Recipe: Fresh pear and curry pasta

Now, I’m not about to get all partridge in a pear tree on you but ’tis the season for pears.

I call this time of the year the dark and dreary world of fruit eating (anyone else miss their mangoes, peaches and strawberries?) but I love cooking with pears. And a flavor combination I enjoy is pears and curry.

Years ago, my mom gave me a fabulous Canadian cookbook The Best of Bridge. This dish is from their Best of the Best with all their top recipes so you know it’s gotta be good.  It’s meatless but if you want you can serve it with chicken or pork. I generally double it because the recipe only serves two and I add garbanzo beans for flavor and protein. Enjoy…your house will smell wonderful for days after you’ve tried it.

Fresh pear and curry pasta

(serves 2; I generally double this recipe)

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp medium curry paste (or I just use 2-3 tsp of curry)
1 tsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp honey (I prefer more to make it sweeter)
1 can garbanzo beans
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 unpeeled ripe pear, peeled and sliced in thin wedges
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp cream (optional; I leave out when I’m trying to eat healthier)
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Pasta for 2: rotini, bow ties or shells

In a frying pan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and curry and stir 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and honey and stir another 2 minutes. Add broth and beans, increase heat to medium high and boil gently, reducing liquid to less than 1 cup. (This takes about 15 minutes). If you like it less thick and more soupy, don’t cook as long (I love to do this and also use it as soup).

Not cooked as long, used as soup

Delicious with cream

Add pear slices and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cream and stir another 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Pour over pasta and toss gently. Enjoy!

Recipes: Mom’s Famous Breakfast Bake

I’m not much of a casserole fan but man alive, I’ve always loved my mom’s breakfast bake. It’s a combination of all my favorite things and I don’t feel a wee bit guilty if I serve it for dinner.

Which I have done many,  many times.

We recently had a bunch of friends over to watch LDS General Conference and I made this dish. My friend’s entire family of eight liked it so much she asked for the recipe so here ’tis!

Warning: my mother is a domestic goddess so anytime I ask for a recipe, it is met with frustration because the woman does not work in exact measurements. However, for a recipe like this it totally works because you can add a little or as much as you’d like of certain ingredients depending upon your preference. And this recipe has always turned out for me.

Maman’s Famous Breakfast Bake


Shredded hashbrowns
Shaved ham (bonus if you have leftover ham from Thanksgiving!)
Grated cheddar cheese
2-3 large Tomatoes
Sliced green onions
6-8 eggs
Half and half cream
Salt, pepper and parsley
Hollandaise sauce


  • Preheat the oven to broil. Cover a 9X13 pan with hash browns. Broil them well on each side (until tips are lightly browned).
  • Turn down the temperature to 350 degrees. Cool slightly and cover the hashbrowns with a layer of shaved ham (about 250 grams).
  • Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese (about 2 cups, depending upon how much cheese you like).
  • Cover with sliced green onions (about 1/3 cup).
  • Slice 2-3 large tomatoes and add these as the next layer.
  • Beat 6-8 eggs, add approximately 1/4 cup of cream. Add salt, pepper and parsley to flavor and pour evenly over the breakfast bake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and the eggs are firm.  To serve, cut into squares and top with a dollop of Hollandaise sauce!

Recipe: Perfectly Pumpkin Magic Cookie Bars

Confession: I have a bakery weakness. OK, I have many of them. But when push comes to shove, I can usually resist the temptation of cookies, cakes and doughnuts.

But on the off-chance I spot a rare magic cookie bar at a bakery? All bets are off and I must buy it.

If you’ve never had a 7-layer magic cookie bar you’re missing out. Anything with sweetened condensed milk is a winner in my book but then add coconut, chocolate and graham crackers? #Winning.

For our pumpkin party this year, I decided to go one step further and add pumpkin. Try it.  You won’t be disappointed.


Perfectly Pumpkin Magic Cookie Bars

  • 4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 32 whole crackers)
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 11/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup salted almonds or pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips. I also chopped up some Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses, which are available seasonally.



Heat oven to 350 degrees. Create a foil sling with a 1 inch over hang in a 9×13 pan..

