Category Archives: Desserts

Happy 6 year Blogiversary!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well. Today is a celebration at my home and for all DishingwithDiane members.

HAPPY 6TH BLOGIVERSARY

Recipe for this cake is at the end of the post.

It is hard to believe that today marks 6 years ago that I started “DishingwithDiane.com” and I want to thank each and every one of my members for making this such a wonderful experience for me.

I feel as if I have gained an extended family sharing my tablescapes, recipes and stories with all of you. I love your comments, messages and feedback when you try a recipe or find a new product I shared.

And thank you for being so patient and supportive through my medical journey with my heart transplant. Your understanding when I wasn’t able to set a tablescape and just share recipes and your kind words of encouragement, love and caring meant the world to me and gave me strength.

I didn’t set a tablescape today because a large majority of my dinnerware sets, platters and cake stands are still in storage and with the Covid19 pandemic I have not been able to get to the unit and retrieve my inventory, but I am still working on that. So there will be many new tablescapes in the future.

So for now on this 6th anniversary, I wanted to celebrate all of you and extend my gratitude to my members/now family. I have a lot of ideas for tablescapes and recipes and plan on having a lot more fun with the blog entering our 7th year.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

_______________________________________________

The recipe for the featured cake slice above (taken from Pinterest) is courtesy of Sugar Hero website

(https://www.sugarhero.com/)

and is listed below:

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MOUSSE CAKE

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake – a gorgeous three-layer mousse cake with chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla mousse, all on a chocolate brownie base. prep time3 HRScook time24 MINStotal time3 HRS 24 MINSSERVINGS: 

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BROWNIE LAYER:

  • 3 1/3 oz all-purpose flour (3/4 cup)
  • 2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder (2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 7 3/4 oz granulated sugar (1 cup +2 tbsp)
  • 2 eggs large, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

FOR THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:

FOR THE RASPBERRY MOUSSE:

  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries fresh
  • 9 oz white chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream divided use
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Pink food coloring (optional)

FOR THE VANILLA MOUSSE:

  • 9 oz white chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream divided use
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin unflavored
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

TO FINISH:

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 4 oz heavy cream
  • 1 pint raspberries fresh
  • Chocolate curls or other decorations

US CUSTOMARY – METRIC

INSTRUCTIONS

TO MAKE THE BROWNIE LAYER:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment and spray well with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside for now.
  • Cube the butter and place it in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. Add the sugar and stir it into the melted butter until combined. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool to lukewarm. Once it has cooled, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. The mixture will start out grainy, but as you add the eggs, it will become shiny and smooth. Whisk the vanilla in. Finally, add the dry ingredients, and stir them in with a spatula.
  • Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan, and bake it for 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the brownie layer completely before proceeding.

TO MAKE THE MOUSSE LAYERS:

  • Prepare your pan. You need a 9-inch pan with sides at least 3 inches tall, and the ability to remove the bottom. Either a cake pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan will work. Line the inner wall with a 4-inch high acetate cake collar or strip of aluminum foil or waxed paper. Make sure the acetate or waxed paper is long enough so that it overlaps itself, and if you are using foil/waxed paper, make sure you cut the strip tall enough to extend at least an inch over the pan’s sides, since the cake is about 4 inches tall.
  • Place a cake cardboard in the bottom of the pan, then carefully place the baked brownie on top of the cardboard. Prepare the chocolate mousse layer: combine the chocolate, 3/4 cup of cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour it into a large bowl, and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • While you wait for the chocolate mixture to cool, prepare the gelatin. Whisk together the gelatin and the cold water in a small bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water. When the chocolate is at room temperature, microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is melted. Whisk the melted gelatin and chocolate together.
  • Whip the remaining 1 cup heavy cream to firm peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate, and once it’s incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape the mousse on top of the brownie, and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate the cake for 25 minutes, until the mouse has started to set and is firm enough that a second layer can be added.
  • For the raspberry mousse, make a quick puree by blending 1/2 cup fresh raspberries in a blender or food processor. Pour them through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, and measure out 1/4 cup raspberry puree. (If you have extra puree, save it for another use.)
  • Combine the white chocolate, raspberry puree, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Continue to make this layer the same way you made the chocolate layer, by melting and cooling the chocolate, whisking in melted gelatin, and folding in whipped cream. Add a few drops of pink food coloring to boost the pink color, if desired. At the very end, stir in the remaining 1 cup of fresh raspberries and pour the mousse over the chocolate mousse layer. Spread it into an even layer, and refrigerate again.
  • Finally, prepare the vanilla bean layer. Combine the white chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, honey, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Continue to make this layer the same way you made the previous two layers. At the very end, stir in the vanilla bean paste and pour the mousse over the raspberry mousse layer. Refrigerate to set the mousse layers very well, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • To finish the cake, push the bottom out from the pan, or unhinge the sides, and unwrap the acetate strip. Transfer the cake to your serving platter. Make a quick chocolate ganache by putting the chopped chocolate in a small bowl and heating the cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny mixture.
  • Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and use a spatula to nudge it right to the edge and over in evenly spaced drizzles. Don’t worry if the top is not smooth—it will be covered up! Add the fresh raspberries and chocolate curls on top of the cake. Refrigerate to set the ganache.
  • For the cleanest slices, cut the cake when it is well chilled. Use a large sharp knife, and wash it frequently between cuts. For the best taste and texture, allow the cake slices to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Store Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

NUTRITION

https://eb2b19f3bd81851179aaf9b1ac43cdbf.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.htmlSERVING: 20g | CALORIES: 604kcal | CARBOHYDRATES:50g | PROTEIN: 5g | FAT: 43g | SATURATED FAT: 26g | CHOLESTEROL: 120mg | SODIUM: 115mg | POTASSIUM:342mg | FIBER: 4g | SUGAR: 38g | VITAMIN A: 1105IU | VITAMIN C: 9mg | CALCIUM: 124mg | IRON: 2.2mg

Hot Cocoa Charcuterie Board

(Click on all photos to enlarge)

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone had a very pleasant, peaceful and safe New Year’s Eve celebration to bring in 2021 …….

Bob and I usually have a formal dinner for New Year’s Eve (just the two of us lately), followed with appetizers, desserts and champagne at midnight.

Gone are the days that we used to go to catering halls or restaurants with friends and family for large gatherings. I always felt rushed with the catering halls and just my luck it was always the coldest night of the year (for me anyway).

I was never a big fan of going out for the occasion and always preferred staying home.

When I was a child, my mother and grandmother made stuffed shells for dinner with sausage and peppers and then at midnight after our champagne toast and hugs and kisses, we ran outside with pots, pans and wooden spoons making as much noise as we could (we were fortunate that this was a neighborhood participation event and no one got upset from the commotion).

