Friday, July 18, 2014

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Tea Glaze

When thinking of tea, there are probably several things that come to mind; iced tea, a tall glass of sweet tea, hot tea, tea and lemonade just to name a few.  The thing that all of these have in common is...they are all served in a glass or cup.  I think most of us think of tea as something to drink and nothing else.

But tea, just like coffee, is much more than just something to drink.  It can be the star in a dessert where it truly is the center of attention.  Or it can also take on a roll of flavoring simple desserts or adding a twist on a classic.

In this dessert it takes on a co-staring roll.  The flavor of tea is utilized in each element of this truly amazing cake.  Although it's in the cake, brushed on top, and in the glaze the tea flavor it truly subtle.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Southern Sweet Tea and Bourbon Cocktails

Summer in the south.  It's a different kind of heat.  A different kind of hot.  On top of being hot, it's humid which amplifies the heat oh, about 100 times making it incredibly unbearable.   On a truly hot day it may be 100, but feels like 110 and when you walk out the doors it feels like you've just walked into a sauna.

Despite the heat, we still enjoy pool parties, backyard cookouts, and outdoor get togethers.  But, in order to survive those hot summer days and nights beverages are must be in abundance and cocktails, of some sort, are definitely preferred!

So what better beverage to use as a base of a cocktail than tea.  Not just any tea though, southern style sweet tea.  But when it comes down to it, is there really anything other than southern style sweet tea?  I didn't think so!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Honey Cookies with Mint Sweet Tea Frosting

When the idea came to me to do a whole week dedicated to sweet tea I was ecstatic.  Then I started telling Spencer and a few others about it and they were skeptical and not nearly as enthused I was about an entire week dedicated to the drink of the south.  The most popular response I got was, how many different drinks can you make using tea?

While I did (and still do) have several drink ideas, my thought was not only to share beverages but to also incorporate the beverage in actual recipes too!  Once I elaborated on the subject and the ideas I had everyone was on board and so excited to see what I actually decided to share this week!

I don't think I could possibly go a week without sharing at least one dessert with you.  Since desserts are my weakness it just wouldn't be right, I'd be doing you an injustice by not sharing something sweet.  My only issue with this was what baked good I should share first.  Then it hit me, cookies.  Of course!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tea and Lemonade (A.K.A.- Arnold Palmer)

My MaMaw was a true southern woman and a real life June Cleaver.  Every morning she would wake up, "put her face on" as she would call it, brush her teeth and then get dressed.  It didn't matter if she didn't have anywhere to go, she was ALWAYS presentable.  It was customary, especially for her generation, to always be ready and be presentable.  Oh, and leave the house (even to go to the mailbox) without lipstick, well that was a no no. 
I remember one time my mom was running incredibly late.  You know, having one of those mornings where you start running from the time your feet hit the floor just trying to catch up?  Yes, one of those.  So she got ready and then ran me up to my MaMaw's and popped her head in long enough to say hi, gotta go, bye.  But, it wasn't so quick that my MaMaw didn't notice she didn't have on her lipstick.  So she immediately stopped my mom and asked, "Dear One, are you okay?  Are you not feeling well?"  To this my mom replied, I'm fine why do you ask?  My MaMaw, without a beat said your lips are naked and I just knew that something had to be wrong if you left your house without lipstick.  So after going back to the car mom quickly put on her lips, and carries those words with her to this day. 
My MaMaw always looked like she had stepped off the cover of a magazine.  Her ensemble complete with a big strand of pearls, large "ear bobs" (earrings), hose and shoes.  My MaMaw, typically left the outside work to my Papaw and her sons but we do have an infamous picture of her mowing the yard.  But she wasn't wearing working clothes, she was wearing slacks, a blouse, ear bobs, pearls and flats.  Yes, I believe even she put June Cleaver to shame with that move!
I know it's a little blurry, but this is the infamous picture!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sweet Tea and Mint Granita

This week we're talking, eating and drinking all things tea.  Tea is the delicious drink of choice for southerners.  And it doesn't get much better than a tall glass of ice cold tea on a hot summer day.  So, being from the south myself and growing up on the stuff I decided to see what all could be done with tea.  From refreshing drinks, tasty cocktails and even delicious desserts; there's more to tea than just sipping.
When I think of hot summer days and ways to cool off, one of the things that pops into my head is a cold dessert.  Ice cream, a slush, ice box pie, snow cone; you name, it if it's cold I think it fits the bill.  A granita is another treat that pops in my head.
Have you heard of a granita before?  If not let me fill you in.  It's a semi-frozen dessert that originated from Sicily, the birth place of the feisty Sophia Petrillo.  Don't you just love her?  I love her and her quotes and snarky remarks that only she can get away with!  Anyway...sorry for the detour.  Back to the granita.  It's a combination water, sugar, and other various flavorings.  They are all combined to create a variation of Italian frozen ice.  In other words, it's like a snow cone for adults!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BTB: Southern Style Sweet Tea

In the south, tea is in a category all it's own.  You've got sports drinks, soft drinks, lemonade, coffee and tea.  But not just the hot tea.  There is iced tea.  Tea that is served in a tall glass that is so full of ice that it's peaking over the rim of the glass.

Then there is the infamous sweet tea, the elixir of the south.  Growing up sweet tea in the fridge was a staple.  I always remember going to my best friend's house and there always being sweet tea on hand and some being made for standby.  But this wasn't tea with a touch of sugar or Sweet-N-Low, this tea was made with probably about a cup of sugar, at least.  And it wasn't just a typical, normal sized pitcher, this was a large pitcher like the size you'd see in the church pantry.  To say that we were dependent on sweet tea would be an understatement, sweet tea was a necessity to make it through the day!  I'm pretty sure I could walk in her house today and still see the same giant, pale blue pitcher in her fridge and it would be filled with the sweet goodness.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Sweet Rolls with Lemon Glaze

Do you ever have those times where you're trying to make a recipe and you feel like the world is against you?  You know, either the flavors aren't there, things just won't come together as they should, the batter overflows out of the pan all over the floor of the oven, or in this case the dough just wouldn't rise.  I mean it was denser than dense and flatter than flat.  I attempted to make this dough 3 times, yes 3, before it finally cooperated.  I don't know if I held my mouth just right the final time, if the 3rd time really is the charm or if the world decided to leave me alone and allow things to come together.
You see, I don't do well when recipes don't work.  If a cake sinks, I typically don't serve it.  If the frosting doesn't hold on cupcakes, they usually don't leave my house.  If a meal ends up not coming together, I quickly make something else for Spencer and Tucker before I retreat to the couch to take a break.  You see where I'm going with this.  But, I don't let the failure win.  Once I get over my frustration, I return to the kitchen to defeat whatever recipe just tried to get one over on me.  This time it was the dough.

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