Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Desert Idea - Heavenly Berries

If you have been a long term reader of our blog, you may remember an easter recipe I shared years ago called Heavenly Berries. We have so many new readers here that I thought I would share it again because it is one of my favorites! 

Heavenly Berries is a scrumptious combination of meringue, creams and berries.  It taste HEAVENLY.   If you  want to try this for easter, you'll want to make the meringue soon, so that the meringue and the cream mixture can marry and create some heavenly flavors.  I love recipes that can be made in advance, especially on holidays when there is so much to do!  Just pull them out of the fridge and say "TA-DAH!"  

Don't let the lengthy instructions discourage you, It's simple,really.

Day 1
Make your meringue base.  Put it in the oven before you go to bed;  cook for 1 hour at 275.  Turn off oven and leave meringue in oven with door closed over night for 12 hours.

6 egg whites. warmed to room temp
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 sugar

Heat oven to 275.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If you don't have parchment paper, spray with Pam.  In a large bowl (Stand mixers work best), beat your warmed egg whites, cream of tarter and salt until almost stiff.  Beat in the sugar 1 Tbs. at a time, until they are very thick and glossy.  Remember, don't under beat.  Now you can choose if you want to make one big cloud of heaven or individual ones.  I used a pastry bag, but if you don't have one no worries.  Whatever method you use, you need to create  a "swimming Pool" effect in the middle so the cream can set inside.  Since a good meringue is the key to this recipe, here are some hints for a good meringue.  1. separate your eggs when they are cold.  2. don't allow any yolks to get into the meringue  3. make sure your egg whites are at room temp  4. oil or anything greasy is an enemy to meringue, so make sure all your utensils are free of any thing greasy.

Day 2 (filling)
The next morning make you filling,  fill your meringue base or bases then Refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

2 cups whipped cream (no cool whip allowed)
1 8oz cream cheese, softened to room temp (leave out overnight)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar (use 2 Tbs. of this sugar to sweeten the cream)
2 cups mini marshmallows

In a chilled bowl (stand mixer works best) whip your cream, add vanilla and 2 Tbs, sugar.  In a separate bowl mix the rest of the sugar with the cream cheese at room temperature until smooth.  Fold the cream cheese mixture and marshmallows into the whipped cream.  Fill, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Almost.  just before serving pile on your berries.  My berry favorite berry sweetener is "the Lavender Apple's" Lavender Simple syrup.  It adds such a unique and wonderful flavor.  

Along with the simple syrup  I sweeten my berries with brown sugar.  Let them sit awhile on the counter so the sugar can dissolve. This is a fun and unique treat, perfect for the Easter holiday. 

Lamb Ideas for Easter Dinner

We have hosted our share of animals here on the farm over the years, but by far some of the most interesting were our sheep. Peggy has a dark sense of humor, and when she decided to raise sheep for easter one year, she came up with the most wicked names. 

Please meet "Bob" (shish kabob) 
and meet "Stew" (lamb stew) 

These fun little guys had their pen moved around The Lavender Apple property and happily grazed on our grass and saved us a little time in mowing each week. Wrangling them so we could move the pen was not an easy task. 

Lamb is often a dish we think of at easter time for its obvious significance. Peggy has crafted some amazing lamb dishes over the years, all of which have been shared here on the blog. Here are our two favorites: 

Lamb Stew with Dried Plums

Moroccan Lavender Kebabs

Bob and Stew were wonderful friends and became a wonderful dinner. Such is life on the farm. We appreciate all the earth gives us and hopefully we give back to it. What are your dinner plans this Easter? 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kitchen Sink Cookies

These cookies are a Nelson family favorite! They are chewy, crunchy, and full of goodness. The reason these cookies are called "Kitchen Sink Cookies is because they pretty much have everything but the kitchen sink in them. They use a ton of ingredients, which is great if you are wanting to clean out your pantry, and also great because they are packed full of healthy items as well. I love knowing that my toddler is getting omega 3's through the walnuts, while he feels like he's getting a treat because its in cookie form! 

