Friday, July 31, 2015


We were invited to a BBQ last night and our hostess had house guests so I thought a nice hostess gift would be some sweet bread for the hostess to share over coffee with her guests. I love using Panibois containers for gifts all year round as there is something just so organic and wonderful about baking in the little formed wooden containers, wrapping them up and delivering.  Less clean-up in the kitchen a special little gift container.
The Panibois come in a multitude of sizes, round, square and everything in between. They have different brand names and are available at gourmet food stores and online.  In the reference section I will not my favorite vendor. The Panibois (wood pan) are made in France.
 It's zucchini time - so many zucchini and so many ways to cook them including, bread, pickles, relish, etc.  So I thought this bread would be a nice gift.  A few simple ingredients that most of us have in our kitchen at all times.  Remember if you do not have buttermilk just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of whole milk, let it sit for ten minutes. If you are vegan use a plant based milk like soy or almond and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice
The Panibois come with a liner just like a cupcake liner but made to fit the wooden mold so no greasing, etc. so simple.
Prepare your batter and place into the molds and ready for the oven.
While my zucchini bread was baking I prepared the little label in Corel Draw.

A little round disc comes with Wilton's Treat Bags so I printed the labels out on a plain white label, cut around and then placed it on the disc and using a hole punch cut out the hole.
 Wilton treat bag comes with bags large enough for a full size loaf (which is what this recipe yield gives, I chose to make 2 smaller loaves) the paper disc and a nice length of white organdy ribbon.
I added a little lemon yellow ribbon to the organdy ribbon, tucked the bag edges under the Panibois (the bag is for a large loaf) taped the bag and here it is ready for delivery to my hostess and one to keep for hubby!


Preheat oven 350°

2 cups cake flour, King Arthur (my preference)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar, Bakers sugar (my preference)
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
zest of one lemon
1 cup grated zucchini


1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 T lemon juice
1 T milk, if needed


In your mixing bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder.

In a second bowl whip the eggs, add the oil and sugar and whip these ingredients until all combined, then add the lemon juice, buttermilk and lemon zest, stir to combine, then add the zucchini.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until all combined, do not over mix.

If making one large loaf bake in your preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, if making smaller loaves bake for about 30 minutes and then start checking to see if a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the loaf (s) cool almost completely before pouring the glaze over the loaf - I like to use a toothpick to prick holes in the loaf so the tart glaze seeps into the bread.  Personal preference.


Fonts for label, glazed, Great Vibes, Zucchini Bread, Century751no2BT
Panibois, Technobake, Link 
Wilton Treat Bag Kits, Walmart and baking stores

Thank you for stopping by.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015


There are several reasons why I love to make clafoutis - first, as they say "back in the day" it seems to me that custard type desserts were much more prevalent than they are today. Both of my grandmothers made custard and my paternal grandmother made a simple bread pudding almost weekly.  Another reason is because this dessert sings of summer and fresh fruit, also, it is SO simple to make and most of all it is just darned good.  Does not need ice cream or whipped cream or any other accouterments, it stands alone, maybe with a little dusting of powdered sugar.  Also, as desserts go it is pretty low-carb.

Over the weekend I made the classic cherry clafoutis and took some to my grand-children and grandson Heath loved it and I told him I would make him one.  His sister on the other hand (the culinary discriminate that she is, said "not so much, might be good with strawberry.") So hoping to please them both (their brother likes strawberries so I think he will be pleased) I made a strawberry clafoutis.

Choosing fruit: Purists say a clafoutis should only be made with cherries and with the pits left in.  Myself, personally I don't like the idea of breaking dental work and teeth of my guests and also not so easy to teach wee-ones manners when you serve something that requires you spit out the pits. Strawberries, raspberries and other berries like blackberries and blueberries are good not things like peaches and nectarines - too much liquid in the fruit.

This is what 80z of fresh strawberries looks like.  If you cannot find fruit stand berries or have your own berries try purchasing organic strawberries.  The regular strawberries seem to be a race for who can make the biggest berries and they are hollow in the middle and really have no taste.  These little organic berries are sweet, ripe and have a real strawberry flavor. I picked these up at my local grocery store.
The most time consuming part of this recipe - hull, wash and cut in half the strawberries.
Place the berries in a plastic bag with 2t of cornstarch and give them a good shake and place on the bottom of your buttered (or sprayed with butter spray) ceramic dish.

Out of the oven, ready to cool and put in the fridge until delivery tomorrow.

Strawberry Clafoutis Recipe:

Preheat oven to: 375°

8oz sweet strawberries
2 t cornstarch
3 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup AP flour, preferably King Arthur
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sugar, preferably Bakers Sugar
1 1/3 cups whole milk

2T sugar for sprinkling on the top

Toss the berries in a plastic or paper bag with the 2 tsp cornstarch and then place them cut side down in a buttered ceramic dish.  Then mix all the other ingredients (I use an immersion blender), pour over the fruit and sprinkle with the 2T sugar, place in the oven for approximately 45-55 minutes. A knife in the center should come out clean.

