Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pumpkin Sugar Buns

I just discovered this recipe from The Candid Appetite. They looked so good, I had to give them a go!

This is what the buns look like, when you run out of cinnamon and cannot make the cinnamon sugar coating and are forced to ice them instead.

Pumpkin Sugar Buns Makes 24


1/2          cup warm water (about 105ºF to 115ºF)

2             (1/4 ounce) packets active dry yeast (or 4-1/2 teaspoons worth)

1/2          cup milk

1/2         cup sugar

1            teaspoon salt

1/4         unsalted butter, melted

1            cup pumpkin, purée

2-1/2      teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

5 to 5-1/2   cups all-purpose flour


4            tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2            tablespoons granulated sugar

2            teaspoons ground cinnamon


6            tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2         cup granulated sugar

1            tablespoon ground cinnamon


1. Dissolve the water and yeast in a medium bowl. Let rest in warm spot until frothy and foamy,a bout 10 minutes.

2. Warm the milk, butter, and sugar in small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Set aside to slightly cool. In a large bowl, stir together the milk mixture, salt, pumpkin purée, and water/yeast mixture, until evenly combined. Add the pumpkin pie spice and half of the flour in batches, mixing until well incorporated. Add as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a smooth and somewhat sticky dough. It should pull away from the bowl while mixing. Knead on high for about 8 to 10 minutes to form a soft dough. Transfer to well oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel. Set in warm spot and allow the dough to rest until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

3. To make the filling, in small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and then roll each half into rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Brush with half the melted butter and sprinkle with half the sugar mixture. Roll into a tight log, lengthwise. Cut into 12 even pieces and place in well oiled muffin tin. Cover both muffin tins with plastic wrap and let rest in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake the buns until golden brown and puffed up, about 20 to 25 minutes. make sure your oven racks are spaced far enough apart as buns tend to rise high while baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cooling racks.

5. Meanwhile, make the coating by mixing together the cinnamon and sugar. Brush or dip the cooled buns in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately or or cover tightly with plastic wrap. Will keep at room temperature for 2 days. You can also freeze the baked buns and then thaw and roll around in butter and sugar when you are ready to serve and eat.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Best Persimmon Cookies I've Ever Had!

These also happen to be the only persimmon cookies that I have ever had. I had never tasted a persimmon before and I was curious about what they tasted like. On Halloween, I got into a conversation about persimmons with my friend's mother -in-law and it just so happens that my new apartment has a persimmon tree just outside... so, I decided to whip up a batch of cookies.  I found this recipe on Pinterest. It seems old, but who knows these days.

I hope that you try these out. The are truly scrumptious. I took some on a road trip to the Hoover Dam this weekend and my friends loved them. My friend's mother-in-law also received a few and she begged for the recipe.

So, without further ado...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake

This is definitely caramely, walnutty, and bananay cake! It is also quite tasty!

Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake
6 to 8 servings


              Nonstick vegetable spray

1/2         cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1            cup (packed) golden brown sugar

3            tablespoons dark corn syrup

3/4         cup walnut halves or pieces


1-3/4      cups cake flour

1            teaspoon baking powder

3/4         teaspoon baking soda

1/2         teaspoon salt

1/2         cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2         cup sugar

1/2         cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2            large eggs

1            cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)

3            tablespoons sour cream

1            tablespoon dark rum

1            teaspoon vanilla extract

              Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

TOPPING: Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Bring butter, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil in medium saucepan, stirring constantly until butter melts. Boil syrup 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Spread topping in prepared pan. Let topping cool completely.

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, the mashed bananas, sour cream, rum, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined. Spoon batter into pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Run small knife around pan sides to loosed cake. Place platter over pan. Using oven mitts or pot holders as aid, firmly grasp pan and platter together, then turn over. Let stand 5 minutes, then gently lift pan off cake. Cool at least 15 minutes for topping to set. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blue Blueberry Muffins

My mom is a huge fan of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson Mysteries. Over the years I have purchased a few of these books for her. If you do not know, Hannah Swenson runs The Cookie Jar, a popular bakery in this mystery series, and she also solves crimes! Each book comes with a few recipes.

While one could turn to each book for their recipes, it's much easier just to find your favorite treat in the Lake Eden Cookbook, like my mom does.

