The Cookbook Challenge! Recipes From Huckleberry!

The Cookbook Challenge!  Recipes From Huckleberry!

Recently, I tried my hand at another epic cookbook challenge from a wonderful cookbook that my husband and I bought, in part, because of the stories the author, Zoe Nathan, shares of her adventures in baking.

The Cookbook Challenge!

There’s nothing that endears you to a cookbook more than reading about the “inside” story, so to speak, of how it came about…after reading about Huckleberry, one of my goals in life is meet the unique and enterprising author of this cookbook!  The recipes are also mostly breakfast and brunch recipes, which are my weakness, so of course, this cookbook is quickly becoming a favorite!

Huckleberry Cookbook by Zoe Nathan

My husband was drawn to this unique cookbook because he remembers picking huckleberries as a young boy by his uncle’s farm in Idaho.

Huckleberry cookbook.

I just knew that a cookbook with polka dot paper edges had to be worth trying!

In her fun writing style, Zoe Nathan tells the reader that there are two ways to use her cookbook:

“If you choose to wake up at 6 A.M. to surprise your family with muffins made by exactly following one of our recipes, I promise you will be successful and get a lot of extra praise and appreciation from your family.  You can also use these recipes to give you guidance, messing around with them, inserting your own ideas, until you get it exactly as you want it.  I will certainly not be offended.  Remember, baking is supposed to be fun, so don’t take yourself too seriously while doing it!”

Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica, California

The Huckleberry cookbook also shares the name of  Zoe Nathan’s bakery and café in Santa Monica, California!  Anybody game for a road trip!!

Besides being a visual feast, Huckleberry cookbook features recipes that are hearty and healthy where basic ingredients are combined in a way that you won’t soon forget the deliciousness–they’ll put a whole new twist to your next upcoming family get-together!

Huckleberry Cookbook Challenge!

Huckleberry bakery and cafe.

Zoe Nathan first met her husband, Joel Loeb, when she was hired to bake pastries at his restaurant, Rustic Canyon.  Their “real life” collaboration was meant to be…together they own and bake for Huckleberry Bakery and Café now! 

Huckleberry Monte Cristo Sandwiches! 

I had my first delectable Monte Cristo sandwich at a local deli and was hooked from the first yummy bite!  That deli has since closed up shop, so when I saw the recipe in Huckleberry for these sandwiches, I knew it would be one of the first things I made from this wonderful cookbook!

Ingredients:  Serves 3

3 tbsp. heavy cream

You can use half and half or milk too–I love the cream.

3 sage leaves  I don’t add this.

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Pinch of fresh ground pepper

3 eggs whisked

1 tsp. sugar

9 slices brioche bread

Brioche bread.

The Huckleberry cookbook has a recipe for Brioche bread, I just bought mine.  Challah bread works great too.

4 tbsp. Dijon mustard

I don’t usually like Dijon, but it’s good in these.

6 tbsp. mayonnaise

12 thin slices of ham

I like Land O’ Frost Bistro Favorites Black Forest ham.

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese 

Sometimes I substitute Swiss cheese, which is just as good.

Blueberry jam

Huckleberry homemade jam recipe after sandwich instructions.

Powdered sugar for dusting


In a small sauce pan, bring cream to boil with sage, salt and pepper.  Allow to cool completely.  Whisk in eggs and sugar.  Put in refrigerator until needed.

To build the sandwiches, start by laying out all nine slices of bread.  On 3 slices spread mustard; set aside.  On the 6 remaining slices spread mayo, and divide the ham and cheese on these bread slices.  Put mustard-covered bread slices on top of 3 of the ham and cheese slices, then invert those onto the last 3 ham and cheese slices.  This makes 3 triple decker sandwiches with the mustard slices in the middle.  To be honest, I don’t make triple decker sandwiches, but I’m sure I would love every extra yummy bite of bread if I ordered these at Huckleberry!

When you’re ready to cook sandwiches, heat 1 tbsp. of butter in large saucepan over medium heat; dip the sandwiches in egg batter until well coated and cook until the top, bottom and sides of sandwiches are goldeny brown and cheese is melted.  Slice and serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of blueberry jam,  the recipe for Huckleberry homemade blueberry jam is below.

Cooking with a skillet.

I cook these in a cast iron skill because it creates the best golden brown color. 

Blueberry Jam:

4 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

Combine above ingredients in medium stainless-steel saucepan.  simmer until jammy, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve as dip for Monte Cristo sandwiches.  This will keep good for approximately two weeks in your refrigerator. 

Homemade bluberry jam.

This jam is easy to make and used for several recipes throughout the cookbook.

The Cookbook Challenge! Recipes From Huckleberry!

Every Monte Cristo sandwich I’ve ever eaten has always been cut into fourths, making them the perfect triangle size for dipping in the jam.

I have also had Monte Cristo sandwiches served with turkey slices add along with the ham and cheese, with strawberry or raspberry jam.  

Zoe Nathan states in her introduction, that this cookbook came about largely due to the fact that after she had her son, baking became more personal and she loved to make him freshly baked goodies from her own kitchen; it gave her a great sense of satisfaction.  That’s the special feeling she wanted to share with us in her Huckleberry cookbook.

If you try this recipe, let me know how you liked it.  Any new recipes you’ve tried lately and absolutely loved?

Happy baking…..and eating!  Mary

Cinderella Days! Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days!  Let’s Party!

Cinderella Days! www.mytributejournal.comI don’t know of too many little girls who don’t love American Girl dolls.  My daughters loved them and now my granddaughters are enjoying playing with their life-like dolls; (the new 14 1/2 inch WellieWisher dolls are darling) along with the books, movies and varied accessories, they create the best make-believe fun!

