Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday II

Pumpkin Scones with Cream Cheese drizzle

Tea and Testimony was the theme of my MOPS group on Thursday and I signed up to bring three classic Tea items this month. Scones, for me, are super easy to make and I've figured out how to get them nice and moist too!

I'd planned on making Cinnamon Scones, Pumpkin Scones and chocolate biscotti. The Cinnamon Scones were easy and could be stacked on top of each other in a Ziploc since there isn't any topping, so to speak, on them. The pumpkin ones though, they were a challenge. The original recipe which I've tweaked and played with until I got it just right for my palate, calls for a double glaze!! One classic and then a spiced glaze drizzled on top after the first layer has hardened. They are amazing, but hard to pack up and travel with because the glaze softens and starts to ooze when it's covered.

This meeting was my first one in three months and I was super excited! A last minute scheduling change for my husband meant that we were going to have to take him to his New Jersey site, so we would have to leave the house at 4:30am {eek} at the latest the morning of the meeting. I'm  sure you're thinking I'm totally crazy for waking the kids up that early and trecking them 2 hours into another state and then taking them to a church function, but they're SO good about scheduling changes and being in the car!! {we drove straight through to Fairfield Bay AR...19 hours, this september}

I was even more thrilled that I was making these particular treats for the meeting because it meant I could make them ahead of time.

Wednesday afternoon, I was chatting with a friend about something completely unrelated; still thinking about how to make the pumpkin scones special. Then, a light bulb went off inside my head! My father-in-law makes a Paradise Pumpkin Pie which is like taking a classic cheese cake and topping it with a pumpkin pie. . . why couldn't I make my cream cheese frosting that I use on homemade carrot cake and thin it just a little to drizzle on the scones?

This has been one of the best, what if moments I've had in the kitchen in a while!! I didn't taste test any of them because I wanted to save them all for the ladies at church, but I was sure to snatch one at the breakfast on Thursday morning. Oh, good!

Here's what I did:

Pumpkin Scones (adapted recipe from sweetpeaskitchen )

2 Cups flour
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 Tbsp cold butter, cut
1 Cup canned pumpkin
4-5 Tbsp half-and-half or milk
1 large egg

Cream Cheese Frosting for drizzle
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Cup confectioners sugar
a splash of Vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, half-n-half(or milk) and egg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Cut in butter with either a fork or a pastry cutter. You could use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer for this part too...
When the butter bits are incorporated and no larger than a small pea, you're ready to add the pumpkin.

Gradually fold the pumpkin mixture into the large bowl, making sure that all of the dry ingredients have been worked in. As you're doing this, it should start to form itself into a ball. If it seems too dry and isn't coming together, add 1 tsp of milk at a time until it comes together for you.

On a greased cookie sheet, pat the dough into a circle (I divided it into two circles) about an inch thick. Cut into even slices with a knife or pizza cutter.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and cooked through.

Once the scone is COMPLETELY cooled (it's so hard to wait, trust me I know!) you can put the drizzle on!!

Combine cream cheese and sugar, add vanilla and continue to cream together. Add ONE tbsp of milk. If it isn't creamy enough, add one TEASPOONFUL of milk at a time until it is nice and creamy but thick enough to hold it's shape.
Put cream cheese mixture into a plastic baggie and cut a 1/4 inch hole off an end of the bag...Now the fun begins!!

Drizzle the frosting onto the scones in any way you'd like! I went with a simple zig-zag pattern...


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What an honor! The Liebster Blog Award!!

Amy from fAveritte creations has made my month! Truthfully...

Woke up this morning to a blinking BlackBerry. An email alert, okay. . . A FruitfulDelights email alert; oooh, interesting. An Etsy conversation notification; ya hoo!!

Then I read it. Amy chose myself, as well as 4 other bloggers to award the Liebster Blog Award!! What an incredible honor. I'm fairly new to the blogging world, but from what I understand, this is an awesome way to promote your blog and possibly meet other cool and creative bloggers. Well, I'm so happy to pass it on to 5 other bloggers! It is awarded to bloggers with less than 200 followers, and this is how it works:

1. Post the award on your blog

2. Show thanks to the one who chose you by linking back to them

3. Reveal your 5 picks for the award and let them know

4. Kick back, give yourself a pat on the back, and feel the love from the other supportive bloggers in the blogosphere

5. Share the love, love, love!

Please stop by Amy's blog and see what wonderful things she has going on over there!! One of my Favorite things in her Etsy shop is this sweet Gardening Girl Custom Pillow.