  1. Combine graham crackers and butter  and stir until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom of pan
  2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.
  3. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, followed by the nuts and then finish by sprinkling coconut on top.
  4. Place assembled pan in the oven and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Let cool in pan completely and then transfer finished pan to the refrigerator to chill before cutting.
  5. ====
    In case you missed it: Delicious Pumpkin Pie Crisp Bars

Recipe: Delicious Pumpkin Pie Crisp Bars

I still remember the day I became obsessed with eating all-things pumpkin. I was pregnant with Hadley, called home and my family was eating pumpkin pie for Canadian Thanksgiving.  As a wave of homesickness washed over me, I developed a pregnancy craving for pumpkin that never went away.

Thankfully, the pregnancies did.

I absolutely love our pumpkin party and all the delicious treats our friends bring. I mean, just look at this spread!

Every year, I like to experiment and fell in love with two new recipes that I tweaked until they were just right. I’ll share one this week and another next week.

About the recipe: two of my favorite treats are pumpkin pie and apple crisp. This recipe melds the best of both worlds with the “crisp” not only as the topping but also on the bottom and delicious pumpkin in between. Then, add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger and this treat tastes like fall.

Pumpkin Pie Crisp Bars


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups quick oats (old fashioned works too)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Filling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed-light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup half and half
Whipped cream and cinnamon, for serving (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt and baking soda for 30 seconds. Add in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar an mix until no clumps remain. Combine melted butter and vanilla and add to mixture, then stir with a spoon until evenly moistened. Gently press half of the mixture into a greased 8 by 8-inch baking dish (a 9 by 9-inch baking dish would be great to, just reduce the baking time slightly as needed) and bake in preheated oven 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla and stir until blended. Mix in pumpkin then milk. Pour mixture over baked cookie portion and return to oven to bake 15 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cookie crumb mixture over top while breaking the crumb into small bits. Transfer oven rack closer to the top-center (not directly beneath but a few levels below) and return to oven to bake about 20 – 25 minutes longer until golden on top and center only giggles slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator to cool 1 hour longer (or serve warm from the oven like a crumble with ice cream). Cut into squares and serve with sweetened whipped cream and a light dusting of cinnamon if desired.


In case you missed it:

Drumroll: And the Great Pumpkin’s Weight is….

Like a giant pumpkin to the slaughter: a pumpkin party to remember

Stanley the Pumpkin Does Colorado Schools and the Fun Run

When a Man Loves a Woman: The Pumpkin Version

Recipe: Delicious Pumpkin Pie Crisp Bars

To-die-for Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe

Two recipes two days in a row? (Sugar & Spice Cookie Recipe here). I’m in Christmas-baking mode and friends have been asking me to post my favorites.

As strange as it may sound, the tragic mass shooting at a school in Newton, Conn. has made my little family head to the kitchen. Cooking together is one of my favorite bonding activities with my kids and they absolutely love rolling out the dough, cutting it into different shapes and decorating with sprinkles.

I’m not a big fan of wrestling with frosting. Most sugar cookies are bland without it but not these babies. The cream cheese makes it absolutely delicious and I am always asked to divulge my secret.

To-die-for Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups flour (a bit more for high-altitude)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough for 8 hours or overnight.  (Note: I didn’t have time to do this so just added more flour so it wasn’t too sticky).

On a lightly-floured surface, roll one-third of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-10 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Cool on wire racks before frosting (or I like to just put sprinkles on prior to baking).

Best-ever Sugar and Spice Cookies (and everything nice)

These used to be a road-trip staple during my single years and were quickly devoured by everyone! They are a twist on gingerbread cookies but with a wonderful “spicy” flavor.

I traditionally love making them into small star-shaped cookies and cooking them ’til the edges are lightly browned. My husband recently divulged he doesn’t like them “overcooked” like that. To each his own but he is wrong, wrong, wrong. :-)

My star cookie cutter went missing so I made them gingerbread-shaped. Gingerbread men without any ginger?

Just call me a rebel. But when you bite into these babies, you won’t care.

Sugar and Spice Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves

Beat sugar and eggs until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients and add everything together. Gather the dough into a ball; wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days. Roll the dough out rather thinly. I like to use a small star cookie cutter so the edges are marvelously crispy. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

These freeze well and I love to make a lot of batches to bring out later.

