Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Almond Cheesecake Bars

Good morning! Can you believe that its almost July and that the year is already half over? Where does the time go? This week is the 4th of July and I cannot wait.  The fireworks, barbecues, time at the ocean and with family and friends is what summer is all about. 




Family, fun and food that is my summer motto. This week we are having guests and hosting several get togethers, the perfect opportunity for my to try out some new desserts. After all, in my world a party is only as good as the desserts!




These bars are fabulous! I think they might be the best dessert that I have made this year. The crust is basically a shortbread cookie, sweet, crunchy and buttery. And the filling is an easy, creamy, smooth, almond cheesecake. Add the frosting and the toasted almonds and you have a delicious dessert for any barbecue or party.





Almond Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from Taste of Home

Crust:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixer with a paddle attachment add all ingredients for crust and mix until just combined. Then pat the dough into an un-greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, but begin to check after 15 minutes. The crust should be light brown.


Filling:

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the cream cheese and the sugar together until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs and almond and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Pour the filling over the hot crust and back for 15-20 minutes. The filling should be set in the middle. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Frosting:

11/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
11/2 teaspoon milk or heavy cream
1 teaspoon almond extract

Toasted almonds for garnish

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. The pour over the cooled bars and smooth. Garnish with toasted almond slices. 




As I said, they cannot get any easier. I hope that you try them or one of my other almond recipes that I have made lately. I seem to be on an almond kick this summer. 



Swedish Almond Cake


raspberry Almond Struessel Cake

Buttery Almond Braid


Have a great week!




Sunday, June 28, 2015

Silent Sunday 6-28-2015





Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday Favorites from Beautifully Seaside, Yankee Magazine, Design Chic, Rooted in Thyme and More





Good morning! Are you ready for the weekend? I am, because it finally feels like summer. The heat, the beach, barbecues, family, friends and a few short trips have me in full vacation mode. All I can think about is more of the same. Long days at the beach with a good book, barbecues and the 4th of July with friends eating burgers, potato salad, and strawberry short cake; ocean waves lapping at the shore, sand between my toes and more. 


Image from Chic Coastal Living

Summer is all about fresh squeezed lemonade, picking fresh berries and of course Popsicles. This week Beautifully Seaside combined all that to make these delicious looking Strawberry and Raspberry Ice Pops. I cannot wait to try these when I see my nieces and nephew in a few weeks. 



Photo/Art by Keller + Keller Pavlova with Fresh Strawberries & Whipped Cream

I remember spending many happy days with my family picking fresh peaches, blueberries and strawberries. I actually think that we ate more than we picked but that is a story for another day.  During the summer I love to try new recipes including these fruits, so this post the 10 Best Strawberry Recipes from Yankee Magazine is right up my alley.



Rooted in Thyme

Do you have a green thumb? I do not and that is why I always enjoy seeing other peoples beautiful gardens. This week Jody from Rooted in Thyme shared her magical summer garden and flowers, I think you will enjoy looking around them as much as I did. 
I love a good "house tour" and this week I fell in love with this house by Dugan Nequette on Design Chic. Make sure to check it out as well as all of the other fabulous houses by Dugan Nequette as well. 

I am sure that by now you already have a pile of books to read this summer but if you are looking for a few more  you can read the Best Travel Books to Read This Summer from The Business Insider.


Did you find anything interesting around the net this week? Reading lists, recipes, adventures? Whatever you found interesting we would like to hear about so please share.

Have a safe and fun weekend!





Thursday, June 25, 2015

Orange in the Happiest Color

Image InStyle Magazine


Good morning! Are you having a good week? Everything is going well here but my goodness it is HOT! Not that I am complaining but summer is definitely here. 


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am adding a little color to my wardrobe this year and orange is one of my new "neutrals". I think it adds a little punch of color without being overbearing.


Image House and Garden UK


These are a few of my favorite orange fashion looks from Pinterest



Image Pinterest via Stella and Dot


Image Here


Image The Gap




Image The Gap


The Loft

Image Wish Bone


Image Tattler Russia Via here


What do you think? Are you a fan of orange? Is it a color that is in your summer wardrobe? I have a few pieces this year that I love and cannot wait to wear them.



