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Author Archives: Veronica

Sweet Potato Cookies


I was assigned to Saundra’s blog, Famished Fish, Finicky Shark, for the Secret Recipe Club’s Cookie Carnival. I found her recipe for Sweet Potato Cookies just after having bought a bunch of sweet potatoes on sale. I adore sweet potatoes and love baking with them (and eating them baked, and in stew, and in a casserole, and even raw cut into sticks….try it before you make that face). So sweet potato cookies – I was all over it.

What impressed me about this recipe is not only does it have sweet potatoes, which is totally unique and fun, but Saundra came up with this recipe herself.  There was no link to credit her recipe elsewhere, and I have to admit, I was skeptical. Seriously, who makes a recipe for something like sweet potato cookies and gets it right the first time?! Did she really just say “oh, I’ll throw this butter in here and add some sugars and flour and sweet potato and other sundry and various awesomnesses,” and then shazam! There was magic? Apparently so, because I went a-Googling and could find no recipe like hers anywhere. Um, Saundra? You’s be amazin’.  If I tried to do some shazam’ing like you did, there would have been a big sha-THUD and  no zam to be found.

So I should have left well enough alone because as we already know, Saundra is the amazing one, but I didn’t have enough butterscotch chips so I did some tinkering.  I will say I LOVED this base cookie recipe sans chips. So much love.  I could have just eaten the entire batch of dough by itself. Like wow.  It’s soft and tender and not very cakey like I’d expected.  Perhaps because I didn’t make her recipe according the original ingredients, I would have preferred this without any chips at all and just the glaze.  Both of them made it too sweet.  So make your choice, I would either go with her original recipe, or make mine with the glaze but leave out the chips.

I sent these to some friends in the mail along with my award winning chocolate chip cookies and fudge brownies, and one friend’s husband chose these as his favorite of all three so even being oversweet, they are pretty darn good to outrank two of the best things I make!  Thanks for sharing this fun and delicious recipe, Saundra!

Sweet Potato Cookies

1 ½ cups sweet potato puree
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
2/3 cup cinnamon chips (optional)

Glaze
¼ cup unsalted butter
Two dashes of salt (I forgot this so I added some salt flakes on top)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats; set aside.

To make the sweet potato puree, peel a large sweet potato or two medium and cut into chunks. Cover with water in a saucepan and boil until very tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and measure out 1 ½ cups- if you have extra, set it aside for another use. Mash with a fork in a mixing bowl along with the butter to melt it into the potatoes.

Add the salt, pumpkin pie spice, and the sugars. Beat for several minutes until lightened and fluffy. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla, beating until well combined. Ad the flour and stir it in. When nearly mixed, add the chips and stir until incorporated.

Using a small cookie scoop, place the cookies evenly spaced apart on prepared cookie sheet and press down with fingers to flatten slightly. Bake for 8 minutes, or until they are starting to puff but still look ever so slightly underdone. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely-they will be very soft. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the solids separate and turn a deep brown and the butter turns golden. Stir in the sugar and vanilla until as mixed as you can get it, smashing out lumps, then add cream a teaspoon at a time until you get your desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies or put in a Ziploc bag, snip the corner, and squeeze over the cookies.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe source: Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Be sure to check out the other Cookie Carnival cookies for some Christmas baking inspirations – just click the linky frog below!

Joshua’s First Year

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Everyone says that time flies when you have kids, and it’s oh so true. I can’t believe Joshua is already one year old! My newborn baby that seemed unaware of everything around him, that stayed in one place and slept and ate and pooped and cried all the time, is now the happiest walking, baby-talking, little boy with a personality and sense of humor.  He has started getting so tickled about things like Jessie jumping up to catch treats mid-air, Mommy doing things like trying to crawl through a tunnel, and those crazy little belly laughs are just. The best.

I spent a lot of time compiling short clips of his first year into a short video for you guys and those of you who know about his special number (three) will be tickled to know that without me planning it or noticing until I had saved it, the movie turned out to be three minutes and thirty three seconds long. Go figure. :)

I probably had about 5 hours worth of video footage so you can imagine the work I put into this to cut it down to just three and a half minutes. Oh yes, and I used my own voice for the song. :)  I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I hope you enjoy it.  This little boy is just the light of our lives.

Love, V

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Look who’s turning 1!


We went to Portrait Innovations for Joshua’s 1-year photos. Can you believe he’ll be one November 23rd? Me neither!


This little guy is officially a toddler. He started walking a month ago and is now pretty good with it and walks about 90% of the time.

This one is my favorite. I think. It’s so hard to pick one!

I just love his laughing face!!

