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Archive for the ‘Valentine’s Day’ Category

pavlova plated

If you’re looking for an easy dessert that appears to take a lot of effort to create, Pavlova is a great choice. It uses a few simple ingredients and is topped with berries and whipped cream.

How could you go wrong?

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Start by beating egg whites and salt until they form glossy peaks.

Start by beating egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks.

 

Slowly add in sugar, a tablespoon at a time until well blended. Then add in remaining ingredients.

Slowly add in sugar, a tablespoon at a time until well blended and glossy, stiff peaks form. Then add in remaining ingredients.

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Form a heart, using a spoon to spread out the meringue (or a circle). You want the edges to be higher than the middle.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Form a heart, using a spoon to spread out the meringue (or a circle). You want the edges to be higher than the middle.

 

Bake in a 250 degree oven for one hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let cool completely before removing.

Bake in a 250 degree oven for one hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let cool completely before removing.

 

Top with whipped cream and berries (or cherries) for a beautiful dessert your sweetheart will love.

Top with whipped cream and berries (or cherries) for a beautiful dessert your sweetheart will love.

Raspberry Pavlova

2 egg whites

pinch of salt

1/2 cup plus one tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. corn starch

1 tsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Berries

Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat egg whites and salt in a metal bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should now be glossy  stiff peaks.

Gently fold in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and use a spoon to shape the meringue into a heart (or circle). Make sure the edges are higher than the middle.

Turn the oven down to 250 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The meringue should be very pale. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely.

Just before serving, remove the meringue from the oven and top with whipped cream and berries.

Serve and enjoy!

She Who Wishes You All a Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

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bread dough hamber patty with heart cutter

If your true love is a carnivore like mine, then today’s recipe will be a big hit! Make your meat-eater happy with these fun Heart Shaped Hamburgers. (Sorry for the photo of raw meat right up front…)

On a side note – if you don’t want to make burgers, you could also cut the meat into heart shapes for use with pasta (think meatballs, except in the shape of hearts).

We’ll start with the dough for the buns then move on to the burgers.

bread dough ingredientsIngredients for the buns.

Start by scalding milk with oil and sugar.

Once the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, you can add in a package of yeast.

Sprinkle yeast over the milk and let rest for a minute.

Stir in yeast and four cups of flour.

Place the pan in a warm area, cover with a tea towel and let the yeast do its thing for about an hour. I like to put my pan in front of the fire. It is warm and makes the dough smell heavenly.

When they’ve puffed up a bit, bake them in a 350 degree oven until the tops are golden brown.

bread dough bun sliced openSlice open and build that perfect burger. (And you might not even need to slice, since the two hearts are easily separated.)

bread dough meatFor the burgers, add whatever spices you like to the meat, then flatten it out to  whatever thickness you like. I think ours were about 1/2 inch thick.

bread dough cut out burger pattyUsing the same cookie cutter (so the meat and buns are somewhat uniform), but out heart shapes in the ground beef.

bread dough heart burgers ready to bbq

How fun is that? Grill them or fry them or cook them however you like.

(I may have begged until CC cooked our outside on the BBQ. Good thing the snow is gone and the temps warmed up yesterday!).

bread dough burger on bun

Once the meat is cooked, place it on your bun, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Hamburger Hearts

Dough

2 cups milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tbsp. salt

Hamburgers

1-2 pounds of ground beef

spices

your choice of condiments

Scald the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat (bring heat to nearly a boil, but don’t let it boil!). Set aside and cool to lukewarm (think temperature of a baby’s bottle). Sprinkle yeast on top of milk and let rest for one minute.

Add four cups of the flour and stir until just combined. It is going to be sticky. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place for an hour.

Remove the towel and add baking powder, baking soda, salt and final 1/2 cup of flour. Stir to combine.

Roll out and cut into heart-shapes with a cookie cutter. I used one that was about four-inches wide. Place a single layer of hearts on a baking sheet, then place a second layer on top of the first (like you’re making a heart sandwich, except without the filling).

Cover with a tea towel and return to a warm area to rise for another 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When dough is ready, bake for about 10- 15 minutes, until the tops are a lovely golden brown.

You should be able to easily separate the tops and bottoms of your heart-sharped buns, but if not, just got them in half.

While the buns are baking, mix your ground beef with whatever spices you like. Pat it out to whatever thickness you like your burgers then use the  same cookie cutter you cut out the buns with to cut out your burgers.

