July 17, 2008

Rustic Nectarine Tart

So I had ever intention to follow this recipe…but I got sidetracked…was making dinner and then I just winged it. I figured that I read the recipe enough times to know what the heck was going on. So here’s what I ended up with:

fresh outta the oven...glazed with jelly

Turned out wonderful! Tasted great! Looked pretty!

mixing the sugar

working with the pastry dough

Here is my half-assed attempt at giving you the recipe.

Rustic Nectarine Tart


-1 sheet of Trader Joes puff pastry (package comes with two sheet- i think they are 8oz. each)
-4 nectarines (I had some leftover…so it might be 3)
-1/3 cup of sugar-plus a few teaspoons full
-2 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam
-1 egg (beaten)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Take puff pastry out of freezer. Put it on your counter for about 15 minutes to warm to room temperature. Once it’s warm enough, peel off one of the two sheets of pastry. Place sheet on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangular shape. Trim off the edges so you have a clean straight line. With a small knife, lightly score a 1 inch border around the entire rectangle. Make sure not to go all the way through to the bottom. Poke holes in the middle of the pastry with a fork. Brush egg wash over the entire puff pastry. Pop in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

3. While pastry is baking, cut up nectarines into small slices. Toss with 1/3 cup of sugar. Use less if the nectarines are super sweet. Put nectarines in a microwave and zap for 1 minute. Toss. Then zap again for another minute. They should be less firm..slightly cooked….a bit soft. But not TOO soft and mushy. I put them in the fridge until the puff pastry was done.

4. Layer the nectarines on the partially baked pastry. If the middle has risen, push down to flatten with a fork before you put the fruit on top. Add a little sprinkle of sugar on top of the nectarines. Bake in the oven for 10 more minutes.

5. When the tart is done, heat up your raspberry jelly in the microwave (I zapped it for 30 seconds-until it was thin & runny). Lightly brush jelly over the nectarines with a pastry brush. It will give it that shiny smooth glaze!

6. Cut tart into pieces (I made this into 4 generous portions). Add a dollop of whipped cream…or top with ice cream. MMM.

hello my little slice of heaven!


Here’s the rest of the meal I made for this weeks Project Runway (IT’S ON!!!) dinner:

girls night this week

closeup of my plate-healthy!

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Rice Pilaf, Salad with almonds & feta, and a spicy pepper & corn hash!

July 14, 2008

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

So I’ve never made cheesecake before. It’s one of those baking things that terrifies me. What if I do all the work and then I pull it outta the oven and the top is all cracked??? That would suck. I get really discouraged when things don’t work out. That doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying…there’s just a long period of time before I put my fork back in the socket again.

A few baby steps later, I tried this simple recipe from EVERYDAY FOOD.

Three words:


It will make those of you (like me) get over your hang-ups about making cheesecake. I think I might be ready to be a big girl and try an authentic NY cheesecake. Perhaps I will do when I lose the 5lbs I gained after eating it!

I think my unborn fetus looooved it.

lemon cheesecake squares

Lemon Cheesecake Squares


Makes 16

– 8 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

– 2 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 large eggs
– Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons zest and about 3 tablespoons juice)

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Crimp overhang under rim of pan.

2. In a food processor, blend graham crackers with sugar until finely ground; add butter and pulse until moistened.

3. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently (wipe processor bowl clean, and reserve for making filling). Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. While crust is baking, make filling.

4. Make the filling: Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

5. Pour mixture onto hot crust in pan; smooth top. Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken), 30 to 35 minutes.

6. Cool completely in pan. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of pan. With metal spatula, lift cheesecake from foil; cut into 16 squares. (I think I ended up with less. The bigger the better!)

***If the top was all crumbly and cracked I would have put a layer of glazey blueberry spread on top….or some powdered sugar? Looks like I lucked out—and didn’t have to use an alternative. Hope you enjoy it too! ***

July 10, 2008

Ever in a rush?

Have you ever been in a rush to make cupcakes and don’t have the time to frost your heart out and make everything perfect?

Frost the tops and then cover them in coconut…or sprinkles.
No one would ever guess that you frosted at midnight with the most tired/unsteady hand!!

Happy Birthday to my coworker–Kevin!

good morning!

coworker turns 35 today.

I would have totally frosted them perfectly for you if it wasn’t for getting home at 11pm last night!


(chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes with cream cheese frosting….coconut & a strawberry for garnish!)

July 8, 2008

Hanging Wall Art

In preparation of the bebe, I’ve decided to get a bunch of stuff done around the house that I have MAJORLY procrastinated on.

I finally put up all the frames I had sitting around in my craft room on the wall in the living room!

project-almost done

I started out by taking inventory of the frames:


July 6, 2008

Creamy Banana Pudding

My contribution to the 4th of July Block Party on my street:

This is my first of two…or maybe three servings?

1st helping

It’s very simple, incredibly light (watch out you might think it’s calorie free) and super dreamy. Last year I doubled the recipe, but not enough people saved room for dessert after all the grilled meats & salads. This year there was NOTHING left. NOTHING. NOTHING!!!! I didn’t have the chance to eat a bowl full in my pjs the next morning. SIGH. It is super easy to make—So I won’t be waiting til next summer to make it again. Promise. Now let’s get started!

my setup-while whipping cream

folding the pudding & whipped cream

banana layer

nilla layer


Creamy Banana Pudding

Serves 12
(from the More from Magnolia Cookbook)


  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours, but no longer! – before serving.

****If you don’t like bananas, I would think raspberries would be scrumptious with this recipe as a substitution!  ***

July 2, 2008

thank you!

Just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU you for all your comments! They totally made my day!
This 4th of July I’m making Magnolia Banana Pudding & some cupcakes for a BBQ we are attending. They were a hit last year, and I have been asked to do it again!
(look out for pics!)

I’m curious…What are you having/making?

July 1, 2008

The cat is outta the bag!

whitney effing rocks doesn't she?

Today’s Horoscope:

Saying goodbye to Mars as it leaves your sign today is a mixed blessing. Your life has been full of activity and you may be sorry to see it return to normal. On the other hand, it’s time to slow down and replenish your energetic reserves. You can only continue to give of yourself for so long without becoming exhausted. Use this time wisely so you will be ready for whatever comes next.

Ain’t that the truth, folks! So, I finally have a working kitchen (sans cabinet fronts). Everything is back in it’s place. I don’t have to trip over stuff in the dining room to find a spoon or a whisk! It took me a little over 2 days to clean & put everything back in it’s place. It felt like we had moved……It’s a feeling I don’t want to experience for a LOOOOOOONG time. Although I am always delighted when I unpack my kitchen stuff. I feel like every box is a surprise…or a gift! Like the UPS driver delivered everything I could have possibly wanted right at my door!

It’s a good thing that this remodel has come to a nice stopping point. Currently, I’m late in my 2nd trimester & my belly is slowing everything down! Yes! I said it! Casey and I are having a little bebe boy! We wanted to add another Red Sox fan to the posse. And it’s finally come to fruition!

Soon after I post the final result of the kitchen…I’ll start bringing on the baby stuff! I sooo want to get in the soon-to-be-nursery and start nesting! I should also get as much cooking & baking in this blog while I have the time! I’ve heard from everyone to enjoy the time I have to make such fancy meals because soon I’ll be calling the hubby up BEGGING him to bring home takeout.

So here I am…trying to slow down. And now that my world is turning back to normal, I hope to get my camera out and start playing.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!



p.s.- isn’t that little beanie the CUTEST? Whitney made that for me 😉