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Spiced Lemon Brownies with Sour Cream Cranberry Frosting

December 1, 2017
Spiced Lemon Brownies with Sour Cream Cranberry Frosting Recipe |

It’s been a while since I’ve had an epic holiday baking season. I’ve been thinking back on the timeline. 

2012 – We were driving across the country to move to California.
2013 – Small apartment kitchen.
2014 – Larger kitchen, but still a rental.
2015 – Same. And settling in after another move.
2016 – Big kitchen, new house, but I was photographing a cookbook for someone else while working on my own. 

But now it’s 2017. I have a brand new kitchen. Not to mention an oven that has been OFF for months due to the summer heat. 

I’m ready. It’s about to get real. 

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Pineapple Tart with Italian Meringue

April 24, 2017
Pineapple Tart with Italian Meringue Recipe | Fake Food Free

Focusing on local foods all the time can stall your creativity. I’m speaking from personal experience here. Of course, when food is on, it is ON. I can sing the praises of fresh berries and cherries for weeks, celebrate citrus all winter, and focus my whole world around apples and pumpkins in the fall. 

But even in California there is this short time of the food blahs. Or at least the food blogger and recipe developer blahs. For me, that time falls when I’ve squeezed every bit of creativity out of citrus for the season and I’m waiting for the strawberries and cherries to start. Right about now. 

It’s this time when I’m glad I embrace global foods as much as I do local. 

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Anise Blood Orange Panna Cotta

March 15, 2017
Anise Blood Orange Panna Cotta Recipe | Fake Food Free

I caught a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye. It seems like yesterday that I was asking the vendor at a local farm market if the blood oranges had arrived yet, only to be told it would be a couple more weeks. 

And here we are now with the season ending. 

I think it might take moving to California to truly appreciate citrus. Heck, maybe it takes moving to someplace like the Central Valley. (Although, I was equally excited about this season when we lived in the Bay.) 

There are so many varieties, so many bright colors. It’s such a welcomed sight and taste during a season that is void of other favorites like berries and cherries. 

Those last few lonely bags of blood oranges were staring at me, begging me to make one last thing before their season was over.

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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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