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Coconut Orange Bars

February 4, 2017
Coconut Orange Bars Recipe | Fake Food Free


Good news! I submitted my book manuscript last Tuesday!

I should probably celebrate with a beer, but we’ll save that for later this weekend. I felt much more like celebrating with some baking. 

If you had asked me two weeks ago if I was sick of cooking and baking I would have said, “YES.” But the past several days have been all editing with my butt planted at the computer. I’m ready to be back in the kitchen. 

And what better way to celebrate than with a recipe by mistake!

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Pumpkin No Churn Ice Cream with Brown Sugar Swirl and Burnt Sugar Cashew Brittle

November 17, 2016
Pumpkin No Churn Ice Cream with Brown Sugar Swirl and Burnt Sugar Cashew Brittle Recipe | Fake Food Free

I tend to want ice cream more during the holidays than during the heat of summer. Forget the chocolate versus vanilla debate. When I eat ice cream, I want pumpkin, peppermint stick and eggnog flavors. Everything that says – holiday season. So when late fall rolls around, so do the ice cream cravings.

As you probably could have guessed pumpkin is my favorite flavor and I thought if I was going to do a few posts about Thanksgiving worthy desserts I should go that direction. But don’t worry. I took it a bit further with a brown sugar swirl and a crunchy topping. I also decided to give no churn ice cream a try.

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Butterscotch Pear Tart with a Snickerdoodle Crust

November 15, 2016

Butterscotch Pear Tart with a Snickerdoodle Crust Recipe | Fake Food Free

I’m not sure what happened this past weekend, but I had this unidentifiable voice telling me – Lori, you’ve been posting way too many Brussels sprouts and squash recipes. I think it’s time to go a little crazy with some holiday desserts. 


So this week I have two ideas that will veer from the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies. The first being this pear tart.

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15 Picnic Recipes to Celebrate the End of Summer

August 24, 2016
15 Picnic Recipes to Celebrate the End of Summer | Fake Food Free

The end of August is rolling around. Even though schools have started and I’ve been thinking a lot about pumpkins, there is still that one big celebration that closes us out of summer and sends us into the next season. 

For all of those Labor Day cookouts and picnics coming up, I decided to go through some of the recipes here on Fake Food Free and pull out a few that are perfect to take or make for your next cookout. Some are from way back when and others debuted just this summer.

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Peach and White Wine Sagu de Vinho

July 12, 2016
Sagu de Vinho with Peaches and White Wine Recipe | Fake Food Free

If you want Mexican or Latin inspired cuisine, this area has you covered regarding ingredients. Asian and Indian ingredients can be a lot harder to come by.

BUT, a new Indian supermarket opened here a few weeks ago. It makes me smile just to remind myself of my new shopping option.

I recently grabbed a basket and filled it  to the brim with every ingredient I’d been missing for the past 8 months or so. One thing I quickly came across were tapioca pearls, or sago or sagu. It’s one ingredient that crosses over into Brazilian cuisine. I first learned of sagu de vinho when we lived there. If you click on that link, it will take you to a very old post from 2009 that features my first time making it at home. 

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Banana Sweet Rice with Caramel-Coffee Sauce

July 7, 2016
Banana Sweet Rice with Caramel-Coffee Sauce Recipe | Fake Food Free

The first time I had sweet rice was when we traveled around Thailand in 2009. By sweet rice, I mean mango sticky rice. By had, I mean I ordered it at just about every location with it on the menu. 

That stuff is the best of all dessert worlds in one — fresh mango, nutty, chewy rice and a heavy drizzle of rich sweetened condensed milk. It really broadened my vision of rice for dessert. 

To be honest, I’ve never made it at home. That is mainly because I have yet to find a mango in the US that holds a candle to those that we ate in Southeast Asia and Brazil. 

It came to mind, though, recently when I started talking with the organizers of the Fresno Food Expo.

I know. I didn’t realize there was a Fresno Food Expo until just this year. 

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Homemade Cherry Tarts with Cardamom and Vanilla Bean

May 6, 2016

There is no better way to celebrate cherry season than with these homemade cherry tarts! In this dessert, a whole grain crust is filled with sweet cherries that have been brightened with cardamom and vanilla bean. 

Homemade Cherry Tarts with Cardamom and Vanilla Bean

Most often the recipes I develop are based on an ingredient or meal that has inspired me. But on some rare occasions, they come about because of a prop I want to use in the photo. 

When my parents visited us earlier this year, my mom accompanied me on some prop shopping at the local vintage shops. I was thrilled to have her along because most of the time this is a solo outing for me. I just can’t seem to find anyone else who cheers over scoring a great deal on a tarnished vintage spoon or a distressed wood surface. 

