Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cutting Up With Cake

Beloved left town to go turkey hunting. Do I miss him? Yes, but not nearly as much as when he left me here with three small children :) Now, I consider it a little “me” time…time to play in the kitchen.


Does anyone remember this book? I found it while going through my mother’s recipes. It is a freebie published by Baker’s Coconut. I’m pretty sure those scribbles are mine….must have been learning to make the letter 8! I remember looking at this book as child. I wanted one of these cakes…I wanted to know how to do it. Anyway, although my mother never made one of these to my knowledge, she must have had good intentions. Time to rectify that.


I must be going through a “buggy” stage of life. Lately butterflies, bumblebees, and fireflies seem to be creeping into my thoughts, food and decor. You may remember I made butterfly cookies for Easter. You can see those here. I had promised a friend a birthday cake and decided to give the butterfly cake a try.



I started out with white cake mix in a rectangular 9x13 pan. I made two cake mixes and used about 1 1/2 of the batter. One cake mix just seemed a little flat and I wanted a big fat fluffy butterfly. I lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. This is one instance where sticking won’t do –I know these little tips because I tried one last month too. It ended up in the garbage disposal :) Cut the cake in five pieces—one at the bottom about one inch wide and four triangles. Be absolutely sure the cake is cool before cutting---another tip from my previous fiasco :) I used a serrated bread knife for cutting.


Assemble the pieces on the tray or platter you plan to use to present it. One of my wings lapped over a bit, but it was no problem. I made two batches of cream cheese frosting tinted with yellow food coloring. You can find the recipe here. Two recipes was a bit too much. However, with a bag of vanilla wafers in the pantry, this presents no problem for me :)


Now for the fun! I frosted the sides first. You will be frosting some cut edges so be sure to wipe the crumbs off your knife or spatula to avoid crumbs in the icing. I decided to skip the coconut (sorry, Baker’s). I bought an assortment of gummy worms and gum drops. These cut more easily and with cleaner edges if you use kitchen shears dipped in warm water. The result is definitely not ready for the food channel but fun and worth the effort. Even a little closure for me-now I can make 8’s and butterfly cakes too :)


Fanny the Fish is next on the agenda!

Michael Lee West is hosting Foodie Friday (on Friday, of course) I’ll be linking up with her. She always has something beautiful and good to share. Join her and a long list of “foodies” by clicking on her button on my sidebar! Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood….A Metamorphosis

I have mentioned that for the last year, and very intensely for the last couple of months, I have been working on a silent auction, fashion show, and luncheon for an organization I belong to. Hooray! It’s over! It was a success! It will make a difference!


Of all the gin joints, in all the world over 500 people walked into ours.


We set fifty three tables with black cloths and silver and gold toppers. Popcorn boxes held favors. The centerpieces were fresh flowers, “Hollywood wine” and fresh flowers on movie reels.


The grand ballroom of the Hilton was transformed with Oscar replicas and a lighted red carpet runway for the models.


Of course, there were special guests…Bogey dropped in.


But you know Dorothy and Toto were my favorites.


But Annie and Alice in Wonderland were cute too. Who could resist that smile?


The silent auction was taking place right outside the ballroom with over 250 items. We’ve been collecting items, logging them in and making baskets for months. There was something for everyone.


A wonderful children’s section


Iron pieces filled with macro hydrangeas for the gardeners.


Entire vignettes created by designers


This necklace made by a local artist was a favorite. It is made of sterling, jade, and vintage time pieces.


Even a basket for tablescapers :). We raised a lot of money and had a lot of fun. It was a giant undertaking accomplished by many talented and dedicated women. But I told you this is about making a difference…a metamorphosis. What does all this get you besides aching feet and a neglected hungry husband???


The money raised will provide interest-free loans and scholarships for deserving students. Many of the recipients are men and women returning to the academic world after a leaving to raise families or for financial reasons. Some are seniors in high school starting out for the very first time. Lots of them are nursing students. I like to think that we provide more than money….we provide hope and a plan. My aching feet and husband will get over it :)

Join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for more makeovers! Just click her button for immediate transportation! Thanks Susan!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Favorite Things….Three Generations in One Dress

My good friend Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie has a new party and I am joining for the first time. I honestly thought I had posted about this little dress before, but can’t seem to find it. If you’ve seen, bear with me while I stroll down memory lane.


