Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nobody Better Lay a Finger on My Butterfinger...Cake, That Is!

My grandmother always said after a meal that she wanted "just a taste" of something sweet.  Well, I promise you that can't take "just a taste" of this yummy-in-your-tummy Butterfinger Cake!!!  It's super simple to make and delicious!  You can actually make this cake with other candybars, such as Heath Bars or Snickers Bars.  I just used Butterfinger bars because my son loves them.

Butterfinger Cake
1 pkg. chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food)
3 Butterfinger bars
1 can sweetened condensed milk
container of chocolate syrup for drizzling
container of caramel ice cream syrup for drizzling
1 large container of Cool Whip

Prepare chocolate cake mix according to directions on the box. Pour into 13x9 pan and bake according to directions on box.  While cake is still warm, poke holes in cake and pour one can of sweetened condensed milk over the top of cake, making sure the condensed milk sinks into some of the holes in the cake.  Next, drizzle a little chocolate syrup and a little caramel syrup over the cake while still warm.  Crush one Butterfinger bar and sprinkle over cake.  (To make candybars easier to crush, store them in the freezer.) Allow cake to cool.  Once cake has cooled, spread Cool Whip over the top of the cake.  Drizzle chocolate syrup and caramel syrup over the top of the cake.  Break up the remaining Butterfinger bars and sprinkle over the top of the cake.  Drizzle a little more chocolate and caramel syrup over the top of the crushed candybars.  Refrigerate until serving.  Best served cold.


Not the most beautiful cake in the world, but it is divine!  Here's a closeup of a yummy hunk of cake...
Bet you can't eat just one bite!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thrifty Treasures

Let me go ahead and admit it.....I'm CHEAP!  I guess the politically correct term these days is "thrifty".  Whatever you want to call it, I will just tell you straight up that I am a bargain shopper.  Yes, I have a good job, yes I make good money.  Yes, I could pay full price and not blink.  That doesn't matter to me.  I still think we should be good stewards of our resources, and I do love me a good bargain!!!

Shopping at the thrift store and our local antique store (which is really an indoor flea market) is my favorite activity on the weekends.  Yard sales are hard for me to do with dragging the little kids around and all.  There are no buggies to corral the little boogers in!! LOL!  So, for now, I'm sticking with my two favorite haunts.  I always can find some treasures every time I go, and I never leave disappointed.  So, without further ado.....this week's thrifty treasures!!!

First up...this lovely silver pitcher!  $13 at the local antique store.  Not a scratch or dent on it!  LOVE it on my white cabinet (also a thrifty find at the same place a few weeks ago).  The shell picture was another thrifty find a few weeks ago.  $10 for this great picture!  I love the frame!

The silver tray filled with shells was also a thrifty treasure....$3!!!  (If you haven't figured it out, I L-O-V-E anything that sprarkles or shines.  I am addicted to vintage silver!!)

Another silver thrifty treasure....this vintage lid for $5.  Yes, I bought just a lid.  No, I haven't flipped my lid, just look at what I did with it....
I had the other two "loner" lids, so I thought why not?  I like to display things in threes or fives, so this little loner just found the rest of his family right on my kitchen wall.  This goes to show you....never throw anything away!  You just might be able to use it later.

And....on the way home from the antique store, I saw this cutesy little cart full of flowers outside a farmhouse.  An eldery lady was sitting out there selling flowers.  I got two of these gorgeous plants for $8.  They are simply sublime on my front porch!
And, for the very best thrifty treasures of all.....the FREE kind!  I found both of these things while walking in the woods behind my house.  My cat had kittens, and I was trying to find them.  I found these instead.  (Yes, I eventually found the kittens, too!)  
This birdhouse stole my heart!  I wasn't about to leave it.  It's just perfect on my back porch.  My next find has a lot of character.  Love the rusted out parts of it, and looks great on my back porch, too!
I'm linking up with other thrifty treasure lovers over at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays No. 60. 
 http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com/
Also linking up to The Tattered Tag and Keep it Simple Sunday!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vintage Vignette

One of my very favorite things to do is create vignettes!  I'm a lover of "stuff", so let no tabletop go uncovered!!  LOL!!  One rule I always stick to when creating vignettes for my home is to mix old things with new things.  To me, by mixing both old and new things, I am able to create a sense of comfort and balance in my home. 

