Category Archives: Desserts

DIY Rainbow Treats

Not only are rainbows beautiful, they were sent as a promise from God.  These quick and simple little treats are perfect for Easter, March, or even Rainbow themed parties!

DIY Rainbow Treats: Quick & Simple

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

On a recent trip to Sam’s Club, a demonstrator was making these adorable treats and they were so perfect, they had to be shared!  The entire month of March we see rainbows with a pot of gold at the end.  During Springtime, they are prevalent throughout Easter and frequently seen across the clouds in the sky.

Continue reading DIY Rainbow Treats

Peach Mango Sorbet Recipe

Peach Sorbet Recipe

We spend a lot of time in a small coastal town called Beaufort, in eastern North Carolina, which is where the inspiration for IXEOS came from. In the summer, virtually everything we eat comes from the seafood market or farmers’ stands. One of our favorite things is fresh peach mango sorbet. Here’s the recipe:

PEACH MANGO SORBET

Approximately 5-6 fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and chopped

1 small ripe mango (regular or champagne), peeled and chopped

juice of 1 lime

½-1 cup simple syrup (recipe below)

3 tbsp vodka

ginger ale

Puree the peaches and mango with the lime juice and ½ cup of simple syrup.

Add the vodka (you won’t taste it, but it will keep ice crystals from forming in the sorbet). Taste and adjust sweetness with more simple syrup (will vary depending on sweetness of the peaches). Add ginger ale to make 5 cups.

Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.

SIMPLE SYRUP

Mix even quantities of water and sugar in a small saucepan (ie. 1 cup of each).  Bring to a boil and stir until all the sugar crystals are gone. Let cool before using in sorbet.

Keep leftover syrup in the fridge for up to 2 week.

NOTE:

You can use this basic recipe to make all kinds of fruit sorbets. Most ice cream makers take about 5 cups. When I make grapefruit sorbet, I juice about 4 cups of fresh juice, and add 1 cup of syrup (again, depends on the flavor of the grapefruit).

Fresh strawberry or strawberry mango sorbet is also delicious! The mango in these recipes enhances the other fruit without being a noticeable ingredient – I don’t even like mango on its own, but in sorbet it is excellent!

iXEOS R copy

Tour Schedule

ixeos rebIxeos Rebellion

With rebel leader Darian free at last, the humans and outsiders on Ixeos must find a way to join forces and defeat the Firsts. The problem? All slaves are tracked with GPS, the Firsts are the only ones with power, and roving gangs hate the rebels just as much as they hate the aliens. As Darian and the outsiders from Earth travel the globe through the mysterious tunnels in Paris, they learn that the Firsts are preparing to launch another wave of biological warfare. With a transporter that will allow the aliens to target any city, anywhere on the planet, the rebels know they must stop them at all costs.

As things get more dangerous on Ixeos, the outsiders find that they’re pushed to their limit. Will they fight for freedom, no matter the price?

 

Ixeos

The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. But the aliens aren’t the only problem on Ixeos — the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There’s no way home.

 

 

Author Jennings Wright

Born and raised in Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn’t spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.

Jennings attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She attended graduate school at the University of West Florida, studying Psychology. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit.

Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn’t stopped since. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a business owner and writer, and two children, and travels extensively with her family, and her non-profit in Uganda.

Originally posted 2013-07-21 08:24:35.

Torte Recipe & Ashes to Ashes Book Info

Image No 016
Why I Now Make Torte Not Scones (And a Recipe!)
by Julie Coulter Bellon

The kitchen fire in the second chapter of my book, Ashes Ashes, is actually based on a real event in my life.  I was seven months pregnant with my first child and my husband had been called in to work.  It was late and I knew he’d probably be hungry when he got home so I decided to make scones for him¾one of his favorite snacks to eat with honey butter.

We were newlyweds, in a tiny apartment, and as I put the oil on to heat, I sat down on the couch that was about three feet away.  Everything seemed to make me tired in those days, and I was just going to get off my feet for a second.  In what seemed like less than a minute, I heard a popping sound and I looked over to see flames coming from the frying pan, large enough to touch the microwave that was over the stove.

I panicked and tried to remember what to do for a grease fire.  First, I tried to put the lid on, but the flames were too high.  I got out the flour, but then I thought that might just splash the oil all over.  Things were getting really hot and the smoke was getting heavy, so I gave up and called 911.

