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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

♥ Hummingbird Cupcakes ♥

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 large bananas)
1 tablespoon clover honey
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup hot water

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting**
1 (24-ounce) package white fondant
Blue gel paste food coloring
Edible luster dust (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar, and cream together until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating slowly after each addition. Add banana and honey and mix on low until well combined. Add pineapple; mix on low until combined. Add 1/2 cup pecans; mix on low until well combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the hot water. Repeat process twice, alternating flour mixture and hot water, and ending with hot water. Mix until just combined.

Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 24 to 26 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cupcakes cool completely.

Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large 5/8-inch round tip (such as Ateco #808). Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and set aside.

Meanwhile, press your thumb into the center of the fondant to make a well. Place a small amount of food coloring in the well and knead fondant until color is well blended. Continue to add more food coloring to fondant until desired color is achieved. Roll out into a 1/16-inch-thick sheet. Cut out 12 hummingbirds using a small bird-shaped cutter; sprinkle with luster dust, if using.

Sprinkle cupcakes with remaining 1/2 cup pecans and top each with a fondant bird shape; serve.

Yield 1 dozen.

**Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature


Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined. Continue mixing until frosting is light and fluffy, about 1 minute more.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

♥ Balsamic-Plum Preserves ♥

4 1/2 cups unpeeled and diced plums (about 2 1/2 lb.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 (1.75-oz.) package powdered fruit pectin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1. Stir together all ingredients except basil in a 4-qt. microwave-safe glass bowl.

2. Microwave at HIGH 8 minutes (mixture will boil). Stir mixture, and microwave at HIGH 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened. (You're going for the viscosity of pancake syrup here. The mixture will thicken to soft-set preserves after it cools and chills.) Stir basil into warm preserves. Cool mixture completely (about 2 hours).

Serve immediately, or cover and chill preserves in an airtight container until ready to serve. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

~~Southern Living, AUGUST 2011~~

Thursday, August 25, 2011

♥ Lemonade Layer Cake ♥

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk

1 package (8 ounces) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add the lemonade concentrate, lemon peel and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Coat two 9-in. round baking pans coated with cooking spray and dusted with flour. Pour batter to prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a small bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the lemon peel, lemonade concentrate and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 16 servings.

~~Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2007~~

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

♥ Coconut Cream Yummy Cake ♥

6 egg whites
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Flaked coconut

Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the coconut milk, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk mixture.

With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually fold into batter. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Place pan on a wire rack.

Poke holes in cake with a skewer, about 1/2 in. apart. Combine syrup ingredients; slowly pour over cake, allowing mixture to absorb into cake. Let stand for 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. Spread over cake; sprinkle with coconut.

Yield: 15 servings.

~~Taste of Home December/January 2011~~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

♥ Spiced Peach-Carrot Bread ♥

3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped fresh, ripe peaches
3/4 cup freshly grated carrots
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 15 minutes.

2. Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; add peaches, next 4 ingredients, and toasted pecans, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

~~Southern Living, JULY 2011~~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

♥ Earrings Perfect for Afternoon Tea ♥

I enjoy making jewelry in addition to my teaballs and infusers. :) I think these would be perfect for afternoon tea! Ok, maybe I'm a bit biased. LOL. But these are some of my new "pretties" in my Etsy Shoppe. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

♥ Breakfast Upside-Down Cake ♥

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) blueberry muffin mix
1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple slices
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 maraschino cherries, halved
Fresh blueberries, optional

Rinse and drain blueberries from muffin mix; set aside. Place muffin mix and yeast in a large bowl; set aside.

Drain pineapple, reserving juice in a measuring cup. Set pineapple aside. Add enough water to juice to measure 2/3 cup.

Pour into saucepan; heat to 120°-130°. Add to muffin mix; stir just until moistened. Beat in the egg. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Combine brown sugar and butter; pour into a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Cut each pineapple slice in half; arrange over brown sugar mixture. Tuck cherries into pineapple.
Spoon half of batter over pineapple. Sprinkle with reserved blueberries. Spread with remaining batter.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Immediately invert onto a serving plate. Cool completely. Garnish with fresh blueberries if desired.

Yield: 8 servings.

~~Quick Cooking March/April 2002~~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

♥ New Tea Infusers! ♥

Guess what? New Tea Infusers in my Etsy shoppe! I just love making these and am so happy that people like them too! I am constantly surprised at the interest in teaballs & infusers. There really are alot of us tea lovers out there! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

♥ Pineapple Chiffon Cake ♥

8 egg whites
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice

Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, pineapple juice, oil and lemon peel. Add to dry ingredients; beat until well blended.

In another bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets.

Bake on the lowest oven rack at 325° for 55-60 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.

Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Combine the confectioners' sugar, butter and enough pineapple juice to achieve a glaze consistency. Drizzle over top of cake, allowing some glaze to drape down the sides.

Yield: 12 servings.

