Delicacies, Dishes and Desserts: Malted Buttercream Frosting

Good morning, afternoon or evening!  I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.  For those of you beginning your spring break week enjoy your well deserved holiday.  For those of us beginning the work week let’s pretend we’re one of the ones beginning our spring break week.  Dave the Builder’s brother sent me a video he filmed while he and his family were having lunch at one of their favorite restaurants last week.  Floridians with their ocean liner afternoons way of life need not rub it in.


My Easter weekend went from cooking, baking and casual entertaining to full blown extravaganza somewhere around late Saturday afternoon.  That’s what happens when two family members tell two family members and they tell two family members. Get where I’m going with this?


Let me tell you something about going into full-on double and triple the recipes, come up with another dessert mode – it’s not exactly my kind of bunny hop. Grabbing the April issue of Better Homes and Gardens and turning to the dog-eared page I somehow knew I would need this holiday, inspiration stared me in the face.


This is the result of that inspiration.


Over the summer months I’ll periodically be featuring a summer recipe series, Delicacies, Dishes and Desserts.  This Malted Buttercream frosting recipe kicks it off because it’s a summer is coming share worthy favorite. With summer comes get togethers of the family reunion, 4th of July and dinner on the grounds kind.  Delicacies, dishes and desserts come to the buffet table not only to celebrate, but to comfort and to impress.  This particular frosting, complete with a generous measure of malt shop goodness, has the flavor of summer whipped all over it.  The coconut nest and malted milk eggs topped off the Easter theme, but I topped a second cake I prepared for our neighbors with fresh strawberry and lemon slices.  How’s that for a preview of summer delights to come?  I didn’t get a picture of that cake, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I have a reason to make another one.

Malted Buttercream Frosting


2 cup (4 sticks) butter, softened

6 cups powdered sugar

1 cup vanilla-flavored malted milk powder

4 tablespoons evaporated milk or milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

¼  teaspoon salt


In a very large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in 6 cups of the powdered sugar and the malted milk powder.  Increase speed to medium and add 4 tablespoons of the milk, the vanilla, and salt.  Beat for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Add enough of the remaining powdered sugar or milk to make a frosting that is spreadable.

Frost top and sides with frosting. Decorate as desired with cotton candy and Easter egg candies just before serving.

recipe via Better Homes and Gardens

Some may be thinking and asking, “six cups powdered sugar?”  The malted milk powder keeps this frosting from being overly sweet.  Into everyone’s life a little sugar will fall, and realizing that fact is why I don’t shy from posting and developing dessert recipes.  From the measurement of an ingredient to the measurement of interior decorating and design, balance is key.


gold darleen

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Happy Easter

Happy Easter and Beautiful Sunday to each of you.  Dave the Builder and I wish you and your loved ones a beautiful, joyful, blessed and renewing Easter.

“The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise.”

 ~ Carl Knudsen

image via: Seasons of Love

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Easter Dinner Dishes Recipes

As you gather family, friends, neighbors and friends that are like family at the Easter dinner table, what Easter dinner dishes recipes will find their place on the menu?  Will you be serving tried and true traditional favorites, or do you delight in bringing a new dish to the holiday table?


I stay pretty close to the center of traditional, but I do love to give the crowd at least one new traditional dish to try.  Keeps things fresh and hopping! My Easter Sunday dinner menu show and tell is on parade.  I’ve included links to the recipes below each image, and I am debuting a new recipe, Strawberry Orange Glaze.

homemade- carrot- cake Grandma Heirs’ Carrot Cake


Strawberry Orange  Glaze


1½  cup Strawberry Orange Jam (recipe here)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown mustard

¼  cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon allspice or ground cloves


Place strawberry orange jam, balsamic vinegar, brown mustard, brown sugar and allspice in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until jam has melted down,  stirring once to incorporate flavors.  Once jam has melted down, return heat to high and bring mixture to the boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes.  Bake ham at 325 degrees for 1½ hours.  Spread glaze evenly over entire top of ham and continuing baking ham for an additional 30 minutes. Total cooking time:  2 hours

spring-saladSpring Mix & Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Creole Pecans, and Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette

company-peas-with-shrimpCompany Peas with Shrimp

eggsDeviled Eggs

rollsDucky Dinner Rolls


gold darleen

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Sharing Spring In Full Bloom Splendor

Gorgeous is as gorgeous grows!  The wonder of nature is all around us sharing spring in full bloom splendor.


