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Archive for June, 2011


I love making trifles.

They are fast, easy and so good. And people will think you have slaved over these babies for hours.

I’m just going to give you a list of ingredients and you can adjust the portions based on how many you want to make.

The cast of characters.

 

Cut the cake into bite-size pieces and layer in the bottom of your serving dish. I used stemmed goblets because they were pretty, but you can make this in individual bowls or make one great big layered bowl of trifle – use a clear glass bowl for the must stunning presentation.

 

Top the cake with vanilla pudding. I used instant and for this intent and purpose  it works just fine. And it is fast and easy when you are feeling slug-like.

 

Top the pudding with berries. I used raspberries and blueberries because I wanted this to look patriotic and festive, but you could use any combination you like.

 

Layer delicious freshly whipped whip cream on top of the berries. You could use frozen whipped topping, but fresh whipped cream tastes so much better.

 

Repeat layers and finish with a berry on top.

 

Patriotic Trifle

pound cake, cut into bite-sized pieces

instant vanilla pudding, made according to package directions

berries

whipped cream

Layer cake, pudding, berries and whipped cream in a pretty serving bowl or individual serving pieces. Repeat layers and top with whipped cream and a berry. Refrain from snitching too much while you are layering and enjoy the looks of awe and joy as your guests dig into this delicious dessert. You can make ahead of time and refrigerate for an hour or two – but don’t make too far in advance because the cake can get soggy.

Enjoy!

She Who Loves Trifles

 

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If you are looking for a dessert that is so simple and effortless it practically makes itself, let me know when you find it.

All kidding aside, this dessert is super fast and easy and delicious so if you aren’t exactly Betty Baker, whip this together then stand back and listen to the ohhs and ahhs as your guests like their plates clean and ask for more!

Start with a pre-made pound cake (I used Sara Lee’s frozen pound cake). Slice into about quarter to half-inch slices – depending on if you want hearty or more delicate slices.

Wash raspberries and stir in a spoon or two of sugar. Set aside and let the sugar work its magic on the raspberries while you rinse the blueberries.

I used freshly whipped cream, but you can also use frozen whipped topping if you aren’t into beating defenseless cream into a frothy pile of deliciousness.

Put the cake in a fun serving bowl or platter. I just picked up this blue beauty (and the little blue bowl) last week at Sur la Table – one of my new favorite stores. I kept wandering around in there so long Captain Cavedweller finally agreed to come back and pick my drooling self up half an hour later. It was a good thing he came when he did or I’m not sure I could have restrained myself from buying approximately 37 more things that I really, really wanted. But I had to have these! Had to!

Use red, white and blue dishes for your berries and whipped cream. It looks fun and festive without being a lot of work!

Enjoy!

She Who Really Likes Finding Favorite New Stores!

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The rest of this week, I’ll be posting Fourth of July party tips and ideas. You may even get a recipe or two if you stick around.

Today, I wanted to post a few cute and fun ideas I came across last week in my travels. Please keep in mind Hubby and I were on vacation and I got to go to at least 75 stores which is about 74 more than I usually do a month let alone a week so I don’t remember exactly where I found what.

This was one of the first things I found and had to have. I think I grabbed it at one of those outlet mall kitchen stores. I think. It is silicone and works really slick. I strongly advise against putting it in the dishwasher. Even the top rack warped it. Still makes the mold just fine, but it doesn’t sit flat or straight.

I used juice to make the cubes. That way when added to punch or pop on a hot day, you aren’t diluting the liquid. Freeze fun colors like red juice or blue Kool-Aid for an unexpected patriot pop of color.

You can also use this mold for jello, mints, chocolate  – all sorts of fun and entertaining items. I was most entertained by the frozen juice stars. They were pretty yummy.

This one is easy – you can get patriotic cupcake papers just about everywhere right now. They are in grocery stores, departments stores, kitchen stores. I think I got these at Wal-mart last year.

The point of all this rambling is do something fun with these besides cupcakes. Arrange them on a serving tray and fill with a patriotic snack mix like Chex Mix with red, white and blue M&Ms. Use them to hold solid berries like blueberries or strawberries. Raspberries can get a little smooshy on you in the heat. Fill them with grapes, nuts, bits of fresh veggies. Put battery-operated tea lights in them and place them around for decorations on your buffet table. Place a Tostito’s scoops chip in each one and fill with cheese, taco-seasoned meat and olives. Put a brownie bite inside and finish with a dollop of whipped cream (use Reddi-Whip in the heat to keep a swirled shape the longest.)

I loved this mini patriotic pinwheels. What I’m going to do with them exactly I don’t know, but the possibilities are so exciting! You could tuck them in a salad or dessert for a fun accent. Put a piece of rectangular florist foam in a long container, cover the top with moss, then poke in stems of red,white and blue flowers and use these little gems for a final accent for your centerpiece. Use them to mark dishes that are extra hot or spicy.

Think outside the box and have fun with your Fourth of July entertaining. You’ll be a savvy entertaining!