Once we came in, my mother always had more food on the table and this time it was appetizers and rice balls and a tray of cookies and pastries. It felt as if we ate for an entire day and then we had the lentils to look forward to on New Years Day for Good Luck.

This year we just had the sausage and peppers for dinner,

skipped the appetizers and I decided to do something a little different for dessert this year.

Bob and I received so many gift baskets this year from friends and family that couldn’t be with us to celebrate the holidays. You have to see the amount of cookies, candy, fruits and cake we have in this house! Not diet friendly…

So I decided to make a dessert/hot cocoa charcuterie board this year, omitting the appetizers and grazing on goodies for at least one more night before we get on the scale January 1st for the dreaded holiday weight gain realization.

Let’s put that thought aside for now…..

Thinking about the dessert board or “dessert charcuterie platter”, I have noticed that one of the trends that took off this Holiday Season was the hot cocoa bombs and I thought it would be fun to include them.

Obviously, I wasn’t leaving the house to go to a bakery to shop for cocoa bombs so I ordered a mold and decided to make them myself to add to the dessert tray since I already had all the ingredients in the house.

(In a future post I will show you step by step instructions. I have to upload my photos for the cocoa bombs).

So, here we go…… I started out with the largest wooden cutting board that I had and and a wooden tray, then gathered all my ingredients on one counter and transferred items to the board as I started to unpack the goodies.

There really isn’t any set instructions for setting this up, just wing it and go with the flow. And add whatever makes you happy.

I still have so many more treats and fruit, enough for another board. I will have to start freezing the cakes and cookies today.

I included various items from the gift baskets from Harry & David and local-LIBred and a few pantry staples…..

  • Mini marshmallows
  • Regular marshmallows
  • Whipped cream
  • Non- Pareils
  • Apple chips
  • Candy canes
  • Starlight mints
  • Caramels
  • Andes peppermint crunch mints
  • Coconut roasted almonds
  • Cinnamon roasted pecans
  • Red velvet cookies
  • Mini- powered donuts
  • Chocolate cherries
  • Malted milk balls
  • Chocolate hazelnut pirouettes
  • Moose Munch popcorn
  • Oatmeal coconut cookies
  • Novelty solid Santa chocolates
  • Raspberry filled galette cookies
  • Assorted chocolate truffles
  • Candy cane tootsie pops
  • Ferrero Rocher
  • Hot cocoa bombs
  • Assorted flavored hot chocolate mixes

For my décor, remember – “Shop your house first before you run out and buy new items”. Many items in your home can be repurposed so you don’t have to purchase new items.

I used a Hot Chocolate Bar sign that I picked up as part of a fundraiser from a local store along with some of the premade “item description signs”.

I took the gold tree off of my dining room table Holiday centerpiece (it is part of a trio of trees) and works perfectly on the dining room table because it is a great height for entertaining.

You can still have a conversation with guests without it being in the way and you never lose the Holiday elegance.

The old fashioned Santa figurine holding the tree is one of my favorite pieces. My parents bought him for me years ago and every year he usually sits on the entryway table and is part of my Christmas Card display. Love him.

The “ugly sweater” napkins I purchased from Party City for the holidays. I usually use cloth napkins for everything and never use paper napkins but these were too cute to pass up.

On to my “snowmen” mugs with lids. Part of a set of four that I very rarely have the opportunity to use but cherish none the less because they were a gift from a student I had when I taught religious education at our church. Just looking at them brings a smile to my face remembering that student. I had some great memories from those special days.

The ramekins are by CMG -(made in Portugal) that I picked up a few years ago in Homegoods originally for holiday crème brulee. I love the design.

And my special little “hot cocoa” ornament purchased last year in Macy’s. If I ever start a mini Christmas tree with food ornaments in the kitchen, at least I have one ornament already.

I added a flashing jingle bell necklace to the tray (purchased from Hallmark) to add a few pops of sparkle and then accented the board with rosemary sprigs because it was too cold for me to go outside and start cutting the pine tree branches.

And there you have it, my first hot cocoa charcuterie board.

I hope I gave you some inspiration for your very own board in the future.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

Sandwiches, Snacks and Dessert …

Hi Everyone!

Click on photo to enlarge and back arrow to return to original size.

Hope you are all well.

Please be careful, Covid-19 cases are on the rise all over the world and I pray that you and your families stay safe.

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In the middle of the pandemic, many ordinary things have changed for all of us, especially grocery shopping. Now we use instacart and have everything delivered. But we have to follow guidelines and hopefully make it safer for all.

Bob and I ordered groceries from Trader Joe’s this past week and I wanted to share a quick recap of some of my lunches and desserts that I made with the new items. I wish I could have gone to the store. I miss browsing the aisles for new items, but for now online shopping is the only way for me.

These lunches and snacks are all quick and I thought it could possibly save you time in the kitchen since school is back in session.

Of course everything is pumpkin online but I controlled myself.

All the sandwich ingredients can be substituted with items that you prefer in each category and just consider this a general guideline.

I know there are many days I stand in the kitchen trying to think of something new to have for lunch that isn’t time consuming to make or isn’t old reliable soup; so I hope these photos and brief descriptions give you some new ideas.

First sandwich is melted white cheddar cheese with fresh gala apples and 1 slice of no nitrite/no nitrate & no sugar added bacon (bacon is a treat for me, so that is why I only used 1 slice) on an everything ciabatta roll served with a side salad of organic romaine lettuce with cucumbers and radishes and fresh blueberries (a small side of cheddar wisps crackers for Bob).

*Cooks Note– eliminating the sugar from the bacon gives us a little wiggle room to have a dessert with sugar. For me to stay within my food restrictions and post transplant guidelines I have to give and take here and there.

Shopping List:

Trader Joe’s No Sugar Dry Rubbed Uncured Bacon for $4.49

Trader Joe’s Everything Ciabatta Rolls for $2.49 (qty. 4)

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First dessert– is chocolate hummus with fresh apples and pumpkin cranberry crackers with spiced pumpkin seeds for a fall touch.

Other items to eat with the chocolate hummus are bananas, strawberries, & no salt pretzels.

The hummus is made with cooked chickpeas, tahini, sea salt, cocoa and cane sugar. Absolutely delicious and I am becoming quite obsessed.

Shopping List:

 Trader Joe’s Chocolate Hummus (8 oz) for $1.99

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps for 3.99

Trader Joe’s  Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds for $2.99

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The next sandwich is spicy avocado hummus with a hard-boiled egg and fresh tomatoes and chives on a bakery roll, served with an organic romaine lettuce side salad with pecans and some of the leftover hard-boiled egg that didn’t fit on the roll and organic blue corn chips.

