A blunder in my kitchen!

Do you ever experience a completely botched up recipe in your kitchen?  How about a baking blunder?  Well, that is exactly what happened to me in my kitchen on Good Friday.  I was trying to make some hot cross buns typically served on this day; my intentions were good, I knew my husband and I would love them (even though I am trying my darnedest to stay away from AP flour) but am not really succeeding, but I had all the ingredients and I was ready to don my apron and get working.  I love the wonderful aroma of warm bread permeating through the entire house don’t you?

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Devilishly Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes, cupcakes and more cupcakes.  They are the culinary rage now aren’t they?  Just about everywhere you go, you see them.  They aren’t just for kids parties anymore, adults crave them just as much.  The great thing about cupcakes, is that you can adorn them in your own special way,  thus personalizing it to one’s own unique creation and theme.  Cupcakes are perfect for all seasons and occasions, I’ve even seen them at wedding receptions and formal functions.  I guess they are pretty versatile and can be eaten straight from the cupcake liner without the need for silverware.  It is much easier to transport to a picnic, birthday celebration or bridal/baby showers too.  Now that we’re all sold on adult cupcakes, let’s take a peek at these cupcakes shall we?  It is topped with a fudgy buttercream layer, the chocolate cake just melts in your mouth.  Do take my word for it, say hello to the ultimate, devilishly decadent chocolate cupcake!  My camera did get a workout, so I hope you will enjoy these  images.

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Almond sandwich cookies and warm Season’s Greetings

I’m taking this opportunity to wish my readers and all my blogger buddies around the world a Blessed and peaceful Christmas season.  It has been such a pleasure getting to know you all on a more personal level, I’ve enjoyed all your blogs and have learned so much on the art of blogging.  Here’s hoping that 2016 will have us sharing more wonderful recipes, travel adventures and gardening projects.

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Pistachio Cranberry Dark Chocolate Bark

Here’s a real quick idea for a wee holiday gift that you can make in about 20 minutes.  A few pieces wrapped in cellophane tied with  ribbon, would make for a nice thoughtful gift wouldn’t it?  I used to love baking cookies, cakes and other goodies to hand out as holiday gifts in Christmases past, but now I don’t seem to be as enthused about baking gifts.  Perhaps that’s because I don’t trust myself with anything sweet lying around the house?  Truth be told I’m a chocoholic, well who isn’t?  But I try not to tempt myself except on special occasions, and with Christmas around the corner, I believe that special occasion is here.  Don’t you agree?

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It’s cranberry season time and this simple pie is sinfully scrumptious!

We’re just a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, a holiday I absolutely love.  In fact I probably have more of a fondness and appreciation for this holiday over Christmas since it is not as commercialized.  The First Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World.  Today Thanksgiving evokes images of football, family reunions, Thanksgiving parades, roasted turkey with stuffing, pumpkin pie and giving thanks.  For most Americans it is a 4 day weekend, Thanksgiving being celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.  It is a holiday I look forward to as it involves togetherness, food, warmth and sharing.

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The Laurels Preserve with a sweet ending!

Fall is the second  most favorite season for me, Spring being my first.   Every Fall, nature showcases a brilliant display of colors and leaf-peeping trips are planned all over to take in a glimpse of nature’s splendor.  There are many factors that can impact the leaves, such as a sudden drop in temperature or a violent storm that blows the leaves off the trees before they have a chance to fall.  The Northeast United States probably has the most splendid display of colors.  Reds, yellows, and orange hues seem to fire up the sky, in places it almost seems like the sky is ablaze and indescribably beautiful.  The cooler, crisp nights bring better results.

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Coconut Carrot Muffins

It must be that time of year when everybody is baking muffins.  Now that the Fall weather has finally made an appearance, there’s nothing better than the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and other Fall aromas permeating the home.  Last week’s Fiesta Friday saw an array of muffins in every shape, taste and color.  I had made these about 2 weeks ago, loved them so much that I decided to make another batch and freeze them.  The addition of coconut definitely gives these muffins a wonderful texture, the applesauce and coconut oil makes it truly moist and the crunch of the almonds and the chewy raisins makes it wholesome and hearty.

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Strawberry, Rhubarb, Coconut, Date and Oat Squares

Try saying “Would you care for a strawberry, rhubarb, coconut, date and oat square?”  Quite a mouthful eh?  Once you’ve tried one, I warn you they are pretty addictive.  I was trying to use up some of the delicious jams that we had bought on our recent trip to Quebec.  We bought about four jars of an assortment of freshly made jams from a nearby farm.  I wanted to use one of the jars in a baked good and immediately our dear friend Selma’s recipe came to mind.  I adapted the recipe to incorporate dates, lemon zest and extra coconut just because I enjoy those last two ingredients.  You can make this entire recipe in just one bowl, which saves time and a lot of washing up too.  I’d urge you to check Selma’s page for tips and tricks on preparing your baking tin.  Here is the recipe from Selma’s blog with a couple of extra ingredients that I added.

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Frozen treats for summer

The dog days of summer are upon us all too soon on the East Coast of the USA.  Temperatures have soared, the humidity is uncomfortable and everything is just about wilting.  The last two weeks in May have seen unseasonably warm temperatures, but hopefully with some much needed rain predicted this week, things will cool down and we will enjoy some more favorable weather for the month of June.  What is the weather like where you are?

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Pear Clafouti

Clafouti is a classic French dessert traditionally made with black cherries.  Today’s recipe substitutes the cherries for pears.  Specifically Bartlett pears.  I love The Barefoot Contessa, aka Ina Garten and today’s dessert recipe features Ina’s Pear Clafouti.   Ina developed her love of French cuisine while living in France on a four month camping vacation.  I’ve posted a few of her other recipes on my blog.  Don’t you just love her presentation and how she cooks such awesome meals for her husband?  The fresh flowers and rustic arrangements either inside her home or in her garden are beautifully assembled.  Now, I’m no Ina Garten, nor do I own a home in The Hamptons (although I’d dearly love to), but in many ways, I think I am just like Ina when it comes to preparing fresh meals every single day for my husband.

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Banana Blueberry Bread

Don’t you just love baking sweet breads when your fruit is looking rather sad in the fruit bowl?  I think there’s no dearth of bread recipes when it comes to a fast, nutritious breakfast or tea break.  This bread definitely clicked all the boxes for me, the bananas were pretty ripe and there were fresh blueberries and applesauce in the refrigerator.  The fact that this recipe called for white wholewheat flour, meant that I could eat an additional slice at each sitting minus the guilt :).  I found this recipe on Skinnytaste.com.  The ingredients on this site are always fresh, low-fat and hearty.

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