Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sunrise down our lane

This was the beautiful sunrise I saw this morning when getting my kids' breakfast and school lunches ready. 

I couldn't resist going out and snapping a shot.

Have I mentioned how much I love my lane? 

Perhaps a seemingly inconsequential aspect of one's house--their drive. But mine fills me we happiness and makes my heart smile when I see it. I love it in the early morning when the sun from the east pours its light down it. I love it midday when the sun is hot and bright, but the trees provide wonderful shade. I love it in the evening when it is all cool and quiet. I love it in the dark of night and how no one can see us from the road. We are all quiet and tucked in back in our little part of the world. I love driving down it and seeing my goats come running to see us. I even enjoy hauling our trash cans all the way down it every week.  

I hope we are all blessed today to see the beauty that is right there in front of us. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Roasted Plum Cardamom Ice Cream

There are 3 things to know about this post:
1. I have been really into making my own ice cream lately. 
It tastes SO good. 
It is fun. 
It is fresh.
You can control your ingredients. 
It tastes SO good!

2. I have A LOT of plums. 
As I mentioned in this post about the plum custard cake, we have 3 plum trees, and I have been making A LOT of plum stuff. So hey, why not try some plum ice cream, because, like I said above, I have been really into making my own ice cream lately!

3. I love cardamom.
It is such a nice, warm spice. I have been sprinkling it in our german pancakes and our homemade bread lately. It gives just the nicest, subtle (when you use a bit) flavor. Try it--you'll love it.  

So, basically when I saw this recipe for Roasted Plum Cardamom Ice Cream, it was pretty much destiny.

And look at that beautiful color! 

 This ice cream is so fun to eat--it teases your taste buds because it is cold, but it tastes warm due to the cardamom. Such a fun flavor combination--creamy ice cream, sweet and tangy plums, warm and spicy cardamom. It's my new favorite.

I followed Maria's recipe from Sift and Whisk pretty much exactly, except I did the following alterations:

I doubled it because I had no doubt it'd be delicious. You should double it too. :)

I use 2/3 cream and 1/3 2% milk rather than all cream like she did. It was still VERY creamy--maybe too creamy--almost waxy, so I think next time I'd do half cream, half milk.  

I also did not have cardamom halves, so I just sprinkled cardamom spice into the milk/cream/sugar mixture until it tasted good. :) Oh darn, you might have to taste it a few times....

Super fantastic recipe, so if you are into making your own ice cream, give it a go!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dutch Apple Cheesecake Bars

Once a month I get to make something yummy for the ladies' activity through our church group.
Such a fun job!
I help out with ideas for the activity, decorations, etc., but mostly these last few months I have been the treat gal. Sometimes I think about doing something healthy....maybe next month??? But it wasn't this month for sure.
 I have buckets of apples on my hand, and I wanted to do something seasonal, so apple cheesecake bars was the clear winner in my mind. 

Luckily, my great friend, years ago when we were living completely different lives--childless, in graduate school--bought me an entire cheesecake cookbook, so I had the perfect source.  (It's a great cookbook by the way--everything I have made has been scrumptious.)

The bars turned out bigger than I thought! Nice big fat ones--like eating slices of actual cheesecake. No complaints about that! 
I made a double batch (you never want to run out for those type of things) so it was quite the process--6 packages of cream cheese in all. 

It turned out delicious--creamy and smooth, decidedly fall flavored, and I could taste the apples well.

 So, without further ado, here is the perfect fall party dessert recipe:

Dutch Apple Cheesecake Squares
Click here to print

serves 18

2 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. melted butter

3 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped

3 Tbsp. cold butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 apples, peeled and chopped

1. Crust: Combine the crumbs and butter. Press into 13-by-9-inch baking pan and freeze.
2. Filling: Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream and brown sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla and lemon juice. Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Fold in chopped apple. Pour over frozen crust.
3. Topping: Cut butter into flour. Add sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Toss in apples. sprinkle the topping over the batter in clumps. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the center is set. (It will still jiggle a bit, but not look liquidy.) Cool for 2 hours. Refrigerate 6 hours before cutting.

Can be frozen for up to 3 weeks! Wrap the pan in plastic wrap and then wrap again in foil before freezing. Defrost in the refrigerator 24 hours before serving.

Click here to print.

 Enjoy the taste of fall everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy First Day of Autumn

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy first day of autumn. 

I think it's my favorite. :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Spiced Plum Custard Cake

I am in love with this spiced plum custard cake! Deeply. It is quite possibly the yummiest thing I have ever put in my mouth! Sooo good. 

I mentioned that on apple harvest day, we also harvested a bunch of plums. We made plum jam and plum syrup, pear-plum pie and pear-plum breakfast crisp. And then I decided to give this baby a whirl, and it did not disappoint!

I was looking on the web for good-looking recipes to use for all my plums and settled on this one for Spiced Plum Custard Cake from The Baker Chick.  I'm glad I found her site--she has a plethora of fantastic looking baked goods, which of course I am a huge fan of. Who isn't?


Anyway, I first made this for my cousin who recently had a baby--I made two actually. One for them and one for us. Well, it didn't take but about 12 hours before I wanted more of it, so I made it again the very next weekend to take over to my mom's house for dinner, and once again it was well enjoyed. 

It's is kind of a fun different recipe. 
First you make a dry, crumbly, almost biscuit like mixture and press that into a spring-form pan and top it with a bunch of sliced, spiced plums. 
Then you bake it. 
Next you, add a custard mixture on top and bake it some more. 
Then, voila! Delicious, moist custard cake.

Who knew I'd like our plums so much? They have been a lot of fun to bake with and just to munch on. Tomorrow's agenda is to make fruit leather.  

And, maybe I'll make plum custard cake again. :) 
Just kidding. I wish I could, but alas, I'm going to try and hold off on having too many sweets this next week!

 Anyway, you really should give this recipe a try. 
Here is the link again.