Inspired Ideas Floating Around

Is it that time of year already to be in new season, new ideas blog mode?  I think there’s still plenty of the present season to home decor show and tell about, but the window of summer is beginning to close. We will say so long to outdoor living, patio parties and summer soiree home decor finds that will disappear from our favorite store sites and shelves.  On the bright side however, one of my favorite words, clearance, is heading to a home decor department near you in the very near discount future.  I’m beginning to hear the rumblings of fall is right around the corner retail chatter.  With all the inspired ideas floating around for the upcoming blog season, I find I’m not quite ready to throw in the summer beach towel just yet. The summer of 2015 has been a stylish one, and has turned out to be an interior decorating and home decor success in terms of trends and retail offerings.

pool-floatFrontgate

In the upcoming months we will color our world in fall colors.  Color knows all seasons, and is never far from the center of my decorating thoughts.

beach-red-white-blue-chairs

We will see, source and discuss pattern and texture.

palmeral_blue_shade_and_pineapple_lamp-_72dpi-1024x1024House of Hackney

Always a delicious source of conversation, fall is a grand time to season the season with fantastic comfort food features.

Grilled-Watermelon-Feta-Stacked-Salad-5Cooking for Keeps

Same goes for cooking tips and c’est si bon recipes!

Le-CreusetClassic Le Creuset

I look forward to sharing with you all the best of the season in home decor finds, antiques treasures and travel tales.

map-810px-Claude_Bernou_Carte_de_lAmerique_septentrionalevia

Home accents, decor and furnishings markets are gearing up to reveal what’s new for the upcoming fall season in decorating trends and home decor.  Interior decorating, tailgating times, holiday happenings, fall colors on parade decor accents and accessories suggestions and inspired ideas to dish and decorate around will follow, and I for one can’t wait!  The summer blogging pace is slowing down for a few weeks in anticipation of a full-on fall preview. I am looking forward to things to come, and hope you will tune in for the Places In The Home fall 2015 design and decorating show and tell.  I promise it will not disappoint.

love-your-style-gold1

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Filed under home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, seasonal decor, seasonal decorating

Air Conditioning: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Since the dawn of home owning and renting time, American houses have come to know the weekend project(s).  Regardless of the style of house or year of construction, at some point something will be in need of repair, replacement, renovation or remodel.  That time came once again last week here at Places In The Home.  The original air conditioning system in our fifty year old ranch style house finally bit the dust last week.  It had a good life and provided hours of cold in the summer and warm in the winter air.  Dave the Builder lined up the new system and the crew to work on Saturday, I stocked up on bottled water, sports drinks and cooling towels, and we were off to the races.

P-AmericanHouses_FPOPop Chart Lab  ~  Click on image to enlarge

Sometimes you have to go through the ugly to get to the beauty of the sweet, sweet cold air on the other end of the air conditioning project.

air-conditioning-unit

If I had a nickel for every “we did just fine without air conditioning back in the good old days” comment my mother made during the central air install project this past weekend, I would be paying cash in all nickels for a new Nest thermostat.  The subject of the good old days was immediately dropped as the first blast of cold air circulated around the room.  My mother was the Road Runner to Dave the Builder’s Wile E. Coyote getting to the nearest vent blowing cold air, a feature of little to no presence in the main living and kitchen area of Places In The Home for the biggest part of last week.  You could hear the call to turn the thermostat to arctic and let the cooling down begin a mile away!  I don’t believe I am in the minority here when I say there is nothing good about any day past, present or future when it comes to being hot.  My thoughts and prayers honestly do go out to the men and women who work outdoors in oppressive temperatures and heat indexes best described as dangerous.  Dave the Builder hits the door some evenings after a 12+ hour workday in the Louisiana summer sun and humidity drained of all energy and will.  Air conditioning plays a huge role in our lives, both at work and at home.

Giant-barbecue-scene

“We’ll make that into a sitting room where we can sit and talk… and the breeze can get at us.”

