I’m so happy to introduce you to Amy Dickerson. She says about herself, that one day she realized her cooking had hijacked her social media accounts. She was forcing herself not to post stuff about food on her Facebook every day, and her personal journal had become the annals of her culinary journey. After that self-realization it was only a short jump, skip, and a hop to starting her blog, “Happy Accidental Baker“
Her guest-post today is a daydream she and her husband shared for many years. Sometimes it’s encouraging to share a dream together…
Here’s Amy’s post:
What’s unique about every recipe?
I believe that every recipe has a story, every favorite dish a tale, that our tastebuds have the ability to take us back in time to our most beloved memories or to places we’ve never gotten yet, but only dreamt about.
Ever since the beginning of our relationship, my husband and I have had this ongoing daydream when things get stressful and tough, that we would just run away. I remember writing him letters saying, let’s just run away together. You and I, that’s all we need to survive.
Of course, that’s when we were young and in college and there was this unspoken hopefulness that it could actually happen. One day we’d just pack a bag and run off into the sunset.
For 14 years, through the good times and the bad, this has always been our little daydream,
“Let’s just run away.”
Over the years, even though we knew that our responsibilities would never allow it, the daydream got more specific. We narrowed down a place where would we run to, dreamed up a dream of what we would do in our new life when we’d escape together.
The daydream took shape.
We’d have a seaside cottage, in down-east Maine. He’d sell collectibles on Ebay and read comic books; become a reclusive hermit. I’d wear thick cable knit sweaters and wool socks with birkenstocks; drink tea while I read novels and grow bunches of blueberries.
We went so far as to look up real estate in Maine and found a house we loved the look of online.
A daydream made real…
The Dickersons in Maine – a daydream realized!
Then one summer, we packed up the kids for vacation and we went there.
It was a lovely trip, probably one of our most favorite family vacations. At the end of the trip, on a lark, we decided to drive out to the town to look at the house we’d set our daydream around for so long.
The house itself look exactly like it had on the real estate website. A little white cottage, with a screened in porch, perched atop a cliff with a lovely ocean view.
However, omitted from the description, and the pictures, was the neighbor’s house and yard, which was comprised of heaps of rusty, crushed old cars and towering stacks of abandoned appliances.
Not exactly the idyllic locale that we’d imagined.
Real life – with the taste of the daydream!
Even though our little daydream was crushed by reality, it still remains,— this idea that we could just run off and we could leave our problems behind and have storybook bliss just living off each other’s love. It’s silly, it’s juvenile, it’s impractical, and it’s ours.
Every time we have blueberry pie, it makes me think of Maine.
It makes me remember our secret little daydream. It makes me think of the “what if’s”, but also makes me appreciate the life we’ve built together where we are.
Does your spouse hold a secret wish?
Perhaps it’s not anything like running away to a whole new life together, but maybe they wish they could…
climb a mountain,
go back to college,
deep sea dive,
visit a foreign country,
start a band.
Even though it might never happen, I believe it’s super important to let your spouse know, that even in the sometimes impractical, sometimes impossible, you support them and would be right by their side through it all.
So, while I doubt that we’re ever going to leave the business, and run off to Maine to be hermits – so in love we’re oblivious to the world and eat blueberries all day long – we can sit on the porch eating blueberry pie and know that the dream lives on.
Here’s a taste of our daydream, for you!
¾ cup white sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups fresh blueberries
pastry for a double crust pie
1 Tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to @ 400 degrees.
Line a 9 inch pie plate with one pie crust
Mix together the blueberries and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Sprinkle this mixture over the berries and then pour the berry mixture into the crust.
Dot the top of the berries with butter.
Cut the remaining pie crust into ½ inch strips and weave for a lattice top.
Crimp and flute the edges of the crust.
Before baking, fit a small ring of aluminum foil around the edges of the pie crust to keep them from over browning.
Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil.
Turn on the broiler and place the pie under the broiler for around a minute to brown the top of the pie. Let sit for at least one and a half or two hours before slicing and serving.
What are some of the dreams you’ve supported with your spouse?
Robert and I are pursuing a dream we had 31+ years ago – we’re traveling full time with our truck and 5th wheel…
What about you? Have you ever tried out a “dream”?
