Monday, November 29, 2010

I Mentioned I LOVE to Bake

About 6 months ago, I discovered a "new found" love of cake.  Not just any cake mind you, little cakes that  are just the right size to hold in your hand.  Individually sized goodness wrapped in frosting!

                         I'm talking CUPCAKES!!!

This is something I have really become passionate about.  Sure, I like to bake "regular" sized cakes and  cookies and bread, etc., etc, but for some reason cupcakes are just perfect.  When they come out of the  oven, they are perfectly moist and (when I make the mini's) they are just what the *ahem* doctor ordered when you need that little bit of something to sooth that sweet tooth.

Recently, I have been on the quest to find a number of different recipe flavors for the cake as well as the frosting.  I am experimenting at combining "this" cake flavor with "that" frosting flavor.  This week, I am even going to try my hand, for the very first time, at filling the cupcake.  My dad's side of the family is having our annual reunion on Saturday and my dad's family (my dad, brother, sister, and me) are supposed to bring
dessert.  What perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe on people that have not tasted my delectible cupcake desserts.  Of course, I am bragging about them and they may end up being a flop, but hey, at least I had a good time making them.

First you have the batter (sorry, I can't give out the secret to my batter).

Next you divide it into the muffin cups strategically placed, where else, but in the muffin tin.
My batter makes a little more than 36 regular sized cupcakes or if you are ambitious (which I have been before - numerous times) over 100 mini cupcakes.

Put them in the oven.

***disclaimer - I am really, really bad about taking pictures!  Sorry all!***
Unfortunately, by this time I was in a groove and forgot to take pictures.
You'll have to just imagine the rest.
I promise, next time I will do much better with the picture taking!!!
Take out perfectly baked muffins and set aside to cool.

Now to prepare the filling...
The filling for these cupcakes was a store-bought whipped frosting mixed with creamy peanut butter that I heated slightly in the microwave to make it more mixable.  I then filled the "gun" with the filling and filedl the cupcake (not too full mind you or your cupcake will explode - DON'T ask).

On to the frosting (sorry all, I'd love to provide the recipes, but I am selfish when it comes to my cupcakes  and frosting - surely you understand).  I absolutely LOVE homemade chocolate frosting, so that is just what I made for these chocolatey, peanut buttery cupcakes.  This time I filled a piping bag and swirled a generous amount of frosting on the top of the cupcake. I was going to top them off with a cute little chocolate/peanutbutter leaf cutout, but by the time I was done with everything it was nearly 9:30p.m., but if you ever want to make a little cutout, it's pretty simple.  I'll share that with you!!!  :-)

"Candy Cutout"
melt one cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
melt one cup of a complementing flavor morsel (I choose peanut butter or butterscotch would work)
draw an 8x8 in square onto waxed paper and place on cookie sheet that will fit in fridge
drop spoonfuls of each of the melted morsels and swirl them together filling the square
place in fridge for 30 min or until firm
when ready to cut out shapes, remove from fridge for about 5 minutes to soften slightly
use a cookie cutter to cut shapes and then place back in fridge for 5-10 minutes
Now you have your "candy cutouts" to decorate a cake, cupcakes, etc.

You wanna know what the sad part of the whole thing was?  I didn't even get a taste of the finished product.  Many compliments were given, but sadly, I had eaten too much to even begin to eat dessert...ANY DESSERT!  Ugh!!!  Oh well, I guess I will just have to make these tastey treats another time.

Hope you all had a wonderful, long holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Relay of Friendship

So, I logged onto my blog the other day and saw that I have been passed the baton for the relay of friendship by Lindsay over at Scenic Glory.  Since my blog is a relatively new blog, this was somewhat unexpected, even though Lindsay is a close friend of mine.  I don't have a lot of followers, but I do frequent a number of blogs that are written by some very creative people.  For the most part I have been a "lurker," but I am starting to become more vocal with the blogs that I just cant seem to get enough of.

 Now it is my turn to pass on this baton to someone else.

