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Archive for May, 2010

Would you like to prepare something delicious and healthy?

And summery?

And homely?

Then run to your kitchen and make this.

Because it’s good.

SO good.
 
 


These are the ingredients.

Simple, right?
 
 

1. Oh my, what’s happened here?

Okay, okay, I’ll try to be more descriptive… start by slicing the onions.
 
 

2. Then pour the olive oil into a larger pan and heat it up.
 
 

3. Place the onions into the pan and fry until soft and yellow.
 
 

4. Then peel and slice the garlic and add it to the onions.

Stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
 
 

5. Cut the chicken breasts into about 2-inch (5 cm) long strips.
 
 

6. Add the chicken to the pan.
 
 

7. Season with pepper (I added about 1/4 teaspoon).
 
 

8. Add salt (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoon) and stir thoroughly.
 
 

9. When the meat becomes white-ish on all sides add the canned tomatoes.
 
 

10. Then it’s time for the thyme… and oregano to join the show.

Stir thoroughly again.
 
 

11. Finally, add the mustard (not much, just a little) and the chicken broth and give it all a good mix.

Bring to boil and let cook for about 15 minutes.

And that’s all, dear friends – this simple.

Because I just love simple.

Simple is good for me.
 
 

Yum!
 
 

You can serve this delish meal with rice or pasta.

And most of all, ENJOY!

This recipe makes about 4-5 servings.
 

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I’ve realized that cream cheese seems to have some strong magical power over me these days.

See? It got me again, the cream cheese.

And you know what?

I’m really glad for that.

Because these bars, THESE BARS.

They are GORGEOUS.

Just imagine a piece of heavenly cake where cream cheese meets raspberries, almonds and coconut and you might get some distant drooling idea what I’m talking about.

To know perfectly what I mean you have to – HAVE TO – make them.

You’ll be happy, I’m tellin’ ya!
 


These are the ingredients.
 
 

1. Let’s start by chopping  the nuts.
 
 

2. In a larger bowl combine the nuts with the flour (1 1/4 cup – 160 grams) and the sugar (1/2 cup – 100 grams).
 
 

3. Then add the butter and using a pastry cutter (or a fork) combine the mixture until…
 
 

… it resembles crumbs.

4. Set aside one cup crumb mixture.
 
 

5. For the crust, press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch (33x23x5 cm) baking pan.

6. Bake in a 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are golden.
 
 

7. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese with the sugar (2/3 cup – 130 grams).
 
 

8. Then beat in the eggs – one at a time – making sure to beat well after each addition.
 
 

9. Add the almond extract and scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then.
 
 

10. Add the 2 tablespoons flour and mix again shortly.
 
 

11. Pour over the hot crust…
 
 

… and using a spoon or an offset spatula (if you are a big girl/boy) spread the mixture…
 
 

… to achieve smooth and even surface.

12. And back into the oven it goes to bake for another 15 minutes.
 
 

13. Remove from the oven.

14. Pour the preserves over the hot cream cheese layer…
 
 


 
 

… and even out the surface.

( I placed the preserves into the microwave oven for a couple of seconds to make the mixture warmer and more liquid.)
 
 

15. Now back to the one cup crumbs that we have set aside.

Mix them with one cup coconut.
 
 

16. Sprinkle the crumbs-coconut mixture over the preserves.
 
 

Like this.
 
 

17. And bake for another 20 minutes.
 
 

18. Remove from the oven.

19. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours before cutting into bars.

Store in the refrigerator.

And most importantly – enjoy, dear friends!
 

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I Can No Longer Hide…

I guess I can no longer hide who this guy is going to be.

Or can I?

So far he’s really enjoyed obtaining his very own trunk, an almost finished head and almost finished eyes.

Also, for some reason, I’m making my toys bigger and bigger still.

I wonder where I can get in this respect…
 

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The Weekend

The past weekend was wonderful.

All in all, I spent it as usual – maniacally running around and taking pictures of everything that had caught my attention.

First, I inspected some animals really closely.

But then I got confused by who was in fact inspecting whom.

So I rather walked away.
 
 

Then I found Kiran.

I knew I’d visit him again soon.

He turned one year last week.
 
 

Just look how joyous and carefree he can be.
 
 

He is a real mood booster.
 
 

After waving Kiran goodbye, I visited the most beautiful castle on the planet.
 
 

On Sunday we went to see my parents.

I checked what was new in my Mom’s atelier…
 
 

… and I found this gorgeous new painting.

I love it – as always, it’s full of .oobies.
 
 

Then I couldn’t believe my own eyes when Mom showed me these new baskets.

They hadn’t been bought – my Mom’s Dad made them.

Wow!

That was all I could say.
 
 

Meanwhile a storm had come and gone – leaving Mom’s garden even more amazing than before.
 
