Friday, November 30, 2012

Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts

Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie

Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts

This is one of my all time favorite flavor combinations - Chocolate, Orange & Coffee!  And it is perfect for the holidays!

This recipe is my own creation except for the melted chocolate layer - that is my mom's genius idea (thanks mom!).


Printable Recipe
Cocoa Crust
2 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt (only if you are using unsalted butter)
4 to 5 tablespoons water (with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup lard (if you don't want to use lard then just use 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (for melting later)

Stir together (or sift) the flour, cocoa, sugar & salt.  Now with a pie cutter or fork - cut the lard & butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a crumb topping.  Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it is a smooth dough (sometimes 4 tablespoons of water will suffice & other times I need the full 5 tablespoons).  Now on a lightly floured surface - roll out the dough & cut into 12 tarts (click Fancy Tart Pan for a unique idea).  This should be almost exact amount of dough for 12 tarts.  Prick each tart bottom with a fork to prevent any bubbles.  Bake in a preheated 475 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes.  Remove from oven & allow to cool completely.  Melt the chocolate & spread a thin layer on the inside of the cooled tarts (see picture above).  Place in the fridge until you have completed the filling & to allow the chocolate to harden.
Click to see Making Pie Crust

IMPORTANT!  The filling recipe was enough for 24 tarts - so you must make the above crust twice to bake 24 tarts - do not double the recipe - make it twice instead.  HOWEVER - the tart pan that you are using might not be the same size as the one that I used - trial & error will have to be used in this situation.


Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

Orange Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 heaping cup of cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon orange rind
1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed) (I used 1 orange & 1 tangerine)
food coloring (optional) (1 drop yellow & 1 drop red)

In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar & cornstarch - now slowly add the water while stirring with a wooden spoon.  Bring to boil over medium heat & boil for 1 minute stirring all the time.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  In a different bowl - lightly whisk the egg yolks.  IMPORTANT: You will add 1/3 of the hot cornstarch liquid (that you just brought to a boil) into the bowl with the egg yolks (you must stir all the time. This will avoid any stringy cooked egg yolk).  Now you can add this egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot liquid without worrying about any stringy eggs (again stirring all the time).  Return the saucepan to the heat and boil for 1 minute (stirring).  Remove from heat & immediately stir in the butter, orange rind, orange juice & food coloring (optional) & stir until fully combined - see the second picture above.  Pour about 2 tablespoons worth of orange filling into your tart shells (Remember - the shells have been totally cooled & the thin melted chocolate layer has fully hardened in the fridge) - continue filling until all of your tart shells have been filled.  Now it is time to make the meringue.

Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

3 egg whites (saved from above)
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee

In a mixing bowl & with an electric mixer - whip the egg whites until they start to look a little frothy.  Now add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time & continue whipping (with the electric mixer) until peaks start to form.  When the egg whites have sharp peaks then add the instant coffee & continue whipping until the peaks stay in place when you stop mixing (see how the meringue just hangs in mid air in the second picture above).    Now spoon the meringue onto the filled tarts trying to have the meringue touch the edge of the crust.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 8 minutes (or until desired brown color is achieved).  In the first picture above on the left the meringue is unbaked & in the picture on the right - the meringue is nice & brown & baked.

Remove from the oven & cool on a cooling rack. 
You may eat these tarts warm or place in the fridge & eat cold (I prefer them cold).

Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Make Fancy Tarts with This Pan


 Make Fancy Tarts with this Pan

I just love the fluted edges of these unique tarts - they look like flowers.  This pan is made by a German company called "Zenker".  I bought this about 15 years ago and unfortunately I have not been able to find it for sale anymore.  However, as you can see by the picture above this is a shallow pan similar to a "muffin top" pan.  Therefore, you could use a muffin top pan and just buy a large round cookie cutter (or biscuit cutter) to make tart crust similar to these.

I will be sharing a recipe on Friday of this week using this pan.



Just in time for Christmas baking - 10 of my favorite cookie creations! (ebook)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Building a Backyard Hoop House

Picture from inside the hoop house - the spinach, kale & asian greens are already growing!

I thought we all needed a break from the "Cyber Monday" ads - so I decided to show you the hoop house that we just built in our backyard.

If you recall - last year we bought a greenhouse kit that ended in disaster (see picture below) - to read about that sad event click on the link below:
Harbor Freight Greenhouse Warning

Our greenhouse kit ended in disaster

For this Hoop House we used some wood, metal brackets, pvc pipes, duct tape & some plastic.

It won't win any contests for looks but hopefully it will withstand our winter winds and serve it's purpose of growing greens during the off season.