Sinfully delicious pumpkin waffle recipe

Last year, I stumbled upon a pretty darn awesome pumpkin waffle recipe and made it for the missionaries. They loved it and my family loves it. So much, in fact, that my kiddos beg to make the “missionary waffles” whenever a new set of them comes around. I’m always more than happy to oblige.

Because I’m a giver like that.

This really is a great December dish with all the holiday spices I love. Enjoy!

Sinfully delicious pumpkin waffle recipe


1/3 cup light brown sugar
• 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
• 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp allspice
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup of milk
• 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
• 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm


1. Lightly oil the waffle iron with vegetable oil and preheat.

2. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

3. Add pumpkin and milk to the eggs. Whisk to blend and set aside.

4. Pour melted butter into thepumpkin mixture. As you pour, whisk to combine.

5. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix them together until just combined. A bit of lumpiness is fine.

6. Once the waffle iron is heated, you’re ready to pour the batter!


Apple Dunking and Halloween Bashing!

Saturday was our ward’s annual Halloween party. The youth were in charge, which means as a youth leader I was a part of the planning and implementation.
Pretty much, I have the best calling ever working with these beautiful young women.

Jamie and I wore our annual costumes. I was the pumpkin widow dressed in black (see my shirt) and Jamie was (what else?) a pumpkin.
It’s like art imitating real life. Every. Single. Day.

We just finished reading the 100th Anniversary edition of Wizard of Oz that I bought as a souvenir in Coronado Island. Much to my delight, Hadley shunned the pop culture costumes of many of her peers and opted to be Dorothy.

Bode, on the other hand? He spotted a Mario costume at the thrift store and the begging began. “Bode, you were Mario two years ago. Don’t you want to be _______” and I listed off a number of costumes. Obviously, I lost.

Blurry action shot eating doughnuts on a string

We had a spookiest appetizer/dessert contest so I whipped up a graveyard 7-Layer Dip. I got a ton of compliments on it but it was a result of improvisation. We didn’t have any refried beans so I used Madras Lentils (my fave wintertime lunch) and layered sour cream, cheese, green onions, salsa and guacamole. For the graveyard, I cut and baked some red chile tortillas into tombstones, a cat and a ghost.
I thought I did a pretty good job until I saw my friend Wendy’s entry.

The young men were in charge of a haunted grove in the forest behind the church.

Teenagers with a real chainsaw = terrifying.

The young women stayed inside and oversaw all the carnival games.

Best. Bean bag toss. Ever.

And then there was the most unsanitary game of them all: bobbing for apples. In sixth grade, I had a Halloween party that will go down in infamy as The Best Party Ever and I still wear my Queen Apple Bobber Badge proudly. When the young women taunted me to do it, I rose to the challenge.

Or rather, bent way, way over for it. Haddie and Bode joined me and I dove in preparing to leave them in my salivated-apple-bobbing wake. When all of a sudden, I was being submerged way way way under. I flew up sputtering, only to realize my own husband dunked me.

It’s a good thing we drove separately; otherwise dude would have walked home.

Haddie ended up being the winningest apple bobber of the night. As it turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


Apple Cider Floats Recipe

I love fast and simple recipes and this new find is a keeper when we want a quick treat in the fall.

Last weekend, Haddie’s school had a Harvest Faire. The third grade parents were asked to bring apple cider so I snagged a gallon from the local grocery store. Imagine my delight when it was rejected by the granola parents at her school.

“It has Sodium Benzoate,” they protested.


“When it’s heated, it causes cancer.”

I brought the cider home and read the label, which said it had less than 1/10 of 1% of Sodium Benzoate to preserve the flavor. Their loss = our gain. We have been enjoying these floats all week.

Unheated, of course.

Apple Cider Floats


Apple cider

Ginger ale

Vanilla ice cream

Caramel sauce



Put a scoop or two of ice cream in a glass, fill 3/4 of the glass with cider and 1/4 with ginger ale. Drizzle with caramel sauce and cinnamon. The float is best when you let it sit for 10-15 and let the ice cream melt a bit and the flavors meld.


Delicious Grilled Pizza Crust + Strawberry Balsamic Pizza Recipes

We love to grill. We love pizza. But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that we started grilling pizzas on our BBQ and we’ve never looked back. It helped that I found a killer crust recipe our very first try and it has become our signature dish when we have new friends over for dinner.

