Happy Happy Joy Joy! It’s Time for Spring

Happy happy joy joy!  It’s time for spring.


time for spring

Home Depot

I almost feel guilty in my time for spring celebration when I get an email from the Canadian snowbird with the following image attached.



A jaunt to the Home Depot garden center tops the time for spring planting to-do list.  Curb appeal begins with spring cleaning, planting, updating and exterior decorating.


In order to achieve optimum spring curb appeal you gotta have the proper tools to get the job done.


A recent time for spring inventory of the tools and toys needed for the upcoming lawn and garden season resulted in the Places In The Home gang becoming proud owners of a new riding mower.  This bad boy is 15.5HP of get the job done in no time power.  In all the new lawn and garden toy excitement, Dave the Builder set the cutting height a tad too low.  Let’s just say our front yard has that freshly scalped mowed look.


That’s one way to eliminate the need to mow for a week or two.


Purple Diamond Loropetalum is good for an early blast of bloom and color.  I won’t go so far as to say it basically grows itself, but once established it is  low maintenance.

Loropetalum-Purple-DiamondSouthern Living Plant Collection Purple Diamond Loropetalum

Every time I say Loropetalum I think of sayings you only hear in the South and one I consider a classic- going by Laura’s house.   Going by Laura’s house is the term my mother’s best friend’s mother coined years ago for when she would have to go out of her way to get to her intended destination.  Miss Melba called that going by Laura’s house.  It wasn’t until recently that my mother discovered the truth about going by Laura’s house, and now we say it all the time.  How I love the sayings you only hear in the South.

HGTV inspiration strikes again.  Add a dollar store drop in to the time for spring lawn and garden list.


Sightings of buds and blooms in spring fling color usher in spring and Easter parade palettes.


You know it’s time for spring by the scents and sights of spring in full bloom.  I would love to be able to bottle the the fragrance of freshly picked wisteria to use as a linen spray on crisp cotton sheets.


Fresh flowers, delightful fragrances, visually stunning table settings, and the scent and sight of it’s time for spring in the late afternoon or evening gorgeously set the scene, mood and table for spring entertaining.

The “I Love a Charade” episode of Sex and the City is my garden party touchstone.

Good friends.

Well-appointed buffet.

Smooth tunes.

Beautifully accessorized tables.



The essentials of spring entertaining.


Southern Living Plant Collection Dear Dolores Hydrangea Deciduous Shrub, Pink or Blue Mophead Blooms


Hydrangeas paired with a blue and white porcelain Chinoiserie planter makes a gorgeous garden party presentation.


What’s a garden party without a garden salad?


Benjamin Moore Tomato Red Benjamin Moore Mayonnaise
Behr Asparagus  ~  Benjamin Moore Cucumber 

Godinger Wheelbarrow Salad Bowl with Servers

Godinger Wheelbarrow Salad Bowl with Servers

Time, nature and the calendar tells us it’s time for spring.  Our senses alert us to spring’s arrival.  Color rich gardens show us the beauty of spring.

I do love a season that shows out.

love your style

Two Peas In A Stylish Pod: Art and Interior Design

Updated for blog post freshness

Art and interior design are like two peas in a stylish pod.


Fresh starts, fresh vegetables, and fresh colors do the body, mind, soul, and home good.  Just ask Sasha Emerson.  The Los Angeles based interior designer is mastering the art of personal downsizing without sacrificing the creature comforts of home through art and interior design.

Del Monte Sweet Peas framed supermarket ad

As explained in “Sasha Emerson’s California Cottage -Funky Decor Ideas”  in Country Living magazine, scaling down from an expansive 4500 square feet home to half that in an English-style cottage signals it’s edit-yard sale-Craigslist-donate-giveaway time.   As they say, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.

I know.

I’ve tried.

It ain’t happening.

Ikea cabinets

Repurposing from within allowed Sasha’s decorative integrity to remain intact.  She found the comfort of art and interior design.  I like to remind clients and fellow decoristas to always seize the opportunity to make your home your art and interior design canvas by putting your stamp of individuality and personal style on everything.