Some of the vignettes in my home are seasonal, while others are more stationary (at least for a few weeks, that is!!).  I just finished **tweaking** a few things on a tabletop vignette in my kitchen...It's my FAVORITE black chest from Kirkland's!!  I love, love, love how this piece looks like an antique!  It also comes in blue and red, and I am LOVING these colors, too!!  However, the black goes perfectly with my cabinets and dining table.  The mirror, also from my dear Kirkland's several years ago, is one of my favorite pieces!  Would you believe I only paid $28 for it?  You can't beat that with a stick!  The Mercury glass buffet lamp is also from Kirkland's.  I have several sets of these around my house.  Love that Mercruy glass with the bling on it!!

As you can see, I have also mixed some old with the new.  On the left are family pictures.  My grandmother is the one seated in the chair.  My mother is sitting between my grandparents.  The other photo is of a government meeting back in the 30s.  It's from my dad's side of the family.  I just made the button collage this weekend.  I'm in love with old books, and I embelleshed these with a little lace and a few charms as well.  Love the special touch this gave to my little vignette!

On the other side of the chest, I have added a few silver trays for a little sparkle, my grandmother's old scale with a vintage silver tray on top to hold some votive candles (I love candles, and I have them all over the place!).  I also have a sepia toned picture of my children to help round out my family-themed vignette. 
When I look at this vignette, it makes me smile!  I love the mix of old and new, and it's the perfect accent piece in my kitchen!

Mixing old and new, to me, makes a house a home.  Surrounding yourself with special memories and reminders of days gone by keeps those you love with you even when they aren't.  I could never live in a house with all brand new, shiny things. I crave things with character, timelessness, things that carry special memories. 

Have a wonderful week!


I'm linking up to Debbie Doo's Newbie Party, and to Tabletop Tuesday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life!


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Southern Style Easter Recipes..Part II

Well, it's one o'clock in the morning, and I'm finally starting to think Easter dinner may go on as planned!  LOL!!!  I've just been delayed today here and there trying to get things ready around the house.  Why is that with kids cleaning house is like shoveling snow WHILE it is snowing?? 

Here's  a brief recap of a few things on the menu for tomorrow. Well, actually today at this point! Recipes are included.  I'll be sure to post more photos tomorrow.  Some things still need to be baked or need finishing touches!  I'll be baking the ham in about four hours.  Beware....these recipes are not for the faint of heart!  I have always been told that I have a way with mayonnaise, butter, and sour cream.  So, if that scares you....STOP READING NOW!!!  I'm all about eating healthy, but in the South, holidays are all about family and eating.  I'm not about to give up either!! 

Green Bean Bundles
3-4 cans whole green beans
bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste
Drain beans.  Take five or more green beans and form a bundle.  Wrap each bundle with a half slice of bacon.  Secure bundle with toothpick if desired.  Place bundles in a baking dish.  In a saucepan, melt butter and add brown sugar.  Pour over the green bean bundles.  Shake garlic powder, salt/pepper to taste over bundles.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Broil for a few moments if bacon is not to desired crispness. 

Grandma's Sweet Potato Casserole (with a modern-day twist)
3-4 cans yams (grandma would have baked real ones, but I'm a modern day Southern belle!)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp. vanilla
Drain yams and mash using an electric mixer.  Add remaining ingredients and beat with mixer until smooth.  Put sweet potato mixture into greased 9x13 baking dish.  Mix 1/2 stick melted butter, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup flour together.  Take 3 or 4 tablespoons of this mixture and stir into the sweet potato mix.  Put remaining sugar mixture on top of potatoes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until brown.  I also add large marshmallows to the top during the last few minutes of baking because we can't decide which we like best, marshmallows or the pecan mixture!!
This is ready to be baked for Sunday dinner....


My Secret Recipe Southern Potato Salad
5 lb. bag red potatoes, boiled and diced
3-4 boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup or more Hellman's mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
chopped onions (amount to suit your taste)
chopped celery (amount to suit your taste)
2 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. celery seed
mustard to taste
Toss together potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion.  In separate bowl, blend mayonnaise, sour cream, dill weed, and celery seed.  Pour over top of potatoes and gently mix until coated.  Add mustard to taste.  I also add salt & pepper, garlic salt, and garlic powder to taste.  Refrigerate.  While salad is in refrigerator, mix together the marinade.
Southern Potato Salad Marinade
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. onion salt
salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and marinate two hours or overnight.  Pour marinade over potato mixture and gently mix until coated.  Return to refrigerator until time to serve.  Best if left to sit overnight.

