Friday, March 27, 2009

Tea and Strawberry Cake

As I gazed out the window a few Sundays back, watching the cold rain pelt my spring flowers (this IS Seattle!) I thought "What could be better on a day like today then tea and cake?" A cozy fire in the fireplace, sleepy kitties scattered about the room and warm tea with strawberry cake.

I found a delicious cake recipe on Paula Deen's show on the Food Network. Here it is in case you'd like to make it:

1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix
1 (3 oz) box strawberry-flavored instant jello
1 (15 oz) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 2 (9") round cake pans. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed starwberries, eggs, oil and water. beat until smooth. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on racks.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pureed sweetened strawberries (about - maybe slightly more)
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
5 cups confectioner's sugar
Combine all ingredients until smooth and frost the cake when it's cooled. Use some frosting in between layers to hold top and bottom sections together.
Decorate with fresh sliced strawberries or edible flowers, if desired.
The few changes I made were to bake 5 minutes more and to use raspberry extract as I could not find strawberry extract. It all worked out fine!

TEA: I love Trader Joe's English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas. On this day I used English because the flavor is milder. They are both rich and tasty though. I mixed in a tbsp of rich amber-hued honey per tea bag, directly into the tea pot. I also provided fresh sliced lemon to put in each cup. I love this combination so much, I have given up coffee and now carry a thermos of this tea mixture with me to work every day.

I collect Royal Copenhagen's Blue Flowers Curved porcelain so naturally, that's what you get your tea in when you come to my house! The pattern is very romantic and fresh and has a lovely embossed swirl pattern along with a scalloped edge to plates.

Cheese: I love me my savories and being a native of Wisconsin, cheese is my first choice.
I offered up 2 choices of English cheddars; one flavored with wine and the other with Irish whiskey. They countered the sweet tea and cake perfectly. I served the cheese on a lovely old chintz plate I found at an antique shop in Snohomish, WA.

With a couple of warm blankets and comfy down filled pillows on the sofa, we were comfy, well fed and quite satisfied for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Evenings by Candlelight

Lovely candlelight plays and dances around the room, casting violet hued shadows like sculptures, upon the walls. It's a comforting glow that settles and calms the mind and body after a long day out in the world. I like to unwind at night by watching my favorite TV shows with the room lit by candles instead of harsh electric lamps. I'm a girl with a foot in 2 eras. That's why this quote by Milton Berle is so ironic and especially funny to me: "We owe a lot to Thomas Edison - if it wasn't for him, we'd be watching television by candlelight."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome my Friends!

I am so excited to begin my new journey into the blogger world.
After reading thousands of blogs from many wonderfully talented people from around the world, I think I'm givin' this a try! I love the idea of sharing ideas and making new friends everywhere with similar interests.

My first entry is short but sweet. With the official start of spring just a few days away, I wish us one and all a very happy season full of the joys of nature and home!