Tag Archive for Michael Lee West

A Novel Baker’s Birthday!

DSC_9237-001

Join us for a Celebration and a virtual

Birthday Party for Michael Lee West~

Southern Author, Baker, Gardener, Yorkie Enthusiast!

MLW Bday

The Novel Bakers are celebrating her milestone birthday

and literary works today with a little food and fun~

We’re happy to have you join us!

DSC_9245-001

We gathered old and new friends to join

in the fun and celebration,

Teeny is here. . .

DSC_9256-001

We share her love of peaches, copper pots

and Red Velvet Cake!

DSC_9320-001

 I had two copies of She Flew the Coop~

 Olive Nepper granted me permission to tear out pages

of my second copy and run them through

the printer for a book page birthday banner!

DSC_9342

And also use pages for a little

napkin embellishment~

IMG_1644-002

DSC_9326-001

Punched with a

Martha Stewart Birthday punch from Michaels,

also available here.

DSC_9284-001

Help yourself to some salt water taffy~

Renata DeChavannes’

candy of choice for bingeing,

while we wait for the other guests to arrive.

DSC_9321-001

DSC_9293-001

Our cast iron skillet is seasoned and ready. . .

Cooking Lessons, Consuming Passionspage 122.

DSC_9288-001

Caro Clifford and company are here to celebrate

with Piper Maitland aka Michael Lee West~

providing a little vampire lore,

timely with Halloween around the corner!

DSC_9318-001

DSC_9280-001

Along with a few Mad Girls in Love,

joining the celebration~

DSC_9334-001

And some Crazy Ladies

are joining us~

DSC_9257-001

We’re enjoying a Southern Fried Celebration

in honor of Michael Lee’s birthday!

DSC_9384-001

On the Menu:

Sweet Tea, Southern Fried Chicken, Fried Okra, Skillet Cornbread and Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs~

Collard Greens, Fried Green Tomatoes, Macaroni & Cheese and Lima Beans send their regrets and could not attend :)

DSC_9361-001

We married Deviled Eggs with Pimento Cheese,

the Pâté of the South~

along with a little bacon for

Pimento Cheese-Deviled Eggs. . .

DSC_9363-001

DSC_9372-001

And the beverage of choice,

Sweet Tea, a Southern staple~

DSC_9357-001

How to make Perfect Iced Tea,

page 158, Consuming Passions.

DSC_0066

Or enjoy Peach Tea Punch, tea that

 a girl from a Peach Farm would love. . .

DSC_0833-001

Or celebrate with a cocktail~

 help yourself to a Peach Martini . . .

DSC_9393-001

We’re serving mini skillets

of corn bread~

No Southern recipe required, one 8.5 ounce box of Jiffy corn muffin mix makes four 4 inch skillets of cornbread~ add cheese, jalapenos, bacon, and/or sour cream if you like.

DSC_9394-001

DSC_9387-001

DSC_9356-001

DSC_9355-001

DSC_9380-001

DSC_9338-001

Teeny’s perfect Red Velvet Cake recipe

can be found on page 318 in

She Flew the Coop. . .

DSC_9339-001

Help yourself to a

Red Velvet Cupcake!

DSC_9376-001

DSC_9349-001

Or

Have your Cake and Drink it Too. . .

DSC_0665-001

in a

Red Velvet Cake Martini. . .

DSC_0603-001

Teeny Red Velvet1

Or try an original Teeny-concoction:

If-I-Can’t-Have-True-Love, I’ll-Buy-A-Bigger-Dress-Size’ 

DSC_0555-003

Maybe a serving of

 Bonaventure Georgia Peach Trifle~

Choose your dessert(s) of choice,

and add a sparkler and light. . .

DSC_9299-001

DSC_9305-001

And wish Michael Lee West

a Happy Birthday!

DSC_9282-001

Other friends are celebrating

Michael Lee’s birthday today,

stop by for more

Happy Birthday Wishes and Cake!

Jain~ a quiet life

Kitty~ Kitty’s Kozy Kitchen

Sarah~ Hyacinths for the Soul

Sam~ My Carolina Kitchen

Rett~ The Gazebo House 

Jenna~ The Painted Apron

Lynn~ Happier Than A Pig In Mud

Linda~ More Fun Less Laundry

Debbie~ Mountain Breaths

Jacqueline~ Purple Chocolat Home 

Pattie~ Olla-Podrida

Pam~ Sidewalk Shoes

Susan~ Between Naps on the Porch

Birthday Book Page Banner

 Happy Birthday

Michael Lee!

Happy Birthday Michael Lee!

