Categories
Decorate Desserts Inspire Parties

Scarily Easy Tips for a Halloween Party!

It’s scary how much I love Halloween!

However, Halloween always seems like such a hectic time of year. We’ve finally adjusted to the back-to-school routine and then *BAM* it’s time to make costumes, carve pumpkins and get ready for trick-or-treat! The next thing you know I’m watching the Macy’s day parade while baking a turkey and then turn around to find that Christmas carols are playing and my kids are married and have kids of their own! O.k. perhaps it’s not that hectic but it seems like it is especially when my oldest is actually turning 13 years old this weekend.

Sniff.

A TEENAGER?

How can this be?

It was only yesterday that I was looking into the sweet, pink, wrinkled little face of my first born child wasn’t it?

<gulp, sniff, sob>

See my point?

Time flies in the blink of an eye.

And this is precisely why I am so happy to have these quick and easy little ditties to turn to while I’m trying to forget, I mean, celebrate my first born turning into a teenager.

Wait until you see how easy it is to pull together a last minute Halloween soiree in about 30 minutes flat.

First I’m going to show you how to make cute little spider cookies with oreo cookies!

I made these for her Birthday Halloween themed party about 6 years ago, when I was allowed to do cute little things for her party. I believe that I got the idea from Martha herself, but I can’t be certain.

These are the ingredients: double stuff Oreo® cookies, mini M&M®‘s, rope black licorice and white icing.

First thing you’ll want to do is make the icing. Just mix 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. Easy peasy.

Pour the icing into a sandwich baggie.

By the way my tween soon to be TEEN helped me with this fun little treat.

I have to milk every opportunity to share time with her and I’m not above enticing her to assist me in photos.

Squeeze excess air out of the baggie and twist to keep icing in the tip of the baggie.

This will be your glue for the spider eyes.

Now it’s time for the spider legs. Just snip off pairs of 2 inch pieces and badda boom badda bing…spider legs!

Gently insert licorice into the sides of the double stuff oreo. This is why I like to use double stuff oreos, you’ll have plenty of room to fit the licorice!

Cut the tip off of the plastic baggie filled with icing and gently squeeze out 2 cute little dollops of icing where the eyes should be…

and place 2 mini m&m’s on top of the icing.

Aren’t they just the cutest little spiders that you ever did see?

Now it’s time for some fun decorations…all you need are a few paper napkins!

Now if you’re like me you have a drawer (o.k. a few drawers) of festive paper napkins. And if you don’t, well, do yourself a favor and go buy some. Now be sure to buy 2 sets like I do so that you’ll always have some on hand and I won’t be the only crazy person with drawers full of paper napkins! This summer I was reading one of my 432 magazines, I think that it was Country Living, anyway I saw some darling tablecloths made out of paper napkins and thought “great scott! now I can use up some of my napkin stash!” I decided to take it a step further and came up with the idea to make banners with the paper napkins as well! I mean everyone needs celebratory banners hanging about don’t they?

Here’s all that you’ll need to make some darling banners to hang around the house.

Napkins and ribbon.

Fold the napkin in 1/2 leaving fold of the napkin at the top then cut on a diagonal upward leaving the fold in tact at the widest part.

This is the easy way to cut out a perfect triangle.

Next lay out your napkins in the pattern that you want them to hang. I personally like to use 4 different napkins with one being a smaller size and alternate that smaller one between the larger ones.

Oh, and you’ll want glue too. Forgot to mention that earlier. Sorry. I’m overworked and underpaid.

Open up the triangles and lay the ribbon in the crease of the napkin and then dab a dot of glue at the crease and tip.

Gently smooth out any wrinkles and repeat until you’ve used desired amount of napkin triangles. I like to use this banner idea for any occasion – birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day – truly you could go on and on…see why I need drawers of paper napkins?

I like to hang my banners along my fireplaces.

It’s festive dontcha think?

Now for the tablecloth, actually I decided to make a table runner at the last moment to save time.

Here’s what you’ll need: paper napkins and scotch tape.

Lay the napkins out in a pattern that makes you swoon…

turn them over and tape the seems together. That’s it.

And then my friend, you’ve got a party!

Decorating and entertaining really don’t have to be expensive and difficult!

Just let you’re imagination run wild.

Wishing you a spooktacular stress-free Halloween!

