Monday, December 31, 2012

Good bye 2012

The Year
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.


Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!  Like many of you 2012 has had some highs and some lows and some life lessons.  We've laughed, we've cried and we've said eternal good-bye to family and some friends, in some instances our good-byes, were too soon.  We've had fun, we've cooked, baked and made a pie or two, we've decorated and designed.   We've celebrated our personal and family achievements.  But what I cherish most are all your friendships.  Happy New Year my friends!  XO

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wrapping Up the Beach in 2012

 It's hard to believe that in 6 months my beloved little beach town will be bustling with people enjoying a summer vacation.

This is such a hot spot at the beach, it's so funny to see it enclosed and with a Christmas tree!

Looking up the hill.

Looking down the hill.  I love the lights in the church turret.
Click to enlarge photos.

Happy New Year to my sleepy seaside community.  If you click
on the photo you'll see the tree by the sea!

It's time to do some cooking, the baked beans are ready for the oven and the pound cakes are next on the agenda!  Have a wonderful weekend and if we don't chat for a few days have a safe and Happy New Year.  I have truly enjoyed my friendships with each of you and look forward to more fun in 2013!  Happy New Year my friends!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Victoria Mansion, Dressed for Christmas, Portland, Maine

The Parlor

As part of my husband's birthday weekend, we kicked off the evening by touring Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine - it was stunning!  I took about 90 photos, and I've compiled them in these collages.  To view the photo's click on the image to enlarge.
The Master Bedroom - The Red Room
Victoria Mansion was built between 1858 and 1860.  It is the finest example of Italianate style in the United States.
The Green Bedroom
 The owner, Mr. Ruggles Morse was a hotel businessman from Maine.  This was his "summer home."  He mainly lived in New Orleans.  He spent the summers in his home state.
The Library
 The house and it's contents were sold in 1894 to the Libby family. Today, 90% of the original furnishings are intact in the home - amazing.  The Libby family took very good care of the home.
The Dining Room
 In 1940, the home was slated for the "wreaking ball," thankfully due to the efforts of Dr. William Holmes a group came together and saved this stunning home.
The Receiving Room
 I hope that you get a chance to tour this beautiful home if you are ever in Portland.  I can assure you that it's worth the trip.  The craftsmanship is amazing!
The Foyer
Tomorrow is my husband's "official" birthday, and we'll kick it off with breakfast at home, then a trip to L.L. Bean in Freeport, ME and dinner at the Good Table in Cape Elizabeth, ME.  Sunday is a trip to his favorite in-door farmers market in Scarborough, ME!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Relish

If you can find any fresh cranberries in your local market, rather than stringing them with popcorn for your Christmas tree, I hope you are able to make this recipe!  

My friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window turned me on to this recipe and I've been making this relish for years, and everyone really enjoys it!  This relish is the perfect match for turkey, chicken or pork dinners, It's also great on leftover turkey or chicken sandwiches too.  

Sam Hoffer at My Carolina Kitchen also uses her cranberry relishes as an appetizer on a crostini with blue or gorgonzola cheese - how delicious!  Sam also has three amazing cranberry sauce recipes you should check out too!  


3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 medium orange, cut into eights (ends, & seeds removed)
1 cup sugar (or eqivalent artificial sweetener)

Slice unpeeled orange into eighths and remove any seeds. Place half of the cranberries and half of the orange in food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped. Tranfer to a bowl and repeat with the other half of orange and cranberries. Stir in sugar to taste and store in refrigerator of freezer.

Oh, if you find any fresh cranberries, be sure to pick up an extra bag or two for your freezer.  The cranberry season is a short one, and cranberries keep nicely in the freezer for up to two years!


P.S. Isn't the color beautiful!

One Year Ago This Week

Two Years Ago This Month

Beef Stew & Books . . . hmmm

I've also linked up my Cranberry Relish recipe with Foodie Friday's at; 

Rattlebridge Farm & 

Simple Living and Eating

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pie Memories in Review for Thanksgiving

A Dear Friend's Apple Pie

Another wonderful friend's Cranberry pie recipe

Pecan Pie 

Apple pie deliciousness!


Delicious Peanut butter Pie

Tomato Pie

Pineapple Cream


Multi-berry pie

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Heros & Family Folklore

This photo was taken at the family homestead in Massachusetts.  Pictured here is my grandfather with three of his four sons.  Three sons served in World War II.  My grandfather served in The Great War (WWI) in France.  In this photo are my dad holding the hat and too young to serve, my Uncle William the sailor, and my Uncle Jimmy the army soldier.  Not pictured is my Uncle Peter an army veteran who also served in WWII.

