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Category — Recipes

strawberry margarita cupcake

It’s finally time for the cupcake recipes from Megan’s “Cocktails & Cupcakes” bridal shower!


Actually, time for the cupcake recipe. Only one cupcake is new to this blog. Links to the remaining cupcakes from the shower are at the end of this post.

lime zest

I found the recipe for these Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes through Pinterest and I had some trouble with it. The problem was actually with the frosting. It’s similar to the frosting for Toffee Crunch Mini Cupcakes (which works perfectly) but this one still gave me fits.

The frosting was a nice consistency, until it was time to add in the strawberry purée and the other liquids, then it became a runny mess and the only way I could fix it was to add cups (so very many cups) of powdered sugar. The result was an overly sweet – basically pure sugar – frosting. I’ve corrected the recipe, but please still take extra care when adding the strawberry purée, add a little at a time and keep an eye on the consistency. If you do this, you should not have to add any powdered sugar!

fill tins

Also, when looking at the photos, please keep in mind that I made a double the batch so that I could make regular and mini cupcakes. So when you see 4 eggs instead of the 2 called for – don’t be concerned.

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February 12, 2015   5 Comments

Sweet ‘n Spicy Meatballs

Some people may think I was crazy to host two bridal showers in as many weeks. Crazy like a fox is what I say!

brides to be

The shower that Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa threw for Lindsey left me with a bounty of items and ideas to use for Megan’s shower, two weeks later.


Kaley did such a beautiful job with the chalkboard art that I immediately knew I’d be using it again!

perfect signs

Abigail left behind a wonderful bulletin board that she had guests write words of sage advice for bride-to-be, Lindsey.

advice pinboard

I just had to recycle it for Megan’s shower, as seen on the left edge of the photo below.

present time

Then there was the “Welcome” and “Presents” banners that Abigail made.



Yes, I reused them as well.


So, as you can see, hosting two versions of the same sort of party in a short amount of time is easier than hosting just one!

Here is another appetizer from Megan’s shower.

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February 11, 2015   3 Comments

Bloody Mary Shrimp appetizer


In keeping with the bridal shower theme of “cocktails and cupcakes” the wine barrel in the entry was decked out with seltzer bottles, cocktail shakers, flowers arranged in silver mint julep cups and ice buckets, and of course, cupcakes.

Today’s recipe was the most popular of the appetizers served at Megan’s Bridal Shower.

spoon appetizer

I’ve been making this appetizer for years in various incarnations. If I remember correctly, it came from Gourmet Magazine some 10 years ago.

You can buy Chinese soup spoons at Asian markets, on Amazon or at Cost Plus World Market.  They are not only perfect for this recipe, but great for all sorts of appetizers and little dessert tastes.

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February 10, 2015   3 Comments

Cocktails & Cupcakes Bridal Shower

All week I will post photos and recipes from Megan’s bridal shower.

How cute is the invite?!? Laura ordered them from HERE on Etsy.

Cocktails Cupcakes

Megan is Laura’s daughter. Laura is my best friend from high school. She was my maid of honor, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Laura is Marissa’s godmother and I am godmother to two of her sons.  So, yeah, we have lots of loving ties to each other.

3 generagionsThree generations of beautiful women! Laura’s mom, Coleen, the guest of honor, Megan, and my dear friend, Laura.


The theme may have been cocktails and cupcakes, but the shower began at 5:00, so dinner was on the menu too!

Megan’s Bridal Shower Menu

The Appetizers

The Cocktails        

The Savory

  • Build Your Own Niçoise Salad
  • Cheese Board

cheese board

The Cupcakes

 Stephies vanity

I had a lot of inspiration from my wonderful neighbors, Cindi and Cheryl.

Cindi is the queen of hosting bridal showers!  She offered to loan me some of her beautiful items/ideas.  For instance, she takes her daughter Stephie’s vanity out of the bedroom and used it as a champagne bar!