There is a quick story with the hummus… I am no fan of avocado at all. I have never had the desire to have avocado toast or guacamole etc. and then this product came on the market and I tasted it and it wasn’t so bad and I decided to buy it. All who know me were shocked that I ingested anything that had avocado in it. It is very spicy and not a strong avocado flavor and I think that is why I liked it. So, I can now say that I have tried it but I am still not ready for anything else avocado.

Shopping List:

Trader Joe’s Organic Spicy Avocado Hummus in an eight-ounce tub for $2.99

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The next dessert is the ultimate fall comfort dessert and it is southern fried apples. Reminds me of eating the inside of an apple pie without the crust (think Cracker Barrel if you have ever been there) with snickerdoodle ice cream- ahh!

Apple pie or pumpkin ice cream would taste great too.

This needs a recipe and was not store bought but very easy to prepare…… I have been using this recipe for years and I think I printed it from All Recipes back in the day….

Fried Apples

Ingredients:

½ cup butter

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

½ cup white sugar

4 granny smith apples- peeled cored and sliced

Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir sugar and cinnamon into the hot butter.

Add apples and cook until the apples begin to break down, 5-8 minutes

Serve over pancakes or waffles or ice cream.

***************

I hope these images gave you some inspiration for lunch.

Enjoy and stay well and make a plan to VOTE!

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, 

I Love hearing from you.

Pistachio Torrone

Photo Jan 07, 12 26 05 AM PISTACHIO TORRONE FOR BLOG

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original size.

Hi Everyone

Happy New Year!

I hope you are all well and everyone enjoyed their New Year’s Eve. I wish you many blessings along with good health, prosperity, lots of love & laughter and the making of terrific memories in 2020. Let’s start the decade off with all good things.

Today is a special DishingwithDiane post for me because I want to honor one of my dearest friends; my friend Roseanne.

Roseanne is selfless. She always puts other people first and has the kindest and most genuine heart. I am very fortunate to have her in my life and I just love her.

In addition to being the perfect friend, she is also the perfect baker and there isn’t anything she can’t bake. Every bite is so delicious, it could put you in a trance. 

When I had my “false alarm” call for the heart transplant, Roseanne sent me her famous brownies with a note that brownies make things better and she was right. A perfect brownie does take away all sadness.

Well, Roseanne has done it again. And just when you thought you couldn’t possibly look at another dessert after the holidays, I have the ultimate dessert I have to share with you.

Roseanne sent Bob & I a special gift of her pistachio torrone to enjoy on New Year’s Eve and it was fabulous. For those of you not familiar with torrone, it is an Italian nut and nougat confection.

You have probably seen the original version with the paper wafers and not covered in chocolate.

Ferrara Torrone - 6.35oz

I posted the photo of Roseanne’s torrone on Facebook and the reaction was overwhelming. Roseanne was very gracious and offered to share her recipe, so here it is. I hope you try it and enjoy.

_____________________________________________________________

Roseanne’s homemade Pistachio Torrone.

Photo Jan 07, 12 28 00 AM pistachio TORRONE

Chocolate Pistachio Torrone

1. Melt approximately 5 ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Put some of the melted chocolate in base of a silicon loaf pan (a ¼
layer or less.) Roll pan to coat sides of the pan up to about one inch.
3. Freeze or refrigerate until hard.
4. Melt 7 ounces of white chocolate in a double boiler. Add 1 jar of
Pistachio paste (7 ounces) Then add 4+ ounces of pistachios. Stir
well.
5. Spread on top of the chocolate base. Freeze or refrigerate until hard.
6. Leave out on the counter until it is room temperature.
7. Melt some more dark chocolate to spread on the pistachio layer. This
actually becomes the bottom.
8. Freeze or refrigerate.
9. Remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Then
with a sharp knife, trim the excess chocolate. Turn over on a plate.
The silicone pan will let you bend it to remove the Torrone.
Keep refrigerated.

Easier method:
1. Put melted dark chocolate in the base of the pan. Do not roll. Refrigerate.
2. Pour pistachio mixture over top. Refrigerate.
3. Put one more layer of chocolate on top. Refrigerate.
This wouldn’t look as good but will taste the same. You can also do it with
one layer of chocolate for a nice pistachio candy which will save time.

_________________________________________________________________________________

I hope all you bakers out there, give this recipe a try. You will absolutely love it as much as we do.  PS- it freezes well too.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Photo Jan 01, 1 52 14 AM PISTACHIO TORRONE 1

Apple Cake

Photo Nov 29, 10 32 57 PM (1) APPLE CAKE

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original size.

Hi Everyone,

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

I posted a picture of my apple cake to Facebook and I have been receiving so many requests to post the recipe.
 I just had to share it with all of my members.
It has to be the easiest cake recipe I ever made.
This was my go-to cake for every bake sale when my son was in school back in the day (he is 29 years old now. I won’t do the math, the number of years fly by too quickly).
Anyway, simple ingredients and tastes great every time. I made it as part of my Thanksgiving desserts and Bob was beyond happy. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

APPLE CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup OJ
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt

_______________________________

  • 3 medium-size Macintosh apples (peeled and sliced)

_______________________________

  • ¼ cup sugar & 1 tsp. Cinnamon – blended

PROCEDURE:

  1. Beat the first 8 ingredients until smooth
  2. Pour ½ the batter into a greased and floured tube pan
  3. Layer with half of the apples
  4. Sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture
  5. Add remaining batter
  6. Add remaining apples
  7. Add remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour
  9. Cool on a rack and serve with a coating of powdered sugar

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Photo Nov 29, 10 38 53 PM (1) DESSERT

Since I am sharing, I wanted to share this slideshow of my

Thanksgiving meal for 2019.

If there is a recipe that interests you, please let me know….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

REPOST- Pumpkin & Apple Picking

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original size.

Photo Oct 21, 12 25 58 PM APPLE FEATURE

Hi Everyone,

I haven’t been able to go apple picking this year but I wanted to repost and share my blog post from last year with the recipes for apple cider donuts and caramel apple cupcakes. 
They were both Michael & Bob approved and delicious! Have fun baking ….
Just click on the link below…..
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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you. 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Happy 90th Birthday Mickey Mouse!

(Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size).

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Hi Everyone, 

Well, we all know him…

We all love him…

We all have a fond memory of him…

And now we can all wish him, “Happy 90th Birthday” 

Yes, it’s Mickey Mouse…

images HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY MICKEY MICKEY 90TH - 4

Hard to believe that Mickey Mouse has been entertaining young and old for the past 90 years since November 18, 1928.

I saw Mickey’s 90th Birthday Oreo cookie promotion – “three 90th birthday designs on the top of the cookie and a birthday cake flavored filling” and it started me thinking, I should honor Mickey Mouse myself.

After all, he brought so much happiness to my son during our Disney World visits.

The first thing I thought of was Mickey Mouse cookies.

