Monday, July 16, 2012

The 4th and beyond.

I hope everyone had a lovely 4th of July, I found myself across the street at my friend and neighbors home having some amazing tacos and burritos.  I didn't bother to check and just made a tart for the occasion along with lil' smokies in grape jelly and chili sauce.  The tart is easy and really good so I thought I would share the recipe and also share the latest batch of crafty goodness that my same neighbor friend and I engaged in just a weekend or two ago.

First the recipe I made it from a book called: "Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes"  I have used this book many, many times over the years and I love everything I have made from it.  I kidnapped this book from my mother's book case of cook books and have never looked back (she never used it anyways).  This edition was printed in 1992 the tart I made can be found under the section titled : Desserts, Cakes & Pies on Page 401.

Starts & Stripes Tart


1 Cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 Cup sugar
2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup milk

3 3oz cream cheese, softened (I could not locate the 3 oz size so bought 2 f the 8 OZ with many bagles in mind)
3/4 Cup powdered sugar
1 Tsp grated orange peel
1 Tbsp orange juice

1 Pt strawberries, hulled. sliced or * raspberries or alternate favorite fruit: kiwi, mandarin orange segments, pineapple, ect.
1/2 Pt blueberries
1/4 Cup apple jelly, melted

Heat oven to 400F. In a large mixer bowl combine butter and sugar.  ( I use the pastry cutter first before I break out my mixer, got to give the old girl a break now and again)
Beat at med. speed, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy (1 to 2 min). Add flour and milk; beat at low speed until well mixed. press dough on bottom and 1/2" (ish) up sides of baking pan.  Prick bottom with fork.  Bake for 14 to 18 min. or until lightly browned.  Cool.
In small mixer bowl combine all filling ingredients; beat at med. speed, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy.
*Careful to fend off husbands and boys during this step, fingers will be wanting to sample.
"Mom are there any eggs in this?"
"Can I try it?"
 Spread over top of cooled crust. (see above crust not cooled) Spread over top of cooled crust.  Refrigerate 1 hr. or until firm.

Just before serving, arrange fruit on filling in design of American flag using strawberry slices for stripes and blueberries for stars.  Brush fruit filling with melted apple jelly.  I made an alternate design, I didn't want to just have pieces with just strawberries or blueberries, little of this and a little of that. Yum!

Onto the fun of crafting, As I had mentioned before about how I had enjoyed the tutorial that Knickertwist had shared with the understanding that items would not be sold I had my favorite neighbor to make our own fairy habitats. Making Cotteges and mushrooms is so relaxing and calming, lovely little gifts for fun.  Here are some pics of our handy work:

We've got stumps, stones, moss, rocks, lovely found items, twigs, mushrooms, magic beans.

Teeny pine cones and a fairy pool in an acorn half.

Keep on stitching, I'll get back to mine soon and take more progress pics once I have made some... progress.  >^_^<

Monday, July 9, 2012

Other things - like JAM!

I certainly hope that everyone has been doing well, keeping busy with projects and ideas.  I've been busy but really have little to show for it.  Almost no stitching going on at the moment, this I'm sure is due to my recent addiction to Diablo 3, a game for my PC.  My dear hubby and I play together after our son has gone to bed AKA my stitching time... Anyhoo last I posted I was determined and very motivated to clear out my craft room.  Yeah, not so much activity in that room.  For the most part (honesty is the best policy) I have not followed through with my deceleration of 15 minutes a day.  In fact the hubby added some more "items" to the mess though my son removed a few so I figure I'm still at ground 0 as far as progress.
Then things started to ripen, Raspberries in particular.  This is the first year that they are not only doing okay but that there are enough of them to use for things.  I present Raspberry Rhubarb freezer Jam.  Woo Hoo!! I pulled my trusty Betty Crocker book out and made us some jam.  I'm rather proud of myself, I'm a jam first timer and I feel very good about my end result.

Rhubarb-Raspberry Jam  (Better Homes and Gardens 12th edition P.189)

6 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced rhubarb
4 cups sugar
2 cups raspberries or one 12-oz package of frozen lightly sweetened red raspberries
1 3-ounce package of raspberry-flavored gelatin (not sugar free)

* I know, Jell-o!?!? Say what?  That's what Betty called for so that's what I did.

Lookie, the raspberries are lovely fresh from my yard.

The rhubarb also from my yard, I love this stuff.  Lots of people hate it but I really like the tartness of it and it is a vegetable, I love to make pie out of it and now jam.  
I sanitized my new jars by boiling them, waited for them to cool a little then I flipped them over until I was ready to use them.  Can't run the risk of stuff falling into them.
 So here they are, lovely and fresh and ready to use.
 1. In a large heavy kettle combine rhubarb and sugar.  Let stand 15-20 minutes or until sugar is moistened.  * really it was almost magical how it went from all dry to this...
 Bring to boiling.  Boil, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring often.
 Add berries; return to boiling.  Boil hard 5 to 6 minutes or until thick, stirring often.  Remove from heat.  Add Gelatin and stir until dissolved.
 2. Ladle into half pint freezer containers, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
 Seal; label.
 Let stand at room temperature until set.  Store Jam up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 year on the freezer.
I made 3 batches of this kind and have made 1 of the strawberry jam recipe on the same page.  I plan to make some more and once the pears in my parents yard ripen I'm going to can those too.  Free is the best price so this year I'm making the most of what I have at hand, it's too bad I didn't get my garden in though.  Weather has not been cooperating and we just could not get the garden plowed, was just too wet.
  Oh well, guess I'll find time for stitching once the weather turns again.  It's supposed to go back to rain next week.
Keep on stitching!  >^_^<