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Prairie-Style Weddings (Rustic and Romantic Farm, Woodland, and Garden Celebrations) by Fifi O’Neill makes me want to rush outside and start planning a grand party.

Bestselling author Fifi O’Neill has earned a  reputation for her unique development of prairie style. As an executive editor overseeing several successful, magazines including her latest, Prairie Style, The New American Country, she’s known as a talented stylist who often creates prairie style editorial for dozens of other publications.

Working with talented photography Mark Lohman, O’Neill created a book that is not only gorgeous, but packed full of marvelous, creative notions.

The book’s blurb says: “Rustic barns and gardens are popular settings for the intimate, personalized weddings that are today’s top trend. Stylist Fifi O’Neill knows how to transform such venues into gorgeous “prairie style” celebrations that seamlessly blend ruggedness and elegance. This beautifully illustrated look-book with more than 150 photographs is filled with unique ideas for planning the perfect bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception. From a cheery garden-shed party to a dinner set amid a lush cornfield, Prairie-Style Weddings shows how to achieve an effortless look that is rich in personality and bursting with charm. Ten simple DIY projects add a homespun touch to any wedding event.”

Each page holds a treasure-trove of ideas, pops of color, and a definite romantic feel.

Talk about clever – who would have thought to make a chandelier out of vintage silverware and candles? And I want every single plate in the top photo on the right!

How fun are these chairs for a newlywed couple? Seriously, there are just pages and pages of unforgettable style.

barn weddingI absolutely love this idea! I can’t even begin to tell you how every girly cell in me screams out to jump into the photo and attend this celebration. The soft pastel colors, the lace, the candles and the chandelier combine for a perfect ideal of romance against the rustic barn setting.

heart laceI think this lace heart is one of my favorite details. And you don’t have to be planning a wedding to make a few. You could hang them in a window, outside on your porch, on a guest bathroom wall…

If you are a romantic at heart, love beautiful photography, or host parties, this book is a great selection to add to your collection. Especially, if you’re planning a wedding!

Available from Chronicle Books, the book can be found at Amazon and other retail outlets.

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake platedMy niece makes a mean angel food cake. When I incorporated “angel cake” into the soon-to-be-released Thimbles and Thistles, I begged her for the recipe and she willingly shared.

If you’ve never had homemade angel food cake (as in completely from scratch)  – the effort is worth it!

Angel Food Cake ingredients

Simple ingredients

Angel Food Cake egg whites

You need about nine to 10 eggs, separated. Let egg whites come up to room temperature.

While the eggs are warming (or is it chillin') sift powdered sugar and flour together.

While the eggs are warming (or is it chillin’) sift powdered sugar and flour together.

Alternate the two in your sifter  - it comes out beautifully.

Alternate the two in your sifter – it comes out beautifully.

Once egg whites are up to temp, mix with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Once egg whites are up to temp, mix with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Blend in granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.

Blend in granulated sugar until stiff peaks form then gently fold in flour mixture.

Spoon into a tube pan.

Spoon into a tube pan.

And bake in 350 degree preheated oven.

And bake in 350 degree preheated oven.

Remove when golden brown.

Remove when golden brown and cool completely.

Run a knife around inside of pan to loosen edges then insert onto a serving platter or cake plate.

Run a knife around inside of pan to loosen edges then insert onto a serving platter or cake plate.

Yum! Don't you just want a piece right now?

Yum! Don’t you just want a piece right now?

Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 cups egg whites (about nine eggs)

1 1/2 cups sifted powder sugar

1 cup sifted flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

Berries (optional)

Whipping Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring egg whites to room temperature.

Sift powdered sugar and flour together three times (Alternate the flour and sugar when putting it into the sifter. It makes sifting easier).

In large bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla, with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Gradually add sugar about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over beaten egg mixture; fold in gently. Repeat folding in remaining flour mixture by fourths.

Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake on lowest rack in oven for about 40 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.

