3 Easy Summer Desserts…

AF2E721F-68DA-41F7-BB06-8841C9A8AAD5Summertime… and the livin’ is easy…’ except when you need to show up with something in your hand for a picnic or a gathering. Or maybe it’s too hot to cook! Or you’re having unexpected company… or you just want to add a dessert to a simple meal and really who wants to miss out on the summer fun slaving away in the kitchen? A lot of folks say- no matter how wonderful the meal is- what guests remember most is the dessert!

Here’s 3 Easy Summer Desserts that will be easy to assemble and unforgettable, I promise! Salted Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes, Fresh Strawberry Trifle and Tropical Grilled Pineapple will have your guests raving and you’ll be cool, calm and collected! 458AC00D-643F-4A97-93B7-84AC680F5496

Salted Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes. Now really, who can resist that? And it’s really just an easy assembly of vanilla iced cupcakes from your favorite bakery (or make them yourself), microwave kettle corn and good quality caramel sauce (I found several high quality brands in the ice cream topping section)  Finish with a light sprinkle of sea salt and you’re done! An easy-to-carry dessert- just surround cupcakes with extra popcorn to keep them steady- assemble when you arrive and you’ll have an easy irresistible dessert!66D45DF0-3D87-447C-B32A-8CE71E9AC240

Fresh Strawberry Trifle. If a show stopping dessert is what you need- this is it! You will need a good quality pound cake, at least a quart of fresh strawberries and for this- I would recommend whipping the heavy cream yourself! Cut up 1/3 of fresh strawberries, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sugar, let stand until strawberries have absorbed the sugar; drain the liquid (this strawberry juice is wonderful added to iced tea or lemonade!) Fold softened strawberries into 2/3 of the whipped cream (that’s the pink cream you see in the photograph)

6DCEDB17-C2B0-4CD8-9970-B151A32C2835Assemble Trifle by layering pound cake, fresh cut strawberries, pink strawberry cream; repeating until the Trifle bowl is full. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the Trifle and chill until ready to serve! Beautiful, delicious and easy!1C00C736-953D-4964-B77B-836240B1BAEB

Tropical Grilled Pineapple.  If the grill is already fired up, you’re more than halfway there to this luscious dessert. You will need fresh pineapple, vanilla ice cream, sliced almonds and grated coconut- feel free to guild the dessert with pineapple preserves found among most ice cream toppings at your local grocer. Most grocer’s sell fresh pineapple, peeled and cored, or cut and core your own. Slice pineapple into 3/4 to 1 inch slices, brush with honey and grilled 2-3 minutes or until slightly caramelized (don’t over cook) Lightly toast 3/4 cup of grated coconut and 3/4 cup of sliced almonds. That’s all the cooking required! Assemble by placing a slice of grilled pineapple on a plate, top with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, pineapple preserves and finish with toasted coconut and sliced almonds. A tropical paper umbrella is also festive and fun!

I’ve loved having a few recipes for delicious, easy desserts in summertime or anytime- I hope these 3 will become a few of your favorites! And who knows you might be singing…’Summertime… and the livin’ is easy…’ and be cool, calm and collected too!

Love y’all, Camellia

*All photographs are obviously mine. * Feel free to make substitutions with homemade or purchased items!

Light and Easy Granola and more…

img_2477You know all of those goals I had to eat healthier? More whole grains, nuts, fruits and fiber? Granola topping fruit and yogurt is one of my favorites. That was fine for a while, yet somehow the granola started tasting too heavy and sort of like sawdust. I know, I should have been a stalwart. Still. I know myself well enough that if I’m getting tired of something, I won’t stick to my goals. So! Last year, I fiddled around and came up with this light and easy granola! And, the best part is, I still  love it! Here’s how you make –

 Camellia’s Light and Easy Granola

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats – 6 minute type
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients – tossing lightly. Pour melted butter over all. Spread mixture on parchment lined baking sheet, evenly and as thin as possible. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until crisp and golden. Break up granola. Cool. Store in airtight container. Wonderful topping for fruit and yogurt or as an ice cream topping drizzled with caramel.

*note: Almond flour is a good substitute. Add coconut as part of the overall quantity of nuts as a nice addition. Use light and easy granola as the base for Trail Mix, adding dried fruit, seeds even bits of chocolate. And… this Light and Easy Granola as a topping on frozen yogurt with hot caramel sauce is amazing!img_3262

I truly do love eating healthy, yet occasionally my southern sweet tooth flares up! And- while a cake mix might not be quite as healthy as homemade, I do think a homemade frosting with really good ingredients like butter, pure extracts and quality cream cheese is important! Especially if you need an easy special occasion dessert. If you make a sheet cake, cut it in smallish squares ( ice the whole cake first, chill and cut- then place each square in paper cupcake liners!) Well, you’re set!img_3293

And, if your Johnny Jump Ups are in bloom, they’re an adorable addition. Top each square with beautiful and edible violas! Then, maybe pour a cup of coffee and hold your little pinkie just so… I’ll bet you won’t make a fool of yourself by eating more than one or two! Especially, if you’re in polite company! Or hosting a sweetheart party, bridal tea or baby shower. Here’s how you make an easy and really good cream cheese frosting!

Camellia’s Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound Cream Cheese – softened, I prefer Philadelphia Cream Cheese®
  • 3 Sticks of Butter (softened)
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar- sifted

Blend Cream Cheese and Butter until very smooth and mixed well. Add extracts, mix well. Add 1/2 of sifted powdered sugar, blending well. Then add the rest of sifted powdered sugar- mix until smooth. (This should be a firm frosting, if needed add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time, being very careful not to make frosting too stiff). This frosting recipe makes enough to generously frost a 9×13 cake.


Now, if there’s no time at all and you need a really impressive dessert, fast and easy too! Maybe one fabulous enough for your Valentine? All you need are –

    Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes- store bought is fine!  Microwave Popcorn (I love the Movie Butter Style)  A good brand of Caramel Sauce with a pinch of Sea Salt

Pop popcorn according to directions. Warm Caramel Sauce to pouring consistency. Set Vanilla Cupcake on a plate, top with Popcorn (spill a bit over!), then top with warm Caramel Sauce, be generous! Really, isn’t that pretty? Delicious and easy too!

There you go! A healthy snack or breakfast, if you’re caught short of time for a special event desserts or if you’re like me and your sweet tooth is crying out for attention! You ready now with a few easy recipes! Spring is a busy time, and the truth is we all need a few reliable recipes from time to time! There’s absolutely no shame in taking shortcuts or using store bought, then embellishing!

Love y’all, Camellia

*All photographs are obviously mine. And, if you just want to encourage yourself to drink extra water you need – those sweet little Johnny Jump Up’s will do the job beautifully!