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter room temp
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups Cornflakes or Branflakes 
1 cup coconut 
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts are great)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. You want them just barely golden on the outside edge. If you use a cookie scoop, you should get about 45 cookies from this recipe. 

Like I mentioned earlier, these cookies have a lovely chewiness from the coconut, crunchiness from the nuts, sweetness from the chocolate chips. They are a great way to switch up your routine from a regular old chocolate chip option. Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2015

InstaFriday March #4

Can you believe its already the last week in March? Where does the time go? We are counting the days until all of this snow melts and spring arrives at our farm again. Don't get me wrong, this cozy snow is beautiful, but we prefer pretty purple flowers a little bit more. Enjoy this weeks round of Insta Friday!

A photo posted by Lavender Apple (@the.lavender.apple) on

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Giveaway Winner!

As you know, we started an instagram account over at the Lavender Apple this year. (Search for us on instagram at the.lavender.apple) We hosted a giveaway here yesterday and were so pleased to see all of the entries even though we are a relatively new account. We really do appreciate all of our loyal customers who support local family owned businesses. We really wouldn't be here today without all of your wonderful support. Our contest winner was Cara Dee Cecil of Cara Dee Photography. Congratulations! 

After our winner was drawn, I looked at her account and wow, she knocked my socks off! She is a photographer, and her wedding photography especially wowed me. Here are a few photos she has shared on Pinterest. You can find her here and here

Having hosted a few weddings of our own on our lavender farm, we understand how beautiful but tough it can be to throw a wedding together in such a rustic setting. Props to Cara for doing such a wonderful job! Please contact us to select your prize! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Beef & Barley Stew

I love making dishes with ingredients that aren't your every day foods. Barley is an inexpensive and relatively easy ingredient to find, yet vastly under utilized in the kitchen. Barley is a wonderfully versatile grain with a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing pasta-like consistency. Tonight my husband made us a rich stew with delicious beef and barley, wonderful compliments to one another. 

1.5 lbs stew beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 bay leaves
2 springs thyme
1 cup instant pearled barley 
10 cups beef broth
Salt and Pepper

Heat your oil in a large le creuset pot. Pat your beef dry and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook and stir occasionally until brown on all sides. Remove your meat from the pot and then add your onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook until soft and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add your meat back to the pot. Add your thyme and bay leaves, and broth. Season again with about a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Add your barley and cook for another 20-25 minutes until both your barley and meat are tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed. 

This should give you about 4 servings. Its a relatively easy dish with a deep homey flavor. Its a great way to "beef" up your typical stew with a delicious and unexpected ingredient. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Green Salad with Almonds & Orange Dressing

Here is another delicious salad that comes directly from Peggy's recipe book. I love citrus salads. There is something about the sweet dressing that meets the savory crunch in this salad that will just make your taste buds sing. 

Salad Ingredients: 
1 large head red leaf lettuce
1 red onion thinly sliced
2 oranges peeled and thinly sliced
1 small jicama peeled and cut into julienne slices
4 oz sliced almonds
3 tbs. sugar

Dressing Ingredients: 
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs dry italian seasoning mix

Place your first 4 ingredients in a salad bowl, chill. In a skillet, sprinkle sugar over almonds. Cook over medium heat until almonds are coated and sugar is dissolved. Let cool. Mix dressing ingredients in a jar, chill. Pour over salad dressing. Sprinkle with almonds. Toss and serve. Serves 6-8. 

Please don't look too closely at my photos of this. I took the picutres before I added the red onion and almonds to the salad. They not only add delicious flavor and crunch, but that add lots of color too, making this salad very beautiful. The flavor profile on this is wonderful. Even non salad lovers will enjoy this salad. You can even make it a main dish by adding cooked chicken or topping it with crunchy chinese noodles. 

Bon Apetite! 


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