Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip and Walnut Breakfast Cookies, and Southern NY Tier Flood Relief


This past Wednesday I received a text from my brother in New York. It read, “Evacuations all over. 10,000 people in Broome County. Jen will lose her house. I couldn’t get back because they evacuated my town.”

On Thursday, another text from my brother, “R u watching the weather channel? This is bad.”

From Jen, another text, “I was able to get all my animals and a few things. Few clothes. Not much. Dogs swam to the road behind me to the car. Water to my waist carrying the cats in carriers and the bird. I saved the things that mattered, I would die if I wasn’t able to get them out.”

And today from my brother, “Got 80% of jens stuff to the curb. House is a loss. 14 feet of water was in there. Foundation is cracked in 5 places. Trying to salvage only clothing and kitchen stuff. The deck i helped build is 200 yards down road leaning on someone’s house. Basically every one from home depot in jc to dunkin donuts in endicott within 3 blocks of river got same damage.”

Jen is my brothers best friend of 3+ years that feels like 20 😉 . In these hard economic times, my brother has been staying with her. They help each other, a lot. Now, because of the flood, he’s staying with his dear friends of 27 years, Carla and Arnie. Amazing, loving friends, who are also having to pump water out of their own basement.

I love Jen.

I love Carla and Arnie.

I don’t love how little this tragedy has been on the news, and how little people know what is presently going on.

So I am asking all of you to donate to the American Red Cross, Southern Tier Chapter, in an effort to help not only my family and friends, but also the thousands of people that have had to evacuate from the homes that they’ve loved for generations.

One thing that Jen had text me was that local news stations were stating how they had no loss of life. But there was loss… Over 100 animals perished inside of Petco, as well as family pets throughout the area. Jen is angry, and rightfully so. In her words, “Just because they are animals and don’t have jobs, didn’t make them less valuable to the people that Cherish them.”

I’m sorry, Jen… I wish I was there to give you a hug.

I made these breakfast cookies today because they are hearty, filling, and quick to fix. If you are in a flood relief area, maybe you could make these, and distribute them to those in need of a meal. I plan on selling some and donating the funds to the Red Cross chapter in my family’s area.

To Bob, Jen, Carla and Arnie, this cookie is for you…

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip and Walnut Breakfast Cookies

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 c flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large banana (I keep mine in freezer when they become over ripe,
using for recipes)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the banana well with a fork or whisk. Add the
peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and buttermilk. Mix well.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just
combined. Stir in cinnamon chips and walnuts.

With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop out 12 equal portions
and place 2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or
sprayed with non-stick spray if you do not have parchment paper.

Lightly flatten tops of dough. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, or
until lightly browned.

Makes approximately 12 breakfast cookies.

Cooked up by Janet ~ Got a comment?

Mango Macadamia Bread, and old friends


“Ribbit… Frogggggy!!” Those were the first words spoken in almost 30 years when my high school “brother” and dear friend Victor, with his sweet wife Vicki, landed on my doorstep a few months back. Through the wonders of facebook, my “bro” and I were able to reconnect, and finally catch up on life again.

Victor and I met in high school, instantly clicking, able to talk about anything and everything. Having had similar, dysfunctional family backgrounds, we knew we had to be brother and sister somehow. He gave me the nick name, “Froggy”, and honestly, I can’t remember why. Could be that I always drew pictures of frogs 🙂 A sight we were, too… me at 5′ and he 6′. After high school, we simply lost touch. Back in 1981, you had to rely on the written word and a home phone to keep in touch. We both moved around so much, each of us just sort of disappeared.

Victor teaching Kidlet how to play the ukelele

Victor and his wife, Vicki, now live in paradise- Hawaii- and with an amazing green thumb they grow mango’s, orchids, love to smoke meats, and make lots of mango bread! They are about the neatest couple on the planet, and I love and miss them to pieces…


So when I was in the grocery store the other day and saw mango’s on sale, I knew that I had to make the mango bread that Victor is always talking about. He said that he got the recipe from someone else, who said that it was actually an adapted Sam Choy recipe. All I know is that it is fabulous! My husband took almost an entire loaf to work to share with his co-workers, declaring it the best he has ever eaten!

