Category Archives: Passion


Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Recipe


I love baking. In my mid 20’s I had aspirations to be Martha Stewart and spent my free time making cake from scratch and cooking home cooked meals in cast iron. I’ve been known to make my own whip cream. I absolutely love baking. It has always been a creative outlet and a source of inspiration for me. It’s a tradition I want to carry on to my kids. I want to making baking and cooking in a kitchen and home filled with lots of memories. Baking with kiddos is best when they can be hands on. That’s why my chocolate peanut butter truffles are the perfect family activity. Outside of using a double broiler, there is little actual preparation. Plus, the work is so unbelievably yummy.


6 cups of powdered sugar

2 tsp of vanilla

3 cups of chocolate chips semi sweet

4-5 baking squares unsweetened chocolate

2 cups of peanut butter

1 cup of butter

1 tsp of sea salt

First you will need to set up a double broiler for the chocolate. I use a medium to large sized sauce pan filled halfway with water and then place a metal mixing bowl inside the water. Add your chocolates, 1/2 tsp of sea salt and stir regularly on low to medium heat. The double broiler keeps the chocolate from burning and takes time to melt. Don’t be afraid of the double broiler. It is so easy, and you don’t have to invest in extra cooking supplies. I recommend using existing kitchen pans and bowls. They work just fine.

In a mixing bowl, add your butter and begin mixing. You will need to add the powdered sugar slowly over time and alternativen by mixing. Add no more than 1 cup of sugar otherwise you make a gigantic mess. Add in your vanilla, 1/2 tsp of sea salt and peanut butter into your mixer. Mix well.


Set up a baking sheet with a sheet of wax paper. Then begin to prepare your truffles by rolling them into balls. This is where an extra set of hands comes into play. My daughter gets to be part of the product from start to finish with a short prep time to match my girl’s 6 year old attention span.

I like to roll 15-20 dough balls giving more time for my chocolate to melt. I then gently lay the truffle into the melted sauce and then drizzle the chocolate over the truffle until its fully covered. I then gently remove the covered truffle and lay on the wax paper so the chocolate dries.


I’m always a little nervous when I put the truffle out of the chocolate as it looks messy, but once you give it time to dry, they look so beautiful (pictured at the top). I love these truffles because they not only require a small amount of ingredients but can be made way in advance because they freeze well. Each batch makes approximately 50-60 truffles depending on the size of the dough balls. I like to make two batches on Thanksgiving to get me through the entire holiday season. These are extremely popular and make great gifts for teachers, friends and family.


We finished off the evening packaging our truffles in some cute vintage cookie and candy boxes I found at World Market. I have matching holiday paper bread pans to make banana nut bread to be delivered to friends and clients. Don’t worry we will be enjoying some too. Happy holidays!

Home Passion

Easy Yet Delicious Plum Jam Recipe

Love canning? Click here to read about my orange marmalade recipe.

One of the things about living in a new house in California is the surprises that your yard brings. We have a number of trees and bushes here that are fruit bearing. Every new bloom is a tasty surprise in the making. A couple weeks ago, I realized that we had fruits on one of our front yard trees. I took to Instagram and Facebook to ask my friends exactly what this fruit might be.

 2014-05-30 15.37.57

The consensus was a plum which my neighbors later confirmed. It is a Santa Rosa plum tree to be exact and apparently, it’s quite famous on our little cul de sac. Having never made plum jam I spent last weekend with my daughter and hubby pitting plums, cooking and creating.

We made two different canned items from the plums from our front yard tree: 1) Plum jam and 2) Plum chutney. I’ve included the recipe for the plum jam below. The plum chutney recipe will be posted at a later date. I use a pressure cooker in my canning. Once you get the hang of it is so easy. Before I share my recipes, here is a helpful video I recommend the explains how to seal and sanitize your canning jars with a pressure cooker.

Plum Jam Recipe

This recipe came to me from my friend Jen who was the first to identify my plum tree from the photo above. I am a fan of simple cooking and ingredients making cooking fun and easy. *Note: I made a small addition to her recipe and added 3 teaspoons of vanilla as well as mint I had from the garden which I sprinkled on the top of the jam just before sealing the lid.

6.5 lbs of plums

2 lbs sugar

2/3 cups rum

3 teaspoons of vanilla

chopped mint

Pit and half them and get rid of flaws…if you leave bruised pieces in, it will be bitter.

