Peter Rabbit Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Peter Rabbit Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter and Bunny Week

and ending on a sweet note. . .

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 I found a Peter Rabbit Cupcake Kit which called

 for a batch of Peter Rabbit Cupcakes,

complete with Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten

and Benjamin Bunny!

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So I found a recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes~

a recipe that everybunny would enjoy :)

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I made a few changes to the original recipe after reading the reviews. These cupcakes are a delicious way to use zucchini, which adds moisture rather than a distinct flavor!

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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes,

adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz. container plain yogurt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 cups grated zucchini

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In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.

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Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

You can find a printable recipe here.

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Frost cupcakes with favorite

Chocolate or Cream Cheese frosting.

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You can find a 5 star-rated Chocolate Frosting here,

or a 5 star-rated Cream Cheese Frosting here.

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

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You can follow The Novel Bakers on Pinterest,

and find all the Beatrix Potter recipes

and bunny inspiration for the week!

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Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

Spring Tea Sandwiches with Flower & Herb Cheese

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It’s been a delicious week with

The Novel Bakers

and Beatrix Potter and Bunny Week!

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The recipes and fun have multiplied like rabbits :)

You can hop along with

The Novel Bakers on Pinterest,

and find all the Beatrix Potter recipes

and bunny inspiration for the week!

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I’m serving Spring Tea Sandwiches

with Flower & Herb Cheese,

 fun for a garden party, shower, or tea. . .

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. . .Inspired by some tabletop gardening

and Cooking with Flowers.

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Beatrix Potter, Pansies Watercolor with Pencil, undated,
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life

 

Flower & Herb Cheese

Making Flower & Herb Cheese (or Butter) is easy and beautiful with edible flowers, and adds a ‘wow’ factor for a shower, garden club lunch or treat at the breakfast table!

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For one 8 ounce package of room temperature soft cheese, add 1/4 to 1 cup flowers, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and any other herbs or desired seasoning.

I used Neufchâtel, violas, chives and parsley.

As with any edible flower, use only ones that are pesticide and chemical free.

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Pick your edible flowers in the morning when they are fresh, avoiding older bruised blooms. Rinse gently to “debug” them and pat dry. Remove each pansy or viola from its sepals (green base).

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 Blend to incorporate, adding your shredded/ chopped petals to your room temperature cheese, along with your herbs and seasonings.

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 Cover and refrigerate.

Use soft cheese within a week.

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For 8 ounces of soft cheese use these

amounts of flowers as a guideline:

Pansy/Viola Cheese~  1/4 cup violas

Nasturtium Cheese~ 1 cup nasturtiums

Rose Cheese~  1/2 cup rose petals, add 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Lavender Cheese~ Up to 2 tablespoons lavender buds

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I used Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Sliced Bread and seedless cucumber and radishes sliced thin with a mandoline. Place sliced cucumbers on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

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 Spread your herbed flower cheese on your bread, layer cucumbers and/or radishes and use cookie cutter for shapes. If you don’t want to fool with cookie cutters, serve your sandwiches open-faced, and cut in squares or triangles for serving.

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 Garnish with violas and

parsley or other herbs.

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 If assembling tea sandwiches ahead, cover your sandwiches with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap to keep your bread fresh & from drying out. Garnish with flowers before serving.

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You can find a printable recipe, here.

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

Spring Tea Sandwiches with Flower & Herb Cheese

Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

 

Veggie Medley Deviled Eggs

Veggie Medley Deviled Eggs

I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Easter) Week!

Since bunnies mean veggies and Easter means eggs,

I hunted up a recipe for Veggie Deviled Eggs!

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The real-life Benjamin Bunny was a tame rabbit of Beatrix Potter’s whom she sketched constantly, and whose exploits continually amused her:

“He is an abject coward, but believes in bluster, could stare our old dog out of countenance, chase a cat that has turned tail.”

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Although Benjamin had died by 1904 when this story was published, Peter Rabbit’s cousin, Benjamin, is a similar self-possessed personality, who makes himself quite at home in Mr. McGregor’s garden.

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I found this deviled egg version, perfect for veggie-noshing bunnies or people :) and ideal for a garden party or spring gathering, in the April issue of Food Network Magazine, in their 50 Deviled Eggs section.

This is a delicious variation of deviled eggs with the veggies adding a little crunch and color!

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Veggie Medley Deviled Eggs

Boil 1 dozen eggs, peel and cut eggs in half. Mash eggs yolks with 1/4 cup each cream cheese and mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. (I used a heaping spoonful of Dijon.)

