Easy Spiced Apple Butter Using Blender (No food mill or straining needed)

Spiced Apple Buttet

I’ve been meaning to make Apple Butter for a really long time now… but I always get really turned off by recipes that seem to make it more difficult than it should be.  Apple Butter Purists insist that: #1.  You MUST cook the peels, apples, and cores all together in the same pot (in order [...]

Lavender Flower Shortbread Cookies

Lavender Flower Shortbread Cookies

Last week, I made many half-pints of Lavender Flower Jelly… so delicious on hot cream scones or spread over toast!  After making all that jelly, I still have a lot of dried lavender flowers sitting around.  Most of it will get used in the winter months as hot lavender tea… but with so much of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is an Italian Lemon Liqueur, made from grain alcohol infused with lemon peels, served (chilled) after dinner in tiny cordial glasses.  Traditional Limoncello is produced in Southern Italy along the Amalfi Coast, from Sorrento Lemons (Limone di Sorrento).  Here in Southern California, access to Sorrento Lemons is quite limited – but one of the [...]

KOwgirl Cookie Mix (Cowgirl Cookie Mix)

cowgirl cookies

(Original Post Date:  September 26, 2010) Today was my good friend’s baby shower.  She’s having a girl, and I thought these cookie mixes for “Cowgirl Cookies” would make a really cute party favors.  Since the mom and dad-to-be have the last name “Ko”, we thought it would be even cuter to re-name them “KOwgirl Cookies.” [...]