Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Witches Broom Pens for Meals on Wheels

Supply List:

Pens with black lids

Washi tape in orange and black designs


Transparent tape
Hot glue and glue gun

Sharp scissors

I bought the pens at Target. But they can be purchased at any drugstore or office supply store.

I purchased the orange tape at Michael's and the black tape at Hobby Lobby. 

The raffia is also from Hobby Lobby.

The first step is to remove the end cap and cut a piece of tape almost to the end of the pen to the top of the pen - pressing lightly. Then cut another piece the same size and press it on the other side of the pen. Put the lid back on and keep going until all of your pens are wrapped in tape. This step took awhile since I am making 50 pens.

Now I add the raffia to the end of each pen with tape. This can get tricky and sticky. 

Lay a 3-inch piece of tape with the sticky side facing up and start adding 3 to 4-inch pieces of raffia.

Carefully roll the tape several times around the top of the pen.

Cut another piece of raffia about 5-inches long and glue gun it around the end of the raffia. It adds that little extra piece of the broom.

Here is a closeup of the top of the brooms.

I am going to package these pens in plastic pretzel bags. Hopefully I will remember to post a picture of the packaging. 

But if you were going to make them for a party, school or team party favor they would look cute in a basket or bowl.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Easy Lemon Tarts

I made these cute little lemon tarts for after the tennis match on Monday. One of my teammates actually asked me if I was a chef.  No, Kathleen I am not a trained chef!


Shortbread pastry shells (store-bought)

Lemon curd (store-bought)

Small piece of fruit  (blueberry, blackberry or raspberry)

Small mint leaves


Lay out the short bread pastry shells on a large white platter.

I find these pastry shells in the baking section near the pre made graham cracker crusts. 

Fill each little shortbread shell with the lemon curd.  The lemon curd is often near the peanut butter and jelly or in the baking section near the pre made crusts.

Put a small piece of fruit in the middle of each lemon tart. Today I used blueberries. But in the past I have used raspberries and blackberries. 

Next to each blueberry put a tiny sprig of mint. You can throw this dessert together in minutes!

And the tennis teams loved them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Homemade Apple Pie

Lately I have been in a pie making mood. I have been experimenting with different crust recipes.  And I found this recipe on and I knew that I had to try it because the pie dough had sour cream as an ingredient. 

I usually make my pie dough one day in advance. Most recipes say to chill the dough for 2 hours or overnight. But I also saw another crust recipe online where the dough doesn't need to be chilled at all! I will probably try that crust recipe next week. 

Crust Ingredients;

2 1/2 cups flour

2 sticks and 2 tablespoons of butter, room temperature, cut into cubes

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

Filling Ingredients:

3 pounds Granny Smith apples (6-8 apples)

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons of flour

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Egg Wash:

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon milk


In a large bowl whisk the flour, salt and sugar. Add the cubed butter and use a pastry cutter to blend the flour and butter until the largest pieces of butter are no large than a pea or a kernel of corn. 

Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and add the sour cream. Using the pastry cutter again combine the sour cream until the mixture begins to clump into a dough. 

Make 2 equal sized dough balls. Pat each ball into a disk. Sprinkle each disk with a little flour and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

While the dough is chilling - you can start making the filling.

Wash, peal, core and slice the apples. Slice the apples into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices. As you slice your apples add the lemon juice to the bowl so that the apple slices don't turn brown. 

Combine the sugar, flour and spices in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to a bowl and sprinkle it over the apples. Using a large spoon fold the mixture together. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 7 minutes. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough  to about a 12-inch circle. Place the dough into the pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the apples inside the pie crust.

Get the next disk of dough out of the refrigerator.  Let it sit for a few minutes. Then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. 

Place the rolled out dough on top of the apples and crimp the edges with your fingers. Combine the yolk and milk in a small bowl and brush the entire top of the pie with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife cut four slits on the top of the pie.

Place your pie on a large cookie sheet and place in the 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cover the pie with foil and continue baking at 350 degrees for another 20 to 25 minutes. Your pie crust should be golden brown.

Transfer the apple pie to a cooling rack for at least an hour. I am lazy and just put it on the cooktop.

Serve warm or room temperature. Always with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Let me know if you decide to make this Apple Pie! Your family will thank you!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Homemade Strawberry Pie

I made a Strawberry Pie! Many steps but very simple. I found this recipe on and I decided to make this recipe because the crust was homemade.

Many Strawberry Pie recipes that I looked up used a store bought pie crust. I love making homemade pie crust.

Technically summer is not really over! And nothing says summer like fresh Strawberry Pie!

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup flour

/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick of butter, chilled and diced

4 to 6 tablespoons of ice water

Egg Wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

Strawberry Filling:

1 1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 ounce box strawberry jello

4 cups strawberries (cut in half)


Begin by making the pie crust. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt. Add the diced butter and cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or two forks. I used a pastry cutter. Keep pressing, cutting and combining until the mixture looks like little peas. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to form a ball. 

Flatten the dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. I made my dough the day before I made the pie and it chilled overnight.

The next morning I set the dough on my countertop for 5 minutes or so and started rolling it out on a lightly floured surface.

Carefully transfer the pie dough to a 9-inch pie pan and press the dough up against the sides. Crimp the edges with a fork and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork-  this prevents the dough from rising.

Cover the dough and pie plate with two pieces of foil - pressing against the sides. Then add some dried beans to weight it down. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bake the pie crust at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Take the crust out of the oven - remove the foil and beans. Careful the foil and beans are very hot. Brush the dough with the egg wash - egg and milk. Place the pie dough back into the 400 degree oven for 5 minutes without the foil and beans.

Set the baked pie crust aside to cool.

Isn't this a beautiful pie crust? The pie crust is the most difficult step - I can't stand really brown or burn't pie edges. 

For the strawberry filling - wash and slice four cups of strawberries. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the water, sugar and cornstarch over medium heat until the mixture is really thick. Stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Remove the thickened  mixture from the heat and add the strawberry jello. Stir until everything is combined and the jello is completely dissolved. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to cool and add the strawberries. Toss until everything is combined. Pour the strawberry mixture into the cooled pie crust.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

I love fresh pie!

We had this wonderful pie for dessert last night. It was delicious! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Watermelon, Peach, Tomato Salad

After tennis or a long morning walk - I like to make this light and refreshing salad.

I used heirloom cherry tomatoes - but you could use cherry or grape tomatoes.

I simply chop the watermelon into bite sized cubes, wash and chop the tomatoes in half or quarters and peel the peaches and chop into bite sized pieces.

I garnished today with some chopped chives and a side of mint. But you could also garnish with chopped basil or flat leaf parsley.

If you are making the salad earlier in the day add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.  

Also if you need the salad to be a little sweeter - add a tablespoon of honey. There is no recipe for this salad. Add more watermelon if you love watermelon! Make the salad for just yourself or for your family and friends! It is light and refreshing!