Image Happier.com


I hope that you have a great day!





Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cream Cheese and Fruit Pastries

Good morning! Did you have a nice weekend and a nice Father's day? I did! The weather was beautiful so we were able to spend a lot of time on the water, relaxing on the porch reading and being lazy. 





I did manage to bake a few things, no surprise there, and these EASY, scrumptious Cream Cheese and Fruit Pastries were one of them.






When I say easy, I mean easy. You basically need some puff pastry, a little sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and some jelly. Thats it! If you want to be a little fancy you can add a drizzle of frosting and some nuts. 






 Cream Cheese and Fruit Pastries

Ingredients

1 sheet puff pastry
4 ounces cream cheese softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1Tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3-5 tablespoons raspberry and blueberry jam(homemade or store bought)
1 egg plus a little water to make an egg wash 
slivered almonds

For the icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove puff pastry from box and unfold, let sit for 10 minutes. Once thawed cut into squares, 1 sheet will make 8 large pastries of 16 small. Score a square into each pastry, leaving about 1/2 around the edge. Do not cut all the way through, the square will contain the filling. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Then add sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice, mix well. 

Put a teaspoon or tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the center of each pastry, where you scored each piece. The amount of filling depends upon how many squares you cut. The place a dollop of jelly into the center and swirl a bit. You could also use fresh fruit instead of jelly. In a small bowl beat the egg and a little water to make an egg wash. Brush edges with egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges become puffed and golden brown. 

Remove pastries from oven and let cool. In the meantime mix together the frosting ingredients. Once pastries are cooled drizzle with frosting and garnish with slivered almonds. 






What do you think? Could these pastries get any easier? You can fill them with just the cream cheese mixture, you could add jam, or just fresh fruit, anyway that you make them they come out perfect and delicious!





I hope that you have a wonderful summer week! Get out there and enjoy yourself before we know it Fall will be nipping at our heels!




Linking to:



 Savvy Southern Style , Ivy and Elephants ,
 DIY by Design , We Are That Family ,Style Sisters ,
City Farmhouse ,Beyoned The Picket Fence ,
Home Stories A to Z , The Blissful Bee ,
Love of Family & Home ,The Dedicated House , Craftberry Bush ,
The Shabby Creek Cottage , Posed Perfection ,
 Katherines Corner , The Vintage Farmhouse  A Delightsome Life , 
 Imparting Grace ,  From My Front Porch To Yours 
No Minimalist HereStone Gable

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!



I am blessed to have a fabulous dad,  and a step-dad; double the advice, love and more. Although I will not be with either of them today, I want them to know how much I love them. 

I hope that you are lucky enough to be spending the day with your dad.

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday Favorites from Warm Vanilla Sugar, Baked by Rachel, Pick Yin and More




Good morning! How are you? And your week, has it been busy, relaxing or are you saving that for the weekend? I was traveling this week in North Carolina and spent some time in New Bern, the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, and several other great towns which I will share with you later. 


Image from Country Living


Yesterday was International Picnic Day, did you get out and celebrate? I did not as I was traveling but  if I had I would have made these delicious Scotch Eggs from Country Living UK, as an accompaniment to all of my other tasty picnic treats, like potato salad, tasty sandwiches and ice cream. 

Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream. Summer and ice cream go to ether like peanut butter and jelly and what could be better with ice cream than some homemade hot fudge? Warm Vanilla Sugar made a scrumptious version of hot fudge this week that I am sure would be delicious on anything!


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from Baked by Rachel


I think it would be perfect on this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from Baked by Rachel



Image Pick Yin

Or for a more decadent treat this Dark Chocolate Ice Cream from Pick Yin.


Summer Reading Vanity Fair


We have had a beautiful summer so far, although it has not officially started, with warm days and cool nights the perfect weather for reading. I am always looking for a good book and love all of the "summer reading lists" that are out on the net. This week Vanity Fair published this list and there are some interesting looking ones, although I think I will skip the Stephen King. 



PHOTOS VIA FRANKLIN RUTTAN on Town and Country


Are you in the market for a summer vacation house? Or perhaps like me you just like to look at other peoples houses? If so check out J.P.Morgans Vacation House in the Adirondacks that Town and Country Magazine featured. It is 120 years old, has a beautiful setting a main house and a guest house. 

