In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. ~ Gibran

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Make and Take Blooming Sunflowers and Ladybug Cupcakes!

Under the cool cloud cover of Portland today, the Make and Take Gals managed to fill their project table with blossoms of Sunflowers. That's right, Pam designed darling cupcake blooms and had us pot them up for gift giving. Look at these little masterpieces... enough to cheer anyone into a sunny disposition.  The moist chocolate cake and rich frosting are what they call "icing on the cake" and hide the spoons from MJ! Really, how can these gals expect me to sit with so much chocolate and not sample?

The base of the blossoms are Oreo cookies and the darling ladybugs are M&Ms. For the leaves Pam provided several options of candied jellies to sculpt into leaves. The work was intricate but surprisingly easy. 

The end result was a table of blossoms and making plans for our afternoon deliveries of these little cuties!

After working up an appetite, Pam crafted a beautiful lunch of Chicken Salad, Caramelized Peach Soup, colorful Caprese Salad, and a darling cupcake of our own with a gorgeous butterfly on top! Thinking ahead, Pam made a separate dessert so we could take our winged friend home to enjoy. The darling favors in a jar are Peach Bellini. Pam says to pour over ice cream or make a peach float with sparkling water, ice cream and some of the Peach Bellini.

Pam personalized our dessert plates making for a delicious indulgence! Thank you Pam for sprinkling sunshine into our gloomy Portland day with your sparkling table and darling blossoms!

~ Come Gather Around the Table! MJ


Mini Caprese Salad

1 small lemon juiced
1 small clove garlic grated or minced
20 fresh basil leaves and a few more for garnish
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pint cherry or small heirloom tomatoes
1 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese (small balls or cubed)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Combine lemon juice, garlic, and basil leaves in food processor. Stream in olive oil ; process to smooth consistency.
In a bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and dressing.  Gently toss to coat. Place in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Makes 6 servings.

Caramelized Peach Soup

3 large fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and halved (or 6 small)
2 T. light brown sugar
1 ½ T. honey
Parchment paper
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
½ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. salt
Small container vanilla bean yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss together first 3 ingredients.  Place peaches, cut side down, on a parchment lined jelly roll pan.  Bake 25 minutes or until juices begin to caramelize, turning after 15 minutes.

Transfer peaches and juices to a food processor or blender; cool completely (about 30 min). Add orange juice, cinnamon, and salt.  Process until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Cover and chill 4 hours.

Ladle soup into bowls. Dollop the top of each serving with vanilla bean yogurt.  Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top for garnish.
Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Southern Living July 2011

Honey Chicken Salad

4 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 celery ribs, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (craisins)
½ cup (or more!) chopped pecans, toasted
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup honey
¼ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
Garnish: chopped toasted pecans

Combine first 4 ingredients.
Whisk together mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients. Add to chicken mixture, stirring gently until combined. 
Garnish with chopped toasted pecans.
Makes 4 -6 servings

From Southern Living June 2006

Supply list for Sunflower cupcakes:

Baked cupcakes in paper liners
Chocolate frosting (store bought or homemade)
White frosting (store bought or buttercream)
Food coloring: yellow and orange
Oreo cookies
Mini Oreo cookies
Candy spearmint leaves /green fruit leather/or other green jellied candies
Red M&Ms
Decorating tip #352 w/ coupler
Decorating tip #2 w/ coupler
2 Pastry bags (disposable works great)
Sharp knife
Cutting board

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