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Pear Crumble Bars

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A month or so ago (before all of the snow hit), we visited a local park which is built around an old homestead with a beautiful house, garden and weather vane.

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Near the house I was surprised to see a big Bartlett pear tree laden with fruit.  We had two of these trees on our old homestead on the Ohio/Indiana border many years ago and I always made full use of all of the delicious pears.  No one was gathering the pears here but I resisted the temptation to pick up a few for my favorite Pear Crumble Pie and instead bought some at the store.  This time I used the pears to make a bar cookie with all of the flavors of the pie but on a tender cookie base.   These are delicious.

PEAR CRUMBLE BARS
3 cups of sliced, peeled ripe Bartlett pears (3-4 medium pears)
1-½ Tblsp. lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. grated lemon peel
2 Tblsp. butter

Crumble Topping
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
4 Tblsp. butter

Cookie Base:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Butter a 9-inch baking pan

To prepare pears:
In a medium bowl, place pear slices, lemon juice, sugar, flour and lemon peel.  Toss lightly.  In a skillet, melt 2 Tblsp. butter and add the pear mixture.  Saute pear mixture until pears are slightly soft but not brown.  Set aside.
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To prepare crumb topping:
In a small bowl, place flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk to combine.  Cut in 4 Tblsp. butter until mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.

To prepare cookie base:
In a mixer bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy.  Add egg and mix to combine.  Add flour, salt and vanilla, mixing just until flour is absorbed.  Spread this mixture in the prepared 9×9 inch pan.  Dough will be quite thick – dampening the fingertips helps spread the dough in the pan.

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Spread the pear mixture over the top of the dough.

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Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the pears.

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Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 35 minutes until cake is done and topping is golden brown.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack and cut into 9 bars.

PearBar (5)Servings:  9

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SewSweetI (5)

I was interested in a new BOM offered by JacquelineSteves.com because I have been doing a lot of embroidering from vintage patterns lately and her BOM has a nice 6-1/2 center block to fill with embroidery or applique.  Jacqueline supplies a simple embroidery/applique design but I wanted to use a series of darling bluebird-in-the-kitchen patterns that I found online.

This is the first of the Sew Sweet Simplicty BOM series which finishes at 12-1/2 inches unfinished.

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I made this block from scraps using suggested colors except I substituted blue for red to accent the little birds.

This is a fairly easy pattern to sew with a couple of helpful tips from Jacqueline.  We can make a four or six-block wall hanging and I haven’t decided yet how I’ll use my blocks, but they will all be scrappy with a bluebird in the center.

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The free vintage embroidery pattern (plus many, many more arranged in albums) is available at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29529717@N04/

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Remembering WW II Veterans

Originally posted on Lillian's Cupboard:

Throughout my childhood, November 11 was called Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I  at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month – the war to end all wars.  Then came World War II and somewhere along the line the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor the veterans of all wars.

There were many veterans in my family during World War II.  Three of my uncles served for the entire duration of the war.  The first uncle, Frank, was drafted before Pearl Harbor, just months after he had married a young girl who had to wait for 4 years before they could resume their married life.  Frank sent great letters home to everyone, including me.  My mother thought he made my letters especially history/geography related, assuming I’d be taking them to school and he was right.  Almost every day, someone brought a…

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Pillows for a Doll Rocker

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Last Saturday, my daughter and I visited a favorite antique mall, Venice Pavilion Antique Mall in Ross, Ohio (near Cincinnati).  I have been on the lookout for a small doll’s bed to display some mini quilts.  I didn’t find a bed but I did find this really nice wide rocker for only $6.50.   It measures 7-1/2 inches wide x 9 inches high
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As soon as I got home, I made up a pillow with a Thanksgiving theme.

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It was a cute pillow but I really wanted one that was wider.  I found four 3-½ inch blocks that I had paper-pieced 6 or 7 years ago.  With a few strips as borders, they turned out to be the exact size I needed.  This is confirmation of my old argument that if you keep something long enough, some day you’ll find a use for it.  All of the blocks were patterns from my Electric Quilt software (#5 at that time).  This one is called Bird of Paradise.

