Lemon Tart 2.0

Yes, I know.  You’ve had it up to the gills with lemon tarts.  I don’t care; it was my birthday and that’s what I wanted for my birthday cake.  My able bodied sous chef was here on the Island with me so we decided to get fancy with Grandma O’s meringue recipe.  There was even a bit of a styling competition between my sous chef and the big G.

Normally, the meringue would be much taller, but I wanted to put a thin layer on each.  We made the meringue and scooped it onto each tart.  I think it ended up being about 1/2 inch deep.  Meringue isn’t my drug of choice, so I was quite happy with that amount.

My sous chef made the swirls and twirls.  I like the way the points get extra dark.  G got all fancy and and made the long swirls.  You choose; I think they both look good.  Don’t let anyone tell you meringue is tricky; it couldn’t be easier.  I read now where you have to have special equipment and super greaseless bowls.  Grandma O made hers with a hand beater.  You can do it!

For a 9 inch pie:

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

6 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tarter until frothy.  Gradually beat in the sugar a little at a time.  Continue beating until stiff and glossy.  Pile the meringue onto the pie filling, being careful to seal the meringue onto the edge of the crust to prevent shrinking.  If the filling is exposed to the heat, (not entirely covered) it may “weep”.  Swirl or pull up points to decorate the top.  Bake until delicately browned, usually 8 to 10 minutes works.  Cool gradually in a slightly warm place, away from drafts.  A chill may make the meringue fall.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I like a graham cracker crust.  Use any recipe you like best, or refer to the one I included a while back.

and remember what MLK Jr said:  History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the “good” people.  Big kiss, Lynn

Peanut Butter Pie

This entry is brought to you by the dashingly debonair G.  We were watching a cooking show the other night and he saw a peanut butter pie.  Was it this pie?  Hell, no.  G cannot leave well enough alone; he must change it to be his own creation.  There was no recipe provided, but that has never stopped G.

So, the pie we saw was made with a graham cracker crust, crunchy peanut butter and cream cheese.  G wanted his to have a chocolate graham cracker crust  and creamy peanut butter, because that’s what we have.

This is a really good example of trying something new.  G didn’t have the pie baking skills necessary to make a pie, but he did have the desire to have a piece of peanut butter pie.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.  Don’t let fear stop you from trying something new.

Graham cracker crust

1 sleeve graham crackers, regular or chocolate, crushed

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all, press firmly in pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool before adding filling.

Peanut butter filling

1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy (G used creamy peanut butter and added 1/2 cup chopped peanuts)

1 cup cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup whip cream, whipped

1 teaspoon vanilla

Using a hand mixer, whip peanut butter and cream cheese.  Set aside.  Whip cream and slowly incorporate it into peanut butter mixture.  Add vanilla.  Once it’s the desired consistency, pour into your prepared pie shell.

G drizzled chocolate syrup over the slices when serving.  Next time he said he’ll put a plop of whip cream on as well.  He says for the visual appeal, but we all know he’s lying.  He loves whip cream!

*  From the Recipe Box:

Be careful with the chopped peanuts.  G used salted peanuts and he had to scramble a bit to lessen the salt flavor in the pie.

The pie is really rich, but everyone but me loved it.  It was a bit much for me.

and remember:  I’ve decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.  Big kiss, Lynn

Bark, Bark, Bark

Over the years, G and I have turned into chocolate bark fans.  Today I want to focus on 3 different barks.  And you thought this was going to be about dogs.  Ha-ha.  I think both G and I like the white chocolate, pistachio and cranberry bark the best.  We made this the first time years ago to give as Christmas gifts.  We liked it so much, we kept thinking of other options to try.  We really liked the way it looked.  There’s something classy and sophisticated about bark.

I found these great discs on Amazon.  They melt really well and the chocolate has a decent flavor.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a huge chocolate fan and some chocolates really ….. offend me.  That isn’t the right word, but I don’t want to eat a KitKat due to the chocolate and yet it’s one of G’s favorite chocolate bars.  There’s a flavor profile that just offends the old tongue.  So, maybe it is the right word.

Bark # 1 White Chocolate, Pistachio and Craisin Bark

Melt 12 ounces white chocolate discs in the microwave for approximately 1 minute

Keep going in 15 second intervals if it needs more time.

Place parchment on cookie sheet.  Pour white chocolate on parchment.  Sprinkle pistachios and craisins over melted chocolate and cool in refrigerator.  Break into pieces when firm.

Bark # 2 Reese’s Pieces Milk Chocolate Bark

Melt 12 ounces milk chocolate discs in the microwave for approximately 1 minute

Keep going in 15 second intervals if it needs more time.

