Tea & Muffins

Monday, March 29, 2010
Editing this post to include it in the lovely Susan's Tablescape Thursday event at Between Naps on the Porch. Looking for inspiration...come check out all the wonderful posts there!

When my children were little we started the tradition of having tea & muffins every Sunday morning for breakfast before church. We all look forward to it each week. Some weeks we do coffee or cocoa and some weeks we'll bake scones or maybe even coffeecake but mostly it is tea and muffins. Simple but now it is a tradition and one that I hope they'll remember fondly in years to come and maybe even carry on in their own families. I thought I'd share our Sunday Tea from this week along with the recipe for one of our favorite muffins. Maybe you'd like to start a new tradition on Easter Sunday!

I am sharing this post at Lisa & Lana's Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday (Blessed With Grace), Marty's Table Top Tuesday (A Stroll Thru Life) and Kathrine's Tea Time Tuesday (Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor). Please visit each of these lovely blogs.

Vintage Tea Cups that I picked up several years ago at a consignment shop. The set includes 6 cups, each with a different rose motif.

A fun Tea set from TJMaxx.

A Shabby Chic pedestal plate, perfect for serving muffins (check my tutorial on how to make these).

Place setting includes Ivory dinner plates from Walmart, used as charger, green salad plates found on clearance at TJMaxx several years ago, napkins found on clearance at Target last month (great deal...4 napkins for $1.74).

Another of those lovely tea cups.

Time for Tea!!

Some of the BEST Blueberry Muffins!

Blueberry Oat Muffins

1 cup of oats
1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Combine the oats and the buttermilk; allow to stand. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Stir well to blend. Add the beaten egg and melted butter to the oat mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries. Fill 10-12 muffin cups sprayed with nonstick Spray. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 20-25 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched.

Pedelstal-ed Plates~Tutorial

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I am posting this to Susan's Metamorphsis Monday. Last week I posted on my collection of vintage cake plates. While many of my collection do not have pedelstals, some do and I enjoy using them very much. Got me to thinking about putting my own plates on petestals. I had done this project before and found it to be easy and pretty rewarding for little investment. So off I went to tour my favorite thrift stores. I found a set of 4 small dessert-sized plates that I really liked and 2 dinner sized. Now I needed *something* to use as a pedelstals. So I went around turning things upside-down to see just what would work. I found 2 vases right off the bat that would go great with the bigger plates and then scored 2 mismatched glass candlesticks and a small vase for the smaller plates. I also knew I had an old perfume bottle at home that had a large chip in the top that would also work nicely. So then I headed to Ace Hardware to purchase 2-Part Epoxy and some sandpaper.

Now all the glass needed a very good cleaning. Lots of nooks and cranies in these pressed glass pieces, so I used a toothbrush and toothpaste to scrub. Does a super job. Once the glass was perfectly cleaned and totally dried, I used the sandpaper to rough over the pieces that will be glued together. Just a little roughing to help the epoxy to do its job.

Mix your epoxy, careful to follow the directions on the package. Once you have the epoxy mixed, you need to work quickly. Spread the epoxy onto the pedestal piece, where it will attach to the plate.

Set the plate on the pedestal and apply slight pressure for a few moments. Set aside and allow the bond to complete (takes 5 minutes).

And the results....

I am also going to add this to Mary's Mosaic Monday. Thank you Susan and Mary!! Please visit each of these wonderful ladies and check out the other inspiring posts!

Be sure to enter in for my 100th post giveaway! The drawing will be on Friday!

Skillet Suppers~Quick Skillet Mac & Cheese

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another great Skillet Recipe to share today. This is a newer recipe for me from Fine Cooking. This was a very easy, very rich dish and I will make it again.

Fine Cooking's Quick Skillet Mac & Cheese

Kosher salt
12 oz. dried spiral pasta, such as cavatappi, rotini, or double elbows
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat (2%) milk
4 oz. grated Emmentaler (1-1/4 cups)
4 oz. grated Gruyère (1-1/4 cups)
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. finely Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 cups)

Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until just tender. Drain well and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until well combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the milk and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Emmentaler, Gruyère, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme and whisk until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth, 2 minutes. Stir in the pasta to coat with the sauce. Off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly over the pasta. Broil until the top is browned, 3 to 4 minutes, and serve. Serves 4.

Sharing at Michael's Foodie Friday at Designs By Gollum. Check out all the post there....many inspiring cooks.

And if you haven't got entered in for my 100th post giveaway, the link is on my sidebar.

