Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Berry Pavlova

This light and luscious meringue cake is perfect
for spring, when you feel the sunshine and the flowers
burst forth in their gorgeous colors, and you
crave something sweet but not heavy.

Layer upon layer of meringue is stacked with a
sweetened whip cream and cream cheese filling 
and loads of fresh berries.

You can make it for a crowd, or in individual servings.
(I made a couple of individual ones so that hubby,
who wasn't invited to the party, could have a dessert.)

The meringues are easy and so pretty.  I usually
make an extra one, in case one breaks while I
am removing it from the parchment paper, and sure
enough one did, but we loved eating it plain.

Fresh flowers from the garden adorn the cake, and
also the very first tiny leaves of my mint.

Spring Berry Pavlova

12 large eggs, room temperature
(You can place them in a bowl of warm water
for ten minutes to get them to room temperature
if you are in a hurry.)
3 1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 T. lemon juice or white vinegar
1 T. vanilla extract (I prefer clear)

Heat oven to 200 degrees

Cover large baking pans with parchment paper.  
I used 15x21 pans, so I could get all of the meringues
in the oven at once.
Trace 5 - 7 or 8 inch circles on 
pans.  Flip the parchment paper over so you
don't get the pencil marks on the bottom of
your meringues.  I used 7 inch circles.

Separate egg whites, being very careful
to get no yolk in.  I separate one egg white and then pour
it into the large bowl, one at a time to make sure I
don't get any yolk in.  Place the whites in a bowl
that is clean from any trace of oil, or they won't 
whip and achieve their volume.

With the whip attachment, begin whipping the whites.
Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
When the whites just get to stiff peak stage, begin
whipping in the sugar, a little at a time.  This actually
goes pretty fast despite the amount of sugar.
When you finish adding the sugar, the egg whites
should be stiff and glossy.

Remove the whip and fold in the lemon juice
and vanilla.

Spread the meringue on your parchment paper,
almost to the edge of your circles. 
They will grow a little so don't go past
the circles.  You want the meringue about 3
/4 to 1 inch thick.  If
you have any remaining egg white mix, 
make individual rounds on
the empty spaces of your pan.

Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees, then turn off the
oven and let the meringues rest in the oven, without
opening the door for at least 2 hours.  You can leave
them in overnight if you want.  Remove from oven 
and let cool on pans.

Pavlova Filling

2 1/2 C. whipping cream
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat whipping cream until stiff.  Set aside
Whip cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until
smooth and creamy. 

Fold whipped cream and cream cheese mix

Assorted fresh berries
Spring flowers for garnish

Carefully peel cooled meringues and layer
with filling and fresh berries.  Meringues are
fragile, so handle with care and don't press
down on them.  Garnish with fresh flowers
and mint if desire.  Leave plain, or sprinkle
with a little powdered sugar.

The meringues will absorb the moisture of
the filling, so I would recommend putting
the pavlova together no more than an
hour or two before serving.  (I made this
six hours before, and we lost a lot of the
fabulous crunch of the pavlova.  It still
tasted great, but they had softened more than
I wanted.)

The meringues will crumble a little as you
cut them, but that is ok.

Right before taking it to the party, I decided
a little spring snow would be fun, so I
sprinkled it with powdered sugar.  I don't really
know which look I like better.  You decide.

Thanks for coming to visit.  
Wish we could sit down with a slide of Pavlova

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Life Story

There is so much to celebrate in life, and yet we
remember so little of what happens.  We are admonished
to record in journals what happens in our lives and then
to write our life stories in our church.  

I decided this year would be a great year to get that
published, with my sixtieth birthday.  I can always
write volume two later!  

In 2000, I started writing my life story, and printed it
out.  I used journals, and planning calendars and day timers
that we had kept over the years.  That really helped, as it
gave me specific dates and activities.  Now we keep everything
on our phones, and having had phones and computers crash,
all of that is lost.  I couldn't have produced a lot of what
I was able to write based on memory alone.

I finished the majority of the writing that year,
but continued to add to it.  

Those who follow me regularly know that this past
year and a half I have written and published numerous
life stories of both of my parents, my grandparents,
my aunt, my mother's and father's love letters to
each other, and my mother's short stories.

After doing my parents' books, I realized that the pictures
tell half of the story, so to complete my life story, I had
to dig through all of my pictures, my files, my discs
and add photos to my life story.  That was as much work
as the writing, but I scanned hundreds of pictures into
the computer, and then cropped and edited them so 
they could help tell the story.

I had the good fortune of reading someone's blog
and they recommended using Lulu.com to
publish their blog.  I tried Lulu out before I had
even finished writing my dad's life story.  I wanted
to see how their work was.

Of course, you know I was thrilled.  I could print
one or one hundred, I could edit and add to, I could
receive discount flash sale coupons, I could send others
to their site to order these family history books.

It was as simple as creating a word document and
turning it into a PDF file as you save it on the 

The completed book has 520 pages in it.  It started
with 320 before the pictures were added.  Of course, I
would have loved to have made most of the pictures
larger, as they are my favorite part, but it was already
too big.  This book was so large, that I had to
upload it in two parts, but it worked perfectly.