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Let’s Dish!Metamorphosis MondayThe Scoop,

 Inspire Me TuesdayWow Us Wednesdays,

 Tutorials Tips and TidbitsTablescape Thursday,

Open House ThursdaysHome Sweet Home,

Be Inspired FridayFoodie Friday,

 Feathered Nest FridaySeasonal Sundays

A Teeny Bit of Table Inspiration

Michael Lee West has cooked more delicious fun in

 A Teeny Bit of Troublethe second installment and follow-up to Gone With a Handsomer Man!

Lately I’ve been reacquainting myself and

Tasting with Teeny Templeton!

Since I’ve been following Teeny’s troubles~ I’ve been engrossed by Peaches, Red Velvet Cakes, a Bulldog named Sir, and lethal and imaginary recipes.

I’m reposting a table, from last year, inspired by

Gone With a Handsomer Man~

I hope you don’t mind a second helping :)

 

A Teeny bit of table inspiration from

 Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West~

Besides some table inspiration, GWAHM provided me with lots of laughs from the cast of quirky characters, along with some major food cravings~

Teeny Templeton, is an out of work pastry chef who cuts her own hair, does her own nails, and prefers cotton over silk.

She sets the table with some blue & white floral dishes, which had me promptly reaching for a set I received as a gift.

Teeny:

“I set the patio table with blue-and-white floral dishes, added a vase filled with hydrangeas. . .”

There are no hydrangeas at my table, but my peonies have just begun to bloom~

Villeroy & Boch “Switch 3″ Dinnerware, a mix and match collection, allows you to combine patterns to personalize your table~

 

The Cordoba dinner plate has a bird and flower design, reminiscent of Portuguese tiles~

 The Castell salad plates have a checkerboard motif,  a pattern perfect for the countryside, or lakeside~

I added hobnail glasses to the table that Teeny’s Aunt Bluette might have served Iced Tea in~

Iced Tea that a girl from a Peach Farm would love~

Summer Peach Tea Punch~

~made with tea, peach nectar, ginger ale, lemonade, simple syrup and club soda.

~recipe courtesy Southern Living here.

 

 I eliminated the simple syrup and used diet ginger ale to cut out some of the sugar~

* gasp*

I know, we tend to drink our tea so sweet in the South it makes your teeth ache :)

Teeny picks up dinner at the grocery store:

 “I came out with an apple walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette, a wedge of brie, and a cheesecake sampler.”

An Apple Walnut Salad~ sliced apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, & blue cheese crumbles on a bed of baby lettuces.

 While Teeny’s salad is dressed with raspberry vinaigrette, we enjoyed Light Cranberry Walnut dressing, straight from the bottle ~

We skipped the cheesecake sampler and saved our calories for Brie~

 Brie in Puff Pastry, recipes & videos courtesy Pepperidge Farm, here.

Coop:

“ ‘I love how your mind works, Teeny. Like a bird hopping from twig to twig, never losing sight of the worm.’ ”

 Enjoy Gone with a Handsomer Man and A Teeny Bit of Trouble and help yourself to some Southern Flavor, Food & Fun~

 “Teeny” table details:

Placemats & Napkins/ Bed, Bath & Beyond/last year

Blue Goblets/ Dollar Tree

  Villeroy & Boch “Switch 3″ Dinnerware/HomeGoods

Trays /HomeGoods

Hobnail Glasses & Pitcher/ World Market last year

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday~

Cuisine Kathleen for Let’s Dish!~

Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday~

Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday~

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

StoneGable for On The Menu Monday~

A Teeny Tasting

Michael Lee West has cooked more delicious fun and trouble for Teeny Templeton, in her second installment and follow-up to Gone With a Handsomer Man!

 You can revisit The Spencer-Jackson house, stroll down Rainbow Row, and see Teeny’s bulldog, Sir, here.

 I was anxiously awaiting A Teeny Bit of Trouble, ready for a few laughs and more Do-Not-Try-This-At-Home recipes from the Templetons’ family cookbook:

“We Templetons specialized in peaches and poisoned recipes. The fruit was real, but our recipes were a harmless method to relieve tension—like a punching bag, but with imaginary food. If someone pissed us off, we couldn’t spit or pull hair; we’d just mentally cook a deadly meal and pretend to feed it to the enemy. My aunts had written these lethal concoctions in the back of a spiral-bound church cookbook.”

 

One of Teeny’s Aunt Bluette’s favorite mottos was

“Believe but verify.”

Inspired by A Teeny Bit of Trouble, I’m verifying the notion that everything tastes better served in a martini glass, with a few Teeny tastings :)

Teeny places her red velvet cakes she bakes for The Picky Palate in a case next to a few Low Country favorites~

 Shrimp and Grits Martinis~

 I used a Shrimp and Grits recipe from SC native, Tyler Florence, who graduated from the culinary program at Johnson & Wales in Charleston.