One of our favorite recipes is the Blue Blueberry Muffins. My mom makes them often and I get happy when she sends some home with me. I am currently making a double batch of these muffins for my students.

I hope that you will try this recipe out. They are sure to please!

Blue Blueberry Muffins

3/4          cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)

1             cup sugar

2             eggs, beaten

2             teaspoons baking powder

1/2          teaspoon salt

1             cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw)

2             plus 1 tablespoon flour

1/2          cup milk

1/2          cup blueberry pie filling


1/2         cup sugar

1/3         cup flour

1/4         cup butter, softened


Grease of muffin tin only.

Melt butter and pour into large bowl. Mix in sugar. Add beaten eggs, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Put blueberries in medium bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over berries and mix gently until berries are covered; set aside.

Add one cup flour and half of the milk to the butter mixture. Add rest of flour and milk, mix thoroughly.

Add pie filling. Mix well. Fold in blueberries. (Mixture will probably turn blue and that is okay!)

Fill the muffin tine 3/4 full, set aside.

Crumb topping:

Mix flour and sugar in bowl. Add butter and cut in until crumbly. Fill in remaining space of muffin tins with crumb topping. Bake at 375ºF for 25-30 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes in tin before removing.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Apple-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

It is beginning to feel a lot like fall in Southern California... psych! It is still pretty warm, but I have got to believe that cooler weather is on its way.

This is the perfect recipe to set the stage for all of those cool autumn evenings!

Simple and delicious... simply delicious!

Apple-Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Serves 6 to 8

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

8             tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

1/2          cup plus 2/3 cup sugar

3             7- to 8-ounce Granny Smith apples, peeled, cut into eighths, cored

1             cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/4          cup yellow cornmeal

1/2          teaspoon baking soda

1/4          teaspoon salt

1             large egg

1/2          cup buttermilk

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Generously spray 9-inch diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir until sugar melts and turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add apples and sauté over medium heat until apples are just tender and coated with caramel, shaking pan occasionally, about 12 minutes. Immediately pour mixture into prepared pan; distribute apples and caramel evenly over bottom of pan.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add half of flour mixture; stir in buttermilk. Add remaining flour mixture and mix well. Drop batter by spoonfuls evenly over apples and spread gently with offset spatula.

Bake until cake is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Place platter over pan. Using oven mitts or pot holders as aid, firmly grasp pan and platter together and turn over. Gently lift pan off cake. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Cranberry-Maple Pudding Cake

Cranberry-Maple Pudding Cake

Pudding cakes form two wonderful layers all on their own as they bake- the pudding layer settles on the bottom, and a spongy cake forms on top. Serve this warm for breakfast or dessert.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2             cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1             cup pure maple syrup (Grade B or Grade A dark amber)

2/3          cup heavy whipping cream

3/4          teaspoon finely grated orange peel

               Pinch of salt plus 1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3          cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/3          cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)

1-1/2      teaspoons baking powder

1             large egg

3             tablespoons sugar

1/2          cup whole milk

1/2          cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1             teaspoon vanilla extract

               Creme fraîche, softly whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream

Postion rack in center of oven and preheat to 400ºF. Combine cranberries, maple syrup, cream, orange peel, and pinch of salt in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Whisk egg and sugar in another medium bowl. Whisk milk, melted butter, and vanilla into egg mixture. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; whisk to blend.

Pour warm cranberry mixture into 11x7x2-inch or 8x8x2-inch glass or ceramic dish. Pour batter over. Bake cake until golden and cranberry mixture bubbles at edges, about 28 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Spoon warm cake with cranberry mixture onto plates. Serve cake topped with creme fraîche, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

Florence and the Machine!

About a month ago, I won tickets to see Florence and the Machine, at the Hollywood Bowl. Well, last night, my mom and I went to enjoy the show. It was great. What a powerful voice Florence has. Did you know that she is a dancing machine??! She spins, runs and dances across the stage for the entire concert. She's wild! And she never seems to be out of breath!

You wouldn't get this from Florence's singing voice, because it is so forceful, but her speaking voice is quiet and delicate. I think that if she was born a few decades ago, she would have fit perfectly in the 70s. I mean, at the end of the concert, she told everyone to take their clothes off (some people actually listened to her) and then she tore her shirt off and ran through the audience. She's very free. Ha, ha.

