Monday, September 29, 2014

Strawberry Ghosts: A Halloween Treat

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
Hey diddle, diddle,
the Witch made a riddle
and the Ghost ran away with the broom.

I am crafting up spooky treats today with my Strawberry Ghosts.  They are boo-tastic fun for your Halloween guests.

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
I decided to make my treats out of all edible ingredients.  You could purchase little brooms from the craft store or make them out of non-edible ingredients such as sticks, raffia, and string but, here is how I made mine.

Ingredients:

1- 1 lb. box of Driscoll's strawberries
240 sprigs of thyme 
24 pretzel sticks (3 1/2 -4 inches long) mine were Snyder's
1-12 oz. bag of Wilton White Candy Melts
Wilton Candy Markers
1 package of Pull to Peel Twizzlers
Parchment paper

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
First thing I did was build the brooms.  I had to pull apart the Twizzlers into single strands of licorice.  This would be a perfect project for some tweens or teens.  They would be much better at separating the Twizzlers than I was.  

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
To assemble the broom I took 10 single sprigs of thyme and placed them around the end of the pretzel stick. (Trim with scissor as needed to make the thyme sprigs fit the broom.)  I wrapped the Twizzler around that and tied it off.  If the Twizzler breaks, that is about when I tied it off and gave it a gentle squeeze to affix it to the finished broomstick.

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
Here are my 24 finished brooms.


Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
The next step is to prepare the strawberries.  I took the strawberries brushed them off.  I then prepared the candy melts as per directions.  (Experience at candy making is helpful here.)  When the white chocolate was melted I had to dip the strawberries quickly and I placed a small dollop of  the white chocolate on the parchment paper and then stood the strawberry up in it and held it there till the strawberry stood up on it's own.  It only took 1 minute for it to set up.    

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home

While the chocolate was still soft I placed the broom into the back of the base of the strawberry and let it rest there.  It dried in place and firmly attached to the Strawberry Ghost.
Note* I did have my white chocolate get too firm and I had used about half of it.  I had melted mine with a double broiler, so I reheated it back on the stove and added one teaspoon of vegetable oil as per directions to get it back to the right consistency for dipping again.)  The Wilton Candy Melts worked perfectly.  

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
The next step was to paint the faces.  I used the Wilton Candy Markers for this.


Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
After each strawberry was completely dry and firm, I painted the eyes and mouth on each ghost.

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
They do have candy eyes already made that you could add to the strawberries while they are still soft and they would dry on the face.  Or you could pipe on icing eyes and mouths.

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
Here are my finished ghosts.  I did some of the faces different. The supplies will make 24 Strawberry Ghost treats.

Strawberry Ghosts: The Charm of Home
They were quite cute and they had no trouble flying out of the kitchen and into the mouth of the nearest hungry child.
Recipe adapted from: Driscoll's

Thank you to Driscoll's Berries for sponsoring this post.

Enjoy!
Sherry
I will link this to:

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
The Best Blog Recipes link party 
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo
Sweet and Savoury Sunday at Baking in Pyjamas
Tickle My Taste Buds Tuesdays at Lori's Culinary Creations
Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
The Party Bunch Weekend Linky at The Idea Room
Weekend Retreat Linky Party at AKA Design and Life
Project Inspire at An Extraordinary Day
Totally Terrific Tuesday at Live Randomly Simple

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Revisiting Your Inner Child

Fall Tea: The Charm of Home
There is never a time I revisit my inner child more than Halloween.  I love it!!  I love to pretend and Halloween allows the child in each grownup to be  free.  When I was a child I used to love to color.  I confess I still catch myself doing it when I am spending time with my nieces.  I sometimes wonder why we quit doing certain things when we become adults.  Have you ever found something you played with as a child and opened it up and discovered it was like a time capsule?  It is still in the box or case right where you last left it.  

Fall Tea: The Charm of Home
I am stepping back in time today with my tea.  I have been coloring a fall doodle image.  I am also going retro with my tea cup today.  Does anyone remember the Kresge lunch counter?  I barely remember it, but it made a lasting impression.  They used this now vintage style restaurant-ware coffee or tea cup.  I remember them being upside down and you would turn the cup over if you wanted coffee or tea when you sat down.  A trip into town used to be such an adventure when I was so small.


