Healthy Apple Snacking Cake

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My neighbor Laurie’s apple tree is chock full of apples and she is sharing  the windfall.  Now these apples are truly destined for baking.  They are a bit tart and often blemished, which is precisely why I like them.  The tree is untreated so I know these apples are organic and I have just the recipe for transforming them into a delicious but healthy snacking cake.  I call this my “Back To School Apple Cake” since I used to make it for my kids when they were little.  It was a sweet treat without guilt.  There are 3 cups of apples in the batter for just 1 cup of flour!  Applesauce is used to reduce the fat content with a mere 2 tablespoons of oil.  A scant 2/3 cup of sugar sweetens this easy cake.  You could substitue honey or maple syrup to make it even healthier and swap out  half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat. I love how the apples, peel and all, go in there for both speed of preparation and a boost in fiber.  It is a quick cake, not too sweet, moist, fool proof, yet tasty.  Feel free to throw in some nuts or raisins if you like.  I always make 2 and freeze one.  I love my neighbor Laurie!image

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Transitioning Summer Planters into Fall

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Many summer planters are looking a little tired right about now.  I know mine sure are.  It is still too hot for many fall  annuals and there are slim pickings in the nurseries.  I don’t know about you, but I want to stretch summer a bit longer and am not quite ready to switch my entrance and patio décor to full blown fall. My solution?  Bring a little bit of fall to summer planters.

To freshen up my entrance’s potted hydrangeas, I pulled out tired trailing annuals and nestled in some mini white mums and some dried lotus seed pods.  It’s not even September and I’ve bought a few mums!  There is a hint of fall with the mums and dried pods but still a lot of summer in the green and white color scheme and the lingering hydrangeas. The curly willow branches compliment the dried lotus seed pods nicely.   I switched out my summer wreath for a monogrammed basket of green apples and mums.  To see how I made it, please click here.

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Pizzeria Beddia: Believe the Hype!

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When Bon Appétit magazine declares the best pizza in America is in your backyard, you’ve got see for yourself if it lives up to the hype!

At Pizza Beddia there is no phone, no preorders, no chairs, no slices, no restroom.  Cash only. Whole pies only. One size only.  Maximum of 2 pies per party.  40 pizzas per night sold.  2 small tables for stand-up dining.  BYO. Open Wednesday to Saturday 5:30 pm-10:30pm.  On several recent summer days, my husband determined to get one of these pizzas and see why it was declared the Best Pizza in America.  And days it took!

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The dreaded sign that turns hundreds of hungry customers away!

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Spiced Peach Swirl Frozen Yogurt Pie

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  “I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is.”  image

 Alice Walker, The Color Purple

This make ahead dessert is packed with the flavors of summer!  Juicy ripe peaches are cooked into a compote, spiced with a little ginger and swirled into 2 layers of low-fat frozen yogurt for a guilt-free dessert.  The graham çracker crust with chopped pecans is spiced with cinnamon and ginger to really compliment the fresh peaches.  This wasn’t the prettiest of my creations but it sure was delicious!

The finished pie.

The finished pie.

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Camden Maine Garden Tour 2015

Johanne Lamarche:

Incredible garden tour of Coastal Maine Gardens with professional photography. Enjoy
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Originally posted on CAROLYN'S SHADE GARDENS:

Camden Garden Club 2015 Tour 7-16-2015 1-05-34 PMAn iconic Maine view from one of the tour houses.

For the third year in a row, Michael and I traveled to Camden, Maine, to attend the Camden Garden Club’s House and Garden Tour.  My last two posts covered all the beautiful containers displayed through out the town.  To read them click here and here.  This post will show highlights of the tour itself.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the summer and will reopen sometime in the fall.  To get all the details, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas.  For the miniature hosta catalogue, click here.  For the snowdrop catalogue, click here.

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Camden Garden Club 2015 Tour 7-16-2015 10-12-36 AMThe Alden House, an 1855 Queen Anne Victorian, was just one of the seven historic…

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Lobster Rolls

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Lobster rolls are a summer classic and on a recent trip to Maine, I certainly ate them as often as possible from harborside stands where the lobster was fresh right off the boats.  Doesn’t get any better than that! The ones I liked best were the simplest:  big chunks of lobster in a smidgen of mayo in a perfectly toasted top-slit roll.  Having been home a few weeks, we were longing for a lobster roll again.  I tried my hand at making them for the first time.  I researched recipes online and settled on Martha Stewart’s recipe for its simplicity.  Our first lobster roll, and still the freshest and best, had been enjoyed at Beal’s Lobster Pier, on Mount Desert Island, where we were told Martha celebrates her birthday each August.  These weren’t Beal’s, with a water view,  but pretty darn good for being landlocked in Pennsylvania!  And oh, Happy  Birthday Martha!

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Chilled Mexican Corn and Avocado Soup

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Soup’s on!  What? It’s August! With the mercury flirting in the 90s, a chilled soup is total perfection.   This one features seasonal fresh corn and gets a super velevety texture from avocado.  The addition of fresh jalapeno pepper gives the soup a hint of heat while a splash of lime juice enhances its Mexican flair.  The soup is super easy and gets you out of the kitchen fast.  We served it on the day it was made but if  you want to make it ahead, prepare it as directed but hold off on adding the avocado until you are ready to enjoy the soup. You can get creative with toppings:  thin slices of avocado, fresh corn kernels, lime zest,  chopped chives all go well. I finished the soups with either  a drizzle of olive oil or a drizzle of lime crèma( sour cream thinned out with lime juice).  Both were invitingly delicious!

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Chilled Mexican Corn and Avocado Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

( Adapted from Heather Christo Cooks)

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 T olive oil

corn from 2 ears( yield 1 1/2 cups)

4 c chicken broth

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds, stem and membranes  removed, chopped

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped in chunks

juice of a lime

sea salt

Toppings:  lime zest, corn kernels, thin slices of avocado, lime crèma, chives, olive oil

Method:

In a medium pot, slowly cook the onion in the oil until the onion is soft.  Add the corn and sauté for a minute.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 20 minutes. Bring to room temperature.  Transfer to the bowl of the blender.  Add the avocado, jalapeno, and lime juice.  Purée until smooth.  Salt to taste.  Give it some chill time and it’s ready to go.  Top as desired with avocado slices, chives, lime zest, corn kernels and a drizzle of olive oil or lime crèma.  Refreshingly delicious!


 

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A Cottage in a Cornfield, John Constable, 1833, Victoria and Albert Museum

A Cottage in a Cornfield, John Constable, 1833, Victoria and Albert Museum

Thank you to the patient and talented Loretta @ Safari of the Mind, for teaching me how to offer a print only version of my recipes!