Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours all the best for a wonderful and Merry Christmas!  


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chocolate Pecan Pretzel Pie

Hello everyone, I have no idea where November went!!!  I apologize for being gone for so long!  So I thought I'd start off with one of my new favorite pie recipes!

Would you like to join me for a slice and a cup of tea?



This rich and delicious pie will easily serve 10!  Enjoy!!

Ingredients
1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
2 large eggs
1 cup(s) light corn syrup
2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
2 cup(s) pecans
3/4 cup(s) (about 18) mini pretzels, broken into pieces
3/4 cup(s) bittersweet or dark chocolate chips (we used Ghirardelli)

Directions
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Fit the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself to create a thicker rim of dough and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the pecans, pretzels, and chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Cover the pie with foil and bake until the filling is puffed and the center is just set, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday & Acorn Inspired Crust Design



Thankful for a few things today.
My family.
Wild Maine Blueberry pie with and acorn inspired crust.
Red Sox winning the World Series at home!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp



My experience with making apple crisp is limited.  I never felt that I could "nail" the crisp part of the apple crisp, which is a key part of the recipe!  LOL!  Well, I found a recipe from Ina Garten which inspired me!!!  It was delicious.  I tweaked it quite a bit, and I've noted my changes below.



Serve this warm, or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - it's the perfect autumn treat, you won't be disappointed!



Ingredients
5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples (I used Cortlands)
Grated zest of 1 orange (did not use-didn't have any and it was 10:00 p.m.)
Grated zest of 1 lemon (did not use-didn't have any and it was 10:00 p.m.)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (did not use-didn't have any and it was 10:00 p.m.)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (did not use-didn't have any and it was 10:00 p.m.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used a 1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (a pinch)

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced (I used 1 stick + a 1/2 stick)
I added a pinch of ground cloves 
I added a pinch of allspice

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. (I did this by hand, but the mixer would have made it easier). Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

I know I made a lot of changes, so it's not really Ina's recipe, but it was still very delicious, my husband loved it!  

Go Red Sox!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween ~ ha ha ha

Boo!!!  No, I haven't gone off my rocker - yet!  I was looking around on Pinterest for some simple Halloween decorating and menu ideas.  I found some really cute things that don't take a bazillion hours to create or prepare. Seriously, who has that kind of time today?  I hope you enjoy my little spooky post!

Some fun decorations

Fun with dips!  Guacamole or spinach, or a traditional pumpkin!

Cocktail ideas
Spooky tablescapes

Sweet Treats

Cute Candy Corn

I hope you enjoyed my Halloween post!  

Here's a post I did two years ago!  Have fun!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Winner Is . . . me!!!



I'm so excited to tell all of you that I won a Red Ribbon, second place, in a King Arthur sponsored pie baking contest!  A local kitchen store that I like to frequent hosted the even and the proceeds went to the March of Dimes.

If you remember I entered last year (click here to read that post) and walked away empty handed and I said I'd be stepping up my game!!!  Well, I can't tell you how many pies I baked this year - but my thighs can!  It was all worth it!  My husband was so excited too!

I won for my Lime Blueberry Pie.  I tweaked the recipe slightly by adding 3 tablespoons of lime zest and three tablespoons of lime juice!  Otherwise the recipe didn't change!  Click here for the recipe, but don't forget to tweak!

Have a wonderful week my friends!

Here's a slice from the winning pie.

Besides my beautiful ribbon, which I'm going to frame, I also won a King Arthur gift certificate and a beautiful Emile Henry pie plate! Which I have used already!  I baked a "Twisted Lime Blueberry" pie in my new pie dish!  See below.

Twisted lattice 

Isn't she pretty!

My neighbors were very happy!




Monday, September 2, 2013

Lime Blueberry Pie



Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoon light-brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Minute Tapioca mix
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
4 cups Maine wild blueberries (I like using frozen)
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 egg


Directions

In a separate mixing bowl, prepare the filling. Whisk together sugars, flour, tapioca, lime zest, and spices. Toss berries in dry mixture. Pour berries gradually into crust, holding back flour mixture with a big spoon. When the coated berries fill the bottom, pour the rest of the dry mixture on top of berries. Drizzle lime juice over berries; dot with butter.


Roll out top and bottom crusts to fit your pie plate.  Fit the bottom crust in, make sure you have about 1.5 inches to roll over.  Fold bottom crust up over top crust (this prevents side leaks); crimp to seal. Cut vents in the top to let the steam escape.  Beat egg and give the top of the crust a light egg wash.


