Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are you crafty?

If you are crafty and like to make jewelry, you should check out my my sister-in-law's business, Studio 66. In fact, she was just featured on the blog Mom Invented! It's a blog about moms who've started their own businesses. Cool, huh?

Check it out!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shower Dessert: Flower Petit Fours

This afternoon I'm off to a bridal shower with a floral theme, and that reminded me of these flower petit fours that I made last year for a baby shower. (I can't believe it's taken me this long to get this recipe on the blog!)

Because of the mini muffin cups, these petit fours are easier to make than the traditional style of baking a large pan and then cutting it into a bunch of tiny cakes. Plus, they're cute and darn tasty! :)

Flower Petit Fours

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line mini muffin pan with mini muffin cups.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly. Add lemon zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream. Mix well. Scoop into mini muffin cups.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. (To be honest, it's been a while since I made these, so keep an eye on your cupcakes as they bake. Use the good old toothpick test.)


To make the flower design, you'll need about 1/2 cup green icing, 1 1/2 cups icing tinted in whatever color you want your flowers to be, and Wilton Sugar Pearl Sprinkles.

I started the decorating by putting three sets of leaves (tip #68) around the edge of each mini cupcake.

Then I used pink and peach icing to make rosettes on top of each cupcake. You can use a star tip like #21 or #32. For the center of each flower, I dropped 3 Wilton Sugar Pearls in the middle of each rosette.

As you can see from the picture below, I served this petit fours with some homemade chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Yields: about 40 petit fours

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Club Anyone?

In a couple weeks, I'm going to be doing something completely new for me on this blog. I'll be participating in a Book Blog Tour!

As many of you know, I follow a lot of publishing and writing blogs. One of the blogs I follow (Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner) had a guest post by Christian author and speaker Kathi Lipp. She was offering a free copy of her latest book
The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted to the first 35 people willing to review her book on their blogs.

Free book? Well, sign me up! :)

I look forward to comparing this book to Julia Cameron's
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, which my sister-in-law recommended last year. I've already read the first few chapters of The Me Project, and I can also see similarities between Kathy's message and that of Catholic speaker and author Matthew Kelly.

Anyway, if anyone else out there has already read
The Me Project or would like to "read along" with me over the next couple weeks, drop me a line. I'd love to compare notes before I post my review on Sept. 6.

Here's what the back cover of the book has to say in case you might be interested in snatching a copy of the book yourself. (The book's only about $10-12, and yes, you can get it on your Kindle or your Nook.)

"Have daily demands caused you to set aside your goals and dreams? How might your life be different if you took a few minutes every day for 21 days to put your dreams on 'project status'?

The Me Project provides fun, creative, and doable daily steps for you to actually live out the dreams God has planted in your heart. Kathi Lipp's warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor will motivate you to take action each day toward bringing purpose back into life. And it will give you the confidence you need to accomplish your dreams in the midst of your already busy schedule."
Let me know if you've read the book or plan on reading it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

No-Bake Cookies: Chocolate Peanut Butter Drops

The weather is starting to cool off here a little, but it still felt a little too warm yesterday afternoon to turn on the oven. That's why I decided to try a "no-bake" cookie. The cooking part is done on the stove top, so your kitchen doesn't get so hot. These were pretty fast and easy to make, and they disappeared just as quickly.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Drops

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup butterscotch chips (optional)

In a saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa, and milk. Add the butter and cook over medium heat until butter melts and mixture begins to boil. Stir occasionally. Boil for one minute.

Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt, peanut butter, and oats.

Use a small cookie scooper to drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto waxed. Press a few butterscotch chips into cookies, if desired. Cool for at least an hour.

Yields: about 40 cookies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blueberry Cream Pie

My mom has made this pie for as long as I can remember. This was my first attempt making it, and I have to say it was fairly easy to make.

I like this pie better than a straight blueberry pie because the pudding layer helps to sweeten any tartness from the blueberries.

Blueberry Cream Pie

1 baked 9" pie shell (graham cracker crust works too)
1 package vanilla cook and serve pudding (not instant pudding)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Prepare your pie shell. You can use my mom's recipe here.

Once the pie crust is cooled, you can start to make the cream layer. Cook pudding in saucepan as directed with 2 cups milk. Add butter and vanilla to hot pudding. Stir until butter melts. Let pudding cool 2-3 minutes. Stir again. Let cool another 2-3 minutes and stir once more.

Pour slightly cooled pudding into pie crust. Put in fridge while you make blueberry topping.

In another saucepan, stir cornstarch and sugar together. Add 1 cup of blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, mashing and stirring until mixture thickens and clears. (You can use the back of a wooden spoon to do the mashing or an old-fashioned potato masher.)

Turn off heat and add last cup of blueberries. Cool 15 minutes before spooning over cream filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Of course, Cool Whip always makes a good bonus topping. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I made these cookies a while ago, but never got them on the blog. I can't say they were my favorite, but if you like nutty cookies, you'll probably enjoy these.


1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Cream butter. Beat in honey, salt, and almond extract. Gradually add in flour and then stir in pecans or walnuts.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Roll dough into balls and place two inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 35 minutes.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before rolling in powdered sugar. Allow to cool fully and then roll in powdered sugar.

Yields: about 3 dozen cookies