Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies
My cookie fundraiser, "Ta Ta Tuesday" has been a huge success.  If you missed the original post, you can catch up here.  One cookie has stood out as the favorite around campus.  I got it from Cindy Culp and this time I have permission to share the recipe.  The recipe has 2 variations- either chocolate mint or double chocolate chip- both are incredible!  They are super moist and fluffy because the main ingredient is devil's food cake mix.

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

1 pkg Devil’s Food Cake Mix
½ Cup margarine, softened
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water
1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped Andes mints

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips (or Andes mints), at low speed until thoroughly moistened.  Stir in chocolate chips (or Andes mints).  Shape dough into 1 ¼ inch balls.   Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes or until tops appear cracked.  Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets.  Eat & enjoy!!

 Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Carousel Lavender Farm

This weekend I visited Carousel Farm in Bucks County.  This was the perfect time to see acres of blooming lavender in their fields.  Entering the gift shop, the smell of lavender was intoxicating.  They sold many lavender products including, dried lavender flowers, soaps, lotions, lavender honey, and even lavender cookies and chocolate.  It will at least be another week before they harvest this year's lavender flowers, so I urge anyone in the area to visit!
Beehives in the lavender fields

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Balloon at Chanticleer
As part of the American Public Gardens Association National Conference (APGA), we had an evening reception at the fabulous garden, Chanticleer.  Of course, Chanticleer does everything with style, and we were surprised with tethered hot air balloon rides!  We all got a bird's eye view of of one of my favorite gardens.  The weather was perfect and the bright colors of the balloon looked amazing against the blues skies.  Don't ask how I climbed into that basket in a skirt- it took finesse to say the least.
Grace, Kate, and Tee Jay ready for our ride!
Grace, Kate, and Tee Jay up in the air.
Keri, Amy, and Grace at Chanticleer

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ta Ta Tuesdays

As a new fundraising idea for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk, I'm starting "Ta Ta Tuesdays" at work.  For the rest of the summer, I'll be bringing in baked goods to sell to the Temple Ambler campus community.  This week, I made chocolate chip cookies and will be selling them 2 cookies for $1.  This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that I got from my friend Ron Gravish when we were interns at Longwood Gardens.  I would normally post the recipe here, but I was sworn to secrecy.  Yep- they are that good!  If you want to try them, you can either buy them tomorrow at Temple or invite me over for a BBQ sometime :)

For packaging, Amy had cute baggies left over from Valentine's Day, and I attached a pink business card describing the walk and directing people to my fundraising page.  Wish me luck!  And if anyone has a great baked-good recipe that can be easily packaged, please send it my way!
Close-up of pink business card directing people to my personal fundraising page.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jay McCarroll Lecture

Jay McCarroll with pillows made from his Habitat fabric line.
The Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild welcomed Jay McCarroll, Season 1 winner of Project Runway to speak at our June meeting.  Jay was promoting his new fabric line, Habitat.  When I first saw the collection, I wasn't sure what to make of it.  It is a lot of different styles and colors and I didn't see the big picture until Jay explained it.  Now I'm a fan.  Most of his inspiration came from nature- something that I can surely relate to- walking the trails around Philadelphia.  This was the fist time that I heard a fabric designer talk about each print and I just loved hearing the background stories and design process.  Some of his designs are computer generated, some hand painted, some a combination of both, all inspiring.  Jay was funny and seemed right at home in front of an audience.  He also gave us a little insight into his time on Project Runway.
Giving a new life to old chairs with Jay McCarroll's Habitat fabric line.
Quilt made from Jay McCarroll's Habitat fabric line, made by Spool Sewing.
Another quilt made from Jay McCarroll's Habitat fabric line, made by Spool Sewing.

At the lecture, and exciting Guild challenge was announced.  Members of the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild were given samples of Jay's Habitat line and are challenged to make a 12" original block.  He will choose 3 winners that will be featured in a national quilting magazine.  I'm not really a block designer, so I'll just have to wing it on this one!  I have a couple of ideas and, since the deadline is Tuesday, I'd better get sewing!  All of the blocks created by our Guild will be sewn into quilts that we are donating to the Japan relief effort, so winner or not, my block will be going to a good cause!
Grace, Jay McCarroll, Katie, and Erin modeling our free fabric.
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