Cinnamon and Sugar Mini Pumpkin Muffins
A friend sent me the idea for these Cinnamon and Sugar Mini Pumpkin Muffins this week.  Pumpkin is the flavor for October.  

Cinnamon and Sugar Mini Pumpkin Muffins
These mini muffins were so sweet and petite that they fit perfectly on the rim of my tea cup.  They reminded me of a baked donut hole. 

Cinnamon and Sugar Mini Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

Topping:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your mini muffin pan with paper liners or spray with a baking spray.
Combine in a large bowl flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside. In a medium bowl add melted butter and brown sugar, blend.  Add egg and mix 1 minute until fully incorporated.  Slowly pour dry mix into wet mix and stir till blended but, don't over mix.
Use small spoon and place batter into the muffin tin with each muffin only filling the each muffin cup 2/3 of the way full. 
Bake 11-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  If you have used paper liners remove them all before applying the topping.  
For the topping: combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Melt the butter and brush over each mini muffin.  Roll each muffin in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and place on serving tray.
Yield: 36 mini muffins
Recipe adapted from: Sally's Baking Addiction 

Cinnamon and Sugar Mini Pumpkin Muffins
Have you done any fall baking yet?  Enjoy the season!
Sherry
I will link this to:
  
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage 
A Return to Loveliness  at A Delightsome Life 
Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites
Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations
Tuesday Cuppa Tea at Antiques and Teacups 
Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog 
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Say G'Day at Natasha in Oz
Your Going to Love it Tuesday At Kathe with an E
The Scoop at Confessions of a Plate Addict
Time Travel Tuesdays at Brambleberry Cottage

The Weekend Retreat at Play, Party, Pin

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Home Sweet Home #188

Hello and welcome to Home Sweet Home!  This week I shared The Blogger's Writing Process Tour.


Cinnamon Chocolate Chunk Bread
I am still in search of the perfect chocolate loaf bread.  This week I got a little closer in this Cinnamon Chocolate Chunk Bread.


Double Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread
And then, I kept baking in Double Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread.


There are so many great ideas, great decorating, and delicious recipes at the Home Sweet Home Party each week.   You all had a lot of great post!! Here are a few that caught my eye.

Retro Desperate Housewives Party
Liz at Rose Vignettes shared a Bridal Shower with a Retro Desperate Housewives Theme that was really cute!


Graphic End Table
Laurel at The North End Loft shared a Graphic End Table that was so smart.


Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Scones
Margaret Anne of Natural Chow shared these wonderful Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Scones.


Sailboat Paperweight
Debi of Cameo Cottage Designs shared this Sailboat Paperweight that was just charming.


I had on several occasions wanted to feature some of your entries but, you don't create a link back to the Home Sweet Home party.  So, please include that link so I can feature you too!
I am really lucky to have all of your amazing posts because, it is you who make the Home Sweet Home party so special!  You are all so talented and share such wonderful posts!  It is really hard to feature a few and, remember to be featured you must have a link back to the Home Sweet Home party.   Thank you to everyone who joins me at Home Sweet Home!  It is wonderful to have you here!

Sherry

Follow me on Twitter 

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow me where I really enjoy the visual aspect of blogging on  Tumblr

Guidelines for Home Sweet Home Party: 
Attention: To link up you must have a permalink back to this party in your post or you won't be featured.
Link up anything in your home or garden.   I love seeing home tours and neat shops too!
My button is on my sidebar for the party, if you want to use it.   If you are new here I hope you will become a follower. Please don't link up more than two posts.  No Etsy link ups or direct advertising, please.  Please visit some of the other blogs and get some great inspiration.  Thanks.:)
Now let's see your beautiful home, delicious recipes, crafts, or whatever makes your home special!

 *If you are pinning a post submitted here, please pin from the original source.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Double Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

I am still cooking chocolate quick breads this week.  This loaf is loaded with double the chocolate and it is moist and gooey due to the bananas.  It makes the perfect way to sneak in chocolate for breakfast.  