Wenderly

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire Snacks

Chocolate Dunked Sweet & Salty Apples

I’ve never really been one to do anything by the book. I kinda march along through life to the beat of my very own drummer and that suits me just fine. Makes life more interesting ya know?

I wear my watch on my right wrist and I’m right handed.

I (kinda) type with my left middle finger and right pointing one.

Back in High School I wore Bermuda shorts (mostly plaid and patchwork) every single day my Junior and Senior year. Don’t ask me why. I liked them. Perhaps it was to show off my always tanned legs from the < gasp > suntan booth. Perhaps it was in rebellion to not being allowed to ride the brand new, shiny bright red moped past the end of my driveway. I’m serious. Do you know how hard it is to look cool while riding up and down your driveway 150 times a day? That’s a lot of time spent to end up nowhere. And just imagine how cold that was in the dead of winter wearing Bermudas.

So the other day as I exclaimed “that really frosts my Frito” and the people that I was conversing with laughed and said, “what did you say?” I was again reminded of my uniqueness.

But it got me to thinking.

Thinking of how much I LOVE sweet and salty…. Fritos® and frosting…and chocolate and apples…

I know, I’ll make chocolate dipped apples with Fritos and how about pretzels?… and of course sprinkles!

See how my mind works? Me either. But I did make some fabulous chocolate covered apples embellished with Fritos, pretzels and sprinkles.

Do you like sweet & salty? Well then my friend, come along with me!

First you’ll want some darling little washed apples. I used Gala but you can use whatever kind of apple you like.

These are the ingredients for the chocolate dipping glaze, semi-sweet chocolate chips, light corn syrup, water, & butter. Oh and wooden skewers. I like to use these fabulous long skewers, they add interest and fun and once again you can see that I’m marching right along to my own beat.

Of course you’ll need pretzels & Fritos.

And some darling sprinkles!

I thought that these sprinkles looked very festive for Halloween don’t you?

Next push the skewers into the center of the apples (sharp side first).

Heck, I could just eat them like this! NAH! What am I nuts? It’s the sweet & salty that I’m waiting for!

So, now it’s time to make the chocolate glaze. I use this glaze for everything! I’m not sure where I got this recipe but I’ve used it for decades and it’s so simple! You don’t even need a double boiler.

Just combine the butter, light corn syrup, and water over medium heat and stir until it just begins to boil.

Then remove from heat and add the chocolate chips and continue stirring,

until your glaze looks like this.

Isn’t that gorgeous? And see? It couldn’t be easier!

Now you’ll want to grab an already skewered apple by the stick and dip it into the chocolate glaze. Roll the apple around until it has a nice thick coating all over it.

Then while the apple is still wet, place the apple into your embellishments.

I just crunched the Fritos up in a baggie before dumping them onto a plate. After embellishing, place the apples on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Now repeat the same process with all of the apples and yummy toppings.

Some crunchy salty pretzels.

Some sweet and crunchy sprinkles.

Put the apples into the fridge for 20-30 minutes to let the chocolate set.

Just look how fun and festive these little darlings turned out.

Sometimes marching to a different beat pays off!

And in this case, I’d say that it definitely did!

Hope you enjoy!

Wenderly

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Dunked Sweet & Salty Apples

(Serves 6)

What you’ll need:

6 washed small-medium apples
6 wooden skewers
1 cup smashed Fritos
1 cup smashed pretzels
1 cup sprinkles

Ingredients for the Chocolate Glaze:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoon water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here’s what you’ll do:

Place a skewer into the top/center of each apple.

Sprinkle your smashed Fritos, pretzels and sprinkles onto separate small plates.

In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the butter, light corn syrup and water and stir until the mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stir until chips are melted and glaze is shiny.

Grab an apple by the skewer and dip each apple into the chocolate glaze and roll until covered in chocolate. Immediately dip apple into  a chosen topping until the bottom half of the apple is covered.

Place apple onto a wax paper covered baking sheet. Repeat until each apple is covered and embellished.

Chill in fridge for 20-30 minutes until chocolate is set.

ENJOY!

Categories
Desserts Eat

Revive Your Sunday Supper with ONE-DISH Dinners

The concept of Sunday Supper was introduced to me 20 years ago. I met, fell in love with and married the oldest of three (first generation) strapping Greek boys. I was the first “not to be Greek” wife in the entire family.

No pressure, none at all.