I know, every mother has made this cookie either for their child’s birthday or a cake sale at their elementary school, but it was easy and minimal ingredients so I had to make them.

The ingredients are regular sized Oreo cookies (I just had to use the limited edition 90th Birthday cookies), mini Oreo cookies, a tube of white icing, red candy melts and white sprinkles. What can be easier than that?

Photo Nov 17, 1 54 29 AM INGREDIENTS 2

I started to open and remove the filling off of the mini Oreo cookies with a butter knife.

Next step, stick the mini Oreo inside the top of the regular sized Oreo as Mickey’s ears with a little white frosting as glue. Let it set up for a minute.

I melted the red candy melts as per package directions and dipped half of the cookie in the melted red candy, a little shake to get excess candy off the cookie and place on wax paper lined cookie sheets.

Before the candy melts set, add two round white sprinkles as buttons and you are done.  Let the candy melts harden and set up completely.

Ta-da, that is all there is to it.

Photo Nov 17, 11 50 20 PM MICKEY COOKIES

This cookie is great with a glass of milk, and I have the perfect drinking glass.

It’s my Mickey Mouse drinking glasses, that I bought back in the day at a Disney World souvenir shop.

(I really wanted to buy the large turkey platter that looked like Mickey’s white gloves were holding the platter but it was too large to take on the plane).

Anyway, my son made good use of these glasses.

Photo Nov 17, 3 51 50 PM MICKEY GLASS

Now for more of an adult dessert, served in Mickey Mouse ramekins.

I received these ramekins as a gift and there is a long story behind this. (that we can’t share right now). It started out as a joke for food prep and turned out that,

I loved them. 

Photo Nov 17, 1 50 26 AM RAMEKINS

I have used the ramekins for mac & cheese and today, it was a toss up between apple cobbler or creme brulee. Apple cobbler was easy but creme brulee looks more elegant for a celebration.

I had one problem, I didn’t have a kitchen torch to get the top of the creme brulee nice and caramelized. I know that you can use a hot spoon that you don’t want to keep anymore, so that wouldn’t work for me.

So I searched for a recipe without a torch and I was lucky enough to find one (and it is fabulous)!

 I purchased all the ingredients and started the creme brulee process.

I think they turned out well.

Photo Nov 17, 11 44 01 PM CREME BRULEE

(recipe at the end of the post)

My Mickey tribute was not complete without a Mickey Mouse birthday candle. I  found one in Michael’s Arts and Crafts.

Photo Nov 17, 1 00 19 AM CANDLE

And finally, a guest appearance from Mickey Mouse himself.

I purchased the 90th Birthday limited edition plush of Mickey Mouse just to have as a keepsake of this celebration.

It took me back 25 years when my son was small & all our Disney World trips.

Photo Nov 17, 12 57 48 AM MICKEY 90TH

Now my tribute is complete.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 

Enjoy your day and Mickey’s birthday!

Photo Nov 17, 11 52 39 PM MICKEY TABLE 2

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog. Ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

*************************************

Recipe…

Creme Brulee

HOW TO MAKE CRÈME BRÛLÉE WITHOUT A TORCH

Recipe courtesy of Craftsy.com

(for photos go directly to website. Here is the link…

https://www.craftsy.com/baking/article/how-to-make-creme-brulee-without-a-torch/)

Makes 4 (8-ounce) ramekin servings

FOR THE CUSTARD:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of salt 

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used turbinado sugar -sugar in the raw)

STEP 1:

Position a rack in the middle position of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Have your ramekins and a large casserole pan off to the side, at the ready.

STEP 2:

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes creamy, cohesive and lemony in color. Add the cream, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth and combined. 

STEP 3:

Carefully divide the mixture between your four ramekins. It should fill them about 2/3 to 3/4 full. If your ramekins have bubbles on the sides, try your best to pop them with the side of a spoon.

STEP 4:

Pour about 1/3 inch of water in your baking pan. Place the ramekins in the water, so that the sides are submerged. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins. If the water level is too low, gently pour more water in the side of the pan, avoiding sloshing water into the ramekins. 

STEP 5:

Place the baking pan with the ramekins in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking every 5 minutes after the 40-minute mark. The cook time can vary depending on the thickness of your ramekins. You’re looking for the custard to be mostly “set” with a little jiggle in the middle. Remove the pan from the oven, and gently remove the ramekins from the hot water by lifting with a spatula. Set on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. You want the custard to be completely set before moving forward.

STEP 6:

Near the end of your cooling time, set the oven to the broil setting. Place the ramekins back on a baking dish (no need for a water both this time). Make sure that the tops of your custards are free of condensation (their naturally moist texture is fine, but you don’t want any beads of moisture). If needed, gently blot the tops with a clean paper towel. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops of the custards.

STEP 7:

Place the baking pan in under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, monitoring closely, or until the sugar has melted into a satisfyingly crispy, browned crust. 

Enjoy your perfect crème brûlée!

*********************************

Until next time!

611125E5-0675-4BD1-A842-A7618B1DAA3B-990x556 mickey mouse 2 - BYE

Happy Halloween 2018

 

Photo Oct 31, 10 06 50 AM INTRO

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone, 

Well, it’s that time of year again, hard to believe that Halloween is here!

I feel as if I just packed all the Halloween boxes for storage in the attic and now they are downstairs once again in my living room for me to browse through and see if I can make a different tablescape than last year.

From this point on, my holidays become a blur. The day after Halloween, I start to write my Thanksgiving menu and then I “stress eat” the leftover Halloween candy until the menu is complete.

(I am trying to save a few Almond Joys for this very occasion).

I still decorate outside for Halloween, to entertain the little trick or treaters, but I have limited my decorating inside, except for my tablescape.

I always have to have a tablescape to put me in the mood for Halloween.

The big challenge is to make it look different from year to year. 

This year the tablescape is all about the “haunted house”. I was in Pier 1 (my home away from home) and there was the cutest haunted house cookie jar.

I don’t know why I now have an attraction to cookie jars. First the vintage red truck and now this haunted house.

I bought the cookie jar with the intention of leaving it out on my kitchen counter for decoration and then the more I looked at it, a tablescape in my head was born.

So, let’s start a tablescape…

The tablecloth is orange with black bats, spider webs and of course spiders. I love the pattern but the material is a little hard to work with. It is rayon and tends not to stay in place. It gets stuck on everything and always bunches up. Keep that in mind if you ever buy this material.

Photo Oct 30, 5 59 20 PM HALLOWEEN TABLECLOTH

The placemats this year are one of my favorites. Black woven placemats with an orange, black and white braided border. They bring out the best of any Halloween plate.

Since the border is so pretty, there is no need for a charger plate.

Photo Oct 30, 6 01 34 PM PLACEMAT

 Solid orange ceramic dinner plates along with a paper Halloween dinner plate on top.

