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Monday, May 30, 2011

Sugar Vacation

One of my most favorite things to do is to bake, which often means sugar and butter.  But this week, I am moving away just a bit from the sweet side and hover over some fresh ingrediants.  And when I say fresh, you can't get any fresher...
Fresh from the garden, into the cooker and then the jars.

Eggplant must be one of the lonely vegetables. A lot of people just aren't very friendly with him. But I can tell you, he is ready to go with you to the fry pan, the grill, the broiler and the casserole dish. Almost anywhere you wish to take him.

Tomatoes picked in the early morning light, brought home to be made into marinara and topped on fresh white eggplant.  I have never seen a white eggplant. I suspect many of you haven't either.  Have you?   Made a pretty tastey broiled parmesian to go with zuchinni that was barely old enough to taken from its earthy "home".

Alright,  I can't say I got these from the garden, but they sure were a great addition to a meatless meal.


There is nothing that smells any better than fresh picked veggies. 
And  how the Lord does dress the "lilies" of the field. 
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

Stuffed bellpeppers.
Place peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes.
Saute one small onion and a stalk of  chopped celery in a little olive oil.
Brown ground meat or sausage and drain.
Mix in 1 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1 chopped tomato.
Salt and pepper to taste.  Stuff peppers.
Top with your favorite melting cheese and a spoonful of marinara.
Place in baking dish with about 1/4 cup water.
Bake in medium oven for about 30 - 40 minutes.


Onions...onions...onions--red, white and yellow.
Did you know that many onions become sweet when they are slowly sauted in butter?

Doesn't the Lord astonish you with all his bounty?

Have you ever seen such beautiful colored eggplant?

Okay...this is the end for today.  I must leave you to put on some gloves in order to clean and cut my okra as they are not nice to me in the raw state...but I have news for the little okra...I will become its master very soon and it will wait for me in the freezer until I say it can come out :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

From Garden to Kitchen

Do you ever feel the need to take a break from butter and sugar and actually make something healthy?  Well today's the day.  One visit to the U-Pick field and I was dreaming of sauted onions.  The problem was deciding which veggie to transform.  The bell pepper won today. 

            The back of our truck ...

I realize these are not the pepper plants, but you get the idea.  LOTS of veggies!

Onions, celery and garlic sauted.  Meat browned.  FRESH tomatos diced.  Rice cooked.  Peppers de capped and seeds removed.  Peppers blanched and filled.  Topped with a good melting cheese and sauce. Popped in the oven and....

Piping hot, ready to eat, fresh stuffed bell pepper!

For TV, you need smell-a-vision.  What do we need on the internet? ????   Anyway, I hope you can take advantage of the Lord's bounty this summer. 

Sugar Free Cupcakes...Almost

Healthy is good...right?  Sugar free, fat free.  So out came the Splenda cookbook (yes, Splenda has a cookbook)  The picture looked SOoO yummy.  I must clarify that these cupcakes are virtually sugar free (even the icing), and they are made with fat free dry milk....but they have butter.  Shhh...I won't tell anyone else.  Take a peek...

They do look yummy...right? Fluffly yellow cupcake, white glaze with a small sprinkle of sparkling sugar (real deal)............

Well, deep breath) .... suffice it to say I am officially not a fan.  Don't get me wrong.  I use Splenda in my ice tea, sometimes on my cereal and in a number of things...sometimes.   But this (especially the glaze ) is not my favorite baked good.  End of story.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tackling the Macaroon

First day of summer vacation...what to do....Read morning Scriptures?  sure!  clean aquarium?  gotta!  vacuum? ha!  make bed?  not today!  wash dishes?  well, duh, have to keep the mixing bowl ready!  get in the car?  NO!  I think I'll just bake. 