A 5-star recipe that’s quick and easy!

I used Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits/Polenta.

In addition to lethal recipes, Teeny cooks up non-toxic, imaginary ones:

“To soothe myself, I invented a drink called If-I-Can’t-Have-True-Love, I’ll-Buy-A-Bigger-Dress-Size:  vodka, coffee liqueur, Hershey’s Syrup, crème de cacao, crushed ice, and chocolate ice cream.”

“Place ingredients in a blender and pulverize. Ponder the chemistry of food and romance.”

“If love can be frozen, will it still be love? True love isn’t smooth, it’s lumpy; but if you own a quality blender, you can make this drink in three minutes.”

I used vanilla vodka but you could use chocolate vodka!

Sprinkle with a few red velvet cupcake crumbs to further increase your dress size :)

Butt-Out-of-My-Life-Barbecue Martini

My husband smokes a “Boston Butt”, “Picnic Roast”, “Pork Shoulder” or “Shoulder Blade Roast” ~ all names for shoulder cuts that make great pulled pork.

We brine our Boston Butt for 24-48 hours, (depending on the size & how organized we are :)  in a mixture of ½ cup of pickling salt (which dissolves in cold water), 2 quarts of water and ¾ cup of molasses.

Remove from the brine, blot with paper towels, brush on olive oil, and liberally add a dry rub/seasoning blend of salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, garlic powder etc.

Smoke at 225 degrees over lump charcoal with some soaked hickory or apple wood chips for about 1  1/2 hours per pound. Remove from smoker, wrap in foil and let stand an hour. It should pull apart easily, with all the fat melted away :)

Quit-Jumping-to-Conclusions Barbecue Rub:

½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup paprika, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 ¼ tablespoons dry English mustard, 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt, 3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper, and ½ tablespoon onion salt. Garlic is optional.”

“Mix ingredients and pat onto the roast. This recipe will coat your hands, too, and you’ll be unable to call your boyfriend.”

 Layer barbecue with slaw in your martini glass.

If you live below the Mason-Dixon line, garnish with a Hush Puppy or two, and a pickle.

Teeny tells Coop: “You had me at peaches.”

“. . .a few months ago, on a balmy June night, I walked into a Charleston pub and ordered a peach martini.”

“Maybe it was fate. Or maybe it was thirst. I didn’t matter. Coop and I had found each other again; but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong.”

I used a Peach Martini recipe that calls for vanilla vodka, peach schnapps, peach nectar and a squeeze of lime juice.

 Teeny would describe my peaches as “hard and knotty”, since it’s not peach season.

 I substituted frozen peaches puréed in a blender, with water and a little sweetener to taste, for the peach nectar.

Float a frozen peach or two in your peachtini to serve as ice cubes~

“Peaches. This was the smell of home, of a childhood that had been bruised in places but was still whole and mostly sweet.”

I couldn’t resist shaking up a Red Velvet Cake Martini, for Teeny’s benefit, that I found from Betty Crocker.

(No disrespect intended Betty Crocker~

I already had a couple of Duncan Hines products in the pantry when I found your recipe :)

Ingredients:

~ Whipped cream cheese frosting 

~ Red colored sugar

~2 teaspoons chocolate syrup

~Crushed ice

~¼ cup cake-flavored vodka

~¼ cup crème de cacao

~6 tablespoons buttermilk (I used half-n-half )

~1 to 2 drops red food color ( I used a lot more~ about half a bottle)

How to:

~Dip rims of 2 martini glasses in frosting then dip in red sugar.

~Drizzle 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup in bottom of each glass.

~Refrigerate.

~Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add vodka, crème de cacao, buttermilk and food color. Cover; shake vigorously until well mixed. Strain mixture into chilled glasses.

Follow Teeny in her culinary escapades and enjoy the perfect combination of tickle-your-tastebuds-and-your-funny-bone in

A Teeny Bit of Trouble!

I’m joining:

the talented Michael Lee West for

THE TEENY TEMPLETON COOK OFF, April 20th

StoneGable for On The Menu Monday~

Hope to see you there :)

Peony, White, and Blue

 A Teeny bit of table inspiration from Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West.

 You can find my edible review, here if you like~

Besides some table inspiration, this book provided me with lots of laughs from the cast of quirky characters, along with some major food cravings.

Teeny Templeton, is an out of work pastry chef who cuts her own hair, does her own nails, prefers cotton over silk, and plain white dishes that don’t match.

