Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rustic Dutch Rosemary Asparagus Pie

 When my friend Anne Marie posed the question, "What kind of pie are you?" I definitely had to write about this very decadent pie/tart... perfect for the Easter holidays.
Anne Marie is celebrating the launch of her new book, Pie*ography ...a delicious read featuring 42 different pies and the personal connection behind each recipe.

 
 My Mother is from Amsterdam, Holland and growing up we were blessed to indulge in many Dutch recipes.
My Grandparents celebrated their native country heartily with food fare every time we visited.
They lived through a tumultuous time in history and understood that wholesome healthy food is a privilege.
My Grandmother miscarried three times running to safety during WW2 before carrying the first of her six children to term.
She talked about some of the horrors, but inadvertently chose to keep most of those memories to herself, as they caused her to tear up.
So... many times I would sit and listen to her stories about food shortage.
And how they made do.
And how they made nutritious meals with what was available.
.....~.....
This asparagus pie reminds me so much of my Grandmother.


 I love that it is rich and lush and uses just a few ingredients that are fresh and in season.
This pie denotes the essence of making do with what you have...which I appreciate immensely.
Living 20 minutes from town, I can't just untie my apron and dash to the store.


My Grandmother created beautiful dishes from plain ingredients.
The rustic elements and imperfections are what make this pie simply perfect.
Not to mention oh so good to the palate!
I am somewhat of a perfectionist, though throughout the years, I have softened my urge to have everything "just so" and let God have the control.
Hearing stories of survival and the joy that was found in the simple, I realize that God's idea of perfection is very different from mine.
He sees grace and polish in the plain and flawed.
The imperfections are what make exquisiteness.
What a sweet and comforting truth!


Rustic Dutch Rosemary Asparagus Pie

2 egg whites beaten to double in size
1 cup of ricotta cheese
zest of 1/2 of an organic lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 TBS dried rosemary or a handful of fresh
10~12 fresh asparagus spears
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 sheets of puff pastry {store bought or homemade}
1 TBS shaved almonds

Preheat the oven to 356 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Beat the egg whites until they have doubled in volume. In a separate bowl, beat the ricotta until smooth and add in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and rosemary. Add the salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Now gently fold in the egg whites.
Roll out the puff pastry and gently press into a greased 9-inch pie plate or tart pan, making sure to cover the sides. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the tin, spreading it evenly. Arrange the asparagus on top, brushing them with some olive oil. Bake for approximately 45 minutes (or until the pastry is golden and the ricotta slightly blistered).
Toast the almonds in a frying pan and sprinkle over the top.
Enjoy!



What kind of pie are you?
If you would like to join in the pie fun, visit Anne Marie at Na-Da Farm and enjoy the sneak peeks from her new book, Pie*ography.
I can't wait to get my copy!
pieogprahy button 3

Happy pie eating!
~Julia

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Deep Rich Skinny Chocolate

I love chocolate and seem to have a piece everyday.
If I don't have real chocolate, I find myself sneaking a few chocolate chips out of the jar throughout the day, just to satisfy my inner craving.
I am diabetic...so this isn't my best move.
In comes the following recipe.
It is decadent, smooth, and your palate will be screaming for more!
AND it is sugar free and will actually aid in weight loss.
Yup.
Almost too good to be true!


Deep Rich Skinny Chocolate

1 cup coconut oil melted on low heat
About 4 shakes of NuNaturals NuStevia or 1 pkt stevia
2 heaping tablespoons organic cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Optional: 1/2 c chopped almonds and tiny shake of sea salt

Combine everything and stir well.
Line a bread pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
Pour into pan and freeze for at least an hour.

Sneak into the freezer and break off a chunk during the day to satisfy your chocolate craving.
I tend not to share my stash :).
Or bring out and let it warm slightly for a creamier version.
Store in refrigerator or freezer wrapped.



~Julia

Monday, February 25, 2013

Make Your Own Little Drawstring Gift Bags...{Great for Easter!}

I am joining the sweet Jen Rizzo for her 6 Days of Spring Linky Party.
I love this time of the year and what fun to share "springy" ideas!


Spring is upon us and I can't wait for warmer weather, flowers, and Easter!
We usually celebrate Easter with simple little gifts, so yesterday I started making these darling little drawstring bags to hold goodies.

This project is perfect for using up scraps of fabric that you have collected.
Here is what you will need:
{Makes a 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch bag}

2 pieces of your choice in fabric, cut 6 1/2 inches wide by 9 3/4 inches long
18 inches of cotton string/cording
Safety pin

First, cut your fabric and then hem three sides using a 1/2 inch hem.


Now you will make the sleeve for the drawstring.
I love that the end project has finished edges inside and out :).

Iron down about 1/4 of an inch all the way across.

Now fold over one inch and press.


Repeat with the other piece of fabric and double check that they line up perfectly.


Stitch along the lower edge of the sleeve, back stitching at each end.

Place right side together and match the tops exactly.
Pin together if you like.




Sew around the inside of the finished edges...LEAVING at least a 1/4 inch from the top open {from the bottom sleeve seam}. 
You will need some room for the cord to freely run through the top.
I back stitched 3 or four times at the top corner to give the bag some strength.
I hope this picture makes what I am talking about a little clearer.

 I stitched close to the edge of the hems all the way around and left about a 1/4 inch open at the top.
Make sure you reinforce with the back stitching!




Now turn your little bag right side out.

Give the corners a little push with a blunt edge and iron flat.
You are ready to insert the cotton string.
See how the top has a little extra room?


 The inside of the bag has nice finished edges.
 Attach the safety pin to the end of your string and start threading through the sleeve.
Thread through both sides until you have the ends of the string out one side of the bag.






Neatly tie a little knot at the end...leaving at least 2 1/2 inches out.



That's it!
It took me around 15 minutes to make one, so this is a relatively fast project and so fun!

I made them in a couple of different patterns, and for those of you who would rather just purchase one all ready to go, I have a few in my SHOP...
just in time for Easter!

You can make them in all colors and they look darling stuffed with little gifts.
Because they are made so sturdy, the bags would make a great eyeglass case, pouch for nail polish and other things, or even to reuse for another gift!

Happy Spring!

~Julia


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 Love never ends.





Wishing you a day of love and blessings abundant!

~Julia

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Babies...

The nights have been cool, but our days have been so warm this past week.
Oh...it feels like Spring!

Our second oldest raises registered Red Angus and he has had 2 babies born in the last week.
One little heifer....meet Sally...




The boys were lucky enough to watch the birth. That doesn't happen very often.
I caught them quietly standing off at a distance.
Will even filmed the whole event :).


Fresh born and Mama licking her clean.




 Up and nursing!
That is the sign of a healthy calf.




Next came a rather big calf, and because he was born near Superbowl Sunday, Tim is registering him as "Superbull Sun King."

He was actually born breech...which is not a good thing.
Sometimes, you really have to help the Mama cow if baby is breech.
But we were lucky that his Mama worked to get him positioned just right and he slid out perfectly.
I kind of panicked when Tim came in to tell me that the back feet were showing first and there was no sign of a little nose.
Usually the calf comes out like "Superman" with front feet and nose showing first.
We had a neighbor and Dad on his way home to help pull...I am so glad everything turned out fine.



 He is cute as can be.



 I love watching baby calves play.




Hope you are all having a great day!

~Julia

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