Monday, March 21, 2016

Photography, Sparrows and a Lemon Dessert for Easter

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We had some great weather, sunny, sunny, sunny. Still a little too chilly for garden work (for me anyway). My weekend was full with visiting my dad and then errands. While with Dad, my sister arrived unexpectedly, so we took the opportunity and went out for lunch once Dad was settled in his own dining room for his. 

First off I want to share some photos I took recently. Now I am not a manual camera person. I prefer putting the camera on automatic and clicking away. I just find it quicker because I'm usually with little kids, or the dog, or I'm taking wildlife photos and don't want to miss the shot. Sometimes it gets annoying when the flash continually want to go off, but I work around that in my own way. My camera, however, does have manual capabilities! Now with Soma's help in her Wandering Camera series, I am challenging myself to do more. Soma recently spoke about setting the ISO properly. This morning I played with that a bit, and here are the results. Nothing note worthy, but it shows you really do have to play around with the camera ... and again I can't say how thankful I am that these are digital :)

The photos were looking a little better as I kept changing the settings. These are shown in order of taking them. The lighting wasn't great this morning with clouds moving in, but with a beautiful sunrise first thing. What do you think Soma?

These next two were a couple of photos from the automatic setting, and then I touched them up on the computer (which is my normal lazy photographer method). Please note the snow. It was -4C this morning ... ugh.

Obviously, I need more practice, but I've dipped my toe in now and will force myself to continue.

And now a few shots of a sweet little song sparrow that I took through the back patio door. Not great photos, but I don't see this guy very often. If I had opened the door, he would have flown away. (automatic setting ... these were taken a few days ago)

And lastly, I'd like to share a favourite recipe of mine and my daughter's. Now this recipe is light tasting, but it is not light in calories. We happened upon this recipe many years ago, and although it's a bit of work, it's very easy and delicious! It keeps for a few days in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long). If you like lemony desserts, I've got to say, this one is superb! The real lemons make for a very mouthwatering lemon taste. I'll be serving this after our Easter meal of roast beef & Yorkshire pudding :)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (filberts)

Heat oven to 350F. Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, powdered sugar and butter; mix well. Press dough evenly into pan. Sprinkle with hazelnuts; press lightly into dough. Note: I chop the hazelnuts very fine and add them right into the flour mixture instead. Also, if you want to enhance the flavour of the hazelnuts, spread them on a cookie sheet and set in the oven no more than 10 minutes at 350F.

Bake at 350F for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely; about 30 minutes (I often set it in the fridge before the next step so the filling doesn't melt when you put it on.)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice (I use about 2 lemons for both the peel and the juice)
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
yellow food colour, if desired

While the crust is cooling, in medium saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water; blend until smooth. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly stir in hot filling mixture and food colouring (just a few drops) until well blended. Cool 30 minutes.

Spoon filling over cooled crust; spread evenly. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour, or until chilled.

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
   whole hazelnuts (filberts), halved, if desired
   fresh mint leaves , if desired

In medium bowl, beat whipping cream and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spoon over cooled lemon filling; spread evenly. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours or until serving time. Garnish each serving with hazelnut halves and mint leaves. Note: I don't bother with the hazelnuts on top, or the mint leaves, and you can still taste the hazelnuts in the crust. 

15 servings

Thanks for stopping by!


Linking up with Judith's Mosaic Monday, thanks for hosting Judith.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. beautiful pictures and cute sparrows....hope u have a nice day:)

  3. Beautiful photos, and the lemon hazelnut squares sound great! Warm greetings from Montreal. :)

  4. Hi Wendy sorry I've missed a couple of your posts but I've been working to deadlines since the beginning of the month, trying to catch up now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your photo's I wish I could take some half as nice, I wouldn't have a clue with settings and such and I'm embarrassed to say all my photo's at the minute are taken with my phone. That dessert sounds so yummy but exceedingly naughty I wouldn't dare haha. :) xx

  5. Changing the settings on the camera sure does make a difference, but sometimes I'm like you and just use automatic as it is easier and sometimes what I want to photograph has flown away before I get the settings right. That sounds like a good dessert, lemon is my favourite flavour.

