Archive for May, 2010

Blueberry Pie
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

Made a blueberry pie with a homemade crust using a recipe that my grandma passed down (she used to be a baker). The recipe for the blueberry pie itself is an Amish one.

The recipe was made for and shared as part of the 52 Weeks of Baking swap on Swap-Bot. Here’s the recipe for the pie crust and pie filling:

Pie Crust Ingredients

1 cup lard
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup very cold water

Pie Ingredients

1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen rhubarb, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces (I used dairy-free butter)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, nutmeg, salt, tapioca, rhubarb, and blueberries; mix well. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Make pie crust by combining all the ingredients except water. Mix well. Gradually add a little bit of water at a time until the ingredients form a ball of dough.

Roll out half the pastry on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pan, patting it in firmly. Pour in the filling and dot with the butter. Roll out a top crust, place on top of the filling, and seal the edges; slash to top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes more or until the crust is brown and the juices are bubbling up in the pie. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before serving.

Note: If using fresh fruit, increase the baking time until juice appear on top of the pie, 10-15 minutes more. Tent with foil if the crust begins to get too brown.


Sophia and I loved the taste of the blueberries, the sweetness of the sauce, and the pie crust. Olivia doesn’t like blueberries, but she likes pie crust, so she ate that.

I was disappointed that the sauce turned out so runny and the tapioca was still hard and not soft. Not sure why it does that. Perhaps I need to try another tapioca (a much quicker cooking one than the one that I used). I looked up my mom’s blueberry pie recipe and she did use tapioca also for a thickener. The tapioca she had was in a red box and it cooked in only 20 minutes. I’m wondering if the type I bought (not in a red box) was a longer-cooking version so it didn’t have time to properly dissolve and thicken the sauce.

The other thing that I didn’t use in this recipe was rhubarb. I was actually excited to use rhubarb and thought I had a lot frozen in the freezer from last year’s crop. I guess I must have used it during the winter. So, the blueberry rhubarb pie ended up just being a blueberry pie.

I’m going to try this recipe again in about a two months (July) when the rhubarb and blueberries are ready and fresh from the garden.

The pie crust is a very old recipe – probably from the first few decades of the 1900s. My grandma was a baker in downtown Minneapolis. She made a variety of baked goods, and the pie crust is something that there is no comparison to these days.

I make a double batch of the pie crust and freeze it into balls that are big enough to make 2 crusts. Wrap them in double plastic wrap. They freeze very well. Thaw and roll out when you’re ready to use them.


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Okay…this is cool! It’s a new playground that has swings, sitting areas, platforms, observation areas, birdhouses, wooden pathways…it’s one of the more interesting child-attracting sculptures I’ve seen. It is so random and unpredictable – unlike traditional playground equipment. There’s a lot to look at explore.

This was one of the favorite sculptures that the girls could interact with at Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia, Minnesota. Whenever art is accessible and children can be a part of it – or interact with it – I believe art becomes even more interesting and memorable.

It’s because of art like this that both my daughters enjoy going to the sculpture park and seeing the wide variety of large-scale art.

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Colorful Mandala
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

This is one of the mandalas I colored recently with Prismacolor color pencils. I enjoy coloring them; and find it very relaxing to pick the pencils and then add vibrancy to a page that is initially void of any color

The book I’m using has 48 different mandalas. I’m about half-way through now. My youngest daughter wanted to color the mandalas as well, and I found two mandala coloring books just for children. She has enjoyed coloring them in the morning just after she wakes up or while I’m reading in the afternoon.

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Snapping Turtle
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

This turtle had just crossed the road about a mile from home. Pulled the car over so the girls could get a better look at the turtle.

We stopped about ten feet from the turtle to look at it. A few seconds later it literally JUMPED off the ground towards us. Even though it moved probably only a few inches, it was more than enough to keep us far away from it.

My friend, Mark, and his wife and dog were visiting from Massachusetts. Mark got out of his car to look at the turtle as well. He was equally freaked out by it and wasn’t going in for a closer look either.

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May Nature Table
Originally uploaded by
Pictures by Ann

Each season or holiday the nature table changes.

For the beginning of May, the focus is on things we see outside – birds, nests, rocks, pinecones, bark, and flowers.

The lilacs, wild columbine, and hosta leaves are from the yard.

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This year Olivia and Sophia got to ride a llama at the annual Sheep and Llama Festival. It is always held Mother’s Day weekend, and the girls and I have attended each year since they were little.

I use to purchase quite a bit of wool at the event, but still have so much on hand. My goal this year is to use the craft supplies that I have before purchasing new supplies.

So, the girls and I enjoyed seeing the llamas, sheep, alpacas, and goats this year. Being able to ride a llama was definitely a highlight of the day for both of the girls.

Llamas apparently move like deer, so riding them is quite different than riding a horse or pony. This will be one of those memories that will stay with them both for years to come.

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Lime Coconut Bars
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

Made these bars for Mother’s Day; and they are delicious! They are made with freshly-squeezed lime juice, and lime and lemon zest.

They remind me of tropical type bar with the lime and coconut. These are not ingredients that we have growing in Minnesota so they are a treat to have…especially the fresh lime juice. These were a twist on the traditional lemon bars, and such a delightful spring dessert.

Also shared this recipe as part of the 52 Weeks of Baking Swap on Swap-Bot.

Here’s the recipe:



1 roll (16.5 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/3 cup flour
1 cup toasted coconut


2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup flour
3 drops green liquid food color (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13” x 9” baking pan with foil, letting foil extend above pan at both ends. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Knead cookie dough with 1/3 cup flour and coconut until combined. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes until golden; leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make topping. Whisk sugar, eggs, lime juice, lime zest, lemon zest, and 1/3 cup flour in large bowl until smooth. Stir in green food coloring, if desired. Pour over the hot crust. Bake 20 minutes until set. Cook in pan on wire rack.

Lift foil by ends to cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 4 even strips, then cut each crosswise into eighths to make 32 pieces. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Bars can be refrigerated airtight with wax paper between layers for up to one week.

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