That line from the movie Giant makes me wonder how people lived without air conditioning?   Dust storms, tumbleweeds and brutal heat set the story of life on a Texas ranch in the 1920s.  I would need a don’t talk to me I’m dying from this heat sitting room.  Whenever I watch Giant and other classic films and television shows that show life and homes without air conditioning,  I thank the conditioned air gods for Willis Carrier, the inventor of the first modern air-conditioning system.  Bless the heart of this brilliant, brilliant man!  Before Mr. Carrier’s invention however, the masses depended upon commercial and residential design features of the times to promote airflow and cross ventilation.

Large porches

Screened sleeping porches, winding wraparound porches and deep eaves and awnings accommodated shade seekers, porch sitters and night sleepers from the harsh direct sunlight and heat of the day and gave protection from mosquitoes at night.  Porch sitting and sippin’ in the late afternoon and after dinner (supper) was as much about letting the breeze get at you as it was an exercise in proper digestion.

LB-2015

Transom

A transom window proved crucial to upper air flow.  Found above doors, a transom moved the warm air hovering at ceiling level to the higher floors or large open windows.  Opening windows and doors at opposite ends of center halls allowed air to flow between areas of the house.

transom-window-above-doorBetter Homes and Gardens

My brother removed all the working transoms and hardware from above the doors throughout his house during the initial renovation and restoration of his 1903 Victorian home.  The transoms in his first house, a Victorian one story built in 1910, never worked properly and the hardware proved difficult at best to operate.  The point of this explanation and pictorial example is to illustrate the architectural measures taken in the construction of homes and the thought to comfort given to air flow routes in the days devoid of air conditioning.

LB-dining-room-sideboard

The long hot summer of 2015 has quite a few days and nights yet to go before relief is in sight.  Thanks to Willis Carrier, Dave the Builder’s HVAC skills and the local power company Places In The Home won’t be without air conditioning. Remind me of this post if I dare complain about the cold of winter.

love-your-style-gold1

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Filed under architecture, Design, home maintenance, project

Rental Refresh Upgrades: The Comforts of Home

Continuing the rental refresh upgrades conversation:

Pulling back the reins on major decorative and design improvements to a rental is a financially sound practice if you are not renting to own, making improvements to the property in return for rent credit or taking up residency for the long haul.  Dave the Builder and I completely overhauled, remodeled, refreshed and spiffed up our first home, a darling mid-century cottage lease purchase property.  I loved the bones of the house, but the decor stood still somewhere in the 1950s.  In the beginning we remodeled and refreshed for the comforts of home sake with caution, choosing to update through lighting and color.  I cannot beat the color drum enough- it really is the most bang for your buck way to infuse style into a home.

kitchen_melissa-leeLove, love, love!  Design Sponge

rental-kitchen-color-palette

In the case of our son’s rental home, the kitchen is small but workable in regards to design, function and affordable possibilities.  Presently, the walls are painted red and the cabinets are white laminate with oak trim 1980s #throwbacks.  You know the ones!  Dave the Builder and I scrimped, saved and sacrificed to remodel the kitchen in our first house.  We thought this style of kitchen cabinet was the bee’s knees, and according to the kitchen design magazines and showrooms a whole lot of other people did too!

home-designHouzz

Millennials love retro, and although everything old eventually becomes a new trend again, the dated oak trim will be modified with paint and new cabinet pulls added.   Since replacing the cabinets is cost prohibitive laminate it is!  As I explained to our son the pros of laminate cabinet fronts and countertops, he came around to the practicality of keeping the original cabinets in play. Laminate is a very forgiving surface to work with. The upkeep is minimal, and that works in any kitchen.  No need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

The Comforts of Home

Strategic pops of color and an accessories mix of warm metals with a modern spin will complement the neutral paint palette and introduce that new kitchen look.

rental-master-bedroom-paint

Please excuse the poor quality of these images. The combination of bad lighting and a cell phone camera gets you a color distorted photo.  The master bedroom walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece.  The color in the above image is no where near the true color that is Museum Piece, so to my sources I go for an image that does capture the true color.

BM-museum-piece-framedBenjamin Moore

Great color choice!

BM-muesum-piece-wallsBenjamin Moore PSP-Museum Piece ~ Renae Keller Interior Design, Inc.

