Salted Caramel Dipped Pears

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Did you know pears are a big deal this time of year?  

I’m not quite sure why this slipped my mind.

Maybe I never bothered to notice…

…or perhaps I have been consumed by fall’s superstar — The Apple.

My suspicion is that I have simply ignored this little gem.

How about you?

“Like a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck…”

Granny Smith has always been the apple of my eye for autumn.

Until recently…

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Pear 2

When meandering through a glossy magazine this show stopper came on the scene.

And with a starring role to boot…

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Hawaiian Pineapple Cake

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Do you remember the theme song from Gilligan’s Island?

The tv show where Skipper and Gilligan get shipwrecked on a deserted island with Mary Ann, Ginger, The Professor and Mr. and Mrs. Howell.

“Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour…”

I loved that show.

The words to the song make me want to rent every episode and watch them with my sons.

My sister and I looked forward to seeing it every day after school.


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Pecan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


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I baked these babies the other night and I noticed something magical happens when their sweet aroma wafts from the oven… kids seem to appear out of nowhere, and grown-ups, too!  My family couldn’t wait to dive into their own stack of cookies and a tall glass of ice cold milk.

Packed with chocolate chips and pecans, they are soft and chewy with a nice, nutty crunch. Neither too thin, or too cakey, and very moist. Rolled oats give them extra texture and a slightly “healthier” edge to regular chocolate chip cookies.

Be sure to allow them their own space on the cookie sheet as they spread while they bake. And try one while they’re still warm for extra gooeyness.

Cookies on grate

Walnuts work just as well in this recipe if you prefer them. Either way, they are super delicious and I think one of the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever have. Enjoy!

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Pecan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: About 20-25 Cookies
  • Print

2-1/2 cups rolled oats
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 (12-oz) package mini semisweet chocolate chips (or 2 cups)
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

1. In medium mixing bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds until smooth. Add white sugar and brown sugar and mix on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl to mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Then add 1/3 of flour mixture at a time, to combine well, until all the flour has been added. Batter will become thick and you may need to finish mixing with wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts and combine well with wooden spoon.

3. With a small ice cream scooper, drop dough (about 3 TBSP) onto parchment lined cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake at 375* for 9-10 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Slightly cool for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Makes about 20-25 cookies.




Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

Move over boxed pudding there’s a new gal in town.

This southern belle is a cookie lover’s dream.

With warm custard… toasted meringue…

…crunchy wafers and banana slices in between.

It’s the best banana pudding ever!




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Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding

1 (12 oz.) package vanilla wafers
5 ripe bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Layer bottom of medium size baking dish or oven-save bowl (about 2 qt.) with about 1/3 cookies, or enough to cover bottom, and 1/2 the banana slices. Repeat with cookies and banana slices to equal two layers. (If you prefer more pudding and less crunch, skip the second center layer of wafers.)

2. Whisk together milk and next 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 15 minutes or until pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over vanilla wafers and bananas in dish.

3. Prepare Meringue: Beat egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pudding, sealing edges of bowl.

Bake at 325* for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately, or let cool completely (about 30 minutes), and cover and chill 1 hour.

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Brown-Sugar Balsamic Strawberry Sauce



This sweet and tart strawberry sauce is amazing! The balsamic brings out the berries naturally tantalizing flavors and the brown sugar caramelizes the syrup as it reduces while cooking. But what’s truly amazing is how fresh the chunky sauce tastes even after simmering.


We enjoyed the thick berries and warm syrup poured over vanilla bean ice cream. I paired my sundae with a scoop of frozen pineapple yogurt which knocked my socks off. It’s just the best homemade strawberry sauce ever! But this sauce has skills and would be just as divine over brownies a la mode, as a compote in fruit crepes, and drizzled over pancakes and waffles.  It’s saucy perfection!image

Brown-Sugar Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

2 pounds fresh, hulled strawberries, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp balsamic glaze (1 cup balsamic plus 1 tbsp white or brown sugar boiled and reduced by half. Makes 8 tbsp.)

In medium saucepan over high heat, bring strawberries and brown sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and mash berries until broken up but still chunky. Let cool for 30 minutes. Then stir in 4 tablespoons of balsamic glaze. Serve sauce over ice cream.

So good! More please. 🙂


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