Now, bake what?   Hmmmmm.  I've been wanting to try those cute macaroons.  Yes, macaroons (not the kind with coconut).  The kind that look like this...
These (above)  are not mine, of course.  Perfect picture, perfect cookbook...I'm sure I followed those directions!  See below?
I was able to peel off enough to make  three macaroons.  Pitiful.  Well, I'm not ready to give up least ONE more try.  But first let me look at some blogs...ah...Swiss Macaroons....from Japan.  There's humor in there somewhere.  You can see her gargantuous  selection of all sorts of macaroons at  So out came the egg whites, almonds in the processor and etc. just one more time.

And they didn't stick!!!  It's amazing where one can find a little joy :)
I now know to smooth the tops before baking.  Tips are cute, but....

They wouldn't sit up.  Anyway the filling is some left over swiss meringue buttercream with a little strawberry preserves mixed in.  Tasted so good, I think I'll try the chocolate next.  Just maybe not today.

One added tip, if anyone's looking...
In order to keep them uniform in size, they suggested putting a cookie cutter in flour or chocolate and making the ring on the cookie sheet.  I didn't want chocolate on my pink macs, and white on here's my solution

Chilled and ready to eat!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cream the Fillings!

While looking through recipes for cream fillings, it dawned on me...banana, pineapple, strawberry....chocolate.....vanilla.....Bannana Split!  Why not?  That's not something I ate very much of growing up.  Mainly because they were so BIG!  And I wasn't a big eater...or person....hmmm...let's change that topic.  But anyway, I thought I'd try it.  So, take a look at the finished product.  I'm not a true step by step.  But since no one's looking let's skip to the end.

Lesson...use enough cream for ganache!  I wanted it to have gentle drips.  Instead it just wanted to hang around.  But chocolate and cream...can I say more?

I dobached (split) the two vanilla layers and  used those cream fillings!

Bottom to top:  cake, pineapple cream, cake, strawberry cream, cake, banana cream (my fav), cake and ganache.  My oh my don't even look at a scale!

Well, let's tip the scale a bit more.  Bed of ice-cream and dolop of real whipped cream all topped with a cherry.......Banana Split Cake!!!

Now, while I didn't document my every move,  I wanted you to see the strawberries.  Can you believe the size?  These were berries on steroids.

 Strawberry Cream

 And the bananas, except there is nothing special about these bananas...but they do make a fine banana cream as shown below.  I didn't realize that a cream filling could taste so good.

I used all the pineapple okay.  You do know what pineapple looks like, so poof, poof, whala.....pineapple cream.

Didn't want to leave out the whipped cream. I made it for the crepes a couple of days ago and I got a little carried away. Into the cute little jar waiting for today:)

I'll end with a side view of the cherries.  It's kinda like a picture of my husband and me after we ate dessert tonight.  Leaning a bit to the right...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Graduation Cookies

 After seeing a post from, I wanted to try these.  Having a grandson to graduate from high school was reason enough.

Sugarbelle's are perfect and have black caps.  Mine are full of love.   I wanted to match our grandson's graduation burgandy it is!  I must confess, because of  an unexpected trip out of town, I had to postpone decorating them for his party.  But here they are! Do you think he'll forgive me?

While on our trip, I read the framed words below.  They were a blessing to us and I will end my post with it...In a busy world, I sometimes need to be reminded that life is not all about me.  What about you?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dusting with Luster

May I first start out by saying...This was a completely new venture for me.
I thought I knew all the "sparkles"...sanding sugar, crystal sugar, sparkling sugar, sugar pearls...but luster dust....what is that?  And then I saw some pictures that highlighted this little tube of bling.

And so, naturally, I had to try it.  Now after looking at several videos and blogs on the topic, it became very clear that I did not have a bottle of Vodka in my pantry....Pastor's wife....Vodka....just don't even stay together in the same sentence (see, the ......'s ?) People just don't go directly to the liquor section to get Vanilla for cakes and cookies and they don't go to the cake isle to stock of for cocktail party beverages for some reason.  Directions compel me to take just a "little" bit of luster dust and mix with Vodka...or lemon extract...or lemon juice...or...oh, just mix the stuff.  As you can see, I used the extract.

