Saturday, May 28, 2011

Support Our Troops With Just One Click {Memorial Day}

As we embark on the weekend that kicks off Summer for my fellow American readers, it's important that we focus on the true reason for Memorial Day. Let us remember those men and women who gave their lives while giving service to our country, as well as those who served, are currently serving, and are planning to serve our country.

In efforts to support our troops, Taste of Home Magazine is pledging 10 cents (up to $100,000) for every "unique" click on this link to their red, white and blue flag cake. Too bad we can't just click forever. Please join me in supporting support our troops across the world with just one click. This effort runs through July 4, 2011. Please share this information with your friends.

While I was browsing, I discovered a great offer from one of my favorite magazine subscription sites, Discount Mags. They're offering a 3-year/21 issues subscription for only $9.99 (regularly $50.97)! Just select the 3-year option and use code MEMORIAL to receive your discount. I have no idea how long this offer will last, so if you're a fan of or are interested in this magazine, I'd get on it PRONTO.

Wishing you a safe Memorial Day weekend!!

Sheila Denise

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's Gonna Be A Hot One!

Well, Ms. TSE is thinking of hibernating for several hours this afternoon. Yes, you read that right. I do not want to go outside, because today will be a VERY hot day. A sweaty 92 degrees...I simply can't. TSE does NOT do all, so I'll be lounging comfortably, sipping lemonade and tackling this stack of magazines.

Speaking of lemonade, I'd like to leave you with a few adorable lemonade sipping options.

Crate & Barrel Lemonade Glass ($2.95 sale price/$3.95 regular price)

Crate & Barrel Summer Lemons Glass ($2.95 sale price/$3.95 regular price)

Although the website shows the Summer Lemon Glasses at regular price, they're listed at $2.95 on page 65 in this catalog.

And finally, a cute budget-friendly option spotted last week.

Dollar Tree Lemon Wedges Glass ($1.00)

Happy Sunday!!

Sheila Denise

Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Treasure - Baking With A Purpose {Share Our Strength}

Would you believe that I've been on a natural high since Saturday?? Well, I'm almost always on a natural high, but this one is different. It was generated by the pure goodness and generosity of a BIG group of people and it's all because of that little sign up there. I'm talking about all the wonderful people across the nation who gave donations to Share Our Strength and those who baked/volunteered and purchased baked goods during last Saturday's Great American Bake Sale.

I had the honor of participating as a baker and volunteer with some fantastic Atlanta area folks at The 2011 Atlanta Food Blogger Bake Sale. Our group was spearheaded by Tami Hardeman and I must commend her on pulling together an Olympic class team. I'm proud (and SHOCKED) to announce that our group raised just over $3000!!! Can you believe it??? . As I shared a few days ago, via Facebook, this was not your mother's bake sale and I have the pictures to prove it, so I'll stop talking and just show you.

And here are shots of items that made it home with me.

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Whole Wheat Croissant

Lemon Drop Shots

Mascarpone Cream Filled Cookies with Chocolate & Pistachios


Pistachio Lemon Biscotti

Meyer Lemon Curd Tart

There is no better feeling than knowing you're a small part of something great and this is a feeling I'll surely treasure for a lifetime.

Sheila Denise

P.S. As I was wrapping up this post yesterday, I received an email from Tami, announcing that the Atlanta Bloggers raised the most money in the US!!! Yes, you read that correctly! The most money raised in the country was raised right here in Atlanta!! That's not honor of having raised the most money, Duncan Hines is donating $10,000 in our group's honor!!!!!!!!! *insert crying, dancing and fainting spell here* That money will make a HUGE difference in the lives of many hungry children.

Thank you so much for your generosity!! I can hardly wait for next year's bake sale.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World's Easiest "Non-Recipe" Recipe {Roasted Chickpeas}

You're probably wondering what the heck a non-recipe recipe is huh?? Well, it's a recipe that has no real measurements, no set oven temperature, varied cooking times, and no limitations on spices or seasonings. Does it make sense now?? Good!!

A little while ago, I posted a photo of tonight's snack, roasted chickpeas, on Facebook. When my friend, Amy, asked how I made them, it occurred to me that I probably have never made them the same way twice. Let me just say that you can go from a couple of cans of chickpeas to a crunchy, addictive snack in less than an hour.

Tonight, I used:

2 15 ounce cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
"some" Extra Virgin Olive Oil
"some" Chinese Five Spice
"some" Smoked Sea Salt
"some" Cracked Black Pepper

I preheated oven to 375 and baked in a foil lined pan for about 50 minutes, shaking every 15 minutes or so. Now, I've baked them at various temperatures from 325 to 400, from 35 minutes to an hour and any temp and time in between. I've used almost every combination of spices in my pantry, based on the flavors I wanted at the time. As I said, it's truly a non-recipe recipe that can be tweaked to your liking.

If you're looking for a crunch alternative to high fat nuts, chip or other snacks, try a batch of roasted chickpeas. I'm going back to my snack now.

Have a great evening!!

Sheila Denise

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Table For Two {Budget Friendly}

TSE is a happy woman today. I had the pleasure of catching up with an old friend for a few hours and we enjoyed a fab lunch in the backyard. It was a bit cool-ish, but I managed to find a sunny spot to set everything up. We enjoyed a light lunch of mini chicken salad sandwiches on pumpernickel, our favorite mini pretzels, watermelon skewers soaked in minty simple syrup and sipped on watermelon lemonade. I probably don't need to add that there were TONS of giggles all afternoon.

