Saturday, August 1, 2015

Friskies Pull and Play

I saw this toy advertised on television.  It sounded like a fun treat for the cats.  So I bought one.

 

It came with wiggly, edible (for cats, at any rate) strings that you peel and insert in the top.  The base is weighted and you can fill it with cat treats. 

 

It looks kind of like a Weeble.  You remember, right?  "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."  There is a small opening where the treats will fall out if rolled around on the floor.

 

The cats were very interested and ended up eating all the wiggly strings.  I have to hide it in the pantry for now.  When the dog came back in he was too interested.  He could destroy it in one chomp.

 

They can have it again when RJ goes outside with Lee.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lemon Raspberry Tartlets

I like to make a different baked treat for each morning we have guests.  We recently had a wonderful couple who were staying for three nights.  They had scones the first morning, chocolate croissants the next and I needed something new to fix for the third breakfast.  I found a recipe for berry and lemon curd tartlets and they sounded perfect.  I just LOVE Pepperidge Farm!

Lemon Raspberry Tartlets

Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
lemon curd, 1 teaspoon per tartlet
raspberries, 1 per tartlet  (or three small blueberries)
1 egg  for an egg wash
powdered sugar for dusting

 

Get the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw until you can unfold the pastry.  You want it to be very cold and stiff.  Dust the counter with flour to prevent sticking and preheat the oven to 400°.

Place parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a cookie sheet.

 

You need two circle cutters for this.  One slightly smaller than the other.  I was able to get 4 circles from each pastry strip.  Cut the inside of each circle with the smaller cutter, but don't remove it..  I placed the circles on the silicone (or parchment) and then made my second cut. 

 

Be very careful not to cut the silicone.  I had to use a blunt end of a wooden spoon on a few circles to release the pastry from the cutter.  Be very careful not to press on the pastry too hard.  It will affect how well the tartlet shell rises.

 

Whip up an egg with a Tablespoon of water and brush it over the circles. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until tall and crispy brown.  Remove and let cool completely.

 

Take a sharp paring knife and gently cut around the inside circle.  Press the inner circle down to make a little pocket inside the tartlet.  This is where you will place a bit of lemon curd. 

 

I used purchased lemon curd and added a fresh raspberry on top. 

 

I also tried a few blueberries on top.  It made for a prettier presentation!

 

Dust with powdered sugar.

 

I also served fresh fruit with heavy cream whipped with a bit of sugar and vanilla extract. This kept our guests busy while I made the omelettes.

 

They were a hit with our guests who described them as "not too sweet and the flavors are nicely balanced." when asked for a review!

I have an idea to make this with Nutella and raspberries or strawberries.  Or both.  I can't wait for my next guests, so I can try it out for them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ashley

This can't be comfortable.

 

Can it?

 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Basket!

I found a fabric at Jo Ann's that I thought would be great for a basket.  I found a pretty faux turquoise embellishment that matched the fabric.  Some glue and thread and I was in business.

 

This time I made an oval base.  I placed tape to mark where to start and stop the bending to make the sides of the basket.

 

Mmm.  Maybe a little taller.

 

I made handles on this basket.

 

I sewed the embellishment with invisible thread this time.

 

I like this one.  Maybe a Christmas gift.
 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Welcome Baby Card

I finished the baby afghan I was working on and sent it off.  But it needed a card to go with it.

I searched through the images on the Cricut Design space and found one I liked.  And $.99 cents later I was in business.

I chose a yellow patterned paper for the envelope.  I just had to remember to change the cutting depth from light card stock to paper.  I also used the light grip cutting mat so the finished product would be easier to remove.

I recently visited a Hobby Lobby store and found some cutting mats at a pretty cheap price.  Then I used a coupon and spent less than $4.00 a mat.  I am still learning the machine and have already destroyed one.  That be the cost of learning...my opinion.

 

A bit of cutting...the machine did that.  But I slid the mat in!

 

A bit of gluing...my job

And a finished card.

 

I sealed the card with some baby stickers and off went the package.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Black and Blue Pie...with PEACHES!

The blackberries were huge and cheap.  The blueberries came in a huge clamshell and were also cheap.  I decided to make a pie!  I had one very ripe peach sitting in my fruit bowl and decided to toss that in, too.

 

Black and Blue Pie...with PEACHES!

2 piecrusts
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup peeled and diced peaches  or 5 cups mixed berries of your choice

zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cream

 

Heat the oven to 425°.

 

I love pre-made pie crusts.  Set them out to become room temperature.  I used an 11 inch stone baking dish.  If you use a regular 9 inch baking dish, just use 4 cups of berries.  Because of the larger size baking dish, I sprinkled some flour on the counter and rolled the piecrust a bit larger.  I sprayed the baking dish with Pam and set the crust inside.

 

Gently mix the sugar, berries of choice, peaches, corn starch, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl.  Place the  berry mix in the pie crust and dot the top with the softened butter.

 

Place the second pie crust on top.  You may need to roll it a bit bigger, but mine fit.  Tuck the edges in to seal in the berries and crimp all around the pie.

 

Mix the egg with the cream.  Brush it on the top of the pie and then sprinkle the sugar on top of that.  Pierce the top in the center to let out the steam.

 

Bake for 35 or 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  If the edges become too dark, you can cover them with foil to prevent burning.

 

Serve warm.  If you are feeling indulgent, serve it with ice cream.  That's what I did. 

 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flash by Donna Ball


 
I just finished a book by Donna Ball.  I have never read her before.  She writes in many genres and with a few different names.  But I haven't read any of those, either.  I will now.

Flash is the first book in a new series, the Dogleg Mysteries.  Dogleg is an island off the coast of Florida. Two years previously there was a murder and one of the responding police officers was shot in the head, but survived.

Most of the book takes place after that event with a few flash backs as the police office who was shot starts to recover her memory in fits and starts.  The upcoming court case for the shooter seems to trigger these flashbacks.

When the police officers responded to the ringing alarm, they discovered two bodies, a man with bloody hands holding a gun and a small and distraught Border Collie puppy.    As his owners are either dead or in jail for murder, the police officer who was shot adopts him and he becomes a de facto police dog.  The puppy has what looks like a streak of lightning on his head and is named Flash.

In the Spencer Quinn dog mysteries, Chet, the dog, is an active partner in the crime fighting duo.  The books are told from his view point.  In this book Flash is very useful in scenting things and bringing them to the attention of Aggie Malone, who, since the shooting, has become the Police Chief of Dogleg Island. 

But the story is not Flash's to tell.  In fact it is not until the end of the book that he realizes that there is a reason to apprehend the real shooter in the story.  He knows, but that is in the past and dogs live in the here and now.

I like a murder mystery without too much blood, a bit of a romance and add in a smart and helpful dog and this book was a winner. I will look for future books in the series.  I will also check out some of her other series.