But then my dilimma is the word "little".  Just how much is little?  So I put a little luster dust in a little extract.

Then I painted a "little" on my iced cookies.  Make sure the icing is set!

When I measured the "little" bit of luster dust, I poured it in my hand.  Okay, you know what I'm going to say, don't you.  Yes, I had a luster hand!  And no, it didn't wash off immediately.  So word of caution.  Do not touch parts of your body that you do not want to look radiated.  Unless, of course, you wish to start a new trend. 

Reminds me of the golden streets in heaven, except you know what?  The Scripture says "street".  Bet some of you didn't know that.  At any rate, I hope to see you there when the last timer goes off.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tulip Cookies

Tulips all in a row.  Some with a little piping detail and some with luster dust. 

All wrapped and ready to make bouquet.

Finished bouquet ready for retirement party.  Complete with a green silk butterfly from one of my favorite craft stores.   One those discount "dollar" places.  You can sometimes find neat containers like this one...especially around holidays!


There is a reason why making cookie dough late at night is not such a great idea...

Yes, it's true 1 POUND of BUTTER does NOT equal 1 CUP of BUTTER.  End of story.  The next day ....  Sad, flat,  but buttery cookies!  All spread out.  It just sounded right late at night.

Now I knew that....

Last come I didn't notice when I rolled the sticky dough out?
Can I blame it on the time?  Please...someone...tell me you've done the same thing...!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Dress

Sometimes in life you veer off the planned path and find yourself enjoying a change of pace and scenery. I was priviledged to walk down that path again for a friend by producing a Communion Dress for daughter # 3.

First Communion Dress

Now, before I confuse anyone, I'm Baptist.  But in this world of diverse worship, those of us who trust and worship the God of Heaven are actually walking on the same path with different shoes.  Now if it is something else you put your trust in....well...a map might come in handy.

With all things said and done for today, I am eying the butter in my refrig again.  Who knows?  But I DO know that a few housekeeping chores are in the horizon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Let's start by saying unwashed berries will keep for days in the refrigerator.  I know that because....well, I just know.  Blackberries....Dewberries...I always get them confused.  But I believe the Dewberries are the big ones and they come first

Soooooo these must be dewberries.  LAST week, my husband came home with the cutest pail of berries that he had taken time to pick---a WHOLE pail.  Well, I was trying to climb out of the depths of pearls (remember Wedding cookie pics?)

and all I did was smile and say, "thank you I think I should make a cobbler."  Withing 24 hours he was ready to give them to my mother in law and I threw the pail in the refrigerator thinking, berry juice.  Somewhere around Monday, as my aging mind would have its way, I forgot and added sugar before heating and if you have ever extracted juice for making jelly LATER, then you know my delimma.  <sigh>  soOo  refrigeration--pot and all, even through Tuesday, and then Today...WEDNESDAY...I took out the pot, did a taste and sniff and found that the berries were still very tasty.  I've been wanting to try some pie crust recipes; but the Lord miraculously placed one of those pre-made pie crusts in my refrigerator.  I didn't, not me.... Anyway, out of my cold pot came 4 cups of berries into a bowl with about 3 heaping tsp. corn starch.  After a good stir I divided them in the four ramkins.  I greased the ramkins, cut out cute circles from the dough, made a little round cut (hearts would have been cuter) in the middle for the tops, brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with some of my cookie sugar (I think the regular kind would have actually not looked like salt).  In the counter top oven at 350 and actually cooked some supper for a change.  By the time supper was done, so were the cobblers. 

Notice the "salt" sugar....

Why every cobbler needs a scoop of 'nilla...

A little bit cool today, but we ate on the porch, deck, one day to be sunroom...oh, we just ate outside overlooking the pond.   My hurry up supper was nothing to write home about, but the cobbler was oh so good!