At our recent dinner party, we doubled the crust recipe so we had four pizzas and made 1) BBQ chicken pizza (BBQ sauce with marinara, chicken, onions, bacon and cilantro), 2) a cheese pizza,  2) sausage veggie and 3) my new favorite: strawberry balsamic chicken pizza.

Balsamic Strawberry Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion and Bacon

½ cup strawberry jam or preserves
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Pizza dough (see recipe below)

1 cup diced or shredded chicken breast (I used leftovers from a rotisserie chicken)
½ cup cooked bacon. (I was lazy and used bacon bits)
½ cup thin sliced sweet onion (precooked if you’re grilling)
12 ounces moazarella cheese
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh strawberries, diced small

Start with the balsamic reduction sauce by placing balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until reduced to half of the original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry jam, mix well. Set aside to cool.

Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce. Prep dough and pour rest of sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover.  Scatter chicken evenly over the sauce.

Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of dough and spread to cover sauce evenly. Scatter  bacon and sweet onion over cheese to distribute evenly. Scatter remaining cheese over this layer.

Cook the pizza (for grilling instructions, see below). Sprinkle with strawberries and cilantro. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I took the picture after we’d already eaten half of the pizza. But you get the idea!


Tony Rosenfeld’s Grilled Pizza Crust

Makes four 10- to 12-inch pizza crusts


  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees), plus more as needed
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 small packet) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, plus more as needed and for the work surface
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Toppings (see related story)


Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl, stirring to mix well; let sit for 10 minutes to allow the top to foam and become frothy (indicating that the yeast is active). If it does not do that, discard and start again with more water, yeast and sugar.

Lightly flour a work surface; lightly grease a mixing bowl and a rimmed baking sheet with a little olive oil.

Combine the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Beat on low speed for 1 minute until well incorporated, then add the water-yeast mixture in a slow, steady stream. Beat for about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a dough forms and pulls cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Add a few tablespoons of water or flour if the dough is too dry or wet. Transfer the dough to the prepared work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding a little flour if it starts to stick, so the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Transfer to the oiled bowl, cover with a clean, dry dish towel and let sit for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature, until the mixture almost doubles in size. Form the dough into 4 equal-size balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. (Alternatively, the dough may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

To roll out the dough balls, lightly flour a work surface. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and have ready additional large sheets of the paper for stacking the rounds of dough.

Shape or roll one of the balls into a thin round between 10 and 12 inches in diameter. Brush the top side with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and flip the oiled side over onto the lined baking sheet. Brush the new top side of the dough with 1 tablespoon of the oil and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining 3 doughs and the oil. They may be held at room temperature for about 1 hour in this manner (or refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 3 hours. If the dough has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so it will be easier to stretch).

When ready to grill, build a two-zone fire. Heat the back 2 burners on a gas grill on HIGH and the front burners on LOW, or light a large charcoal fire and push most of the coals to one side of the grill, leaving a sparse layer of coals on the other side. When it has reached the right temperature, the hot zone of the fire should be so hot that you can hold your hand a couple of inches above the grill for only about 3 seconds (about 500 degrees, if using a surface thermometer). Clean the grill grates well and oil them lightly with a wad of paper towels.

Using both hands to hold the top of one of the dough rounds (as if your hands were at 10 and 2 on a steering wheel), gently lay the bottom part of the hanging dough on the far side of the hot zone and stretch the top toward you to the other side. Cook, without touching, for 1 minute, so the dough bubbles and starts to get good grill marks. Rotate 90 degrees and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the dough is uniformly browned and crisp but has not burned.

Pull the dough to the cooler zone of the charcoal fire or to the front of the gas grill and reduce the heat on the middle zone of the gas grill to medium-low. Flip the dough over so the seared side faces up. Sprinkle toppings evenly over the pizza (remember, less is more; see related sidebar for topping suggestions).

Once the toppings are in place, cover the grill (with the vents open on a charcoal grill lid). Cook for 3 to 7 minutes, checking every minute or so to rotate the pie 90 degrees so it cooks evenly, until any cheese toppings melt. Transfer to a large cutting board to slice. Top and grill the remaining doughs in the same manner. Serve hot.