Monday, August 6, 2018

Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Danish with Berries and Lemon Glaze

OMG - these are so delicious and a treat for a special occasion or just because you want to spoil yourself or someone else!    I made these a couple of months ago and totally forgot to post the details. Shame on me.  These are just TOO GOOD to keep to not share and be sure everyone has the chance to try them.  I have not used puff pastry often and was a not sure how difficult it would be to make these shapes, but it was not difficult at all.  And the puff pastry is very forgiving which makes it easier to  cast any fears aside and go for it!!

I hope you will try these soon - I promise you will NOT be disappointed.


adapted from Natasha's Kitchen

Danish Ingredients
1 pkg (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (I used Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese - perfect!)
1/4 c. organic cane sugar
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract is fine as well)
1 t. lemon zest
1 1/2 c. mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or strawberries)

Egg Wash Ingredients
1 egg
1 T. water

Lemon Glaze Ingredients
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.  Depending on the temperature of your kitchen it should take about 30-40 minutes.  You want the dough to still be cold.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the center of the oven.  Line a half sheet baking pan (my favorite size for many things!) with a parchment sheet and set aside.

Unfold the first puff pastry sheet onto a clean work surface (I use either parchment paper or waxed paper underneath - either works great) and roll lightly into a 10"x10" square.  Use a pizza cutter to slice each sheet into 12 even strips. (NOTE:  If you are not great at cutting straight even strips, like me, you can mart the strips on either end every 2 cm.  the 10" is just a little over 24 cm so it's practically perfect!  This added step made it super easy for me.)

Combine two of the strips by pinching the ends together to make one long 24" strand.  Twist it gently so you have a loose spiral curl.  Press one end onto your work surface and loop the twisted strand around in a circle. (I was really afraid that these has to be perfect, but they don't. They will bake up beautifully and hide any imperfections!)  Press the remaining end underneath.  Gently press the center to depress it and make it ready for the filling, and prick the center with a fork 3-4 times to keep it from rising.  Transfer to the parchment.  Continue this for the remaining strips. You will have 24 beautiful spiral circles! (Note:  The original recipe has you fill each with cream cheese and berries and then transfer tot he baking sheet.  I found it easier to fill once they were on the sheet, but you do what works for you!  I love options.)

In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, 1/4 c. sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and 1 t. lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy (and fight the temptation not to eat the bowl of lusciousness!)

I used a 1 T. cookie scoop to fill the center of each pastry. It was the perfect amount and there were no leftovers in the cream cheese bowl (darn!)   Then I placed raspberries, blueberries and one blackberry into the cream cheese.  As I did this I had visions of the cream cheese oozing out from the danish and becoming a runny mess in the oven - but my fears were NOT realized.

Make the egg wash, by whisking the egg and tablespoon of water.  Brush over the pastry part of the danish for added golden browning.  It makes them look beautiful.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

While the pastries are baking, blend the glaze ingredients.  I used less powdered sugar so my glaze was not as white and didn't show on the danish when I drizzled it - but the taste was awesome.  Be generous with the glaze. That lemon freshness takes them over the top!!

 Let them cool completely to room temperature so the cream cheese can completely set.  Then drizzle with the lemon glaze and serve.

These are SO good and worth every effort. And once you make them once, you will want to add them to the breakfast menu for any occasion - especially if you just want to indulge a little!

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Monday, July 30, 2018

A July Birthday Card - Power Poppy

Inspiration so often is fleeting when I really need it.  But I really wanted to use this digi image from Power Poppy.  I wasn't quite sure what to do with it and then they announced a card challenge. That is something I have never done - enter a card challenge.  So I thought why not as a lot of ideas came racing into my head.  So now I had inspiration and  motivation at the same time - amazing!

Spoiler Alert...... I finished the card AFTER the challenge deadline so I never entered it, but I am still proud of the result and will try again - maybe!! The challenge, by the way, was to include things that were round.  Even tho I missed the deadline, this did teach me to look in unexpected places for ideas and that can open up a whole world for me.  And as I worked on this card my mind was full of all sorts of ideas for my next creations.  It helps when there are fabulous artists out there who produce beautiful digi images like Power Poppy, Graciellie Designs and so many others. Those are just my two top favorites.

So this card was for my dear former neighbor - my friend from across the street at my old house.  We still keep in touch, although not as often as I would like.  It's kind of silly - we are only about 15 min away from each other, but life gets busy and I just don't find myself in that neighborhood .  It makes me sad. So I am determined to deliver this card and gift in person - just because it's time!  (and I did last weekend!)

