Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Summer Blooms #2

It's hard to believe 2020 is half over and summer is in full swing. We are starting to see new crops emerge, and there is so much satisfaction in the garden this year since we are home more to enjoy it. We got a new computer so it's taking me a while to get my photos organized. 

In France, some of the restaurants are using teddy bears to help with social distancing. Call me silly, but I would have no problem sitting next to a teddy bear in France whilst sipping a glass of French Rose. We have not been able to find a great French Rose upon returning from France last June. And speaking of France, the lavender started blooming the week after we were there lat year. So we didn't get to see it in full bloom, but made up for it on Sunday when we visited a lavender farm. They had over 10 varieties, and it was lovely. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wine In The Virtual

2020 is anything but typical, so back in June we participated in "Wine in the Virtual" which is a great example of how creative we have all become. We have attended Wine in the Wildnerness at our local zoo for several years, and are very supportive of the zoo. This year we purchased the "party box" which helped the zoo with their expenses. We were given recipes in advance of the event, and they were easy and tasty. 
We received access to customized, wine-themed, step-by-step videos from local chefs to prepare some incredible hors d' oeuvres to enjoy alongside our At-Home Party Box.

Hayley is a Johnson & Wales graduate and Registered Dietitian working with numerous local school districts to help families and kids eat healthily and feel great. We started with a cheese board. 
 I gathered up a few zoo friends, and set a table for the event. I selected the Premium Add-On package for the event so we could receive videos from the chefs and hors d'oeuvres recipes.  

One of the chefs prepared Chicken Quesadillas, and they hit the spot. We made both a mild and spicy version. 

We enjoyed seeing the animals and several bands.  

The zoo is one of our favorite places to take Xavier and has reopened!!
Have a nice weekend!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Rhubarb Platz

I made this on Sunday morning, and it was so good that I'm sharing the recipe. It would be perfect for a weekend breakfast if you have guests, or to bring to a pot luck. It makes a lot, so it is best shared. I made deliveries and still had plenty left :-)

Rhubarb Platz (The Province Newspaper)

This is a Mennonite coffee cake.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup cream
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 to 3 cups of Rhubarb cut into 1/4" slices. Approximately 3 medium stalks.
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 cup sugar .

10" X 15" baking pan, lined with buttered parchment paper. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together. Cut butter into flour. (I use a box grater) Mix eggs and cream together with vanilla and add to flour mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are combined and moistened. Don't over mix. Spread batter into prepared pan and evenly distribute rhubarb over batter. Mix together the flour, sugar and melted butter to form crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter and bake in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes or until cake is baked and crumbs are just starting to turn golden. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Father's Day Cheesecake and a Beautiful Cake Dome

Boy was I excited to win this adorable dessert pedestal on Life and Linda's blog. I love Pioneer Woman's kitchen items, and it matches my Fiestaware dishes. 
The perfect size pedestal for strawberry scones to make shortcake for the two of us. 
The adorable cloche works well for blueberry muffins in the garden. 
For Father's Day, I made a cheesecake for Joe. It's his favorite, and he's particular when it comes to cheesecake. My sister Diane has been bringing her cheesecake for the holidays and he swoons over it. A couple years ago, I decidee to make it myself so she gave me her recipe below. Actually she dictated it over the phone via text message. Gotta love sisters. I find that cheesecake is very easy to make if you have all your ingredients ready to go. 

"For the crust: two packages of graham crackers crushed, melt one stick of butter and then add two tablespoons of sugar and a little bit of cinnamon. Mix it all together and press into the bottom of the spring form pan.

For the filling: three packages of cream cheese, four eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and one cup of sugar.

Mix one cream cheese first with the beaters then add an egg another pack of cream cheese then another egg another cream cheese and then the other egg and then the last egg. You add 1 cup of sugar gradually. I do a quarter cup, mix it, quarter cup mix it , quarter cup mix it, quarter cup mix it and then put in the teaspoon of the vanilla and then bake it for one hour at 350°.

While it is baking, mix a pint of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. After the cheesecake is done, take it out of the oven and pour the sour cream on the top slowly. Bake it again at 375 for 10 more minutes.

For the strawberries I use frozen strawberries cut in half and 3 tablespoons of sugar. I cook them on low heat until they get a little soft, and then take out some juice and mix it with one tablespoon of cornstarch. Add this mixture back to the pan with the strawberries, and cook until thick. 

Put on after cheesecake cools. I usually do strawberries the next day since I make the cheesecake the day before."

I'm linking to Love Your Creativity party by Life and Linda. 


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Summer Staycation #1

Ah, Spring. I give you a “10” this year! Even though you were the strangest I have ever experienced in my lifetime. 
Summer plans may have changed, but we can still enjoy the summer! Create a backyard living space that you can enjoy for years to come - your very own Staycation oasis. Maybe a fire pit and torch lights. 
Summer in CNY is typically filled with many days in the 70s and 80s, with a mix of cloudy, rainy days and sunny days.  Overnight lows typically fall in the 50s and low 60s. But as I type this post, we have had three days of 90 degree weather which is considered a "heat wave".  We have brownish lawns and need some rain. We're used to everything being green here :-)

 What do you do for Staycation? Joe had a wonderful Father's Day at home and our sons and their families were very thoughtful on Joe's special day. Since Joe's favorite dessert is cheesecake, that's what he got. He's so easy to please and so grateful. 
How does empanadas in the garden sound? My daughter-in-law is from Ecuador and makes the best empanadas. She has taught me how to make them, but is very gracious about making them for us.
I sit at this bistro table occasionally, and it's the perfect place to take an afternoon break and enjoy some fresh air. 

I planted Loofah seeds about a week ago, and they are loving the heat. The seeds came from a friend in Texas, and I think the seeds think they are in TX with all this hot weather. They are double the size since I took this photo last week. Bring on the Loofah! 

I seized the moment when Monique posted this on IG. It's so easy like she said, and we were heading to camp so I made it to bring. At camp, Joe commented on how tasty it was. 

Cut grape or cherry tomatoes in half.
Add chopped garlic, sliced kalamata olives and parsley.
Olive oil
salt and pepper
Any herbs that you enjoy..I added basil.

Mix this together in a bowl, cover and let it sit in the sunshine all day long.
Cook your pasta of choice and spoon this delicious sun cooked pasta sauce on your pasta.
Sprinkle w/ Parm and extra basil. We served it with a green salad, and garlic bread.
I'm so glad our family is getting outdoors and enjoy hiking. My son hiked this mountain one morning and sent me the photo. I felt like I was there. 
Our grandson Xavier is enjoying the outdoors and has the perfect set up. Feet up, and chips in a bowl. It hasn't been easy keeping him busy since he is used to going to a daycare where all his friends are. Mom and dad have been working from home since March (mom is a teacher), so Aunt Liz takes him a couple days a week. He's off to Cape Cod in two weeks. He LOVES the water and the beach. 
Ending my post with my very favorite time of the day to photograph. Blue Hour.


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