This past weekend I had the pleasure of being a part of the first Ag + Art Tour of Florence County. It was a fabulous weekend of meeting local people and farmers! Fresh produce was everywhere and there were the most gorgeous strawberries I have ever seen!
They were so gorgeous they sold out before lunch on the first day of the tours! I was talking with Mrs. Jan (she and her husband own the farm) and she told me about some of her favorite strawberry related desserts – strawberry cheesecake, shortcake, chocolate dipped. As we were sitting outside rocking in the heat (it was 94* on Saturday! eeekkkk), I thought to myself “Boy…I sure would love a popsicle right now”.
Here’s a fun new recipe for you to try based off of the gorgeous strawberries from the Davis Farm :)
Strawberry Lemon-Lime Popsicle
Makes about 6 popsicles
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup raw cane sugar (can substitute Stevia)
1/2 cup water
4 drops Lime essential oil
2 drops Lemon essential oil
1 drop Black Pepper essential oil (optional)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Place sliced strawberries, sugar and water into a bowl for 15 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender. Blend on medium for 1-2mts or until smooth. Add Lime, Lemon, Black Pepper (if using), and salt, blend to combine. Divide between popsicle molds, leaving 1/4-inch space at the top for expansion.
Freeze overnight or until completely frozen before removing from molds. Dip in lukewarm water for 10 seconds to unmold each popsicle.
If you want a softer popsicle that’s more chewy, transfer mixture to a saucepan after it’s soaked, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. You can hasten this along by transferring the mixture back to the bowl and setting that in a bowl of ice water. Once cool, divide between popsicle molds.
I’ve only paired strawberry with lemon, and I was missing out because lime is the perfect contrast to strawberry’s spun sugar/cotton candy/pink frosting earnestness! It’s second only to the black pepper, which you can add at whatever level you’re comfortable with. You’ll be amazed by how well strawberries and black pepper go together!
Hosting a Summer Cocktail Party? Try this!
Looking for a fun adult version for a summer cocktail party? Put a shot of white tequila in a glass wide enough to dip popsicle. Yes, you can double-dip!
What popsicles are you whipping up this summer? I’d love to try some new recipes!
It’s begun…the search for the perfect birthday cake!! One only turns 29 once right? So a few of my favorite things…lemon and chocolate. I was talking with HB the other night and he asked me what was my favorite kind of cake…and I replied and said well I LOOOOOVE lemon cake….but I LOOOOOVE chocolate too…and then he sent me this….
Hello Best Birthday Cake Ever! #LemonChocolate
So this weekend I shall be trying my hand at the Cake Walker’s Lemon Chocolate Cake recipe. HB and I share a birthday week so we shall critique it in honor of turning 29.
How cute are those little beehives and lemondrop drips? (You do realize that I’m so OCD making those little beehives perfectly is going to kill me right?)
This delightful cake will quickly become your “go to” favorite when you desire something unique and special—it has surely become a favorite in my house. The moist, lemony crumb is a citrus celebration, but the tango it does with the dense chocolate frosting is completely tantalizing. What’s more, the surprise burst of zest in the chocolate ganache leads the delicious dance, pleasing the palate much like a fresh lemon twist does to the first sip of espresso.
Makes one 8 or 9-inch two-layer cake.
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest and juice of 3 lemons (approximately 2 loosely packed tablespoons zest and about 1/3rd cup juice)
1/2 cup lemon curd (from your favorite recipe or store-bought variety)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
2 lbs. sifted powdered sugar (32 oz.)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/3rd cup milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate (Use chips or cut bars into small pieces. For best results and flavor, select a brand with 63% cacao content.)
2 teaspoons lemon zest.
Lemon Drop Drips
1/2 cup hard Lemon Drop candies
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease two 8×2”, or two 9×1 1/2″ round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, grease the paper and then flour the pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, zest, lemon juice and lemon curd, beat in until incorporated. Scrape the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. After the last addition, mix the batter until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl and stir gently to mix in. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
For 8-inch pans* bake approximately 43-45 minutes, 9-inch pans bake for 34-36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The tops will be golden brown and the cakes should just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove cakes from the oven and cool on racks for 12 minutes; remove from pans (discard the parchment). Cool completely on racks.
While the cakes are baking, make the Lemon Drop Drip garnishes. Fit a sheet pan with parchment paper and tape the paper to the pan along one long edge—this will be the “top” of the pan; set aside. In a small non-stick pan over medium-low heat melt the lemon drops until completely melted to a viscous syrup state. Turn the heat to low and work quickly to spoon small puddles on the parchment-lined pan. Once you have a few puddles, tilt the pan up to create drips, maintaining the tilt until the desired drip length is reached; lay pan flat. Repeat in different places on the paper until you have about 12 or so drips. You may not choose to use all 12, but it’s good to have extra in case of breakage.