Benjamin Moore’s Split Pea makes a made in Palm Beach style color match to the lush purple window coverings in the main room of  Designer Sam Allen’s Connecticut apartment.


Benjamin Moore Split Pea

“Color is a creative element, not a trimming.”

~ Piet Zwart 

IS Architecture


IS Architecture


Peter Rogers Historic Creole Cottage in New Orleans

art and interior design

Art is the manifestation of creative expression rooted in imagination, emotion and inspiration.

Let me ask you something, what is not art?

Author Unknown


Paint Brushes in an English Pea Can by Elizabeth Blaylock

“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.”

~ Paul Strand


AD France

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 

 ~ Edgar Degas


Give Peas A Chance Garden Marker

The framed 1960’s supermarket ad for Del Monte Sweet Peas captures the essence of Sasha’s flea-market chic home decor, and fancifully pays homage to Pop Art Icon Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I: Green Pea.


McGaw Graphics Campbell’s Soup I: Green Pea, 1968 by Andy Warhol 

When I first saw the pop of art, it immediately evoked thoughts of weekend grocery store excursions to our local  A & P- my mother’s idea of big fun.


Looking back it was.  Thinking about split pea art and interior design brings back memories of shopping at A & P and the display feature for School Days Brand Early June Peas.


Design and color are the cornerstones of visual merchandising.  I vividly remember brand labels rich in color, distinctive font and visual design.  The aforementioned School Days peas and the I remember it as if it were yesterday red tomato-green lettuce leaves- navy blue background Ann Page Mayonnaise label serves memory and a craving for a spring Easter comfort food classic.


This comfort food recipe for pea salad is uncomplicated, styled for a classic taste, and quick to please.  I liken it to the creature comforts of home through art and interior design and memories of the walks down the aisles of A & P hand in hand with my darling Mother.  I’ve learned so much from both.


Pea Salad


1  15 ounce can green peas, drained

1  cup shredded Colby Jack cheese

1  large roma tomato, diced

¼  cup mayonnaise

½ -1 teaspoon  salt

½  tsp. fine black pepper

1  Tablespoon fresh parsley


Drain peas.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine peas, cheese, diced tomatoes, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  Gently stir ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.  Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

With spring and Easter right around the corner, I thought I would include this two peas in a pod recipe for Sweet Pea and Ricotta Tart from Good Housekeeping.

sweet-pea-ricotta-tartSweet Pea and Ricotta Tart


Tart Crust

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

5  Tablespoons cold butter

3 Tablespoons trans-fat free vegetable shortening

ice water


2 teaspoons olive oil

1  medium leek, chopped

2  cups fresh or frozen (thawed) peas

1  Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¾  cup ricotta

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

¼  cup grated Pecorino cheese

½  teaspoon grated lemon zest

½  cup microsprouts or microgreens


Make the Crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, blend flour and salt. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle in 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until large, moist crumbs just begin to form.  Shape dough into disk; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight. (If chilled overnight, let dough stand 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll pie crust into a 12″ circle and fit into a 9″ pie plate.  Trim excess dough, leaving 1″ overhang; tuck overhang under and crimp edges.

Line dough with large sheet of parchment paper or foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake 15 minutes or until dough is set. Remove parchment with weights and bake until crust is golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from oven; let cool completely on wire rack.

Make Filling:
In a 10″ skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add leek and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Cook until leek is tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Add peas and cover; cook until tender, stirring once halfway through, 3 to 5 minutes.  Let mixture cool, then stir in lemon juice.

In a medium bowl, stir ricotta, cream cheese, pecorino, lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until well-combined.  Spread in cooled pie shell.  Top with cooled pea mixture and garnish with microsprouts.

~Good Housekeeping

Speaking of green, St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow.  No better time to eat your peas and wear your greens.


A Most Fetching Friday: Spring Forward

Today’s A Most Fetching Friday moves the hands of time and the clock ahead one hour as we spring forward this Sunday.   Spring daylight saving time taketh away one hour, but the spring forward trade-off is worth it as spring and summer days giveth extra sunlight.












