Plum Cake

Plum Cake

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After the last photo of this Plum Cake was taken and some of the precut pieces were shared with the family, the temptation to sample another little piece was definitely on my mind.  And of course, I gave in repeatedly throughout the day until only some crumbs and a piece or two were left.  This is a sweet-light cake with a slight tartness from the addition of plums.  A simple and versatile cake to pair with coffee or tea for breakfast, slice a piece for an afternoon snack, or serve it as an after dinner dessert.  Before serving the plum cake, sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.  Simply delicious!

 

Plums

For the first few years after Bill and I moved into our house, these plum trees went almost unnoticed and were basically used to provide us with shade from the sun during the summer months.  The discovery of our plum trees happened when a friend came for a visit and pointed them out to us.  He was in the backyard one day with a handful of something purple.  I asked what they were and he responded, “Sweet little plums.”

Plums

I’m glad the previous owners planted these plum trees on the property.  If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have thought of doing it myself.  The plum trees have provided us with an abundance of plums every year to eat and make into delicious compote, cake, and jam.

Plums

Fresh picked plums.

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Plums Cake

Plums Cake

· print recipe ·

serves 6-8

Ingredients

1     cup all purpose flour
1     teaspoon baking powder
¼   teaspoon salt
8     tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2     large eggs
10-12 small purple plums, halved

Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Plums Cake

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Cut two strips of parchment paper to line a 9-inch square baking pan, cut them long enough so that they hang over the edges.

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and set aside.

2.  In the mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy {2-3 minutes}, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

3.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mix until just combined.

 

Plums Cake

5.  Spread the cake batter in prepared baking pan. and arrange the plum halves cut side down on top of the cake batter.

6.  Sprinkle plums with sugar.

 

Plums Cake

7.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 25 minutes before serving.

 

Plums Cake

Optional:  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

 

Plums Cake

Use the parchment paper to lift the cake out from the pan.

Plums Cake

Enjoy!

· print recipe ·

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Posted by Kay

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Plum Island, Eastern Point Lighthouse and Summer Cocktails

Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

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I hope you are enjoying the warm weather and soaking in the long summer days.  It has been awhile since my last post,  and I hope to get back into the swing of things after the summer break.  I’ve been posting on Instagram @whitegunpowderliftstyle, of our daily happenings and thoughts if you want to check it out and follow us there.  If you were to ask me about my summer, “busy” would describe it.  But, if you were to glance at my bare calendar with a few penciled in reminders it would contradict what I just said.  The daily life has been filled with mostly little things that come in waves depending on the weather or who one of my kids is in contact with.  There was one big travel plan for Bill and our daughter, Grace, to explore the country of Turkey and Greece in July.  After much thought, we decided to cancel it with so much uncertainty and unrest happening in that part of the world.  Staying close to home felt like the right thing to do this summer.

This blog post is a follow up to my last year’s blog post, Summer (teen) packing list…destination Cape Cod.  My intention was to put it together and share the photos my daughter, Hannah took on her trip to the east coast.  Soon after she came back, life had a way of changing things and it was put off and shoved on a shelf {in a computer file} to collect dust for over a year until I came upon it recently. I hope you enjoy this follow up post of the beautiful beaches of Plum Island and a visit to a favorite lighthouse in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

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Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

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Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

The view from above of the coastline of Massachusetts.

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Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

Plum Island is a barrier island  located off the shore Newburyport and Newbury,  Massachusetts.

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Plum Island

 

On most days this is a great place to be at to take in the view of the ocean, just beyond the houses.

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Plum Island

Hannah out on the deck watching a beautiful sunset over Plum Island.

Plum Island

Our littles friends, Hattie {left} and Hallie {right} were having fun and cooling off in the water.

Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

The beautiful beaches on Plum Island.

Plum Island, MA

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Eastern Point Lighthouse

Eastern Point Lighthouse is located on the eastern tip of Gloucester Harbor in Massachusetts.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

My friend Heather {above pic} along with her two daughters, Hallie and Hattie took Hannah to visit the Eastern Point Lighthouse.  This is a familiar place as it was once occupied by her great-grandfather, Gilbert Hay, who was the lighthouse keeper in the 1930s and 1940s.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

The 2,250 foot long Dog Bar Breakwater was constructed from Cape Ann granite blocks.  It was built to shelter the Gloucester Harbor from rough water during storms.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

People have been coming to this spot to fish, have a picnic, take pictures, and enjoy the scenery. On my first trip to the east coast, Bill and I visited the lighthouse and walked out and got our pictures taken at just about this same spot.

