Sparkle Power


Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Light is not my friend here, dear people. So, you’ll have to take the boy’s word for it when he tells you that these cookies “sparkle.” It’s just the sugar, catching little bits of fire light I’m sure. But it’s really hard to resist the request, “Hey mom, will you bake some of those sparkly cookies?”

You should also know, in addition to being sparkly, these cookies are a panacea for all that ails you. Whether you’ve succumbed to your inner 12 year old (or outer as the case might be!) and slacked off on all your responsibilities so that your mother has a mini-melt down upon viewing the state of your bedroom floor.

Or, you’ve embraced your inner 3 year old (or outer 40 as the case might be!) and melted-down over things not going your way and wishing JUST ONCE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, you could see your kid’s floor.

Or you’re just the guy stuck between these two forces of nature, wishing you could hide under the kid’s bed like the dog, except you’re afraid of what might be underneath the kid’s bed by the state of his floor.

It doesn’t matter. These cookies will make you feel better. They will make you smile and laugh and apologize and vow to do better in the future. How do they do it? They have Sparkle Power. And really, that’s hard to argue with too. Recipe on the flip.


Snausages, and Brie, and Chicken. . . Pot Pie!


How much do I love purple for Halloween?

I had originally intended to publish an amazing recipe for Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies today. However, we had one of those lovely family days yesterday and we ended up splurging on this ridiculously yummy confection of pumpkin pie, cheesecake, with a layer of chocolate ganache. It’s so rich, and there is so much left over, I don’t have the heart to bake today.  So, I’m going to postpone putting up the recipe until later this week when the cheesecake is all gone and I can snap a few photos of these gorgeous cookies that, according to Boy Wonder, sparkle.

You’ll come back for sparkly cookies, won’t you? Yeah, I thought so!

In the mean time, though, here are a few links to some fabulous fall food finds. They all sound so delish—I can’t wait to try them!


Walking the Dog Pumpkin Bread


Chocolate makes everything better, no?

It’s hard to believe that just 2 short weeks ago, our high out here on the edge of the world was 92! Today, we made it to a balmy 67—but our low was 38! It’s got me pointing out all the really great things I’m doing around the house.

Me: “Hey, I did your laundry. . . you’ll walk the dog for me tonight, right?” and “Hey! I baked you cake and made you yummy drinks, the least you could do is walk the dog, buddy.” I’ve even stooped so low as, “Hey, sweetie. . . remember last night, (cough), yeah, you’ll walk my dog tonight, right?”

IZ is not amused. But it’s cold outside! Too dang cold to be walking Miss “here, let me take forever to pee” Sophie! I like being able to feel my feet, thank you very much.

The cold does usher in baking season. There’s something about the smell of carbohydrates and fat baking in the oven that just makes a girl happy. So, I thought I’d share one of our favorites this time of year. If you make it, maybe someone else will walk your dog tonight.

And yes, you can read that last sentence whichever way makes you happy!

Recipe after the jump!


The Woodland


What I’m drinking this fall.

Last Saturday, IZ and I played hooky and ran off to Portland for the day.  We ended up  at 23 Hoyt for appetizers and I ordered this amazing drink that I just had to come home and replicate.

I’m a huge fan of drinks that don’t try too hard. If you have to use  15  ingredients to make it work, I’m not going to bother. I just don’t keep that kind of alcohol on hand. What I love about this particular drink is that it’s  straight forward and it’s main ingredients are things I already have in my kitchen. It’s not too sweet and it doesn’t overpower either—it’s effortlessly refreshing. I like effortless!

I’m not a hundred percent certain this is the exact concoction,  since I couldn’t find a recipe for it on google. But IZ seems to think this is pretty close.  So, here you go. . . Enjoy!

The Woodland

2 parts Bourbon (the better you use, the better your drink. With exception to true top shelf Bourbon. That should be for sipping, not mixing into cocktails. Ahem.)

1 part honey

1 part fresh  squeezed lemon juice. I used plain lemons, but I’d love to try this with a Meyer!

Mix until honey dissolves. Old school would be to put this into a cocktail shaker with the ice and shake your  booty. But I think that waters down the bourbon.

