Archive for Cooking

Heart shaped pricly pear paddle

Just wanted to wish all my friends Happy Valentine’s Day!  Sending hugs and kisses your way!  This a Prickly Pear cactus paddle in the shape of a heart.  You can find love in all kinds of places including the desert!

If you still need something sweet (and somewhat healthy) for Valentine’s, try this recipe from Kate Scarlata’s blog,  Chocolate Covered Pineapple.  Any fruit covered with chocolate is so delicious!  (Picture courtesy of Kate Scarlata’s blog)Chocolate-covered-pineapple-fruitEnjoy your day!  Spread some love!!!

Love you all!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

(252) 308-2694

 

Aug
02

Win a Jar of Prickly Pear Jelly

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Let’s do something different this week!  Do you want to win a jar of prickly pear jelly?  Here is your chance.

Share this post with a friend and have them sign up to receive our weekly blog post and both of your names will be entered to win an 8 oz. jar of my (freshly prepared) jelly.  I will ship the jar to the lucky winner.  I must have an email address, so if you win I can reach you to get a shipping address.  Read on to hear the story of our prickly pear adventure.

Prickly-pear-tree

We have a huge 10′ Prickly Pear tree. It was loaded with prickly pears called “tunas”.  There was plenty for us and the birds. The large paddles are call nopales.  There has been lots of research conducted about the medicinal use of prickly pear plants.  Click here to read more about the uses of the prickly pear.

This is the process that led to the final reward, the beautiful “pinkberry” color of prickly pear jelly!

We picked the fruit very carefully with tongs and leather gloves. Everything was okay until Paul took off his gloves and accidentally rubbed his head not knowing the “glochids”, small hairlike prickles, were on his hands. Sooo- about one hour later after I picked these nasty spines out, I had them in my hands. Later I was told to use masking tape and pull them out. This info came a little too late. 🙁 After reading all kinds of techniques for removing the juice we settled on rinsing them, placed them in freezer bags and freeze until ready to use. About two weeks later we removed the fruit from our “limited” freezer space and let thaw. The juice and pulp squeezed right out.  It took about 35-40 tunas to make six cups of juice.pricklypear-juice-lowsugar-recipeWear leather gloves even though the prickles were gone after the big freeze. Strain fruit in a fine mesh strainer (didn’t have cheesecloth) to remove the seedy pulp. The juice is such a pretty “pinkberry”color. (I just coined that color name :0) There is very little flavor in the juice, sort of a cross between watermelon and a peach.

We tried a low sugar canning recipe and it works great!  The jelly is wonderful, sweet but not too sweet.  The recipe still has sugar but 50% less than regular jelly  Here is the recipes we used from Root Simple.  The jelly was processed in our make-shift canning pot to seal the lids.  I love hearing the “pop” as the jelly cools and lids seal tight.pricklypear-jelly-processing-sealing

Our six 8 oz jars of jelly are shown with the pears or “tunas” of our tree.  Not all pears are peach/yellow.  There is a smaller variety next store that has ruby pink tunas.  I think we may try that variety next time.   Although, I am thinking we still can harvest enough for a second batch from our tree. if the birds haven’t beat us to it.
pricklypear-jelly-tunas-lowsugar

Even though this cactus is extremely prevalent in the Southwest, our North Carolina friends can also find prickly pears.  We had them growing at the end of our driveway at the lake. I was never brave enough to try them until now.

Lesson learned-be armed to fight the “pricklies” but it is well worth it!

Who wants to try my jelly?

Reply below, share this link with a friend, have them reply and you both have a chance to win an 8 oz jar of my “pinkberry” prickly pear jelly.   Good luck!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

If you have trouble replying below just send me an email at mary@marysherwood.com  Thanks for replying!

 

PS:  I saved two cups of juice to make the prickly pear cheesecake I mentioned last week.  We’ll see how that turns out!

 

 

How do beautiful salads and Paul’s new iphone relate? Here’s the answer.

Recently Paul became an iphone convert.   His droid was due to be replaced so he made the switch.  So far no regrets (thank goodness).  So, because both of our phone contacts had expired, I also got a new iphone 5e. Well, what does this have to do with gadgets for salads?  In setting up my new phone and purging over 10,000 pictures (ugh!) I came across this video we made at the MSLL store to promote two amazing products.  Although I no longer have the store and sell these products I thought it was worth sharing this video and these tips for peeling and slicing fruit and veggies.  I can’t live with out these two gadgets for making fruit salad, green salads, tarts and what ever requires thinly sliced fruit or tomatoes.  Makes prep so easy!

There are two items mentioned in the video.  The first item is fairly common and made by many different companies.  It looks like a regular vegetable peeler but with close examination you can see the serrated edge of the blade which enables it to gently peel soft fruit and veggies.  Here is the close ups of the soft fruit peeler and its serrated edge.  It can be purchased in many kitchen gadget departments or online.  Here is a link to the Amazon site for Oxo Soft Fruit Peeler I use.  Reasonably priced and functions very well.  soft_fruit_peeler_tomatoes_easy_summer_fresh_marysherwoodlifestyles

The next gadget is the Queen of soft fruit slicing, the Genu Tari Slicer.  Chef Yvonne Hoffman and I found this in the gourmet products at the Atlanta market.  I use mine all the time.  Cutting strawberries, peaches, grapes, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella cheese and more is so easy and fast!  If any of these soft foods have a tougher skin, like tomatoes and peaches, using the soft fruit peeler prior to slicing insures good results.  It is functional, easy to clean and produces amazing thin slices.  All of this makes it well worth the price just in time for peach and tomato season!

soft_fruit_slicer_tari_gefu_summer_healtyfood_gourmet_foodprep

Sooo…here is the Video!  Don’t laugh too hard I am not a video star.  You can no longer stop by my store to get a demo but you are welcome to see these gadgets in action at my house anytime.

Hope this video with the tips will help you make beautiful summer salads and desserts.  I can almost taste the Caprese Salad shown above.  Show me what you can do with this gadgets.  Let me know if I can help answer any questions about how I use these products.

Enjoy!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles-Working with you to create your lifestyle!

252-308-2694

NOTE:  I have not been endorsed or paid by the manufacturers of these two products.  I just love how they simplify my food prep!  Pictures of the products were collected from the manufacturers’ websites.

 

 

spiralizer_salad_recipe_cold_summer_squash_carrots_onion_grilled_chicken_breast-fusedglass_plate

Summer Squash & Carrot Spiralizer Salad

Veggies

2 Large Carrots

2 Med. Yellow Squash

1/2 Onion

1 medium to large chopped Tomato

Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

(can substitute regular balsamic but it colors the noodles)

1T Olive Oil infused with Garlic (regular olive can be substituted)

1T Dijon Mustard

1T Honey (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped fresh basil and “good” tomatoes to garnish!

Directions:

Spiralized onion, squash and carrots using the small noodle blade. Keep each in separate bowls.

spiralizer_yellow_summer_squash-carrots_onion_noodles-

Saute spiralized onion until soft in a small amount of olive oil in large sauce pan.

Add yellow squash and barely cook, keeping noodles el dente.

NOTE:  Squash is mostly water and can overcook quickly. Zoodles cook down so make plenty.  I do about 2 medium zucchini per person. The zoodles can be sautéed but they can also be cooked in the microwave.  Check often for slight tenderness but do not over cook or they will become mushy.

Cool for 15 minutes in refrig.

Add spiraled carrots (keep carrots raw for the crunch)

Toss and chill before serving.

Garnish with fresh basil and tomatoes for color!

Serves 4 as a side salad.