Marissas vanity

She generously offered the vanity for me to use, but I used Marissa’s mirrored vanity instead.

old fashioneds

I moved it downstairs and outside and used to it serve the Maple Old Fashioned drinks from. Such a glamorous look!

cindis door

Cindi also loaned me a wedding dress that she used as the front door decor. Doesn’t it look fabulous on her gorgeous front door?!?

my door

Not quite as impressive on my door, but the guests still thought it was beautiful, of course, they didn’t know any better! Since I have the double doors, I had to somehow balance it out, so I used the vintage window frame/chicken wire frame that Peggy made for me.

chicken wire frame

It’s pretty darn cute! Even though, now I want new front doors as fabulous as Cindi’s!

napkin ring ring

Lastly, Cindi loaned me big “diamond” ring napkin rings. Not the best photo of them, but they were darling.  Thank you Cindi for all your help and inspiration. xoxo

salad stuff

Now it’s time to share the inspiration from Cheryl. Do you remember this photo from back in December?  This is what she made for her annual Ornament Exchange and I’ve been dying to recreate it ever since! As you’ll see in the recipe below, I copied Cheryl’s salad down to the order that the components are placed on the platter. No need to mess with perfection! Thank you, Cheryl! xoxo

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February 9, 2015   4 Comments

crab cakes for the Patriots

coffee ice cream

I made a themed dinner for Super Bowl Sunday. Crab cakes for New England and coffee ice cream for Seattle.  To be honest, I didn’t make the ice cream, I bought it but it’s the thought that counts and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think “coffee” when the the think Seattle!


In the recipe, I give you instructions on how to smoke tomatoes on an outdoor grill. I actually used an indoor stove-top smoker that I own and love.

smoke rising

If you like to smoke a variety of foods, it’s a pretty good investment. You can find it HERE. If not, just keep using your grill.

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February 3, 2015   No Comments

lazy Super Bowl snack

Did you enjoy the Super Bowl? It was very low-key at our house. A few weeks ago, Dave and I received an invite to a party, but we turned it down because we didn’t want to leave Connor and my dad hanging out to dry.


A few days ago I talked to my dad and was asking what time he wanted to come over and he informed me that he was going to a Super Bowl party! How do you like that? Too funny really. So it was just the three of us chilling at the house all day.

I had some chips and salsa on hand, so that was snack #1. I needed something more but I had no intention of going grocery shopping, so I came up with this tasty treat.

I’d baked a few potatoes the other night and had two left. Plus there was leftover prosciutto and cheese from last weekend’s bridal shower. That’s all it took!

The recipe made 16, I ate 2 of them, the rest quickly disappeared, so I guess the boys really like them!

 prosciutto potato wedges

Prosciutto Wrapped Cheesy Potato Wedges

  • 2 baked potatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 16 pieces of Port Salut or Brie cheese (cut into 2-inch long sticks)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

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February 2, 2015   1 Comment

two tone soup

Not much of an intro today for this yummy soup. I’m running out of the house… late… so here you go!

roasted cauliflower spinach soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle the olive oil onto the prepared baking sheet.


Place the onion and cauliflower on the baking sheet and toss in the oil to coat. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on top and season with salt and pepper; then arrange in a single layer.


Roast until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown on the bottom sides and around the edges, at least 30 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a large pot and pour in the in chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and heat through for another 4 minutes.

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January 28, 2015   No Comments

“True Words” Tuesday

January 27, 2015   1 Comment

shrimp piccata pasta

wine glasses

Marissa’s childhood friend, Lindsey, is getting married in March.


Marissa and Lindsey’s other bridesmaids and maid of honor threw Lindsey’s bridal shower here at our house on Saturday.


The girls (Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa) did a fabulous job! The shower was a huge hit!

dessert table

Lindsey and all her guests were rightly impressed.


We set up the “savory” station consisting of cheeses …


… Italian meats…

salad and bread

… breads, crackers and salads.


Then there was the wonderful Essence Bakery desserts! Oh my!

pool bar

We set up the bar down in the pool kitchen.

milk bottles

We used my vintage milk bottles – along with necessary sign to keep guests from being scared off from the beat up bottles.

Yesterday, I made dinner for the first time in more than a week, to the delight of my family. It had been an unusual, difficult and busy week. The recipe follows.

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January 26, 2015   3 Comments

an especially beautiful salad

I served this salad on Christmas. I think it’s one of the prettiest salads around. It is inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest.

Easy and Pretty. Now that’s a nice combination!

wreath salad

Fruit & Cheese Green Salad Wreath with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing


  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 small bunches grapes (red and/or purple)
  • 1 small red and 1 small green apple (1 cored and cubed and 1 sliced)
  • 2 pears (1 cored and cubed and 1 sliced)
  • 8 Strawberries (3 left whole for decorating, the rest diced)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  • Zest of 1 lemon (remove zest and set aside before juicing lemon)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salad: Place the iceberg lettuce and mixed greens in a large bowl and toss to combine. Place a bowl in the center of a large round platter and spread the lettuces around the bowl on the platter. This is your wreath base.

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January 20, 2015   2 Comments