Friday, May 31, 2013

Walt Whitman

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.
by Walt Whitman
This picture was not taken at sunrise but just before sunset.  Each day as I drove by this yard the colors of the trees and lilacs seemed to be an explosion of vibrant colors. Of course I kept saying to myself I just have to get a picture. You should know that this street is quite busy from all directions with cars. I knew I had to plot out my photo time carefully. So well into the  early evening I  parked my car on a side street and dashed across the street risking life and limb no less :) had a lucky break with no cars and got my picture. Totally worth the drive over there but so often the lens of a camera can't fully capture the real beauty.
The following recipes are just the perfect sweet treat to celebrate a literary icon such as Walt Whitman. 

Whitman was born May 31,1819 in Brooklyn, New York.   At the age of 12 he began to learn the printer's trade and along the way fell in love with the written word. He worked as a teacher, printer, and during the Civil War, a volunteer in a military hospital. 
He published the first edition of Leaves of Grass, a volume of 12 untitled poems when he was 36. But his work went through various editions as he spent his entire life rewriting and ending with the deathbed edition. This volume contained more than 300 poems. It was published in 1892. Leaves of Grass is considered one of the world's most famous literary works.
Now Lift Me Close
by Walt Whitman
Now lift me close to your face till I whisper,
What you are holding is in reality no book, nor part of a book;
It is a man, flushe'd and full blooded-it is I-So long-
We must separate awhile-Here! take from my lips this kiss;
Whoever you are, I give it especially to you;
So long!-And I hope we shall meet again!  

Lemon Phyllo Cups
1 package (15 count) mini phyllo shells (I used Athens pre-made shells-freezer section) 
1 small jar lemon curd  
1 small jar raspberry preserves  
2 c. almond whipped cream (recipe below)  
sliced almonds (optional)
Fill each phyllo shell with 1 tsp. lemon curd, 1/2 tsp. raspberry preserves, 1 Tbsp. almond whipped cream, and 1 raspberry. Garnish with 1-2 sliced almonds (optional). Makes 15 tarts.*Recipe can easily be doubled – just purchase 2 boxes of the pre-made shells!
Almond Whipped Cream   
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. sugar 
1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1/2 tsp. almond extract 
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Makes 2 cups. 

Chocolate Mousse in Phyllo Cups
5 eggs separated
1/2 cup sugar +3 TB. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate or bittersweet chocolate (no higher than 60 % cacao)
1 cup half and half
1/8 tsp. creme tartar
3/4 pint of whipping cream (whipped)
3 TB. Amaretto or Cointreau
  • Thaw out phyllo cups-only needs 10 minutes
  • Separate whites from yolks and place yolks in a small pan
  • Add to yolks 1/2 cup sugar, salt and whisk till smooth
  • Place pan over larger pan with simmering water and cook about 8 minutes till thick-remove from heat several times whisking to keep mixture smooth
  • Add in 1 cup half and half to yolk mixture  and cook a few minutes longer
  • Remove from heat and add in broken pieces of chocolate and add pan back to simmering water and blend till smooth and thick
  • Stir in liqueur and cool in a bowl
  • Beat egg whites with creme of tartar and add in 2 TB. sugar
  • In another bowl beat 3/4 of the pint of whipping cream  
  • Blend egg whites and whipped cream lightly with a spatula
  • Pour in cooled chocolate and lightly blend chocolate, egg whites and whip cream till no whites appear 
  • Fill each phyllo cup with 1 TB. chocolate mousse and top with a raspberry serve immediately since phyllo cups can get soggy if filled too far in advance 
Cook's note: Mousse can be made early in day-place in a bowl and refrigerate till serving 
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Creativity Abounds in The Library

Blossoming Tree
Imagine being seated in a room near a fireplace enjoying a very fine meal, conversation and surrounded by books and art. I was fortunate to have such an opportunity dining in  Joe Plut's Reading Room often referred to as the The Library at Prairie Bay Restaurant in Baxter, Minnesota.