May be eaten warm or cold, if cold sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.

COOKS NOTE:  After making this and before delivery I took a little bite out to taste and I hope my little grand-daughter likes this and that her brother is not disappointed that it is not cherry.  I am with the purists (except for the leave in the pit part) clafoutis should be made with cherries - sweet cherries, recipe is the same with the following exceptions:

Instead of 8oz strawberries, use 1 1/4 pounds, pitted sweet cherries and not necessary to dust the cherries in cornstarch which makes it even easier.

I have also made the clafoutis with dark morello cherries in light syrup from Trader Joe's - just drain them really well and they worked great even though morellos' are sour cherries they are quite good in clafoutis and you do not have to pit them.

The best is fresh sweet cherries - a paper clip is a good way to pit them - put on an apron and go outside to pit them.


Porcelain pan, Revol USA 647708 Les Naturals Round Cake Pan, Cream
Strawberries, farmers markets, grocery stores

Thank you for stopping by.


Saturday, July 25, 2015


If you follow this blog you know I volunteer for Alzheimer's Idaho (local grassroots organization) making the dessert for their monthly dinner is one of the things that I do.  This month these lovely ladies and some of their daughters are going on a field trip for their dinner. They are off to a local "Paint & Sip" for some creativity while they munch on Subway sandwiches and then cookies for dessert. 
Each month there is a drawing for a "Door Prize" and the hostess and I take turns providing the prize - it's my turn this month so a cute gift (it's a surprise) bag and ribbon and a door prize label and it's ready to go.
The first cookie is a hubby favorite - the Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie. I just made some simple labels in Corel Draw and printed them out on an 8 1/2 x 11 full sheet label and cut them out and applied to the bag. Tied with a cute black and white ribbon.


Preheat oven to 375°

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, preferably King Arthur AP
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Toll house Delightfuls, filled baking morsels (if  you cannot find these you could add milk chocolate chips, the larger size.
1 cup California walnuts, chopped (or pecans, walnuts best)

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, remove from heat and stir in the brown and white sugar and mix until all combined, then put in the fridge for about ten minutes. Remove and test to make sure it is cool (don't want to scramble your eggs) and add the egg, the egg yolk and the vanilla. Then add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix well (if you make sure you use a large sauce pan, this entire recipe can be made in the pan) one at a time add the three chips and then the walnuts - the dough will be a little stiff, but that is OK.  Form balls and place on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, depending on your oven.  The yield will depend on how big you make the cookie balls - my yield was about 3 dozen good size cookies. 

A perennial favorite with most folks the yummy Peanut Butter Cookie.


Preheat oven to 350°

2 cubes butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (preferably Bakers Sugar)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (preferably Adams, no sugar added)
2 1/2 cups King Arthur AP flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

In your mixer cream the butter and the sugars, add the peanut butter, vanilla and eggs, mix until it is all incorporated then carefully add the flour and soda (mix them together before adding to the sugar/peanut butter/egg mixture.

Roll them into balls (smaller than a golf ball) and then roll them in sparkling sugar and place on Silpat lined baking sheet and I like to take the meat tenderizer mallet and with the tenderizer side press down on the cookies - and since the cookies have been rolled in sugar the mallet will not stick and the holes from the mallet will all look uniform.

Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven.

Yield: At least 3 dozen, depends on the size of the cookies.

Hubby's all time favorite Aunt Gert's Dunking Platters. I have big history with this cookie.  This recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc.  I used to fill my big yellow Tupperware bowl with this dough and make cookies for my now two grown sons to sell as little boys, at their lemonade stand on the weekends, at the Mace Meadows golf course in Pioneer, California.


Preheat oven to: 350°

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour, preferably King Arthur AP
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 cups Grape Nuts Flakes (nothing else will be the same) 
1 cup chopped California walnuts

Combine the butter and the sugars, then add the eggs, vanilla extract and combine.  Mix together the soda, baking powder and the flour and add to the sugar/butter mixture, then add the Grape Nuts Flakes, the oatmeal and the walnuts.  The batter will be stiff.

Make balls (smaller than a golf ball) and place on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes.

The reason they are called "Dunking Platters" is that they do not fall apart when dunked in milk or hot chocolate and the platter part is my Aunt Gert would sometimes make them very large as a big treat. We were allowed to dunk them till age 12 and after that she said it was considered rude but in fact she just looked the other way.


