Refreshing Raspberry Sparkler

IMG_1309

We are smack dab in the middle of a heat wave — temperatures have been reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (and above) this week, so we were all in need of something cool and refreshing!

Towards evening, it’s the perfect time to sit outside in the slightly cooler weather, watch the chickens and the new baby chicks (more on that in an upcoming blog, but can I at least say, they’re adorable!), swing in the hammock and keep an eye out (from a very safe distance) for a family of six, yes six!, skunks who have decided to live in our neighborhood! The mama skunk came waddling out late one evening, followed by not one, not two, but five babies waddling after her!

We enjoy having something cool to sip on while we’re outside, and I’m sure you can’t really call this a recipe, but it’s refreshing, beautifully-colored and can be put together in roughly 30 seconds — perfect when you don’t have the energy to put something together in the heat!

Refreshing Raspberry Sparkler

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients whenever possible

raspberry sorbet

raspberry soda (I use the Cran-Raspberry La Croix)

-Scoop 3-4 small round scoops of the sorbet into a glass

-Pour in the Cran-Raspberry La Croix

-Garnish with fresh mint, if desired

And that’s it. So. easy.

Now back to the hammock, chickens and keeping a watchful eye out for those skunks!

(Let’s hope my next post isn’t on 10 ways to remove skunk spray!) 

IMG_1316

Enjoy!

 

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!

IMG_1058[1]

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!

IMG_1046[1]

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

***

IMG_1067[1]

-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.

IMG_1068[1]

IMG_1073[2]

-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.

IMG_1085[1]

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!

Chocolate Almond-Coconut Smoothie

IMG_1034[2]

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!

IMG_1031[2]

Enjoy!

Raspberry-Honey Cupcakes

IMG_1018[3]

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!

IMG_1024[3]

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

IMG_1020[3]

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

Enjoy!

Mother’s Day Lemon Meringue Pie

IMG_0874[1]

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.

IMG_0890[2]

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.

IMG_0872[2]

Wishing you a beautiful and joyous Mother’s Day!

Maple-Pecan Waffles

IMG_0727[3]

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.

IMG_0733[3]

Enjoy!

Honey-Garlic Barbecue Sauce

IMG_0542[3]

Who’s ready for some barbecue? I know I am!

As the days grow warmer and longer, one of my favorite ways to spend an evening is outside grilling up a tasty dinner!

I love a variety of barbecue sauces, but one of my favorites is a sweet sauce with a hint of tang. I am also a huge fan of local honey — which inspired me to whip up a batch of this honey-garlic barbecue sauce!

Perfect for burgers, chicken and beef as well as slow-cooked barbecued beef or chicken!

IMG_0541[2]

Honey-Garlic Barbecue Sauce

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 1/4 cups tomato ketchup

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup honey, local if possible

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

-In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and whisk together on medium-low.

-Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-This recipe yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of barbecue sauce.

Enjoy!

 

Cheesy-Bacon Egg Bake

IMG_0380[1]

In addition to being some of the most wonderful women you could ever meet, the ladies at our church are very well-known for their phenomenal cooking — especially on Easter Sunday! We have a tradition of gathering early to share Easter breakfast together, and for those interested in cooking/baking, several recipes are available if you don’t have a particular dish in mind.

Last week as I pondered whether to bring cinnamon rolls or fresh fruit, I glanced over to see a printed recipe for an egg bake. What caught my eye the most was that the recipe called for 18 eggs!

Because we have seven sweet hens who bless us daily with an abundance of eggs, I am always on the look-out for a tasty egg dish!

This recipe is a keeper! Eggs with a soft, creamy layer of sour cream — pause for dramatic effect — covered in melting cheese and bacon! Did I also mention this recipe is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever made?

This recipe is not my own, and I have to find out who contributed it! To thank her and give her a hug, of course!

tablet 2718

Cheesy-Bacon Egg Bake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

18 eggs (salt and pepper to taste, scrambled to soft stage)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup crumbled bacon

-Scramble eggs to soft stage and spread into a greased 13×9 pan.

-Spread sour cream over the eggs.

-Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top.

-Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*Side note — you could easily add a delightful variety of fresh vegetables or mushrooms to this dish. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired, and enjoy!

IMG_0383[1]

Freshly-Baked White Rustic Bread

IMG_0259[2]

After a long pause, I’m back to baking fresh bread! I am a novice when it comes to bread making, and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have always been intimidated with the idea of baking my own loaves. I pictured my bread turning out as hard as a rock or as flat as a pancake! Or both!

But I have been finding some fabulous bread recipes which have greatly encouraged me! The most recent was found on Pinterest via the Creekside Cook. The title read: Stand Mixer Italian Bread. Stand Mixer … hmmm … definitely worth a try, right?

Yes, definitely, and now I’m so excited to share the recipe I found! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have! Once again, I want to thank Donalyn for sharing her recipe on Pinterest.

IMG_0258[3]

For the most part, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written — however, after baking these loaves a few times, I made a few slight changes:

-I prefer cooking/baking with organic ingredients whenever possible — which is typically very easy to do with a recipe!

-Instead of spraying the bread with water while baking, I chose to brush the bread with oil twice during baking. Grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil worked wonderfully! I also topped the bread with Italian herbs and kosher salt before baking.

-When adding the additional flour during the second mixing, I only needed approximately 1/2 cup instead of a full cup. (I added the additional flour 1/4 cup at a time as stated in the original recipe.)

-My bread seemed to be done after 25 minutes — possibly our weather? Or elevation? So I would recommend keeping an eye on it after 20 minutes of baking.

The first loaf vanished very, very quickly! So the next time, I made two loaves. This recipe is also perfect for homemade hamburger buns!

So delicious served with olive oil, Italian herbs and a sprinkle of salt!

IMG_0260[2]