I am pretty much always a “from scratch” person when it comes to baking, but every now and then I make an exception. Shortcake is one of them. While I have made shortcake biscuits from scratch, I really love the taste of making them from Bisquick. If it’s easier and tastes great, why not?
My daughter and I took a trip to a strawberry farm in Maine and picked these beauties. They made an absolutely delicious strawberry shortcake, that my daughter made for me this time!
Ingredients for the shortcake:
2 1/3 cups original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, melted
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until it becomes dough.
Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. This recipe makes six biscuits.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes until brown.
To macerate the strawberries, combine 4 cups of sliced strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar and set aside. This will allow the juices of the strawberries to make a delicious syrup.
Top your shortcake with the strawberries and a little (or a lot) of whipped cream and that’s it!
I used canned whipped cream for these, but if you would like to make your own here is the recipe I use.
Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with an electric mixer until it is just about stiff. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla and 2 tbsp. of confectioners sugar and continue beating until peaks form. Don’t over-beat or it will start to get lumpy.
If you have never been to the Swan Boats in Boston you must add it to you bucket list. The Swan Boats are in the Boston Public Gardens which is a tranquil little oasis nestled in the middle of the city. I have been taking rides on these old wooden boats since I was a child, as my mother had since she was a child. I don’t believe there are any other swan boats other than those located in Boston, but I could be wrong.
The Public Gardens were built next to Boston Common in 1837. While Boston Common is a lovely park, in my opinion it is nothing compared to the Public Gardens. While the two parks are next to each other, I never walk through the Common unless cutting through, however I do walk around the Public Garden multiple times a year. In 1877 a catamaran type boat with a foot paddle was created and a swan was built to hide the operator and the Swan Boats were born. They have been run by the same family since the creation and were designated a Boston landmark in 2011.
Recently I was having lunch with a friend from out of town that mentioned she hoped to some day really see Boston. I asked if she had an hour or two for me to kidnap her and bring her to one of my favorite spots in the city. We zipped into Beacon Hill and with a couple of circles around the Public Gardens, found a parking spot. As if Beacon Hill isn’t beautiful enough as is, when you step through the old black wrought iron gates into the Public Garden you are taken to a different world. While you can still hear the hustle and bustle of the city, you forget it’s there.
You walk along the paved paths lined by many different varieties of trees, which I have always taken for granted not realizing what a treat this is for someone that doesn’t live in the area. Depending on the time of year you are treated by amazing beds of tulips, roses, and many other beautiful flowers.
I would say the flowers have gotten a little better over the years. Well, at least cameras have as well as my outfits!
Then in the middle of this wonderful park is the little man made pond graced with the old wooden boats peddled by a swan. Well, a person sitting in a swan.
After you pay the whopping $4.50 for a ticket, you will embark on your tranquil ride around the pond. At one end of the pond you will be paddled around a little island and if you have ever read Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, you will know that this is the island Mr. and Mrs. Mallard decided to make their nest.
No matter which part of the pond you are on there is never a shortage of ducks ready to greet you.
You are no longer permitted to feed the ducks, but when I was a child there were vendors selling little brown bags of peanuts for feeding the ducks. You can see a little bag in my hand in the next photo. You can also see the boats appear to be the same boats used today except they were covered with canopies.
The next time you are in Boston, make a point to take a stroll through this beautiful spot and take a ride on the swans 🦢
I have been meaning to make a lemon cake for quite some time. Instead of trying to find a new recipe, I decided to take the yellow cake recipe I always use and tweak it a little. It came out moist and has a very subtle lemon flavor. Yum! I also love the combination of lemon and raspberry so I decided to add some raspberry preserves to the center.
What I love most about this recipe is that it is a one bowl recipe. You just can’t beat delicious and one bowl!
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp. lemon rind
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round cake pans. After greasing and flouring the pans I also put parchment paper on the bottoms of the pans, and greased and floured a second time.
Squeeze and grate the lemons for the juice and rind. One tablespoon of rind give it a subtle lemon taste, if you prefer very lemony you may want to use 2 tablespoons.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat on low speed for 30 seconds scraping the bowl constantly. Increase the speed to high and continue mixing for 3 minutes while scraping the bowl occasionally.
Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The pans I used took longer than regular 9″ round pans.
Cool in pans, then transfer to a wire rack.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. milk
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
Beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth.
Beat in lemon juice. Add confectioner’s sugar.
When adding the milk I started by beating in 2 tbsp. to see the consistency. I added 1 more tbsp. and it was perfect.
Continue beating on high for 2-3 minutes
Now it’s time to frost the cake!
As I mentioned previously, I put a layer of raspberry preserves between the two layers but you can also just put frosting.
