GreenBerry TreeHouse Cookies

As it has been pouring rain outside for the last two days (the first real storm to hit Los Angeles since we moved into the treehouse), I decided to commemorate the event and the explosion of green we’re nearly instantaneously getting in the yard as the plants and flowers drink to their health and present us with a pre-spring preview bloom.

This is pretty much a standard cooking with a little food coloring added for some Saturday jazz.  I happened to have on hand walnuts, pecans, white and dark chocolate chips, so in they all went.

Michael and I have barricaded ourselves into the TreeHouse and we’re not coming out until the rain stops pounding or Monday morning rolls around.  So if you want a cookie, slip into your swimsuit, throw on your water wings and dog paddle your way up the river of mud and rocks that has become our street. We’ll leave you some in the mailbox.


Salted Caramel Apple Pie

You will never be happy with a straight-up old school apple pie after you power down a few slices of this Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds.

I didn’t know that a pie could lift you completely out of a mild January depression and make you so happy that you put on your yellow and purple boxer briefs just to entertain your boyfriend by dancing up and down the hall doing your best impression of a Laker Girl.  Yet, there I was, gyrating in front of the linen closet with my arm behind my head, flapping back and forth doing “the sprinkler.”

For real.  This is a pie you make only for people you truly love.


January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day!

As it’s Friday, I’m sure many of you already had plans to tear home from work, drop yourselves down onto the couch and eat an entire jar of peanut butter with your index finger while watching Shark Tank. Well, this week you don’t have to experience any of that pesky Catholic guilt over it because it’s National Peanut Butter Day!

Here are my Tv Food and Drink’s top five peanut butter recipes. I suggest you NOT MISS the recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars after the jump. One bite are you will be re-born.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies – Found at Bake or Break

  • 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 0.75 ounces peanut butter cups (about 4 regular size) chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan lightly with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and eggs. Stir well.

Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Transfer batter into baking pan. Arrange the peanut butter cups over the batter.

Bake for 19 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack.

January 23 is National Pie Day!

I don’t know about you, but January 23rd is about my least favorite day of the year. About as far away from Christmas and as deep into the deep, winter doldrums as we can get. Oh, and by the way, it’s still an exhausting nine months until my birthday.  Thank heaven for The National Pie Council and whatever high-ranking government palms they had to grease to have today officially declared “National Pie Day!”

In honor of this day of reflection, celebrating all that the pie has given our nation, I give you my FIVE FAVORITE PIE RECIPES also known as the ONLY FIVE PIE RECIPES I KNOW! But don’t let that fool you. They’re all terrific, and well worth the day off of work. Wait.. you didn’t report to work today on accident, did you? It’s National Pie Day, you know! Didn’t you notice the lack of traffic on the freeways?

And don’t go in to work tomorrow either. That’s National Peanut Butter Day! No, I’m not kidding.


Black Bottom Lemon Pie

I went to cuddle with Michael last night in bed and grabbed him too tightly around the stomach. “Oh baby!” he groaned. “Be careful. I’m all filled up with pizza and pie!”

That was no lie. Earlier in the day as I was rolling out the butter crust and simmering the chocolate ganache, a jauntier (and lighter) Michael held up a shiny sheet of coupons from an Italian joint we’d never heard of called “Pepe’s.”

“Maybe we should use one of these coupons and order a pizza tonight!” he suggested brightly. When I didn’t answer immediately, he turned sheepish and added, “…or tomorrow night.”

I didn’t know my delay in responding while I patched a crack in the dough would throw the whole scenario into jeopardy. “No!” I quickly threw in. “Let’s do it tonight! We haven’t ordered a pizza since…”

I stopped. I had to think about it. When was the last time we had ordered a pizza?

“…two nights ago.”

I keep hearing the way I eat is gonna catch up to me someday. People continue warning that I’ll end up weighing a thousand pounds. “It’ll happen before you know it,” adds my mother, “and it’s not like when you’re twenty. Once it gets on, it’s impossible to get it the hell off.”

As I was breaking down the empty “Pepe’s” pizza box later that night, piling it into the recycle bin on top the empty “Big Papa’s” pizza box from earlier in the week, I thought all this over. Maybe I’ll wake up one morning and my waistline will have gone from a 32 to a 47 overnight. And maybe someday my fat cells will expand like an army of over-filled waterbeds. Maybe they’ll have to bury me in a Union Pacific boxcar.