While mine didn’t rise as much as Victors does (due to testing with a knife too soon while baking, and deflating a tad), it didn’t affect the flavor one bit. I could truly, and dangerously so, eat both loaves on my own- they’re that good!

Here’s to dear friends, and “brothers”…

Mango Macadamia Bread

2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 c sugar
2 cups peeled, diced fresh mango’s
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 c shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with non stick cooking spray, and flour the bottom only.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

With a whisk, combine eggs, oil, and sugar. Add dry ingredients and mix. The mixture will be very thick. Fold in the mango, raisins, nuts and coconut.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown, and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and leave in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Cooked up by Janet ~ Got a comment?

Recap: Taste of the Nation 2011 and Food Bloggers Great American Bake Sale


What a whirlwind weekend I had last week! Team LaDue and Crew Food Blogger Bake Sale raised nearly $1200 for Share Our Strength- that’s $600 more than last year! That was in 5 hours, with just a few items sold from home the following day.

We are blessed to have an amazing location at 5th and Wine, in Old Town Scottsdale. Scott Yanni, the establishments General Manager, graciously lets us utilize part of the restaurant, as well as promoting the bake sale from within. He is not only a fabulous host, but an accomplished Sommelier as well. Why not visit and let him suggest a pairing while you enjoy unique flavor combination’s? His team of employees are a stellar group, willing to help (and partake in sweets!) in any way they can.


I am so very thankful to have had an amazing team of bakers, that created such amazing and sinful treats. My glucose levels have yet to recover!

One of whom I was blessed to meet, and now call a friend, is Camber of Food Snots. Camber is a new food blogger, whose confectionery creations not only look fabulous, but taste far superior to many a restaurant dessert. One of the many she contributed to the bake sale was this Bavarian Apple Torte, pictured below. She stepped into this bake sale with an open kitchen and a larger than life heart, rocking the socks off any recipe in her path. Camber, I can’t thank you enough…


My dear friend, Janet Jorgensen, owner of the fabulous Dog Hotel and Obedience Center known as Starbarks, baked over 100 quick breads… blueberry, banana, lemon poppy seed and cinnamon nut. They were simply fabulous, and a much sought after item.

Janet and I met, and go way back, in a unique manner. While I didn’t understand the significance of that meeting at the time, she has come to be one of my closest friends whom I just adore. She and her husband even landscaped and donated their fabulous back yard for my little Tuscan themed wedding. Janet has a big heart and it is evident in everything she touches.


My sister in law Lesley, and my niece Lexi, created the most adorable little pies and tarts! Cherry, apple, and blueberry, they were works of art that no one wanted to eat because of how perfect they looked. In addition, they baked the most delicious array of cookies that disappeared off the sale tables quickly.

I’ve heard from many people that they just don’t understand Twitter, a social media site of which I am a confirmed junkie. All I have to say is, “hop on”! Twitter is where I’ve met one of my bestie foodie friends, Renee, of the rockin’ food blog, Flamingo Musings. Renee graciously donated some of her handcrafted micro batch jams, from her fabulous jam company, the Freakin’ Flamingo, to our bake sale. Quite a few lucky people left our bake sale with a bit of Miami in their bags!

My friend Sharon is quite the experimental baker, and for this years sale came up with green chili tomato cookies- an unusual combination that intrigued many people. I look forward to her unusual treats every year, knowing that as soon as one sale is over, ideas come pouring into her head for the next! Sharon also worked hard, finding fabulous raffle donations as well.

As we were setting up and getting ready to open, we had a surprise guest and first buyer of the day- April Warneke, Meteorologist, mom, and all around sweet gal from 3TV. I do have to confess that I did stalk her a bit on Twitter, and bribed her with the English Toffee that I had made for the sale. Hey, a food bloggers gotta do whatever it takes for her chosen charity!

I’d also like to thank gals named Marcia, and Yuna, who was referred via Share Our Strength, who baked an incredible array of cookies and cakes- a flavor for every craving, and a blessing to our team.. Thank you ladies!

