Fudgy cocoa brownies

Easy drop pumpkin cookies

I love when reality TV makes me feel better about my life. That’s prety much the main objective of it, isn’t it? With this season of Great British Bake Off, I’m feeling like maybe I’m a better baker than I thought. Some of the bakes actually seem easy to me, but not as much if they have an emphasis on style and presentation.

In episode 4, which focused on chocolate, the bakers were tasked with making brownies and most of them didn’t do very well. Brownies can be tricky at times, and it’s possible they didn’t have much experience with brownies, as it is an American dessert. I would have liked to see at least one of the bakers win over the judges with a classic brownie recipe.

Last week, my mom asked me to make brownies for her birthday dinner. I had offered to make an ice cream pie, like the one at Islands restaurants, but she said a brownie sundae bar might be better. My sister Mary shared a favorite brownie recipe recently that I thought about using. But it seemed slightly complicated, so I went with a recipe for cocoa brownies. Halfway through, I worried it would be a fail. The batter was thicker than I expected. It looked different than the photos in the recipe, but I had made some slight changes. I seriously considered running to the store for a back up dessert. I went ahead and baked them any way, thinking I could still rush to the store before the dinner. The brownies actually came turned out great. Good thing I didn’t give up on them! You’re going to want to try them too.

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Pan-seared mahi-mahi with bell pepper and mushrooms

Mahi-mahi with sautéed vegetables

I thought I would check in and see what fish recipes are on Deb Perlman’s popular blog Smitten Kitchen and I was a bit shocked to see that she hardly has any! I know now that Deb is fish-averse. I, however, am not. I have shared my love for fish tacos with you already. Growing up in Southern California has had a influence on my tastes. I don’t like sushi or poke, but I do enjoy a good shrimp bowl and shrimp with pasta.

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Pumpkin cookies with penuche frosting

Easy drop pumpkin cookies

Many moons ago, my sister Mary made these pumpkin cookies with brown sugar frosting. They became one of her specialties for a few years. Mary is a great baker. She got into baking before me, and now that she lives up north, I miss her baking.

These stuck in my memory and I was inspired to make them, as I have been wanting to share more seasonal recipes on my blog and just to make more seasonal recipes for fun myself. I’m not one to go out and buy all the pumpkin things in the fall, but these cookies are certainly an exception. They’re making me rethink my aversion to all things pumpkin spice.

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Individual meat loaves

Individual meat loaves dinner

This recipe for individual meat loaves is made with ground beef, egg, oats, onion and spices. The sweet and slightly tangy sauce is made with ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.

My mom used to make this when I was growing up and it was always one of my favorite meals. Serve it with mashed potatoes, broccoli or green beans, and fresh fruit for a delicious dinner.

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Banana coffee cake

Banana Coffee Cake

First posted on August 31, 2016. Updated on August 12, 2020.

Last weekend, I had company over and took that as a good reason to try out a new recipe. I wanted to make a coffee cake because it’s delicious and perfect for a relaxing brunch.

(If you’re reading this and thinking, you had company over? During this Covid thing? Well, my mom did visit briefly, but that’s not what I was talking about. This was originally posted in 2016. That was pre-pandemic, and pre-baby. I think this was the second and last year I went to FYF, a music festival in Los Angeles. We had Paul’s sister and her boyfriend staying over since we lived closer to it than them. Or maybe it was the year they went and I didn’t feel like it. Any way, back to the recipe.)

I like reading recipes and then combining them to get the outcome I’m looking for, and this banana coffee cake creation is a direct result of that. It’s made from combining three different recipes on three different websites to get exactly what I was picturing in my head when I started searching for recipes.

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Fish tacos with chili-lime dressed cabbage slaw

Fish tacos with chili-lime dressed slaw

When Maggie first started eating, I wrote a note on my phone with meals I wanted her to try fairly early on so she would get used to them. In that long note of hopes and dreams (kidding) I included the 10 meals Paul and I eat the most. Fish tacos was on that list.

Maggie seemed to really like cod and salmon early on, but now that she is a toddler, of course she is getting more particular and also unpredictable. She doesn’t eat fish much any more when I serve it, even if it’s in the form of fish sticks or nuggets. I make fish tacos any way though. She eats the sides of fruit and vegetables and torn up pieces of tortilla. Surprisingly, she didn’t even want the sweet potato fries I served the tacos with. I’m hoping she will get back to loving fish sometime. In the meantime, Paul and I enjoy eating fish tacos.

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California Pizza Kitchen inspired Thai chicken pizza

California Pizza Kitchen inspired Thai chicken pizza

People usually debate that either New York or Chicago has the best pizza in the United States. Outside of the United States of course there is Italy and I have heard good things about Japanese pizza. Personally, I love California pizza. Full disclosure, I have never been to any of the places listed above except California, where I have lived my whole life. So I guess I’m pretty biased. In California, we’re not afraid to put off the wall toppings on our pizza. One of my favorites at a place in Santa Monica was salad pizza. Yes, really.

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