Snow, custard pie and bran muffin recipe

What a fun snow we had. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it! The snow is rare, which probably makes it a whole lot easier to love. But goodness, it was a nice change of pace. We spent so much time home, kids and all, just relaxing, playing, baking and storing up on together-time knowing that the restaurant will soon be open and who knows when the next time we will be able to just lay-low like this.




easy custard pie recipe


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine:

3 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon pepper 

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Sauté and then add to the rest of the ingredients:

1 bunch chopped collards or greens of your choice

4 cloves garlic minced


1+1/2 cups cooked and sliced fingerling potatoes 

Optional: 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Pour into an oiled pie pan and top with:

Lemon zest

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the center is fairly firm when you shake the pan.


easy bran muffin recipe

easy bran muffin recipe


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine:

3 eggs

1/3 cup molasses

3/4 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup safflower oil

1 cup wheat bran

3/4 cup oats

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup rye flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift together and then add to the rest of the ingredients:

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup raspberries 

1 cup blueberries

Pour into an oiled muffin pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

easy custard pie recipe

puzzles with cats



Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!




New Year’s Eve and a cheese ball recipe…

I was first introduced to cheese balls by my dear, dear friend Lauren. Her mother always made them during the holidays, and one year she brought one over to our house. It was a magical affair that left me deeply in love with cheese balls.


This year I decided to attempt to make my own. I knew it was supposed to be simple, but when I looked up “cheese ball” on the internet, I couldn’t believe just how simple.


I chose smoked cheddar, parmesan and neufchâtel cheese, because I really like bold flavors and wanted the cheese ball to have a kick.


I rolled it in slivers of almonds. My husband recommended I toast them first, and I’m so glad as it gave them more flavor as well as a fresher texture. 


I’m excited because this is just the first door to cheese balls. . . I have so many more ideas percolating in my head; tarragon, lemon zest, and goat cheese. . . habanero, cumin and tequila… It’s going to be fun!



Mix well:

8 oz Neufchâtel cheese or cream cheese at room temperature. 

1 cup smoked cheddar or gouda grated

1/2 cup parmesan  grated

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon summer savory

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a warm pan lightly toast:

1/2 cup almond slivers

Roll the cheese ball in the almond slivers and then refrigerate until use.


Hope you all had a happy new year!


                                       Cheers ~



We had a wonderful Thanksgiving… Not just good food, but amazing friends too! There is a new baby in our periferal world, and the kids just LOVE  him!!!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well!




 From a post a few years ago, this is my go to cranberry sauce:

Quite tart, but super tasty, this is the cranberry sauce I made for tonight’s feast.

Combine in a pot and simmer over medium heat until

cranberries are soft (about 10-12 minutes).

24 oz fresh cranberries washed and picked over

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup brandy

1/4 cup marmalade

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


At long last I am actually writing this post. I have dreamed about this for almost as many years as I have been authoring this blog. It is with great satisfaction I can finally say–and mean it–The birthday book is done! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
I have told my husband and the kids so many times “the birthday book is done” that it started to loose meaning. Draft after draft, after frustrating small-tweaks-here-and-there draft, it is really truly completely, no-more-to-do done. I invite you to to pop some champagne for me… no not really, I can do that myself, but geez luize, it is good to put this one on the shelf and say fini! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
It was a project my good friend Robin and I started back when the kids were little. We traveled through so many stages of our lives and I have lived in five houses since we started. I guess I like to move! Or it has just taken a long time and finding the place that is home takes a long time too. 
But anyway, enough about that, here are some of my favorite images from the book:

Filled to the brim with step-by-step instructions for making original gifts, favors, cakes, wrapping, decorations and games, BIRTHDAYS: HANDMADE, HOMEMADE is interwoven with stories, photographs, illustrations and anecdotes. We invite readers to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and spend the afternoon making and creating. Our goal is to offer inspiration on how to make a birthday handmade, homemade and your very own.
Readers will love the creative ideas that make this book so personal and tangible. Projects range from fast and easy . . . Dinosaurs in real eggshells, to more timely and in depth . . . Dining table forts. Young parents and do-it-yourself enthusiasts will find endless help onhow to prepare and execute a homemade birthday party.
At a time when it seems like families are trying to take back just a bit of their own and blogs hum with self-reliant know-how, this book is a great jumping-off point for those aiming to leave commercialism behind and bring it all back to the ones they love. 
Birthdays: Handmade, Homemade is available online. 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays

Hope everyone is enjoying summer!


P.S. I have one copy to give away, so if you live in the United States and would like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. I’ll pick a name at random and post a winner Sunday July 23rd.

