Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Home Decor

I love perusing the catalogs that find their way to my house for home decor ideas. One look I really love is old books stacked and tied with twine. Actually, the displays I have seen take off the outer covers and display the worn looking pages. I love that look too. To buy them from the boutiques or home decor companies will cost you anywhere from $40-$50 for a stack of three. I have bookshelves full of old books that worked just as well. A trip to antique and thrift shops is also an option to supply you with less expensive old books. I really tried to tear off the covers but I just couldn't. I tea dyed kitchen twine and tied up my little stack with covers and bindings intact. I love the the worn texture. I also loved that I could add a little color and interest to my Autumn decor with something I already had! Who knew old books would be so "In"!
Candles create such a cozy atmosphere. The mesmerizing pirouette of that happy little flame brightens up any room. To me, the soothing aroma coaxes me to a relaxed state of mind. I need to relax. I need a lot of candles.  If you live locally, Shaker Tree in Garrettsville has stocked the shop full of gorgeous Autumnal home decor. I think they have the best selection of amazing candles that will add a cheery glow the moment you touch a flame to the wick. Happy Decorating!
/Users/leboquilt/Desktop/01 Simple Gifts _ Lovely Love.m4a

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Carrot Cake in Miniature

Sometimes I find the most challenging issue when cooking for two people is dessert. I really adore desserts but, since the kids have grown up and flown the nest, dessert portions are too big. I don't need an entire cake hanging around. I will eat it. For breakfast. A little snack. Lunch. A treat for getting the laundry done. And of course, a sweet for after dinner. One evening I really wanted to bake a carrot cake. I have certain food allergies, specifically egg yolks and vanilla bean, which puts a kibosh on most bakery items from the store. If I want to enjoy a piece of cake without paying an unpleasant price later I need to make it myself.
I got out my favorite recipe for carrot cake and started doing the math. I only really needed a quarter of the recipe for the two of us. Some measurements were a bit of a guess but,what the heck--it will turn out or it won't. I baked the cakes in two 4 1/2 " ramekins. I am sure that anything up to about 6" would be fine. I then stacked and frosted them. Just the perfect size for two and delicious! I could hardly wait to share my recipe with all of you!
Here it is:
Wee Carrot Cake for Two:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
egg whites from 2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. imitation vanilla
3/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup pecans
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix oil, sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients. Mix. Add carrots, nuts and vanilla. Pour into two greased
4 1/2 inch oven safe ramekins. bake for 30 minutes or until tooth pick inserted to center of cakes come out clean. Allow to cool and then frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup softened butter
4 oz cream cheese
8 oz. powdered sugar
1 tsp. artificial vanilla
tiny pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Blend all ingredients except nuts and spread between layers, on top and sides of cake. Garnish with nuts. Refrigerate.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! I am also excited to have a new distraction---creating Sweet Morsels in Miniature! I will share them with you as I bake them!
Bon Appetit!