Linked to:
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Freedom Fridays


Dresses from Shabby Apple

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Destruction or Life

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  John 10: 10
Have you ever been the victim of a theft?   A few years ago my husband & I spent the evening at my sister-in-law's house to celebrate my niece's 12th birthday.  We were inside enjoying the party;  eating cake and playing board games.  Our dog (a large Collie St. Bernard mix) was outside in the car waiting for us.  While we were inside we kept hearing this scratching noise at the screen door - my husband jokingly said "That sounds like Coach" (our dog)  - we all laughed "hahahaha".  At 10pm when it was time to leave - we stepped outside, walked to the driveway and noticed that our car wasn't there!  I said "we must have parked it on the side of the road" - we looked around & nothing - Our car was gone!!!!  Then we started to freak because our dog was in the car - but thankfully he cautiously peered around the corner - our dog was just fine.  Come to find out - while we were enjoying the party - a neighbor's house across the street was being robbed.  The thieves ran out of cargo space so they stole our Jeep Cherokee to jam pack full of  TVs and other electronic equipment.  I will never forget the fear, worry & destruction that followed.  My purse was also in our locked car so the robbers had my credit cards, my keys, cell phone and my identity!  It literally felt like my life was destroyed - we had to have new locks put on our house, our cars, new cell phone & new cell number, new drivers took many months before I felt comfortable again.
It is the same with our soul.  The only purpose of Satan & false prophets is to steal, kill & destroy but Jesus' only reason for coming is to give us everlasting life!  What a difference between life & destruction.  Even though "life" can have many hardships - Life means growth whereas destruction is hopeless. 
 Our choice is very clear - It is black & white - there is no grey - we can either choose Jesus Christ & life or turn our back on Him therefore choosing Satan and devastation. 
Which one will you choose?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Drying Fresh Parsley for the Winter


Parsley is perfect for Winter usage - it has such a wonderful clean & green taste!  I prefer fresh Parsley but dried parsley makes homemade chicken noodle soup perfect!
There are a couple different ways to dry herbs but today we will be talking about using a food dehydrator, which in my opinion is the easiest and most successful way.

The dehydrator manufacturer recommends taking the herb directly from the garden, shaking or brushing any dirt off & then dehydrating immediately. However, I find that there always seems to be some grit left after dehydrating. Therefore, I always rinse the herb off (in this case Parsley) and then pat it dry on a paper towel before using the dehydrator. There is nothing worse than biting down on a grain of soil.


STEP 1: Harvest Parsley by cutting off as many large bunches of leaves as desired (cut the stalk close to the ground)
STEP 2: Snip the choice leaves off the stalk with your fingers (or kitchen scissors) and then wash the Parsley leaves.
STEP 3: Arrange the leaves on the dehydrator tray and then turn the dehydrator on - at the manufacturer's specified temperature and time. (It took my dehydrator 48 hours to dry 4 racks of parsley). 
STEP 4: Once the leaves are completely dry, then crumble the parsley by hand . Place the parsley flakes in an airtight container. ENJOY!


NOTE: I always discard/compost any Parsley leaf that has holes or corners missing - these blemishes are from animals or bugs. Also, NEVER use a Parsley leaf that has bird poop residue.

Linked to:
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blessings & Happy Thanksgiving!

 May God bless you & yours this fine Thanksgiving Day!

  Thanksgiving Signature, for


Just in time for Christmas baking - 10 of my favorite cookie creations!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rainbow Swiss Chard Manicotti

Rainbow Swiss Chard Manicotti

This dish is so delicious & colorful!  You can't go wrong with any kind of food that is stuffed.

Printable Recipe

14 Manicotti shells (pasta)
2 cups Rainbow Swiss Chard (or regular Chard) (rinsed & chopped)
1/2 red bell pepper (deseeded, rinsed & chopped)
1/2 yellow bell pepper (deseeded, rinsed & chopped)
small onion (peeled, chopped)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (depending on your garlic preference) (peeled & minced)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
parsley (fresh or dried - add to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)
1 egg
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 jar pasta sauce (tomato sauce)

Boil the pasta shells as described on the package.  Drain the pasta and allow to cool.  Prepare the fresh ingredients as described above.  In a large frying pan - lightly saute the peppers, onion & garlic for only about 5 minutes (you don't want to fully cook the veggies because they will continue to cook in the oven later).  Add the prepared Swiss Chard & cover the pan - continue sauteeing for only 1 minute (just until the chard has started to wilt).  Remove the pan from the heat & allow to cool uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Set aside 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese for later.  In a large bowl - stir together the parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese & the egg.  Now add the previously sauteed veggies into this cheese mixture & stir until combined.  Add all of the parsley & pepper & stir.  (If the filling is a little stiff then add 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce).  Now you are ready to fill the pasta - I use a small spoon and add 2 small scoops to one end of the pasta shell & then 2 scoops to the other end of the manicotti shell.  Continue filling until all of the pasta shells & the filling have been used.  This filling should be a perfect amount for 14 Manicotti (now this might vary since not all Manicotti are the same size).  Pour half of the pasta sauce into a large glass pyrex pan -sprayed first.  Place each filled Manicotti shell onto the sauce (see picture below right).  Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top of the Manicotti & finally top with the remaining Mozzarella cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved (cover with foil for the first 15 minutes & then remove).



