Lemon Lavender Biscotti

I love biscotti…well I just love food…looking through different recipes  I was inspired by a lemon almond biscotti recipe on the  King Arthur Flour site …so I played around with it and made a few changes…and this is what I came up with


Lemon Lavender Orange Blossom Honey Biscotti

preheat oven to 350

2 1/4 cups of flour….I do love King Arthur flour but this time I used Trader Joe’s      ……………………………………unbleached white flour

1.5 t  baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

combine the above dry ingredients together and set aside

1 stick of light butter….I used Land o ‘ Lakes…softened

1/3 c sugar

1/3 c orange blossom honey

1 T lemon zest

2 t vanilla

3 T lemon juice

1 egg

2 egg whites

2 T dried lavender


so in a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar……add the honey and continue mixing for a minute or two

pulverize the lavender to release the oils…I do this in a coffee grinder

add the lavender…the lemon zest…the vanilla …and the lemon juice….mix until well combined in the butter/sugar/honey mixture

add the egg…mix until incorporated and then add egg whites and beat on medium high for 2 more minutes


slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture…..the dough /batter will be on the soft side

line a baking sheet with parchment

with a rubber spatula…help ease the dough out of the bowl onto the parchment…and I then  flour my hands to pat the dough into shape…the dough takes up just about the entire length of the pan…except for maybe 2.5 inches on either end of the baking sheet

I then put it in the oven for 30 minutes after 30 minutes I take them out and let them rest

Lower the oven to 300 degrees…and let the log rest for 20 minutes…after the 20 minutes start slicing the log into 1/2 inch slices…I ended up with 20 cookies…large cookies…take the slices and place them back in the oven for another 20 minutes

take them out and let them cool


so while cooling I make a lavender lemon glaze…I do not measure when Imake a glaze…but I did measure out 1  T dried lavender buds…and again pulverized them in the coffee grinder…I then used roughly 3 T lemon  juice….and added confectioners sugar until I reached a consistency I liked…I then piped the glaze onto the cooled cookies

Biscotti are great by themselves…or for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee…or a mid day snack with a glass of milk…no matter how you like them…they won’t last long and you may be hearing requests for….more ?


The table  I used to photograph the cookies is just a plain square raw wood table from Ikea . I painted it with chalk paint …I used the folkart chalk paint that you can get at Jo-An fabrics…..I used Java as a base and then painted patina  on top  …I then used a crackle medium on top that crackles clear and gives a crackle like you might see on porcelain…it was made by decoart…I don’t think I will ever use it again…even though I like the end results it produces….there are no warning on the bottle…but while using this …my tongue started to go numb and I started getting heart palpitations…as soon as I got away from this stuff I started feeling better…so after the crackle I started to distress the rest of the paint with just a wet rag…a little sand paper… a little steel wool…and then i finished it off doing a little dry brushing…now i need on figuring out how to seal it .



Forge v Scioto Valley in a friendly

It was SaturdaY and my gear was packed and ready to head to watch some rugby preseason action…so I was getting ready to travel to the Mt Oliver area…one more check before I leave….ooops…the game had been moved to Cheswick and Founders Field…well good thing my guardian angel tapped me on the shoulder to point me in the right direction…and I really didnt mind trying to find a parking spot on the steep street and having to park up on the sidewalk or in a ditch…it was like going from the RedRoof Inn to the Omni William Penn

I got there a little late but still caught 3/4 of the game…For early August it was reasonable at around 80 degrees and sunny…I can say it was reasonable but I did not have any 200pound person chasing me and knocking me down

Nice little crowd out working on their tans while still being safe rubbing some of that banana boat sunscreen on.

I cant tell you much about the game as I kind of struggled through it with some back issues…but I did get a few images…I do know the Forge was leading at the half but lost in a close one as the scioto valley teams defense stiffened and did not allow a score in the 2nd half…If I am wrong corrections are encouraged

The Forge are headed to west Virginia this Saturday for late afternoon games…so if you got your chores done and want to watch a little rugby…check out the Forge on facebook forr exact location

some images

Getting Old

Somedays i feel like I am 109 years old

I hurt my back a week ago and was not able to do much…A hydrocollator , a foam roller and Tucker were my best friends .