~~Reminisce April/May 2008~~

Monday, August 15, 2011

♥ Upside-Down Berry Cake ♥

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, halved
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 package (3 ounces) raspberry gelatin
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

In a well greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan, layer the walnuts and berries; sprinkle with sugar and gelatin. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, water and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Fold in marshmallows. Pour over top.

Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 15 servings.

~~Simple & Delicious May 2010~~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

♥ White Chocolate Strawberry Torte ♥

1 cup crushed vanilla wafers (about 30 wafers)
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
1/4 cup butter, melted
12 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
3 cups whole medium fresh strawberries
4 ounces cream cheese (softened or cubed), softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
Additional strawberries, halved

Set aside 2 tablespoons wafer crumbs. Combine almonds, butter and remaining crumbs; press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Spoon 5 tablespoons of melted white chocolate over crust; sprinkle with reserved wafer crumbs. Arrange whole strawberries, tips up, over crumbs.

In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, juice concentrate and vanilla. Beat in remaining white chocolate. In another bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Stir 2 cups into the creamed cheese mixture; mix well. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Spread between and over strawberries. Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Carefully run a knife around sides of pan to loosen. Remove sides. Arrange four 1-1/2-in.-wide strips of waxed paper over top; sprinkle cocoa between strips. Remove waxed paper. Place halved strawberries between cocoa rows.

Yield: 10-12 servings.

~~Country Woman May/June 2002~~

Thursday, August 11, 2011

♥ Peach Cheese Pie ♥

1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in extra-light syrup
1/4 cup cold water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)

Drain peaches, reserving syrup; set peaches aside. In a small saucepan, combine water and reserved syrup; sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.

Transfer to a food processor. Add the peaches, cream cheese and sugar; cover and process until smooth. Pour into crust. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 piece equals 231 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 246 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 fat.

~~Light & Tasty June/July 2007~~

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

♥ Zucchini Chocolate Cake with Orange Glaze ♥

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup fat-free milk
3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coat a 10-in. fluted tube pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and soda; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in the zucchini, walnuts and orange peel.

Transfer to prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over cake.

Yield: 16 servings.

~~ Healthy Cooking August/September 2011~~

Friday, August 5, 2011

♥ Grilled Shrimp Salad with Sweet Tea Vinaigrette ♥

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 pound peeled, jumbo raw shrimp (1 6/20 count)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large fresh peaches, cut into 8 wedges each
1 (6-oz.) bag mixed baby salad greens
Sweet Tea Vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Devein shrimp, if desired, and toss with olive oil. Grill shrimp, covered with grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Grill peach wedges 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.
3. Toss salad greens with Sweet Tea Vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with grilled shrimp, peaches, blue cheese, and pecans.

Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.

Sweet Tea Vinaigrette
1 cup sweetened tea
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons canola oil

Bring tea to a boil in a saucepan over medium-low heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 9 to 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from heat; cool 20 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and salt. Whisk in canola oil in a slow, steady stream.

~~Southern Living, MAY 2011~~

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

♥ Strawberry Clafouti ♥

As easy to make as a pancake, this classic French dessert from the Limousin region involves pouring a simple batter over fresh fruit (typically cherries) and baking until puffed and golden brown. The fruit rises to the top, leaving a soft layer whose texture falls somewhere between custard and cake.

1/2 tablespoon butter
8 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-qt. baking or gratin dish with the butter. Toss strawberry halves with cornstarch until evenly coated, then arrange berries, cut side down, in bottom of dish and set aside.
2. In a blender, whirl eggs, milk, flour, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt 15 seconds. Pour batter over strawberries.
3. Bake until puffed, golden brown, and set in the center, about 50 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

~~Sunset, April 2007~~

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

♥ Well, I thought it was exciting ;) ♥

I had my first package to ship to Australia last week! I know, I know. It may not be a big deal to some, but to me I was really thrilled! Hmmm....does this make me an "international seller" now? LOL. I admit I get excited when I make a sale in my Etsy Shoppe. Yes, I wear a silly smile all day. I love beading and it just makes me happy that someone likes my work enough to buy it. This economy has been a killer for alot of businesses but I'm hanging in there! I keep believing it will get better and one day I'll be doing this full-time. Well, if you're gonna dream, dream big!!

Hope you're having a wonderful week! Stay cool & out this heat! :)


Monday, August 1, 2011

♥ Vanilla-Jasmine-Sour Cream Tea Cake ♥

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla-jasmine loose tea leaves*
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, mint sprig

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, beating until well blended.

Sift together 1 1/4 cups flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in vanilla. Spoon half of batter into a greased and floured 9-inch cake pan. Sprinkle evenly with 2/3 cup brown sugar mixture; spoon remaining half of batter evenly over brown sugar mixture in pan; sprinkle evenly with remaining brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack; garnish, if desired.
8 servings.

*1 tablespoon Bigelow French Vanilla tea leaves may be substituted.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used The Tea Room's Vanilla Jasmine Tea for the cake.

~~Southern Living, MAY 2005~~