Posts Tagged ‘Baking and Confections’

 Yesterday I posted my own first round picks and then picked my winners for Round 2 and  today we  are headed to Round 3. I found out that I could put a POLL on my blog which makes it oh so easy for you to vote (filling in the brackets) and you don’t need to send in a comment or make a copy of the bracket to work on. JUST answer the question as to what cake or pie will make it to Round 3.  I’ve put in my winners  and now it’s up to you to pick from those choices to see who will go to the Regional Semi-Finals.  Please VOTE.

Round 2 and heading for the Regional Semi-Finals

Round 2 and heading for the Regional Semi-Finals

 Here’s how: For example the first two choices are EITHER Birthday Cake or Coffee Cake, the last two are Strawberry Rhubarb Pie or Cherry Pie – PICK ONEthe choices are grouped in two’s and you can see the pairs on the bracket; Remember yesterday I picked these winners out of Round 1 and posted them in the blog because I can’t actually write on the photo of the bracket. 

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Well if you didn’t know there had been a birth in this house, you might think someone died!  Every day a florist’s van pulls up and delivers flowers.  Everyday a friend comes and brings either food for dinner or a cake!  Today has been a banner day for both.  Bonita, one of Chiara’s friends dropped by with a cake to die for!  And then that would make this a  house to die in.  Anyway, the cake is moist, not too sweet, laden with chocolate chips and banana.  I had a piece after lunch and oh my!  I insisted she call Bonita and tell her just how delicious her cake was.

We have cake and we have the cat.  Pasha seems to be marking all of the baby’s furniture and making it his own.  In fact yesterday Pasha was sleeping in the baby’s bassinet.  Chiara is one of those moms who yell out, “Did you wash your hands before you touch the baby”?  And let’s not forget the extra large bottle of Purell that greets you as you walk in the door.  Bearing in mind all the admonitions that myself and others have received, I thought it best to point out something to her.  So I just casually asked if Pasha had washed his paws after he came out of the litter box before he hopped into the bassinet?  Mmmmmm.

Pasha Lays Claim to the Bassinet

Pasha Lays Claim to the Bassinet

Of course if you’re a cat you can choose and change your napping place anytime you want to.

Fletcher's Brand New Car Seat

Fletcher’s Brand New Car Seat

Sorry I couldn’t get closer but I was using my phone and was afraid he’d hop out.

We have been getting such gorgeous floral arrangements. Some have already been tossed because Pasha, yes the cat ate some.   So now all of flowers are up high on the credenza in the dining room where we NEVER eat, NEVER walk into and now it could be one of those rooms like in the old days, a mourning room.

White Tulips and Blue Hydrangea, Baby's Breath

White Tulips and Blue Hydrangea, Baby’s Breath

White Roses and Blue Bells

White Roses and Blue Bells

Calla Lillies and Tiger Lily

Calla Lillies and Tiger Lily

White Lillies and Blue Bells and Hydrangea

White Lillies and Blue Bells and Hydrangea

Yellow Roses, White Lilly and a Balloon

Yellow Roses, White Lilly and a Balloon

Welcome to my world!


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Those of you who are regular readers know that I am passionate about a few things; ice cream is one of them.  I just love the summer at the shore because ice cream is so available.  We have two great ice cream shops, each with a great history and better yet, delicious ice cream.  So what could be better than photos of ice cream cones in lots of flavors?  Tiffany’s current window dressings are BETTER.  Why? Because ice cream is one of the world’s best foods and last year I posted a blog practically swooning over the cold, the smoothness, the sensual coating on your tongue as sweet cream slips down your throat; check out https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/so-many-flavors-so-little-time/ BUT look at these pictures!!  Ice Cream and Jewels!!!

ice cream cones, sassy sassafrass
I’ll have the Sassy Sassafrass

Sprinkles of course!

Make mine a double

Apple Atlas Pie

Strawberry is a perfect flavor for the Spring.

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

A special thank you to Gail for informing me that the Tiffany windows “were so you” and to Murray who went “on assignment” for me.  Without these two, this just wouldn’t be.

