We just got back from a week’s vacation visiting family in California. Like all good adventures, this one was filled with laughter, fun, and craziness. And when I say craziness, it pertains to just one thing–children. Ha! I had the brilliant idea of driving, which by map, should have taken about 10 hours, but in actuality, it took a little over 13. In my head, I thought of it idealistically, that driving would be good family fun and bonding, and let me just say, we certainly bonded! I already knew that little ones just cannot sit still for that long, but a long car ride just proved that point even further. (Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I make it out to be. The kids were pretty good in spite of it all; it was me who had to remember they’re only 3 and 5.) The portable DVD player is what saved us.
One day we went into San Francisco. I love that city!
Eric and I had been there numerous times before, but it was fun walking through the city with the kids. They saw things I had never observed before! As we concluded the day, we went and had ice cream at Ghirardelli. Grace and I shared a double scoop cone, and Eric and Matthew shared one. Seems reasonable, right? Apparently, I had NO IDEA just how big a double scoop is. We could have shared one between the four of us!
We had such a wonderful time (despite the car ride) and were so grateful to extended family for hosting us. They cooked us yummy food and kept the kids entertained (which is no easy feat). So, thanks fam!
As a parting gift, my aunt sent me home with a bunch of Meyer lemons and limes from her yard. (My other aunt grows grapefruit, and I came home with about 20+ of those. Trying to think of good desserts to make with that fruit…) Continue reading
The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been unusual, to say the least. Sunny and in the 70s and 80s off and on for the past two weeks–this is not April weather people! Where’s my rain? And my cloudy, 60 degree weather? I am feeling a bit gypped by Mother Nature. It’s like winter jumped right into summer. Okay, I am beginning to sound like a whiny toddler, and I already have one of those, so two isn’t needed.
My husband and children love lemon, and, well, since it’s summer here I thought I’d make a lemon dessert. What I love about this recipe is the raspberry jam sandwiched between the crust and the lemon cream cheese layer. It adds a nice contrast. These bars are rich, so a little goes a long way. Continue reading
Little babies are one of the most precious things in life. I know that’s a cliché statement, but when you’ve wanted to have a child for a very long time and that dream finally comes true, that statement is far from cliché.
My friend just adopted the sweetest little baby boy 7 weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier for her and her family. This baby really was a miracle from God. Yesterday we had a shower to honor her and this little boy. I was asked to bring a dessert, specifically these lemon poppyseed cupcakes. I was so honored to be a part of her baby shower, and was secretly glad she asked me to make a dessert, because these are one of my very favorite.
What I love about these cupcakes is that there is a hint of lemon in the cupcake batter, as well as the frosting. (Too much lemon is overpowering. Subtle is key when it comes to lemons.) And while it is a butter frosting, when it is whipped properly, it is light and airy, not heavy and thick. You literally could eat two and not get a stomach-ache. (Ask my husband, he ate two last night and almost went for thirds, had I not stopped him.) If you don’t really like poppyseeds, you could omit it and it would still taste delicious. Continue reading
My junior year in college, my roommate and I thought it’d be fun to have a tea party. We made cute little sandwiches, where we cut them in small triangle wedges and trimmed the crust, had different fruit bars, and of course, a variety of teas. Our friends came over and we ate, laughed, and played games. One friend brought over this delicious lemon dessert, and when the get-together was over, I asked her for the recipe. Many years later, I pulled out the recipe and tried to make it. At the time I got the recipe, I really wished I had asked her exactly how she made it, because the recipe said mix such-and-such together and bake, then add this on top, etc. It never said what pan to put it in, or what temperature to have the oven (although it did say how long to bake it), or even how exactly to mix something–which is very important to any baker. I had to improvise much, and unfortunately, the dessert flopped miserable. Fast forward eight years, and I found the recipe, tucked away amongst other long-forgotten ones. I thought I’d give it another chance. However, this time, I went the internet to see if I could find something similar, and piece together the two.
It’s a good thing I gave the recipe another chance. Talk about one of the best chilled desserts I have ever tasted! There are four distinct layers, and it might seem like a lot of work, but really, it takes about 15 minutes (minus the cooling of the crust) to make. And it is one of the lightest tasting desserts too, so you can have lots of it. (Which is really a good thing, I think.) Continue reading
Pacific Northwesterners love snow. I say this because we don’t get it very often and it usually doesn’t last. Yesterday was our first snow of the season, and it was a very light dusting. My one-and-a-half-year-old son was intrigued by the large white stuff floating down from the sky and kept pointing out the window. He was also licking the window pane, but that’s another story.
With the weather so cold and the wind so biting, I decided to make a summer-y cake, to make myself feel warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, I just bought another 6-inch cake pan, and really wanted to make a cake for two. This cake makes way more than two, but it’s so cute and little, and well, I’m a sucker for those things. And I couldn’t have just one piece either, so it makes me feel better knowing it’s a small cake.
You can buy these small cake pans at any cake decorating store; I’ve even seen them at Jo-Anns and Michaels. They cost around $5 apiece. For the middle of the cake, I used a raspberry filling. It might sound like an odd combination, but trust me, they work together perfectly. (I have to admit, though, I cheated on the filling–I bought it at our local cake decorating store. Gasp!! Anyway, you could cheat like me, or make your own. Raspberry preserve would also work just fine.)
Some tips with this cake: Continue reading
Today is a cloudy day. A cloudy day in need of some sunshine. Lemons, to me, are like liquid sunshine. For whatever reason, they make me feel happy. And when you add a summer fruit, even a dreary day like today is sunny. This recipe comes from my family cookbook, and it’s a recipe my grandmother used to make often. I honestly don’t know where she got her recipe from–probably from her local newspaper years ago, as she was apt to try many recipes from there.
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. A trick to keeping them separated from each other and not turning your batter purple is to coat the berries with a little bit of flour. Just a little bit will do.
This is the normal mix-all-the-dry-ingredients-together-and-then-the-wet-ingredients-and-them-mix-the-two-together batter. Here’s the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
And here’s the wet ingredients, whisked with a fork.
Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until it is all incorporated. Continue reading