Blueberry Almond Butter Cookies

Blueberry Almond Butter Cookies

Strolling through my Instagram and Facebook this week, I found that 99% of kids started school. We still have 2 weeks before school starts, which means that we can hit up our favorite touristy spots and not have to deal with lines!

Blueberry Studded Almond Butter Cookies

But before we do so, we have to get fully prepared for the school year. One of the things that I always do is send my kids to their first day of school with a little edible gift for their teacher. Normally this ends up biting me in arse, because somehow from there on out I am always in charge of the baking for the class events. However my daughter loves this gesture and loves helping me bake for her new teacher.

Delicious Blueberry Almond Butter Cookies

Since I started working with Blue Diamond Almonds at the beginning of summer, we have a great time trying all of their new flavors. The kids LOVE getting the “Almond Boxes” and helping me create a fun recipe while snacking on them.

Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds

We wanted to create a recipe for the new teacher that was fun and flavorful. Although this recipe does contain sugar, it is also packed with nutritious almond butter and dried blueberries. We dipped the cookies in white chocolate and sprinkled some chopped Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored almonds for an extra boost of blueberry! They came out absolutely delicious!

Blueberry Almond Cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with blueberry flavored almonds

Since we also received a package of the Salted Caramel Almonds, we omitted the dried blueberries in some of the dough and replaced them with some chopped salted caramel almonds. We made far less of these cookies because the almonds were so good that we did not have enough for a full batch!

Salted Caramel Almond Butter Cookies

We can’t wait to make these cookies again the day before school starts!

Blueberry Almond Butter Cookies


  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1?2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar for rolling
  • 1 cup white melting chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup chopped Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds, chopped coarsely


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat together almond butter, brown and white sugar, and butter until creamy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Mix in vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together baking soda and powder, flour and salt.
  6. Gradually add flour to butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
  7. Stir in dried blueberries.
  8. Scoop out 1 inch balls of dough and roll in sugar.
  9. Bake cookies for about 7-9 minutes.
  10. Once cookies are cool, melt chocolate with coconut oil or shortening.
  11. Dip half the cookie and sprinkle with almonds.
  12. Keep in an airtight container.


Canned Peach Pie Filling and a Peaches and Cream Pie

Peaches and Cream Pie

I am starting to come to the realization that I have a hard time living in the now and prefer to live in the future. With produce that is. Whenever there is a sale or we go picking, my first thought is to stock up so that I can make jam and pie filling. Next, I think about actually eating the fruit and enjoying its summer freshness. Kind of backwards don’t you think!?

Peach Pie Filling

There is just something about homemade jam and pie filling that gets me so excited. You know how annoying “name droppers” are, well I am a total food/ experience dropper. “You like that spaghetti sauce? Well it is made from tomatoes from our garden.” Wow, just writing that makes me realize how annoying I must be. But the thought of serving a dozen summer fruit pies at Thanksgiving, with produce that we picked and canned, makes me proud.

Peaches and Cream Pie

Canned Peach Pie Filling

Preserve your summer peaches for the cold winter nights! This recipe makes 7 quarts of fresh peach pie filling! Make sure you save a jar or two for Thanksgiving!


  • 6 qts of sliced peaches, about 10 pounds
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 2 cups ClearJel liquid pectin
  • 5 1/4 cups cold water or peach juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 7 qt mason canning jars/lids rings
  • Plus an additional 1/4 cup lemon juice


  1. To remove the skins, place peaches (a couple at a time)into boiling water for 30-60 seconds
  2. Remove from water and place into ice cold water, then remove the skins.
  3. Cut up the peaches into thick slices.
  4. To keep fresh cut peaches from turning brown mix in 1/4 cup lemon juice.
  5. Combine the water, sugar, ClearJel and cinnamon in large pot.
  6. Stir and cook over medium high heat until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
  7. Add the lemon juice and boil the sauce for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  8. Drain the peach slices, add to boiling liquid, and cook for 3 minutes.
  9. Carefully fill the jars within ¾”-1” from the top.
  10. Put the filled jars in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1” of water.
  11. Cover and boil for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from water and bring to room temperature.

Homemade Peach Pie Filling

After I made a huge batch of this Peach Pie filling, my husband insisted that I make a fresh pie to try it out. I had my eye on this Raspberry and Cream Pie from Since we were fresh out of raspberries, I swapped them out with the peaches. The pie was creamy and delicious. So much so that my husband actually hid it in the back of the fridge to insure that our monster eating machine children would not eat the rest before he got home from work. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Fresh Peach Pie

Back To School Freezer Meal Making Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ZiplocBackToSchool #CollectiveBias

Ziplock Freezer Meal Party

The kids’ school supplies and new uniforms have been purchased, which means back-to-school preparations are in full swing! I signed everyone up for their extracurricular activities, and let me tell you, I am going to be one busy mama!

