Monday, May 30, 2011

Tea Party Tuesday First Offical Link Up!!! Vanilla Rose Strawberry Tea Cakes

Welcome to Sweetology's FIRST official Tea Party Tuesday Link up!!

I am so excited to share a Tea Party with other bloggers.  Please feel free to link up your recipe, craft or fun inspiration and join our Tea Party! 

The party goes all week ~ tell your friends!

I have to take a minute to thank my May Teapot Swap Partner, Melanie from Artful Interludes for the amazing teapot she sent me along with other goodies. You can see the teapot below...it is so wonderful.

She also spoiled me with other goodies such as homemade decorative sugars, a lovely tea towel, a faux cupcake and spoon.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I was so excited to purchase some miniature clay "sweets" from her etsy shop and now Sophia and I get to wear some sweets around our necks everyday!



Another BIG THANK YOU goes out to one of the BEST tea blogs I have stumbled upon and frequent almost daily....Angela from Tea with Friends .
I won her Scripture Tea Giveaway and I am very grateful and excited. 

Now...let's share some tea and sweets!
For Tea Time Tuesday this week and in honor of the these wonderful ladies and our new Tea Party link up I will be serving you lovely ladies my version of Strawberry Baby Cakes with Rose Tea Infused Mousse.

Does anyone remember seeing these on the cover of Tea Time?



I have been just waiting for the perfect time to make these! The combination of vanilla, rose water and sponge cake was so delightful. 


Of course I had to put my FAST and FANCY twist on these sweet delights and I think they turned out GREAT!  I did not have a mini cheesecake pan that they used in the original recipe but they worked out great stacked as you see here.


I am attaching the full original PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE but I did shorten it up a bit by using premade pound cake.




And I cut it out with a scalloped round cutter.

The rest is true to the original recipe.  This was my first time making mousse AND using a candy thermometer!! 






To be honest I didn't wait as long as I should have before I stacked up the cakes for the picture you see here......I was so excited. However, after the mousse sat in the refrigerator for about 4 hours total it was perfect consistency.

The rose tea I used for the mousse infusion was Tazo Rest Herbal Infusion ~ it is a white tea with rose petals and has a lovely flavor.  The Rose Water I purchased from a local grocery store but I often see it at William Sonoma as well.





Another Fast and Fancy Tip would be to skip the mousse completely and just make the Vanilla Rose Cream.  I used extra cream to make little cakes such as this which would be lovely and EASY for any tea party!



I can give you one taste tester who, even in her jammies, thought this was one of the best treats I have made in a long time....


And here is the Teapot from Melanie...






You can also find this recipe link along with many other wonderful recipes that would be perfect for any Tea Party by clicking to my Recipes Page. 
I will be linking up to these wonderful parties:
Tidy Mom ~ I'm Lovin It!
Topsy Turvy Tuesdays!


A Breath of Fresh Air ~ Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday!
Sassy Sites!
Between Naps on the Porch ~ Tablescape Thursday
Add a Pinch ~ Mingle Monday ~ I Made That!
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

The Girl Creative ~ Just Something I Whipped Up 
Not Just a House Wife Blog
Fireflies and Jelly Beans Blog ~ Show your Stuff!
My Romantic Home ~ Show and Tell Friday
Delicate Construction
Lily Rose Cottage: L.A.C.E
Foodie Friday ~ At Designs by Gollum

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Savory Sundays
My Sweet and Savory ~ Let's Do Brunch Wednesdays
Now it is YOUR turn!!

Memorial Day Cupcake Cuteness.....Have a GREAT day!!!!


Happy Memorial Day and a big thank you for all those who have ever given their time, lives and heart to protect our country.
We also take time to reflect on our special family and friends who are no longer with us.
We spent the weekend up in Northern Minnesota with my in-laws at their beautiful lake home. 
The air is so clean and fresh.



There is no internet…and little cell phone coverage.

But there are plenty of ways to spend time with the people you love.



Just being…..



No Memorial Day weekend is complete without a little grilling.
Do you prefer….




your hamburgers by the lake???
Or are you more in the mood for a



Brat?
How about some Watermelon to go with them?













Why...don't mind if I do!
I hope you enjoyed your weekend.
If you want a NICE tutorial on how to make these little hamburger and hot dog cupcake toppers from Nilla wafers and frosting along with many other amazing ideas...go visit my friend Melissa at My Cake School Blog by clicking HERE!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Retirement Mom!! A Lilac Cupcake.

HAPPY RETIREMENT MOM!!

My mom is one of the most hard working people I have ever known.

She has always gone without for the sake of her family.

This week she retired and will be enjoying the SWEET LIFE!