But here and now… it’s just not happening.

In fact, at my last doctor’s visit, he said I was in phenomenal shape for a man my age! True, it was the optometrist, but he has terrific instincts about these things.

So if you ever come over to the GreenBerry TreeHouse and you see me eating a sliced red apple on a piece of melba toast, or a big spinach salad with raisins, or a bowl of non-fat yogurt covered in blueberries and wheat germ, don’t be fooled. It only means one of two things: either the pie isn’t out of the oven yet, or Michael’s all out of coupons.

Now for the mother-fucking pie! GET THE RECIPE FOR BLACK BOTTOM LEMON PIE HERE

Dispatch from the GreenBerry TreeHouse: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

It was only a matter of time before the skink living in the yard and featured in a previous post was finally captured on camera. As I was measuring out the peanut butter and the sugar, Michael came into the kitchen from the yard, tip-toeing like Elmer Fudd through the middle of the Looney Toons forest and whispered, “Put on yuh swippers and fowwow me! Huh-huh-huh-huh-huh!”

Cut to the backyard where he was pointing into the middle of our hillside of ivy and saying, “Can you see it?”
“Right there.”
“Okay, lean down a little.  Now… see that one leaf that’s kind of brown and tilted to the side, just in front of all the green leaves and that little open patch of dirt.”
“Well, that’s where it was, but it’s not there anymore.” GET THE RECIPE / SEE THE PICS –>

Dispatch from the GreenBerry Tree House: Blueberry Almond Muffins


Michael bulleted in from the backyard to report the good news. “I just saw a rainbow skink!”

“Wow!” I said as I turned down the volume on Rhoda. Michael’s eyes were wide as quarters and his mouth was hanging open like a man stung with bright, new enthusiasm, or the comic strip character Cathy when she finds surprise chocolate in her house.

“It’s beautiful!” Michael said. “Have you ever seen a skink?” He of course already knew the answer, so he didn’t bother waiting for me to provide it. “It looks like a long snake and it moves really fast! I saw it just dart under the woodpile!”

My “boyfriend instincts” told me, “Be excited!”  So I was.  But my “Orange County city-boy” instincts were throwing up red flags. They spelled out their concerns in a memo and delivered the talking points to my brain.

Attention Gary Green:

Point A: A “skink” sounds like the marriage of the words “stink” and skank,” neither of which you should be around.
Point B: Anything that can be described as having a body of a snake, yet not be a snake either needs to be in a Sinbad movie or stomped out with a boot heel.
Point C: It “darted.” Things that dart do so because they want to kill you.
Point D: It lives under a woodpile. That’s the brown fort-like structure in the corner you pretend doesn’t exist because you’re afraid of splinters and knee dirt.
Point E: We, your Orange County city-boy instincts have never steered you wrong. We’ve kept you away from things you should have no part of, like overnight camping, rock-climbing, bungee jumping, Burning Man, corn mazes, and peeing inside an Andy Gump portable restroom. So trust us when we say… there is no missing piece in the puzzle of your life that reads “Get to Know a Skink!” GET THE RECIPE / SEE THE PICS –>

2013 “Use Up the Flour” Goodwill Tour: Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s August 5th, and in a mere ten days, Michael and I will be moving into our very first house together.  It’s located in the foothills of Studio City.  Actually, if you go by the realtor, it’s nestled in the foothills of Studio City  But being longtime Hollywood boys, Michael and I have yet to adopt that high-falutin’ kinda talk they brazenly show off in the San Fernando Valley. GET THE RECIPE / SEE THE PICS –>

Almond Cherry Cake OR “The Buff Shirtless Neighbor Has a Wife”

Across the courtyard from me moved in a couple, and the guy is the most ripped person I have ever seen who wasn’t in the military or the sex industry. I suppose I have seen guys with better physiques at the gym where I generally catch up on e-mails and scroll through pictures of my cat. But since those guys always have their upper bodies at least partially covered with t-shirts or tanks, I’ll award the “Most Ripped” title to this new guy across the courtyard, who is forever walking around shirtless. He’s always shirtless when he’s out on the balcony, but parades around in the living room and kitchen bare-chested too. If you don’t believe me, come to my house and I’ll show you all the pictures I took. READ MORE –>