Place parchment on cookie sheet.  Pour milk chocolate on parchment.  Sprinkle Reese’s Pieces and cut up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over melted chocolate and cool in refrigerator.  Break into pieces when firm.

Bark # 3 Dark Chocolate, Pecan and Montmorency Cherries

Melt 12 ounces dark chocolate discs in the microwave for approximately 1 minute

Keep going in 15 second intervals if it needs more time.

Place parchment on cookie sheet.  Pour dark chocolate on parchment.  Place whole pecan halves and chopped Montmorency cherries over melted chocolate and cool in refrigerator.  Break into pieces when firm.

*  From the Recipe Box:

We love bark; it is the perfect Christmas gift basket addition.

These discs melt so easily, a quick stir will usually get all the lumps out.

Try your favorite flavor and let me know.  I’m always looking for new ideas.

We stirred the nuts and fruit into the white chocolate bark, and I will do that with the others next time.  I don’t like the bark chocolate spread too thin.

and remember:  You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy candy and that’s almost the same thing.  Big kiss, Lynn

Strawberry Cake

Strawberries are a little like apricots for me.  When I was a kid and living in Portland, apricots were just about my favorite fruit.  They were rich in flavor and so juicy.  My mom and grandma canned them every summer.  And then, I don’t know what happened, but they lost their flavor.  I don’t even bother to buy apricots anymore.  I still buy strawberries, but only because G loves them.
When I saw this strawberry cake, I thought eureka, I can combine the best of both worlds, strawberries one time and apricots the next.  So, let’s discuss the recipe.  It’s a very moist cake.  The sour cream is a great addition to the cake.  I baked it for an hour, but I don’t think that was nearly enough.  There were quite a few recipes on You Tube.  This one was by The CooknShare.  He has almost a million followers, so I assumed he’s doing something right and picked his cake to try.  He didn’t suggest a pan size.  I used a 9 inch springform, but next time I will use a 10 inch; that will help it cook a little quicker.
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 12 oz of strawberries
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Heat your oven to 350 F
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar in bowl until they turn a pale color.
  3. Add the sour cream and oil and beat until well combined.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix over low speed until a smooth batter forms.
  5. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper.
  6. Pour half the batter in and top with diced strawberries.
  7. Add the remaining half of the batter and cover with the remaining diced strawberries.
  8. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve.

* From the Recipe Box:

It’s hard to tell when this cake is done.  It’s a nice light color and it springs back even when still very raw in the center.

I’d frozen my berries.  I wouldn’t do it again if fresh was an option.  I didn’t like the way they bled on top of the cake.  I always want perfect.

and remember:  Charles Bukowski said it best:  The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.  Big kiss, Lynn

Peanut Butter Cookies

It’s happened again.  I think I may be the last person on the planet to discover the 3 ingredient cookie recipes.  I really enjoy a peanut butter cookie.  I love the cross hatching using a fork.  They end up looking timeless, exactly like my mom made them.

My D-I-L said she made these everyday she was in lock down and now I understand why.  I simply cannot believe there are only 3 ingredients.  Gluten-free girl was up today for the first time in 3 months and we were able to share them with her.  She was totally shocked as well.

I think I’m pretty smart on the whole, but I cannot think of these brilliant ideas.  Why oh why didn’t I get the clever gene instead of being so incredibly cute?  I’ve since seen several more 3 ingredient cookies and I will be giving them a try soon, but first I have to get out of the sweet habit if you know what I mean.  At least I’m not going to the grocery store and picking up goodies to go along with these treats.

1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

Combine all the ingredients with your hand mixer until creamy.

Roll into teaspoon sized balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.    Press each dough roll down with a fork.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

 * From the Recipe Box:

I’m old school.  G’s mom taught me to cool cookies on dish towels and brown paper sacks.  Now I usually put a dish towel down and put parchment paper on top.  If you don’t have parchment, wax paper will do nicely.

G did not like the cookie balls rolled in sugar.  He thought they tasted too sugary and grainy.

and remember:  I know everything happens for a reason, but WTF!  Big kiss, Lynn

Tapioca Pudding

I’m a pudding girl.  Oh-oh, we’re back to white food as well.  Both Grandma O and my mom were big pudding makers and tapioca was an all time favorite.  They would make 2 kinds of Tapioca:  minute and bubble.  The best part about the minute is squishing it through your teeth.  You can’t do that with the bubble, but it’s fun to try,

The recipe they used was originally in Betty Crocker’s cookbook.  There’s a recipe on the side of the Minute Tapioca box, but we just never used it.  I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I can’t mess with tradition.  This was not a company dessert; this was just for the family.  In retrospect, I realize mom would whip these desserts up in mere moments and they were my favorites.  It’s what farmer’s wives and daughters did; they fed people, no questions asked.

