Delicious Apple Galettes

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Recently I made Mr. GQ a delicious French pastry dessert.  My inspiration was a Barefoot Contessa recipe for French apple galettes.  A galette is a French freeform crusty cake.  This version is made from a sheet of puff pastry which gets quartered so the galettes are individual rectangular treats.  They were a big hit and I will definitely trot this recipe out in the future when I’m making a French bistro supper.

Here’s the recipe:

Yield: 4 servings 

Ingredients:

I sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator 

2 Granny Smith apples

3/8 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, small-diced

3/8 cup apricot Simply fruit preserves (Smucker’s)

3 Tbsp Calvados, rum or water

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. Unfold the puff pastry sheet and cut it into quarters. Place the quarters on a plate in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples 🍏. Set the sheet pan covered with parchment on the counter.

  3. Peel the apples and cut them in half. Remove the stems and core with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples into 1/4 inch slices.

  4. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally on each puff pastry quarter as well as a slice on each side.

  5. Sprinkle the sugar over all the pastry slices and dot with the butter.

  6. Put all four pastries on the parchment-lined sheet pan. (By putting the sugar and butter on the pastries on a plate and then transferring them to the sheet pan, less sugar gets on the parchment, minimizing burning the edges of the galettes.)

  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pastries are brown and the edges of the apples are starting to brown. Rotate the pan once halfway thru baking time. If the pastry starts to puff up in one area, slit it with a sharp knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the galettes will be fine!

  8. When the galettes are done, heat the apricot Simply fruit in a saucepan with the water (in my case), over low heat until the preserves are slightly runny. Brush the preserves over the entire surface of each pastry. Loosen the galettes from the parchment paper with a spatula so they don’t stick to the paper. Allow them to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

  9. Enjoy!

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I hope you love these as much as my husband and I did. These are so fun to make as well as easy. The puff pastry looks so dramatic and the apricot glaze looks very shiny and appealing. You won’t be disappointed! Happy Fall baking🍏🍁🍂🍏!

How to treat dry cracked fingers

Have you ever experienced dry cracked fingers or thumbs?  Many people who live through cold, dry winters are plagued by this malady.  As a recently retired dermatologist I know lots of easy tricks:

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  1. The first and best approach involves prevention. By this I mean wear gloves as much as possible to avoid hurting your hands. Thus I always told my patients that as soon as the outside temperature dropped below 50 degrees, they need to start wearing gloves when outdoors. So when I walk the dog, or get the mail, or take out the trash, etc. I wear gloves. I usually wear cashmere-lined leather gloves because they’re soft and relatively warm. These black gloves are from Lands End. I love them because the’re supple and they have that special design on the index finger which allows me to use my phone with my gloves on.

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2. Wear gloves when washing dishes or using cleaning supplies. I actually have gloves hanging from all my under sink cabinets so I’m not tempted “just this once” to skip them. The dishwashing detergents and cleansers are very irritating to the hands. These blue gloves are called Bluettes and they’re great for doing dishes and other house work.

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3. Whenever I wash my hands I apply hand cream right afterwards. I use several different hand creams depending on where I am. Here are photos of a few of my favorites.

4. Carry a tube of hand cream in your car so when you’re at a stop light you can cream up.

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5. Once the cracks occur, the best trick I recommend is to seal the cracks as soon as you notice them with a drop of Skin Crack Care. This will temporarily seal the skin edges so the crack won’t hurt so much. It’s especially helpful to apply this right before bed so that more healing can occur while you sleep.

6. Lastly if all this doesn’t do the trick, go see your dermatologist as they can prescribe a steroid cream that will help decrease the inflammation and aid in healing.

I know as a long-time eczema sufferer, cracked fingers and thumbs hurt A LOT!   These tricks work but they’re a bit tedious.  Give them a try.  If you know someone else who suffers from this condition, please pass on my blog post.

Thanks!

Dr. Julie 

Affiliate link disclaimer 

Please note referral and affiliate links in my posts may generate a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.  Thank you!

How to make a great boxed white cake 🎂

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Recently it was my younger son’s birthday.  His favorite cake is white cake with chocolate frosting.  I’ve attempted multiple different recipes for this but the cake usually tastes a bit dry.  When I make a boxed cake it’s always moist but the flavor is “off”.  I was about to try yet another new recipe when my brilliant husband looked up how to make a boxed cake with butter on line.  He TOTALLY SAVED THE DAY!  He found a great clip from the Rachel Ray show  where Sunny Anderson (one of my favorite chefs) was rebooting and greatly improving boxed cakes.  Sunny solved my conundrum with several suggestions:

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First, she recommended that you substitute melted butter for the vegetable oil.  Second, substitute milk for the water.  Third, add one half a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter as the vanilla has probably lost some of its flavor sitting on the shelf in the cake mix.

