Food for Friends

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Browsing Desserts

Golden Granola Chunks


Granola ChunkI love granola and Peter needed a good gluten-free snack.  I came up with this recipe using several others as inspiration.  It’s delicious and although you can substitute many of the ingredients, my favorite mix has coconut, vanilla and pineapple in it.  It’s super easy to pick your favorite flavors and make it yours.


  • 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned oatmeal)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, or walnuts, or pine nuts, or sunflower seeds (or a combination)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup oat germ*
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter**
  • 2/3 cup honey OR maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried raisins


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut together on a cookie sheet (the ones with little walls) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring several times, until lightly browned.
  3. Place the oat germ, the cinnamon, cardamom and allspice on a pan and carefully toast it (make sure it doesn’t burn).
  4. When the oatmeal mixture is ready, transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the oat germ and spice mixture.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  6. Put the butter or oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir well.
  7. Butter the cookie sheet and/or if you want put some buttered parchment paper or tinfoil in it. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Be careful not to bake it too long because the raisins will burn and taste bitter!! Cool well and brake into chunks. Serve at room temperature.  You can also break it into smaller bits and serve with milk.



* I just pulse it in a food processor or coffee grinder a little bit. You can use ground flaxseed or brown rice germ, even cornmeal.
** You can replace it by vegetable oil or other butter substitute
*** You can replace any dried fruit for any other, like dates, prunes, cranberries, dried cherries
**** When I make a double batch and mix 1/2 honey and 1/2 maple syrup


Soft Yummy Pretzels


PretzelsPretzels were invented by monks in the 5th or 6th century and given as rewards for children that did their chores well. They are supposed to resemble a person with their hands in prayer.  Personally I think they look like little “hugs” and they are delicious.  This is the traditional German soft pretzel recipe, served with spicy mustard on the side and a very very cold beer.  I would make a double batch if I were you… This is the best and most sinful batch of pretzels ever concocted.  Ask Peter, he ate them all :0)


  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water (like 110° F)
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 or 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 6 cups of water
  • Coarse salt (I like using kosher salt)
  • Good mustard


Mix yeast and warm water in a big bowl or the bowl of a mixer.  Let it foam for a bit then add the oil, sugar and 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Beat until the batter is smooth and little by little add another cup of flour while you beat it with a wooden spoon or with the mixer in medium using the kneading attachment.

If kneading by hand, turn the dough into a floured surface and knead until very smooth and satiny (about 5-7 minutes of vigorous kneading).  If using mixer, knead on medium or medium-fast for a few minutes until smooth and the dough completely detaches from the sides and is all in one nice lump.  It will stick to the paddle, and you may need to scrape it down a couple times, but after a few minutes you should have a nice dough.

Place the dough in a greased bowl (I grease it with a little vegetable oil and I love using my wooden bowl, always the same one for rising dough).  Turn the dough to make sure it’s coated with oil on both sides and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size (takes about one hour, or less if it’s really hot outside).  When it’s done rising, punch it down and knead it a few times on a floured surface to get the airbubbles out.

Pretzel risingCut dough into 12 equal pieces for large pretzels or 18 smaller pieces for smaller pretzels (I like smaller ones personally).  Work with one lump of dough at a time and keep the rest covered with the plastic.  Roll the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch thick, shape into a pretzel and put it on a greased baking sheet.  Repeat for all the pretzels.  You will need two baking sheets at least and don’t put them too close together.

Let the pretzels rise for another 25 minutes or so until they’re all puffed up.  You don’t need to cover them for this step.  Then, towards the end of the second rising, get the baking soda and water to a rolling boil.  Using a slotted spoon, lower the pretzels into the pot, one by one and boil for 10 seconds on each side.  Drain them a bit and put back on the baking sheet.  As they dry a little bit, sprinkle salt to taste over them.  Finally, when they’re all boiled, place in a 425°F oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Serve warm right out of the oven with a chilled beer and a bit of mustard to dip them in.


Basket of PretzelsPretzels were invented by monks in the 5th or 6th century and given as rewards for children that did their chores well. They are supposed to resemble a person with their hands in prayer.  Personally I think they look like little “hugs” and they are delicious.

You can change the topping of the pretzels and instead of coarse salt, sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon for a sweet pretzel, top with grated parmesan cheese for a cheesy pretzel or chop little bits of jalapeño chiles in the dough for a spicy pretzel.  The possibilities are endless.

Carrot Cake


Carrot CakeThis Carrot Cake recipe is just dreamy.  At least exactly the way I like it… Not too sweet, not too spicy but with a little punch, moist, with lots of delicious texture and easy to make.  Oh yeah, and the cream cheese frosting is stellar!  You can alter the quantities of white sugar and/or spices to suit your tastes.  Also, you can make it with grated zucchini instead of carrot for a nice twist.


