my foodgawker gallery

Cherry almond bars

I confess that I am an extremely selective baker. I have a handful of dessert recipes in my vault that I have perfected and that I make repeatedly for gatherings, guests or just for my family. So when I selected this cherry almond bar recipe out of the 100 Best Cookies magazine, I gave myself a nice pat on the back. Because it is not something I would normally make. I stepped out of my baking comfort zone! Yay Me!

And YUM, they are truly delicious. I will make them again. I'm putting them into my Dessert Vault right this moment.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, extending the foil over the edges. Spray foil with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.


2 cups brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat until combined and then beat in:

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat in 2 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time.

Stir in:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Remove 1/2 cup of the dough from the bowl and set aside. Press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

Spread a 12-oz. jar of cherry preserves over the pressed dough. Crumble the reserved dough over top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

Once cooled, lift the bars out of the pan using the edges of the foil and cut into squares (or rectangles, or circles, or pentagons). Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe!


Mom's mashed potatoes

I finally did it. I attempted my mother's mashed potato recipe. As with every other recipe of hers that I attempt to replicate, it didn't taste quite the way it does when she makes it. It's that magic Mom Touch that she has. It turned out great, though. And it was way simpler than I imagined it to be. I wish I had tried it ten years ago!

If you are looking for a simple, DELICIOUS mashed potato recipe, you don't have to look any further! One thing my mom told me about her recipe is that it is important to use red potatoes. They offer a softness and flavor that is hard to find in any other type of potato.

Wash 4-5 medium-sized potatoes and cut them into cubes.

Quarter three cloves of garlic.

Place the potato cubes and the garlic into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. Drain.

Add the potatoes and garlic to a large mixing bowl, along with 1 stick of butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Mash with a potato masher. Now, I personally love the texture and flavor that the potato skins add, so I left them on. If you prefer a smoother, skinless mashed potato, peel the skins before cooking them and use an electric hand mixer at this point.

Add a few tablespoons of milk, but not much more than that. Too much milk makes mashed potatoes mushy! I also added an additional 2 tablespoons of butter at the end and about 2 ounces of cream cheese. And I did more mashing.

They turned out just right.

Mmmmmm. Thank you, Mom!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Perunamuusi (Mashed Potato)


It's cold, windy and snowy, but fun is being had


Brie stuffed mushrooms

This post written by the original Ebby. 

Don't you just love cute food? Maybe it's just me (IS it just me?), but cute food is so fun! Because,'s cute! I'd classify these mushrooms as such. And of course because they are cute, they are also delicious. That's just how these things work. The creamy Brie gets all melty, the topping is garlicky and buttery, and the mushrooms hold it all together in a cute (there, I said it again!) little package. Mmmm!

The appetizers can be whipped up in minutes. Extra bonus points for quick and easy. 

Clean a package of mushrooms and remove the stems. Then sauté them in butter until they start to soften.

Cut up the Brie into little pieces and stuff them into the mushrooms.

Top with sauteed garlic, green onions and parsley.

Bake until the cheese oozes. Let them cool for a couple of minutes and dig in.

These would make perfect appetizers for your New Year's Eve party. Or any other party. I don't recommend making them if you are by yourself. Unless you are not like me and you possess something called restraint.


Brie stuffed mushrooms (from The Pioneer Woman)

1 package white button mushrooms, washed and stems removed

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup parsley, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

1 wedge Brie cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in skillet. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook until softened. Remove mushrooms from pan and place in a baking dish.

Add garlic, parsley and green onions to remaining butter in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and cook until softened, a couple of minutes.

Cut rind off of Brie wedge, then cut pieces of Brie and fit into each mushroom cap. Top mushrooms with parsley mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Snow snow snow, we cannot escape the snow

We left 30 inches of snow in Minnesota to come to this.. the south, where we did not expect to see snow. And do you know what everyone is saying? "We haven't seen snow like this since...well, since two years ago! When you were last here, as a matter of fact!" Of course!

But we are cozy inside and enjoying each other.

One thing I have learned is not to get too worked up about things that are completely out of our control. Like the fact that my husband and I are supposed to head to the mountains today for a 3-day childless vacation, but the weather may not allow that to happen.

Like that! Out of our control. Let it go. And let it snow.