I made this in honor of my mom. My favorite flower for my favorite person.

It turned out beautiful, just like her.

I am excited for you, Mom....now...when are you going to drive your new fancy retirement car up here for a looooooong visit?


Next week?????? GREAT!


Linking up to:

On of my FAVORITE tea blogs....Bernideen's Tea Time Blog







Cupcake Tuesday at Hoosier Homemade

Monday, May 23, 2011

Come Sail with Me on a Pina Colada Sailboat

Hello Dear Friends ~ Happy Tea Time Tuesday!

First and foremost, let me take a moment to express my deepest and heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of love and support generated by my Pink Saturday Brain Tumor Awareness Cupcake.  It felt so good to release that post.

I also have to say that it has been such a joy exploring the baking and especially the tea blogging community. The women and blogs I have happened upon are just amazing and so full of beauty and wonderful delights.  I invite you to check out many of their blogs as they can be found in my blogroll. I have so many to add and plan to update it this holiday weekend.  

Ok...now, let's have some TEA!!

What are you drinking today?  I am excited to have bought some new tea from a local Minnesota Tea Sommelier, Julia Matson, who is the owner of Bingley's Teas. I love to support women and small business and this is even better because it is a woman with a small TEA business!!  To visit her website, click HERE.



The tea is from her popular Jane Austen Series and when I saw the name I just HAD to buy it...

Compassion for Mrs. Bennet's Nerves

From the label....

At last there is compassion for what poor Mrs. Bennet suffers with her nerves!
A tisane of chamomile, peppermint, passion flower, rosehips, and lavender, sooth the most agitated of moments in a delicious cup. We recommend a touch of honey for added bliss.


Ummm ya..I will take a GALLON!

I was recently inspired by this quote...

"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." ~ Jimmy Dean.

To make these....



Pina Colada Sailboats!

I remembered seeing these dainty bites on the Tea Time Magazine website and bookmarked them for a future rainy day.

Well, Friday was rainy.

You can find the full original recipe and instructions by clicking on the Tea Time link above but I chose to give these a FAST and FANCY flair.

Pina Colada Sailboats ~ Fast and Fancy

Refrigerated Pie Crusts
2 cups Vanilla Pudding (Instant pudding or I bought the pudding in a cup snack packs to use the extras for school lunches - I also used the low sugar 60 calorie/serving pudding and it tasted great)
Toasted Coconut ~ I didn't measure but used about 1/2 cup
Crushed Pineapple  ~ again I used a small can, about 1/2 to a full cup
**I also added 2 Tablespoons Coconut Curd but I am pretty sure not many people have this just lying around...you can certainly omit this or use a touch of coconut extract.

I rolled out the pie crusts and cut with scalloped round cutter and poked holes in the bottom and placed on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Then I cut right angle triangles as you see, from the pie crusts and placed those on parchment lined baking sheet.

I then baked at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes or until edges were lightly browned

While those were toasting up, I placed the vanilla pudding, toasted sweetened coconut, crushed pineapple and coconut curd into a mixing bowl and whipped together.  To be honest, I kept tasting a bit here and there and adding a pinch of this or that to get the taste to my liking. 

It took all of about 2 minutes. 

Once the pie crust boat bottoms and sails were done I let them cool.

Once cool I used an ice cream scoop and placed a scoop of the pina coloda mixture on to the sail boat bottom, adorned with the sail and added a lovely flower!

VIOLA ~ so fast...so fancy...so tasty....



FYI: If not serving immediately, keep in the refrigerator so the pudding does not get warm and soft, as your sailboats will get droopy.  Another hint is to firm up the pudding by making it according to the "pie filling" directions.

Another fast and fancy way to serve these would be to use chocolate mousse.



I brought the chocolate ones over to Sophia's former preschool/kindergarten teacher, Miss Lynn, from My Own Montessori and her teacher aids. 

Teachers are truly the wind in our childrens' sails and Miss Lynn is an amazing and sweet woman.

Thank you for visiting Tea Time Tuesday. 

I am considering hosting a link up myself in the future so stay tuned!!


Linking up with:
Tidy Mom ~ I'm Lovin It!
Topsy Turvy Tuesdays!
A Breath of Fresh Air ~ Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday!
Sassy Sites!
Between Naps on the Porch ~ Tablescape Thursday
Add a Pinch ~ Mingle Monday ~ I Made That!
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Not Just a House Wife Blog
Fireflies and Jelly Beans Blog ~ Show your Stuff!
My Romantic Home ~ Show and Tell Friday
Delicate Construction
Lily Rose Cottage: L.A.C.E
Foodie Friday ~ At Designs by Gollum
Creative Creations Link Up at Nothing but Country Blog
Sweet Tooth Friday's at Alli N Sons!!
 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!!




