The Little Things

Lot’s of sunshine, seasonable temperatures, and the little things made today a perfect fall day in the Finger Lakes.  It was one of those days when I felt like a lot got done.   I baked homemade cinnamon pumpkin (yeast) bread, made an apple pie, AND whipped up a dish of coleslaw for dinner to boot.

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like spending that much time in my kitchen!

Once I closed the kitchen down for the afternoon I headed out for some fresh air.  These little plants, or should I say weeds, were begging to have their pictures taken.  And so I obliged and I even gave them each a caption.

Sunny Fall Flowers
Sunny and Bright; Yellow and White
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More Pink Than Purple
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Pretty and Periwinkle

What kind of weekend did you have?  Busy, slow, productive, or not so much?

 

 

 

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Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

Last week I shared a post for homemade black raspberry jelly.  We have berries are out behind our house that are free for the picking – and boy are they plentiful this year.  I think all of the rain we had this spring has helped them grow.   It’s hard for me to rationalize leaving these  berries unpicked because they are loaded with healthy antioxidants and are super delicious.  My only problem is that my stomach doesn’t tolerate seeds well so I have to be a little crafty and work around them.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to making seedless preserves and sauces before now but all I can say is better late than never.

Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

3 c. of berries

1 1/2 c. water

Put berries and water in a large saucepan and bring a full boil for 5 minutes over medium heat – stirring often.  Mash the berries in the pan as they soften while cooking them.  (This will yield about 2 cups of juice).

Once the berries have boiled for 5 minutes remove from heat.  Strain the juice through a doubled piece of cheese cloth and discard the seeds and pulp.

2 c. juice

2 tbsp. butter

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. corn starch, plus 1 tbsp. water (mixed together)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a clean saucepan, melt the butter.  Add juice, sugar, salt, and cornstarch; bring to a boil on slow heat – stirring constantly.  Cook until liquid thickens.  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into container. Makes 1 pint.  Serve warm or cool.   Store in the refrigerator (stir thoroughly before serving, or warm for a few seconds in the microwave).

Use this as a topping on ICE CREAM, MILKSHAKES, PANCAKES, or vanilla YOGURT (like pictured).  One of these days I’m going to experiment and make a homemade black raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing using this sauce and when I do, I’ll share the recipe.

Imagine how happy you’d make a friend, neighbor, or co-worker if you presented them with a small jar of this.  Think Christmas…  I have froze bags of these berries so I can make fresh batches of sauce and jam throughout the cold winter months when ripe berries are hard to come by.

Pick berries and get into the sauce!

Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie–A Summer Treat!

Grab a fork and a plate for a taste of this Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie.

With the 4th of July weekend here don’t pass up the chance to make one of these deliciously rich and creamy pies.  This pie is easy (no-cook) to make and will wow just about any hungry crowd.  I made a pie for a gathering of six and we didn’t leave as much as a crumb.

Bluberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie (Recipe adapted from Jamie Cookies It Up)

Crust

1 package (not the entire box) of honey graham crackers, crushed fine

5 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix completely.  Press into a pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes.

Filling

12 oz.  cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. white chocolate chips, melted

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. milk

2 c. whipped topping

1 pint of fresh blueberries ( add an extra half a pint of berries if you LOVE fruit)

dash of salt

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and melted chips together.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt.  Mix in powdered sugar and whipped topping one cup at a time until smooth and creamy.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Do you have plans for the  4th of July?  What are you making for dessert?

Homemade Wild Black Raspberry Jelly

This weekend hubby and I put on our work boots and followed a wet muddy path out behind our house until we got to the wild black raspberry plants.  I have been wanting to make some homemade jelly for a while now and it just didn’t seem right to let these plump juicy berries go to waste.

Of course we had to battle mosquitos, a couple Daddy Long Legs, and some noisy birds that warned us to leave their berries alone.    But in the end – it was all worth it.

I followed this recipe for  Blackberry Jelly that I found posted by Kathy in Florida on Food.com.  If you follow the instructions just as I did, then I think you’ll be eating homemade jelly too!

When I have fruit that has a lot of seeds like these berries do I prefer to make jelly over jam because I can avoid the seeds all together.

This recipe was easy to follow and the jelly making went fairly quickly.  I used a box of SUREJELL for the pectin.  I have always had good luck with this brand and it’s what my mom used long before I started making jams and jellies.  *Cooks note: Remember to skim the foam off the top before putting the jelly in jars.

