Category Archives: Tutorials


Neighbor Gifts

Still scrambling for last minute neighbor gifts?  I’ve got you covered!

Why not put together a little cookie platter that includes chocolate bark?



For these I used my Trio of Holiday Barks, White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies, and peanut butter blossoms (I used the Hershey recipe).



A full batch of each one of those recipes made 7 platters.  I just grabbed these disposable tins from the dollar store.



Wrap them up in cellophane and tie with a pretty bow and there you have it!  A great neighbor gift idea!  Now maybe my neighbor will forgive me for the time my pug dog ran into his house and pooped right in his living room.  True story.



Cinnamon Rolls would also be a great neighbor gift! Just bake them off in the same disposable tins I used for the cookie platter.

Happy Baking!


Fried Turkey Tutorial

Yeah, I know, I know.  Thanksgiving is over.  But people still eat turkey for Christmas right?  Well at least we do in my family.  I know all the hype out there about how dangerous frying turkeys can be, but if you take the proper precautions you will be rewarded with a delicious and moist turkey.

First thing would be to buy a turkey fryer.  I would not suggest making your own.  Once you have your turkey fryer and turkey, take your turkey (still wrapped) and place it in the fryer and cover it with water.  Remove the turkey and mark the water line in the pot.  That is how much oil you will need.  We use peanut oil to fry our turkeys.

My dad is the deep frying master in our house, thanks Dad for the pictures!

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Start by picking your marinade.  If you are a loyal reader you know my affinity with spicy food.  Well, that has to come from somewhere right?  My family is the same why.  Enter Frank’s Red Hot deep fried turkey.  It adds just enough kick to make this turkey awesome.  You can use any kind of marinade though.  We also did one with barbecue sauce.  You can use any store bought marinade or make one yourself.  Be warned though that the marinade needs to be really smooth.  If your marinade has any chunks in it, you will want to blend it up really well until its nice and smooth. Making sure to use a smooth marinade will ensure that your injector doesn’t get clogged! Inject your turkey with as much or as little marinade as your would like.  You better bet that we used a lot of hot sauce in ours!

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Pomegranate Jelly

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents have made pomegranate jelly every year.  It truly is a labor of love, but it’s worth it.  First you have to beg your granddaughter (me) for all of their pomegranates which she will unhappily part with.

Then you have to juice them.  This by far takes the longest time.  I’m pretty sure it takes my grandpa weeks to juice all of the pomegranates they collect.


Here’s my grandpa DeVaughn.  Isn’t he cute?  You will want to wear clothes you don’t mind ruining while doing this. And preferably a straw hat.

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Then get to juicing.  Slice the pomegranates in half, place in the juicer, and squeeze!  (Note: I have done this using a traditional electric juicer and it works great.)

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Strain the juice into a jar or pitcher and place in the fridge for about a week.

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Pomegranate Tutorial


I don’t know what it is about me, but everywhere I have ever lived there has been a pomegranate tree.  When I was growing up we had a huge tree in our yard.  When I got married and moved into our first rental house, huge pomegranate tree in the front yard.  When my husband and I bought our first house, not one, but three!, pomegranate trees!  This is time of year when my tree is exploding!



Most people are intimated by pomegranates, but don’t be.  They are very easy to deal and get those beautiful ariels out.


Start with a pomegranate (and put on an old shirt or apron.  These can stain and if you have on your favorite shirt then you will get splattered with pomegranate juice.)


Cut off the top,



and cut slits around the outside of the pomegranate. As you can see, there is natural breaks in the pomegranate seeds.  Try to follow those.



Then use your have and pull apart the pomegranate where you have split it. Place in a bowl and fill with water.  While underwater seperate the seeds from the skin.  Working underwater minimizes the juice spray.  When you are done all the little pith parts will float to the top.



See. I just my fingers to pick out the inedible parts.



Then drain them off.  You have these beautiful ariels to just eat or use in your favorite recipe.





Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Making your own pumpkin puree is so simple.

Start by picking your pumpkin.  There are so many varieties out there to choose from.

I used a pie pumpkin that I picked up at my local supermarket.


You start by cutting the pumpkin in half, and scooping out the strings and seeds.


Place it flesh side down in a baking dish, add about an inch of water, cover, and bake at 350 degrees until fork tender.

Mine took about an hour and half.


See the fork marks?  It should have no resistance.


Scoop out the flesh and place it in a food processor.

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Then just give it a whirl.  I didn’t need to add any water to mine, but you might need to to get the texture you are looking for.

From this small pie pumpkin I got about 3 cups of puree.


This pumpkin puree can be used in any recipe calling for canned or fresh pumpkin.

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Fresh Pumpkin Puree
Fresh Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 pumpkin, any size of your choosing.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree.
  2. Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the strings and seeds.
  3. Place flesh side down in a baking dish, add an inch of water, cover.
  4. Bake until fork tender, about an hour and half.
  5. Scoop out flesh and place in food processor. Blend until desired consistency.
  6. Use in any recipe calling for pumpkin puree.
  7. Eat!

Pumpkin Tutorial

Welcome to pumpkin week on with love from the vine!

I love fall and everything that comes with it!  I live in Southern California, so we don’t get to experience fall as much as the rest of the country,

but you can still feel the crispness in the air even if our leaves don’t really start to change until almost winter.

I visited my local pumpkin patch at Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch.

They have a huge variety of pumpkins, many of them that make great pumpkin puree.


This one is called a Fairytale or Musque de Provence.  It tastes the best baked with Italian seasonings.


This is a Marina de Chigga. It also pairs well with Italian spices.

Try it as a filling in ravioli!


This is a Knucklehead.  Can you tell why?

This pumpkin lends itself well to all types of cooking preparations.


Here we have a Mexican squash.

This pumpkin also lends itself well to all types of cooking preparations, and its seeds are delicious!


This one is called an Austrailian Butter pumpkin.

It has great flavor.


This one is a Tondo.

Goes great with everything!  Has a very smooth flavor.


Here we have a sweet meat.
This is an old time favorite, with a golden flesh and smooth texture.


This is a Cinderealla pumpkin.

It is best used for pie, since it is so sweet.


Here we have a Jarrahdale.

These types of pumpkins lend themselves well to sweet or savory dishes.


This is a Lumina. Farmers love this pumpkin, because it can be harvested at night in the moon light.

This is also a great pumpkin to use, as it lends itself well to all types of cooking preparations.


Finally we have Long Island Cheese.  This pumpkin also makes a great puree.

Try it baked and topped with browned butter, honey, and pecans.

There you have it! All types of pumpkins and what uses they are great for.

I’m sure you can find one of these near you!.