Cherry Pie

CherryPie_28505I just wanted to share this pretty cherry pie picture we had on set the other day.  The amazing stylist Karla Spies was preparing it in the studio and I had the pleasure of getting to watch her and see all the trade secrets.  First of all its really a mash potato pie with a layer of cherries on top, so I guess a savory sweet pie.  And the other tip I learned was she made her lattice pie crust on a sheet of wax paper and then put it in the freezer so she could lay the whole top on perfectly. Then let it thaw out and crimp the edges.

It was a thing of beauty, of course those stylist always make it look so easy. Perhaps this will inspire you for those thanksgiving pies that are right around the corner.

thanks Robin



Lemon Lime Shrub


This Lemon lime shrub is a refreshing beverage to sip on as the temps and humidity keeps rising.  The discovery of shrubs continues for me,.  I found this recipe and many more in this book by Michael Dietsch, this is a great resource for process and recipes.

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I mix this lemon lime shrub with sparkly water and either vodka or gin for a simple cocktail. With shrubs I suggest using a milder vinegar like a champagne or white wine and start by adding the vinegar in small quantities and continue to taste till you like the flavor.


  • 5-6 lemons (yields one cup of juice)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 3/4 cup champagne vinegar


  1. remove the yellow part of the lemon peel. Juice the lemons.
  2. add the lemon and lime juice to vinegar and the oleo-saccharum. Blend to combine. put in jar and shake to blend. allow 3 to 4 days for flavors to meld.

In addition you do a process called oleo-saccharum with the peels of the lemons to add some more in-depth flavor to the sugar with blending the oils of the lemon peels and the sugar.

  1. With a vegetable  peeler remove the rind of the the lemon, careful to remove the white pith. And use the remaining zest.
  2. place zest in bowl with sugar. Muddle the zest with sugar with a wooden spoon.
  3. cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour or longer. After remove the peels and discard save the oily sugar to use in the shrub.

the sugar will add some zesty flavor to your shrub.



Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub


I discovery a shrub at a farmers market in Madison Wisconsin, a lady was selling kombucha and this syrup called a shrub.

The fascination still continues as I read about the history and google recipes online. As most things usually go once you discover something then you start to notice it..  My friend Karla and I did some research and made a few shrubs at home. There are a lot of techniques for making shrubs we use the cold process.

The shrub is a fruit, sugar and vinegar syrup that can be mixed with soda, booze or both. A shrub is both tart and sweet; the acidic trace enhances the fruit and smooths out the sweetness of the sugar.  In colonial America shrub syrup was a method to preserve fruit before we had refrigeration. And a thirst quencher on hot days.

As I mentioned there are several methods to making a shrub, I use the simple cold process.




Ingredients are all equal parts

1cup fruit diced up into pieces

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar {cider, champagne or balsamic}

Place fruit in bowl. Cover with sugar and stir.

Cover and store in refrigerator until juice exudes from fruit and starts to combine with sugar to form syrup. This may need a couple of days. Don’t worry how long the fruit sits in the frig it will not harm the syrup.

Strain syrup from fruit. I use a cheese cloth and squish lightly on the fruit to express any remaining juice. Add any remaining sugar into syrup.

Add vinegar and stir to combine.

Pour into clean bottle. Store in refrigerator.

Check to see if all the sugar has dissolved.

I’ve read that you can keep the shrub in the frig for up to a year.

         Cocktail Mixture

2 parts spirit {gin,vodka,rum ect}

½ part shrub

2 dashes of bitters {lemon,orange ect.}

other options are to add:

1 part flavored liqueur

combine ingredients with ice in cocktail shaker poor over ice in glass and add a splash of sparkly water.

images styled with Karla Spies

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bar


I had to share this salted Caramel chocolate chip bar with you.  It is so sick, we were making them in the studio and I could not stop snacking on them till I felt sick. But it is worth it. This bar is a chocolate cookie salty sweet gooey goodness.  And easy to make with the quick Caramel microwave instructions.



this recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker

photo stylist Barb Standal

mmmmmm enjoy


Boost your immunity with Apple Cider Vinegar


There are a lot of claims for apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon a day will keep the colds away. Last winter I got on the cider band wagon and I did stay pretty healthy. I found this recipe on health& fit point.

