Thursday, May 22, 2008

Goodies for Memorial Day....Flag Cake

flag cake


Serves 24

  • 2 recipes White Sheet Cake
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh raspberries


  1. Trim any rough edges from cakes using a serrated knife. Place four strips of parchment paper around the perimeter of a serving platter. Place first layer, bottom side up, on serving platter. Using an offset spatula, spread cake with 2 1/2 cups frosting. Top with remaining layer, bottom side up. Spread entire cake with 5 1/2 cups frosting. Place remaining frosting in a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip (such as Ateco #35). Remove parchment paper strips.
  2. Using the tip of a toothpick, outline the shape of a flag on the cake. Fill the upper left-hand corner with a single layer of blueberries. Place one row of raspberries across upper edge of cake to form first red stripe. Pipe one row of stars just below raspberries to form first white stripe. Repeat process with remaining raspberries and frosting until you have 7 red and 6 white stripes.

Patriotic Trifle

patriotic trifle


Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 store-bought pound cake (12 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (three 1/2-pint containers), rinsed and dried
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries (two 6-ounce containers)


  1. Make lemon syrup: In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool completely, then brush over both sides of cake slices. Quarter each slice.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/3 cup sugar on high speed until lightened. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add heavy cream in a steady stream; continue beating until mixture is light and airy (mixture will be like a very soft whipped cream).
  3. Arrange half the cake pieces in the bottom of a 2-quart serving dish. Spoon half the cream-cheese mixture over cake in dollops; spread to sides of dish. Scatter half the blueberries and raspberries on top. Repeat layering with remaining cake, cream-cheese mixture, and berries, piling berries in the center.
  4. Cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to overnight

From the Wilton site:

Star Cake


  • Star Pan
  • Tips: 16, 21
  • Disposable Decorating Bags
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/3 cup currant jelly, melted
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing (see below)

Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Wilton Piping Gel
  • 1/2 teaspoon Wilton Clear Vanilla

Combine whipping cream and sugar in mixing bowl. Whip to soft peak stage. Add piping gel and vanilla, then continue to whip stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.

YIELD: 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

As an alternative, you can use Frozen Non-Dairy Whipped Topping or Packaged Topping Mix. Thaw frozen whipped topping in refrigerator before coloring or using for decorating. Use packaged topping mix immediately after preparing. Do not allow either to stay at room temperature, as it becomes too soft for decorating. Store decorated cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush pan with vegetable shortening and dust with flour. Shake out excess flour. Prepare mix according to directions. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack 10 minutes and turn out on board cut to fit. Completely cool cake before decorating. Slice strawberries 1/4-inch thick lengthwise. Leave 2 whole strawberries for garnish.

Brush cake with melted currant jelly. Pipe tip 16 star border on cake top. Fill in border with blueberries. Fill in remainder of cake top with sliced strawberries. Pipe tip 21 bottom star border. Brush all berries with melted currant jelly. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Makes 12 servings.

Here are a few basic ideas for desserts: cupcakes and festive cake. Ummm Yummy!

patriotic cupcakes patriotic cake

Have fun!

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Patriotic Celebration

I know that Mothers Day is just around the corner, but saw a wonderful idea for decorating and celebrating Memorial Day/4th of July/Veteran's Day.

A Fabulous Picnic

A Fabulous Picnic

A picnic decked out in America’s favorite colors makes the Fourth of July fun. Set a grand old table with red, white and blue paper plates, paired with rolled-up napkins in red and blue picnic plaids. Use plastic knives, forks and spoons, and you can ditch the dishwashing!