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This pattern is called Lucky Star

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I couldn’t find my file with the name for this block, but I like the blue fabrics.

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This block is called Jack’s Delight and shows an advantage the rocker has over a bed – the space to display small items on the seat.

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The best use may be as a comfortable resting place for my doll Emily who is wearing a doll dress made by my mother out of one of my dresses almost 80 years ago.

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In the 1980-90s my husband I traveled quite a bit between our home in Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border and Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Florida.  We always stopped in local shops or visitor’s centers to find souvenirs for the folks at home and I looked for regional cookbooks for myself.  I found the Bear Wallow small booklets to be full of good, old-fashioned, easy recipes.  This recipe came from Bear Wallow Apple Recipes.  I first made this dessert in 1995 and have a note in my binder:  “Made with our own Golden Delicious apples.  David (my husband) loved this – ate almost the whole thing for supper.”

It’s a sweet, flavorful dessert with lots of apples and a thin sponge filling baked on top.  The Cinnamon Whipped Cream was my idea and a good topping for this dish.

APPLE SPONGE PUDDING WITH CINNAMON WHIPPED CREAM
1 egg yolk, beaten
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup water
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg white, beaten stiff
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 Tblsp. butter
5 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced (about 5 cups)
Sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Have at hand a 9-inch baking dish

In a medium bowl, place the beaten egg yolk and whisk in granulated sugar.

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Sift together dry ingredients and add to egg mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add vanilla. Fold in stiff egg white.
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Sprinkle brown sugar evenly on bottom of baking dish and dot with butter.

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Pour sliced apples over sugar, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg…

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…then pour pudding mixture over apples.

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Bake in 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes.

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Serve with a dollop of Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
½ cup whipping cream
1 Tblsp.  powdered sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

Beat cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon until cream is thick (don’t overbeat to form butter).
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I’m continuing with projects that use vintage embroidery and lots of autumn-colored scraps.  I found this free pattrn online and made it into a place mat.

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I embroidered another vintage pattern and added fabric to make a Halloween pillow.

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The scary, feathered owl was a birthday gift from my younger granddaughter who liked it so well that she bought one for herself.

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I made a pillow set for my vintage folding chair.  This design is based on a Helan Barrick decorative painting pattern that I first used about 25 years ago.

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It’s fun to take the embroidered pieces and figure out what I can do with them, using scraps and reducing the amount of leftover fabric I have to store.

Cherry Tomato Pesto Sauce

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We had two surprises in our garden this summer.  A big surprise was the appearance of volunteer cherry and pear tomato plants.  I haven’t planted tomatoes for 3 or 4 years and was delighted to see strong, vigorous plants growing.  A plant with little yellow pear tomatoes grew tall enough to bloom and produce right outside my kitchen window.

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Every day, my daughter picked a bowl of delicious, fresh tomatoes and I started looking for ways to use them other than in a salad.
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This tomato pasta sauce is delicious and worth trying if you still have cherry tomatoes hanging on in your garden.  It’s good enough that I’ll buy cherry tomatoes in the winter so we can have this sauce often.  The pesto portion was adapted from a recipe on Lidia’s Italy  and the sauce is one that I make often.

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CHERRY TOMATO PESTO SAUCE
Pesto:
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
12 large fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp. salt
Grating of black pepper
½ cup olive oil

Sauce:
2 Tblsp. butter
2 Tblsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine (Charonnay)
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes

Grating of black pepper

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4 servings of hot, cooked pasta

To make pesto:
In a food processor, place tomatoes, basil, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper.  Process until everything is finely minced.
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Gradually add olive oil and process until mixture is smooth.

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Set aside

To make sauce:
In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil.  Add garlic and saute until lightly brown.  Add wine, lemon juice, pepper and ½ cup of halved tomatoes.  Stir in pesto and heat until mixture is piping hot.
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Serve immediately over cooked pasta.

Yield:  4 servings

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The second surprise was what grew up around a bird bath in the back yard.  My daughter thought she had picked up a packet of small marigolds to brighten up the bottom base of the bird bath, but the flowers kept growing until they extended well above it and  produced some gorgeous, huge orange and yellow flowers.

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