“Whenever people have problems with some infection, they immediately turn to pharmaceutical products to get rid of it as soon as possible. Remember that infections in the body should not be always treated with antibiotics. So, why don’t you look for a natural solution instead? We have the right recipe for you. Besides from being very effective, it is very healthy. Its preparation couldn’t be simpler and revitalizes you body, giving it back its proper function. You know that strong immune system means healthy body. Therefore, this remedy will boost your immune system and you can forget about infections and bacteria.”

It sounds like a good idea to me, so I  decided to take it up a notch this season by infusing my cider, not sure how it’s going to taste but all the ingredients look to be healthy.
Heres to a healthy, happy winter season.

Olive Oil Brown Sugar moisturizer

ob 6321Last winter I received this olive oil mixture as a gift, at first I was scarred to try it. It seamed messy and suspicious. It took someone else to try it out first on her hands, she gave it a good review. So I gave it a try rubbing it on my hands, yea it’s nice. It exfoliates and leaves your hands silky smooth. It’s good to keep in the shower and use on your legs, really never felt so smooth-ok maybe TMI.

It’s about 50/50 brown sugar and olive oil and then add a couple drops of lavender oil, just to make it smell nice.  That’s all and everyone can find it in their cupboard. I’ve read on-line people use it on their faces, but I’m not going there seems like too much oil. This is a great mixture for those winter months.

Spicy Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Pancetta Soup

ImageIt’s dipping below zero temperatures here in Mpls. Makes you want to stay inside and make something warm.  I’ve been reading about how healthy sweet potato and Quinoa are for you,  so when I saw this recipe in Donna Hay Magazine I had to give it a try.  I enjoyed the soup pretty simple to make and you can load it up with all the spinach you want.


Outside Lands Festival

We went to San Francisco to attend the Outside Land Festival in Golden Gate Park, a 3 day music festival. Lots of great music it was hard to navigate the set lists and see it all. The food at the festival was the best surprise, so much amazing food booths to choose from, each day we tried something new and delicious. We started with the BBQ Oysters, huge oysters in the shell BBQ’ ed on the grill with garlic butter and a spicy BBQ sauce on top-WOW I’m still thinking about them.Next on the list was these scrumptious Korean tacos, nori wrapped chicken with a kick of spice.

The classic Funnel Cake taken to a whole new level.  Powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream and a pile of bacon. Sweet and salty never taste so good.

Wood Fired Flatbread Pizza they bake Certified Organic and Locally Sourced. A majority of the ingredients are from family owned and independent farmers.

For dessert we wondered into Choco Land a wonderland of treats.

I can’t wait till next year to try everything I missed. Check it out yourself

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

It’s been a heat wave here in Minneapolis, we are breaking the heat index all over the country. I’m sweating just sitting here. I don’t feel like cooking, let alone eat anything. This should be a great diet plan.  Gonna make something light and refreshing. Here is a watermelon salad, great for a BBQ. The best tip in this salad is the trick of steeping the onion in lime juice it really cuts the bite.

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

1 small red onion
2-4 limes, juiced
3 1/2 pounds Sweet, ripe watermelon
9 oz Feta cheese
bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
bunch fresh mint. chopped
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz (1/2cup) pitted black olives

Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice. Two limes worth. Remove the rind and seeds from the watermelon, cut into 1 3/4inch pieces. Cut Feta into bite size pieces and put into large bowl.  Tear up parsley and add to bowl along with chopped mint.  Pour onions and juice over watermelon, add olive oil and olives.  Toss gently.  Add a good grind of black pepper and taste to see if dressing needs more lime.

This recipe came out of a great cook book: Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson

I wish it would be forever summer even with the heat I’m not gonna complain.