 

The flowers definitely enjoyed the shower.
 
 

They looked happy and invigorated.
 
 

Oh, and the little cute things with eyes that ‘inhabit’ the garden – their number is growing really fast.

There were so many new that I hadn’t seen before.

This one, for instance, has a very interesting story.

Mom said, she had been feeding this bird all winter and it’s gotten so fat it couldn’t take off and lives in the garden now.
 
 

These guys were hiding behind a flower pot – luckily I found them.

What a gorgeous weekend it was – I hope you had a lovely one too.

Have a superb week y’all.

Love,

Petra
 

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I’ve always loved the way this cake looks.

I guess there are many people like me – the color combination is just mesmerizing and so genial.

When you look at it, it truly seems velvety.

And abundant in flavors.

It’s like from another galaxy or something.

These days I really couldn’t help it, I simply needed it in my life.

So this is what I did, dear friends, and I ENJOYED it …

These are the ingredients.
 
 

1. First I prepared this flour mixture.

It consists of the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
 
 

2. Then, in another bowl I mixed the buttermilk and the food coloring.

(There are many brands of food coloring – please, read the instructions on the package you’ve bought and try to give your final batter some stronger red color.)
 
 

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

4. Then add the eggs – one at a time – beating well after each addition.

5. Add the vanilla and mix.
 
 

6. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the colored buttermilk, in three additions – beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

7. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda.

Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
 
 

8. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan (or two) and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

9. Fill the prepared pan with about 2 cups (500 ml) of the finished batter (there should be about 8 cups of the finished batter altogether and we are going to make 4 layers).

10. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
 
 

11. Meanwhile, we can prepare the frosting.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, process the cream cheese, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Then, in a separate bowl, with you hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

With a large spatula, gently fold these two mixtures together and place in the refrigerator for about an hour or until firm enough to spread.

 
 

12. When the first layer has baked, remove it from the oven and place it (still in the pan) on the wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Then remove the cake from the pan, transfer onto a plate and let cool completely.

13. Wash the springform pan, butter it, line the bottom with parchment paper again, fill it with another 2 cups (500 ml) of the batter and bake.

14. Repeat until you have baked all four layers.
 
 

15. When your cake layers have cooled completely place one cake layer on a serving platter.

Spread the cake layer with the layer of frosting.
 
 

16. Place another cake layer on top of the frosting and…
 
 

… continue to frost and stack the cake layers.
 
 

17. Frost the top and sides of the cake.

You can also garnish your cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut.

And most importantly – enjoy, dear friends.
 

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My teddy has left for a holiday.

After all, he definitely deserved it – he’s been my sweetheart for such a long time.

You may be asking who he’s traveling with.

Well, it’s my new travel agency that I established recently.

I thought I should really let you know about it since you might be one of those people who would like to send their beloved toys somewhere for a wonderful trip and need that ‘someone‘ to arrange all the necessary details.

Please, feel free to enjoy the pictures from the places my teddy has visited…

First of all, it was Paris – shown on the picture above (he looks so incredibly happy there).
 
 

Then Egypt – what a wonderful place.
 
 

He was joyously excited over there.

The weather was wonderfully hot, there was a  lot of water around and even some camel riding was possible.
 
 

What a pleasure it is to spend time on a beach.

Maybe your teddy will meet his/her long lost relative there.
 
 

Is your teddy into adrenaline?

Then why not try white-water rafting?

It’s so stress-relieving.
 
 

Oh, and this is something for those who are keen on flying.

What a bliss.
 
 

Your teddy also deserves some scrumptious yet healthy food.

Yum!

All-in-all, your precious sweetie will be taken care of with the uttermost attention.

Now I’m sure all of your toy friends definitely want to go too.

For more information (or if you have any suggestions), please, contact me in the comment section.

Meanwhile, I am going to put a bit more thinking into the whole project…
 

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My Mom’s paintings are very interesting.

They are rather abstract.

There’s one shape that, I guess, my Mom captures in most of her pictures – I can see at least eight of them in the one above.

Okay, I’ll give you a tiny little hint: it starts with ‘B’.

And ends with ‘B’ too.

And has two ‘O-s’ in between.

Do you see them now?

Great.

Yeah, my Mom is fun…
 
 

When working in her atelier she usually enjoys the company of this little darling.

Her name is Georgina.

She is my little sister – kind of Mom’s youngest child.
 
 

Since it’s still rather cold in Mom’s atelier Georgina has to be dressed properly.

She usually wears two layers of clothing to keep her perfectly warm – a sweater and a coat.

Not only does she have every single item there is for a dog to enjoy, she is also growing up in an artful environment.

I think she might be the happiest and the luckiest dog in the whole wide world.
 

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