Reminder, Meg of Pigtown Designis gearing up for a huge Barn Sale in 2 weeks so mark your calenders if you are in the Baltimore area. I am sure that there are going to be some fabulous treasures. All of the information is on this Facebook Link

If you are looking for more summer recipes, books, fashion and more check out my Summer Pinterest Board.

Trisha Yearwood Brownies on Once Upon a Chocolate Life


Or if you are looking for a chocolate treat, visit Once Upon a Chocolate Life to try out the Trisha Yearwood Brownies that I made this week!

I hope that you have a fabulous and fun weekend!


Friday, June 19, 2015

International Picnic Day June 18th



Good morning! June 18th, is International Picnic Day. I am not sure who designates these things but I think it is as good a reason as any to break out of your routine and celebrate summer. There are a few things that are essential for the perfect picnic in my book. 


1. A beautiful location. 


Image Pine Cones and Acorns


2. A warm blanket. 



Tartan Blanket



3. A beautiful basket. 





4. Something savory. 


Tomato tart Williams Sonoma


5. Something Sweet (of course). 


Blueberry Hand-pies Pine Cones and Acorns

Bourbon Brownie


Now you could add a book, perhaps a little music and some wine as well and you would have everything you need to enjoy a perfect summer afternoon or evening.

What do you think? Doesn't a picnic sound like an excellent idea this week? What are your essential items for a picnic? Do you have a favorite spot, meal or beverage that you always take along?

I hope that you have a wonderful day and enjoy your picnic!












Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blueberry Crumble Bars



Good morning! Have I got a quick, easy, scrumptious treat for you. Blueberry Crumb bars are buttery, melt in your mouth delicious with a sweet burst of summer blueberries. 

These bars could not get any easier as the shortbread crust and the topping are on one in the same. You simply mix everything in a bowl, press half in a pan, spread with blueberries and top with the crumble. Then bake and enjoy!





Blueberry Crumble Bars
Recipe from Love Bakes Good


Ingredients

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut into small chunks
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Filling

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp.  corn starch


Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil then spray with cooking spray. Set aside.  In a small bowl combine the filling ingredients and mix lightly so you do not break the berries, set aside. In a large bowl mix two sugars, baking powder and flour. Cut in the butter, egg and vanilla using a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles course crumbs. 

Pat half the mixture into the bottom of the pan, then pour over the blueberry mixture. Top with remaining crumb mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until bars are golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool then cut into squares and serve. 





Doesn't this recipe sound easy and delicious? I loved these bars and I think you will too, they are perfect for summer because you can use any berry that you like or even a mixture and they will come out great. I am making raspberry next and then cherry after that. I will let you know how they turn out.





Have a great week!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday Favorites from the Giltter Guide, Handle the Heat, French Garden House and More

Good morning! A happy, beautiful weekend to you. I have been traveling this week in Pennsylvania and it has been beautiful, not only the weather but the scenery and the sights. I have visited gardens, battlefields, museums and of course have feasted on tasty treats as well. This weekend I am ready to have a vacation from my vacation. 


Must Read from The Glitter Guide

Summer is synonymous with many for reading. I can remember walking back and forth to the library at least once a week laden down books and adventures waiting to happen. The Glitter Guide posted its Must Read List for June and there looks to be something for everyone if you are looking for something new this week. 



Image from Handle the Heat


I love chocolate chip cookies ( ok, mostly the dough) and never tire of trying and tasting new recipes. This week I discovered a recipe for Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Handle the Heat that looks easy and scrumptious. 



Image from French Garden House


For those of you who love seafood in the summer, check out this Lobster Salad from French Garden House. I don't know what looks better the dinner or the beautiful table setting. 



Image from PVE

Summer is all about adventures, so this year why not take the time to document your adventures, even if they are in your own back yard with the wonderful Travel Journal from Tom Bihn that Patricia of PVE Designs featured this week. 





Image French Essence


Don't forget that Father's Day is just around the corner, if you are looking for a few gift ideas check out Vicki's fabulous finds on  French Essence.

I hope that you have a great weekend. I am looking forward to seeing what you have been up to this week.






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