Almond Butter Cookies

Lately, I have been a bit absent from the kitchen. The meals have been simple and with not much cooking required. All week I have wanted to bake something, but I was out of luck. Friday finally came and as soon as got into the kitchen I began gathering all the ingredients to make some cookies... I made almond butter cookies adapted from the classic peanut butter cookies. I love how they turned out: these cookies are nutty, crispy, crumbly, and very addictive. I just made them yesterday and the are almost gone! I might have to make another batch today.

Almond Butter Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, June 1998
Makes about 14 cookies


6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup almond butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar, tightly packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). In a small bowl sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat the almond butter, butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract and continue to mix until well combined. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.

3. Form cookies using about 3 tablespoons of dough per each or use an ice-cream scoop; place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches (4 cm) apart. Using your fingers flatten the dough. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

4. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Road Trip: The Country Roads

Today my husband and I took a drive along the country roads on the outskirts of town. Everything looks so green and full of life. The cherry orchards are in full bloom and the farmers a beginning to plant their summer crops.

There is green everywhere. Many fields are growing pasture. Very soon, when the hay dries out,  we will get to see the the farmers making big packs of hay to store and feed their livestock or  to sell to other farmers.

Other meadows are covered in a blanket of yellow flowers. These fields of yellow blossoms expand as far as the eye can see.


What a wonderful display of color!



April Around The Garden

So far, April here in California has brought us a mix of sunny and rainy days. While I'm anxious for more sunny and warmer days, the plants in the garden are taking the April showers very well. The lavender bush is covered with fragrant blossoms and if you come near you can hear the bees buzzing busy at work. The trees are now covered with new leaves...

including this beautiful Japanese maple. Its foliage is so vibrant that when the sun hits the leaves it looks like the tree is on fire.
The blossoms from the peach tree are long and now the branches are covered with fast growing peaches and new shinny leaves.

This is the newest garden resident... a mourning dove nesting on a garden trellis; the trellis supports the wisteria vines.  I  was able to spot the dove because the wisteria vines were bare  at the time she began building her nest. Now the wisteria is beginning to bloom and leafing out providing more shelter for the dove and hopefully her soon to arrive chick or chicks.
Every year I await with so much excitement the arrival of spring and with that the wisteria blossoms, I just wish they lasted longer.

Also, a couple of weeks ago my husband and I started some vegetable seeds indoors and they are doing so well that we took them outdoors to acclimate them to the weather outdoors so we can plant them on the ground in the next few days. The plants are of cucumber, zucchini, tomato, squash, tomatillo and pepper. I hope all the plants yield plenty of vegetables we can enjoy and share.

And my succulents are thriving and ready to bloom. Sooner than in previous years. I think this year the garden will be very prolific!



Nap Time

Quiet time after a busy morning... playing, eating and playing some more. What a bliss! Who doesn't want this life?



Red Potato Hash

There is not much to say... You know how sometimes you have a cool story of how you got inspired to cook a particular dish of how you came upon a recipe. Sadly, there is no great story behind this potatoes. This recipe is the result of some experimentation trying to replicate some hash potatoes I had tried at a diner a long time ago. After testing different types of potatoes, cutting them in different shapes and sizes, peeling them or leaving the skin on I ended up with something that resembled nothing the potatoes I had tried at the diner, but with something much more delicious that has become a favorite among my family. Well, what do you know! After all there was some story to tell about this potato hash.
This past weekend I happened to have some red potatoes at home and I thought it might be a good idea to make a red potato hash and share the recipe with you. This is a very simple recipe, but you might be surprised at how tasty the fusion of just a handful of ingredients turns out to be. This potato hash goes very well on the side of some eggs for a brunch, and if you happen to have any leftover it makes an excellent burrito filling.

Red Potato Hash
Serves 4-6


2 lbs. (about 1 kg) of red potatoes diced in 1/2" cubes (about 1 cm)
1 large red bell pepper diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper
6 green onions

1. Heat oil in medium high heat in a large heavy or cast iron skillet. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 7 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue to cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until potatoes a cooked through and begin to brown.

2. Remove potatoes from heat. Mix in green onions and serve.




Harversting Radishes

Today we picked the first radishes from the vegetable garden. My husband was so excited he requested to have salad for dinner.

This variety is called French Breakfast Radishes. They are very mild in flavor and their white tips makes them very attractive.

I have to say, I was very excited, too. These are our first radishes of the season and they were delicious. It is so satisfying to be able to grow your own food!