Stir in 2 tablespoons each finely chopped red bell pepper, celery, carrot, scallion (I used chives instead) and parsley. Food Network’s version calls for chopped broccoli also which I didn’t add.

Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into the egg whites; top with cucumber and/ or sliced radish.

Cupcake liners are a festive & tidy way to serve deviled eggs, eliminating the need for extra napkins! I used double liners, one turned inside out, for extra stability and color. If you’re assembling your eggs ahead of time, wait and place them in cupcake liners at the last minute so the moisture from the egg and/or refrigerator doesn’t cause the paper wrapper to wilt.

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For perfect hard boiled eggs:

Place eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat just to boiling. Remove from burner and cover pan.

   Let eggs stand in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large). Cool completely in bowl of ice water.

To peel a hard-boiled egg:

Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands or countetop to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease off the shell. Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

For easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate your eggs a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.

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You can find a printable recipe here.

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

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Visit us all week for more Beatrix Potter and Easter Inspiration! You can follow The Novel Bakers on Pinterest, for Beatrix Potter recipes and bunny inspiration here.

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Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

In the Potting Shed: Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny!) Week.

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Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

by Marta McDowell

 Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.

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Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.

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I’ve been immersed in the charmed world

of Beatrix Potter, filled with flowers and gardens

and of course, Peter Rabbit!

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I’m ready to break in a new pair of

gardening gloves & dig in the dirt!

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So I took a day off from baking

to play in the Potting Shed. . .

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It seemed fitting since my Potting Shed is as full

as Mr. McGregor’s fictional one with lots of places

for a bunny to hide . . .

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” . . .a broom for sweeping, a spade for heavy digging, a trowel for transplanting. He has different sizes of flower pots: small ‘thimbles’ for starting seeds and ‘long toms’ for growing deep rooted seedlings.”

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I filled a bunny planter for some spring blooms and to enjoy indoors until we’re past our freeze/frost date later this month, and can plant outdoors.

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Purple Hyacinths and Muscari are blooming,

planted alongside violas, a bird nest,

and a few colored eggs.

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 “Beatrix Potter was a late bloomer, gardening-wise. By the time she saw the first growing season progress through her garden at Hill Top she would be forty years old. In spite of a somewhat late start, the seeds of Potter’s gardening interests were planted early on.”

IMG_2331(Beatrix Potter at a garden gate about 1871)

Part one in Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is her life as a gardener with chapters titled Germination, Offshoots, Flowering, Roots, Ripening, and Setting Seed.

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Part two is a year in Beatrix Potter’s Gardens, divided by seasons, and part three is visiting Beatrix Potter’s Gardens.

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Beatrix Potter’s Gardener’s Yearbook 

Illustrated with naturalist sketches and paintings from Beatrix Potter’s work, this beautiful journal contains charts, record-keeping pages, seasonal planting information, and gardening tips from Caroline Kennedy, an experienced garden designer.

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I did a little tabletop gardening,

landscaping the counter & arranging flowers

with Portmeirion Botanic Garden. . .

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 Planting flowers with dishes,

aka dish gardening :)

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 Enjoying the Lily Flowered Azalea. . .

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Lilacs. . .

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 Narcissus. . .

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And Hyacinths. . .

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Along with blooming flatware . . .

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“Every garden tells a story,

if you know how to read it.”

~Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

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Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter, Bunny & Gardening Inspiration.

You can also hop along :) on Pinterest 

and find all the recipes & bunny inspiration.

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Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysTablescape Thursday

Home Sweet HomeBe Inspired Friday,

Feathered Nest FridaySeasonal Sundays

 

Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny) Week!

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 Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

hopped from the pages of

The Beatrix Potter Country Cooking Book

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The Beatrix Potter Country Cooking Book

 by Sara Paston-Williams:

Inspired by the works of Beatrix Potter and her own love of traditional cookery, it is divided into 11 sections, each containing a wide variety of recipes: starters, fish, meat, poultry and game, eggs and cheese, salads and vegetables, puddings, cakes and bread, drinks and sweets and preserves. The author talked to professional cooks working in the region where Beatrix Potter lived and many residents who have memories of her.

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I was skeptical at first about pairing cucumbers with strawberries, but was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful combination for a light and fresh salad for the spring or summer!

I made a little change substituting white balsamic vinegar for the dry white wine in the recipe, and arranged the strawberries and cucumber slices in rows and borders to be neatly razed and devastated by hungry and industrious bunnies. . .

