aspen & pine

a journey in creativity and mindful living

Category: Recipes

Making Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolat

Making Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolate

Get the recipe and watch how Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolate from The Grand Budapest Hotel is made here.


blood orange and coconut marshmallows


These marshmallows were pretty and delicious. The recipe I used is from the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and can be found here on their website. Next I want to try these rose water marshmallows created by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, my most favorite food blog ever!

It’s amazing to me how easy it was to make marshmallows. It sounds so complicated, but really it’s as simple as making a sugar syrup and mixing it with gelatin. Here are some pictures of how mine turned out:







My coconut layer didn’t turn out quite as fluffy as the orange one. I think this was because I let the sugar syrup go over the temperature it was supposed to be at.


They look oh-so-pretty rolled in powdered sugar and placed in a glass dish!



AP Cookies


These cookies were passed down from my Grandma to my Mom. I loved helping Mom make them as a girl, especially decorating them with colored sugar! The past two years I’ve gotten to make them with my Grandma who told me about the Pennsylvania Dutch cookie making tradition. Her and my Grandpap moved to Pennsylvania when they were young, where they picked up lots of yummy Christmas cookie recipes!




Makes: a lot! You can halve or quarter this recipe if you like.

1 lb butter (4 sticks or 2 cups)
4 eggs
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 lb powdered sugar (~7 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
8 cups flour

Combine all ingredients, adding the flour in last. Divide dough into 4 sections, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough to about 1/8″ for nice crispy cookies. (This is how we like it, with a cup of tea or coffee.) You may have to let dough sit out at room temperature several minutes if it is too hard to roll out. Cut out desired shapes and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake for 6-11 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies, so keep an eye on them! Let cool a little on the cookie sheet to harden before removing to a cooling rack or wax paper.



grape juice

grape juice | home canning

This post is a little late, since the grapes are all gone here, but I still wanted to share my grape juice with you. It is the easiest thing I’ve ever canned, and tastes delicious (although nothing like the store bought kind)! We always drink this mixed with seltzer to make sparkling grape juice on the holidays with my family.

Directions: Wash and preheat jars. Place 1 cup washed and stemmed grapes into each clean, hot jar. Add 1/4 – 3/4 cup sugar, and fill each jar the rest of the way with boiling water. Stir a couple of times, wipe rims, and screw on clean lids. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. This juice gets better with time. To use just strain the grapes out and serve.


salsa verde

salsa verde | home canning

Jordan discovered salsa verde on one of our road trips, but it is $3-4 for a tiny little bottle. So my Mom, along with the habaneros, also grew tomatillos so we could try making our own! I made my salsa verde on the hot side, if you want to reduce the heat, omit or decrease the number of habaneros.

canning salsa verde


Makes: 6 pints or 12 1/2 pints

5 lbs tomatillos, husked, washed, and cored
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4-6 habanero peppers
4 jalapeno peppers
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed
1/2 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

Slice cored tomatillos in half or quarters and blend in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Blend the onion and garlic with a little of the lime juice and add to pan. Next blend the peppers, cilantro (remove roots), and remaining lime juice together. Be careful when adding this mix to the pan as you don’t want to breath in the hot pepper fumes. I kept the lid on the pan after adding the peppers to help keep them contained (remove the lid before cooking). Now add your salt, pepper, and cumin. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Process 15 minutes in a water bath.

salsa verde with habaneros | home canning


hot salsa

salsa | home canning

My husband loves hot stuff, and I mean really hot stuff. He’s eaten ghost peppers, which used to be the hottest pepper in the world until the Carolina Reaper came a long. They have such lovely names don’t they? I am not about to touch either of those peppers, which can burn their way through the pickers gloves. No thank you, I think I’ll stick to working with the lowly habanero (whose juice still got under my fingernail and burned all day long when I made my salsa verde).

This year my mom grew some habanero’s for him, and suffice it to say that they really grew. We have so many habaneros I don’t know what to do with them all. One of the plants even bent and broke off from the load! Since I am not a fan of spicy things, I haven’t been very good at keeping Jordan stocked up in things like hot sauce and salsa. I am definitely making up for that now with the multitudes of jars of salsa filling up our pantry. I made this salsa with my mom for the first time, and it turned out great!

Hot Salsa

10 cups tomatoes, chopped (about 6 lb. whole)
5 cups onion, chopped
5 cups green peppers, chopped and seeded
2 1/2 cups hot peppers (I used a mix of jalapenos and habaneros), chopped
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp kosher salt

Place whole tomatoes into a large pot of water and boil 2 minutes to release skins. Place boiled tomatoes in cold water, the peels should come off easily now. Peel, core, and chop tomatoes. We chopped the peppers and onion in a food processor to make things a little quicker, this gives a finer textured salsa. If you want chunky salsa you might want to chop by hand. Mix all ingredients together in a pan and simmer 10 minutes (or more if you want thicker salsa). Ladle into jars, wipe jar rims, and screw on lids. A helpful guide to water bath canning can be found here on the Ball website. Process jars 15 minutes.

habanero salsa | home canning


tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce | home canning

We had lots of tomatoes this year from my parent’s and grandparent’s gardens, so I made some sauce with my Mom. She makes a ton of it every year, and has taught me how. We use this sauce for pizza, spaghetti, and in other dishes.

