Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Victoria!

Twenty-three years ago today our youngest daughter came into the world:>)
She is so very loved, this morning we took her to breakfast for a little bit of special time together.
This masterpiece is the cake she requested, which her father so graciously labored to make last night.
It's Julia Child's and Alice Medrich's fabulous Raspberry Ruffle Genoise Cake , he filled it with chocolate Italian meringue and surrounded it in her favorite substance, chocolate.
Holy cow is it good! That man is the bomb.
And this apple doesn't fall far from the tree:>) She's the bomb too.
Happy Birthday Darling!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blackberry Tarts

 I am going to begin this post by just admitting to the ridiculosity that it represents. I know, my spell check tells me ridiculosity is not a word. I kind of like it though so I'm keeping it. But just so you understand, the birds planted some gorgeous black raspberries on the edge of the woods and we were blessed with a beautiful crop of flawless, organic berries. So of course I had to make something out of them right? Something blog worthy.  Something spectacular!
 I have a ton of little tart pans that I have picked up here and there. How about Black raspberry tarts? How awesome would that be? How beautiful and impressive! Trouble is, I should have used a pastry recipe rather than a crumb recipe. The first crust I tried had ground walnuts, it sounded scrumptious.  The only problem? I couldn't get them out of the tart pans without breaking all the little scallops off the  tart shells.  Hmmmm. Plan B.
 Having learned apparently nothing by my failings with the walnut crust, I decided to try a graham cracker crust, because, darn it! I just didn't really feel like making a pastry crust today you know? Three of the six tart shells came out perfectly. The other three, I ate in bits and pieces because the little pieces that break off DO NOT COUNT as real food. You know it's true.
You've eaten the bits and pieces too.
Don't try to tell me you haven't.
Of course at that point I feel a bit queasy. The tarts have completely lost their magic for me. I complete one and the other two get piped with filling and set aside for the rest of the family who have not gorged on failure all day.
This is the tart.
It's lovely, the filling is delicious. Really it is. Made with a mixture of cream cheese, Earl's home made yogurt (an especially delightful batch I might add!), vanilla and sugar.
It is beautiful, and I got some great photos.
This one Black Raspberry Tart was clearly worth my entire day.
I have a lot of black raspberries left.
Tomorrow, I'm making black raspberry bread pudding.
Don't judge me, it's a compulsion.
And yes, I will blog the bread pudding....lets hope it's a good recipe:>)

Friday, July 19, 2013

On Keeping a Home and Vintage Linens

I have told you before that my grandmother was my muse when it came to teaching me the way to keep a house and how to keep my family comfortable. Grandma was a real farm wife. I loved Grandpa's farm and the beautiful red barns, fields of corn
and hay and green pastures with a singing stream and plenty of black and white cows.
I also loved the two story white farmhouse where Grandma cooked the most delicious meals.
She was the best cook ever. I mean ever. I remember watching her fry chicken that had been *ahem* dispatched by Grandpa that very morning. Veggies from the garden, home raised beef. Nothing was too good for her family.
I remember being tucked into bed at night in the big bed in the guest room where she did all her sewing.  Her heavy cotton sheets and pillowcases were crisp and smooth from being line dried and they were often embellished with handwork to make them as beautiful as they were comfortable.
Those memories are one reason I am always scouring yard sales and thrift stores for the beautiful old pillowcases that you can't find in the stores. I think they feel heavier and crisper than the ones made today and look how beautiful they are!
 (Poor Grandma would be scandalized by my ironing skills, lol)
I recently came across some beautiful vintage linens that I will be putting in my etsy shop. It's a win, win for me. If they sell, great! If they don't I get to keep them:>) These are unstained and in gorgeous condition, and if you  dry them on your clothesline, you get to experience the soft, cool, crispness that Grandma always insisted was the only thing good enough for the ones she loved ♥
Who was your home keeping inspiration?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Simple Cherry Jam

A friend of our has a couple cherry trees that have had a bumper crop this year. Have you noticed how well the fruit trees are bearing?  All this rain and warm weather have made for the perfect growing conditions here in Michigan and as luck would have it, my friend's tree made lots and lots of beautiful sour cherries.
So many that she felt the need to share.
Sharing is good:>)
I believe Earl and I have decided to plant cherry trees. Our friend brought us a lovely gift of cherries Sunday and I was determined to make cherry jam. I found a wonderful recipe on Pinterest for a simple sour cherry jam containing only sour cherries and sugar.
It's fantastic. Sweet enough to enjoy, but with plenty of tart cherry flavor. I had a jar of vanilla sugar in the pantry and decided to use it in the recipe. I think it added a little something extra but it certainly wouldn't be necessary if you don't have some hanging around. The recipe is from a blog called Simple Bites that looks like a fun foodie blog that I intend to explore more in the near future.
The recipe for this jam is here, but it's really just 6 cups of tart cherries (pitted of course!) and 2 1/2 cups of sugar boiled together (stir it a lot) for 20-40 minutes until it thickens and starts to gel when a spoonful is poured onto a very cold plate and refrigerated for a  couple minutes. If it starts to thicken and wrinkle when you run a finger through the cooled spoonful it's ready to put in jars. It makes about 3 cups.  I made several very small jars for gifts and will keep a jar for ourselves. 
It's super easy and super good. 
Do you make jam? What's your favorite kind?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Life is Just a Bowl of ....

 Yes, cherries.
I quit the ding dang job that I hated so much. Oh happy day:>)
Life is too short to be chained to a desk, hating what you do.
I plan to follow my dreams from now on, and the first order of business will be filling the shop for fall and dusting the cobwebs from this blog.
I'm back, and I am so excited to be able to get back to what I love ♥
See you soon!