If I use a paper plate for anything other than cake or a sandwich I like to have some support from another sturdy dish underneath to hold my food and prevent the weight of the food from going through the paper plate.

This particular paper dinner plate was a perfect design, since it featured the haunted house.

Photo Oct 30, 6 02 44 PM PLATES

Napkins are the standard black cloth and I chose to roll the napkins this time and not use a napkin ring. I just placed the dinner fork on top and added a decorative plastic spider climbing on the fork.

Thinking about it now, that spider on a fork isn’t very appetizing.

Photo Oct 30, 5 59 43 PM NAPKIN

Flatware is black matte.

Very simple and perfect for this tablescape and Halloween in general.

Photo Oct 30, 6 00 40 PM FLATWARE

Now, the glasses. I have six different designs of Halloween glasses with witches and ghosts and candy corn and somehow I always come back to this glass. I guess you could say it is my favorite Halloween glass.

It has it all the designs I want on one glass, the witches, ghosts, candy corn, pumpkins and the added bonus of a haunted house to carry out my theme this year. I added a black & orange paper straw for some fun.

Photo Oct 31, 10 09 21 AM GLASSES

The centerpiece. As much as I love the haunted house cookie jar, I felt it needed a little boost as a centerpiece so I used a cake stand to give it some height. I continued to shop the boxes of decorations for anything else I could use to enhance the centerpiece and there it was…

In one of the boxes, I found a metallic Halloween wreath. Solid black jingle bells alongside orange pumpkin jingle bells- perfect.

Photo Oct 30, 6 09 24 PM hALLOWEEN JINGLE BELLS

I used this wreath to circle the cookie jar and now I was happy.

Photo Oct 31, 11 25 29 AM CENTERPIECE APART

A little Halloween paper shred to hide the white cake stand and the centerpiece was complete.

Photo Oct 30, 6 09 04 PM CENTERPIECE

Completed Centerpiece…

Photo Oct 30, 6 13 18 PM EXTRA

The top of the cookie jar has a black crow perched on the roof so I wanted to add more crows to the table and used two black glitter pumpkins with crows perched on top to anchor the centerpiece.

(You probably remember these crows from last year).

Photo Oct 30, 6 07 57 PM BLACK CROW RIGHT

Photo Oct 30, 6 08 23 PM BLACK CROW LEFT

I wasn’t done yet. Bob and I went to a local craft fair and I bought two galvanized haunted houses, so I added them to the corners of the table.  

Photo Oct 30, 6 11 11 PM GALVANIZED HOUSE 2

Photo Oct 30, 6 11 36 PM GALVANIZED HOUSE 1

I found one more haunted house in my box of decorations. This is a tealight holder, and I thought we could have it lit during dinner with the lights dimmed since I didn’t use any candles on the table this year.

Photo Oct 30, 6 05 52 PM TEA LIGHT HOUSE

Of course, I had to add my favorite table accent and that is a salt and pepper shaker. A ghost and pumpkin and a black cat and pumpkin.

Photo Oct 30, 6 07 22 PM SP SHAKERS

And if you have been following DishingwithDiane for the past few years then you know of my love for my ceramic Frankenstein mug or as we call him “Frankie”.

Frankie held a floral arrangement back in the day, that was a very thoughtful gift and since that time he has always been highlighted on all of my Halloween tablescapes.

Instead of flowers, Frankie now holds pretzel rods with witches fingers every year. If you look at any of my past Halloween postings, you will find Frankie somewhere on the table.

Photo Oct 30, 6 10 21 PM frankie

I have two traditional food items for my Halloween tablescape every year.

First, I use my metal spider cupcake holders and add a Halloween cupcake with google eyes as a treat, besides all the candy.

I think this just reminds me of when my son was small and how he got the biggest kick out of these cupcakes and holders. So this is for my son.

Photo Oct 31, 10 21 40 AM CUPCAKES

If you recall the story, when my son was small, after trick or treating I would have some of his friends and their parents in for Halloween dinner.

It was always a Halloween punch and pizza for the kids and turkey and three bean chili with sour cream cornbread for the adults.

Well, this tradition never stopped and Bob and I have this for dinner every year on Halloween.

Photo Oct 30, 9 00 05 PM CHILI AND CORNBREAD

(Recipes to follow).

Place setting

Photo Oct 31, 10 10 05 AM PLACE SETTING

So that is my tablescape for Halloween 2018.

I hope you and your friends, family and children have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog and please spread the word and ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

**********************

Recipes

Turkey and Three Bean Chili

Ingredients

1 onion diced (1 cup)

1 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves- minced

1 ½ red or green bell peppers-diced

3 carrots- diced

2 pkgs. of ground turkey (ground beef can be substituted)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 capful of “Revenge. Pit Bull hot sauce”

4 teaspoons green chili’s (fire roasted in a can)

2 cups water

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can pink beans (or pinto beans), drained and rinsed

½ cup green scallions….

 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 1 minute
  • Add the ground turkey, raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink
  • Stir in the tomatoes, water, green chili’s, hot sauce and scallions.
  • Cook partially covered, stirring from time to time for 30 minutes
  • Stir in the beans and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper
  • (Additional peppers ie: adobo sauce and hot peppers can be added or jalapeno or red hot pepper)

 Garnish with shredded Hot Jalapeno cheese and sour cream, plus corn bread

******************************

SOUR CREAM CORNBREAD

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup all purpose flour

¾ cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup sugar 

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda                                                             

½ tsp salt

1-cup sour cream

¼ cup milk

1 egg (beaten)

2 TBSP melted butter

Directions:

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees

 In a bowl, mix 1-cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup yellow corn meal. ¼ cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp each baking soda and salt. Stir in 1 cup sour cream, ¼ cup milk, 1 beaten egg and 2 TBSP melted butter.

 Pour into a greased, 8-in square pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cut in 16 squares. Best served warm.

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin & Apple Picking Time…

 

Photo Oct 21, 12 25 58 PM APPLE FEATURE

Click on the photo to enlarge, and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone,

Well, I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that it’s Fall and the time of year for pumpkin and apple picking.

Two things I normally enjoy unless it’s 56 degrees and there are 100 people around me with the same idea. That is what happened to me.

This weekend was the weekend that everyone in the tri-state area decided to get a pumpkin and some apples. The farms near me where packed! Even the small farms that I thought were a hideaway and no one knew about, I found out they did… I was kidding myself thinking this was going to be a quiet leisurely day.

***********************

It is a Fall tradition that every year in October (hopefully before Halloween) that everyone has a pumpkin or two or three displayed on their front steps or walkways with some Mums or other fall decorations, so off we went as hunters and gatherers out past the corn maze and hay rides to find the perfect pumpkin.

