Category: Recipes

cocktails & cookies.

Fresh Scratch, Rosemary Meyer Lemon Drop

Last week I held my favorite soiree of the year: my annual cookie swap with all my ladies. But I’m going to be honest here and tell you: it’s really a cocktail party with cookies.

Before I go sharing my two newest concoctions with you, let me tell you that if you’ve suddenly found that you’re in need of some last-minute gifts, these couldn’t be simpler. The cookies would be great in a tin {reuse one of the many that have already made their way through your front door this month!}, hugged by a bit of parchment. And I can vouch that a bit of rosemary simple syrup in a half-pint mason jar, accompanied by one Meyer lemon, a recipe card, and a mini-bottle of vanilla vodka is a delightfully unexpected thank you to hand off to your dog groomer, your mailman, your waxing lady, your hairdresser…your you-name-it.

Fresh Scratch, Ritzy Rolo CookieWhile surfing around on Pinterest for an ungodly amount of time when I was home with my broken leg, I came across these little numbers. They were terrific as they were, but I think they’re even better with double the chocolate-caramel action. I think you might agree.

Ritzy Rolo Cookies
Buttery, Salty, Caramely, and Chocolaty. Your mouth will thank you. Oh! And they're a breeze to make. Did I mention that?
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
3 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
3 min
  1. Ritz Crackers
  2. Rolos {unwrapped}
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with a single layer of Ritz crackers, salty-side up.
  3. Place two Rolos next to one another on each cracker.
  4. Bake for 3 minutes.
  5. Smoosh the melted Rolos down with another Ritz cracker, salty-side down.
  6. Let cool.
Fresh Scratch
Fresh Scratch, Rosemary Meyer Lemon DropThis lemon drop in this exact iteration was a happy accident. I had asked Matt to get two dozen lemons at the store for my cookie party cocktails. He came back with two dozen Meyer lemons. Pricey, but, in the end, so worth it. It’s like one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.

I think the cookie party mavens may have liked it just a tad, too, as the pitcher was totally gone by the time my last guest left, leaving me to, um, well, make more.

Rosemary Meyer Lemon Drop
Woodsy, Sweet, and Sour, all at once. A Christmas miracle, I tell you. The amounts are kept vague so that you can easily adapt this to any size.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
  1. Sugar
  2. Rosemary, chopped
  3. Meyer lemon, juiced
  4. Vanilla vodka
First, the Rosemary Simple Syrup
  1. Place equal parts sugar and water into a small sauce pan.
  2. Add 1 T chopped rosemary for every cup of sugar used.
  3. Over medium heat, cook until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Cool completely, then strain out rosemary leaves.
  5. {This syrup will keep in a jar in the fridge for about 3 weeks.}
For the Cocktail
  1. Mix equal parts rosemary syrup, Meyer lemon juice, and vanilla vodka in an ice-filled shaker {no shaker? Just stir with ice in a big cup.}
  2. Pour into the glass of your choice, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
  1. For a more intense rosemary flavor, let the syrup cool on the counter overnight before straining.
Fresh Scratch
 Merry, merry!

xoxo, mrs. fresh scratch


pumpkin bread & giving thanks.

Fresh Scratch, Pumpkin Bread

It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, I was watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon {still one of the best moments of my life}. This Thanksgiving season looks a little different {okay, a lot different} – for one, we are staying put in the great old pnw, visiting my parents for part of the break.

Fresh Scratch, Arizona, Grand Canyon, South Rim, Hopi PointAnd, for two, well…dang. I am just in such a different place than last year. Last year I was writing up a storm, teaching just three classes, but struggling with a lot of turmoil in my personal life. While I’m glad that last part has done a 180, I sure miss the writing load and the sleep and the just-three-classes part.

Five classes is proving to sort of kick my arse.

But it’s a season of life. I’m figuring it out. Those five classes mean that my blog got a makeover and Matt got a new car {which I backed into my brother’s car this weekend, but let’s just grimace and move on, shall we?}. And though I tend to look for the ways to be happy in any situation, I am learning that I need to just lean in to all the seasons of life and listen to what they have to teach me. They are each meant to be lived, even if they are kicking your arse. Even if you have to let some things you love go for a while, it doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. Sometimes figuring crap out takes time and quiet.

Fresh Scratch, Pumpkin BreadTake this pumpkin bread, for example. I’ve issued this pumpkin bar recipe out to you each fall these last few years, but it only dawned on me this very month that, hey, this could be made into bread instead of cake with icing. Because, duh, I am slow sometimes. But generally your patience is rewarded.

I got up early this morning and baked two of these smell-a-rific loaves to serve to our brunch guests, Marie and Patrick, whom we manage to see every week in the summer but sometimes go long distances between those visits in the school year. There, too, our patience is always rewarded with tight hugs and long chats and kids putting on plays for us.

And, so, here it is: the recipe for pumpkin bread, the less wild and crazy cousin of pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: approx. 16 slices

Pumpkin Bread

The perfect companion to all of your autumn moments, unless you are married to George Clooney. Because then George would be your perfect companion.


  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. oil of your choice (I use safflower)
  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 4 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Blend wet ingredients until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth and combined.
  5. Pour into 2 buttered bread pans.
  6. Bake until toothpick test is clean, 50-55 mins.
  7. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and release them.
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And, while I’m at it with this Thanksgiving vibe, if you’re in need of some tasty ideas for this long holiday weekend, please enjoy some of my favorite Thanksgiving-ish foods and beverages: Apple Pie Martini, The Fresh Scratch Cocktail, The Spiced Cider Cocktail, Cranberry Sauce, and Flat Apple Pie.

This year, I am particularly thankful for the enjoyment of solitude {there’s just not enough, though}; for finally getting my daughters’ bathroom painted since putting off for for nearly six months; for red wine; for being five episodes away from finishing “Revenge” – my true guilty pleasure; for the fact that I am now caught up on the Undisclosed Podcast and will, therefore, no longer be listening to spooky murder case details while walking to work through the dark  woods each morning…

…and for you. Thank so much for standing by so patiently as my writing schedule has slowed down to a crawl. It won’t always be so. In fact, I have recently put my freelance writing on hold until summer and am looking forward to spending my writing time exclusively here for a while. Why? Because I have the best readers on earth.

xo & gobble-gobble,

mrs. fresh scratch