A Quarantine Life…Seizing The Spirit of Summer

You will never have this day again…so make it count

Hello, sweet friends…

Memorial Day 2020

With Memorial Day behind us the unofficial beginning of Summer is upon us…

Do you have any fun plans?

This Pandemic has opened me up to discovering new in the familiar…embracing it all..

finding that every moment counts…so make the most of it…

one of the biggest take-aways during this time for me has been getting outside…

seeking ways to embrace the outdoors at home…

it does not have to be intense; it can be anything you want it to be! thank goodness…

Living in such a beautiful area I’ve been fortunate to go on daily walks…

Walking has helped me to get moving and feel motivated to accomplish something during the day…

As summer approaches I plan to spend as much time outside in nature as I am able (in my own personal outdoor space, of course) and making the best of this time…

which is good for my soul.

Happy June! (and Summer)

👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

BLUEBERRY PIE

There are few desserts that are are well loved as blueberry pie, and for good reason! The crust is crunchy, the blueberries are sweet. Over the Memorial Day weekend I defrosted frozen blueberries picked last summer to welcome the unofficial beginning of summer and PERFECT season to be enjoying life.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup white sugar (I used raw)
6 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups fresh blueberries

two piecrusts

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

one large egg

1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

Start off by washing your blueberries.

Then, in a large bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon and cover the blueberries with the mixture.

Once you’ve done that, take your bottom crust and line a pie pan with it, then pour the pie filling into it.

Cut pieces of butter and set them on top of the filling.

Make the lattice for the top of the pie (don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to do this, we’ll cover that later).

Mix together the water and egg to make an egg wash and brush it over the top of the lattice.

Mix egg with water and brush on pie crust then sprinkle on sanding sugar.
Bake pie on middle shelf of oven for about 50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A LATTICE TOP?

Now when making the lattice top, the first thing to remember is to not be intimidated. Lattice tops look fancy and difficult, but in reality they are easy to make. Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make a perfectly imperfect lattice top. ( and you can see mine is perfectly imperfect!)

Roll out your dough and cut it into 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips.

Then, lay about five of them vertically across the top of pie, and make sure that they are evenly spaced.

Fold every other strip in half, making sure not to the the dough stick to itself (dust the dough with a little flour before you start to keep them from sticking.)

Take another strip of dough and lay it horizontally across the pie over the vertical strips that are laying flat, leaving the folded ones alone.

Roll the folded strips flat and fold back the ones that are now covered by the horizontal strip.

Once they’re flat, lay another strip horizontally across them.

Keep doing this until you have half of the pie covered.

Turn your pie so that the unfinished side is towards you and repeat this process until the entire pie is covered.

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking, My Style | 2 Comments

A Quarantined Life…Creativity…Let’s Make Pizza

In the midst of chaos lies creativity

Hello, sweet friends…

Many of us think creativity in terms of making something…

however did you know that the root word for creative is ‘to grow’

The other day in preparing to make a pizza I realized “I have a problem!” I didn’t have yeast to make pizza dough. This week my creativity “grew” as I problem solved a different way to create a meal. It was the perfect landscape and opportunity to create an exquisite meal…and grow.

Homemade No Yeast Pizza Dough


INGREDIENTS

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon herb spices

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4- cup + 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon canola oil

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder onion powder, garlic powder, herbs, and salt; whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.

Combine water and oil in a separate bowl or cup; stir to combine.

Slowly add water to the flour mixture.

Using a wooden spoon, or your hands, gently stir and mix until dough forms a ball; dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add more water if it’s too dry, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too sticky, add more flour.

Lightly flour your work area and knead dough for 5 minutes.

Line a baking sheet or a pizza pan with paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray.

Spread pizza dough on the prepared pan, using the palm of your hands and fingers to stretch it out to about a 1-inch thickness.

PIZZA DOUGH NOTES

To add toppings, pre-bake crust for 8 minutes; add tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and continue to bake for 10 to 12 more minutes. 

Grill or bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Happy Memorial Day!

First Memorial Day at Rose Castle Cottage 💕

First Memorial Day in new home 2020

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking, My Style | 3 Comments

A Quarantined Life…What I’ve Learned About Myself…(so far)

Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.

Hello, sweet friend…

There has never been a better time to get to know yourself —intentionally or not…

This week I decided to take Joe’s suggestion and write about masks. I’m now realizing that perhaps he was referring to the cute ones I made…

that being said…

I’ve been able to see and experience another part of myself day-to-day…week-to-week in this whole evolution of quarantine time.

It’s a strange revelation, during a time of social distancing, just how important a healthy relationship with yourself can be.

As life pauses and reorganizes… I’ve found this time as a unique opportunity to embrace these changes, by being more loving …kind and compassionate to myself.


I’ve always thought ( been told ) I was an extrovert as I excel in social situations… don’t have trouble talking to (never) or in front of (seldom) people, and enjoy going out (some might say I border on the social butterfly side)…

However, during this quarantine time, I have discovered that, at heart, I’m truly an introvert. Ok… just extroverted/introvert, if you will.🥰

The main thing I’ve learned is that I really do love the quiet time alone. Not socializing gives me an opportunity to sit and reflect on my life, my mistakes, my strengths, my weaknesses, and ponder all the things that I have done right over the years…

which has given me a deeper appreciation and confidence for the little things in life and the reminder to look at the bright side of things.