I will never forget My Yanni inviting me to meet his family and enjoy a Sunday Supper with them. I was in no way prepared for what I was about to walk into. Sure I’d grown up enjoying family meals around the kitchen table but I had never experienced a weekly feast that included the entire extended family that could rival any major holiday.

Now imagine, if you will, walking into a kitchen pulsating with authentic Greek music, a mass of people laughing & talking loudly (including my in-laws speaking very fast and furiously and only in Greek) with a stove top full of bubbling pots, a table full of more chairs than I could count and me standing there in awe. It didn’t take long for me to be pulled in the delightful chaos and find myself setting the table alongside my soon-to-be-brother-in-laws while sipping on wine that had been placed in my hand without me even realizing it. Sunday Suppers were and still are quite the experience! Only now we have even more people crowded around the table and my mother-in-law seems to spend countless hours cooking in the kitchen. She will happily spend the whole day making everything from scratch. I gotta tell ya I’ve often worried about how in the world I would be capable of carrying on this most cherished tradition. That was, until I met Pam Anderson.

Pam is a phenomenal lady, culinary wizard and contributing editor of Fine Cooking magazine.  She has written many incredible cookbooks, but her latest, “Perfect ONE-DISH Dinners” has saved me, my family and the future of our Sunday Suppers! Her book is a collection of recipes for entire meals from the appetizer course to the dessert. And the best part? If you can believe that it gets any better, every main course is an easy one-dish meal.

When Pam and her lovely daughters invited me to write a post about Sunday Suppers and Perfect One-Dish Dinners, I was both honored and overjoyed! I had cooked from Pam’s cookbook already but using this as a fantastic source for all of my future Sunday Suppers had never occurred to me. And they are right! This book will assist me in Sunday Suppers for years to come. It will never leave my side, or my kitchen or my house or my life.

After pouring over the book for the perfect dish I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to go all out with a lamb recipe! I had never (gulp) ever dared to even think of preparing lamb before. The pressure to perform and to be compared to the centuries of relatives who had perfectly prepared lamb was just too much.

But now, knowing that I had Pam on my side, I decided to make the Braised Lamb Shanks.

Pam suggests starting the meal with Parmesan Pepper Crisps.

Crispy, salty, peppery, festive little clouds of perfection. The perfect way to tantalize your taste buds.

I will be making these religiously from this day forward.

After everyone had happily crunched away on the yummy Parmesan Crisps (and I had safely hidden some away for a midnight snack), the salad was served.

We dined on Baby Spinach with Fennel, Oranges, and Red Onion. The salad was perfection. Delicate baby spinach mixed with sweet juicy oranges, paired with red onions and the gentle flavor of black licorice provided by the fennel would make any Greek god dance.

Next, the moment that I had been waiting for. The unveiling of the lamb. The quintessential essence of Greek life. I couldn’t decide what was causing my forehead to bead with sweat more, the heat from the oven, the sting of my very first burn while cooking this dinner or the anticipation of waiting to see if I had cooked my way into the ranks of Greek Goddess.

After the oooh’s and aaah’s had subsided, the question that I had been dreading was asked. “Wendy honey (spoken in a thick Greek accent) how did you make this?” “It’s delicious.”

*Rats*

I had to admit right there and then in all my glory that I had indeed not slaved over 15 boiling pots to prepare this incredible meal. I admitted that this delicious meal was made in <sigh> one-dish. The tender lamb and succulent side of beans with tomatoes and vegetables, they were all made in one-dish in no time flat. And my mother-in-law? To my surprise, she was overjoyed and intrigued by my one-dish method.

The finale of my flawless Greek inspired meal was the Shredded Baklava Cups. They were nothing short of a religious experience. You’ll never believe how easy it is!

First, you’ll want to place 12 cupcake liners into muffin tins and spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray.

These are the simple ingredients that you’ll need: honey, sugar, pistachios, butter and cinnamon.

And of course, phyllo dough, the star of this delectable dessert.

When working with phyllo dough, the key to perfection is keeping the phyllo moist.

A damp dish towel wrapped around the dough covered in plastic does the trick.

You’ll want to create ribbons out of the phyllo dough and it’s really very simple. Leaving the phyllo rolled up, cut crosswise into 1 inch slices.

Shake each cut section of phyllo dough into a bowl allowing them to fall and voila you’ve got ribbons.

Next, pour 1 cup of pistachios into a food processor,

and pulse until finely ground.

Sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of the finely ground pistachios and cinnamon into the phyllo ribbons and toss.

Pour 1/4 of the melted butter over the phyllo ribbons, toss to coat…

and repeat until butter is gone.

There is just nothing more divine than a bowl of phyllo dough ribbons covered in butter, cinnamon and pistachios.

OPA!

Now you’re ready to fill each muffin cup with the phyllo ribbons,

press gently with finger tips.

Sprinkle remainder of finely ground pistachios over each phyllo cup.

Bake for 22-25 minutes at 350º until golden brown.

In the meantime, bring 6 tablespoons of honey, water and sugar to a boil, set aside and let cool.
Drizzle over Baklava cups then prepare yourself to taste a little piece of heaven.

W.S. Gilbert once wrote:

“It’s not so much what’s on the table that matters, as much as what’s in the chairs.”

But after easily preparing, heartily consuming and thoroughly enjoying a delicious one-dish meal, I kinda think that I can enjoy BOTH.

May you & your family enjoy many special Sunday Suppers to come.

Wenderly

Here’s Pam’s Shredded Baklava Cups recipe, you can buy the book on Amazon for all of the other delicious recipes!

Shredded Baklava Cups
Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners
(makes 12 servings)

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 8-ounce package (from a 16-ounce box) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup roasted pistachios, finely ground in a food processor, set aside 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons water

Here’s what you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350º. Place 12 cupcake liners into muffin tins and spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray.

Slice rolled phyllo dough crosswise into 1 inch strips.

Place phyllo strips into bowl by shaking into ribbons. Pour in all but 2 tablespoons of finely ground pistachios and cinnamon, toss gently with fingers to evenly coat phyllo ribbons.

Pour melted butter 1/4 at a time over phyllo ribbons, toss to coat, repeat until butter is gone.

Fill each muffin liner with phyllo ribbons, gently press into cups with fingers and sprinkle each with remaining ground pistachios.

Bake for 22-25 minutes until golden brown.

How to make honey drizzle:

Pour 6 tablespoons of honey, water and sugar into a pan and bring to boil. Set mixture aside until cooled to warm. Drizzle honey mixture over Baklava cups.

Enjoy!

Make Sure to Enjoy More Sunday Supper One-Dish Dinners From These Fab Peeps!

TickledRed.com

SheWearsManyHats.com

DadCooksDinner.com

RecipeGirl.com

ArtofGlutenFreeBaking.com

KitchenGadgetGirl.com

MyBakingAddiction.com

ThisWeekForDinner.com

BluebonnetsandBrownies.com

TheSensitivePantry.com

WhatsCookingBlog.com

TwoPeasandTheirPod.com

WhatsGabyCooking.com

Bellalimento.com

SmithBites.com

MyFavoriteEverything.com

FoodForMyFamily.com

SavoringTheThyme.com

Ivoryhut.com

DineAndDish.net

WhatWeAreEating.com

PickyPalate.com

GlutenFreeGirl.com

HowTo-Simplify.com

lafujimama.com

Sugarcrafter.com

Rookiemoms.com

Steamykitchen.com

Lapommedeportland

Categories
Desserts Eat

Ice Cream Pop-Tart Treats

My girls were laughing their heads off as the ice cream dribbled down my chin. But I didn’t care.

A couple of weeks ago we saw a commercial on TV that suggested the clever idea of squishing ice cream between two pop tarts. We all looked at each other with eyes the size of saucers and said, “we have to make those!”

Finally, after putting it off because summertime fun was getting in the way, my tween Sassafras and I decided that we could wait no longer…

It’s been hotter than Hades around here and we needed a sweet treat to cool us off. And let me tell you, these little gems did just that while at the same time tickled my imagination as well as my heart!

Here’s what you’ll need, pop-tarts-

we chose cinnamon, cherry and chocolate.

Ice cream-

we chose vanilla and mint chocolate chip.

And of course some yummy sugary toppings to round out the fun!

Mini chocolate chips, sugar in the raw and rainbow sprinkles. I think that my inner child has been happily satisfied after making these joyful little treats.

First cut the pop-tarts in half.

I would like to take this opportunity thank my darling daughter, Sassafras, for assisting me in this fun adventure (this was the first of many I’m sure)! She gives My Yanni a run for his money in the hand modeling category, dontcha think?  And the nails…she decided to give the traditional “french manicure” an updated look. I think she may have pulled it off!