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Old Fashioned Sunday Hymn Sing #3

I miss the old hymns that I remember from my childhood - there were no drums, no electric guitar and no mind numbing beat. It was just voices and maybe a piano or an organ. The choir led the congregation in singing - and the words of these hymns are poetic. I realize that there is a need for the modern "seeker oriented" worship music - but it is also necessary to have deeper songs (no offense intended to anyone who prefers the newer church songs).

I decided to have an "Old Fashion Sunday Hymn Sing" once a month on this blog.
I personally do NOT have a great singing voice - I used to play the guitar & piano but my voice is NOT an instrument. That's the great thing about this digital hymn sing you can warble along without being embarrassed or without offending anyone else.

The hymns that we will be studying are taken from an old hymnal from a Baptist church that is no longer in existence - "The North American Hymnal" published in 1956 by "THE ROGER WILLIAMS PRESS"

I will also try to find a version of the featured hymn on "YouTube" to share with you each month.

Today's feature song is "Count Your Blessings" by hymnist Johnson Oatman, 1856-1926 and composed by Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921.  Johnson Oatman was a Methodist minister but he also had a mercantile business and was the administrator for a large insurance company.  Johnson Oatman also wrote the lyrics for 5,000 hymns in his lifetime!

Please listen to the "YouTube" video below - this version of this hymn only plays the first 2 verses but the tune is the same as I remember.

In this Thanksgiving season - let's take time to truly count our blessings - I think we will all be surprised at how blessed we are!

Turn with me to number 556 in your hymnals and let's sing:

Count Your Blessings
by Johnson Oatman (1856-1926)
1.  When upon life's billows you are tempest, tossed, When you are discouraged thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
2.  Are you ever burrdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?  Count your many blessings every doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by.
3.  When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;  Count your many blessings, money cannot buy Your reward in heaven , Nor your home on high.

4.  So, amid the confict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all;  Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Count your blessings, Name them one by one;  Count your blessings, See what God hath done;  Count your blessings.  Name them one by one;  Count your many blessings See that God hath done.

Special thanks to "Michael Curb Congregation" for posting this song on YouTube.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Frank's Flowers - Mauve Miracle Rose

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Frank's Flowers - Mauve Miracle Rose
Click here to learn how to Prune & Trim Roses
Today's Flower Feature is The Mauve Miracle Rose.
In person the color of this rose is a little more "mauve" - the pictures seem to make it look a little more pink than it actually is in reality.  My dad bought a dozen of these stunning roses as "cut flowers" and then using his rooting technique started rose bushes from the cut flowers.  This rose becomes even more beautiful when it is fully open showing it's delicate yellow center.  This rose also has a divine scent!

Please ENJOY this digital 1/2 dozen of the "Mauve Miracle Roses" !

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Photo by Angie Ouellette-Tower

Other Roses on this blog:

  Thanksgiving Signature, for

Linked to:
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Themed Blog & Shop Hop - Turkey or The Color Brown

WELCOME to the 9th
"Themed Blog & Shop Hop"
November 14th 2012!
I'm so glad that you stopped by!

For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops (or online shops) or links to their Blogs. And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.

The theme this month is:
"Turkey &/or the color Brown"
Link up anything having to do with turkey - whether it's a recipe, something about a turkey farm or even about the country Turkey.  Or anything that has the color brown.

If you have anything that remotely touches this topic - then please share it with us.

Although I would love it if everyone joined my blog or became followers of my blog - that is not a requirement to participate in this "Hop". All I ask is that you keep your submissions decent - no offensive content please.

Well, actually there is a second rule:
only 2 submissions per person please.
If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.

I will be having a "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" once a month - the middle of each month. Next month's hop will be on:
DECEMBER 14th, 2012


To Etsy shop owners - please only upload links directly to the items that you would like to share with us - not a link to your entire shop - Thanks.

To Blog owners - you may submit any post that fits into the theme - it can be an old post from many months ago (it does Not have to be a recent post). Also, please submit the link directly to the post and Not a link to your homepage - Thank you!

I will be "tweeting" about the submissions throughout the week to come.
Thanksgiving Signature, for

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

October Blog & Shop Hop - THE RESULTS

I would just like to thank all of you again for either visiting or participating in my eighth "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" - I had so much fun and I hope that you did also!

Now - The Results (If you haven't already - please checkout these wonderful blogs & shops) (Remember I have 2  "featured buttons" if you were featured and wanted to place one on your blog - NOT a requirement)

For the most "likes":
The Most "Likes",

Checkout this totally cool gourd project!! - Marci received the most "likes".
For the most "clicks":

The Most "Clicks",

 and look at this delicious Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake!!!  Jamie received the most "clicks".
 Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Thank you all for your amazing submissions!!!


Please join us tomorrow for the 9th Themed Blog & Shop Hop!

 Thanksgiving Signature, for
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