The marinade doesn't look very tasty, but it is wonderful! The first time I concocted this recipe, I thought it would never work, but it did!  People are always shocked when I tell them what's in the potato salad!

Old Timey Boiled Ham
smoked ham, butt portion is best
1 -2 46 oz. cans pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar
Place lham in Dutch oven or other large pot with a lid.  Pour pineapple juice and sugar into pot.  The liquid should cover the ham.  Water may be added to bring the liquid to the desired level.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover pot and cook to desired doneness, usually about 2-3 hours.  Falling off the bone produces the best flavor.  Leftover ham is excellent for ham salad or flavoring for beans, greens, etc..

Sinful Banana Pudding
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed milk
1 5 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
3 or 4 bananas, to suit your taste
box of Vanilla wafers
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add can of condensed milk and mix together.  Add pudding mix, cold milk, and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth.  Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping.  Add sliced bananas and 3/4 box of crushed Vanilla wafers.  Stir.  Spoon pudding mixture into a 9x13 pan.  Take whole vanilla wafers and outline the outside of the dish.  Take remaining Cool Whip and "frost" top of pudding mixture.  Sprinkle with crushed Vanilla wafers.  Refrigerate until serving.
I'll be "frosting" my pudding in the morning!! Oh, I forgot to add....I do have nice baking dishes, but I am not using them this Easter. Yes, grandma would have a "duck egg" as we say in the South!  However, I have to go to work on Monday, and washing silverware, china, and glasses for a crowd will have me busy enough.  At some point, I draw the line, and here she is!!!   The potato salad will be in a lovely bowl, but the rest will be in the throwaway pans.  I'm serving buffet style, so it will be fine.  The tables are quite lovely, so maybe no one will care.  If they do, they just don't have to eat my food.  LOL!!!

Last but not least, we also dyed eggs today.  The Easter Bunny should be "laying" those in a few hours.  I just love the colors of Easter!!

Happy Easter, dear friends, and remember the REAL reason we celebrate today!!!  Thank you, God, for sending us your beloved Son!!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Southern Style Easter Recipes

In the South, Easter Sunday is considered to be one of the most important holidays right up there along with Christmas.  On an Easter Sunday morning in the South, you will find churches filled to overflowing with everyone, from youngest to oldest, adorned in their finest new spring outfits. Typical Southern tradition is for ladies to wear a corsage of some sort, usually an orchid.  My grandmother would not have left the house on Easter Sunday without an orchid pinned to her collar.  My mother still won't.  Mind you, these orchids were never purchased at the local grocery store like you see now, but to be truly proper, they must come from the florist shop.  My mother will be sporting this corsage on Easter Sunday...I'm a modern-day Southern belle, so I won't be wearing one.  BUT....I do have a new outfit!! Any old excuse to buy a new dress and shoes, huh?  Why mess with tradition?  LOL!!

Easter dinner is always a family occasion usually celebrated right after church.  Ham is the traditional main course for Easter dinner, and no Southern girl worth her salt would dare serve Easter dinner without deviled eggs!!  

These MUST be served on a deviled egg tray.  I just counted mine today...I have SEVEN of them.  That's a lot of eggs right there!!!!  All true Southern belles have multiple deviled egg plates!

The remainder of the menu usually (at least at my house) consists of sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, green bean bundles, broccoli casserole, Southern potato salad, rolls (with butter of course!), and the "house wine of the South", sweet tea.  Banana pudding (made with condensed milk), coconut cake, and carrot cake are must-haves on an Easter Sunday sideboard. 

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some of my favorite Easter recipes with you, but I'll go ahead and share my favorite coconut cake recipe before I sign off.  It's not a layer cake, but it is DIVINE and super easy to make!  I have not met a man yet who didn't L-O-V-E this cake.  One additional note, though....it's best served cold, and it's better on day two!

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can cream of coconut
1 small bag of coconut
1 large container of Cool Whip
Mix cake according to directions on the box.  Bake following directions in a 9 x 13 pan.   When cake is removed from oven, immediately punch holes in the cake using  a fork or wooden spoon handle.  Mix condensed milk and cream of coconut in a medium bowl.  Pour this mixture over the cake and allow to cool.  Mix Cool Whip and coconut together.  Once the cake has cooled, spread the Cool Whip and coconut mixture over the cake.  Refrigerate until served. 

Sooooo delicious!!  See you tomorrow when I'll be whipping up all my special side dishes for Easter Sunday!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cottontail...