If you could, which dreams would you and your spouse try? Leave a comment!
(at least try out Amy’s blueberry pie – it looks delicious, doesn’t it!)
I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Shannon. She’s a pastry chef.
She makes delightful desserts…
And beautiful, sweet displays in high-end restaurants.
The picture above is a taste-tempting treat she created for her parents’ anniversary.
Shannon knows the power of food to encourage!
As a young business woman, she wants to share her professional tips and tricks, so she’s created a Facebook page for Holiday Baking. I asked her if I could share one of her posts here on Encourage Your Spouse, because I was enchanted by the ease of her idea…
Have you ever eaten Chocolate Bark?
If you have eaten Chocolate Bark, then you know how easily it disappears from the plate… it’s addicting. I didn’t know it was so easy to make!
perfect for quick thank you gifts, and stocking stuffers,
and it’s something small to sit on a plate to tempt everyone.
I literally whipped up a batch in less than 15 minutes. The most consuming task was actually doing the dishes!
A hint from the pastry chef…
When you’re buying chocolate to make bark, make sure you find tempered or molding chocolate.
When we get chocolate in the bakery, we have to manually temper the chocolate, which is quite a task. It’s raising the temperature of the chocolate to a certain degree, then lowering, and then bringing it back up again….it’s awful! But molding chocolate is usually tempered by the manufacturer. Most bulk food stores carry this kind of chocolate and it’s usually called ‘molding chocolate.’
Why tempered or molding chocolate? Because tempered chocolate won’t melt in your hands!
How to Make The Bark
Place the molding chocolate in a double boiler. (Or you could use a pot of water over medium heat and another heat proof bowl with the chocolate in it.)
Melt the chocolate.
Once all the chocolate is melted, spread a sheet of parchment paper on a tray and pour the melted chocolate on it.
Use a palette knife and spread it to your desired thickness.
Then decorate it!
Throw it in the fridge or freezer to set.
Once it’s set, then break it apart!
See? So Easy!
My favorite flavor is pomegranate and candied ginger, in dark chocolate. It’s something about the flavors and the texture that make the bark amazing.
You can find candied ginger in a bulk food store (or Bulk Barn for all my Canadian friends – ’tis a truly magical place!) And pomegranate is in season for North America during the winter. I love using it as my fruit in baking because the two together look so great and professional!
Experiment and try different flavors – add a bit of mint extract to the melted chocolate. Use nuts or seeds to enhance the texture.
Another idea? Orange zest and chocolate are amazing together! Or mix different chocolates together and do a swirl effect with dark and white chocolate.
Make a huge batch because it’s going to disappear quickly! (Who doesn’t like chocolate?) Just store it all in the refrigerator or freezer – it’ll be good for about a month!
Making a gift of chocolate bark for your spouse could cover a couple love languages… as a “Gift”, and as an “Act of Service”.
If you make it together as a date night activity, it could even work toward the love language of “Quality Time”! Feeding your spouse the chocolate could include the love language of “Physical Touch”, and the words you use as you give your spouse this gift would give them some “Words of Affirmation”.
Talk about a full love language experience covered in chocolate!
What about you?
Has Shannon enticed you to make some Chocolate Bark?
I’m intrigued. Even in our little house on wheels, I can do this!
Our eyes see the food, our noses take in the aroma, our tongue delights in the flavor, it’s chilled to perfection, or heated to warm our insides, the texture is crisp, or creamy… food is a full sensory experience. And sometimes a favorite food is just the best way to show our spouse how much we care.
Robert loves the chocolate bar, Coffee Crisp!
Have you ever heard of a Coffee Crisp? Chances are, unless you’re a Canadian (or have visited Canada), you haven’t had the privilege of tasting this delightful candy bar.
We always pick up some of these chocolate bars when we are back in Canada, our parents bring them along when they visit us in the USA, we give them as gifts at Christmas or birthdays, and even our adult children (including our USA-born daughter-in-love) love eating these.
For Rob, they’re a treat and a taste of our Canadian home.
Sometimes a favorite treat is just the right encouragement!