I love the Alice Walker quote from The Color Purple, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

Dallas-Arboretum-Botanical-GardenDallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

spring-bouquetBetter Homes and Gardens

Classic blue and white by nature’s design carries through to our beautiful indoors.

blue-and-white-porcelainTraditional Home

8 Biggest Mistakes You Make With Fresh Cut Flowers from Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping

 Pink dogwood trees in full bloom splendor are a fixture here in the South, the calling card of spring.


Lovely lantana.  Just add spring.

LantanaBetter Homes and Gardens

Happy Easter week!

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Set The Tone and The Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 2

I dig a good word within a word moment.  Take the word tablescape for example. The word escape is within the word tablescape, and that discovery became the subject of the blog post, Seasonal Update: Turn Your Tablescape Into A Table Escape.  When we tablescape we escape through creativity, and right in the middle of the word creativity is the word that is the reason for tablescaping in the first place- eat.  Now that I think about it, when we tablescape we decorate, and the last three letters in decorate spell ate.  I’m on a roll.  Coming back around to the subject of wrapping up the Set The Tone and The Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 2 series, here are several ideas to get you started:



You can’t go wrong with these cut-glass coolers from Dollar Tree.   The look is vintage, the material is quality, and the price is right.

Speckled egg plates perfectly pair with Easter, spring and summer tablescapes.

One dozen decorative speckled eggs can be used in many ways past an Easter tablescape.

Carved. Distressed. Creamy white. Charger.  Enough said.

White herringbone dish towels with a singular green stripe put a spin of pastel on the dinner napkin situation. Not too thick, not too thin, completely washable and reusable.

Spa green solid or polka dot grosgrain knots and bows adds the finishing touch.


Speckled egg plates ||  Speckled eggs ||  Carved white charger  || White cotton Herringbone dish towels ||  Grosgrain ribbon




French rabbit printables from The Graphics Fairy used as place cards will deliver the ooh la la factor in vintage elegance.

A natural angel vine bird nest placed in the center of each dinner plate will lend a lovely look for spring renewal.

Willow baskets lined with decorative plastic grass and finished with a fresh herb plant make an aromatic addition to an Easter tablescape and an even nicer parting gift for guests.

Sideboards need decorative love too.  A rolling rabbits statue as a sideboard centerpiece draws the eye and carries out the theme.


Vintage rabbit printable ||  Grass square ||  Willow baskets ||  Garden rabbits rolling cabbage statue

I prefer fresh flowers, but  when Mother Nature or the local grocery store floral department and I are not in fresh flower sync with each other I’ve been known to go this route.   I keep a few artificial flowers on hand for decorating wrapped gifts and cupcakes.  A pastry piping Picasso I am not, and I’m not too proud to accept a helping hand in the decorating and adorning department, even if it’s only artificial flowers from the dollar store. Simply give the flowers a gentle wash and dry, cut down the stems to desired length and place them atop your favorite cake.  You will be surprised at how nice a spring flower cake actually looks.

spring cake


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Setting The Tone and The Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 1

An Easter tablescape can rival fashion’s finery for the spotlight in the Easter parade.  Dressed to impress not only applies to the fashions, but to Easter baskets and Easter tablescapes.  To look upon a beautiful Easter tablescape as a work of art is no over exaggeration of the term.   I’m featuring a two part series this week appropriately titled Easter Tablescape Ideas.

Flower Tipsvia

A centerpiece full of fresh flowers from nature’s floral department aka our own yards broadens the field for artistic interpretation.  Begin with a vase, jar, tureen, pitcher, decorative coffee can- any type container that floats your boat or flower frog will do.  Fern and magnolia leaves, camellias, hydrangea, knock out roses, palm fronds, daffodils, dogwood branches, bridal wreath spirea, azaleas and the flower of the season, lilies- all eggscellent (you knew it was coming!) centerpiece options.  Inspiration lives in the great and colorful outdoors.

craft-tipNever underestimate the decorative power of paint.  Hobby Lobby makes a great point!

We see oodles of pictures showing lovely kitchen and dining rooms with dining tables polished and pristine.  You won’t see one of our kitchen tabletop.  It’s a working tabletop- one big catchall for house plans, design boards, material lists and shelter magazines.  Now you know my little secret and why I am in total support of the statement, “the kitchen is the heart of the home.”  Tablescapes usually take place on the dining room tabletop, but not this year. Why?  The dining room chandelier is still sitting in the box waiting to be rewired…for the second time.


Dave the Builder stripped the new wiring as he was threading it through  the center tube. He didn’t discover this very important development until he was in the process of hanging the chandelier and the wires sparked in Katy Perry style.  You’re probably thinking it so I’ll address it. What’s the point of a tablescape post?  Because I absolutely love sourcing and creating tablescape ideas. Here’s a preview of what I’m working on for Set the Tone and the Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 2.




