Wednesday, July 31, 2013

White Texas Sheet Cake

Kathleen from challenged us to a white tablesetting using only one other color as an accent.  You can check out her party at Let's Dish!  I decided to use green as my accent color, as it's so fitting for my garden setting. 

I clipped a fern sprig and sandwiched it between two clear plates from Ikea (99 cents each).  I saw this idea in Country Living not too long ago and loved it. 
I used my white crocheted cloth with a green one underneath.  My favorite green Dollar Tree goblets add some more green color and napkins are hand towels from Target.   
My centerpiece is a fern in a white basket,  along with a greenish hued bird and a candle that our youngest son and sweet DIL brought back from  the Cathedrale Notre Dame De Paris, where they lit candles for my dear hubby and me. 
This White Texas Sheet Cake recipe I saved from Martha at Lines From Linderhof , waiting for the right time to use it.  Martha sent me this recipe after I posted  my Texas Sheet Cake, which is a chocolate version.  The white one is so good and actually tastes better the next day.  Martha suggested pansies as an adornment for the cake, but my pansies are long gone from our Texas heat.  I used  some mint for a bit of green color.  Wouldn't it be fun to make both cakes for a party?

1 cup butter
1 c. water
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. almond extract
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 c butter
1/4 c. milk
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
In large saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil.    Remove from heat, stir in the flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, almond extract, baking soda and salt until smooth.    Pour into a greased sheet cake pan.    Bake at 375 for 20 to 22 minutes.   (or until a toothpick comes out clean and cake is golden brown)   Cool for 20 minutes.    
 For frosting:   in  a large saucepan, combine butter and milk.    Bring to a boil.   Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and extract; spread over warm cake.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Dutch Blueberry Apple Pie with Sugar Cookie Crumble

How about some pie and a cuppa tea in the garden today?  I've saved you a slice!  I'm using my Brentwood by Adams, English Ironstone. 
Oh my goodness, this may be my new favorite pie!  The recipe was shared by Pie Flutin' Pastries in Dallas and featured in The Dallas Morning News.  The combo of blueberries and apples is bursting with flavor, but it's the sugar cookie crumble (swoon) that just adds the perfect CRUNCHY texture to the creamy filling.   Our son who is staying with us,  said that he's tasted a lot of pies, but this one might be the very best! !  Here's the recipe that I slightly adapted in order to make it easier to follow:

1 unbaked pie crust, homemade or store-bought
1 T. flour
1 t. sugar

Fit the pie dough into a 9" glass pie pan.  Sprinkle the bottom of the dough with the flour and the sugar.  Put into the refrigerator until firm, or about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the filling.


2 large Granny Smith apples
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
3 T. flour
1 t. lemon zest
juice from 1/2 large lemon

Sugar Cookie Crumble (recipe follows)

In a large pot, combine apples, blueberries, sour cream, both sugars, cinnamon and flour.  Over medium heat, stir together and bring to a light boil (about 10 minutes).  Reduce heat to a simmer and add lemon zest and juice,  Stir together and then remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Pour filling into pie shell.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and add Sugar Cookie Crumble to the top, covering all the way to the edges of the pan to prevent berries from splattering.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees.  Bake pie for an additional 40-45 minutes.

Remove and let cool.  Serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Sugar Cookie Crumble:  In a food processor, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter and a pinch of salt.  Pulse together until combined. 

NOTE:  The next time I make this, I may not use a bottom crust and just bake it as a crisp!

Thank you for your visit!  xo
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Strawberry Pretzel Salad (Sugar Free)

How about joining me for a sugar-free version of Strawberry Pretzel Salad?  I'm using my red target salad plates with my white Mikasa English Countryside dishes on top.  The red mugs are for tea and of course, I'm using my favorite red Cambridge flatware. 

Tea will be served from my fruity teapot that was a gift. 

I made this tablecloth from one that was stained and backed it with some green fabric.  It goes well with my fruit theme.

I so love this salad, but wanted to come up with a sugar-free version.  I know that I'm always baking, but I really and truly do watch my carbs, and have for the past 14 years.  In this recipe you still will get some carbs from the pretzels, but I think I succeeded in making a yummy sugar-free recipe.  Here's how I did it:


2 cups crushed pretzels (this can be done by hand or with a food processor)
2 T. sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
3/4 cup melted butter

Mix and pat into a 9 x 13" pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool.

