An Open Letter to Dorie Greenspan: Cherry Crumb Bars

An Open Letter to Dorie Greenspan and Food52 Re: Cherry Crumb Bars

Dear Ms. Greenspan,

Although I am not much of a baker, I am familiar with your work. And to say I am familiar with your work is to say I have heard your name before. It seems you can’t go to any food-related corner of the internet without hearing your name. There is no respectable food blogger who hasn’t at least heard your name. So, when I saw this recipe for a cherry crumb tart (which I have renamed to “cherry crumb bars”, for reasons that will soon become obvious) on Food52, my interest was doubly piqued when I saw your name in the author’s box. (Ed. Note: Ok, so I Googled you, turns out you have an even more impressive resume than I suspected. But it is late at night and I am angry and your impressive credentials will not deter me.)

You see, now that I live in Michigan, the un-official cherry capital of North America, cherry recipes always pique my interest. Growing up, I can’t remember ever eating a cherry, save for the maraschino version which is to a fresh cherry what Natural Light is to beer (although I suppose someone of your kitchen prowess is probably unfamiliar with “the official beer of keeping it real”, trust me, it’s not what most would consider “beer”). You see, I grew up in the kind of small Midwestern town where cherries don’t grow and mothers balked at paying $6/lb. anything, especially something as prone to spoiling as fresh cherries. Therefore, I did not experience the joy of fresh cherries until adulthood. I did, however, experience plenty of cherry-themed décor. It was the 1990s after all. Now, I am making up for lost time and cooking every cherry recipe I come across. At $1.88/lb, how could I afford not to? Read more

Red, White, & Blue Cheesecake Popsicles Without Food Dyes

Today I am featuring an oldie but a goodie, cheesecake popsicles without food dyes! These popsicles are packed full of great taste and fruit but completely free of artificial food dyes. Their festive colors come only from ingredients found in nature! Now, without further adieu, let’s take it back to 2015:

This week, General Mills announced that it will be removing all artificial flavors and colors from its cereals. To me, this is a big step in the right direction by a major food producer, but I am wondering what Trix is going to look like without artificial colors. Whether or not you believe artificial colors are harmful, my belief is that they are largely unnecessary. Why add artificial colors, why not eat food the color that it happens to be? Well, sometimes, like when a certain patriotic holiday is involved, you might want your food to match the occasion.

Remember Bomb Pops? What exactly were those made of? And how is “blue raspberry” a flavor? Are blue raspberries really a thing? They were definitely patriotic, but I never enjoyed the taste. In fact, I never really enjoyed popsicles of any kind. Why have frozen water/juice when I could have ice cream instead? Enter these patriotic “popsicles” without food dyes. Read more

Strawberry Shortcake with Pie Crust

Well, it’s official. It is summer here in Michigan. Even though I know it’s not officially summer until June 21, when I can find strawberries ripe enough to make strawberry shortcake, then it’s close enough to call it. Being in Michigan has its upsides and downsides. Downside-we are about 2-3 weeks behind in the fresh produce department. Upside-we have SO MANY options when it comes to fresh produce. Especially in the berry and cherry department. There are lots of berries, along with different types of cherries, that grow well in the not too hot Northern climates. As soon as those incredible, tiny (when compared with grocery store types), and super sweet strawberries appeared in my CSA basket, I couldn’t wait to make this classic pie crust strawberry shortcake.

Something else that is official? I think I am officially a Northerner. I have lived in Michigan for close to five years now. I own a home. I married a native Michigander. BUT, until now it hasn’t been official. Until now, I have never, not once, felt like it was TOO HOT. Northerners, or at least Michiganders, are babies when it comes to the heat. Taste Tester complains about the heat ALL THE TIME. To which I would say something along the lines of, “you don’t even know what hot is.” (sidenote:Have I become my father?). BUT, this year, whew, it’s been hot. And I have felt that, perhaps, it was indeed TOO hot. And it wasn’t really that hot when I said it was too hot. Which means, I am officially a baby about the HEAT. And it’s only June. But it has been a particularly dry and hot summer thus far. The upside of my northerner-ness is that I am now pretty tough when it comes to the cold. Just ask anyone who has been to my house in winter. So, upsides and downsides. Read more

