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Play in the kitchen day!

Today is one of my favorite days. Two days before a retreat. The shopping is done. The agenda is locked. So today it’s play in the kitchen day. A day of baking, chopping, assembling, seasoning.

Days like today always remind me of my mom. My mom (Carol) passed in 2003. When I’m in my kitchen is when I feel the closest to her. She was always the happiest when she was be-bopping in the kitchen making delicious dishes for her friends and family. Carol was best known for her Peach Cheesecake. It was the thing she was most asked to bring to potlucks. And yep, that is the inspiration for the name of the Peach Cheesecake Ranch.

Ok, enough story time. Let’s get back to my fun play in the kitchen day. I have 15 folks coming out here in two days. Today is the day I get to start on the cooking.

Here’s what I’m making today:

One of my favorite things to serve is my homemade vegan and gluten-free Coconut Granola. It is packed with oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and sweetened with maple syrup. Want to make it yourself? Here’s the recipe.

Another crowd pleaser, Spicy Roasted Cashews. Made with fresh rosemary and a blend of yummy spices, it packs a whole lot of flavor. Recipe here.

This is Seymour

I start step one of Sourdough Bread making today. I feed my starter (his name is Seymour and I’ve had him since January 2022.) Seymour will do his magic all day and tonight before I go to bed, I’ll put the bread together so it can ferment and rise overnight. Tomorrow, I’ll do a few rounds of slapping the kitty (my cousin Angie taught me this) it’s a technique of slapping and folding the dough to activate the gluten. Then, into the oven it goes.

And for another fan favorite, I’ll be making The Ranch’s namesake, Peach Cheesecake. The recipe I use is an adaptation of my mom’s. Her’s was a no-bake cheesecake that was pretty fragile. This recipe is a more robust version that I make into cheesecake bars. You’ll have to visit The Ranch to get this recipe. Check out my dorky Sourdough Bread making video.


Where have you been Denise? It’s been quite a long time since you heard from me. All is well, like so many, I pivoted a bit during the pandemic. I’ve been deep in working on a great project with Wits’ End Productions for the Corporate Responsibility team at Cox Enterprises, Inc. It’s a 10-city road show to kick off a large social goal for the company (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orange County, Dallas, New Orleans, Burlington, Hampton Roads, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta). Seven down, three to go.

We’re on a summer break and I’m so glad to be back in my happy place here at Peach Cheesecake Ranch. And, I’m happy to say folks are coming back out and booking retreats. And why not, Summer is honestly the best time at the Scenic Columbia River Gorge. Ok, time to get back to my play in the kitchen day.


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