Eastern Point Yacht Club

After the visit to the lighthouse, they stopped at Eastern Point Yacht Club for lunch.

Plum Island

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Cape Cod drinks Three refreshing and simple cocktail drinks to make this summer.  They are similar, but a little bit different with an addition of grapefruit juice or pineapple juice.

Cape Cod & Baybreeze Cocktail

Bay Breeze {add pineapple juice}  &  Sea Breeze {add grapefruit juice}

1½ ounces vodka
3     ounces cranberry juice
2     ounces grapefruit juice or  pineapple juice
ice
lime wedge/slices for garnish

Fill a tall glass with ice and pour all the ingredients, stir, and add lime slices for garnish.

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Cape Cod & Baybreeze Cocktail

Blue & white seashell cocktail napkins, IHR Ideal Home Range

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Cape Cod & Baybreeze Cocktail

Cape Codder {Cape Cod}

2 ounces vodka
3-4 ounces cranberry juice
ice
Lime wedge/slices for garnish

Fill a tall glass with ice and pour all the ingredients in, stir, and add lime slices for garnish.

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posted by Kay
photographs by Hannah

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Summer Gazpacho

Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is an ideal summertime soup to make and enjoy on a hot day. With a little bit of prep time, this classic tomato-base Spanish soup comes together quickly.  There are many wonderful variations of the recipe to try.  My personal favorite uses fresh vegetables chopped into small pieces combined with other ingredients to bring out the right balance of chunky-crunchy texture and tangy-spicy flavor in every spoonful.  This recipe is versatile, feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.  A simple and delicious soup to serve as an appetizer, as a part of the main course, or as a healthy snack.

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Gazpacho

Gazpacho

· print recipe ·
serves 6-8

Gazpacho

Ingredients

1  pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1  English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
1  red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1  yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1  medium size red onion, finely chopped
1  garlic clove, minced
1  tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil {more for serving}
1  tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1  teaspoon hot sauce {Tabasco sauce}
1  teaspoon cumin
3  cups vegetable broth
3 cups tomato juice, 2 additional cups may be needed-depending on the desired thickness
1  cup French bread, 1″ cubed
salt and ground black pepper

Garnish

2  tablespoons each, chopped fresh cilantro and mint
zest of one lemon

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Gazpacho

1.  In a small bowl, combine the bread cubes and one cup of the tomato juice,  set aside for 10-15 minutes to soften.

 

Gazpacho

{cucumber, seeded and finely chopped}

 

Gazpacho

2.  Prepare the vegetables as instructed and make sure all the chopped vegetables are similar in size.

 

Gazpacho

3.  In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients and 2 cups of tomato juice.

 

Gazpacho

4.  Place the soft bread pieces with its liquid in the blender, add 2 cups of tomato mixture and puree until almost smooth with a little texture left.  Repeat the process in the blender with two more cups.  Transfer all the puree mixture back and stir to mx.

 

Gazpacho

5.  Add the remaining 2 cups of tomato juice as needed to adjust the thickness of the soup.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

 

Gazpacho

6.  Serve Gazpacho with fresh herbs and lemon zest mixture.

 

Gazpacho

7.  Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with herb-lemon zest mixture, and drizzle with a little olive oil.

 

Gazpacho

Simple and casual afternoon lunch.

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Gazpacho

Serve Gazpacho in Individual glass mugs with toasted French bread sticks.

 

Gazpacho

Enjoy!

· print recipe ·

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Posted by Kay

2 comments

My Basic Makeup Kit Favorites

Makeup

 

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I’m sharing my current go-to favorites to use for eyes, lips, and all-over face coverage.  When it comes to makeup I like to keep it simple for my everyday look.  For most days, it takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to apply my makeup and I’m done.  They are basic pieces from well known brands that I’ve come to rely on for other products such as blush and lipstick to complete the look.  To have good quality beauty products to build on will help to make adding other specific pieces to your collection a little easier.

Makeup - bareMinerals

1.  bareMinerals
Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream $29.50
smoothing face brush $28 {at Amazon $24.95}

Complexion Rescue by bareMinerals is a fairly new product that was introduced spring 2015. This is a light to medium coverage foundation to even out the skin tone.  It’s easy to apply, feels nice against the skin, and it comes with spf 30 sunscreen protection.  A small pea-size amount of the gel cream will be enough to cover the entire face and I recommend using the brush to give a smooth even coverage.

Makeup Basics

I purchased a lighter shade of the foundation for my daughter, Grace, to try.  She has been using it and likes it a lot.  It blends in well to bring out a natural  clean look.  Right after applying, you will notice a slight sheen to the face that will settle to a softer finish after a few minutes. The gel cream is made without oil and formulated to hydrate the skin {good things for teenage sensitive skin}.