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Oh I am so excited about  this recipe because once again ice cream and alcohol are combined to make a delicious dessert.  

1 pint vanilla ice creamroom temperature**

1  1/2 cups strawberries

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup cointreau

In a blender, puree all ingredients till smooth.  Divide among 4 glasses.

** Microwave on high for 10 second intervals until it reaches desired consistency.

strawberry-orange drink

Boozy Ice Cream Dessert

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You can always tell when I’m dieting;  either the blogs are all about healthy food, fruits and vegetables OR the blog becomes my fantasy virtual dessert cart.  I can see that this round of the 17 day diet is going to be tough since it is only Day 2 and already I’m posting recipes with ice cream (my favorite food) and alcohol.

Gail, a steady contributor to this blog sent me a list of summer desserts (source: Real Simple) and I knew right away that there were several that were blog-worthy because they are simple, quick and tasty.  I know that just from reading the recipe, not sure how much influence my recent abstinence from carbs and sugar and alcohol might have on this choice.  Whatever, believe me, these are going to be good.  For the next several Tuesdays I will be posting one of these summertime desserts.

Blueberry-Gin Sundaes

1 cup blueberries

1/3 cup gin

1 pint vanilla ice cream

In a small saucepan, combine blueberries and gin.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until berries burst and the mixture begins to thicken, 5-8 minutes, let cool.

Divide 1 pint of vanilla ice cream among bowls and top with blueberry sauce. 


Make and refrigerate the blueberry sauce up to a day ahead,

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Yesterday Finley Ray arrived for the weekend and in less than 24 hours we already had a few adventures.  We went to a book fair and she was in her element for sure.  She just plopped down on the concrete floor and went through several books discarding those she decided were not worth taking home and choosing very carefully the keepers.   The Ladies auxiliary had set up a hot dog concession and the wafting odor of hot dogs was too irresistable for her, so one hot dog with ketchup was ordered.  Then it was off to the boardwalk where we didn’t go to the beach per se because rain was imminent but still we had time to take off our shoes and walk in the sand.

Picking Papa Pete up at the train station was going to be a treat in hopes that we would see the “big” train.  Alas he arrived before we did.  Still we had another stop, this time to the Laurie’s Vegetable & Fruit stand in Neptune.   Laurie  is so friendly and warm and since it had begun to rain and we were the only customers at the time, she invited Finley up onto the counter to have some fresh blueberries.  The fruit stand was originally a gas station in the 1930’s and there were still some remnants of its origins and don’t you know, little Miss Finny announced that this was a garage!  Yes,I have a genius granddaughter.  The rain was dripping heavily from the garage doors that were opened and Fin realized as every little child does that running back and forth in the rain can be so much fun.  First of all you get big drop marks on your clothes and your hair gets wet, water runs down your cheeks and soon you have water squishing between your toes in your sandals (hers were jelly thank goodness).

Dinner on a TV tray is fun too especially if you are getting to watch a movie at the same time!  I think Finley had her first corn on the cob Friday night because she didn’t seem too familiar with the concept.

Finley Ray, corn on the cob, Jersey corn
Jersey Corn Naturally

It was a no-nap day due some unforseen circumstances and the fact that Finley and I hit the road shortly after she arrived.  So by dinner time I could tell she was fading but she refused to cave in until after her two movies had been seen.  First a bath in Gigi’s blue drink bucket ( a cottage without a bathtub can be a real drawback when you have kids around), then the movies and we are off to bed.  A promise made to read two books seemed unlikely as I was pretty sure she wouldn’t insist.  Sure enough she was just about asleep by the time I finished one of the new books we had bought at the Book Sale.

She turned her head, closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.  So deep and so fast that I ran downstairs to get my camera to capture this photo.  Take heed Mommy, I used a flash! Well of  course it was PAST her regular bed time, lol. lol.

Nicky, Finley Ray Clark, La Vie en Rose,
And then there were TWO!

Not to be left out, while I was snapping this shot, another member of the family joined in to make it a menagerie a trois!