And it's just about time for him to hop on down the bunny trail!!  I remember my grandma singing that song to me all the time as a little girl in the days heading up to Easter.  She was BIG on holidays, always making sure everything was just right.  I remember her saving green stamps to get 12 place settings of silver and Desert Rose china at the Quick Check when I was a little girl all because she wanted "fancy" china and silverware like the ladies in town had.  (I still have her Desert Rose china.)  My grandma  didn't have much (she was a turkey farmer), but she sure knew how to "put on the dog" as we say here in the South!  (For all ya'll that don't know what that means, it means to strut your stuff!!)  And she always  put on the dog when it came to any and all holidays.  I guess the acorn doesn't fall too far from the old oak tree, eh??  She always said that even the most humble abode could look like a mansion with a neatly pressed tablecloth and a fine place setting. 

The entire time I was working on my Easter tablescape, I could hear both her and my momma singing to  me, and I guess that would be the inspiration for my tablescape this week. Peter Cottontail (from my FAVORITE store...Kirkland's!) literally looks like he is hopping (wheeling) down the bunny trail in the middle of my table!  I'm really into creams and whites this year for Easter rather than the traditional pastel colors. 

I love how Mr. Bunny is peeping out from behind the tulip plants!
Here's a closeup of Mr. Bunny with his wheelbarrow filled with eggs. I tend to like things elevated, so I used a cake pedastal to lift him slightly off the antique runner.
A view of the buffet....My grandmother gave my mother the mirror above the buffet over 60 years ago for her wedding present.
A closeup of my Pottery Barn Easter egg dishes...the chargers are from Big Lots many years ago ($1.99), and the plates are from TJ Maxx several years ago ($3.99). Placemats and napkins are from KMart. Silverware is from Pottery Barn (yeah, that's my kryptonite right there...that darn silverware!!), and glasses are from Old Time Pottery.

And a closeup of my Pottery Barn mason jar drink dispenser. I simply love this!! Perfect for holding my favorite punch (white grape juice mixed with ginger ale and strawberries).
And one final view as the sun starts to set on another glorious Sunday in the South...
Wishing you and your family a very blessed Easter holiday!  Cherish every moment with those you hold dear.  

I'm linking up to Debbie Doo's Newbie Party, Table Top Tuesday at Marty's, Wow us Wednesdays over at Savvy Southern Style, and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch!!!  On  Friday, I'm linking up to Feathered Nest Friday at another of my favorite blogs, http://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com/.

























Savvy Southern Style

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring is in the Air...

Spring is finally here!! If I told you that spring is my favorite season, I'd be telling the truth.  Telling the truth, that is, until the calendar says October once again!! It takes just one look at that glorious blue sky, budding daffodils, and all the stirrings of newness around me to remind me that spring is the chance for us to start over. This celebration of starting over is one of the reasons I adore spring.  Beatiful weather always beckons me outdoors, and something about spring makes me want to partake in every meal I can with the sunshine streaming down on me and gentle breezes touching my face.  Is that because I spend most of my week cooped up inside a building?  Perhaps that could have something to do with it!  A girl has to soak it all in when she can, you know!

With Easter just around the corner and guests for Saturday night dinner, it was the perfect opportunity to bring out some of my favorite Easter things and celebrate the joy of spring in style.


The inspiration for this table came from the "chocolate" bunnies.  Playing off the blue bows and orange carrots, the idea for colors in this tablescape came to life. 

These speckled eggs from Hobbly Lobby seemed like a perfect addition to the base of the floral arrangement.  I elevated it on a glass cake stand to give the centerpiece more height. 
The addition of my favorite Pottery Barn napkin rings, along with these adorable silver Easter bunny baskets ($5.99 reg. price with half off!!) from Hobby Lobby, really bring out the antique silver pitcher and make our everyday dishes seem more special.
My son's girlfriend made these adorable bird's nests for the table.  She took plain bird's nests and added a little Spanish moss, a cute little birdie, and three tiny speckled eggs.  I think these are the perfect addition to our spring tablescape!
A lovely tablescape for spring with a touch of whimsy!
Funny how taking just a few minutes to dress your table can make even grilled chicken taste like five star cuisine!  Thanks for joining us for our springtime tablescape!!

Since I'm not quite a week old, I'm linking up with Debbie Doo for her Newbie Party!!!  I can't believe I'm almost a week old.  YIPPEE!!!!!!!  I'm also linking up to Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for her Tabletop Tuesday party, and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday party!  LOVIN' all these great parties here in blog land!!!!!




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Southern Charm