I won’t even start listing all the pumpkin items on the market (lattes, ice cream, cereal) and now the farm-stands are going pumpkin crazy with pumpkin everything as well. I’ll move on, I can’t take it.

I like a good pumpkin pie and some pumpkin muffins, but I can’t have pumpkin every day. (No offense to all the members that are pumpkin lovers).

The line at the farm was so crazy for a homemade pumpkin pie that we skipped that idea and went straight to the fields to look around and find the pumpkin we wanted. And there it was, clustered with other pumpkins but looking as if it would look so much better back home on my front steps.

Goal number one completed, we had our pumpkin.

Photo Oct 21, 11 31 45 AM APPLE PLAQUE

Now on to the apples … 

I think I can eat apples in many forms every day and be a happy girl.

Although, here is a little bit of info about me… I love apple pie, baked apples and apple strudel but not apple crisp. There is no specific reason why, I have always been like this. If someone has an excellent apple crisp recipe, send it my way and maybe you can change my mind.

My first stop before I head out to pick even one apple, is the line for apple cider donuts.

For this I have a lot of patience while I take in the apple donut aroma. I have to say that the line was moving pretty quickly. The servers had an assembly line moving and before you knew it, I had a warm bag of donuts in my hand covered in cinnamon and sugar.

Another deep breath to take in the aroma before Bob and I went outside with the donuts and some coffee and sat on a bale of hay to enjoy our snack. I took one bite and had my first taste of Fall– pure sugary caloric heaven.

The apple cider donut put me in the mood for apple cider, so I went back inside the farm stand to buy some fresh apple cider, and I noticed they were putting out candy apples and caramel apples. Caramel apples were another favorite of mine as a child, but now I am afraid I would lose a tooth so I passed them by.

I went back outside and Bob was finishing his coffee and donuts and we were ready to pick apples.

We put the apple cider and the rest of the donuts in the car and we were ready for the apple orchard with our bushel.

I have to say that I am the last person who knows what varieties of apples are good for what, except that grandma always used Granny Smith apples for apple pie, so we just got an assortment and then we were on our way home.

In the car, we couldn’t stop talking about the apple cider donuts since we could still smell them. I told Bob about the caramel and candy apples, and caramel apples were one of his favorites too.

Right then and there on the ride home, I decided I was going to try to find some new apple recipes and one of course, had to be apple cider donuts. I have a donut pan just sitting in my pantry that I never used. So it was off to Pinterest for ideas.

Since I am not the baker, below is my attempt at baking.

All recipes are at the end of the post!

I started my baking with the apple cider donuts. Not bad for a first try. I found the secret to a moist apple cider donut is to boil the apple cider down to almost a syrup and of course the more sugar and cinnamon, the better.

Photo Oct 21, 11 31 55 AM APPLE CIDER DONUTS

******************

I didn’t want to make caramel apples, but I wanted the flavor so I searched Pinterest again and found a recipe for caramel apple cupcakes. Now this I could do. The taste of the caramel apple on a stick and I would still have all my teeth.

This was a very easy recipe and I had to buy the Popsicle sticks for the effect of a real caramel apple .

Photo Oct 21, 12 37 24 PM CARAMEL CUPCAKES 2

Now we needed some mulled apple cider and we were all set, so I found a recipe for that too. We enjoyed the cider with our dessert.

Photo Oct 21, 1 07 00 PM CIDER AND CUPCAKE

Now that Bob and I have had all our apple favorites, I can finally adjust to Fall but just not the cooler temperatures rolling in so fast in the northeast. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that….

I hope you try these recipes and enjoy every bite.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to join Dishing with Diane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post. 

Sign up via the homepage or Facebook.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

*******************************************************

  Recipes...

**********************

Apple Cider Donuts

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you’re left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup. Mine takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

 

  1. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the dry ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.
  3. Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—for ease, I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.
  4. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donuts bounces back, they’re done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.

 

  1. Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.
  2. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Make ahead tip: You can freeze the donuts, coated or not coated in the toppings, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up to your liking in the microwave. I usually just zap ’em for a couple seconds.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Note on the apple spice: Do you have apple pie spice where you live? It’s pretty standard here in the US. If you don’t have access to store-bought apple pie spice, you can make your own with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. – SEE BELOW
  2. I usually use buttermilk, but I’ve found that any milk (dairy or nondairy) works pretty well. For a denser crumb, you can use 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream instead.
  3. Don’t have a donut pan? Make donut muffins in your standard 12-cup muffin pan. Grease your pan or use muffin liners, fill each 3/4 full, then bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about 10-12 apple cider donut muffins.
  4. Want to make mini donuts or mini donut holes in a mini muffin pan? Grease your pan, add the batter to the pan only about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 8-9 minutes.

**********

I found a recipe for apple pie spice…

Apple Pie Spice
  1. 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon.
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
  4. 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom.

**************************

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Courtesy of Momontimeout.com

Prep Time – 10 mins    Cook Time- 25 mins     Total Time 35 mins

There is no better way to usher in fall than with these delicious Caramel Apple Cupcakes. Moist cupcakes loaded with apples and applesauce for double the apple flavor. A decadent caramel frosting top them off beautifully. 

Course: Dessert  Servings: 12 cupcakes  Calories: 244 kcal   Author: Trish – Mom On Timeout

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce OR vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded apple Rome, Granny Smith, or other baking apple or combination of two varieties

Caramel Frosting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with parchment baking liners and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until combined.
  7. Stir in the shredded apples.
  8. Evenly divide the batter between the 12 cups.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Caramel Frosting

  1. Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Stir in heavy cream.
  3. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minutes. Stir. Repeat int 30 second intervals until caramels are melted and smooth.
  4. Spoon frosting onto the top of cooled cupcakes and spread. You want a nice thick layer. If the caramel starts to thicken, microwave for another 30 seconds at 50% power, stir, and spread on cupcakes.
  5. Popsicle sticks are optional 🙂

**************************************

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

Courtesy of Tonkcats at Genius Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine brown sugar, allspice, 1 teaspoon cloves, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and apple cider in large saucepan.
  2. Bring to boiling.
  3. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain to remove spices.
  5. Serve in mugs with clove-studded orange wedges.

**********************************

 

Goodbye Summer 2018

Photo Sep 21, 9 04 13 PM (1) INTRO WITH HEADING

Click on the photo to enlarge, and the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi everyone,

Well the sunsets are earlier and the realization that summer is coming to an end is haunting me.

I like the spring, love the summer, can tolerate the fall and despise the winter. The thought of snow, cold and shoveling is making me sad already.

I don’t go by Labor Day as my guide to the last day of summer. No, I hold on to the bitter end and wait until the first day of Autumn shows up on the calendar.

This year, it’s Saturday, September 22, 2018. 

Although, a few weeks ago in the Northeast it was still in the high 80’s and humid and as if someone flipped a switch, it became cool, breezy, raining and 57 degrees with a high of 68 degrees after Labor Day.

