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Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins – adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1950 edition)

This is from the “Sweeter Popular Muffins” recipe – the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk but I found that the muffins are too dense for my taste so I always double the milk.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup soft shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries (frozen, canned or fresh) – put an extra 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour aside.

Nut-Crunch Topping

Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup broken nuts (walnuts or pecans are excellent!), and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Make sure to break up any lumps.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together with blending fork or pastry blender. Then stir JUST UNTIL ingredients are blended. Roll your blueberries into the sugar and flour you set aside. Carefully fold your blueberries into the rest of your mixture. Then should help keep your blueberries from bleeding purple juice into your muffins. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle the Nut-Crunch Topping over the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

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I use frozen blueberries I get at one of the club stores and have a lot of broken blueberries, and I never know when I’m going to get a tart one I like to add some sugar onto them.

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Copycat Cookie Recipe: Walnut-Chocolate Chip

IMAG0577Gotta love the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe (at least my Husband does) but I have a wondering eye. I like my cookies to be more fluffy as a “cookie” and chewy. I don’t like flat cookies (chips that are higher than the cookie part), greasy or salty.

The other night I was begging, whining and asking for some chocolate so my husband dropped the bag of chocolate chips in my lap. I rolled my eyes and went looking for my old standby from “Mrs. Fields” first cookie book. I checked the book out from the library so many years ago and never looked back. Can’t remember what page it’s on but it’s her (the one she gave for public release!) Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I actually like it better than the one from the store, which I found to be too salty

The key secret to her cookies are baking at the specified low temperature. It is the low temp and longer baking time that gets the cookie to the right consistency. You can chill the dough too which allows time to enhance the flavors.

Here is the recipe word for word, I encourage you to go to her website to snap some other suggestions for cookies too:

“Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until just blended. Do not overmix. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until just mixed. (Again, do not overmix.)

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Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto an un-greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake low and slow for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a baking rack or cool surface.”

I filled an entire cookie sheet of the recipe and added 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts to the remainder of the dough. I was craving some walnuts too, I guess. Mmm…don’t you love seeing morsels?

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What do you think? My Mom’s favorite mix-in are potato chips, not walnuts or chocolate (or even white chocolate) chips! I’ll post that recipe soon because it’s too good not to share.

 Link your fav chocolate chip cookie recipe in a comment.

Throw in the Skillet Quiche

IMAG0545I’m not a fan of quiche so me making such a dish is unusual in its self. It was a lot harder than I expected and I started cooking when I was tired. There was a lot of timing issues I’m still not sure how I’d handle: fry bacon, make pie crust/bake pie crust, boil water, cook veggies, and mix the flour into the eggs. Whew! I’m tired all over again talking about it.

I’ve adapted the recipe from the “Classic Quiche Lorraine” and “Individual Quiche Casseroles” recipes in Section 10, page 203 in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 1981 and added a bunch of things. I used the pie crust recipe as-is from Section 13, page 288.

Single-Crust Pie

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening or lard

3 to 4 Tablespoons COLD water

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In a mixing bowl stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening/lard till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form dough into ball. On a lightly floured surface flatten dough with hands. Roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry around rolling pin. Unroll onto a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry. Make a fluted, rope-shaped, or scalloped edge. Do not prick pastry.

To keep crust in shape, line the un-pricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake in a 450 F degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. (I had a bubble but poked it and it went away.) Bake 5 to 7 minutes more or till pastry is nearly done. Remove from oven; reduce oven to 375 F. (The original recipe called for 325 F but it was too juicy so we turned it up and it worked like a charm).

Throw It In The Skillet Quiche

Preheat oven to 325 F. (I had my my oven on to cook the pie crust so I had to let it cool down)

4 slices bacon

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup spinach

1 cup of shrimp (I had about 4 handfuls of frozen, breaded shrimp)

4 eggs

1-1/2 cups milk

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded cheese (I used Mozzarella but the original recipe called for Swiss)

Ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Rosemary

1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Marjoram

1/4 teaspoon Parsley

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mostly I stuck with the directions in preparing the recipe. If you buy a prepared crust from the store, great. It will save you some messy hands. If you would like to make mini quiches, have at it – just ensure to use boiling water around the little crocks/pans and they should be done in about a little less than half the time.

“Cook bacon till crisp; drain, reserving 2 Tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon, set aside.”

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“Cook mushrooms, celery, and onion in reserved drippings till tender; drain.” (I set the water to boil and totally forgot to chop the veggies.)