Enjoy!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

mary@marysherwood.com

Mar
30

Ah, Birthdays!

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This week has been a whirlwind starting with the arrival of our son, Jake and his wife, Elif last Thursday to help celebrate both Paul and my birthdays.  We were so pleased to have them visit our new home in Tucson.  So much to do and so little time.  We packed a week’s worth of activities in four days.

Some of the highlights were Jake and Paul’s motorcycle riding through the endless canyons and winding roads. Elif and I did a little shopping, a little relaxing by the pool and a whole lot of cooking.  The favorite cooking endeavor was the making of the “Peed” (my family name) birthday cake by special request from Paul (not a Peed).  🙂  It was created by my mom for many a birthday.  It is quite simple but oh so yummy. Basically it is a two layer yellow cake. (I use Duncan Hines).  The filling in the center is sautéed bananas with butter, vanilla and a little powdered sugar.  The cake is frosted with a dark chocolate butter frosting much like the recipe on the cocoa box.  I add extra cocoa for a dark, very rich frosting.  The combination of the flavors are truly the “icing” on the cake. There was not a worry about having too much “Peed” cake.  When the kids pulled out Paul had one tiny slice left to savor until the next time to celebrate.  Elif, you have now been passed the torch for carrying on the “Peed” birthday cake tradition since you made the delicious banana filling!  (Sorry I forgot to take a picture…too busy licking our fingers of chocolate frosting!)

With all this the blog took a back seat.  But thanks to our good friends, Andy and Lori Weber, I now have a beautiful Happy Birthday plate for the next “Peed” cake.IMG_6102

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday greetings, cards and Facebook posts!  It has been a magnificent celebration of our life, our family and our friendships!

Love you all!

Mary

 

Categories : Cooking, Design
Comments (2)
Mar
07

Wedding Cake Cheesecake in the Park

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Last week you heard about the time we spent with Aaron and Kiori in Scottsdale for their Canal Convergence exhibit.  In just a short five years of marriage they have developed a strong personal and business relationship with their company, Purring Tiger.  They collaborate on their interactive art installations in a remarkable way.  They are approaching their 5th anniversary so I thought I would share several of our most popular blog posts that revolved around their wedding cake.

Their wedding was very simple in Hernshead, a very peaceful location in NYC Central Park.centralparknyc_wedding_hernshead_.aaronsherwood_kiorisherwoodkiawahJPG

Their wedding reception was a picnic on the lawn.  For this very casual setting they requested that I make a wedding cheesecake (their favorite “mom’s” dessert).  Undaunted I set out to make this cake in NC and transport to NYC. Click here to read the story.cheesecake_wedding_centralpark_aaronsherwood_kiorisherwoodkiawah

It was a real challenge but I was up for it.  So, if you ever need to make a wedding cake cheesecake here are the details complete with the basic recipe.weedingcheesecake-cheesecake-recipe-strawberry-sauce

I have used this same recipe over and over again adapting it from mini cheesecakes to a four layer wedding cake.  The past few years I have modified the crust of the recipe to be gluten free.  If you would like more information about GF options please leave me a response.  Here is recent rendition of a mini-cheesecake with a GF chocolate cookie crust, raspberry sauce, and creme fraiche. Yum!mini-cheesecake-gluten-free-raspberrysauce-chocolatecookiecrust

If you make this cheesecake please let me know how it came out.  Don’t worry if it cracks or is not perfect.  Berries and toppings hide everything.  The pleasure is is n the taste.  Enjoy!

On another note (and topic for a future post) I had a great fused glass experience last week.  I made a 27″ tall glass totem piece.  It has not been fired yet but maybe by next week I can share.

My best to all,

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

252-308-2694

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

 

Dec
15

Party Food Etiquette

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As you were growing up your parents taught you to be polite and courteous.  Those same rules today can be applied to planning a party menu for those with food allergies or food preferences. Last weekend we hosted our first party in our new home.  It was great to share our new place with neighbors and friends.  We had a great turn out and are excited about getting the “social” ball rolling.  But, of course, it is not all about the food (for some).  The table with flowers ifs always a must have for me.  Here is a very quick “do” for the centerpiece.  Missing the evergreens of the NC garden!

Table centerpiece using large liquor bottles for vases.

Table centerpiece using large liquor bottles for vases. By using the bottles you achieve various “heights” and it takes very few flowers. One bunch of white Hydrangeas and a few greens is all it took!

This leads me to party food planning and Party Food Etiquette.  I have been following a gluten-free dietary plan for about five years.  It is not just a fad but something that makes me feel better and my body function better.  I do not have a severe allergic reaction as some with Celiac disease but I now understand how important diet can be.

We had several guests following a gluten-free diet and/or a vegan diet.  With that in mind I started researching recipes that could suit both.  My best word of advise is to read every label.  For example, I wanted dairy/animal free cheese. I found “Veggie” cheese by the tofu and thought that would do.  Reading the label revealed that the cheese had milk solids.  So, always check labels if you are looking for some particular allergens such as dairy, nuts or wheat.  Food labeling has really improved but buyer be smart!

Enough about the why’s, here are the how’s.  I went way overboard with the food selection but learned a lot in the process. Here is three ways to build an antipasto skewers for several diets:

  1. The recipe called for tortellini, salami, mozzarella cheese balls, artichokes, olives, and cherry tomatoes.
  2. Gluten-free version leave off the tortellini.
  3. Vegan version, leave off the tortellini, salami, mozzarella and add more veggies.

    Antipasto skewers with food labels on cute little candy cane easels.

    Antipasto skewers with food labels on cute little candy cane easels.

By adjusting this one recipe I meet most of the dietary needs of my guests. Other items on the menu were more specific to just one, maybe two dietary categories.  All in all, the food was a success and everyone seemed to enjoy the options and variety.  Our diet conscientious guests were most appreciative!

The food array for our holiday party with amazing bright sunshine filtering through our windows.

The food array for our holiday party with amazing bright sunshine filtering through our windows.

Food labels are a must when making such a wide variety of foods in different dietary categories.  Your guests do not have to “guess” what’s in the food.  I found this festive holiday template and candy cane easel ideas on Pinterest.  Common initials for various diets are shown in bold on the bottom of the label.  You can be more specific for various other ingredients, if needed, such as peanut or nut allergies.

Printed food labels with bold diet initials at bottom.

Printed food labels from www.foreveryourprints.com with bold diet initials at bottom.

Party on!  Keep your guests happy and coming back for more!  If you want more details about the menu list or recipes please reply in the comment section of the blog.

I have missed seeing all our LKG fans this holiday season!  I hope you all have a very happy and joyous holiday.

Merry Christmas to all!

Love to all!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

For more party printable ideas go to Printables

 

 

 

About six weeks ago I ask for help with selecting the paint color for our Master Bedroom.  The final decision was Benjamin Moore #647.   Read more about the color selections here:  Help me with my MBR design.

Benjamin Moore 647 Fun and Games looks amazing on the master bedroom wall! It brightens the room even in low light conditions.

Benjamin Moore 647 Fun and Games looks amazing on the master bedroom wall! It brightens the room even in low light conditions.

So now we are finally pulling it all together.  The wall is painted and the fabrics are selected.  Now what?

It is quite a long story how we acquired a very oversized mirror (slightly damaged in transit).  I fell in love with the rustic texture of the frame and the massive size. The mirror needed a large bare wall.

Rustic 64" diameter oversized mirror by LazySusan

Rustic 64″ diameter oversized mirror by LazySusan

I needed a headboard in the MBR and had a large bare wall.  This is the beginning of the plan.

Bland Master Bedroom Wall-way too white!

Bland Master Bedroom Wall-way too white!