I'd like to award these 5 awesome blogs with the Honors!

Sarah from Repeat Crafter Me

Katie from My Darling Days
Maya from BK Inspired

Congratulations Ladies!! You're all such wonderful inspiration to me...

Keep on Spreading the Love!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sneak Peek: Raspberry-Lemonade Jam

In case you've missed the first two in the series. There was Strawberry-Banana  and Golden Raspberry

I am always thinking about what new flavor I can add to my selection. Something different. Something that when you read the label or see it in a listing you think to yourself, hmm...that sounds GOOD!

With the wild success this past year of Strawberry-Lemonade, I quietly thought to myself Raspberry-Lemonade should be tried. After all, it's a wonderfully refreshing summer beverage. One of my favorites for sure (virgin, or not-so virgin) and I can't think of anything better than a nice blend of sweet and tart.

This photo here may seem like an ordinary, delicious jar of Raspberry jam to the naked eye. But, if you look really closely or better yet, pop the seal. You'll see small pieces of fresh lemon zest amidst a sea of ruby red chunks of fresh garden grown Raspberries! Do your best to resist sticking your finger into the jar and grab a spoon.

Raspberry-Lemonade starts off with the sweet, yet mild tartness of Raspberry and as it dissolves off of your tongue you are left with a wonderfully soft pucker of lemon.

I can see this jam working really well with a slice of toasted marble rye or even warmed and drizzled over ice cream. What I look forward to most is spreading it across one of my homemade scones. They have a delicate, buttery flavor that will greatly be complimented by this jam.

 I couldn't resist adding pictures of the boys scraping the bottom of the pot. (yes, have been hanging out in our jammies...sorry!) They both went to town on the itty bitty amount that was left!

Connor was telling me as I took the first picture that this is the BEST flavor he's tasted yet....My husband agrees and he's been my best taster. If he likes it, if he really likes it, it sells!

So, as of now, I feel like Raspberry picking will not be until June or early may seem like a long time to wait, but trust me, it is worth it!

The Raspberries we grow in the garden (where the jam photo was taken) are more flavorful than any other I have tried, homegrown or store bought. They're plump and brightly colored which makes for an eye popping jam!

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about any of my flavors, flavor requests, or just a comment to say hi!

Happy Friday Everyone!!! Hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend with your families. Happy Easter


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Morty the Moose is on the Loose!! Celebrating the boys' birthday

I'm a planner...kinda goes along with being an admitted control freak (yep, it's out now!). Both of our boys' birthdays are in March. Luckily there's three weeks between them (they had other ideas than being born on their due dates which were 3/20 and 3/21) so as they get older having friends over for a small party will not be an issue but for now we do a joint party. Most of our family lives the next state over meaning whatever day we choose will be a big travel day for anyone coming. So I start planning and talking to family and friends who have jobs making it difficult to get time off in Mid to late December for a Mid-March party.

Before I'd gotten my annual ball rolling, I asked Connor randomly what kind of a cake he'd like to have this year for his birthday. He knew right away!! He said he wanted a moose cake. Not Moose A. Moose from Nick Jr, but an actual moose. Okay. . . a moose cake.

Last year he was all about Pirates, and mixed in with the junk mail was a really cute recipe from Parenting Magazine for a Pirate ship cake. It was a huge hit and really easy to do. So I went back to their website hoping they'd have a moose cake. They did, but they were flat sheet cakes looking like Moose A. Moose... Then I came across this ONE. It was a teddy bear.

Confident in my cake building skills ( I don't have ANY), I printed the recipe and began wondering how on earth I was going to make antlers. They'd need to be light enough to stay in the cake but strong enough to hold their own shape. Rice crispy treats? no. Fondant? no. Eh, no biggie. I have plenty of time to figure it out! Cake, CHECK!

On to invitation ideas. . .I've always printed the invitations at home usually finding really nice blank, card stock invitations at a great closeout place by us. Come up with a cute saying which incorporates both child's age and the party and off they go. But this Moose cake, was feeling like it needed a good Moose theme... So I kept my eyes out for cute moose pictures that I could sketch off of, figuring I'd hand draw them.

