Bake Group Fall Recipes 2015

Bake Group Flavors of Fall - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

I look forward to our fall bake group EVERY YEAR!  My husband summed it up perfectly {while having his own little tasting session with the extra goodies I brought home} when he said, “This just makes me excited for Thanksgiving.”  While it’s still 90 hot degrees here in Phoenix mid-day, it makes me long for cooler weather and more time outdoors, yummy soups & homey desserts!

This collection of recipes had some of my absolute favorites of all of the bake groups we’ve had.  What is bake group?  I explain it all in THIS POST.  If you love to bake – grab a group of your favorite baker friends & start one of your own!  It’s been SO MUCH FUN!  {I do suggest that you keep the group small to minimize how sick you are when you leave the table. HA!}

The first recipe is my contribution…I normally don’t feel good about the recipes I produce for bake group…but not this time!  I found a winner!!

Caramel Apple Shortcakes with Apple Cider Reduction - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

I modified the recipe, (you can print my version HERE) from one found in Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook & I cannot begin to describe how much I loved it.  This is fall’s version of the classic Strawberry Shortcake…so you really can’t go wrong!

Let me walk you through the layers in this beautiful treat:

Drizzled on the bottom is an apple cider & spiced rum reduction infused with vanilla beans

TOPPED WITH a shortcake biscuit that was sweet, flakey perfection

TOPPED WITH caramelized granny smith apple compote

TOPPED WITH a sour cream vanilla bean whipped cream (say THAT fast 5 times!)

TOPPED WITH the other half of the beautifully browned shortcake biscuit that was brushed with milk & sprinkled with sugar to give it a crunchy, caramelized crust that’s TO DIE FOR!

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1:  The original recipe called for Apple Brandy, but I happened to have spiced rum on hand from our last bake group (WHAT!  I thought you were Mormon!  HA HA – I am!  It cooks out!!) so I substituted it thinking that another flavor profile couldn’t hurt…and I was right!

Tweak #2: Absolutely, without a doubt, you’re going to want to double the Apple Cider Reduction portion of the recipe!  It doesn’t stretch as far as the other ingredients…and just double the biscuit recipe while you’re there.  It’s so easy and you’ll want more of them.  Trust me.

Tip #1: If you’re hosting a large group – you could easily use a smaller biscuit cutter to stretch the batches.  And they’d be darling bite-sized!

Tip #2:  Experiment with this one! I think my favorite part of making this was dreaming about all of the possibilities for tweaking this recipe seasonally.  It would be AMAZING with peaches, blackberries, FIG, a pomegranate reduction would be something I’d probably drink out of the pan!  Anyway – I’m getting carried away over here.  If you’d love the recipe as I’ve modified it – you can print it HERE.  If you want Bobby Flay’s version – I highly recommend his cookbook.  Several of our favorite dinner recipes are in there…it’s a can’t go wrong kind of cookbook!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites with Gingersnap Crust - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

Vickie found her recipe on OUR BEST BITES.  The texture of these cheesecake bites had me eating more than one!  It was light and fluffy, almost mousse-like.  The gingersnap cookies in the crust & topped with a light whipped cream, there was nothing heavy about it!  A whole slice would have been okay by me – and I would have finished it easily.  If you’re planning for a crowd – the bite sized portion was perfection!!

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1: To simplify the recipe, she left off the caramel topping…but she said it’s delicious with it, too!

Tweak #2: Because she made the recipe into bite sized portions, she changed the cooking time to 11 minutes @ 375 degrees.

Tip #1: She had no tips.  The recipe was very well written!  Love that!

Maple Gingerbread Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

Nancy modified this one quite a bit – and it was one of my favorites…the original baker Joann at Eats Well With Others trades out the traditional fall spice line-up for a Chinese 5 Spice blend that really grabs you on the first bite. (in a good way! not in a “ew – I wasn’t expecting that” kind of way)  The frosting is light and airy made using whipped cream, creme fraiche & brown sugar.  And those candied pecans add the sweet that you’re craving in the bite while adding the perfect crunchy element.

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1: She didn’t have maple sugar, so she replaced it with white sugar.

Tweak #2: Since she still wanted the maple flavor to come through she replaced 1/2 of the molasses with maple syrup.

Tip #1: If you don’t have or can’t find Creme Fraiche – sour cream makes a great replacement!

