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



Homemade Potato Soup

The flu is raging with a vengeance.  Dave the Builder has informed me seven of his coworkers are currently out with the flu, and the office air is thick with the scent of  Lysol.  We believe in doing everything you can to prevent catching the flu.  My one and only time to have the flu was an ugly, ugly experience.  I was out of commission for 6+ weeks with flu that turned to pneumonia quicker than I could say I don’t feel good.  Remembering that experience like it was yesterday, the Places In The Home household is in take charge mode to ward off the flu, including, but not limited to, brimming bowls of homemade potato soup.  Dave the Builder’s mom spoke of the healing powers of homemade potato soup, and who am I to argue with the wisdom of my mother-in-law?


I developed this rather uncomplicated to prepare and quite tasty recipe for homemade potato soup years ago when our son was in elementary school.  Sports, scouts and study schedules tend to dominate after school time, and the dinnertime hour gets pushed later and later more nights than not.  The kid, husband and mother-in-law loved it, instantly making it a classic family recipe.  Both cream of chicken soup and chicken broth hit the flavor notes with a little help from seasoning friends salt, pepper, onion powder and fresh parsley.  I have been known on occasion to add a heaping tablespoon of heavy cream to each bowl, and the crowd goes yum.


Homemade Potato Soup


6 medium to large russet potatoes

1 family size can cream of chicken soup

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup chicken broth

5 cups 2% milk

Fresh parsley, chopped

Heavy cream (optional)



Bake the potatoes at 400°F  for 1 hour OR microwave potatoes on full power  until tender.  Microwave cooking times will vary according to size and heating variance.  Let baked potatoes stand until cool.  Using a fork, press each potato in center, splitting potato in half.  Mash out the pulp and discard potato skins.


In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stir together the cream of chicken soup, potato pulp, salt, pepper, and onion powder.


Stir in the chicken broth and milk, stirring to incorporate flavors.  Bring to a gentle boil.


Lower heat to simmer, add chopped parsley, and simmer uncovered until soup is creamy thick, about 10-15 minutes.

pot-of-soupThis Dutch oven is 65 years old – a wedding gift from my aunt to my parents.  

If the soup becomes too thick,  simply add more milk until desired consistency is reached.

homemade potato soup

Enjoy and stay well.


Southern Sweet Potato Puffs

Culinary contemplation over how I could up my holiday side dish game brought me to a delicious conclusion.  How ’bout pairing the highly holiday requested Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with the OMG as in oh my goodness of puff pastry.   Southern Sweet Potato Puffs it is!

southern sweet potato puffs

Impressing the palates of those who gather together is a part of the holiday dinner and entertaining equation.   As someone who puts stock in the you eat with your eyes first approach to dining, the looks so good has to match up to the tastes so good.  Let’s begin with the recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Casserole.


Southern Sweet Potato Casserole


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup milk

¼ cup Southern Comfort whiskey

1/3 cup butter, melted

For Topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350° F.   Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Boil  sweet potatoes under tender.  Carefully remove from heat, drain, peel and mash sweet potatoes. 


In mixing bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, Southern Comfort, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.  Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. 

stirring-sweet-potatoesIn a separate mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter.  


Spoon over sweet potato mixture.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  


Southern Sweet Potato Puffs


southern sweet potato casserole for filling

1 box puff pastry sheets

1 egg



Allow the casserole to cool before using as the filling for the puffs.  The reason I elect to fill the puff pastry with cooked sweet potato casserole is to work with a dryer filling.  Baking off the casserole absorbs the liquids into the baked casserole, and makes it easier to work with a firmer filling.  The next step in the making of Southern Sweet Potatoes Puffs brings puff pastry into the mix.  I used the defrost in the refrigerator overnight method of thawing the puff pastry sheets.  Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and place on  lightly floured countertop or large baking sheet.  Roll puff pastry out using a lightly floured rolling pin.  Lightly dust pastry sheet with flour.  Using a knife, cut the pastry sheet into six (6) squares.


Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Southern Sweet Potato Casserole mixture in the center of each pastry square.


Pull corners of each square up over the filling and twist at top to seal.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.  Place the pastry squares onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.


Beat 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water together in a small bowl with a fork.  Brush each puff with the egg mixture.

southern-sweet-potato-puffsBake for 20 minutes or until puffs are golden brown.

Note:  Southern Sweet Potato Puffs make an excellent small bite appetizer for the holiday cocktail hour.


Kick Up The Fall Flavor Spiced Apples

Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves sprinkled over peeled and chopped apples kick up the fall flavor in this recipe for spiced apples.  It most certainly is beginning to look, smell and taste a lot like fall and yes, even the holidays.  Earlier and earlier we see holiday articles and postings in our inboxes and social pages, and who can blame those of us who find fall and holiday decorating, cooking and baking news so shareworthy.  October through December is the most wonderful and delicious time of the year.