Summer’s all about simplicity, so keep the decorating low-key. Tape small paper flags around the edges of a white paper tablecloth with hook-and-loop tape. If someone spills, no worries – it’ll all be pitched after the party, anyway.  Make the A Fabulous Picnicpunchbowl your centerpiece. Fill it with sea blue party punch, crowned with a silver-blue waterfall “sparkler,” a sure way to start the day off with a bang. Attach mini “sparklers” to drink straws to reinforce the theme. Ice soft drinks in red metal tubs, heat up the grill and let the fireworks begin.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue – and a quick cleanup, too! Making a tablescape pop is a snap with these timesaving tips:

  • Keep it casual with paper plates in mix and match colors. To dress things up, serve drinks in plastic goblets. It feels festive, but they’re all throwaway.
  • A Fabulous Picnic If the party's outside - or even inside - try plastic silverware. It comes in all colors and makes cleanup a breeze.
  • Mix your punch to match your colors. (It's easy with food coloring.) Here, the blue hue is refreshingly patriotic.
  • Place a glass punchbowl in the middle of your table for a showy centerpiece. If you don't have a punchbowl, borrow one, or buy an inexpensive acrylic one from a party warehouse.
  • Show off your creativity. Add silver and blue "sparklers" to the punchbowl and glasses to give your table extra sizzle. Spray paint small terra cotta pots white and fill with red candies for an outdoorsy treat.

Contents of this post taken from Semi-Homemade

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Old Cookbooks are like old friends

I love old books and cookbooks are a favorite and I found several.  One I found was the Better Homes and Garden  New Cookbook printed in 1953. bhg_cookbook53  It has some really wonderful vintage pages, I can just sit and thumb through these books for hours.  This one was really great because it has notes in the margins of some of the recipes and some old handwritten recipes on cards and loose leaf paper. The ones on the loose leaf paper are all tattered and torn, which implies to me was used quite a bit over the years.  Might have to try it myself. 

I also ran across another book that I picked up and looks like I will enjoy it immensely.  Etiquette_EP_1940 It was published in the 1940's by Emily Post.  I am sure I have been doing everything all wrong.   This is what the excerpt had to say "Post was born into a wealthy family and began her literary career as a novelist. Her best-known book Etiquette, first published in 1922, is a practical guide to proper social behavior written in a lively style. Post viewed etiquette not as a collection of details, but as a way of living: "Manners are made up of trivialities of deportment which can be easily learned if one does not happen to know them; manner is personality-the outward manifestation of one's innate character and attitude toward life."


I also grabbed another book I have been watching for awhile but didn't want to pay full price for it.  I ended up getting it for $4 and I was thrilled. MS_Homekeeping Handbook  

How to Use This Book: An Excerpt
When the first issue of Martha Stewart Living was published in 1990, I could not have begun to anticipate how wide-ranging our readers' homekeeping concerns would be. Since then, we have discovered new solutions to age-old problems, brought in experts to advise us on very specific questions about very specific?c concerns, and experimented with all the new (and not so new) home-care products. Over the years, I've brought these lessons home with me, too, which has made me more organized and made my homes better cared for and maintained.
Households are busy places, works in progress where there is always something needing immediate attention and always something more that can be done. With that in mind, I have organized this book to address the tasks at hand and also to address the "more that can be done" for when you have the time and the inclination go beyond the essentials.
It starts with the big picture--an examination of every room and everything you will find within each. The eleven chapters in the "Room by Room" section take you on a tour through the house, focusing on the surfaces and furnishings you might find in any room, and offering strategies for their care and maintenance. Starting with the kitchen, the central staging area in any home, these chapters open with practical space-planning advice, followed by the golden rules of organizing. This information is intended to help contain your belongings and make each room clutter-free and functional. Relevant homekeeping concerns particular to each room are explored in depth--so stain-removal basics appear in "Laundry Room," the best way to clean grout in "Bathroom," and easy sewing repairs in "Utility Spaces." The equipment essential to each room is also addressed, so if you are considering what kind of bathtub to install during a bathroom renovation or whether a gas or electric range would best suit your style of cooking, you will have the information necessary to make such an investment with confidence.

Do you have any wonderful old cookbooks you'd like to share? Let me know!

Happy cooking!

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