Use leftover dough to decorate the top. Bake 50 minutes for fresh berries, 60 minutes for frozen or until juices bubble up out of the vents.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cool Cucumber Soup



If you are like me and find yourself with an abundance of cucumbers from your garden, here's an idea for a soup that is simply delicious!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients
• 2 cups Greek Yogurt (I used low-fat)
• 1 cup Vegetable Broth
• 2 English Cucumbers, peeled, diced, and divided (I used regular & removed the seeds)
• 4 Green Onions, sliced, divided
• 2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Dill
• 2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
• 4 teaspoons (a little over 1/3 lemon) Fresh Lemon Juice
• 2 teaspoon Salt (I only used ½ a teaspoon)
• Croutons


Directions:
In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt and vegetable broth; set aside. In a food processor, purée 1 peeled, diced English cucumber, 2 sliced green onions, chopped fresh dill, and chopped fresh parsley.
Add the cucumber mixture, fresh lemon juice, and salt to the yogurt mixture; whisk to combine.
Stir in 1 more peeled, diced English cucumber and 2 more sliced green onions; refrigerate for 1 hour.
Garnish each serving with chopped dill and croutons.


Did I mention that a BLT sandwich compliments this soup nicely!

Best wishes for a safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

She Called for . . . Bundt Cake!!!


Happy girl
This smile says it all!

This is my niece "C", she was the happy recipient of the bundt cake that I cooked in "A's" pan that I blogged about here My Wish Came True!

We had made arrangements to join my sister and her family for dinner.  I forgot to ask her if there was anything I could bring.  I was going to ask if she'd like me to bring a dessert.  Before I could call back, a text message came in from "C" asking for my orange cake!


                           

She said "OMG, just give me a spoon!"  LOL!!!

I never replied to her message!  But I phoned my sister back and we surprised "C" - she said she didn't think I'd bring it, because I didn't have enough time to bake one!

"C" is in middle school and she was on vacation with her parents, her older sister was working and she was at the cottage "dorm" alone!  The room had 6 single beds and she loved it, especially when she had some of her friends visit!

This particular day was rainy and my brother-in-law said he'd only seen "C" a few times - for bathroom breaks and food breaks!  LOL

I've mentioned before that "C" has awful food allergies.  She can't have dairy, nuts or shellfish.  So when when we cook or bake for her we need special "butter" and "milk" so that she can eat it. 

I'll post the family heirloom recipe later this week!  It's a recipe that my nana used all the time.  Every time I bake this recipe I feel like she's in the kitchen with me!  I can still remember her handing me the beaters to lick!  

I always thought the batter was frosting when I was little, and she explained the difference.  All I knew is that it tasted good!

One Year Ago



Friday, August 9, 2013

My Wish Came True

  

This past June I did a post on Lemon Spiral Bundt Cake and it was delicious! At the end of my post I said "I'd be thrilled if they (Nordicware) would send me their 12 cup anniversary pan! LOL!!!" Well, my wish came true - but it wasn't from Nordicware either!

Unfortunately, my next door neighbor had to go into a nursing home because her alzheimer's had progressed to a point where it wasn't safe for her to be in her home any longer. Her husband had passed away a couple of years ago and her disease progressed rapidly once he was gone. They did not have any children to help take care of them. She had some nieces that she was very close to and they decided to put her in a home. Then after two years they decided to sell her home.

I felt sad about all of this, "A" was a lovely lady, and she used to pop over all the time! I also felt sad because her nieces never mentioned any of this to us - putting her in a nursing home or selling her home. What they did was bring in a giant dumpster and empty the contents of her home into it.

My husband happened to notice her husbands snowblower shield (about a $200.00 item) in the dumpster, being curious he did a little "dumpster diving" for himself. My husband loves to recycle, and he is now the proud owner of a snowblower shield!



My husband also found the Nordicware 12 cup pan! It's a treasure I'm proud to own, and I'm thrilled my husband rescued it. The pan brings a smile to my heart when I look at it, and I fondly remember my lovely neighbor. I have no idea how old the pan is, but "A" baked all the time and she made many cakes in this pan. When I received my Bachelors Degree "A" and her husband came to my little party and she made me a pistachio cake in this pan - it was delicious!



In a few days I'll post the happy face of the recipient of a bundt cake made in this pan! 
No, it won't be "A" but she was very happy!!!





Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lobster Stock & Seafood Risotto

What a day, what a day, what a day!!!  My good friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window came to visit us in Maine!  We were sad that her hubby couldn't make it, but we still had fun!!!  We did lots of touring, lots of seaside gawking and lots of cooking!

Tonight Susan treated us to her home-made seafood Risotto!  It was better than any dish I've sampled in 5 Star restaurant!

We started by making our own seafood stalk!  Susan was the genius behind this idea, and it made all the difference in the world.  Our "Top Secret" recipe is below!!!






Fill your pan about 3/4 full with water.  Take the carcass of your lobster or any shellfish you have, add an onion, pepper corns, white wine, lemon wedge, Old Bay Seasoning, parsley, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Strain through a cheese-cloth into a bowl or use a coffee filter if you don't have cheese-cloth.  Once you've used what you need, freeze the rest!!!