As is usually the case, she insisted on buying me something. That something were these gorgeous little dessert plates. I told her I’d definitely use them in a photo soon. Soon has become 3 months, but I figured Mother’s Day weekend was as good of a time as any, considering the source of the prop for my collection. 

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Maple Peanut Butter Cookies

August 29, 2015

Maple Peanut Butter Cookies | Fake Food Free

There are times when nothing will do, but a cookie. No slice of cake or pie, no brownie square or fruit tart; only a cookie. 

I appreciate that my sweet tooth is selective, but its picky nature sometimes sends me into the kitchen for some baking when I hadn’t really planned on it. That happened this past week. 

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Crispy Egg Custard Tarts (Pastéis de Nata) from My Portugal by George Mendes

February 3, 2015

These egg custard tarts are a classic Portuguese dessert and one that brings fond memories of our time living in Brazil. I was so happy to find a good recipe in the cookbook My Portugal by George Mendes so that I could make them in my own kitchen and share the recipe with you. 

   Crispy Egg Custard Tarts (Pastéis de Nata) from My Portugal by George Mendes | Fake Food Free 

I was sitting with my friends Juliana and Fernando enjoying a bowl of Caldo Verde on one of the rare cool days that occur during the months of June and July. It was the week of the world food festival in Maringa-PR, Brasil, when the town square turns into a food-lovers paradise with booth after booth of edible offerings representing numerous countries around the world.

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Mint Julep Blondies (Pecan Blondies with Bourbon Mint Buttercream)

May 4, 2012
Mint Julep Blondies (Pecan Blondies with Bourbon Mint Buttercream) | Fake Food Free
When people tell me they want to visit central Kentucky, I always say — come in April or October. Not only is the weather gorgeous, but the horses are running at Keeneland in Lexington.
The exception to this rule? You want to experience the Kentucky Derby. Then you’ll need to visit the first week in May.
Derby week is one of the best times to be in the state. There is a spirit of excitement in the air, and everyone is focused on everything Kentucky from food, to bourbon, to hats, to horses. 
We’ve never been to the Derby, but we take part in the celebration. Last Saturday my husband and I ran the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon, an event that kicks off the week’s festivities. 
To further celebrate the big day, I’m always on the lookout for ways to recreate Derby favorites. Last year I went with Mint Julep Scones and Bourbon Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies with coconut oil. The Mint Julep is the classic Derby drink that combines Kentucky bourbon with mint-infused simple syrup. Chocolate chips, pecans and bourbon are the traditional ingredients in Derby day pie. 
I find that mint rarely has it’s time to shine, especially right now when it’s at peak season in the herb garden. In order to give it the attention it deserves, I stuck with the Mint Julep theme again this year, but I decided on a dessert.
These pecan blondies have a touch of mint-infused simple syrup in the batter, and then they are topped off with a bourbon mint buttercream frosting!
Whether you prefer drink or dessert, enjoy your Mint Julep and celebrations of the Bluegrass State!
Mint Julep Blondies (Pecan Blondies with Bourbon Mint Buttercream) | Fake Food Free
Mint Julep Blondies

Blondie recipe adapted  from a recipe at Smitten Kitchen

Makes: 9 blondies
Pecan Blondies:
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup mascavo/muscovado sugar*
1 large egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp mint-infused simple syrup**
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 8×8 inch pan. 
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the egg and continue to stir until it is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and simple syrup. Stir in the salt. 
Gently fold in the flour. Mix just the dry ingredients are blended in. Finally, stir in the pecans. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the center is firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Bourbon Mint Buttercream Frosting:
¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 ½ tbsp Kentucky bourbon
2 leaves fresh mint, very finely chopped
Pinch of salt
Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is distributed throughout the sugar. Add the bourbon and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the mint and salt, and beat about 30 seconds more. 
Frost the blondies and serve. Makes 9 blondies.
Mint Julep Blondies (Pecan Blondies with Bourbon Mint Buttercream) | Fake Food Free
Notes on ingredients: 
*Brown sugar can be used in place of mascavo sugar, but if you can find mascavo, I encourage you to try it. I still have friends from Brazil bring it to me when they travel to the States because it is so affordable there. I did recently find it at our Asian market here (more often called muscovado). It is much less expensive in an international market, and in a larger quantity than what you will find in a health food store.
**You can make mint-infused simple syrup by combining 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, and place several sprigs of fresh mint in the syrup. The mint will infuse the syrup as it cools. Once cooled (it’s best when left to infuse for several hours) remove the mint and store the syrup in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Mint Julep Blondies (Pecan Blondies with Bourbon Mint Buttercream) | Fake Food Free


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