Posts made in January, 2013

A Dozen Birthdays and Cupcakes

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in New | 2 comments

A Dozen Birthdays and Cupcakes


The week of my 50th birthday Julianna Gray Lunde, my middle granddaughter was born.

We were both born breach a half a century apart. Family legend says I arrived in a footling presentation after my pregnant mother pushed her-out-of-gas car to a filling station.  Jules surprised everyone including the doctor, by shooting out like an unfurling flip phone.



This year Jules asked for Cesar Salad, Mac and Cheese, and Steak with Mushrooms for our party—and oh…

“coco can you make Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes filled with Caramel and frosted with Marshmallow?”

I curled my lip and said, “Have I ever made those?”

My cupcake baking spree last winter was noticed.   Jules remembers each cupcake.

We always have Cesar Salad --always!

Steak for Jules.

Baquetta Grouper for me.

Do you want the recipe for my fabulous Mac and Cheese?

Those cupcakes!

Happy Twelfth Birthday Jules!


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Jaci B.

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Desserts | 0 comments


And...the winner is Jaci B.,

who gleefully shared her pie!

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Door Number Three

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Daniel Fast Recipes | 0 comments

Losing ourselves and seeking God for 21 days requires a firm resolution.  Committing to solitude as a priority edges out normal and allows space for spirit–led triumphs.  Some moments are monumental.  Another instant is categorized to be revealed at a later time.

None of this is simple.  In the end God honors any sacrifice made to honor Him.

As the end of the fast approaches I remind myself that these nuances of truth

trickle into the crevices of my spirit like soil amendment.

Change is as good as a rest-- British Proverb

Day twenty-two is door number three.

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National Pie Day

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Desserts | 6 comments

I was fully prepared to defend my prize pie title today—National Pie Day.

Last year I won the Newport Beach Susie Cakes Bakery contest with this pie.

Sadly, the contest didn’t happen this year.

Since, yesterday was my birthday.

Because, today is still National Pie Day…

I am going to give away a Strawberry Pie!

Please make a comment in the comment section of my blog at

and MP will randomly choose a winner tomorrow morning.

In the case that you live far, far away,

I will send you a box of my signature, Monster Cookies.

We'll talk tomorrow!

Love, coco

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Back to the 70′ s (degrees)

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Daniel Fast Recipes | 0 comments

Back to the 70′ s (degrees)

We turned on the heater in Orange County and wore jackets for maybe 10 days.  After the thaw--we bounced back to the 70’s.

This is the last week of the formal part of the Daniel Fast and hearty winter soups and stews are yet to appear.  In keeping with the warm weather I took a turn.

A cold crisp iceberg lettuce cup is a popular signature dish and the perfect delivery system for a savory filling topped with fresh and tasty sauce.


My version is just as fresh and tasty.  It requires some planning and do-ahead steps but is soothing and satisfying too.

Lentil and Barley Lettuce Wraps with Avocado Mango Salsa

Prepare the salsa:

This requires a ripe avocado and mango or papaya--  part of planning.  t will keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator but usually doesn’t last that long…







Because the filling is soft, I prefer butter lettuce cups --flexible and pliable.








The lentils and barley are cooked separately.








It is an added hassle but the result is a combined filling with each at their best.

It takes about 20 minutes.

While they are simmering away.  Make the salsa.








Red onion and chopped jalapeno are added to fresh lime and orange juice.

You see here one of my tricks is to add pickled jalapenos a.k.a nacho rings.  I find the heat is predictable and there is always a jar in my refrigerator.








Red onion, pepper, and avocado round out the salsa.








Adjust the heat and seasonings to balance the sweet fruit and vegetables








before gently tossing with chopped cilanto.  Be careful with the fruit.  You want it to be whole bits not mashed.








After the lentils have cooled , drain any water that may remain in the pot.  Remove the hard spices and bay leaf.








Cooked Barley







Move half the lentils to a plate and mash.








Combine the barley and whole lentils with the mashed ones.  This can be done  early or yesterday.  Cool; cover and refrigerate.

When you are ready to prepare the wraps, reheat the lentils and barley in the microwave.  This keeps the texture intact.









Saute the aromatics and spices.








It takes a few minutes.








The fragrant lentils and al dente consistency of the barley combine together into a subtle wholesome filling .








The magic happens when the fresh leaf becomes a cup to hold  the gratifying mishmash crowned with sweet  and tangy tropical fruit.








Ah...portion control.  January fasting is not-- starving.  It is about keeping an edge and tuning out the noise.

Avocado Mango Salsa


  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ Jalapeno pepper, seeds ribs removed, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 papaya or mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Choose fruit that is ripe but firm enough to chop or dice neatly. In a medium bowl, pour lime and orange juice over minced onion, minced jalapeno and garlic. Let stand 20-30 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature for best flavor.
  2. Makes about 3 cups
  3. © Copyright 2011 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  4. All Rights Reserved


Lentil and Barley Lettuce Wraps


  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon each, cumin, oregano
  • and chili powder
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves
  • Fresh fruit salsa, papaya or mango


  1. Combine 2 cups water in a small sauce pan with lentils, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise, and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes until done. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Drain if necessary.
  2. At the same time, combine 1 cup water and barley in another small saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes until done. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Drain if necessary.
  3. Remove bay leaf and spices from lentils. Discard. Place half the lentils in a medium bowl with the barley. Add remaining lentils to a plate and lightly mash with a fork. Add the mashed lentils to the lentil and barley mixture. Adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  4. This may be done in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Warm the mixture slightly before proceeding.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrot; sauté 3-4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic; cook I minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook another minute, stirring constantly. Combine onion mixture with lentils and barley. Heat through and adjust seasonings. Place a heaping spoonful of warm mixture in a lettuce leaf to form a wrap. Top with avocado fruit salsa.
  6. Serves 4
  7. © Copyright 2011 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  8. All Rights Reserved

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