Monday, September 18, 2017

Whoooo wants dessert? candy covered owl cones

 Perhaps it's the owl's mysterious association with Halloween or maybe their wise nod to back-to-school smarts, but it seems come the Fall season these feathered friends are especially popular. So what better way to celebrate these beloved birds than with an easy to make, fun and whimsical treat featuring their likeness, made all the better filled with seasonal sweets.
Chocolate Owl Cones
We simply dipped store bought cones in melted chocolate and added some sweet owl features with ingredients you may already have on hand in your kitchen
You'll Need
candy melts in preferred colors and flavors
I used classic cocoa and toffee
candy decorative eyeballs 
Eyes are available in the cake decorating 
section of supermarkets, walmart or craft stores. 
I used the larger size eyes available
sliced almonds, candy corn or
 desired cake decor accents for decorating

Melt chocolate according to package instructions and let cool slightly. 
Dip top part of cone in melted chocolate and swirl to cover well to desired height.
Set cones on wax paper lined tray and allow to harden completely. 
(You can add eyes at this point if desired.)
I found the toffee chips melted to a thicker consistency than the chocolate so I could stand them upright without worrying about dripping.
You can coat inside of cone as well to prevent moisture rich fillings from making your cone soggy
Once melts are set, use additional melted chocolate to attach rows of almond wings and ear tufts or "horns" and a candy corn beak.
I opted for a very simple and comical look but you can experiment with your favorite sprinkles, icing, candy and baking accents for more elaborate owls.
These are fun for serving ice cream, candy, fruit, small brownies, cupcakes or this easy Autumn mousse.
         Three Ingredient Pumpkin Mousse
I've adapted this basic recipe for several Pennywise desserts including our french style Valentine's Couer a la Creme and faux charlotte dessert from our party post inspired by Downton Abbey

1 small container Pumpkin greek yogurt
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
I accidentally bought fat free but the taste was fine
2/3 cups confectioners sugar

Combine ingredients until fully blended. 

Chill until ready to serve then pipe or spoon into owl cones. 
Serve immediately for best results

Waste Not, Want Not.....
Extra leftover ingredients or no time to make owls? 
Pumpkin mousse is a lighter yummy seasonal treat on it's own or serve as a sweet dip with sliced apples or ginger cookies.
Likewise leftover chocolate melts, candy and nuts can be used to make a yummy candy bark. Simply spread any remaining melted chocolate on wax paper and sprinkle with the leftover almonds and candy corn, roughly chopped if desired. Drizzle more chocolate on top and chill. Break into sections once hardened.

Add tags to bark or candy filled cones for a sweet gift

Tag created with owl image from The Graphics Fairy

Wishing  Everyone


Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer memories: forever sand castle clay recipe

Although summer doesn't officially end until September 22nd, it seems the season is already winding to a close. Store shelves are  brimming with backpacks, pens and pencils and even festive pumpkins are making an appearance, all marking the inevitable approach of fall and end to those carefree Summer days.
So in a last ditch nod to beach season, I thought I'd craft a fun and easy sand castle that won't be washed away by the rising tide. 
With some easy homemade clay, shells and ocean inspired accents you can channel childhood memories and build your own mini tabletop grown-up castle for a fun centerpiece or summery decorative accent.
A variety of recipes for "sand clay" can be found everywhere online and ready to use versions of it are available for sale at many craft and art supply stores.
 I opted to make my own, and after some rather messy trial and error, found this DIY clay recipe used for delightful sand ornaments from Local Fun for Kids. It was quick and simple using staples you most likely already have on hand in your kitchen and craft supplies.

You'll Need
2 parts whole wheat flour
 1 part salt
1 part water
dash of glitter and craft sand (optional)
paper towel rolls
plate or saucer as base
moss or small faux plants (optional)
patience (these can take several days to dry)

This is sort of a "non recipe" recipe. Simply mix flour, water and salt to a clay like consistency, adjusting ingredients until the mixture is neither not too sticky or too dry. I added a handful of sand leftover from another project and generous sprinkling of gold and clear glitter, but these are optional. 
Then get creative and design your castle. I made a clay base and then created towers by covering a cardboard rolls with the sand mixture. 
I made a quick cardboard cone base for one for a pointed roof
Adorn with your choice of shells, faux pearls, sea glass or dried moss or faux greens. 

photo CPaul
The clay may droop slightly when drying but that just gives it that authentic beachy look. My husband joked that it reminded him of Gaudi's  famous cathedral in Barcelona
I built mine on a terra cotta saucer and perched it atop a smaller saucer to add a little height. Glass disks from a dollar store simulate water 
I then decided to give the saucer a quick light wash of pearly craft paint to work better with the sandy palette, an afterthought but an easy fix.