We used this stock to make a seafood risotto!   You can follow any basic risotto recipe, add fresh seafood (the secret to this amazing dish).  We added fresh lobster, shrimp, scallops & calamari, and organic green peas!

Below is our first cooking video!  We'll probably keep our day jobs!  Enjoy!

video






Friday, July 19, 2013

Spicy Corn off the Cob


Since we are in the mist of a brutal heat wave - day 6 of temps in the 90's!  With no relief in sight until Sunday, and temps expected to reach 99oF tomorrow (37.22 celsius). I've been trying to come up with easy side dishes and I came up with this creation.

We had some corn from the farm and I didn't want to stand over a hot grill roasting corn - I do not boil corn.  So I decided to take the corn off the cob and mix it up with a can of Rotel.  It was an easy and tasty side dish!  The bonus - my husband said this was a keeper!


Ingredients
1 dozen ears of corn
1 can of Rotel
Drizzle of olive oil
Pat of butter or margarine
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions
Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet
Take the corn off the cob right over the skillet
Add a can of Rotel
Give a twist of sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes
Finish with a pat of butter

Enjoy!

One Year Ago


P.S.  Thank you for all your painting suggestions!  It's going to take me a while, but I promise I'll post when complete!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cottage Peek & Decorating Dilemma

Hello everyone! I thought I would give you a glimpse of our little cottage in Maine. It's our Shangri-La if you will. It's not very big, as I've mentioned before, all the lots on our street are 40 feet wide by 100 feet long.

My next door neighbor, a full-time resident and local attorney refers to her home as her "double-wide." My other neighbor is my brother - my oh soooo meticulous brother! He's cut his grass twice this week . . .

We are a 7-10 minute walk to the ocean which is just under a half-mile, and at night when it's quiet we can hear the pounding waves while we're sitting on our porch!



Above is the family room. I've got color going on in here which I love at the cottage. The colors seem to be primarily yellow (end tables, Duke's ball), blues (walls, coffee table, chair cushions, dog bed) white (slip covers and window trim - soon) red (accents) and hints of green. We've had some crazy mad checkers & chess games on that table too!

Those walls used to be a dark pumpkin stain . . .



This is the other piece of slip-covered furniture. It was purchased by my husbands parents when they were newlyweds and is still amazingly firm and comfortable. It's where my husband likes to read in the evening. The lighthouse lamp was a gift from my husband's cousin and the comforter was a gift from his cousin when we got Duke 9 years ago. Gee, I guess this truly is the husband's corner!


We purchased this little gem for about $100.00 (the top alone is worth three times that!) and I want to paint it fire-engine red, it will become our new television stand! My husband has started to modify it already. He'll be adding a shelf to hold the DVD player on one level and a computer charging station on the other level. This piece will replace what you see in the photo below! What do you think? 

Oh, take a look at that little table to the right & keep that in the back of your mind for another question.



I'm thinking of mounting the television to the wall because of this beautiful carrera marble top. I don't want to hide it.


I also have a small side table next to the white slip-covered chair (see above) that I'd like to paint too. Do you think it should be fire-engine red too? Or am I insane to paint those pieces red? What are your thoughts? 
I have another room of furniture to deal with too, but I'd really like to hear from you on this decorating dilemma!!! I'll post the other decorating dilemma later this week!


One Year Ago



Once again, thank you for your comments and thank you for following, I truly appreciate your friendship!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

In a Jam


There was a strawberry sitting on a kitchen counter crying his eyes out, two strawberries were walking by and asked him what was wrong.  That's when he told them, his parents had got into a jam!

Strawberry jam to be precise, from the Better Homes and Gardens "You Can Can - A Guide to Canning, Preserving, and Pickling.


Rather than having my jam on an English muffin or toast, I thought a late night snack on a cracker with gorgonzola cheese would be delicious ~ and it was!

You could also use the jam to baste a chicken, roast pork or maybe some ribs on the grill!  Mmm.

Ingredients
3 quarts fresh strawberries, hulled
1 1.75 ounce package powdered pectin
1/2 teaspoon margarine or butter
7 cups sugar

Directions
1. Crush 1 cup of berries in an 8-quart pot. Continue adding berries and crushing until you have 5 cups crushed berries. Stir in pectin and margarine. Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Return to boiling; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam.

2. Ladle immediately into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner 5 minutes. Remove jars; cool on wire racks.*


*Note:  As the jam cools, turn the jars occasionally, top to bottom, to help evenly distribute the fruit and prevent the fruit from floating to the top of the jars.  Store upright, however, to protect the seal.

Nutrition Information
Per 1 Tablespoon Serving:  51 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol., 1 mg sodium, 13 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 0 g protein