Now back to the ice cream pop-tart treats!

Don’t pop-tarts just make you smile?

Nothing makes me feel more like a kid again than pop-tarts!

Our first combination was vanilla ice cream sandwiched between cherry pop-tarts with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

If that doesn’t make you want to smile, then I don’t know what will.

Except perhaps ice cream…

Let your ice cream soften a tad then spread it onto your pop-tart.

Gently press the two pop-tarts together and then run a knife along the edge to smooth the ice cream as much as possible.

Dip the edges of your ice cream sandwich into your sprinkles. Work quickly, the ice cream likes to melt and fast. I found that popping them into the freezer for a few minutes before embellishing the edges helped.

As you can see, the ice cream was beginning to get a bit soft. No worries, that just gave us a reason to sample the goods!

Our second decadent combination was mint chocolate chip ice cream between chocolate fudge pop-tarts finished off with mini chocolate chips on the edges.

Oh. My. Word.

Talk about a cool breeze of refreshing minty, chocolaty goodness…gives peppermint patties a run for their money any day of the week.

And last but certainly not least we used a delicious cinnamon pop-tart and paired it with vanilla ice cream and then adorned with sparkly sugar in the raw.

So elegant and simple.

These classic flavors are simply heavenly together.

And the end result of giving this fun little ditty a try? A house full of happy campers who are cooled off, sugared up and have a smile permanently displayed on their lips.

In between bites of ice cream pop-tart treats that is.

What childhood summer treat makes you smile?

– Wenderly

Categories
Appetizers Desserts Eat Snacks

Patriotic Watermelon & Feta Flag

I love the 4th of July! I love everything about it. The parade, the picnics, the friends and family, the fireworks. What I don’t like is rushing around worrying about what I can make for all of the festivities! Last year as I was planning and plotting about what dishes to make for the holiday packed with picnics and parties the thought occurred to me…

Does it really have to be this difficult?

No.

I heard myself say out loud.

Thank goodness this “self discussion” was going on in the comfort of my own home and not in the middle of my local grocery store is all I have to say.

Not only did I talk to myself out loud, I’m quite certain that I clapped & jumped with glee over the idea of a watermelon feta flag as it popped into my head. And blueberries! Don’t forget the blueberries! We just went to Berryfield Farms and picked blueberries so this year my flag will be embellished with delicious, fresh off the bush, blueberries!

I adore watermelon and feta. Have you ever tried it? Sweet & salty, creamy & juicy. The flavors compliment one another in a way that will make your mouth sing (or maybe even talk out loud).

My Yanni introduced me to this decadent duo years ago while on our honeymoon in Greece. And you know what they say,”when in Greece…” so I gave in and instantly fell in love!

These are the fresh and gorgeous ingredients.

Watermelon, feta and blueberries.

I just love the colors and textures together.

Next you’ll need a platter, preferably a rectangle but an oval would work too and a small bowl.

Pour the blueberries into the bowl and place at the top left corner for the stars.

Next, slice your feta because feta makes everything “betta” (at least that’s what I think).

Cut the slices into cubes.

I used one 8oz square of feta.

Don’t ya just want to pop one in your mouth?

I did…………………………………..(don’t tell anyone)!

Next, the watermelon. I used half of a seedless watermelon. As a far as quantity goes for this recipe, it depends on the size of the platter you use. It’s always better to have to0 much than too little because my family is always lurking about ready to dive in, therefore the extras come in handy (don’t mess with mama’s stars & stripes).

It’s all about the stars & stripes when making a watermelon feta flag ya know.

So cut your watermelon into slices.

Trim off the rind.

Cut the watermelon int to strips.

And finally cubes.

Now grab a platter with bowl of blueberries,

and place the watermelon and feta into pretty rows starting with the watermelon until you fill the platter!

Now don’t forget cute little toothpicks for easy not to mention healthy handling of the goods!

And that is my easy peasy patriotic no hassel 4th of July watermelon feta flag!

Hope you enjoy a lovely holiday weekend!

