Idaho Cherry Pie

 We are currently in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures reaching the triple digits. Summer has indeed arrived, and one of my favorite summer celebrations is the 4th of July!

During the month of June, I would like to share some of my favorite star-spangled desserts to celebrate America’s birthday with a bang!

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The girls and I have thoroughly been enjoying cherry season — my parents’ cherry tree is filled with ripened cherries! We’ve literally picked bags full, and it is still bursting with color! The robins who built their nests nearby are also extremely delighted and have become quite tame as we pick cherries together!

I was inspired to bake a patriotic pie for my first dessert — which would also be a great addition to any summer picnic or party!

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Idaho Cherry Pie

Pie Crust Recipe from King Arthur Flour

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

*I substituted 1/4 cup Palm Fruit Shortening for the Vegetable Shortening

Cherry Filling

5 cups tart cherries, pitted

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup raw honey

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

***

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-While preparing your pie crust, combine cherries, sugar, coconut sugar, honey and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well, allowing flavors to combine.

-When crust is ready, add lemon juice, cornstarch and salt to cherries and stir well.

-Pour cherry filling into prepared crust and top with stars and stripes crust décor.

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-For the stars, I used a star template, but a star cookie cutter would be ideal. For the stripes, simply cut into 1″ strips to lay across the pie, sealing ends to the edges of the crust.

-Brush stars and stripes with egg white and sprinkle with raw cane sugar.

-Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble.

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Serve warm or cool. This pie pairs extremely well with a scoop (or two) of vanilla  ice cream! It’s as American as apple … er, cherry pie!

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Almond-Coconut Smoothie

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A little over a week ago, we found out that our youngest daughter is allergic to peanuts as well as a few other foods. The allergies are in the moderate-low range, however the nurse said to keep an eye on the peanut allergy as it could become worse.

I’ll have to say, our little girl was pretty disappointed to learn she was allergic to one of her very favorite foods — tomatoes not so much, but peanut butter!

She loves peanut butter!

I tried to encourage her with all the foods she is not allergic to and mentioned that almond butter is pretty amazing! She was delighted, and I think she is going to be very pleased with this new smoothie — although I’m going to have to replace the banana in hers. Another allergy!

I hope you will enjoy this new recipe as well!

Chocolate Almond-Coconut Smoothie

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 cup vanilla almond milk

2/3-3/4 cup ice

1 banana, in pieces

1/2 cup raw oats

2-3 Tablespoons almond butter

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

2-3 Tablespoons shaved coconut

***

In a blender, combine all ingredients and pulse until mixture begins to combine.

-Mix on medium-high for approximately 45 seconds or until smooth.

-Garnish with additional coconut and a few chocolate shavings, if desired.

-Serves one, but can easily be doubled.

***

A rich and creamy smoothie that is perfect for breakfast, a snack or even dessert!

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Enjoy!

Raspberry-Honey Cupcakes

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Can you believe we’re in the last few weeks of spring — then headed into the glorious, sun-filled days of summer?

As many of you already know, we are a homeschooling family, and in these last few weeks, it is getting harder to stay focused on our studies. I find my daughters, as well as myself, gazing dreamily out the windows. The weather is warmer, the days are growing longer, and let’s face it, it’s a wonderful time of year to be outdoors! We’re in the home(school)-stretch and should be finished up by early next week!

I felt it was only fitting to celebrate a  wonderful homeschool year, two lovely daughters who fill every day with sunshine and a hip-hip-hooray to summertime! I was inspired to make these cupcakes by my girls — a touch of honey topped with a dazzling raspberry pink! Andno artificial colors are needed for the frosting!

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Honey Cupcakes

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3 large eggs

2 Tablespoons vanilla

3 Tablespoons raw honey

1 cup raw cane sugar

***

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 cup vanilla almond milk

***

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

***

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, blend butter and coconut oil well. Add eggs, vanilla, honey and sugar and mix on medium for 2-3 minutes allowing mixture to become light and fluffy.

-Add dry ingredients alternately with vanilla almond milk and yogurt. Mix until well incorporated, but do not overmix.

-Fill cupcake liners approximately 2/3 full, and bake for 17-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out of cupcakes clean.

***

Raspberry-Honey Frosting

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup palm fruit oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla

***

2/3 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup raw honey

***

3 2/3 cups powdered sugar

***

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat oils and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

-In a saucepan, heat raspberries and honey on low until berries have softened.