So how do you create a headboard and incorporate the mirror?  I first made a template using the mirror to determine the shape of the headboard and tried it behind the bed.

Cut out headboard template taped to wall.

Cut out headboard template taped to wall.

Now the fun begins! 🙂  Paul and I constructed the headboard frame out of plywood and foam insulation board to decrease the weight and give it a thick side edge.  The frame was covered with a thin foam mattress pad and wrapped with quilt batting.  The fabric was then pulled tight over the frame and stapled in place. ( The fabric color did not photograph well.  It is actually a more muted shade of the wall color).  I had planned on adding large nailhead trim to accent the headboard shape. As it was coming together I decided to keep the headboard surface unembellishedTake note to highlight the texture of the mirror. (If you would like more information about the headboard construction please leave a commit and I will send you more information).

The biggest challenge of the whole project was hanging the mirror and the headboard.  So here it is!

Master bedroom headboard wall with mirror and accessories.

Master bedroom headboard wall with mirror and accessories.

As shown in the blog Help me with my MBR design we used the very pastel coverlet and shams accented by stronger, brighter colored pillows.  Also, we added the striped fabric element to the waterfall bench at the end of the bedheadboard-large-scale-mirror-pillow-texture-Rizzy-waterfall-bench-Robertallenfabric-project-tucson-smallabode

Take note that even this month’s editions of two popular home magazines used the colors of this bedroom.  The roses were just picked from my desert rose garden. 🙂

House Beautiful and Residential Lighting magazines used the bedroom colors in their latest editions!

House Beautiful and Residential Lighting magazines used the bedroom colors in their latest editions!

Still a few details to add.  Pillow shams are being made using the bench fabric to give the bed more definition.  Still not sure if the headboard needs nailhead or fabric trim???  What do you think?

I hope you don’t find this “huge” mirror headboard too “off the wall”.  I think it came together well and certainly filled the large bare wall!

Let me hear your comments-good or bad!  Suggestions always welcome.

Mary

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles, Inc.

 

Mar
25

Hippity, Hoppity, Easter’s on Its Way

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There may still be a chill in the air, but springtime IS on its way….along with one of my favorite holidays…EASTER!

Easter Chalkboard Printable (Brights)

Easter is a time to rejoice, celebrate, and decorate!  Bright combinations of pink, green, blue, and yellow are used to banish the winter blues and brighten our homes both inside and out.  Decorations can be as simple as coloring Easter eggs to designing centerpieces to making your own Easter wreath for your front door!  So whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned professional, surround yourself with the colors of Spring!

easterbanner

Another way to enjoy the holiday is through the delicious smells and tastes of festive Easter treats!  Jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and of course, whimsical Peeps adorn the Easter baskets of my two little ones, but I crave something a little different!  So this year, I’m trying this new recipe for Bunny Cookie Bark (courtesy of www.yourhomebasedmom.com).  Hope you enjoy it as well!

Bunny Cookie Bark

Ingredients

  • 14 whole Oreos, broken up
  • 1 1/2 C small pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
  • 1 lb. white chocolate, almond bark or chocolate melts
  • 1 C. pastel M & Ms
  • colored sprinkles

Instructions

  • Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper.
  • Spread broken cookies, pretzels and about 3/4 C of the M & Ms onto the waxed paper.
  • Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth.
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with a spatula to coat evenly.
  • Sprinkle remaining M & Ms and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still melted.
  • Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set.  Remove and gently break bark into small pieces.
  • Store in an airtight container.

bunny cookie bark

 

I hope the Easter bunny treats you well and please don’t forget the real reason for the Easter season!

~ Michelle

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

 

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Dec
17

Don’t be a Fruitcake this Christmas!

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As a special holiday treat, Chef Yvonne, Y Cook?,  is our Design Wisdom Wednesday guest contributor today for Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Her tasty recipes are demonstrated and enjoyed frequently at MSLL during her Cooking Classes! Her classes cover a huge range and brings variety to the table!

Tis the season to be jolly….and fruity!

During the holiday season, we celebrate with family and friends by enjoying numerous food and beverage traditions.  There’s eggnog, spiced cider, candy canes, gingerbread houses, and the beloved fruitcake.

fruitcake

Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when the cake was made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins.  During the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.  Crusaders were even known to carry fruitcake during their travels to sustain them throughout their journeys.

Most people have a love/hate relationship with fruitcake.  There are those that love the moist cake filled with delectable nuts and fruits, and then there are those that think of it as a dense “brick”.  So whether you love or strongly dislike the familiar dessert, you will surely love my spin on the well-known tradition.

I’ve transformed the generic fruitcake into a bite-size morsel that is moist and full of flavor.  My take on the traditional fruitcake is the Fruitcake Cookie.

Fruit Cake Cookies crop

Fruitcake Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces pineapple preserves
  • 1 1/2 tbs. Half and Half cream
  • 2 1/4 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 16 ounces jar red cherries drained and chopped
  • 16 ounces jar green cherries drained and chopped
  • 1 pound chopped dates
  • 6 cups chopped pecans (walnuts & almonds mixed are a nice change)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla

Directions:

Coat nuts and fruit with 1/2 cup flour.  Mix butter, brown sugar, eggs, preserves, milk, soda, vanilla and flour.  Pour over nuts and fruit mixture.  Mix with hands.  Drop in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  Bake 11 minutes at 325 degrees (depending on your oven).  You can wrap uncooked dough in saran wrap.  Make into tube shape (like a slice and bake cookie).  Cover with foil and freeze.  They will keep for months.

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Believe me…I’m aware of all of the fruitcake jokes.  “Why does fruitcake make the perfect gift? Because the U.S. Postal Service hasn’t found a way to damage it.”  But please trust me, these cookies are the answer to satisfy even your toughest fruitcake critic.

Enjoy….and Happy Holidays!

Love,

Chef YvonneFruitcake-ycook

Y Cook? 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living

 

August is just a few days away, so make the most of it and take it outside! Here on beautiful Lake Gaston, we have the perfect back-drop for a picnic.  So enjoy National Picnic Month in style!

Earlier this year, we discovered a fun website that lists holidays for everyday. It’s been nice to stop for a second and pause in reflection of some of these specials days.  Other days, however, have been really creative and quirky – like “Something on a Stick Day” on March 28th (I celebrated with corn-dogs for dinner and pop cycles for dessert!).  Here’s the link to the site I use: holidayinsights.com

picnic on the boatWith August just a few days away, I was searching to see what we have to look forward to.  There are many special days, like “Sister’s Day” (1st Sunday of August, Aug. 3rd 2014), “National S’mores Day” (Aug. 10th – YUM!), “Relaxation Day” (Aug. 15th – Always important), and “National Dog Day” (Aug. 26th).  But August is also National Picnic Month – so celebrate all month-long by dining more casually and enjoying the scenery.

FUN – PICNIC – TIPS:

Picnic on the move – One of the most fun things about living on the lake is the opportunity to dine on the boat.  Pack your basket and head to the water!  Just don’t ride the waves too fast while your guests are trying to eat and drink.

picnic hat

 

Be aware of the sun and heat – Try to pick a shady spot to settle and wear sunglasses and sun screen.  Invite friends to bring large brim hats – fun way to beat the heat!  I always forget about the part in my hair and it gets burned, so wearing a hat would solve this issue.  You could also go really classic and bring umbrellas or parasols.

 

 

 

packit cooler bagConsider the longevity of the food – How long do you plan to be outside?  Be aware of any dairy products that could get a little questionable in the sun and heat. Plan to take a cooler, like these great PackIt cooler bags. They are great to keep in the freezer all the time so they are ready when you need them.  And they fold up small when not in use.