I've recently learned about some family folklore.  It has been said that my grandfather lost all his hair overnight after three of his four sons enlisted.  And me being a precocious child used to call my grandfather "Baldy Murphy" ~ sorry Grandpa!

My Grandpa and I used to play little mind games with each other.  We weren't allowed to walk on the hardwood floors, only on the oriental rugs (go figure).  So, I would walk with half my little foot on the rug, and the other half on the hardwood floor - staring him down the entire time I walked to his candy dish!  I was never reprimanded, just loved by him and my grandma!

My grandparents were blessed to have their sons all return safely, marry, and have families of their own.  They were all wonderful men, and I miss each of them dearly. I'm so proud that they protected and served our country for the freedom that we enjoy today.

I would also like to acknowledge all service men, women and their families, from every part of the globe, who have served and sacrificed for their countries past and present.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tomato Pie

Here it is the winning pie that didn't win (you can read about that in this post And the Biggest Loser Is! )  So, I'll enter it again next year!!!  This is a great way to use up those tomatoes that are ripening on your window sill - if you have any left, I still have a few.  

This pie would be great for a ladies or a light luncheon, and don't be afraid to serve this to the guys, my husband and my friend Susan's (From Beyond My Kitchen Window) husband really enjoyed this pie!  

We seriously love this savory pie, and I hope you do too!

Tomato Pie Recipe 

Prep time: 10 minutes                                 
Cook time: 55 minutes
If you want to take this recipe up a notch, you can caramelize the onions while prepping the other ingredients. If you do that, double the amount of onion. (I tried this but didn't care for it with this pie, I prefer adding the raw onions.)

  • 1 9-inch pie shell (store bought or homemade) 
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, chopped 
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes. (I also added green tomatoes, and love it)
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil (about 8 leaves)* 
  • 2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozarella) 
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank's Hot Sauce (or Tabasco) 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar,
starting at one end slice the "cigar" crosswise in thin slices.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie shell in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or longer until lightly golden. If you are starting with a frozen crust, you'll need to cook it a little longer. If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then line the crust with aluminum foil and pre-bake it for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. 
  2. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer. 
  3. Sprinkle the bottom of the pre-cooked pie shell with chopped onion. Spread the chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes. 
  5. Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes. 
Serves 6


P.S. A little pet peeve & blog request. If you have comment moderation turned on, you do not need "Word Verification."  I have heard that many followers will not leave comments with "word verification" turned on, because sometimes the words are such a hassle to decipher. I know on occasion it's taken me 3 tries to leave a comment! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Duke hopes you all have a bootiful evening!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pineapple Cream Pie

I promised that I'd post this recipe, this is one of the pies that I had entered into the charity bake-off. This pie was the 1999 American Pie Council 2nd place winner in the cream pie division. Hmm, maybe I should have paid more attention to that little note! LOL!!! In any event, it was really delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

The inspiration for this pie came from that cute little decoration you see on top of this pie!  Yes, I was inspired to make this pie based on a .99 cent cookie cutter stamp!  It's similar to the Williams-Somoma cookie cutter stamps, but it didn't come from there, it came from my local kitchen store in Maine.

The first time I made this pie, I made it with the graham crust, the second time I made it I made my own pie crust, and my little pineapples! I did not do an egg wash on the crust, you my like to do that if you want a golden crust.  I used milk, I wanted a light crust.  

These are the steps to make a graham cracker pie crust, you can skip and use a pre-cooked pie shell.
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

PIE INGREDIENTS (I felt very Julia Child like mixing these ingredients!)
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons butter, softened
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple drained (I gave a little squeeze too)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup white sugar and melted butter.  Press mixture firmly in bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.  Bake at 375 degrees F  (190 degrees C) for 6 -8 minutes.

2. Combine 2/3 cup white sugar, corn-starch, and salt in saucepan.  Blend milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat, and stir in butter, vanilla, and pineapple.  Pour into crust.  Press plastic wrap over top of filling.  Chill at least 2 - 4 hours.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, confectioners' sugar and almond extract.  Whip to stiff peaks and pie or spoon onto pie.  Serve immediately!

Serves 6 - 8

P.S. Stay tuned!  The next pie I post will be my Tomato Pie!  

P.P.S.  Thank you for all your comments on my "Biggest Loser" post.  I truly appreciated your kind comments!  Thanks for letting me know what your favorite pie is too!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Favorite Apple Cake

This new recipe made 4 people very happy after dinner!  

I found this recipe on Boston.Com, it was under the "Most E-Mailed" articles. So naturally I had to read it. The article said that the cake has a remarkably moist texture from the oil and orange juice. It does!