Tip #2: Look elsewhere for a caramel sauce recipe.  She ended up leaving it off of the cake entirely because after 3 attempts – she couldn’t get it to turn out, even though she followed the directions exactly.  (I’d love to taste this one WITH the sauce, but to be honest – it wasn’t necessary.  It was absolutely delicious!)

Magnolia Bakery's Caramel Apple Cake with Butterscotch Frosting - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

Randi didn’t only make this Magnolia Bakery Cookbook cake look DARLING, but it tasted incredible!  Chunks of apples throughout the cake batter give it an incredible texture, while maintaining moisture in the cake.  SO GOOD!!

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1: She swapped out the Caramel Cream Cheese Icing in the original recipe, for a Butterscotch Cream Cheese Frosting – also found in the same book.

Tweak #2: Wanting to serve mini cakes, she modified the recipe from 2 9″ rounds to a jelly roll pan & used a biscuit cutter to cut out the individual mini cakes. No modification to the baking time or temperature – but since all ovens are different, she suggested you watch closely the last few minutes.  She did mention that she watched it like a hawk in her oven because she was worried that it would spill over – but it didn’t!

Tip #1:  Use a potato peeler to create curls on top by scraping it across a bar of white chocolate!  Scrape along the length for longer curls!

Tip #2: To add a fall touch, she sprinkled on some cinnamon & edible gold baking glitter above the white chocolate curls.  This glitter glams up everything you put it on!

Sweet Karin was our hostess this month – and MAN did she a WONDERFUL job!!  Here’s a look at how she set the room up:

Bake Group Fall Recipes Tablescape

And a closer look at her place settings:

Bake Group Fall Recipes Table Setting

Everything was so festive – including these take-away gifts she made for us!  She graciously sent me the recipe card to share with you, so that you can make someones day giving this cute gift away!!  **YOU CAN PRINT THE RECIPE CARD HERE**

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Free Printable Recipe Card - Bake Group Fall Recipes - PurdueAvenue

What is so beautifully displayed in those jars was an INCREDIBLE Baked Pumpkin Granola, a recipe that she got from one of her amazing baker friends!

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal - Bake Group Fall Recipes -

You don’t have to wait for breakfast to make this…it was EASILY passable as a dessert.  Think Apple Crisp – only Pumpkin Crisp.  YUM!  The bottom layer of this baked granola was a pumpkin flavored almost custard-like texture that paired perfectly with the topping that was crunchy-buttery-caramelized-nutty-sugary-deliciousness. This is one you’ll definitely want to share! (or not – we won’t judge.)  Here is the recipe:

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Recipe - Bake Group Fall Recipes - PurdueAvenue

Be a part of our bake group via the internet!  Leave a comment describing YOUR favorite fall recipe & leave us a link to any that are tested and approved by you!


Happy Fall!

For Free? Yep. For Free.

Hello Friends!  I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful summer!  We had SO MUCH FUN!!  I’ve taken pics all along the way that you can see IN MY INSTAGRAM FEED.  We saw so many beautiful places!  I’ve accepted a position that I’m super nervous about and am planning a post to tell you all about it…so stay tuned for that!  But today.  TODAY – I just had to tell you about Creative Market!  Being a self-taught { & still working on it } graphic designer is so much fun!  I have a Word Art Pinterest Board with SO MANY images to inspire me!  Color palette, photo composition, a feel of the style that I like…anything will spark the creativity enough to create something unique that you would be shocked finding out where the inspiration sourced from!

If you’ve been interested in learning the ropes, I strongly recommend doing it!  It’s so much fun!!  One of the resources that I LOVE is Creative Market.  They have so many talented designers that do all of the “heavy lifting” as far as creating the graphics goes…so that I’m not spending hours in Illustrator trying to reinvent the wheel.  The prices are fantastic!  And the best part is their Free Goods Mondays.  The designers give away fonts, graphics, digital mock-ups, design elements, blog themes, you name it – it’s being given away free.  It’s awesome!

Free Goods Mondays

Why have I chosen to share this with you now? I’ve thought about sharing this treasure trove before, but I just received my Free Goods Monday email and EVERYTHING in it was fantastic.  Sometimes it’s hit or miss…that’s why I love having the image in my email.  I click over if there’s something I’ll use, if not…I just trash the email.  (They are great about not sending junk mail!)