Clock Tower on Emerson Chambers

antique Mora clock

House Beautiful

The Tower of Big Ben in the Sunset light

The Tower of Big Ben in the Sunset Light 




 Donald Lococo Architects

Donald Lococo Architects


Just Wait for Summer

spring forward


Nine Thirty Five

I hope you have a most fetching Friday and a lovely spring forward weekend.

love your style

We’ll Always Have Paris French Themed Tablescape

The beauty of a French themed tablescape is found in the ooh la la factor, and this We’ll Always Have Paris French themed tablescape focuses attention on the it’s all in the details appeal of understated elegance.


My soundtrack to French themed tablescape to.

Soft lighting, informal china and crystal, and benign neglect to formality describes the European sentiment.


Agnes Table Lamp


El Mueble

French decor elements bring a palette of both deep and soft blue and green, crisp white, rich brown and citrine, soft gray and deep wine red to the table.  Below are tabletop and serveware accessories and thoughtful accoutrementto illustrate the point.


Aristocrat Brown Embossed Charger Plate


Jay Import Set Of 4 Dinner Plates

“The service and mood should be informal, and the food, wine, and presentation extraordinary.” 

Tomas Maier



Juliska Berry & Thread French Panel Stone Gray Crackle Side Plate, 7″

Vintage pieces make a wonderful contribution to tablecsapes, lending an air of distinction that exemplifies the art of classic French themed tablescape savoir faire. vintage-black-and-brown-china-plates-set-of-3

Vintage Black & Brown China Plates- Set of 3


Restaurant De La Tour



Home sweet home.

Ambiance is paramount to setting the scene and the table for the dining experience.  I call it an experience because dining should be exactly that- a social, sensory and scrumptious experience.  Sight (we eat first with our eyes) sound, touch, smell and taste anchor ambiance.

soup-tureen-green  French Transferware Soupiere Creil et Montereau


Lion Head’s Bowl


Fleur De Lis Square Casserole Platter


Oval Platter in Cobalt by Fiesta


Vintage Blue & White Vegetable Bowl, KINGSTON


French Countryside Set of 5 Stackable Bowls


Vintage Shabby Chic Terrine With Raspberry Accents


Burano Platter by Arte Italica

Five-Piece Fleur De Lis Flatware Place Setting

Five-Piece Fleur De Lis Flatware Place Setting

french linen napkins

French Linen Damask Napkins



DII Gray Chambray French Stripe Dinner Napkins, set of 6



Zentique Pitcher



Carrington Collection, Asparagus Salt and Pepper Set


Bloomingville Round Marble Tray


Vintage French Bread Board Assortment



Heather Bullard thoughtfully turns antique ephemera into these free printable French baguettes wraps perfect as take away party favors.


Click on the link below to see her post and download instructions.  Merci beaucoup, Heather.



French Baguette Wrap Printable



Wine Carafe

Wine Carafe

Libbey 719 8.5 oz. glass cocktail decanter

Libbey 8.5 oz. Cocktail Decanter 

stemmed-wine-glassStemmed Wine Glass


La Rochere Versailles Tumblers, Set of 6

alpaca wine rack

El Mueble

The ooh la la of the French tablescape and copper accents.  Relaxed refinement is not an oxymoron.

C’est magnifique!


Robust 3 Bottle Tabletop Wine Rack


Williams Sonoma Vintage Etched Goblets



Metal Stand with Glass Cloche Bell



Gien France Rouen Cake Platter



Vintage Porcelain "Le Manoir" French Dessert Plates - Set of 8Vintage Porcelain “Le Manoir” French Dessert Plates – Set of 8



Vintage James Kent Ltd. Garland Blue Ironstone Transferware Creamer

jute-tableclothJute Tablecloth


Fennco Styles Hand Hemstitched and Embroidered Swiss Dot Table Runner



Distressed Ivory Candle Holder

faux-artichoke Resin Bloomed Artichoke Decor




Grab a free place card template printable, pop over to your photo editor of choice, add your own favorite French themed embellishments, colors and fonts and voilà!

French themed tablescape


Frame prints or printables such as this menu écrit en français as conversation pieces.