I didn’t know what my Goodbye to Summer Tablescape would be and then one day while shopping in Pier 1, the best idea was right in front of me – Watermelons!

Many of you might remember my obsession with the vintage red truck cookie jar at Christmas.

Photo Dec 17, 11 55 26 AM CENTERPIECE 2

Well, Pier 1 has a vintage red truck cookie jar filled with watermelons and a tray to match. That is all it took to get me started.

Watermelon happens to be my favorite fruit and I constantly buy them all summer long.

(Along with Friendly’s “Wattamelon” ice cream roll).

rolls_ice-cream-rolls_wattamelon-roll (1).png 2.jpg FRIENDLY'S IN BOX

So, it looks as if Watermelon is now the “2018 Goodbye to Summer” theme.

To prove my love of watermelons, I even have a “watermelon shaped” clutch bag.

Photo Sep 21, 12 38 29 PM WATERMELON BAG

So, after seeing the clutch bag, I know what you are thinking and yes, I have watermelon dishes (two different sets actually).

The set I am using today and another set that I use for dessert.

 This is an additional watermelon serving bowl that I will be using on today’s tablescape.Photo Sep 21, 12 33 16 PM CHP BOWL

So, let’s get started on a tablescape…

First, the tablecloth. I am going to use burlap for a neutral background.

Photo Sep 21, 1 29 16 PM BURLAP TC

Solid green napkins to pick up one of the shades of the rind from the dishes.

This time I placed the folded napkin under the salad plate and have just a small portion exposed. I want the focus to be just on the dishes.

Photo Sep 21, 9 02 17 PM (1) NAPKIN

The placemats can be nothing else than a woven slice of watermelon.

Couldn’t pass these up.

Photo Sep 21, 12 39 27 PM WATERMELON PLACEMAT

No charger plates because you wouldn’t see the placemats and they are too cute to hide.

Now the dishes…The dinner and salad plates are exactly the same to this set and there is also a small salad bowl to match.

The dishes are ceramic with a white background with various sizes and shapes of sliced watermelon with shades of green and the deep pink of a ripe watermelon.

Just the color alone is refreshing.

Photo Sep 21, 12 34 40 PM WDISHES

Complete set…

Photo Sep 21, 12 35 03 PM W-COMPLETE SET

Here is my second set of watermelon dishes that I use just for dessert. 

 The dessert plates are melamine for outdoor use and the pattern is similar to the other dishes. It has a white background with not only slices of a watermelon but a whole watermelon as well.

Photo Sep 21, 10 08 54 PM DESSERT DISH

The serving bowl and dessert bowls are also ceramic and just too cute.

Even though the bowls and dishes are not part of the same collection, I think they look great together.

Photo Sep 21, 10 13 23 PM DESSERT BOWLS

Glassware will be clear acrylic tumblers with a design of watermelon slices.

(great find in Homegoods). 

Later they will be filled with a watermelon beverage, mini wedges of watermelon and refreshing mint.

Photo Sep 21, 12 31 03 PM W-GLASSWARE

Flatware is brown to continue the neutral feeling.

Photo Sep 21, 12 39 46 PM FLATWARE

The Centerpiece…

Here it is, my new red vintage truck & watermelon cookie jar. I just love it.

The cookie jar truck has a lid piled high with watermelons.

(I am sorry I didn’t buy this sooner so I could have displayed it in my kitchen the entire summer).

To give the tablescape some height, I am placing the truck on an inverted crate.

Photo Sep 21, 12 30 51 PM REDTRUCK

The platter is also a red truck with a cargo of watermelons and matches the cookie jar exactly. I will use this platter to serve watermelon slices.

Photo Sep 21, 12 32 49 PM RED TRUCK PLATTER

I have a few table accents in mind.

The first one is a coaster that I picked up in a tiny, I guess you could call it a general store (NOT Cracker Barrel) at a road stop on the way upstate to see our son. It is a coaster with a design of a watermelon with a slice cut out and the caption reads “Summertime Favorite”. They only had one, and I bought it anyway because it just struck me.

Since this is all I have and it is small, I will display it on a clear acrylic easel as I would a photo on the table.

Photo Sep 21, 12 30 12 PM WATERMELON COASTER

My second table accent, (if you haven’t already guessed), is my favorite item for the tablescapes and that would be salt and pepper shakers. They are ceramic slices of watermelon in the true deep tone of real watermelon.

Photo Sep 21, 12 31 38 PM WATERMELON S AND P

Next table accent, will make you laugh…

A few years back, Kleenex introduced tissue boxes designed like fruits. Of course I bought the watermelon box and I thought I could re-purpose it once the tissues were gone, so I filled the box with artificial greenery and use it as a display next to fruit platters at summer gatherings.

Just like the Ferris Wheel from the “State Fair” post, I love conversation starters.

Photo Sep 21, 12 37 03 PM TISSUE BOX

At the last minute, I decided to put two more table accents on the table…

A real watermelon…

  And a vase of sunflowers in a mason jar with rocks.

Sunflowers also scream “Summer” to me and this brings a pop of color to the table.

Photo Sep 21, 1 30 54 PM FLOWERS AND WATERMELON

Now that the table is done…I wanted to make some watermelon “food items” along with slices of fresh watermelon and the first thing that came to my mind were watermelon cupcakes.

(Do you see how my mind goes to dessert first)?

I love these cupcakes because they not only have the layered colors of a watermelon slice with seeds, but the buttercream frosting is watermelon flavored (thank you, Kool-Aid). 

They will look so cute on the table.

Photo Sep 21, 9 30 28 PM CUPCAKE 2

(Recipe for watermelon cupcakes at the end of the post).

Well, now that I had a watermelon dessert, I might as well make a complete Goodbye to Summer Lunch with some watermelon tucked in here and there and some of my favorite summer foods.

Since I can’t have a watermelon sandwich to start with, here is our menu…

Goodbye to Summer Lunch

Shrimp salad roll – for those of us allergic to lobster.

(recipe at the end of the post)

Photo Sep 16, 12 16 09 AM SHRIMP SALAD

Homemade potato chips.

(recipe at the end of the post)

Photo Sep 15, 11 52 18 AM HOMEMADE CHIPS -use

Tomato, Watermelon & Feta skewers with mint & lime.

(recipe at the end of the post). 

Photo Sep 15, 11 28 30 PM FETA, TOMATO WATERMELON

Watermelon cooler made with lemon sorbet. 

(recipe at the end of the post).

Photo Sep 21, 10 28 41 PM COOLER

Fresh watermelon slices.

Photo Sep 21, 11 28 28 PM W-SLICES

 Watermelon Italian Ice (store bought).

Photo Sep 21, 10 19 31 PM ITALIAN ICE

Watermelon Cupcakes.