To join their email list: CLICK HERE to sign up for an account. (I will get referral credit if you do) When you sign up for an account, you’ll get this list of available freebies every Monday – and if you love something – go get it!  You don’t have to download them all, just the ones that you’ll use.  It’s fantastic!  I’ve been a member for about a year and have HUNDREDS of great items that I’ve received for free just from this one email.  I love it!

Creative Market Free Goods of the Week

Take a peek, sign up and start collecting design elements to make your own party invitations, greeting cards, use it in digital scrapbooking, it’s been SO much fun!!  Probably the most downloaded item in my world is fonts.  People are always asking where I get my fonts, and the majority of the time it was at Creative Market. For Free.  Can’t beat free!  {I’m kind of a font-a-holic}  Here are a few of them that I HAVE purchased and have loved.

Norffo Font

Loveton Font

Trend Font

They are priced really well & if it’s something that you’ll use often…totally worth it!  If you need help learning the programs to use them in – you can always check out my Photoshop for Newbies Class.  I’ve condensed all of the years of classes I’ve taken into 4 easy classes of the most used features in Photoshop Elements that will have you creating in no time!!  I also teach live classes.  If you live in the Phoenix area and are interested – email me for more details!

I hope that this little tip will change your life!  It certainly helped me grow my arsenal of graphic design elements & fonts!



Cowboy Party Food

Co-hosting a baby shower with a cowboy theme was terrifying to me!  My style is far from country & I didn’t want to spend a lot of money…so here’s how we pulled it off:

{pin me!}



Obviously, with a cowboy theme – we went with cowboy party food:

Cowboy Caviar

This is an Italian dressing based bean dip, best served with Fritos scoops.  IT IS COMPLETELY ADDICTIVE!  {CLICK HERE for the recipe}

To display:  I had these fabulous buckets that I found at a consignment shop in St. George, Utah.  They were in my kiddos playroom with cars & wooden blocks in them.  I’m a big believer in using what you’ve got!



Garden Cups

We used large condiment cups with ranch dressing in the bottom and sliced carrots & celery nestled in there.

To display: I found the cute tin cans at Target in the dollar section.  But you could just save an empty can or two for other things they may want to add to their cups.  We used cherry tomatoes & cucumber sticks.




Pigs in a Blanket

These turned out surprisingly well.  I’m not much of a Hot Dog girl…but it just worked with the theme and we were trying to go with finger foods.  We used cocktail weenies and wrapped them in refrigerated croissants.  Just cut the croissant dough into small strips to wrap the cocktail weenies and bake according to the croissant package directions.

To display:  I had this galvanized metal tray that I had picked up years ago.  I’ve seen them everywhere lately, for sure at Target in a slightly bigger size…but that could be a good thing!  I lined it with parchment after washing, because this, too, had a home in our playroom!




That was it for the savory foods…we spent more effort on the sweets.  (why wouldn’t we?)

Pie Pops

Okay…so they were destined to be pie pops…but I couldn’t get the dang sticks to stay in!  They were still tasty, though.  {Any suggestions on getting the stick to stay in??}

We used pre-made pie dough and cut 2 circles per pie (one for the bottom and one for the top).  Place a small spoonful of pre-made pie filling in the center of the bottom circle then cover with the top circle.  Press the edges together with a fork and brush with a light egg wash.  Cut a slit across the top for venting & bake according to the pie dough package directions.

To display:  I had this sectioned wooden piece (again from my playroom) that I had picked up at Home Goods in the office supply section!



Hay Bales

They were just rice krispie treats…but I’m sure that you knew that already.  My husband made them, because his are the best.  I’m not allowed to make them at our house because mine are “inferior”.  Not sure why.  We just use the recipe on the box of rice krispies.  He claims it has something to do with my inability to turn the heat from high on anything I make.  I have no patience in cooking.  Low just takes too long!  So I guess my tip here is to keep it on low & they will be wonderful.  We packed them in thick so that they would cut into long cubes instead of flat rectangles.  More hay bale looking.



S’Mores Cups

My absolute FAVORITE dessert at the party! My friend & co-host, Audrey, makes them.  These babies are DELICIOUS and I don’t even like S’Mores!

{CLICK HERE for the recipe}


And just because I had an extra tier on my stand, we added in some COW TALES that they could take for the road. (yeah…I spelled the sign wrong…sigh)

Cow Tails

We also added a “Watering Hole” on the Island in my kitchen.  We offered Lemonade in this darling Drink Dispenser & Bottled Water.  Simple.

