Tag Archives: serve it up sassy

Serve It Up Sassy: Saturday Brunch!

Brooding over what to serve this Saturday morning for brunch? Celebrate family time together with a casual down home farm-to-table buffet. Get excited about serving easy-to-make-recipes featuring eggs as the main attraction. Sausage and Egg Breakfast Twist, Grits Quiche and Eggs Benedict are not your spur of the moment sunny side up or scrambled eggs, but they do have egg-cellent presentation and individual flavors. So let’s get crack-in!

Whether you make hard boiled, soft boiled, scrambled, omelets & frittatas; eggs are versatile, inexpensive, easy to prepare and a solid source of protein. To compliment the farm-to-table buffet our egg menu features hearty country cooking. The sausage and egg twist is everything you need in one loaf. Purchased frozen bread loaves are thawed and filled with two different fillings, one loaf is filled with red bell peppers and cream cheese scrambled eggs and the other loaf is contains cooked sausage and Monterey Jack cheese. The two loaves are rolled into a six-inch wide log, filled and twisted together to form one loaf of bread.  A decorative three-inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist reveal’s the fillings inside. The twist is glazed with an egg wash and sprinkled with grated Parmesan and dried oregano before baking.  When sliced you see a two-toned bread one side is scrambled eggs and the other side is sausage. It’s a sausage and egg biscuit in yeast bread.

egg-cellent-brunch-angled-setting-www-lizbushong-comThe grits quiche is not exactly your normal quiche. Baked in a cast iron skillet, seasoned grits are flavored with bacon and Worcestershire sauce, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese.  An egg mixture covers the baked grits and baked again to create the quiche. The dish is garnished with bacon bits, chopped green onions and sliced cherry tomatoes encircled like a bulls-eye on top of the baked quiche. We served it up sassy in a cast iron skillet for the down home feel however; the quiche can be baked in a spring form pan and sliced in individual servings for an egg-stra-special presentation.

Eggs Benedict might sound fancy and intimidating to make but they are very simple to assemble.  English muffin halves are toasted and layered with Canadian bacon or ham, a poached egg and covered with Hollandaise Sauce. The traditional hollandaise sauce is made with raw “fresh” eggs, lemon juice, and salt and warmed melted butter. Because the traditional method is made with raw eggs we opted for an Egg Beater® version. Egg Beaters® are pasteurized which is a good thing when it comes to sauces and preventing illness.  Eating raw eggs could in some cases make you ill with salmonella.  But if you have a strong immune system and use fresh eggs the traditional Hollandaise sauce is divine.

Every buffet table should have a stunning centerpiece. The autumn floral arrangement is a vibrant mix of orange and yellow sunflowers, golden- ruby red alstroemeria and brown eggs. The brown eggs accent the glass hurricane and hide the container with the flower stems. These eggs are hard-boiled for the duration of the arrangement and should be kept in the refrigerator until serving the brunch. After the brunch, return arrangement to the refrigerator if you plan to eat the eggs later. To keep the arrangement fresh avoid direct sunlight if serving an outdoor buffet. Eggs are perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator.  When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil.

Whether you are hosting a Saturday brunch or serving breakfast for supper, these egg dishes will be your new go-to recipes and give your guests something egg-citing to crow about!

egg-cellent-brunch-grits-quiche-www-lizbushong-comBacon-Cheddar-Caramelized Onion- Grits Quiche

4 slices of bacon cut in half
2¼ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup stone ground grits-not quick grits
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese-divided
3 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2-cup heavy cream
Garnish: bacon bits
½ cup chopped green onions
5 small cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray medium 10”cast iron skillet with cooking spray and cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside. Drain grease from skillet reserving 2 teaspoons. Add sliced onions and butter to skillet with reserved bacon grease. Add sugar to caramelize onions until soft and golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add milk, 1-teaspoon butter to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and ½ teaspoon salt whisking constantly until thick and creamy. Add 1-cup shredded cheese to grits stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes off heat to cool.  Meanwhile mix one egg in a custard cup and whisk in 2 tablespoons warmed grits to egg mixture. Add egg mixture to grits and stir. Bake skillet of grits in oven for 25 minutes at 350 until set and browned.   Remove from oven sprinkle remaining cheese over warm grits, spread to edges add caramel onions. Let stand 5minutes. Reduce oven to 325.
In mixing bowl, combine half and half, cream, and eggs, 1- teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Pour egg mixture over grits bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until mixture is set. Remove from oven let sit 5 minutes before garnishing. To garnish, add crumbled bacon to center followed by chopped green onions and sliced cherry tomatoes to the outer edge of quiche. Optional baking pan: 9” spring form pan.  Add additional eggs if using larger skillet.
Yield:  8-10 servings

 

egg-cellant-brunch-sausage-and-egg-twist-www-lizbushong-comSausage and Egg Breakfast Twist

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, reserve white for egg wash
1/2 cup half and half
½ cup whipping cream
1-3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
4 ounces sage sausage, cooked and drained
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 frozen bread dough loaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Place frozen bread loaves vertically on lightly sprayed parchment lined baking sheet to thaw. Preheat oven to 375. In small skillet fry sausage until done and drain off grease. Using food processor, process cream cheese and whipping cream until smooth, add 2 eggs plus one yolk, half and half to mixture. In separate small skillet, add olive oil and scramble the egg mixture. Remove from heat, place in small bowl and add red bell pepper and seasoning.