She sets the table with some blue & white floral dishes, which had me promptly reaching for a new set I received as a gift.

Teeny:

“I set the patio table with blue-and-white floral dishes,

added a vase filled with hydrangeas. . .”

There are no hydrangeas at my table,

but my peonies have just begun to bloom!

Villeroy & Boch “Switch 3″ Dinnerware, a mix and match collection, allows you to combine patterns to personalize your table~  I spied them at HomeGoods a couple of weeks ago :-)

 

The Cordoba dinner plate has a bird and flower design, reminiscent of Portuguese tiles. . .

 The Castell salad plates have a checkerboard motif,

a pattern perfect for the countryside, or lakeside!

I added hobnail glasses to the table that Teeny’s Aunt Bluette might have served iced tea in.

Iced Tea that a girl from

a peach farm could love. . .

Summer Peach Tea Punch,

recipe courtesy Southern Living

Makes 1 gallon

Ingredients

3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-oz.) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup Simple Sugar Syrup
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled (I used diet)
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gal. container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving.

You can find a printable recipe here.

Teeny picks up dinner at the grocery store:

“I came out with an apple walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette, a wedge of brie, and a cheesecake sampler.”

An Apple Walnut Salad~ sliced apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, & blue cheese crumbles on a bed of baby lettuces.

 While Teeny’s salad is dressed with raspberry vinaigrette, we enjoyed Light Cranberry Walnut dressing, straight from the bottle.

 

We saved our calories for Brie,

so no cheesecake sampler for us :)

 Brie in Puff Pastry, recipes & videos

 courtesy Pepperidge Farm, here.

Coop:  “ ‘I love how your mind works, Teeny. Like a bird hopping from twig to twig, never losing sight of the worm.’ ”

 Enjoy this book and help yourself to

 some Southern flavor, food & fun!

 “Teeny” table details:

Placemats & Napkins/ Bed, Bath & Beyond/last year

Blue Goblets/ Dollar Tree/last year

  Villeroy & Boch “Switch 3″ Dinnerware/HomeGoods

Trays /HomeGoods/recently

Hobnail Glasses & Pitcher/ World Market last year

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

 Metamorphosis MondayThe Scoop,

Inspire Me TuesdayWow Us Wednesdays,

 Tablescape ThursdayFoodie Friday

Follow Me on Pinterest

Gone with a Handsomer Man

Gone with a Handsomer Man****.*

by Michael Lee West

 

An Edible Book Review inspired by Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

Take one out-of-work pastry chef . . .

“Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track. She’s getting married, she’s baking her own wedding cake, and she’s leaving her troubled past behind. And then? She finds her fiancé playing naked badminton with a couple of gorgeous, skanky chicks.

Add a whole lot of trouble . . .

 

Needless to say, the wedding is off. Adding insult to injury, her fiancé slaps a restraining order on her. When he’s found dead a few days later, all fingers point to Teeny.

 

And stir like crazy!

Her only hope is through an old boyfriend-turned-lawyer, the guy who broke her heart a decade ago. But dredging up the past brings more than skeletons out of the closet, and Teeny doesn’t know who she can trust. With evidence mounting and the heat turning up, Teeny must also figure out where to live, how to support herself, how to clear her name, and how to protect her heart.”

We were fortunate to have been invited to visit Charleston this past weekend, which is a favorite destination for us. Beside the charm, architecture & history of the city, we visit for the FOOD!

 A Foodie’s paradise, we graze our way across the peninsula, hoping that the fact we’ve parked the car for the weekend, means we’re expending a few of the calories we’re consuming. I thought I’d include some Charleston photos, some new & some I’ve posted before, sprinkling in some of my favorite quotes from the book, as part this edible review since we just returned from the scene of the crime(s). . .

Following Teeny in Charleston and her culinary escapades, was the fictitious “I’m a Suspect Icing” on the “I Didn’t Kill My Boyfriend Cake” for me :-)

 I even ran into Teeny’s bulldog, Sir, on a previous trip, right across from a white mansion on South Battery~

 

You know you’re in for a treat from the first two sentences:

“All I ever wanted in life was true love, a set of copper cookware, and the perfect recipe for red velvet cake. The last thing I wanted was to end up on Charleston’s six o’clock news, accused of murder and a slew of other crimes.”

So the fun begins. . .