And did you know there is no written rule that says you only have to eat jelly on toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  Try it on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I am now officially in the jam and jelly making mood.  My next adventure?  To pick cherries and make homemade cherry jam.

Have you ever made homemade jams and jellies?  What’s your favorite flavor?

Supermarket Deli Pistachio Salad

This pistachio salad  is one of my summer picnic favorites.   And while it’s usually a popular item at most supermarket deli’s there is no reason not to make it yourself at home.  The ingredients and the making of this salad are so simple that you’ll wonder (like me) why you didn’t make it sooner, or more often.

Here is what you will need.

(1) 8 oz. tub of light whipped topping

(1) 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple (drained)

(1) 3 oz. package of instant pistachio pudding

2 c. mini marshmallows

2-3 drops of green food coloring (optional)

In a large mixing bowl mix the pudding and drained pineapple together.  Add the whipped topping and mix until everything is combined.  Add the food coloring if desired.  Fold in the mini marshmallows.  Refrigerate a couple hours before serving.

I didn’t use the food coloring in this salad.  If you decide to use it in your salad it will be much more greener.

Easy to make pistachio salad - a picnic favorite

What’s one of your favorite picnic salads?

It’s Not About The Cake

I was originally going to share a recipe for these little dark chocolate cupcakes, but when I realized that they weren’t the star of the show I shifted gears.  The frosting is the true star here!

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  It’s just about me being adventurous in my kitchen.

Love making homemade buttercream frosting?   Then I have a new trick for you.  Try substituting Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Whisky in place of vanilla extract.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge frosting fan.  For me it’s more about the cake.  But I have to tell you that I COULD NOT STOP TASTING THIS FROSTING the entire time I was taking the photo’s for this post.  Seriously, it is that good!  And don’t you love how the alcohol didn’t tint the frosting?  It stayed bright white. 

I used about 1 tablespoon of Black Velvet Toasted Caramel in place of the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract my recipe calls for and I didn’t think it tasted boozy.  However,  there is no reason that you couldn’t start out by adding one teaspoon of the BV at a time until you reach the desired flavor you’re looking for. 

Cheers!

A Skinnier Version of Creamy Stove Top Rice Pudding

My mother always made a mean batch of rice pudding – the stove top version of course.   In fact, I would ask for it every year for my birthday in lieu of a cake – even though she filled the pudding with raisins that I would inevitably pick out one by one.

In my later years, I have come to two conclusions where rice pudding is concerned.  One, the raisins really do give it a unique flavor even if you have to pick them out like I do, and two, making rice pudding takes more patience than I sometimes have.  Why patience you ask?  Because if you don’t temper the eggs into the hot milk mixture you will end up with a disaster like I have done a few times before.  I almost had given up on making stove top rice pudding but after one more sigh, and a small self pep talk, I gave it one more shot.  And this my folks is what sweet victory tastes like.

If you are at all like me and patience aren’t your virtue on some God given days then maybe you’ll wait like I did – until a day when you feel invincible and time is on your side.

This a skinnier and lower sugar version of my mom’s original rice pudding.

Skinnier Creamy Stove Top Rice Pudding

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. prepared instant rice (follow the directions on the package for two servings)

1 egg, beaten (in a separate bowl)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 c.  light whipped topping (Cool Whip or the like)

Prepare the rice in advance by following the directions on the box of any instant rice (cooks in the microwave in 5 minutes).  In a medium sized saucepan, add milk, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil; stirring constantly.  Add cooked rice and remove from heat and cool for a ten minutes.  Slowly ladle about 1 cup of the  milk mixture into the beaten egg until completely mixed.  Place milk mixture back on the stove and on the lowest heat possible add egg mixture to it; mixing as you pour.  Stir constantly until pudding thickens.  The starch in the rice will help achieve this.  Once thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and nutmeg.  Refrigerate until cool.  Once pudding has cooled fold in one cup of whipped topping before serving.

I took pictures of this pudding while it was still fairly warm.  That’s why you see the whipped cream melting.  Again, it’s a patience thing…  And I was losing  the optimal natural light I had to take pictures of my creation.

A while ago Libbey Glass sent me these cute little glasses/dishes that are perfect for  watching for portion control or feeding a crowd where you want to serve small tastes of everything sinful!

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.