Thursday, July 28, 2016

Recipe: Lemon Berry Mousse Tart

Whoa!  Where has summer gone?  I have been so very busy, but I've still been cooking!

This is a recipe I made for the 4th of July (see, told you I've been crazy busy!  At least it's still July when I get to blogging this!) My sister's birthday is July 1, so I usually make a dessert of some sort to celebrate.  She loves citrus and berries, so I came up with this recipe for her.


And wow, is it great.  Seriously.

You could make this mousse separately and just serve it as part of a trifle or a parfait, too!

The crust I used was a variation on King Arthur Flour's Citrus scented tart dough - except I added a LOT more lemon.  A lot.  It had a real citrus punch, and was really wonderful.

So, if you want to make a really special dessert, try this one!  It is going onto the list of "Make Again" recipes, for sure!  I used a jar of pre-made lemon curd from Trader Joe's, but you could make your own if you desire.  BUT - try the stuff from Trader Joe's if you have one near you.  Great stuff.

Lemon Berry Mousse Tart

Lemon Mousse
1 (10.5 oz) jar lemon curd
1 c whipping cream
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Lemon Tart Dough

1 c sugar
3 Tbsp lemon zest
4 3/4 c All-Purpose Flour (adjust if dough is too sticky or too dry)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c  unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 to 2 Tbsp water (adjust if dough is too sticky or too dry) 

1-2 cups assorted berries (I used blueberries and strawberries)

To make mousse:
Whip cream until it forms peaks.  Fold in the lemon curd until well incorporated.  Add extra lemon (zest and juice) - adjust to your taste.  We like it super lemony, so we went all out.  Set mousse aside in fridge until the crust is ready.





To make crust:
Mix together sugar and lemon zest in a food processor.  Add the flour and salt, and mix until well combined.  Add the butter, one small chunk at a time, until the texture of the dough resembles rolled oats.  Add the egg and egg yolks and mix well.  Add water until the dough sticks together when pressed between your fingers.  Separate into two parts, pat into disk shapes, and wrap in saran wrap or parchment paper.  Cool for at least 30 minutes.

After cooling, place each disk into the bottom of a 11"-13"tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom - I used 1x13" tart pan and 2 rectangular tart pans.  Press dough down evenly around the shell - really press it down so that it bakes up evenly.  If you have a tart tamper, this is the perfect time to use it.  You can also use the bottom of a heavy glass (put parchment on top of the dough to make it easier to press down)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line the tart shells with parchment paper or waxed paper filled with pie weights, or dried beans.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the tart crust is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Assemble Tarts:
Once the tart shells are completely cool, fill with the mousse (I piped it in to make sure it was even).  Top with assorted berries, and chill until ready to serve.





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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lunches for an Outing: Shelburne Museum 6.18.16

It's summer vacation, which means time for our little day adventures (and hopefully some bigger ones, too!)

My mom and I brought the kids to one of our favorite places in Vermont, the Shelburne Museum.  This place is AWESOME, and if you are ever in Vermont, I cannot recommend it enough!

I was really pleased that this time, the kids really were enjoying the art more than they have on previous visits.


The museum has a lot of history, as well as some really great art.


And we brought lunches, of course!


I packed us sandwiches with herbed turkey, spinach, cheese, and muhammara, along with sugar snap peas, apple slices, and dried baby bananas.

The sandwiches were delicious.

It was a totally glorious day for walking around the museum, and we can't wait to go back again!  It is a really large museum, so it is next to impossible to see everything in one day...
(That was my coffee...)

Plus, the kids had been up late the night before at the local races with The Hubby, so maybe they were a little tired... this is after the museum.

This is just the beginning of our summer adventures!  I can't wait to do more!


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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lunches: 6.8.16

Today is the last full day of school!  The Girl was sick yesterday, but it feeling much better today.  Being sick the last week of school is no fun!

We had taco Tuesday for dinner last night, so leftovers in lunches!
Taco: 20g, oranges: 10g, watermelon: 4g, apple slices: 8g

The Boy has a soft taco, mandarin oranges, apple slices, and watermelon.  His snack is a fruit cup (not pictured, 10g)

The Girl has a soft taco, fruit cup, apple slices, and watermelon.


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lunch: 6.7.16

Two days left of school, and The Girl woke up with a horrible sore throat and is staying home... I tried to rally her to get up and give it a go, but she wasn't hearing it.  Poor kiddo!

So - The Boy has a class picnic today, and I packed a lunch for him!
Sandwich: 40g, oranges: 6g, watermelon: 5g, pretzel goldfish: 8g
He has a sandwich with cheese and ham, along with mandarin oranges, watermelon, and pretzel Goldfish.  His snack is a fruit cup (not pictured, 10g).

Hopefully The Girl will feel better tomorrow!