Of course if I was going to make scones while I am in Maine they were going to be blueberry scones. And what better flavor to combine with blueberry than lemon. Yum. You may have already tried using my scones recipe, and this recipe is the same except for the addition of blueberries and the icing. Easy and delicious!
As I mentioned in my other scone Blog, this is a great base recipe to add other ingredients to. In the past I have added chocolate chips, yesterday I added blueberries and who knows what I might add next!
** Please note some of the photos are from my original scone Blog.
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or half and half
1 cup blueberries
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Using a cheese grater, grate the butter and cut it into the dry mixture with a pasty cutter or a fork and knife. Make sure the butter is cold.
Put the beaten egg in a measuring cup and then fill to the 1 cup mark with the milk or half and half. I used a combination of half and half and milk. Mix the two together and add a little at a time to the dry mixture. You shouldn’t have to use all of it.
The dough shouldn’t be too moist, just add enough so that the dough will stick together once kneaded. It won’t look like it will in the bowl, but you can tell by using your hands and squeezing some together.
Now add the blueberries.
When I got to this step I thought, how the heck do I get the blueberries in the dough without making an absolute mess? I went and changed my shirt, make sure you either do that or are wearing an apron, and carefully started to stir them in as best I could.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until it comes together. It is not easy to do without the blueberries exploding, but just take your time and it will work.
Roll the dough into a circle about a 1/2″ thick.
Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut the dough into 8 pieces, this will make very large scones. If you would like them smaller divide the dough in half, then roll it out and cut into 8 pieces which is what I did.
Place the scones on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until brown. The smaller scones only took about 13 minutes.
Let the scones cool completely and then drizzle the lemon icing on them. For the icing, I used the icing I use on my Italian Lemon Cookies except I cut the recipe in half.
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/8 cup water
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Combine all of the ingredients until smooth. If the icing is too thin you can add more sugar until you get it to the right consistency.
This frosting recipe as well as so many of my tried and true favorites, came out of my Betty Crocker cookbook. As did the yellow cake recipe that I frosted with this yummy frosting. The frosting is delicious and tastes like fudge!
2/3 cup butter, softened
6 cups confectioners sugar
4 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
6 tbsp. milk
Melt the baking chocolate and set aside to cool.
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the confectioners sugar and vanilla, it will be very lumpy.
Add the melted chocolate and beat together, it will still be lumpy.
Add the milk and beat on low/medium speed scraping the sides frequently. Continue to beat on medium/high speed for a few minutes until smooth while scraping the sides occassionally.
If it seems too thick add more milk a tablespoon at a time. Now frost your cake!
My grandfather had the most amazing flower garden, and every week when I would visit as a child he would take me out to the garden and pick me a bouquet of flowers to take home. Those weekly hand picked bouquets sparked an immeasurable love of flowers for me that sticks with me to this day. You can imagine the excitement I felt a number of years ago upon seeing an Ad for a pick your own tulip farm in Rhode Island. I instantly went on-line to find out more information and to my disappointment they were sold out for the year. For the next few years I kept remembering about this farm too late and ran into the same problem. Well, not this year!
Last week as I was slowly driving through a beautiful neighborhood admiring all of the tulips that had bloomed, it occurred to me that the tulip farm in Rhode Island must be open. When I got home and checked their website I had hit it perfectly this year and there were still tickets available. I couldn’t text my daughter quickly enough to see what her schedule was like for this week so I could purchase us tickets.
Yesterday morning I grabbed some baskets for picking, a bucket and water for transporting, my camera, and off I went to pick up my daughter at school for the day I have been waiting for for years. We drove about an hour and forty five minutes from Boston to Exeter, RI and it was well worth the drive. You are instantly greeted with friendly employees in the parking area, followed by just as friendly employees at the check in tent. A ticket gets you 10 tulips and if that is all you will be picking, you are allowed an additional tulip. You can also purchase extra tulips if you choose. Believe me, it was a struggle to only taken home 11 tulips each.
Once entering the farm you are just in awe of the absolute beauty of the neat little rows, upon rows of tulips and all of the people carrying their baskets and buckets brimming with flowers. For a flower lover like myself it was as if I had entered a form of Heaven on Earth. And to share it with my flower loving daughter made for a perfect morning.
Many of the tulips are organized by color, while some are an assorted mix.
While all of the tulips were beautiful, we didn’t realize at first that tucked in amongst the classic tulips there are varieties that I have never seen. There is such a wonderful assortment of different shapes and color combinations.
My daughter noticed these unique beauties right away, and the bouquet she picked for herself were just breath taking.
We strolled through the rows of tulips for about an hour taking it all in and finding our favorites to bring home. This farm is also the perfect backdrop for photos and just about everyone there was not missing this opportunity, including ourselves.
