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Aug 7

“Drive-In” to Summertime Movie Nights

By Suzanne Clark

I love the summer, but let’s face it, months of having the kids out of school can be quite challenging! Finding them new and exciting activities that don’t break the bank can be an even bigger task! A few years ago, our family started having movie night to help end the dog days of summer. To ramp up the fun, we decided to bring the movies outside and have “Drive-in-Movie” nights at the pool! It became the ultimate movie night. It is the perfect way to cool off and spend time with family and friends.

For a new and fun way to celebrate the summer and create your own “Drive-In” experience, here are some tips:

  • You don’t have a big screen to project a movie onto-no problem! A garage door can make a great screen and so can a sheet. We attach a large white sheet to our Gazebo or back porch using clothes pins. A sheet can also be attached to a chain link fence in the same way. If you have a block wall or backyard shed, attach the sheet using bricks or rocks as weights.

  • Did you know many party supplies companies will rent projectors and screens? Consult your local directory to find them. You may also consider bringing out your television set and placing it on a table for some night time fun. If you want to keep the movies inside, plan an intermission and let the kids take a run through the sprinklers or a dip in the pool.

  • Invite guests to bring their own raft to float in the pool while watching the movie. If you do not have a pool, guests can still lounge on the raft and get comfy in the grass. Consider setting up a kiddy pool to soak your feet and enjoy a Popsicle!

  • Treat your guests like stars! Roll out the red carpet, or rather a plastic tablecloth from a party store. Take pictures of your guests as they arrive for a fun keepsake. Provide fun props like sunglasses, a Hawaiian lei, or any other fun summer costumes.

  • Serve food you would find at the drive-in. Hot Dogs, popcorn, and some special treats help to create the mood. Make them ahead of time and get the kids involved. To help you out with the menu, I have included two perfect recipes to make your night a success.


Mini Dogs with Butter Buns

Ingredients

  • 12 frozen yeast dinner rolls (thawed according to directions on package)
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge Butter, melted
  • Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or dried herbs for garnish
  • 24 cocktail sausages
  • Ketchup, to taste
  • Mustard, to taste

Directions

1. Using kitchen shears cut each roll in half. Place onto a greased baking sheet. Spray tops with cooking spray and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Let rolls rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Brush the top of each roll with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle the rolls with desired seeds or herbs. Place into a preheated 350 oven for 12-15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

2. Place sausage into a skillet over medium high heat. Cook until sausages are heated through, adding water to pan if necessary to prevent sticking.

3. To assemble, cut a slit on top of each roll with a serrated knife to create a mini hotdog bun. Place sausages inside each bun. Serve with ketchup and mustard.

Yield: 24 Mini Dogs



Butter Toffee “Popcorn” Cupcakes

Ingredients

Buttery Cupcakes

  • 1 package (15.25 oz) Golden Butter Recipe cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Butter, softened
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) instant French Vanilla Pudding
  • 8 oz English Toffee Bits
  • 24 cupcake liners

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Challenge Butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk

Decoration and Extra Supplies

  • 16 ounces of mini marshmallows
  • Cornstarch
  • Kitchen shears
  • ⅛ cup water
  • Food safe paint brush
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Red and white striped scrapbooking paper
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Glue stick

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

2. Using a mixture, combine cake mix, water, eggs, butter and pudding mix until moistened. Beat for two minutes on medium speed. Stir in toffee bits.

3. Place cupcake liners in 2 two cupcake tins and fill each well with batter. Bake for 19-23 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. Let cakes cool.

4. To create frosting, place butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with mixer until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk. Continue beating until smooth and creamy, add additional tablespoon of milk if needed.

5. To prepare marshmallows to look like popcorn, dip kitchen shears into cornstarch to prevent sticking. Make two slits on each side of marshmallow with shears, and one in the middle. Experiment with different cuts to create interesting shapes. When shears get sticky, dip again into cornstarch.

6. To assemble cupcakes, cover each cupcake with frosting creating a mound on top of each cake. Cover frosting with marshmallows. Fill a small bowl with water. Add enough yellow food coloring to create the color of melted butter. Brush the tops of the marshmallows with colored water, let dry.

7. Measure the height of the cupcake liners. Using that dimension, cut strips of paper. Wrap paper around the base of the cupcake and glue with glue stick to create a popcorn bucket.

Yield: 24 cupcakes

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on August 7, 2014

Jul 29

Ginger Berry Tart

By Suzanne Clark

Keep your cool with this light, creamy treat that is full of summer flavor—the perfect summertime dessert!