Ingredients:
3 med-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter melted 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 additional teaspoon of cocoa


Don't forget to dust your chocolate chunks with additional cocoa, it will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan or use baking spray.
Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl.  Stir in melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Place baking soda, salt, cinnamon, flour, and cocoa in another bowl and mix.  Can sift if necessary.  Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a spatula, scraping down the sides of the bowl until all just combined.  Measure the chocolate chunks into a small mixing bowl and toss the teaspoon of cocoa on the chunks covering the chunks completely.  
Fold in the cocoa covered chocolate chunks into the batter until just distributed throughout the batter.  
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the batter clean.   Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then run a knkife around the edges and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack.
Yield: 1 loaf
Will keep for 4 days at room temperature.
Recipe slightly adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Enjoy!
Sherry
I will link this to:

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
The Best Blog Recipes link party 
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo
Sweet and Savoury Sunday at Baking in Pyjamas
Tickle My Taste Buds Tuesdays at Lori's Culinary Creations
Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
The Party Bunch Weekend Linky at The Idea Room

Weekend Retreat Linky Party at AKA Design and Life

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chocolate Chunk Cinnamon Bread

I am still in search of the perfect chocolate bread recipe and I believe I am getting closer. This recipe is a Starbuck's Christmas recipe: Chocolate Cinnamon Bread.

It baked up beautifully.  It smelled amazing loaded with cinnamon and chocolate.  It was also easy to mix and bake, really a whole lot to love with this recipe.   Did I tweak it?  Of course I did!   I have one son that is always begging for chocolate chunks to be added to the quick breads so, what could be more perfect to add to this recipe than chocolate chunks. 

When adding the chocolate chunks, I discovered that dusting them generously with a bit of cocoa keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the batter.  I didn't do it with the loaf pictured here but, I did it with the chocolate bread I am sharing tomorrow and the chocolate didn't sink, goal achieved!

Chocolate Chunk Cinnamon Bread

Ingredients Batter:


3 sticks butter, room temperature

3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 cup dutch processed cocoa
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of chocolate chunks, dusted with cocoa

Cocoa Spice Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger
pinch of cloves
1/4 cup sparkle sugar (for decoration)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

Grease and flour 2-9x5x3 loaf pans.  You can use parchment paper lining.
Cream the butter and the sugar with a stand mixer for 5 minutes, until fluffy.
Then add the eggs each one at a time until mixed well.  Scrapping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.  
In another large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  
In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, water, and vanilla.
With mixer on low speed alternate adding the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture incorporating them into the batter.  Mix until fully blended but not over mixed.  Fold in the chocolate chunks, or just sprinkle them on top of the batter divided between the two pans.   
Pour the batter evenly into two loaf pans.  The chocolate chunks will sink to the bottom of the pan unless you dust them with cocoa powder. 
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; sprinkle this topping evenly over the top of the two loaf pans.  Finish by sprinkling the sparkle sugar evenly on top of the two pans.  
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out onto serving platter.
Yield: 2 loaves
Recipe adapted from: Starbucks


My mug is by Ralph Lauren.

The teapot is by Johnson Brothers the pattern is Blue Denmark.

The cozy going on with this spicy cinnamon chocolate bread and a cup of tea is just the perfect pairing for a chilly fall day!

Do you have a fantastic chocolate quick bread recipe?  Share it!  Leave the link in the comments below.
Sherry
I will link this to:
  
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage 
A Return to Loveliness  at A Delightsome Life 
Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites
Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations
Tuesday Cuppa Tea at Antiques and Teacups 
Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog 
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Say G'Day at Natasha in Oz
Your Going to Love it Tuesday At Kathe with an E
The Scoop at Confessions of a Plate Addict
Time Travel Tuesdays at Brambleberry Cottage

The Weekend Retreat at Play, Party, Pin

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Blogger's Writing Process Tour

I created for myself a September Writing Challenge.  I have decided I want to write a little better on each blog post.   As soon as I had decided this I then saw Judith's post at Botanic Bleu about the The Blogger's Writing Process Tour.   So, I happily joined the tour to write this post and tell you how I write for the blog and to share with other bloggers and maybe learn something from them.

I must confess that writing has always been my last concern.  I know that may sound strange but, I really try to convey an atmosphere or paint a picture with my photography.  I don't very often try to use words.  I have, but rarely, put any more words than absolutely necessary to get the description of the pictures across.

What am I working on?
I am working on better writing, maybe some inspirational quotes.  I would love to be funny but, I may find something funny that isn't relevant to you, the reader.  Comic timing is a true gift so, I may dabble with it but, it feels a bit risky.  
I could see myself putting more of my personality into my writing,  That is the real essence of a well written piece isn't it?  It has a flavor and style that is all the writer's own.  A true window into their viewpoint.  I hope to create a comfortable spot for writing around my niche of tea, comfort, home, and food.


