Sunday, July 29, 2012

Part 2: Farmer's Market Tour

   After visiting the local farmer's market today,I wanted to share a few more vendors that I love.I have included the websites of those that offer their products via mail order.

   Here is the cupcake stand,a hard one to pass by.They are made by The Cupcake Corner.They offer a variety of large and mini cupcakes,all pre-packaged.The flavors include standards like vanilla,chocolate and red velvet,along with fun flavors such as cotton candy and chocolate peanut butter.

    Another great stand is the local sea food man.Each week you will find a variety of seafood from the waters off of the east end of Long Island,along with salmon and tuna.There are always clams,shrimp,mussels and scallops available.
    The crumb cake stand is a favorite.My sister brought  a bright red tin,called "A Bucket of Crumbs," to my house for Christmas one year,and it was filled with their highly addictive crumb cookies.I tried one,and thought they were good,and then I tried another,and another.....They are the perfect treat for the person that loves the crumbs on top of a crumb cake.The go very well with a cup of coffee or in my case,a cold glass of milk.They also offer crumb cakes and pastries. They are made by Hahn's Old Fashioned Cake Company . .
    If you live on Long Island,I hope you take the time to visit the local farmer's is truly a place for one stop shopping! Enjoy your weekend! .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cookie Mousse Cups

   Here is a sweet little treat sure to please your taste buds!The crust is a sugar cookie dough molded into mini tart molds,and the filling is a lucious white chocolate mousse,without the eggs!You may also use your own favorite shortbread or sugar cookie recipe for the crust.

Filling Ingredients:
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. white chocolate(use a good one)!
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. heavy cream
   In a small saucepan,heat the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk until all of the chocolate is melted. Stir well,and set aside to cool.While the mixture is cooling, in the chilled bowl of your mixer,whip the cream until stiff peaks form.Once the chocolate mixture is cooled,gently fold it into the whipped cream.Set aside until ready to assemble.

Cookie Crust:(My favorite Paula Deen cookie Recipe)

2 sticks of unsalted butter,softened
3 oz. cream cheese,softened
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
2-1/2 c. flour
    In the bowl of your mixer,blend together the butter and cream cheese.Add the sugar and vanilla.Add the yolks.Add the flour,and blend only until combined.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before proceeding.

   Using about 1 Tbsp. of cookie dough,press into your tart pans.Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-9 minutes...the dough should be golden brown around the edges.Let cool.
    Fill each cookie cup with some of the mousse mixture....I used a decorative star tip to pipe mine.Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.Garnish with fresh berries,mint,coconut,or chocolate if desired.

***The cookie tart shells can be made ahead of time and kept in an airtight container for a few days...better yet,they can be wrapped well and frozen for at leat 6 months.Defrost before filling.

***Another great idea would be to place a small amount of lemon or lime curd under the mousse.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Corn Salad

   In my area,we are very fortunate at the moment to have fresh corn available to us.I know that a large part of the country is experiencing a drought ,and it is my hope that they will be rained upon heavily,and soon.If you are fortunate enough to have fresh corn available to you this summer,here is a great recipe from Ina Garten,that is as simple as it is delicious.

5 ears of fresh corn,peeled,silks removed
1/2 c. red onion,chopped
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. good olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves,chopped
     Bring a large pot of water to a boil.Boil the corn for about three minutes,then remove from the pot and cool.Once cooled,cut the kernels off of the cob and place in a large bowl.
   Add the rest of the ingredients,and toss well.Serve at room temperature(which I like best),or's delicious either way.Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blackberry Lemonade

 This morning,I went to my local farmer's market and found what I have been waiting for all summer.....blackberries.One of my favorite summertime drinks is blackberry lemonade,so I went home and made is the recipe.Stringing blackberries on a straw makes a nice presentation for guests!

1 c. fresh blackberries
4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 c. FRESH lemon juice(5-6 lemons,skins peeled and saved)

   Place 2 c. of water and 1 c. of sugar in a small saucepan.Heat over low heat until the sugar is dissolved...this is a simple syrup. Remove from heat and place the reserved lemon peels in the mixture.Set aside.The mixture will take on a bright yellow hue while cooling.Yes,I know what it looks jokes!

    In a blender,blend the blackberries and 1 c. of water.Strain into a pitcher using a fine sieve(to remove all of the seeds and pulp),and add an additional cup of water.Pour the lemon peel/simple syrup mixture into the pitcher,again using a strainer.Finally,add the cup of lemon juice and ice.
   Stir the mixture well,and serve with mint sprigs and blackberries if desired.Enjoy!

 ***You may use raspberries or strawberries instead of blackberries in this recipe if desired.

***Always use the juice from fresh lemons.never the stuff in the little bottle or plastic lemon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cake Boss Cakes

   Buddy Valastro,aka The Cake Boss, has now made his cakes available at BJs Wholesale Clubs! Of course,I had to get one right away and do a little "taste test." My son was eager to see what was available,so off to the store we went.
    When we arrived at BJs,the display was near empty,so I guess it is fair to say that his opening day was a hit.Two cakes were available..the first was a chocolate caramel cake,which I would have bought,but since the kids wanted to try it,I went for the bright green cake with decorative flowers....what can you do? The cakes are priced at $19.99,which although not cheap,is less than I had expected.
   The cake we purchased is called the "Bada Bloom" cake. It had one layer of vanilla cake,one layer of chocolate cake with a thin layer of chocolate fudge in between.The icing was a buttercream,not a fondant.The packaging was also nice,and included a description of the cake it contained,which is a nice touch.
    After our tasting,I will say this, the cake was very fresh,which is always a plus.The cake also sliced like no other cake I have ever had..perfect slices,leaving virtually no crumbs behind.It looked neat,and I love that. As far as taste goes,I would have to say that the cake was  good....the layers appear to me to be a mix between a layer cake and a pound cake.I know they call it a sponge,but it isn't as light as a sponge.It looks very dense,but it isn't really heavy.The icing is pretty sweet,but not overly sweet.
   All in all,I would say it is a nice treat for a special occasion.After one slice,I was full,and I can really eat cake.This cake is definitely a cut above the typical cakes you will find at your local grocery store.I'd say that Buddy will do well with his newest venture.On my next visit,I will try the chocolate caramel cake,and of course,I will let you know how it tastes!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vegetable Tian