Making Raspeberry Freezer Jam

After being given several flats worth of almost over-the-hill raspberries, I made it my afternoons work to make a stock pile of freezer jam. (Freezer jam is real jam, it is just skipping the step of processing it in heat and instead using a freezer to preserve the jam and keep it safe to eat.)
freezer, raspberries, jam, homemade jam
 The nice part of making freezer jam rather than canning, is that it is fast and less messy. If you are worried you won’t have the time to can a bunch of jam this can be a fabulous substitute.
freezer, preserving food, raspberries, recipes for freezer jam
 I usually follow the rule of thumb to use equal parts fruit and sugar. I don’t typically add pectin, which means the jam will be a bit sloppy, but I like it that way. Simmer down the fruit and sugar for at least 20 minutes; though you can go a little longer and the jam will become thicker. I sometimes add a dash of spice or orange zest. My favorite spices to use are cardamom, nutmeg or allspice though cinnamon is a good one too. Depending on the fruit and how juicy it is, you may need to add a splash of water to avoid burning the bottom of the pot. Note, too much will make soupy jam that doesn’t hold at all. 
Pour the jam into clean mason jars leaving half an inch of head-room. Twist on the cover and let cool. Place the unopened jars in your freezer and keep opened jam jars for use in the fridge.
The jam will last quite a while. I looked up specifics and this link said up to a year in a freezer and once thawed about 3-4 weeks.
Hope summer is wrapping up well for everyone!
                                                        Cheers ~


Ginger Love (and a recipe for how to make sweet pickled ginger at home)

I am a ginger devotee. It is probably one of my most favorite ingredients to eat or cook with. At Japanese restaurants there is never enough pickled ginger on my plate and I am willing to endure the hollow, sour feeling in my stomach that comes free eating far too much pickled food in one seating. Oddly, I have never attempted to make my own pickled ginger. Today, however is a new day, and guess what, I made what will now most likely become a staple in my kitchen—pickled ginger! 
What brought it all to the forefront was a batch of fast pickled radishes I put together at the food truck yesterday. I was needing a little salad pizazz and had a small bin full of fresh pink radishes (I’ll actually give you all that recipe another time, once I figure out the precise proportions to use.) Either way, yesterday evening I was too tired to bother with ginger but my mind was already running with ginger thoughts and laughing at the idea I had never before even tried to make my own fast pickled ginger. Well today it was my priority. Between biscuits and omelets, pies and ice tea, I shuffled aside some time for ginger experimentation. 
The result is utterly satisfying. After eight hours of soaking, the pickles are fantastic; bright, extremely potent, sweet and with a true bite. I will bet tomorrow and even the day after, they will have come to terms with their fate and settled down to a somewhat milder delivery of their pickled ginger charm.  <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:”MS 明朝”; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>


ginger, pickling, sweet pickled ginger, Japanese style pickled ginger
Pickled Ginger Recipe
First wash and peel your ginger then slice very thinly until you have about one cup. I used a peeler, but a cheese slicer could work as well. Be sure to follow the grain or the ginger will be rougher in texture. Also note, the ginger gets more stringy as it gets closer to the center so optimally just use the outer portion for this recipe. Place the ginger in a bowl and mix with the following ingredients and then let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours: 
1+1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
Please enjoy and let me know how they come out!

Snow and a tiramisu recipe…

 We got SNOW!!! They had talked about it coming on Christmas, but no such luck. Still, in some ways this was even better. Right when the after Christmas blues were about to hit, a snowball did instead. Yes, LOTS of snowballs. We had a good, finger freezing, rosy cheeked blasting, snowball frenzy. It was lovely. We played in the day and then by evening when we thought the best of the snow was over it started up again, this time even bigger flakes. The kids headed outside once more and built a snowman by the yellow glow of the street lights.
Thank you mini snowstorm, we miss you already!













Now for that tiramisu recipe: I have made tiramisu for years; this way and that way, with more ingredients and less. Sometimes using Kahlua sometimes with no alcohol at all. But this year I had an idea about using eggs which I usually omit. I don’t mind raw egg too much, but when we don’t have our own chickens to get them from I am more wary. So, what I did was make a custard instead. I am not a good judge when it comes to traditional tiramisu because I don’t know if I’ve ever had a truly traditional tiramisu. Most restaurants that sell tiramisu bring out something tasty but much sweeter than I can handle. Even this recipe is a little too sweet for me, but a far cry from what sugar load it could have. Sweet or not, it came out wonderfully, and I watched as in disappeared quickly from the refrigerator, nobody really fessing up as the one who gobbled the last slices.
Tiramisu Recipe
In a saucepan whisk until very smooth:
5 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2/3 cup white sugar
Put the sauce pan over medium heat and stir constantly until thick
about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Once the custard is cool add and whisk until smooth:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
Brew 2 cups very dark coffee and dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into it.
Let cool entirely then add:
1 tablespoon whiskey
Whip 4 cups heavy cream until stiff then add:
1 tablespoon whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Grate 2 cups worth of bittersweet chocolate and set aside.

Take out about 36 ladyfingers. Dip each one in the cold coffee and place into a 9x11″ baking dish. Continue until the entire bottom is lined. Now spread half of the custard over the ladyfingers, then half of the unsweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle half of the grated chocolate and then repeat making a layer of dipped lady fingers, custard, whipped cream and then chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. I noticed the next day the tiramisu had aged into the perfect consistency, so if you have more ability to plan ahead then I do, make it a day in advanced.

Cheers to Everyone ~