Wenderly

Here’s the easy peasy recipe:

Patriotic watermelon & Feta Flag
 
A sweet & salty refreshingly delightful treat!
Ingredients
  • Half of a seedless watermelon
  • 8 ounces of feta cheese
  • 1 pint of blueberries
Instructions
  1. Cut and cube half of a seedless watermelon.
  2. Cube 8 ounces of feta.
  3. Rinse off 1 pint of fresh blueberries.
  4. Pour blueberries into a bowl, preferably square and place in the top left corner of a rectangle (or oval) platter.
  5. Assemble watermelon and feta into rows, starting with the watermelon.
 
Notes
Serve with a side of toothpicks for easy and healthy handling of the food.

 

Categories
Desserts Eat

Blueberry Fields Forever {and a Blueberry Compote Recipe}

This past Saturday I actually escaped from suburbia and enjoyed a little taste of heaven. It’s not too often that I leave my little bubble, so I jumped at the chance when my sister-in-law invited my clan to join her clan in a blueberry picking adventure at Berryfield Farm. My clan and I had never before been blueberry picking and we had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even really know for sure what a blueberry bush even looked like, you don’t see many in suburbia ya’ know.

It was a delightful and charming experience it was from beginning to end.

Total bliss.

It was as if we had all stepped into a fairytale for the day. I kid you not. And we even had four children in tow, ranging in ages from 3-12.

And this is how it began…

With country roads.

Loooong, winding, beautiful, lazy country roads.

And storybook farms and fields of corn and wheat swaying in the breeze.

I was almost ready to break into a hearty “God Bless America” but then remembered that I was in a car with 5 other people and decided against it.

And did I mention the big sky… I didn’t even realize that we had sky this big in Ohio.

Sometimes we all just need to take drive on a country road and stare out the window. It’s very therapeutic and relaxing (and much cheaper than traditional therapy, I’m just sayin).

After thoroughly enjoying our relaxing drive down country roads, I almost forgot where I was going (even with four children mind you) until we saw the sign, then we knew that there was no question that we had indeed had reached our final destination.

I mean seriously, how darling is that sign for goodness sakes?

But then we drove up the dirt drive only to lay our eager eyes on this darling little barn that sat all nestled in amongst the blueberry bushes.

I felt like I needed to keep pinching myself, was I awake? Or still at home dreaming away in a deep slumber? It just kept getting better and better.

Then we met this charming fellow. Meet Curtis. He is the one responsible for this whole fairytale experience.

He even has twinkly little blueberries for eyes doesn’t he?

After having the pleasure of chatting with Curtis, he handed us one of those crisp white buckets lined with clear bags and invited us to sample the fruits of our labor while harvesting and sent us on our merry little way into the rows of blueberry bushes.

I was still not prepared for the beauty and serenity of this adventure.

Rows and rows of bushes chock full of little blue bundles of bliss just waiting to be picked.

As I mentioned earlier, I had (sadly) never laid eyes on a blueberry bush before.

Blueberry bushes are lovely.

They have no thorns lurking about ready to snag picking fingers, instead they are filled with tiny, smooth, unassuming leaves that don’t get in your way. The ripened pale blue berries are waiting to be picked and they gently roll off of the stem and into your hand.

They feel like suede.

This picking (which was supposed to be work wasn’t it?) was even more therapeutic then the relaxing ride to the farm.

In the back of my mind I was half expecting to hear epic movie music come wafting through the bushes at any given moment.

But instead and more perfectly fitting, was the happy, bubbly sound of birds singing to their hearts content.

Fairytale, storybook…heck even Disney, call it what you like, it was heaven on earth I tell you. If you’ve never gone blueberry picking then take it from me..

You. Simply. Must.

Blueberries…

Gorgeous aren’t they? Can’t you just taste ’em? Sweet, sweet SWEETNESS with a hint of tartness.

We could have roamed all day long in the rows of blueberry bushes.

But I already had 5 pounds of the little darlings and my sister-in-law had, well about four times that, (she was on a mission) so we decided to call it a day. Once we made our way back to the little red barn, with our buckets full and our hearts happy, we settled up our pickings with Curtis.

And enjoyed visiting with the sweet old pooch.

I mean seriously, will the picture perfect everything ever end?

Nope.

Even beautiful wildflowers were scattered about blowing in the breeze.

Now I can’t take you all the way to Berryfield Farm to pick pounds of delicious blueberries and not share a recipe with you now can I?

No, I don’t think I can.

Now sit back and watch how easy it is to make a blueberry compote.

These are the four simple ingredients.

Two cups of blueberries, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water. That’s all.

Pour one cup blueberries, water and sugar into a pan.