I also grabbed some flowers & put them in a Mason jar inside of my daughters boot.  I sat it all on top of some rolled out BURLAP to add some texture.



Here is a full shot of the spread:







We kept it simple (isn’t that the Cowboy way?) as far as serving ware.  Plastic forks in one of the tin cans from Target, brown paper trays from Restaurant Depot {if you don’t have a card THESE PAPER TRAYS are a good alternative} & paper towels off the roll.

The table skirt is a DIY from the blog {CLICK HERE for the tutorial!} and I rolled out some darling wrapping paper that I scored at Home Goods to protect my tablecloth and add a nice background.

If you’d like to use the Buffet Cards…

you can download them HERE.  (for personal use only, please)



I hope that this post has been helpful!  With the 4th of July coming up this weekend, I hope that you can use some of our ideas in your own entertaining!

Happy 4th!!


p.s. You may want to check out Jodi’s post on Photographing Fireworks to be ready to capture your own wonderful shots!!



My Entry in the Mystery Thrift-Off Challenge

For those of you that don’t follow me on Instagram (ummm…I’d love it if you did!) – I was lucky enough to be part of the Mystery Thrift-Off.  A crazy fun contest that Lindsey, of the blog Better After, dreamed up.  For more details on all of this contest madness – READ HER POST HERE. (while you’re there – you should browse – her site is FANTASTIC!!  SUPER INSPIRING!)

One day my hubby and I were just chillin’ on the couch on a Saturday afternoon…and suddenly there was a knock at my door.  I had a very SPECIAL delivery!!

Mystery Thrift-Off Delivery

I was super nervous to open this box – the letter she wrote me apologized profusely for how hideous and horrible it was inside…and I was supposed to make it fabulous.

Here’s what I found inside:

My Mystery Thrift-Off Item

Hello Mr. Shepherd.  What the heck am I going to do with you????  There was a significant amount of stewing.  I contemplated busting the mirror and making a mosaic, but it’s not really my style.  I could make a mirrored table…hmmm…possibilities.  I could make a serving tray that would also be a great conversational piece.  My sister threw this idea at me:

A distinguished German Gentleman


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha


It finally boiled down to: what could I make that I need?  We are in the process of moving kids rooms and my oldest daughter is first on the list to decorate hers.  She wants to do a teal and white room with gold accents, so I thought that I could use this mirror above her vanity table in her room!  She, as I’m sure most teen gals do, struggles with self-confidence.  She has a very unique personality and I wanted a daily reminder for her that she is unique and beautiful!!  I found the quote, and I had recently seen a tutorial on using Heidi Swapp’s new screen printing supplies, and I REALLY had been wanting to try them out.  So, I thought that this project would be the perfect platform!!

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

Here’s the process I used to transform my Mystery Thrift-Off item:

Step 1: I removed the silver frame and spray painted it gold.

Step 2: The dog had to go, so out came the razor.  It scraped off super easily using a little bit of an angle on the razor (thanks, mom!)

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

Step 3: I used the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit  to add the teal flowers to the border of the mirror:

Mystery Thrift Off Transformation using the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit

Mystery Thrift Off Transformation using the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit

Step 4: While the paint was drying, I designed the graphic and cut it onto vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo

(seriously – almost every project I create revolves around this machine!  If you don’t have one – GET ONE!! I don’t get paid to say that.  So you can trust me ;0)…ha ha)  If you can’t get one – you can always use an exacto knife!!)

Step 5: Using transfer paper – I transferred the vinyl to the mirror.

Mystery Thrift-Off


Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 6: Remove the transfer paper.

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 7: I applied Heidi Swapp’s Gold Metallic Screen Ink {using the rubber scraper that came in the kit} to the vinyl.

**Tip** I thought that it would be pretty easy to apply the ink over the vinyl, because it was so easy applying the flowers over the screen.  But…it was a little trickier than anticipated.  Still possible – but trickier.  When using the screen – you want to scrape off all of the excess ink so that it has a smooth finish, and because the screen is between the mirror and the ink, you can.  Without the screen there, I had to lay the ink on pretty heavily, or the scraper would just take it right off of that spot.  So – if you’re using vinyl, go heavy on the ink.  In the end, I kind of like the textured look that it produced!