On a recent trip our local William and Sonoma kitchen store, I found out that the American Girl franchise has expanded the enchantment of their product to include party planning and baking books for even more fun with the real little girls in our lives!  I gave my two older granddaughters the party planning book for Christmas accompanied with a note that said we’d plan a few parties for family and friends throughout the year!  For our first official Cinderella Days of 2017, we threw a party a few weeks ago to celebrate all the things we love about our family!!

American Gilr party book.

The American Girl Party Book is full of fun and easy ideas for little girls who want to help plan a special party for their family!

American Girl dolls. "Lets Party!"

Of course, Makena and Marli’s American Girl dolls were included in our first big party event!  (I ordered their cute, little aprons with matching ones for their dolls from the fun Etsy shop, Sweet Apronz N Cupcakes.)

A week before their party, the girls and I got together and planned what we wanted to do and made a list of the things we’d need to buy at the store.  The anticipation and preparation for the party was almost as much fun as the actual event!

Americn Girl "Let's Party!"

There are several darling party invitation ideas included in the book, but one of the things I loved the most about our party was the cute, handmade invitations that Makena made–complete with scented stickers!  I mean seriously…how adorable is this!!!

Cinderella Days! Let's Party!

I’ve always been a firm believer that if you want your children to take a personal interest in a special project–get them involved!  These cute girls were a whirlwind of activity and culinary creativity as they helped make every detail of this special party come to life!

Makena and Marli had little menus, seated their “guests” with great decorum and served the food like well-trained maître d’s!  Their enthusiastic role-playing was simply too cute for words!

American Girl Party book food.

Food served in miniature size is always a hit at any party!  The menu included mini sloppy joes, ham rollups, veggies and chips…

Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes

…and mini no-bake raspberry cheesecakes–which were admittedly the most favorite entrée to make and eat!

Here’s the adapted version we made of the Mini No-Bake Cheesecake recipe that was in the American Girl Party book.

No-Bake Cheesecake recipe

Single mini no-bake cheesecake

My granddaughters loved garnishing the tops of the cheesecakes!  You could change out the jam and fruit for what you love best.

It tickled me so much to see how this activity sparked the spirit of camaraderie, organization and unabashed creativity with these two cute granddaughters…mostly it was just so much fun!  We’re all looking forward to planning our next party!

American Girl Party book!

“You rarely succeed in life unless you have some fun along the way!”  Vikas Runwal

This cute party book gave a lot of darling suggestions for fabulous party planning, but left plenty of room for children’s imaginations to run wild!

Any fun parties you’ve planned or attended lately?  We are always looking for more fun ideas!


The Cookbook Challenge! Homemade With Love!

The Cookbook Challenge!  Homemade With Love!

It’s that time of year when we start pulling out all our favorite family recipes so we can make some for the upcoming holidays.  I thought it also seemed like a good time to try a few new ones in my ongoing Cookbook Challenge quest!

The Cookbook Challenge!

For this challenge, I chose the cookbook Made With Love by Jennifer Perillo that my husband and I picked up at a charming little bake shop on a recent trip to Catalina Island near San Diego, California.  I can’t think of anything better than a little “homemade love” to ease the stress of our busy lives!  Besides, it seems like the world needs a collective group hug–maybe if we could all gather around a really, really big table and enjoy some great food together…sigh!

"Homemade with Love" cookbook by Jennifer Perillo

As if the picture on the front cover of this cookbook isn’t enticing enough–I was further drawn to this cookbook when I read the author’s introduction page….. “I’ve taken some time-consuming, scratch recipes and crafted them into shortcuts to make good eating easier!”

♦ Roasted Vegetable Pizza ♦

This is an easy one-dish meal that is perfect for some of those last vegetables you might have recently harvested from your garden.

Start with one batch of Jennie’s pizza dough: (Makes two 12-inch thin crust or one 16-inch thick crust.)

3 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. granulated cane sugar

1 cup warm tap water

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

In a bowl whisk 2 cups flour with yeast, salt, and sugar.  Add the water and olive oil.  Stir together to form sticky dough.  Sprinkle remaining flour onto clean counter, then scrape the dough out and knead in the flour until it is soft and smooth.  Let the dough rise in covered glass bowl in warm spot until it is double in size–about 1 1/2 hours.  Knead again for a few minutes.  Let it rise for another 30 minutes, then form into the desired crust sizes you want.  

Homemade with Love! Veggie Pizza

Spoon on homemade marinara sauce: (You can make this ahead.)

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic (your preference) 

1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

Handful of fresh chopped basil leaves

Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste

Heat thoroughly in a sauce pan, simmering for approximately 15 minutes; be sure to squeeze tomatoes over pan when adding them to sautéed oil and chopped garlic or puree them in blender if you want a smoother sauce. 

Top with roasted vegetables: (Meat condiments can be added too.)

After spooning marinara sauce on shaped pizza dough, top with a mixture of vegetables, olive oil and a little salt that has been roasted in the oven until tender.  I have used sliced zucchini, button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, a few broccoli florets chopped small, and a little red onion.  Sprinkle pizza top with 8 oz. of fresh crumbled mozzarella, Italian seasoning and some sliced olives.  Bake for 20 minutes in 400-degree oven until cheese is bubbling; let it cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve up dinner yumminess!!

Homemade With Love! Roasted Vegetable Pizza!

And remember…happiness is having last night’s left over pizza for breakfast!

My next go-round with this cookbook is going to be making the Lemon Buttermilk Doughnuts that are featured on the front cover.  I’ll let you know as soon as I do!


(via Homemade With Love)

Best wishes to everyone for a very happy Thanksgiving as you gather together with family and friends and share good food accompanied by great conversation!

Jim Rohn quote on giving.

What family recipes are a mainstay to your holiday season?  Any new recipes you are thinking of trying?  Please share!