Makeup - Bobbi Brown

2.  Bobbi Brown
Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner $26
Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush $28
Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick $29

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is easy to apply with a brush and the color will last throughout the day.  The Long-Wear Cream  Shadow Stick is creamy and glides smoothly on the eye lid.  Use the the tip of your finger to gently blend and soften the color.

Makeup - Mally

3.  Mally
Volumizing Mascara $20

Mally Volumizing Mascara coats my lashes without clumps even after two coats.  It wears well all day without smearing or irritating my eyes.
Makeup - Philosophy

4.  Philosophy
Lip Shine $5 – $10

Philosophy Lip Shine is a nice light scented lipgloss with a little bit of tackiness when applied to the lips.  To give my lips a splash of color, I will layer it with lipstick.

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Makeup

My simple, basic, go to, makeup kit.

 

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Basic Makeup kit

 

My everyday look with minimal amount of makeup.  This is a selfie I took in my truck late in the afternoon after having been out and about all day. The only touchup I did to my makeup was to reapply the lipgloss… and maybe I should have used hair spray on my uncontrolled hair.

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Posted by Kay

1 comments

Strawberry Jam and Blueberry Jam Crumble Bars

Crumble bars- strawberry and blueberry jam

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From the moment I saw these Strawberry Jam Crumble Bars on the front cover of the latest issue of Bake From Scratch magazine, it was going to be something new to try.  The recipe was simple to assemble and bake. The original recipe uses the Quick Strawberry Jam {recipe at the end of the blog post} as the filling, but I decided to substitute it with my homemade strawberry jam.  The result turned out great.  I think a good store bought jam will work just as well in the recipe if you don’t have time make it.  To accompany the jam filling, a sprinkling of fresh strawberries gave it another depth of flavor.  Because the recipe was quick and easy, I decided to make an extra batch and used my homemade blueberry jam. These bars are great as snacks, treats, or desserts.

 

Crumble bars - strawberry blueberry jam

 

Crumble bars - strawberry and blueberry jam
Crumble bars - strawberry and blueberry jam Title

Crumble bars- strawberry and blueberry jam

Makes 16

· print recipe ·

Ingredients:

1½   cups all-purpose flour
1¼   cups old-fashion oats
¾     cup unsalted butter, melted
¾     cup granulated sugar
⅓      cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2       teaspoons kosher salt
1¾   cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1½   cups Quick Strawberry Jam (recipe precedes) or homemade/store bought jam

Note:  I substituted homemade strawberry jam / blueberry jam that I had available instead of the Quick Jams. 

To make Blueberry Jam Crumble Bars, follow the recipe above and  replace strawberries and jam with blueberry jam and fresh blueberries.

Crumble bars - strawberry and blueberry jam

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray and dust with flour or use baking spray with flour.

2.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, melted butter, sugars, and salt with a wooden spoon until crumbly.  Press half of mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

 

Crumble bars - strawberry and blueberry jam

{I used homemade strawberry jam}

3.  Cover  with Quick Strawberry Jam or homemade/store bought jam, and sprinkle with strawberries.

 

Crumble bars - strawberry jam

4.  Sprinkle remaining crumble on top.

 

Crumble bars - strawberry jam 1411

5.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 55 minutes to 1 hour.  Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

 

Crumble bars - strawberry jam

6.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Crumble bars - strawberry jam

Serve each bar on parchment paper.

Crumble bars - strawberry jam

 

Crumble bars- blueberry jam

Blueberry Jam Crumble Bars

 

Crumble bars strawberry and blueberry jam

Individual packaged bars are ideal to take on picnics or to a group gathering such as a pot luck or simply for easy grab-and-go snacks.  Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to wrap around each crumble bar then tie it with a piece of twine.

 

Crumble bars - strawberry and blueberry jam

 

Crumble bars - strawberry and blueberry jam 1585

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Quick Strawberry Jam

1      pound fresh strawberries, chopped
1¼  cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring frequently for 5-minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently and mashing berries with a potato masher, until mixture thickens, 30 to 45 minutes.  Remove from heat, and let cool for 30 minutes before transferring to a clear jar.  Jam will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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Quick Blueberry Jam

1   pound fresh blueberries
2   cups sugar
juice of 1 lemon

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Stir with a wooden spoon, and let stand for 2 hours.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently and mashing berries with a potato masher, until mixture thickens, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove from heat, and let cool for 1 hour before transferring to a clean jar.  Jam will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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· print recipe ·


Posted by Kay

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