This week C.P. decided he wanted a festive eggnog martini at home.  He made a beautiful and tasty martini, perfect for the holidays, and I’d like to share the recipe with you!  Good job C.P!

Eggnog Martini

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz eggnog
  • ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously for 10 seconds.  Pour into martini glass and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.  Enjoy while sitting next to the Christmas tree and listening to Christmas music!

Eggnog Martini

Eggnog Martini

I bought a bread machine years ago and at first I used it almost daily.  However, I hadn’t used it in about a year and the other day I decided to bust it out again!  I have used it three times this week and am loving it once again.  The best part is that you can set it on a timer so that when you wake up in the morning, you have hot bread waiting for you!  I made an apple cinnamon breakfast bread this weekend and it was so yummy!  It is not a very sweet bread, so it is perfect for breakfast and it is wonderful lightly toasted with butter!  You should definitely try waking up to this bread!

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bread

  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbls dry milk powder
  • 3 tbls brown sugar
  • 3 tbls white sugar
  • 2 tbls butter, diced
  • 1 tbls cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teas bread machine yeast
  • 1 medium green apple, diced

Place all ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed above.  Be sure the yeast is undisturbed by other ingredients, so try placing apple pieces along the sides of the pan.  Set bread machine for sweet bread.

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Since it is winter now, I often find myself day-dreaming of relaxing on a tropical island.  While I can appreciate the beauty of snowy mountains, I’ll always pick a tropical vacation over a ski vacation.  One of our yearly trips is always to Hawaii, and about this time every year I start thinking about it.  Of course, I’m also dreaming of going to Tahiti, but that trip may have to wait a little longer.  We do always manage a trip to Hawaii in the spring time, and until then I usually can get some sense of a tropical escape by mixing up our favorite tropical cocktails.  One sip of a Mai Tai or Hawaiian Iced Tea and you too will feel like you have been whisked away to a tropical island paradise.

Mai Tai

  • 1 oz light rum
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1 dash of Grenadine
  • 1/2 oz dark rum
  • pineapple slice and maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine light rum, triple sec, lime juice, pineapple juice and grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and pour into a glass.  Top with dark rum, and garnish with a pineapple slice or maraschino cherry.

Mai Tai & Hawaiian Island Ice Teas

Mai Tai & Hawaiian Iced Tea

Hawaiian Iced Tea

  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz light rum
  • 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz sour mix
  • 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz dark rum
  • pineapple slice and maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine vodka, light rum, gin, triple sec, sour mix and pineapple juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake and pour into a glass.  Top with dark rum, and garnish with a pineapple slice or a maraschino cherry.

Are you wondering what to do with that leftover turkey?  After a few sandwiches you might just be feeling like you are over turkey for awhile, but I made a quick healthy turkey noodle soup, and it was delicious.  I paired it with some warm homemade bread and it was definitely a nice change from the old turkey sandwich.  I also felt like I needed to whip up something healthy after all the Thanksgiving feasting last week, so I used low sodium chicken broth, plenty of vegetables, and whole wheat noodles….so yummy!

Turkey Noodle Soup

  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat penne pasta noodles
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
  • pepper

In a large stock pot, bring chicken broth and water to a boil over medium heat, season with pepper.  Add chopped carrots and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Add celery, onion and dry pasta noodles, continue to boil over medium-low heat for 5-8 minutes or until noodles are still a bit hard in the middle.  Add chopped turkey and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes, until noodles are al dente.  Season with additional pepper to taste if desired.  Pair with some warm homemade bread, and enjoy!

Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey Noodle Soup

This recipe was developed one day when I was contemplating what kind of cookies to make.  I opened my baking cabinet to see what I had on hand and came up with these cookies.  They have all of my favorites combined into one delicious cookie, and everyone that tries them just loves them!  I use milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet in these, but you can use which ever you prefer!  They would also be delicious with a teas of cinnamon added to the flour mixture as well!

Chewy Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teas baking soda
  • 1 teas baking powder
  • 1/2 teas salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbls honey
  • 1 teas vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar.  Mix in honey and vanilla until smooth.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each.  Mix in coconut and oats until well blended throughout.  Fold dry ingredients into batter with a large wooden spoon.  Fold in chocolate chips as well.  Form into balls and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone liners.  I also use a cookie scoop to ensure equal size cookies, and the silicone baking sheet liners work amazingly well!  Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack for cooling.  Enjoy!

I use a cookie scoop and silicone pan liners

I use a cookie scoop and silicone pan liners

Warm and Yummy!

Warm and Yummy!

This week the featured cocktail is in honor of Thanksgiving, the Gobble-tini!  It is a festive cranberry flavored martini, perfect for the fall season and Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 oz Smirnoff Cranberry Vodka
  • 1/2 oz raspberry liqueur
  • splash of cranberry juice

Add vodka, raspberry liqueur, and cranberry juice to an ice-filled shaker and shake to mix. Strain into a cocktail glass. Serve garnished with 3 whole cranberries on a stick.

Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays.  It is a time when we can all reflect on our lives and take a step back from the everyday stresses and see that each of us has many things to be thankful for.  I am thankful everyday that I have a wonderful family, great friends, and my health!  I work daily to help very ill people fight cancer, and I hope my work continues to give as many people as possible more Thanksgivings to share with their family and friends.  It is a special time for family and friends to all come together over good food and holiday cheer.  I know many people get anxious about cooking a perfect Thanksgiving meal, but for me, I have always looked forward to spending the day, or even days, cooking a big meal.  I love combining the traditional as well as the non-traditional when it comes to the Thanksgiving menu.  You have to have your staples: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and pumpkin pie!  But why not throw in a few less traditional dishes, like roasted asparagus, creamy risotto (try my butternut squash risotto), pumpkin cheesecake, or coconut cream pie.  I’ll be posting and sharing some of my favorites, both traditional and non-traditional for all of you to enjoy!  To start off, I’ll post my favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe!  More will follow!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

The key to a good cheese cake is patience!  Do not open the oven no matter how tempted or you risk the cake deflating and cracking.

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups graham-cracker crumbs (I use a food processor to get fine crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 4 packages (8 oz each) bar cream cheese, very soft
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbls pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbls vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teas salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Assemble a 9-inch spring form pan.  To make the crust: combine graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until moistened.  Press firmly into the bottom of the spring form pan and partially up the sides of the pan.  (I use the bottom of a dry measuring cup to help push the crumbs firmly down and around the sides of the pan)  Bake until edges turn golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.  To make the filling, begin by beating the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer (I use my awesome KitchenAid stand mixer!) on low speeds until smooth, mix in flour, but be sure not to over mix!  Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla and salt.  Mix just until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing with each addition until incorporated.  Place spring-form pan with crust on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case).  Pour filling into prepared crust and transfer to oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN OVEN!  Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven for another two hours, without opening oven!  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 4-6 hours.  Unmold from pan before serving.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Snickerdoodle: A traditional cinnamon cookie with a whimsical name.  I have made these cookies for years and always wondered if the name was simply a fun label for a basic cookie or had more deep rooted history.

The origins of the snickerdoodle are actually shrouded in mystery. On the surface, the snickerdoodle is a very basic cookie, and therefore one that could easily have been invented numerous times in kitchens all over the world. The Joy of Cooking attributes the cookie to Germany, suggesting that the name comes from the German word schneckennudeln, a type of cinnamon dusted sweet roll. It has also been suggested that the cookie may be of Dutch origin, with its name being a contraction of Saint Nicholas. It is also possible that the cookie is a relative of the British-inspired Christmas cakes and cookies common on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.  Whatever the true origin is, this cookie lives on and continues to be a favorite of many.

Like other holiday cookies, such as gingerbread men, the primary flavor of the snickerdoodle is a spice. Since snickerdoodles use a sugar cookie base, however, it’s possible to make a wide variety of holiday cookies from one batch of dough, instead of being forced to mix multiple batches of dough for different cookies. The versatile snickerdoodle is very easy and quick to make.  I make a basic dough and roll it in cinnamon and sugar before baking.  The cookies come out with the characteristic snickerdoodle cracked top and chewy center, simply delicious!!


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teas baking soda
  • 1 teas cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teas salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or shortening
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • cinnamon and sugar mix to roll the cookies in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; set aside.  Cream together butter or shortening and sugar.  Add egg and mix in well.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Roll dough into 1/2 inch balls, then roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.  I use a cookie scoop (or small ice cream scoop) to ensure equal size cookies.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Enjoy!


Since I will be in Seattle this weekend I thought that I would choose a cocktail this week named after the classic movie, An Affair to Remember, which inspired Sleepless in Seattle.  In this romantic comedy Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks fall in love after she hears his story of lost love on the radio.  Their story ends, or rather begins, with their climatic meeting at the top of the Empire State Building.  This meeting references the reunion of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr at the top of the Empire State Building in the original movie, An Affair to Remember.  Both classics, both touching, both “chick flicks”, but both so worth watching!

So in honor of Sleepless in Seattle, here is a recipe for the “An Affair to Remember Cocktail”:

  • 1/2 oz amaretto
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz creme de cacao
  • 1 oz cream

Fill cocktail shaker with ice and all ingredients, shake well.  Pour into martini glass and enjoy!

This week I am posting one of my favorite cocktail recipes, the Cosmopolitan.  It is similar to a Cape Codder or Kamikaze.  I think I’ll make one as soon as I get home…it has been a long week!


  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, pour into martini glass.  Garnish with lime wedge.  Enjoy!



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