-Gently pour the raspberry-honey mixture through a colander — push with a spoon to extract all of the raspberry juice and incorporate into the oil and vanilla mixture.

-Gently begin added the sifted powdered sugar about one cup at a time — mixing well after each addition.

-After frosting cooled cupcakes, garnish with additional raspberries and/or coconut flakes, if desired.

-Makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes

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I think these cupcakes are especially wonderful when enjoyed outside in the sunshine!

Enjoy!

Honey Lemonade Recipe

I’ve been taking a stroll down Life Bellissima’s memory lane and found one of my very first recipe posts! Please excuse my first photos, but I couldn’t help but reblog this because this Honey Lemonade truly is one of my favorites! I hope you will enjoy! 😉

Honey Lemonade

3/4 c. local honey

1/4 c. organic raw cane sugar

1 c. organic lemon juice

5 c. water (divided)

Combine honey, sugar and one cup water in a saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until sugar completely dissolves.

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Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and 3 cups cold water — stir well.

Pour into a pitcher.

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Add an additional cup of cold water or one cup of ice.

Add fresh blueberries, mint or strawberries (or maybe all three!)

Pour over ice and enjoy!

This recipe can easily be doubled!

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The Joy of Chickens

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It’s been almost two years since we came home with seven fluffy bundles in a small cardboard box. Little did we know what a wonderful experience it would be to welcome Chickaletta, Henrietta, Apple Bloom, Cinnamon, Ariel, Midge and Rosa to our family! We were excited, for sure, but little did we know how sweet and endearing chickens could be!

Naturally, I could start by saying that we love our chickens for the wonderful bounty of eggs they supply us with, and that would be 100% true! It’s still a delight to check the nesting box each day and find a beautiful arrangement of tan and brown-hued eggs.

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But the love doesn’t stop there — the girls, as we call them, bring so much joy! Their almost-animated expressions, whimsical antics and inquisitive nature make us smile and laugh each and every day! As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, the hens might have their squabbles, but they always remain extremely loyal. If one gets separated while out foraging, she will call for her sisters, with growing intensity, until they are re-united.

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The hens greet us cheerfully each morning  — unless, of course, the weather is exceptionally cold and snowy, and with that I can completely sympathize. I love how they  answer and immediately come running to, “here, girls!”, “here, honey”, “here, chick chicks, and even “here, kitty kitty” when I’m calling our cat. When any one of us are outside, the chickens will gather around — content to spend time with us, sit next to us on a picnic blanket or follow us through the yard. They are especially delighted if we’ve brought them one of their favorite treats — oatmeal, fresh fruit or maybe a side dish of pasta.

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I love watching the chickens forage out in the yard free-range and seeing their excitement when they find something particularly wonderful! Like clock work, they will come waddling back as the sun begins to set — perhaps after spending time in the grape vines  or near the fruit trees. They are undoubtedly very full and content as they walk back to the coop like best friends, hopping onto their perch as they settle down with their soft murmurs and whistles.

And seeing their contentment, their joy in the simplicity of a warm spring day or a cool summer evening, their delight in a cluster of grapes or a bowl of oatmeal with sliced banana in turn brings me much joy!

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Mother’s Day Lemon Meringue Pie

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Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days — celebrating our wonderful mothers as well as the joys of motherhood.

God has blessed me with a wonderful mom whom I cherish, and since Lemon Meringue Pie is one of her favorite desserts, I would like to dedicate this post to her in honor of Mother’s Day. 

In addition, God gave me the great blessing of two precious daughters, so this post is dedicated to them as well. They are my treasures.

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Pie Crust

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons palm oil

6 Tablespoons coconut oil, cold

5-6 Tablespoons ice water

-Preheat oven to 475 degrees

-In a food processor, gently combine all ingredients on pulse until dough forms medium-sized pebbles. Do not over-mix. Alternatively, a pastry cutter can be used to blend ingredients.

-Wrap dough in plastic wrap or place in a small glass bowl, and refrigerate 10-15 minutes until chilled.

-Gently press pie dough into a 9 inch pie dish and return to refrigerator for 20-25 minutes.

-Prick dough with a fork, and bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until softly golden.