Lastly, add an extra tablespoon of butter for each yolk that is deleted. So this box mix called for three egg whites or three whole eggs. So I used three egg whites and then added three extra tablespoons of melted butter.

I made all these substitutions and baked the cake.  They all worked perfectly.  I let the cake layers cool completely on a rack.

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Now for the frosting. I don’t know about you but I believe the whole purpose of cake is to serve as the vehicle for the frosting.  The recipe I follow, (almost exactly) is the one on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa 

can.

Ingredients:

One stick salted butter, melted

2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa 

3 cups powdered sugar (sifted if it’s lumpy)

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

One pinch of salt (the salt is my addition to the original recipe)

Steps:

  1. In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the melted butter with the cocoa.

  2. Alternately add the powdered sugar and the milk until the frosting is of spreading consistency.

  3. Add extra milk if needed to get the consistency you want.

  4. Add in the vanilla and the pinch of salt.

  5. Frost the cooled cake.

  6. Enjoy 🎂!

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The piece of cake is on a darling mum covered dessert plate that I bought several seasons back at Crate and Barrel.  The woven rattan placemat if from Amazon.  I love these placemats as they’re versatile and easy to wipe off if spills occur.

The tumbler and flatware are from Crate and Barrel.  The fall-hued napkin is many years old.

Affiliate link disclaimer 

Please note referral and affiliate links in my posts may generate a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.  Thank you!

What I Packed for Five Days in Florida

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I just flew back from Tampa, Florida where I met two great girlfriends for a five day stay at one of the girl’s lovely home.  Our agenda involved going out for lunch every day, some laying by her pool, one dinner party at her home for a bunch of fun neighbors, shopping (of course!), and multiple walks on the beach.

Here’s what I brought:

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  1. To the airport I like to wear layers of items that don’t show spots if turbulence occurs and someone spills😬! I wore a black Beloved tank with a grey cotton leopard cardigan (old), boyfriend jeans, a thin black J Crew belt, black Brooks athletic shoes, a black Coach crossbody purse and a black trench coat (as it was supposed to rain in Florida). I added a silver multiple stranded necklace from Evereve (old) and tiny silver Marcasite earrings that were a gift from a friend. In my black and red paisley quilted Vera Bradley carry-on I always bring a black wool pashmina. I drape it over my shoulders and neck to minimize a stiff neck from the drafty plane.

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My red Lucas suitcase is from Nordstrom rack and although I’m not yet efficient enough to just use a carry-on, it’s smaller that the BIG bag I used to bring. (I was proud of the fact that it only weighed 34 pounds on the airport scale!) I buy red luggage as it’s less common than black. The shiny surface is easy to clean and the wheels on this are truly 360 so they spin even when I load my Vera Bradley on top once I’m at my destination. I love to have the black quilted Vera Bradley bag as it’s light when empty, has lots of inside pockets, a great shoulder strap, and is spacious. I also think it converts into a great beach bag on this type of trip.

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  1. My first outfit for walking on the beach was a black Talbots tee, khaki Talbots shirt with cute button trim on each lateral cuff, black athletic shoes and a black Blackhawk’s baseball cap that my son picked for me. Don’t you just love the colors in the Blackhawk’s logo?!

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My second beach look was a lightweight blue and white striped shirt from Evereve (old), Talbots blue linen shorts with a cute drawstring waist, a straw hat. For lunch I wore nude Stuart Weitzman laser cut block heeled sandals.

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My next look was a lime green J Crew outlet cotton cardigan, and a white Chico’s Off the Rack cotton tank (this has nice wide straps to cover your bra straps and is thick enough that your belt doesn’t show through). I wore white AG denim skinny jeans, a tan Ann Taylor cork belt, the Stuart Weitzman block heeled sandals and a royal blue and lime green cotton scarf from Lands End. I carried a small straw purse with a brown leather handle that Mr. GQ purchased for me in Hawaii several years ago.

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The next ensemble also involved the same white skinny jeans but this time I wore it with a black Johnny Was embroidered tunic. I added silver hoop earrings.

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For the dinner party I wore a black silk sleeveless top, and a black and bronze silk sarong (both from a little Florida shop), an amber pendant and bracelet, a gold watch and hoop earrings. For shoes I wore nude Stuart Weitzman patent leather cage sandals with a kitten heel. If the air conditioning was cooler I would have added a dark wash AG Jean jacket. I love pairing black, with brown or bronze and denim. I think it looks so interesting.