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 8: **IMPORTANT!** Remove the vinyl before the ink dries…otherwise you’ll be cutting around the ink with an exacto knife.  I learned this the hard way!!

Step 9: I wanted the YOU to stand out a little more – so I masked off the “BE” and the “TIFUL” with paper and the creative caution tape that came in the kit. (so cute!)

Then I sprayed just the “YOU” with gold Glitter Blast Spray:

Mystery Thrift-Off

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 10: Peel off the vinyl and use the razor to clean up any mishaps and you’re done!

I just hope that this mirror sends subliminal messages to her every morning!!  {She is pretty beautiful, if I do say so myself.}

Step-by-Step instructions to transform a thrift store mirror into a beautiful vanity mirror with an important message every teen should have in their room!

Mystery Thrift-Off

And just for fun – here’s a close-up of that glitter!!  Love that stuff!

Mystery Thrift-Off

**AND**  Just because I like you so much, If you’d like to make your own, you can download the ‘beYOUtiful’ graphic as a PDF:

Glittered Download Button

or if you already have the Silhouette, you can download the cut file:

Glittered Download Button

It would also make a fabulous art print, if the mirror and screen printing route seems like WAY too much!  Just print and frame.  Easy peasy.

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

What NOT to do:

Ha Ha.  It was trial and error on this one…I’m not gonna lie.  Here are some things that I tried that just really didn’t work.  AT ALL.

1.  I thought I could do this using Gold Vinyl and Glitter Vinyl and skip the painting all together.  You could.  But, I tried it & it just looked a little chintzy.

2. I tried using gold spray paint instead of the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Ink.  It dried too fast and peeled off with the vinyl.  And when I wiped it with a cloth – it rubbed off. Boo.

3. I tried sprinkling gold glitter onto the “YOU” instead of using the glitter blast spray.  It made a mess and rubbed off too easily.  The glitter is sealed in with the spray.  Much better.


I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  Voting begins tomorrow, Thursday June 9th, Go take a peek at ALL OF THE ENTRIES and cast a vote for your favorite!

**Shameless Plug**

If this was the first visit to my site – I’d love to send new projects and inspiration right to your inbox!  If you’d like to subscribe – you can fill out the sidebar info – or simply CLICK HERE.

Thanks in advance!  I look forward to getting to know you!


p.s. If you use the graphic in a project, please share your link in the comments!  I’d love to see it put to good use!



You’re A Peach {free tag sheet printable}

Perfect healthy neighbor/friend gift.  Drop by a basket of peaches adorned with this watercolor "You're a Peach" gift tag printable {there is also a Silhouette print & cut file} - purdueavenue

I know that we’re a little ahead of the season here in Arizona when it comes to growing.  The warmer weather has it’s benefits when the peaches are ripe this early!!  It’s the perfect healthy snack to drop by a friend/neighbors house to let them know how great they are.  Since I can’t share our tree-ripened peaches with all of you, I thought I’d share this tag.  That way, when peach season hits in your area – you’ll be ready to share the love!

Download Button

{If you have a Silhouette Cameo – you can download the print & cut file HERE}

**Tip: To glam it up – you can always use a sprinkle of white edible baking glitter on the peaches!  Just wash the peach and sprinkle the glitter on while it’s still damp – it will stick even after it’s dried!  Printing the tags onto watercolor paper will make it even better!!





Bake Group: Mothers Day with Baking Chez Moi

Bake Group Pin It Image

Bake Group is one of my favorite things.  I get to feed my belly…and feed my soul with some of the amazing women I am blessed to call my friends.

What is Bake Group?  We basically review recipe books…via taste testing.   We choose a book, each pick a recipe, and have a little soiree while we taste the outcome & talk about how hard/easy the recipe was to make, what we might do differently, and wether it’s worth purchasing the book or not.