Master bedroom furnishings and accessories with a hint of Louisiana coastal chic will literally offer the comforts of home.

rental-master-bedroom

Final suggestions for decor accessories and furnishings lean toward DIY chic projects, hacks and thrifted treasures.  His girlfriend scored a great coffee table and reinterpreted the style with paint and embellishments.  Our style council agreed a chic credenza with a Mad Men mid-century interpretation will mix things up like a dry martini.

“By acquiring all of your furniture from different eras and places and things that are expensive and inexpensive, it will make your end product have a great spirit.”

Kelly Wearstler

The treasure hunt is on for one in all Don Draper glory.  A fantastic period piece in great condition that comes with the extra added bonus of a quality finish, impressive lines, scale and focal point presence to die for is out there, and a can of Johnson paste wax and a soft cloth will put the period at the end of the very stylish and on-trend sentence.

modern-barDomino

I will end this post with an observation from my earlier Rental Refresh Upgrades post.  Does it makes sense and cent$ to make updates and improvements to a rental property?  Absolutely!  Focus less on the fact your new residence is a rental and more on the fact that your new residence is where you call home.  All things house that make a home come together to make the out of your own pocket rental refresh upgrades worth it in the name of the comforts of home, convenience and personal style.

love-your-style-gold1

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Filed under Accessories, home decor, Home Furnishings, Interior Decorating, kitchen accessories, paint colors

All Propped Up And Sitting Pretty: Upholstered Ottomans, Footstools and Benches

Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches are not merely an all propped up and sitting pretty home furnishings accent piece anymore.

Chinoiserie-upholstered-ottomanNew England Home

Now for a few words of ottoman wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld:

seinfeld

“I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?”

ottoman-New-England-Homevia

Style and taste answered the call from function, comfort and storage with a big hello, decoristas.  I’m listening!  There has been a palpable shift towards a broader use of upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches over the last few seasons and trends.  Thank goodness the furniture designers and home furnishings world is answering the call with gorgeous offerings in a wide range of style, shape and fabric selections.  Non-traditional placement accompanies this look with a blended balance starring pattern, color, form and the crucial decorative eye candy, the mixing of styles. 

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A gorgeous first impression in your entry or foyer whets the appetite for the interior design and decorating curious.  Never discount the power of the small space nor the big statement these areas of the home are capable of making.  An entry or foyer is such a space, and often the initial preview of the decorating style of the home.  The entry or foyer interior design and decorating layout is prime real estate for an upholstered ottoman(s), footstool or bench to call home.  A statement piece should be considered a decorative investment, a front and center accent designed to enhance the look you want to convey and placed to visually impress.

upholstered-benchvia

Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches crafted in wood and leather in shapes of round, square or rectangular, upholstered in designer fabric, chic upholstery patterns and textures or vintage textiles and tufted, embellished or trimmed to bespoke specifications define unique utility.

bench-at-end-of-bedvia

A cocktail ottoman well-placed in front of sofas, settees or stylish accent chairs can easily transition into the ultimate entertainment center.  Coffee table, guest seating, cocktail station, game table, textile storage- an ottoman offers versatility and functionality with a sense of style and multipurpose. 

leather-ottomanvia

upholstered ottomans, footstools, and benchesvia

Upholstered cocktail ottomans pull decorating double duty as both stylish accent piece and functional home furnishing.

upholstered-cocktail-ottomanWalter E. Smithe

upholstered-round-ottomanBetter Homes and Gardens

upholstered ottomanvia

I am a big fan of placing a matched pair of upholstered X-bench ottomans side by side, stepping back and letting the accomplished look produced and spot-on placement precision impress.  That is the visually rewarding moment in decorating we strive to reach.

X-bench-upholsteredHouzz

Antique Russian benches upholstered in luxurious Fortuny fabric  become the focal point extraordinaire in polished pairing perfection by capturing the eye and complementing the accent palette through pattern and proportion.

antique-Russian-benchesvia

In the world of decorating, two can be better than one.

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The bigger and bolder the statement the better.

ottoman-bohovia

lucite-ottomanTaylor King

dressing-rooms1, 2, 3, 4

Lovely, indeed, in European artisan splendor and simple elegance.