On a rare shopping trip that I was alone on, I saw a cute magazine which had cupcakes on the front of it. Without really reading the headlines, I snatched it as I checked out of our local store. A few hours later I start flipping through it and I find the cutest Moose I have ever seen!! The template was to be used as a Valentine Goodie bag, but I was able to adapt it to suit my needs. Here's the template.  Invitations, CHECK!

Holy Cow!! I had NO idea what I was getting myself into with these invitations. I used card stock for all of the parts. I sent out 26 invitations. It took me three nights from 8pm until 1am to get them all cut out with an Xacto blade, taped, outlined and ready to go. My hands ached for days, but I think it was worth it! (on the back of the card it read "there's a moose on the loose!! who did deduce, you should join us for a party...maybe even let loose. For Liam will be 2 and Connor will be 4, let's spruce up this caboose, break out the juice, even share some chocolate mousse")

In comes Repeat Crafter Me!! I stumbled across her blog from an Etsy team that we are both a part of and instantly loved everything she blogged about!! One day before St. Patrick's Day she blogged about making Shamrock cupcake toppers and how she didn't need a fancy mold or anything.

TADA!! I can do this to make ANTLERS!!!

Bringing it all together

 The recipe for the cake calls for using something other than cake for the legs. Not knowing how many people I could realistically feed with this cake, I decided to use cake for the legs. I filled two, 8 ounce Ball jars a little more than halfway with cake batter and baked them along side the two halves of the head which were in two small oven proof bowls.

Next I put some of the frosting i was using on the flat spot in the center of the body and placed the bottom half of the head and continued to assemble the head...I did use two wooden skewers to stabilize the head since there were kids around the cake and I didn't want his head falling off!!

Almost done...Right after I took this picture, I realized his ears were making him look too much like a bear so OFF WITH HIS EARS!

Here he is!! Of course his antlers weren't crooked the whole time. Only when I took the picture and didn't even realize it (you know you're trying to do about 50 things at once right now too) until after the party was long over and I looked at the photos...oh well! He's still cute and was DELICIOUS!

 Although usually saved for Christmas, the grown-ups were hard at work figuring out one of the boys new presents and I couldn't resist taking a picture.

When all our friends and family had gone and the house was quiet thanks to sleeping children, I was putsing around the kitchen (making cupcakes for Liam's church party the next day) and I saw the cake...or what was left of it.

what was left...

I think this says a lot about the day!! We are so thankful for having such loving family and friends who would take the time to drive all the way out to see us and were thrilled with being able to spend such a wonderful day together.

Happy Birthday Little Ones!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Orders: March and April

When I started making Jam to sell, I saw it as a seasonal thing. Once winter arrived, I figured my little business would go into hibernation until the next season. Boy was I wrong!!

I was approached by the leader of the Children's Ministry at our church to make Mini Jars to be given as a favor for their Volunteers at the end of the year party. I made 100 jars for them in 5 different flavors!! At the same time, I received and email through Etsy from a lovely lady asking if I gave bulk discounts. She was interested in using jam as her wedding reception favor. What a wonderful idea!!
I had never thought of advertising my products for anything other than every day use, but Bethany had an awesome thought and I ran with it!

She and her husband were married in March and since making Raspberry jam and creating her custom label, I have had the honor of making Strawberry jam for an April Wedding and Apple Butter for a Baby Shower!!
It has been such a humbling experience sending my handmade products all over the country (and even overseas) to help celebrate a life event!! Thank you.

Here are a few photos:

Raspberry "mini" jars

My first wedding client's label. She asked for a Celtic style font and a bible verse. I was amazed that I was able to fit it all onto a 1 inch label!!

Apple Butter "mini" jars wrapped by the client to look like Apples!

 A Book Themed Baby Shower!! What a wonderful idea and Apple Butter worked beautifully to bring it all together.

 (4 ounce jars)

 An April wedding with Strawberry jam. This lovely couple had their own logo created to celebrate their union and asked me to use it in the creation of the label for their jam.

With the new picking season so close, I can only imagine the many ways you will come up with ideas of how to make your next event special with Fruitful Delights!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Re-purposed Jeans (and fleece) saved our Gardens!

My husband is one of the lucky few who gets to wear jeans to work. Being pretty savvy with the sewing machine, I can repair some wear and tear that everyday clothes take. But this particular pair of jeans tore in a way that really was not going to be salvageable. I didn't want to throw them away, so I stashed them on a shelf in the basement until I could think of a good use for them along with almost a yard of black fleece I had left over from a project for Connor.