This month (and last month, actually – I still need to get that one posted, too!) we reviewed tasted  Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan.  The verdict??  You need this book in your life.  Not only do the recipes LOOK delightful, but all of them (& counting this one, we’ve made 9 of the recipes) – all DELICIOUS – all fairly easy to prepare.  That’s the sign of a good recipe book in my life!  We’ve had some great books, but this is by far MY FAVORITE!!!  Trust me when I say that you NEED this book in your life.   Here’s what we made today – and you can decide for yourself:

 Smoothest, Silkiest, Creamiest, Tartest Lime Tart

This is THEE BEST Lime Tart I've ever had!! No subtlety to the lime, but not too tart.   #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #LimeTartRecipe #LimeTart

That really is the title of the recipe in the book.  Believe me when I say that it’s the correct title.  Vickie chose this one…and nailed it!  She said that she was surprised at how much lime zest was in the recipe – but I’m so glad there was.  There’s nothing worse than biting into a lime tart – or key lime pie and trying to find the lime in it.  Not the case here.  The topping was a mixture of sour cream and confectioners sugar helping the zing factor along nicely.  The crust tasted almost like a shortbread cookie.  I REALLY LOVED IT!


Palets de Dames, Lille Style

Meant to resemble womens parasols - these are like a sugar cookie - only airier and lighter.  SO GOOD!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #sugarcookie #frenchcookie

Meant to resemble womens parasols – these are like a sugar cookie – only airier and lighter. SO GOOD!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #sugarcookie #frenchcookie

While the name isn’t easy to pronounce, these cookies were easy to take down.  The frosting was really more of a glaze and had hardened slightly – which I liked.  They are like a sugar cookie, only airier and lighter.  Which could pose a problem.  Sugar cookies tend to be heavy enough that it’s easy to stop at one…not the case here.

The author said that they are meant to resemble women’s parasols – they were darling to look at.  Karin said that she would double the batch, as this yielded only 20 cookies – even though the recipe said 40, and that tinting the glaze in a variety of colors would be easy.  Perfect for a party!


Carrément Chocolate, The Simple Loaf

This chocolate cake loaf was AMAZING.  With chunks of salted chocolate mixed throughout...a very good recipe! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #chocolatecakeloaf #chocolate

This chocolate cake loaf was AMAZING. With chunks of salted chocolate mixed throughout…a very good recipe! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #chocolatecakeloaf #chocolate

Randi made this beauty.  INCREDIBLE!!  There were chunks of salted chocolate mixed throughout the loaf cake – so every now and again you’d catch a bite that just elevated the whole delicious thing.  She said that it was very easy to make, and would make a beautiful gift for a friend.  She served it with fresh whipped cream and raspberries.  They cut the richness of the chocolate enough that eating a whole slice was no problemo!

Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake with Poached Citrus Topping

This cake is perfect for making a day ahead.  It soaks up all of the juices and was moist perfection!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #OdilesFreshOrangeCake #PurdueAvenue

This cake is perfect for making a day ahead. It soaks up all of the juices and was moist perfection!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #OdilesFreshOrangeCake #PurdueAvenue

I chose to make this one, because the author said that she liked it better the next day.  Since I was hosting – making my dessert ahead of time was VERY appealing!  {With that said, I should have photographed it the first day.  The citrus was plump and juicy looking – where the second day it looked a little sad.}

It was so easy to make.  The whole thing was done in 30-40 minutes – including baking time.  I will say, I wish I had done only oranges.  The grapefruit was a little too much bitter for me.  I think I would have liked pure sweetness.  The orange gave enough tartness to overpower any sickly sweetness there might have been.

My favorite part of this recipe was zesting an orange into the sugar and then rubbing it together with my fingertips to combine until the sugar was orange scented.  {You can see pictures of the process on my Instagram Feed}  The smell was INCREDIBLE!!  Such an interesting technique that I think I’ll incorporate into a lot of other recipes.  That sugar was mixed with eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, & butter for a simple batter.

For the topping, the citrus was sliced and poached – and then the poaching liquid was drizzled over the warm cake.  It just absorbed into the cake and it elevated the flavor like you wouldn’t believe!!  The hardest part of this whole thing?  Slicing the citrus.  Make sure that you have a sharp knife!!  I mangled the fruit pretty bad and went through WAY more than was called for!  Ha Ha.

Because I admire these women so much, not just as people – but as Mothers – I wanted to make something for them to take away besides a belly ache….since you don’t even get the belly ache – here is a little Mother’s Day Gift for you!  I put 2 on a page so that you can print one for a Mother that you admire, too!!

#MothersDayPrintable #PurdueAvenue #Motherhood #NeilLAnderson

#MothersDayPrintable #PurdueAvenue #Motherhood #NeilLAnderson

Download Button


Here is a shot of the place setting: I placed a small arrangement of flowers at each persons place setting using my collection of mis-matched crystal glasses.  {I scour Goodwill for them every time I go in!} The place card & Art Print were made using the Heidi Swapp Minc Foil {watch for that tutorial soon!}

Mothers Day Table Setting - visit the blog for a free Motherhood Printable!