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For the pool I wore a pink sun shirt when I the sun as a coverup over two different bathing suits. Both are from Miraclesuit. And they really cinch in my waist. I love them! On the trip in a few Redington Beach or Clearwater Beach shops I found a darling packable cream SPF 50 hat by Wallaroo Hat Company that had a light linen colored brim as well as a really cool pink print sarong. (Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on how to easily tie scarves and sarongs.

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My last outfit was my favorite! It was an Athleta boho inspired navy print tank worn over a gray bralette. The really fun part of this outfit was a navy M’legging by Cabi. I’m not sure why this is called an M’legging but it’s a cute pair of leggings with an attached skirt. I love it because it’s very comfortable AND it covers my butt! This year Cabi offers it in a grey color and my girlfriend showed me that a complaint called fat hat.com carries a black version called the spantaloon that I’ll be ordering as soon as I land in Chicago. I love legging but as one of my daughter pointed out no one over 50 should be wearing leggings without some kind of cover! Lastly I wore an orange J Crew cardigan, nude sandals and the above mentioned straw purse to complete this look 

I had fun wearing all these outfits and enjoyed the comfort of all my choices.  When planning what to wear remember to wear comfortable outfits that you know fit so you look cute with minimal stress.  And if all else fails you can go buy something and if need be, have the salesperson mail home the old outfit so you have room in your suitcase for your new loot!

The Best Lipstick 💄 Ever!

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I just returned from a visit to Florida where I stayed with a girlfriend and her hubby, and another great friend. We had a lovely laid back time and they teased me that I was the only person they knew who kept reapplying her lipstick.  When I explained that in fact I just apply it once or twice each day they were shocked.  They demanded that I “spill” about my “lipstick tricks”.

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My lipstick is the best one I’ve ever found.  It’s  Maybelline’s SuperStay 24 Color.  The shade I usually wear is 010 Reliable Raspberry.  This stuff actually lasts 24 hours if I don’t remove it!  I know, I know you’re thinking I’m kidding.  Or you’re thinking it dries out your lips...  But I’m not kidding!  It’s a terrific product.  And I’ve figured out several tricks to make it the Perfect Lipstick 💄. 

  1. Start with clean smooth lips. If you’re lips are rough,wet them with a soft wet washcloth. Rub off any dry skin. Pat dry.

  2. Apply the lipstick by opening the side of the Maybelline SuperStay 24 that has the color on it. Put on a thin coat. Smack your lips together and then only reapply to the areas that are devoid of the tint.

  3. If you accidentally “missed” your lips and applied product to the skin around your lips, now is the time to clean up those mistakes by using the Almay makeup remover tips. These ingenious swabs contain a small amount of makeup remover in them. You simply snap off the tip and hold it upright to allow the liquid to flow into the opposite remaining tip. Then you gently swipe it over the areas you wish to correct.

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4. Once you like the way you’re lips 👄 look, apply the “gloss” that’s on the other end of your Maybelline Super Stay 24. What I like about this step is the gloss isn’t shiny or sticky. It just gently hydrates your lips and doesn’t stain your wineglasses, coffee cups or grandkids when you kiss them!!!

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5. At night when I remove all my makeup I take one Almay oily makeup remover pad and gently rub it all over my lips to remove the product. Then I wipe that off with a Kleenex or cotton pad.

6. Lastly I apply some Baby Lips clear lip balm while I sleep.

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Now I know you might be thinking this seems like a whole lot of work for a lipstick.  The reason it’s TOTALLY WORTH THE TROUBLE is because it looks GREAT all the time.  AND you don’t need to find your eye glasses every time you eat or drink something to reapply.  For the most part whenever I eat a meal, I just reapply the “gloss” side.  I only reapply the color if I see an obvious spot where it’s worn off.

Lastly the way I transport this routine is as follows:

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I purchase these lipstick cases from Amazon.  In these I carry several of the Almay makeup remover swabs as well as these dental floss sticks.  The case has a mirror so I check my lips and teeth, clean them and reapply the Maybelline color if needed, clean any mistakes, gloss up and am good to go.  Thus in my purse I carry the actual Maybelline Super Stay 24 and the little lipstick case.  Worth the trouble. I promise.

The very last suggestion I have for you is in order to pick your color, you might have to head to Walgreens or CVS for the first time to see your color options.  After that use Amazon for all of it.  That’s what I do.

If you click on these items in this post as an Amazon affiliate I’ll get a teensy commission, but at no extra cost to you. Thanks!  Please let me know below in the comments if you like these lip products or if you have an even better solution!  💋 💋 💋 

XO!

Julie