 

breakfast picnicDon’t forget the most important meal of the day – Enjoy a breakfast picnic!  Start the day off right by packing up some muffins, scones, jams, fruit, and juice for a romantic meal at sunrise.  Just don’t forget a thermos of coffee for those that need that extra kick in the morning!

 

indoor picnicWeather not cooperating – Picnic Inside!  Don’t let a little rain dampen the occasion. Pack up your basket just like you normally would, but lay your picnic blanket out on the living room floor! Weather so bad that it knocks out your power? Even better – Picnic by candle light.  Another added bonus of dining inside is that you won’t have to worry about ants and other insects.

Picnic on the road with Tailgating! – Just around the corner, we also have football season.  Take your love of picnics with you!  Need more inspiration?  We have a great tailgating cooking class coming up.  The menu will feature a Little Bites Tray including Sweet & Spicy Deviled Eggs, Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites, & Stuffed Peppadews, as well as Marinated Chicken and Hot Peppers Sandwiches.   Join Chef Yvonne for this delicious Tailgating Cooking class to show your team spirit!

How do you enjoy the great outdoors?   We’d love to see pics of you enjoying National Picnic Month!

 

Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!

It’s here, the crunch time before Christmas when you’re checking your list for the 2nd time (or the 20th!), only to find a few people that have been overlooked.  Your shopping budget has already been exceeded and you are out of ideas.  Don’t panic!  Here is an easy, delicious and beautiful gift idea that is sure to please your recipients and your wallet.

Holiday Cranberry Winter Cookie Mix

Cranberry Winter Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar complete with fabric on top. Printed Label is simply tied on with twine.

My siblings and I have opted to not exchange gifts anymore, but instead do something small and thoughtful like make cookies or something else crafty and homemade.  With our holiday travel plans, it didn’t make sense to make cookies ahead only to have them start to go stale before I would see everyone several days later.  I also didn’t want to make a mess in my mother’s kitchen.  My solution?  Homemade cookie mix in a jar!  I liked this idea because it gives them the opportunity to make the cookies when they want.

I turned to pinterest for some inspiration and decided on Cranberry Winter Cookies.  The blogger that shared this was amazing, even giving you designed labels that were ready for printing.  Here is the original link which includes some other cookie ideas as well:  http://www.culdesaccool.com/2012/11/14/5-diy-holiday-baked-gifts-in-a-jar-with-free-printable-recipe-tags/

What you’ll need for the jar:

  • 1 Quart size Mason Jar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (nut free option: 1/2 cup rolled oats, rice crisp cereal or granola)

Instructions:

  1. Cranberry Winter Cookie Mix Layered in Mason Jar

    Cranberry Winter Cookie Mix Layered in Mason Jar

    Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together.  Carefully pour into jar.  For ease, roll a piece of wax paper for a simple funnel.  Lightly pack this down at the bottom with something flat that fits in the jar.  (We used the flat end of our turkey thermometer of all things!)

  2. Layer all the remaining ingredients in the jar in the order they are listed above.  You can pack these between layers also.  As you get to the chunkier layers towards the top, you can just smooth out each layer instead of packing.  Once all packed, it will look like this —>
  3. Print the Free Printable PDF file on card stock and cut out.  The original instructions showed how you can stick the labels to the jar with glue dots, but I modified the label to print front and back and tied it on with twine over some scrap fabric.
  4. Don’t forget to Enjoy!  I made a batch to try and they are amazing.  The instructions for the recipient to make the cookies is on the tag, but here you go – sooo good and sooo easy!

Making Cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until fluffy.
  3. Add the entire jar of cookie mix, stirring until blended.
  4. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges start to brown.
  5. Cool on baking sheets or remove to cool on wire racks.  Makes approximately 18 cookies.
Cranberry Winter Cookies

Cranberry Winter Cookies = YUM!

When all was said and done, my husband (Ryan) and I spent less than 2 hours putting together 12 of these.  Plus, all the ingredients divided up left the cost of each complete jar around $6 or $7!   So as far as homemade gifts go, this is very easy and inexpensive.

I hope this gives you inspiration that warms your heart and kitchen for the holidays!  What solutions do you have for gift challenges?

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!

Comments (3)
Sep
14

Delicious New Cloister Honey

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These new honeys are just soooo good I have to share them.  The whipped cinnamon honey is my favorite, but the ghost pepper is a close second for me (starts our sweet and then has an unexpected peppery kick at the end).  For Dixie, she’s all about the Bourbon Honey (great as a glaze on salmon or pork chops).  Try them to pick your own fave!

Cloister Honey

Cloister Honey

Here are some creative ways to incorporate some of these into your dishes:

Cloister Whipped Honey with Cinnamon

Cloister Whipped Honey with Cinnamon

Whipped Cinnamon Honey: Smooth Madagascar Cinnamon creates a spread willing to take maple syrup on in a head to head battle for breakfast.

– Spread on your morning biscuit, toasted English Muffin and afternoon snack of apples and bananas.

– Use instead of syrup on French toast, pancakes, and waffles.

– Create a quick Chai-inspired drink by adding it to your favorite tea of coffee.

-Serve with baked sweet potatoes or as an added topping to fruit pies, cobblers, and vanilla ice cream.

 

Cloister Arbol Pepper Infused Honey

Cloister Arbol Pepper Infused Honey

Arbol Chili Pepper Honey:  This tasty infusion brings the pleasure of combined heat and sweet to every dish.

– Brush on grilled Seafood (shrimp, scallops) when removed from the heat.

-Spice up barbeque sauce by adding 1/4 cup to your personal favorite.

-Create a delicious salad dressing: 2 Tbsp Infused Arbol Pepper Hone, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil (optional), and 1/4 cup vegetable oil.  Toss with greens, grilled chicken and Asian noodles.

 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle in your Lake Gaston Kitchen and Beyond!

Categories : Cooking, Ramblings
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Mar
27

Celebrate Easter with Style…

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happy easter, easter, egg

At Mary Sherwood Lake Living, we believe that design is not merely your surroundings, but also your lifestyle!

In honor of Easter, we’d like to present a medley of tips….

Gingerbread houses are usually thought of as a painstaking process…stir up the gingerbread batter, roll it out, cut out the shapes, bake the individual parts, erect the house, and finally, the fun part, decorate.  The ingenious moms at The Candy Cottage have done the hard part for us and created a ready-to-decorate gingerbread house.  They simply need some candy and icing along with your imagination.  They can be decorated to celebrate any occasion, but we’re highlighting the Easter house.

easter, house, gingerbread, cottage

easter, house, gingerbread, decorationThe houses come individually packaged with snap together pieces that easily fit together to form the house.  Once constructed, simply adorn the house with icing and Easter candy such as jelly beans, pastel Reese’s Pieces, tiny marshmallows, and pastel M&Ms.

candy cottage, easter, gingerbread

Another great tip is converting your everyday deviled eggs into “devilish” easter egg chicks.  Simply hard boil and cut your eggs in half crosswise.  Cut a thin sliver off the bottom half of the egg to help it stand upright.  Scoop the filling below into the bottom half of the egg, place the top on, and adorn with black peppercorns for eyes, and a triangle of carrot for the beak.  Voila!

Devilish Easter Egg Filling:

  • 12 Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 c. Wasabi Cucumber Dill Sauce (available at MSLL)
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
deviled egg, chick, devilish, easter

Pic courtesy of Make Life Special

Lastly, why not make your easter drinks look adorable as well?  Simply push a straw lengthwise through a bunny Peep and serve with your favorite springtime beverage.  Too cute!

bunny peep, easter, drink, beverage, straw, peep

Pic courtesy of theautocrathaley

 

So however you decide to celebrate this Easter holiday, do it with style…

Michelle

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!