Old Fashioned Cake Plates

Last time I shared at Vintage Thingie Thursday (thanks to Susanne for hosting each week), I shared a sampling of my collection of vintage pickle dishes. Today I thought I’d give a peek of my collection of vintage cake plates. You might be detecting a trend here. I love glass…especially old-fashioned pressed glass. So sweet and sparkly…they come in all shapes and sizes, some with pedestals, some without, some in colored glass, most in clear. All beautiful and think of all the cakes they have probably displayed in their *lifetime* (you know cake is a pretty vintage thing when you think of it). I have no will power to resist when I come across one in the thrift stores or at a garage sale. So while I never intended to collect vintage cake plates, a collection of them I have. I use them a lot when catering. They come in handy for displaying the obvious, cake, but also cupcakes, muffins, cream puffs, tea sandwiches, fruit, and the list goes on. So, they rarely get the opportunity to collect dust in my home.

I LOVE Vintage Cookbooklets and this one ranks as a favorite. I've never heard of SnoSheen Cake Flour.

A Sweetheart Cheesecake on an Old-Fashioned Cake Plate

A sampling. Don't they look so festive!

A Triple Layer Raspberry-Filled Coconut Cake from a recent catering.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake from the same catering (you can see cream puffs in the background also on a vintage cake plate)

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake ala Cast Iron Skillet

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to all the new followers!

I am going to allow myself to be side tracked a bit from my regular Skillet Suppers segment. I mentioned in a previous post that my dear grandmother always made her Pineapple Upside-Down Cake in her cast iron skillet. I am now the owner of that precious skillet and I love making PUD Cake it in. In fact, I am not much of a cake person, prefering pie instead. But PUD Cake is very close to pie in my mind and I LOVE it!!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

3 cans (8 ounces each) sliced pineapple in syrup (12 slices in all)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
Maraschino cherries (if you are not a cherry fan, use pecan halves instead)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup whipping cream, chilled and whipped, or vanilla ice cream

Drain pineapple slices, reserving 2 tablespoons of syrup. In a heavy 10-inch iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar is melted. Remove from heat. Arrange 8 pineapple slices on sugar mixture and one in center. Cut 3 slices in half and stand up around edge of pan. Place 1 maraschino cherry in center of each pineapple slice.

Into a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and milk; beat for about 2 minutes, or until batter is smooth. Add egg and reserved 2 tablespoons pineapple syrup. Beat 2 minutes longer. Pour cake batter over pineapple slices in skillet, spreading carefully. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and cake springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool in skillet on rack for 5 minutes; loosen edges with spatula or butter knife. Hold serving plate over top of skillet; invert and shake gently to loosen cake. Lift off skillet. Serve cake warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Posting to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa and her sister, Lana. Thank you ladies for this lovely event each week!

Don't forget to get entered into my 100th post giveaway!

100th Post And A Giveaway!

Sunday, March 21, 2010
I can hardly believe that I have posted 100 posts since I started this humble little blog last July. I've met some sweet friends and have enjoyed blogging very much. To mark this occasion I've put together a little giveaway.

This giveaway includes a darling little chicken bookstand (just like the one I use in my kitchen) to keep your cookbooks upright as you cook, and speaking of cookbooks, I'm including a copy of MY FAVORITE Gooseberry Patch Cookbook...Recipes For Comfort (I juse LOVE Gooseberry Patch), one of my hand embroidered tea towels featuring a redwork rooster AND a sweet little breakfast set (plate, bowl and mug) that has the cutest hens!

To enter in.....

1. Leave a comment on this post!
2. Become a Follower (if you already follow, you automatically get this entry)
3. Blog about this giveaway (make sure you let me know you have).

That is 3 chances!! I will draw for the winner on Friday April 2, 2010.

St. Patrick's Day Crawl & Tablescape Thursday!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Editing to add to Susan's Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On The Porch.

Posting to Kathleen's 2nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Crawl. Check out all the posts and join in on the St. Paddy's Fun.

We had our St Paddy's Dinner on Saturday. We invited 2 families to join us in the fun.

Irish music playing to set the mood!

The candle holder is from TJMaxx a couple years ago and the vase green bud vase was my Grandmother-in-law's.

Wonderful Irish cheeses made up a cheeseboard with homemade whole wheat crackers on the side.

Festive table set with a green plaid tablecloth I picked up at TJMaxx a few years back on clearance. They only had 4 napkins so I bought a second tablecloth and made some more. Now I have a cloth, 15 napkins and a table runner, all made for about $10.00.

My everday white dishes and flatware

and water goblets from Dollar Tree.

The lovely white bowl with the shamrocks was a gift from a friend.