  • 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups of grated carrots, not packed
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts or unsalted sunflower seed kernels
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Grated orange zest, about 1 tbsp *optional but yummy
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup ounces plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Cream Cheese Frosting


Carrot Cake WholePreheat oven to 350°F (I make mine 375°F because it works better at higher altitudes).

Butter and flour two baking pans, 8-9 inch.  Round or square works.  Or you can use a large pyrex or baking pan (9X15 or so inches).  I recommend also putting a round of parchment paper or waxed paper at the bottom of the pan and butter-flour that too.  It will make removal of the cake really really easy.

Mix flour the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a large bowl.  Add the orange zest and the carrots to this mix to coat the carrots very well.

In another bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar, yogurt and eggs.  Wisk together until very smooth.  Or you can do it with a mixer a little faster.  While still whisking, add the oil little by little until smooth again.  Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour and carrot mix and stir it until well combined.  Don’t beat it to death… it’s better to fold the solids into the liquids carefully rather than using the mixer.  You don’t want to mush the carrots.  Finally, add the walnuts or sunflower seed kernels (some times I add some raisins in too) and fold into the batter.

Pour the mix into the prepared pan(s) and bake for about 45 minutes. Check it at about 40 minutes or a bit before.  You can insert a toothpick into the middle and if it’s still too lumpy when taken out, lower the heat a bit to 325°F and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Watch the cake closely and make sure it doesn’t brown too much on top and that it doesn’t dry out.  You want to cook it just until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Take the cake out and let it cool a bit.  Take it out of the baking pan into cooling racks and let it cool completely.  Decorate with cream cheese filling/frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese (or tub), room temperature
  • 1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest *optional, and it will have your frosting have orange flecks on it but great flavor


In a bowl mix, first with a wooden spoon then with a whisk,  all the ingredients well until well combined and smooth.  If you want to do it with a mixer, cream the cheese and butter and yogurt, then add the vanilla and zest, and then the sugar in 2 or 3 additions.  I would recommend putting the frosting in the fridge for a little while before you spread it on the cake so it gets a bit thicker.  Also, once you put it on the cake, make sure you refrigerate if not eating right away.

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Watermelon Sorbet


Watermelon SorbetThis is delicious!  You will notice I used the same recipe for making the simple syrup in this recipe as in the pineapple sorbet.  It really depends on how much sweetness you need, though.  It’s really a matter of taste.  Trust your instincts.  This recipe is much better when it’s watermelon season.  The goal is to get a puree with almost no syrup, and just use the natural sweetness of the fruit.  If you absolutely must cheat to impress the neighbors, add a couple drops of red food coloring to the puree to make it pop out even more.


  • 1 small seedless watermelon (about 4 cups of cubed watermelon)
  • 1 cup of simple syrup
  • 1 lime, juiced


Make the simple syrup by boiling the water and adding the sugar, stirring until it dissolves.  Let it cool to room temperature.

Puree the watermelon, lime juice and the syrup in a blender or food processor.  Freeze using an ice cream maker according to their instructions (or put in a pyrex and freeze until desired consistency, which should be a bit slushy). I have a Cuisinart and it’s great and super easy to use.  If using a food processor, place in a container in the freezer for a little while to get the perfect scoopable consistency.  Serve in pretty glasses and enjoy!


You can put a squirt of vodka on it when you serve for a little extra kick.

Pineapple Coconut Sorbet


Pineapple Coconut Ice CreamThis is an amazing recipe.  It’s easy and very very tasty in summer.  You will impress anybody with it.  There is no dairy in it and can be served after a big meal.  It’s much better if you have an ice cream maker and if you use fresh pineapple, but in a pinch, canned pineapple and freezing the mix in a pyrex will do.


  • 1/2 fresh pineapple or one can of pineapple chunks
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (*optional)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • sprigs of fresh mint for garnish


Make a simple syrup by boiling one cup of water, then adding a cup of sugar and stirring until it dissolves.  Let it cool to room temperature.

Puree in a blender the pineapple and the coconut milk.  Mix in the syrup and place the mix in an ice cream maker.  I have a Cuisinart that works wonderfully.  If you don’t have one, you can put the mix in the freezer and serve before it’s completely frozen.

Serve in pretty glasses with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!

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Here are the recipes finally. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time and never got around to it. Some of you know that I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. There is a certain alchemy that has to happen in order to have the ingredients turn into delicious creations. There is no real secret behind it, just lots of fresh ingredients, time and patience to try things out and some creativity.

Not everything I make turns out perfect on the first try. Most of the time, even when I follow recipes carefully, there are some adjustments that have to be made in order to make it exactly the way I like it. In some cases recipes have failed miserably and a last-minute plan B has been tackled, and in other cases I had to toss the first batch of something and repeat the steps until it works out.

I hope these recipes bring a lot of magic to your meals, just as they have brought magic to mine. They have all been thoroughly tested and I will never post something I have not made myself. Some adjustments may have to be made for dietary preferences or limitations. Feel free to email me or drop me a note if you have any questions.