Fresh summer strawberries, juicy ripe blueberries, and sun fresh orange. These are some of my favorite summertime ingredients. In my opinion, the best way to showcase these warm weather beauties is to create a Ginger Berry Tart!

I have been making this tart for years. In fact, I am not even sure where this recipe originated. It's now just part of my summer routine. It brings back memories of summer birthdays, backyard parties, family get-togethers, and time spent with good friends.

I love making this quick and easy desert not only because it is delicious, but it requires just a brief time in the oven, keeping your house cool in the hot summer months. The beautiful colors of the berries and the glistening gel top are all that is needed to decorate this crowd pleasing desert. The buttery crust is packed full of gingersnaps and pecans, which makes the perfect base for the creamy filling.

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Butter, melted
  • 25 gingersnap cookies
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 package (8 oz) Challenge Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1½ cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1¼ cup a clear juice (e.g. white grape juice, apple juice, juice from mandarin oranges…)
  • ¼ ounce package of unflavored gelatin

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

2. Add melted butter to a 10 ½ x 2 round tart pan. Place gingersnaps into a large freezer zipper bag and crush cookies to create crumbs using a rolling pin. Add cookie crumbs and pecans to pan with melted butter and mix until well coated. Press crumb mixture evenly in bottom of pan to form a crust. Place into oven to set crust, about 8-10 minutes or until butter starts to bubble-do not over bake! Remove from oven and let cool.

3. Using a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled crust.

4. In a sauce pan, combine juice and gelatin. Place over medium heat constantly stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes.

5. Arrange fruit on top of cream cheese in desired pattern. Pour cooled gelatin mix over fruit and refrigerate until set and chilled, about 2 hours.

Yield: 12 servings

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on July 29, 2014

Jul 22

Garden Vegetable Skillet Fritters with Avocado Cream

By Suzanne Clark

It all started about three years ago. I entered the Challenge Dairy Heritage Recipe Contest and won! I made my delicious appetizer using scallops, lemon, and butter that my husband and I would enjoy on special occasions and date nights at home. This achievement qualified me for another contest: The World Food Championships, a cooking competition that tests the strength of home cooks as they battle against their peers and professional chefs (quite an intimidating challenge). I decided to compete a few days before the event. Challenge Dairy graciously agreed to sponsor me in the competition, so I packed my bags, my confidence and skills, and headed off to Vegas!

Looking back, I am glad I did not have too much time to think, or I may have chickened out! The event took place only a few days after Halloween—a hectic time for a mom of five. I had to quickly come up with recipes I thought could win the competition. As I went through my files tasting and testing, I had Trick-or-Treaters coming to my door while I was testing my recipes. The kids received candy, and the parents received another type of treat; a taste of my potential entries. Yes, a different way to decide on a recipe, but it did pay off! I took 4th in the competition that year, a huge accomplishment considering this was my first live cook off, and I had such a short time to prepare.

This past year, the stakes became higher. I had gained automatic entry by being in the top ten of the competition the year before. I chose to be in the “Recipe” division which required me to create impressive pasta dishes (all of which featured the unforgettable flavor of Challenge Butter). If competing was not nerve racking enough, the competition was being filmed for a six part mini-series for A&E’s new network: FYI! Talking to camera men, hosts, and producers while competing added a new twist to the game of competitive cooking.

Once again with the support of Challenge Dairy, I created some prize-winning recipes. How good did I do? Well, you will just have to watch to see! The World Food Championships will begin airing July 10 on FYI.

To celebrate this exciting new show, I would like to share one of my recipes that I made my first year at The World Food Championships: Garden Vegetable Skillet Fritters with Avocado Cream. It was my entry in the Side Dish category and is truly one of my favorite side dishes. I hope you will enjoy it, too!

Watch Suzanne at The World Food Championships on FYI Network

Suzanne's segment, The Recipe episode, will air July 31, 2014 on the FYI network. Check your local listings for show time.

Recipe: Garden Vegetable Skillet Fritters with Avocado Cream

Ingredient Lists

Fritters

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • ½ large red bell pepper, seeded
  • ½ large sweet onion, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (rice flour can be substituted)
  • 3 lightly beaten eggs
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Challenge Spreadable Butter, as needed

Avocado Cream

  • One medium ripe avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ package (4 oz) Challenge Cream Cheese, softened

Garnish

  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • ⅛ cup fresh basil

Directions

1. Using a food processor shred the potatoes, zucchini, onion and red bell pepper. Squeeze vegetables dry, and place into a bowl. Add salt, pepper and flour, toss to coat. Stir in beaten eggs and feta cheese.

