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Homemade Almond Butter

There’s no denying how delicious Almond Butter is. There’s is also no denying how crazy expensive it is to purchase. So why not make your own?

The perks of making homemade almond butter far outweigh the ease of purchasing it ready made. Almond Butter, like any nut butter is incredibly versatile, so feel free to get creative with flavorings and spices!


Picture sent to me of my friend enjoying the Almond Butter I gave them

In this recipe I decided to go pretty basic since it was a first try. But any and all of the ingredients (except the almonds of course) can be modified.



3 c. Raw Almonds

1 tsp. canola oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground flaxseeds

More of a visual learner? Scroll to the end to see pictures of the process

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Place almonds on a baking sheet in one layer and roast the almonds for 10-12 minutes shaking the pan intermittently.

As soon as the almonds are done, don’t wait for them to cool. Put them directly into the food processor and begin to blend.

The almonds will go through multiple stages before they hit “butter”. They begin as a flour like consistency, go through a dough stage and lastly will become buttery. Be patient, it takes time. Feel free to stop the Cuisinart and use a spatula to clean off the sides from time to time.

Once the almond butter is the right consistency, add in the spices. Blend again for another minute or so until fully combined.

Viola! Homemade Almond Butter 

I suggest packing a big jar for yourself and minis to share with friends.

Keep the butter refrigerated.

Blending Almonds

stage one of almond butter

Adding spices to almond butter

Life of the Party Sauce: Cranberry Sauce for the Rich and Famous

Warning: do not attempt to serve this item if you are uncomfortable with fame. This beyond easy cranberry sauce has a flavor that dances on the palate making those eating it swoon and silently curse the fact that you are such an incredibly talented chef.


One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the cranberry sauce. There’s something about the sweet and tart flavor combo that just gets me going. What I love about this modern rendition of an age-old classic is the use of wine and spices to add a much more complex flavor palate to the mix. It is incredibly easy to make. And tastes great warm straight off the stove (for those running a little late on their meal prep) as well as refrigerated where it forms a jelly-like consistency.


Beauty of the Berry



Cranberry Awesomsauce

Adapted from Canal House Cooks Everyday

1 C. Red Wine

1 C. Sugar

1 tsp dried rosemary

10 black peppercorns

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries


Bring wine, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and rosemary to a boil.

Add the cranberries, reduce to a simmer and mix until the berries burst and are soft. (approximates 10-15 minutes)

Pour sauce through a sieve into storage container or serving bowl, mashing the cranberries through the sieve using a spatula. I find it best to do this in increments so there’s less possibility of spillage. The rosemary, peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves will remain in the sieve along with the skins of the berries. Wipe sauce from the bottom side of the sieve into your bowl (you’ll want every ounce!) and mix sauce to make sure the consistency is uniform.

Finish with a cinnamon stick or a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for a consistency of jelly.


Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Owl & The Pussycat

Summer is a magical time of year. In early August when we had finally acclimated to the heat and the long lazy days, a very special event took place. A dear friend of mine got married. This was no ordinary event. The celebration took place on private property nestled in the hills of Ojai. It was an intimate affair that included many personal touches that made the wedding one to remember. I had a tiny part in event by making a cake topper for the wedding cake. But this was no ordinary cake topper….

The bride has forever been enchanted with the poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” and wanted to find a way to tie it in to her wedding. We decided to make a sugar topper depicting the scene from the poem.

The topper was designed to look like a framed page from a book but with certain elements popping “off the page”. By making it framed, the back was able to be designed in great detail as well, so the piece would be beautiful from every angle. One of my biggest goals as a designer is to have no unfinished elements to my work. So regardless of the angle, the cake is a work of art. The topper is made completely of sugar and to give you an idea of its size, the image is on a 4 inch round disc. So yes, it’s small!

owl and the pussycat cake topper



cake topper back

I took some quick photos along the way. I find the most interesting part is to see where the creation began and how it got to the finished product.



Better Homes & Gardens

It’s been quite some time since my last post. There have been a lot of changes and the wheels have been turning as to how to revamp, renew, and make this blog more contemporary. I recently moved to a new apartment and got bit by the nesting bug! I love decorating and have been adding little touches here and there to make the place mine.
I am a major plant person but have trouble actually keeping things alive. Waking up every morning at 5 and leave while it’s still dark out doesn’t help. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the shades down and my poor plant spent the day in the dark. I needed to find a way to keep my plants alive.

