family fruit gluten free

pineapple snow torte

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Our latest snowfall totaled around 12 inches, and it left the bare forest branches looking like mixer beaters covered in freshly whipped meringue.  The kitchen imitated nature the following day when my mom put together a frozen pineapple torte recipe from days gone by.  Even though it is an icebox dessert, there is something sunny and warm about the pineapple torte.  Her version reminded me a bit of key lime pie; I suspect because she toned down the sweetness.  I first learned of this dessert when she was searching for a recipe similar to what her mom used to make when company would come over for Sunday lunch.  She kept calling it an old-fashioned recipe, because it states to cook the custard until it “coats the back of a spoon.”  My grandma would plop the fluffy tropical mixture into her metal ice cube trays and put them in the freezer to set up. Refrigerator trays used to have removable dividers with a handle that you pulled up to release the ice. If you took out the dividers, the pineapple mixture went in the bottom part of the tray.  You can skip the freezer part if you please; it’s simply fluffy and delicious as is.  My mom told me that they normally had frozen pineapple torte in hot weather because it was a lot like ice cream. I found it to be perfectly perky and sunny for a February lunch, and I daresay it would be a pleasant finale to a pork BBQ meal anytime of the year.


3 egg yolks
dash of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 can 8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
2 T lemon juice
3 stiff beaten egg whites
2 T sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (for a gluten free dessert, select the GF cookies)


Break egg yolks in double broiler.  Add salt and 1/3 cup sugar; add syrup from pineapple and lemon juice.  Cook over hot, not yet boiling water until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.  Add pineapple; cool.  Make meringue of egg whites and 2 T of sugar.  Fold in whipped cream and custard mixture.  Coat sides of greased refrigerator tray with wafer crumbs.  Spread half the remaining crumbs on the bottom of the tray (or dish of your choosing).  Pour in fluffy custard mixture and cover with remaining crumbs.  Enjoy as is in parfait cups, or freeze firm for 4 hours and slice to serve.

family friends holiday

may the ones you love be near you

4 floating candles cranberries 5 cookies advent candles joy hope 5.5 holding isabelle 6 isabelle doll 7 hugging isabelle
My wish for you this holiday season: may the ones you love be near you, whether in body or spirit. Warmly, Amy

candy cookie family holiday

rosy cheeks & winter pink

1.5 lamby pink house

2.5 decorating the roof pink and white

2 pink marshmallow chimney smoke3 roof of pink candy house

clementine sprinkle bellplate of pink and white sugar cookies with sprinkles1 pink and white frosting beaterGuess who chose this year’s color scheme for decorating day?

birthday family

birthdays, snow, aunts

poached birthday smile

rose 90 birthdat table

sunday birthday snow

thanksgiving dessert and crackers
snowflake butternut cookies
When my nephew was two, he (his mom and dad) gave me a picture frame that read: “Aunt: Like Mom Only Cooler.” Recently someone told me that I was a good aunt; it was probably the best compliment I could have received. You see, Aunts have been important characters in my life. They have been unconditional resources of hospitality, information, understanding, experience, perspective, inspiration and support.

My Great Aunt Rose celebrated her 90th birthday last month. There was cake, pie, ice cream, fried chicken and a barbershop quartet! She was in heels and sparkles and beamed all weekend long. The first snow of this season was on that mid November Sunday morning, the day she was born, 90 years later (she recalled that it snowed the morning she was born, too). I celebrated my 34th birthday the following week, on a Sunday morning, the same day that I was born.

As I reflect on my life to this point, the opportunity to be an aunt is one of my great privileges. I think about the aunts in my life and what they have meant to me. It is not that they are cooler than my mom, or necessarily blood relatives to my mom, but they are maternally special. I am proud to continue that legacy; I had (still have) good teachers. Of course my uncles are cool too, but that’s an entirely different matter.

friends meal outside travel

sunny phoenix memories

1 antique holiday window

2 joyride tacos phoenix

3 desert botanical 8

churn in the park

desert botanical 1

desert silhouette

st. francis restaurant at night
As I write, the wind chill factor in Indiana is negative 3-degrees, and there is almost 4 inches of snow on the ground. These photos were taken just over a week ago in sunny Phoenix where the temperature reached 88-degrees! The images of the Desert Botanical Gardens, afternoon markets and open air restaurants are warming, but the memories shared with a dear friend are even more so.

inside outside travel

wondrous, woven magic in manhattan

1 nyc october 2014 bergdorf window

1 nyc october rain public library mums

2 nyc october 2014 library lion and over here exhibition poster

3 nyc october 2014 inside public library 3

4 over here competing voices nypl world war 1 exhibition

7 maison kayser october pastry case nyc

8 beautiful the musical stephen sondheim theater

9 central park south painters bridge friends

11 nyc october 2014 oscar de la renta tribute window bergdorfs

12 nyc october 2014 central park south

14 nyc october 2014 central park south climb rock

october birch in central park



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outside poem


early october leaves tree bark

early october leaves

fuzzy ginko

vertical fungus

their unmasked colors

appear this time of year here.

deciduous trees

family fruit outside quick bread

apple orchard morning

11 cider pumpkin spice bread

10 fall quiche cider orchard snacks on counter

9 cider shopping cart lodge magic

8 donuts at stuckey

7.5 cider slushie stuckey

7 stuckey farm honey bees

6 stuckey store popcorn jugs

5 running orchard rows

4 freckled apples

3 tree top

2.5 stuckey apple on branch little white flower

2 jump off wagon to pick apples

1 growing memories at stuckey

running orchard rows
hay wagon toward the harvest
autumn fruit is here

hot apple cider
spicy pumpkin loaf baking
autumn treats are here

quilt on top of bed
grey clouds blanket sky blue sky
autumn air is here

family inside outside

kindergarten cannot wait

kindergarten chalk drawing

bead crown

bread and jam for frances

bread and jam for k

grasshopper perched on black eyed susank smile front step

picking red raspberries and purple bowl

shuck corn front step silkskindergarten hands up 2
Tomorrow is a big day for my niece (and her family); it’s the first day of Kindergarten! Earlier today we did things the almost-kindergartener likes to do: make bead crowns, read books, eat bread and jam, play library, shuck corn, pick raspberries, chase butterflies, and draw on the sidewalk.  This little wonder has more heart and energy than she knows what to do with, and I am proud to be her aunt.  She cannot wait for school, and we cannot wait to see what is in her future.