This is a Happy Birthday post for my two sisters.


One whose birthday is actually today!



One whose birthday was on April 12th and I was out of town and couldn't blog.



Remember these pictures ladies???  Oldies but goodies.

I love you both dearly.

For your birthday pleasure I thought I would give you the gift of laughter...


"I get the bathroom first."


"Why did you give me that dirty look?


"Are you really going to wear that?"


"Whatever"


"I was just KIDDING."


"Can't you take a joke?"


"Are you serious?"


"Have you talked to Mom today?"

I bopped around the internet for a witty and heartfelt quote to cut and paste in here but actually the relationship of sisters is not something that can be summarized by a tidy collection of pretty words. 

I think of it like the wind at times...calm...gusty...tough when you are on a bike going up hill into it and awesome when you want to sail.

When I feel my sisters presence I touch on these emotions...

Gratitude

Safety

Acceptance

Unconditional Love

And they love me even if I am afraid of Royal Icing.

And if my sugar cookies blob out and don't keep their shape.

However, I have found a fix for the blob thingie  - check out the recipe for sugar cookies in my recipe link, bookmark it...you won't be sorry.

Unfortunately I had to use up some old cookie dough I had in the freezer for this batch and they were blobs...but a quick fix is to recut the cooled cookie with the cutter to sharpen the shape like I did above!

To be honest I am not very skilled at using royal icing YET, but it is something I really want to master.

I had to make this FAST but FANCY so I used some left over strawberry lavender buttercream (for recipe click HERE) and canned chocolate frosting for the bottom of the cupcake **gasp**.

Then I simply used a wilton 22 open star tip to pipe the drop flowers and a wilton size 3 to pipe the chocolate border. I filled it in using a wilton size 10 open round tip and VIOLA....sprinkled with a little "pixie dust" and add a "cherry" M&M on top...now THAT was Fast...but Fancy.

I wipped out two dozen of these in less than 15 minutes.

Too bad my sisters do not live in Minnesota so instead, the church carnival will get the labors of my love today!

Love you guys!! xoxoxo

Also, Happy Birthday to a dear lady who has the most beautiful blog called The Tablescaper. Check it out by clicking HERE!

~ This is my life in a cupcake cookie to celebrate my two sisters who continue to get older each and every year! HAHAHAHA!! 


Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Very Special and Personal Cupcake Post for Pink Saturday

Happy Pink Saturday ~ It has been cool and rainy the past two days in Minnesota and even though grey is seen as a drab color to some, it carries a special meaning for me.....read on to find out why.


May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Did you know the ribbon color for brain tumor awareness is...




Grey

Each year in the United States, more than 21,000 adults and 1,500 children are diagnosed with non-malignant and
malignant primary tumors that develop in the brain.

Brain tumors can be fatal, but with early diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment, many non-malignant and some malignant tumors are curable.

Long-term survival rates are as high as 95% for some types of nonmalignant tumors and 80% for some tumors that are malignant.

I found it quite fitting that recently I happened upon the bundle of pink tulips you see above.  Each year the National Brain Tumor Association sponsors a fundraiser called "Tulips for Tumors" where the money derived from the purchase of tulip bulbs benefits this wonderful organization.

For more information, or to be inspired click HERE.

This is the face of brain cancer.



I don't look sick do I?  That is because I am a fighter.
Some people see my edgy, sassy self as a character flaw...
I see it as the reason I am still here today.

Most people would never even know. 
I don't show, "sick" on the outside.
I won't let my illness and the medication I have to take drag
my life away from me or cause me to lose one second of time
doing the things that bring me joy.

I fight for these people.


.....and all my family.

I have lived with this for several years and have managed some high highs and low lows. This past winter was a difficult time for me.  I was lost, sad and struggling for answers and felt very sorry for myself and at times those feelings still overwhelm me, like now as I write this post.

It seems crazy but I found my way to cupcake decorating which led to this blog and now I am expressing in words and pictures the love I have for this art.

I have also rekindled my passion for taking tea
and collecting teacups, teapots and all things pretty. 

I fancy myself much like one of my vintage teacups. 



Delicate and unique but able to stand some HOT HOT water.

I am sure some of you readers have experienced struggles,
times when you are wondering how you will pull through....

My only advice is taken from Joseph Campbell ~ and that is, follow your bliss.

Following ones bliss is not easy.
There is no security in following the call to adventure

Mr Campbell is an interesting philosopher, sociologist and mythologist..but frankly, I just like some of his quotes. They make me think...hard.