Stay tuned!

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A Growing Trend: Living Grass Easter Basket

Grass is a quite the topic of conversation lately.  Not that type of grass, Easter grass.  Which do you prefer, plastic or living grass Easter basket?


A long time spring and Easter tradition involves a run to our local feed and seed store.  We ooh and awe at the baby chicks, check out the spring bedding and vegetable garden plants, and scoop up a half-pound of wheat grass seeds. The latter purchase results in a bumper crop of live Easter grass.  Egghibit A:  my Easter 2013 live and in color living grass Easter basket.

living grass Easter basket

Okay, living grass Easter Temp-tations casserole dish basket, but you get the general idea.


I lined the bottom of the container with black river rocks from Dollar Tree. Next, I filled the casserole dish about ¾ full (about an inch below the edge of the dish) with a mixture of potting soil and good old dirt.  Dampen the soil, cover the top with seeds and within two days marvel at sight of growing grass.

landscapingOn another type of grass front yard front ~

Places In The Home is Easter Sunday central again this year.  Company’s coming, therefore, a DIY landscaping session made the all things house that make a home make ready list.  The combination of looking at ugly winter wrecked beds together with well-timed spring Black Friday sales presents the perfect incentive to get in gear with a front yard freshen up.  Ferns for the front porch, ground cover clipped and managed, and sixteen bags of black mulch later we’re making some progress.  The jury is still out on the status of the Sago palm. I hope it makes a full recovery.


Exteriors lead to interiors, and next up in my Easter entertaining plans is the tablescape.  I’ll share my ideas and suggestions with you all midweek.  Enjoy your Monday.

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Filed under decorating, DIY, entertaining, Holidays, home decor, outdoor living, spring

Strawberry Orange Jam

All things house that make a home can be a less than glamorous gig at times- like when it’s cleaning out the refrigerator the day before the garbage runs.  On the upside, I did find the pint of strawberries I bought over the weekend and have overlooked thirty times between then and now.

strawberry orange jam

A rediscovered pint of strawberries connected the culinary dots straight to let’s make something very berry recipe development.  An easy Strawberry Orange Jam recipe it is.  In case you didn’t know, strawberries are my jam.

strawberry orange jam

Strawberry Orange Jam


1 16 ounce container fresh strawberries

1  small carton frozen strawberries

2 oranges

juice of one large Meyer lemon

2 cups water

1 Tablespoon orange zest

½ teaspoon allspice

3 Tablespoons orange juice

2 ½ cups sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

1  3 ounce box orange jello


First, zest both oranges and then cut into wedges.  Remove peel and white membrane from fruit and discard. Place peeled oranges wedges and allspice in saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook oranges for approximately 10-15 minutes or until softened. Drain off water.  Meanwhile, slice fresh strawberries in quarters and place strawberries in food processor, pulsing until crushed. Add crushed strawberries to the cooked oranges in saucepan.


Add sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, honey, orange zest and frozen strawberries and mix well.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and stir in jello. Boil uncovered for 25-30 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Skim off excess foam before carefully spooning mixture into jars.  Place lids on sealing tight for optimum storage freshness.  The mixture will continue to thicken once refrigerated. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  Enjoy!

Sweetly Summervia

Southern Living, the holy grail of southern recipes goodness, has done it again. This Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake screams spring, summer and strawberry goodness.  My maternal grandmother could rock a strawberry cake like no tomorrow.  I would love to be able to turn back the hands of time and be standing next to her in her kitchen right now whipping up this cake.


It’s one of those lazy afternoons spring is so well known to host.  I went with it and kicked off my shoes, turned up the music and proceeded to jam.  I popped over to our next door neighbor’s with a spring share of strawberry orange jam. She’s my Meyer lemon connection and official taste tester, and she gave my latest creation an enthusiastic thumbs up.  I returned home to this sight.

kitty cat

That about sums up this spring afternoon.  Hope you enjoy yours!

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From Sample to Swatch to Style: Fabric

I received an email last week inquiring about two fabric samples featured in a recent blog post.  In the endless world of inbox inspiration, these are the kind of emails that rate open immediately status.   It’s great to connect my readers with lovely things, so keep them coming.  Fabric, a self-admitted passion, remained on my mind for the rest of the day.  I thought it may be time for an all fabric post.

Palm Beach, Poolside Dining Areavia

Outdoor living spaces is a hot and trending topic, so I’ll go with it and offer up my current favorite outdoor fabrics selections.  The durability of outdoor fabrics is reason enough to consider bringing the outdoor chic indoors.