The cost for the book would have been $100, but 
Lulu.com offers one day flash sales throughout the
year - usually 20-30 percent.  On Black Friday, they
offer their best sale, and that was 40 percent, so the
book cost me $60.  I made one for each of my children
and gave them to them as a gift.  As I told my family,
even if you don't read it, look at the pictures - they will
tell a lot of the story.

Start to write your life story now, as people you would
want to talk to and ask questions will be gone.  Your memory
gets overloaded, and you forget.  

As my husband loves to say, "Those who are remembered
are those who are published."  Let generations to come
know who you were and what you believed and did.

What would you give to have written documents
of those who went before you?  Maybe they came
across the plains, or maybe they crossed the ocean.

I hope you get inspired to write your own
life story and publish it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

S'Mores Tall Cake

There are some desserts that you make and then
just dream about until you make them again,
and this S'Mores Tall Cake is one of those.  

I created this for my son in law's birthday
in January, and since hubby and I were 
both trying to be good (after the Christmas gain)
I sliced the delicious cake, wrapped it up,
and sent it away.  Well, next morning he was
begging for some, and I was wishing I had a
bite or two also.  I can't tell you how many times
he asked, so when we were doing dessert with
friends after going out for Valentine's dinner,
I decided we would make this again.

Dark, moist and delicious chocolate cake
(an easy homemade one) filled with Marshmallow
Frosting (easy again),  chopped Hershey's
Milk Chocolate Bars, and crushed graham crackers,
and then frosted with Chocolate Frosting, and garnished
with more Hershey's bars, more graham crackers,
and finally toasted marshmallows.

I am a frosting girl, so I have been known to eat out
the filling layers with just a little bit of cake
attached!  This cake is so moist, that I loved
the cake, the filling and the frosting!

Chocolate Cake


Indulge in this moist, decadent cake anytime, 
but be sure to save a little for the next day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Desserts Only Valentines Table

Sometimes a table is inspired by one thing
and when I saw these gorgeous placemats
I knew they would be so fun for a tablescape.

We were getting together after going
out for Valentine's dinner, and I was providing
dessert, so I set this simple table without a dinner
plate - just in honor of dessert.  

Pink and gold are perfect to decorate
the Valentine's Day table with.  I really had
a hard time covering up the fun heart in the
middle, so the dessert plate stack sat to the upper
left corner.

See, this is just too hard to cover up!

My darling pink and gold polka dot cupcake
pedestals match perfectly placed atop a white
and gold polka dot plate.

 Of course we had to use some gold flatware.

Love these sparkling pink votives.

 The pink goblets came out for this
table.  My niece gifted these to me.
They were my mother's and she had
inherited them.  I always think of both
of them when I use them.

I have had these pink script blossoms
for years and they were a fun addition
to the table, and they don't wilt.

Company is coming over for dessert and
I am going to share that with you soon!

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Posting with

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Birthday Break

For those of you who follow me on Instagram,
you know I took a fabulous break from cold,
snow, slush, shoveling, ice, (taking Christmas down),
etc. and took my entire family to Hawaii.  Only one little
18 month old was left behind with her favorite aunt.

We had so much fun in the ocean and pool and


my big 60th birthday!  How can that be?  I still feel
30 something inside.  

(To create the cake, I ordered a two tiered
chocolate and chocolate raspberry cake
from the local grocery store, then found
macarons at Whole Foods, added fresh roses
and orchids and fresh raspberries.  The cake
plate came from Wal Mart on Maui and I had
ordered the diamond studded Happy 60th
on Amazon.)

Hubby and I went one day early and stayed
three days after the kids left.  

No, I haven't been gone this whole time,
but it was fun taking a break from blogging.

What a way to celebrate!
To be surrounded by my favorite people, little and big,
was the best present ever.

The Grand Wailea on Maui is our favorite place.
It is so family friendly and gorgeous.

There are turtles right on the corners of
the beach.

We offered a photo contest for the kids to encourage
them to take lots of photos too.
(A winner above!)

The only thing missing was the Grand Wailea
Pineapple Banana Split, that we looked forward to.
It was still listed on their online menu, but
sadly they had a new chef and he had crossed it
off the menu.  (Why, oh why?)

Our waiter quietly told us that all
of the new desserts were so small that they were
not worth buying - two bites apiece!  Loved him!  Big tip!!

So we promptly had to come home and make them
for Sunday dinner.
(They also told us that they had never served them
poolside - well we have pictures over the years proving
that wrong!  Time and time again!!)

Click here if you need to make this at home too.

We also got to see turtles coming in to rest
at night.  Yes, these aren't rocks - about 63 of them.

And we jumped by waterfalls.  Who knew the
water would be ice - I mean ICE cold!
Honestly, I have always wanted to do this
and I never dreamed it would be so cold
it would stop your breath!  Of course,
I still had to do it.

They also had a new water toy called
The Fish Pipe.  It turns and feels like you are
on a mile long waterslide.  It was fun!

Thanks family for the best birthday.
You made getting older fun!

Goodbye paradise!

Thanks for coming to visit and celebrating
my 60th year with me.  I am willing to celebrate
all year long!

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