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Friday, October 20, 2017

PISTACHIO CAKE

I first had the pleasure of tasting pistachio cake at a vendor tasting several years ago.   It was so yummy.....and I have to tell you I'm not a huge pistachio fan.  They actually called it bread, but the slices were in the shape of a bundt pan.  So after baking a couple other breads recently, I decided to scour the web for some pistachio bread/cake recipes.    I tried two.  The one I'm sharing is by far the better of the two and is baked in a bundt pan.  It's a super easy recipe to make since the foundation is a yellow box cake mix!


INGREDIENTS: 

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box pistachio pudding (3.4 oz)
1 cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
Powdered Sugar


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix at medium speed for two minutes.  If you prefer a little extra color you can add a couple drops of green food color (I did add the color to mine)

Pour into a prepared bundt pan (greased and lightly floured).  Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Unmold from pan.   Dust with powdered sugar

Enjoy!!


recipe c/o:  www.amandascookin.com

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PUMPKIN BREAD

Our first snowfall of the season happened yesterday, and I promptly ran to the grocery so I could do some baking.  I love to bake, especially during the fall and winter months.  The way the aromas fill the whole house makes me one happy girl!

I have to tell you I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, something about the consistency.  So, I thought I'd try something else with a "pumpkiny"flavor.  So, I went with a pumpkin bread.  Holy cow.....this recipe was a very pleasant surprise.  Intense pumpkin flavor and really moist!   I dare you to stop at just one piece.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all purpose (for us high altitude folks, I use the King Arthur Hungarian for all my baking)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 15 oz. can 100% pure pumpkin

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray and add parchment paper with about 1" extending over the long sides of the pan to help lift the loaves out after baking.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl; use a whisk to mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter on medium speed until just blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until very light and fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin.  The mixture might look grainy and curdled....don't fret.

At low speed, beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well combined.

Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly and bake for 65-75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let loaves cool about 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Enjoy!

Recipe c/o:  www.onceuponachef.com

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE DIP

I just tried this a few days ago when I had several folks over for dinner.  I was looking for something a little different for dessert and this one just sounded like fun.  Something casual, unique....oh, not to mention--yummy!
This dessert dip can be made ahead of time.  No need to chill it.  Just decide what snacks you want to offer with it....and have fun on your presentation.     In my case, I went with Lorna Doones, graham crackers, pretzels, and apple slices.  But, I did just dip one of those luscious strawberries in it that I used for the picture and it was awesome!

INGREDIENTS:

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (I went with the 1/3 less fat variety)
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup caramel sauce 
¼-½ cup milk
1 Tbsp. sea salt
2 cups Devil's Food Cake Mix (dry)

DIRECTIONS:

Using an electric mixer, mix together the cream cheese, butter and caramel sauce until smooth.  Add the Devil's Food Cake to the mixture, slowly add some milk as you mix to make it easier to blend.  Add the powdered sugar and milk until you reach the desired consistency.   Finally add the sea salt.  

Enjoy!!

Tip:  In order to maintain the final consistency, it's important NOT to chill it before serving.  I made mine earlier in the day and chose to do that, and it was a complete game changer.   Should you have leftovers....and you very well might since it makes a TON....be sure to take it out of the fridge to reach room temp before serving.  

recipe c/o:  www.tornadoughalli.com

Friday, September 8, 2017

CHICKEN CAPRESE

This recipe has everything you might want in a meal.  It's fast, it's fresh, it's delicious...oh, and it's easy cleanup! You can literally have this cooked and on the dinner table in just about 40 minutes.  Add your favorite side or a fresh salad and you're set.
Everything is cooked in the same skillet, so it's a one pot cleanup.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ tsp. herbes de provence
fresh out of the oven!
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 thick slices mozzarella cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes 
¼ cup basil leaves
2 Tbsp. quality aged balsamic vinegar*

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small prep bowl, combine all of the dry seasonings, with the exception of the basil leaves.  Season the chicken on both sides (I actually had to double the seasonings since my chicken breasts were so large)

Set a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes each side.

Place skillet into the preheated oven and bake until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees; about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top the chicken breasts with cheese, return to the oven and broil 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is gooey.  Remove and top with tomatoes and basil, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.  