The most challenging cookie I make, the Sugar Dream.  This recipe is from a bakery in Fresno, California and I used to give myself a treat of one of these cookies while out shopping as they have stores in shopping areas.  One is all you need as they are melt in  your mouth good, like the best dreamy shortbread you have ever had, very rich - that is if you bake them correctly and therein in lies the rub.  No matter how you bake them they are still good but in order for them to be soft you have to find that exact balance between are they done and yikes they are too done.  The minute you see one edge start to turn brown take them out and let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before trying to move to a rack otherwise they will fall apart.  These are not soft but they will still be yummy.


Preheat oven to: 400°

1 cup (-2T) Wesson Oil
4 cups flour, preferably King Arthur AP
2 cups (+2T) Sugar, preferably Bakers Sugar
2 cubes (+1T) Butter, softened
2T Sour Cream
1t Soft Cream Cheese
1 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt
1 egg yolk

You can probably tell from this odd recipe that it was cut down from a bakery, very large yield, recipe.  That is why the 1 cup minus or plus items.

In a mixer add butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until all combines and smooth, add sour cream and mix to blend, add the oil and the egg yolk, mix at low speed till the oil is just blended.  Add the flour, salt and soda that has been mixed together, mix until blended then add ten more seconds (more craziness) cover the dough and let it sit for 6-8 hours. Then make less than golf ball size dough balls and roll them in Bakers Sugar and put on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and using the flat bottom of a glass press down on the cookies until they are about 1/4 inch or so, bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes checking them after 8 minutes, when you see the edges start to turn brown, take them out immediately, let them sit for a few minutes on the cookie sheet and carefully transfer them to a rack to completely cool. 

Your yield will depend on how large you make the cookies - I believe my yield was about 3 dozen.  If you make them too big they may fall apart. 
Of course some cute napkins for those artist fingers, don't want them to get crumbs on their creations.
Some cellophane around the plastic platters for serving the cookies, (lined with white doilies) a nice ribbon, ready for delivery.


Cellophane rolls, craft stores and Ebay
Avery 8 1/2 x 11 full sheet labels, Staples, online, etc.
Ribbon, Costco
Plastic platters (2), Dollar Tree
Napkins, Dollar Tree
Doilies, Dollar Tree
Ribbon for cookie sacks, Hobby Lobby, Michael's
Cookie bags, Wilton, Walmart, online, other stores
Sparkling Sugar, Wilton, Walmart, online, other stores

Thank you for stopping by.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Well as I mentioned in a previous post I knew we would be going back to Enchanted Objects in Boise and investigating all of the outside "rooms."  I was looking for something to use as a wall installation.  I had a large oil painting on the wall and was never happy with the way it looked - not right for this home.
 Once you enter the house  you wind  your way through the rooms and finally to the back where you find all these rooms filled with interesting things - so much to look at - I felt like I should kneel when entering this room!
This is so much fun and even on a very hot day it is so cool and inviting outside with all these beautiful trees.
 Loved the "Drive Thru" sign - how fun would that be if you had a pass-through to your patio?
My mind was going a hundred miles per hour thinking of all the ways to re-purpose things.
 But at last, I had to stay focused and then there they were...the perfect item!
Found these old shutters, the price was reasonable so home they went.
So we lived with them for a week and came to the conclusion that we loved them, the scale was right for the room but not the color so....
Out to the shop I went with some Annie Sloan French Linen paint - painted both of the shutters, let them dry...
Once completely dry went over them with Annie Sloan clear wax and rub, rub, rub with an old cotton tee-shirt (thanks Hubby).
After the wax has dried for a few hours I went back over with the dark wax and then once again rub, rub, rub.  If you put the clear coat of wax on your project then when you apply the dark coat if you get too much on the project just put some clear wax on again and you can easily remove the excess dark wax - so simple.
Here they are - the finish is great, the color is correct and we are happy with the outcome.  Added the "family" wall expression from The Magnolia Market (HGTV's Fixer Upper).


Shutters, Enchanted Objects, Link, antique stores, flea markets, etc.
Wall Expression, The Magnolia Market, Link
Annie Sloan paint and waxes, Specialty stores and online

Thank you for stopping by.


Monday, July 20, 2015


Tis the season - time to start making jam and jellies.  In this part of the country we are getting beautiful berries from Oregon and other Northwest states and from Idaho too.  Our local farm stand is open, lots of good healthy fruits and veggies.

I was recently given a recipe for small batch (yield is 4 pints or 8-8 ounce jars) of jam. I followed the instructions carefully and my yield was 6-8 ounce jars and a little leftover for the fridge - not enough to fill a jar. I love to make small batches of jam - some for us and a little to share. The recipe reminded me of another recipe that I have used in the past so I sort of combined the two recipes and had a very tasty outcome.