I put my faith in the article that there would be enough batter when I layered the four Cortland apples, I was skeptical, but there was enough batter!

The cake tastes delicious, it's easy to put together, just like the article states. The article also goes on to say it keeps well, ahh, that will NOT be a problem. 


Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)

1 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil because I didn't have canola)
4 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used orange extract because I was out of vanilla)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 baking apples (peeled, cored & thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon mixed with 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)

Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tube pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper (I used wax paper) cut to fit it, and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

In an electric mixer, combine the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat just until smooth again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon one-third of the batter into the pan (barely a layer). Smooth the batter with a metal palette knife. Gently press half the apples into the batter (OK to overlap). Sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Add one-third more batter, the remaining apples, and all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Cover with batter, smooth the top (it may not cover the apples; that's OK), and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar.

Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top is firm and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

With a small knife, cut around the inside and outside edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Turn the cake out onto a plate. Set another plate on top and invert again so the cake is right-side up. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Serves 8, 10, or 12 (depends on how big you slice the pieces!)

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

P.S.  You could also add chopped walnuts or pecans to the sugar cinnamon mixture and make more of an apple coffee cake!

P.P.S. I made a few substitutes because we were at the cottage in Maine, and since we're only up on occasional weekends I have run out of items, and I wasn't going to run to the market!  My substitues were not even noticed!

P.P.P.S.  Your home will smell devine!

I linked up with the following parties!
Pink Saturday

Monday, October 8, 2012

And the Biggest Loser Is . . .

Me!  Yes, that's right, moi!  If you recall, I mentioned that I was thinking about entering a pie contest, well I did, and I lost!  Lost! Lost!  But that's OK (HA!), because I learned A LOT!!!  Being a teacher, there always has to be a lesson - right!

This contest was for charity.  You paid $5.00 for each set of pies, and you needed to bring 2 of each pie you entered.  One for the judges to sample, and one to sell.  So, I went out on a limb, and entered a pineapple cream pie, tomato pie, and my world famous blueberry pie.

Pineapple Cream Pie
However, when I got there, they didn't have my tomato pie on the list!!!  So it was disqualified before it was set down on the table.  They apologized, and I took a deep breath, and said "no problem."  In all fairness, it was the 1st time this shop had ever held a competition.  Out of the goodness of my heart, I left one tomato pie for them to sell, then we took the other one home and had a slice for breakfast!  LOL!!!

The grand prize was a $75.00 King Arthur gift certificate, and Emile Henry blue pie plate, and a blue ribbon.  Second prize was a $50.00 King Arthur gift certificate, a red ribbon, Emile Henry red pie plate.  Third prize was a $25.00 King Arthur gift certificate, a white ribbon, Emile Henry white pie plate.

Wild Maine Blueberry Pie
Later on in the day, we went back to find out the results.  What I found out was, that I didn't win a thing!  Well, that's not entirely true, I did win a consolation prize, a pie carrier!  I was told that my tomato pie was the best pie there!!!  LOL!!!

So, here's what I learned.  These ladies, and gentlemen who entered this contest were serious bakers!  Some of them enter contests throughout New England.  One woman drove up from New York, another from Cape Cod!  Some of them have all kinds of blue ribbons racked up!!!  Some of them are genuine bakers!  So, I wasn't up against the local kitchen cook, oh no, these were real competitive bakers!

Tomato Pie
I also learned that if I want to bake in the kitchen with the big kids, I need a training program - stat, so watch out, I'm competitive,  I don't like to loose, so bring on the contest next year because I'm in training!!!  I'm baking a pie a week!!!

Now, there's another chapter to this story, and it's a "hum-dinger" . . .  my darling husband was very excited about this competition for some reason, he told me I had to have my pies there on Saturday, and I said it was Sunday, this discussion went on for about 15 minutes - until we checked the website, which wasn't clear.

So, instead a leisurely Saturday baking, I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. baking, after working all day, and driving 2 hrs. to Maine!  So, I had been up a total of 23 hours.  I gained conscience briefly on Saturday morning to verify when the pies had to be there - yup, I was right, it was Sunday!  The only thing I did on Sunday was relax after dropping off my pies!  It's a good thing he's cute and I love him . . .

All, in all, I'm really happy that I entered.  It was for a good cause, I had fun, I loved the excitement surrounding the contest and I'm looking forward to making more pies!  

I'll post the recipes later.  To satisfy my own curiosity, please let me know which pies you are particularly interested in when you leave your comment.  Also, please let me know what your all time favorite pie is.  Thank you!

I linked up with the following parties;
Mosaic Monday