Top menu

A History: Lundeen Caramels of California

Caramel pour #2. #lundeencaramelsofcalifornia

A video posted by Patty Hume (@pattyhume) on

A Family Tradition

My great-grandmother Rachel Lundeen (aka GG) and her cousin started making holiday caramels for their friends and family in Bloomington, Illinois during the depression (early 1930’s). The caramel recipe they perfected was particularly addicting and yummy. Their friends and family kept demanding they make more caramels, and it quickly turned into a family Christmas tradition that is still going strong eight decades later.

A big thanks to Andrea, Bas, Abby, Ella, Stacey, SueAnn, Angela, Lily & Rob for helping us wrap all the caramels this year! <3

Some of my favorite childhood memories are wrapping caramels with my great-grandmother Rachel (she lived to be 98, passing away in 1999) and the rest of our extended family around my grandparents dining room table. I was in charge of cutting wax paper, but I also ate a lot of caramels. “Wrap one, eat one”, my grandpa used to say.

Four years ago Jonathan and I got brave and decided to try out hand at candy making. We bought a lot of commercial kitchen gear. We bought huge pots,  3′ long stirring spoons, oven mitts that go up to our shoulders, high tech laboratory thermometers, a dozen extra deep cookie sheets, etc. And then we got busy making test batches. There was a bit of a learning curve. We had some failures. Some of the early batches were too soft and stuck to the waxed paper. Some were too hard or just didn’t taste right. Eventually we started getting better at it. We now keep a detailed caramel log of every batch we make, so we can keep improving the recipe. This year we turned out 1600+ candies to share with friends and family.

We stick to the original family recipe for the most part, but we now sprinkle the plain caramels with sea salt (#seasaltisthenewplain). We also make small batches of specialty caramels each year. The flavored caramels for 2015 are: pecans, and chocolate/hazelnut. Based of feedback we may make more of one flavor the next year.

And to answer the million dollar question… No, I can’t give you the recipe. It’s top secret; I’ve been sworn to secrecy by my dad and grandpa Ed (Rachel’s son). We have relatives in different parts of the country who make the caramels each year so there is a little bit of a family competition to see who makes them and how they come out.

Enjoying your caramels? Instagram us a photo! Hashtag your photos #lundeencaramelsofcalifornia and they will automatically show up in the grid below!


Happy Holidays from Echo Park!




December 11, 2015 0
See more: back kitchen, diary, history

My Gratitude List | 2015


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. You get to be with people you care about, cook delicious winter foods and reflecting on the meaning of life. For me, this beats candy, presents and confetti.

I try to make a gratitude list everyday (usually in my head), in the morning when I do my affirmations. But I’m usually in a rush and it often doesn’t happen. Thanksgiving offer a reminder and an opportunity to sit down and reflect on these things. It is kind of a catch up day, for the things we should be grateful for everyday.

My Gratitude List  | 2015

That no one was hurt in the fender bender I was in this week 

Shelter & heat

That I have shoes to protect my feet

Time to watching my garden grow

For always meeting new people

For clients who have become friends

Home made veggie soup

That my blonde hair hides my gray hairs

For living in Los Angeles, with exciting things happening around me

Grocery delivery

Farmer’s Market

For Bear who takes great care of me and indulges me in countless ways

For being allowed to sleep on the couch all night

For the old age of youth

For our National Parks

For water that flows out of taps

For living in a city where there are no bombs going off

For being 41 years old and still having 3 living grandparents

For feeling safe

For having seen enough of the world, that my wanderlust is satisfied

For my old friends who have known me since I was 14

For blogging

For helping people make their lives and homes more the way they want them to be

For plants, who are my friends

For the friends and family we have sadly lost this year

For having some extra time to live

For my books, even though I don’t have time to read them

For Brussel Sprouts, which used to be my least favorite

For being ok with failure

For forgiving myself when things don’t work out as planned

For space exploration






What are you grateful for this year?

November 18, 2015
See more: diary, entertaining & parties

Way Way up in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains, Inyo County, California


Last week, while we were up in Bishop, California to attend Mule Days, Jonathan and I made a day trip up the Ancient Bristlecone National Forest in the White Mountains to see the oldest living non-clonal organisms in the world.


On our drive up to Schulman Grove we stopped to see some other type of pine.


Up at Schulman Grove it was colder than I expected and I didn’t have gloves with me. The metal interpretive signs were surprisingly hot baking in the sun — so I stopped at each one to warm my hands.


