Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cantaloupe Pie

I know, sounds strange, but it's kind of amazing.

     My mother brought me several wonderful cantaloupes out of her garden.  They were delicious just by themselves, but I didn't think I could eat all of them before they went bad.  I set about looking for different ways to use them and came across this recipe from  This pie is flavorful, fresh, and totally satisfying on a hot summer day.  I tried it out on friends and family and everyone loved it.  Several people said it tasted like banana. The only thing I changed was that I made a traditional crust instead of the shortbread crust the original recipe calls for. 

Pie crustFrom the old standby, Better Homes and Gardens red checkered cook book.

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose f lour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
5 to 5 tablespoons cold water

     Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with pastry blender till pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of water over mixture one section at a time and mix with fork until moistened.  Form into a ball.  Place onto a lightly floured surface and roll until 1/8" thick.
     Place dough into pie plate.  Trim edge to 1/2" - 1" beyond edge.  Fold over and finish edge as desired.  Prick sides and bottom with fork.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes until golden.

Pie filling
1 large very ripe cantaloupe
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. water
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 tbsp. sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up cantaloupe, scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place into a large saucepan.
  2. Cook the cantaloupe over medium heat until it reaches a gentle boil.  Mash the cantaloupe as it heats to bring out all the juice. Transfer the mashed cantaloupe to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour 2 cups of the cantaloupe back into the saucepan.
  3. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 tsp. of water. Add the flour and cornstarch mixtures to the cantaloupe and cook, stirring, until thickened.
  4. Separate eggs, placing the yolks into a medium bowl and the whites in small bowl. Set aside the whites and let come to room temperature.
  5. Beat egg yolks until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. of water. Stir a little of the cantaloupe mixture into the egg yolks in order to heat the yolks gradually. Pour the yolk mixture into cantaloupe mixture. Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the filling is thick and creamy and can coat a spoon.
  6. Remove from heat. Add in butter and vanilla and stir until the butter has fully melted. The filling should look like a custard or pudding.
  7. Pour into the baked pie crust.
  8. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together until frothy. Continue beating, adding 6 tablespoons sugar (feel free to use less if you prefer your desserts less sweet) gradually, until stiff peaks form. Scoop the meringue on top of the pie filling and smooth with a spatula.
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until delicately brown on top. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.
My meringue shrank when it baked, but hey, it doesn't have to look perfect to taste good, right?  Also, after the pie had cooled there was some liquid that accumulated even though the mixture was very thick when I poured it into the shell.  I simply (and very carefully) tipped the pie and drained off the liquid.  This worked fine and the pie was not runny or watery when I sliced it.  Overall, I was very happy with how this pie turned out.  I hate to see fresh garden goodies go to waste!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Transform a tablecloth...


into a circle skirt!

I found this round gingham tablecloth whilst looking through my fabric stash the other day.  Then I remembered the wide elastic that I had been wanting to use to make an elastic waistband skirt with.  The result is this, an easy-peasy, twirly-whrily circle skirt.

The beauty of this skirt is that there are no side seams or hems to sew!

The Steps:

Step 1:  Fold your tablecloth.  Twice.  Now you have a pie wedge shape.  Make sure edges are even.  Use a pin to mark the point of the pie piece.  This is the center of your circle.  

Step 2: Measure your waist.  Now, since this is going to be an elastic waistband it will have stretch, so you need to subtract about 10% off this measurement.  I didn't take mine in enough, so it fits a little loose. There is a good tutorial here.

34" X 10%=3.4"

Step 3:  Figure out how big to cut your circle.  To make a full skirt, you need twice the amount of fabric to elastic. So, double your waist measurement.  (30.6 X 2 = 61.2)  Time to use some geometry!  You need to find the radius (the measurement from the center of the circle to the outside of the circle).

We know the circumference (measurement around) is 61.2".  Take this number and divide by 3.14.  This gives you the diameter (measurement all the way across the circle).  61.2" / 3.14 = 19.5"  Is this stuff all coming back to you now?  Next, take the diameter and divide by 2. 19.5" / 2 = 9.75".

Step 4:  Unfold tablecloth once so that you have a half circle.  Measure out the radius measurement in several places and place pins.  Use the pins as a guide to cut out your circle. (I'm all about eye-balling things).

Step 5:  Cut your elastic using the measurement you calculated earlier. Sew into a circle by overlapping the ends 1/2", and zig-zag stitching along both edges.  

Step 6:  Baste around cut edge of fabric and gather.

Step 7:  Place right sides of fabric and elastic together.  Keep working with fabric until fabric and elastic fit together, pinning as you go.

Step 8:  Stitch in place.  I used a straight stitch on mine, but I think next time I'll try a zig-zag to allow for stretchiness.  

Step 9:  Zig-zag around edge to keep fabric from fraying.

Step 10:  Twirl!

You may want to hem for a shorter skirt, or add some adorable ric-rac trim!  This would make an adorable poodle skirt.  I'm thinking about trying this with a square tablecloth.  Whatcha think?


Sunday, August 12, 2012



Star Wall Decor

I found a cool old carpenters rule at an estate sale and knew I could do something fun with it.   Here's what I came up with.  A star wall hanging!  It was super easy to make.  To keep the points of the star in place, I wound some string around them a few times, tied a knot, and trimmed the string.  One of the points of the star has a double layer of ruler, but you can't really tell.  I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for more of these types of rulers.  You could hang it in other shapes as well, or use for trim on a shelf, picture frame, etc. 

Here We Go...

It's my first post.  I am creating this blog as a record of projects, ideas, and inspiration for myself and also to share creativity with others.  As projects and ideas are always piling up, it is possible to feel overwhelmed. I often forget how much I've already done.  Starting this blog is something I've wanted to do for some time now.  It's a bit scary for me to jump in and get it going.  I think it'll get easier as I go, so please bear with me!