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“Beat eggs, milk, flour, and salt.”

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“Stir in cooked vegetables, bacon, and cheese. Drop in shrimp. Stir.”

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“Turn into pie crust. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.”

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Pour cheese mixture into HOT pastry shell. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. I’m not sure if placing boiling water in the oven made a difference or not? Probably unnecessary, huh? I was getting a little harried in the kitchen and just did it anyway.

Bake at 375 F for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted near center comes out clean and doesn’t appear juicy. Quiche is firm. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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We had some of the cornbread I made the other day with the quiche. For my first time making it, and screwing around, it filled the house with the best scents of savory pie crust, eggs and herbs & spices. I dislike both mushrooms and onions but found them to be savory and the foil that made the recipe so good. Remember I didn’t chop any of the veggies? It didn’t make a difference, so if you are a kind of throw it in cook like me, you know how to adjust the amounts given in this recipe.

I think Amarah’s looks the most like my quiche, what do you think?

Back of the Box Recipe: Cornbread

Photo1252I had grand plans Sunday for some recipes but the computer was cleaned and cleaned of my blog cookies so only pieces of the website are showing up, making posting impossible. But I’ve managed to figure out some cookies so that I can post again.

Reviewing the ingredients for Cornbread, reminded me I needed to mix up a batch of baking powder (1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tarter, and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch [for stability, eliminate if you are only making enough to use immediately].

CORNBREAD (adapted from Aunt Jemina Corn Meal recipe)

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten

1 cup corn kernels, canned is easiest but yes, you can use frozen or fresh (THIS IS MY ONLY ADDITION TO THE RECIPE)

Heat oven to 400 F. Grease 8 or 9-inch pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Photo1249

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Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (If you find the mixture too wet, add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour until it’s a bit thicker). I used the same pan I use for cream corn souffle and it puffs up like a popover in this picture below, huh?

I didn’t have any canned corn to use and as I often use frozen corn, I adjust the temperature and cooking time. Lowering the temperature to 375 degrees for UP TO 1 HOUR, it cooks to this:

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I haven’t frozen this recipe but I’m sure you could with varying results on when you use it. I’d say freeze and eat within a month. Um..better yet, make this recipe as muffins and that’ll do the trick.

You can also add herbs and spices to make it more savory even spice it up using yummy items like black beans, onions and Jalepeños! What’s your take on what to include in your cornbread?

Check out these fabulous link parties for delicious entrees and desserts to go with!

Ways to Use White Sauce

Tonight I was at a loss of what to make for dinner. IMAG0510We are doing pantry eating for a few days, which isn’t difficult, as I have the choice of fish, pork chops or game meat. I find repetition a bother week after week so finding new ways to prepare the same main ingredient is a must. As we are also not “leftover” eaters it’s not usually a problem as I can adjust recipes to fit our appetites.

**AHA** How about a seasoned white sauce with spaghetti? I can throw in some shrimp, peas, carrots, and spinach into the white sauce. Top with grated parm, voila! Gourmet dinner for 4 under $5.00. (I am taking in consideration the “unit price” since I use these ingredients frequently.)

Here’s the recipe I use for white sauce which was typed up on an index card back in the late 1940s Home Ec class my mom was taking. It’s quite versatile because you can make it thin for soup, medium thick for spaghetti, or thick for a baking consistency. You can also add a lemon for fish dishes!

It takes maybe 20 minutes total.

WHITE SAUCE

THIN (cream soups)

1 Tablespoon Butter (or other fat)

1 Tablespoon Flour

1 Cup Liquid (you can use water, any kind of milk product, including cream)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

MEDIUM (creamed vegetables, sauce for meats and fish)

2 Tablespoons Butter (or other fat)

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Cup Liquid (you can use water, any kind of milk product, including cream)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

THICK (this is best to hold together ingredients for croquettes and soufflés)

4 Tablespoons Butter (or other fat)

4 Tablespoons Flour

1 Cup Liquid (you can use water, any kind of milk product, including cream)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

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The ingredients are simple as all you need are butter, flour, salt, and milk…

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Melt the butter on heat just enough to melt – do not burn the butter!

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Next, throw in the salt and add the flour. I turn the heat off when I add the flour so that it doesn’t burn.

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Add your liquid.

Stir, stir, stir. And stir some more. It’s like gravy and you’ll end up with a lot of flour clumps so constant stirring is necessary to break the clumps down.

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As soon as it is boiling, remove from the fire.

The consistency should be what you desire – if not quite thick enough continue to cook on low heat, simmering and stirring.