We started our main hike at 10,000 feet above sea level. It had just snowed that morning and it made everything seem particularly epic. One of my friends on Instagram said it looked Gameofthrones-ish.


The oldest living tree they have dated in Schulman Grove is over 5,000. It’s the world’s oldest recorded living non-clonal organism. There are also a number of dead trees and some of them have been dated back as far as 12,000 years.

I did some Mitochondrial DNA testing a few years ago, and that was back when some of my ancestors (soon to be Scandinavian vikings) were still living in modern day Turkey. 12,000 years in human history is a really long time ago. But geological time barely blinks.


Up close grain of the wood. It can survive with most of it’s bark gone.


The interpretive signs said that most of the trees eventually die because erosion uncovers their roots and exposed them to root diseases. In a few thousand years over 2′ of soil may erode due to wind, etc.

P1040811P1040768 P1040810P1040777

The needles are surprisingly soft, it was like shaping the hand of a muppet.


In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

-John MuirP1040853

One of these trees might be the oldest tree they have identified. To protect the tree from vandalism they intentionally don’t mark it, but it is in this area.


My husband playing in with snow. He is adorbs.


The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

-John Muir


And then…. the next day….. we went petroglyph hunting in Red Canyon.

Photos of that next week!

May 29, 2015
See more: buildings & places, in California, landscape & garden, on the road

5 Years Ago Today – Our Balinese Blessing Ceremony

Jonathan and I eloped and were married 5 years ago today, at the the Indus restaurant in Ubud, Bali. They have a really beautiful terraced garden behind the restaurant that has views down to a large valley. We found the location online and arranged the wedding via email. It turned out to be the perfect secluded spot for our little wedding.

A lot of people have asked what our ceremony was like so I thought I would give you the play by play breakdown of a traditional Balinese blessing ceremony.

The Balinese Blessing Ceremony

1. The Mangku (priest) rings a small bell to speak to the God (in Sanskrit mantra) that today a sacred wedding is about to be performed. He rings the bell for a couple of minutes.

2. The bride and groom receive this Balinese dadap leaf, holy water, and burnt rice, which means purification and cleansing of the body and the spirit. The assistant priest then burns 3 stalks of bamboo on fire to symbolize the burning of any sinful past as individuals by the God Brahma (Batara Brahma).

3. The bride and groom receive holy water on their chests to purify and prepare their hearts for a blessed marriage.

4. The bride and groom receives coconut water on their heads using a palm leaf (3 times), and their hands to drink (3 times), and then on their hand to wipe on top of their heads (1 time). Disclaimer: Patty only pretended to “wash” her face so she didn’t mess up her make-up.

5. Muspa- The bride and groom pray:

a. Putting both hands together and raise between eyebrows.
b. Muspa Puyung: Praying without holding flowers. This is to concentrate and centralize all the senses to ask Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the highest God) for purity of the soul.
c. The first Muspa: Holding flowers between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask Dewa Surya (the God of the Sun) to share with us His compassionate radiance to the people of the world.
d. The second Muspa: Holding Kwangenâ (little flower arrangement) between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask the specific God of the Padmasana (this small tower/temple protecting the hotel) so that we will always be protected and safe.
e. The third Muspa: Using similar Kwangenâ to pray to all the holy Gods and Goddesses to always give us happiness and health.
f. Muspa Puyung (similar to point b above): To show gratitude for everything that we have, every blessing of life that we have received until now.

6. The assistant priest takes floral water using a coconut shell and pours on a bamboo cylinder, symbolizing straining all the past shadows of wrongdoings. The bride and groom then drink this water.

7. The groom and bride receive rice on their foreheads.

8. The bride and groom then eat treats from the offerings.

And that’s it. That is the ceremony.

Then headed upstairs to our private terrace and had out wedding feast. The menu we pre-selected consisted of tofu curry, chicken satay, corn cakes, braised red bean & young papaya in Balinese spices, fragrant yellow rice and coconut crepes with banana filling and gula merah. The food was excellent, but I think we were kind of too excited to eat much.

My head and neck was throbbing from the weight of my head decorations. I think it was at least 20 lbs. So I had to cut the evening short and start dismantling the hair ornaments. I’ll post photos of that process sometime.

We are planning to go back to Ubud for our 10th anniversary, in 2020. 5 years down, 5 years to go!



May 20, 2015 0
See more: diary, on the road