“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What's pink and white and sweet all over - Miss Camille Suzanne on Pink Saturday



Yes, I am crazy in with this cat. I found her at our local shelter - sick, full of ear mites with an eye infection so horrid that she could barely open her beautiful eyes. Only eight weeks old and already abandoned and so, so sick.
 
Miss Camille Suzanne is a real princess and she knows it all the way from her little pink ears to her tiny pink toes. She runs the house and lets the dogs know who's boss any time they ask!

  
Would I ever give her up? Sure I would - do you have a million dollars? And - for the dog folks - I have two dogs that I adore - a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd Dog

It's Pink Saturday, after all, so I have to leave you with something pink to bake up for your favorite Valentine, don't I? This one looks difficult but really it isn't at all. You use refrigerated pie crusts so a lot of the work has already been done. Believe me, you will make friends and influence people with these little gems


Raspberries 'n Cream Cheese Jamwiches

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 (10-ounce) jar seedless raspberry preserves or strawberry jam
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon butter
Red sparkling sugar (optional)

Preparation

Unfold pie crusts on a lightly floured surface, and roll to press out fold lines. Cut with a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Reroll remaining dough, and repeat procedure. (There should be a total of 46 pastry hearts.) Brush 1 side of each pastry heart with egg white, and sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Place pastry hearts on 2 ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 400° for 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove hearts to wire racks, and let cool.

Stir together cream cheese, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and almond extract until blended.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on unsugared sides of half the hearts; spread about 1/2 teaspoon preserves over mixture. Top with remaining hearts, unsugared sides down.

Microwave white chocolate morsels and 1 tablespoon butter in a glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted. Stir until smooth. Place mixture in a small heavy-duty zip-top bag; seal bag. Snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag, and drizzle over tarts. Let cool completely; sprinkle with red sparkling sugar, if desired. Place in candy boxes, if desired.

Be sure to stop by Beverly's HOW SWEET THE SOUND so you can browse dozens of gorgeous blogs created by the most talented ladies who are 'showin' their pink' today!

A WORD ABOUT REDUNDANT OVERKILL! There are so many participants on Pink Saturday that asking us to enter codes only to find out that you are going to moderate the comment as well is OVERKILL. Please do one or the other. Doing both serves no purpose and causes people to leave your blog frustrated about the hoops they had to jump through. I visit each and every blog - it is frustrating to say the least. 

One good way to speed the process for all of us on Pink Saturday would be to remove all barriers to comments for the day only. Wouldn't that be nice?


Friday, January 15, 2010

More than just a Baked Apple - comfort food at its best



Baked apples are one of my comfort foods. There's just something about the delicious aroma that fills the house when they are baking. These feed more than just your hungry tummy - they feed your memories. A little more work than you may be used to but well worth it and special enough to serve guests - if you want to share

Ingredients

* 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped medium fine
* 1/3 cup pecans, chopped medium fine
* 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/4 cup rolled oats
* 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
* 6 medium Pink Lady or Jazz apples, or other firm baking variety
* 1 1/2 cups apple cider

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350┬║. In a small bowl combine walnuts, pecans, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and oats. Add butter cubes and toss to combine.

2. Peel the top third of each apple and, using a melon baller, scoop out the stem and enough of the core so that the walls of the apple are about 1/2 in. thick. Take care, however, not to break through the bottom of the apple, or the filling will leak out when baking. Make the hole a bit wider at the top.

3. Using a small spoon or your fingers, generously stuff each apple; mound extra filling on top.

4. Put the filled apples in a 2-qt. baking dish. Pour cider into the pan around the apples, cover the dish with foil, and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake, basting every 15 minutes, for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, until apples are easily pierced with a sharp knife (they may split open a bit at the bottom). Serve apples drizzled with the sauce from the pan and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Glazed ginger carrots with toasted pecans



It isn't all that often that you can find a veggie recipe that the kids will ♥. This is one of those that is a keeper, for sure. With a little sweetness and the crunch of pecans, I just bet this will become one of your family favorites.

This dish will feed a family, so now that my boys have found the loves of their lives and have flown the coop, I will generally cut the ingredients in half or less for just me. When I make this I don't have much else on my plate other than a small piece of chicken because these carrots are so good I can eat them like candy

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 6  cups  diagonally sliced (1/4 in.) peeled carrots
  • 1  teaspoon  minced fresh ginger
  • 1  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2  cups  toasted pecan halves

Preparation

Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook, stirring frequently, 4 minutes. Stir in ginger and sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Add pecans and cook until carrots are tender when pierced and mixture is glazed in sugar, 3 to 5 minutes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Pecan Frosting



Valentine's Day is about a month down the road, so it's not too early to begin thinking about the dinner and dessert you'll be serving up to the important l♥ves in your life. This cake is SPECTACULAR! One caveat, don't wear white when making it or eating it - unless you like to live dangerously!

This cake is very tender and can be difficult to frost. What I have found to be a life-saver is to freeze the baked layers and then frost - works like a charm - no cake crumbs to concern yourself with that may mix into the frosting and ruin the absolute perfection you have created. Voila!

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. While still beating, add the vanilla and the food coloring. Pour into three 8-inch layer pans and bake for about 25 minutes. Press lightly;if the layers are spongy, then the cake is done. Frost the cooled layers, assemble and frost the top and sides. Serves 12 to 14.

Red Velvet Cake Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 pound) box confectioners sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese and butter and melt over very low heat. Add the sugar, pecans and vanilla and mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. Frost one 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scrap yarn ♥heart♥ garland to crochet for Valentine's Day



With our economy in its current, sad shape, we need to dig into our memories and bring back some of the delightful crafts/patterns that we made from small amounts of fabric or yarn - crafts that were just adorable and gave us so much pleasure to make for family and friends but cost so little to produce.

Spending a lot of money isn't necessary to make your home precious during the Valentine's Day season. Crochet a few of these garlands in various colors (use whatever yarn you have handy) and string them in doorways, on mirrors, in windows. Tie little ribbons to them or sew on some buttons or paste on little felt embellishments. Have fun and make fun and share fun. That is what love of family is all about.

Use size J crochet hook and worsted weight yarn.

♥Heart♥

Round 1
Chain 4. Make all of the next stitches in the first chain. 3 trc, 3 dc, chain 1, 1 trc, chain 1, 3 dc, 3 trc, chain 2 slip stitch

Round 2
Chain 3, in first trc make sc and hdc, in next stitch 3 hdc, in next stitch 2 hdc, sc in next four stitches, chain 1 dc in trc, chain 1, sc in next four stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch, 3 hdc in next stitch, hdc and sc in next stitch, chain 3 and slip stitch in center

Round 3
Chain 3, sc in top of chain 3 from previous row , 2 sc in next stitch, sc in next stitch, 2 sc in next stitch, then sc in each of the next stitches until point of heart, chain one for point, sc in next five stitches, then sc in next st, 2 sc in next stitch, sc in next stitch, 2 sc in next stitch, chain three and then slip stitch in center of heart. Pull the loop to the back and fasten off.

Make 21 hearts

Garland
Chain 45, in top of heart sc, chain 6, sc in top of other side of the heart, chain 12, sc in top of heart, chain 6, sc in top of other side of the heart, chain 12. Repeat until all hearts are joined, chain 45 fasten off.