Pour over a glass full of ice. (You should probably strain it at this point, but I don’t because I like the pulp.) Top with lemon slice.  Enjoy.

Guard Your Heart


Endless Summer Artichokes with Chipotle Sauce


When I was a kid, my mother had me convinced that artichokes weren’t worth eating. Being the gullible child that I was, and having a deep suspicion of all things vegetable, I believed her—even as she sat enraptured at the dinner table, dipping leaf after leaf into mayonnaise. Eventually, my curiosity won out. I knew full well anything dipped in Best Foods had to be worth a try. I was right!

“You lied!” I accused her. She just smiled and said, “A little. But here, you won’t like the heart. I’ll eat that part for you.”

I had no idea I was giving away the best part! I’m not so gullible now. But to this day, despite knowing better, I still munch on just the leaves. It’s become a small tradition—in all earnestness and yet all cheeze, I give up “my heart” to IZ. He still can’t believe I fell for my mother’s schitck. She was well known for telling people, “Oh that cake? It’s just awful! But, I’ll eat it so it doesn’t go to waste.” I was well known for believing anything. Most people knew she was kidding because cake is above reproach. Vegetables do not have such a reputation. In my defense, she’d tried tempting me with mayo in past. I hadn’t forgotten how repulsive broccoli is and artichokes seemed more than a little bit similar. 

It’s a bit past artichoke season; they peak in May. But you can still find them at local markets and a good grocery store through July. Before they’re completely gone from the stores, I thought I’d share with you our preferred way of eating them. IZ managed to recreate this recipe from our  favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. They’re a lot of work, but I promise, so worth the effort.  Just remember to guard your heart and only give it away to someone worthy!



About Those Donuts

I don’t know how your weather shaped up this weekend, but ours was dismal. Sheets of perpetual rain interrupted only by hail storms, winds whipping spring bulbs to tatters, and colder than you might expect in April.  In other words, the weather was being Oregon.  

It was so wet, my Saturday alarm clock of over-eager gardeners with lawn mowers fell silent. The die-hards were sleeping in. Not even Yard Guilt could be talked into getting dressed this weekend. Instead of creeping at the edges, tugging at my shirtsleeves, nagging at my soul,  she threw the covers over her head in blissful knowledge that the grass could wait. 

We, here at Chez Wonder, didn’t mind. In part because we had no plans to leave our house, much less get dressed this weekend.  But also because we had donuts planned. And in the cosmic battle between the dismal grey skies that so define springtime in Oregon and the small glimmer of hope for summer we nurture in our souls—Donuts, my friends, donuts always come to the rescue. 

About these Donuts.

They’re baked not fried and you can find the recipe here. Be forewarned, the recipe makes a lot, a LOT of donuts. (Using a 1.5″ cookie cutter, about 100 donut holes) Too many for our tiny family to consume in one sitting. Sadly, they do not transition into day old donuts, slightly dry but still edible. No, they become rocks; because they’re baked, not fried. It’s trade-off, I suppose. One worth making when you start factoring calories. Which, might not be something you should do when you’re talking donuts.

Anyhow, unless your family is quite large or you’re feeding teenagers, I don’t suggest you  make the whole recipe at one time. Instead, you can do this:

After the first rise, split the dough in half. Roll out the first half, let rise, bake, devour. Set the second half aside in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap. Before bed, roll out the second half and put on a baking sheet. Cover that sheet in plastic wrap and pop back into the fridge. You’ll need to take them out an hour before baking the next morning–but if you let them rest and rise, you can have a second batch of fresh donuts the next morning.

And I know we’re not talking calories, but just the same—I sugar these donuts in small batches. I only melt a couple of tablespoons at a time and you won’t need as much butter as the recipe calls for. If you sugar them in small lots, then you’ll need fresh sugar/cinnamon about half way through the process.  The sugar mix gets too wet to stick otherwise. But in small batches you’ll have less waste. If that makes sense?

The chocolate glaze is super easy.  Just mix melted dark chocolate chips, a bit of milk, and powdered sugar until it’s the right consistency.