Add sugar and rum and toss until they are coated.

Put it in a big turkey roasting pan and bake at 400 covered for 30 mins (don’t overfill, it will get hot and bubbly)

Stir with wooden spoon only

Remove lid and cook another 2 hours or so stirring at least every 30 min

Put into hot sterile jars

Add a pinch of chopped mint to top jam

The most time consuming part of this recipe was the pitting. My daughter helped me separate the pits from the meaty plum pieces. I kept the skin of the plum on them. The plums were so juicy making them extremely hard to pit. I finally figured out my own system where I would just turn the plum and cut around the pit. I didn’t feel too bad about being wasteful as my plum scraps went into my composter to be used on my vegetable garden at a later time.


2014-06-07 14.28.48


2014-06-07 14.28.40

The recipe called for a turkey roaster so I improvised and used my cast iron dutch oven. Be very careful not to overfill. The mixture can and will bubble over filling your kitchen with smoke and making your oven a mess. Add the sugar, vanilla and rum. Stir well. Don’t forget to set your timer and use a wooden spoon.

2014-06-07 17.59.00

2014-06-07 17.59.29-1

I really love adding the mint once I added the jam to the sterile jars. It makes for a yummy touch later on. My jam set really quickly literally overnight, and the results are yummilicious! My family gives this recipe two thumbs up and just can’t get enough.

2014-06-09 09.05.36

Love canning? Click here to read about my orange marmalade recipe.


Home Passion

Easy Delicious Canned Orange Marmalade


One of the perplexing things about now living in California is the amount of time I seem to have to enjoy personal hobbies. Living in Oklahoma, we seemed to always be busy. I was rushed, and I sacrificed doing things I enjoyed personally in favor of my business or my family. Now living in California, we are still busy probably even more so, but I find myself cooking more and most importantly eating together at the dinner table when the hubby or I isn’t traveling. In fact just last night we cooked up the most amazing cauliflower mashed potatoes. I’ve put together a Pinterest board of recipes we’re committed to trying. Click here to access the Yummilicious board on Pinterest.

At our home in Northern California, we have a number of fruit bearing trees in our yard including lemon, orange, guava and pomegranate. And so far we have enjoyed using our backyard resources incorporating them into our meals every chance we can. We have two orange trees, and truth be told we are up to our eyeballs in oranges which is why we decided to get a little creative beyond smoothies, popsicles and freezing our juice. We decided to try our hand at orange marmalade.

How to Can & Cook Orange Marmalade

Now I’ve canned in the past. I grew up helping my mom make strawberry, grape and cherry jam. I’ve even had success a few years back in canning my own tomatoes from my garden, but orange marmalade was a new adventure for me.

When I’m canning I use a 20 quart stock pot, a large wooden spoon, a large pressure cooker, assorted canning jars and lids, a funnel and a pair of tongs. Of course, you will need lots of oranges. Luckily, I have more than a few.

How to Can & Seal with a Pressure Cooker

It had been a while since I had canned with my pressure cooker, and I always get nervous using it because of the high velocity steam. Sadly, I couldn’t find a lot of great information and videos which is why I’ve included instructions on how to sanitize your cans and seal them using your pressure cooker included in this recipe directions and outline.

2014-02-16 17.16.32
Some of our orange stash. This recipe didn’t even put a dent in the tree in our back yard.

To start, we sourced Alton Brown’s orange marmalade recipe from the internets. I made a double batch since we have ridiculous amounts of oranges at our place. If you don’t want to make as much marmalade, you can half the batch.

Orange Marmadlade Recipe Ingredients

3 1/2 pounds of oranges, washed and cut into 1/8ths and cut into quarterly again

2 lemons, zest and juiced

12 cups of water

7 1/2 pounds of sugar

Canning equipment – 20 16 ounce canning jars, rings and lids


Wash your oranges and lemons. You will be leaving the peels on your oranges so make sure they are scrubbed clean. Cut the oranges into 1/8 inch slices and remove the seeds as you go. Stack the orange slices and cut them into quarters. Place them into your steel pot. Add the lemon zest, water and sugar. I’ve made a note to invest in a new zester. Our little KitchenAid guy isn’t enough for this big two lemon job. Set your temperature on high heat and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat after 10 minutes to a rapid simmer. Stir frequently and cook for 40 minutes.