Immediately invert pan and cool completely, about an hour.

Slide a knife around the side and center of the tube pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Garnish with berries and whipping cream, if desired. Yield: approx. 8-10 servings.

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars plated

February is National Hot Breakfast month. Krusteaz officially named every Wednesday night this month “Breakfast Night.”

Krusteaz found in a national survey that nine out of ten Americans claim to eat breakfast for dinner, with 56 percent doing so once a month or more often. Families are even more into the trend with 67 percent of respondents with children saying they have breakfast for dinner once a month or more.

One of the contributing factors to eating breakfast for dinner is the ease of preparation versus a traditional dinner. Families also say it is a fun way to break of the monotony of the usual weeknight dinner.

The folks at Krusteaz were kind enough to send me a box of fun goodies to sample and experiment with. Captain Cavedweller and I enjoyed Breakfast Night last night and I thought I’d share the results with you today!

**GIVEAWAY**

Post a comment below about your favorite breakfast item or menu and you will be entered to win your own box of goodies from Krusteaz including: Buttermilk Pancake Mix (1), Blueberry Belgian Waffle Mix (1), Chocolate Chunk Muffin Mix (1) and Honey Wheat Pancake Mix (1) as well as Krusteaz coupons for free product.  The giveaway will close tonight at midnight, so hurry and post those comments.

Since I’m lazy, I decided to make a breakfast casserole for dinner.

That turned out to be a tasty (and incredibly easy) decision.

Breakfast Sausage Bake plated

Ingredients

Ingredients

Grease a pan and add hash browns. Slide into oven as it preheats.

Grease a pan and add hash browns. Slide into oven as it preheats.

Brown sausage with celery and onion.

Brown sausage with celery and onion.

 

Mix with potatoes right in the pan.

Mix with potatoes right in the pan.

Top with cheese.

Top with cheese.

Mix batter.

Mix batter.

Pour over meat and cheese in baking pan. Do not stir!

Pour over meat and cheese in baking pan. Do not stir!

Bake about 40 minutes until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Top with additional cheese and bake a few minutes until cheese is melted then serve!

Bake about 40 minutes until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Top with additional cheese and bake a few minutes until cheese is melted then serve!

 Breakfast Sausage Bake

1 cup Krusteaz Light & Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake Mix

2 packages bulk pork sausage (12 ounce each)

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tbsp. chopped onion

3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese

2 cups milk

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Place in hash browns and pop the pan into the oven as it preheats.

In a heavy skillet, brown sausage with celery and onion. Drain grease. Remove baking dish from oven and mix potatoes with sausage. Sprinkle one cup of the cheese over the meat mixture.

In a large mixing bowl combine pancake mix, milk and eggs until well blended. Pour into baking dish. Do not stir!

Bake for 40-45 minutes until top is lightly browned and a knife inserted comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake an additional minute or two until cheese is melted.

Serve and savor an easy weeknight meal!

Oh – and what’s dinner without a little dessert?

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars plated

banana choc cake bars ingredients

Ingredients

Mix crust and press into greased baking pan.

Mix crust and press into greased baking pan.

Mix batter until well blended.

Mix batter until well blended.

Combine cream cheese with egg (and sugar if desired). Pour over crust.

Combine cream cheese with egg (and sugar if desired). Pour over crust.

Top with muffin batter and bake until light brown and edges pull away from sides of the pan.

Top with muffin batter and bake until light brown and edges pull away from sides of the pan.

Sprinkle with powered sugar.

Sprinkle with powered sugar.

Let cool and enjoy!

Let cool and enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

1 box Krusteaz Chocolate Chunk Muffin mix

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup oil

2 eggs

1 ripe banana, mashed

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease an 8×8 cake pan, set aside.

Divide the muffin mix in half (you should have about three cups total). In a small mixing bowl, combine half the muffin mix with the butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining muffin mix with water, oil, 1 egg and the mashed banana until well blended.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and remaining egg. If you want a sweeter filling, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the top of the crust.