Middle Layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat)
3/4 cup sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
1- 8 ounce container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Beat cream cheese and sugar substitute until smooth.  Fold in whipped topping.  Pour over cooled crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Top Layer:

2- 0.30 oz. pkgs. strawberry sugar- free gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
2-3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Pour the boiling water over the gelatin in a mixing bowl.  Add the cold water.  Refrigerate this mixture until it thickens and resembles egg whites.  Add the fresh strawberries and stir.  Pour on top of the cream cheese layer.  Refrigerate. 

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I am using my pinecone teapot and mug and I've made some favorite cookies  and a pot of vanilla chai tea to share with everyone.  Why, you ask?  
Sandi from Rose Chintz Cottage is having a Christmas in July Tea Party, and you can visit it here:
You are invited to my christmas in July tea party
I started using this recipe from my cookbook, The Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated, about 13 years ago, and have never tried another chocolate chip cookie recipe since.  For me, it's the perfect chocolate chip cookie, like what you'd get from a really great bakery.  I hope you give them a try.  They may become your new favorite chocolate chip cookie, too! 

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Cookies


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons  unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed  light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup  granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough's uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

Makes 18 large cookies.

I've included step-by-step illustrations from Cook's Illustrated,  in shaping the cookies:

Shaping Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. Creating a jagged surface on each dough ball gives the finished cookies an attractive appearance. Start by rolling a scant 1/4 cup of dough into a smooth ball.

2. Holding the dough ball in the fingertips of both hands, pull the dough apart into two equal halves.

3. Each half will have a jagged surface where it was ripped from the other. Rotate each piece 90 degrees so that the jagged edge faces up.
4. Jam the halves back together into one ball so that the top surface remains jagged.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Strawberry Pie


Strawberry Pie with whipped cream is Summer on a plate!

How about joining me for some strawberry pie at the coffee table?  We've actually had rain and cooler temperatures in Texas this week and we'll stay indoors today.

I'm using my one of my favorite dessert plates on top of my green and white polka dot plates to coordinate with my polka dot table covering.  Of course we're using the green Dollar Tree goblets!

This strawberry planter box was a gift from my friend, Kathryn.  I love the mosaic tile on it and the strawberry motif.

If I had to choose a recipe that I have made more than any other, it's probably this recipe for strawberry pie!  I cut the recipe from The Columbus Dispatch, over 40 years ago.  Our family loves this pie.  In fact, my hubby and I have been known to eat it in two days!!  Once cut, it doesn't keep very well...that's the truth, and now you know why we HAVE to eat it so quickly. 

1 pre-baked pie shell

1 quart strawberries, cleaned & hulled & set aside

3/4 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1 cup water
2 T. light corn syrup
pinch of salt

3 T. strawberry gelatin

Combine sugar & cornstarch in a heavy saucepan & stir.  Add water, corn syrup & salt.  Cook until thickened & clear in color.  Remove from heat & add gelatin, stirring well to dissolve the gelatin.    The original recipe said to add red food coloring, but I never do.  Let  cool.

Pour over the berries. I usually cut the berries in half.  Mix gently & pour into the baked pie shell.  Chill.  Top with whipped cream.

Serves 6-8 (or 2 people in 2 days!!!!)

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Zucchini Bread

We're having some zucchini bread and orange gardens tea today.  Come on by, I'll save you some!  The fruited teapot is from a friend and perfect for a Summer tea.

This recipe was given to me from a friend in Ohio years ago. I've changed it up slightly by reducing the sugar and changing the spice measurements a bit. If you have an abundance of zucchini this summer, I'd love for you to try it.  It's spicy and oh, so good!

3 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
Great use of zucchini!
1 t. baking soda
3 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves (originally was 1 t.)
1/4 t. ground allspice (originally was 1 t.)
Some freshly grated nutmeg

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
11/2 cups sugar (originally was 2 cups)
2 cups grated zucchini (if your zucchini is very large, scoop out the seeds and grate the rest)
2 t. vanilla
3/4 cup chopped nuts or golden raisins, optional

Topping: (optional)

2 T. white sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon

Mix together the first eight ingredients with a whisk and set aside.

Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Mix lightly but well. Add the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in the nuts or raisins, if using.

Mix the topping ingredients together. 

Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pans. Sprinkle on the topping, if using.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.  Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then turn out to finish cooling on a cooling rack. 