Nora, guest room at La Vien en Rose
And Then There Were Three!

Saturday morning , errr, rather early in  the morning, Finley was thoughtful enough to get out of bed and go downstairs and bring up two videos that she thought we all should watch together in bed.  So of course we did.

She was very busy around the house that morning, actually helping me clean.  She insisted on having a paper towel spritzed with Simple Green so she could wipe down tables, cabinets and anything else I pointed at.

We plopped her in the stroller and took off to the Book Fair again, this time so Peter could peruse the aisles in search of literary treasures.  Finley made off with 2 more books and surprise, surprise, one of them is Cinderella.  It was so bloody hot and I was hoping to get over to the North End beach to see the sand sculptures.  By the time we walked east to the boardwalk, and then to North Beach, I was already over it as far as viewing any sand castles.  Just as we approached the staircase to the beach, Finny announced that she had to pee.  Just GREAT-no bathrooms at this end of the boardwalk, the restaurant located there is closed and so I had to walk all the way back to the Pavillion and talk my way past the ticket taker to get her onto the beach where there were some bathrooms.  NOT pleasant restrooms at all,  and we had to cut the line as she was jumping up and down literally so who would make a little girl wait? Truth be told I don’t think I have ever been on a public beach with decent bathrooms. Sorry to say that the sculptures weren’t worth the hike, the sun and the hot sand 😦

We headed home by way of Day’s Ice Cream because having ice cream in the middle of the day is just the perfect pick-me-up on a blistering summer afternoon.  The girls in the ice cream shop tried to convince Finley that she wanted strawberry because it was pink or party cake and after she tasted each and turned up her nose, she ordered just exactly what she told me she wanted;  soft vanilla with sprinkles on top! 

Day's ice cream parlor, Ocean Grove, Finley Ray Clark
Ice Cream Makes Me Smile Too

Finally we made it to the beach.

At first she didn’t even want to get her feet wet and she raced back to the sand each time a wave lapped anywhere near where she was standing.  Peter finally got her into the water by splashing her and letting her splash him which brought forth shrieks and uncontrollable giggles.  Soon she was sitting down and letting the waves foam up around her knees.  And before long, she was in the water being held, swung and dipped while wave after wave crashed into her each one eliciting one of Finley’s ear-piercing shrieks and I just know how much the people who were in sand chairs down at the water reading, really and truly loved that sound!

Ocean Grove, Peter, Peter Press, Finley Ray Clark,
Look how wet I got Papa Pete

I wish I dared to get in the waves with the camera so I could have taken a photograph of her loving having the waves crash on her.  Finally, it was strongly suggested that she might want to make a sand castle…

Finley Ray, Ocean Grove
Sand Castles

After a bath to remove sand from places one would never expect sand to land, Fin was ready for bed.  Again,it was a one book night because this little water baby was very tired.

Sunday was tea party day for Finley Ray.  I was helping my friend, Jane who runs a Tea Room and so about lunch time, Peter brought Finny over to the Tea Room so she too could attend a Teddy Bear Tea as they are known when kids come to High Tea.

Teddy Bear Tea, Lilligaard Hotel, Ocean Grove
A Teddy Bear Tea

Believe it or not she ate EVERYTHING!  It was a blistering hot day so off to the beach we went and this time there was no hesitation.  Finley was shrieking through the waves as soon as she hit the shore line.  This time she was so sandy that only a shower would do to get her clean. 

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Ice cream

Too Many Flavors to Pick From

Ha, ha, I’m always posting what I think are fantastic recipes and I’ve made at least 99% of them.  I like to cook, I really do and I like making special dishes for entertaining.  Sometimes I do way too much work for people who probably would have been happy with hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill but I think most cooks do half of what they do for themselves and half for the guests.  So I should be pleased at least 50% of the time.  Wow  what a digression! 

I thought since I probably sound like a cook who takes pride in her work (ok I do) that I should let my readers in on what other meals in our household are like.  Last night we had what Peter called a very schizophrenic meal.  I thought, ‘I should blog this’.