Top with the muffin batter.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes until top is light brown or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can also drizzle with a little chocolate sauce if you want an added chocolate boost (which, of course I did!).

If you happen to have leftovers, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Recipes of Love

RecipesofLove_ebookRemember I said yesterday I had exciting news to share….

Here it is!

I’m so pleased and honored to be a part of this fun book, out just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Recipes of Love: Romantic Recipes by Sweet Romance Reads

The book offers more than 60 recipes and  snippets of stories by sixteen of the award-winning authors of Sweet Romance Reads.

Love at the 20-Yard Line Cover 01-15

If you turn to my section in the book, you’ll find recipes made by Haven Haggarty for Brody Jackson in Love at the 20-Yard Line, along with an excerpt from the story.

Recipes include everything from Filet Mignon to sugar cookies and fudge.

The ebook is only 99 cents!

And where can you find the book chock-full of recipes and stories, you ask?

Amazon: http://indi.uno/1x8HHWt

B&N: http://indi.uno/1yCIdxL

Kobo: http://indi.uno/18L21cb

iTunes: http://indi.uno/1x0SGRQ

Google: http://indi.uno/16tLEzK

It will also be available in paperback very soon!

If you haven’t yet, you might like to sign up for the Sweet Romance Reads newsletter. It comes out just a few times a year, but it features some special short stories. I might even have contributed something for the Valentine newsletter… Here is a link: http://www.sweetromancereads.com/ It’s easy to sign up – just scroll down the page until you see “Mailing List” on the right hand side. Enter your email and then confirm. You’re all set!

Just for fun, I’ll give away two copies of the book to anyone who leaves a comment  on my facebook page today.

You can leave any comment you like – or tell me if you have a favorite Valentine recipe.

awonton gooeyI have three words that are gonna rock your world.

Won Ton S’mores.

That’s right, Won Ton S’mores.

If you’ve never had them, run to the store and get the simple ingredients as fast as humanly possible to rectify the situation!

Are you heading to or hosting a Super Bowl Party this weekend? If so, you’ll be the MVP if you make a batch of these decadent little devils.

The wonderful folks at Nasoya recently gave me the opportunity to test out their Asian Style Wraps. Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was “how can I make dessert with these?”

Below, you’ll find the Won Ton S’mores recipe along with a few other tasty treats using Nasoya’s Won Ton and Egg Roll Wraps.

awonton ingredients

Ingredients

 

Place a miniature chocolate candy bar in the center of a Won Ton wrap.

Place a miniature chocolate candy bar in the center of a Won Ton wrap.

Add mini-marshmallows. If you use more than three it's almost impossible to get the wrap to seal.

Add mini-marshmallows. If you use more than three it’s almost impossible to get the wrap to seal.

 

Moisten the edges and fold the corners into the center. Press all the edges together to seal. This is very important!

Moisten the edges (use water or egg whites) and fold the corners into the center. Press all the edges together to seal. This is very important!

Heat oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat and fry for just a few seconds on each side until wrap is brown. Do not overcook! If you do, your marshmallows will disappear.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat and fry for just a few seconds on each side until wrap is brown. Do not overcook! If you do, your marshmallows will disappear.

Drain on paper towels.

Drain on paper towels.

Yum! You dust with powdered sugar before serving, if you wish.

Yum! You can dust with powdered sugar before serving, if you wish.

 Won Ton S’mores

1 package of Nasoya Won Ton Wraps

1 bag of miniature marshallows

1 bag of miniature chocolate bars

Place one chocolate bar in the center of a wrap then add three marshmallows. Using water or egg white, moisten the edges of the wrap. Fold the corners of the wrap up into the center  and press edges to seal.

Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a heavy skillet and warm over medium-heat. When oil is hot, add S’more and fry on each side for just a few seconds, until lightly browned. Remove and drain grease on paper towel, then savor the crispy outside and deliciously gooey inside!