Why fabric?  Texture rules, patterns reflect classic designs and seasonal themes, the resistant twins- stain (pet owners, are you listening?) and fade upholstery options for chairs, sofas, banquette cushions and accent pillows.  A collection of examples to further prove the point follow.  Click on the images to enlarge.


Sea Shells Coral ||  Saint Tropez Braided Coral by Schumacher || Starfish Coral ||  Eastern Coast Stripe Vintage Cabana Green by Ralph Lauren ||  Brush Flamingo by Duralee ||  Braided Raspberry/Green by Duralee  ||  Coral Yellow by Premier Prints  ||  Cadence Greenage by Premier Prints || Carmel Coastline Laguna by Schumacher  || Gardenia Aqua by Fabricut  ||  Bermuda by Duralee

Dinner and drinks on the veranda anyone?


Dance Leaf Forest by Seacloth  ||  Premier Prints Canopy Baby Pink  ||  Premier Prints Polka Dot Candy Pink/White  ||  Orchid Pink Trim Tape ||  Sea Shell Branch Pink Sand by P. Kaufmann  ||  Strie Ikat Malachite by Robert Allen  ||  Varenne  Tassel Oyster by Lee Jofa  ||  Parterre Sun N Shade Grass by Waverly  ||  Swaying Palms Aloe by Tommy Bahama

Color, texture and pattern are essential to a home decor portfolio.  One of the quickest ways to take indoor or outdoor drapes, accent pillows, furniture, ottomans, cushions, vintage revivals, ceilings and walls from bland to brilliant is with fabric.  Fabric has got fabulous covered!

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Filed under fabric, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, pattern, Texture

Outdoor Living It Up

Our neighborhood has suddenly become lawn care central.  It’s like a U2 concert block party with the rattle and hum of mowers and blowers.  There’s a cloud of pollen as far as the itchy and watery eye can see.  Seasonal allergies- oh, how I love to hate thee, but the colors on parade evens things out.


Dave the Builder reminds me the work to rid the porch and patio of pollen, refresh flower pots and beds, and paint and clean the outdoor furniture is so worth it.  When the man is right he is right.  One must prep in order to properly patio- it gets the outdoor living party ball in motion.  Do you refresh or replace outdoor furniture, pillows and cushion?

woven outdoor chair

When it comes to the decision to refresh or replace I consider the initial investment of money and retail resource availability. Big $$ = refresh.  Small $$ and ample availability = replace.  Simple math.  Although, the black stripe and white woven armchair from Terrain and these outdoor pillows big on color, texture and pattern make me want to load up the shopping cart.


 Pier 1 Imports | Frontgate | Overstock | Amazon |  Overstock | Wayfair  |AmazonWalmart |  Wayfair


When is a decorative planter not a decorative planter?  When it is a beverage tub.  Love this idea!

summer salad

Vegetable gardens unite and produce- it’s your turn to be in the spring spotlight. From full-on rows of growing goodness to a patio container garden, fresh is best. There is something so delicious about the combination of a warm spring evening and a cold summer salad.  I’ll take mine with tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and fresh herbs.  My recipe for Summer Succotash Salad is here.

design questions

The topic of twitter chat on a recent Interior Designer Chat focused on top trends  in outdoor living and entertaining for 2014.

Soft tones & tunes- lighting & music go far in setting scene RT @ElizabethFell1 Q3 Add party lighting for evenings outside #IntDesignerChat

— Darleen Laningham (@PlacesInTheHome) March 25, 2014

The right lighting fixture coupled with the right lighting sets a scene.  When I was four years old my parents took the family to Disneyland compliments of my paternal grandmother’s good luck (she won the trip).  Past the Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World and Tinkerbell flying each night promptly at ten, the white twinkle lights adorned trees stood out in the magical night and made quite an impression on me.  Good lighting will do that.

iron chandelier

Deck out the deck, patio and backyard spaces with accent lighting.  Vintage chandeliers, mason jars with tea lights, twinkle lights adorned trees, tabletop or paper lanterns- all super ideas!  I purchased two iron chandeliers at auction several years ago and repurposed one as a bird feeder and the other as an outdoor candle chandelier.  I recently replaced the votive candles with battery operated LED tea lights.

Spending time outdoors is a big part of spring and summer fun, making it easy to understand why outdoor living spaces have become extensions of the life lived within our home- a retreat of heart and home.  Is your outdoor living it up escape ready to greet the season?

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Filed under entertaining, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Lighting, outdoor living, seasonal decorating, spring, summer