Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lemon Raspberry Tartlets

I like to make a different baked treat for each morning we have guests.  We recently had a wonderful couple who were staying for three nights.  They had scones the first morning, chocolate croissants the next and I needed something new to fix for the third breakfast.  I found a recipe for berry and lemon curd tartlets and they sounded perfect.  I just LOVE Pepperidge Farm!

Lemon Raspberry Tartlets

Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
lemon curd, 1 teaspoon per tartlet
raspberries, 1 per tartlet  (or three small blueberries)
1 egg  for an egg wash
powdered sugar for dusting


Get the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw until you can unfold the pastry.  You want it to be very cold and stiff.  Dust the counter with flour to prevent sticking and preheat the oven to 400°.

Place parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a cookie sheet.


You need two circle cutters for this.  One slightly smaller than the other.  I was able to get 4 circles from each pastry strip.  Cut the inside of each circle with the smaller cutter, but don't remove it..  I placed the circles on the silicone (or parchment) and then made my second cut. 


Be very careful not to cut the silicone.  I had to use a blunt end of a wooden spoon on a few circles to release the pastry from the cutter.  Be very careful not to press on the pastry too hard.  It will affect how well the tartlet shell rises.


Whip up an egg with a Tablespoon of water and brush it over the circles. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until tall and crispy brown.  Remove and let cool completely.


Take a sharp paring knife and gently cut around the inside circle.  Press the inner circle down to make a little pocket inside the tartlet.  This is where you will place a bit of lemon curd. 


I used purchased lemon curd and added a fresh raspberry on top. 


I also tried a few blueberries on top.  It made for a prettier presentation!


Dust with powdered sugar.


I also served fresh fruit with heavy cream whipped with a bit of sugar and vanilla extract. This kept our guests busy while I made the omelettes.


They were a hit with our guests who described them as "not too sweet and the flavors are nicely balanced." when asked for a review!

I have an idea to make this with Nutella and raspberries or strawberries.  Or both.  I can't wait for my next guests, so I can try it out for them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


This can't be comfortable.


Can it?


Monday, July 27, 2015


I found a fabric at Jo Ann's that I thought would be great for a basket.  I found a pretty faux turquoise embellishment that matched the fabric.  Some glue and thread and I was in business.


This time I made an oval base.  I placed tape to mark where to start and stop the bending to make the sides of the basket.


Mmm.  Maybe a little taller.


I made handles on this basket.


I sewed the embellishment with invisible thread this time.


I like this one.  Maybe a Christmas gift.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Welcome Baby Card

I finished the baby afghan I was working on and sent it off.  But it needed a card to go with it.

I searched through the images on the Cricut Design space and found one I liked.  And $.99 cents later I was in business.

I chose a yellow patterned paper for the envelope.  I just had to remember to change the cutting depth from light card stock to paper.  I also used the light grip cutting mat so the finished product would be easier to remove.

I recently visited a Hobby Lobby store and found some cutting mats at a pretty cheap price.  Then I used a coupon and spent less than $4.00 a mat.  I am still learning the machine and have already destroyed one.  That be the cost of opinion.


A bit of cutting...the machine did that.  But I slid the mat in!


A bit of job

And a finished card.


I sealed the card with some baby stickers and off went the package.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Black and Blue Pie...with PEACHES!

The blackberries were huge and cheap.  The blueberries came in a huge clamshell and were also cheap.  I decided to make a pie!  I had one very ripe peach sitting in my fruit bowl and decided to toss that in, too.


Black and Blue Pie...with PEACHES!

2 piecrusts
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup peeled and diced peaches  or 5 cups mixed berries of your choice

zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cream


Heat the oven to 425°.


I love pre-made pie crusts.  Set them out to become room temperature.  I used an 11 inch stone baking dish.  If you use a regular 9 inch baking dish, just use 4 cups of berries.  Because of the larger size baking dish, I sprinkled some flour on the counter and rolled the piecrust a bit larger.  I sprayed the baking dish with Pam and set the crust inside.


Gently mix the sugar, berries of choice, peaches, corn starch, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl.  Place the  berry mix in the pie crust and dot the top with the softened butter.


Place the second pie crust on top.  You may need to roll it a bit bigger, but mine fit.  Tuck the edges in to seal in the berries and crimp all around the pie.


Mix the egg with the cream.  Brush it on the top of the pie and then sprinkle the sugar on top of that.  Pierce the top in the center to let out the steam.


Bake for 35 or 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges become too dark, you can cover them with foil to prevent burning.


Serve warm.  If you are feeling indulgent, serve it with ice cream.  That's what I did. 


Monday, July 20, 2015

Flash by Donna Ball

I just finished a book by Donna Ball.  I have never read her before.  She writes in many genres and with a few different names.  But I haven't read any of those, either.  I will now.

Flash is the first book in a new series, the Dogleg Mysteries.  Dogleg is an island off the coast of Florida. Two years previously there was a murder and one of the responding police officers was shot in the head, but survived.

Most of the book takes place after that event with a few flash backs as the police office who was shot starts to recover her memory in fits and starts.  The upcoming court case for the shooter seems to trigger these flashbacks.

When the police officers responded to the ringing alarm, they discovered two bodies, a man with bloody hands holding a gun and a small and distraught Border Collie puppy.    As his owners are either dead or in jail for murder, the police officer who was shot adopts him and he becomes a de facto police dog.  The puppy has what looks like a streak of lightning on his head and is named Flash.