You can see the dimension from this angle. 
I really love that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  
Adding the dots to the cup with a white Sharpie marker 
and complementary Nuvo enamel dots around the circle background 
was fun and started me thinking about new ways to do things. 
The birthday greeting shown on the finished card was printed on clear label tape 
and adhered to the matching card stock.

I am still working on a more consistent posting schedule as I have a lot of cards and recipes to share and more cards to make in  August, but I have been spending a lot of time redoing and rearranging my craft room and pushing myself to let go of all of those things that "I may use"  The more space I make and clutter I clear, the more creative I feel - it's like I have cleaned out my mental cobwebs too - so success all around.

I have done a little more remodeling in the condo too, so hope to have everything back to "normal" by the time fall rolls around.  With all of the heat here in southern CA, it will be nice to have cooler weather, but that is a good three months away.  In the meantime, I will continue to declutter and be as productive as I can be.  Life has been incredibly challenging the past few months, but having an outlet has been so helpful.

I hope you can all take the time to find that outlet that fills your soul and makes your heart happy!

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

No Churn Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream

It has been unseasonably warm here in Oceanside, even on the coast.  But I am happy to say that after a 2 1/2 year fight with the HOA here, I finally have air conditioning!  I will just say that the last week has been much more bearable with cool air blowing through the condo.  I am so very grateful...phew!  It was worth the struggle to finally be able to live comfortably when the temperature rises here.

Another thing that makes life more bearable when the sun is blazing is ice cream.  Yes - a year round treat for sure - and although it can be an indulgent sweet, it becomes a bit of a necessity in the summer.  Right?  And this no churn method that I turn to often, keeps the electricity off and produces the most delicious, creamy spoon licking dessert in no time at all!


adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Ice Cream Base:

2 c. heavy cream
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (full fat)
1 1/2 t. vanilla bean paste

Blueberry Sauce:

1/2 t. cornstarch (I use arrowroot starch)
2 t. water
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
1 T. organic cane sugar

Crumble "Topping":

1/4 c. flour
2 T. packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. unsalted butter, melted

To Make the Blueberry Sauce:

Mix the arrowroot starch (or cornstarch), and water together in a very small bowl. I like to use a custard cup.  Set aside.
Combine blueberries and sugar together and heat in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
Stir constantly and break up the blueberries as they heat up and start to burst.  When the blueberries have released some liquid (when you gently smash them with the spoon), add the cornstarch/water mixture. Increase the heat to medium and stir well for about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the blueberries cool completely.  The mixture will thicken as it cools. (Putting it in the refrigerator will help it cool down quicker).
Before or after cooling, the mixture can be placed in a strainer so you just have the blueberry gel.  I left it as is because I like the blueberry pieces!

To Make the Crumble:

Mix the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together with a fork.  Add the melted butter and mix again until a small clumps form.

To Make the Ice Cream:

In a small bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.

In a medium-large bowl, beat the heavy cream on medium high speed with a stand or hand mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the sweetened condensed mixture and beat on low until just combined, or fold gently together until well mixed.

I know......... YUMMMMM

Spoon about half the ice cream into a freezer container.  (I use the Tevolo tub).  Spoon about 1/4 c. blueberry sauce and half of the crumble mixture and gently swirl into the ice cream with a knife a few times.  Repeat with the remaining ice cream, 1/4 c. sauce and remaining crumble making another layer of swirls (don't insert the knife all the way down - just swirl the top layer).  Freeze until firm. at least 5-6 hours.

Save the remaining blueberry sauce to serve over the ice cream.

This is so good and you can make change it completely by utilizing a different fruit (strawberry swirl ice cream to come!)

This is SOOOOO good!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Losing a Second Mom...... Card...

Several weeks ago a dear lady left this earth and the world is not quite as bright as it was.  She was like a second Mom to me when I was growing up, and I adored her.  Her family and mine lived on the same block and I think I spent as much time at her home as I did at my own!  Her oldest child was my best friend from the time we were 3 years old.  All of these years later, she is still one of my dearest friends.  How lucky and blessed am I?

My girlfriend should have been my mother's daughter.  My Mom loved that she was so career oriented and a real entrepreneur.  My mom started a children's clothing store pretty much on her own in the 1940s downtown here - and it was unheard of then for a woman to have her own business, let alone have it become successful!

My girlfriend's mother was a teacher before her children were born, and then stayed home with them as her family grew.  She was a homemaker in every sense which I loved as well in later years. She spent hours knitting and doing needlework, especially needlepoint, which was also one of my favorite things to do.  She was an inspiration to me and I loved her dearly.