Cook (grill, fry, toss on the barbecue – whatever you like), then slide onto the bun. The bread will be just slightly bigger because it expands and the meat tends to shrink a little.

Top with your favorite condiments and listen to your meat-eater praise your efforts.

With the cookie-cutter I used, I had 24 hearts or 12 buns. The number you get will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. I used a 1 1/2 pound package of ground beef and got six burgers. You can cut the bread recipe in half if you want to make a smaller batch.

She Who May Have Enjoyed These, Too

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deco heart little rosesIf you are looking for an easy and fun craft idea for Valentine’s Day, here is one you can do in an evening.

deco heart ingredientsWhat you need to get started  are the following:

Mod Podge

Foam Brush

White Glue or a hot glue gun

An 8-10 inch Heart

1 Heart-Shaped Doily

Fabric or printed paper of some sort (I used a paper dinner napkin)

Lace

Assorted notions for trimming

deco heart cut out heartStart by tracing your heart on your paper and cut it out.

Two things I will note here:

First – I couldn’t find any wooden hearts at the craft store so I bought a metal heart at Wal-Mart for $1.97 and spray painted it white.

Second – I used a paper dinner napkin for the patterned background. You can use anything you like from a piece of fabric to gift-wrap, old sheet music or even a piece of newsprint. Whatever strikes your fancy.

deco heart base coatNext, coat the heart with a layer of Mod Podge.

deco heart first layerPlace the paper on top and smooth it out. Let this dry about 15 minutes before moving on to the next step.

deco heart add doilyCoat the front of the heart with Mod Podge, then add your doily (this can be paper or a crocheted doily) and coat it as well. Let dry about 15 minutes.

deco heart add lace with gluePrepare to add the outside trim. Using white glue, or a glue gun, carefully glue it all around the edge of the heart.

deco heart with laceWhen you are done, it should look something like this.

deco heart embellishmentsNext, add your embellishments. I used one bigger rose with a button in the center then added some rosebuds around the sides. I chose colors that coordinated with the pattern in the background.

deco heart button with roseI glued one rosebud on a button, just because it gave it a little more panache.

deco heart bow on topFinish the project by poking a hole through the top and added a ribbon. This makes it easy to hang.

deco heart hangingAnd you’re done! Wasn’t that easy?

She Who Loves Playing with the Hot Glue Gun

 

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duct tape

Back when Captain Cavedweller and I were first together, he would bring me gifts wrapped in things like paper bags or a plastic sack from the grocery store.

Once duct tape was even involved.

After that, I keep a supply of easy gift-wrapping supplies on hand and he knows where to find them.

Getting the gifts is awesome, but it boosts the excitement level up a notch when they come in pretty packaging.

Someone once said to me that she thought people could either get the gift or the wrapping and a card, but not both.

I think people should be able to do both without breaking the bank. Today, I’m going to share some tips on how to wrap gifts inexpensively.

In fact, here are five gift-wrapping ideas that you can do in five minutes and only spend five dollars (for all five!).

You can find this little video on You Tube.

So, for the gift-wrapping challenged – you can do this. Go out there and make your sweetheart’s Valentine present look fantastic!

She Who Loves to Wrap Gifts

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Cherry Bars plated

If your sweetheart is a cherry fan (or dessert lover in general) these bars are easy to make and taste so good, especially warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Make your sweetie smile and make up a batch for Valentine’s Day.

Cast of cherry bar characters

Cast of cherry bar characters

Cream butter and sugar then add eggs, extracts and mix. Blend in dry ingredients.

Cream butter and sugar then add eggs, extracts and mix. Blend in dry ingredients.

Grease pan and spoon half the dough into the bottom.

Grease pan and spoon half the dough into the bottom.

Spoon in cherries.

Spoon in cherries.

Spread them out to every corner.

Spread them out to every corner.

Top with remaining dough by dropping on top. Don't try to spread. You want blobs and globs.

Top with remaining dough by dropping on top. Don’t try to spread. You want blobs and globs.

While the bars are baking, mix your glaze. Add milk, almond and vanilla extract to powdered sugar.

While the bars are baking, mix your glaze. Add milk, almond and vanilla extract to powdered sugar.

cherry bars glaze

Then when the bars and done and still hot, pour glaze over the top.

Then when the bars and done and still hot, pour glaze over the top.

And try not to eat the whole pan before you can share with the one who makes your heart pitter-patter.

