Monday, September 25, 2017

Apple Dump Cake


Cissy still likes to come over one day a week, after school, and we bake together.  This week she made a quick and easy dessert to take home to her family.  The inspiration came from my Quick and Easy Dump Cake Cookbook that my son, Mike, gave me.  We are enjoying it outside on a warm, Fall day.  

 

Getting out my Fall teacups is always like meeting old friends.  This Johnson Brothers Harvest Time teacup is a favorite.  

 

My daughter took a picture of Cissy once she got home, as I had forgotten to! Cissy wore and Ohio State shirt, as it was favorite college team shirt day at school.  My grands are Ohio State fans, too, since all four of my kids were born in Columbus, Ohio.


Yield: 9 servings

Apple Dump Cake

Cissy and I made this after school, for her take home to her family. It's a quick dessert and it was something easy for her to assemble. It's good with a scoop of vanilla or some whipped cream.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • some freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 package of yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick of butter, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (we used some caramel bits, but toffee bits would be good, too)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Spread apple pie filling in prepared pan and add the spices, and mix. Top with dry cake mix, spreading evenly. Top with butter in a single layer. Sprinkle on the nuts.
  3. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
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Monday, September 18, 2017

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

I made this granny square baby blanket for some young friends of mine that had their second baby boy, and thought I'd use it before I washed it for gifting.  Since Fall has not officially arrived,  let's enjoy some 100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with some of my pretty blue teacups, two of which I received from Stephanie's Teacup Exchange, from the The Enchanting Rose.

I always keep this basket on my coffee table in the family room, filled with plants.  Isn't the Jim Shore "Peace" angel so pretty?


The two teacups on the left were from the teacup exchange from The Enchanting Rose.


Yield: recipe states 12, but I made 16

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are so very moist and there are no eggs in the recipe (it's not a mistake!). I was very impressed with how wonderful they are.

INGREDIENTS:


  • 2 and 1/4 cups White Whole Wheat Flour or Whole Wheat Flour (what I used)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • cinnamon sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the cups of a muffin pan; or line with paper baking cups and spray the paper cups.
  2. Whisk all the dry ingredients,including the blueberries
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the vanilla, oil, and buttermilk.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them nearly full.
  6. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the cinnamon sugar or sparkling sugar.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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This blanket was a fun project using Ice Cream Scoop yarn that I bought on clearance from Michael's.  Using variegated yarn makes crocheting much more interesting.  Now the blanket is washed and ready to be gifted to the new baby.

 

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Congo Bars

Let's enjoy some tea, along with a cup of tea, while it's still nice on my patio.  The fold-up tiered stand is one that I found at a thrift store for less than a dollar because it was broken.  My son put some glue on it and it was as good as new. 


I'm using one of my late, Great Aunt Kitty's teacups that she painted for me. 

This sweet girl still likes to come over after school one day a week to bake together.  She is a great little baker and put together the  Congo Bars in no time!


While the Congo Bars were baking, my son, Mike, had a stencil ready that he had carefully made, with a design and word of Cissy's choosing.  They had designed this the week before.  She carefully and patiently filled in the heart by dabbing a sponge brush so that no pink was visible.  It turned out cute, didn't it?  Mike has found that using regular acrylic paint in a tube works well on fabric and doesn't wash out.




Yield: About 36 bars

Congo Bars

A friend of mine recently asked if Cissy and I had made Congo Bars together. I realized that I hadn't made them in years. My kids loved these bars, and they would be a hit at birthday parties.

INGREDIENTS:


  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups self rising flour (Cissy and I made our own...for every 1 cup of flour, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder)
  • 1-12 ounce bag of chocolate chips (use 3/4 of bag in batter, and sprinkle the rest on top)

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients in order, saving the 1/4 of the bag of chocolate chips to sprinkle on top.
  2. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  3. Let cool and then cut into bars.
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I was able to take out sweet Ella on a birthday dinner date, to celebrate her 7th birthday!!

If you're interested in joining the next teacup/mug exchange:

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Strawberry Pie for a Happy 40th Birthday to Tim!


 My oldest son, Tim, asked me to make a strawberry pie for his 40th birthday celebration, and I was happy to oblige!

 I'll save a piece of pie for later, if there's any left, and have a cup of tea with this Royal Grafton teacup that my friend, Rosie, gifted me with, from her late mom's collection.

