Maple Caramelized Walnuts

 It’s amazing how good these are and how easy they are to make!  They taste like there is butter on them but it’s just maple syrup and sea salt.  They make a healthy incredibly addictive sweet snack.

Maple-Walnuts Caramelized-Maple-Walnuts

Recipe – 2 Cups

  • 2 Cups Raw Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup (Mildly sweet)
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup (Medium Sweet)
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (Sweet)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt


Add everything in a saute pan and turn on stove to medium heat.

Stir the whole time.

In about 3 – 6 minutes they will start to get sticky.  (It depends on how much syrup you use)  When all moisture is gone, turn off the heat.

Spread onto parchment paper or a baking sheet.  Don’t worry about them sticking together, when cooled you can separate them. Wait a until they are completely cooled.  They will hardened and become crystallized.

Pasta Pomodoro with Cari & Rory

Pasta Pomodoro is in San Jose California in the high-end outdoor mall called Santana Row.  They have really great pasta, and the bread and pesto they serve with your water is delicious!  I was so excited because we were meeting up with my friends Cari and Rory from Hood River that I haven’t seen in 5 years.  In that time they had Stella age 4 and Lily 6 months. It was really nice to meet the girls.  Cari and Rory own their own jewelry line named Jewelry by Cari.  Check it out! jewelry by cari









The Pesto and Bread is delish!


Sauvignon Blanc (Sean Minor, Sonoma County)


I had the Pasta Limone and boy is it good!  (Lemon Fettuccine Alfredo)  It’s not on the menu anymore but they will still make it for you.


Broccoli sautéed in Olive Oil with Garlic and Hot peppers


Robby had the Parmigiana – Fresh Chicken breast breaded and topped with tomato sauce, fresh basil, premium mozzarella and parmesan, served with penne pomodoro

There are 3 locations in San Jose

Tomato Basil Almonds

These Tomato Basil Almonds are a cinch to prepare on the fly and totally packed with flavor!  The tomato, basil and garlic flavors are in perfect harmony.

Tomato Basil Almonds

These almonds make the perfect snack just as they are.  They are also a nice addition to a cheese platter for entertaining guest or on a salad like this Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad.


Tomato Basil Almonds

Recipe: 3 Cups

  • 3 Cups Raw Almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce (Bionaturae strained tomatoes was the brand used here)
  • 3/4 Cup Basil – minced
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic-  minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Mince the garlic and basil add to a bowl, add the olive oil, almonds, tomato sauce and sea salt then mix well and spread evenly onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stir halfway.

Let cool completely.

Interview with Jewelry Designer: Sarah Morton Erasmus – Owner Of M.E. Jewelry


“Sarah Morton-Erasmus grew up mesmerized by the sound of a cross peen hammer.  By the age of twelve she was busy in her father’s studio soldering and sawing his copper scraps into jewelry and sculpture of her own design.  Creating came naturally to her.  In 1999, Sarah received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Oregon in Metalsmithing.   She continued her education by apprenticing with both goldsmiths and sculptors, balancing her skills with both small and large-scale works.  Morton-Erasmus Jewelry started to take shape in 2003, when she moved from New York to the Columbia River Gorge where she continues to create her jewelry and metal artwork”.  We had the privilege of meeting Sarah almost ten years ago.  She is such a creative beautiful person with an extraordinary amount of talent.


When did you know you wanted to be a jewelry designer and how did you get your start? 

I was basically failing out of college, I had been a straight A student in high school, and got to college thinking I wanted to go into international affairs and language.  My Dad sat me down and instead of giving me the “you have to work harder, amount to something” speech; he said I needed to take an art class.  He knew I was an artist at heart, so I wrestled my way into a totally full beginning metals class and was instantly in love.


How was it growing up with a talented father/copper smith?

I knew it was special, I didn’t know anyone else in school who had parents like mine. Especially because we got to travel all the time.  Once or twice a month we’d pack up and be in a new place like San Francisco or Tempe, Az doing a craft fair.  I went to school in a really rural area of Oregon though; so many kids had never even been to a city before high school.  So I knew early on that the world was huge, with tons of possibilities.  
My Dad was always working, not only because he was self-employed but also because he loved what he did, and was happiest in his studio.  I have so many fond memories of my family all together, discovering new things, and just laughing and having fun, when the all the work was done.  I feel really proud to follow in his foot steps, this February I’ll be exhibiting at The Buyers Market of American Craft, I’m one of like 3 that are second generation exhibitors.