Feb
19

An Appetizer to Impress

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Wasabi Tuna Stack

Throughout the year, we host many special events and serve mouth-watering gourmet appetizers. Here’s one of our favorite recipes by Chef Yvonne to tantalize your taste buds.  Impress your guests.  It’s easy, beautiful and oh so good!

 

Wasabi Tuna Stack Recipe

Ingredients:

Wonton Wrappers, one package

1 bag Slaw Mix

½ cup Mayo And Wasabi Mayo

1 Tbsp White Vinegar

1 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard

Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper

Tuna

Sunflower Seeds

Salt And Fresh Ground Pepper

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Directions:

1) Three options for preparing wontons:

Fry wonton wrappers in ½ inch of veg. oil or another high heat oil of choice.

Bake on cookie sheet sprayed with oil, put wrappers down and spray top, bake 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (you need to watch).

Bake wrappers same as above but fit then into mini muffin tins.

These will keep for a week or so in a zip lock bag.

2) Mix slaw mix, both mayo and wasabi mayo, vinegar, sugar, and mustard in a bowl. Taste and season if needed. If it needs to be wetter add more of the mayo or whatever taste you want to add.  Refrigerate until ready to use it, will keep for about 4 days.

3) Salt and pepper tuna, coat with sesame seeds. Get a regular fry pan very hot and cook about 1 minute per side. Brown the sesame a little, the center of tuna should still be pink unless you want it cooked more. Put in refrigerator and let it get cold. Cut into thin strips.  You can do this a couple days a head.

Constructing the dish – Put one wanton on dish, top with slaw, two slices tuna, top with sweet Thai chili sauce. Continue to another layer for a larger portion.

Recipe by Chef Yvonne

 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle!

Categories : Cooking
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Feb
13

Love is in the Air!

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How can we not talk about Valentine’s Day for this week’s Design Wisdom Wednesday?

Where did the Valentine’s Day customs come from? Find the answer in this interesting article about the origin of Valentine’s Day. http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Here are a few of my favorite tidbits taken from this article.

Valentine's Day, love, birds

It was believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Here are a few easy ways to show your loved ones how much you love them on Valentine’s Day.

Start Valentine’s Day with a special breakfast.  Serve heart shaped pancakes topped with thin slices of roasted pork tenderloin and Tishbi Cherry Shiraz Wine Jelly.  Embellish the plate with fresh strawberries.  It’s pretty and oh so tasty.

pancake, heart shaped pancake, Cherry Shiraz Jelly, strawberries

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

 

If chocolate is the way to your lover’s heart here is a simple recipe for truffles.  Make ahead, refrigerate and impress your loved ones and friends!

chocolate, truffles, recipe

Chocolate Truffles

For you die-hard chocolate lovers, here’s a treat: the recipe for to-die-for truffles. Go ahead… enjoy!

1 (8-oz.) package fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Cocoa powder (optional)

Combine cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and extract in a bowl; freeze mixture 30-60 minutes. Remove from freezer and form into 1″ balls; roll in cocoa powder, if desired. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm.

Makes 40 truffles. Nutritional values per truffle: 60 calories and 1 gram fat.

Heart disease, Go Red, Heart, donation American Heart AssociationA wonderful way to recognize a friend or spouse on Valentine’s Day is by making a contribution to the American Heart Association.  This is the 10th year the AHA has celebrated “Wear Red Day”.  Heart disease is the #1 killer of women. It kills more women than all cancers combined.  Donations support medical research, awareness, education and community programs to help women live longer, heart-healthy lives.

What ever way you celebrate Valentine’s Day put a little romance in your life.  Finish off this special day with a Chocolate Kiss Martini!

Roses, chocolate, chocolate kiss cocktail

Flowers, chocolate and romance!

Chocolate Kiss Cocktail 

Ingredients:

3 T Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

3 T Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

1 1/2 T Heavy Cream

Chocolate Syrup

Pink Sugar Crystals

Ice

Martini Shaker

Directions:

Fill shaker 1/2 full with ice cubes

Add first three ingredients

Shake to Chill

Rim chilled glass with chocolate followed by sugar crystals

Pour in chocolate liqueur mix

Garnish with a kiss or a strawberry on a pick

Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Mary

 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

Dec
04

Creative Holiday Cooking

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With the holidays quickly upon us, everyone is eager to make a meal plan that will provide their family and friends tasty dishes with minimal prep and stress.  This Saturday, December 8th, our favorite local chef Yvonne Hoffman will be having a Home for the Holidays Cooking Class at Mary Sherwood Lake Living at 10 a.m.

She will be serving a crowned pork roast with cornbread, apple, and pecan filling, brussel sprouts salad with a lemon vinaigrette, and sweet potato hash along with other ideas to accent your holiday meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, coming up on Tuesday, December 11th, Chef Yvonne will be providing seasonal breakfast and brunch ideas to warm you and your family.  Please give us a call at 252.586.2437 to reserve your space for either class and savor our variety of delectible holiday samplings.

 Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!

Categories : Cooking
Comments (1)
Nov
15

Soup’s On….

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There’s nothing better on a chilly, rainy day in fall than to enjoy a rich, hearty soup or stew, let alone enjoying three different varieties.  Tuesday turned out to be the perfect day for our Warm Up with Soups and Stews Class with Chef Yvonne.  

Everyone enjoyed  taste-testing Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with Baked Rice, Shrimp and Crab Imperial Stew, and Potato and Leek Soup.   In honor of the unofficial taste test tally, we’re including the recipe below for the taste winner!

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken (bite size pieces)
  • 1 c. finely chopped onions
  • 1 c. finely chopped green peppers
  • ¾ c. finely chopped celery
  • 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. ground red peppers
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 7 c. chicken stock
  • 1 lb. Andouille smoked sausage or smoked kielbasa (bite size pieces)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic

Rub a generous amount of garlic powder, red pepper, and salt on chicken and let stand for 30 minutes.

Combine flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a plastic bag. Add chicken and coat. Reserve remaining flour. In a large skillet, heat 1 ½ inches of oil until very hot. Fry chicken until browned and meat is done. Drain on paper towels. Remove all but ½ c. of oil, leaving the scraps in bottom.

Place pan over high heat. Using a metal whisk, stir in reserved flour (½ cup). Cook, whisking constantly until roux is a dark red brown to black, but be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and add vegetables, stirring until roux stops getting darker. Return pan to low heat and cook until vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, place stock in 5 ½ quart pot and brink to a boil. Add roux by spoonfuls to boiling stock, stirring until dissolved. Reduce heat, add sausage and minced garlic. Simmer 45 minutes uncovered. Add the chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We, at Mary Sherwood Lake Living, hope you enjoy the fall and winter months savoring a big pot of warm soup.  As quoted by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Only the true in heart can make a good soup.”  Give it a try!

Mary

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!

 

Categories : Cooking, Special Events
Comments (1)

Mary Sherwood Lake Living raised salads to another level on Monday, September 10th, with the help of chef Yvonne Hoffman and Tisa Lynn, a sales representative for B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company.

As an alternative to replacing the olive-stained carpets in his home on the Sonoma Valley estate vineyard known as “Olive Hill” for the 140-year old Picholine trees that graced the property, Bruce Cohn began pressing the unique olives, inspiring a California olive oil Renaissance. As if managing The Doobie Brothers for over 30 years and starting the B.R. Cohn Estate Winery in 1984 didn’t keep Bruce busy enough, a new family business was inadvertently born.  In agreement with our own “professional” taste test, www.consumerreports.org named B. R. Cohn as one of six highly rated oils with a “Very Good” status.