This pudding is light and fluffy.  It says it serves 6, but that is such a lie.  I eat 2 servings just checking to see if it’s cool enough to eat.  What’s wrong with these people?  You will so enjoy this.  Sometimes we don’t need fancy.  We need comforting, especially now.  I just like a bowl of it.  G loves his with whipped cream; but then what doesn’t he like whipped cream on?  I didn’t get that whipped cream gene.  Give this a try and let me know what you think.

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.  Remove from heat.  Cool.  Stir In:

1 teaspoon vanilla

Fold in a meringue made with :

2 egg whites

4 tablespoons sugar

Spoon into serving glasses.  Serve with whipped cream.  If desired, fold in fresh or drained canned fruit;  or pour over fruit in serving glass.

 * From the Recipe Box:

Tapioca is the thickening agent mom and Grandma used in Cherry Pie as well.

I made both Grandma’s and the tapioca box recipes today so we could have a side-by-side comparison.  The clear winner was Grandma’s.  G didn’t think he was a tapioca fan, but he was totally impressed.

The fluffy pudding on the left is Grandma’s.

I don’t use fruit in my tapioca.  I want to taste the purity of the pudding.  And, I’ve got to keep it white.  May 17th is Norwegian Constitution Day and I must be ready.

and remember:  This too shall pass.  It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.  Big kiss, Lynn

Raspberry Muffins

I do love a good muffin.  C the MP was up yesterday with a “Care” package that included raspberries, blueberries and rhubarb.  He knows how much I love my fruit.  After eating almost all of the raspberries plain, I thought it would be nice if I shared a few with G via a muffin.  I’m so good about sharing.

I remember this recipe from when I was a kid.  My mom’s mom and my dad’s mom lived together in this big old house in Portland.  I had many a grand adventure going to stay with them.  They would make wonderful delicacies for “us girls”.  I had cantaloupe filled with ice cream, ribbon candy, baked cheese and more.  Things that have forever stayed in my memory.

The bread basket was my favorite.  There would be Flat Bread, different muffins, Rye bread (still my favorite), lefse, krumkake.  The woman knew how to bake.  She had a tiny little kitchen and still managed to bake everyday and everybody stopped by to share in the bounty.

1 1/2 cups flour (2 cups)

1/2 sup sugar (1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons baking powder (3 teaspoons)

1/4 cup shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (1 cup)

Mix together the dry ingredients with a blending fork or a pastry blender.  Then stir in the wet ingredients  just until the ingredients are blended.  At the last, blend in 1 cup raspberries.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.   Bake until golden brown.

This is Grandma’s sweet version.  In the parentheses are the changes she would make for “plain”.  A plain muffin would have Wheaties or whole wheat in it.  I always loved the pop of color the raspberries provided.  She rarely added a streusel topping.  Occasionally there would be a sprinkle of sugar, but she was a firm believer in the beauty of the raspberry.  I may have gotten my love of raspberries from her.

* From the Recipe Box:
Grandma also had this wooden handled pastry cutter that I was lucky enough to grab.  I don’t care how bent and disfigured it gets.  Closing it in the drawer simply adds to the cutting ability.
and remember:  If you boil a funny bone, does it become a laughing stock?  Big kiss, Lynn


Custard Pie

It must be pie week.  When I was a kid, my mom’s favorite dessert was custard pie.  I thought she was such a maroon.  What I’ve since discovered is the joy of simplicity.  It will never be my favorite dessert, but when I want something smooth, something refreshing, something light, I often turn to Custard Pie.  The old broad was pretty smart after all.

Of course, I think it helps to really love eggs.  Basically, this is an egg pudding.  And as I told you, Norwegians love white food and it doesn’t get much whiter than custard.

Beat slightly with a rotary beater ….. 4 eggs

Then beat in ………………………………………. 2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 2/3 cup milk (with part cream if you want it really rich)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour into a pastry-lined pie pan.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Bake pie for 15 minutes.  Then turn oven down to 350 degrees to finish baking.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes total.  It can be baked at 425 degrees for the same amount of time.

Bake just until a silver knife inserted into side of filling comes out clean.  The center may still look a bit soft but it will set later.

The crust on this pie can stay almost raw.  One way around that is to bake the crust and the filling separately.  Pour the filling directly into a well greased pie pan the same size as the one in which the crust is baked.  Set the pan in a shallow pan of hot water.  Bake just like the other pie instructions.  When lukewarm, slip the baked filling into the cooled baked pie shell.  Allow to settle a few minutes before serving.  It will look like it was baked in the shell only the bottom will be well cooked.

