I like to think of every porch I put together for someone as a big warm hug. What does it feel like to be on your porch?
Most people give a lot of thought to how they decorate their home, but what about the entrance to your home…that spot where you welcome guests or linger in the summertime for conversation and cocktails? In each Southern Woman issue, I will share a few simple ideas to enhance your porch and the time you spend on it, including a pairing beverage, a sweet treat, and a project. The tips are so simple that everyone can enjoy them. I hope these images and ideas inspire you to slow down and spend time with those you love.
We are finally back to being able to sit outside and enjoy all of the beauty that is spring. Redesigning your porch for each season doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or be expensive. Invest in some good core pieces that can translate to each season! For this spring-inspired porch, I anchored in some nice black rocking chairs from Cracker Barrel that will last for years and can be dressed for all seasons. I found this fun, bright aqua outdoor rug at Walmart! I accented it with a great tea cart I found and upcycled from Lone Pine Antique Store in Fayetteville. Look around your community at thrift stores, antique stores, and maybe even a garage sale. You will be surprised how a little elbow grease and some paint can bring a unique piece to life.
After you are done adding some color to your spring porch, prepare a fun drink to share. I found this wonderful raspberry tea recipe on Pinterest. It’s bright, beautiful, and can be served as an adult cocktail as well. You can’t go wrong with this refreshing recipe for your family.
And we all know you can’t have a drink without a sweet nibble! Carrot cake was my dad’s favorite, and it has a great springtime feel to it. I used mini martini glasses that I layered with my homemade frosting and cake to make it look fun and special. You can also use a mini mason jar or whatever you have around the house. Grab it and enjoy a taste on your porch.
For this issue’s project, I chose something that can serve a dual purpose and is easy enough for those even with a brown thumb. Watch your seedlings grow into beautiful grass that you can even juice or throw into your favorite smoothie. The wheat grass can also be an easy gift to spread some spring cheer to others with the organza bags and seeds.
I hope you find some inspiration with the beauty of this year’s spring. Celebrate the joys of gathering together with those you love. Go create, until next time.
CARROT CAKE TINI
Carrot Cake Ingredients:
- 3 sticks plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped candied pecans1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
- 12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups candied pecans
Candied Pecans: In a skillet, place 2 cups of chopped pecans with 1 cup of granulated sugar. Place the skillet on medium heat. Keep a watchful eye on the sugar. Once it starts melting, stir frequently. (This step will go really fast once the sugar starts melting.) Make sure all of the pieces are well coated. Spread the pecans out on a piece of wax paper to cool.
Carrot Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the grated carrots in a medium bowl. Melt three sticks of butter in a small saucepan and pour over the grated carrots. Combine well and set aside.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla, plumped currants, and the carrot/butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
Add the chopped nuts and crystallized ginger, if using, and stir to combine. Pour the batter in a 13 x 9 prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
Icing: Make the icing by creaming the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed until the icing is smooth and creamy. Fold in the pecans.
When the cake has cooled completely, scoop pieces of the cake into a chosen glass container or martini glass and layer with frosting. Serve immediately or refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap, until ready to serve, up to two days ahead.
BELLA BASIL RASPBERRY TEA
(recipe credit: Taste of Home)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 black tea bags
- 1 liter carbonated water or 750 mL sparkling rose wine
- Ice cubes
In a large saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, basil, and lime juice. Mash berries. Cook over medium heat until berries release juices, 7 minutes.
Remove from the heat; add tea bags. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain, discarding tea bags and raspberry seeds. Transfer tea to a 2-quart pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Just before serving, slowly add carbonated water or wine. Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with raspberries and basil.
EASTER GRASS KINDNESS BAGS
Fill a white organza bag with wheat grass seeds and tie with ribbon. Print these tags to attach to your bag:
Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.
Plant these seeds and enjoy a burst of spring.
Water gently to moisten the soil. Sprinkle seeds evenly across the soil. Sprinkle evenly a thin layer of soil over the top without disturbing the seeds. Place the tray/pot in an area with indirect sunlight between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is wheatgrass so you can also snip and enjoy.