***

Sausage Cups

Sausage Cups

Sausage Cups

These are incredibly easy and unbelievably tasty. They’ll score a touchdown with all your football fans!

Four ingredients - that's it!

Four ingredients – that’s it!

Line a min-muffin pan with Won Ton wraps. Gently fold them into the cups.

Line a min-muffin pan with Won Ton wraps. Gently fold them into the cups.

Cook the sausage and drain, then mix with cream cheese and shredded colby-jack. Spoon into cups and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, until edges are brown.

Cook the sausage and drain, then mix with cream cheese and shredded colby-jack. Spoon into cups and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, until edges are brown.

Sausage Cups

1 package Nasoya Won Ton Wraps

1 pound sausage

8 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fry sausage and drain grease.

Mix sausage with cream cheese and shredded cheese. Set aside.

Line a mini-muffin pan with Won Ton wraps by gently folding a wrap into each muffin cup. Spoon sausage mixture into each wrap and bake for about eight minutes, until edges of the wrap are brown.

***

Bacon Cheeseburger Rolls

burger roll plated 2If you enjoy a good bacon cheeseburger, give these easy wraps a try. Full of great flavors, you won’t fumble by serving these to your hungry guests!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Brown the hamburger and drain, then mix with bacon and  cheese.

Brown the hamburger and drain, then mix with bacon and cheese.

Spoon filling onto an egg roll wrap. You'll use about two tablespoons of filling.

Spoon filling onto an egg roll wrap. You’ll use about two tablespoons of filling.

Fold the wrapper (take one corner toward the middle, then fold in the two ends, then finish rolling. Moisten edges with water or egg white to seal.

Fold the wrapper (take one corner toward the middle,  fold in the two side corners, then finish rolling. Moisten edges with water or egg white to seal.)

You can bake these in the oven at 400 for about eight minutes.

You can bake these in the oven at 400 for about eight minutes.

Or you can fry them for just a minute. Of course, we liked the flavor of the fried better than the baked!

Or you can fry them for just a minute. Of course, we liked the flavor of the fried better than the baked!

burger roll platedServe with ketchup or barbecue sauce… and don’t forget the pickles!

Bacon Cheeseburger Rolls

1 package of Nasoya Egg Roll Wraps

1 pound of hamburger

1 cup of bacon bits

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Season hamburger with your favorite seasonings and brown. Drain. Mix with bacon bits and cheese. Spoon about two tablespoons of meat mixture onto the center of an egg roll wrap in a rectangle. Fold the end of the wrap nearest you into the center. Fold in the two side edges, then roll the wrap, sealing the edges by moistening with water or egg whites (I used water, and it worked fine).

You can either bake or fry these.

If baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for about eight minutes or until edges start to brown.

If frying, heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry one side, then the other (takes about a minute total).

Serve with a side of ketchup or barbecue sauce for dipping.

***

Fruit Ravioli

a fruit ravioli pile2 It’s a guaranteed score with these little fruit pies!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling onto a Won Ton wrap.

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling onto a Won Ton wrap.

Top with a second wrap.

Top with a second wrap.

This step is really, really important. Moisten the edges of the wrap and fold them up once. Then moisten the new edges and roll them inward.

This step is really, really important. Moisten the edges of the wrap and fold them inward once. Then moisten the new edges and roll them inward.

Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. If you don't get them sealed, the juice will explode out while you fry them. (Not that this happened to me.)

Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. If you don’t get them sealed, the juice will explode out while you fry them. (Not that this happened to me.)

Fry them in oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. It should take a minute (or less) to brown both sides.

Fry them in oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. It should take a minute (or less) to brown both sides.

Drain on paper towels.

Drain on paper towels.

 

Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Fruit Ravioli

1 package of Won Ton Wraps

1 can of fruit pie filling

powdered sugar

*Note – You can use any flavor of canned pie filling.