As I was talking to the operator, I remembered that we had just bought a fire extinguisher and put it under the sink.  When I went to use it, the 911 operator told me not to, because it would splash the oil and spread the fire.  I opened the door so I could get my hamster and bird out of the apartment, and as I did so, two young men were riding by on their bicycles and saw the flames.  They couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen years old and yet they still rushed in to help.  One of them took the fire extinguisher from me and immediately used it on the pan and the fire was out in moments.

The fire department arrived a few minutes later, but I know the damage could have been much worse if that young man and his friend hadn’t helped me.  They left before I could get either of their names and I’ve always wondered if they knew how grateful I was for their take charge attitude and bravery in helping a pregnant woman they didn’t know to put out a fire.  I’ve never forgotten them, and now every time I read Ashes Ashes, I can remember their good deed again.

Because of this experience, I’ve never attempted to make scones again.  Instead, I make my husband’s favorite dessert that doesn’t require heated oil or much cooking of any sort on my part.  It’s called torte and this dessert is full of chocolate, cream cheese, and sweet goodness.  If you’ve never made a torte, especially in the summertime, you have been missing out!

Here’s the Bellon family recipe:

Torte

Step 1–The Crust

1 cube margarine

1/3 chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup flour

Mix margarine and flour together, scrunching it with your hands until it is like cookie dough.  Pat into a 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with nuts if desired and gently press in.  Bake at 325 degrees for twenty minutes.  Let thoroughly cool.

Step 2

1 cup powdered sugar

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese

1 cup cool whip

Mix powdered sugar together with cream cheese until well-blended.  Fold in cool whip.  Spread on cooled crust.  (Put in little dabs and then connect the dots.)

Step 3

2 small packages INSTANT chocolate pudding

2 small packages INSTANT butter pecan (or butterscotch or pistachio) pudding

6 cups milk

Mix two packages of chocolate pudding according to the package, only with 3 cups milk.  Spread over cream cheese mixture in pan.  Put in fridge for 5-10 minutes so chocolate pudding can set.  DO NOT mix butter pecan ahead of time or it will be too thick to spread.  Mix the two packages of butter pecan according to the package, only with 3 cups of milk and spread on top of the chocolate.  Spread layer of cool whip on the top.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts or chocolate shavings.  Chill 4 hours.  Can use any flavor of pudding, really, it all tastes good.
ashes ashes
Ashes Ashes
Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?
Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. senator. She’s worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it’s to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in. Yet. His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down. Getting arrested becomes the least of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out—if she tells him the truth.
Colby Black’s sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him. As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can’t protect the innocent despite his best efforts. When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri. But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive. Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him—including the woman at the center of it all?

Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Author Julie Coulter Bellon

Julie is the author of seven international suspense novels: Through Love’s Trials, On the Edge,Time Will Tell, All’s Fair, Dangerous Connections,Ribbon of Darkness and All Fall Down. She loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news—which is where she gets her story ideas.
She also has one non-fiction title: Be Prepared: A Parent’s Guide to the Duty to God and Eagle Scout Awards—What You Should Know and is part of two compilations, How Will Christmas Find Us and Life Lessons From Mothers of Faith.
She is the mother of eight children and when she’s not busy being a mom or a writer, you will find her browsing through bookstores to add to her book collection, at the library borrowing books, or reading the treasures she’s found.

Originally posted 2013-07-15 08:35:03.

Monster Cookie Recipe

Making Book Clubs Fun…With Food

book_club_12_opt

With summer’s arrival, it’s a great time to break out the stack of unread books for pool time or beach lounging. At least we always think that’s what will happen. Often, the summer ends and our reading list has barely budged.

A great way to ensure you get to some of those great reads is to create (either for yourself or your kids) a summertime book club. Rather than picturing you and your friends curled up next to a fire discussing your most recent reads of a hot cup of coffee, a summertime club begs for a summertime solution.

Some ideas:

1) Pick books with a setting near you that you can visit with a group.
2) Pick books with action in the plot that you and your friends can try. Choose a book with sailing in it and then have your book club take a sailing lesson together.
3) Hold your meetings on the beach or by a pool.
4) Play games related to the book.
5) Base your meetings around food related to the book.