She Who Needs to Get Crackin’ on Her Own Fourth of July Buffet Plans

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Miss Molly

Today is my oldest brother’s youngest daughter’s birthday.

Huh?

My niece Amanda, the one in the photo with her buddy Tuff, is celebrating her birthday today. I will refrain from saying how old she is because she was born 10 years after I was and it is difficult for me to think in terms of numbers that high. Really it is.

I remember the first time I saw her – she was just a few days old and so tiny and beautiful. She quickly became my baby. I spent a lot of time babysitting her in her first few years and was nearly devastated when my brother packed up his family and moved them to the ends of the earth.

Amanda was a live wire from the get go. She was bubbly and vivacious, full of sass and fun. Not much has changed over the years.

I’m not exactly sure when or why I started calling her Miss Molly, but the nickname has stuck all these years. My dad, who also has the unique habit of giving people nicknames dubbed her Samantha Jane and called her that for years and years. I’m not sure that he doesn’t still call her that. How the child grew up to know her name is a wonder.

So as she celebrates her birthday today, I hope she knows her auntie is thinking of her and wishing her every happiness today and always. And remembering the little girl who used to sing “My boyfriend’s back,” who asked for “ointmilk” for breakfast and spent an adventuresome day with me learning the true meaning of “shop til you drop.”

Happy, Happy Birthday, Miss Molly! Hope it is fantastic!

Love you!

Your auntie

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It had been half of forever since I  made cream puffs so when the mood struck the other day, I jumped right into preparations.

They aren’t hard to make and are so tasty when stuffed with a delicious, creamy filling and dusted with sugar.

Make a batch this weekend and see if your family doesn’t act a little bit appreciative of your efforts.

Ingredients for Cream Puffs

 

Boil the butter and water

 

Add flour all at once.

 

Stir until it forms a ball then cool for 10 minutes.

 

Add eggs one at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon.

 

Drop onto a greased baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment) about three inches apart.

 

Bake until golden brown and lovely. Set aside and let cool completely.

 

Ingredients for pudding.

 

 

Stir together dry ingredients, mix in milk then cook until thick and bubbly.

 

Add milk mixture, gradually, to beaten eggs. Mix completely.

 

Pour egg mixture back into pudding.

 

 

Cook until bubbly, but not boiling, remove from heat then add butter and vanilla.

 

Pour pudding into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.

 

Split cream puffs open and remove any soft dough in the middle.

 

Fill with pudding.

 

If you are a chocolate freak like me, drizzle with chocolate before dusting with powdered sugar and devouring.

Cream Puffs

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 cup water

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and water and salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons, three inches apart, on a greased baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Split puffs and remove any soft dough from inside . Fill with pudding, dust with sugar, serve and enjoy. You could also fill with whipped cream, ice cream, sherbet or fruit.

Vanilla Pudding

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 cups milk

2 beaten eggs

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and flour. Stir in milk then cook over medium hit until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir constantly.  When it starts to bubble, cook for two minutes more. Remove from heat and gradually stir about one cup of the mixture into the beaten eggs. Return the egg mixture to the pan and cook until nearly bubbly but do not boil. Reduce heat and cook for two additional minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap, pressing it down to the surface of the pudding and chill until ready to serve cream puffs.

If you are a chocolate addict like me, you can drizzle chocolate sauce over the top before you dust it with sugar.

Enjoy!

She Who Loves Cream Puffs Entirely Too Much

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Some of you may know that I have been endeavoring to write a novel. Which morphed into a series of three novels. Which then turned into a series of three novels with an introductory short story.

They are finally, finally published digitally!

You can find them at Smashwords and on Amazon in the Kindle store.

The books are retailing for $2.99 and the prelude is 99 cents on Kindle or free on Smashwords. In about a week and a half, the books will be available on other e-reader formats so stay tuned.

You can also find a free pdf download of the prelude on my website at:  ShannaHatfield.com

Go there to check out what the books are all about! And I’d love to hear what you think of them!

If you don’t have an e-reader, no worries. Kindle has a free application you can download and read books right on your computer. How cool is that?

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement, kind words and support as I jumped into this fascinating journey. It is going to be an exciting ride.

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See this really cute hot-pink shoe? The one it took me a whole 27 seconds to decide I had to have when I saw it.

I wore it shopping this weekend (which may not have been the best idea I’ve ever had in regard to the future ability to walk normally – at least normal for me).

Evidently hot-pink three-inch wedges are hard to miss.

I’ve never had so many compliments on a pair of shoes. From sales clerks, other shoppers and service desk employees, I heard “Cute Shoes!” so many times I think I was floating on cloud nine.

It was awesome.

Especially when this girl used to wear only flats that closely resembled something your great Aunt Hortense would wear on a day she really needed to be comfortable.  Arthritis tends to suck the fun right out of footwear.

But I could not resist these shoes or the desire to wear them shopping. Despite the barely noticeable limp today, I’m so glad I did.

What is your favorite pair of cute shoes?

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