Now you can see this just isn't any ordinary room with books stacked on shelves, but books and art work that are suspended from the ceiling.
The Reading Room was designed to honor Joe Plut, a professor who taught at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN for 36 years. He conceived the idea of hosting a literary series with help from Chef Matt Annand from the Prairie Bay Restaurant. Each month May through September the series Speaking of Books Program showcases a wide variety of authors, publishers, book photographers and illustrators. After each presentation there is a question and answer period and a book signing followed by complimentary light hors d' oeuvres. The presentations are free to the public. What an exciting concept bringing The Arts to Life to the Lake Region area.
If you just happen to be in the Brainerd area be sure to stop by the Prairie Bay Restaurant and ask to eat in Joe Plut's Reading Room or what some call The Library. Your unique dining experience will provide you with lots of book conversations. Oh, and I should mention that the food was wonderful as well as the presentation :) 

The Speaking of Books series are held the 3rd Thursday each month from 4:30-6:00 pm. The rest of the presentations are 
June 20th 
Craig Nagel  "A Sense of Wonder" and "A Place Called Home: Moments from an Ordinary Life"
July 18th
Doug and Sally Mayfield "Angle of Declination"
August 15th
September 19th
Krisita Rolfzen Soukup-Literary publicist and owner of The Blue Cottage Agency which promotes local authors

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Blooms

Fragrant Lilacs

by Elaine Magliaro
Tall lilacs border

my grandparents’ driveway.

In May they bloom

with clusters of lacy lavender flowers

that fill the air

with the scent

of remembered springs.

Poem selected from A Home for the Seasons (book of memoir poems) by Elaine Magliaro

Cook's notes: This salad comes from Giadia De Laurentiis (2007) and is perfect for summer using fresh mint and basil from the garden or local Farmers Market. My plan is to make it for an upcoming family shower. Adding crumbled feta or mozzarella to the salad is an option. But a must culinary tool for putting this salad together is a melon baller.

Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint and Basil Vinaigrette by Giadia
  • 1/2  of watermelon
  • 1 cantaloupe, cut in half, seeded
  • 2 TB. freshly chopped mint leaves plus whole sprigs, for garnish
  • 2 TB. freshly chopped basil leaves plus whole sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 lemon juiced (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves, cool)
  • 1/8 teaspoon amaretto or almond extract
  • Scoop 2 cups each from the watermelon and the cantaloupe using a melon baller. Carve the remainder of the watermelon out and reserve shell.
  • Add to a blender the chopped mint, chopped basil, lemon juice, simple syrup and amaretto. Blend until smooth. 
  • Add the watermelon and cantaloupe balls to the carved out watermelon half. 
  • Add the vinaigrette to the balls and toss to combine. 
  • Garnish with mint and basil sprigs. 
Arugula, Watermelon- Feta Salad

This salad is another option using watermelon cubes. Some options include: mixed greens, using same vinaigrette dressing in the above recipe or try this one below from the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten). The cubes can be placed on the mixed greens with vinaigrette drizzled over the top.
The recipe was adapted and serves 6.
  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons) 
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots 
  • 1 TB. honey 
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 
  • 6 cups baby arugula or mixed greens 
  • watermelon cubes pat dry with paper towels 
  • diced feta cheese 
  • 1/4 cup chopped finely mint leaves 
  • 1/4 cup chopped finely basil leaves 
  • In a blender add juices, honey, shallots, salt and pepper, mint and basil and mix well 
  • Slowly pour in oil and blend on low-then to medium 
  • Store dressing in refrigerator covered till needed 
  • Place greens on plates, add watermelon cubes-drizzle dressing over the top 
  • Garnish with whole walnuts 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Perhaps I should have done my homework before planting the mint so close to the basil. As I was reading up on mint the words plant where you can control it caused my heart to race. It seems mint is highly known to take over the garden by its runners and seeds. I had no idea this plant would need to be watched so carefully. I was just happy to have mint on hand when needed for a recipe like the time when I needed it for mint juleps for the Kentucky Derby, but then also discovered I didn't have the bourbon either.
Mint always bring cool refreshing images to mind; like in a frosty glass of lemonade and/or additions to soups, salads, main dishes and desserts. Mint is often used in Mediterranean cuisine.
 Mint Greek Salad
Cook's notes: This salad has two different dressings. Be sure to marinate the salad ingredients (not the greens) in dressing several hours before serving, Use a slotted spoon to drain some of the dressing off and place marinated vegetables on a bed of mixed greens.
Serves 2-4
  • Romaine lettuce mixed with spring mix about 5 cups
  • 1 medium sized cucumber, peel outer skin and dice
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 TB. chopped fine mint
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • diced black olives
  • diced red onion