And her is a full shot of the tablescape:

Mothers Day Tablescape

I hope that you all have a WONDERFUL Mother’s Day!



A Meaningful Mothers Day Gift Idea…

Meet my super cute Grandma…

Grandma Cutie

She was as sweet as she looks.  Every year for my birthday, I could count on a sweet handwritten letter with a coin from the year I was born included.  This was a pretty impressive feat since she had 55 Grandkids and 126 Great Grandkids!  She passed away {on my birthday – sigh} almost 11 years ago.  I still read her letters that I have saved from birthdays past, and enjoy the wisdom and love in them that I should have appreciated more in my youth.

As I was reading one last year, a particular phrase stood out to me because – well – I wasn’t having a very good year.  It seemed like all of the elements were combining against our little family and I was being a bit of a whiner about it all.  But then I read these loving words from my sweet Grandma:

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 12.41.49 PM

“Live a good life and be happy”

I thought that it needed to be cross-stitched and hung somewhere that I could see it EVERY DAY.

BUT since that isn’t really my style – and there is just something wonderfully nostalgic about her beautiful penmanship, and the way she writes her “and” sideways. (I always loved that) I knew that I needed to do something using her own hand.  I opted for making this pillow using my Silhouette Cameo:


Once it was finished – I just knew that my mom would love it, and since it was almost Mothers Day,  I chose to give it to her as a gift.  She loved it…and she cried.  And isn’t that the point of giving a gift?  That the recipient loves it SO MUCH that they can’t keep their emotions from bubbling over?  I knew that it was where it belonged.

I need to make another one for me…and I’d be happy to make one for you, too.  HEAD OVER TO THE SHOP and order yours now.

Like it?  Love it?  Need it?

Purchase button

or you can always pin it for later:

Customized Pillows from

I hope that you love it!!


p.s. while you’re there – it’s not too late to order yourself one of my easter pillows!

Burlap Bunny Pillow with Gold Flecked Pom-Pom Tail -

Table Styling: A few tips and tricks

I was SO excited & beyond flattered when I was asked to collaborate with Laura from Pink Cake Plate on her Christmas Themed Downton Abbey Tea Party for World Market. We had so much fun! For this post, I thought that I’d just share a few tips and tricks that I used to style her table that will help to make your own table setting stand out this Christmas!



Trick No. 1

Think about new uses for traditional items.

Laura was asked to feature the Downton Abbey Tea Set from World Market:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.07.11 PM

 Photo from World Market

My first thought:  Laura and I are both LDS and we don’t drink tea.  So this “tea party” was really more of a schmorgesborg of yumminess – which meant that the tea cups were kind of the odd man out.

My second thought: Let’s turn the cup & saucer to make every place setting their own little personal cake pedestal!

Kate Eschbach Photography-13

Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Make the most of what you have available & find a functional use for it. It would have looked silly to have the tea cups sitting there empty.  But with all of the desserts at this party – a cake pedestal was a great use of a great item.

Trick No. 2Layering.

It works with clothes – why not decor?

Since this was a Christmas themed party – we used a wreath as the centerpiece and made it functional by resting a 3 tiered platter in the center.

Kate Eschbach Photography-16

Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Trick No.6  You could use a regular run of the mill wreath – OR – you could layer two to make a bigger impact.


Trick No.3Elevate.

Add height and dimension to the table using dishes that you have hanging around.  I like to work in 3’s…but this table was already pretty crowded, and we needed places to put the food!  I didn’t like how it looked to have 2 plates together, and knew that we needed the 3rd.  The solution?  I flipped a dessert plate upside down and placed the 3rd platter overlapping the 2 sitting side by side.  It gave it just enough height to clear the two plates and added some much needed height and dimension to that part of the table.  You may have to go through some trial and error to achieve the right height – it feels like Tetris sometimes, but the result is worth the effort!

Kate Eschbach Photography-29  Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Trick No.6Add glue dots for stability.

We used this trick on the centerpiece as well.  Resting the 3 tiered platter directly on the wreath left if super wobbly and unstable.  The Solution: Placing a ramekin upside down in the center of the wreath, I added some glue dots to the bottom.  When I added the platter, not only was it the right height, but it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a hungry guest trying to get the last scone!