This post is more of a how to than a recipe since I didn’t include measurements. As a general rule 20 lbs of tomatoes will make 7 pint jars, but it also depends on how thick you like your sauce. For my sauce I don’t remove the tomato seeds or skins, and instead blend them up together in a blender. It’s quite fun and easy, without the mess of pressing them through a sieve or using a food mill.

Tomato Sauce

paste tomatoes
fresh basil
fresh oregano
lemon juice

Wash, cut off ends (and bad spots), and core tomatoes. Place into a large pot with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. Cook tomatoes until they are swimming in their own juices. Pour tomatoes into a colander to drain (you can save the nutritious tomato water if you wish). Blend in batches that fit in your blender with garlic and fresh herbs. The amount of seasoning you add is up to your taste buds, but I generally added 2-3 cloves garlic and a small handful of fresh herbs to each blender batch. For a plain sauce just omit the seasonings. Pour the pureed tomatoes into a pot, add salt and pepper to taste, and cook to desired consistency.

While sauce is thickening up (it shouldn’t take too long since we already got lots of the water out), set up your canner, jars, and lids. Put 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in each pint jar, or 2 Tbsp. in each quart jar depending on what you are using. When sauce has reached desired consistency, ladle into jars, wipe jar rims, and screw on lids. A helpful guide to water bath canning can be found here on the Ball website. Process jars 35 minutes.


link love


Jordan, my husband, meets with some guy friends every Tuesday, and that is my chance to cook all the lovely things he’s not too keen on for dinner. So while he’s grilling some steaks, hotdogs, sausages, or hamburgers, I’m making something with eggs, potatoes, and pastry for dinner (along with something green of course). Tonight I made this delicious galette recipe by Joy the Baker with some fresh green beans. It lived up to my expectations and more!

This week I loved:

Am I my brother’s keeper? by The Hill of Beans

This is an awesome tip for whipping cream using a mason jar!

These 7 unique non-toxic houseplants on A Beautiful Mess are so awesome, and I love that they mention which ones can handle neglect.

7 invisible benefits of living simply by be more with less

Lastly, The story of the mexican fisherman is part of our life philosophy

strawberry basil sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet

After having a divine strawberry basil sorbet at Milk & Honey in Chattanooga, I decided to try and make it myself.


Makes: 1400 ml, (~1 1/2 qt)

4 cups sliced strawberries (or 1 1/2 lbs or 2 pints whole)
1 cup sugar, heaping
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Sprinkle sugar over strawberries and stir lightly, then cover and let rest one hour. This draws out the juices from the strawberries. When the hour is up puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Place in fridge and wait until chilled completely (several hours) before churning in your ice cream maker. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into containers and freeze in your freezer by stirring every 20-30 minutes until hard.



link love

image by Jordan Baker

image by Jordan Baker

This was a dinner we had last week, and I liked it so much I thought I’d share it with you and link to the recipes I used. I made lamb meatballs, oven roasted cabbage, and whole wheat naan bread (mainly because I ran out of white flour). I know this may seem like a strange combination, but it was surprisingly good. We also celebrated my birthday on Thursday at my parents house, where I got another delicious meal. My mom is the most amazing cook, and she made me lemon chicken with rice, sautéed vegetables, and a Ferrero Rocher cake.

Lemon chicken is one of my favorite meals. My mom started making it after we had it in a restaurant in Indonesia, where my family lived for seven years. The restaurant was at a hotel where we would sometimes go swimming. There was this outdoor floating platform over a pond that you could eat on. All I really remember of it was that it seemed so magical when we ate there, so I searched online to see if they had a website and they do! I was so excited looking at their gallery, remembering happy times in that pool with the strange tongue slides.

This weekend I went up to the Shenandoah National Park twice! Saturday I went on a wildflower walk with my Mom and sister. Every year around mother’s day, they have wildflower weekend up on the park, with guided walks where the guide identifies wildflowers, and sometimes rocks, trees and birds as well. Sunday Jordan came and we went up with my sister and a friend (and their two dogs) to do Rose River loop trail, a 4 mile loop that follows a stream to a waterfall. Both days were beautiful to be out hiking and enjoy the woods in the spring. It was so great to get some exercise and be out in nature!

This week I loved:

The Niarmena designs shoulder bag my sisters gave me for my birthday. The leather straps are so soft, I keep wanting to run my hands over them!

This handy guide on assessing the quality of clothing

10 simple ways to worry less by Be More With Less

Experiences vs. Things: my no buy month on Design Sponge

Although I don’t have children yet, I thought this was a very inspiring post!