Cheryl at Sew Can Do
the Chicks at The Crafting Chicks

Now, on with the questions...

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I truely just wanted to be a wife and mother.

What were your favorite cartoons?
He-man and She-ra, but really, I absolutely loved the Smurfs.

Favorite childhood game?
Kick-soccer, played like baseball or softball, but instead of a bat and ball, you kick a soccer and run the bases.  If you got hit with the ball, you were out. 

Most favorite birthday?
I think the best birthday was when my husband proposed, but my favorite childhood birthday was when my sister and I had a joint birthday party at Show Biz Pizza.  We got to invite all of our friends from school and our many cousins from our dad's side of the family.

What was your first love?
Outside my family, my first "love" had to have been God.

First musical idol?
Can't say that I ever really had a musical idol.  I loved to listen to just about anything that wasn't rap, hip hop, or R&B.

Something you have always wanted to do, but haven't done yet?
Travel to Germany to visit as many castles as possible.  My husband has traveled over seas with the Army National Guard and took leave to Germany and Amsterdam and has said it is beautiful and hopes to someday take all of us there.

Favorite gift?
Everything that God has blessed me with (my family, friends, my health, job, etc.).

If a theme song played for you everywhere you went, what would it be?
Not a clue.  Haven't really ever thought about it too much.  According to my dad and husband it would be "She Don't Know She's Beautiful" by Alabama.  I obviously tend to disagree, my theme song would have to involve something about being late, un-organized, and frazzled most of the time!  ;-)

Favorite city to visit?
Right now, my favorite city to visit would have to be Charleston, South Carolina.  My husband, sister, brother-in-law and I visited in February of this year (2010).  We had so much fun and can't wait to go back!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wishful Bliss

Today is a good day for day-dreaming about how I would love my table to look if we were going to be hosting Thanksgiving this year.  What all would I cook for the day?  Would I leave the turkey up to my wonderful husband to fry or would I bake it traditionally in the oven? 

Isn't this beautiful?
Thanksgiving table

Very pretty, almost too pretty to cut into and eat.

Fried Turkey

Personally, I am not a fan, but green bean casserole is a staple at any holiday meal!
Image of Original Green Bean Casserole, The Food Channel

Doesn't all of that just look beautiful and absolutely delicious?  Hopefully since my husband and I don't get to host Thanksgiving this year, maybe we can host Christmas and I will still be able to make a fabulous meal.  I guess if that doesn't work out, there's always the chance that for New Year's we can have an "adults only" fancy "dress up" party and I can still make a beautiful dinner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Growing up, I absolutely LOVED the Sound of Music.  Of course my favorite song in the movie was and still is "My Favorite Things."  I was singing the song to myself last night at work, and it inspired me to think about a "few" of my favorite things. 

Here they are in no particular order...
brown paper packages
(I'm even wrapping Christmas gifts in brown paper with jute twine this year)

down comforters and big comfy chairs

(this is close to my heart because Maximus is a boxer)

rustic cabins
(oh how I would love to own a cabin in the middle of no-where to just get away)

silhouette photography
(it is just so beautiful)

(they are so beautiful, strong, and dangerous)

Have a wonderful weekend.  I will see you again next week. We'll talk about Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Getting Started...

You may hear rumors that I never seem to decorate for some of the holidays. In a way, that is correct, but it certainly is not that I don't want to.  I just can't ever seem to find "just the right style" for my decor.  Now that we have the wood-burning stove and I know the plans for the rest of "that area" and the kitchen, I have a much better idea of how to decorate for ALL of the holidays.  The house seems much more rustic than it did before, so bring on the "Rustic" decor!

My inspiration for the start of my winter/holiday decor comes from the Great Outdoors.  I like a rustic look to my Christmas decor (with the exception of the tree).  By the way, have I mentioned I like the "Rustic" look?  ;-)  I also enjoy the smells of Christmas and winter.  You know, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, balsm pine, cedar, those smells.  I associate them with Christmas and the winter season because it is always so cold here and they remind me of warmth.