Sympathy cards are not anything I enjoy making, but this one was especially different.  I used a 3D embossing folder from Crafter's Companion coupled with a beautiful digi image from Graciellie Designs.I wanted something simple and elegant and I think I achieved that.

Here is a closeup of the beautiful digi image from Graciellie Designs.
                        I printed it on a laser printer, cut it out with the Silver Bullet Platinum                       and then foiled it with sparkling silver.
You can see how that foil reflects the light beautifully.

I used Nuvo embossing paste to highlight the dimension  
from the embossing folder and added small white pearls.

Again, I am painfully reminded to take time to tell my family and friends how special they are to me and to cherish every moment of every day.  Life is an amazing gift, but it has an expiration.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Happy Birthday Dear Neighbor!

I am so far behind on posting - good grief!  So am going to try to get back on track.  I have had some health challenges (don't we all) but will make a concerted effort to get some consistency back.  I have been continuing to make cards and bake a little and take photos, but I just have not converted all of those efforts to posts!  I am committed to getting back on track.

So here we go!

This card showcases one of the newer designs from Graciellie Designs.  She has several new ones with coffee themes and I love them all.  And it's perfect because my neighbor absolutely LOVES coffee in a way that most of us do not experience.  When she has a cup of coffee, she drinks it out of a little cup and you can bet it's an espresso - simple and pure.  We went to a local coffee shop the other day and she ordered 4 shots of espresso!!!  I would have been bouncing off the walls if I had ingested that!  OMG!!  I love coffee, but I love the lattes and macchiatos and even a simple black cup of coffee - but on the light or blonde side.  I guess that makes me a bit of a wimp, but I am not a dark roast fan.  Anyway...... when I saw the saying "saying extra caffeinated wishes" along with the coffee cup full of flowers - I knew it was the perfect combination for her!

This was printed on Crafter's Companion watercolor paper
with a laser printer and cut out with the Silver Bullet Platinum.

In the closeup, you can see some of the watercolor detail.
I used Zig Clean and Color brush markers on watercolor paper.
The teacup is covered in clear Sparkle Pen and 
then with Glossy Accents to make it appear more real.
I love the vividness of the colors.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thank You Card for Special Neighbors

I really do love the condo development where I have settled. Being across the street from the beach certainly has its perks and that is amazing. But in addition to being surrounded by the beauty of God's creations, I have also met some of the nicest people ever.  This development is a mix of owners who live her full time and people who come for varying lengths of time to get away, a month at a time. Many of the people who visit come year after year, so even tho they are only here for a month or so, friendships are formed.  It is really pretty wonderful.

One of my part time neighbors are also owners, but they rent their condo about half of the year and when its not rented they come and stay a few weeks at a time.  They are a great couple who hope to retire in about five years and live here full time.  He is the cook in the family and is always appearing at my door with a new creation to share.  He and his wife are so thoughtful. The last time they were here, they brought be a beautiful orchid plant.  So I made them a special thank you card that was decorated with a lovely orchid designed by Marcella at Power Poppy!

I am still working on my coloring skills with pencils, markers and watercolors, but am determined to color more and accept the imperfections in my work as I learn.  That's a big step for me! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Chocolate Crinkle Sprinkle Cookes

These cookies were made as a special treat for my grandson, Carter.  When it was my oldest son Scott's birthday, we met for dinner at a fabulous Mexican restaurant in San Clemente which was about half way for each of us. And I just didn't see how I could show up empty handed, so after dinner we made a trip to the car to get the surprise for Carter!!  He was SO happy!  Scott didn't quite understand why HIS son got the special present, but he felt better when Carter shared!! :)

adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1 c. (142 g) flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. organic cane sugar
1/3 c. vegetable oil (I prefer to use Spectrum canola and coconut blend)
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract (I like to use Mexican vanilla in chocolate recipes)
1/2 c. rainbow sprinkles (or more depending on how generous you are with the sprinkles!!)

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Set aside.

Beat together the sugar, cocoa and oil until thoroughly blended with an electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour a little at a time, just mixing until combined.  Stir well with a rubber spatula to be sure all of the flour is incorporated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment and place the sprinkles in a small shallow bowl.

Shape the dough into one inch balls.  Roll each ball in sprinkles and place on prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Gently press down on the cookie before baking.

Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have spread a little and appear set.  They will remain soft and chewy in the center. Do not overbake.

Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack.  They will keep up to one week in an airtight container.

These were a huge hit with my grandson!!  Score two points for Grammy! :)  Definitely fun to make as well and you could use a variety of colored sprinkles to fit any occasion imaginable!

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Granddaughter's Graduation Card (how could that be??!!??)

This week my granddaughter, Kendra, graduated from high school.  I can still SO vividly remember the day she was born and holding her in the hospital when she was just hours old.  Where in the world has all of the time gone?

Kendra graduated "young" at 17, but she is ready to conquer the world. I love talking with her about what she wants to do and how excited she is about college.  I hope she will never be TOO busy to stop sharing some of her experiences with me. And now that she has her driver's license, I am hoping with all of my heart that she will be able to drive down here during the summer and spend a week with me at the beach. We would have so much fun!  I can dream........... :)

I wanted her graduation card to be different than the run of the mill graduation cards and I hope I achieved that. I think it is one of my favorite cards for sure!

I love the saying - it is from the Flutterby collection from
Crafter's Companion

I made a rounded mat and centered the butterfly on the mat and cut out just the inside. Then I cut the full butterfly out of incandescent card stock in black to use as an outline when I was done.  I put a piece of  contact paper (double sided adhesive works well too) behind the cut out butterfly and glittered each portion using a straw so I could pick up a small amount of glitter at a time. 

Congratulations, Kendra. I am so proud of you!

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Sympathy Card

Several weeks ago,  a very special lady and friend lost her battle to cancer.  She had been running the ShareaCard organization that I have been involved with the past 20 years.  She took over 14 years ago when the founder passed away - also from cancer.  Kath felt that it was her responsibility, but more importantly, her privilege to take over and make ShareaCard all that it could be.  And she did just that.  Because of her dedication, we have touched the lives of many seriously ill adults and brought them happiness through thoughtful greeting cards.  Both Suzanne, the founder, and Kath lived in PA - and the rest of us are scattered all over the US, as well as all over the world.  And now, her daughters are going to continue the work of ShareaCard in memory of their mother.  They grew up watching the dedication, love and unselfishness of their mother. They are going to follow in her footsteps and continue to help bring cheer to those in need.  I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful organization.  You can learn more about it at

I let almost a week go by before starting to make a card for Kath's family.  I was in such denial that this disease had taken her from her family and all of us.  I wanted to make a card that somehow depicted who she was to me - someone with grace and beauty and gentleness.

Here is a closeup of the gerbera daisies stamp by Sheena (Crafter's Companion).
It is embossed with a silver white embossing powder that sparkles 
beautifully in person.  And the pearls and sequins add a nice touch.

The photo below gives a slightly different view of the front of the card - and all of the detail in the stamp.  I love how it turned out.

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Bright and Fun Congratulations Card

I am so lucky to be involved with many organizations that do so much good in our beautiful city - particularly for the youth.  One of my passions is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside.  They do such amazing work for the youth in our community and I am truly honored to be a part of that.  As a side note, it is interesting how things come full circle in life.  In the 1960s, my father was part of the group of businessmen who started the Boys Club in Oceanside (back then it was just for males!!)  And he stayed involved most of his life.  So how special is it for me to now be on the board and help follow in his footsteps and also follow my own passion - I am all about the youth in our community and exposing them to as much as we can.  I want them to know that they can do whatever they want - they only have to reach for it.

Every year in our club (and in most Boys & Girls Clubs), a youth of the year is chosen.  That youth goes on to compete in the county competition against other youth in the area, and then the winner goes on to State, then Regional, then National.  It is an amazing opportunity and at the National level, there is a lot of scholarship money available to the winner.  Last year our youth of the year won the County and then became the California State Youth of the Year.  This year, we did it again!!!  Our 16 year old incredible young woman won San Diego County and then recently won the State competition.  We are so very proud of her.  She will go on to the regional completion and compete against youth from Washington, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and a few other states I cannot remember right now!!  So exciting for her and what an opportunity for growth, win or lose.

She was planning to attend board meeting last week, so I wanted to make her a card from the Board to let her know just how proud we are of her.  This was super fun to make because it was different than the get well or birthday cards that I usually do.  I am super happy with how it came out. I hope you like it too!

Here you can see a closeup of the glitter and foil - 
both challenging to capture the sparkle beauty!

The background foiled image was actually a negative piece left over from another project. I had used Gina K's Foil Mates with the stars, so this was fun to add to the feeling of celebration - and the fact that she IS a star!!

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About Me

My photo

I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.