Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Marshmallows for the Birthday Boy


Versions of chocolate-dipped marshmallows have been popping up all over the place, peaking around Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why I waited for so long to try my own version, but Mateo’s fourth birthday was the perfect excuse to give them a go.

We used square-cut homemade marshmallows from this basic recipe, although you can make the pops with store-bought ‘mallows as Amy has done. You could also cut them into shapes, like these beautiful hearts from Brenda.


So the method is simple: melt chocolate ( I used 85% cacao for a bitter contrast to the sweet marshmallow) and dip skewered marshmallows about halfway into the chocolate.

Stand skewers upright in water glasses to dry, or jab them into a cardboard box as I did in the photo above.

Once the chocolate has partially set (it will lose its glossy sheen), but before it is dry, add the sprinkles. This is a fun job for kids! Mateo decorated all his own marshmallow pops.


And that’s it! I made these the day before the party and didn’t bother to store them in an airtight container. They were fine left at room temperature until the party…and after? Well there wasn’t even one remaining, so I can’t tell you how long they keep.

Enjoy! For more party-planning tips and Mateo’s ‘Doodle Cake’ check out my recap of the party on Simple Bites.

Pink Pickled Onions (for your Valentine)


I’ve had it up to here with Valentine’s blather and there’s still a few days to go before it ends. Enough with the sugar (I know, you never thought you’d hear me say that, right?), the chocolate, and the red food coloring saturated sweets.

It’s such a silly Hallmark holiday. Every day is Valentine’s around here (go ahead and groan all you like) and I’ve got three sweethearts that I bake for regardless of the calendar date.

So, here, a very un-valentine recipe for you.

Pickled onions are pink of natural causes as the skin from the red onion bleeds into the brine. So skip the red food coloring and sugar this year, and instead create a naturally pink condiment that will make him pucker.

Quick-Pickled Red Onions with Cumin

I made these for a garnish over a warm smoked salmon ‘pizza’. We since found out that they are pretty tasty on much, much more.

Good thing they’re quick to make.

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

In a small pot or saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, spices and seasoning. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Peel onion and thinly slice in rounds. Add to hot spiced vinegar and cook gently for a minute or so.

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a small glass jar, top with lid and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pickled onions are ready to use 24 hours after making and will last for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Yield: 250 ml or 1 cup pickled red onion.

DIY: Homemade Yogurt


My sister, Haidi, was kind enough to pass along her method for making homemade yogurt to me. Since hers is the best I’ve ever had, it’s only fair that I share it with you. All I ask is that you, in turn, pass it on to someone else.

I started making yogurt when my youngest, now seven, started eating solids. Feeling uncertain about the benefits of store-bought, pasteurized milk, I decided that the least I could do was give her something which I knew was beneficial for her developing digestive system. Cultured milk products contain “good bacteria” which help build a healthy immune system and aid digestion.

Besides, I am not a milk drinker, but I do love yogurt. So anyway, my eldest ate yogurt. I’m happy to say that she still enjoys yogurt because I mixed everything you could think of into it. I should qualify that statement: everything healthy.
She ate it with chopped sprouts, grated carrot and cucumber, brewer’s yeast, minced parsley, finely ground seeds and nuts – oh, fresh fruit as well.


I have made yogurt countless times over the last few years, and I would say I have fine-tuned the process. I usually make a gallon, which lasts our family about two weeks. I have used all kinds of milk including raw cow and goat milk. My preference is for raw milk, but if that is not available, I try to use organic. If I find it on clearance, all the better – I bring it home and make a batch that day.
So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Haidi’s Homemade Yogurt

  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1 cup good-quality plain whole-fat yogurt

In a large pot, slowly heat the milk to 180 F, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool to 110 F. As the milk is cooling, I measure the starter (yogurt) into a bowl to allow it to warm a little.

Wash 5 quart jars and lids and fill with hot tap water.

Prepare your method of incubation:
There are many ways to incubate yogurt. I have used these two with good success.

The first is a small down comforter which I put in my laundry basket and line with a dishtowel. The second is to use my camping cooler.