The last is my favorite (and the easiest to do.) I’ve included my wife Nicole’s super-secret recipe for Monster Cookies below that we serve at Jack Templar Monster Hunter events. They get more accolades than the books. If you try them, you’ll see why!

Enjoy and have a great summer.

MONSTER COOKIES

cookie_time_hand_painted_wooden_sign_9f644067
Monster Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

Combine:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

Stir in:
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350
Bake for 13-15 minutes
Do not over bake…or the monsters with strike!

Enjoy with a copy of Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy.
jack-templar-and-the-monster-hunter-academy-b-L-r5puG7

Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy (Book 2)

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth

birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth

about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster

hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions.

Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying

than anything he’s faced so far.

 

 

Jack Templar: Monster Hunter

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie

about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first

it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully,

and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells

him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster

hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and

monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before

hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren’t enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of

the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do

anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have

to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous

thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why

do they whisper that he may be the “One?” Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as

these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of

monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

Amazon * Barnes &

Noble

Awards for Jack Templar Monster Hunter

Book of the Year Finalist by Forward Magazine

Next Generation Indie Book Finalist

Indie Excellence Finalist
Parents Choice Recommended Book Award

Author Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television.

He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and

unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his

opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.

Originally posted 2013-06-20 00:14:24.

Bermuda Rum Cake, Blog Tour

Get lost in the Bermuda… cake
Keep Reading!

Originally posted 2013-05-18 05:00:00.

Perfect Vanilla Peanut Milk Shake Recipe Guest Post


Hi,

My name is Kia Garriques and I am author of the book is called Innovera Yakov- The journey of a
thousand eyes, a faraway planet in a faraway universe: under five moons and two brilliant suns that
never set. At the very edge of Innovera Yakov, there is the terrifying watery darkness of Verheer.
We meet Ayana, the outsider, forever searching for herself and the truth of their world; Vinton,
her protector. Gamma and Blu Tara are beautiful, fiery twins who can kill with one look. Innovera
Yakov: The Journey of a Thousand Eyes explores the desire for acceptance, the need to belong, the
importance of self-belief, the danger of secrets, the pain of betrayal and the power of love.

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love vanilla peanut milkshake with a passion. Yes, I
know J it’s not healthy at all and it’s not something you should be having on a daily basis but I just
can’t help myself!

Anyway, I thought it would make a change from my usual interview format, if I shared the recipe of
my favourite milkshake with you and I really hope you like it J

Okay so let’s get down to making the perfect milk shake!!

First up, you will need the magic ingredients as follows:

6 to 12 scoops of vanilla ice cream
2 whole snickers chocolate (I love snickers!)
1 cup milk
Whipped cream, shaved chocolate

Once you have all your ingredients, scoop the vanilla ice cream (use more scoops if you want a
thicker shake) into a blender. Pour in one cup of milk and add two snickers chocolate bars (one if you
don’t like it too nutty). Make sure the top of the blender is tightly in place and blend the mixture until
smooth. Serve with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

There you have it; the perfect Vanilla peanut milkshake at your service! So that’s it from me for now.
Be sure to check out my book Innovera Yakov: The Journey of A Thousand Eyes on Amazon: Click
here for UK readers or here if you are from the USA or elsewhere. Innovera Yakov: The Journey
of A Thousand Eyes is the first installment in an action-packed fantasy drama where characters with
powers of healing and destruction live, love, compete and disappear without a trace while they are
being prepared for ‘The Journey’.

Originally posted 2013-04-19 05:00:00.

BISCOFF NUTELLA CHEESECAKE Guest Post

BISCOFF NUTELLA CHEESECAKE

BISCOFF NUTELLA CHEESECAKE – I invented this recipe in 2012, and it’s dangerous!
By Author Jennings Wright

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Biscoff cookies, processed in a food processor to crumbs
    1 stick of butter, melted
    3 blocks lite cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 c sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 c flour
    2 lg egg yolks
    1 whole lg egg
    1/2 c 1% milk
    13 oz Nutella

Mix the Biscoff and butter, and press into the bottom of a springform pan. You can
use the bottom of a glass to press it, and it can go up the sides some if needed. Bake
for 10 minutes.

In a mixer bowl (preferably one with a flat paddle) blend the cream cheese, sugar,
vanilla and flour until just combined. Add the egg and blend until just combined. Add
the milk and Nutella and beat on medium until completely combined. This can take a
good long while!

