Sunday, March 29, 2015

Garden Fresh

Having a crowd over on Easter?  Here’s a sweet little way to add some “carrot-ture” to your brunch buffet. 
Start with green plastic silverware.  Wrap a fork, knife and spoon in an orange napkin and secure them with a couple of green pipe cleaners.   
Tuck them into a cute basket and you’ve got a just-picked-from-the-garden silverware caddy that is sure to impress even Peter Cottontail.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bird's Nest Cheesecakes

The sun is shining and the birds are chirping.  Spring has finally sprung in Northwest Ohio, and I'm busy whipping up a test batch of these tasty mini cheesecakes. 

I plan on serving them on Easter - so cute with their toasted coconut nests and chocolate eggs. 

They are simple to make and cheesecake.... need I say more?

Mini Cheesecakes
18 vanilla wafers

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

54 chocolate eggs
1 cup coconut, toasted

Heat oven to 375 F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Add 1 vanilla wafer to each liner.  In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs until creamy.  Fill each liner halfway with mixture.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Cool.  Top with toasted coconut and chocolate eggs. 

Makes 18 cheesecakes.
(Recipe adapted from

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In Season with Strawberries

Strawberry Salad and Low-fat Strawberry Muffins

Their rosy heart-shaped appearance will surely tempt you, but their naturally sweet, good-for-you properties will win your affection for life.

Just one cup of strawberries (about eight large) contains more vitamin C than an orange.  Their delicate exterior is just a cover up for their powerful core which is also an excellent source for potassium, folate and fiber.  
And if that’s not enough, strawberries are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, two assets that can aid in reducing the risk of cancer.

It’s not very often that something this good is also good for you.  Grab yourself several pints while they’re in season (late March through May) and put them to work for your healthy self.

Good things really do come in small packages.

Strawberry Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Serves 4

½ cup walnuts
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
8 ounces spring mix with baby spinach

1 shallot, peeled and quartered
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a blender, cadd vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pulse until mixture is smooth.  Slowly stream oil into mixture and pulse until blended.  Refrigerate leftover dressing.

(Recipe adapted from

Low-fat Strawberry Muffins
12 servings

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup fat-free plain yogurt
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries

In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, butter and vanilla.  Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in strawberries.

Fill muffin cups coated with cooking spray or lined with paper liners two-thirds full.  Bake at 375 F. for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. 
(Recipe from

Have a great week!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bricks and a Ballroom to Boot

Two words are making me lose my mind these days…industrial and farmhouse. 


Where has this decorating style been all my life? 

A juxtaposition of the warm and cozy feel of an old farmhouse and the cold and steely lines of a warehouse, Industrial Farmhouse is made up of two very different styles that somehow complement each other beautifully.



I could have used Industrial Farmhouse many years ago

… particularly when I was dating a very clever blue-eyed young man who was living in a downtown loft apartment in an old building, The Oliver House.



The beautiful brick Oliver House was opened in 1859 as the area’s first luxury hotel with running water, a fireplace and gas lighting in each guest room.  

It remained a gem in our region for many years. 



As industry moved into the area and competition grew from newer hotels, the Oliver House was sold and converted into a manufacturing plant by a company that made light fixtures. 

Through the transition, the building was stripped of most of its opulent details.

Although the blue-eyed young man’s loft apartment  was rustic and mostly bare, it was full of unbelievable charm... 

with floor to ceiling windows,

wood floors with grooves created from years of footsteps,  

a huge metal sliding door framing the entrance,

open ductwork on the ceiling,

and exposed brick on not just one wall but all of the walls. 

The apartment was so big that we referred to one part of it as the ballroom, complete with a rounded wall of windows.

Where were you when I needed you, Industrial Farmhouse?

Back then I could have floated an enormous bed in front of those windows…

or hung metal farm-style signs against those brick walls….

or brought in shiny stainless steel appliances to rest on those well-worn wooden floors. 

If only we could go back in time. 


I’m not sure if the blue-eyed young man would have appreciated me decorating his bachelor pad in Industrial Farmhouse style back then. 

But today as my husband, I know he would be ever so happy to assist his Cowgirl in the process.   


Have a great day!
*Editor's note - the farmhouse kitchen photo is from HGTV's Fixer Upper  The chairs and lamp photos are from

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cowgirl Cuisine - Braided Pizza Bread

Happy Sunday!  Here's a fun-to-make stuffed bread idea which is similar to a stromboli or calzone and very easy to assemble.  Serve it with a salad and you've got Sunday dinner in the bag, or in the bread rather.

You'll need:

1 can refrigerated pizza dough

1/3 cup marinara sauce, plus more for dipping
Pizza toppings (any combination will do)
Italian sausage crumbles, pepperoni, onions,
bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives
or banana peppers.

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 400 F.  Lightly coat a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.  Spread pizza dough into a 9"x13" rectangle. 
Cut eight strips on each side of the dough.  Spread the sauce down the middle.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella.  Add toppings then sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of mozzarella.


Fold end of dough in - so the goodies don't ooze out.  Then crisscross each strip, forming a braid. Fold the opposite end in before the final braid.  (Don't worry if it's not perfect - it's so good, no one will care). 
Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and add a couple toppings for garnish.

Bake 18 - 20 minutes, or until dough is lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes ( have to).

Slice, dip in sauce and Mangia!