Lightly sprinkle flour over loaves of thawed bread. Roll dough into a 6”width, creating a well down center of each loaf. Spoon scrambled egg mixture in well of one loaf, spoon cooked sausage down center of remaining loaf. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over the top of the fillings. Mix water and egg white together to create an egg wash. Brush dough edges with egg wash pinch edges together to seal and form into a log. Place logs seam side down in an “X” pattern on baking sheet. Starting in center of loaf, crisscross ends of dough to form a twist. Cut a 3”slit in each top section of the twist to reveal the fillings. Brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and dried oregano.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes before slicing. Twist inspired by Pampered Chef.
Yield:  6-8 servings

egg-cellent-brunch-eggs-benedict-www-lizbushong-comEggs Benedict-Black Forest Ham

3-English Muffins cut in half
6 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
12-thinly sliced Canadian bacon or Black Forest Ham
Egg Beaters ® Hollandaise Sauce recipe
3 English muffins, split in half, toasted

Poach eggs; fill saucepan with 3” of water add vinegar and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium. In separate shallow pie plate, fill with warm water, set aside. Add one egg to the water gently without breaking the yolk. Add remaining eggs to water. When eggs become opaque and whites are no longer runny about 3 minutes, transfer the eggs with slotted spoon to the bowl of warm water to keep warm while assembling. For each Benedict, place one toasted muffin half on serving platter, layer bacon or ham, then poached egg, cover with Hollandaise sauce,  serve immediately.
Yield:  6 servings

Egg Beaters ®-Hollandaise Sauce

1/3 c. egg substitute (i.e., Egg Beaters, etc.)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of white ground or red pepper
1/3 c. butter

In a blender mix egg substitute, lemon juice and pepper or process in food processor. In glass measuring cup, melt butter in microwave for 50 seconds or until melted. With blender or processor running, pour warmed butter through the lid. Sauce will thicken slightly. Keep sauce warm by reheating in microwave at 5-second intervals. Serve immediately.
Yield:  1 cup

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ® Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

 

Serve It Up Sassy!: Berry Delicious Summer

Summer means flip-flops, fireflies, and fresh ripe berries!  When you pick the first ripe berry and the sweetened juice pops in your mouth, it’s time to make your favorite summer berry delicious desserts. Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and a Strawberry Tart are two simple desserts to have on hand for all of your summer entertaining. These berry-inspired desserts are bursting with the sun-kissed flavors of the season.

Swing open the French door to your patio and layer your picnic table with vibrant summer colors and delicious berry desserts.  We kept our seasonal table casual with red and white checked napkins, bright yellow sunflowers, and mason jars wrapped with twine.  The desserts and sunflower arrangement take a stand as the table centerpiece. Repeating the checkered napkins and single sunflower stem at each place-setting, as well as the white dinner plate emphasizes the easy-to-create table color scheme and décor.  Two white ruffled cake pedestals display the Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake and the Strawberry Tart.

table to benchEven more fun with function, we turned our seasonal bench into our picnic table. Our outdoor bench turns into a half-sized picnic table when the bench back becomes the table top. Every back yard, park and grill master should own one or more of these benches-to-table.  If two tables are put together it creates one regular sized picnic table.  These tables are build to last and can be used for all of your seasonal entertaining, not just for summer. Where do you get one of these bench-to-tables?  Glad you asked.  Boy scouts from troop #135  Sulphur Springs, Tennessee are building these bench/tables to raise money for a once in a lifetime high adventure camp called Florida Sea Base.  The bench/tables are available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going to the boys attending the High Adventure Camp.  You can contact Doug Bushong, my husband and scout master* for troop #135 to order your very own bench turned table or any boy scout from the troop will be happy to assist you.

Your guests will enjoy the taste bud-tingling blend of blueberries and cream in the baked blueberry swirl pound cake.  The pound cake features a delectable golden crust with a moist tender center that will make this cake your new- go-to dessert for any season. A lightly sweetened blueberry puree is layered in the cake batter and gently swirled before baking.  This pound cake is perfectly wonderful all on its own, but when topped with a handful of fresh picked-ripe berries it becomes a sensational taste of summer.

The Strawberry Tart is a chilled summer pie with show-stopping presentation.  Fresh whole strawberries are de-stemmed and sit pretty with pointed ends up on top of a lemon and whipped cream filling.  The prebaked sweet pastry crust is made with real butter and confectioner’s sugar making every bite of this tart one to remember.  Both desserts are make-ahead with the Strawberry Tart being refrigerated for a few hours.

blueberry pound cake slice with watermarkBaking with berries can be a bit tricky. Blueberries can make your muffins and cake batter turn purple if you don’t coat them in flour first before baking. Coating in flour will prevent the berry juice from spreading into the batter.  Strawberries are almost 90% water and dark fuller berries have a higher concentration of water inside.   This leads to a sticky unexpected soggy baked dish. To prevent a soggy baked dish select berries that are just slightly under ripe, having passed the stage of development where a white ring appears around the hull.  For more information about strawberries and blueberries, how to grow, where to pick and health benefits, check with your local county extension agent or office.  For more entertaining ideas and recipes go to www.lizbushong.com.