Adding veggies, herbs or spices…what is your solution to keeping white sauce “fresh” in your dishes?

Take a look at these other ideas when making a white sauce:

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Back of the Bag Recipe: Banana Bread

Do you ever notice on the back of packaging there are “suggested” ways to use the product? Every so often you get a real winner, while others you wonder why they bothered because they were so bad.

I was wondering what I could make that would be sweet, easy to make, and quick to bake. I was wanting muffins and my eyes lighted on the banana nut bread recipe on the back of the flour bag. Why not? A new recipe is always welcome, right?

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Banana Nut Bread (from ConAgra Mills, Bakers & Chefs division “enriched &  bleached All-Purpose H&R Flour)

1 3/4 Cups flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. milk

1 Cup (2 large) mashed bananas

1/2 Cup chopped nuts

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar. Blend in eggs, oil, and milk. Stir in banana and nuts. Pour batter into greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

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While I had 2 bananas on their way out I didn’t have any nuts except slivered almonds, which is what I used as a garnishment only on top. It didn’t taste too bad, it was still moist despite leaving it in the oven too long because I forgot to set the timer.

Cranberry-Orange-Almond Shortbread Wedges

This is such a great recipe! It’s a recipe I’ve adapted from the Ginger-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges the No. 33 Issue of the Gold Medal (as in flour) Holiday Cookies & Candy issue (looks to be 2001?). To be honest I’ve never made the recipe as printed – I don’t keep crystallized ginger on hand, so I substituted orange flavoring and orange zest.

This is how I make Orange-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges:

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Photo Credit: Ginger-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges, No. 33 Issue of the Gold Medal Holiday Cookies & Candy issue

2/3 Cup butter, softened (it’s almost 11 tablespoons, by the way)

1/3 Cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons orange zest

1 Tablespoon orange flavor

1 1/3 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 Cup dried cranberries, rehydrated

1/4 Cup almond slivers

Topping:

2 teaspoon sugar (this is to sprinkle on top)

1 Tablespoon orange zest

Photo11691. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make sure you have enough ingredients.

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This is how I soften butter in winter…

Mix butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and the orange flavor in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Try to remove as much liquid from the cranberries and coat them with some of the flour so they don’t bleed as much into the dough. Stir in flour, almond slivers and cranberries. It should be like cookie dough, not too sticky. Flour your hands for the next step to make it easier to shape.

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2. Shape and pat dough into 9-inch circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with the sugar and zest. It should remind you of a small wheel of cheese Smile If you don’t feel that talented, just make shape into a square or rectangle.

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3. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet on wire rack. Cut into wedges as thick as you like.

Notes from Wyoming: I really love a versatile recipe that doesn’t flop with additions or substitutions. I share those the most because they are flexible enough not to frustrate a once-in-a-while baker who tends to have oops moments and can challenge an experienced baker who likes to use exotic or amazing quality ingredients.

If you’d like to try the original recipe which calls for 3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger, leave out the orange flavoring and zest. It also uses dried cranberries as opposed to the juicy cranberries I used.

Another substitution I’d like to make in a future recipe is to swap the cranberries for lychee (lee-chee) a popular Chinese fruit. If you can believe it I saw it as a “snack” on Ni Hao, Kai-lan at Lulu’s sky house but has been offered in the buffet at my favorite Chinese food place. It is spelled many different ways but it looks like a white cherry with a texture/meat like a pear, and tastes like a blending of several different fruit’s flavors (banana, cherry, pear, maybe mango?). You would not use dried (quite bitter tasting), but fresh as the substitution since the canned version are very juicy from being packed in liquid.

Mid-baking I realized that I’d forgotten the almonds, they did taste good sprinkled! Oh well, here’s the photo:

Photo credit: wyomingstorygirl

If you “Try It Out” let me know if you went with the “Original”, “Wyoming’s” or “My Own” (let’s hear your changes.)

I’m linking at 

Barn-Hop

Yummy Bread

I wrote Transition from Store Bought to Homemade Breads & Bakery Goods about how I love bread (and other baked goods!). I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that it’s my intention to try to make as much of our food at home because it is healthier, economical, and sets the example I want about homemaking for my children.