Peeps Ice Cream

I know I have mentioned this on the blog before, but I will say it again. I was a strange kid. Or at least, I had strange taste buds. For a kid. Looking back, I like to think my non-kid friendly eating habits were a reflection of a more sophisticated palate. I loved chocolate, but as far as things kids are “supposed” to like, that was about it. I didn’t like ketchup, mayonnaise, most sugary cereals, pretty much any candy that wasn’t chocolate, cotton candy, un-cooked marshmallows, cold pizza, McDonald’s cheeseburgers (#chickennuggest4life) or Peeps. I did not like Peeps. Unfortunately for my waistline, as an adult I developed a taste for most of these things. I still am not overly fond of any mayonnaise based salad (should it really be called a salad if it contains mayonnaise?), but I will eat mayonnaise on a sandwich, if it comes that way. I would never seek out most ketchups, but Trader Joe’s ketchup is a different food all together. It is delicious and I could eat in on basically anything. And I’m not really sure what I was thinking on the cereal front because kid cereals are incredible! Although I would never in a million years let a kid actually eat that for breakfast-said the person who has no human children. (Remind me I said that in 5-10 years!). Read more

Heart Shaped Wontons

Wayyy back in the day when I first started this blog and had nothing but time and next to no obligations to fill it, I was very creative in the kitchen. I had lots of ideas, some of which never made it to the blog because they were disastrous and some of which never made it to the blog because I was either unsatisfied with the photos or lazy or a combination of both. One of such recipes was a wonton recipe, which I have re-created several times but never actually posted. The idea was quite simple. Basically, I got wonton wrappers, filled them with a mixture of habanero jelly and cream cheese, fried them, and blew the Taste Tester’s mind with their deliciousness. It was a super simple, super impressive, and super delicious recipe. And, I have been keeping it from you for YEARS.

Annd that doesn’t change today. Instead, today, I have taken that recipe and turned it into these cherry, Nutella, adorably heart shaped wontons. I will be honest though, once you have mastered this recipe you can change the filling to pretty much anything and it will taste phenomenal. Read more

Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Second on the list of fastest cookie recipes is a recipe that is not a cookie at all. Or really even a holiday treat per se. At least I don’t associate these with the holidays. I associate these Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownie Bites with every single event which required me/my mom to show up with a dessert. This was definitely my mom’s go-to recipe when I was growing up because it checks all the boxes that moms (and everyone else!) needs: Easy. Fast. Can keep all ingredients on hand. And it has the perfect job for little helpers, whose little fingers are perfect for unwrapping all those Reese’s cups. Read more

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before starting the fastest cookie project, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were not really on the radar in the Foodiocentric household. My great grandma used to make oatmeal cookies that my family LOVED, but I think they had raisins and at that point in life, I wasn’t going to go near a cookie with raisins. Some things never change. Tell me, seriously, what is the point of an oatmeal raisin cookie when oatmeal chocolate chip cookies exist? Who are these people who would choose RAISINS over chocolate-and what is wrong with them? The only thing worse than oatmeal raisin cookies is when you think you are picking up an oatmeal chocolate cookie, only to discover that the “chocolate chips” are actually raisins. #firstworldproblems. Read more

The Fastest Cookie Recipes-for the Holidays and Beyond!

The last thing you need this time of the year is another cookie recipe. You can find millions on Pinterest, many by far, far more talented bakers than me. What we all need this time of year is more time; time to fit in all the holiday activities and time to actually enjoy said activities without feeling like we are just checking items off a list. To help you achieve Christmas bliss-I present the fastest cookie recipes around (and maybe some other treats too!)

I have always loved the holidays, but even I can be guilty of letting all the holiday stress get to me. It just seems like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish every single holiday related activity AND still live my life. Unfortunately there is no Christmas break from my 40-hour workweek and Christmas goodies still have calories which means I have to find time to fit in some extra workouts on top of everything else.