Some of my vintage pickle dishes...I love these shamrock ones!

Beautiful fresh white tulips in an old green florists vase from the thrift store.

On the menu:
Corned Beef
Sauted Cabbage w/Bacon
Roasted Carrots
Mashed Turnips
Irish Soda Bread w/Irish Butter
Old Fashioned Bread Pudding w/Vanilla Sauce

Skillet Suppers~Corned Beef Hash

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leftover Corned beef? We had our annual St. Paddy's Day dinner last night. Lots of wonderful food, friends and laughter. Now I am left with some sliced corned beef and little pits of cabbage, potatoes and carrots. Lunch today will be hash. I'd say this is probably my favorite part of corned beef supper...the leftovers!

Corned Beef Hash

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces cooked corned beef, diced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 2 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the corned beef and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it releases some fat and browns slightly, about 3minutes. Stir in the onion, bell pepper and potatoes and cook, undisturbed, until brown and crisp on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Continue cooking, turning the hash as it browns evenly, about 15 more minutes. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the eggs sunny-side up or over easy; season with salt and pepper. Place the cheese slices on top of the hash, reduce the heat and let sit until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. To serve, top each portion of hash with a fried egg.

Adding to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa.

St Paddy's Dessert

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Let me say THANK-YOU to those of you who have emailed me concerned that I haven’t been posting much. I appreciate your concern. Working in the accounting world, we call this time of year Tax Season. Luckily it comes to an end April 15 and then I’ll have scads of time on my hands for blogging. Until then, I’ll do my best to post when I can.

We’ve done an annual St Paddy’s dinner since our kids were little. I have Irish ancestry (as well as Scottish, Welsh & English) and always found it a fun way to teach our kids about that ancestry. Once our kids got older, we decided to invite friends over and to share our annual St Patrick’s dinner with others. When we first started inviting others to join the fun I was in a quandary about what to serve for dessert. I poured over my Irish and English cookbooks and wasn’t finding what I wanted. A friend suggested I make bread pudding. I thought that idea absolutely perfect and have been serving it as our annual dessert since. If you make a St Patrick's dinner, what do you serve for dessert?

Look for my Tablescape next Thursday as well some more of the recipes I’ll be preparing.

This year we will host a crowd of 14 so I’ll double this recipe.

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

4 cups cubed bread
½ c raisins
2 c milk
¼ c butter
½ c sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
½ tsp ground nutmeg

Vanilla Sauce:
½ c butter
½ c brown sugar
½ c whipping cream
1 Tbsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine bread and raisins in large bowl. Combine milk and 1/4 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted (4 to 7 minutes). Pour milk mixture over bread; let stand 10 minutes.

Stir in all remaining pudding ingredients. Pour into greased 1 1/2-quart casserole. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set in center.

Combine all sauce ingredients except vanilla in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (5 to 8 minutes). Stir in vanilla.

To serve, spoon warm pudding into individual dessert dishes; serve with sauce. Store refrigerated.

I am editing to include this post in Michael Lee's Foodie Friday...be sure to visit and browse all the inspiring posts there!

Puff Pastry~Fruit Turnovers

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am a huge fan of frozen puff pastry. I always keep it on hand. You can quickly turn it into an appetizer, or top leftovers for a rustic pot pie or whip up a quick dessert for unexpected guests that tastes like it came from a top-notch bakery. When I opened my March issue of Everyday Food, I saw that they had the same idea as me. I do want to state here that I am a scratch baker/cook. I will and do make most things from scratch and I have made puff pastry from scratch in the past. The frozen product is just as good and is a perfect product to have on hand to save time and steps.

Fruit Turnovers
(Printable Version)
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 pound fresh or frozen fruit, cut into 1-inch pieces if necessary
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
flour for work surface
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
2 large egg yolks
coarse sugar (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add fruit and lemon zest; toss to coat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each sheet of puff pastry into an 11x18-inch rectangle and cut into eight 4-1/2x5-1/2-inch rectangles. Dividing evenly, place filing lengthwise on one half of each rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Combine 1 egg yolk with 1 Tbsp water. Brush border with egg wash; fold dough over filling and press edges to seal well. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut vents into pastry. Freeze turnovers on a parchment lined baking sheet until firm and layer with waxed paper in a resealable container. To serve: preheat oven to 400°F with rack in lower third. Place desired number of frozen turnovers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine 1 egg yolk with 1 Tbsp water; brush over turnovers and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until golden brown and juices are bubbling, 15 to 17minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

Posting to Michael Lee West's Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollum. What womderfully inspiring cooks post there. Check them all out!