Next add two teaspoons of lemon juice.

Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add remaining 1 cup of blueberries and cook for 8 more minutes.

Stir well during these last 8 minutes.

The compote will be a thick consistency with some of the blueberries still in tact.

I had to take a bite before the drool made contact with the pan.

It was dreamy.

Now find a pretty glass and add some vanilla ice cream , then pour the warm, thick blueberry compote right over top.

Look at the ice cream marrying itself to the compote.

It’s a dream couple, they’re just perfect for each other.

I took one bite and nearly lost consciousness.

I decided that I needed another opinion and let My Yanni take a bite…

Lucky little devil.

This is all I got back.

If you need me I will be roaming the blueberry fields. If not in real life…then in my dreams.

Forever.

Enjoy.

Wenderly

Blueberry Compote
 
Author: Wenderly
Four simple ingredients that turn blueberries into a decadent, thick and sweet treat!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 freshly squeezed meyer lemon
Instructions
  1. Place 1 cup blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Give a good stir.
  2. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in the remaining cup of blueberries and cook for about 8 minutes more, stirring almost constantly. The compote will be a thick consistency with some of the blueberries still in tact.
  4. Serve warm over vanilla ice cream or enjoy by the spoonful all by itself!
 
Notes
Adapted from from Ellie Krieger

 

Categories
Desserts

Heavenly Cinnamon Scones

O.k.- I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally never met a scone I didn’t like.

I mean, what’s not to like about a dense, ( yet flaky) sweet, (but not too sweet) perfect for ANYTIME of day decedent treat? Right?

I made my very first scone about 8 years ago after going to a friend’s house for a morning play date with our girls. She served coffee and scones and I JUST COULDN’T get over the fact that she had actually made them herself. I oohed and aah-ed and asked all kinds of questions like, “how long did it take?” “was it difficult?” “did you need special tools?” Looking back now, I sounded like Mrs. Kravitz interrogating Bewitched during one of their little neighborhood coffees.

But I  just couldn’t help myself. I was dumbfounded by the fact that she had (with her own hands) made these delicious, heavenly scones. (I knew that she was a good cook and all, but this was different, this was divine).

Finally, (probably out of embarrassment, and to get me to shut my mouth) she offered up the recipe. And to this day, I’ve made dozens upon dozens of scones. They are perfect for every occasion, from birthdays to baby showers or just when you want to really knock the socks off of your lady friends  next time they gather in your home for coffee. (and the one that keeps yappin her flapper about how good they are?…well, you may just want to have a copy ready and on hand ).

Here are the delicious secrets…

The recipe happened to be one of Martha Stewart herself. I am certainly no Martha, but have found that I do enjoy her recipes. The original recipe called for dried-apricot and sage scones, but I’ve substituted in cinnamon chips instead. And trust me, It’s a good thing.

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that one!


These are the ingredients that you’ll need: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter (keep the butter nice & cold) cinnamon chips, heavy cream and sanding sugar (you’ll use that as a finishing touch to make the little gems sparkle).

 

In a large bowl, pour in flour, sugar, baking powder, and cubed (cold) butter.

Now grab your pastry blender (or fork) and work butter into flour mix until it looks like coarse meal.

Now for the fun part.

Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get down-n-dirty.

Pour in heavy cream, and with your (clean) hands, just start grabbing and mixing and squishing until it starts to hold together.

Pour in cinnamon chips (make sure to pop one in your mouth for good measure) and continue mixing until incorporated.

Don’t mix too much because you don’t want the butter to get too warm from your hands, it will effect the flaky goodness.

Next,flour you work surface, pat dough onto an 8-inch circle 1 inch thick, pick up your handy dandy bench scraper (or knife) and cut into wedges. I usually cut 10, but you can cut as many as your little heart desires! Then place on a cookie sheet with a silpat mat (or parchment paper) so your scones don’t burn.

FYI- I love my silpat mat, it really does make a difference in the quality of your baking, you can get one at any baking goods store. It makes me feel all fancy, and like I’m on my own cooking show as silly as it sounds. But that’s just me…silly.


Now grab some heavy cream, a pastry brush and your sanding sugar (or sugar in the raw works too! I like the way the brown looks, personally).

Brush on the cream.

Sprinkle generously with sugar, this will really give your scones that lovely sparking finish and pop them in the oven.