As you can see they look even more amazing the next day!
If you are near Rhode Island I encourage you to take a trip to this farm, I am already looking forward to visiting again in the years to come!
I may be dating myself by saying this, but when I was young we just had a bowl of oatmeal. Now the new trend is oatmeal bowls. So what is the difference between a bowl of oatmeal and an oatmeal bowl? Oatmeal bowls are focused more on packing lots of healthy ingredients and protein in with the oatmeal, it takes the bowl of yesteryear and makes it a superfood. It’s kind of funny actually, but I have to admit I am in on the trend and love the creativity with flavors and they just look pretty. I was unaware of this new trend until my daughter’s friend started an oatmeal Tiktok and I saw how delicious all of these combinations looked. If you are on Tiktok you should take a peak at case1y, I think I am going to try one of her mocha bowls soon.
My mother would make oatmeal with a little milk, a pat of butter, and maybe some raisins. Or she would make Maypo, does anyone remember that and does it still exist? I’ll have to check that out after I’m done with this. While I do still make those comforting bowls of oatmeal, minus the butter, I have been having a little fun creating some healthy bowls packed with protein as well.
So how do you make an oatmeal bowl? First you make oatmeal just as you normally would, the steel cut version of oats is the best as far as healthy goes. You combine 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes and it is done. Then just add whatever fruits you like. You can add granola, chia, honey, nuts, there are so many different options.
One of my favorite bowls is this one. I added hemp, flax, unsweetened coconut, strawberries, blueberries, and these delicious dark chocolate covered pumpkin seeds.
Personally if I am going to have oatmeal for breakfast I would rather a plain old bowl of oatmeal. These bowls can be a little much for breakfast in my opinion, but perfect for lunch or dinner.
One night I had one for dinner and amped it up a little bit with apple, peanut butter, flax, hemp, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds. It was actually very filling and satisfying for dinner.
I made this one for my son recently and he asked if he was allowed to stir it together or had to eat it as it was lol. His had almond butter, sweetened coconut, blueberries, flax, and cinnamon. I think he prefers a regular old bowl of oatmeal, however.
You can even use oatmeal bowls to let your inner child come out 😛
I love oatmeal, and as my mother used to say it “sticks to your ribs”. Enjoy!
I had seen a picture of this cute cake and decided to give it my own spin. I used my favorite white cake recipe from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and added some coconut. You don’t have to add the coconut, but it is so good in this cake! The cake is moist and has a nice thick dense consistency with the coconut.
For the frosting I am more of a fan of cream cheese frosting, but you could use a buttercream frosting if you prefer. I have a wonderful vanilla buttercream recipe in another blog.
As you can see I am not a professional cake decorator, but my cakes are delicious and to me that is the most important part. This cake is really not hard to make and whoever you serve it to will be very impressed.
2 1/4 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
3 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
5 large egg whites
1 cup sweetened coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Blue food coloring
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
Grease and flour three 6″ cake pans. I greased the pans, then added a layer of parchment paper on the bottoms, then greased again and floured. The pans I used are stainless and not non-stick so I wanted to be sure they came out perfectly.
Combine all ingredients except egg whites in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds scraping the bowl constantly. Continue mixing on high speed for 2 minutes scraping occassionally. With the stand mixture I let it go about a minute, turned it off and scraped, then continued for another minute.
Add the egg whites and continue beating on high for two more minutes. Fold in 1 cup of coconut.
Divide evenly between the three pans and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted comes out clean. My pans took about 30 minutes.
While the cakes were baking I toasted the coconut for the nest.
In a small frying pan add the coconut and cook over low/medium heat stirring frequently until toasted. Set aside.
When the cakes are done allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans before transferring to wire racks. Cool completely.
Once cakes are cool you can make the cream cheese frosting.
Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Beat in confectioners sugar until smooth. Give the frosting a taste and see if you think it should be sweeter and if so, add a little more sugar to taste.
Add a few drops of blue food coloring and combine well.
On a cake stand start building the cake and adding frosting in between the layers.
I normally have the rounded side of the cake be the top layer, but for this cake I had the flat side on the top. It was easier to make the nest this way.
Once the cake is completely frosted it is time to splatter the chocolate!
I used a few melting wafers for my splatter, but you can use whatever you normally use. Once the chocolate was melted I used a pastry brush and flicked the chocolate onto the cake. I also managed to flick the chocolate all over my walls so you may want to be a little more careful than I was.
Now just build the nest!
For the eggs I used Robin’s Egg candies and I used a toothpick and put a few dots on the eggs.
Make sure to keep the cake refrigerated because of the cream cheese frosting. If you use buttercream you don’t need to.