Into every unseasonably warm fall day some rain must fall for the cold front to move through that’s bringing highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.


Hanging out in the kitchen cooking is oddly relaxing and a great way to spend a rainy day afternoon.  The Home for the Holidays season is right around the corner (can you believe it?), and the sweet and savory recipes to holiday impress by aren’t going to develop themselves.  Do you know what a bowl of softening apples is called?

Recipe inspiration.


A local grocery store sells bags of day old produce for $1.00. My mother, the produce whisperer, hit the market at the precise moment the produce manager was putting out the marked down bags.  She got the price pick of the day, and the deal dished this recipe for spiced apples.  I washed and peeled six apples of assorted variety and color, searched the spice inventory and refrigerator for what’s on hand ingredients, and proceeded to recipe develop.  This recipe is really a no-brainer based on the natural connection between the fruits, flavors and spices we associate with the taste of fall.  Here’s what I came up with.

Spiced Apples


6 apples, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves

2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade

1 Tablespoon molasses

2 Tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 300°.  Lightly butter baking dish and set aside.  Wash, peel and chop six medium size apples.


Place apples in baking dish.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples.  Sprinkle ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg over apples.


Add the brown sugar and stir gently to coat apples.


Stir in 1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves and 2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade.  Spread apples in single layer in baking dish.


Lightly drizzle molasses over apples.  Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of the apple mixture.  Bake uncovered at 300° for 45 minutes.


Spiced apples pair deliciously with pork tenderloin or spiral ham.


Spiced apples scrumptiously complement a slice or two of toasted pecan-pumpkin bread.

pumpkin-bread-loavesPecan-Pumpkin Bread Recipe from Southern Living

Spiced apples lend the perfect taste of fall to a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey.

spiced applesHungry yet?


Fall Traditions of Kitchen Style, Spice and Seasoning

Spending time in the Places In The Home kitchen on a fall afternoon coincides with traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning rooted in memories dating back to the little kitchen in our first home where my love of developing recipes inspired by the tastes of the fall ~autumn season all began.


Designing, decorating and stocking the kitchen, pantry and cupboard with personal style, staples and spices became an adventure in discovery of taste and tastes.  When fall comes around each year, the memories flood my mind reminding me these are special times for making fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.


The crimson and gold Anjou and Bosc pears from the produce section of our local Kroger colorfully complemented my fall dining room decorating scheme, but as it goes with fresh fruit and shelf life, nothing lasts forever.


Once photographed and admired, it’s time to give thought to delicious ways of putting a seasonal spin on it.


Tradition is the key ingredient of my recipes.  The recipes and kitchen philosophies of my great grandmother, my darling Mama Two, inspire and influence the salads, entrees and desserts developed and prepared in the Places In The Home test kitchen.

Mason-Cash-mixing-bowlsMason Cash Mixing Bowls

I leave myself a mixing bowl full of wiggle room by referring to the Places In The Home kitchen as a test kitchen.  If a recipe exceeds taste expectations, my kitchen is the culinary kingdom in which I rule over complete with crown roast and wooden spoon scepter.  If a recipe fails, then my kitchen is simply a test kitchen where taste perfection is not an absolute and I remind the family that Domino’s delivers.


A jar of Mrs. Bridges fig preserves is my autumn jam.  Fig and pear preserves were a Mama Two staple, especially in her baked goods that I associate with fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.  Isn’t it funny the things that play traditional fall favorites with our memory?   It’s a question asked and deliciously answered by the fresh pear salad with sour cream, fig preserves and honey I came up with.



The taste of fall on an vintage porcelain dessert plate.

Slice a fresh pair of your flavor choice in two.  Using a spoon, gently spoon out the center of each pear half.  Place each pear halves core side up on a plate.  Spoon ½-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice over pear halves.  Spoon a generous dollop of sour cream into center of each pear half.  Top sour cream with 1 heaping teaspoon of fig preserves.  Lightly drizzle honey over pear halves.

A perfect union of flavors for a fresh fall salad option, and a gathering of ideas for fall kitchen style, spice and seasoning.

kitchen style

pears || cake~bundt pan ||  cookbook ||  fig preserves ||  cake plate || dessert plates  || marmalade crock ||  autumn wreath || sugar bowl  ||  lazy susan   ||  hand soap  ||  pumpkin spice candle



Pin to Table Favorites: Main Dish Recipes from Pinterest

Sharing is a big part of Places In The Home.  The concept of sharing useful tidbits of interior decorating information and striking images of all things house that make a home interest to social media platforms is genius.  The knowledge gained, friends made, inspiration gleaned makes the experience so worthwhile.  During a recent ringing the dinner bell pinning session, it occurred to me a blog post of select recipes from Pinterest as featured on my A Taste Odyssey Pinterest board may pique your Pinterest interest, and make for an inspiring and appetizing show and tell.

recipes from Pinterest

Rather you call the evening meal dinner or supper, you’ll call these pin to table main dish recipes from Pinterest favorites.   I’m including the original link to each recipe so you can check it out.