Lemon Pie Filling

*Slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook

-In a medium-sized saucepan, blend together:

1 1/4 cups raw cane sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Blend  in well:

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Whisk in:

4 egg yolks

3 Tablespoons coconut oil

-Stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to simmer. Cook for one minute — mixture will thicken. Pour into prepared pie crust.

Meringue

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk until soft peaks form:

4 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

-Slowly blend in:

2 Tablespoons raw cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

-Spread meringue over hot pie filling, ensuring edges of crust are sealed.

-Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Wishing you a beautiful and joyous Mother’s Day!

Maple-Pecan Waffles

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Most mornings, we tend to eat a healthy breakfast — smoothies, eggs, oatmeal. But every once in a while, it’s so delightful to indulge in a dessert-style breakfast!

Maybe something like Maple-Pecan Waffles — where the waffles are soft inside with a buttery-crisp exterior and the maple-pecan syrup drizzles from each layer with additional pecans on top for delicious texture.

Sounds good to me!

Waffles

*recipe slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3 Tablespoons raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a separate large bowl, whisk together:

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/3 cups almond or vanilla almond milk

-Gently combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix gently. Batter will have a slightly pebbled look.

-Cook in a pre-heated waffle iron according to your waffle maker’s instructions. My Belgian Waffle machine makes approximately six waffles.

Maple-Pecan Syrup

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

In a small saucepan, combine:

2/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup raw sugar

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2/3 cup warm water

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

-On medium heat, bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.

-Once mixture reaches a boil, lower temperature and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture will start to thicken slightly.

-Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. The longer the syrup cools, the more it will thicken.

-Drizzle syrup in between waffle layers and over the top. Sprinkle with additional chopped pecans, if desired.

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Enjoy!

Book Review – 101 Ways to Have Fun

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Upon seeing this book, I immediately knew it would be one my preteen would love, and I, myself, have had a great time reading it for this review!

From the editors of Faithgirlz and published by Zonderkidz, 101 Ways to Have Fun is sure to delight and inspire young girls! The recommended age range is 8-12, but I would think this is a book that even younger teenage girls would enjoy!

101 Ways to Have Fun covers a wide variety of topics that girls will absolutely love! Nine chapters on caring for yourself, activities for you and your BFF and fun-filled gatherings give young girls a wonderful array of inspiration!  Some of my personal favorites (that I know my daughters would love!) include the Blooming BFF Spa Day, Concocting Signature Peppermint Pattie Soap, Start a Book Swap and Host Your Own Cupcake Wars! Count me in on all of these, please!

Additionally, I have enjoyed this book because so many of these activities could easily be turned into mommy/daughter(s) outings or crafting and bake days! The book includes something for every season, and with summer right around the corner, young girls and their friends will have an ample supply of fun activities — Pedi Perfection, Set Up a (Lemonade Spritzer) Stand and did I already mention the Spa Day? Definitely count me in!

Needless to say, I highly recommend this book — I know it will be a favorite of ours! And now to get that spa day set … with cupcake wars, of course!

 

The Creative Blogger Award

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I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Leyla at Culinary Mosaic for nominating me for the Creative Blogger Award!

Culinary Mosaic is a beautifully-woven combination of delicious recipes such as Wild Blueberry Muffins, delightful writings of life in Alaska and experiences gained through Leyla’s world travels. Leyla’s blog is inspiring, creative and one of my favorites to enjoy! I truly hope you’ll visit as well!

Five things about myself:

-I would love to travel more with my family — first destination on the list would most probably be Italy!

-I love to write — blogging, short stories, and hopefully one day, books and a children’s series!

-I love going to the ocean and being on the beach — I equally love the serenity of the mountains.

-I would love to swim with dolphins and learn to paddle board.

-It is my desire to inspire my readers!

My 15 blog nominations — (it was extremely difficult to narrow it down to 15!)

  1. Sadie’s Nest
  2. Books and Lavender
  3. Fourth Generation Farmgirl
  4. Joy of Spanish Cooking
  5. Travels with Choppy
  6. The Sweet Edge
  7. It’s Cooking with Magda
  8. Anna’s Cuisine
  9. Chorizo and Thyme
  10. Simple and Healthy Foods
  11. Kittymag
  12. El Postre de Ana
  13. Keep Calm and Cake
  14. Natascha’s Place
  15. Aromatic Essence

 

The rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2.  Share 5 things about yourself.
  3.  Nominate 15 bloggers.
  4. Keep the rules in your post.