I had an electrical unit …not a TENS unit as I cannot use those…but a unit from a company in Canada…King Brand is the company…and the unit sent electronic waves deep into the tissue causing heat…and bringing blood to the injured area…well i thought I had mine for a couple years…Turns out I only had it 14 months after checking with Amazon…which is where i bought it…I contacted the company as this unit was quite expensive and it did really work…but there is only a 12 month warranty…so I am s@$t out of luck…and I wont spend that much on another unit…the wires broke on mine…I tried splicing them back together but to no avail…so the foam rollerwhich cost about 5x less does a really good job…I think everyone should have a foam roller

So I am now at least to the point where I can sit at the desk for a little while…I pretty much slept about 12 hours a day last week .

So Yesterday…Tucker and I got up early and headed downtown…street parking is free…went into the park…Point State park…we were parked just across the street…enjoying some things I do not usually pay attention to…like the 2 canons near the Fort Pitt Museum…the has markings on the canon barrel…if that is what it is called …but it was made in 1755

walked down near the fountain that was not yet running as we were there pretty early…a park ranger drove by while making his rounds and greeted us with a good morning…pulled out a liyyle of a chicken tender and broke it into pieces for Tucker…he enjoyed his snack as we watched a barge come up river from down by the West End bridge and pass Heinz field .

As we made our way up the allegheny side of the park…I saw some white morning glorys…a much underrated flower…and then I saw a morning glory that very much reminded me of a morning glory I remember from childhood…it was pink and white…I have a picture to prove I saw it…but that flower made my day…I had been looking for a similar one for years…always something close but this one has been the best….since childhood…Tucker and I ended up in PPG plaza as always where we sat and meditated…and had the rest of the chicken tender

It was 62 degrees when we started…and 65 degrees when we headed home…it was an enjoyable morning

Oh one more thing…we were near Heinz hall and saw this really nice bicycle rack sculpture…it is a skeleton but its vertebrae is made like a bicycle chain…it is in the images

also since my back has issues…i wanted to travel light and only caried my littlee point and shoot Olympus Tough 3 camera…I think they are up to tough 5 now…but my tough 3 works fantastically…is that a word ?

Hope you all have a grande week

some images

A short walk with Tucker and what we saw

It was hot hot hot yesterday 85 or so and hotter in the sun…had to go where there was lots of shade for Tucker who is my little Lupus dog…so we found some shade in south park…walked slowly and saw some butterflies and other stuff

here you go…enjoy your weekend…my favorite image is the last

Sunday Stroll for Tucker

went down town Sunday and ran into yoga fest at 6:45 a.m. there was already a yoga class in progress…when I left the house it was thundering and lightning and a l;ittle rain…but we headed downtown any way….and the storm even though it was moving with us towaerd town…did not come over Mt washington

So we just slowly meandered our way around Point State park and downtown ending up at ppg plaza and watched the water fountain before heading home

just a few images

I do say if you want to take portraits…PPG plaza on a sunny morning 8 to 10 is a great pl;ace…the light is bouncing all over the place…I got the nices image of Tucker


No one ordered cookies from me last week…I was lost…what to do…I had been making cookies for a month for various occasions with graduation and a baby shower

I had bought different items in getting ready for the baby shower which had a whale theme…

so……………I decided to make some shortbread and use the whale tail cookie cutter I had bought…so I researched some recipes…not that I needed to…but the stuff people put in their “shortbread cookies”…lots of folks using eggs…there are no eggs in shortbread…that is the beauty of shortbread…it is a 3 ingredient cookie…butter sugar and flour…NO EGGS ! some people add flavoring…though not needed it is an easy method to create variety…add a little vanilla…or lemon rind or some ground lavender buds

I opted to make a recipe I never tried before…instead of granulated sugar it called for confectioners sugar…I don’t think I will do that again…the cookie was tasty…but it was too light…next time I will stick with granulated

So made the cookies and started on some photographs I had planned to make or already made and needed some post processing done .

Set up my little studio and did some macro photography…refracted water droplets always interested me…I became easily frustrated with one failed attempt after another…went back the second day…learning a bit from the 1st day…and was alittle bit better…and still a long way to go…so I found some santa clauses…those fluffy white cottony thing that blow around in the wind and put it in a clothes pin to hold it…then i spritzed some water on it…put it in front of some sunflowers…you will have to look through the images to see a phot or 2 of what I got

And I guess it is going on 2 weeks now that the Futures of Pittsburgh tennis tournament took place in Mt lebanon…It was some of the lowest quality tennis that has ever come through here on the Futures circuit….the finalists and semifinalist put on a good show…It was won by Argentine…Mateo Nicolas Martinez who defeated Colombian Alejandro Gomez 6-4 , 6-4…though the scores seem close it really never was as Martinez was in control the whole match

