Sunday, September 23, 2012

More to come...

The end of September, the second day of Autumn.....hmmmmm, I hear a cinnamon roll recipe calling my name!  In celebration of Autumn, and upcoming harvest of our pumpkins in our test garden, there is so much more to celebrate!
Life's trials and tribulations brought much sorrow and joy to our lives these past 2 years. We are now in a much better place in our lives, my son and I, and revel in the trivial beauty of the everyday.  We have a long road ahead of us, and welcome every twist and turn!  Now that we are settled in and ready to move forward in many directions, recipies, opinions and photots will soon grace these pages!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It has been a considerable amount of time since my previous post. Major life changes, relocation, and the start of kindergarten have been on the forefront. Fortunately, the holiday season has begun, and though is now closed, there is just enough to keep busy and productive!

Living in Central Washington and reconnecting with old friends, has afforded me the luxury of offering my baked goods at the Tefft Cellars 1st annual holiday bazaar on December 4th, in Outlook, WA! Those who live in the area are invited to bask in the comfort and joy of the holiday season via the vendors and vino!

Sweet Hope is in full swing and taking orders! New and exciting flavors have joined the family of ultimate sweetness! Proceeds of candy sales go to a Mirnoe, a Russian orphange. Please visit for the reason for the season, and to place your order today!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pear Frozen Yogurt

A chilly, but oh so welcoming reception to Spring! Flowers burst forth with their shout out for all to hear and see...even an arctic fox, at our local zoo, took in Spring's soft sun rays. A lovely sight!
Upon my return from the zoo, I perused through the fridge and encountered bits of this, that, and the other. It was then, when I found inspiration--leftover plain whole milk yogurt and several forgotten pear slices. I had them get together with cardamom and honey, a truly dynamic couple, and gave them a whirl. Added a splash of alcohol, '43', and made everyone a little swirly! Who knew such staples would pack a punch? Really, a true story!
My refrigerated finds were further inspired by Helene from She has a plethora of tempting recipes. I can't forget to mention her photography, a genius with a bionic aesthetic eye!

Pear Frozen Yogurt

10 ounces plain whole milk yogurt
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pear
1 tablespoon '43' or other preferred liquor
1/4-1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Frozen yogurt base prep:
Line colander with cheesecloth or heavy duty paper towels. Place colander in bowl and let sit at least 6 hours to overnight to release excess moisture.
Peel and puree pear in food processor
Add yogurt 'base', honey, and cardamom
Combine in food processor
Add 1 tablespoon of alcohol pulse 2-3 times to blend
Pour into freezer safe bowl
Freeze until desired firmness
Serve as is, or drizzle honey and dress with chopped pistachios!
Spectaculary sexy!
* Canned pears work just as well
* To enhance flavors, allow mixture to sit in fridge for at least 15 minutes before freezing
* I think I may have added a little too much cardamom, adjust it to suit your taste.
* I added '43', to keep the frozen yogurt creamy and scoopable, I don't care for it to be rock hard. Ok, the truth of the matter is, I don't like to wait. When I pull it out of the freezer, I want to enjoy it right then, as in now, it has to be at the ready!
* Alcohol inhibits complete freezing--no more than 1tbs. If you want more, then serve yourself in a chilled glass and call it good

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Simple Pleasure

The transition of Winter into Spring has most certainly begun in the great Pacific Northwest...foggy mornings ascending into sunshiny afternoons, budding stems, blissfully chirping birds, and the scent of 'green'. Observing their gradual stirring and resurfacing from their long winter's sleep, I'm delighted to see my grape hyacinths have emerged and blossomed! Some buds were as tiny as a child's fingernail and others proudly stretch as if to say, 'Hey, here I am! Look at me!'

I tell you, those are a few of the simple pleasures I soak in each and every day, unless it's raining then I hold on to a different set of simple pleasures...strong big comforting hugs, cups of hot tea, a softy throw, hmmmm...Another humble yet simple indulgence is a bowl of whole milk fresh ricotta sweetened with honey and topped with walnuts. Next time, it'll be topped with unsalted pistachios. Don't go nuts (of course, no pun intended) and serve yourself a huge bowl assuming to find an answer at the bottom of it. It is fairly rich and yet so highly satisfying!
  • Simple Pleasure in a Bowl
Whole milk ricotta
  1. Serve into bowl
  2. Drizzle with honey to your heart's desire
  3. Sprinkle with nuts
  4. Clear the room
  5. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Apple Cider Tea

A soft sun on a Saturday afternoon and a calm mellow child...hmmm, sheer contentment! Hot drinks were in order after a round of Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. I'm not certain of the association, if any, but it inspired my son to request, 'something yummy, something hot, something apple-y and something drink-y. '
So the search began! I found a couple of recipes for apple tea, and opted to combine the best of both. For a moment, I thought I would need a 'special' apple tea blend. Nah! Apple juice and tea bags! Sweet!
It would not surprise me if there was another recipe like this floating about in the blogosphere or on the internet. If so, it was never my intent to 'steal' any one's recipe....

