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Memories and Musings

By Cheri Sims
It is that time of year when I feel the least creative, television is pretty boring, I am itching to garden but must continue to busy myself with inside projects. I received season two and three of the TV show “Yellowstone” from the kids at Christmas; so I will have a couple nights of binge watching Keven Costner and for some silly reason I have the urge to watch “Game of Thrones” again. I have the complete series, thanks to Hubby, so I won’t miss one minute. I think it must be time to dig out all my old favorite movies.

I have been watching a lot of “YouTube” lately and I previously mentioned that have fallen in love with “Penny the talking cat” on the “Amy and Gracie” site ( (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzPMWmcT9FmS-mkGY-OQ2Cg) . Penny looks just like one of our previous cats “Rocky” so that interested me at first but the precious voice over by the family’s two year old daughter just melts my heart. The camera work is quite good and the mom is a talented young woman with a gift of chatting with “Penny”. “Lilly” the other cat looks just like my “Mitten Kitten” and some of their exchanges are just too cute for words. Dad does the voice of “Lilly”, (who ia a black and white Tuxedo cat) with a sort of British accent which is what I would imagine “Mittens” might have.

I was curious about just what the act of giving voice to animals might be and discovered this definition: “Anthropomorphism is a literary device that can be defined as a technique in which a writer ascribes human traits, ambitions, emotions, or entire behaviors to animals”. I suppose this term can also be used with visual forms because this is not a cartoon. I urge you to take a look at “Penny’s” site, I am sure it will brighten your day.

 I have also found a most unlikely “YouTube” channel, for me, to watch; it deals with underwater divers cleaning up the ecosystem and involves solving cold cases, in our Nation’s lakes, streams and rivers. Unusual , because I can not swim and I  am afraid of water: I almost drowned twice while taking swimming lessons and could barely stand to watch my son when he was on the swim team. I happened onto the site by following a True Crime link to “Adventures with Purpose” (https://www.youtube.com/c/AdventureswithPurpose). The first case I watched was so interesting I forgot we were dealing with water, until the first scene under water but I persevered and I am glad that I did because it was poignant, heart breaking and satisfying for those with whom the case dealt.

The videos feature the families of the cold cases, how the case was treated in the beginning and gives insight into the workings of police departments and how they vary across the USA. Some police departments value the input of this organization and some do not cooperate at all. After watching a couple of the videos I discovered that they have 1.5K subscribers and don’t charge the families a dime. They have tons of fans and will announce their locations ahead of time so that the area fans can attend the dives. Fascinating! On their merchandise page they offer what looks to be a great tool to have in your car. It is a small tool which can fit on a keychain and will pop a window and cut a seat belt. I believe I shall order a couple of these, who knows I just might need one some day.

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is almost here? I have such nice childhood memories of Valentine’s Day in grade school; making cards and decorating Valentine boxes for the big day. We had such great parties in school; room mothers baked and decorated goodies and if we were lucky a dad would bring in enough chocolate milk or Coke for everyone. 

Did you ever play “Pitch the Valentine”? In fifth and sixth grade, we  would scoot our desks to the sides of the room and all the kids would form a circle and the teacher would place the wastebasket in the middle of the circle. Everyone in the class would have made a decorated cardboard heart in Art class and we would take turns pitching our heart toward the waste basket trying to get it in the basket. I would imagine that the teachers thought this was a more fitting game for the older students and most likely a way to get the older boys interested because it was like basketball. That game was so much fun! I never got my heart to go in the basket but in fifth grade the boy I admired the most won the game and that was enough like winning to me.

One of Hubby’s favorite Valentine desserts is strawberry cream cheese tarts. We had them for the first time at a wonderful bakery in St Adele, Canada on July 4,, on one of our vacations. Hubby was ordering in French and the baker told him that the large strawberry tart had been made for a wedding which had been canceled and since they were fresh he decided to sell them on that day. The tarts were pie size, made in the shape of a heart and the crust was made of cream cheese. The filling was strawberry or raspberry filling made from scratch or jam from the grocery and the whole thing was baked just as one would bake a tart shell. After baking the crust was spread with jam and fresh berries were mixed with more filling/jam and spooned on top of the heart shape.

The following Valentine’s Day I attempted to make the berry heart shaped tart from memory and a bit of searching for Canadian recipes and it actually came out quite delicious. Over the years we made minor changes to the recipe; once we even tried to make the berry filling from scratch but neither of us liked it as much as we liked the jam recipe. Mixing the berries with more jam gave the tart a glossy presentation like most French tarts. My favorite Valentine dessert was my Mom’s cutout cookies made with butter but Hubby was not fond of butter so I had to make them with margarine. Our son liked my Mom’s cookies better than mine too, but we had to make Hubby happy!

I will share the recipe results.

Stay warm!

Berry Heart Shape Tart

Crust

* 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

* 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into bits

* 1 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor blend the butter, the cream cheese, the flour, and the salt, pulse the motor, until the dough just begins to form a ball, gather the dough into a ball, and flatten slightly. Dust the dough with flour and chill it, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 1 hour. The dough may be made 1 day in advance and kept wrapped well and chilled.

Filling

* 1 6oz jar of your favorite berry jam

* Topping

* 1 6oz jar of jam

* 1 quart fresh berries, washed and stemmed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Roll out chilled dough, cut to heart shape and place in greased heart shaped baking pan or cut heart shape and place on greased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for ten minutes and allow crust to cool.

4. Spread with jam.

5. Mix berries with second jar of jam and pour over baked dough. Refrigerate for one hour before cutting.

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