My best friend got the chance to visit the Magnolia Bakery in Chicago, and she brought me back one of their fabulous cookbooks. This recipe for fresh nectarine cobbler turned out beautifully, especially with vanilla ice cream on top.

Nectarine Cobbler from
The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook



This is a simple version of cranberry sauce, that only takes about 20 minutes to make.  It’s tart without being overwhelming.


12 oz package of fresh cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice concentrate
1/4 cup Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
1-2 tsp vanilla

How I made it:

Rinse and drain the cranberries.  Combine the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan, then bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve the sugar completely.  Continue until the sugar syrup is clear.

Turn down the heat, to medium high.  Add the cranberries, stirring to coat all the berries.  Add the lemon juice and liqueur, stirring to combine.  Cook on medium high heat for 15 minutes, until berries skins have split and the cranberries are soft.  Add the vanilla and stir again.

Remove the berries with a slotted spoon.  Serve warm or cold.  Reserve the sweetened cranberry syrup for another use.

How it turned out:

Refreshing and interesting, especially with the traditional holiday meal.

I spend so much time on the road, I should be blogging restaurant reviews instead of recipes.  Luckily, I was home for a gorgeous sunny weekend and decided to make something summery for dessert.  The inspiration: fresh white peaches!


2 lbs white peaches, firm and barely ripe
1/2 cup splenda + sugar blend
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup land o’ lakes light butter with canola oil

How I made it:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a baking dish by coating with Baker’s Joy spray (or butter and flour). 

Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  Plunge the peaches into ice water immediately, then gently skin after they cool.  Slice the peaches into generous slices (not thinly).  Toss the peaches very gently with the splenda and sugar blend, then add cinnamon to taste (I like cinnamon, so I used about 2 tsps) and toss again.

Gently layer the peaches into the baking dish, careful not to overfill.  You may have enough to make a single serving crisp, too.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, and flour together with a fork.  Add nutmeg if desired (one tsp is enough).  Cut the butter into the dry mix with a pastry cutter, creating coarse crumbs.  Top the crisp(s) with the mixture, making sure to cover it evenly.

Place the baking dish(es) on a large cookie sheet.  Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

How it turned out:

It looked beautiful!  And tasted wonderful.  The peaches didn’t get too soft or smushy, the cinnamon was just right.  And, served with vanilla and honey ice cream, it was a great summer dessert.