Wednesday, August 14, 2013

blueberry cream cheese coffee cake

Here is the direct link for: Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

I am into new recipes lately, thus this new recipe for coffee cake. I loved the photo from the blog, Michelle Smith. The blog's author, Michelle, says this about her cake, "While this isn't the simplest cake to make, it is still a crowd pleaser and worth the extra steps it involves in making it." The extra steps did not deter me at all. It is so worth it!

The cake has four parts to it: the base, the cream cheese filling, the blueberry topping and the nut streusel. She is right about the extra steps, but nothing too difficult.

Would I do anything differently next time? Yes, of course, I always do! I would first add 2-3 teaspoons more of the lemon peel (Michelle only calls for one teaspoon) to the body of the cake to give it more lemony flavor. Secondly, Michelle recommends 'gently spreading the blueberry mixture over the cream cheese mixture, leaving some visible', next time I would cover the cheese completely, it would look less spotty-looking. Thirdly, I would lightly toast the almond slices first so they don't get soft so fast. And lastly, I would work the streusel-butter mixture by hand to warm it before I add the nuts so it is more crumbly-looking on the top before baking. I had left them as course crumbs and think the bigger crumbs would look prettier. Just my immediate thoughts. 

This recipe is definitely my new 'go to' recipe for coffee cake. It is that good! I love pretty food as well as great tasting. And this definitely meets the criteria.

The red pin award for a great 'go to' recipe every time! Another keeper!

Happy pinning!

Monday, August 12, 2013

white chocolate raspberry tart

Here is the direct link for: White Chocolate-Raspberry Tart with Almonds and Pistachios.

This past week I had gone with a friend to pick-your-own raspberries. And with the abundance of fresh, ripe raspberries in my house I was needing a new raspberry dessert recipe. I found it in this one. The recipe comes from the blog site. Chef Nic's comments on the recipe sold me, ". . . this is my new favorite dessert! Crisp pastry with a layer of lush fresh raspberries and nuts, covered in creamy white chocolate." Doesn't that sound yummy?

The recipe calls for super fine sugar, one tablespoon, but I didn't have any. So I added granulated and I didn't notice a difference. I also used Ghirardelli white chocolate bars (which added to the cost a bit), but it was well worth it in the end. The recipe also calls for 1/4 cup each toasted pistachios and sliced almonds to be mixed within and on top. I changed it slightly here. I added the whole 1/4 cup of each, leaving the pistachios whole (not chopped) to the tart. I liked the idea of the green pistachio along with the red raspberries. Then I sprinkled another 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds to the top for additional decoration. I absolutely loved the 'extra' crunch the abundance of nuts gave to the body of the tart. If you are not a nuts person either follow the recipe exactly or eliminate them altogether. FYI, I also used almond extract rather than the vanilla.

As you can see in the photo above, it was a beautiful dessert as well as delicious. I served it to my dinner guests and everyone loved it. It serves 12 guests rather nicely.

The red pin award for delicious and extravagant-looking dessert to wow your friends! I will definitely be making this one again.

Happy pinning!

Monday, April 8, 2013

bunny bait mix

Here is the direct link for: Bunny Bait Snack Mix.

This pin comes from the blog, Miss Candiquik. I love snack mixes like this one. It is so versatile to add your favorite snack items to the mix. I changed things up a bit to go with my Easter bunny theme.

sticker for each bag
The blog's author, Sarah, calls for salted peanuts, Cheerios, pastel M&M's and twist pretzels. Then she coats it all with vanilla-flavor Candiquick. A great blend of sweet and salty!

To make it a little more 'bunny-like', I added to my mix Annie's Honey Bunny Grahams (a small bunny-shaped cracker), as well as, changing out the original Cheerios to chocolate flavored ones instead. Annie's also has a great tiny bunny-shaped box of pretzels too. The mix was so yummy that I gave a bag to my sister and while we were visiting, I ate most of it! I owe her another bag!

The final touch was this cute sticker atop my food-safe cello bags. I found this design from the blog, Lilac & Lavender. The blog's author, Megan, created a cute image, Sweet Bunny & Chicks,  that you can download for free. I printed them onto label paper and tied them with a pastel ribbon. Wonderful gift idea!

The red pin award for great recipe as well as whimsical gift idea! This recipe could be easily adapted for each season of the year.

Happy pinning!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

pastel devil eggs

pale pink, turquoise and purple deviled eggs

Here is the direct link for: Easter Deviled Eggs.

Another fun Easter treat idea! I sure had a lot of fun playing this Easter with some fun pins.