Like is quote, "Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves
come when life seems most challenging."  Yes, I get this one for sure!

Who do YOU want to be? 

Is there something that you have been wanting to do?

In the words of Joseph Campbell....

As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm....
Jump...
It is not as wide as you think.


~ This is my life in a very special cupcake and teacup post.

**For those of you interested in the cupcake design ~ I used fondant imprinted with an impression mat and sprayed with pearl luster spray. 

I absolutely LOVE these mats:



I have them in my Sweet Boutique and they are certainly a Fast and Fancy way to dress up your cupcakes. Just roll out your fondant and place impression mat over fondant and roll again. 

Lift up mat and cut fondant to desired shape.  It is THAT easy.  When using these mats I always get so many compliments on their intricate designs.

People marvel over my "talent" and I have to chuckle.....because it is so easy.

To find them click HERE and go to page 13.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Black Sheep ~ Thank you to Cookies and Cups Blog

Some posts just do not need a lot of wordy explanation, this is one of them. 

I am a HUGE fan of the blog Cookies and Cups.  It borders on stalking, not quite tree snapping, window drooling….but close.  I am okay with that because she is so flippin awesome.
You can easily go to her blog by clicking on her button:






cookies and cups


Back in March she had the BEST post were she made a sheep cupcake topper out of a white mini powdered donut.  The name of the post was Counting Sheep…to read it (and find out how you can make your own sheep) click HERE.
The post intrigued me for two reasons...
1. I am obsessed with the powdered donut (any donut for that matter)
2. As a PA in a pulmonary and sleep practice, I often see patients in clinic with sleep related issues...insomnia, sleep apnea etc....so "counting sheep" made me chuckle.
Immediately inspired by the sheep cupcake topper, I knew what I had to do.

This is where I stop explaining….





Yes, it is a black sheep.  Need I say more?

Well…ok…sometimes I would like to feel more like this…



Most of us at times have probably felt we are a square peg in a round hole kinda world. Well, I sometimes I feel as if I am a black sheep in a white sheep flock.

I want to thank Cookies and Cups for her constant inspiration, witty humor, wicked good posts and for keeping me sane.
She is one of my therapists and I really appreciate the time and energy it takes to produce her blog.
Making this cupcake really, really made me laugh.  Laughing is good therapy.

So are cupcakes.

This is my life as a black sheep cupcake, thanks for visiting!

Linking up with:
Hoosier Homemade Cupcake Tuesday!
Something Swanky Blog ~ Sweet Treats Thursday

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tea Time Tuesday with Graduation Party Sandwiches

~Happy Tea Time Tuesday Everyone ~

Thank you for all the great comments last week for the Tea Time Giveaway Post.  I used random.org to pick the winner and the lucky person who will receive a one year (6 issues) subscription to Tea Time Magazine is.....

Sandi from Rose Chintz Cottage.

Congrats! I know you will LOVE it as much as I do.

It was a busy but fun weekend. I finished and delivered a very special cupcake order for my cousin's baby baptism.  The order was whimsical and so special and her reaction when she saw them was just priceless. 

I wish I could bottle up that feeling forever.  The little cakes will be sure to get their own feature post soon.

This past Friday, I decided to make the Graduation Hat and Diploma Sandwiches that were featured in the May/June 2011 Tea Time Magazine.

To visit their website click HERE.

I am pleased with how delicious they tasted and how easy they were to assemble.  One of the main reasons why I enjoy Tea Time Magazine is because most of the recipes are actually "do-able" by the main stream average person, like me!  I love Fast and Fancy!!

See below for the How-to's.

Here are the Graduation Hats...



And here are the Diplomas...



How about on a plate together?  I think so!



What a great idea for Afternoon Tea with your graduate.



I took the opportunity to treat myself to these savories considering I have graduated from High School, College, obtained my Masters as a Physician Assistant and completed my PhD in Clinical Pharmacology. Wheeew.



The next set of sandwiches need to reflect dollar signs to resemble all of my student loan debt!

Oh well...my Mom always said, "You can never put a price on your education."

How true. 

Oh and by the way Mom and Dad, thanks for footing a bunch of said bill for said umpteen years of education. Not to mention the occasional and mostly frequent rent, car insurance, and groceries.

And we all know how many times I MOVED and the cost associated with those adventures . . . . . . how can I ever repay you two? 

You both are truly the reason I have gotten to where I am in life.

Ok, enough sappy stuff.