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Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

1 large cucumber (I used English/seedless, if using American use two)

Strawberries, 8 – 12 ounces

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Sprinkle of sugar (a couple of teaspoons)

3 – 4 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar

Sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs, mint, tarragon or basil (I used mint)

Violas for garnish

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Peel cucumber if desired before thinly slicing. Slice strawberries, arrange in alternate circles in rows in shallow serving dish.

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Season with salt, pepper, sugar. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the berries and cucumber and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Chill well. Garnish with violas, pansies, nasturtiums  or other edible flowers (pesticide and chemical free) before serving if desired.

You can find a printable recipe here.

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

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Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter and Easter inspiration!

You can follow along on Pinterest and find all the  recipes and bunny inspiration, here.

Cucumber & Strawberry Salad

Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

Peter Rabbit’s Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Peter Rabbit's Carrot Zucchini Muffins

I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny!) Week.

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I’m embracing my inner 5-year-old with Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales, beautifully reissued and the complete and unabridged collection of all 23 of Beatrix Potter’s Tales with all their original illustrations. It would make a wonderful baby shower gift or keepsake volume to share with your grandchildren!

If you need a refresher course like I did, the stories are arranged in the order in which they were first published so they may be read in their proper sequence. A special section at the end of this volume contains four additional works by Beatrix Potter that were not published during her lifetime.

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Beatrix Potter’s tales were often connected with real places, people, or animals, so each story includes a brief introductory note about its history. The story of Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden first appeared in a picture letter Beatrix Potter wrote to the young son of her former governess in 1893. Encouraged by her success in having some greetings card designs published, Beatrix remembered the letter seven years later and expanded into a little picture book, with black and white illustrations. After being rejected by several publishers,  Beatrix had it printed herself to give to family and friends. Frederick Warne agreed to publish the tale if she agreed to supply color photos and the book appeared in 1903 and was an instant success.

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For a little novel baking fun,

I adapted a recipe for Carrot-Zucchini Muffins,

sure to please everybunny with the addition

of carrot, zucchini, apple and coconut,

including naughty and hungry rabbits :)

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And I found Peter Rabbit Cupcake Holders

with a little wheelbarrow for

muffin or cupcake toting fun :)

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Peter Rabbit’s Carrot Zucchini Muffins,

adapted from Taste of Home

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling MAKES: 18 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups shredded carrot

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 cup peeled shredded apple

3/4 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons orange zest

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup canola oil (I used a combination of unsweetened apple sauce and canola oil to make 3/4 cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Directions

Gently toss together carrot, zucchini, apple, coconut, walnuts and orange zest; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be thick).

Fold in carrot mixture. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: 18 standard size muffins.

These are wonderfully moist and a great muffin for breakfast!

You can find a printable recipe, here.

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I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter and Bunny & Gardening Inspiration.

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You can also hop along :) on Pinterest and find all the recipes & bunny inspiration.

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Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

Charleston Wine + Food Festival: Waffle House Smackdown

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We attended the

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

with friends in March.

Waffle House Smack Down Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2014

Lest you think a wine & food festival is for wine & food snobs only, our favorite event was The Waffle House Smackdown, hosted by Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton!

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 Four chefs battled in a short-order showdown to produce Waffle House menu classics, after a brief training period at a local Waffle House.

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They were then judged according to Waffle House’s signature plating methods and taste, as well as standards that include an 8-minute order-to-plate, no-color omelets, toast-framing-eggs, and hash browns, as opposed to hash blondes :)

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Pictured left to right in this year’s smackdown:

Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta’s Gunshow and Fan Favorite Top Chef contestant; Mike Lata of Charleston’s FIG,  last year’s smackdown champion (and chef of our favorite Charleston restaurant BTW)Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis; Chris Shepherd of Houston’s Underbelly.

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The winner of the smackdown and Golden Frying Pan was Chris Shepherd, who then went on to compete against a 6 year Waffle House veteran. Even double-teaming with fellow competitor Kevin Gillespie, they quickly proved to be no match for a “Master Blaster,” the honorary title of Waffle House’s short-order chefs.

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 My friends and family know I would rather have a stiff poke in the eye or be served hash browns that are smothered and not covered than have my photo taken, but The Post and Courier caught me red handed. If you’re so inclined, you can see me, with my friend Ginny and our Waffle House grits & Bloody Mary in hand :)

Thank you for your visit,

Enjoy this is a brief video that explains the smackdown!