Monday, May 30, 2011

Raspberry Stuffed French Toast

My mother-in-law has made this Raspberry Stuffed French Toast for family brunches a number of times and everybody thinks it's really delicious.

We ran out of the raspberry sauce, so I served the French toast with fresh berries.

It seems a little bit fussy to make, but it's totally worth the effort! This style of French toast would be great to serve when you want something a little fancy for a special brunch.

My mother-in-law adapted the recipe which comes from a popular restaurant in Lake Worth, Florida called Benny's on the Beach.  The restaurant version calls for the French toast to be dipped in granola, instead of sliced almonds. I love it with the sliced almonds!

Mmmm.... lovely toasted almonds!

To start, you'll need....

2 slices thick bread
about 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1 tbsp. butter
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Filling Ingredients...

1/3 cup sugar
3 oz plain cream cheese
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix together the filling ingredients in a food processor or a bowl until well combined.

Batter Ingredients...

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. honey

Mix together the batter ingredients with a whisk.

Raspberry Sauce...

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup raspberries

Cook the water and sugar in a pan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the raspberries and combine in a food processor.

* I've had this French toast both with and without the raspberry sauce and both ways are delicious, so I think you could skip the sauce if you wanted.


Spread the filling between the slices of bread to make a sandwich and press the bread together.

Dip both sides of the sandwich in the egg batter.

Dip both sides of the sandwich into a shallow plate filled with the sliced almonds.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and melt the butter.

Cook the French toast until brown and then flip over and cook the other side.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Drizzle on the raspberry sauce if you decided to make some.

Since everybody cooks a little differently, you may want to play around with the ingredient quantities until you get something you love.

I hope you like it! I ate the leftovers cold!!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chinese Food and Sushi Cupcakes

We celebrated my daughter's 9th birthday last week. When I say 'last week', I mean it literally; all of 'last week'!

In our home, "birthdays" mean a Friend Party, a Family Party, a Special Dinner and a Cake on Your Actual Birthday, and Treats for Classmates at School. My three kids and my husband all have birthdays within one month of each other.  So, we eat a lot of cake between the middle of May and the middle of June!

This year my daughter asked me to make these adorable little sushi cupcakes to bring to school and share with the kids in her class (she had seen the idea in the Family Fun Crafts for Kids magazine).

These little cupcakes are so easy to make and the kids loved them!  You use a cylinder cookie cutter to make the 'sushi' shaped cakes out of pound cake.

Wrap a piece of fruit roll-up around the middle. The fruit roll-up sticks to itself- the same way it does to the grooves in your kids' molars!

Frost with white icing and top with coconut, which looks like white rice.

I diced red jujubes, Swedish fish, gumdrops, and red licorice sliced on the diagonal to resemble real sushi toppings.

A whole class set of sweet sushi cakes fits nicely into a 9x13 pan.  Apparently I have requests to make these again!

That took care of the Treats for Classmates at School portion of the birthday, next came the Friend Party.

This year, my daughter wanted to take five friends out for dinner at her favorite Chinese restaurant, and then enjoy a brownie bar and movie back at our house.  The restaurant she chose is right out of the movie, A Christmas Story (Ralphie... you'll shoot your eye out)!

The Chinese restaurant from the movie A Christmas Story.

The girls had a wonderful time! They had their own table for six, and my husband and I sat close by at our own table. Their conversations were hysterical!

I made loot bags out of Chinese food takeout cartons which I filled with all kinds of goodies for my daughter's friends.

 I stuck hair accessories shaped like chopsticks through the top...

... and then printed takeout menus and taped them to the top of the cartons with a "thanks for coming to my party" message.

Everyone had a fantastic time!

That's the brief version of my nine year old's birthday!

My oldest daughter turns fifteen next week and she's planning a sleepover party with her girlfriends. I'm not sure who's coming, how long they're staying, or how this will impact our neighborhood garage sale in the morning, but I'm sure I'll find out soon.... I hope!

I'm joining Debbie's Newbie Party this week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Family Room: The Sequel

In movies, it's not often that the sequel is better than the original, but in the case of my family room, I think you'll agree that this post outshines the original.

I surprised myself the other day.  I said something I've never said before, and didn't think I would be able to say for years:

"Wow... I like the family room! I really like it!"

Last month I explained why I've never really liked my family room, and showed some 'before' pictures detailing things I wanted to change. You can read about it here.

Since then, you've seen the family room's new pretty pillows and summer mantel. Here, now, are the rest of the family room updates.

My top priority was to brighten the family room, and, by using a lot of white paint, white accessories and white fabric, I now have a room that looks much more airy and fresh.

The walls have been painted with Benjamin Moore's Ivory White in eggshell. It's a lovely, creamy, warm white.

Mr. StyleBurb and I have long 'debated' the size of the area carpet that used to be in this room. I felt that the carpet was too dark and too small - he thought it was fine....

I removed the carpet when I painted the walls and unfortunately, it is now 'lost' somewhere in the house, so I can't put it back (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).  But look how much larger the room seems without the too small rug- and I didn't spend a penny to make this change!

I'm loving the bare wood floors for the summer. I may put an area carpet back when fall comes, but for now, the floors are carpet-free and the room feels cooler- perfect for our hot, humid summers.

I bought a SureFit slipcover for the navy wing chair.  Before, the navy chair and green sofas looked uncoordinated.  Now, the new white pillows on the sofas and ivory slipcover on the wing chair make the furniture look pulled together.

I think that the slipcovered chair looks casual, relaxed and beachy- a great look for summer!

The single black wall sconce to the left of the sofa irritated me daily because of its anti symmetrical powers...

Here is the wall sconce in my high-tech paint booth.

... but was neutralized with a lick of Heirloom White spray paint.