And try not to eat the whole pan before you can share with the one who makes your heart pitter-patter.

Cherry Bars

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. slat

1 (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling

Glaze

1 cup powered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

2 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan. (You can double the recipe and bake in a large 15 x 10 baking pan).

Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and mix. Add extracts and blend then stir in dry ingredients.

Spoon half the dough into the baking pan, pressing down lightly. It will be sticky.

Pour pie filling over the dough and spread out.

Drop remaining dough by the spoonful on top of filling.

Bake for 40 minutes, until top is golden brown. Drizzle with the glaze and serve warm. A scoop of vanilla ice cream makes it even better.

To make the glaze – combine sugar with extracts and milk. It should be very thin and pourable and smell deliciously of almond.

She Who Made Her Sweetheart Happy with These Bars

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raspberry muffins group platedNothin’ says “Be my Valentine” like a little lovin’ from the oven.

These raspberry muffins are easy to make and you can prepare them the night before (and days before and freeze) then warm up Valentine’s morning for breakfast. They are moist and sweet and guaranteed to be a hit with your sweetie (unless of course they don’t like raspberries, then you are on your own.)

Ingredients for Raspberry Muffins

Ingredients for Raspberry Muffins

Combine dry ingredients then stir in melted butter.

Combine dry ingredients then stir in melted butter.

Mix egg, milk and vanilla together then add to batter.

Mix egg, milk and vanilla together then add to batter.

Blend until mixed, but don't over stir. The batter will still be lumpy.

Blend until mixed, but don’t over stir. The batter will still be lumpy.

Gently stir in raspberries.

Gently stir in raspberries.

When they are well blended, spoon into paper-lined muffin cups.

When they are well blended, spoon into paper-lined muffin cups.

A heaping spoon should do it. I am not, however, the queen of uniformity.

A heaping spoon should do it. I am not, however, the queen of uniformity.

You need a box of sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar).

You need a box of sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar).

And sprinkle a little on top of each muffin before putting into your 400 degree preheated oven.

And sprinkle a little on top of each muffin before putting into your 400 degree preheated oven.

Serve warm with butter melting into every little crevice.

Bake about 12-15 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Serve warm with butter melting into every little crevice.

Bake about 12-15 minutes, until tops are lightly browned, then remove from oven.

Yum!

Raspberry Muffins

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups raspberries

Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado Sugar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Melt butter then stir into dry ingredients.

Mix egg, vanilla and milk together. Pour into batter, stirring until blended, but you want to leave a few lumps in the batter.

Gently fold in raspberries.

Spoon into a muffin-pan lined with paper baking cups. Sprinkle tops with a little turbindo sugar (optional) for a sweet little crunch on top when they are baked.

Bake about 12-15 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

Remove and serve with butter (or plain).

She Who Loves Raspberry Treats

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If you’re looking for a fun little way to say I love you, how about making a Heart Message Board you can leave love notes on all week.

heart board finished 1

Using contact paper and dry erase markers, you can change the message every day.

heart board ingredientsI found this roll of marvelous contact paper at the dollar store. Sometimes the things I find there are quite surprising. You’ll need contact paper, a piece of cardboard, ribbon, trim, glue, scissors and a nail.

heart board cut to sizeMeasure a piece of contact paper to completely cover the cardboard. Leave the side edges long.

heart board taper edge

Cover the front of the cardboard and fold edges around to back. Trim the side pieces at an angle so when you fold them in, they taper out from the center  (like an envelope) and won’t show. I like layering the edges in the center because it keeps the paper from coming loose from the cardboard.

heart board coveredIt should look like this when you finish. Nice and smooth with no wrinkles.

heart board glue trimNext, glue your trim on in a heart-shape. I placed mine then glued a little section at a time. You can use plain white glue, craft glue or hot glue, your choice. I used white glue and held it in place with push pins until it dried.

heart board nailUse a nail to poke two holes, one in each top corner, for the ribbon.

Heart board ribbon cornerAdd the ribbon and knot each end in the back. Trim off excess.

heart board sharpieIf you want, you can write something like “Love You Because” in permanent marker and draw a line then fill in the blank every day, or leave the whole thing blank and write a message every day. Just remember to use dry erase markers for what you want to be able to change daily.

You could also use this as a big Valentine card and could write the message in permanent ink.

heart board finishedYou can hang it up for your true love to see each morning or give it to them as a gift.

She Who Loves Heartsy-Crafts

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