NOTE:  I actually made 4 mini loaves and 3 mini bundts from this recipe and they took about 40 minutes to bake.  You could also make muffins from this recipe.  These are great for gift-giving and store well in the freezer.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ice Cream Dessert with Peanut Butter Crust

For my hubby's birthday celebration with the family, I used the barn wood box that he made for me, filling it with faux hydrangeas, greenery and two rose bowls holding some votive candles.   The rose bowls are sitting on hidden tin cans for some added height. 
Since we're having an Italian themed meal, I'm using the dish towels that I made into napkins, along with our Mikasa plates, our  Reflections, by Rogers flatware and our Dollar Tree goblets. 
My sweetie wanted comfort food for his dinner, requesting spaghetti, chopped saladartisan bread and his FAVORITE ice cream dessert.
Our whole family LOVES this dessert, which I've been making since 1982.   It's a request for many birthdays.  I do hope you try our family favorite!

1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream, softened in the fridge for 30 minutes.
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. light corn syrup
2 1/4 c. oven-toasted rice cereal

Mix the peanut butter,  and the corn syrup together in a bowl.  Add the crisp rice cereal and mix well.  Pat into the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan.  Add 1/2 of the ice cream & smooth out on top of the crust.  Put in the freezer for 1 hour.  Put the rest of the ice cream in the fridge to use later.

In the meantime, make the hot fudge sauce: 

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. butter
1 t. vanilla

In a 2 qt. saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar, cocoa, heavy whipping cream & butter until mixture is smooth & boils, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat & stir in vanilla.  Cool fudge sauce slightly.

Pour 1 1/4 cups fudge sauce  over the ice cream.  Return to freezer & freeze about 20 minutes. 

Take dessert out of freezer & spread the remainder of the ice cream on top.  Drizzle remainder of fudge sauce over the top.  Sometimes I need to re-heat the sauce a little in order to drizzle it.

Cover dessert & return to freezer.  Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. 

When ready to serve, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Makes 12-15 servings, depending on size of slice

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blueberry Crumb Bars

For my garden tea today, I've made some Blueberry Crumb Bars,  and to cool off, we're  having iced tea.  Care to join me? 

I'm using a Shooting Star Hydrangea as my centerpiece.  Can you see the stars shooting out from the plant?
What's better for a summer dessert than Blueberry Crumb Bars?  Oh, these are soooo good and perfect to take to a get together.  You can cut the bars large or make them smaller for a crowd.  I've adapted this from one found on  I replaced the shortening with butter, changed out some of the sugar and added some spices.  I hope you give these a try!

For the crust and topping:

3 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
1 egg, beaten
For the Blueberry filling:
1/4 cup sugar
4 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
4 cups blueberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup  brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour, salt, and baking powder.  Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in the butter.  Mix in the egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.  You can store these in the fridge.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No-Cook Strawberry- Pineapple Freezer Jam

For my 4th of July table, I'm using my vintage-looking bike decked out with the flag, some patriotic ribbon, "Glory", the beanie bear and "Cody", the Brass Button Bear.
I finally found a deal at the thrift store!  The Liberty dishes, by Coventry, were all priced separately :  4 cups for $7.99, 4 bowls for $7.99, 4 salad plates for $14.99 and 4 dinner plates for $14.99.  I thought this can't be right...there's no way I'm paying that much!!  A worker there said to take them to the checker and see.  I moseyed up there and they sold all to me for $14.99.  Yea...a deal!!
I love the vintage look and color of this set!!
I made a table runner to compliment the dishes, with matching fringed napkins.  The jam/butter domed dish is from Mikasa.
I have been wanting to try a no-cook jam and wanted to use Certo, which I already had in my pantry.  I found this recipe from  It is so easy, doesn't require cooking over a hot stove and it's so fresh tasting.  It's like eating a little bit of strawberry heaven, with a tropical twist!  The best part is, you don't have to use a water bath canner, as you just freeze your jam in containers to keep or give away.  I hope you try it this Summer.

 3/4 cups crushed strawberries
1/2 cup crushed, drained pineapple (I used an 8-ounce can)     
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pouch Certo Liquid Pectin

STIR together strawberries, pineapple, sugar and lemon juice in large bowl. Let stand for 10 min. )(NOTE:  Even though the recipe says "10 minutes", I left mine on the kitchen counter for 4-5 hours, stirring every once-in-while, to dissolve the sugar. I don't think the sugar would dissolve in 10 minutes.)
STIR in fruit pectin. Continue to stir for 3 min or until most of the sugar is dissolved. 
POUR jam into clean jars or plastic containers. Cover tightly with lids and let stand at room temperature until set (up to 24 hrs).
STORE in freezer.

                                                              Happy 4th of July!!

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The Dedicated House

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