So, without wasting any more time, my gift to you the fastest-and easiest-cookie recipes, ranked. From now until just before Christmas, I am re-making all the classic holiday treats, plus a few new ones, to determine just what is the fastest cookie recipes around. BUT, instead of just providing the recipes, I am providing you with some much needed information: how long those recipes ACTUALLY take, from start to finish AND how much effort they really require. And when I say how long they take, I mean how long they really take, IRL.  Like in real life where you don’t have pre-softened butter, someone to measure all your ingredients, or a spare 3 hours to wait for dough to chill. Read more

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Second in the search for the best dairy-free ice cream, I tried a coconut milk based recipe inspired by Heartbeet Kitchen. For the sake of science, I decided to keep all these recipes plan vanilla, but her salty honey version looks divine and I will be trying it after I crown a winner!

The best part about this recipe? No eggs!! This recipe gets plenty of fat from the coconut milk, so no need for those pesky egg yolks. Egg-free recipes not only make your ice cream vegan in addition to dairy free, but they are all around much simpler. If you are new to the homemade ice cream game, I would definitely recommend starting with an egg free recipe, there are plenty out there. The eggs are what really complicate things and make for a lot of additional cooking/stirring/prepping.

This recipe comes together in a snap and, once again, I was quite pleasantly surprised!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

The Review


Mouthfeel: 3/5, not as creamy as the almond milk version, but definitely the texture of real ice cream

Taste (like ice cream): 4/5, a slight coconut flavor, but it definitely captures the texture and flavor of regular dairy ice cream

Taste (overall): 3/5, I just liked the other version better, not for any particular reason

Would you eat this again? Yes, definitely. I honestly can’t believe how many delicious dairy-free ice cream recipes are out there and I definitely want to try the salted honey version that inspired this recipe!

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

The Taste Tester (and his friend):

The Taste Tester happened to have a friend over watching the hockey game, so I actually had two taste testers for this one!

Both liked it very much and the taste tester ate the entire bowl, which was supposed to be for us to share. I wanted to get opinions without telling our friend that it was made from coconut milk, but the taste tester blew the lid off that one. Neither of them felt it tasted overly coconut-y, although when we ate it a few days later the taste tester reported that he thought the coconut flavor was stronger after a few days in the freezer. The taste tester also claimed he tasted whey protein powder (which to him is a good taste, somehow), but I did not get this flavor at all. I am guessing it was the vanilla that prompted this response. Maybe?

Originally, the taste tester liked this one better than last week’s almond milk ice cream, but during the second tasting (a few days later), picked the almond milk as the better flavor. If anything, I think this shows how close the two are in flavor and texture.

274.02 cal
0.01 g
42.77 g
3.29 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Coconut Milk Ice Cream
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  • 1 T. gelatin
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 can reduced fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. vodka


  1. Combine gelatin with 1/4 cup coconut milk in a small bowl.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining coconut milk and sugar until bowling.
  3. Add milk/gelatin mixture, boil for 1.5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add vanilla and vodka.
  5. Chill and churn according to your ice cream maker's directions.

Almond Milk Ice Cream

Two weeks ago, I set out to find the perfect dairy-free ice cream recipe. I naturally gravitated towards almond milk ice cream as that is the milk substitute we keep on hand at all times. I have to be honest and say I was not expecting this to turn out. At least not at first. I did a lot of research though and by the time I put together this recipe I was fairly sure it would at least be edible, but I was not sure it would actually taste like real ice cream.

I was pleasantly surprised. VERY pleasantly. This recipe was absolutely delicious. When I opened my ice cream maker to sample I was blown away by how creamy this almond milk ice cream was. Like even more creamy than normal ice cream. THEN, of course, I got distracted and over-churned my ice cream.* The Taste Tester was un-impressed with his first sample, as it tasted pretty rubbery due to being over-churned. Just to prove how incredible this ice cream really was, and get an accurate review, I made the ice cream again the following day. Read more