These wall shelf-wall sconces plucked from the clearance shelves at Hobby Lobby have served as my go-to tabletop decor accessory at shop and at home.  The decorative duo immediately caught my eye as tabletop gotta have it rather than wall decor.  When you like the details, finish and presence of a decorative piece but not in the context of its original purpose, repurpose.  This Antique Cream Half-Circle Wall Shelf from Hobby Lobby X 2 is on my French themed tablescape gotta have it list.


Antique Cream Half-Circle Wall Shelf

Fantastique color and price pairing on the Shadwick Cafe Bistro Stacking Patio Dining Chair by Brayden Studio.


Cafe Bistro Chair

From place setting to ambiance, destination themed tablescapes travel well.  Part III of Themed Tablescapes Table Escapes features decorative accessories and accents of Chinoiserie chic to set a Far East Fabulous tablescape.


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

Travel Destination Themed Tablescapes: Turn Your Tablescapes Into Table Escapes

Like the relaxing powers of Calgon, this updated and improved post takes me away on a visual travel adventure through stylish place settings and tabletop accessories of themed tablescapes.  Themed tablescapes set the table for a visual experience of table escape destination presentation.


Kate Jackson Design

More people answer travel when asked what they would do if they won the lottery.  As my hopes for a lottery windfall and the endless travel funds it would bring eludes me, I rely on themed tablescapes table escapes to destinations of sea, ooh la la land, and fabulous Far East to take me away.


Sea Waves

Destination decorating creates a passport to dining adventures, where the dining table top becomes an inspired canvas.  Stylish and affordable ideas run the gamut from elegant to casual, translating to themed tablescapes that visually take your fellow “travelers” on a journey to enchanted places.  The first seating of this three part themed tablescapes series is one inspired by the captivating beauty of the sea.


Scalloped Placemat

themed tablescapes

Jay Imports Alabaster Glass Charger Plate With Silver-Tone Rim

Rimmed Dinner Plate

Denby Dinnerware, Halo Wide Rimmed Dinner Plate


Rosenthal Junto Flat Salad Plate


Ocean Round Sculpted Dessert Plate

Hampton-flatwareHampton Forge San Remo Silverware Set 20-pc.

Blenko-water-bottle  Blenko Ice Blue Water Bottle


TarHong Honeycomb Organic Jumbo Glass (Set of 4)


Vintage Fish Platter Set Bavaria Schumann Germany S/12

Victorian Bone Handle Fish Knives - Set of 8

Victorian Bone Handle Fish Knives – Set of 8

reef-napkinsReef Napkins- Set of 4


L’Objet Cenote Bowls


Seafood Shell Baking Dish

VIETRI Earth Glass Large Serving Bowl

VIETRI Earth Glass Large Serving Bowl

Threshold Ashwood Round Serving Bowl Set 2-pc.

Threshold Ashwood Round Serving Bowl Set 2-pc.


Pfaltzgraff Expressions Set of 4 Bowls Capri

Pfaltzgraff Expressions Set of 4 Bowls Capri

Driftwood-Platter Driftwood Serving Platter


Sea Escape

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”  Henry Miller


Cup Coral Centerpiece



Fitz and Floyd Cape Coral Collection Tall Pelican Figurine

The rule of kiss (keep is seaside simple) applies to centerpiece ideas.  Taper candles weaved throughout a piece of decorative coral placed atop a cluster of oyster shells is a guaranteed centerpiece showstopper.



Isle of Harris Gin


Mikasa® Maria Decanter

Iittala Kastehelmi Tumbler, Set of 2

Iittala Kastehelmi Tumbler, Set of 2

This fun and fin Whale Tail Tiered Server will make a stylish splash as the perfect mix and marvel bar accessories tray.


Whale Tail Tiered Server


Mediterranean Shell Pitcher  ||  Devanna Ombre Hobnail Double Old Fashioned Glass  ||  Shells of the Sea Cocktail Picks  ||  Shells of the Sea Paper Cocktail Napkins  || Murex Ramosus Decorative Shells  ||  Sea Shell Toothpicks


Sea Creatures Bar Tools

Love these Oyster Grillers made by Oysteria exclusively for Mignon Faget.  Made of a red based clay, Oysteria Grillers will withstand the direct flame of a grill.