Last image is of Tucker in PPG plaza…if your client will get up early and you ared doing a photo shoot…PPG plaza on a sunny morn between 8 and 10…the light is phenomenal

The Onesy or Onesie Cookie Caper

Some folks wanting to hold a baby shower approached me and said…can you make us a onesie with a baby whale on it . I said let me look into it…So after some research…I said sure I can do this

So about 6 weeks before the event…I start to experiment with recipes…that taste good and hold their shape…I end up with a chocolate sugar cookie…an oatmeal cutout cookie and a rtegular sugar cookie

So I ordered my onesy cookie cutter…an Ann Clark design…she makes some really nice cookie cutters but you must treat them with respect and make sure they are completely dry…or they may rust…how to care for the cutters…after all done…wash and dry the cookie cutters…then in an oven of 300 degrees…turn off oven and place cutters in oven for 10 minutes or so…this method works for me…some makers are making theirs out of plastic now…I like that…so much easier to care for

So I got my cutter…so how am I going to make the baby whale…I thought of a paper punch…a whale paper punch…punch whale shapes in a thin mylar or cardboard stock …and fill the holes with chocolate or royal icing…well I dod find there exists a whale paper puch produced with Martha Stewart’s name on it…but they have been discontinued…but yes…you can still get one on ebay for a mere 100 dollars…nope…then I found whale confetti…it looked a whole lot likethe whale from the Martha punch…I figured I could use those as a template …which I did…I placed the individual whale pieces under wax paper and with a number 2 icing decorating tube I traced the whales…let the icing dry and then put on the onesy…they looked oK but the whale was a bit too big…but angling it…I could make it work…or scan the whale and downsize it in photoshop…but then I found a food grade silicon mold of a whale on etsys…one was in spain the other in france…well the one from france arrived first…and it was the perfect size…the one from spain arrived a week later and was too big

So I ended up melting white chocolate and then tinting it and then piping the melted chocolate into the mold…the issue was there was only one little mold…I had to fill the mold…only one at a time…put in the freezer…unmold and repeatI had to do this about 80 times in order to make 58 whales as frequently the whale tale would break as I tried to unmold the candy

So after one full day of baking…and 2 days of decorating…I ended up with some onesy cookies…not too bad looking especially with someone with shakey hands…and better yet…they taste good

It’s New To Me

It is with good intention that I am starting this …its new to me blog…I want to give my opinion on products that are brand new…or I haven’t tried before and have been around for a while

So first up is a product from Tootsie Roll Industries…and it is the Junior Mint minis

It comes in a bag that is resealable…which is something that I like…I always had some qualms about the regular 4.5 oz box….or any of the boxes larger or smaller…I mean the boxes have spaces they are not hermetically sealed….maybe i am somewhat of a germaphobe…anyway for a buck 99 you can purchase this item…the 4.5 ounce box costs only a dollar…so if you are looking for value you might stick with the old standby

As far as taste…eating these one at a time is not the best experience as the chocolate is not as smooth as i would like and actually you can feel it is gritty…but if you put 2 in your mouth at a time …the flavor is more chocolate than mint and the creamy mint center takes away the grittiness of the chocolate…and if you are like me and like a stronger mint sensation put 3 in your mouth at a time and to me the balance of mint and chocolate is perfect .

These candy pieces are pretty small…smaller than a dime and I actually could put 3 of these on a dime…with a little overhang

This product is certainly different than your regular size Junior Mints…but the taste remains pretty close to the original…unlike when York went to making their minis…they taste nothing like a regular size York peppermint patty…but that is a story for another day

On a budget…stay with the original…you get an ounce less and pay a dollar less…so if you bought 2 boxes of the 3.5 ounce mints …the regular size candies…you pay 2 bucks and get 7 ounces of candy compared to the minis 4.5 ounces

More Wayne State

Just Stuff

Went to see the Pirates play midweek afternoon game…those are my favorites to attend because there are not a whole lot of folks there to annoy me…and actually saw a game the pirates won…I dont go to many ball games but I believe the last 3 games i saw they won…previously I was 0h for 12 years

took some more pictures of flowers and processed some then the computer crashed…that is what happens when I do larger projects than normal

anyway…some images

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mom’s Day to all you Moms out there…and everyone please rememeber your Mom

Some folks were saying they could not see all the flower images I posted yesterday…so lets try it again…but this time here…I am changing up the flowers…but if you are the 1st to identify all correctly…you win the Oscar Schmidt Ukulele

there are some clues below each picture