Prepare the frosting. Add the measure of instant espresso powder to the milk and stir to dissolve; set aside. In a large mixing bowl add the butter, half the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, salt and half the milk mixture. With an electric mixer, begin mixing SLOWLY at first to prevent a cloud of dry ingredients from pluming out all over, and gradually increase the speed to medium until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and milk mixture?mix in slowly at first, increasing speed to medium low; blend until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Recipe yields enough to frost the cake including a bottom border and piped dollops on top with perhaps a small amount of leftover.
Assemble the cake. Place one cake (bottom or flat side down) onto a serving plate; frost the top with a nice fill. Place the second cake (bottom or flat side up) on top. Crumb coat (thin application) the top and sides. Place cake in refrigerator for a few minutes to set the frosting. Leave the crumb coat as is on the top, but frost the sides with a nice finish coat. Return the cake to the refrigerator to set for several minutes.
In a small sauce pan over medium low, heat the heavy cream until it just begins to slightly simmer. Reduce heat to low and add the chocolate chips; let sit for about a minute. Remove from heat. Stir or whisk the ganache to blend until completely smooth, uniform in color and pourable. Stir in the lemon zest. The ganache should be lukewarm*. Pour the ganache onto the top center of the cake. With an offset spatula, quickly spread the ganache outwards toward the edges of the cake; gently nudge some of the ganache with the spatula over the edge to drip down in multiple areas around the perimeter.
In an icing bag fitted with the tip of your choice (a #12 circle was used on the cake in the photo), pipe a border around the base of the cake. Similarly, choose a tip of your choice (a #24 round was used) to pipe dollop decorations on the top of the cake evenly spaced around the perimeter. The photo depicts 8 of these, but you may make as many as desired or have garnishes for. Pipe the dollops wide and tall enough to provide a sturdy base to support the lemon drips. Garnish each dollop by inserting a Lemon Drop Drip into the center of each dollop?gently pressing the candy drip through the dollop until it touches the cake. The cake is best served at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator covered in plastic for up to 3 days.
*If you choose the 8-inch pans you must be sure you have the ones that measure 2 inches up the side, otherwise your batter will overflow during baking. When filling the 8×2 pan with equally divided batter, the fill level will be about three quarters full for each. The batter should not overflow during baking. The benefit of using the 8×2 pan is you get a taller cake. There should not be overflow issues with the common 9×1 1/2 pans other than a shorter baking time as indicated. Please use caution when working with melted candy or any hot liquid sugar. If the chocolate ganache is too warm, it may slightly melt the frosting when poured on top causing it to sag. Additionally, not all heavy cream is manufactured with consistent fat content. Therefore, if the ganache is too thick to pour once it’s blended together, you may want to add an additional tablespoon or two to thin it.
We did it…we made it to another Friday <3 Lots of fun things in store this weekend!
As several of you noticed I’ve been a little quiet lately. Y’all there has been so much going on…..
Just to catch you up….
#1 -The Final Countdown has begun!
I’m in my last – L_A_S_T – LAAAAAASSSSTTTT fall semester of graduate school! Thank you, thank you, no applause necessary really…actually clap your hearts out. It’s been a challenge. I’ve grown, I’ve cried, I’ve learned economics is kind of interesting, and I’ve been inspired to leap. This semester is taking some serious work and studying. So I’ve been nose in a book most nights.
#2 – I started another company.
Yeah, I know. I already have one. But after doing some market research this summer and really reviewing my company, the results told me that I needed to split it and re-brand my handmade items.
SOOOOOOO……ta da! May I introduce Southern Fields Soap Company to you :) We’re a small (as in my mom and I run the show) little company. Our mission? To bring you 90% organic and vegan body products with no harmful chemicals, toxins, colorants, or junk that hurts your skin. We grow or source our ingredients from right here in the Carolinas.
When you buy a soap from us, not only do you support our farm but other local farmers too! Our scrub sugar comes from a sweet family in North Carolina, our basil from Ovis Hill Farms, our Peppermint…grown right here on the farm, and our essential oils are 100% pure (more about that in another post!).
So I’ve literally been pouring every waking hour into making products, pouring soaps, cutting soaps, working the Farmers Market, and thinking of new products for winter.
It’s been awesome! And exhausting lol. I think I’ve been running off of four hours of sleep for the last three months.
But! I love it. People are using our soaps and realizing the difference! I love hearing people say they’ve been using them for two weeks and already see a difference. <3
We’ve been going to the City Center Farmers Market in Downtown Florence on Saturdays. I love the comradeship of the merchants. They’ve been nothing but encouraging and supportive. I look forward to seeing them each weekend :)
Being a small business owner is a lot of work. It’s hard. There are nights you want to throw your hands up and quit. But hang in there! I promise it’s worth it.