Mignon Faget Oysteria Grillers


Katie Kime Oyster Cocktail Napkins

shell shaped salad bowl

Coastal Home Shell Serving Bowl


Oyster Shell Serving Bowl

aerin-sea-blue-geometric-platter AERIN Sea Blue Geometric Platter


Amalfi Fish Serving Bowl


Dessert Server

I could spend an entire afternoon on a dollar store run searching for affordable tabletop accessories that set a place for chic at the table.  


Bulk shells, accent gems, decorative sand and river rocks make a decorative splash as anchor embellishments.  For a small amount of moolah you can create an impressive tabletop focal point or decorative companion piece to build your centerpiece upon.

clear-hurricane-candle-holderAn easy DIY project, coastal themed fabric paired with pearl trim, a decorative starfish, pendant or pin make great custom tablecloth, napkin and napkin ring options.  A seamstress I am not, but I can work a package of hem tape and a hot iron like nobody’s business.  Ornamental starfish tied with natural or coastal color rich raffia results in a tailored napkin ring.  Decorative pearl trim looped through a natural crystal pendant from Hobby Lobby results in a stylish napkin ring and “souvenir” to take home.


Inside Fabric

Other table ideas range from various sized glass cylinders and decorative bowls filled with shells, sand, rocks and/or pillar candles.  


The Seashell Company

I like to use aquarium decor because it is significantly less expensive than full size versions and the smaller sizes work to an individual place setting advantage.  Aquarium coral or dry rock makes a highly decorative and inexpensive place card or individual menu holders-easels.



Reef Saver Dry  Aquarium Rock

The decorative versatility of the dough bowl is the themed tablescapes gift that keeps on giving.



Rectangle Dough Decorative Bowl

From place setting to ambiance, destination themed tablescapes travel well.  Part II of Themed Tablescapes Table Escapes focuses on the très chic ooh la la factor of the We’ll Always Have Paris tablescape.

love your style





Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

New Year, New Feature: Shop the Sidebar

Home decor accessories, accents and furnishings inspiration is everywhere, and now it is on the sidebar.  Allow me to introduce you to a new year, new feature, Shop the Sidebar.  Sourcing home decor accessories, accents, and furnishings is part of the all things house that make a home process.  Interest in and inquires about accessories, accents and furnishings as seen on Places In The Home is always welcome, and I’m especially pleased when a piece or color I use in a client consultation or moodboard stirs interior design and decorating interest.   Always the interior design and decorating show and tell, it is my pleasure to assist and suggest.

shop the sidebar

Shop the Sidebar features distinctive accessories and accents of regional and seasonal interest that catch my eye and hopefully appeal to and please the most discerning tastes.

shop the sidebar

Traditional home furnishings fill my design and decorating portfolio, new traditional styles are worthy of attention, and antiques remain a classic furnishings choice near and dear to my heart.


Southern Home Magazine

You will notice the pieces and accessories featured throughout the Shop the Sidebar column reflect my personal style and taste– a stick with what you love and design and decorate accordingly presentation.  If you see a piece that makes your gotta have it list, click on the image for product information.


Susan Harter Muralpapers

Classic furnishings and design accents complement eye and space.  We are big fans of  TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar,  and being the accent chair set design reviewer that I am, I was in my height of glory watching Giant last week. The scenic wallpaper in the foyer of the home of Leslie’s (Elizabeth Taylor) parent’s home is the star of the scene, embodying the design features of Classic Revival style homes.  (Try as I may I could not find a photo of the scene that does my point justice).  Granted, some patterns and images correlate with the more formal aspect of traditional style, but not in all cases.  The Etched Arcadia Mural  in Grey Motif from Anthropologie typifies what I have come to know; understated is on par with elegance when contrast is the intended design element.


Etched Arcadia Mural

On the color radar:

Sage is proving to be a significant contender for best in color 2018, and I can see why.