2. Place a large heavy bottom skillet on stove over medium heat. Add enough Challenge butter to coat the bottom of pan. Using a ⅛ cup measuring cup, add vegetable fritter mix to pan to pan. Pat mixture down to create 3 inch round fritters. Cook until bottom browns, about 3-4 minutes. Turn over fritters and cook on the second side until golden. Continue adding Challenge Butter as needed. Place cooked fritters on a large cooking sheet to cool while completing the remaining fritters.

3. To create the Avocado Cream, place avocado, lime juice and cream cheeses into a small mixing bowl. Mix well until smooth and creamy.

4. Dice basil and tomatoes. To serve, place a dollop of Avocado cream on each fritter. Top with tomatoes and fresh basil. Perfect as a vegetarian dinner or lunch, or serve with your favorite grilled meat as the perfect side dish.

Yield: 20 fritters

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on July 22, 2014

Jun 10

Give Dad Gourmet at Home this Father’s Day

By Suzanne Clark

On Father’s Day, my husband always enjoys a day of handmade gifts from the kids, relaxing on the couch, and some delicious treats. Through my five kids I’ve learned that going out to a restaurant on busy holidays like Father’s Day is far from relaxing. I like to bring the restaurant to Dad, so I came up with some easy tips for you to do the same—with a little gourmet flair. Here are some of my favorite ways to “gourmet your grill” and bring that restaurant experience home.

  • For the perfect steaks, make sure to bring them to room temperature before grilling. Brush with melted Challenge Butter and cover with your favorite spice rub. I also like to season with salt, smoked paprika and ancho chili powder for southwest flavor.

  • Don't own a smoker? No problem! Place a handful of water soaked wood chips in the center of a sheet of heavy duty foil. Fold over edges to create a package. Gently poke a few holes on top. Place packet on grill with lid closed while preheating. When grill is hot and smoke is present, add your favorite meat or vegetables. When done grilling, just throw the package away!

  • Ramp up your favorite store bought barbecue sauce. Simply stir in diced chipotle, fresh garlic and orange zest for a fun twist. To add an Asian flair, add ginger, a dash of sesame oil, and hoisin sauce.

  • Keep the heat and mess outside by cooking it all on the grill. Skewer vegetables and semi cooked potatoes slices. In a small bowl, combine equal parts melted Challenge Butter and olive oil. Season with a dash of your favorite herb blend and some salt and pepper. Brush butter mixture on vegetables and place on grill. Grill until golden brown and vegetables are cooked to desired doneness.

  • Create the ultimate gourmet experience by creating your own homemade compound butter. Usually served in high-end restaurants, these butters are fabulous served on grilled meats and vegetables. Try spreading some onto pieces of crusty bakery bread for an unforgettable dinner.


Mediterranean Compound Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Challenge European Style Butter, softened
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup diced sundried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil, or ⅛ cup of fresh diced basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic

Directions

1. Combine butter and cheese in bowl of a stand mixture, blend on high until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, mix on low speed until combined.

2. Remove mixture from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll tightly into a log, twisting ends to seal. Place into refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours. To use, remove wrap and cut into 2 inch sections. Place on warm steak, chicken or fish so butter will melt. Also delicious on grilled vegetables or as a savory butter for your bread.

Yield: 1¾ cups



Sweet and Savory Southwest Style Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Challenge Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Remove mixture from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll tightly into a log, twisting ends to seal. Place into refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours. You can also pack butter into a decorative bowl, refrigerate and serve. This butter is amazing on grilled pork or chicken, sweet potatoes or corn. For a fun family movie night idea, melt this butter and drizzle on popcorn!

Yield: about 1 cup

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on June 10, 2014

May 23

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake for Memorial Day

By Suzanne Clark

Memorial Day represents many things to many people. For some, it is the start of summer, the end of school, or new beginnings for some. It's the time of year when people get out the bathing suits, prep for summer vacations, and brush the cobwebs off the grill!

For me however, Memorial Day is much more. My son serves in the Army, and it is days like this I miss him even more. I am a very proud mother, who is lucky enough to have a “hero” for a son. Even though we are oceans apart, recognizing holidays like this makes me feel closer.

This cake is an old family recipe that my grandmother used to make, and my son in the Army loved to eat! It's red, white, and blue colors make it perfect for any American holiday. I have perfected it through the years by adding flavor and richness with Challenge Butter, and a surprisingly light and creamy cream cheese frosting.