Melt in Your Mouth Caesar Chicken


Melt in Your Mouth Caesar Chicken from The Cookie Rookie is made with only 3 ingredients. Recipe link:  Melt In Your Mouth Caesar Chicken

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes 

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe

Southern Living recipes hold a delicious spot near and dear to my heart. This Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe ranks high on the mighty tasty, y’all list.  Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe for Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce from Julia’s Album is a favorite.  Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Salisbury Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes


The newlywed couple called home last night from IKEA to share their latest wedding gift purchase.  The subject of IKEA, meatballs and the concept of a furniture store-restaurant pairing got me to thinking and craving meatballs.  This recipe for Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes from Maya Kitchenette is comfort food fantastic.  Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

easy crock pot french dip sandwiches

The first three words in this recipe for Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches from Fox Valley Foodie qualify it as a must try.  Factor in the ooh la la licious tastes brought forth by combining French onion soup, beef consomme and Guinness beer together with beef roast rump roast and you’ve got a crowd pleasing easy dinner option.  Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches 

julia-child-cooking-well-doesnt-mean-cooking-fancyTown & Country

What Julia said.

Bon Appetit.


Big Flavor for a Small Supper: Ranch Quick Bread

The hotter it gets in the dog days of summer, the less time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking the better.  Yes, I know we live in the modern age of central air, but the excuse of it’s too hot to cook gets me out of many a late summer what’s for dinner dilemma. That’s where this recipe for Ranch Quick Bread comes in.  This easy to mix, quick to fix, and deliciously filling Ranch Quick Bread recipe hits the spot with big flavor for a small supper.

ranch quick bread

Ranch Quick Bread


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry Ranch seasoning mix

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk**

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup cottage cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.


Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined.

** How to Make Homemade Buttermilk:

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.  Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes.


Add the cottage cheese and stir to combine.


Pour mixture into the flour mixture.


Gently fold ingredients together until the flour is incorporated.


Spoon batter into loaf pan.  Bake 50 minutes until golden brown or until knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

bread-doughAllow bread to cool in loaf pan for 10-15 minutes.


Transfer bread from pan to bread board or wire rack or serving tray. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Wrap any leftover bread in waxed paper and store in airtight container.  I added fresh rosemary sprigs to canister for good seasoning measure.


Summer Fabulous in a Jar: Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

The look of summer fabulous does not just happen.  Getting our decor, porches, patios, decks, lawns and gardens summer wow ’em ready comes with a fair amount of work.  Unfortunately, this labor of summer outdoor living love does not go unnoticed on the hands, feet and elbows of those who do the time in the summer salt mines putting a lot of elbow grease into it by performing the let’s pretty things up around here task at hand. Consulting my handy dandy Thesaurus for a nicer word for work, I thought these synonyms for the word work make a point.

Task at hand.

Elbow grease.

Salt mines.

Hand.  Grease (oil).  Salt.  I’m thinking a sweet summer season body scrub is in order.

Targeted emails, BOGOS and promo codes complement the necessary essential oils order needed to create the latest addition to my DIY beauty scrub recipe collection.  Let me introduce you to a fabulous summer hand, feet and body beauty treatment– Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub.

essential oil

I almost forgot to add this little tidbit of inspired information to the post.

crystal kiss dishGodinger Hershey’s Kiss Candy Dish

Back at Christmastime I ordered the crystal replica of the Hershey’s Kiss from Godinger Crystal for Dave the Builder’s Christmas stocking gift.  The busy shipping elves at Godinger mistakenly sent me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup dish instead of the Hershey’s Kiss dish.  One quick and courteous call to customer service later, the issue professionally became a non-issue resulting in a sweet deal.  With all this talk and type of the rule of kiss aka keep it summer simple, container inspiration stylishly struck.

salt sugar coconut oil

I spooned ¼ cup of the scrub into the kiss dish and added a few of the dried lavender buds for keeping it lavender rose summer body scrub stylishly scented and summer scrub simple.

body scrub jar

I keep the remaining scrub in a lidded jar, the lavender buds nearby in a lovely vintage dish.  The pairing of lavender and rose together is summer scent divine!

purple lavender

Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, melted
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rose essential oil
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spoon scrub into a lidded jar of choice and seal tightly.  Scrub will keep for several weeks.