It was a clean out the refrigerator of leftovers night;  So we each had a very small portion of linguine with clam sauce.  Then since we had ordered Chinese food on Saturday night because I could not have stood in the kitchen and cooked anything after standing all day at the flea market, we each had our respective leftover Chinese food.  I had also ordered some Yang Chow Fried Rice and Sauteed Broccoli so there was two more dishes there.  When I had made the linguine on Thursday night, I also made sauteed Broccoli Rabe and there was a bit of that left over too.  As you can see the table is getting crowded with lots of little dishes.  The Chinese food came with two containers of white rice so I opened one of those and heated it up.  There was just a mug full of Tofu and Vegetable soup which I heated up on the stove and put in a mug and claimed for myself since I had a headache.  Not sure where it is written that Tofu and Vegetable soup cures a headache, lol.  Since the meal seemed light on protein I thought it might as well be heavy on veggies so I steamed a bag of green string beans and put a pat or two of garlic butter on them, mmmm good.  There was also half a bag of salad greens left from Thursday night so I made a small salad for us and sliced some cherry tomatoes in it and used my newly-made (yes my own) Dijon lemon dressing. 

Pretty crazy huh? What an odd assortment of food but it’s all gone and so I don’t need to schlepp a bunch of containers of food back to NYC.  OH and lest I not be totally honest, Peter had some ice cream in the freezer and I cajoled him into giving me some of it and it was not much more than a taste because being the good eater that he is, he only orders a short shot!

Well, no never mind as they say, because earlier in the day, I talked him into finding Hoffman’s Ice Cream in Spring Lake because a couple friends of mine could NOT believe, that me, the ice cream nut and aficionado had not yet discovered this famous ice cream parlor.  Well now I have and yes indeed it is really good ice cream.  I had two scoops (naturally); one of Coconut Joy which was so damn good and was like eating a cold and creamy Mounds bar and one scoop of their  Mint Chocolate Fudge, which apparently had been voted Best Ice Cream in the state in 2009.  It was very very good, but not sure that it should have been voted the BEST.  Do you think perhaps I had some from the original batch?

Check in tomorrow for Tuesday’s Tasty Tidbit recipe!

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Last weekend, I was delighted to have Finley stay with us at the cottage.  Well the idea of having her here was exciting.  However, once the crib, the booster chair, the stroller, her suitcase,  the cats in their crates, the food, my bag, Peter’s bag, the other food bag, the blue bag (which carries so many things), the hanging clothes and the clean laundry and her car seat…WELL, really!!!!

Ok so I digress – we joined our friends, Susan & Jim and Joe & Michael for a “catch-up meet-up brunch” at Nagle’s.  We hadn’t seen each other in  a while due to who was sick, who was traveling and who hadn’t been in town.  And I wanted to see Michael before he left for California.  Peter’s birthday was at the end of February, Joe’s birthday had been in the week before AND moved into a new apartment. Michael left his job in CA and was going to be moving to NYC with Joe,and little Miss Fin was in town – so, Let’s Celebrate!

Jim got a large sheet cake with a  BIG RAINBOW on it-this is a running insider joke between them.  So I gave Joe a birthday card with a rainbow, a congratulations on your new home and new job card and Susan added Peter’s name to the birthday cake.

Happy Birthday, Joe Lugo, Peter, Nagle's, brunch
Happy Birthday Joe! and Peter too

photo by Lori

Joe Lugo, Peter Press, Nagle's, sunday brunch

Cutting the cake

photo by Lori

Joe Lugo, Finley Ray, Finny, Nagle's

Finley and Uncle Joe

photo by Lori

You can see where the first cut was made and if you look at the first picture, you can see that the rainbow is on the opposite side of the cake – Finny wanted a piece of cake with the blue rainbow. Even if we wanted to accomodate her request, it would have been hard to extricate one piece of cake out of the middle – Problem solved.  How about a piece of  cake and Gigi will cut a piece of the blue rainbow and put in it on your piece?  “OK” , she says.

Finley Ray Clark,Finny, blue rainbow, Nagle's

I Want the Blue Rainbow

photo by Lori

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