Dressing: Option #1 
1/3 cup Greek Feta Vinaigrette by Girard's (make sure it has been shaken in the bottle) 
  • In a bowl add to vinaigrette, dill, mint, diced onions, tomatoes and cucumber
  • Refrigerate several hours
  • To serve add marinated vegetables to lettuce, crumbled Feta and black olives 

Dressing: Option #2 
In a blender add the following 
  • 8 TB. extra light olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 5-1/2 TB. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
Follow as above for option #1 except substituting this dressing for vinaigrette

Sugar Snap Peas with Mint
Cook's notes:
recipe adapted from serves 2-4
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. sugar snap peas trimmed
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1-2 TB, fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 TB. toasted sesame seeds
  • Heat oil in skillet medium heat, add sugar snap peas,green onion, garlic, dill
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Stir fry 4 minutes, remove from heat and stir in mint leaves and sesame seeds

Check back tomorrow for a lamb dish with mint and a watermelon salad with mint

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

The first observance of Memorial Day was held May 30, 1868 to honor soldiers killed in Civil War. Today Memorial Day is celebrated the last Monday in May to honor all Americans who have given their lives during wartime. The event became a federal holiday in 1971.   
There are many ways large and small to pay tribute on this day to those who lost their lives and those missing in action by displaying  a flag, writing a letter or contacting a family who has a missing service member or who has lost a loved one, attending a Memorial Day service/ceremony or parade in your area and visiting a grave site. Be sure to check your newspapers for other events being held in your area.
Memorial Day
"Dulce et decorum est"
(Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is a line from the Roman lyrical poet Horace's odes roughly translated into English as: "It is sweet and right to die for your country.")

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.
The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.
Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.
May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword. 

written by Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886-July 30, 1918),
Joyce Kilmer was really born Alfred Joyce Kilmer.
He is an American writer and poet remembered mostly for his short poem Trees
by: Joyce Kilmer 
    I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.
    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
    A tree that may in Summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;
    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Muffin Pan Pizzas

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
...and I have discovered many of these prolific plants this weekend and am looking for their virtues!

Muffin Pan Pizza-Kid Friendly
This recipe appealed to me on several levels: 
It can be served an appetizer as well as a main meal
It is a unique way to bake a pizza crust 
The muffin pan pizza can be assembled and cooked within 30 minutes
Only 5 ingredients are needed
It can be versatile depending on the ingredients you use
  • 1 jar of pizza sauce
  • 1 refrigerated tube pizza crust
  • crumbled meat
  • Parmesan cheese and Colby Jack cheese or mozzarella cheese

Cook's notes: The recipe has been adapted from May/June 2013 
A 12 muffin cup pan is good for appetizers and you will need 2 pans same size
 If using the recipe as a main meal use the 6 cup muffin tins and will need 2 pans same size 
  • Preheat oven 450
  • Purchased pizza dough in a tube should be at room temperature
  • Spray the inside of the cups of a 12 cup or 6 cup muffin pan and the outside of a second 12 cup or 6 cup muffin pan
  • If making 12 pizzas divide dough into 12 round ball pieces with floured hands
  • If making 6 pizzas divide dough into 6 round ball pieces with floured hands
  • Flatten dough balls and form dough around the outside cups