This time has led me to doing things again that I had stopped doing…

and discovering that I really enjoy doing them…and am pretty good at doing them.💕

👩‍🍳
What’s Cooking?

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was still living in California I would enjoy a day spent window shopping at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The day would often include lunch and take home chocolate chip cookies from Neiman Marcus Cafe. I have baked these cookies 2 times during quarantine and I must say they really are better than delicious.seriously better. Make sure you use light brown sugar instead of dark, decaf espresso…and of course the full cup 1/2 of chocolate chips.(no cheating)👩‍🍳

Marcia
Posted in A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking, Our Cottage, Together Apart | 9 Comments

A Quarantined Life…Memory of My Mother

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

– Dr. Seuss

Hello, sweet friend…

I have a wonderful memory that goes back to when I was in the third grade. At the time my family lived in La Habra, California.

On this particular morning I awoke to a red Barbie doll case which was sitting on the floor against the side of my bed.

It wasn’t Christmas…not my birthday…just an ordinary day in which my mother chose to surprise me with a gift.

I was so excited…

With the passing of years a few dolls found a loving home along with cherished outfits which my mother had sewn…

now many years later that memory is still so powerful…

👩‍🍳

Homemade Flour Tortillas

This past week I thought it would be fun to make flour tortillas. I had never made them before and had wonderful memories as a child sitting in the kitchen wearing one of my mother’s aprons & excitedly waiting to make small tortillas from the dough she had prepared.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 2/3 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.Add the water and vegetable oil and using your hands, mix together the dough until it is a cohesive ball and all of the liquid has been absorbed. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. (The dough should be soft and Playdoh-like in texture, but not sticky.)

Transfer the dough onto your work surface and knead it about 10 times until it becomes smooth all over. 

Divide the dough into 12 equal balls then flat each ball slightly into the shape of a hockey puck. Flour each piece of dough on both sides then set them aside and cover them with a towel.

Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Roll out one piece of dough into an 8-inch circle then transfer it to the hot pan. Cook the tortilla for about 1 minute then flip it once and continue cooking it an additional 30 seconds or until golden brown spots appear on both sides. Transfer the tortilla from the pan into a towel and cover it while you roll out and cook the remaining tortillas.

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, My Style | 8 Comments

A Quarantined Life…Cultivate-Reset…(+ Boston Cream Pie)

Happy May!🌸

The best is yet to be…

Hello, sweet friend…

When I chose “cultivate” as my word for 2020 http://marciascottagebythesea.com/hello-january/I had no idea what this year would bring…


But it is was a word I wanted to explore…

To cultivate a more meaningful life…

It wasn’t about living life under perfect circumstances…

It was about doing the best I could with the circumstances I found myself in…

creating greater peace, comfort and belonging.

It gives me chills to even think about how this unexpected turn of events in our world is transforming how we live…

Cultivating a more meaningful life has taken on a deeper meaning as I learn to navigate these current times.

A “Cultivated” life has evolved into more than a year long mantra…

It has now become a daily reality check for me…

and for when these uncertain times are over.


It’s about taking intentional baby steps in living…

It’s a mindset shift which is impacting my thoughts in positive ways…

helping me to cultivate a home…

making it the nourishing, comforting sanctuary needed to thrive.

Most importantly it’s a chance to care for my health and well-being… savoring meaningful moments and connections along the way.

👩‍🍳

WHAT’S COOKING?

One of Joe’s favorite desserts is Boston Cream pie…so this past week I decided to bake one. It was my first attempt ever and I really enjoyed the process. Fortunately I had all the ingredients too!

BOSTON CREAM PIE

Ingredients

Yellow Cake

  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz dark chocolate roughly chopped
  • cream
  • 8 oz dark chocolate roughly chopped

Instructions

YELLOW CAKE

  • Grease two 9-inch pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  • Add in flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined.
  • Divide the batter among the two prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let sit in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

PASTRY CREAM

  • In a large sauce pan, stir together milk and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar.
  • Once the milk has reached a simmer, work quickly and carefully pour half of the hot milk in a steady stream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling or cooking the eggs. Immediately pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Return to a medium heat and whisk constantly until mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat once thickened and stir in butter and vanilla until melted. Pour into a clean mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic wrap touch the top of the pastry cream to avoid the creation of any film on top. Cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

GANACHE

  • In a small sauce pan, bring heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Place your chopped chocolate into a small mixing bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

ASSEMBLING CAKE

  • Place a wire rack over a baking sheet. The baking sheet will be used to catch any drips from your ganache. Place a pre-cut cake circle onto the wire rack. Lay the bottom cake layer onto the cake circle.
  • Spread pastry cream over cake to create a filling. Top with remaining cake layer.
  • Carefully and slowly pour ganache over cake, letting drip down sides.
  • Transfer cake to the refrigerator and let cool until set, about 1 hour.
Marcia
Posted in A Quarantined Life, Cooking, Together Apart | 4 Comments