  6. I know my photographing skills well never improve. I'm a point & shoot kind of girl. You always post lovely photos. Love the sound of the lemon bars xx

  7. What an interesting series of images, Wendy! The sunrise photos are lovely and the little song sparrow looks very sweet indeed. Thank you for sharing the delicious dessert recipe!
    Have a lovely new week!

  8. Hope you had a lovely lunch with your sister! It is great that you are playing with your camera, like you I use mine on auto, I should experiment more so I am very impressed that you are doing just that! It is interesting to see the different effects that you get. xx

  9. It's fun to learn how to use a camera. I've had my new one for nearly a year and still have a lot to learn, but I'm not in a hurry. I enjoy playing with it. I think your recipe sounds delicious and I'll save it to try soon. Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a good week, Wendy.

  10. Nice shots, Wendy! I also rely heavily on my camera's automatic function, but should really try to experiment with the other settings too. Earlier this year, I took some photos at a work function and didn't realized that the camera was on the wrong setting until I uploaded the photos and found them blurry. Whoops! Clearly, I won't be quitting my day job to become a professional photographer.

  11. I too am enjoying Soma's helpful hints about photography, they are so informative. You give yourself far too little credit, Wendy; you always take great photos. That recipe sounds delicious. I love anything with lemon in it. Thank you for the recipe.

  12. Interesting effects, I'm afraid I'm a lazy photographer.

  13. Nice photos . There is so much to learn and tinker with these cameras these days like there is with the photo programs like the one I use Lightroom which also catalogs all my photos for me to . I photograph in Raw form not JPEG . I don't use all the settings on my camera but I do have my camera set on manual and keep my lenses on automatic as I take lots of nature photos and action shots it helps capture my subjects faster . Oh that recipe sounds YUMMY ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  14. I'm an auto setting gal myself Wendy, rarely do I play around with the settings. Good for you to learn different strategies and with practice you'll be showing us awesome photos in no time.
    Your Easter dessert looks delicious, I'm undecided what I'll make yet but did drive to Zehrs for a spiral ham - love them.

  15. Lovely effects with your photo settings, Wendy! Wonderful to learn new things. I love the little sparrow and your lemon squares sound delicious. I do love anything lemon! Happy Easter week, my friend! xo Karen

  16. You are taking some very nice pictures Wendy, and I love the little birds. I am the world's laziest photographer, and rely totally on auto. Maybe one day... That recipe sounds divine - I'll have to save it for a Very Special occasion. Happy EAster Wendy.

  17. Oh you've got so much to discover once you get onto manual - I'm sure you'll fall in love with it! I shoot 100% manual now (I have for some time) and love it. Your photos are always beautiful!

    I am a definite lemon lover, so that dessert naturally appeals to me :-)

    Happy Easter,
    Sarah x

  18. It looks like you are enjoying playing around with the settings on your camera. You are much braver than me. I stick with the auto setting, or better yet, just use my phone. That recipe looks delicious! I hope you have a great Easter weekend!

  19. That recipe looks so delicious. I wonder if I can make the crust without hazelnut, sadly can't have any. The sparrows are super cute!

    I love that you are playing with your camera. Fantastic experiment! I think you are going to love manual once you get used to it. You can use manual-auto hybrid settings too. For wildlife and children it is easier at the beginning to stay at auto until you get comfortable.

    I like the pink light on the trees, it's beautiful, Wendy! Your photos are always lovely :)


  20. I think you photos are rather cool. They always look wonderful to me. It looks as if you are having a lot of fun playing with the camera, manually. I love the sunrise photo.

  21. Wendy,
    I am always happy to see your posts and to have you share your recipes!
    Your photography has always spoken to me, so now I guess you will be perfecting something you have had always had a talent for:)

  22. The lemon dessert sounds lush, I do like lemony things! Great photos, Wendy, I like to play around with the settings on my camera too; thanks for the link to Soma's blog xx

  23. Isn't it fun to play with your camera? I'm trying to learn more too. I'll confess that I can't seem to remember the details from time to time and always have to look at my notes. It's fun though and worth the effort. :)

  24. I keep meaning to get more serious about my camera but so far with little to show for my good intentions. I'll look to you for inspiration.

  25. love the little bird you shared :)

  26. Such a sweet sparrow :) Love you pictures!


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