Tea at the Ritz Carlton

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Holiday | 3 comments

Christmas in Heaven

Oh, how we loved this tradition...


--Photo by Britton Hostetter

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Comfort My People

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Holiday | 0 comments

 "Comfort, comfort my people," says your God. " Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.

Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned."  (Isaiah 40: 1-2 NLT)

God does not comfort us only to make us comfortable -- rather He does it to make us comforters.

-- Navigator's Daily Walk Bible




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My Mother’s Toffee

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Holiday | 1 comment

Christmastime baking has always been a huge part of the holidays, which began for me as a child.   As long as it wasn't raining, one candy my mother made for forever was English Toffee.  Without a candy thermometer and just a cup of cold water, she boiled butter and sugar together until it reached hard-crack and poured amber molten lava over a tray of completely raw almonds.    The method of checking a smidgeon of candy from the boiling pot into the cup of water  was like testing the tip of a glue gun with a bare finger. My sisters and I broke up giant Hershey bars and set them on top of the candy to melt into small puddles.  It was so difficult for me to wait—I wanted to start spreading the sweet milk chocolate over the hardening candy too soon.  Disastrously, this would poke a hole somewhere in the giant sheet of candy or produce grainy chocolate.








I haven't made toffee in many years until yesterday.  I updated Mom's notes to accommodate  her technique and ingredients.








I toasted the almonds on a foil lined 9x13-inch baking sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.








Meanwhile, grind another ¼ cup of almonds to a fine dust (I threw in a few pistachios for color). Set the ground nuts aside.








Using a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter and sugar together with salt and vanilla.








When the contents are combined, simmer it over medium-high heat until it reaches 300 degrees F or hard-crack mode.  This will take about 10 minutes or so.











It can burn in a flash; watch it carefully.








Look for the color to be deep amber.








Quickly pour it over the nuts on the sheet pan.  If a few nuts are displaced you can quickly readjust them with a spoon.








Gently sprinkle the chocolate morsels over the hot candy.  Wait one long minute.








Mom was with me while Dean Martin sang Let it Snow; I patiently waited for the chocolate to melt and spread it with an offset spatula; then dusted glistening chocolate with magic nut dust.








MP and I let it harden to confection perfection and went to church. 








"Sometimes-- the long walk is part of the gift." --Jentezen Franklin









Miss you, Mommy.

English Toffee


  • 2 ¼ cups whole almonds, divided use
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) package milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 2 cups almonds on a 9x13-inch foil lined baking sheet and toast in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes until pale golden and aromatic; set aside.
  2. In a mini processor, grind the remaining nuts into a fine dust (do not over process or they will become nut butter) set aside.
  3. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine butter and sugar with salt and vanilla. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until butter is melted. Continue cooking 10 (or more) minutes until the candy reaches hard-crack (300 degrees) on a candy thermometer and is deep amber.
  4. Remove from heat; immediately pour mixture over nuts on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy. Wait one minute; then using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the candy until it is smooth. Sprinkle almond dust over chocolate layer.
  5. Let cool until hardened and break into small pieces. Store in an airtight tin in the refrigerator.
  6. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  7. All Rights Reserved




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Crafting Dream

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Holiday | 2 comments

Last night I had a dream—MP and I were in Baden-Baden--set in the foothills of the Black Forest.

Image result for baden baden









I was decorating mini trees made of ruffled peanut butter cups and swirl-topped chocolate kisses.









MP was inventing the Selfie...1997

We spent 2 hours in a Cuckoo Clock Shoppe with its 90-year-old keeper sounding and showing –off each one of his prized clocks–, which may explain our countenances’.

Crafting happens every Christmas.




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Cranberry Round-up

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Holiday, Thanksgiving | 1 comment

Cranberries appear now heralding the weeks before our families and friends gather around tables topped with polished heirloom silverware and maybe even Grandma’s china. If you have been riding along with me for the last few years—you may see a pattern.  Desserts are one of my forever-favorite additions to bake and photograph for this space.  Cranberry Apple Crisp is truly at the top of the float because it pulls together autumn apples and cranberry gems; finished with toasty crumbles of walnuts and golden buttery oats. Simple to make—it takes only one bowl--.  Add it to your holiday repertoire along with these three other cranberry condiments from my kitchen.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Cranberry Catsup

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Apricot Chutney

♥ ♥ ♥


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Pimp Your Pumpkin Pie

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Desserts, Holiday | 4 comments

When I was an extremely dorky child,

my first memory of cooking was opening up a box of instant vanilla pudding and; a glorious moment when I spooned top-heavy dollops of the luscious stuff into my mother’s

Colony Fostoria footed sherbet dishes.

Graduating to using a hand mixer meant creating a pumpkin pie after mom lined the pan with her famous crust.  Libby made it happen year after year—








Today, I baked a classic version (with an all butter crust) updating evaporated milk with heavy and sour creams and a new spice blend.






















My childhood steps remain the same.  I am taller now; more quirky than dorky, working on my dismal crimp but I still hear her cautioning me, “Peggy, remember, keep the mixer unplugged while you put the blades in, and don’t turn it on yet!”















Pumpkin Pie


  • One (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch cinnamon, ginger and salt in a mixing bowl. With a mixer, blend in pumpkin, heavy cream, sour cream and eggs. Pour filling into crust and bake until filling puffs at edges of crust and center is almost set; about 50 -60 minutes. Cool on a rack. Cover; chill until serving time.
  2. Garnish with whipped cream
  3. Serves 8
  4. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  5. All Rights Reserved











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