I entered this photo into Gerber’s Photo Search. I would be SO grateful if you guys would vote for my little dude. Once you click here, you’ll have to enter your birthday, your email address, and your name and type some numbers to verify you’re a human, then you’ll see his pic and be able to vote for him. You can vote once a day so if you are awesome enough to return, the second time will be easier as you won’t have to write your name or verify you’re a human, just your birthday and email. if you don’t want to get Gerber emails, just don’t click the box to sign up for My Gerber. If you’re willing to vote daily, just say so in the comments and I’ll send you a daily email reminder. Thanks so much you guys!

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread


This month I was assigned to Manu’s Menu for the Secret Recipe Club. Manuela is an Italian married to an Indian, living in Australia with her family, so her blog is a smorgasbord of delicious international recipes, with the majority being delicious, authentic Italian food. She has recipes for many things on my 40 by 40 list, like Lamingtons, croissants, biscotti/Cantucci, & risotto. And what did I do? I’m so predictable. I went for the banana bread because as you know, I have an obsession and I seem to always have overripe bananas on hand. I may have not checked anything off my bucket list of recipes to make, but we’re enjoying some really delicious banana bread in the mean time, so that makes up for it. :)

I took Manu’s recipe for the bread and kicked it up a notch, just on a whim that started because of the butterscotch chips sitting on my desk when I was reading her recipe. We really loved the combination of oozing butterscotch, black walnuts, and subtle spices in a loaf rich in banana flavor.  I went ahead and used the butter called for but next time will try oil as I just really prefer the soft & silky texture that oil gives to quick breads. If only oil had all the delicious flavor as butter!

This was a wonderful loaf and I thank you, Manuela for helping me create it. Buon appetito!

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups (8 ½ oz / 245 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (5 ½ oz / 150 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 eggs
½ cup (4 oz / 113 g) butter, melted
3 large (or 4 small) overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (2 ½ oz / 60 g) toasted black walnuts, chopped
½ cup (3 ½ oz / 94 g) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, bananas, and vanilla. Stir together until just moistened, then add the walnuts and butterscotch chips. Stir together until just combined and spread into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Recipe source: adapted from Manu’s Menu

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

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This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to Kate is Cooking and while the girl doesn’t like sweets, but does  enjoy alcohol (opposite of me on both accounts), I had so much fun perusing her delicious recipes. A lot of them spelled comfort, and I’m all about comfort food, especially this time of year as the weather turns cooler.

I like that Kate creates a lot of her recipes by taking what she likes from several different ones and combining them, as I’ve done that quite a bit myself. And I hope she is honored I did the same with the recipe I chose from her blog: spaghetti carbonara.Classic Spaghetti Carbonara | veronicascornucopia.com

Have you heard of it? It’s basically the Italian way of having breakfast for dinner – mixing eggs and bacon (guanciale if you want to be really traditional) into your pasta. It’s so creamy & yummy! However, the authentic way to make it is with a raw egg yolk sitting on top that you mix in as you eat to create a silky sauce.  Now, I love a runny yolk in an over-easy or poached egg, but I really had to push myself outside my comfort zone to follow through and try it with the raw yolk on top. I’m not scared of salmonella, as I’ve eaten my weight in raw cookie dough, French Silk Pie, and tiramisu without a problem, but just the idea of eating a straight raw yolk. Heebie jeebies!

Turns out, I prefer it with the whole egg mixed into the pasta, and as you can see by the golden hue of my pasta, I did go ahead and do it the way I was comfortable with, then just added a yolk on top to go ahead and try it. It does add a rich silkiness to the dish, and I say go for it if you’ve never tried it and aren’t afraid to.  But I like it just as well with it all mixed in – you choose which way you’d like.  Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Kate, and expanding my foodie adventure horizons!

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 tablespoons Kosher salt or 1 tablespoon table salt
1 lb dried spaghetti
1/2 lb bacon or guanciale
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 large eggs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Bring 5 quarts of water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Cook the pasta about a minute less than the package directions, to al dente. You’ll want to reserve a cup of the cooking water before draining, but I will remind you of that later when the time comes. :)

While the pasta is cooking, cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide, or dice the guanciale into small pieces. Cook in a large skillet over medium high heat, along with the garlic cloves, just until the bacon begins to crisp. Don’t make it too crispy or it won’t meld with the pasta. When it’s done, remove the garlic (makes a great pre-dinner snack – just delicious!), and drain off all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon grease.

While the bacon is cooking, break the eggs into a large bowl or pasta serving dish. If you prefer to serve with egg yolks on top, separate the eggs and set the unbroken yolks aside with the whites alone in the bowl. Beat the eggs or egg whites with a fork until frothy. Add some freshly ground pepper and the cheese.