Yvonne showcased the B.R. Cohn gourmet wine vinegars in several of her recipes including a Flatbread Salad, an Asian Salad, a traditional Caesar Salad, and a refreshing Watermelon Salad.

watermelon, salad, gourmet, vinegar

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups watermelon cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 4 ounces feta or goat cheese (Yvonne recommends an herbed goat cheese)
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto cut into thin strips
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar (manufactured by B.R. Cohn)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil or other unflavored oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Salad greens
  • 1/4 cup roasted nuts (Yvonne recommends pistachios)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions:

  1. In shaker bottle, mix Champagne vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Shake well and put aside.
  2. In salad bowl, put greens, prosciutto, salt and pepper, toss with a small amount of dressing, enough to coat, but not drip.
  3. Plate with greens first, then cheese, and then watermelon, top with the rest of dressing.
  4. Add other salad items as you like.

Recipe by Yvonne of Y Cook

Check our calendar for upcoming  cooking and community events.  Registration is required to reserve your seat!

Hope to cook with you soon!

Mary

 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle!


Categories : Cooking, Special Events
Comments (0)
Mar
22

A 3 Pepper Blast Party

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WOW-another fun event at MSLL. The food was fabulous, the CAbi fashion was great and fun was had by all.  Thanks Peggy Howard for the fashion and Autumn for the kitchen assistance.

I have been (willfully) coerced into publishing the recipes from tonight’s Fun, Food and Fashion event  ASAP. 🙂  One of the girls is dying to recreate the party appetizers for an upcoming event.  Here is the simple, throw together, easy party menu.

It all begins with one key ingredient…3 Pepper Blast Dip

dip, pepper dip, party, food, fun, easy recipes

Menu

Toasted Flatbread Wrap Chips with Magic Unicorn Salt

3 Pepper Blast Cheese Dip

Chicken and Cheese Roll-up Wraps

Puff Pastry Peach Cobbler Tarts with Vanilla Ice Cream  (recipe not included)

 

Recipes:

Toasted Flatbread Wrap Chips with Magic Unicorn Salt

Use the flatbread wrap of your choice (available in the deli section of our local FL).

Lightly coat one side of the wrap with seasoned vegetable spray or a light brushing of olive oil

Add a light sprinkle of the flavored Magic Unicorn salt (remember it’s magic!)

If you are out of “magic”,  any salt or seasoning of your choice will work

Cut into squares with a serrated knife or pizza cutter.  The squares do not have to be perfect.

Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.

Bake 10 – 15 min at 350 degrees.  Ovens will vary so at 10 minutes check for crispness and light browning.  Do not let them get too brown. Let cool on baking sheet.

One flatbread wrap makes approx. 36 chips.

Serve with 3 Pepper Cheese Dip.

 

3 Pepper Cheese Dip

8 oz  Cream Cheese or Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

8 oz  White Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1  12 oz jar of 3 Pepper Blast Dip

Let cream cheese soften.

Grate white cheddar cheese.

Combine the cheeses and the 3 Pepper Blast Dip.

Serve with Toasted Flatbread Wrap Chips with Magic Unicorn Salt.

Ingredients can be cut in half to reduce quantity of dip.

Full recipe serves a crowd.

 

Chicken and Cheese Mini Roll-up Wraps

Flat bread wraps

3 Pepper Blast Cheese Dip (from recipe above)

4 Chicken tenders lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed and finely chopped

½ cup grated white cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese

Optional extras:  chopped cilantro, green onions, sliced avocados

Spread one side of a flat bread wrap with 3 Pepper Blast Cheese Dip, keeping dip within about 1” of the edge of the wrap.  Layer on top of dip about 2 tablespoons of chopped chicken, sprinkle with grated cheese.  Roll the wrap and secure with 4 mini skewers or bamboo knot picks.  Trim unfilled ends, if necessary.  Carefully cut remainder into four equal pieces.

Place on parchment covered baking sheet.  Drizzle each mini roll up with 1 teaspoon salsa and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 -15 minutes.

Garnish with more salsa, if desired.

Each wrap makes 4 mini roll-ups.  Repeat as needed.

 

Have a blast at your 3 Pepper Blast Party!

 

 

Comments (3)

In the process of using this recipe for the wedding cake I calculated how many cups of cheesecake batter there are in one recipe.

cheesecake, wedding cake, perfect cheesecake, strawberry sauce

Strawberry Wedding Cheesecake

Each recipe make 2 1/2 cups.  In a 9″ springform pan this makes a 2″ high cake including crust.

To adjust height of cake add more batter and increase cooking time.

You can calculate the different amount of batter needed for various size pans by using a ratio.

9″ pan -2 1/2 cups

8″ pan-2 1/4 cups

6″pan-1 3/4 cups

These amounts are rounded up to make it easy to measure.

There are three key elements to making a perfect cheesecake:

1.  Spray the springform pan very well with Baker’s Joy so cake slides easily off of bottom of pan

2.  Use low heat, 300 degrees, to prevent the top from browning.

3.  Cool gradually as suggested in recipe

 

Good luck with this!

 

 

Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce

Adapted from Cooking Light, May, 2006

Approximately 16 serving with sauce

 

CRUST:

1/4 cup sugar

8 graham cracker rectangles

Dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons of butter or canola oil

Cooking spray w/flour (such as Baker’s Joy)

 

CHEESECAKE:

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (4 ounces) regular cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon of grated lemon jest

4 large eggs

2 egg whites

 

SAUCE:

4 cups sliced strawberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup strawberries, cut in half

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

 

To prepare cheesecake crust, place 1/4 cup sugar, graham crackers, cinnamon and dash salt in a food

processor; process until mixture resembles sand.  With the processor on, add 2

tablespoons melted butter through food chute, processing until blended. Generously coat pan with cooking spray with flour.   Firmly press mixture into bottom and slightly up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes until just golden brown; cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Reduce oven to 300°.

 

To prepare cheesecake, combine 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and a dash of

salt in a large bowl. Add softened cheeses; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed

until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add vanilla, 1 teaspoon juice and lemon zest;

beat just until combined. Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating after each addition

just until incorporated.

 

Bake at 300° for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched. (Oven temperatures vary.  Cooking time may need to be adjusted).  Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in closed oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven. Run a knife around outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Gradual cooling is important to prevent cracks in the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate.  Can be frozen up to 3 months in tightly sealed aluminum foil and a zip lock bag.

 

To prepare strawberry sauce, reserve 1 cup strawberries, cut in half.  Combine 4 cups sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup water, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing lightly with a spatula; discard solids. Return mixture to pan. Combine 1 tablespoon water and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cool to room temperature. Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice.  Embellish top of cheesecake with strawberries, cut in half.  Spoon 1/2 of strawberry sauce on top.  When serving, drizzle each slice with a little of reserved sauce.

 

 

Comments (5)

Just returned from the NYC wedding of my son, Aaron and Kiori.  It was such a beautiful day, beautiful setting and very beautiful wedding!  I have a lot to share about the wedding but Autumn wants a quick article to attach to our newsletter so here is the scoop about the “infamous” wedding cheesecake.

The most popular desserts in the Sherwood household are brownies and strawberry cheesecake.  Many years ago, when traveling from Lake Gaston to NYC to meet our other son’s (Jake) in-laws, I carried a frozen cheesecake by Amtrak train only to have it totally thawed and strawberry sauce dipping all over as I presented it to our host.  It’s hard to make a good first impression when your perfect cheesecake is soooo less than perfect!  When Aaron and Kiori requested a cheesecake wedding cake I began to research how to construct this cake, store until needed, transport from NC to NYC and assemble in Central Park.  It was quit a challenge.  I won’t bore you with all the details but I would like to share these pictures.

