Dressed for Fall

The leaves are falling this time of year….right onto your cake! Dress your pumpkin cake up with some silk leaves for a fall look and a great dessert centerpiece for a dessert table.

I used this recipe but baked it in a Bundt pan.


Winter is Dead

She turned to the sunlight
                And shook her yellow head,
She whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Although it might still be a little chilly to eat outdoors on the deck or patio, you can bring all the color and blossoms inside for an springtime buffet.

Watch my e-How video on how to pull this off and welcome your guests to your botanical buffet. For table decorations, re-purpose some of your garden implements and decorate with the colors of spring. Your food will also be inspired by the season. Some of my favorite spring-time menu items are:

Click here for my video here on How to Decorate a Serving Table for a Spring Party. (Be sure to press the “CC” button is you would like to view it with captions.)

Savory 16? Keep This in Your Hip Pocket

I don’t know what to call it when a boy turns 16 — for girls it’s Sweet 16. And, when you have a boy who wants everything lower than low key, you can’t go all out.

Here’s an idea for your new driver’s 16th birthday. Find a baby photo like this in your archives. My local Giant made the cake. I am not going to say he was thrilled – but at least it wasn’t naked baby pictures!

Sweet 16 for Girls?
That one is easy. Here is my eHow video on how to make unique Sweet 16 centerpieces for a girl’s party.

To all the teens I love who turn 16 this year, Happy Birthday!

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Me and the girls were putting on a celebration dinner for a friend. I had eight sunflowers I hastily picked up at the grocery store. I had no idea what I would do with them beyond putting them in a vase.

I grabbed some scissors and went foraging through a strange yard and found fresh mint growing wildly in long stalks. (The owner of the home said, “I had no idea I had mint in my yard!”) I found a Magnolia tree and cut some grand, green shiny leaves.

Wrap a little burlap around the whole spontaneous display and we had a summer centerpiece.

Like I said, bloom where you’re planted. Have a wonderful summer day! Thank you for reading.

Nothing Bundt Flowers!

Welcome spring with a flowery, colorful cake! Make your favorite Bundt cake, add some silk flowers, butterflies, garden picks and other spring accents (walk the aisles of Michaels for inspiration), and let your ideas bloom.

Make a two-layer cake by using a smaller Bundt pan for the top layer. Place the smaller cake on a cardboard cake ring. Chocolate lady bugs, mossy grass, and garden picks add some garden fun!

A Little Bit o’ Kelley Goes a Long Way

Just like a little bit of hospitality goes a long way, so does a little bit of Kelley Green. (It’s really spelled Kelly Green sans “e” but this family spells Kelley with the extra vowel!)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day time of year so why not color your treats green? However, you’ll need some powerful dyes to get the results you want. Wilton makes concentrated gel dyes that pack a true color punch with just a small dab. Check them out here.

Hospitality reigns in this house when the warm chocolate chip cookies show up. Here’s my recipe that uses the healthier coconut oil (which has many health benefits) as well as a few tablespoons of Karo syrup for chewy texture

Kelley Green Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of course, these are just fine without the Kelley Green tint! You can substitute whole wheat flour for a rich taste that’s both healthy and equally delicious.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light Karo syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)
  • 1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter and coconut oil on high for about 30 seconds. Add both sugars, baking soda and salt and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, Karo syrup and vanilla until combined. (If adding color, here’s when you do it. Add color with a toothpick until the batter gets to the desired shade.) Beat in flour gradually. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough on ungreased cookie sheets, parchment paper or silicone baking mats (my preference, I can’t live without them!).

Bake 6-8 minutes and cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes. (Note, don’t over bake cookies, they will continue to bake as they cool on the cookie sheet.)

Some Girl, Somewhere, Will Turn 16 This Year

From the day a girl is born, she begins a lifelong love affair with shoes. If you’re planning a Sweet 16 party – either a small one at home or on a grand scale — here’s unique table decorations for buffet or individual tables.

Get your creative buzz by watching my e-How video on clever Sweet 16 table decorations!

Happy birthday to all my favorite girls turning 16 this year!
Kelley Hospitality

For more of Barbara’s e-How videos on parties, click here.