I had been working on a "table on a budget" tablescape for a few weeks, with the goal of using items from thrift stores, dollar stores and things I already owned. There was one stipulation to using things I owned, they had to be less than $5, and I pulled it off. It was easy to do because I'm forever shopping for a bargain, but this time, I was shopping in my own home. A few things to note, everything doesn't have to be a part of a matched set and ribbon is your friend.

The basic table began like this:

And the end result is a simple, uncluttered table for two.

I'll do a breakdown in another post, detailing each piece. Today, I just wanted to show you that you can create a lovely table on a very small budget.

I hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll find inspiration to spend a little time thrifting or visiting a dollar store or two as well as shopping your home for great pieces to create a pretty table. You just may be surprised by what you'll discover. Why not start with Memorial Day?

Sheila Denise

Friday, May 13, 2011

TSE Struck Silver!!

I LOVE Angel Food Cake. I could eat this all day, EVERY day. I love the taste, texture and versatility of this cake and often find myself thinking of new ways to enjoy it. I've done everything from toasting to grilling to French-toasting, to name a few. Honestly, I've never met an Angel Food Cake I didn't LOVE!!

Enough about my cake romance, let's get to the real topic at hand. You want to know what I dragged home right?? Well, I discovered an item from my "I gotta find one of these" list. Ms. TSE is the proud new mommy to her very own Angel Food Cake pan!! I was so happy when I spotted it. I immediately took a picture and sent it to Big Brother to relieve him of the pressure of wondering when I was going to attempt to steal his trusty pan. See how pretty she is?? These shots are pre-bath, so imagine how lovely she'll be all sanitized and squeaky clean.

Check out the legs on this baby. Hot, huh??

Now that I have my very own pan, I'm looking forward to putting it to use...CONSTANTLY over the next several months.

I hope you're enjoying a wonderful Friday evening!

Sheila Denise

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cupcake Flavored Vodka {Temptation Tuesday}

And the cupcake craze continues. I realize that many have gotten WELL over it, but now the liquor market is stepping in for a piece of the action. I'll admit, I'm much more excited about finding a bottle of this vodka than I am about eating a cupcake. When I saw Cupcake Vodka featured a couple of weeks ago, I just had to know more. Off I went to seek out a bit of info on these cupcake flavored vodkas. There are four flavors, Original, Chiffon, Frosting and Devil's Food.

I already have a few "test" drink recipes in mind and it'll be easy enough to add it to baked goods...just not sure what I'll bake first, but maybe a boozy cheesecake or mini citrus tarts. Whatever I end up making, I'm absolutely convinced that it will be something I'll enjoy.

I'm starting with Chiffon. Which flavor do you think you'll try first?

Sheila Denise

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Create A Fabulous Mother's Day Meal

Although the gift has probably been selected, many are hesitating on what to do meal-wise for Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed, brunch at home, brunch out, lunch, dinner....?? The bottom line is, no matter what we decide to do, the fact that we're honoring our mothers is all that really matters, so relax a bit and enjoy the day.

If you'd like to do something at home, here a few suggestions. I recommend a quick search via Foodgawker or your favorite recipe search engine to find a recipe you'd like to try or you can certainly pick up many of these items at your favorite bakery or your local market's bakery/deli. You truly still have time to create a memorable experience for Mom.

French Toast (Baked or Traditional):

If you want to free up your morning, opt for the baked version which is assembled the night before and baked the next morning.

Biscuits or Scones:

Pancakes or Waffles:

Omelets, Frittata or Quiche:

If you haven't mastered the "foldover" with omelets, skip it and leave them open-faced to keep things simple.

Coffee Cake, Monkey Bread or Muffins:

Salad (Pasta, Chicken or Veggie):

A few more tips:

1. Assemble a fruit tray with a few of Mom's favorite fresh and dries fruit selections. Feel free to add a couple of cheeses, nuts, crackers and jams as well. This makes for the perfect all day snack.

2. Take a little time and fresh-squeeze the citrus juice. There's nothing like the taste of freshly pressed juice.

3. Change the location of your typical dining. Use your imagination to make this spectacular day a special one.

If Mom's bedroom space allows, bring in a card table, cover it with a white cloth (or sheet) add a centerpiece of flowers or candles, pull out great dishes and have a wonderful breakfast in an unexpected spot.

You can also enjoy the meal outside. Create a rustic outdoor table using an unexpected fabric as a table cover. I plan to use a drop cloth (yes the kind you use when painting) to create a beautiful canvas for simple white dishes. See the photo below. If you have flowers in your yard, add a few to a vase or even a glass to bring in a splash of color. It would be nice to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, while having a wonderful meal with Mom.

I hope these suggestions offer motivation and guidance in helping you create a fabulous meal for Mom this Sunday. Just remember to keep it stress-free and enjoy!!

In addition to honoring my mother and remembering my grandmothers, I'm saluting all the women who've "mothered" me along the way. Wishing each of you a spectacular Mother's Day!

Sheila Denise

Photos via Google (except Pistachio Muffin, Drop Cloth & White Dishes-via True Southern Elegance).