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Showing posts from June, 2012

Afternoon of a 'Lion'

The Lion in this case happens to be my 12 year old red tabby who goes by that name.  As you all know, I love my kitties and nothing in this world brings me greater pleasure than my two adorable babies.  Several weeks ago, I was walking upstairs to store some folded up laundry when I noticed a small ball of red fur at the other end of the sun-filled hallway.  I could see pointy ears sticking out and the top of Lion's fuzzy head, along with his adorable pink nose.  Not wanting to waste a moment I went back downstairs and grabbed my camera.  What you must know is that Lion is not one who enjoys having his picture taken.  He likes privacy and will turn away or let you know he's not happy when you point a camera his way.  Lulled into a most relaxing cat nap under a warm & bright sunbeam, I found my opportunity and began photographing.  He did not budge, blink or mind in the least.  Lion was too busy catching some rays to be bothered with this type of attention.  Lucky for m

Martha by Mail ~ Embosser Set

Embossing is a great way to add a bit of understated luxury to a gift or letter.  Having a monogram, image or a few choice words embossed onto a label, tag, card, envelope or sticker allows one to personalize gift giving for special occasions.  A deluxe embosser set from the former Martha by Mail catalog is one that I use often throughout the year for birthdays and holidays.  If I'm putting together a box of gifts or baked goods for loved ones near & far, I always reach for a disk from this set to embellish the gift.  A kind note or letter on fine paper expressing well wishes gets embossed, as do the tags or foil labels I like adding to whatever it is I'm gifting.  It's a nice way of letting the recipient know that I took a few moments to put some thought & effort into the packaging. Printed wedding invitations with embossed announcements and RSVP envelopes are de rigueur whenever a couple is planning such a festive occasion.  To my mind it gives a sense of s

Sour Cherry Pie

Fresh sour cherries provide us with a small window of opportunity to enjoy them, so we must take full advantage of these scrumptious fruits when they're ripe & available at our local farmer's markets.  I can't think of a better way of doing so than with a pie baked from scratch using a handful of high quality ingredients.  The pie crust  should be made with good, unsalted butter and care must be taken when rolling it out, filling it and crimping it.  The filling, however, takes center stage in my opinion.  Sour cherries need only a few enhancements to complement their natural flavor and nothing should mask their inimitable essence.  With only a 2 to 3 week season (at most!) at the end of June, it is imperative that we keep our eyes opened for these ruby red beauties.  As soon as you spot them at your farmer's market, do not hesitate to buy a few quarts to enjoy at home.  Don't think you can put off buying some the following week, because they will not be th

Pie Crust

What is your idea of a good pie crust?  For some it is one which is so flaky and tender that it shatters into numerous shards of delicate pastry when you cut into it.  Others may say that a good pie crust must have the unmistakable flavor of butter in order to be delicious.  For me, a good tart or pie crust must possess all of these essential qualities in order to meet with my approval for baking.  Over the years I have used Martha's perfect pie crust because it has always given me consistent results which are truly tasty.  In my opinion it's a recipe we all should master. However, I have been meaning to come up with my very own version of a delicious pie crust, because I feel it is an important step in my baking endeavors.  I've long been fascinated with pie crust recipes calling for the addition of vinegar, so I scoured & searched as many as I could find, and I tested.  I then decided to enhance the recipe with the addition of an egg for taste as well as richness

Buttermilk Pancakes

B uttermilk pancakes hot off the griddle with a pat of sweet butter and a generous drizzle of pure maple syrup are one of life's delicious pleasures.  My fluffy pancakes are enhanced with malted milk powder and a bit of  vanilla sugar which sets them apart from most standard recipes.  The batter is so easy to make because there is no need to bring any of the ingredients to room temperature or have the batter sit around for a few hours.  The eggs and buttermilk can be added cold and the pancakes can be dropped onto a hot griddle in a matter of minutes. Such a treat to have on the weekends when everyone is puttering around the house or waking up late, buttermilk pancakes will certainly help everyone start their day off on a good note.  Bring a platter of my pancakes along with some eggs and bacon if you're in the mood for savory extras and have plenty of maple syrup on hand.  All you need now to complete this enticing breakfast is some freshly squeezed orange juice or a col