Berries are beautiful!  Whether you are picnicking at the beach or in your own backyard go out and play; put on your flip-flops, watch the flickering lights of the fireflies and eat all the fresh berries you can.  This is going to be a berry delicious summer!

blueberry swirl pound cake with watermarkBlueberry Swirl Pound Cake

The Swirl:
1-1/2 cups fresh pureed blueberries
2 tablespoons cold water
1-tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3-tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake Batter:
1-cup butter, softened and no substitutions
3-cups granulated sugar
1-(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
1-tablespoon crème bouquet* extract
1-tablespoon grated orange zest
3 ½- cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1-cup heavy whipping cream

Garnish:
Buttercream Orange Glaze
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, & mint

Preheat oven to 325. Coat 12-15 cup Bundt pan with shortening and coat with flour.
Blueberry Swirl: In small mixing bowl, whisk together cold water and cornstarch until smooth. In small saucepan, stir together blueberry puree, 3 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring constantly. Boil blueberry mixture until thickened, set aside and let cool.
Cake:  Measure flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add softened cream cheese and beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition. Add extracts and zest, beat to combine. Gradually add flour and cream, alternating with cream, beginning and ending with flour, beat just until combined.
Spoon 1/3 batter into prepared pan, spoon 1/3 blueberry swirl over batter, repeat layers ending with batter. Using a knife, swirl batter, but not too much. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake on cooling rack cool completely before glazing.
Buttercream Orange Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1-tablespoon heavy cream, 1 teaspoon orange extract. Drizzle over cake. Garnish with individual blueberries on top of cake. Serve with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mint sprig per serving.
Yield:  8-10 servings.  *Crème bouquet can be found at the Gazebo in Kingsport, TN or online.

Berry Delcious! (1)Strawberry Tart

Crust:
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2-teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, shredded and chilled
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chilled water
2 tablespoons strawberry jam- melted

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
1-3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
¾ cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ pounds fresh strawberries, stemmed
¼ cup current jelly
1 tablespoon orange juice

Prepare crust:  Sift flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Grate butter and place on parchment then pop into freezer for 20 minutes. Add chilled butter to flour mixture, combine with hands or forks until crumbs resemble breadcrumbs. Mix egg yolks and water together, sprinkle over flour mixture to make soft dough. Knead a few seconds, flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On floured surface, roll dough to ¼” thickness. Press dough into bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan. Line crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to foil. Chill another 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400. Bake tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake additional 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and brush baked shell with melted strawberry jam. Set aside to cool.  (Crust recipe will make two-8-inch tart shells).

Filling: In food processor, process cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. In medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, add confectioner’s sugar, beat to firm peaks. Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream. Spoon filling into one tart shell. (Double filling ingredients recipe if making two tarts.) Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill 3 hours. Just before serving, arrange whole strawberries, pointed ends up, over the entire chilled tart in concentric circles. In microwave proof glass, add currant jelly and heat 12-15 seconds until melted, stir in orange juice. Remove from heat and let cool about 2 minutes. Stir jelly occasionally to prevent film from foaming. Spoon or brush warmed jelly mixture over berries and serve immediately.
Yield:  8-9 servings

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

*Bench/table: Doug Bushong-Scout Master-Troop #135 –Sulphur Springs, Tn.  E-Mail: dbushong17@gmail.com 

Serve It Up Sassy: Celebrate It!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

What are black, white, and red all over? Are you guessing?  Nope… it’s not a newspaper, it’s not a sun-burned penguin, and it isn’t Santa, it’s a dessert buffet!  Time to Celebrate-It! what-ever the “it” occasion may be. Whether you are hosting a graduation party, bridal shower, or anniversary reception, celebrate the occasion with a black, white and red dessert buffet table.

Any time is an occasion to host a sassy soiree with simple elegance and delicious sweets as with this dessert buffet.  A dessert table is a festive and fun table that is spread with luscious little bites of small desserts usually in the same color family as the overall color scheme of the event. There are candy buffets, pie and cookie buffets, chocolate buffets and many other wonderful creative buffets that can be featured as a dessert table.

Tred-3his dessert table features all décor and food in black and white with accents of red. Behind our dessert table is a festive wall of hand-made tissue and paper flowers that bloom like a summer garden.  Each flower bursts open with red, black, or white centerpieces and is arranged on the wall touching other flowers for impact and drama at the dessert table.

The large tissue flowers are made from tissue paper that is accordion pleated, paper clipped, and edges cut to resemble flower petals. Each petal is spread open into a blooming flower and glued to a cake board round for support and attached to the wall with Command Strips.  For more information on the tissue and card stock flowers go to lizbushong.com.

The table top is draped with a solid black damask linen table cloth.  For the centerpiece and height, two different cake stands in black and white are used interchangeably to create a graduated large to small tiered stand that holds decorative mini chocolate cupcakes with tiny candied red roses. Black and white polka dot to stripes in cardstock, wrapping paper, and cupcake liners supports the overall black and white color scheme. Mixing pattern on pattern in the same color family will add interest and intrigue to your table.

red-6Desserts for this table are variations of the black and white color scheme. Black and white butter cookies, Pecan Honey Bites dusted in confectioner’s sugar, small round red and black macaroons with white butter cream frosting, and a pure chocolate Whippet, a “cloud-like marshmallow cookie coated in pure dark chocolate.” This cookie was purchased and accented with white butter cream stripes. You don’t have to be a baker or decorator to make everything for your table. Purchased little treats from your local bakery or specialty shop can be transformed by placing in decorative cupcake liners, paper cups and other decorative containers for a pretty presentation. Paper lanterns, flowers, pennants, and other party décor can be ordered online or purchased at a party shop. Just keep your theme and color scheme in mind and run with it.