#3 – Boy Dahhhhhrrraaahhhhmaaaa
So I started dating this boy in September. He was the dream ladies…lively conversationalist, proper grammar, educated, successful, loved Jesus….ahhh. I was blown away.
He was so encouraging of my little soap business and giving me ideas of how to grow it and expand it.
We went on amazing dinner dates….he brought me roses….
And then as quickly as Hurricane Matthew rolled through, he was through. No goodbye, no phone call…just ghosted me as if I didn’t exist at all.
Now y’all know I’m not one to sit around and look at my phone waiting on a boy to call. Ain’t nobody got time for that, am I right?
Well this one just got my goat. . . So after getting frustrated and worked up about it, I did what you should never do…I texted him and told him exactly what I thought of his childish, immature rude 30 yr old behavior.
His response…You’re too tall to date.
Go ahead…bust out and laugh. I did. Lol. Called my mother and told her…and she laughed then said well someone’s got a complex. Can’t momma call it?
#4 – Charley Tango
Ever look at your vehicle and wonder why you haven’t traded the dag-gum thing in yet? Oh right it’s paid off…
So far this year, Charley’s gotten new tires, new brakes, new filters, new headlights x2, new blinkers, new flashers……just keep going and you’ll get there.
He’s eaten up my truck fund and most of my savings account.
And then today I get up to go to work and he won’t start. Nope. Just sat there like I need a day off mom. Momma ain’t got time for that boo boo.
Thank goodness my dad was off work today and could work on him.
So pray the Lord drops a new to me vehicle in price range around here soon. ‘Cause the old boy is a ticking time bomb.
#5 – Exhaustion
It’s a thing. I’m well versed in it at the moment. I knew going into grad school that I wouldn’t have much of a life until it was through. But they don’t tell you how rough running two small businesses, grad school, being VP of Com for Junior League and working a 40+ hour job each week is. …. it’s sheer insanity.
So what I’ve learned is this….sleep when you can…truck naps are awesome…hammock naps are better…you can listen to grad school lectures in the shower to save time and on the way to work…you can make products while watching grey’s anatomy #multitaskingfreakingqueenbee…you will cry a lot….drink hot tea….take immupro tablets 3x a day or you will get sick….
Basically, my life is a huge ball of craziness at the moment :) But that’s what being me entails right now. Chasing a dream is just that…it’s a chase. You have to constantly push yourself. You will fall, you will fail, you will falter along the way. But you will also get back up, dust off, and succeed :)
So here’s to you my lovelies! May you chase that big scary dream, may you dust that bootie off and may you be the best most bad bootie #GirlBoss ever!
I am currently in Denver, Colorado for a conference and y’all! It is blissfully like fall here <3 I am slightly dreading going back to hot old SC tonight.
With fall comes a few of my favorite things…Pumpkin Cranberry Bread (thank you momma!), Spiced Tea, Vests (I’m a complete vest addict) and crunchy leaves.
We always know it’s fall when my mom makes the first batch of her famous Spiced Tea. When you walk into her house, it smells deliciously of orange & clove and you instantly want to grab a blanket and snuggle with a mug. She’s been making Spiced Tea since we were little kids. I remember grabbing my mug and standing by the stove anxiously waiting until she would deem it the perfect time to dip us out a scoop.
It’s one of her signature recipes and my absolute favorite to make for a fall party or Christmas event!
Momma’s Spiced Tea
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 TBSP WHOLE cloves (about 16)
3 cups sugar (can sub 1/2 Splenda & 1/2 sugar)
1 qt. boiling water
1 qt. strong tea (Like REALLY STRONG y’all!)
Juice 3 lemons (Or lemon juice)
1 cup pineapple juice (I prefer Dole’s)
1 cup orange juice
3 quarts boiling water (Or sub 1/2 apple cider!)
Bring 1 qt water (or cider/water blend) to a boil, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sugar (Mom throws in a dash of nutmeg). Boil for 5 minutes, then add tea and remaining ingredients. Keep on low for about an hour to encourage the flavors to blend. Serve hot or cold!
I will tell you a little secret about the spices. Momma splits them into two large tea balls and puts one on each side of the pot.
It’s good right after she makes it….but it’s AHHHHHMAZING the day after. All of the flavors and blended into this synergy of taste that I’ve yet to find anywhere else.
So go home, dig your favorite mug out and make a batch!
You can find more of my fall party favorites here!
One vest wearing, mug huggin’ Lemon
PS: Reply to this and I’ll send you my mom’s Cranberry Pumpkin Bread recipe! It pairs beautifully with Spiced Tea!