Thursday, March 31, 2011

Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart

I've been watching Pushing Daisies ,a television series of a pie maker who has a magical touch. A touch that brings all things dead back to life but if he touches it again..... dead again ....FOREVER. It's a very cute show but what does this have to do with today's blog?

Pies and Tarts.

I have been inspired by the pie maker. Seeing all the large mounds of dead fresh fruit pies and tarts makes my mouth water and my heart desire to make things like that. So off to the commissary I went and bought lbs of fresh strawberries.


 9 sheets of honey graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons water
cooking spray

*use a 9 inch round romovable- bottom tart pan, 9 inch springform pan, or a 10 inch pie dish

2/3 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8-1/4 teaspoon almond extract *I prefer a mild almond flavor so I use 1/8*

6 cups small fresh strawberries, divided
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350. Place crackers in food processor, and process until it's a crumble. Add crust sugar, butter and water; pulse until moist. Spray pan with cooking spray. Place the mixture in pan, pressing into bottom and up sides. bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. cook completely on wire rack.

Combine cream cheese, sugar and extracts in bowl until creamy and smooth. Spread filling mixture evenly over bottom of crust.

Place 2 cups of strawberries in food processor, puree. combine puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stir constantly. Reduce to low heat; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temp. Stirring occasionally.

Combine 4 cups of strawberries and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottom up. Spoon glaze evenly over berries. Cover and chill for 3 hours.


I enjoyed making the tart and can see many more in the future. Thanks to the pie maker and his magical fingers I will be gracing my friends and family with a boat load ( no pun intended ) of pies and tarts thsi summer. The pie maker is my inspiration who has inspired you to create?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

You might have had them before and if you haven't you've got to try them. What am I talking about? Subways Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies. My husband brought home 2 of these delicious cookies and I knew I had to re-create them.  


After a few test guinea pigs taste tested the test batch, we have found a recipe that is close but not exact.

The product turns out to be this delish cookie that is both sweet, tart and chewy. I swear you've got to try this!!
*EDIT* make the jelly bits 1 hour BEFORE you start this cookie recipe. 

  • 1 Stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 8 oz Cream cheese
  • 1 cup Light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Granulated sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 white chocolate gourmet chunk, chopped
  • 2  cups white chocolate chips
  • Cornstarch ( for making jelly bits if you have not Jammy bits) 
  • Raspberry jam (no seeds) OR Raspberry Jammy Bits

 Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter, shortening, cream cheese and sugar until 'creamy and fluffy'
 Add vanilla and eggs in one at a time. Gradually add the dry ingredients in until it looks something like this.
 Fold in the white choc chips and chunks. Prepare the Raspberry Jam. Skip the next step if you already have the raspberry jammy bits.
 Mix 2 tablespoons of Raspberry jam with 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch until light "foggish". Microwave for 30-40 seconds and immediately put in freezer for about 30 mins.
 You want to jelly to be firm enough and non sticky enough so you can roll into very tiny balls. If the mixture is not solid enough let it sit in the freezer a little longer.
 Be careful to fold the jelly into the cookie mixture and not stir it in. Stirring will just make the fresh jelly blend in with the dough.
Use 1 or 2 inch cookie scoop and place cookies 2 inches apart from each other on a parchment cookies sheet or use a silicon cookie mat.
Bake 6-8 mins just until the bottoms are light brown. Let them cool a couple mins then transfer to a cookie rack.

Get your baking aprons on and try these out. Let me know how the recipe turns out for you or what you did to modify it. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Circus is coming to town

It's that time again, birthday planning. Connor will be 5 this year and after 2 weeks of trying to convince him he doesn't want a Dinosaur party, we have SUCCESS!!

I searched online for birthday party themes and came across a CIRCUS PARTY....Perfect! here are the invites that I made with some inspiration from Armelle. I've got tons of things to make and plan out but this is something I love doing.

Here is the invites we sent out:

 I used red, green, yellow and orange cardstock and created the tickets on Micro Word 07 . I cut them out in the shape of a ticket.
 On the back of the ticket is a chance to redeem for an extra prize. They have to blow the balloon up and submit the password that is written on the balloon.
The tiny wording says ( disclaimer: password may self- destruct..)

To top it off I put the balloon in a small bag and stapled a "tag" to it. The tag was hand stamps with


Wish me luck on the rest of the party planning. I will post picture of the party after we have it :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Boiled Peanuts

 I'm back from my month long hiatus, a well needed one at that. We enjoyed a family vacation down in SoCal and a couples getaway to the one and only SIN CITY. We actually made out with about $75 more then we had in the first part of the trip.

 Coming back to this COLD RAINY place I wanted to have something that reminded me of warmth.....that's where boiled peanuts come from. I lived in Georgia for about 5 years before I had my first boiled peanut and was hooked ever since. Georgia, Southern Georgia at that is a very warm place with corner boiled peanut stands, convenient store boiled peanuts, jarred boiled peanuts, canned boiled peanuts, all in different flavors and heat temps.

 Boiled Peanuts hands down are best in conjunction with either beer, cola, or SWEET tea. Traditionally they are eaten outside where it doesn't matter if wet shells are tossed or spit on the ground. Before I ramble more onto the recipe I used.

2lbs RAW or GREEN peanuts
1/4 cup Salt
2 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 cup Cajun seasoning

Only use peanuts that are green (uncured). Do not attempt this recipe with roasted peanuts.
 Wash unshelled peanuts in cold water until the water runs clear. Soak peanuts in water for 20-30 minutes. Put peanuts in large pot fill to 2 inches above peanuts, cover peanuts with water.
 Pour Salt and Seasoning

The normal salt/water ratio is:(Add 1 cup of salt per gallon of water.) but as you can tell I didn't do that. 
Cook, covered on high heat for about 4-7 hours. Some like firmer peanuts while other like softer one, it's up to you. After 4 hours taste test for both texture and salt.
 Once they are done drain the water otherwise the peanuts with sit and absorb the salt and become over salted.
Freezing boiled peanuts:  Prepare peanuts as indicated above. Drain, allow to cool, and freeze in airtight containers. They keep indefinitely.

Canning Boiled Peanuts: 
Prepare peanuts and brine the same as for boiling for immediate use.

Pack peanuts into jars to within one-half inch of the top, using equal weights of peanuts and hot brine (212°F).
Partially submerge containers in upright position in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Seal while hot and process 45 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Cool containers in water, label, and store away from heat. 

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