Invert the second muffin pan and press over the shaped dough
6 cup muffin pan-bake @ 450 for 8 minutes  
12 cup muffin pan bake @450 6 minutes
Remove inverted pan and place pizza muffin cups back in oven for 2 minutes
Remove and fill each muffin cup with 1-2 TB pizza sauce, crumbled Italian sausage or pepperoni, grated ColbyJack cheese and Parmesan cheese
Return to oven and bake 12 cups muffin cups 8 minutes or 6 cup muffin cups 7 minutes
Watch carefully to make sure crust does not overcook  
I thought this was a great easy meal for a holiday weekend which left me more time for gardening.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013


 "Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism. Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first, then revised them for print. 

In 1855, Emerson received a thin book of poetry entitled "Leaves of Grass" by a poet he had never heard of before. He loved this book of poetry which was unorthodox in both style and subject. Emerson wrote an encouraging letter to this unknown poet, who of course was Walt Whitman. Later they met, and Whitman was very flattered by the praise of Emerson.

Emerson’s first book, Nature (1836) expressed his theories that the imagination of man is shaped by nature and helped spark an entirely new philosophical movement in New England. Essays (1841 and 1844), containing his essays on philosophy and other subjects, brought him international renown. Representative Men (1850) is a collection of lectures held in Oxford and London in 1847. Later lecture collections include The Conduct of Life (1860) and Society and Solitude (1870). His poetry, Poems(1847) and May-Day and Other Pieces (1867) may not have been ground breaking as a whole, but some of his pieces are considered to be among the most important poetry of the 19th century.
I like to think that this short poem written by Emerson was composed near his home town Boston.  
All day the waves assailed the rock,
I heard no church-bell chime;
The sea-beat scorns the minster clock
And breaks the glass of Time. 
Fruit salads and a dessert for a Memorial Day celebration
Mix green/red grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in a large bowl. Make sure fruit is patted dry before adding the dressing .
Drizzle Honey Lime dressing over mixed fruits and refrigerate for several hours. Honey Lime Dressing : mix 1/4 cup honey and juice from 2 limes (about 3 Tablespoons)

Mix blueberries, cantaloupe chunks, strawberries, pineapple chunks and red grapes. Sprinkle over fruit 2 TB. instant vanilla pudding mix well and refrigerate till serving.

Chocolate Mint Oreo Cookie Pie
recipe from Nestles Toll House
Set out 1 quart mint chocolate chip ice cream to soften  
Make a Oreo cookie crust:
  • Use 2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (about 2 rows or 3/4 package of regular sized package of Oreos) and 5 TB. melted butter. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cookie crumbs . Cooking tip: Use a Cuisinart and break each cookie in half and then blend into crumbs.
  • Pour in melted butter and mix well with crumbs
Note the original recipe called for using a whole stick of butter but I chose to cut back
Pat cookie crumbs into a 9 inch spring form pan and place in freezer for 10 minutes 
In a glass measuring cup microwave on high 2/3 cup evaporated milk for 45 seconds. Pour hot evaporated milk over 10-oz. of Dark Chocolate Toll House Morsels . Stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 
On crust place half of softened ice cream and sprinkle with 2/3 cup cookie crumb mixture and freeze 10 minutes
Spread chocolate mixture over crumbs, add rest of softened ice cream and sprinkle with remaining crumbs 
Freeze for 4 hours. To serve release tension on spring form pan and cut into pie shaped pieces. This dessert keeps up to two weeks in the freezer but you will probably have it all gone by then :) 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Glazed Baby Back Ribs

True Confessions was a confession magazine targeted at young women readers. It was originally published by Fawcett Publications beginning in 1922.
This magazine brought readers a fresh batch of emotionally charged, compelling stories. Each month, True Confessions offered heartbreaking, hilarious and inspiring reader-to-reader stories. It looked into the hearts and homes of women and revealed their greatest joys and disappointments. The magazine was full of can't-wait-to-read stories, as well as helpful advice and support pieces, written especially for women.
The magazine is no longer in circulation but I can remember in my growing up years seeing copies of this magazine at the drug store. I always wanted to buy one but knew my mother would frown on such a purchase.   
But I do have a True Confession to make. My sister and I religiously read the obituaries everyday. We have been doing this for over 20 years. It all started with our dad who had this habit of reading obituaries every morning in the paper. When he moved to a different state my sister and I kept up the practice just in case there would be one obit he would want to know about. Besides some obits can be interesting reads.

