Baking

Apple Cider Loaf Cake

Delicious!

One of the best, most flavorful cakes I’ve baked this year.

The recipe can be found here.

I saw apple cider at our Farmer’s Market and it inspired me to try this recipe.

I would recommend following the recipe exactly as printed. Take the time to reduce the apple cider; it’s the key to getting the big flavor.

While the apple cider is reducing you can prep the other ingredients.

Excellent crumb! This would be a great dessert for a picnic. A few of my friends thought they might have a slice for breakfast. That sounds like a great plan!

Let me know if you try this one and what you think of it.

Baking · collage · Gardening · Paper Art · quilting · Sewing

The End of August

Another month is ending. I have spent a bit of time cleaning, which I’ll confess , it’s not my favorite activity!

I reorganized my kitchen drawers, emptying them and vacuuming up the crumbs and other detritus. Wiped them clean and everything is once again tidy. I did get rid of quite a few things that I no longer (never!) use.

I also had to reorganize my fabric in the sewing room when one of the shelves pancaked and left quite a mess. I sorted and gave away 5 bags of fabric I knew I’d never use. Some of that went to a woman who is making masks and another 2 bags went to an artist friend. The sewing room does look a lot tidier now.

I posted several small quilt projects and a few orphan quilt blocks to my Etsy shop as a result of the quilt room tidy-up. You can check it out here.

I have played around with a few small collages these last few days.

I’m happy with these and might add them to my Etsy shop in the near future.

The dahlias are beautiful this year.

For once the cats are leaving them alone so I have been able to enjoy having them in the house!

The peaches at the Farmer’s Market have been quite good. Peach pie was on the menu!

Off to try a new recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out next time!

Stay safe and enjoy these last days of summer.

collage · Paper Art

This and That

The Covid Journal is finished, as finished as it’s going to be.  All the pages are filled in.

Here are some of the last of the collaged pages.

I read something this weekend that really resonated with me, from Uppercase magazine (One Little Piece at a Time),

“There’s no use in trying to think our way out of this unsettling feeling…you may feel that you have no map, no direction … ” (page 30).

My feeling exactly. Many days I find myself wandering around the house, picking up this or that project and not feeling it was the right thing to be working on. Or I would just sit on the couch and read all day or watch TV. Feelings of aimlessness. But making art has helped. A lot.

I started these yesterday.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but they have been fun to work on.

I hope they put a smile on your face.

Stay safe.

 

Baking

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Last week I made a batch of these No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.

The bars are an adaptation of this recipe, but I didn’t have some of the ingredients, so I made several substitutions.

Here is what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, divided

Instructions

Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.

Combine the peanut butter butter, chocolate, olive oil, honey, and vanilla in a heat-proof bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments . Stir, until the peanut butter and chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

Place the oats, pecans and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the flaky salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the peanut butter mixture and use the rubber spatula to press and fold until the oat mixture is evenly moistened.

Transfer to the prepared pan. Using a spatula, press the mixture into an even layer, spreading all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt. Freeze until cold to the touch and very firm, 40 to 45 minutes.

Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the slab out of the baking dish onto a cutting board. Cut into bars.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, placing wax paper or parchment paper between the layers of bars.

Enjoy!

Let me know if you make these.

Baking

Blondies

Since I’ve been spending so much time at home these days I’ve been doing some cleaning. I recently reorganized my cookbooks.

This is just part of my collection, but I like to read cookbooks and I like to mess around in the kitchen, trying out new recipes. Especially baked goods.

As I reorganized the cookbooks, I found The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, where I had marked several recipes, but I had never tried any of them.  The Blondie recipe caught my attention so that’s what I made.

Blondies

My mom used to make blondies for us when we were kids. They are similar to brownies, but do not contain the chocolate and so are much paler.

Mom’s recipe

The Greyston Cookbook recipe was similar to Mom’s, but there were a few differences.

The blondies turned out great, but I do prefer mom’s recipe!

Let me know if you try mom’s version!

Stay safe.

Baking · collage · Gardening · Paper Art

Ice Cream

The recent heat wave prompted me to make some ice cream.

I used this recipe from Bon Appetit, but simplified it. I did not infuse the cream with mint.

This is what I did:

Whip 2 cups heavy cream until stiff peaks form using a hand-held mixer.

Pour 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk into a large bowl.  Add 1 tsp. kosher salt and a spoonful of whipped cream. Mix to lighten the condensed milk.

Fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Then fold in 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted.