Please feel free to cut and paste/copy the label if you like.  I always like to add the date but left the date off of this one made to copy. Copy into a software program and print out on a full sheet 8 1/2 x 11 label and cut out the labels.  You could also laminate them on a lami-label.
For this jam, a few ingredients....
Such a pretty color....
A rack for the bottom of the pan keeps the jars from banging against each other during the water bath...
Six 8-ounce jars and some for the fridge.....

Resting on a kitchen towel - was not long that I heard the little "tic" noise - the jars had all sealed.....

Once they had cooled enough to handle, I added the label....
One for a gift with a little demitasse spoon tied on with some matching grosgrain ribbon.....

Spiced Raspberry & Plum Jam Recipe

4 cups pitted and chopped plums
2 cups raspberries
3T fresh lemon juice
6T pectin (I used Mrs. Wages, one box=6T)
4 Cups sugar (I use superfine)
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamom

Wash the raspberries and the plums.  Remove the pit from the plums and dice them.  Add the fruit to a large stainless steel pot with the lemon juice.  On medium heat bring the fruit and juice to a simmer, stirring often.  Reduce the liquid, will take 15-20 minutes.  While simmering take a potato masher and break up the fruit.  This will be much easier to do if you do a small dice of the plums.

Add the spices to the sugar and stir to mix.  Then using the directions on your box of pectin add the pectin and the sugar, stirring all the while (the pectin instructions will tell you in what order to add the sugar/pectin).  Skim off the foam as necessary.  Remove from the heat add the salt and continue to stir to make sure the salt is evenly distributed.

Pour the jam into sterilized jars leave 1/4 inch head space, using a clean cloth wipe the rim of the jars making sure the rims are clean and free of any jam, place the flat lid and then the band on each jar and place into the canning pot, bring the water to boil (making sure the jars are covered by at least 1") process in the boiling water for 8 minutes.

Using tongs, carefully remove the jars from the canning pot and place on a cloth and let them set for 12 hours.  Make sure they have all sealed.  If a jar had not sealed put into the fridge and use it right away.  Store your sealed jars in a cool, dark place.


Canning jars, Kitchen stores, Walmart and other grocery stores.
Pectin, Grocery storees
Canning tongs, Norpro 600 Jar Lifter
Canning pot rack, Prepworks from Progressive International CKC-400 Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack

Thank you for stopping by.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Sprinkle Bakes a great baking and dessert blog featured this ice cream cake - what a fun, easy and wonderful dessert for kids of any age. As soon as I saw this cake I knew that it was in my three grand-babies (who live near me) future!

No baking, no mixing, etc. all that is required is a trip to the grocery store. 
You can use a cake pan or in my case I chose to use a 10" springform pan. Line the pan with plastic wrap making sure to come well over the sides of the pan.
Next take ice cream sandwiches and cut them in half. If you use an 8" pan you will only need 12 - my ten inch pan required 13 of the ice cream sandwiches.
Cut them in half and place them cut side down around your pan.
Let your choice of filling ice cream soften - the mixer step is optional but I found it very easy to put the softened ice cream into my mixer and give it a whirl to make the consistency smooth.
Pour the softened ice cream into the center of your pan and smooth it out - I used a 48oz carton of ice cream (the one that used to be a half gallon) and it did not come to the top of the sandwiches so....
I took some vanilla ice cream and added some strawberry Beanilla pure strawberry extract and some chopped fresh strawberries and then poured that on top of the chocolate and it was the perfect height for the sandwiches. Cover the ice cream with plastic wrap and put into the fridge overnight or at least six hours.
Working quickly add scoops of ice cream, I chose vanilla.
Place some sugar cones on top of the ice cream balls....
Then pour on chocolate shell, then quickly add sprinkles of  your choice (I chose confetti sprinkles) and peanut butter M&M's.  
Before serving let the cake sit out for about ten minutes in order for it to soften enough to cut.
Using a sharp knife make your cuts, giving each slice two of the ice cream sandwiches - each slice is very pretty on the plate.  All the "kids" big and small loved the cake. I keep thinking of other ways to do this cake - hmmmm using Ben & Jerry's pistachio ice cream and making vanilla bean white chocolate shell, might have to make this for my youngest sons birthday.

If you cannot find the chocolate shell in your grocery store here is a very simple recipe:

Chocolate Shell Recipe


7 ozs of chocolate, chopped (your choice, bittersweet, semi-sweet)
2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil


1. Melt the chocolate in a small metal bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir in the coconut oil and heat until dissolved, about 1 minute.  Keep the liquid lukewarm until you are ready to pour over the ice cream.  Chocolate will harden into a shell within a few seconds when spooned over the ice cream.


Recipe for cake, Sprinkle Bakes blog (link above)
Springform pan, grocery and kitchen stores
Confetti Sprinkles, grocery and specialty stores
All other ingredients, grocery store
Real Strawberry Extract (they have powder too), Link

Thank you for stopping by.