How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I have really honed in on a specific niche this year with the blog.  I did it gradually and I didn't want to make a big announcement about it  but, the blog has become centered all around tea, coffee, and tasty food.  I haven't completely given up on cottage style decor but, it isn't practical right now in our lives for me to continue to do a lot of decorating when it doesn't fit our lifestyle.  When there are less children in the house I will add it back but, for right now I really am enjoying this tea, coffee, and tasty food niche.  I have been trying, with my photography, to put you at the table taking tea with me.  Tea/coffee is a lifestyle habit.  A very comforting , quite, sacred habit for many people and cultures.  I really enjoy the experience and I try to translate that with my photography.  Simply put, "Come have tea with me."  There are several blogs that do this and I try to join them for linky parties.  I have really been studying the younger bloggers at Tumblr and trying to have more modern tea/coffee.  There is a difference, I can see it.  So, I am trying to create beautiful Tumblr style posts.  
* Note: I had a request to describe what Tumblr is.  So I will put that right here.
Tumblr is just another blogging format.  You are familiar with Typepad, Blogger, and Wordpress, well Tumblr is just a place to blog.  For me it seems to be where the younger bloggers are very active.  By young I mean it is very active with 16-21 year olds.  I love that because you can see what they are into.  What they want to see in a blog.  It also is mainly a Pinterest of blogging.  What does that mean?  You can post any picture or words you want to.   It is mainly just photography and you can re-post any other blog post that you like.  It is called re-blogging.  So, I like the fall pictures everyone is posting right now and I post my own blog photos but, I re-post way more of the other pictures from other blogs I follow.     


Here is a screen shot of my Tumblr page.  It is full of pictures of Autumn and I have a shot of my Rustic Apple Cider Pie on here too.  You can look at all the pretty pictures and you can click on my Rustic Apple Cider and it will take you to my Blogger blog and you can retrieve that recipe.  So that is a quick explanation of what Tumblr is.  Anyone can join it and follow any blogs on there they want to.   


Why do I write what I do?

I started blogging at the end of 2009 on a dare by my husband.  He said, "You won't do it."  And I said, " I'll do it."  He said, " No you won't.  You'll just put that on your list of things to do."  So, I had to prove him wrong and blog.  As I mentioned, it started as a decorating blog. It was Christmas and I knew I wouldn't run out of things to blog about in the first month, that way I wouldn't quit.  Then I kept blogging because I loved it.  I have always been an avid cookbook reader and recipe collector.  I love to try new seasonal recipes and have coffee and tea so that just really works perfect right now.  


How does my writing process work?

This is where I would like to improve.  I always put the pictures in the post first and then go back using as little words as possible to describe the post.  I let the pictures do most of the talking.  I would like write a little more now; not a novel but, a little more.  I seem to organize my thoughts better when I write it out on notebook paper and then type it in draft but, the quickest way is to write it in draft right in Blogger and then edit.  I apologize for my editing.  I sometimes post and then; within the first day, I can go back and find three grammatical errors and I correct and re-post and correct and re-post.  The blog post keeps posting in your Blogger reader and over at Bloglovin.  I hope I haven't annoyed any of you doing that.  I can't leave a mistake in though once I find it.  So my writing process is a fast and furious process and I hope it can get more organized and have a little more of my personality in it too.
Some of examples of my writing that I liked:
Me trying to be funny:  The Lawn in VOGUE
Me trying to be Jane Austen:  A Taste For Fall

Now... let's pass the baton to two more writers who can share in this writing challenge:

I have nominated:

 Michelle Mortensen of Simply Santa Barbara.  Michelle is a new blogger and I think it is fantastic to introduce her and share this Writing Process Tour with her.  



I also nominate Sarah Coller from Hope In Every Season.  Sarah made me aware of the Jane Austen reading challenge last month so, I thought of her right away when it came to this Writing Process Tour.  

They each will have a wonderful perspective on blogging and I am sure I can learn something from them.  Thank you ladies for joining the Blogger's Writing Process Tour.
Sherry 
I will link this to:

What's It Wednesday at Ivy and Elephants 
Sundays at Home at Thoughts from Alice
Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings of Your Heart and Home
Share Your Creativity Party at It's Overflowing

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