Pour into the springform pan. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees, put the cheesecake
on a jellyroll pan, and bake 1 1/2 hours or until the center doesn’t jiggle when you
shake the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Absolute deliciousness!

From Jennings:

I love to bake, and I even built a baking station into our kitchen, but I don’t get to
bake too much these days. That’s because my family is on a “six months to sexy-
pants” diet in advance of my daughter’s wedding in June. My daughter’s fiancé calls
this diet “six months to six pack” and my husband and son think this is a better
name that “sexy-pants.” Go figure.

Anyway, as a homeschool mom and a business owner who has mostly worked
from home, cooking for my family has been one of my great pleasures. Living with
a teenage son requires a lot more cooking than his sister did, but it’s always great
when people appreciate your food (especially in quantity!).

I’ve actually scheduled my writing day so that I am done at 5:30 and can cook every
night. Okay, we call for Chinese or get sushi takeout sometimes… But mostly I cook.
After all, my last child is about to graduate from high school, and my daughter is
graduating from university and getting married. Pretty soon I’ll just be cooking for
two. I need to make the most of this time.

It’s a strange feeling knowing that they’re all grown up. When I wrote IXEOS, using
main characters about my own kids ages, I explored that transition from teens on
summer break with no other plans than to skate through the summer to teens who
are in a life and death struggle to free their enslaved fellow humans on another
planet. I see that same striving to grow up and have purpose, to do things that
matter, in my own kids, and I firmly believe that they’re not too young to do that.

Still, on those graduation days, and especially on that wedding day, I suspect I’ll
be in a little bit of a memory-clouded daze. How did that tiny girl with all that
curly hair end up a beautiful bride in the blink of an eye? How did that towheaded,
mischievous boy with giant feet become a towering man with a deep voice and an
incredible gift for languages in what seemed like a flash?

My homeschool is closing soon… We’ll celebrate, probably with this cheesecake,
which is a family favorite. But after thirteen years as a homeschooling mama, it’s
going to be very bittersweet. Of course, I’ll be in a cheesecake induced coma, so I
guess I won’t notice it too much!

Website ~ AmazonFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Blog ~

Other Author Recipes:

Rice Pudding from Author Vickie Hall

Chocolate Torte from Author Julie Coulter Bellon

 Maryland Party Cheesecake from Author Helen Smith

Raspberry Almond Delight from Author Charlotte Young

Quinoa Squash Soup from Author Patricia Fry

Originally posted 2013-03-21 05:00:00.

Maryland Party Cheesecake Recipe

Kaycee, thank you for inviting me to Crafty Zoo to post a favorite recipe. Readers of my mystery story, Three Sisters, will know that the main character, Emily Castles, is not a very good cook. Fortunately this is not one of her recipes and it works very well. It’s an easy baked cheesecake recipe taken from a book called Cheesecakes by Maggie Black. I often make it for family parties and it’s very popular.
I’m English and we would call the base for this cheesecake a biscuit base. I buy the hard-baked, shop-bought plain kind like Rich Tea or Plain Digestive and smash them up in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, or put them in the food processor until they’re crumbs. I think that American readers would usually use Graham Crackers, though if you can get hold of Rich Tea or Plain Digestive biscuits, do give them a go. An American friend suggested trying Oreo cookies, which sounds amazing, though I haven’t tried it.
We don’t use cup measurements for baking, we use ounces (oz) and fluid ounces (fl oz) so I have left those measurements in but converted them to cups.

Maryland Party Cheesecake

(serves 10-12)

Base:
1/3 cup (3 ½ oz) butter (a stick of butter)
1/3 cup (2 oz) light soft brown sugar
1 ½ cups (8 oz) Graham cracker crumbs from 24 crackers
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Filling:
4 eggs, separated
1 cup (8 fl oz) soured cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup (8 oz) castor sugar
1/3 cup (2 oz) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

1lb full-fat soft cheese e.g. Philadelphia cream cheese.
Line the base of a 9 inch loose-based cake tin. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. Sieve the soft brown sugar into a bowl then add the crumbs, cinnamon and nutmeg, mix, then work the butter into it. Press the crumb mixture all over the base and about an inch up the sides of the cake tin. Chill the base while making the filling.
Beat the egg yolks until thick, and then beat in the soured cream and the vanilla essence. Mix 2/3 cup (6 oz) of the caster sugar with the flour and salt, and beat in the soft cheese a little at a time. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until fairly stiff, adding the remaining 1/3 cup (2 oz) caster sugar while doing so. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cheese mixture. Turn gently into the chilled base in the cake tin and bake at 325F, Gas Mark 3, for one hour. Cool in the turned-off oven with the door ajar. Remove from the tin and chill for at least one hour before serving.

