Sushi Cake

Our youngest son turned 5 in August and he requested a “sushi cake.” The child LOVES sushi and frequently requests it for special events. I share his love for sushi and was only too happy to oblige! I searched for ideas and then created my own version of a sushi cake using cake, candy, fruit roll-ups, rice krispies, marshmallows, chocolate, Swedish fish, and coconut. It was so fun and turned out better than I could have imagined! The only inedible part was the chopsticks. The base cake was mint chocolate as requested by the birthday boy and the sushi rolls were vanilla cake. Hope you enjoy!

Sushi Cake





In My Kitchen

It’s been awhile, I know. But I have a few posts planned and thought you might enjoy a brief update on life in my kitchen.

The Year of the Olive experiment is going well. While I don’t love kalamata olives yet, I am enjoying them as an occasional accompaniment. For one dinner I stuffed bell peppers with a Greek-type filling of rice, chickpeas, onion, olives, parsley, lemon juice, etc. Quite tasty. Jeremy and I have also enjoyed sauteed kale with chopped olives and walnuts. I’m not ready to move on black olives yet, but perhaps this summer.

My gluten-free baking skills have taken a hit since my move last fall. Altitude. Texture is a huge factor in gf baking and altitude is forcing me to re-teach myself some of my skills. Everything I’ve made so far has been edible, but the texture is not quite right about 50% of the time. So, you won’t be seeing a lot of baking recipes from me for at least awhile.


For the past month or so Jeremy and I have enjoyed experimenting with a plant-based diet. Doing without animal products has forced me to think outside the box with my meals (such as the Mediterranean plate pictured above). We’ve eaten very well. I don’t know how long we’ll continue eating this way, but it’s been a great experience. I plan to share a few of our favorite plant-based recipes with you here.

Stay tuned for some new recipes. Until then, I hope you’re finding inspiration in your kitchen.

Happy New Year

Well, our good intentions failed… We really did intend to post last week but we took a vacation week instead. 🙂 We actually got to spend a couple of days together with the rest of our siblings and family – we enjoyed great food, a lot of laughter, and many games. I have precisely zero pictures to show for this. Sigh.

While I didn’t really make any new recipes, I did spend ALOT of time in the kitchen making:

Fudge – I combined the peanut butter and chocolate and made it double decker in a 9×13 pan (yum!), made more mocha coconut, and another batch of butter pecan fudge. Now, all of the leftovers must permanently disappear.

Cookies – Many dozen of many varieties.

Cinnamon RollsPioneer Woman’s recipe is my favorite. The frosting with the maple and coffee is divine but you can also make them with vanilla frosting. They are super easy and I’ve made them a few times this year… 🙂

Jalapeno Dip – This was a last minute decision and I was reminded again of how absolutely delicious and easy this is.

Caramel Corn Two big batches were consumed in and embarassingly short amount of time. We shared with our neighbors and others but still…

Chex Mix – It’s addictive and somehow never gets old. I can’t stay out of this stuff!

Brie – Just yum. I could live on brie.

I’m sure I’m missings something…I did make a nutritious and delicious salad with spinach, mixed greens, pear, pecans, dried cranberries, feta, and balsamic dressing.

All in all, good food, wonderful holidays!

Did you make anything awesome? Any food goals for the coming year?

Welcome, 2012. Back to health and fitness – more of the time. 🙂



In My Kitchen

Thanks so much for welcoming me here! I’m excited to join The Cooks Next Door!

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I love pulling out the soup pot, indulging in pumpkin just about anything, eating stove-top applesauce, and relishing the warmth of food. But before I let you see the food on my table, first let me show you where I cook.

With a big south-facing window, my kitchen is the brightest room in the house (a bit toasty during the summer, but oh-so cozy throughout the winter). The room is square and somewhat small, but decently designed for an apartment. And this is where the kitchen magic experiments happen.

When I got married just over two years ago, I anticipated spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking. My mom is a fantastic cook and she trained me well. I wanted to put wholesome, homemade food on the table for Jeremy.

What I couldn’t know then, was that less than a year later I’d be overhauling all my baking techniques. Gluten-free. It unnerved me. But with a lifetime of cooking gluten-free ahead of me, I plunged in. My learning curve in the kitchen has been necessarily steep since that July day we received the news. Some of my attempts have ended up in the trash. But small triumphs emerged along the way and those are what keep me going.

So, without further adieu, here’s what’s been cooking in my kitchen of late.

I embarked on my first gluten-free pie baking, with a pumpkin pie, and was so pleased with the results. I could seriously eat this for breakfast everyday with a glass of cold milk.

Just about every week since early October, I’ve made a pot of cinnamon applesauce to snack on during the week. As I don’t have a photo and applesauce doesn’t make a very attractive picture anyway, you’ll just have to imagine the flavor tingling your taste buds, just a little bit tart, with the warmth of cinnamon.

And, in an attempt to embrace more of the seasonal food, I bought some Brussel sprouts and roasted them with onions and pumpkin seeds, following a recipe from Recipes From the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman.