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.
I had never heard of this type of “crack”, nor was I familiar with Matzah crackers until recently. A parent at my daughter’s school asked if I could make this for her son for Passover and I offered to give it a try. Now I know why it is called crack, it is so addictive! This is now one of my favorite recipes, so good!
5 unsalted Matzah crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chopped pecans, optional
Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Cover the pan with the crackers. They don’t break as easily as I expected and I had to use a knife to cut them.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted while whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue whisking and boiling for 3 minutes.
Pour the toffee mixture over the crackers, then spread with a small spatula to cover the crackers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 -10 minutes or until all of the toffee is bubbling.
Top with the chocolate chips and let sit for a minute or so. Once they have softened spread over the toffee.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and chopped nuts if you desire, and refrigerate until completely set. Mine took about an hour.
Once set, cut into squares or break into pieces. Yum!!!!
So many of my recipes come from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook as I have mentioned in the past, and this is one of them. Sometimes I bake use the Silver White Cake recipe, but today I made the Starlight Yellow Cake recipe. Super easy recipe and it only uses one bowl! That in itself makes the recipe worth using, not to mention the added bonus that it is yummy!
As you can see the cupcakes I made were transformed into bird’s nests for Easter. I think they came out pretty cute if I do say so myself. Here is how to make nest cupcakes:
First you need to bake the cupcakes.
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease a cupcake pan or use liners. I decided to use paper cupcake liners for my cupcakes today.
In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients.
With either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat for 30 seconds on low speed. If using a hand mixer make sure to scrape the sides constantly.
Turn mixer to high speed and continue beating for 3 minutes scraping occasionally. Since I was using a stand mixer I turned it off every minute or so to scrape the bowl.
That’s it! Could it be any more simple?
Fill each opening a little more than half way with the batter.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Once they are cool I frosted them with vanilla buttercream frosting. Here is the recipe I use, also quite easy.
Once you have your frosting made just spead some over each cupcake and dip into green sprinkles.
To make the nest I used melting chocolate and squeezed it in the shape of a nest on top. You can also use chocolate frosting. Here’s a tip for using chocolate, only do part of the nest at a time and let the chocolate set and then go over it with more chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate will just blend together.
Once the chocolate was set, only takes a minute, I used a tiny bit on the egg so that it would stick on top. I used large Robin Eggs candies so I only used one egg, if you are to buy the mini eggs you can fit more than one.
Years ago I found a very easy recipe for blueberry muffins that has become my “go to” muffin recipe. I tweaked it once and made chocolate chip muffins, and today I tweaked it again and made coffee cake muffins. They came out absolutely delicious! They came out delicious! Oh, and the smell in my home was amazing.
This recipe only makes 8 muffins, so I doubled it and it worked perfectly. The recipe below is for the 8, it is not doubled.
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup, or more, of milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cubed
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
In a measuring cup add the oil. On top of the oil add the egg, then fill the rest of the way with milk until you reach one cup. Add the vanilla into the measuring cup as well. Mine is higher because I was doubling.
Mix into the dry mixture until well combined.
Either grease a muffin tin or use paper liners. Fill the tins about 3/4 of the way full. I like to use a large cookie scoop so I don’t make as much of a mess.
Now it’s time to make that yummy streusel topping!
Combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until butter is well combined and mixture becomes coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle mixture very liberally over the top of the batter. You want a nice thick streusel topping on coffee cake muffins.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.