Anyway, onward... For my first purchase, I did go a little overboard, but I was excited.  I try to either find items that I already have or find things that are seriously clearanced out or on sale.  I couldn't wait, I knew exactly what I wanted to set on the hearth next to the stove for the winter/Christmas season.  Since I am a very FREQUENT customer of JoAnn's Fabrics and Crafts, I was extremely excited to find a great "little" basket at 40% off of $14.99 and cinnamon scented pinecones (2 bags for $8.00).  I know, not the greatest sale, but hey, it was still on sale!  Oops, I almost forgot, I also bought a silk pointsettia pick for 50% off $6.99.

It may not be significant, but with the stockings and tree skirt I plan to make, along with all of the rest of the holiday decor that will be set out after Thanksgiving, it will look absolutely perfect.  The best part is that I don't have to put them away after Christmas.  The basket and pinecones can stay and I can just change out the pointsettia with something else that's a little less Christmas-ish.

Now, I just hope my husband doesn't decide to use the pinecones as fire starters!
That would make me very sad.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why Should I Follow This Blog?

So, the big question, what is this blog all about?  Well, I recently got some inspiration from a home improvement project that we undertook this last weekend.  We installed a wood-burning stove in the main living area of our house.  After I got home from work on Monday, I sat on the couch just taking in the heat from the fire.  I got to thinking about how warm and inviting the fire made the house feel.  It made me think about other things that are literally warm, make people feel warm from the inside out, and that just make a place feel warm and inviting.  To me, 'Warm' means inviting and 'Bouquet' means variety, so it just made sense to name my blog Warm Bouquet.  I will try to convey a Warm Bouquet of things that inspire me and maybe, just maybe they will inspire you too!

Here is a picture of the home improvement in progress.  We still have a few "finishing touches" to do, but overall, I find it beautiful, rustic, and inspirational.  I plan to sit in front of the fire and become inspired all season long!  Take a look and imagine yourself curled up with a cozy blanket, a warm beverage, and a book or imagine yourself snuggled up with your family under that cozy blanket. 

Ahhh, now isn't that lovely?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And You Are...?

Well, my name is Elizabeth.  I am wife to Jason, mother to Logan and Jillianne (also Maximus and Nickel - the dogs), and a Licensed Practical Nurse for a manufacturing company's "nurses office" or dispensary.  I have the pleasure of being at home most of  the day with my daughter and son (when he's not at school that is) and being a homemaker.  I will totally admit to enjoying being lazy and not super motivated to clean the house when I am home, but I don't want you to get the impression that I leave it all for my husband to do in the evening when he gets home from work.  I do actually do some of the cleaning, otherwise our bathrooms would be atrocious and the kids rooms would have dirty clothes for carpet.  Oh, the family would also never have clean dishes to eat off of.  It is the dusting and vacuuming part that I really dislike.

Now, just to give you a little bit of background on ME.  I am a 30 something year old wife, mother, daughter, friend, homemaker, and professional.  My family and friends come first in my life, even though sometimes the other parts of my life will attempt to "get in the way."  I love to create and decorate.  Sewing has been a huge part of my life since I was around 7 or 8 years old when my mom encouraged me to join 4-H.  Needless to say, I have been sewing for a very, very long time.  Granted, I am by no means perfect and make mistakes now and then, but seriously even a professional seamstress makes mistakes on a project once in a while.  I really like to scrapbook, but alas, it takes a lot of time and effort just to get everything out and then takes me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to put together ONE (count them - ONE) page. Baking...I love to bake!  Oh my gosh, I LOVE to bake cupcakes and nothing is better than homemade bread right out of the oven.  My family will eat an entire loaf in one sitting!

I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea of the kind of person I am.  As time goes on, you will get more of an idea of who I am too.  Just check back as often as you can.  This will be fun for all of us.

Yours Truly,

P.S. If you get a chance, check out a blog by one of my very best girl friends, Scenic Glory. Lindsay has some great stuff and can inspire creativity in anyone!