In the Spencer Quinn dog mysteries, Chet, the dog, is an active partner in the crime fighting duo.  The books are told from his view point.  In this book Flash is very useful in scenting things and bringing them to the attention of Aggie Malone, who, since the shooting, has become the Police Chief of Dogleg Island. 

But the story is not Flash's to tell.  In fact it is not until the end of the book that he realizes that there is a reason to apprehend the real shooter in the story.  He knows, but that is in the past and dogs live in the here and now.

I like a murder mystery without too much blood, a bit of a romance and add in a smart and helpful dog and this book was a winner. I will look for future books in the series.  I will also check out some of her other series.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pineapple Cinnamon Pork

Once again the Sunday Roanoke Times had a recipe that I thought I would like. I admit to changing it quite a bit to suit my taste.  The flavor was great and similar to sweet and sour , without the vinegar for the sour and without sugar for the sweet. 

Pineapple Cinnamon Pork

3 pounds pork tenderloin  I bought two random weight, plastic sealed unflavored pork tenderloin.
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 (16 oz.) can pineapple chunks in their own juice, Don't drain!
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons corn starch, optional


Trim off the silver band on the tenderloin. Cut each length into eight pieces.  Lay them flat and press them with the palm of your hand until they are about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.


I needed two skillets for this dish.  Place a Tablespoon of butter and oil in each pan and bring one pan up to heat on medium. 


Cook the onions until they are translucent and then remove them from the pan for later use.


Heat both pans and place the tenderloins in them to cook for about 4 minutes on each side. 


Remove from the heat and keep warm.  I placed the plate in the microwave, but didn't turn it on. 


Turn off one skillet and add the pineapple chunks and the juice to the first pan.  Then add the cooked onions, wine, ginger and cinnamon. Simmer until the liquid has reduced.  I ran out of patience and added about 2 teaspoons of corn starch dissolved in a Tablespoon of water to speed things up and thicken the pineapple mixture.


I returned the pork to the pan for a minute or so, to soak them in the juices and to warm them a bit more.  Then place the tenderloin slices on a platter (or two) and cover with the pineapple mixture.


Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve. 


We served the pork with a salad and some potatoes.  They were universally liked.  Except by our vegetarian daughter, who didn't try them.  But she liked the potatoes and salad just fine.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Turn

I have made a lot of baby blankets.  But they are always for someone else.  Not my baby or Grandbaby.   I don't mind.  I like to knit and I like babies, so it is fun for me to make something and think about the baby getting my gift.

But all that has changed.  All you people wanting me to knit you something will have to wait.  I am making something for MY grandbaby. Yay!  And cue the fireworks.


First thing I did was go get some yarn for a baby afghan and order some quilt books from the library.


I started the afghan and have picked out the quilt I want to make.


We are waiting to know the gender so I chose a gender neutral quilt.

Nothing more universal than Rubber Duckies, Right??


I went to a quilt shop on a visit to NOVA ( that's Northern Virginia for the uninformed).  I bought a lot of  a lot of fat quarters in yellows, greens and blues.


I will fussy cut the orange for different beaks.  None of the Rubber Duckies are supposed to be the same, so I will mix and match..

The baby isn't due for months and months.  But then quilts take months and months to make.  My plan is to finish the quilt before the baby gets here. 

The afghan should be done in a month and then I will start the quilt.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Latest Basket

This is my latest basket. 


I'm loving this new project. 


I'm already planning my next one.  Are you getting bored?  I'm not.  Maybe I'll make a bunch and sell at the Farmer's Market.


And maybe everyone I know will get one for Christmas.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dulce de Leche Cookies

I was making a few Mexican meals and looked around for an appropriate dessert.  I found some Dulce de Leche (caramel) cookies and decided that would be a lovely choice. 


Dulce de Leche Cookies


3/4 cup finely chopped peanuts
3/4 cup toasted flaked coconut


1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons rum or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar


1 can (14 oz.) dulce de leche (caramelized sweetened condensed milk)


Don't heat the oven.  You will chill the dough before baking.


Beat the butter until light and fluffy.  A stand mixer works well for this.  I have a Kitchen Aid.   Add the sugar and mix for another minute. 


Separate the egg yolks from the white and put them in the mixer with the rum and vanilla.  Mix until blended.


In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. 


When well mixed, cover the mixing bowl and chill for 30 minutes.


Now you can heat the oven to 350°.  Either spray the cookie sheets, use parchment paper or use Silpat sheets.  I used a medium cookie scoop and placed them on the sheets. 


Butter the bottom of a glass and dip it into the 1/4 cup sugar you have placed in a small bowl.  Use the sugared bottom of the glass to press the cookies into a circle about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.


Bake 10 to 11 minutes, or just until the edges begin to brown.  Remove from the cookie sheets to  cooling racks after they cool about two minutes on the cookie sheets.  They will be soft.  Cool completely, about 15 minutes.


Open the can of dulce de leche.  Take a heaping teaspoonful and spread it on the bottom of one cookie. 


Press another cookie on top and gently press them together until the dulce de leche oozes out of the sides. 


Roll the edges in a small pile of chopped peanuts or the toasted coconut. 


I used the peanuts.


Store in a plastic sealed container.  These were good, but I may use the smaller scoop next time to make the cookies thinner and thus, crisper.  They were very good, however and I liked the caramel center. I also liked that is was an easy to fix center.  Open the can!  Yay!