whippet cookies-www.lizbushong.com (2)A dessert in small bites and variety keeps your buffet easy and elegant. Three to four mini desserts per person is the recommended serving size if the guests are not eating a slice of cake, as in a wedding. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with too many choices so offer 2-3 desserts per person with 5-6 dessert varieties.  Serving large cake pieces on the dessert buffet can prove to be messy and unattractive. To solve this challenge, precut the slices into a 1 X 2 inch slice and serve it up sassy on a special individual small plate or other decorative container. Decorative cakes are beautiful on a cake stand, but not really practical for a dessert buffet. Although, it is your party and if you want them to eat cake and see your masterpiece, let them eat cake. Weddings will have a separate cake table with someone cutting and serving the cake.

Presentation for any party is important. People eat with their eyes first so your desserts will need to be garnished with special details and displayed at various heights on the table. Take the time to think through how the guests will approach the table and how to serve each item. Provide small plates and utensils if your desserts require the assistance. Decorative paper napkins are appropriate and necessary. Small labels at each dessert will notify guest what the dessert is and if it has nuts or other allergens. These labels can be decorative with flourish and sometimes as simple as chalkboard stickers.

Beverages can be served, but on a separate beverage table. Colorful punches, small water bottles with decorative labels, and fruit juices make delicious drinks for simple receptions. Creating a beautiful table for your special events will bring great joy to you and your family and friends.

Celebrate some good times!  Find a reason to celebrate, be a clever hostess, and turn an ordinary day into a special occasion; just remember to “Celebrate It” with a lovely dessert buffet.

 

red-4Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Roses|www.lizbushong.com

1-18.25 ounce package dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1-3ounce package chocolate instant pudding and pie mix-dry
1 1/3 cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
½ cup mini chocolate morsels
1-teaspoon vanilla

Garnish:
2 cups dark chocolate butter cream frosting*purchased
¼ cup dark cocoa for dusting-optional
Pre-made tiny rose Icing Decorations-tested Wilton

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare cupcake pan with liners. Combine all cake batter ingredients. Beat batter for 2 minutes to blend.
Fill plastic zip lock bag with batter, clip end of bag to ¼ “.  Pipe batter into mini cupcake liners.
Bake cakes 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Frost cooled cupcakes with dark chocolate butter cream frosting. Pipe frosting using small round tip or opening. Dust with dark cocoa powder in a small sieve if desired. Garnish with tiny rose icing decoration to center of each cupcake.  Serve the mini cakes in a decorative regular sized cupcake liner for presentation.  Do not remove mini cupcake liner from baked cakes.

Yield: 50 mini cupcakes /24 regular cupcakes

 

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.
Additional information: Black, White and Red riddle: http://wikipedia.com; Command Strips: http://www.command.com/3M; Whippet Marshmallow Cookies-Dare company http://www.darefoods.com/ca_en/brand/Whippet/17

A Hero for Your Super Hero!

“Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, …its Superman!”  When it comes to super hero’s we often think of mighty men of valor fighting evil vigilantes combating threats against humanity.  To honor your super hero make them a supersonic hearty meat and cheese filled hero sandwich, guaranteed to make them think they can “leap tall buildings in a single bound!”

No matter who your hero is they will love this hearty meat and cheese filled sandwich.  Crusty sesame seed bread is spread with mayonnaise and Ranch jalapeno dressing with layers of peppered turkey, black forest ham, hard salami, thinly sliced sopressata, hard salami, mortadella, and provolone cheese.  Shredded iceberg lettuce sprinkled with dried oregano, salt and pepper is drizzled with an oil and vinegar dressing.  Thinly sliced ripe tomatoes and fresh raw red onion rings are added to the meat layers then covered and smothered with the dressed lettuce.  To keep this monstrosity of a sandwich together, a cherry tomato with sweet pickle chip are skewered with a long toothpick equally spaced on top of the sandwich.

A note about Sopressata and Mortadella; both are Italian cured sausages to make a pepperoni style meat that is found in genuine Italian hero sandwiches. These meats are usually made from pork fat and other miscellaneous sources of pork pieces. The sopressata is becoming the new pepperoni on pizzas in large city pizzerias.  If your local deli does not have sopressata or mortadella, select the hard salami and pepperoni for a wonderful Italian hero sandwich.
Served with the hero sandwich are spiced potato chips. Heat potato chips on a baking sheet for a few minutes until the chips begin to shine, add your favorite herbs and spices toss and coat. Our chips were coated with Montreal steak seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. The steak seasoning on the chips compliment the jalapeno dressing on the sandwich.

Every super hero has to have a dessert and what hero doesn’t love a rich dark dense caramel coated chocolate brownie?  Melted caramel bits, chopped pecans and dark chocolate morsels are added to the ‘just out of the oven’ warm brownies. The brownies are refrigerated until set and cut into 2 x 2 inch squares before serving. These brownies will be eaten in a flash!

Who is your super hero?  I’m sure it is not a sandwich, but a true super hero.  A super hero is a person who is admired for their achievements and noble qualities, a warrior, or it can be an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances that acts with courage, honor and self-sacrifice. Sometimes a super hero lives in the hearts of children fighting big battles. Be determined to be someone’s super hero.