I’m not much of a baker, but when we have birthdays I do make a chocolate cake with mocha frosting that’s a hit with our family. (Rob’s mom gave me the recipe.) That coffee/chocolate flavor is awesome. Maybe it’s an echo of what we like in Coffee Crisp?
As I was poking around on Pinterest, I found a link to another Canadian wife and mom – Stacie Vaughan from “Simply Stacie” – who had a post about using Coffee Crisp candy bars in recipes: cookies and a cake!
A cake using a Coffee Crisp candy bar, and a hint of that coffee/mocha flavor baked in… click the picture to get the recipe.
Cookies made with Coffee Crisp – click the picture to go to the recipe at Stacie’s site!
I’m imagining that Robert (and our kids) would love to try these!
Thanksgiving is coming… 🙂
What foods do you use to encourage your spouse?
Some of Robert’s favorite foods are things his mother made for him, and I’ve adopted. (Here’s a lemon souffle pudding recipe as an example.)
Does your husband or wife have a favorite food that you make?
a comfort food
a taste of “home”
a hearty soup
a light and tasty salad
a sweet treat
a celebratory meal
Would you like to share?
I’m not a food blogger, but maybe you are?
Or perhaps you don’t usually write on a blog, but have a recipe that your spouse loves… Would you like to share it here on Encourage Your Spouse?
I invite you to create a guest post with your spouse’s favorite recipe and some photos!
Send me an email at – Lori @ Encourage Your Spouse . com – if you’re interested!
(If you’ve never written for the web, I’ll help you format your post and recipe. If you do write for your own site, then we can make it work for both of us!)
One of Robert’s favorite desserts is pudding. He doesn’t discriminate between flavors or styles –
rice pudding or caramel or butterscotch – they’re all good.
However, he does have a favorite.
Lemon Souffle Pudding
Lemon Souffle Pudding is a dessert Rob’s mum would make for special occasions for their family. It’s one of the many recipes we’ve incorporated into this next generation, and forwarded to our adult kids. The original recipe is from Rob’s maternal grandmother.
He loves to eat it warm or cold, so I usually make two dishes…
One for him alone and another for everyone else at the table!
Here’s the recipe:
1 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Lemon – juiced & grated rind
1 Tablespoon Butter – melted
1 cup sugar
salt – just a pinch
2 eggs – separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
just a bit of butter to grease the souffle dish
Heat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Prepare an oven-proof dish, by greasing it lightly with butter.(a round, 2-quart souffle dish is good, but any other shape will work – I’ve used square glass bakeware)
You’ll also need a larger pan, filled halfway with hot water to place the souffle dish within, as it is baking. This technique is called a “water bath” and it stops the souffle from cooking too quickly.
Stir the 2 Tablespoons of flour into the 1 cup of milk. Stir well, breaking up the bits.
Separate the 2 eggs into yolks & whites.
Beat the whites of the 2 eggs till fluffy in a bowl. Whip in 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar when the egg whites are fluffly. Set aside.
Add the slightly beaten yolks from the 2 eggs to the milk and flour. Mix well.
Add the 1 cup of sugar to the milk/flour/egg mixture. Mix it up.
Grate the yellow peel of the lemon – be sure to grate the peel very fine.
Add the finely grated lemon peel to the milk/flour/egg mixture.
Juice the lemon, and add the juice to the milk/flour/egg/grated lemon peel mixture.
Add the melted 1 teaspoon of butter to the above mixture. Add the pinch of salt. Mix well.
Fold the egg whites into the mixture. Gently.
Pour into an oven-proof, lightly buttered (souffle) glass bakeware dish.
In a larger pan of hot water, place the filled souffle dish. Make sure the water goes about halfway up the sides.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and pouffy. Remove the oven.
Let it cool slightly, and then remove the pudding/souffle dish from the water bath.
Enjoy either hot, warm or cold!
This souffle/pudding has a fluffy top layer, with a creamy custard-y bottom layer.
Give your spouse a taste from their childhood…
Do you have any recipes from your spouse’s childhood?
Our sense of smell and taste can trigger good memories. Which recipes can you make to lift up your spouse – to relive some happy times?