Lavish 11

posted in: 31days, Bible, lavish hospitality | 4

There are times I fail at hospitality.  And, yes, fail is a strong word.  Most will probably say just practicing it is enough, but for me, I want to do it right.  So, there is often a struggle between doing it and doing it well.

I’m a number 3 with a 2 wing on the Enneagram.  I like to be known and loved and be needed and always seem to be giving my resume.  But, I hate the fear of rejection.  Rejection and me do not get along.

The last 6 years I’ve had the most love I’ve ever known (husband, 2 boys), but I’ve also experienced the most rejection and dislike in my life. It has been some incredibly lonely times.  Filled with so many tears.

I remember just one little example of this.  I was hosting a meeting of ladies in my home.  I love to bake.  And I make these delicious and beautiful cupcakes.  I had spent all afternoon making them (with a toddler and baby).  One person ate a bite, no one else had any.  I wanted to cry the whole meeting.  When my husband arrived home, I threw them in the trash.  He didn’t even get to taste one..  When you work on something creatively for someone, have others reject it, its really a rejection of yourself.

So, the past few months, I have really been taking that rejection and placing it on Christ.  Where I need to sit and dwell in is his everlasting, never-rejecting love for me.  I’m his beloved.  He will never let me go. He will hold me fast.

When we welcome others in our loves, in our home, not rejecting them – we will be a piece of Christ to them.  In order to show them the Gospel.  To let them dwell in the love of Jesus.

More on this Psalm in The Songs of Jesus by Tim Keller

Generations, Cupcakes, and Gigi’s

posted in: chocolate, food | 0

Gigi's Holiday Cupcakes

There is something about the generations sitting down for a meal – or tossing flour in the kitchen as they make baked treats, or picking oranges from the groves around home.  Heritage and generations tell something of history and the future.  Hearing how Gigi’s got started about a decade ago – made me love the cupcake brand even more (the amazing Pecan Pie may have influenced my admiration).  I love how she is carrying recipes from generations ago and giving it to people (like me, and my littles) to carry on the yumminess to new generations.

My grandmother got me started on Little Debbie’s Nutty Bars. Every time I see them in the store or dare to buy a box I think of her.  I don’t remember her baking a lot but I remember her chicken and rice, french fries, and dressing at Thanksgiving.  My Papa (her husband) taught me how to fish, make french fries, and eat (and pick) oranges.  I’ve learned my parents’ favorite recipes and I look forward to encouraging my boys to love the kitchen (and cupcakes).  When I shared one of the mini cupcakes with my younger son this morning, he quickly licked off all the powder blue buttercream.  A dude after his momma’s heart!

Holiday Minis

Last night I had the opportunity to head to Gigi’s Kennesaw (just north of ATL) and taste their scrumptious desserts – including pies, cheesecakes, stuffed cookies, truffles, and cupcakes (and their new gluten-free line).  It was a fun evening, warm and toasty (even though it was raining outside) with other bloggers in the area and the owner of Gigi’s who as a gracious host.  We got to eat until we were full, and laugh, and just hang out.  It was a great evening.

One of our had tasks we had while we were there was to test out the new #gfreegigis line of cupcakes.  Even though Gigi’s cant be considered Gluten Free because they bake with gluten in the building – they go through great lengths to make sure the gluten stays far away from these cupcakes.  They want to take care of their customers – both gluten free customers and ones that aren’t.  The normal cupcake eater is not going to be able to tell the difference in taste.  Most of us even couldn’t.  The only thing I could tell was a slight chewiness in texture with the gluten-free – because of the rice flour and tapioca flour blend they use in the baking.  But, it was so delicious.  And the best thing is that gluten free doesn’t have to mean you can’t have cupcakes.  And there is no upcharge like most bakeries and grocery store items.  These gluten free cupcakes are the same price!

All the cupcakes!

And if you just need something to eat besides a cupcake: the peanut butter stuffed cookie was my salty goodness for the evening and like I’ve raved about before – the Southern Comfort pecan pie melted this southern girl’s heart (and taste buds)!

Thanks so much Gigi’s Kennesaw!  Y’all definitely pleased my taste buds last night!

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Two things are driving my menu this week:

1.  My mister is working long hours and needs foods that he can eat at his desk, probably 2 meals each day.  That means I get to eat a lot of my salads alone – but I need to make meals that can keep him full for those long 12 hours days.

2.  I’m trying to do better about making a meal plan and sticking with it so my boys don’t eat so many chicken nuggets and french fries.  If I have quick dinners already prepared for when I walk in the door with them then I will be less tempted to eat fast food because it is quick.

Homemade take on Panera’s kale caesar salad (I love this!)

PW’s Panzanella salad with roasted salmon on it

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes for a photo shoot tomorrow

Thai Chicken Curry

Fish Tacos (featuring TJ’s fish nuggets and homemade lime crema and broccoli slaw)

 

Cupcake Friday

posted in: food | 0

Cupcake Obsession

I absolutely love to make cupcakes.  They are fun to photograph and they are more delicious to eat!  And you don’t get to cup too big of a slice of cake.  You can just eat one cupcake, piled high with delicious buttercream (or any frosting that you choose), and its so portable.

As I’m researching cupcakes today to find some to make to take to an “at home with” shoot on Tuesday, I thought I’d share with you some of the fun ones I’ve found.  Enjoy – and get your cupcake bake on this weekend.

These scream summer to me – and fruity too!