 

151Super Hero Sandwich
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Newman’s oil and vinegar dressing
1-14 “ loaf Italian bread with sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Hellmann’s mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Lite house Jalapeno Ranch dressing
2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 small red onion rings, separated
5 oz. thinly sliced hard salami
5 oz. thinly sliced peppered turkey
5 oz. thinly sliced black forest ham
5 oz. thinly sliced Sopressata
5 oz. thinly sliced Mortadella
5 oz. thinly sliced provolone cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together Newman’s oil and vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add shredded iceberg lettuce, toss to coat. Set aside.
On a work surface, place a long piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and position the bottom half of the cut loaf over the wrap. In small custard cup, mix together mayonnaise and ranch dressing. Stir to combine and spread over the bread. Layer ham, turkey, sopressata, mortadella, and salami, provolone cheese, tomato slices, onion rings and shredded lettuce. Top with sesame seed top crust. Wrap sandwich in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 4 hours to develop the flavors.
To serve, unwrap sandwich and garnish with cherry tomato with pickle slice skewered with a frilly toothpick. The picks will keep the sandwich together while cutting. Cut sandwich into desired portions.
Yield: 4- 6 servings

Spiced Potato Chips 1-www.lizbushong.com - CopySeasoned Potato Chips
1-8.5 ounce package wavy potato chips or kettle chips
2 teaspoons Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spread potato chips on a large baking sheet.  Bake in oven until chips are slightly heated and appear to be shiny.  In small bowl, combine spices to blend. Remove chips from oven and sprinkle with seasoning mix.  Toss to coat. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Serve as desired with or without a dip.
Yield:  6-8 servings

Caramel Pecan Brownies-www.lizbushong.comCaramel Pecan Brownies
1-18 ounce package Brownie Mix, eggs, vegetable oil as per package
1-11 ounce package Kraft Caramel Bits or 25 unwrapped caramels
2 teaspoons half and half
2 cups chopped pecans
1- cup dark chocolate morsels

Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease foil and coat with flour. Remove excess flour and set aside. Follow instructions on brownie mix and pour into prepared pan. Bake brownies 50-55 minutes. Remove brownies from oven and keep warm.
Meanwhile, melt caramel bits and half and half in microwave for 1 minute or until melted. Pour melted caramel over warm brownies covering entire surface. Garnish caramel with chopped pecans and dark chocolate morsels. Refrigerate brownies to firm before slicing.
Yield:  16-2” brownies

 

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

Serve It Up Sassy: Caramel Apple– Delicious!

Recipe Development, Food Styling, Photography and Article by Liz Bushong

With a dash of cinnamon or a sprinkle of sugar, the apple is the favored fruit for fall. Would you like to smell the aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon and apples baking in your kitchen? These apple recipes will show you some of the sweetest ways to enjoy the autumn season.

Caramel Apples settingMemories of fall always include caramel and apples.  A big golden delicious apple on a stick covered with sweet chewy caramel and peanuts is just one of three apple-delicious recipes that you can make this season for your family and friends. Have you had problems with caramel staying on the apple after you dipped them? This homemade caramel recipe and ways to prepare your apples will keep your caramel from slipping off. Now you can make gourmet caramel apples with loads of caramel, chocolate, and various toppings without the caramel pooling at the bottom of the pan.

Caramel Apple Walnut Cookies are individual mini pies filled with a layer of caramel and thick homemade apple pie filling. The cookie is topped with a piecrust woven lattice that resembles an apple pie. As you bite into this little bit-of- heaven, the apple filling with its cinnamon and walnut bites ooze from the sides of the cookies. The cookie top is sprinkled with a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar.

Skillet Caramel Apple Pie (2)Another all time favorite is the apple pie, but this time it is baked like grama used to make it, in a cast iron skillet.  What makes this pie special is the caramel layer in the bottom of the skillet before you add the piecrust and filling. The caramel bakes through the two-layer crusts and rises to the top of the pie making this pie, caramel apple-delicious all the way through.

Apple treats are comforting desserts that should make a regular appearance at your fall get-togethers and meals. The sweet scents of apples and cinnamon baking in your oven will make your home cozy, warm and inviting. Decorating with apples is an inexpensive way to create pretty tablescapes and fall décor for your home.

For a dazzling fall table display bring out your favorite autumn accessories, pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and wooden bowls of granny smith or assorted red and yellow apples. Choose flat bottom pumpkins for stacking, mix colors that will make your display more eye appealing. Ornamental kale, mini pumpkins, mums, potted pansies and sunflowers create a simple but beautiful table and porch presence. For more ways to help you serve it up sassy go to www.lizbushong.com. Be sure to get your free downloadable copy of the Top 5 Fall Favorite  recipes when you subscribe to the Serve it up Sassy blog.

October harvest brings bushels of apples and plenty of apple and caramel-infused desserts. Surprise your kiddos with an after school snack and bake a batch of Caramel Apple Walnut Cookies. For the upcoming harvest party, dip and design Caramel Apples.  For supper tonight bake a little bit –of- happiness with the Skillet Caramel Apple Pie.  Don’t skip the vanilla ice cream on the warm pie.  It is truly apple-delicious!