Pour into a loaf pan. Add any mix-ins you want. Peanut butter or chopped dark chocolate might be good choices. Freeze for 8 hours.

You can omit the cocoa powder to get a vanilla ice cream.

The ice cream did not even last a week!

I recently shared this photo.

I have since modified the collage.

I like this version much better.

Here is a close-up of the text in the upper right corner.

The red bee balm has started to bloom.

It is almost five feet high!

This pot of pansies is outside the back door. Pansies are one of my favorite flowers and I plant some every spring for a summer of blooms.

Stay safe! Let’s hope these days of uncertainty are behind us soon.

 

 

Uncategorized

It’s Hot!

Hello! We are in the midst of a heat wave here. Temperatures in the 90’s with dew points near or above 70. Very hot and humid. Not typical weather for central Wisconsin, but sometimes we get these periods of intense heat. I’m so glad we have air conditioning!

I thought I’d share a few photos of my flower beds as the blooms have been so pretty.

A friend of mine calls these ‘swamp iris’. I love the deep purple color. These are no longer blooming, but they put on quite a show this year.

A white rose that I get repeat blooms from, if I prune away the spent flowers. It starts blooming about the same time as the iris and will continue to bloom throughout the summer.

This is a wild columbine against one of my hosts. The columbine has self-seeded in many spots in the garden. I don’t have any luck with the cultivated varieties, so I’m happy this one seems to like it here!

This is a true geranium variety. The color is lovely. I saw a blue variety last year at a local garden shop and wish I had purchased it as it was such an intense blue color, but at the time I felt it was a bit pricey. I keep thinking about it and haven’t seen it again. If I ever do see it again I’ll have to buy it.

My calla lilies have just started to bloom. I have maybe a dozen pots of these that I plant every spring. In the winter, I keep the bulbs  in my basement since we are borderline zone 3 and these would not survive in the ground during our cold winters.

The day lilies have just started to bloom. This is a common variety that grows wild along the roadsides here, but I like the shot of orange in my garden beds.

I have a few more pages from my Covid-Journal to share today. Just a few empty pages left to fill.

I worked on the page (above) after the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

 

Stay safe!

 

collage · jewelry · Paper Art

I’m Back

This is a crazy time we are living through. I am using my art to help me deal with all of the stresses in my life. I hope you have also found ways to cope.

I continue to work on my Covid-19 journal.

This is the spine of the journal where I have stitched the signatures.

Some views of the journal. It’s getting so full it no longer closes.

The pages are a combination of watercolor papers, pages from print media, ledger pages, and tissue papers. I’ve added collages to many of the pages, but there are still a few blank pages. I’ll be filling in the last few pages in the next few weeks.

Here are some of the newest pages.

The background above, is a page from a catalogue.

This collage (above) features a favorite image from Paper Whimsy.

I also used some background papers I purchased through Etsy and rubber stamped images to make a small coloring book which I gifted to a few friends. Here are some of the pages.

And I’ve worked on some paper dolls which I purchased as a kit from The Assemblage Studio.

So much fun with these!

I’ve been making earrings in the evenings which, for me, is so relaxing.

 

 

Stay safe my friends!

collage

Journal Pages

We are still isolating here. Trying to stay safe.

Working in my Covid-19 journal helps me. I’m doing a page a day, sometimes more.

Here is a glimpse at some of my recent work.

Image from my collection of cabinet cards.

Image from Paper Whimsy.

 People from the Tim Holtz Paper Doll packs.

Images from my personal collection.

The three previous images feature vintage photographs from my collection.

Children images from vintage cabinet cards.

Such unprecedented times these are. Stay safe!

 

 

Baking · collage · Gardening

Spring is Arriving!

At long last the garden is showing signs of spring!

 

We planted the tomatoes a few weeks ago.

And transplanted them this past week.

I baked this chocolate chip cake for Easter.

It’s from the Christina Tosi cookbook “Momofuku Milk Bar“. I’ve already tried several of her recipes and love them all.

And for Easter breakfast we had these:

Glazed Cinnamon-Cardamom Buns, which were not that difficult to make.

I have been working in my Covid Journal; trying to do a page a day. These are some of my favorites.

The theme that keeps repeating is ‘People’, perhaps because of the isolation we are experiencing in these times. I do miss my friends, but it has also been nice to spend a lot more family time together.

And I started an online art class. Here are some of those more successful attempts!

Hopefully there will be more to share next time.

Stay safe! Let me know how you are!