Painting the wall sconce white makes it blend into the wall, while still providing much needed light.

I placed a framed print and a small table with two white pillar candles and a shell ball underneath the sconce which balances the dresser and lamp on the other end of the sofa. I already owned the shells, pillar candle holders and the framed print- they just needed some spray paint.

Again, I didn't spend a penny!

I lowered the large picture above the sofa by 4 inches so that it doesn't look like it's floating. I also tucked a basket of magazines (a la Pottery Barn) underneath the table.

Continuing with the beachy look, Mr. StyleBurb found a couple of pictures of our kids at the lake last summer. They look wonderful printed in black and white and framed.

The wooden frames are garage sale finds, also painted with Heirloom White spray paint.

To recap, this is what our family room looked like before...

... and after

I've still got my eyes open for a coffee table, but you're probably out of popcorn, so we'll have to wait for the next installment in my Family Room series.

Coming soon to a theater near you...

  I will be joining these link parties this week:

   Transformation Thursday Transformation Thursday

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hello Dolly!

Look who I found in the garden!

Sort of....

I think it's funny that gardeners sometimes call peonies the Dolly Parton of flowers.  I do see the similarities.

Both are frilly, frothy, glamorous and.... top heavy!

Peonies are my favorite summer flower; the perfect combination of scent and beauty.

I stubbornly tried to grow a pink peony bush in my north facing backyard. It wasn't happy, and year after year produced only a single bloom. 

It was my Charlie Brown peony bush.

I finally got the nerve to transplant the peony bush last fall, even though I knew they don't like to be moved.  But, as in real estate, I had the perfect location-  a sunny, well drained bed with a view!

It seems that my peonies are happy with their new location. It's nice to meet you, Dolly!

I'm hoping for a brazen display of voluptuous blooms like these:

The peonies will be the star of the garden... I'm willing to accommodate some diva demands to keep them happy!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Summer Mantel, Had Me A Blast

(Bonus points if you know the reference of my post title!)

The mantel on my fieldstone fireplace got some summer lovin' last week.  I decided to keep the look very clean and simple looking.

Inspired by the white seashell fabric on my new pillow covers, I added a pair of sugar starfish, some new/newish white accessories and refreshed the mirror by painting it Heirloom White.

We already had the hurricane lanterns with the seagrass base. I bought them from Pier 1 Imports last year and noticed when I was there recently that they are still available.

I found the new- but old looking- chippy urn from Pottery Barn and filled it with a small shamrock plant.

The urn needed a little bit of height so I turned the covers from two books inside out and slipped them underneath. (Finally, I have a use for Tori Spelling's autobiography.... don't judge... I loved the original 90210 when I was younger!)

My dog, Harry has barked his opinion a number of times during my family room makeover.  You may recall that he complained about the BM 'Cable Knit' paint sample I was trying out until I painted it over.

Now, he seems to have a problem with the starfish- for some reason he keeps staring at them! Who does he think he is, Tommy Smythe?  This time, I don't care what Harry says, I like them and they're staying.

Painting the mirror white has really lightened the look!  Here is my mantel before its summer makeover.

And after.

The pillar candles that used to be on the mantel have been painted Heirloom White and grouped on a tray with the white shell ball.  I'll show you where this little arrangement calls home soon.

Click here to see pictures of my family room before the updates.

Clean, fresh and bright!

Did you figure out my post title's song reference?

For those of you who are too young to remember, or not as obsessed with musicals as me, the song is from Grease and the opening number is called Summer Nights. (Raise your speaker volume... it's worth your 3½ minutes!)


Monday, May 2, 2011

Family Room Update: Pretty Pillows

Have you ever noticed that the things you aren't very good at are often ones you don't like?

That's not always true.... I have proof!

I love to sing!  However, I rarely know the correct lyrics to all the songs I sing, and judging by the cut-eye looks I get when I do sing, I know that I'm not particularly tuneful. Actually, that was a comment on my second grade report card: "Yvonne is an enthusiastic participant during music class, though she is not often in tune". Didn't stop me. I'm still singing!

And I'm still sewing. I've said before that I'm not much of a seamstress (fact, not false modesty), but I love to sew. I can only manage straight lines, but you might be surprised at what you can create by sewing straight! (or, straightish, as the case may be)

Last weekend I had the joy of making new pillows for my family room, which is undergoing a little freshening up. I'm trying to bring light, bright and white into this room.  I already knew I wanted white fabric for some pillow covers when I visited my favorite Home Decor fabric store.

It ate away at my heart a little to have to leave such gorgeous fabrics at the store.

This white, heavy weight cotton appealed to me and inspired more ideas for how to decorate the family room.

Checking to make sure it looks good with the pillows I already have...

 We have a winner!

I made envelope-style pillow covers, which require only basic math, a little measuring, a quick press with the iron and straight sewing- no zippers or buttons required. There are tutorials all over blogland on how to make this style of cover, but I found Kim's (Restoration House) tutorial very helpful.

Tip: Some of my pillows were extra plump and I found that by adding three or four extra inches to the fold over flap I was able to get crisper corners.

Front of the pillow

Back of the pillow

Tip: It wasn't easy to find inexpensive down pillow inserts, so I checked the clearance section at HomeSense and found down-filled pillows for only $10 a piece. I replaced the store bought covers with my own.

The new pillows have really lightened the look of the green corduroy sofas. 

 Lots of comfy pillows.

The black wall sconce to the left of the sofa has been painted white.  New white accents co-ordinate well with the white pillows.

I also found a fantastic dragonfly print, so I bought one yard and made a 6th pillow cover.  I think this pillow is my new favorite!

I felt like Martha Stewart as I whipped up pillow after pillow! I might even try out the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine!

Thanks for visiting!