Ziplock Freezer Meal Party 2

In an effort to reduce time and stress at dinnertime, I invited some of my friends and family over for a “Back-to-School Meal Prep Party”. We all joined forces and were able to prep a week’s worth of dinners. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this will reduce stress during the first week of school.

Ziplock Freezer Meal Party 3

Packaging is essential when it comes to pre-prepared meals, because the last thing we all have time for is cleaning up a spilled mess in the refrigerator or freezer. Ziploc® brand Storage bags and Freezer bags with Easy Open Tabs are perfect for meal prep parties! When planning a meal prep assembly party, organization is essential. If you have an itty-bitty kitchen like me, it is even more important. I set up different stations for every meal. One table, called the chopping block, was where all of the chopping and prep work was done.

Ziplock Freezer Meal Party 4

I tried to prep as much as possible. I compiled a collection of recipes and listed the steps to complete them.. I also made sure to forewarn everyone to clean out their freezers to make room for everything. I did my shopping at Ralphs two days prior to the party. That way, I could pre-cook items that I knew would take too long to make while the guests were here, namely the chicken and pie crusts for the chicken potpies. The morning of the party, I started the pulled pork and set the crockpot to high.

Ziplock Freezer Meal Party 5

When my guests arrived, I promptly put them to work. Each dish had the recipe printed and in less than three hours, we all had many meals to enjoy on busy nights. We all had so much fun and plan on making this a monthly occasion.  

Here are some of the things that we made:

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches are great, extra quick meals. Simply pull them out of the freezer, baste the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with ranch  powder and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. They turn into crispy, cheesy delicious sandwiches. Serve with a side salad for the perfect, simple meal.


Back To School Freezer Meal Making Party


    Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
  • 32 whole wheat dinner rolls
  • 2 pounds sliced roast beef or ham
  • 32 pieces of Provolone or Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup horseradish sauce
  • ¾ cup mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion and garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ ranch powder dip
  • Turkey Chili
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 3 (28 ounce) cans canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 (16 ounce) cans canned kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 8 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper


    Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
  1. In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, mustard, spices and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Cut rolls in half and spread mayonnaise combination on each slice.
  3. Layer with a slice of roast beef and cheese.
  4. Freeze sandwiches in Ziploc® brand Storage bags for a short amount of time or Ziploc® brand Freezer bag with Easy Open Tabs for up to one month.
  5. When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen sandwiches on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  6. Melt butter and baste the tops of the sandwiches; sprinkle with ranch powder.
  7. Cover rolls with foil and bake covered for 10 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes.
  8. This recipe makes 32 sandwiches, enough for four meals if served with a side salad.
  9. Turkey Chili
  10. In a large stockpot, heat oil.
  11. Add onions and sauté until they are translucent, about four minutes.
  12. Add ground turkey and cook until brown.
  13. Pour in tomatoes, spices and kidney beans.
  14. Reduce heat to medium and allow chili to simmer for one hour.
  15. Once chili is finished cooking remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  16. Once cool, divide into large Ziploc® brand Freezer bags with Easy Open Tabs for up to two months.
  17. This recipe makes 24 servings.

Freezer Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pies are wonderful for a chilly evening after soccer practice. It is a comfort meal at its finest. Since I was only storing these for a short period of time, I used Ziploc® brand Storage bags. (For a longer freezing time you can use Ziploc® brand Freezer bags.) I took the pot pies out of the freezer and popped them in the oven. Within 30 minutes, you will have a delicious home cooked meal. I used the faithful recipe from and quadrupled it to make eight seven-inch pies.

Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili is a staple in our house, and it freezes beautifully. We used  tomatoes from the garden in place of canned diced tomatoes. . Now we can all enjoy the summer harvest in the fall.

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

For the final recipe, we made my favorite: Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork. It is easy to make and can be frozen for up to three months when using Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags with Easy Open Tabs. Again, we used Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs because ours was only frozen for a few days. Once thawed, I use it in sandwiches, stir-fries and even Hawaiian style with sliced cabbage and rice. It is one of our favorite proteins and is really inexpensive to make.

Freezer Meal Party Take Homes

So if you are a busy mom like me, I highly suggest planning and hosting a “Back-to-School Meal Prep Party”. Not only is it a great opportunity to get together with friends and family, but it is a huge time saver on those busy nights.

Finally for all of your back-to-school sandwich bag needs, there will be $0.50 off regular retail price of Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs between 8/9 and 8/30. Now there is no excuse to not do some meal prepping!