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Monday, June 6, 2016

Lunches: 6.6.16

It's the final week of school for us!   Not that many more lunches to pack... until we hit our adventures for the summer!
Sandwich: 40g, apple slices: 8g, watermelon: 8g

Today, The Boy has watermelon, apple slices, and a sandwich with ham and cheddar.  His snack is mandarin oranges (not pictured, 10g).

The Girl has watermelon, apple slices, and a sandwich with ham and cheddar.



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Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Pokemon Birthday Party

I'm a little late in blogging this party, but it's worth the wait!

The Boy turned 10 a couple of weeks ago... I cannot believe it!  Crazy crazy crazy.

Poor Jigglypuff fell over in this picture

The kids have been super into Pokemon recently, and I'm not sad about that.  The Hubby and I actually used to record Pokemon every day when we first got married and watch it when we got home from work.  Yeah, this is one we can get behind.

I made a whole bunch of Pokemon themed treats - mostly Pokeballs, because those are the easiest.


I made Pokeball Babybells - "Poke-Bells" - super simple, just by cutting the wax, and then coloring the black band in with a black food marker.

I was pretty proud of these, too - I made meatball and cheese stuffed bread (just used a standard bread dough recipe - you could even buy pre-made pizza dough!  I rolled the dough out thinly, and then stuffed with a pre-cooked meatball and a little cheese.



Then, I rolled them up and sealed them tightly.


From there, I baked them at 350 F for about 10 minutes, then the magic happened... I used egg wash that I had colored red with a little food coloring and a paint brush to paint half of the balls red.  I did this when they were HALF baked, so they were hot.  Just be careful not to burn yourself!  I used a black food marker to color in the band to finish the Pokeballs!  Then, I baked for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Now... for the CAKE!

The Boy wanted the cake to be red and white (or, yellow), like a Pokeball.  I started with a yellow cake, using the King Arthur Flour recipe for Back-to-Basics Moist Yellow Cake.  I made half of my ball cake pan with the yellow cake, and used the rest of the batter to make a square cake (in my square springform pan)


The red half of the cake was made with this strawberry cake recipe.  I did not use their frosting recipe or their filling - I'll get to my recipes in a second.  I made a second half of the ball in strawberry, as well as a sheet cake.

For the frosting, I made a Strawberry Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream.


I used some freeze-dried strawberries blended into a powder to flavor the buttercream.  One bag of freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joe's is 1.2 oz - that's what I used to flavor the frosting!  It really packs a punch.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(modified from OvenLoveBlog)

3 egg whites
⅔ c sugar
1.2 oz freeze-dried strawberries, processed into powder in food processor or blender
10 Tbsp  butter, cubed and at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz  cream cheese, cubed and at room temp

Bring a saucepan of water to simmer.  Fit a mixing bowl or double boiler over the top of the pan.  Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved - about 5 minutes.

Transfer the hot egg and sugar mixer to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whip on high speed until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 10-15 minutes.

Turn the mixer to medium-low and begin adding the butter, one cube at a time, allowing each cube to incorporate completely before adding the next.

After all of the butter has been added, add the vanilla and the freeze-dried strawberry powder and turn the speed back to high. Whip for about 3 minutes or until the buttercream comes together. Turn the speed down to low and add the cream cheese, then mix on medium to fully incorporate.

Cake covered in the buttercream, awaiting fondant...

Now, for the fun part - the Pokemon!  The Boy had a long list of Pokemon he wanted me to make, but I stuck to just a few.


White Pikachu
Painted Pikachu 


Snorlax - He is molded around a plastic Easter egg, so that he didn't use up all of the modeling chocolate

The array... Snorlax, Snubull, Jigglypuff, Oddish, and Bulbasaur

I started with modeling chocolate - I just made white, so that I wouldn't have to make lots of different colors. Then, I painted them all with food coloring.


The cake, I covered in store bought fondant.  I didn't want to have to make red and black - they are tricky to get the really saturated colors.

It was pretty delicious.


The filling of the cake was a Cookies & Cream filling.

Cookies & Cream Filling
(modified from Brown Eyed Baker)

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 c powdered sugar
1 box chocolate sandwich cookies



To go with the cake, I made a Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream.

Overall, The Boy was pretty pleased with his birthday party, and so was I!  

Kind of looks like a Pokeball

One of these years, he is going to ask for a Watermelon themed cake

The Boy made the Deviled eggs

The Spread




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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lunches: 6.2.16

It's Thursday!
Sandwich: 40g, watermelon: 4g, strawberries: 4g

The Boy has a sandwich with turkey and cheese, watermelon, and some strawberries.  His snack is a strawberry applesauce (not pictured, 14g).

We had pasta for dinner last night, and The Girl asked for leftovers.  So, she has pasta with sausage, strawberries, and blackberries.


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