Watson Caramel Christmas Cookies!

A Deb Watson classic, and Eric’s favorite cookie for Christmas time!

STEP 1- Mix together crust/topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar

STEP 2 – Press 1/2 in baking pan, bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Until very lightly browned.

Meanwhile …

STEP 3 – Melt together:
32 Caramels (I use brachs squares)
5 tbsp milk

STEP 4 – Pour caramel over crust, top with:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup broken walnuts

STEP 5 – Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon & 1/4 – 1/2 tsp nutmeg to remaining oatmeal mixture, then sprinkle over top of caramel, choc & nuts.

STEP 6 – Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, light brown.  Let cool, cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread or Muffins!

An all time Amanda favorite! Yummmmm! Moist, chocolatey, and perfect fit the holidays!


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil (GREAT w/ olive oil!!)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, and milk. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 50-65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes at the 45 minute mark or so. (15-20ish mins for muffins!)
  4. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container (it tastes better on day 2!) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. But it won’t last that long.
  5. Make ahead tip: Baked bread can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.


Ingredients for 8-10 people:

  • 500g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 about 1 inch chunk of lemon peel (for smell)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Cappuccino
  • Savoyard biscuits


  • Beat 4 yolks with the sugar and lemon peel piece until the mixture is well mixed
  • Mix in mascarpone
  • Use an electric beater to beat 4 egg whites until light and fluffy
  • Gently mix egg white fluff into other mixture
  • Put a cookie in each bowl and soak in 2 tablespoons of coffee
  • Top with the creamy mixture
  • Dust with cocoa or finely chopped dark chocolate

Swordfish Rolls


  • Thinly sliced swordfish, about 2-3mm thick – easiest if ask butcher or cut when frozen
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 clove chopped garlic
  • big handful of parsley
  • A few capers if desired (Eric thinks not)
  • healthy sprinkle of oregano
  • 3 tablespoons regular olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toothpicks

Making it happen:

  • Combine breadcrumbs, herbs and spices in a bowl
  • Put oil in a small dish/bowl
  • Take one piece of swordfish at a time and dip one side in olive oil
  • Then press the oily side of the swordfish in the breadcrumb mixture
  • Fold the breadcrumb side inside and into a square – hold with a toothpick
  • Pat square on both sides in breadcrumbs and pan cook in light olive oil only a couple minutes per side and pressing down with spatula

Good appetizer or for a light meal with salad!

Pesto from Liguria, Italy


  • 100g basilico (basil)
  • 50g parmigiano
  • 30g pinoli (pine nuts)
  • 1/2 bicchiere d’olio d’oliva (1/2 cup olive oil – not extra virgin!)
  • 1 spicchio d’aglio (1 garlic clove)
  • Sale (salt)

Making those things turn into delicious Italian pesto:

Put all ingredients in a mixer and blend to a smooth cream.

Tricks and Tips:

  • Add about half the olive oil to start, once you see the pine nuts and garlic getting small, add the rest of the olive oil
  • Small leaves of basil are better – not bigger than about 2-3 inch leaves
  • Store in the fridge for about 1 week in a tupperware, but add a layer of EV olive oil on the top so the pesto doesn’t oxidize
  • Can store the same way in the freezer (with olive oil) for a long time
  • Serve creamy as is for bread or meat/fish
  • Add EV olive oil until smooth for pasta
  • Always cook with regular olive oil – not extra virgin
  • Always use EV olive oil for serving directly – for example after cooking over fish or over pasta