2014-02-16 17.28.49
Cut your oranges to 1/8th inches thick. We didn’t follow Alton’s instructions to use a madoline. Use your best judgement.
2014-02-16 17.15.58
3 1/2 pounds of oranges just as we put them on the stove top and heated them to a boil.

While your fruit is cooking, get out your pressure cooker. Fill with 3-4 cups of water. Insert your metal grill and fill with opened jars and place your lids beside your cans. Close the pressure cooker and add the whistle top. Turn on high heat. Once it begins to steam, leave it on for 10 minutes. Then shut off the pressure cooker and then pinch the whistler at the top to slowly release the steam and pressure so you can safely open.

By now, your oranges are likely simmering rapidly. I like to stir with a wooden spoon. The steam is sugar-ridden so it’s sticky. That means you’ll need to turn on your vent fan and be prepared to wipe down the above cabinets. I speak from experience.

2014-02-16 17.37.20
Oranges in the stock pot coming to a boil. Sticky steam!

The marmalade will reduce quite a bit. It’s part of the process so don’t despair. Once your marmalade is cooked, use your tongs and a silicon kitchen glove to protect your hands. The water in the pressure cooker and the sanitized can is hot. Add your funnel to to the inside of your jar, and use your ladle to carefully add the marmalade.

2014-02-16 19.18.45
I picked up this colorful and multi-sized funnel at Target for just a couple bucks.

I filled the jam jars all the way leaving 1/2 inch to a 1/4 inch at the top. Because I doubled the batch, we had a lot of extra marmalade, I ended up using my extra large canning jars after we ran out of our 10 16 ounce cans. Be prepared with 20 16 ounce canning jars, lids and rings. I had to improvise.

2014-02-16 19.44.13
A pressure cooker is much easier to use and quicker for canning, securing and sanitizing your jars.

Once your jars are full and lids secure, add them back to your pressure cooker. Add back in 2-3 cups more water. Tighten pressure cooker and heat back up for about 5-10 minutes. Release pressure and open with caution. Remove the jars with your tongs and silicon kitchen gloves. Set them aside to cool for at least 24 hours in a cool, dry place before storing.

2014-02-16 18.52.25-1
Let your newly canned jams cool for at least 24 hours before moving them to storage.

The marmalade keeps for 6-9 months, and I am looking forward to cooking with it as the main ingredient for an orange chicken recipe I’ve used for years in addition to the standard jam on toast we have at our place. Subscribe to my RSS feed as I’ll be posting the orange chicken recipe very soon.


Cloud Porn Sightings at Pebble Beach

Some of my best friends and relationships have come as a result of Twitter. My friend Marylene is no exception. We met online. She tweeted me. I tweeted her back and I was the first person she met in human resources at a conference in 2012. She had just became the CEO of an HR Technology company called Talent Circles and was new to the complex yet exciting world of human resources technology. We became fast friends. I enjoy listening to her amazing French accent and her stories. She is a treasure for me and my family.

Marylene has a wonderful home in Pebble Beach, and she was nice enough to invite us to visit and beach side home. She took us on a tour of the area and I was able to snap some amazing photos. It is heavenly!



The area is so beautiful. This photo was shot steps from Marylene’s house. The cloud porn is like no other place I’ve been in my life. Marylene’s yard is also full handfuls of hummingbirds zipping to and fro to the beautiful flower bushes that adorn her front yard.


I’m a sucker for succulent plants having a large three tier succulent planter on the patio of my Oklahoma home. Succulent fields were prevalent among Pebble Beach. Their color was amazing. These fields not only were ocean side but adorned the sides of many of the roads that meandered along the beach.


Sea lions sunned upon many of the rocks at Pebble Beach. There was a beautiful lookout where Ryleigh, Greg and Gimmie got a closer look at these creatures honking and taking a rest from the cold Northern California ocean waters.


Here’s a view of what Ryleigh, Greg and Gimmie were seeing. Literally hundreds of these animals sat beached along the island rocks of Pebble Beach.

During our stay, Greg had the opportunity to golf at Pebble Beach. Using rented clubs and golfing with a group he didn’t know, he had a round of golf of his life shooting a 79. Marylene had taken us on a walk of the golf course the day before so he was able to survey the area and we were able to enjoy great conversation and breath taking views.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...