Now, to put this together. Drain the finished pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Stir a small amount of water into the eggs to temper them and prevent them from scrambling when you add the hot pasta. Add more water until you’ve reached about 1/4 cup, then quickly stir in the pasta with a pasta spoon. Add the bacon and grease to the pasta and stir well. The egg, bacon grease, Parmesan, and pasta water become your sauce! If it is too thick, add additional pasta water until it is your desired consistency.

Mound the pasta in pasta bowls or onto plates. Top each serving with a sprinkle of parsley and an egg yolk if you reserved them to serve this way. Enjoy!

Recipe source: adapted from Kate’s Kitchen & Ruth Reichl’s recipe in Garlic & Saphires.

My man-baby

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I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last blog post. I guess I’m overdue for an update of some sort, though I’m unfortunately not ready to share any recipes. The only food I’ve photographed lately has been at night with the flash on, and do you really want a recipe for something like this?

good pork chops, bad photoDidn’t think so. :P

But I’ve taken plenty of cute baby photos! Although I don’t know if I can even call him a baby any more.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up tomorrow and he’ll be graduating high school, he’s growing so fast.

I took his 9-month photos myself in September to save money, since we didn’t have any (lol), and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.  Here are my favorites.

Yes, he’s standing now. Not walking yet, but maybe soon.

We also switched to cloth diapers a couple months ago. It’s going great!

My little Tom Sawyer.

He is seriously the happiest baby, ever.

And possibly the cutest. Not that I’m biased at all. ;)

It has been so long since my last baby update, I’m not even sure all his advancements since then. He’s got three teeth now, and looks like soon will be four. He’s crawling everywhere like a little speed demon.  He loves to take off squealing, like he expects me to chase him, so of course I do. It’s so funny. He’s pulling up on everything and has been for a while. At the beginning of October he was 21 lb, 5 oz and 28 1/2 inches tall. Crazy he’s almost grown a foot in less than a year.

Anyway, here are some more recent pics – he’s now 10 1/2 months old. Where has the time gone? I guess it flies when you’re having fun, and I’m having the time of my life. :)

Look who started Sunday School!

Last month we stayed with Den’s parents for a week – he and little man got their jam on while we were there. It’s crazy how fast kids learn – he already knows how to strum and you should see him go up to Den’s guitar and strum it, then start boppin’ up and down, dancing to his own music. Hilarious!

Oh and the necklace – it’s a Baltic amber necklace and is supposed to help with teething pain. For us, it made a big difference. The amber releases an oil into the blood stream simply by being in contact with skin, and the kind of oil it is helps with pain. Crazy, huh?

Our little KU fan.

And so it begins…

Baby’s first bacon.

Seriously. Happiest. Baby. Ever.

Cinnamon Freud Banana Bread

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I was assigned to Karen’s blog, Cinnamon Freud, for the Secret Recipe Club this month. She’s a counseling psychology doctoral student who also loves to cook and bake. How genius is her blog name?! I know she must get that a lot, but it’s true. Genius.

So anyway, last month I chose banana bread for my SRC assignment and Debra suggested I do banana bread every month because of my outrageous obsession with it. Although I didn’t intend to take her up on that challenge, as soon as I received my SRC assignment, I looked to see if Karen had a banana bread recipe, because I had a bunch of bananas that were really overripe and needing to be used. And she did – this recipe, in fact.  I made this bread the same day I received my assignment – the quickest I’ve ever done it!

Since she simply called it banana bread, and I have way too many banana recipes on my blog to call it just banana bread, I added her blog name into it.  I couldn’t resist – it’s just so catchy!  :)  My second choice for this bread’s name would be “Dessert Banana Bread.”  This bread has more sugar than normal (which I totally am on board with – the more sugar the better, as far as I’m concerned), making it a bit more indulgent and appropriate for dessert…with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce on top, of course. haha! ;)  Oh and I have to tell you this bread is excellent with black walnuts. I made one plain, one with black walnuts. They were beautiful – sweet, dense, soft & velvety, just perfect.  These disappeared FAST – a definite winner!

Cinnamon Freud Banana Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 cups mix-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, etc)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and any mix-ins you want to add. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until blended, then add the remaining ingredients, beating until combined. Add approximately 1/4 cup dry ingredients into the wet. Mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients.

Spread into prepared loaf pans & bake for 55-70 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Recipe source: Cinnamon Freud

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I usually keep my recipe posts and baby posts totally separate, but since I haven’t been posting very much period, I just can’t resist including some baby love. :)  Here he is being a cloth diaper and baby leg warmers model. :D

Be sure to check out the other Group C Secret Recipe Club contributions this month by clicking the linky frog below!

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