Chipotle Steak with Mango Salsa

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias

Chipotle Marinated Skirt Steak with fresh Mango Salsa

For a while now, my husband and I have been looking to move out of California. However in the case that it ever does come to fruition, I made it my life’s mission to master the art of Mexican cuisine. Growing up in southern California, Mexican food is just something I cannot live without. Trust me, I have tried, and it is not physically possible. 

Mango Salsa and Chipotle Steak

Chipotles in adobo sauce add one of my favorite flavor profiles ever. The chiles add a depth of smoky heat to any dishes. I will often add a pepper or two to chicken dishes and even pasta dishes. One of my favorite recipes is a chipotle white sauce with grilled peppers, shrimp and pasta. It is fantastic! Needless to say, whenever I am at Walmart, I always pick up a few extra cans of La Morena products (found in the hispanic food isle) to have on hand.

La Morena!

I was having people over this past weekend and I wanted to make something fresh and delicious. Skirt steak or flap meat are a few of my favorite cuts to prepare for a crowd. They soak up the marinade perfectly and cook on the grill quickly. For this marinade I wanted to add the smokiness of the chipotle peppers but also add a bit acidity from the pickled peppers to tone done the spiciness. Added with a few other ingredients such as onions, garlic, cumin, etc., this marinade turned out perfect and is definitely worth adding to my recipe collection.

Chipotle Marinated Skirt Steak

I also made a fresh mango salsa to add on top of the meat. I cannot even begin to tell you how perfect the sweet, spicy, smoky flavor combination was! If you are a cranberry sauce and turkey kind of person, this is your perfect summer combination.

Mango Salsa

For the salsa I used a fresh mango, handful of cilantro, thinly sliced radishes for crunch, salt, and fresh lime juice. I also added in a few La Morena pickled jalapeños for spice and the acidity. It definitely toned down the sweetness of the mango slightly, and made it a bit more savory.

Mango Salsa and Steak!

Latino inspired recipes are always bursting with flavors and are usually easy and quick to make, making them the perfect style meal for your next backyard BBQ!

La Morena


Chipotle Steak with Mango Salsa


    Steak Marinade
  • 1 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced pickled jalapeños
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs skirt steaks or flap meat
  • 1 lime
  • Mango Salsa
  • 1 large mango
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lime
  • 12 tortillas


  1. To create the marinade, place skirt steak in a large gallon sized freezer bag or a baking dish.
  2. Cover with thinly sliced onions.
  3. In a bowl, combine minced chipotle chiles, garlic, jalapeños, cumin, salt, chili powder, and paprika.
  4. Add olive oil and mix to create the marinade.
  5. Pour over steaks and turn the steaks to fully coat.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but preferably at least an hour.
  7. While steak is marinating, make the salsa.
  8. Peel and dice mango.
  9. Mix mango with onion, cilantro, radishes, and salt.
  10. Squeeze lime over salsa and toss to combine.
  11. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  12. To make the steak, heat grill to high.
  13. Once hot, place the steaks on the grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  14. Remove from grill and slice against the grain.
  15. Serve with mango salsa and tortillas.

Ice Cream Sandwich Bar

Ice Cream Sandwich Bar

Last month I turned the big 3-0.  I had originally planned on throwing a huge Flamingo party, but in the end I realized I just didn’t have the energy. Instead, I invited everyone over for a fun backyard BBQ.

Ice Cream Sandwich Bar

Since ice cream sandwiches are my favorite dessert, I had to have them at my birthday party. I made dozens of cookies to go with the Safeway Open Nature Ice Cream, and set up the table so that everyone could make their own concoction.

New York Black and White Cookies

What you do not see here are the platters upon platters of cookies that didn’t fit on the dessert table and were placed on the table next to it. I wanted to make sure that every flavor of ice cream had at least two cookies that it could potentially be sandwiched together with.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Also, I have this horrible fear of running out of food during a party so I always make waaayyy more than I should. In the end, I made about 26 dozen cookies, and was left with 18 cookies after the party. For once I actually got it right!

Ice Cream Party

I really wanted to have a huge selection to pair with the ice cream. For the cookie flavors, I made Salted Chocolate Chip, Triple Chocolate, Sugar, Chai Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal, Lemon Bar Cookies, Peanut Butter (with Toffee), Blueberry Crumble Cookies, and Perfect M&M cookies. I also made Belgian waffles, brownies, and New York Black and White Cookies.

Cookie Sandwich Ice Cream Party

Safeway’s Open Nature Brand Ice Creams come in some amazing flavors. Their Gelatos are absolutely delicious. I noticed many people were doing a tropical combination of mango or coconut sorbet and lemon coconut cookies. Another favorite was the Salted Chocolate Chip cookies with the Salted Caramel Butter Pecan Ice Cream. I had everyone write down their combination, and we can’t wait to try them out later!