 

Caramel Apple singleCaramel Apples

6 medium Gala apples, wax removed
1 cup butter + 4 tablespoons
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup corn syrup
1-14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup or vanilla
Chopsticks or craft sticks

Toppings:
Diced peanuts, walnuts, pecans, mini m & m’s, white bark, chocolate morsels

Prepare apple toppings and place in bowls, set aside.
With 4 tablespoons of butter grease parchment paper or wax paper, set aside. Remove wax on apples by placing apples in boiling water for 40 seconds, remove and rinse. Dry apples, remove apple stems and add sticks. Place apples in refrigerator to chill while you make the caramel. (You will thoroughly dry apples with a towel before dipping in caramel.)
In large saucepan on medium heat, melt butter, sugars and corn syrup until smooth, but not boiling. Add condensed milk and stir with wooden spoon until candy thermometer reaches 178 degrees.  Remove from heat and add syrup or vanilla, let caramel cool for 3-4 minutes before dipping apples.
To dip apples; make sure apples are completely dry. Dip apple in caramel and allow caramel to drop off the bottom so it will not pool,  roll apple in desired toppings, place on buttered wax or parchment paper to set. Melt white bark and chocolate chips in separate containers and place in individual disposable piping bags. Pipe  white bark and chocolate around tops of apples in a drizzle design. Keep apples refrigerated.
Yield:  6 caramel apples

 

Caramel Apple Walnut CookiesCaramel Apple Lattice Cookies

2 refrigerated pie crust* tested Pillsbury
3 medium granny smith apples
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – divided
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg- divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts-optional

Peel, core and dice apples, place in saucepan with butter, brown sugar, salt and 1 teaspoon of each spice. On medium heat, cook apples until soft and thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Unroll one crust, using a 2 ½” round cookie cutter, cut out 12 cookie rounds.  Place rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops of pie crust cookies with caramel topping. Add a ½ teaspoon apple filling over top of cookie round. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.  Unroll remaining crust and cut long strips of dough ¼ “ wide. Weave dough strips to create a lattice design. Cut cookie lattice with round cookie cutter to create clean edges. Mix ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake cookies for 30 minutes at 350. Drizzle cookies with caramel sauce if desired. Best served warm.
Yield:  12-13 cookies

Skillet Caramel Apple PieSkillet Caramel Apple Pie

5 medium gala apples, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
¼ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1- teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 – unbaked pie crusts* tested Pillsbury Refrigerated Crust
8 tablespoons butter- divided
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed, light or dark
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 cup chopped walnuts-optional
1 teaspoon sea salt-divided

In 10”cast iron skillet, over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir caramel mixture together until smooth and bubbly around the edges of the skillet. Add walnuts, stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add apples, flour, sugar, and spices,  mix to coat apples.
Unroll one crust and place on top of caramel –walnut mixture in skillet. Pushing the crust up the sides of the skillet. Add coated apples and 2 tablespoons of butter diced into small pieces. Unroll remaining crust and place over the apple pie filling. Pinch and crimp both crust edges together.
Brush top of crust with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake pie on a parchment lined baking sheet for 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce if desired.
Yield:  8 servings

 

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com

Serve It Up Sassy: A Garden Fresh Picnic

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG


Grab your sun hat and head for the country, this seasons garden-fresh bounty turns into fine fare for a healthy impromptu picnic. Summer picnics are just ripe for picking with all of your favorite garden-fresh vegetables and fruits. Easy to make recipes utilizing homegrown ingredients is the perfect way to reap the benefits of your summer-time gardening efforts.

If your backyard isn’t brimming with rows of fresh produce, a nearby farmers market will offer everything you need for this summer-time picnic. Fresh peaches, blueberries, melons, sweet corn-on-the-cob, juicy ripe tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, squash, zucchini, peppers, onions and cucumbers—with ingredients like these at their best, picnics can’t help but be delicious.

Whether you dine by a lake on a blanket or roll out a wheel barrel under your favorite tree, these picnic recipes will please every palate.  An appetizer made with fresh herbs, basil, parsley, and arugula leaves makes a peppery pesto crostini. A vegetable spread is chock full of home-grown diced vegetables made with cucumbers, radishes, green onions, red, yellow and green bell peppers, garlic, parsley, and tomatoes. Every bite is crunchy and delicious in a roast beef pocket sandwich.

Cut carrots, celery, and cucumber sticks with cherry tomatoes are served up sassy in small containers with flavored olive oils for dipping. Individual desserts are half-pint peach and blueberry cobblers baked ahead for ease and travel. Better bake extra cobblers, with only a ½ cup serving with each jar they won’t last long! Last but not least, a summer picnic would not be the same without our southern sweet tea served in ice cold mason jars.

Packing a safe picnic lunch is important so here are a few safety tips when planning your meal:

“For a worry-free picnic, place perishable foods, such as hot dogs, burgers, poultry, deviled eggs, macaroni, potato salads, anything mayonnaise-cream cheese based food, in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. They need to be kept cold. Avoid leaving foods in the sun and do not cross contaminate cooking utensils when grilling raw meats.” Check out this website for more important picnic safety tips.

For an impromptu picnic setting, a quilt or blanket provides the perfect soft spot for a hard ground. To keep your quilt from being soiled, place a plastic tablecloth on the ground then add the quilt, or cover a picnic table with your tablecloth and quilt. Large pillows for lounging is always fun and of course a well-packed picnic basket. The basket should include your eating utensils, glasses and plates- paper or melamine, napkins, needed serving containers and utensils, trash bags, baggies, paper towels, wet naps, breads and non-refrigerated items.