It was enjoyable to look around and see people enjoying the music, in a common space. Music and the arts are a great unifier. One young man in particular LOVED Florence. He did a lot of first pumps and he also shouted 'I love her', 'She's so good', and 'She's perfect', a few times. I always embrace the love of the arts and how they bring joy to lives.

My mom and I had a good time! I've been a fan of Florence and the Machine for a while, but only had one of their albums. Their new album, 'How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful' is lovely. Check it out!

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Over the last month, I have moved and I am mostly unpacked. I just got internet and TV set up at the end of September. Not much has been going on here and because of that, it is my hope to get back to baking!

It is my wish to get some new Bon Appetit recipes posted post haste!

Until I get new recipes up, just know that I am enjoying much more free time in my life, as I only have to drive 30 minutes to and from work instead of an hour and a half both ways. I love it!

Also, tomorrow, I bring home two kittens! I am overwhelmed with excitement. I have been waiting for this moment for over fours years now. I am rejoicing over the fact that my new landlords allow small pets. I love animals!

I shall leave you with one more random piece of information. The city that I now live in has a lot of peacocks that roam the streets. So, I get to see them as I drive to and fro. A bunch of the birds like to gather near my apartment. I was able to capture two of them the other night, via photograph.

Due to the fact that peacocks are rampant in these parts, I decided to learn a little about these birds.

Males are Peacocks.
Females are Peahens.
A grouping of both sexes is called Peafowl.
Despite their large tail feathers, these birds are still able to fly!

And now that you know, here are two of my newest friends!

Aren't they lovely?! If only they sounded as great as they look! They sure do make some horrible sounds!

Thank you for reading this random post! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and may you have a glorious week!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Retro Mouse Stuffed Animal

My mom recently went through her sewing box, tossing the items that were no longer needed. Whilst doing this, she came upon a pattern she purchased when she was a teenager in 1973! The pattern is for a precious mouse stuffed animal, eating a piece of cheese. I decided to make this yesterday, for my friend's daughter who will be turning one next week.

Though the directions were a bit vague, I persevered! I'd like to give an out of this world shout out to my great grandma Esther, who taught my mom how to sew and to my mom as well, for teaching me how to sew when I was in the sixth grade. I've made so many quilts and fun little things like this mouse because of this skill. I shall treasure it always!

I never got to meet my great grandma, as she passed before I was born, but I believe that there is a connection to her as I sew her patterns and bake her delicious recipes!

My great grandma had enough foresight to copy the pattern onto parchment paper. I doubt she or my mother thought that it would be made 42 years later! Here is the cute little mouse. I still need to sew the mouth and teeth on, but I'd say that it looks pretty nice so far.

(Secret shout out to myself for keeping fabric from every project I have ever done. It makes spur of the moment projects like this so much easier! My mom would have thrown every scrap away by now. Good thing I don't live with her. Ha ha. The blue fabric was from the curtains that I sewed for this little girl's nursery just over a year ago!)

Photos of the entire process are below.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Getty Villa and The Getty Center

When I was in college, I went to the Getty Center Museum a couple of times and I loved it. Over the summer, my friend Josiah and I decided to make a special trip to the museum again. However, we discovered that J. Paul Getty also had another museum called The Getty Villa. Neither Josiah or I had ever been there. So, we visited both in one day! I've wanted to share these photos for a while, but things have been a bit hectic. I was finishing up my second masters course, I quit a teaching job that I have had for four years, I got hired at a new school (we are in week three with students already!), and I'm moving! Ugh. Talk about change! I suppose it is best to get it all done at once.

Anyway, here are the photos!
(All photos were taken by me, except the one where I am pictured with Van Gogh's Irises. Please ask before sharing any images. Thank you.)

Me and Josiah enjoying the outdoor portion of The Getty Villa.
The photos below are of many of the different floors at the Villa. I loved them.

The atmosphere of the Villa, below.

(I used Instagram Layout for this photo.)

It was a lovely misty and mystical day outside.

The below photos are at The Getty Center.
I was enjoying the foliage.

Check the museums out:
If you go to both in one day, you pay for parking at one location and get free parking at the other!