Here are the How-to's for the sandwiches ~ besides picking up a copy of Tea Time Magazine for yourself. :)

Diploma Sandwiches: ~ 18 sandwiches
~ adapted from Tea Time May/June 2011

6 oz cream cheese, soft
1/4 cup salted butter, soft
2 T heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pecans or both (I used pecans)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 tsp salt
18 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
Garnish: fresh chives

In large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter and cream. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add nuts of choice, chopped chives, and salt to butter mixture, stirring to combine.

Using a rolling pin, flatten bread and spread filling evenly over bread slices, careful not to get it too thick.

Starting at long side, roll up to center of bread.  Repeat with opposite side (the two pinwheels should touch).

Tie with chive ~ this was the FUTZY part.

Graduation Hat Sandwiches ~ 12 sandwiches
 ~adapted from Tea Time Magazine May/June 2011

12 slices pumpernickel bread
6 slices Havarti Cheese (I bought actual slices but if you cut your own make them 1/4 inch thick)
12 slices salami
12 slices Roma tomato
1/4 cup Mayo ~ or I substituted herbed butter here as hubby does not like Mayo
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 T fresh lemon juice
Garnish: I used a fresh red pepper and chives cut to size or Tea Time suggests use a sliced carrot and roasted red pepper.

Cut 2 1/2 inch square and 2 inch circle from bread
Cut 2 inch circles from cheese slices
Cut 2 inch circle from salami slices
Layer cheese, tomato, and salami rounds on top of each bread round.

In small bowl, whisk together mayo, zest, and juice (I used herbed butter)
Spread on pumpernickel squares. 

Place squares, spread side down on layered rounds.

Garnish as desired.

~ I hope you enjoyed the tea party today...make it a great one!

Linking to:
Tidy Mom ~ I'm Lovin It!
Topsy Turvy Tuesdays!
Hoosier Homemade ~ Cupcake Tuesday!
A Breath of Fresh Air ~ Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday!
Pink Saturdays!
Sassy Sites!
Between Naps on the Porch ~ Tablescape Thursday
Add a Pinch ~ Mingle Monday ~ I Made That!
Linda's Lunacy ~ Making a Home
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Not Just a House Wife Blog
Fireflies and Jelly Beans Blog ~ Show your Stuff!
My Romantic Home ~ Show and Tell Friday

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Tea in the Garden + Strawberry Lavender Buttercream on a Chocolate Cupcake YUM!

Hello friends.

While I would LOVE to be having tea in my garden this weekend, it has been so chilly in Minnesota that very little is in bloom.

So, I decided to bring the "garden" inside.




This afternoon Sophia and I enjoyed tea made more delightful by the addition of chocolate cupcakes with strawberry lavender buttercream.

I have to admit that I did I could eat this frosting all by itself. :)




Sophia and I often enjoy a tea service on Friday's after school.

It provides a nice time to recap the adventures of the week.

I treasure every moment.

I included a few pictures for sentiment.  I love memories!!

Can you spot our favorite tea friend, Ms. Paris Poodle??



Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. 
~Catherine Douzel

While there is tea, there is hope.
~ Sr Aurthur Pinero



Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. 
Now tell me about hundreds of things. 
~Saki


Sophia wrote this note and took the picture while I was preparing the table.
We do hope you take the time for a nice tea!

And some Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Lavender Buttercream!

The hint of lavender was so divine.

Strawberry Lavender Buttercream

3 large strawberries or 1 1/2 tsp of Strawberry Extract (more or less to taste)
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream

1-2 tsp culinary lavender (depends on how strong you prefer)
Pink Food Coloring

In a food processor, pulse strawberries until pureed. Add in butter and vanilla, and about 2 cups of the sugar. Pulse until well combined. If using extract alone, add liquid to the butter, vanilla and 2 cups of sugar.


In a separate bowl microwave cream at 10 second intervals until it simmers, then place culinary lavender into cream and let steep for at least 10 minutes.

Strain the lavender from the cream.

Incorporate cream into mixture. Add in small amounts of powdered sugar, pulsing after each addition, to reach the desired consistency.
Tint to desired color.
Frosting should be smooth and soft, yet hold its shape.

For the Chocolate Cupcakes I proudly used a Pillsbury Chocolate Cake Mix and doctored it up with some cocoa, mayo and vanilla.

~ Don't Forget to enter my Tea Time Magazine Giveaway. Even if you already get the magazine I am sure you know someone who would be delighted to receive a surprise in the mail.

To visit the entry page click HERE!

~ This is my life having tea with my daughter and making some delicious cupcakes.
These are some of my favorites so far!!

Linking up with:


I am excited to be linking up with Bernideen's Tea Time Blog 
for "Tea in the Garden" today.  Her tea blog is just lovely.