Memorial Day is a time to remember all of our servicemen and women who stood proud and tall in the military. It is a time to reflect on all of the honored privileges we have as Americans, and how amazing it is to live in a free country. I hope this cake will be a special part of your Memorial Day—a time to celebrate the freedoms of summer but also to remember all of our American heroes.

Ingredients

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

  • 1 box (16.25 ounces) moist white cake mix
  • 1¼ cups water
  • ½ cup (1 stick) Challenge Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 ounce package blueberry flavored gelatin
  • 3 ounce package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water, separated
  • 1 tub whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 package (8 ounces) Challenge Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup powder sugar
  • 1 cup each fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Grease the bottoms and sides of two 9 inch round baking pans with butter.

3. Add cake mix, water, melted butter and egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Beat until combined on low speed, then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Divide batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

4. Cool cake layers for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Wipe pans clean with a paper towel and place layers back into pans.

5. Add 1 cup of boiling water to two bowls. Stir in a package of gelatin to each bowl of water. Stir until completely dissolved.

6. Using a fork, poke holes in cake at ½ inch intervals.

7. Pour blue gelatin slowly over the first layer. Repeat using the strawberry gelatin on the second layer. Place cake in the refrigerator for 3 hours to set.

8. To create frosting, combine whipped topping, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy.

9. Place first layer on cake plate and spread with about ¾ cup of frosting. Carefully place second layer on top. Frost top and sides of cake. Decorate with berries for a festive look!

Serves 16

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on May 23, 2014

May 22

Butter is Back on the Table

We have all heard the rumors about butter, diet, and health, but do you know the truth?

Recently a few news organizations have shed some light on butter’s true value. For decades, many consumers have changed their diets based on undeserved, unscientific claims that butter was somehow unhealthy or that the natural fats in butter contributed to heart disease. Thankfully science is prevailing, and people are realizing that real, natural ingredient butter should be back on our tables.

In fact, in 2013 U.S. butter consumption reached its highest level in 40 years, according to the American Butter Institute—up from a record low just 16 years ago. This represents a shift in consuming processed foods like margarine to simpler, real products like butter. A local NBC news affiliate in San Diego reported this milestone in a recent broadcast. Watch the Video

“Butter is Back” says the New York Times

Mark Bittman wrote an excellent op-ed piece encouraging the consumption of real foods, like butter. He writes, "The most efficient summary might be to say 'eat real food' and 'avoid anything that didn’t exist 100 years ago.’” Fortunately for Mark, Challenge Butter has been around since 1911.

"That the worm is turning became increasingly evident a couple of weeks ago, when a meta-analysis published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that there’s just no evidence to support the notion that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. (In fact, there’s some evidence that a lack of saturated fat may be damaging.) The researchers looked at 72 different studies and, as usual, said more work — including more clinical studies — is needed. For sure. But the days of skinless chicken breasts and tubs of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter may finally be drawing to a close.” — Mark Bittman
Read the full article

"The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease" from the Wall Street Journal

Nina Teicholz wrote an in-depth article about the dubious science behind anti-fat health claims. She opens her article with, “'Saturated fat does not cause heart disease'—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.” Ms. Teicholz goes on to provide many myth busting facts and summarizes her finds with, "In short, the track record of vegetable oils is highly worrisome—and not remotely what Americans bargained for when they gave up butter and lard." Ms. Teicholz is the author of the newly released book "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet."

"The new study's conclusion shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with modern nutritional science, however. The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias." — Nina Teicholz
Read the full article

As a 103 year old butter company, Challenge Dairy takes pride in producing quality butters made from pure, natural ingredients. Although we never bought into the myth, we do feel a margin of redemption for our dairy farming families who work hard every day, treat their cows well, and stake their livelihood on producing real food products other families can enjoy.

posted on May 22, 2014

May 9

Mother's Day Griddle Art Pancakes with Strawberry Butter and Syrup

By Suzanne Clark

My Mother’s Day has always started with breakfast in bed. I can remember some days I would wait for hours pretending to be asleep while my husband and children scurried around the kitchen making me the perfect breakfast. They would present a beautiful tray full of beautifully prepared goodies and gifts. I would pretend to wake up, unaware of all of the preparation going on in the kitchen and be surprised! I am not sure who had more fun. Was it me, or the children and my husband as they created the perfect breakfast? Still to this day, I cherish the gifts and the delicious meals that my children have made for me throughout the years for Mother’s Day.

