Magical Samhain Night

Enchanted Floating Candles

We made these enchanted candles to give a magical touch to our festivities.

One of our favorite holidays to celebrate is Halloween or Samhain. Sometimes we get a little carried away with decorations and treats, but it sure is fun! More is more! We had fun making some crafts, spooky flying fairy skeletons, enchanted candles like in Harry Potter and ribbon garlands to hang over doorways in Halloween colors and patterns. Food. We also made lots of tasty food. Spooky food. Ok, maybe not so spooky, but creative and festive for the occasion. I got lots of ideas from magazines and pinterest. Check out my Halloween board to see some of the inspiration. I discovered ways to take the inspiration and make it my own, and in some cases improving on the ideas. (read more)

MelindaMagical Samhain Night
How to make Candy Sushi

Candy Sushi!

Candy Sushi

Candy Sushi made with Rice Crispy Treats, Fruit Roll Ups and other candy.

I have a friend I work with who is leaving for greener pastures, and I wanted to make her something special as a goodbye gift. She loves candy and sushi, so I thought the perfect thing would be Candy Sushi! I saw various versions of it on Pinterest, and it looked easy and adorable. It is a sweet treat and a crafty no bake one at that. They would be really fun for a Japanese themed party or even as dessert for a real sushi dinner.

They are easy to make with some assembly. There is a lot of candy involved and it made my grocery cart look like I had a serious sugar addiction! It turned out to be fun for Coda and I as an after school activity to do together. We did end up eating way more candy than is usual in our house for sure. (read more)

MelindaCandy Sushi!
Persian Love Cake- Exotic Baking

Persian Love Cake

Persian Love Cake- Exotic Baking

Spice infused chiffon cake with a light saffron and rose frosting. Divine.

Exotic, romantic, beautiful. Persian Love Cake. My good friend Kristi requested I make this cake for our friend Autumn’s bridal/bachelorette party we hosted. I thought it was stunning and couldn’t wait to try the worldly flavors. Cardamom, saffron, pistachios, rose…So bohemian and a feast for the senses.

I don’t exactly consider myself a baker. I usually bake a cake or two a year, rarely do I bake cookies, maybe around Christmas. When I do bake, I tend to challenge myself, thinking how hard can it be right? This cake was not simple, and I think perhaps the altitude of Colorado might have been working against me on this one. My cake was not as fluffy as I was hoping, but the flavor. Wow. It was light and not too sweet, full of perfumed mystery. This cake screams Valentines Day if you’re so inclined. I thought Kristi was right on point with choosing this cake as a send off into marriage for our friend. ¬†The recipe made 2 small heart shaped pans. I think I will double it next time, cause there will be a next time… (read more)

MelindaPersian Love Cake
Lemon Bars, Lemonies, Lemon Brownies.

Lemonies! Sweet Lemon Bar Alternative

Lemon Bars, Lemonies, Lemon Brownies.

Lemon Yellowies are more firm like a brownie or dense cake.

We went to a potluck in the Cherry Creek district of Denver this weekend. What a beautiful home! The hosts were so gracious and generous with tons of food and drinks. They even organized a canned food drive. They had an artist doing charcoal portraits, and we had one done of Makayla. I met some really interesting people too, some of them artists as well.

Lemonies, Lemon Brownies, Lemon Bars.

The hosts requested that we bring either a dessert or a side dish, so we opted for dessert. Makayla made these Lemonies on her own with no help from me at all. We named these delicious treats Lemonies since they are like a brownie, but obviously not brown! They are different than a traditional lemon bar in that they are firm and more dense, which I happen to love. They have a great lemon flavor, but are not too sweet either. They are not gluten free or vegan or low carb or anything else as far as being friendly to any particular diet. But! They are totally delish for those who may stray from time to time or don’t really have to restrict their diets. I have ambition and goals of including treats for other restricted diets here, as I have been having to go more low carb for health reasons lately and have other friends that have other issues and choices as well. (read more)

MelindaLemonies! Sweet Lemon Bar Alternative
Almond Butter and Coconut Stuffed Dates with Orange Blossom Water and Honey

Moroccan Inspired Stuffed Dates

Almond Butter and Coconut Stuffed Dates with Orange Blossom Water and Honey

The secret ingredient to these rich sweet stuffed dates is the addition of orange blossom water.

When it comes to sweets and desserts, I am admittedly not a baker. I do try from time to time to bake up a treat, usually around one of the girls birthdays or when I want to challenge myself in the kitchen. When I came across some  ideas for stuffed dates, I was immediately inspired to create a recipe that takes those flavors on a Moroccan journey for our bohemian tea party, and no bake was something I am totally down for. In planning the party, I was thinking influences from India, Morocco, Turkey, and England. I wanted something vegetarian, since my good friend Rosie was coming and I thought about the traditional almond paste used in Moroccan cooking would be tasty stuffed in a date. There are traditional recipes for this treat, but being of bohemian spirit and liking to try out my own spin on the traditional, I decided to try it with almond butter. Adding the orange blossom water and honey to it gives it a sweet a light floral taste that is slightly mysterious. The amounts of almond butter, honey and orange blossom water are going to vary a little by how big your dates are. I used a couple tablespoons per date, since I was able to find these big medjool dates at the international market. (read more)

MelindaMoroccan Inspired Stuffed Dates

Caramel Cheesecake

Light Caramel Cheesecake

A light and tasty caramel cheese cake

The girls and I were cooped up in the house recently with a snowstorm and decided what better time to bake than a snow day? We had all of the ingredients on hand from aspirations of baking over the holidays that just never happened with everything else going on. We used dark brown sugar for the caramel sauce which gave it the rich color. This version we had a pre-made graham cracker crust on hand. Making crust is super easy however and you can get creative with adding crushed pretzels or nuts. I have included instruction for making the crust homemade here. (read more)

MelindaCaramel Cheesecake