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Friday, June 21, 2019

Berry Cheesecake in a Jar

 Summer is finally here and last week we were invited to a neighborhood pot luck.  I always like to bring something homemade and I thought about making my Blackberry Peach Cobbler  in a jar. Hmm, but I've been wanting to try these cute little cheesecakes and I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand! I actually read through several different recipes found on Pinterest but some gave the measurements in grams (?), a couple called for whipping cream and I was out, and most only made 6 and I was headed to a party. So, here is my version. 
They were very easy and a real hit! 

Defrost a frozen bag of mixed berries and throw in a few sliced fresh strawberries too if you have them. Honestly, any of your favorite fruit for the topping would work. Add a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar and let them render some juice.

 Beat one 8 oz package of room temperature cream cheese until smooth. Add in 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt , 2/3 cup powdered sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp lemon juice. Then beat until combined and smooth.

 Make a classic graham cracker crust by combining the crumbs from 6 whole graham crackers with 1/4 cup melted butter and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Gently press a couple of tablespoons into 12 clean 8 oz jam jars.

Top the graham crust with several spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture. Lastly add the berries.

I did thicken my fruit by pouring the defrosted fruit juices into a small saucepan. I added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and brought to a simmer until slightly thickened. Then folded back into the berries and topped off the cream cheese. Chill until ready to serve.
 It's so easy to screw on the jar lids and take to a party. You can gild the lily by adding a dollop of whipped cream but it's not necessary.

These are cool and creamy, perfect for a summer evening!

Berry Cheesecake in a Jar

 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

6 graham crackers
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar

fresh or 10 oz frozen berries defrosted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

8-  8 oz jam jars

In a mixer beat  cream cheese, yogurt, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth.

Crush graham crackers until fine. Add melted butter and sugar to combine. 

Sprinkle powdered sugar on fruit and allow to defrost and render juice. Pour off juice into small saucepan and add cornstarch. Bring to a simmer until thickened. Fold into berries.

Layer  graham cracker, crust cream cheese mixture and berries into 12 jam jars. Chill. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Serves 8

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Savon de Marseille

I've just returned from a glorious Mediterranean cruise. This trip has been on the bucket list for quite some time and Scott and I finally decided it was the perfect way to celebrate our 42nd anniversary. My sister Rose and her husband joined us - she was celebrating a milestone birthday, her 60th. 

The weather in May was fabulous, typically in the 60's and 70's and mostly sunny. One of our ports of call was Marseille, the second largest city in France.
Marseille as a port city on the Mediterranean coast is known for it's shipping and commerce, fishing, and tourism industries. Guess what else it's known for? Soap! 

The history of soap making in Marseille goes back  over 600 years. Then, as today, the soap is made from a mixture of sea water from the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil and alkaline ash from sea plants. These are heated for several days in a large cauldron then poured into molds and while still soft cut into bars and stamped with the traditional label
 "Savon de Marseille". I had to ask the shop keeper why the soap was imprinted with a horseshoe. She explained that there are only a few factories still making the authentic Savon de Marseille, one of the them is la savonnerie Fer de Cheval - or Iron Horse factory.

 Savon de Marseille Olive-300g
Image result for pre de provence

These traditional soaps come in many different colors and scents. I'm partial to lavender and verbena but you can find rose, almond, sandalwood, lemon, pineapple, eucalyptus, and more.

The palm oil block is used for laundry, favored for it's degreasing properties. The olive oil soap is rich in vitamin E and will leave your skin soft and smooth.

Soap from Marseille makes for a great souvenir or inexpensive gift for those on your list who had to stay at home!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Country Crocks

Country style decorating never seems to go out of fashion. In the 80's and 90's we called it "Country" or "Primitive". Now it's "Farmhouse" or "Rustic".  Whatever you call it, I still love the colors and textures of  vintage items. One of my go to collectibles is old stoneware crocks. Sometimes referred to as pickle crocks these originally were used for brining and preserving fresh vegetables from the garden.

However, they look great filled with greenery for a centerpiece,

 or overflowing with flowers on the front porch.

Here is my small collection of vintage crocks. I use them to hold  rolling pins and other kitchen utensils, magazines and an assortment of herbs.

 Old crocks are frequently marked with a number representing the size, or with a makers mark or design.

If you're lucky you can find vintage crocks while antiquing in the $20-50 range. My son bought a large one once for only $5! Rare or unique designs sell for in the hundreds.
Crocks are a nice way to add a little authenticity to your Farmhouse decor without spending a fortune!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Pewter Porringers

My yard is covered in snow and more is on the way. Frosty winter mornings are perfect for serving steaming hot oatmeal  in ... a porringer.  A what?  Porringers are shallow bowls with flat handles made expressly for serving hot cereals (or porridge) in. They date back to medieval times when they were frequently made of wood or clay. During the colonial era pewter and silver became the materials of choice and they were especially popularized by Paul Revere.

I started collecting porringers years ago loving their simple design with the decorative handle. The handles often were engraved with a monogram.

Porringers are made in assorted sizes and depths.

These are tiny porringers made to be individual salt cellars.

I like to use porringers as candy or nut dishes, or catch-alls on my desk. They also are popular baby dishes and make a unique baby gift.

I frequently find porringers while antiquing for as little as $8-10. 
New ones can be purchased from finer silver companies like Reed and Barton or Kirk Stieff in the $50-100 range.

Now, isn't that a fun way way to dress up your oatmeal?

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