We went about enjoying the glorious weather of March, amazed at how the daffodils, tulips, creeping phlox and hyacinth were blooming so beautifully, SO early! I don't watch the news, by choice so if there's weather coming, I get notified on my Smartphone. What I was not expecting when the chime went off was a freeze warning! Not a frost advisory, a FREEZE warning. I get notified almost a full day in advance, so my wheels got turning. Of course the potted perennials would come inside, but what about the others! I couldn't exactly dig them all up and bring them in the house.

Then it hit me, the JEANS.

Here's what I did:

the top photo is what this looks like covered

Looked for the most "at risk" of the plants. Many of our plants are protected by other plants, rock beds surrounding them and so forth so they don't get hit by the cold.
This tulip needed a little protection.

I cut the legs into four pieces, tall enough to cover the tulips and others, leaving enough space to fold the top over and clip it with clothespins.

Pretty Easy!

I also recycled some old, cracked transfer pots to cover Steve's exotic hostas...

Here's the results!

waiting to be covered against the winter-like winds

I admit the flower bed looked kinda funny with Pant legs sticking up throughout it, but just look at how happy those flowers looked this morning!!

all wrapped up in denim goodness
For this larger section of plants, I used half of the seat of pants which fit over beautifully. You'll also notice the flipped over coffee container...two delicate hosta eyes were hiding!

The fleece was used in a similar fashion on a larger container with a variegated Hosta that was too heavy to lug into the house...

Good Morning Sunshine 
and Warmer Temperatures

I think they're smiling!

Here's how Steve's favorite Hosta (Sum and Substance) fared the chilly night covered with a simple pot we saved.

What I really like about this is it was quick and easy to do! I can just fold them up and stash them with the garden supplies so the next time the weather may not be plant friendly, we can go ahead and cover them up. Some folks use plastic bags, but I like this better because there's some stiffness to the material and that helped keep the protective covering from touching the plant, decreasing the chance that they'd get frost bitten. There were a few plants that suffered damage from an unexpectedly chilly night which we are hoping will recover and really inspired us to go to such lengths...if you'd seen all the things covered, you'd have laughed!! (our backyard is our escape and we wanted to protect it)

What have you recycled or reused lately?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Here I am and here is April!

Hi!! No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. Nor did I forget all of you! The last few weeks of March had me buzzing like a bee!

The boys party on the 24th was a huge hit! I'll get photos posted of the cake and they're reaction soon. A few days after the party, the preparation for the event hit me like a ton of bricks. Everyone knows how much work goes into planning a party and cleaning for it, it can be truly draining.
I suffer from Degenerative Disc Disease in my lumbar spine which; especially during times of physical stress, can be trouble. I manage with medication, exercise and extreme care whenever I lift anything (including the kids). Sometimes though, I can not stop the discs from becoming herniated. This past Wednesday was the day they decided they'd had enough! I leaned forward to pet the dog and that was the end of me...

So on Friday, with the physical assistance of my loving husband, I went to see my wonderful Spine Specialist!! He's put me on a medicine which will hopefully get me back on track.

I did get the 75 jars of Strawberry jam made for my most recent wedding client AND just this weekend shipped a few samples out to a couple in Pasadena, CA who are interested in using my jams as their wedding favors. (I'm super excited about this!) Sadly though, I do need to slow things down for a bit which is why I didn't get any blogging done over the last week or so.

I do have a few articles lined up for this week and have my fingers crossed that as every day passes, my back improves and I do not need another spinal injection!

Here's what's on the plan for this week:

Morty the Moose is on the Loose! - how we celebrated the boys 2nd and 4th birthdays with family

How Re-purposed Jeans (and fleece) saved our Gardens! - with the sudden temp change into the 70s and 80s, our bulbs and other spring plants burst into action. Unfortunately though, the March temps returned and we had a number of nights in the low 30s, upper 20s. Here's how we saved our gardens from the cold!

Sneak Peek: Raspberry-Lemonade Jam - a little look into a new flavor I'm launching this season

I apologize for not having anything fresh and new for you lately, but I assure you I have lots in the line up with the new Jam season getting ready to begin!!

Happy Monday Everyone