Now sit back, relax and wait to become dizzily intoxicated by the sinfully delicious aroma of the cinnamon scones that YOU made with your own two hands.

Happy Baking!

Wenderly

P.S. Did you know that a scone a day keeps the doctor away? (well in my world it does anyway)

Cinnamon Chip Scones
 
Serves: 8
Heavenly cinnamony scones that will melt your heart.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • *sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in butter with your finger-tips or pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse meal. Stir in cinnamon chips. Add cream: now gather mixture together with hands until it starts to stick together.
  2. Place mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Work quickly & bring dough together in a ball shape; then pat flat into an 8- inch circle 1 inch thick. Cut into 8-10 wedges, or make smaller wedges for more scones.
  3. Transfer wedges to a silpat mat (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar (or sugar in the raw). Bake for about 30 minutes until cooked through and golden brown. After baking transfer scones to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
 

 

Categories
Desserts

Darling Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

SOOOOOO, day number two of blogging for me and I must say that it’s been a very whirlwind, very exciting, adrenaline filled weekend! Which for me, is actually more the norm than anything low key and relaxing! I’m always multitasking 15 things at once.  Picture the guy at the circus that twirls plates on sticks only the plates are filled with baked goodies, paint brushes, my handy dandy glue gun, and various other little ditties that assist me in my daily creative endeavors.

Oh, and my Starbucks.  I ALWAYS have my Starbucks (venti half caf with cream). yum. I’m actually enjoying one right this very minute as I’m typing.

More about that later.

But while I’m sharing I might as well let you in on another hobby of mine…reading magazines-the home/ decor/food/design/entertaining, you name it. I also have Food Network or HGTV or Fine Living on at all times!

Even when I’m gone, I leave it on Food Network for my dog, Oakley. Seriously.

He loves it and it helps him relax, watching all of that delicious, beautiful, goodness. He told me.

So, I’m always looking for yummy, EASY, recipes that are fun and seasonal  that my family and friends can all enjoy! For Easter, I was in charge of dessert, so I dug  through my “recipe file” and came up with the Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes topped with the sweet little phyllo bird nests. (I love bird nests….don’t worry, I won’t get started on that tangent right now) I figure that cupcakes with sweet little yummy nests can be enjoyed any day, right?

Now for the recipes…

FOR THE CAKE

I used Ree’s recipe, (aka The Pioneer Woman) but you can use anything you’d like, even a box cake in a pinch!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Preparation Instructions

First, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Next melt some butter in a sauce pan. Once the butter is melted, add the cocoa and stir together.
Pour in boiling water allowing mixture to boil for 30 seconds. Pour mixture over the flour mixture and stir gently to cool.

Mix the buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla together and stir into chocolate mixture.

Now I made cupcakes not a sheet cake, so I put paper cups in the cupcake tins and used an ice cream scoop to put the batter in easily and evenly (the batter is very thin) and then bake at 350-degrees for 20-25 minutes.

FOR THE ICING

For the icing, I wanted something smooth and shiny to set off the nests, so I turned to Ina Garten for a little help. Ganache sounds very fancy and very difficult but it’s very simple and very tasty, so I love to use it! (I’m all about anything that’s easy AND impressive)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granule

Place the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee into a double boiler over simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is melted and smooth.

FOR THE BIRD NESTS

Now for the show stopper…the darling little bird nests. For this, only Martha would do! Now I made mini nests in mini cupcake tins so I ended up with 24 little gems. Make sure to watch that they don’t burn – mine were finished in 10 minutes.

Ingredients (makes 12):

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for tin
  • 8 ounces (1/2 package) kataifi, thawed
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Jelly beans, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the 12 mini-muffin tins with melted butter.  Next separate the phyllo and lay them out in 1-inch-thick bundles, then cut bundles into 2 inches pieces with kitchen shears. Put all of the phyllo into a bowl and shake it into a loose pile with fingers. Pour in the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon and toss until all is coated. Evenly divide the phyllo and place into the 12 mini-muffin cups. You’ll want to gently press the sides and bottom to form the shape of a nest. Cook 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Let cool in the tin and then remove.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now, once the cupcakes are cooled, dip them in the ganache and while they are wet gently press the nests on the top, and fill with jelly beans!

VOILA!!!!

Darling, easy peasy lemon squeezy chocolate ganache cupcakes topped with adorable little nests.

ENJOY!

From me to you!

-Wenderly