Photo Sep 21, 10 34 05 PM (1) CUPCAKE

(recipe at the end of the post)

Dessert is Served…

Photo Sep 21, 10 33 53 PM DESSERT IS SERVED

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I could go on and make a watermelon cake, watermelon pizza and watermelon sorbet, but I don’t want to get carried away. Maybe next summer.

NOTE: You won’t believe what I came across while looking for the Bellini recipe, a recipe for a “watermelon sandwich”.

See the surprise recipe I found at the end of the post!

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Now my Goodbye to Summer lunch is ready.

Place Setting

Photo Sep 21, 11 30 10 PM PLACE SETTING

Bob and I will enjoy this lunch as I count the days until summer once again.

(If anyone is interested, it is 272 days as of September 22, 2018). 

to the first day of Summer.

Friday, June 21, 2019.

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Thank you for visiting my blog and letting me share my Watermelon Tablescape with all of you.

Here is a little extra helpful hint with your watermelon purchases…

 A video on how to tell if the watermelon is ripe...open the link

https://commonsensehome.com/tell-watermelon-is-ripe/

Until my next post, make everyday a celebration!

I decided to have a Watermelon Bellini after all, to send off Summer in style! 

Watermelon Bellini

 (with and without alcohol) 

(recipe at the end of the post).

Photo Sep 21, 11 52 22 PM BELLINI

Stay well, 

Diane

Ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane.com. and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments & emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

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RECIPES

Watermelon Cupcakes

Recipe courtesy of Beth @ The First Year – blog

Ingredients

Cupcakes – makes 10-12 cupcakes

  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • leaf green food coloring by Wilton (or similar light green food coloring)

Buttercream

  • 2 sticks of butter, unsalted at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp of powdered watermelon Kool-Aid mix
  • small about of red food coloring, to give the buttercream a pinkish color
  • mini chocolate chips

Directions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Place cupcakes liners to muffin pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the egg whites, beat again.
  3. Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract, mix by hand with spatula.
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, gently mix with a spoon.
  5. Gradually add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients, as if you were sifting in the flour. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.
  6. Add in the green food coloring, mix to incorporate.
  7. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners, filling each 1/2 full.
  8. Bake at 375º F for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350º will keeping the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool before adding the buttercream.

Buttercream

  1. In a mixing bowl beat the butter and vegetable shortening with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, mix by hand with a spatula.
  3. Add in more powdered sugar as you see fit, up to 2 more cups, mixing first by hand then with an electric mixer.
  4. Add in the watermelon Kool-Aid powder and a small amount of red food coloring (to give the frosting a pinkish color), mixing one last time with an electric mixer.

How to assemble

  1. Place the buttercream in a large piping bag fit with a 1M Wilton piping tip. Push the buttercream down into the bag. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, starting in the center of the cupcake, swirling out, and then swirling back into the center, progressively stacking the frosting as you get to the center.
  2. Add mini chocolate chips on top of the buttercream.

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Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Skewers with Mint and Lime

Recipe courtesy of Sara Foster of Southern Living

Makes about 3 dozen skewers

No time for skewers? Gently toss the ingredients in a salad bowl, or dice the tomato, watermelon, and cheese into small cubes to serve as a fresh relish for grilled meats.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups 1-inch watermelon cubes (about 1/4 of a 3-lb. watermelon)
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 36 (3-inch) wooden skewers

Directions:

Gently toss together tomatoes and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill 30 minutes to 1 hour. Thread 1 tomato piece, 1 watermelon cube, and 1 feta cube onto a skewer, and place in a serving bowl. Repeat with remaining skewers. Drizzle with remaining marinade, and serve immediately.

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Shrimp Salad

Courtesy of The Blond Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound medium shrimp in shell
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery

Instructions:

  1. Boil 1-1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan and add shrimp. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes, or until pink and just cooked (do not overcook).
  2. Drain shrimp in a colander and rinse with cold water and allow to cool.
  3. While shrimp are cooling, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill weed and Old Bay Seasoning in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until shrimp are ready to be added.
  4. Peel and devein shrimp and cut in half (or chop, depending upon preference). Add shrimp, red onions and celery and stir well to coat with mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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Homemade Potato Chips

Courtesy of Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 7 unpeeled medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 quarts ice water
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • Oil for deep-fat frying

Directions

  • 1. Using a vegetable peeler or metal cheese slicer, cut potatoes into very thin slices. Place in a large bowl; add ice water and salt. Soak for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Drain potatoes; place on paper towels and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, celery salt and pepper; set aside.
  • 3. In an electric skillet, heat 1-1/2 in. of oil to 375°. Fry potatoes in batches for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  • 4. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with seasoning mixture. Store in an airtight container.

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Watermelon and Lemon Sorbet Cooler

Courtesy of Paula Deen       Servings: 10

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 lbs (4 cups) seedless watermelon, sliced with rind removed, plus wedges for garnish
  • 1 cup lemon sorbet
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • fresh mint, for garnish

Directions:

In a food processor, blend watermelon, sorbet and lemon zest until very smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cold water; cover and refrigerate until very cold. Serve over ice and garnish with watermelon wedges and mint.

 

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Watermelon Bellini

Recipe courtesy of  Virginia Willis of Southern Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 lime
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. coarse sugar
  • 3 cups frozen seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup sparkling wine, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Additional sparkling wine
  • Garnish: watermelon wedges

Instructions:

Cut lime in half. Cut 1 half into wedges, and rub on rims of 8 (6-oz.) cocktail glasses; dip rims in coarse sugar to coat. Process frozen watermelon, 1 cup chilled sparkling wine, sugar, salt, and juice from remaining lime half in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared glasses; top off with additional sparkling wine. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

**NOTE- Any summer melon will work. For a nonalcoholic option, replace the sparkling wine with sparkling white grape juice, sparkling cider, or club soda.

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Just had to share this, the surprise recipe I found.

It looks as though I CAN have a Watermelon sandwich.

Open Face Watermelon Sandwiches

recipe courtesy of FreshfromFlorida blog

Watermelon-Open-Face-Watermelon-Sandwiches-4 (1) for blog

Yield 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 medium-sized Florida watermelon, seeds and rind removed
  • 1 handful fresh Florida mint leaves, chopped
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 loaf of your favorite crusty bread, sliced thin
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Crumble chilled goat cheese into a small bowl. Lightly mix cheese and chopped mint. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.

Cut bread into 8 small slices and drizzle with olive oil. Toast bread slices until golden brown and crispy on top. Let bread cool slightly.

Spread cheese mixture on the top of each slice of bread. Cut watermelon slices into fun shapes and layer watermelon on top of cheese. Lightly season the top of the sandwiches with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Photo Sep 21, 1 32 05 PM WATERMELON EXTRA