Tag Archives: lavender

Appreciating Little Dreams

I have some big dreams.  We all do.  Some of them, I believe, will come true along the way, some will never happen, some will evolve into different pictures and weave their way into my life at least partially.  Every once in a while the world feels scary and fear grips my heart as I wonder how we’ll make our dreams come true for our children, especially.  Of course, all we can do is our best, leaving the future to the Lord.  But with so many big things out of our control, I’m learning that I am happier if I notice the little dreams that come true in my life.

Last weekend I made my family our favorite fall dessert:  my rustic pear tart.   I pulled up my post to make sure I remembered the measurements correctly and a sentence in that post caught my attention.  “Pears at the end of the summer, fresh from a local orchard.”

My heart stopped for a minute.  That’s not the story of this pear tart.  This pear tart carries the tag, “Pears at the end of the summer, fresh from my backyard tree.”  A feeling of warm happiness washed over me as I realized with total clarity that the fulfillment of a dream is embodied in that statement.  It’s not a huge, grand dream, and it certainly isn’t a dream that most people have.  It won’t pay for college or be the defining characteristic of my children’s upbringing.  A lot of people I know grew up with it like I grew up with a lawn in my yard.  They would never label it a dream; it was just part of life, something they didn’t have to think about, always there.   But I had it, the happy picture in my heart of my home with fruit trees in back.  The happy picture of our family carrying baskets of fruit inside together.  This is why I love my cherry tree so much.  It’s part of the picture I treasure.  But pears?  Pears are something special.  A little dream, come blissfully true.

When we sliced that tart into ten pieces and ate it together, what I felt was reverence.

Another little dream:

Saturday afternoon my daughter and I began harvesting my lavender for the last time this season.  I let it go too long, but I was enjoying the sight of the bees so much, and leaving the color in the yard made me smile.   The plants have done well this summer, growing large and beautiful, covered with more lavender than I anticipated.  Harvesting lavender is a happy activity.  There you are, arms, hands and face surrounded by the heavenly scent of fresh lavender, enjoying the silvery green color of the stems against the rich purple blooms while the bees work around you in happy companionship.

Saturday night I popped into a local shop for a minute.  The owner came up behind me to say hello as I placed an order for a favorite drink to take home and share with my husband.  We talked about some tempting lemon cookies on the counter and then her face grew serious as she put her arm around me and told her girls behind the counter about my lavender shortbread cookies.  I smiled and promised to bring her some, then said, “Just this afternoon I was outside cutting my lavender for the last time this year.”  I watched the look on her face and realized, “I’m living a dream.  It’s a small dream, on a small scale.  It’s not a lavender farm, but it’s my lavender.  It doesn’t help with the laundry or the cleaning, but it’s a dream and I’m lucky enough to live it.”

I walked to my car feeling terribly blessed.

Those two realizations opened my eyes to so many more little dreams come true.  The joy of a three year old curled up in my lap reading Goodnight Moon with me.  The discovery of a book that moved me to tears.  The happy closeness of my husband who is my life’s greatest dream come true.  The dream of motherhood come true all around me, growing and bulging until it’s so huge I sometimes forget it’s a dream.  A stack of freshly washed and folded white towels.  Having a guest room to share with family.  Pumpkins on the front porch.  Driving down a tree-lined street in the fall.  Prayed for growth and development happening in a child’s life.  A quiet evening at home laughing and playing UNO with my family.  When I really look for them, I realize there are little dreams come true all around me and it fills my heart with gratitude.

Gratitude is a nice feeling to live with.

 

Lavender & Lemon Madeleine Sandwiches

lavender&lemonmadeleines

I have a weakness for all things lemon flavored.  When I was contacted several weeks ago by a representative of Donsuemor to see if I was interested in creating a holiday recipe from one of their products, their Lemon Zest Madeleines immediately caught my attention and I jumped at the opportunity.

A box of individually wrapped Madeleines arrived on my doorstep, and the first thing I did was sample one.  It was moist, lemony, buttery and delicious.  These beautiful little cakes would make a fantastic gift on their own.  I am impressed with their quality and flavor.

madeleines2

My favorite flavor to pair with lemon is fresh lavender.  I grow my own and use it often so incorporating it into this recipe felt natural.

lemonandlavender

I wanted to preserve the beauty and shape of the Madeleines, making them the main focus instead of being simply another ingredient, which led to the idea of sandwiches.

gettingstarted

Begin by preparing a creamy lavender-lemon frosting to use as filling between the cakes (see recipe at end of post).  There’s a trick to fabulous lavender flavored frosting, and it’s making it a day early so the lavender flavor is fully absorbed and incorporated into the frosting.  It also begins to take on the slightest purple tinge if you do this.  So beautiful, and so delicous!

lavenderfrosting

Next come the cakes.  Being careful to preserve the beautiful shell shape of the tops of the Madeleines, carefully hold them as you slice the rounded portion off the back of the cake, leaving the back or bottom of the cake flat, as you see below.

cutmadeleines

Gently spread the lavender frosting over the flat side of half of the Madeleines.

frostmadeleines

Place the remaining half of Madeleines  on top of the frosted cakes to make sandwiches.

madeleinesandwiches2

Chill the sandwiches for 30 minutes.  When they are cold, melt 1 cup of lemon flavored wafers.

lemonwafers

Holding the top of each sandwich, gently dip them in the melted lemon coating and place on parchment paper to harden.  I chose to dip the bottom, or hinge part of the cake and left the top half uncoated.

dipped

When the lemon coating has hardened, place sandwiches on a serving platter and enjoy!

madeleinesliced

Lavender & Lemon Madeleine Sandwiches

Ingredients:
1 box Donsuemor Lemon Zest Madeleines
2 Tb. butter
1-1/2 tsp. culinary lavender buds, dried or fresh
1 Tb. heavy cream
1 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 cup – 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 pound Lemon A’peels (lemon flavored candy coating)

To make the frosting:

Whip 2 Tb. butter with hand mixer.  Add 1 to 1-1/2 tsp. fresh or dried lavender buds.  Whip until butter is white in color.
Add 1 Tb. heavy whipping cream and 1 Tb. fresh lemon juice.  Mix until incorporated.
Add 1 cup plus 2 Tb. confectioner’s sugar and mix until frosting is firm but easily spreadable.  You may add sugar by the spoonful or lemon juice a few drops at a time to adjust the consistency of the frosting to your liking.

*Note:  For best flavor, prepare the frosting a day early!

To assemble sandwiches:

1.  Being careful to preserve the beautiful shell shape of the tops of the Madeleines, carefully hold them as you slice the rounded portion off the back of the cake, leaving the back or bottom of the cake flat.

2.  Gently spread the lavender frosting over the flat side of half of the Madeleines.  Place the remaining half of Madeleines  on top of the frosted cakes to make sandwiches.  Chill for 30 minutes.

3.  Melt 1 cup lemon wafers.  Carefully dip half of each Madeleine sandwich and place on parchment or waxed paper to cool and set.

4.  Serve and enjoy!  Makes 13 sandwiches.

dippedmadeleines

Many thanks to Donsuemor for providing the Madeleines, and for the pleasure of creating this recipe.  Thank you for visiting, and Happy Holidays!

Jennifer

 

Early morning in the lavender…

I was amazed by the number of bees buzzing around my lavender while I quietly weeded around them.   I remember the first time I harvested lavender years ago and how worried I was about the bees as I cut.  Now I work quietly while they go from stem to stem and feel happy feelings of camaraderie with them.  I am grateful for their presence here and all that is possible in my garden because of them.

A quiet, peaceful morning was just what I needed.

Hopeful Homemaker

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