 

Cheesecake crust, graham cracker crust, spring form pan, cheesecake

Graham cracker crust made for the all the layers at one time in spring form pans

 

Cheesecake batter, cream cheese, electric mixer, Red KitchenAid Mixer

Cheesecake batter blended until very creamy

 

Cheesecake without cracks, baking, cake, wedding cheesecake

Baked cheesecakes on cooling rack. Yay...no cracks!!!

wedding wedding signs, cooler, wedding supplies

Blue rolling cooler packed with cheesecakes and dry ice waiting with other supplies to enter Central Park

 

cheesecake wedding cake assembly, cheesecake, spring form pans,

Removing spring form pans and assembling the frozen cheesecake layers

layered cheesecake, wedding cake, strawberries

Layered cheesecake starting to be embellished.

 

Cheesecake, wedding cake, strawberry sauce, strawberry sauce drizzle, pink hydrangea

Strawberries with drizzles of strawberry sauce and a perfect pink hydrangea flower on top

cheesecake, strawberry sauce, baby breath, hydrangea

The finished wedding cake complete with baby's breath!

 

Wedding cake, cake cutting

Aaron and his Japanese bride, Kiori cutting the wedding cake

wedding cake, first bite

First Bite!!!

The "after" with only the "less than perfect" bottom layer left over. Whew!

This was quite a challenge but mission accomplished!

Like us on our Facebook fan page to see the recipe

Mary Sherwood Lake Living,  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Sherwood-Lake-Living/106936857237

Please tell me your best and worst cheesecake adventures!

Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!

 

Comments (7)
Mar
17

Hey good looking what ya been cooking?

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Cooking classes may seem like an unusal offering for an interior design business. Think again!  What do interior designers do?  They create spaces in which to cook, to entertain, to play, to sleep and to be with family and friends.  To do all of this we have to eat.  (I think you can see where this is going.)  So, cooking classes seem to enhance all the other parts of interior design. 🙂 Thanks to many loyal supporters our classes have become a hit.  Here are a few of the things we had cooking at our 50’s cooking class presented by Lake Gaston’s cooking diva, Kathy Dikeman!!!

If you are as old as I am you may remember a lemon flavored, sponge cake cookie made in shell shaped molded pans called madeleines. These cookies are easy to prepare and perfect for a light luncheon dessert or an accompaniment to a raspberry sorbet. Sometimes these cookies are partially dipped in chocolate ganache for extra flare of flavor.  In the 50’s they were frequently served at department store tea rooms and at  “ladies’ luncheons”.

Cookies, sponge cake, luncheon dessert, molded pan

Madeleine's made in molded pans

Shrimp Cocktail Aspic is an updated version of the traditional tomato aspic of the 1950’s.  With V 8 juice and the right amount of spice this recipe made a tasty cold soup (similar to a gazpacho).  With the addition of more gelatin you can create a variation of this recipe which can be poured into a mold or loaf pan and congealed before serving.

Savory Shrimp Cocktail Aspic

The favorite recipe of the class was Smoked Gouda Cheese Fondue. Reflecting back to the days of the fondue pot this recipe adds a new twist. The fondue is prepared on the stove top and served in individual small boules created from whole wheat, crusty dinner rolls from the grocery bakery. Topping the fondue with bacon bits and toasted, sliced almonds made this recipe the winner.

fondue, gouda cheese, bacon, almonds, boule,

Warm and Savory Smoked Gouda Fondue Boule

Smoked Gouda Fondue

Ingredients:

8 ounces Gruyère, shredded

1/2 pound, about 6 ounces, smoked Gouda, shredded

1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 large clove garlic, smashed away from skin

2 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup dry white wine

6 slices thick cut bacon

1/4 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped

Individual hard rolls, the top third cup off to form a cone shape in the inside

Directions: Make the fondue: combine cheeses in a bowl with flour and set aside. Rub the inside of a small pot with smashed garlic then discard. Add wine and lemon juice to pot and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and add cheese in handfuls. Stir constantly, melting the cheese in batches. Stir in a figure-eight pattern with wooden spoon. Transfer the fondue to the rolls and top with chopped bacon and smoked nuts.

50’s cooking trivia was a big hit with the class.  The Betty Crocker Cookbook was the bible of the 1950’s kitchen and the “in” way to find recipes. Do you know the first Jello flavor?  What was the most frequently prepared food?  What popular snack food was developed from a crop by Fred Mennen in 1959?  What brand of doughnuts were introduced in 1950?

Send us your answers.  Add your own 50’s trivia.

Upcoming Cooking Classes…  Mark Your Calendar!

April 16 Bruschetta is not just an Appetizer presented by Yvonne Hoffman (just back from an Italian Cooking School)

June 4 Cranking Up the Heat with Grilling Flare presented by Gene St.Clair

Mary Sherwood Lake Living working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!

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Feb
12

Chocolate Kiss Cocktail

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Chocolate, Valentine's, Truffles, Chocolate Cocktail

Chocolate Kiss Cocktail

Ingredients:

3 T Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

3 T Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur

1 1/2 T Heavy Cream

Chocolate Syrup

Pink Sugar Crystals

Martini Shaker

Directions:

Fill shaker 1/2 full with ice cubes

Add first three ingredients

Shake to Chill

Rim chilled glass with chocolate followed by sugar crystals

Pour in chocolate liqueur mix

Garnish with kiss or strawberry on a pick

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe compliments of Mary Sherwood Lake Living  Cooking Class, February 12, 2011

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Yesterday we had a crowd of people in and out of our store to take in the “sparkle, excitement, shopping, food and friends” at our annual Christmas Open House.  The “buzz” that circulated the showroom was amazing!  People came for all sorts of reasons. Some came for the chance to learn some quick holiday decorating ideas.  Others came for the tasty food samplings and recipes.  Others were just enjoying an annual “girl’s weekend out”.  And of course there was shopping .  Our customer’s little red shopping baskets were full to the brim.  The hottest item was a silver garland spray with multicolor ball ornaments that we used in the seminar to adorn a wreath and a tablescape.  That item was the first to sell out.  The second popular item was the “water pearls” in both clear and red.  The use of “water pearls” was shown in several glass vessels during the seminar.

Christmas, Open House, food, friends, shopping, seminar, sparkle, mantel decor, twilight display, holiday wreaths, glass balls, shinny silver,candlesticks

Snowy mantel scape with lights that simmer in glass balls and silver candlesticks by Traci

This year, due to popular demand, we brought back the holiday decorating seminar after a five year hiatus… with a few changes.  Limited admissions assured us all would have better opportunity to see the presentation as well as a safer environment.  The seminar included tips on holiday wreaths, mail box swag, mantel scapes, table top ideas and the multiple uses for water pearls. Thanks to those who took the time to listen to our program.  We hope you learned a few new ideas to help you this holiday season.

Christmas, Open House, attendees, food, friends, shopping, seminar, sparkle, smiles

Seminar attendees awed by the the holiday decor presentation

Our food supply dwindled fast.  We may need to increase the quantity for next year. You are a  hungry bunch!  🙂 We are glad you enjoyed the food buffet.

Red Hat Ladies, buffet, Moroccan Meatballs, Christmas, Open House, food, friends, shopping, seminar, sparkle

Red Hat Ladies enjoying the wonderful buffet samplings!