Ice Cream Sandwich Party!!!

Overall it was a wonderful party and a great way to celebrate a new decade!



Thank you Safeway for providing the Ice Cream for my Birthday Bash!


Smoked Fish Carbonara

Quick and Easy Smoked Fish Carbonara

Being a food blogger means that I have to spend hours in the kitchen almost every day developing and testing recipes. When it comes to dinner on most nights, I am worn out. Generally my brain is depleted of any creativity and I resort to the classic easy dishes. Sometimes, however, I will get a spark, craving, or burst of energy and decide to make something more elaborate. Or, sometimes I just get lucky and make a dinner so delicious that we have to stop eating and quickly take a picture.

Perfect Easy Dinner in Under 30 Minutes! Smoked Fish Carbonara

The latter happened last night. I had actually been cooking all day, not for the blog, but for home. I am trying to make and preserve all of the left of fruits and veggies that are growing in our yard or that we have picked at numerous upticks on our recent travels. After an exhausting day of canning and pickling, I resorted to our family favorite meal of Pasta Carbonara. Except, of course, we had no bacon (clearly the universe was trying to send me to the store again)!

Pasta Carbonara with Smoked Fish

Last weekend we played hooky for a couple of days and went deep-sea fishing. It was the first time for my husband and older son, but they did not disappoint! They reeled those feisty Tuna and Yellow Tail fish in like a champ. I even caught a 30 pound yellow tail! We froze most of the fish, but I also smoked a few fillets.

philippe fishing

When I realized I was out of bacon and about to head to the store, my husband suggested I use the smoked fish. I swear this man is so smart. The result was a creamy and smoky pasta dish that was just perfect. Everyone licked their plates. I think that just about any smoked fish would work in this pasta dish and I am eager to try it out with some smoked salmon!

chris fishing

If you are not a fan of smoked fish, simply sub it out for the traditional bacon or pancetta.

Smoked Fish Carbonara


  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flaked smoked fish
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Make the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. While pasta is cooking, make the liquid.
  3. In a bowl, combine eggs, half and half, and Parmesan cheese and whisk to combine.
  4. When pasta is ready to be drained, reserve 1/2 cup of starchy liquid before draining.
  5. Pour pasta into colander, and place pan on medium high heat with olive oil.
  6. Quickly sauté garlic for about 2 minutes, then add smoked fish and cook for another minute.
  7. Reduce heat to low and add pasta and egg mixture.
  8. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  9. If sauce begins to thicken, add a tablespoon at a time of the reserved pasta liquid.
  10. Serve immediately with freshly grated pepper, chopped parsley, and more shredded parmesan.



Buttery Coffee Cake

Thick Buttery Coffee Cake

Sunday mornings are reserved for big family breakfasts. Normally, my husband is in charge of making the spread, but since he has been working so hard I have been subbing in and letting him sleep.

Aren’t I sweet?! Yah, no I am not. I must admit that my taking over breakfast duty is purely selfish, because I absolutely hate making breakfast. You see, if I let my husband sleep in interrupted, he will sleep until 11 or 12. Since I wake up at 5 am everyday, 11am seems like an eternity to wait to start our day.

Topping overload Coffee Cake

Since I would feel horrible actually going in and waking him up, I start breakfast. It is amazing how the aromas of something baking or frying bacon will lure him out of bed. I guess subconsciously he knows that if he doesn’t get up immediately when it is ready there is a good chance there will be nothing left when he does actually gets up. My kids seem to have bottomless pit stomachs in the morning.

This past Sunday I had a Honey Do list two pages long, so I started cooking early. I had been craving a buttery coffee cake for sometime and knew this would create the perfect smells to drag him out of bed. By 9am, he was up, fed, and ready to start crossing things off his list. If you ever meet my husband, please do not tell him my secret!

Coffee Cake Bars

I like my coffee cakes thick with lots of crumb topping. I also love the buttery taste, which is why I use my favorite Plugrá European Style butter. It definitely adds creaminess to the cake.

Perfect Thick Coffee Cake

This is the perfect cake for breakfast or dessert. Serve it with some fresh berries and a dollop of whip cream! Enjoy!

Buttery Coffee Cake


  • 3 tablespoons melted Plugra butter
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or milk
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted melted Plugra Butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In in a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat melted butter, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Stir in flour mixture.
  5. Pour batter into baking dish.
  6. To make the topping, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix until small clumps form.
  7. Sprinkle topping over the batter.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean.

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