Ann Hood's novel The Obituary Writer is a literary romance that focuses on women's issues and the foundations of intimate relationships. The story is set in two different time periods, Hood tells two stories that eventually come together at novel's end. Claire is a young mother in 1960, just as John F. Kennedy has become president. She has a young daughter, and wonders if this is all there is to be excited about in her marriage, especially as she embarks on an affair with a married man. The trip that Claire and her husband, Peter, make to visit his mother on her 80th birthday changes everything in their lives.
Meanwhile, Vivien, a wealthy, private school educated young woman, is grieving in 1917, having lost her married lover during the San Francisco earthquake more than a decade earlier. She has pined for him, and let no other man in her life. She never knew, for sure, if he had died, and she starts to think he is a mystery man, currently living with amnesia in a Denver hospital. She writes beautiful obituaries for anyone who knows her talents. They are not traditional obituaries, but rather, are filled with poetry and interesting information about someone's lost loved one. Viven never truly believes her lover has died, and even thirteen years later continues to look for her lost love.
This book is a wonderful novel about love, different levels of grief and two women who have experienced both. I thought the author did a nice job in transitioning between time frames and I loved how she captured so many authentic things from 1961....songs, JFK, hair styles, clothing and even decorating. 
Glazed  Baby Back Ribs

recipe adapted from May 2013
Cook's notes: Absolutely delicious glaze and it could also be used on chicken.
  • 2 racks of pork baby back ribs
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 TB. Worcestershire sauce divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 6 TB. thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 3 TB. rice vinegar
  • 3 TB. hoisin sauce  
  • 4 TB. ketchup
  • 1 tsp.fresh lemon juice
  •  1 tsp.Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 TB. chopped cilantro 

  • Preheat oven 375
  • Pat ribs dry and place in a large baking dish
  • Combine molasses, garlic powder, onion powder and 1 TB. Worcestershire
  • Rub mixture into ribs and season with salt and pepper 
  • Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes
  • While ribs are baking in a saucepan combine broth, juice concentrate and remaining 1 TB. Worcestershire sauce, vinegar,hoisin, ketchup, lemon juice, mustard and garlic
  • Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes stirring until thickened 
  • Add more ketchup or lemon juice to taste, divide glaze into 2 bowls
  • Preheat grill to medium brush ribs with glaze and grill until caramelized and sticky about 10 minutes
  • Top ribs with cilantro-discard glaze and serve ribs with glaze from second bowl 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Healthy Shrimp Salad

Margaret Wise Brown (May 23, 1910 – November 13, 1952) was a prolific American author of children's literature, including the books Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny both illustrated by Clement Hurd.
Brownie as she was known to her friends, had a revolutionary idea about children's stories: She felt kids would rather read about things from their own world than fairy tales and fables.
She was a lovely green-eyed blonde, extravagant and a little eccentric. I loved her free spirit when with her first royalty check, she bought a street vendor's entire cart full of flowers, threw a party at her Upper East Side apartment to show off her purchase and new book. She was a prolific author who wrote nearly a hundred picture books under several pen names and sometimes keeping six different publishers busy at once with her projects. She was known to produce a book just so she could buy a plane ticket to Europe.
She never had children of her own, but she left the royalties for most of her books to a nine-year-old neighbor boy, Albert Clarke. Her estate was once worth a few hundred dollars, and now amounts to about $5 million — or rather, it would, had Clarke not squandered the inheritance, spending his life in and out of jail, throwing away clothes when they get dirty, and making a succession of bad real estate deals.