My solution: Placing heartier plants on either side of the front door. I love lavender and there is nothing like passing through their delicate scent evey time I come and go. It makes my place feel homey and inviting rather than being just another random door in an apartment complex.





Total Investment: $38.00

Current Life Span: 5 months (a new record!)


What have you done to decorate your front door?

Post your pictures on twitter @urbansweets or on the facebook fanpage!

Chocolate & Turquoise Cake

There’s something about creating a dark cake for a wedding that gets me all excited. It’s different, flashy and emotional even when the design itself is understated.

This wedding cake was based on the save the date card that was sent out for the wedding. I also drew inspiration from Spanish tiles when designing the monogram.

The wedding was held at The Regent Beverly Wilshire, an absolutely beautiful venue. The room had a dim,  intimate ambiance that paired nicely with the noble colors of the cake.

Good Luck Cake Shoes

What’s in the box? A cake of course!

One of the first things impressed upon us in culinary school is the importance of our uniform.


1) Must wear Commis (chef’s hat) at all times

2) All buttons of Chef’s coat must be buttoned

3) Must wear chef shoes in the kitchen at all times

And the list goes on….

I was very excited about getting my uniform and trying it on until I saw the shoes…. while they are safe and I must admit, extremely comfortable, they are not the most attractive footwear I have sported.

But as a chef, we quickly fall into our routines of donning our garb, tying the apron just so and beginning our work. This ritual almost feels devotional. Ensuring a good day in the kitchen. So naturally, the shoes became a part of that custom. But as humans, we always modify, change and build upon our customs.

About a year ago I was commissioned to create a Shoe Cake (view post here) for a designer for Ed Hardy. They loved the cake and as a thank you actually gave me a pair of Ed Hardy’s!

I am not normally a person to follow the trends or wear labels. But every time I put on those shoes it reminds me of happy clients and our cake. So they have quickly become my good luck charm. Before we head out of the kitchen to deliver a cake I throw on my Ed Hardy’s and know the delivery will go well.

Food Meets Function

As we are all aware, the past decade has brought gruesome news of the events occurring in Africa, particularly in Darfur and Sudan. There is an amazing organization called Jewish World Watch that made it their mission to fight against genocide. They created an initiative called the Solar Cooker Project. The women living in refugee camps after fleeing Darfur are in charge of making food, in order to cook they must venture out of the camps to collect wood for kindling. This everyday activity has turned into a nightmare for the women since they are often attacked and raped while they are out beyond the walls of the camp.

Jewish World Watch heard of these atrocities and decided a solution must be found to end these horrific occurrences. They developed a solar cooking system that uses the reflection of the sun to cook food, thereby eliminating the need for the women to collect firewood. Think back to the 70’s when people would use tin foil screens to tan outdoors, and you have the basic concept behind the solar cookers.

I find this initiative so impressive because an incredibly simple, low cost solution was created for a very grave situation.

Recently Jewish World Watch held a party celebrating the 5 year anniversary of the Solar Cooker Project and I was honored to be able to attend and support them. Some of L.A.’s most influential women chefs gathered to cater the event.

Suzanne Tracht from JAR & Suzpree
Nancy Silverton from Pizzeria Mozza & Osteria Mozza
Rochelle Huppin from Chefwear
Kajsa Alger from STREET
Natasha MacAller “Dancing Chef”

I was on cloud 9 surrounded but such amazing talent and of course incredible food!

As we entered the event, there on the floor, was an actual Solar Cooker set up baking brownies. To be able to see the product first hand and know that what reminded me of a tanning bed was a life saving device to women half way across the world really struck a chord with me. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and not look beyond the  needs of ourselves and our loved ones. But if we do not act as advocates for those that cannot defend themselves, who will be there to help them? In my tiny apartment I have an oven, stove top, microwave and toaster oven. All items I rarely appreciate beyond the fact of them doing their job as quickly as possible. This initiative has brought new light and awareness to everyday items that I typically take for granted.

How can you help? Visit the Jewish World Watch website here. Can’t make a donation? Donate your time! No matter what our walk of life, we each have something that we personally can contribute that will make a difference.

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