 

 Here's my handsome son Tim, who came over to celebrate his 40th birthday with his two beautiful girls.


 These are the photo blocks that my son Mike and I made for his gift.  It was fun for all of us to look at the pictures through the years. I got this wonderful idea several years ago from my friend, Debbie at Mountain Breaths



Yield: 6-8 pieces

Strawberry Pie

I have been making this pie since I was first married, back in 1970, and it has always been a family favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 quart of strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin
  • A pre-baked pie shell

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add the water, corn syrup, and salt to the saucepan, and mix. Cook until the mixture bubbles and then becomes more clear.
  3. Remove from heat, and add the gelatin. Stir to dissolve. Cool the mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture over the strawberries and mix gently. Pour the filling into a baked pie shell
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Monday, August 28, 2017

Best Sugar Cookies

Bernideen is having a tea party on August 30th  to celebrate Tasha Tudor's 102nd Birthday Anniversary, and I thought I'd join in.  Several of my grands helped me make the cookies, and they got to take many home to their family to enjoy.  I'm using my darling cottage teapot and Cissy's favorite teacup, with the cottage design.  Let's have some cookies and a cup of tea, shall we? 


I think Tasha Tudor would love this teacup, too, don't  you?


These pretty stem roses were found at the grocery store.  I love their two-toned effect.


Before we baked, my son and I took my faithful Nana's Cooking Camp grands to Chili's for lunch to celebrate before school starts.  In case you're wondering, the bottle in front of Cissy is a root beer bottle!!

The boys helped make the cookie dough and cut out the shapes that they chose from my cookie cutter collection.  Yes, Riley wanted snowflakes, and Caiden wanted footballs.  Cissy and I chose more traditional shapes.  Cissy made the frosting all by herself, and we had such a good time, chatting while decorating the cookies, which took us quite awhile.  The boys didn't want to join in.  The darling teapot and cupcake cookie cutters, along with the sparkly sprinkles were a gift from sweet Stephanie, when we met in Colorado.



Yield: 3 dozen

Best Sugar Cookies

I got this recipe from a local grocery store and have been using it ever since. My addition is a teaspoon of vanilla. I hope you give this recipe a try.  We used a buttercream frosting to decorate the cookies, recipe found here.

INGREDIENTS:


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt ( I leave this out if I only have salted butter)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • powdered sugar, for rolling out the dough

INSTRUCTIONS:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  1. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer of beat until light in color. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat to combine.
  2. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for two hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough, with powdered sugar.
  5. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time. Sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4" thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking.
  6. Cut into desired shapes with cookie counters, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheets, parchment paper or silicone baking mats, and bake for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheets halfway through baking time.
  7. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
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Harper is growing up so fast.  I bought her this Powered by Cupcakes tea shirt, because this little one loves cake, and she loves her shirt.  That's their dog, Layla, in the background.


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Monday, August 14, 2017

Blueberry Jam with Gifted Bread

It's National AfternoonTea Week, and I'm having some Iced Organic Green tea to go along with some whole grain bread and jam.   My polka dot giant teacup planter is filled with  purple oxalis plant.  I just love using my sunflower plates from Pier 1, that I've had for several years.

Sarah, from Hyacinths for the Soul sent me three mini breads of each of three different samples of her "chef"s" homemade bread that he likes to make. On one of Sarah's recent posts, she mentioned her "chef's" breads, and I commented that I wished I could try them.   I wasn't hinting, really I wasn't, but thoughtful Sarah sent me some.  Wasn't that sweet?? 

The bread on the left is the 9-grain, flax, teef, and quinoa.  The middle bread is rye, flax, teef, quinoa, and blackstrap, and the one on the right is oats, flax, quinoa and teef.   Oh my goodness, each one was so delicious!  The breads so reminded me of the wholesome brown bread that my late hubby and I ate in Ireland.  A big Texas sized thank you goes to Sarah and her"chef"!!

I thought a parasol drinking straw would be fun to use for National Tea Week.  Another friend crocheted me a set of sunflower coasters.  Cute, huh?





Yield: 8 cups

Blueberry Jam

I love homemade jam on my morning toast! Make sure you sterilize your jars (I do this in the dishwasher) and put the lids in boiling water, and then keep them on simmer, while preparing the jam.

