Monthly Archives: August 2013

Summer Berry Pie


Don’t you just love all the berries that are in season during the summer?

This pie is great because the fresh berries are truly the star, not a sickeningly sweet glaze or fruit baked down to nothing.  Of course it comes from my favorite cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  I found the recipe already published online.  You can find it here: Summer Berry Pie.


You have to really love berries to enjoy this – the most dominant flavor is the fresh, raw berries.  The sweetness comes from a filling made of a berry puree combined with sugar and cornstarch which is reduced and thickened on the stove. Another neat touch is coating the berries with melted currant jelly so they stay glossy.

You can see the delicious filling in the photo below. The filling is spread over the crust and berries are (gently) pressed into it.


A couple notes:

– My berries were a bit tart so I added extra sugar to the filling. It’s worth tasting them first.

– This takes a lot of berries – 6 Cups – so it’s ideal for summer when it won’t cost a fortune to make just one pie.

– My cooking time for the puree was at least double, maybe more.

– I’m sure the recipe for the graham cracker crust is fine.  Mine tasted good but was a little hard in areas and crumbly in others.  Likely user error – I had the same problem with my key lime pie.

-The recipe online calls for apple jelly.  The cookbook says either apple or red currant.  I used red currant and it was tasty.

There’s not much else to say except it is delicious and fresh tasting and you should try it!

I turn my back for a second…IMG_3477_edited-1web


Carrot Cake


Let me just say that I love carrot cake.  I’ll admit the cream cheese icing is most of the reason I order it but am always bummed when the cake itself is bland or dry. This recipe will certainly not disappoint. I needed a dessert to take to dinner with friends last night so I thought I’d give it a try since I’ve never made a carrot cake from scratch.  It was good timing – my husband who is not a fan was out of town so I would hear no grumbling about making a dessert he didn’t like!

You all know this is certainly not a food blog (what kind is it really?) but I do like to share recipes I stumble across that are easy and delicious.  I struggle, though, because I do a lot of my cooking out of cookbooks. It feels wrong to just reprint someone’s recipe unless I adapt it in some way (and would note that) which is infrequent. This recipe is from my go-to cookbook, The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.   This cookbook is my first stop for any recipe and is pretty much foolproof.

Sometimes, however, recipes are posted on line which is the best because then I feel better about sharing with you and can just link to it and save typing! So, here’s the link:

Carrot Cake


Couple notes:

-The color in real life is deeper and more orange – the photos are a bit overexposed.

– I grated my carrots more thinly than probably necessary (oh, my arms!) because I don’t like chunky pieces.

– Cooking time – The picture above is a piece from the dead center of the cake.  You can see it may be a smidge undercooked in that spot.  The texture was fine -I didn’t notice when I ate it and only saw it on my computer screen. I checked the cake at 3o and 35 minutes and removed it at 40 minutes when an inserted toothpick still had a couple crumbs.  Any longer would have made the rest of the cake dry.

– The icing is delicious but just barely enough to cover the 13×9 cake if you ice the sides.  I’ll probably increase the amount by a quarter or half next time.  It’s very soft so wouldn’t be suitable for a layer cake.

– Nuts would be a great here.  I wanted to try out the basic cake first and then play with the spices (might need some more nutmeg and cinnamon) and other additions in the future.

Give it a try!

Sadie was a fan of the icing.  When I got home last night I found the spatula from sink in the middle of my rug.  That’ll teach me not to fill the dishwasher before I leave.  Here she wants some of my piece too!IMG_3413_edited-1web

Good To Be Back!


Hi everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  It’s not because nothing’s going on – in fact just the opposite.  I got back last night after three weeks away from home.  I have never loved my sofa so much.

On the sewing front I haven’t finished anything but have made muslins for a couple dresses.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any dresses actually completed.  And here I had grand plans to make tons of casual sundresses this summer.  How many did I get done? None! I did learn through the process though. I know I am high waisted but I also learned I’m short between the shoulder and bust point.   Both of the dresses I tried had a mock wrap v-neck.  The only way to make the top fit was to pinch out excess fabric between the shoulder and bust point.  Makes sense – straps are always too long on RTW garments I buy.  The dresses were sleeveless so I was able to ‘scoop out’ the armsyce at the bottom to add back the fullness I removed.  Anyone know how to adjust when there are sleeves? I can’t find anything in any of my fitting books or online.


July is always the start to a busy few months in my job – lots of work and travel.  I had trips for work to Portland, OR and Burlington, VT.  Then my husband and I went on a two week vacation.  Two weeks!  I haven’t taken two weeks off since high school!  It was wonderful.



We went to Captiva Island where I’ve been vacationing for over 30 years and Matt has been coming the last 10 years.  Thankfully, he loves it as much as I do. The empty beaches, refreshing pools and gorgeous wildlife make for a wonderful change of pace. We got to see old friends, visit favorite spots, and eat out every night. The scale will not be my friend; I’m kinda scared to even check.

Sea Turtle nests are scattered along the beach.  They are protected and monitored.turtle patrol

An osprey that hung out in the tree outside the condo. He (She?) chirped all day long.SONY DSC

The view  from the condo screened porch in the sun and the rain.  I could sit out there for hours.SONY DSC


While I didn’t want to leave, I was happy to come home to see Sadie and the cats.  No travel for a couple weeks and I am going to be a complete homebody!