Here is one of the recipes:

Moroccan Road Infused Turkey Meatballs

Make a large batch to have on hand for unexpected holiday guests.  Prepare in advance and freeze extras.
3 lbs ground turkey
3 eggs
1 large white onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup Italian herbed or plain dried bread crumbs
8 tbsp ketchup
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
9 tsp olive oil
3 tsp salt
4 tbsp Moroccan Road Spice Blend
Chop onion & garlic finely, place all ingredients in large bowl, hand mix
Scoop turkey with small stainless steel scoop so they lay flat on pan.
Bake 350 degrees about 20 minutes until brown.  Lift off with metal spatula.
Place extras in Tupperware container and refrigerate or freeze, place back in oven to reheat.
Garnish with half grape tomato and lemon cream cheese secured with toothpick.

Compliments of Mary Sherwood Lake Living  Christmas Open House 2010

Thanks again to everyone involved in such a wonderful day!

Please give us your comments and help us make it even better next year!

Mary

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Aug
12

Zucchini Bread Gone Awry!!!

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This is a red letter event!  You are not going to believe the picture.  Mary (our beloved) decided she was making zucchini bread – after she was too tired to try.

Now, do any of you know about zucchini bread?  The list of ingredients is a mile long! So Mary decides, after having dinner with good friends, to proceed with the planned baking effort.

The first thing that happens – and should have been a warning sign – she couldn’t find the recipe (she shoulda stopped there).   Then she couldn’t find the beater for the mixer.  Right there in the drawer – well, the next one up from its usual residence – but…right there!

I’m at the lap top and the next thing I hear is an expletive (not something I usually hear from her).  Upon looking up, Mary is over at the sink, bent over, resting her head on her arms.

What do I do?  Run for the camera!!!  There won’t be many more of these opportunities in my lifetime!!!!!!! Below is what I saw!

The question for you is…did Mary scrape everything back into the bowl and proceed??  (I’ll never tell – I haven’t been successfully married for over 35 years and failed to learn anything at all!)

Enjoy!

Paul

zucchini bread, mixer, baking, recipe,

Categories : Cooking, Paul's Rants
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Women in Need of Sanity-W.I.N.O.S. at Lake Gaston

Right now, as I write this blog, I feel like “a women in need of sanity”.  It is very early in the morning and I am up before the sun.  I can hear the birds just waking up.  “No”, I am not going to tell you what time it is.  You go figure (it’s way too early to be typing!!!).

How did W.I.N.O.S. and Mary Sherwood Lake Living connect?  Here is the story. I had the pleasure of meeting a fun and talented women, Bonnie Jesseph, about a year ago on one of our many market trips. Autumn and I were immediately drawn to her new W.I.N.O.S. Furniture line because of the fabulous colors and designs. We knew the bright color palette would be perfect for our showroom.  We made the decision to purchase the line prior to the first production of the furniture. When I learned Bonnie was from Blowing Rock, NC I casually invited her to visit our store.  After much planning, Bonnie will be joining us for a special event Saturday, May 29, Memorial Day weekend.

Bonnie and I seemed to have a lot in common.  First, she is very talented business women (I think we have this in common?).  She is creative and has developed her brand to reflect her lifestyle.  She loves to cook, entertain and have fun!  She involves her friends and family in the development of her brand-especially as guinea pigs for her new recipes.  And, she feels it is important to give back to her community through various philanthropic causes.  She is engaged and enthusiastic about life, her business and her lifestyle. The title of her website, www.winoshavefun.com ,says it all.

I have been reading the introductions of several of her cookbooks and have found them quite entertaining.  The origin of the company name, alone, is so humorous. She gives credit to her sister, Jan, for the idea, Women in Need of Sanity.  She also writes: “My husband’s idea for the meaning of W.I.N.O.S. is Women in Need of Sex.  Good Lord, do they ever think of anything else?  Oh yeah, I forgot…golf and food! Ha-ha.”wine, winos, red wine, women, sanity, entertaing, cooking with wine

Her brand began as a cookbook with the fun logo of a woman diving into a wine glass.  She expanded her line after being flooded by requests to put the icon on napkins, aprons and T-shirts. She has once again grown her brand to include her own licensed furniture line, W.I.N.O.S. by Acacia Home and Gardenhttp://www.acaciahomeandgarden.com/winos.html

Now, I’ve just read she will be launching a new collection for Patio Living Concepts focusing on color and the use of lighting to create a casual outdoor entertainment environment. Congrats, Bonnie!

It is truly our pleasure to have Bonnie join us for a guest appearance at Mary Sherwood Lake Living on Saturday, May 29th.  Our After Hours Party begins at 4 PM. Listen to Bonnie tell her story and sign cookbooks, taste our local Rosemont Wines and sample food from  W.I.N.O.S. Go Tapas cookbook.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Be safe, have fun and find some sanity at beautiful Lake Gaston!

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Mar
12

Irish Cooking With Tony

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What a fabulous cooking class last Saturday at Mary Sherwood Lake Living! Tony Hall, a noted Lake Gaston cooking enthusiast, presented an information packed 2 hours of Irish Fare with a Southern Flare.

Before the program began I asked Tony:  “Who would you like to be today?” His reply:  “I think today I would like to be Bobby Flay, especially if I could have his bank account”.  That became his introduction and we were all carried away by his humor and cooking expertise.  The class moved along quickly with lots of recipes to cover.

A few minutes were taken to discuss two of Tony’s community volunteer efforts.  He is very involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Halifax County and the Warren County New Tech High School.   To thank Tony for being our guest cook we made a donation to the Boys and Girls Club.  Books for the WC Tech High were contributed by class participants.  Thanks to all who made a donation!

Tony Cooking, Cooking Leprechaun, Irish Cuisine

Tony mixing his "Green" Midori cocktails

Volunteers sampling Midori Cocktails in cute "Frog" martini glasses

The Irish Fare Menu

Appetizers:

Southern Sweet Tea

Sour Cream Biscuits with Tangerine Honey

Main Course:

Slow Cooker Corn Beef Brisket

Red Potatoes prepared with White Wine

Skillet Cabbage with Sweet Corn Relish Condiment

Irish Soda Bread with Irish Butter

Dessert:

Irish Cream Pound Cake with Irish Cream Glaze

Beverages:

Midori Cocktails (a beautiful green color)

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Leprechaun, Irish food

Special Guest Leprechaun distributed Gift Bags

We had a special guest join us for this event,  the Leprechaun, himself!

I have  been a fan of corn beef brisket but I am now a convert.

Here is Tony’s super easy recipe.

RECIPE FOR SLOW COOKER CORN BEEF BRISKET

3-5 lbs    Corn Beef Brisket w/Pickling Spices

3 -4        Apples, assorted firm varieties

2             Large Onions

1             ½ Gallon Apple Cider or Apple Juice

Place corn beef in bottom of slow cooker.  Sprinkle pickling spices (included in brisket package) over the corn beef. Cut apples in half and remove core.  Do not peel.  Peel and slice onions into thick slices.  Place onions and apples on top of corn beef.  Pour all of the apple juice or cider over the other ingredients.

Cook on High for 6 hours.  Reduce to Low and continue to simmer until corn beef easily pulls apart.

To serve:  Remove corn beef and pull apart and plate on a large platter.   Surround with potatoes and cabbage embellished with sweet corn relish. Enjoy!

TIP: Apples and onions prepared with the meat in slow cooker can be strained and serve as an additional side dish.

Slow Cooker Corn Beef Brisket

Don’t miss our next Cooking Experience!

A Spring Brunch Menu

April 3rd at 10 AM

Reservations required.  Seating limited to 25!

$10 fee

Sign Up Today!

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