Swedish-ottoman-accentvia

Dave the Builder, DIY guy extraordinaire, walked in one afternoon and placed before me a salvaged antique burl walnut sewing cabinet with one drawer, porcelain castors, and no top.  My words said thank you, Dave, but my mind thought what in the world am I to do with this?  Dave proceeded to fill me in on his vision for this piece.  The “eyedea” was to have our upholsterer build a padded form to secure to the top to create a custom upholstered footstool.  The unforgiving lighting and cell phone image do not do the finished footstool justice, but trust me, the piece was a work of accent art.  It sold within a week of being introduced into inventory.  I regret not keeping it, but am currently on the hunt for another you say trash and I say treasure piece to repurpose into a footstool.

frog-footstool-fabric

The thinking outside the design box treasures, the noteworthy accent pieces that accentuate our home decor choices and capture the essence of personal style with a “that’s it!” exclamation mark is what distinctive decorating is all about. Unique upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches definitely fall into that category.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*** this is a refreshed post ***

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Filed under accents, Antiques, Furniture, Home Furnishings, Interior Decorating, Salvage piece, Upholstery

For Rent: Rental Refresh Upgrades

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the letter R for rental refresh upgrades. The conversation of late between mama and papa Places In The Home and our soon to be college graduate son heading up to the Great White North to begin his career has revolved around rental property viewings, interiors, exteriors, accents (eh?) and scads of all things house that make a home (rented or owned) furnishings.  This is the time of year when thoughts of apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family houses for rent and rental refresh upgrades begin to take center stage in the minds of college bound students, career starting college grads and newlywed couples.  According to recent real estate and business reports, millennials trend more toward renting than buying.

house-for-rent-sign

The genius of internet listings, video viewings, real estate apps and Skype proves an essential tool in locating a property.  With a few clicks, well placed phone calls and virtual tours, our son has successfully rented a two story Victorian-era style home.  Now comes the fun part- the rental refresh upgrades.  He and his girlfriend are currently in putting a stylish spin on his new abode mode.  This is not our son’s first time at the rental rodeo.  He knows all too well renting comes with caveats, and property management firms have rules and code restrictions that must be adhered to.  Addressing the aforementioned right off the bat clearly defines the can and cannots.  Fortunately, the home owner is on board with the updates and rental refresh upgrades our son wants to do to the property.

BM-revere-pewter-framedBenjamin Moore

Fresh paint  rules the rental refresh upgrade playbook.   I ran across this quote yesterday and it really hit home.

“Color is the least expensive thing to put in a house.” —Ruthie Sommers

Color often gives the biggest return on your interior decorating investment. Paint is an instant update and covers a multitude of previous tenant color choice sins and the scuffs, streaks and uh-ohs made when moving out.  As a housewarming gift, Mr. Girlfriend’s Dad is painting the entire interior and key exterior areas of the house.  Going with a neutral color palette allows more breathing room in regards to accents and furnishings.  Landlords and property managers love neutral palettes, and come closer to approving the request for painting with this color choice.

rental-house-den

My inbox is experiencing a high volume of before, during and after pictures.  It’s exciting to be in the loop, share in the progress and to be asked to be a part of the process .

rental-staircase

Does it makes sense and cent$ to make updates and improvements to a rental property?  Absolutely!  Focus less on the fact your new residence is a rental and more on the fact that your new residence is where you call home.  All things house that make a home come together to make the out of your own pocket rental refresh upgrades worth it for the sake of your comfort, convenience and personal style touch.

Rental Refresh Upgrades

So worth it rental refresh upgrades good to go as in take it with you when you go ideas range from a programmable thermostat, stylish mirrors in bathrooms, accent rugs, light switch and wall plates, cabinet knobs and pulls, new shower head(s) and focal point light fixtures to exterior walkway lighting, planter boxes and a decorative mailbox.  Renting or buying, it really is amazing how a sense of personal style, displaying objects of individual interest and decorating with accents that capture and convey your personality makes a house a home.

studded-rug-FlooringHall’s Flooring

I’ll leave it there for today’s post and pick it back up with more pictures and suggestions for rental refresh upgrades.

Love your style!