I hope you enjoy it if you decide to follow the recipe.
Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of bestselling cult novel Alison Wonderland and other books and plays.
Learn more about Helen via her facebook page here and check out her awesome books here.

Originally posted 2013-02-09 06:00:00.

Romantic Roses Cake Pops Recipe

Aren’t these beautiful!  The sky is the limit with what you could do with them and I just love them!  Flowers my husband would appreciate!  LOL.  These and other adorable recipes can be found in the book 175 Best Babycakes Recipes by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.  You can check out my review here and get your copy here.  

If you don’t have a babycakes maker, don’t fret.  You can still make these adorable little things!  Just bake the cake, mix in one container of icing, roll into balls, freeze, then decorate!  😀

Makes 1 centerpiece

Create this show-stopping tiered arrangement of cake pop roses for a sophisticated garden fête, a tea party for a special grandmother or anytime you want to set the stage for a stylish occasion.
Ingredients
            Pink and white candy melts
20 to 24           Princess Cake Pops 20 to 24
            White sugar pearls
Materials
12        cake pop sticks         
1          pastry bag or squeeze bottle, fitted with a fine tip
            Strong craft glue, suitable for glass
2          glass candlesticks (about 4 inches/10 cm tall)
1          china dinner plate    
1          china soup bowl or salad plate       
1          china sugar bowl or cup     
            Light green tulle
            Styrofoam block (at least 3 inches/7.5 cm cubed)
12 feet green ribbon (1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch/3 to 360 cm 5 mm wide)
            Pearl strings
1.         Melt 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) pink candy melts (see page 18) and use to attach sticks to 6 cake pops (see page 27). Freeze cake pops for at least 15 minutes to set. Reserve the remaining candy melts. Repeat with white candy melts, attaching sticks to 6 cake pops (8 to 12 cake pops will not have sticks).
2.         Add 1 cup (250 mL) pink candy melts to those left in the cup and melt until smooth. Coat the cake pops secured with pink candy melts. Set in a cake pop stand to dry. Using the fork tool, dip half of the cake pops without sticks and place them on a wire rack set over a sheet of foil or waxed paper to dry.
3.         Add 1 cup (250 mL) white candy melts to those left in the cup and melt until smooth. Coat the cake pops secured with white candy melts and immediately sprinkle with sugar pearls. Set in the stand to dry. Using the fork took, dip the remaining cake pops without sticks and place them on the rack to dry.
4.         Reheat pink candy melts, adding more as needed. Use the pastry bag to pipe a swirl in a tight circle on top of each pink cake pop (with and without sticks) to resemble a rose bud. Set cake pops with sticks in the stand to dry. Set cake pops without sticks on the rack to dry.
5.         Use craft glue to glue one candlestick to the bottom of the dinner plate to form a large pedestal. Glue the other candlestick to the bottom of the soup bowl to form a smaller pedestal. Let both dry.
6.         Place the small pedestal on top of the large pedestal. Place the sugar bowl on top of the small pedestal. If necessary for stability, glue everything together. Decoratively arrange tulle over the bottom two pedestal layers.
7.         Measure the dimensions of the sugar bowl and trim the Styrofoam to fit snugly and be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) shorter than the bowl. Place Styrofoam in the bowl.
8.         Cut ribbon into twelve 7-inch (17.5 cm) lengths (there will be ribbon left over). Tie a bow around each cake pop stick. Slide bows up to just below cake pops. Push the cake pop sticks into the Styrofoam, arranging the roses at different heights. Fill in around cake pops with small pieces of tulle, hiding the Styrofoam.
9.         Arrange the cake pops without sticks in the tulle on the middle and bottom layers. Cut the remaining ribbon into 8-inch (20 cm) lengths and tie small bows with long tails. Arrange the bows next to the cake pops so that the ribbon flows off the plates. Drape pearl strings around the cake pops on the bottom two layers.
Tips
It looks especially dramatic to place just one cake pop without a stick on one side of the middle layer, positioned beside a bow with especially long tails.
Inexpensive glass candlesticks and individual pieces of china can often be found at thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales. Even mismatched pieces can combine for an attractive look.
You can substitute tiered glass cake pedestals in graduated sizes for the china and candlesticks.
To complement this centerpiece, fill matching teacups with additional cake pops on sticks, decorated to match the large arrangement, and set the teacups around the room. Make enough cake pops so that each guest can eat one at the party and take one home as a favor.
Capture the days of wine and roses. For a beautiful evening, begin with a Romantic Roses centerpiece, then serve a bottle of Champagne, Prosecco or your favorite wine in your best wineglasses. Pure romance.

