

I have a new favorite Baileys drink!

Baileys and black tea.

Baileys and Black Tea French Toast @spabettie

Served in the ceramic version of my favorite New York deli cup. Everything tastes better in the New York deli cup.

Very easy, really. Not even a recipe.

I brewed my favorite black tea. I added a couple shots of my homemade Baileys to it.

Mmm, this is my newest obsession. I may have to wait until Saturday to enjoy this as a Valentines breakfast… and I’ll have to wait until my nursing shift is over, but we will have this with breakfast.

We will also …

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