Wednesday, May 25, 2016

S'mores for Memorial Day Weekend

  It's that time of year again when our weekends consist of s'mores over the camp fire and watching the busy hummingbirds while doing yard work. Aren't the spring days the sweetest ones to play outdoors? We opened up our camp for the summer season, and the forget-me-nots are so prolific this year. I picked several bouquets before Joe mowed the lawn where they were popping up everywhere.

Memorial Day is the official start of Summer.
Don't burn the hot dogs!

Debbie

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sweet 'n Sassy Egg Bites for a Hike to Kaaterskill Falls

I am sharing an easy recipe for Sweet 'n Sassy Egg Bites that are great for a hike, picnic or cookout. With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner in the USA, it is a great time to start planning a menu for your picnic or cookout. Starkist Tuna offered me a variety of Tuna Creations that are lightly marinated and come in a pouch. I have a package in my desk drawer with some crackers for an emergency lunch or snack.

Hungry Girl's Sweet 'n Sassy Egg Bites
(I halved the recipe for our hike)

2 pouches of Tuna Creations (Sweet and Spicy)
1/4 cup reduced-fat/light mayonnaise
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion (I used less)
10 hard-boiled eggs, chilled

Directions:
In a bowl, thoroughly mix tuna with mayo. Stir in pepper and onion. Halve eggs lengthwise; remove and discard yolks. Evenly distribute tuna mixture among egg white halves. 

Disclosure: I received Starkist product(s) for free, in exchange for my honest review. I only recommend products I've used personally, and believe will be good fit for consumers.

Did you say you might need a quick and easy dessert too?
These cream cheese filled strawberries taste just like mini cheesecakes! 


The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart. Last year, I added a blueberry to give it the red, white and blue theme for our Fourth of July picnic.


Recipe for Filled Strawberries:

8 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 TB tablespoons confectioners' sugar
12 strawberries

Whip room-temperature cream cheese on medium speed until slightly fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 2 TB confectioners' sugar. Trim tops and bottoms of 12 strawberries to level. Use a small melon baller to scoop out tops. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip with cream cheese mixture; pipe into berries until it brims over tops.

Optional: Toast 1/4 cup sliced almonds in a 350°oven until golden-brown, 3 to 6 minutes; arrange slices over filling.
It was a beautiful day for a hike in the Catskill Mountains. We are drawn to the many beautiful waterfalls in New York state.

Thanks for stopping by!
Debbie

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rockapulco Impatiens

Just a quick post. I hope you can find some of these Proven Winners at your garden center. Rockapulco Impatiens are good for pots and garden beds with filtered sun. They bloom all summer long and you never need to trim off spent blooms to tidy up the plant. Give them plenty of water. It was difficult finding them so I used Facebook to message all the nurseries in my area. Only one of the nurseries had Rockapulco, and they had pink ones as well. I created a centerpiece for Mother's Day, and these cuties will soon be planted outdoors.

If you get some, I'd love to know what you think!
Another plant I looked for is called Stock that was recommended to me by several bloggers. I was not able to find it, but one of the nurseries said they used to sell it but no one knew what it was so they didn't sell much of it. They offered to grow some for me next year! It is highly fragrant and therefore gardeners plant it near their house so they can enjoy the scent.  Are you familiar with Stock?

Happy gardening,
Debbie

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Flowers personalize a home. I have always loved Rananculus and our Home Depot had some beautiful, healthy plants so I grabbed a few small pots and put them in a stoutly vase. 

My ultimate hope as a Mom is for the love I have for my family to be remembered!

My family is taking me to dinner on Saturday and to a wonderful garden event on Sunday. My first Mother's Day as a nana ;o)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lemon Berry Cake with Cannoli Filling


After receiving a delivery of California citrus offered to me by Limoneira, we had two wonderful meals using the lemons -- swordfish with a lemon sauce and the shrimp recipe that I posted. I had six lemons left and Joe suggested I make my lemon berry cake. Several years ago, we enjoyed a lemon berry cake with a mascarpone filling at a restaurant, and I was inspired to duplicate it. Here is the photo when I made it in 2009. The lemon berry cake is the most popular post on my blog and has had over 20,000 views. When I made the cake this time, I used cannoli filling that we are able to get from our local Italian market. 
Lemon Berry Cake with Mascarpone Filling
 (I used cannoli filling)
=============================
Ingredients for Two Layer Cake:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 pound (1 stick) salted butter
1/4 cup finely minced lemon zest
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8" round baking pans and set aside. Prepare crumb topping and set aside.

Streusel topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
dash of cinnamon
8 Tbs. (1 stick) of butter, melted

Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until your crumb topping resembles peas. You want crumbs, so don't overmix.


Cake instructions:

Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda, and set aside.


With a mixer, cream butter and lemon zest until the butter is soft. Add the sugar and beat to mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed. On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches alternately with the sour cream in two batches, beating only until incorporated after each addition. Scrape batter into buttered pans and smooth the top. Sprinkle each cake batter with half of crumb topping and 1/2 cup (or more) of mixed berries (I used a frozen mixture of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries). Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry. Baking time may vary with different ovens and types of pans.

Once cake has cooled, remove from pans. (Once cool, I wrapped each layer individually in foil and kept refrigerated until I was ready to use)

Prepare the mascarpone cream filling:

12-ounces mascarpone cheese, cold
1/4 cup light cream (half & half)
4 tbsp powdered sugar, or to taste
grated zest of lemon - optional

Beat all ingredients together with a whisk until soft peaks form. If you want to make the filling sweeter, then add a bit more sugar. You might have to add a little more cream to keep the filling from getting too stiff. Spread cream filling over a cake layer, sprinkle with a handful of fresh blueberries, and top with the second cake layer. Refrigerate at least two hours and serve cold.

My notes:

This dessert is served cold, and keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.


You can drizzle some raspberry sauce on the plate for a nice presentation.

I am joining Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.