Brown once said, "A good picture book can almost be whistled. ... All have their own melodies behind the storytelling."

The Huffington Post wrote an article January 7, 2012 called Undiscovered Ingredient: Goya Adobo Seasonings.
The article begins Have you ever discovered a new item or ingredient in your supermarket and thought: Why haven't I've seen this before? 
Well this is exactly how I felt looking at this shrimp recipe below which called for a spice I had never heard of Goya Adobo. After a bit of research I found out it is a premixed Latino seasoning that is a blend of oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon, cumin and bitter orange. It can be used on meats, poultry and fish. 

This link below features many recipes that use the seasoning.

Shrimp Salad on Whole Wheat
recipe adapted from Weight Watchers
Cook's note: Taste test spice amount before completing the dish-you might want to increase slightly the dill and Goya Adobo. 
  • 3/4 lb. cooked shrimp
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1-2 TB. diced red onion
  • 2 TB. Miracle Whip or Hellmann's light
  • 1 TB. fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. Goya Adobo
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • thin slices of cucumber
  • 1/4 tsp. dill
  • Thaw shrimp and cut each piece in half 
  • Dice celery and red onion
  • In a large bowl mix Miracle Whip, yogurt, dill and Goya Adobo
  • Add to this mixture to shrimp, celery and red onion
  • Refrigerate 3 hours
  • Toast whole wheat bread and cut into a round shape
  • On each toasted bread slice, add 2 cucumber slices and shrimp salad mixture-sprinkle with dill on top to serve   

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nurture Your DIY Spirit

"Some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear
beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having
to change, taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what's going to happen next." 
-- Gilda Radner 

Apple Blossoms (photo taken by Anne S)

Easy DIY Bracelet

This bracelet was shown on Pinterest
but originally came from the website

This money napkin fan idea came from Pinterest but I also saw it in a magazine. It was a perfect gift idea for a 40th birthday party. I used a napkin ring and put in 40-$1.00 bills to create a fan effect. The money fan was placed on the guest of honor's plate.

Repurposing old spoons in the garden
After making the carnival ticket baskets several weeks ago I still had some glue left in the Mod Podge jar. The following link is to 22 garden ideas using Mod Podge. 

Create a wall hanging arrangement by pasting your favorite photo on board and adding a coat of Mod Podge 

Follow this link for more creative ideas to nurture your DIY spirit.

Some Easy DIY Summer Fun or Shower Food Ideas
Rainbow Fruit on Skewers
Soak oranges and lemon slices in food coloring and freeze. Great idea for punch or summer drinks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cake Pops

The Babycakes box contained... 
one Babycakes machine, a tined fork to retrieve baked cake pops from the machine,a plastic mold that holds one dozen cooked cake pops and a bag of wooden sticks to insert into baked cake pops.
Reading the instruction manual is always helpful as well as reviews for techniques and tips. Follow this link
Making your own batter was strongly suggested rather using a prepared box of cake mix. The recipe book that came with the machine gave an assortment of  cake recipes to try as well as icing recipes. I made the chocolate cake recipe with white chocolate icing. Some cake pops were iced with white chocolate and sprinkles and others iced with toasted coconut.  
This is a great kid friendly activity. And I would be remiss if didn't mention cake pops cook in 4-5 minutes. A quick snack to have on hand.
Be sure to put cake pops in the freezer 10-15 minutes before adding a stick to each one. Ice each cake pop individually so sprinkles will adhere to the icing better.  
These cake pops not on a stick look just like donut holes. 

Bella did miss out on having her very own cake. But she loved the rawhide bone. If I would have baked her a cake I'd use a white cake mix  since it wouldn't contain chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins or any other ingredients that can be harmful to dogs to ingest.  Some other options to add to a Bella cake include adding  peanut butter, pumpkin, kibble or canned food to the cake mix to make it especially enticing. Of course we all know Bella is a not a picky eater! To her everything is enticing :)
The following is an interesting website

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...