This recipe comes from the blog, Real Mom Kitchen. Laura, the blog's author, says this about her eggs, "I found this to be a fun way to dye eggs and bring some color to your Easter dinner," and I would agree with her.

She recommends using neon food color dyes, which I didn't even know they existed. I found the above box in the baking isle at my local grocery store. The colors are a little bit funkier than the traditional dyes. Her instructions are easy and I had three fun colors in a short amount of time. My purple was a bit too funky, so maybe next time I would try a pale green instead.

In addition, as I have mentioned before, the comment section can be just as educational as the blog post itself. One commenter suggested the use of Thousand Island salad dressing, rather than mayonnaise, along with the mashed up egg yolks, just enough to moisten. So I tried it, and you know, it was very tasty! Next year I will put a snippet of fresh dill or parsley as a garnish for each egg. Didn't think of it ahead of time.

The red pin award for festive and delicious besides, a two-fer! This would be fun for St. Paddy's Day as well!

Happy pinning!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

groundhog cupcakes!

24 groundhog day cupcakes
This is the direct link for: Groundhog Day Cupcakes.

Yes, I am clearly jumping from Easter bunnies to groundhog treats. This is such a cute idea I had to share it with you. I was lucky enough to have taken a photo of my little creations. If you have kids in your life be sure to pin this idea for next year!

This pin comes from the blog, Spoonful, courtesy of Disney. The idea of making these little critter cupcakes may seem a little daunting but actually, it was quick and fun! My daughter helped me and she enjoyed herself too. In addition they were a big hit at our annual 'groundhog's day' party.

To make things VERY simple, I ordered 24 cupcakes from my local Target store bakery: 12 white and 12 chocolate. They even came frosted! Plus, you get this great plastic carrying container to store and carry them in later.

The recipe was pretty easy to follow. This little ground hog consists of an Almond Joy snack-size candy bars with ears and cheeks made from mini M&M's. The only thing I did differently was use black tube frosting rather than the white. The black drew less attention to my mistakes! I also used sliced almonds for the one tooth, not the cut up jelly beans. And in the baking section of my grocery store, I found these prepackaged Wilton's candied eyeballs, shown in the photo right. They worked slick as compared to what the recipe originally called for. The 'dirt' is crumbled Oreo cookies.

It was worth all the effort with the 'cute' factor, and my kids loved them! Believe it or not, I never got to try one. But anything with an Almond Joy in it is yummy in my opinion.

The red pin award for cuteness and a fun-themed treat idea! I would definitely make them again.

Happy pinning!

Friday, April 5, 2013

chocolate hugging bunnies!

chocolate hugging bunnies
This is the direct link for: Easter Huggie Bunnies.

Remember me? it has been awhile I do admit. Autumn-Winter is my busiest season for my pattern business, so I knew I wouldn't be quick to add posts here. But this Easter season has been a lot of fun for me and I wanted to share some of my finds. Yes, Easter is over but there is always next year and no time like the present to pin this for future reference!

This pin comes from the blog, Cherry Heart, by Sandra. I first heard about these little bunnies from my friend, Beth. Last year she gave me one and I fell in love with these little guys. It is a free download pattern available from her blogspot, link above. They are a quick and easy knit. A great project for using up those scrap yarns. But of course, I went out and bought a few more fun colors nonetheless. I used Lily Sugar n' Cream cotton yarns. I ended up using a size 7 double point rather than the 8 prescribed. After experimenting, I determined I liked the knitted bunny to fit tighter around the chocolate egg.

Sandra's bunnies have little faces on them, obviously mine do not. After playing around with faces for a very LONG time, too long really, I decided that I didn't like the faces. And I realized, it is hard to embroider on a knitted piece, very different from embroidering on felted wool like I am used to.

finished bunny tails
But to my delight, a simple addition of a pom pom tail was just what my bunnies needed to finish them off perfectly! I made a pom pom using the white cotton yarn. Fluffed the tail up by swirling it gently between my hands, and then simply tied it to the bunny. That's all! and isn't it ever cute? FYI, I made all white tails for all colors of bunnies.

I bought a bunch of Cadbury Creme Eggs in various flavors: original creme-filled, chocolate creme-filled and caramel creme-filled, and stuffed a total of 16 bunnies!

As you can see from the photo, I placed my eggs on each dinner plate as a gift for my guests. I also treated my best girlfriends and my son's girlfriend as well.

My dream is to make a ton of these little bunnies and gift them to random people I encounter throughout the Easter season, a small version of the random-act-of-kindness-kind-of-thing.

This gets the red pin award for the cuteness factor! I will make them again and again and again!

Happy pinning!