Contented  ||  Evergreen Fog

A subtle shade of green with muted undertones of gray, sage is poised to become a new neutral.

Spring Things to Come

Rabbits and rattan, and regal shades of blue, oh my gorgeous!


Garden Rabbit Statue


Gemana Chair by Birch Lane™


Montelimar Ivory/Blue Area Rug

I just got off the phone with Mr. and Mrs. Canadian snowbird who are moving into a new house this spring.  Spring things to come furnishings, colors, fixtures and finery is the current topic of source conversation and conversion (Mom, is the price U.S. or Canadian?).  I suggested a Shop the Sidebar session for decor inspiration.

It is everywhere.

love your style





Shop the Sidebar contains affiliate links.  I receive a commission when a purchase is made of a piece I have suggested.   The compensation received has never, and will never, influence the content, topics, retail suggestions or posts made on this blog.  You do not pay any more for an item purchased via my links.  Commission earned from affiliates allows me to provide free content on the blog, stay connected to the internet, and keep the strong Louisiana coffee brewing.  

Valentine’s Day Color Spotlight: Seeing Red

In the best and most gorgeous of ways, many of us will be seeing red on Valentine’s Day.  Red is a commanding color; a color as alluring as it is dramatic.

seeing redKatie Scott Design


Up, Up and Away

Kaynor residence, entry way looking toward the front door

Southern Living

Often regarded as the traditional color of Valentine’s Day,  red plays color matchmaker to the visual aesthetic integral to interior design, interior decorating, home decor and home furnishings.




Architectural DigestSaint James Paris 


Eiffel Tower Restaurant ~ House Beautiful

I ♥ this image of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas.  Seeing red is befitting this beautiful and romantic setting.   


Bal masqué by Charles Hermans ~{{PD-US}}




Pinterest ~ Selfridges

Today’s Valentine’s Day color spotlight is brought to you by the color red.  Here’s to seeing red through the eyes of love and style.

love your style

Valentine’s Day Desserts

Show the one you love your decadent side for Valentine’s Day.


The Graphics Fairy

Oh behave.

Better still, don’t behave.


Preparing or purchasing Valentine’s Day sweets for the sweet is a scrumptious tradition.  Sweet logic and delicious justification make Cupid’s case for whipping up one of these Valentine’s Day desserts delectably dedicated to the one you love.

Sharing is caring.

Food is love.

Calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day.

Let’s Valentine’s Day Desserts!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Valentine’s Hearts


¼ cup unsalted butter-softened

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

7 oz. sweetened condensed milk

1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels

For Dipping and Decoration:

10. oz semi sweet baking chocolate

1.5 oz white chocolate for garnish

A few drops of pink or red food colors


Beat softened butter and brown sugar until fully combined, then add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until fluffy.  Add flour and sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined.  Fold in the mini chocolate chip morsels.

Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and set in the fridge to chill.

Pull off the parchment paper to lift the dough from the baking dish. Using heart shaped cookie cutter cut off the truffles and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer while melting chocolate.

Using a fork dip the truffles into melted chocolate ( one at the time), slightly tap the fork against the side of the bowl to trim the excess chocolate and place the truffle back on the parchment paper.  Set them back in the fridge to firm.

Melt white chocolate, stir in a few drops of red food color, transfer into a small bag, cut the corner off and pipe melted chocolate on top of the truffles.

~Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts




Chocolate Cherry Stack Cake


¾ cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sour cream

recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries (see recipe below) (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans.  Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans asideIn bowl combine ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in sour cream and flour mixture.  Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.

Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool on rack.

Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total.  Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting.  Repeat with layers.  Place top layer on cake.  Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks.  Refrigerate.

To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries.  Serves 8.


Cherry Frosting


1 ½  cups powdered sugar

1  8 ounce carton sour cream

1  cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream)

2  tablespoons maraschino cherry juice


In a chilled large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, sour cream, whipping cream, and cherry juice.  Beat with the chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate-Dipped Cherries


16  maraschino cherries with stems

½  cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1  teaspoon shortening


Drain cherries; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate pieces and shortening.  Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1½ to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once.  Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set.  Store, covered, up to 24 hours.