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Filed under accents, Home, home improvement, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Paint, paint colors

Currently Catching My Eye

Sourcing and sightings of home decor accents is all in a day’s work and I love it! When I started Places In The Home my objective was simple: to design an all things house that make a home show and tell, a sharing collective of knowledge and experience of interior decorating, home furnishings, decorative accents, home decor where to finds and gotta have it lists.  Four years later, I continue to be excited and inspired to show and tell you about items currently catching my eye.

Serena and LilySerena and Lily via Domino

The Riviera stool from Serena and Lily is currently catching my eye in a big way. Great choice for a statement piece desk chair.

chart-house-sloane-3-light-shop-light-3-light-linear-island-pendantDuneier Design via DecorPad

The lines, pattern and form of the Riviera stool delivers style at work and style at home.

Watkins-room-freshener

J. R. Watkins Coconut Room Freshener smells like summer at the beach.  A spritz or two of this tropical delight coconut scented room freshener is all it takes to infuse the space with a light coconut scent so refreshing you’ll be inclined to light the Tiki torches, turn up the calypso music and whip up a blender full of Piña Coladas.  I am coconuts for this stuff!

Birch-Lane-Conch-Magazine-Basket-PCGM2246

Seaside-inspired and stylish storage approved.  I am “digging” this Conch Magazine Basket from Birch Lane.

chest-brass-corner-brace-hardwareGlitter Guide

D I Why yes, I can do this!   Three or four drawer chests are just a thrift store, flea market or curbside boutique visit away.  For the retail fortunate, check out your nearest IKEA and the Rast 3 drawer chest.  At $34.99 + tax  it’s a bargain. For the rest of us, I say add this baby into your online shopping cart and justify the shipping cost with my logic.  I couldn’t drive to Houston (closet IKEA) for $10 (the shipping cost). Makes cent$.  Decorative hardware dresses the look, and a couple of coats of black paint adds the essential touch of drama.

cabinet-pulls

Behr-pure-black-paint

Blue and white porcelain is classic chic.  Eye spy these Tang blue and white salt and pepper shakers as a summer soiree hostess gift idea.

blue-white-salt-pepper-shakersPier 1

May I suggest for your summer reading pleasure.

40-years-of-fabulous

Currently Catching My Eye

currently catching my eye

Cylinder Pink Champagne Flute ||  Pink Flamingo Drink Swizzles ||  Seahorse Table Lamp ||  Blah Blah Blah Journal ||  Riviera Stools ||  J.R. Watkins Coconut Scented Room Spray || Coral Ophelia Elephant Wallpaper || Vintage Style Champagne Bronze Campaign Hardware Set with Corner ||  Serena Two Drawer End Table ||  40 Years of Fabulous Kips Bay Decorator Show House: The Kips Bay Decorator Show House ||  Love Boat bracelet ||  Tang Blue and White Salt and Pepper Shakers

 This post contains affiliate links

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Filed under Accessories, decorative hardware, home decor, Interior Decorating

Happy Fourth of July

Dave the Builder and I wish all of you a festive Fourth of July.  We are proud to let the American flag wave from the oak tree in our front yard 365 days a year. Freedom is a beautiful thing.  We display the red, white and blue to express appreciation of that freedom.  It is our true colors shining through.

flying-the-flag

We hope each of you enjoy this Fourth of July holiday weekend with family and friends.  Stay safe, let freedom ring and God Bless the USA!

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Filed under Holidays

All-American Fare

All-American fare consisting of spirited sips, BBQ bites and Fourth of July dessert delights await patriotic preparation.  Click on the link below each image to get the recipe.

bluecoat-rwb-pThe Bluecoat Red White and Blue Gin and Tonic

swiss_mushroom_burger_22-685x1024Swiss Mushroom Burgers

hot-dogs-Rachel-RayDeli Dogs

pickled-tomatoesPickled Tomatoes

Kentucky Butter Cake will be the featured dessert placed front and center on our Fourth of July celebration dessert table. We shall watch our calories next week.

kentuckybuttercake3-570x804Kentucky Butter Cake

enjoy

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Filed under baking, beverages, cake, dessert, entertaining, Holidays, summer