What do you love most about designing and creating your own Jewelry?                  

I just love working with metal, I love that with some time and skill one can take something from the ground, manipulate it and turn it into something beautiful, or use it to convey a message that words can’t because it has this longevity.  To adorn ourselves with a piece of jewelry can tell the world so much about ourselves, our ornaments can tell a story about important people in our life, experiences, travels and just how we see ourselves.  And then these stories can be handed down to friends and family.  I love that I make keepsakes and mementos.


What would you classify your style of work as?

This is a tough one, I’m somewhere between fine jewelry and trend jewelry.  I’m not just assembling parts some factory made, every piece starts and ends in my studio with my hands.  The 18k gold I use to make all my connections brings my silver jewelry closer to fine jewelry price point, but I love fashion and love to be part of the forward motion of trends.  I like to think of myself as a fashion designer who hammers instead of sews.


Do you have a piece your most proud of?

Yes, I make these shields that are really like an individuals crest something that would absolutely represent that person for longevity.  It usually has an initial as the center piece but sometimes a symbol, then, I add different things like the person’s date of birth, their age when it was made, zip codes, words, quotes, etc.  Once I even put the longitude and latitude of their favorite place on earth, so they’d always be able to find their way back.


What do you draw from for inspiration when designing a new piece?


A lot of the time its a technique, method, or connection in my studio that sparks something new, but I love to look Pinterest and runway shows for fashion, but mainly I look at a lot of vintage jewelry and museum pieces.  That’s where my love of jewelry began.


How do you source your materials and select your stones?

I go to the big gem show in Tucson occasionally, but my focus has always been production, not just one of a kind, so once I find a vendor I like I stick with them.  I lived in New York when I first started my line in 2003, my fellow jewelry friends hooked me up with most of my sources there and I still use all of them.


What is the most challenging part about running your own business?

That you have to wear so many hats!!! I wish all the time that I could just design and produce, and not have to sell it, market it, photograph it, price it, ship it, etc. I have a love/hate relationship with Excel.


Any tips or advice for aspiring designers like yourself?

Take lots and lots of business classes, never give up your dream, and take chances!!

*Check out the M.E. Jewelry website, there are many more designs and contact info as well.

M.E. Jewelry

 M.E. Jewelry Facebook

Boston Baked Beans with Coconut Bacon

This is delicious vegetarian take on the classic Boston Baked Bean dish.  This recipe isn’t as sweet as most, so if you want it sweeter you can add a little more maple syrup.  This makes the perfect side dish for a BBQ, picnic or potluck.

Boston Baked Beans Robby’s family is from Massachusetts where Boston baked beans originated.  I have never made them before and he told me they were spot on!  Love it when that happens!

Boston-Baked-Beans Enjoy these Boston baked beans with a cold beer of your choice or a white wine like a Riesling, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans Recipe :

6 – 8 servings

  • 2 Cups Dried White Beans
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion – diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine (optional)
  • 3/4 Cup Crushed Tomatoes – I used Bionaturae strained tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup of Bean Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Molasses
  • 3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Coconut Bacon – optional – adapted from Fetal Vegan

  • 1 3/4 Cups Coconut Flakes – unsweetened
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Tamari
  • 2 Teaspoon Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Check beans for rocks then rinse and put in a medium-large pot and add water 1 inch from the top.  You can soak them overnight if you want.  Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until soft, adding water as needed.  While the beans are cooking prepare the coconut bacon and the sauce.

When beans are soft strain saving 1/2 cup of the bean water, put aside.

Put beans into a casserole dish with a lid.

Coconut Bacon

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
Combine liquid smoke, tamari, maple syrup, and oil in a large bowl.  Stir in the coconut and gently toss together. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the oven.  Bake for about 15-25 minutes, flip it over about every 5 minutes to help it cooks evenly.  It can burn if you don’t keep an eye on it.   Let cool completely to become crispy.


Add the onion to a medium sized pan and saute with 1 tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes and add the garlic and saute until golden.  Add wine and reduce until syrupy.

Whisk together all the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and add the tomato mixture with the onions.  Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and set aside until beans are cooked.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour tomato mixture onto beans, cover with the lid and set on the middle rack in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes without stirring.

Take the lid off and bake for 15 more minutes.

Boston Baked Beans

Health benefits:

White Beans are a super rich source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure).  They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.