You will no doubt come up with your own method which is most convenient for you. In the center of my incubator of choice, I place a couple of quarts of hot water (120 F) to help maintain the heat during the incubation process.


So, the jars are ready, the incubator is ready, the starter is sitting out, and the milk is cooled to 110 F. Take a ladle-full of the milk and stir it gently into the starter. Now pour the starter into the pot of milk and stir again. Empty the jars of hot water into the sink ( I use the water to wash my yogurt dishes) and pour the milk into the jars.

Wipe clean, screw on lids, and place in incubator. The yogurt should be ready in six hours.

If it still seems thin when you tilt the jars, leave for a couple more hours. The cooler the temperature of the incubator is, the longer it will take to set, which will also produce a tarter flavor.

If you accidentally let your milk get too cool, just turn it back on and carefully bring it back to 110. If your yogurt doesn’t turn out perfect the first time, don’t be discouraged. It will still make great smoothies. Try a different brand of yogurt starter and see if that makes a difference.

I have converted several friends to making their own yogurt when they saw how easy it is, and how much money it saves. Besides, it’s so much fresher than store bought.

Homemade – it’s the best!

* All photos by Haidi. Written by Haidi.

Stocking the Cheese Board with Rosemary Pecan Crisps

If you analyzed my diet over the past two weeks, you’d conclude that cheese and dessert had combined to make a new food group. I feel as though they have been the main staples of my diet since the holidays started and am scratching my head trying to remember consuming an actual ordinary meal–massive multi-course dinner parties excluded, of course.

I’m partially blaming Julie for this influx of artery clogging ripened milk products in my diet because she introduced me to these Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps, and once one has the perfect transportation for the cheese from wooden board to lips, there is no stopping the heavy traffic.


Similar to Raincoast Crisps, the deadly addicting, yet expensive cracker that Julie brilliantly patterned her recipe after, these treats, plus a wheel of triple creme Brie are a Girl’s Best Friend. They are delicately flavored with buttermilk & honey, scented with fresh rosemary and contain just enough nuts & fruit to eclipse the rest of the accompaniments on the cheese board.


OK, the crisps are very simple to make–and don’t worry, you’re not going to have to knead bread dough! The batter, which is leavened with baking soda, comes together quickly and two hefty loaves are baked off in a jiff. When cooled, the loaves are sliced and the slices baked again into the crisps you see here; yep, it’s a similar method to making biscotti.

The longest part is probably slicing the loaves, but if you do this while they are very cold or partially frozen, the result will be uniform, thin slices of bread which will produce lovely, lovely crisps.

Do visit Dinner with Julie for her entertaining post on the subject and a few ideas for alternative add-ins.

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps
via Dinner with Julie

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup flax seed, ground

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into two 8”x4” loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer.
Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Julie likes to slice and bake one loaf and pop the other in the freezer for another day.)

Reduce the oven heat to 300° F and bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden.

Cool and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 8 dozen crackers.

DIY: Pita Bread


This post was originally published on May 4, 2007

On these beautiful spring days, it’s tough deciding how to spend the mornings: head outside and weed among the daffodils or throw on an apron and get floury in the kitchen? Here’s a quick bread recipe that lets you do both–Pita! With a relatively rapid rising time (30 minutes) you can have the satisfaction of having your hands in both dough and dirt in the same morning.
Just be sure to use that nail brush in between!


Pita bread is something my family has been making for as long as I can remember. They are so fun to make and puff up nicely, leaving a hollow center to fill with grilled chicken, veggies or whatever you desire. They are pretty amazing just warm from the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.


Here’s my favorite hummus recipe, in case you need an accompaniment for your pitas!

Wimbush Family Pita Bread
1 tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt
3- 3 ½ cups flour
Dissolve yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and 1 ½ cups flour and with the dough hook, beat to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Knead 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. I make all sorts of sizes to suit different snacks and meals. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’. Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed.
Preheat oven to 425F.
With a large spatula, flip the rounds of dough upside down on to a b
aking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four inch high pitas. These store for up to two days well wrapped or frozen for three weeks.