Lately, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic. Having lost both my parents, keepsakes have become very important to me. This is a picture I had put together for my father before he died. Three little girls….on front porches….in the same dress. I don’t have any idea how this tradition got started, but I am grateful for it.


That’s my mother around 1932 about age 3 in North Carolina—I’m not sure whose front porch.


There I am at about the same age on the front porch where I grew up---same dress.


There’s Sunshine. I took this in color and had it made into black and white to frame along side the other two. Three chubby-legged blondes on front porches :)


Here is the dress. You’d think the object of such documentation would be fancy…a christening gown…French hand sewing perhaps. Just a simple hand made everyday play dress. Still, it couldn’t be any more precious to me if it were made of fine imported lace. It’s tucked away in tissue and cedar…waiting on a fourth picture…maybe…one day.


Please join Laurie here for A Few of Her Favorite Things. I look forward to seeing yours!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Books, Beds, and Tablescapes


What, you may ask, has this bed got to do with Susan’s party? No, I haven’t forgotten that Susan at Between naps on the porch hosts Tablescape Thursday. But I have been battling a spring cold/sinus infection---the kind that makes you want to go to bed, but not quite enough to allow it. This is our master bedroom—I don’t think I’ve ever invited you in. The bed is a reproduction rice-carved bed and I love it. Beloved gave it to me for our anniversary the minute we had tall ceilings :)


This the tray I’ve made myself to pamper both my cold and my feelings. It’s amazing what a silver gallery tray covered in a vintage crocheted doily can do to lift your spirits! I plucked a couple of flowers from the table arrangement downstairs for the silver bud vase. Blue irises are one my favorites. I made myself some chamomile tea with honey, lemon, and a slice of fresh ginger. I think the vintage doily calls for a vintage teacup. I inherited eight teacups and saucers each depicting a different flower. I love the pierced saucer. There is no marking on either. The cold is a good excuse to catch up with my reading, journaling, and recorded television.


But this is the book that has had my attention. I found it in a box of my grandmother’s books. It is dated 1928 and belonged to my great grandmother. I feel certain that it was a freebie from the Rumford Company. You know who Rumford is—they have been making Clabber Girl and Rumford since 1856.


The chapter titled “Recipes for the Sick” recommends serving strange-sounding recipes with unfamiliar ingredients such as arrowroot, Irish moss, and sago. Delicacies such as Invalid tea and corn meal gruel are included. “Daintiness in serving greatly influences the appetite of the patient” and “has as much to do with rapid recovery as drugs”. In an era without as many drugs and cures as we now have, this must have been a comforting addition to the cookbook. But…..I think I’ll just go with the chicken noodle soup :)

I am also joining Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. You can get to both parties by clicking on their buttons on my sidebar! Thanks for visiting!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stars, Idols, or Losers?

I have a dilemma on Tuesday nights and it seems to fit in perfectly with Tam at Gypsy’s Corner Three or More party on Tuesdays. I am torn about what to watch on television in real time. Should I go with my first love and watch this?45979

I missed the first season and have not missed one since. I like to say that I knew Carrie Underwood when


she was just a small town girl with a big voice hoping to stay on one more week. Who could have imagined this?

Academy of Country Music Awards

The big winner at the 2010 CMAs—Congratulations Carrie! Or should we watch this? Beloved like to switch back and forth during commercials and keeps the remote in a death grip :) . He really likes


A show that originally received a lot of criticism has turned out to be an inspiration for a lot of people battling weight loss and lifestyle changes. They work under the direction (slave-driving?) of


I like Jillian, but she scares me a little :) Or should we go for the ultimate reality show filled with reality stars dancing in a reality show?


Thank goodness for the dvr! In the end, I have to root on my favorites in real time and leave the rest for later.


I’m rooting for Crystal on American Idol. I love her voice, style, and humility. But a lot of people love this guy


I like him too; I just like Crystal more. Anyway that’s Three or More things that keep me busy on Tuesday night….until nine o’clock. Now should I watch “The Good Wife” or “Parenthood”? :)


Join Tam here for Three or More Tuesday!

What do you watch and who’s your favorite?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

And the Recipe Goes Round and Round

I try to make it point never to miss a post of Food with Style by once in a blue moon.   I know I can count on finding recipes or beautiful images I might have missed myself.  Last week I bookmarked a tiramisu parfait recipe.  It was originally posted by Sabrina at Delicious Inspiration.  You can find the original recipe by clicking on the link.  