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of pie filling into the center of a Won Ton wrap. Top with a second wrap. Moisten the edges of the wraps and fold them inward. Moisten the new “edge” and fold it inward a second time. Using a fork, crimp the edges to make sure they are sealed.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry each side for about 30 seconds, or until brown. Drain on paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar then stand back and watch them disappear!

***

Enjoy the Super Bowl and party safely!

gimbals

Gimbal’s Fine Candies Announces Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes

Participants able to win a basket filled with gourmet candies

Gimbal’s Fine Candies recently announced the start of its 2015 Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes. By entering through the Gimbal’s Facebook page, you have a chance to win a picnic basket packed to the brim with bags of Gimbal’s famous Lovers Line candies. The sweepstakes runs from  through February 9th, and anyone who enters will automatically receive 10% off their next online purchase.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to enter to win. The basket will include a variety of Gimbal’s Cherry Lovers, Sour Lovers and Cinnamon Lovers heart shaped candies, bursting with intense, mouthwatering flavor.

Made with gourmet ingredients such as real fruit juice and real cinnamon oil, all of Gimbal’s products are also free of major food allergens including gluten, dairy, and eggs. These ingredients are not allowed in any of Gimbals’ facilities, to avoid any risk of cross contamination.

To enter the sweepstakes visit, https://www.facebook.com/gimbalscandy

About Gimbal’s Fine Candies

Gimbal’s Fine Candies was founded in 1898 in downtown San Francisco. The company survived the 1906 earthquake and resulting fires. Four generations later, all of the staff at Gimbal’s remains just as passionate about confections as it was over 100 years ago. From old-time favorites to innovative new candies, everything Gimbal’s creates is made with pride in the USA.

For additional information on Gimbal’s Fine Candies, visit www.gimbalscandy.com or call 1-800-344-6225.

Seven Layer Bar Cake

7-layer cake plated

I am a bundt cake junkie.

There, I admitted it. I feel so much better now.

A few months ago, I experimented with a can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and a vanilla bundt cake, providing the inspiration for this delicious, decadent, divine cake that you must run into your kitchen and make right this moment if you have even a passing fondness for Seven Layer Bars.

Yes, Seven Layer Bars. You know – those incredibly yummy bar cookies with coconut, pecans, chips and sweetened condensed milk over a graham cracker crust.

Instead of a graham cracker crust, I substituted an entire rich, moist, chocolatey cake.

Was that ever a tasty decision.

This isn’t hard to make. If you take the plunge, your taste buds will dance in elation while your knees grow weak from the splendor of it all.

Should you happen to leave a slice for Santa, I promise it will bump you to the top of the nice list!

7-layer cake ingredients

Ingredients

Start by mixing up the cake batter.

Start by mixing up the cake batter.

Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Sprinkle pecans over milk.

Sprinkle pecans over milk.

Next up - butterscotch chips.

Next up – butterscotch chips.

Don't forget the chocolate chips!

Don’t forget the chocolate chips!

Toss on some coconut.

Toss on some coconut.

The last layer is the cake batter.

The last layer is the cake batter.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely in pan. (You can even stick this in the freezer for a while if you want.)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely in pan. (You can even stick this in the freezer for a while if you want.)

Seven Layer Bar Cake

1 Chocolate Cake Mix (18 ounce box)

1 small box of instant chocolate pudding

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup oil

3 eggs

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl (cake mix, pudding, sour cream, water, oil and eggs). Mix on medium speed until well blended.  The batter will be really thick.

Thoroughly spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. When you think you’ve coated every crevice, give it one more spray!

Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk into the bottom of the bundt pan.

Sprinkle on pecans, followed by butterscotch chips, chocolate chips and then the coconut. Last, spoon in the cake batter.

Bake one hour or until edges start to pull away from the pan or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake!

Let cool completely before turning over onto serving platter or cake plate.

Prepare to dazzle your guests and have to beat a few of  them off with a stick when they get a taste of this cake!

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

She Who Loves This Cake

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