Fourth of July Inspired

Traditional colors true to the Fourth of July waving proud and sitting pretty in red, white and blue are on color parade this week.  Most of us will enjoy a short work week, and hopefully all of us will enjoy a long 4th of July weekend celebrating the holiday of summer with friends and family.  I’m looking forward to traditional Fourth of July celebration fare, fireworks after dark, pops in the park and maybe, just maybe, the new wallpaper I received for Mother’s Day going up in the foyer.  A foyer 4th!  With all the pre 4th of July party, project and menu planning at Places in the Home, things are getting pretty busy around here.  I figure it is the same at your places in the home, too.  Having fun is a lot of work! When time allows, I invite you to scroll through these red, white and blue Fourth of July inspired images for star-spangled inspiration.  No political agenda, opinions or talking points- just pretty Fourth of July inspired pictures decked out in a patriotic pop of color palette and federal finery.

flag-FOLKFOLK

July-Warhol1Andy Warhol ‘Louisiana’ Exhibition Poster, 1978 ~ 1stdibs

july-hbHouse Beautiful

The eagle has landed and is in need of a cocktail.  This regal antique piece is a golden choice for focal point functionality.

federal-eagleMy Domaine

red-white-blue-dining-room-LonnyLonny

Love your style!

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Filed under Antiques, cocktails, color palette, foyers, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Louisiana, summer

Refreshed: Lemon Angel Squares

They say when life hands you lemons you should squeeze the most out of the moment.  In the Places in the Home test kitchen, I take that not only as sound but as delicious advice.  I’m thinking Lemon Angel Squares.

Lemons_(4279536576)via

How do I love thee lemon? Let me count the ways I find to include you in the recipes of our culinary lives.  The citrusy goodness, the tangy zing of the zest and the brilliant flavor notes of fresh lemon juice balances as it brightens.   I prefer substituting a generous squeeze of lemon for salt in several of my recipes. Lemon is simply an essential ingredient favored for flavor by cooks, bakers and chefs in recipes of both the sweet and the savory kind.

Black_Butte_blackberryvia

Fresh in season blackberries and the herb of my heart, fresh mint, round out the flavor of these summer tastes so good treats. What we serve should look as good as it tastes.  The three part harmony on the plated side of a prepared recipe is simple- flavor it up, pretty it up and serve it up.  Aromas entice, but we eat with our eyes first.

Mint,_Puthina,_പുതിന1via

The Places in the Home test kitchen becomes sweet tooth central in the summer months. The is there anything sweet to eat gang prefers lighter desserts big on summer flavor (coconut, tropical, lemony, melons, berries, etc…) over heavier cakes and pies usually associated with cold weather noshing and nesting.  Yes, there is a distinct association between foods and flavors and the seasons. A quick inventory of the sweets shelf resulted in a Duncan Hines Signature Angel Food cake mix staring back at me.   Angel food cake stands on its own as a light dessert, and the fresh blackberries I picked up at the market would only add to the mix, but this dessert combination did not call out to me.  Isn’t it funny how creative one can become when a sweet tooth is involved?  A lone can of lemon pie filling, a gorgeous lemon primed and ready for zest, and a recent rediscovery of  the fresh mint I planted in a window box planter a couple of spring seasons ago filled in the blanks.  Cream cheese and powdered sugar are basic staples around my kitchen so it’s all good.

Duncan-Hines-angle-food-cake-mix

This recipe for Lemon Angel Squares is easy, delicious and a nice choice for a summer treat. The taste is fresh, the bite is lemon bright and did I mention this recipe is easy.  Just add summer.

lemon-ingredients

 

Lemon Angel Squares

Ingredients

1 16 ounce package angel food cake mix

1  21 ounce can lemon pie filling

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the angel food cake mix with the lemon pie filling and zest in a mixing bowl; blend until smooth.

lemon-angel-food-batter

Pour the batter into an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

3 oz. cream cheese

2-3  tbsp. milk

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon extract

Directions

Beat together all ingredients. It’s that simple!  Generously frost each square with cream cheese icing and garnish with blackberries and mint.

lemon-angel-squares

 

enjoy

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Filed under dessert, Recipes, summer