The “baby’s” girlfriend’s father (are you following?) was in town on business and she wanted us to meet him…. a dinner invitation seemed to be in order.  Since tiramisu is her favorite dessert, I immediately thought of Sabrina’s recipe. 


So Beloved threw steaks on the grill—always a winner if your guest is not a vegetarian.


I made twice-baked potatoes and a Caesar salad.


The weather was so nice; we had dessert on the deck.


This recipe included rum extract.  Next time I think I will try amaretto or brandy instead.  I was able to find the mascarpone.  At $4.99, it’s a little expensive and sometimes hard to find, but it was heavenly.  If you can’t find it, here’s my plan B  backup recipe.  The texture will be a little different, but still good.

Mascarpone Substitute

Whip together 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream  Do not substitute the low fat versions!

I am joining Michael Lee West for my favorite thing on Friday---Foodie Friday.  Click on her button on my sidebar for immediate transportation!  Happy reading, cooking and eating!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Uptown Recycling and More


We finished the breakdown and cleanup up of the silent auction and luncheon I’ve been co-chairing about 3:00 on Monday. Bone tired but keyed up, I accepted when my daughter asked me to meet her at the new Anthropolgie store here. I love their clothes, but was blown away by the store decor! This is a light fixture made from cut and painted water bottles----You read right! It is in the large fitting room area and not for sale. The natural light in this former restaurant turned boutique showed off the colors gloriously!


It happened that the young girl helping us remembered me from my days of substitute teaching in high school (sometime this is good; sometimes it is bad :). She is working on her masters in art and had actually helped with the wine bottle chandelier! I hope this one is up securely! So when I got home I started looking at their lighting that is for sale. These struck my fancy.


I have always loved kitchen lamps. This “one lump or two” lamp would perfect in a white kitchen.


I can just imagine this “washed ashore” lamp in the beach house I don’t have :). It is made from all reclaimed wood. But the real beauty is this


Sheila—this one is for you! It is called the “magpie chandelier”. Crafted by hand of reclaimed materials, it sells for a paltry $4,800! No two are alike (I should think not!). Why is it that when they take the fat or sugar out something, it costs more? Why is that when something is made from recycled or reclaimed material it costs an arm and a leg?…..just wondering:) Now where would you hang it??

You bloggers are such a talented bunch. I have no doubt that I will see something similar that one of you has made…..soon :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tribute to a Strong Southern Woman


May 25, 1939-April 10, 2010

My fondest memory of Dixie Carter is from an old "Designing Women" episode in which her character's sister Suzanne Sugarbaker is being ridiculed for her part in a beauty pageant. Dixie's "the night the lights went out in Georgia" monologue is one I will never forget. I'll miss her . I think a lot of us will.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One Smart Cookie

Actually this post is about more than one smart cookie. First, there is my good friend who gave me this lovely pink (there it is Beverly!) tiered dessert stand last year. She’s the smart cookie who combined my love for cooking, entertaining, and gardening to come up with the perfect gift! CIMG1574

It is the very definition of “whimsical”—fanciful, amusing, and unexpected!


What could be better than a spring bee made from a spring? :) Who knew scrap metal could be so cute? But I am a smart cookie too—Each Easter I make an elaborate dessert. Each Easter I end up with most of it left over. Everyone is too full for dessert. This year I made sugar cookies! Just the right amount for a full tummy with a sweet tooth :)


Lately, I‘ve become smitten by decorated cookies and cupcakes. I made butterflies and crosses for dessert. What could be more appropriate for Easter?—both symbolic of hope and change. I am experimenting with glazes and icings—still learning. I recommend making the cookies on one day and decorating the next. Of course, I did not follow my own advice :). This is the easy recipe I used to glaze the cookies.

Vanilla Glaze

Stir together one (16 0z.) package of powdered sugar with six tablespoons of water. Make sure you get the lumps out! Tint, as desired, with food coloring or paste. I used Durkee neon colors.

---Oh dear, how embarrassing…..does this count as a recipe? :) Just dip the cookie into the glaze with a heavy hand. Allow to drip and harden on a wire rack. Lick fingers as needed. You may add any extra frosting when the cookie glaze has hardened.

I am linking to Foodie Friday with our hostess Michael Lee West. Don’t worry, dear hostess, this is not a real frosting and no one was harmed in the production :) Click on her button for transportation! I am linking to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday. Thanks ladies!

PS--Check out the top button on the sidebar. Cathy at The Stylish House needs our help!