Excerpted from 175 Best Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Recipes by Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Originally posted 2013-02-02 06:00:00.

Tea Cakes and Books

Writing For My Life
Tea Cakes and Books – A Southerner’s Delight
I still remember those hot summer days in Arkansas, lying under a large shade tree, reading a good book, sipping Mama’s tart home-made lemon Tea, and munching on some of the very best “Tea Cakes,” in the Arkansas Delta. Whoa!! I can already hear the frown forming in the foreheads of my friends from other parts of the country…and, the question slowly formulating in their minds: `What the heck is a Tea Cake?’

Well, let me say it the best way I know how…. Tea Cakes that are made just right are good enough to make you want to slap your mama. The delectable pastries might be described as a cross between a scone, a biscuit and a sugar cookie. They are rarely sweet enough to compete with whatever sweet drink you might be drinking. I first fell in love with Tea Cakes, not from my mother who I still consider the world’s best cook, but from our neighbor who lived one soybean field away; the unforgettable `Miss Oldie Lee.’ While that is the name all of us Kearney children, and the rest of the people on Varner Road, knew her by; the unforgettable, and very married woman’s real name was Mrs. Oldie Lee Land.
Miss Oldie Lee was the first 6-foot woman I’d ever seen. In fact, she was actually nearer 6 feet, 5 inches. Her husband was most certainly 7 feet, and her two children – Henry and Marie, were very near 7 feet, as well. Miss Oldie Lee was unusual in many ways, not the least being her ability to scare the Be’Jesus out of the Kearney children by threatening to cut off our toes and put them in her apron pocket if we didn’t begin to wear shoes. Amazing, that our neighbor who was something like a surrogate mother at many times, didn’t realize that our one pair of shoes could only be divided between church and school.
I don’t recall Tea Cakes ever being something my mother or other women brought to church on those Sunday evenings when they created amazingly delicious meals to serve to visitors after church services. And, Miss Oldie Lee, God bless her soul; had no other dish that I’m able to recall right off the bat. But, our neighbor’s Tea Cakes were absolutely to die for. My siblings and I often found weak, even silly excuses to visit the Land home, in hopes of being offered some of those scrumptious Tea Cakes.
So, you’re asking… how do you make these delicious but oh-so simple pastries? Well, I’m so glad you asked. If you follow these very simple directions, you are guaranteed a southern creation that you will never, ever forget. Here goes:

Simple Southern Tea Cakes
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking power
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Dough should be soft. Roll dough out onto a floured surface until approximately ¼ inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes and bake on a slightly greased sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes three dozen Tea Cakes.

Of course, if anything goes wrong, and your Tea Cakes end up tasting nothing like mine; it might be something as simple as the way you fix your mouth as you roll your dough, or the tune you whistle as you push the tray of Tea Cake dough into the oven…or, any number of things that only a southerner with a history of these things might know instinctively…oh, by the way, don’t forget the book!!
____
Janis F. Kearney is a native of Gould, Arkansas, and grew up as one of 19 children of cotton sharecroppers. In 1987, she went to work for Daisy Bates as her managing editor at the historical Arkansas State Press, and in 1988, purchased the newspaper from the civil rights icon. In 1995, Kearney was appointed by President Bill Clinton as his Personal Diarist. Her role as chronicler of the President’s days, continued throughout his second term. She is founding publisher of Writing our World Publishing, LLC, and author of five books, including Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir, her first book; and the soon to be released Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, a biographical memoir featuring civil rights leader Daisy Gaston Bates. More about the author and her books, can be found at www.writingourworldpress.com

Originally posted 2013-01-16 06:00:00.