Lemon Shaker Tart

Shaker Lemon Tart

This weekend my husband and I are looking forward to celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary. Wow, you know sometimes when I say that it seems like just yesterday, and then other times when I remember everything we’ve been through together I think ” No, 21 years is about right.” We’ve actually been with each other 22 years come this July, so ya a long time. We know each other very well, and I think as compatible couples go we are right up there with the best.  We want to celebrate this special day with friends that feel like family but I don’t want to do any cooking. So we’ve hired a local catering company- Upstairs Downstairs Catering -to do it for us. One of the desserts they’re  serving is a beautifully simple and delicious lemon tart. We’ve had this tart at another party they catered that we attended. The recipe for it is here. We’re ordering box lunches from their business menus, and although it is a bit pricey we feel it is so worth it.

When asked what I wanted for an anniversary gift I paused about 2 minutes and said -” All three season’s of A Chef’s Life“. It’s a series I found on PBS that features a couple who relocate to South Carolina and start up a farm to table restaurant. Every episode features a new ingredient and how it fits into southern cuisine.

Another show I found quite interesting is called Steak Revolution and it’s on Netflix right now. The narrator’s of this documentary (two chef’s) take tours through different countries in search of the most mouth-watering steak. I liked this documentary because it featured sustainable farms and ranches, responsible breeding and gourmet cuisine. They were able to locate the best steak in the world. You’ll just have to watch it to see where it’s at. 🙂

And last but never least this week I began watching Cooked, a documentary featuring Michael Pollan, adapted from his book (one of my favorites) of the same name. This documentary features different cuisines and the elements of fire, water, earth and wind in cooking. One of the main points of the documentary is how little time Americans are spending in the kitchen cooking.  More and more Americans are letting restaurants feed them their daily meals.

My husband and I eat in a restaurant on average once a month so it is hard for me to relate to the statement above. About 60% of our diet is homemade food that I create from locally grown organic fruits/vegetables, and grains. The other 35%-meat, produce, and dairy is produced for us by local farmers. A mere 5% of our diet comes from eating at restaurants that are not farm to table and/or locally grown organic and the occasional snack food (i.e. candy bar, chips, popcorn).

This week my husband and seven of his fellow co-workers were honored for perfect attendance. In my husband’s case he was honored for 16 years of perfect attendance. There are three things that I feel strongly are responsible for this admirable and fascinating feat – 1) My husband has a strong work ethic 2) he is in excellent health- so he doesn’t need to call in sick 3) His commitment to eating better food and living a better life(cutting down on processed food and sugar) is paying off (see #2).

 

Lemon Curd

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My lemon tree has been producing in overtime. But that’s o.k. because every holiday season many of the goodies I bake call for the zest of lemon or lemon curd not to mention it’s used to clean so many things in my home. I also make up a batch of lemon curd, then pour into small Ball fruit jars, and wrap some up for homemade gifts. If you’re new to my blog I talked about my lemon tree here. I also looked around on Pinterest and found some great recipes to use Lemon curd in. Like Lemon Thumbprint cookies for the holidays or deliciously fresh and creamy Lemon Curd ice-cream.

Recipe for Lemon curd

Recipe for Lemon Thumbprint cookies-(grain and gluten-free)

Recipe for Lemon Curd Ice-Cream 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Cream Fillo Napoleon

lemon-8Whether it be oranges or lemons the smell of something citrus is my favorite smell in the whole world, right next to hay and fresh cut grass. We began growing our Meyer Lemon tree three years ago from seed. This year is the first year it has produced fruit.  I use lemons for cleaning, cooking, and baking. And there is nothing in the world like growing your own food. It has been a real pleasure growing our lemon tree. We’ve even started two more from seed. Along with the lovely lemon balm, I grew for making soap, everything in and around our home, at this time, smells like our lovely lemons.

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So I couldn’t resist catching an episode of Ina Garten where her and a friend are making Lemon Cream Napoleons. This dessert is a real favorite of my husband’s. In the Netherlands, they add vanilla cream between the fillo wafers which is good, but not near as good as the lemon is. The episode can be found on Netflix on Ina Garten’s Back to Basics Collection. Or you can go to the Food Network site and find it here. I have several of Ina’s cookbooks, including her Back to Basics (my favorite), but find watching her show to be very helpful to my getting everything called for in the recipe just right.

This weekend we had fun at two local fall festivals, we also experienced walking through a corn maze and drank lots of fresh apple cider. I also bought extra cider and cider donuts and froze both to enjoy this winter. I use the apple cider for pancakes, marinade and to make bbq sauce from.  I add it to my homemade bbq sauce for pork and the meat just falls off the bone- so tender and so full of taste.

October is passing by so fast, it’s already the 4th. Speaking of October, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Even though I think often of those around me dealing with cancer, or that they have family dealing with it, I’m especially aware of it in October. Around here we have the 5k Cancer Run, the Think Pink 5k, and the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. Though I have known two women in my life, both co-workers, who were diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I have been fortunate to remain breast cancer free (so far, fingers crossed). Cancer was one of the biggest reasons I quit smoking at 39. That said when I was in my late twenties and also in my early thirties I was diagnosed with skin cancer.

The first time it was found on my leg, it was caught early and excision ( it was cut out) was used to remove it. I was really scared, and unfortunately, this happened before I met my husband, and I had to go through it alone. About a year later another growth was found on my elbow and this time cryo-therapy (frozen off) was used to remove it. The last time a growth was found, again on my leg, cryotherapy was also used. It should be noted I’ve never laid out in the sun or used a tanning bed. However, people who have fair skin, light hair, and eyes and have ancestors from places like England, Norway, Sweden and Ireland often end up with skin cancer. I have used sunscreen for years and now faithfully check all my many hundreds of freckles, moles and even keep a close eye on my age spots. I’ve been lucky now for over fifteen years. As far as my husband goes, I won’t even begin to discuss how covered in moles (hereditary) he is and how much time each month it takes to look at them all. Some we have to take photos of and keep track of etc. We have had a few doctor’s appointments where we’ve had to wait for the results. So tormenting, but thus far he has been lucky. Be vigilant, check yourself often and definitely seek a doctor’s opinion if you notice anything unusual or changed on your skin or any lumps anywhere on your body.

Until next time, enjoy what’s left of fall in your neck of the woods!

Lemon Cheesecake bars

My husband and I have spent the last two Saturdays walking at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge. He took this beautiful picture this past Saturday.

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It’s so peaceful here and for avid birdwatchers like us a virtual paradise. I have a lot more time on the weekends to walk, birdwatch, even bake now that I am no longer buried in homework.  Of course besides picture taking, chatting with my husband, and birdwatching, walks are good for planning what we’ll have for dessert with Sunday’s dinner. My husband is a lover of all things cheesecake and I love all things fruit. So, once home I perused Pinterest and discovered this yummy recipe again.  I believe I have made this one before, it’s so easy and so good. I followed the recipe to the letter but omitted the optional food coloring because we don’t do food colorings in this house.

lemon cheesecake

Friday we leave for our week-long stay in Door County so I will not be posting until I get back. That said I do have a couple of drafts I may schedule to publish before I go.  Until next time– enjoy June!