 * From the Recipe Box:

I actually like baking it in a pie pan without the crust.  I do that with pumpkin pie filling as well.  I don’t need a crust; it’s not my favorite.

I’ll bake it in custard cups or ramekins as well.

I also think the filling needs a strain before baking.

Too long baking makes the custard “watery”.

Thinking of you this Mother’s Day mom.  Until I was 12, I had strep throats at least monthly and custard saved my life.  Thank god for mom’s custard and pear baby food.  It’s a long story for another day.

Sorry about the picture quality, but the pie was gone before retakes were possible.

and remember:   Yes, you are the fairest of them all.  Big kiss, Lynn

Impossible Coconut Pie

Things are kind of quiet here on the Island.  I’ve been quarantined for a while now and activities are starting to wear thin.  I was back to mom’s recipe box today when I found this gem.  Impossible Pies were a really big deal in the 70’s.  You could do quiche or sweet pie or more.  This is one mom cut out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  I have one from the side of a Bisquick box.  Like I said, they were everywhere.  But it’s like everything else.   Things change and trendy recipes fall out of favor.  I can’t tell you why.

It was kind of weird throwing everything into a bowl, stirring it up, putting it in a pie pan and baking it.  That was all it took to have pie.  Is it any wonder why I’m a lazy butt?  It’s the age I grew up in.  It’s worth a try though since everything is so quiet right now.  It certainly couldn’t be any easier.  I do think I’ll be trying the quiche ever so soon.

4 eggs

3/4 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 stick butter or 4 tablespoons, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1 cup shredded coconut

Cream eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla with mixer.  Add nutmeg, flour and milk and continue mixing until all ingredients are wet.  Stir in coconut with a spoon.  Spray a 10 inch deep dish pie plate with cooking spray and pour in pie ingredients.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 55 to 60 minutes until brown on top.  This pie will rise up during baking and then fall after it begins to cool. I always put a baking sheet under this pie to catch any drips when it rises up in the oven. The pie will grow while baking and sink a bit while cooling

 * From the Recipe Box:

Now you know I’m not going to be putting nutmeg in my pie, so you have to make that decision.  I think it’s just fine without it.

It tastes ever so much better with whip cream per the family.

and remember what Meredith Marple said:    The very idea that you’re too kind, too sensitive, too emotional, too enthusiastic, too loving is bat-shit preposterous.  Big kiss, Lynn

Carrot Bars


I adore carrot cake, but I’m often the only one who wants a slice, so making carrot cake into a bar sounds like a great idea.  As I was going through mom’s recipe box the other day, I came upon a forgotten classic from Aunty Kay.  I used to make these all the time.  Why on earth did I quit?  The cream cheese frosting is perfect.  It’s so easy to make a pan, share some and freeze some.  These do freeze beautifully.  I’m polishing off this recipe now and putting it back in rotation.  Carrot cake problem solved.

One of the things I want to share with you is shortcuts.  Originally this recipe called for grated carrots.  Now who wants to grate carrots?  I had the idea to use carrot baby food.  Why not?  What you see on the label is what you get in baby food.  I’ve taken this a step further and I use apricot baby food for apricot puree.  You get the picture.  Shortcuts.

But, back to the recipe.  Aunty Kay was a fabulous baker.  Her dinner rolls were the best, her pies were on par with moms and that’s really saying something.  I’ve mentioned in the past how the sisters were in a constant state of competition when it came to baking.  These carrot bars won the carrot round.

4 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 ½ cups oil, any neutral oil

3 small jars carrot baby food or a cup and a 1/2 of grated carrots

½ cup chopped nuts, optional but fabulous

Combine eggs and oil.  Add carrots.  Slowly incorporate dry ingredients.  Fold in nuts, if using.  Bake in a greased jelly roll pan for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


3 ½ cups powdered sugar

6 ounces cream cheese

½ cup butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

Lemon juice to consistency

Cream butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar.  Add vanilla.   Slowly add lemon juice until desired consistency.  Frost carrot bars when cool.

From the Recipe Box:

Aunty Kay’s recipe, freezes well.  I use carrot baby food instead of grating carrots because I’m lazy.

I added some golden raisins.  I also used pineapple juice instead of lemon juice because I had some open.  Per G, these were the best bars, cookies, carrot cake pieces ever.  Whatever!  We loved them and we both agree it’s the frosting.  This makes a lot of frosting, but just the right amount in our opinion.

Thanks Aunty Kay.

and remember:  Trust me, when I woke up today I had no plans to be brilliant, but shit happens.  Big kiss, Lynn