Avocado Walnut Bread

Avocado Walnut Bread

OK I know this sounds weird.  But avocados are fruits… and whatever you can do with a banana, you can pretty much do with an avocado.  Avocado shakes, avocado ice cream… even avocado bread!  This is a wonderful quick bread recipe, similar to banana nut bread… just with avocados instead of banana. This avocado bread [...]

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

This is one of my favorite “Cream Pie” recipes – it’s so versatile and adaptable.  Substitute regular milk for the coconut milk, and vary the flavor of the pudding to make some it totally different.  Banana Cream Pie?  Add banana slices, and use either vanilla or banana flavored pudding.  Lemon Cream Pie?  Use lemon pudding, [...]

Lavender Flower Jelly

Lavender Nectar Jelly

Last week, I noticed a strange low buzzing sound in our yard coming from my lavender bushes.  I walked a little bit closer to figure out where the noise was coming from… and realized, each lavender flower had it’s own individual bee!  So many bees… so many flowers!  When I planted these bushes last year, [...]

Kumquat Jam Preserves

Kumquat Jam Preserves

My dad has a kumquat tree in the backyard… this thing has been producing more kumquats than we know what to do with, since I was a kid.  Kumquats have a really unique flavor – the fruit itself is tart and sour like a lemon, but the peel (instead of being bitter like most citrus [...]

German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)


Apfelkuchen is a traditional German/Austrian apple cake.  It’s very simple, as it calls for only basic pantry ingredients.  You can “dress it up” a bit by adding raisins, walnuts, whatever you like – but I think the apple flavor stands out the best without these additions. This cake makes a wonderful dessert than can be [...]

Tortuga “Florida Orange Rum Cake” Copycat

Copycat of Tortuga "Florida Orange Rum Cake"

On our recent trip to Florida, we picked up some “taste of Florida” Tortuga rum cake sampler packs.  The sampler pack contained three flavors: Florida Orange, Key Lime, and Coconut.  The Florida Orange Rum Cake was my favorite… and for the low price of $26.95… I could have another one mailed direct from the Cayman [...]

Homemade Lime or Lemon Curd (and safe home canning of lemon curd)


Lemon Curd (or Lime Curd) is a very versatile “fruit spread”.  You can use it as an alternative to jam or jelly, as a cake or pie filling, or as a custard-like topping to spoon over desserts.  It has a wonderful tart (yet sweet) flavor, and is thick and rich.  I like to use lemon [...]

Homemade Sweet Orange Marmalade (Not the bitter type!)


I’ve never been a fan of traditional British Style (bitter) marmalade made from Seville Oranges (Citrus aurantium).  And here in California, very few people like bitter marmalade… so making a batch to give away as gifts is often met with an, “Um… no thanks.” In the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time trying [...]

Glazed Orange Bundt Cake (baking with decorative bundt pans)


A few weeks ago, I was browsing the aisles at Target, and I found these super cute Nordicware mini bundt pans, the “Bundt Duet” (see the image below, right).  With a total capacity of 5 cups of batter (2.5 cups per mini bundt), and at about $30 per pan… (with a little bit of hesitation) [...]

White Grape Jam

White Grape Jam

In addition to his obsession with Bonsai trees, my dad has taken up gardening (fruits and vegetables) as a new hobby.  Apparently, my dad had an enormous yield of white grapes this year, and he brought 5-6 lbs. over to my house last weekend.  The grapes were delicious and sweet – but had some horrible [...]