Add a mason jar full of white hydrangea, zinnias, Queen Ann’s lace, and other wonderful summer flowers for a simple centerpiece. A bowl of apples and fresh fruit can also be a great centerpiece.

Dining or picnicking alfresco is one of summer’s delights. Call your friends and family and get the picnic going. A garden fresh picnic is a perfect way to celebrate nature’s bounty and a summer afternoon.

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com

Half Pint Peach and Blueberry Cobbler 
half pint peach and blueberry cobbler

6 half pint canning jars
3 peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
½ cup blueberries-fresh
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup self rising flour
½ cup melted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup milk

Peel, pit and dice peaches. In bottom of each canning jar, place a teaspoon of dark brown sugar. Add diced peaches and blueberries on top of brown sugar. Mix together flour, butter, sugar and milk, pour over fruit in jar. Leave ½ inch space at the top, so batter will not run over. Place filled canning jars on a double layered baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve with mini vanilla ice cream scoops. Dessert can be frozen after baked and cooled.
Yield:  6 half-pint mini cobblers

Deli Beef Pockets with Garden Vegetable Spread
Deli Beef pockets with garden vegetable spread6-2” slices French bread
¼ pound thinly sliced roast beef
1 cup arugula or other small leaf lettuce
Garden Vegetable Spread – recipe follows

Cut French Bread into 6- 2” wide slices. Hollow  one side of bread to create a pocket for the filling. Spread Garden Vegetable mixture inside the pocket and up the sides of the crusty bread shell. Fill the pocket with 1-1/2 slices of roast beef. Garnish with the arugula leaves if desired. Wrap sandwich with plastic wrap and keep cold for picnic.
Yield:  6 sandwiches

Garden Vegetable Spread
Garden vegetable spread

1-4 ounce package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons Hellmans mayonnaise
2 tablespoons creamy horseradish
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/8 cup diced carrots, green onions, radish, cucumber, and yellow squash
red, orange and green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, arugula leaves
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt and white pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place cream cheese, mayo, and horseradish in a large mixing bowl.
Add diced vegetables and seasonings. Mix to combine. Serve spread with Roast Beef Pockets or crostini.
Yield:  1-1/2 cups

Garden Pesto Crostini
Garden Pesto Crostini

½ cup baby arugula leaves
¼ cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons + ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 – 4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper- optional
20- ¼ “sliced crusty bread loaf for crostini
8-10 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced

Brush crostini slices with olive oil and grill or toast in oven until golden brown. In food processor, pulse walnuts one or two times, add arugula leaves, basil, parsley, 2 tablespoons cheese and garlic, pulse until smooth. Scrape down sides and add softened butter and olive oil.  Pulse mixture until smooth and creamy.  Add salt and pepper if desired to taste. Spread small amount of pesto on crostini, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, top with sliced tomato.
Yield:  20 crostini or 1 cup of pesto

 

Serve It Up Sassy: 2015 Graduation Gathering!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

chevron canvasIt was just a few years ago on a bright sunny morning, you held the hand of your six -year old  as a big yellow school bus pulled up in front of your mailbox. It was time to board the bus for their first day of school. Your little darling could hardly reach the first step on the bus but with a gentle nudge from you, the climb to board was easy. As you held back the tears, the excitement and joy in your child’s eyes melted your heart, and a new page in this chapter of life had just been turned. As the pages of time turned year after year, it is now 2015 and graduation day is on the horizon.

It is time to plan a graduation gathering; an after-the-ceremony reception for your graduate. A bright summer color-palette like hot pink, orange, and lime green sets the color scheme for this reception. This ‘graduation gathering’ focuses on her, but colors can be changed to focus on him, such as navy, light blue, and forest green or choose school colors.

Another inspirational idea is a painted wall canvas. This colorful chevron wall canvas provides the perfect back drop for the dessert table and is part of the graduate’s gift, something she will take with her for the college dorm or apartment. For step-by-step instructions on creating a wall canvas in the chevron pattern please go to my blog, www.lizbushong.com.

In keeping with the color scheme, hot pink, orange and lime, large daisy flower heads are arranged in rows by color in a clear acrylic tray. A piece of glass was cut to fit the acrylic tray to serve festive lemonade’s that color-coordinate with the Gerber Daisies.

Graduation candy caps made of miniature peanut butter cups and chocolate covered grahams are served up sassy with a lime green butter cream frosting tassel.

spot on cake loaf with slicesThe spot-on cake* was baked in an 18- inch loaf pan, then covered with a delicious butter cream fondant and decorated with three fresh Gerber Daisies, one of each themed color. Baked inside the cake are three large pre-baked cake balls that carry the same hot pink, orange and lime color scheme for the spot-on look. For instructions and recipe, visit www.lizbushong.com.

Other food on the menu includes easy pick-up fare that can be served so the graduate and guests can visit while eating. Mini pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad croissants, small vegetables with jalapeno ranch dressing, assorted chips, chocolate dipped pretzel rods and trail mix with personalized orange M & M’s are small bites you can create the day before the event. You can order personalized M & M’s at www.mymms.com for an extra surprise in the trail mix.