*I tried the balsamic vinegar but due to the consistency it slid right off the breast.  I opted to use a balsamic salad dressing which had more body allowing it to stay on the chicken.  

recipe adapted from:  www.lifemadesimple.com

Monday, September 4, 2017

TULLE BRIDESMAID SKIRTS

One of the special wedding projects I was asked to help with this year, included making tulle skirts for three bridesmaids.  This was an outdoor rustic wedding, which included blue jeans, boots and some fun skirts for the girls!
I chose to make circle skirts to limit the gathers at the waist. There aren't many gals who like a lot of extra fullness at their waistline, so by creating a circle pattern it makes for some fun fullness at the hemline, with a much smoother waistline.

This bride definitely had a vision for her girls, including the boots, denim jackets and wide leather belts.  Such a fun pop of color for the day!

Kaitlyn also asked me to make a couple of other items for her big day.  One was a hairpiece, the other a garter.

The hairpiece I made with layers of off-white fabric and a hint of the purple to match the purple flowers in the bouquets.  I topped it off with a bit of lace, russian netting and a pretty rhinestone button for the center.

The garter was really special since she wanted to incorporate a piece of her Mom's gown.  I chose to use a lace medallion from the bodice and we also added a bow for her "something blue".  Kaitlyn also asked me to make a second one, not because they were having a garter toss, but she wanted to gift it to her single sister as a surprise.  Isn't that sweet? I understand tears flowed when she gave it to her!
It turned out to be a wonderful wedding.  It took place at a private residence with nine acres of open space for hosting a beautiful ceremony and plenty of options for photos that would match the rustic theme.

The reception was a BBQ, followed by lots of dancing underneath a mason jar chandelier.

Thanks Kaitlyn for letting me be a part of your big day.   Best Wishes and much happiness to you and Justin!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

HANDKERCHIEF DRESS

The second Shea Marie design for our styled shoot was this sexy handkerchief dress.   If you didn't see my other post with the first outfit, check it out here.   It's made of a taupe chiffon which has about eight yards of fabric in the finished design.  The circle skirt is completely draped by hand, so no two dresses would be exactly alike!  The criss cross halter creates a peek-a-boo at the front and a completely backless design.  So pretty on a figure like Gabby's.....va va voom!!  Mr. Casino doesn't look too shabby either.
As I draped the skirt, I purposely made some pieces shorter than others.  It creates such pretty lines and high/low points within the circumference of the skirt letting some leg shine through here and there.  Plus, the finished look is so dreamy and feminine.

The gathered cumberband waistband is a perfect compliment to the gathers in the halter and the folds in the skirt.
Love this....as I said before, seeing my designs on a live model is such a treat.  Thank you Gabby and Casino for taking time out to make my designs look extra special!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

BUSTIER AND LONG SKIRT

This project was purely for fun.  I fell in love with the 3D chiffon fabric while shopping for another project and decided I just had to order some!    After months of being tucked away in my fabric closet, I had a window of opportunity and decided it was time  to do something with it.  I had always felt that it would work well in a more formal design.   As luck would have it, I was able to find a solid crepe fabric locally that was an absolute perfect match and would be the perfect compliment to it.  I knew I was headed toward a layered look to highlight the light and airy feel of the 3D fabric, and after playing around with several ideas, I opted to use it as a peplum for the skirt.
Once I landed on the skirt concept, I decided a bustier would be the perfect top.  I actually purchased a strapless/backless bra and constructed my lace around the foundation.  It was fun actually!  I used some ivory lace remnants and trim I already had..... and made some spaghetti straps from a matching ivory fabric with a fun criss-cross design to finish it off.

You may recognize Gabby....she was my model for a number of the veils I offer on my Etsy shop.  She and her horse Casino were so much fun to work with!  We had a gorgeous summer night with a yummy sunset for our shoot.   It is such a treat to see my designs in person, I can't tell you.  I'm so used to seeing them on my dressform or hanging on a rack, that it swells my heart to have them captured this way! Thanks Gabby, Casino and of course, KB Digital Designs for helping me highlight my work in such a unique way!