~Better Homes and Garden


The red velvet cupcake, molten lava cakes or cheesecake!


Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes from Spache the Spatula look absolutely divine.   Click on the link to check out this and other tempting recipes from Spache the Spatula.   Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes


Red Velvet Cheesecake


1 pound milk chocolate, chopped

½ cup butter

19 ounce package chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)

1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup butter, melted

48  ounce packages cream cheese, softened

18 ounce carton dairy sour cream

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk

11 ounce bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

Chocolate leaves (optional)

Powdered sugar (optional)

Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries(optional)


In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and ½ cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.

Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor.  Cover and process until finely ground.  Add the ½ cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined.  Transfer crumbs to a 10×3-inch springform pan with a removable bottom.  Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the pan.  Set aside.

For Filling:

In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined.  Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once.  Beat on low speed just until combined.

Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan.  Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently.

Remove springform pan from baking pan.  Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan.  Cool 30 minutes more.  Remove sides of pan.  Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.

To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top, if you like.  Garnish the center with chocolate leaves and fresh raspberries, if you like.  Clean knife between each cut.  Makes 20 servings.

Bake and chill up to 24 hours.  Garnish just before serving.

~Better Homes & Gardens


Photograph by Ryan Dausch



Double-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 ounces white chocolate (not chips), chopped

½ cup heavy cream


Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon salt and the baking powder in a medium bowl.  Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg
and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick on  a lightly floured surface, then cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart-shaped cutter.

Arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans.  Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes on the  pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Make the filling:

Combine the white chocolate, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and
pinch of salt in a large bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour over the white chocolate.  Stir until smooth, then refrigerate until cold, 25 minutes.  Beat with a mixer until creamy. Sandwich the white chocolate mixture between the cookies.

~Food Network Kitchen


Chocolate Strawberry Honey Nests


12 sheets phyllo dough

½ cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup strawberries, cleaned and sliced

3 squares dark chocolate, shaved

½ cup milk chocolate chips

3 teaspoons honey  or to individual taste

whipped topping

¼ teaspoon cinnamon


For Phyllo Nests 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on cookie sheet or counter work surface.

Using soft brush, brush over sheet with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle entire sheet with sugar.  Top with another sheet.  Butter, sprinkle and repeat until  6 sheets thick.  Repeat to create another 6 sheets stack. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, make ten vertical slices and one horizontal slice down the middle of each stack.

Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Line each muffin cup with 1 of the phyllo pieces at a time, covering sides and bottom to form a cup.  Repeat making 12 cups.

Using a microplane, shave dark chocolate over each cup to dust.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately place desired amount of chocolate chips in each cup allowing to melt.

Top melted chocolate chips with strawberry slices, drizzled honey and whipped topping.  Dust whip topping clouds with cinnamon.

Valentine's Chocolate Candy Box CakeValentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake from The Cake Blog.  Trust me, this recipe is well worth the time, the effort, and the click on the link to check it out.  Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake



Easy as the top ingredient!



Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes


2 sticks butter

1 ½  cup sugar

2/3  cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

½  tsp. baking soda

¼  tsp. salt

2  large eggs

1  cup milk

2  tsp. vanilla extract

2 ½  cups all-purpose flour


¾  cup heavy cream

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


3 oz. white chocolate


Heat oven to 350ºF.   Line 12 regular-size (2 1⁄2-in. diam) muffin cups with paper liners.  Beat butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl with mixer on low speed 1 minute or until well blended.  Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy.   Beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then flour just until blended.

Spoon scant 1⁄4 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2⁄3 full.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack.  Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining batter.   Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating.   Each recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

For the ganache:

Gently heat ¾ cup heavy cream over medium heat, then pour over 8 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate.  Let sit for 1 minute; stir until melted and smooth.  Evenly spoon ganache on top of 12 large or 24 small chocolate cupcakes.  Let set for 30 minutes.

For the lettering:

Microwave 3 ounces white chocolate on 50% power in 20-second intervals until melted and smooth.   Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 tip, then get creative!

~Woman’s Day