  This is one of my favorite recipes from Ina Garten.It makes a great side dish for many different meals.Today,we made it with all fresh veggies(except the onions), from my son Timmy's garden,right down to the fresh thyme.It was delicious,and so easy to make.This is not the exact recipe from her book,but it is a close adaptation.

1-2 large zucchini,sliced
3-4 large potatoes,sliced
1-2 large tomatoes,sliced
2 garlic cloves,minced
2 large onions,sliced
2 oz. gruyere cheese,grated
olive oil
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
   In a saute pan,saute the onions in about 2 tbsp. of olive oil for 5-7 minutes until tender.Add the garlic,and saute one more minute.Pour the onion mixture into a shallow baking dish.Layer the zucchini,tomato and potato, around the dish,alternating the vegetables.Sprinkle with 1 tsp, of salt,and 1/2 tsp. pepper.Drizzle with a little olive oil and place the fresh thyme on top.Cover with foil,and bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.
   Remove the foil,then remove the sprigs of thyme.Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake a few minutes more until the cheese is slightly brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

 So,today is my birthday,and the boys wanted to make cookies for me.Of course,I had to stick my hands into the mix,but they made the dough,and Timmy and I decorated a few of them....can you tell which ones I did,and which ones Timmy did? I love baking with my's a great way to spend my day!

   Have a sweet  afternoon!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tour of the Farmer's Market

   One of the things I look forward to every summer,is the opening of the local farmer's market.The taste of fresh picked fruits & veggies cannot be beat.Not only does our local farmer offer delicious produce,it also offers an array of products from goat cheese,to olive oils,baked goods and more.I took a few pictures this morning to share with you so you can see why I enjoy visiting each week(okay,maybe even twice a week)!
    One of my favorite stops is the bread stand.They have an amazing variety(I am only showing one side of the stand in this photo),and the bread is always fresh and delicious.They hail from Manhattan,and we are fortunate enough to be able to sample their products each week.
   Another fun stop is the olive oil stand. This stand always has a variety of different flavored oils and balsamic vinegars ,complete with bread cubes to sample.Flavors such as peach or fig balsamic,and basil,rosemary,and garlic infused olive oil.Perfect for marinating all of your grilling items,or to use to change the flavor of your favorite salads...yum!Visit them at .
   Of course, most farmer's markets have a flower section,and you cannot help but smile when you pass by these gorgeous sunflowers!

   Every weekend,my hubby and son Chris look forward to roasted vegetable sandwiches.The bread comes from the bread stand,and the delicious pesto,roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella come from the italian food stand.They also offer arancini(rice balls),fried artichokes,a variety of flavored ravioli ,pastas,stuffed breads and olives.
   One of my favorite new additions to the market this year is the spice truck....oh how I love this stand!Not only does he offer spices,nuts,and dried fruit of every variety, the man has sprinkles!!! As a baking fanatic,I look forward to adding to my sprinkle assortment each,my son Timmy picked blue!Visit them at  .
   Other stands we love are the goat cheese stand,which offers cheese & yogurts,the coffee stand,and our favorite pound cake stand!Polkadot Pound Cakes offers a variety of delicious flavors,such as almond(my favorite),plain,chocolate(another favorite),and in the fall,one of our absolute favorites,apple pound cake! Fortunately,they ship from their online store,so if you would like to try some visit  .

    Another sweet addition to the market this week is that of Butterscotch's....a place to stop for sweet treats such as tarts,lemon cookies and brownie bites,which we tried and loved!There is also a wonderful cupcake stand,which we do not have a picture of,but will add next week!

    Of course,I am forever faithful to my fruit and vegetable stands,which offer delicious,seasonal produce,that cannot be matched by our local supermarket.Above is just a glimpse of their offerings...from Terry's Farm and The Orchards of Concklin .

  There are other stands offering fresh seafood(caught in the wee morning hours),pickles,crumb cakes,and a delectable crumb cookie which I will share with you later in the week(it can also be ordered online),and other sweets and homemade soaps.Now,can you see why I am addicted to this place?
   I hope you are able to visit one of your local farmer's markets and enjoy all that they have to offer....feel free to post pics to our facebook page and share some of your delicious seasonal finds.I would love to see them!For more information on a local market near you(if you live on Long Island),visit  Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

See You Later Alligator

   Here are some fun summer printable ideas for the kiddies.These are the treats I sent my boys to school with on their last day.How cute are the toppers?We made alligator cookies,but you can fill a bag with any treat you like.This  is a great idea for the last day of sports camp,or day camp, or any other adventures your kids might be on this summer. For this one,I used regular sandwich bags,but I usually use treat bags that I pick up at Michael's craft store. Here are a few ideas for the bags....

After you print out the labels,you cut them and add them to your treat bags.They even have a spot to write who they are for,and who they are from.    Where did I find such adorable printables? Anything But Perfect,is one of my favorite new sites.It offers some free printables,and you may also shop for other designs.The assortment is filled with adorable prints for all different occasions.I love the designs,and I think you will too.Take a look at some calendar pages and summer to do lists that I printed out for my kids.....

    Visit for more fun-filled prints and ideas!You'll love it!