Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fruity Hibiscus Tea

It's Spring and we are heading toward warmer weather, so I've been experimenting with different tea flavors. I like using as many real ingredients as I can, but sometimes we have to substitute or modify what we have on hand. This tea is cheery and bright and can also be heated for a warm evening drink.

5 Tablespoons dried Organic Whole Hibiscus Petals
½ cup dried cranberries (made without oil, sweetener or sulfur dioxide) or fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger (I used jarred today, similar to this one - Emperor's Kitchen Condiments, Chopped Ginger , 4.5 oz )
4 cups boiled water

2 teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup, or to taste
2 cups fresh orange juice (I used Uncle Matt's Organic 100% orange juice today, as I was out of oranges ...)
cold water
Steep hibiscus, cranberries and ginger in the boiled water for about 7-10 minutes (until cranberries swell/pop); strain.
Add syrup and juice; stir. Top with enough cold water to make a total of 6 cups of tea.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Gluten-free Lemon Bars

Lemons. We have a lot of them that we've harvested from our little Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree this past season. Froze most of them. I found this recipe and decided to adapt it: Melt in Your Mouth Lemon Bars
I also used my own home-grown eggs (my 6 hens are producing like crazy!)

Gluten-free Lemon Bars



1 c butter, softened (no substituting)


4 eggs (slightly beaten)

6 Tbsp lemon juice


1/2 c butter, softened

1 tsp milk

2 Tbsp cold water


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cream Cheese Tarts with Blackberries

I found this yummy-looking recipe a few weeks ago and finally had some time to try it out. As usual, I did some substituting ... and, it didn't turn out quite right, but it was still very tasty. It turned out more pudding-like than cheesecake ... I'll have to work on it more! Ha!
So, you can find the original recipe at the Just a Pinch site: Cream Cheese Tarts.
Here's my take on it:

1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1-21 oz. Oregon Blackberries pie filling
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup (12 total) of muffin pan.
2. Beat cream cheese with old-fashioned hand mixer until fluffy - you really get a workout! Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
3. Place a cookie FLAT side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over cookies filling each to about 1/4 inch from top of paper.
4. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Allow tarts to cool completely before adding fruit filling. When you remove the tarts from the oven, they will be puffed up, but as they cool, the center will sink, creating the perfect well to fill with a couple of spoonfuls of your favorite filling.
6. Chill thoroughly before serving.
7. Top with whipped cream.
Now, I'm not sure if the mascarpone was the wrong consistency, or maybe I didn't let them cool enough ... but, they didn't 'set' up like I expected. More like a pudding consistency - so had to eat out of the paper liner with a spoon, but still very good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stove-top Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh, my! It's been nearly 3 years since I posted on this blog! I hope to remedy that and post here more often this year!
Today, I was determined to bake a cake. But, with both of my ovens (built-in gas oven and countertop portable oven) not working, my choices were the tiny toaster oven and my mom's bulky NuWave oven. So, I decided to look up vintage ways of baking. I figured using a Dutch oven (large cast iron pot with a lid) might work ... but, I couldn't fit any of my racks in my large one! Finally, I decided to try my big water-bath canning pot! Perfect!
I used this cake mix that I had bought last year and had forgotten in the fridge crisper drawer! I made the mix according to the directions.
I pre-heated the pot on medium. Poured the batter in muffin cups. Put the muffin tray on the rack inside the pot (if you put the pan directly on the bottom of the pot, the baked item will burn on the bottom.) Put the lid on the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes, then lower the stove temp to low. Cook 15-20 minutes more. Check doneness with a toothpick. Your pot size and stove may vary from mine, so you may have to adjust cooking time slightly. This made 10 cupcakes

I also made a cinnamon/cream cheese frosting. Just mix all ingredients together, until smooth.
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
1/6 cup olive oil
1/6 cup melted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 t. cinnamon/sugar mixture
It turned out perfectly! It was just enough for all the cupcakes.