Easy to prepare and simple enough for enthusiastic little hands! Simmering the concoction for 10 minutes, left a mesmerizing and inviting scent!
An absolute must try!

Apple Cider Tea

4 cups apple juice, unsweetened
2 cups water
4-5 inches of whole cinnamon (sticks)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
4 bags black tea
1 bag orange spice tea
sliced apples, to garnish, optional

Place all ingredients into a medium pot
Bring to a gentle boil
Reduce heat
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
Remove bags and cinnamon sticks
Sweeten with honey
Garnish with thin apple slices or pieces, optional
* Lovely infusion of flavors
* Decaffeinated black tea can be used interchangeably
* Next time, I think I will place the ground allspice in a piece of cheese cloth, as it created a bit of unappealing sediment, or use whole allspice
* I'm not pitching products, but Bigelow Orange Spice tea is an easily obtainable tea with strong bold flavors which works well in this drink
Also, Simply Apple apple juice is a full bodied unsweetened juice that I prefer and used, as well.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Marshmallows

Happy holidays!

In our home, the holidays begin when Christmas containers are pulled out of the garage. This year it was the day after Thanksgiving, and last year it was the week after Halloween...
Heavily frosted pavement and lawns look like 'they've been squished with softy marshmallows' according to an observant four year old. We have learned when the sound of fog horns resonate thru Commencement Bay, it is a foggy and more than likely chilly morning. Chilly mornings and evenings lend themselves to hot cocoa, and of course, the precious accompaniment of marshmallows. Inspired by a bright child, it was time to make the 'mallows.
Very worthwhile, indeed! Once you make them, you may never revert to the 'store packages of marshmallows' ever again. While they may be convenient and easy to buy, give homemade marshmallows a will be amazed!

If Heaven could be consumed piece by piece, this is your palate's path to enlightenment!

FYI: These guys behave just like the 'store boughts'. They melt beautifully and the heavy vanilla scent really adds dimension to cereal treats. I LOVE fire and when exposed to a flame, they toast slowly due to the powdered sugar coating, then quickly heat thru to a hot marshmallow cream...mmmm!
Credit: I followed a few marshmallow recipes and settled on the most cohesive, comprehendible, and most delicious of them all. It was posted via It truly was the most fantastic!

per Deb at, December 1998

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
(alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or peppermint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks.
Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined.
Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t panic if you can not get it all out*.
Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top.
Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day*.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board.
With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes.
Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and storing.

Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week*.

* Refrigerated 'mallows keep for a few weeks.
* Raw egg whites were an issue for me, so I used pasturized egg whites from the carton. They can be found in the dairy case.
* Spraying your spatula, mixing bowl, and other utensils with cooking oil spray, aids in preventing a seriously catastrophic sticky mess. (It was during one of these tries that I learned I have hand claustrophobia.) If all of the 'mallow mixture does not make it into your pan, it's ok.
* Warm water is your friend
* I used a 13"x 17"x 1" jelly roll pan, and cut marshmallows with a greased square fluted pasta cutter. It yielded petite 'mallows.
* Others have used deeper pans, resulting in taller more substantial marshmallows.
* They can be cut with a greased knife, pasta cutter, pizza cutter, pastry wheels, etc...
* Get extra creative and pipe them into different shapes--marshmallow people, hearts, letters, etc...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chai Latte

I must admit I was quite apprehensive to let go of Autumn. When the fiery hues gave way to bare branches, I knew it was timeto let go. In my corner of the Northwest, we don't receive anywhere near the amount of snow other areas get. Last year, it was wonderous! I hope it is the same again, I love winter! I feel it's my element...most of the time, that is. I miss utilizing my 'polar cat driving skills', throwing snowballs, and building snow families. My list can go on and on...I must not forget the serious layering, wearing cumbersome snow gear, salting walkways...I even miss the nuances of winter!

In celebration of the suddenly chilly plunge in temperatures, Chai Latte is the drink that warms the Heart and Soul! Softly spicy, smooth, and subtley sexy...

As much as I enjoy the winter, my Heart goes out to those who minimally have, or do not have the means to stay out of the harsh and cold wintery weather

Chai Latte
minimally adapted from Taste of Home

2 individual tea bags
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 evaporated milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons refrigerated French vanilla nondairy creamer
Whipped topping and ground nutmeg, optional
Place the tea bags, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in the coffee filter of a drip coffeemaker.
Add water; brew according to manufacturer's directions.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, brown sugar and creamer. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Pour milk mixture into mugs; stir in tea.
Add whipped topping and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.
Yield: 2 servings.

* Brown sugar is fairly 'heavy' and tends to sink.
* Stir or whisk constantly to dissolve sugar, otherwise you will consume crunchy tea
* Recipe can easily be tripled or made in mass quanties
* I may reduce the ginger by a smidgen next time, as my 4 year old mentioned it was a 'little too spicy'