Yesterday I went ahead and tried the Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns recipe again after my first attempt was a disaster – tasted good, but dense, crumbly and fell apart. By setting about to try it again I found that my problem was two-fold: I hadn’t let the yeast interact with the ingredients long enough and that I hadn’t kneaded the bread long enough to give it the gluten time to develop. Having kids sometimes means that time has no meaning – this time I went ahead and used a timer at the specific steps. This time I let the yeast interact and it fluffed up nicely and I kneaded the dough for 5 minutes. Doing it RIGHT resulted in the perfect soft, fluffy baked bread that was as good as the commercial hamburger buns and hot dog buns. It was delicious! It is for sure the problem I’ve been having in the bread baking with similar results, it needs more time in the rise after I get it out of the bread machine’s dough cycle.

My husband would like the buns warm but I found they taste better the next day. They cut much easier when making the slit for the hot dog or hamburger.

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**I figured out that I somehow transposed the post for the Honey Wheat Bread and the 40 Minute recipe. Oops**

Join the fun at some linky parties for other fabulous ideas and recipes!!

Apple & Cheddar Muffets from “Julia’s Child” by Sarah Pinneo

I just read a book as part of my 2012 Reading Challenge (read more about my review of the book) about a mompreneur trying to have it all in Julia’s Child. I decided to make this delicious sounding muffin coined a “Muffet” by the authors character Julia Bailey. In the book Julia Bailey runs an organic toddler meals and backed goods business from Brooklyn, N.Y. called Julia’s Child. I’m kinda jealous that The Book Fetish got to review her book and interview her! The author Sarah Pinneo is on tour in New England currently.

Here is the recipe I”m making for breakfast and I’ll update with the pictures as soon as possible. HERE ARE THE PHOTOS!!! YUM

Apple & Cheddar Muffets

Ingredients

1 very large apple or 2 small ones

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg lightly beaten

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, divided

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously grease and flour 12 muffin cups.

Peel and core the apples and dice finely.  If your toddler is helping, peel and slice an extra one to share. If you play your cards right, he or she will be busy eating the apple slices while you’re measuring out the dry ingredients.

In a small skillet, melt the butter and sauté the apple until tender and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

All the dry ingredients

The wet ingredients & cheese

Wet meets dry ingredients

Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; then add the apples and butter.  Stir just to combine.

  MMMM…cheeese

Spoon into the prepared tin, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until very brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffets comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Loosen muffets by ringing their edges with a plastic knife. Turn them gently out onto a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.

Check out some tasty recipes this weekend at “bethfishreads”!

http://asouthernfairytale.com/

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMomfingerprints on the fridge

An Oldie But Goodie Cookie: Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

IMAG0360One of my all-time favorite, reliable sugar cookie recipes is from Betty Crocker. (See photo on your right to try the recipe!) It’s the go-to sugar cookie my Mother used when I was a child to make rolled out sugar cookies. It’s the recipe I made for Big Boy’s preschool class Valentine’s Day party. I decorated them like flowers since I couldn’t find a heart cookie cutter.

This recipe is older than I am, hence the modifications to the recipe in my Mom’s handwriting! I like to work with room temp butter and lard (formerly I used shortening for a balance of crispy and soft cookie. I use Watkins’s vanilla flavoring and put the salt and baking powder in before the flour. At sea level I didn’t have to adjust the amount of flour I used by about 1/2 cup more plus the flour used when rolling it out, but I have had a lot of mixed results at high altitude with spreading (the butter/lard mixture) even when I’ve chilled the dough. It doesn’t end up tasting too floury for me. They are good plain or decorated!

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Making cookies was a special activity my Mom shared with me, and we baked cookies at least once a week. I have tons of wonderful memories of us baking and using this recipe. She grouped similar or holiday cutters she put in colorful bags we’d get at Hallmark when we bought stationary items. Orange for Halloween and Thanksgiving, Red for Christmas, Pink for Valentine’s Day, Green for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. After Thanksgiving passed, we’d begin baking, almost spending 2 weeks straight making batch after batch of cookies for Christmas plates we’d give to neighbors, friends and family. Some of our cookie cutters were handmade and were from the 1920s, there is even one she made in shop class in high school! Baking was a special thing for us and I miss that with her. Baking and cooking is an activity I love sharing with my Big Boy and Baby. I hope my children remember our baking times as fondly as I do with my own Mom.

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Do you have special memories with a loved one baking or cooking?

Do you have a favorite recipe used in that special time together?

Here are some more of the decorated ones …

Flower power!

using homemade frosting for "sandwiches"

I’m linking to some great Valentine’s treats & ideas this week! Seriously, wow – how may Red Velvet recipes are there? All yummy!

I’m #30
I’m #359!
In Hop 49 I’m #118
fingerprints on the fridgeI’m #438!
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