I had wonderful help in my mom and my son. Mom cashiered while my son re-stocked and recommended treats to our wonderful guests.

We had wonderful raffles provided by Harris Dental, 5th and Wine Restaurant, Rock Star Boot Camp, Starbarks Dog Hotel and Obedience Center, Freakin’ Flamingo Jams, and Baker Wee. Thank you all for your generosity!


Our weekend would not have been complete without Camber and I attending Share Our Strengths Taste Of The Nation 2011 Event at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Every year, the nation’s hottest celebrity chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion across the United States and Canada, with one goal in mind: to raise the critical funds needed to end childhood hunger. The event, co-chaired by Julie Zagars and Susie Timm, was an amazing evening filled with people passionate about ending what has become a nationwide epidemic. I was honored to be able to bake and provide cookies that were attached to every guests gift bag this year, and thank Julie Zagars for the opportunity to do so.


But now that the excitement and festivities are over, let us not forget that hunger never takes a break. It isn’t seasonal. It’s not restricted to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday. It is a real problem affecting many children 365 days a year, 24/7.

Part of the reason I love to cook and bake is being able to share my creations and to please others. Knowing that I can actually help to feed hungry children here in Arizona (and across America), through my passions, makes the floury cloud of dust in my kitchen worth the while. But I realize not all of you enjoy it as much as I do. There are many ways you can help. Please, go to Share Our Strength and find a way you can become involved today.

Cooked up by Janet ~ Got a comment?

English Toffee and the 2nd Annual Food Bloggers Great American Bake Sale


Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a single mom. At that point in time, I had two children (I now have 4). Life. Was. Hard. It was the late 80’s, beginning 90’s, and while the nation spoke of abundant living, I was trying to figure out how to stretch a $6 an hour full time wage into the next month. Rent was $450 and daycare was $100 per week. Naturally, there were other bills. Yet surprisingly, my income “exceeded the maximum allowable income for assistance.”

Yeah. That’s what I said.

Life has changed. I have a pantry that seems to go on forever, with the ability and passion to create a meal out of ingredients, others seem confused by. I have a dislike of fast food, and an even greater, intense, dislike of food waste. I love the creation of gourmet tastes that come from simple, wholesome, homemade ingredients. My passion is sharing food from my kitchen with others, who don’t have that ability.


The Share Our Strength Organization is dedicated to children who struggle to eat day to day. They provide reliable access to healthy food for families across the nation, in your neighborhoods, via support from everyday people like you and me. They teach low income families how to select and prepare nutritious, low cost, ingredients in ways that will encourage healthy eating habits and stretch their food dollars.

One of the ways I am able to help, is by forming a team of bakers and hosting a Food Bloggers Great American Bake Sale. Food Bloggers are an amazing community of passionate people, who always seem to use their talents in the kitchen, banding together to help those in need. My team is partnering with Taste of The Nation Scottsdale 2011, an extraordinary evening of delicious dining to also benefit Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger, providing baked goods and encouraging guests to visit our bake sale the following day.

English Toffee has always been a favorite, indulgent treat of mine. It reminds me of abundant, happy, and hopeful times. It is a recipe I have made for over 20 years, given to me by a dental lab known as “Sweet Tooth”, back when I was in dentistry. This will be only one of the many treats I contribute to my bake sale… will you please, save the date- Saturday, May 14th, and find one in your neighborhood? Let us all end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

English Toffee

2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp good vanilla- I use my own, homemade Bourbon Vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz dark chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Place a large sheet of aluminum foil onto a large cookie sheet. Lightly coat foil with butter. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan add butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a bubbly boil, stirring VIGOROUSLY with a flat bottom whisk. Constantly stir until a hard crack stage is reached, approximately 295F on a candy thermometer (Sugar can burn easily and rapidly, so constant stirring is essential!). Mixture will start out a pale yellow, and will be at the right temperature once a deep, golden caramel color is achieved.

Immediately pour mixture out onto prepared cookie sheet. Carefully tip pan to spread the mixture, keeping about an 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness. Let mixture set about 10 minutes, then evenly sprinkle dark chocolate chips over the top. Be careful as mixture is still very hot.

Wait about 10 minutes, and then with an offset spatula, evenly spread chocolate over the top of the toffee. Immediately, evenly sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the chocolate.

Let Toffee set for about an hour, or until chocolate has hardened (or if you are desperate, such as myself, stick in the freezer for 5 minutes for an immediate craving). Once hardened, break toffee in to bite sized pieces. What are you waiting for..? Eat it already!!

Cooked up by Janet ~ Got a comment?

Thin Mint and Irish Cream Tiramisu


Soooo… how many Girl Scouts have you mowed down just to get your box of Thin Mints? Or did you steal them off your co-workers desk? Yeah, you. You know who you are. I know how it works. I was once a Girl Scout, long ago. I won’t give too much detail, but it was way back when gas was under .75 cents a gallon and the Girl Scout cookies cost about the same. I’ve witnessed Thin Mint induced violence.


These cookies bring back a ton of memories from simpler times. The Baileys- well- memories from more, uh, interesting times. With St. Patrick’s day just around the corner, I thought I’d combine two of my favorite things into one of my favorite desserts, Tiramisu. I decided to adapt a recipe for a Chocolate Tiramisu Cake from one of my favorite cookbooks, Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard . What resulted was a rich and silky, yet undeniably “Thin Mint” Tiramisu.

While my adaptations may seem lengthy, they really take not much time at all to prepare. The components can easily be made a day ahead, and assembled just prior to serving. Depending upon your serving glass sizes, your amount of servings may vary.

I’ve submitted this post to “The Daily Spud” for their Paddy’s Day Food Parade! Go take an Irish peek on March 17th to see all the scrumptious Irish eats that have been rounded up!


Thin Mint and Irish Cream Tiramisu
adapted from Francois Payard

Mascarpone Mousse (recipe below)
Mint Chocolate Mascarpone Ganache (recipe below)
24 Thin Mint Cookies- divided (grated of their chocolate-use half for ganache recipe and half as a sprinkled topping)
1/4 c very strong coffee
1 TBS Irish cream (I used Baileys)
4 parfait glasses

Mix coffee and Irish cream in a small bowl. Set aside. In bottom of parfait glasses place an even layer of mascarpone mousse in each- about an inch or so (depending on glass size). Then for each glass, soak 3 cookies (which have been previously grated of their chocolate coating) in the coffee mixture until cookie is slightly soft, and place on top of the mascarpone mousse. Then place a thin layer of Mint chocolate ganache, 3 more cookies soaked in coffee, and another layer of mascarpone mousse. Top with a small dollop of chocolate ganache. Garnish each parfait with reserved grated mint chocolate. Serves 4 (depending on glass sizes, servings may vary)

Mint Chocolate Mascarpone Ganache

12 of the 24 Thin mint cookies, grated of their chocolate (to equal approximately 1/2 cup) Reserve cookies
1/2 c heavy cream
3 TBS Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 tsp Irish Cream (I used Baileys)

Heat heavy cream In a double boiler (or a bowl placed over simmering water) until hot, about 3 minutes. Add Irish cream and grated chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add mascarpone, stirring till melted and well combined. Remove from heat and set aside until to cool enough to place in refrigerator,chilling until very cold. Once ganache is well chilled, beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, and resembles whipped cream.

Mascarpone Mousse

2 egg yolks (reserve whites)
1/3 c sugar, divided
2 egg whites (from previous reserve)
1 c Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 TBS Irish cream (I used Baileys)
green food coloring (if desired)

In a double boiler (or a bowl placed over simmering water) add egg yolks and half of sugar. Keep whisking until yolks change from dark yellow to a lemon yellow, and become nice and thick- approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk another 5 minutes, until mixture is cool enough to touch bowl. Once cool, blend in mascarpone cheese.

In another bowl, whisk egg whites with remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk in Irish Cream. Then fold egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture until just combine. Place in refrigerator until well chilled. After mixture is well chilled, add green food coloring, if desired.

Cooked up by Janet ~ Got a comment?
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