 Michael Lee West serves up Teeny’s troubles and tribulations like a Baptist Church covered-dish supper~ there are things you anticipate, but with lots more variety and MORE than a few surprises :-)

 

 There was as much tempt my palate in this book, as when we visit Charleston: Coconut Shrimp, BBQ ribs, Bacon-Deviled Eggs, Seven-Layer Salad, Chicken Fried Steak, Tomato Basil Tart, not to mention every type of pie imaginable, along with recipes included in the book for Lavender Shortbread, Teeny’s Vanilla Peach Pecan Coffee Cake, Espresso Steak Rub & Fried Green Tomato Salad with Cornbread Croutons.

 The MOST fun for me was reading excerpts from Teeny’s ‘Templeton Family Receipts & Whatnot’:

 

“Whenever one of the sisters got peeved, she wrote a recipe—not a normal one, mind you, but one that helped her relax. Some people have punching bags, time-out rooms, or Prozac. The Templetons had a cookbook. Our recipes were fanciful, listing umpteen lethal ingredients. Not that we’d ever tried them on anyone. It was just a way of venting.”

 I took my cue from Teeny’s shopping cart to make a trifle:

“Food defines people just as clearly as their taste in clothing and their interior design. Miss Dora and I had discussed this a lot. Our cart overflowed with carby things: garlic French bread, potatoes, fresh corn, and a bakery sour cream cake that I planned to turn into a trifle. To our credit, we had a box of strawberries for the aforementioned trifle.”

A Bonaventure Georgia Peach Trifle, with a few strawberries from Teeny’s cart~ layers of pound cake, vanilla pudding & topped with whipped cream.

If you’d like a recipe you can find one for Georgia Peach Trifle, courtesy of Southern Living, here.

“That gave me an idea. I grabbed a peach. In a month, it would be ripe, but now it was hard and heavy.”

“I fired down two more peaches. One whizzed over Bing’s head but the other slammed into his nether region.”

 Since it’s not peach season, it came as no great surprise that my peaches were as hard & heavy as the ones Teeny fires as ammunition, so I used frozen peaches for my trifle instead :-)

 

“In my mind, peach trees meant love, shelter, and comfort. I’d grown up on a peach farm in Bonaventure, Georgia. Bing knew how I felt. The engagement was broken, but the tree should stay in one piece.”

 

“ ‘The whole process just tickles me,” I said. ‘I like matching food to people and filling up their empty spaces.’ ”

“As I drove toward the Battery, I felt the pull of the Spencer-Jackson.”

“The house was creeping up on me, seducing me with iron curlicues. . . ”

“. . .secret alleys. . .”

“. . .rose petals on cobbled walkways. . .”

 

 

“. . .and the tolling bells of St. Michael’s.”

“I loved the play of light on the stucco and how it changed from ice pink to peach to Pepto-Bismol.”

“This was Charleston, by god. The people might have lost the war but not their manners.”

 

“On this side of East Bay, the houses were fitted together like marzipan confections—cotton candy pink, blueberry, lime, saffron, watermelon ice.”

“When I got nervous, I had my own ways of calming down; I made up unusual recipes that weren’t necessarily edible but suited my mood.”

 

“I needed that book because it was full of make-believe evilness, penned by a whole slew of Templeton women trying to improve their moods with pounded peach seeds and foxglove.”

“I pulled the sheet over my head and tried to think of a soothing imaginary recipe. What I really needed was Smother Your Love gravy, poured over Forget Him pork chops, with a heaping side dish of He’s Better Off With Her pie.”

  I decided to make Teeny’s signature cocktail. . .if you’ve read the book, you’re probably expecting a Peach-Teeny/Tini~

 

 There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments for me, especially in this chapter of the book~

 

Teeny’s Splendid Mimosas~

Teeny’s cocktail of choice to serve for those with a Sucralose allergy

Rim a LARGE glass with pink sugar~ to distract with the lovely color & camouflage the sweet SPLENDA®  flavor

Mix Blood Orange juice :-) with as many SPLENDA® packets as you dare~

 

Hope & Pray Sucralose with take effect sooner rather than later. . .

Add plenty of Champagne~ don’t be skimpy~

Conceal evidence of empty little yellow packets,

 Serve and Hope for the Best!

“Teeny Templeton is small-statured and big-hearted, a heroine worthy of this novel, which is by turn acerbic and sweet, poignant and funny, with great sex, bad boyfriends, and Do Not Try This at Home recipes. However you slice it, Gone with a Handsomer Man is as addictive as red velvet cake. I hope it sells as many copies as that other novel set in the South that starts with ‘Gone with.’”   –Harley Jane Kozak, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-winning author of Dating Dead Men and A Date You Can’t Refuse

Enjoy a second helping of Teeny

and a Teeny Tasting, here.

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Marvelous Mondays, Metamorphosis Monday,

The Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us Wednesdays,  Foodie Friday

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,696 other followers