INGREDIENTS:


  • Buy 8 cups blueberries, which should yield 4-1/2 cups chopped blueberries
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 2 pouches Certo
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Chop blueberries (using a food processor is the easiest way), and put into a large pot. Add the lemon juice.
  2. Measure the sugar into a separate bowl (in case you lose count!). Add sugar to the blueberries. Add the butter to reduce foaming.
  3. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the two pouches of Certo quickly. Return to a full rolling boil; boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon.
  5. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4" of the top. Wipe rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly.
  6. Here's how I process the jars for jam: After putting on the lids and bands, I immediately turn the jars over on a towel and let them stand upside down for 5-10 minutes. Flip them over, and you should begin to hear the "ping" of the lids sealing. I have never had one fail this way.
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This sweet granddaughter, Cissy, celebrated her 10th birthday this past week.  I always take the kids out on a date to celebrate them.

On the 16th of this month, it will be 4 years since my husband's passing.  Not a day goes by that I don't wish he was still here with me.  This was his high school graduation picture.  Wasn't he a handsome guy?  I wish he was here to go to our 50th high school reunion this weekend.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Teddy Bears at the Beach Cupcakes


 The grands that came over for Cooking/Art Camp this week had been wanting to make Teddy Bears at the Beach Cupcakes again.  We do this every year, but this Nana aims to oblige!  My beach towel and some ice tea, along with some cute cupcakes take me away.


 This time, the kids decorated using trays and I used a plastic tablecloth on my coffee table.  We just pulled up small chairs, and they could reach all their itmes that I put out.  The above cupcakes were decorated by Cissy.  She had one of the teddy bears fishing for a cupcake flavored fish.  The ones are the right are playing volleyball on the beach.  The kids made balls by rolling some fruit roll-ups into a ball shape.  They're so creative!

 Caiden had some teddy bears, on the left,  playing volleyball.  he used a piece of fruit roll-up for his net.  The poor teddy bear on the right got attacked!  Oh, those kids!!


 Smile, Harper!!  She's ready to eat her cupcake after lunch!


 Have any of you tried this iced tea?  If you like sweet tea, without calories, this is for you!  I find this at my local Kroger's , at $1.99 a box. 



Buttercream Frosting

This is a super easy frosting for decorating cupcakes or sugar cookies. My son, Mike, used a little powdered sugar to make froth on the "waves". The happy teddy bear on the left is riding his surf board, made from a fruit roll-up, but the poor little teddy bear on the right was attacked by a shark!

INGREDIENTS:


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5-6 tablespoons milk (plus more, if needed)
  • food coloring

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and milk. The frosting should be fairly thick. Add the food coloring to your desired color. If the frosting thickens, add a little milk.
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Monday, July 31, 2017

Blueberry Crumble

 How about joining me for some Blueberry Crunch?  I'm just about ready to serve it, but first let's have some iced tea, served in a pretty goblet.  A local French cafe' used to serve their water, iced tea, and soft drinks in pretty goblets, and I always thought that was such a nice idea. 

 This is one of my very favorite dishes, which is Berry Delight, by Mikasa.  Years ago, my late beloved and I stayed in a Bed & Breakfast in Wimberley, TX, and they served their meals on these pretty dishes.  I scoured our Mikasa outlet store when I got home, and found these lovely sets.  The dinner plate just has the same edge as the salad plate, and not the pretty berry motif in the middle. 

 My new favorite tea is this Blackberry Sage, by Republic of Tea.  It's yummy both hot and iced. The back of the container states that "This soothing cup rekindles the spirit.  The first sip produces a soft berry note floating atop the taste of smooth, clean tea.  The next uncovers the head clearing character of white sage with it's wispy coolness dancing at the back of the throat.  An enchanting tea and herb blend."  I'm not sure that I got all that, but I do enjoy it!


Yield: 6 servings

Blueberry Crumble

Be sure to use fresh blueberries in this recipe, as frozen do not work.

INGREDIENTS:


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 cups FRESH blueberries
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 6 pieces

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the berries and toss to coat. Transfer to an 8" x 8" baking dish.
  3. Process the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until dim-sized clumps form. Transfer the crumble to a bowl and pinch together and powdery parts. This is important to make the clumps of crumble. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the berries.
  4. Bake until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Once the Blueberry Crumble is fully cooled, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated (the recipe says for up to one day, but I did longer). It also reheats well in the microwave.
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