A separate skirted side table should be set up for gifts. Suggested graduation gifts for the college-bound graduate include a camera, an alarm clock, a desk organizer with coordinated desk supplies, monogrammed or personalized notepads and stationary, and gift cards. Of course, cash is golden for all graduates. The Instax Mini 8 camera prints out photos immediately, so creating a scrapbook or photos for a dorm room is quick and easy. This little camera creates 2 x 3- inch photos and comes in several fun colors for teens. After the reception, the graduate could send thank you notes to all the guests for their gifts and include a photo of the graduate using or holding the much appreciated gift.

It’s been a journey to get to this day.  As you reminisce the years gone by, you are entering another new chapter in this book-of -life with your ‘little darling.’ It is graduation day, a time to celebrate a momentous achievement with the anticipation of a bright new future ahead. Look -out graduate, your future is so bright you are going to need shades!!!

graduation candy capsGraduation “Candy” Caps

20 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups®
20 Keebler Deluxe Grahams®-fudge covered
½ cup Buttercream frosting- divided- chocolate, color of choice for tassel

Unwrap all peanut butter cups and place upside down on a baking sheet. Cut each rectangular graham cracker into a square shape if desired or use as is. Place ¼ cup chocolate frosting in piping bag with small tip and pipe small dot on top of bottom of peanut butter cup. Attach graham cracker on top of frosting to create the graduation cap. Using the remaining ¼ cup of frosting in the school color of choice, place frosting in a piping bag with tip #5.  Create a tassel on one side of the cap. Store in a sealed container until serving.  Can be made one day ahead.

graduation gathering dessert table

Triple Lemonade

3 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed but cold
2 cups water
2 cups sprite or ginger ale-chilled
1 (12 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed but cold
1(16 ounce) jar stemmed maraschino cherries with juice

In a large pitcher, mix lemonade concentrate and cold water. Stir to combine. Divide 2 cups of lemonade into three pitchers evenly. Add to one pitcher, thawed orange juice and set aside. To another pitcher, add cherry juice and to the last pitcher, add 2 cups of ginger ale. Each pitcher should be a different color to go with color scheme. If needed, add a few drops of food coloring to make the intensity of the color desired. Or, if you want to make a large punch, combine all ingredients and serve in a punch bowl.
Garnish:  Slice orange wedges for the orange lemonade, lime wedge with stemmed maraschino cherry for the Cherry lemonade, and a lemon twist for the plain lemonade. Serve in champagne glasses.

*Cake was inspired by Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion–with a Little Something Extra Inside by Amada Rettke.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Yours! ®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For more information about Liz and Serve it up Sassy go to Liz’s blog www.lizbushong.com and website, www.serveitupsassy.com like and share www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and pin www.pinterest.com/lizbushong.

Serve It Up Sassy: Color Splash!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

color splash  1Splashes of color set the stage for a simple dessert garden party. Polk-a-dots and clay pots bring to life the bright colors of this spring composition. The color-rich palate includes hot pink, purple, yellow, terra cotta, lime and tangerine.
This sunny celebration takes the party outdoors where the flowers are beginning to bloom and the smell of fresh rain still lingers in the air. A natural rock wall lends the perfect background for the flower-filled and garden themed table- setting. The centerpiece of this garden landscape features clean hand trowels, garden gloves, early blooming grape hyacinths and terra cotta pots. A child’s pair of polka-dot rain boots stake out a planted position on the table.
color splash mousse closeupDesserts for this garden party are Lemon Cupcakes and decadent Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cakes. The Lemon Cupcakes are color-splashed with hot pink, orange or yellow butter-cream flowers. Serve these cute little flowers in a decorative small flower vase that coordinates with your overall color scheme. Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cakes are made with chocolate mousse, brownies and covered with chocolate ganache. The secret baking tool is a silicone baking mold. For recipe go to www.lizbushong.com
Shop now for cute rain boots and gather new colorful gardening tools to host an impromptu garden dessert party. Color-splash your friends with bright colors of spring from the garden to the table. 

118Flower Pot Cupcakes  

1-16 oz. pkg. lemon cake mix
1-3oz pkg. lemon instant pudding/pie mix-dry
1-1/3 cups water
½ -cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups White buttercream frosting-purchased or homemade

Buttercream Frosting
½ cup butter, no substitutes
½ cup shortening
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon clear vanilla
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except frosting. Beat on medium speed. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cake batter into cupcake liners 1/2 full.
Bake 22-28 minutes. Cool cupcakes.
Frosting: Beat softened butter and shortening together in mixing bowl. Add salt, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar along with cream. Mix until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes with white buttercream frosting. Divide white frosting into four bowls, tint with desired colors, hot pink, orange, yellow and green. Fill 3 disposable pastry bags with tip 104- orange, yellow, hot pink frosting and green frosting-leaf tip 352. Pipe green leaves on top of each cupcake and tip 104 pipe flowers in desired colors. Flower instructions on www.wilton.com

Liz Circle 2013 small (2)Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. In 2009, 2010, 13, 14 she was entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday. Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-Cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS Affiliate for the Tri- Cities Area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, Daytime Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia and Daytime Tampa, Tampa Florida. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She is also a contributing writer for the regional magazine VIP Seen and Lovely Bella magazine in Roanoke, Virginia. Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™
To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.comor blog, www.lizbushong.com
Like and Share Liz on Facebook, tweet @lizbushong and pin on pinterest.com/lizbushong.