Because nothing about nutella is bad

My husband could tell you hours worth about my coconut obsession

Fluffernutter – its just maybe the funnest word to say in the baking world

We all need a little chocolate in our lives

These are great for when you need a touch of elegance

Why you should have a kitchen torch in every home

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

Spring Peep Cupcakes

We have a busy three weeks ahead of us.  There are two separate trips for us and Eric’s work, and Easter which is always busy for him, visitors coming in town, some art projects due.  Fun times.

Since I’m heading to the Carolinas this weekend with the boys, I want to make sure that the mister won’t starve while we are away.  So here’s what will be in the kitchen:

These with fresh blueberries instead of frozen.

Granola

Black bean and chicken enchiladas

Creamy chicken noodle soup

Breakfast sandwiches

 

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Coconut Cupcakes

Boy this blog has been slow.

Honestly, I’m getting disillusioned by blogs and I’m so busy.  My life is noisy.  So when I have down time, I don’t necessarily want to open a computer and work.  Even if it is just spouting my opinion.

I do still love recipes, love to cook, love to write, but I just am more selective about what I put on here.

Thanks for reading – just sharing with you what’s going on!

I’m doing no breads this week so if there are breads here it is for my Misters and my MIL who is still here.  I may break it for a bite of a Sublime donut for donut day, but that’s about it!

Spaghetti

Leftover Pot roast with rice and veggies – this is so good and easy!

Brinner

These granola bars

This kale and avocado salad

And leftovers.

 

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Raspberry Buttercream

Wow.  We’ve already started a new month, new food budget, and gearing up for the biggest family food fest holiday.  Though Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, I’m already thinking of our menu (it will be our family and my in-laws).  But, this week – just normal stuff!

Feta Herb Scrambled Eggs

Baked Ravioli from a Freezer Food Party I went to in September

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Salads

Spanish Chicken and Potatoes

Mojo Chicken Enchiladas

Brinner one of these nights this week

 

 

Creatives: Southern Celebration with All She Wrote Notes

posted in: creatives, Uncategorized | 1

All She Wrote Notes

Do you ever find someone so delightful that they leave a lasting impression on your soul?  Do you ever taste food and enjoy company for what it truly is – an artform and a perk of living in the south?  Do you ever watch a storm roll in and hope that it doesn’t rain to ruin in your party and pray that it does just so you get a chance to feel the rain on your face and dance in some puddles?

All of this happened while I was in North Carolina this week and eating dinner with the lovely Maghon Walker of All She Wrote Notes: the totally southern calligraphy gal that loves gold, food, running, and all things celebration.

We ate dinner (my first time) at Top of the Hill which is a staple for any UNC-Chapel Hill grad.  Then we stopped by the decadent Sugarland Bakery down the street (which provided our wedding cake) and in between stopped and took some photos of the shimmery Maghon.

Maghon Walker

Why calligraphy?  Because she loves to celebrate.  Most of her calligraphy orders are done in order to help someone celebrate?  My new motto is intentionally creative – so this was perfect.  She is creative – and helps people celebrate.

Celebrations come in many forms: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, promotions, or you could just celebrate the fact that it is Thursday – and you need something to celebrate.

Franklin Street

Maghon also directs new creatives (so, anyone, really) to not try to copy others and their work.  Be your own and you will be successful.  So many out there find a certain style of lettering and copy it and call it their own.  In the writing business that is called plagiarism and in same goes for the lettering front.  Be your own person – find your own style – be successful at being you!

Maghon Walker

If you are in the need of anything southern and prettily lettered – contact Maghon and she will be happy to help you.

If you are ever in Chapel Hill – go to Sugarland and Top of the Hill.

If you are ever in a rain storm – dance in the puddles!

All She Wrote Notes Takes Sugarland

Kenan Hill Art

I do totally think the phrase suits Maghon to a T.  Thanks Averi for showing me your Kenan Hill Print.

Mini Nutella Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

posted in: chocolate | 0

World Nutella Day.  Isn’t it a great day!

Just in time for the Super Bowl too – so I could have a reason to make these wonderful bites of deliciousness and not eat them all.

Enjoy.

I searched the internet, then combined a couple of recipes.

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond 

1/4 cup sugar

8 ounces Nutella –

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons skim milk

Cream eggs and butter and extracts, add in nutella.  Scrape sides.  Add in dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.  Mix until you get a smooth consistency. 

I used mini cupcakes liners – makes about 30-36.  Fill no more than half way.  Spray liners of course.  Bake at 325 for about 15 minutes, don’t overcook these babies.

Frosting:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup Nutella, mine was pretty heaping of a 1/2 cup

3/4 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs skim milk

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Mix butter and nutella.  Then vanilla and milk – finish with sugar. 

Don’t eat it all before you get it on the cupcake.

Delicious Wilmington: Coastal Cupcakes

posted in: chocolate, food, restaurants | 2

I think every other cupcake business in Wilmington needs to just close up shop and that Coastal Cupcakes needs to bake more cupcakes. 

Best cupcake I’ve had, hans down.  I’ve had cupcakes in Chicago, RDU, Publix (which are a favorite of mine), TN,  CO.  Cupcake bakeries and “shoppes” are all the rage right now, so there seems to be one on every corner.  They do it right!

A friend and I share the coconut with cream cheese icing and coconut on top.  The most moist, fall apart, not dry at all cupcake.  Flavorful and just melt in your mouth.  Most cupcakes I’ve tasted in bakeries taste like they are frozen.  I would have though these were baked right before we walked in (though the icing wasn’t melting, so I know they weren’t).  The coconut wasn’t hard.  The cream cheese frosting was just bliss. 

I would love to have tried all of them, and the shop clerk that day was so kind and gracious to let me come behind the counter to not have the glass in all the pictures!

Thank you Coastal Cupcakes!  Keep baking!  I will return!