Trick No. 4

Make the most of your Space.

We had a ton of goodies to fit onto a pretty small table! The solution was to combine the place cards with the napkins to save on our valuable space!!

To make it pretty: I used thin ribbon that coordinated with the color scheme, and a vintage clip on earring to secure the place card to the ribbon.

Kate Eschbach Photography-10Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

As promised on Laura’s site – here is the Place Card Printable:

{I’d just love you forever if you’d pin this image for me!}


Glittered Download Button

***NOTE*** If you like the font I used – MAKE SURE TO DOWNLOAD & INSTALL THE  FONT BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE!  Otherwise – you have to delete the PDF, download the font, and then re-download the PDF.

{Ugh – too much work.} Also – you will need to have Adobe Reader installed to download this file.  You can get it for free HERE if you need to.  :0)

You can download the font HERE.

Trick No.6
Personalize it!

Fillable means that you can add your own text to the PDF.  Alternatively, just print the PDF without typing anything to hand letter the names for a more personal touch!

Trick No. 5Enjoy Yourself!!!

There is a reason that I like to have everything crammed onto the table.  I don’t like getting up and down to refill platters.  I don’t want guests to have to get up and down either.  By having the full spread on the table, you can enjoy yourself and the conversation doesn’t get cut off every time the hostess needs to take care of another detail.  Your guests aren’t there to eat your food – they are there because they are your friends and they want to enjoy their time with you!  Work the details out in advance so that the party runs smoothly and it’s possible to just sit back and ENJOY YOURSELF!!

Those are a few of the tips and tricks that worked well for this party – What are some of your go-to Tips and Tricks?  I’d love to hear them!!


Merry Planning!



p.s. Don’t forget to enter our Pin It to Win It Giveaway going on through December 19th!

Pin It to Win It

I’m very excited to have some new Christmas items in my Etsy shop this year – and would love your feedback on which are your favorites as well as your help promoting them.  As always, I will reward your efforts ;0)  Last year this giveaway seemed to be a big hit – and I hope that it goes as well this year…

Pin It to Win It at Purdue Avenue


What you can WIN:

 Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 9.12.40 AM


Entering is Easy:

1. Visit my ETSY SHOP

2. Click the item{s} that you’d like to win and “Pin It”.



3. Complete the Rafflecopter form to be officially entered:

**NOTE** If you can’t see the Rafflecopter Form on your computer – please refresh the page.  For mobile devices CLICK HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4. 1 winner will be chosen for each prize listed.  Winners will be announced on December 20th.


Good Luck!!


p.s. If you haven’t ordered your Christmas cards or gifts yet, it’s not too late.

Check out the sitewide sale on Tiny Prints going on right now – 30% off everything. It’s the best remaining sitewide sale of the season, so don’t miss it.

When you go to Tiny Prints and place your order, just use the promo code SW30SALE and you’ll save 30% on your purchase.

I LOVE their designs – by far my favorite!!

{Of course – we all know that anything that glitters or is foil stamped is OK by me!!}


I think that I might be crazy!

Hello Friends!  It has been far too long!

To say that my life has been crazy might just be the understatement of the century.  It has been some bits good crazy & some bits bad crazy…but all in all – just lots of crazy!  I starting working full time out of the home for the first time in 15 years!!  It was a necessity with my husband out of work – and there just wasn’t enough time in the day to continue to post on my lil’ ol’ blog.  But, 10 months went by & HAPPY DAY!  He was hired last month & I have been able to cut down my hours to part time…so I think that we can get back to doing what we love to do!

Just to prove that I’m officially nutso – I have willed myself to host the Purdue Avenue Holiday Boutique again this year.  Yep!  Our second Fall Boutique! (I also held one last February that I’ll have to share with you another day…there really is so much catching up that we need to do!)

Here is the invite: {Click on the image to be taken to the Giveaway}





I’m so incredibly excited!  We are going to have many of the same vendors back – along with several new ones!!!  If you don’t live nearby enough to come – no worries!  I’ll be posting any leftover fun in my Etsy Shop and on the blog.

It’s not nearly the catch up that I’d love to have – but I just wanted you to know where I’ve been and what I’m doing!  I’m ALIVE!!!  And well….except for the crazy part.  {sigh}