Simply display with shells a picnic basket or any beachy accents

vintage image from the Graphics Fairy

Thanks for Visiting!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Afternoon Tea at Tilly Mints

In an age, when drive-thru dining and mocha lattes in paper cups are sadly the norm, sitting down to a leisurely afternoon tea is truly an all too rare luxury. A cherished tradition in merry old England, finding a good cup of tea on this side of the pond can be a challenge. Imagine my delight to discover that a mere few minutes drive from my home was the most charming of Tea Rooms.
Nestled on a quiet side street in Souderton, Pa, Tilly Mints, embraces all the charm of an English Tea room (complete with red phone booth) offering wonderful menu options, friendly attentive service and even an on site gift shop for all of your tea needs.
Pop over to their website for their menu, hours, and the delightful story of how Tilly's got it's name.
We opted for the full tea, and it did not disappoint. Our tea included a soup or quiche and salad to start, followed by three classic tiers of elegantly prepared treats (Yes those are tiny ladybug tea sandwiches!) and they gladly provided delicious vegetarian options for our table as well. 
Tea aficionados will revel in the extensive Tea menu with whimsical names for their blends like "across a crowded room" or "last mango in Paris".
Love that the shop is named for the owner's "saint-like" patient husband
The gift shop brimming with delights for tea lovers
Trish offers genuine warm hospitality and an enthusiasm that only comes from doing something you truly love
Of course, there was a delightful collection of teapots
Hope to get back again soon


Monday, May 29, 2017

Easy Summer Dessert in Red, White and Blue

Savoring the fresh picked fruits and berries of summer is one of the season's most delightful and simple pleasures. 
So what better way to kick off the unofficial start of the summertime than with a quick and easy dessert highlighting their ripe juicy flavor and naturally patriotic colors, perfect for a variety of summer holidays and entertaining.
For this sweet treat, I used my version of a Charlotte Russe dessert recipe from a previous post on Downton Abbey, substituting a vanilla yogurt in keeping with the red, white and blue theme. You can add your favorite flavor of clear extract - vanilla, lemon or orange to enhance the flavor. For a topping, I used blueberries and strawberries but raspberries or pitted cherries would work wonderfully as well.
simply line a bowl with clear plastic wrap, arrange lady fingers, fill with yogurt mixture and chill

for full instructions and more photos click the link below
Ring Carson for tea
 (just scroll down the Downton post for the recipe): 

Once chilled invert onto plate and garnish with berries and mint

serve with icy lemonade

For more Fruit Inspired Summertime Sweets visit our previous posts

starting top left: watermelon cake, summer berry basket, watermelon meringues, berry easy meringues, cherry ice cream floats

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thinking Spring Tablescape and Arhaus inspiration

While the twentieth officially marks the beginning of Spring, here in the northeast US we're still experiencing more of March's proverbial "lion" than "lamb-like" weather. With icy mounds of snow still lining the streets and temperatures coyly dancing above and below freezing, it's easy to let one's mind drift dreamily to the promise of green grass and warmer Spring days ahead. 
Recently I discovered that the beautiful home decor and furnishing company Arhaus, was looking to celebrate the season with fresh takes on tablescapes. I browsed their exquisite site of finely crafted furniture, nature inspired outdoor accents and timeless yet fresh decor for inspiration and was ready to Think Spring!
   images and inspiration from Arhaus: Dining and Outdoor and more  
I took inspiration from nature's first signs of Spring; blades of grass peaking through melting snow, crisp brown twigs just beginning to bud, and birds and bunnies making their cheerful appearances.
 I kept my palette in natural neutral tones of taupes and creams, with pops of springy grass green and some colorful floral touches, and let textures play a starring role. 

No need to stick strictly to the rules of formal dining decor for a relaxed gathering. Spring is the perfect time to think "outside" and round up garden or garden inspired accessories. Planters, statuary, and even tiny benches make fun accents indoors too.
Springtime feathered and four footed friends add a touch of whimsy. 
glass cloches add lightness and add a green house feel
Hanging accents from above can add an easy and extra festive touch to the setting. I popped tiny greens and craft store butterflies into clear glass ornaments and hung among a petite sparkly chandelier for fun flare. 

Quick and Easy Topiaries
rope craft moss
faux (or real) budding branches
craft moss
floral foam
suitable planters
nature themed accents

These simple and fast topiaries add a little "no maintenance" greenery to your table or decor and can be adapted for different seasons or themes
Simply trim branches and moss roping to desired size, shape and insert securely with floral foam into planter. Camouflage foam with craft moss and add any nature themed accents like birds, nests, or flowers.

"Winter is on my head,
but eternal Spring is in my heart"
                         Victor Hugo

Wishing everyone a Happy Spring!