I thought I would share this perfect Mother’s Day recipe with you. Why buy a bouquet of flowers when you can create heart and flower shaped pancakes! These “Griddle Art” pancakes give your children an opportunity to create something extra special for Mother’s Day, while using their creativity in the kitchen. Whip up some of my delicious fresh Strawberry Honey Butter, and these pancakes become a real gourmet treat! I also share my delicious recipe for Homemade Buttery Maple Syrup. Once you give this syrup a try, you may never buy store bought syrup again. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day spent with your mother and your children. Hmm….I wonder what my kids will make me this year. I'm hoping for pancakes!



“Griddle Art” Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge Butter, melted
  • Assorted food coloring (note-if using any red or pink coloring, use the “no-taste” variety)
  • Strawberry slices-optional


Directions

1. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

2. Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.

4. Add butter to the batter. Stir in more milk if needed for thinning. The pancakes should easily come out of a squeeze bottle. Divide batter into three bowls. Color each bowl with desired food colors. Using a spoon or funnel, transfer batter into squeeze bottles. Squeeze designs out onto a well-greased griddle. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles appear Flip, and continue cooking until cooked through. To create heart cakes, slice strawberries into thin slices. Cut a triangle out on the top section to create a heart shape. Place on grill and trace around strawberry with batter to create the perfect heart shaped pancake.



Strawberry Honey Butter

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks Challenge Butter (I love using the Challenge European Style Butter for this recipe.)
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of honey
  • ½ cup of diced fresh strawberries


Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with Griddle Art Pancakes. Refrigerated until needed, best used the same day.



Homemade Buttery Maple Syrup

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge Butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring-optional


Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce temperature to create a gentle boil, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in Maple flavoring if desired. Serve warm with pancakes!

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on May 9, 2014

Apr 18

8 Tips for Throwing the Perfect Tea Party

Suzanne Clark of Living a Creative Life has teamed up with four of Challenge Dairy’s favorite food bloggers: Cookies & Cups, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, and Sugary and Buttery to help you throw a terrific tea party.

By Suzanne Clark

Tea parties are the perfect excuse to gather friends together for an afternoon and share great food, stories and a laugh or two. That's why we're celebrating Spring with a virtual tea party!

Challenge Dairy has asked me and four amazing food bloggers to share our favorite delicacies perfect for tea, brunch, a shower…basically any special occasion, or even just an excuse to make one of these scrumptious dishes. Plus, I would like to share some party planning tips with you that I have learned over my years of hosting tea parties. Enjoy!


Recipes


Tips

1. Print out invitations on your home computer using pretty floral stationary or parchment paper. Decorate with pearls, lace or rhinestones. Invite guests to come in their “fancy dresses.” Tuck a tea bag in the envelope as a special surprise!

2. Tea parties are for all ages! Great for a children’s birthday, or even for Grandma’s special day! How about having a tea party for your next shower or book party? A tea party in anyone’s honor is a great way to show them how special they are to you.

3. You don’t have a matching tea set? No problem! It is quite beautiful to mix and match pieces of china and glassware. You can even invite your guests to bring their favorite tea cup to the party. If you still want a matching set and can’t find one-make one! You can purchase glass paint designed for home use at any craft store. Consider letting your guests paint their own tea cups for a memorable party favor. For directions and tips on how to create your own tea set, visit my site for more instructions. http://www.livingacreativelife.net/#!how-to-create-your-own-tea-set/cm7r

4. You can elevate your food to new heights when you create your own dessert stand! Simply place a large dinner plate on your table to act as the base. Place a wine glass or pretty drinking glass in the middle followed by a salad plate. Decorate with fresh flowers and add your favorite confections.

5. Decorate your table with memories. Place an old scarf or a piece of lace purchased at a fabric store (just cut, tuck under ends, no sewing needed) Arrange fresh bouquets of flowers in small vases, canning jars or wine glasses down the center of the table. Scatter old pictures and postcards between the flowers. Add your favorite string of pearls, rhinestone broaches and special event earrings to embellish your table. You will have fun talking about the memories that come to mind as you and your friends enjoy your one of a kind centerpiece.

6. Serve an assortment of foods, both savory and sweet. If you don’t have a lot of time to prepare, buy store bought items and embellish them. Make food beautiful by decorating it with edible flowers and fresh herbs and serve on beautiful plates-it is all in the presentation!

7. Offer your guests an assortment of hot and cold teas. For something a bit different, make a garnish plate to add a surprising new flavor to your drink. On a platter beautifully arrange lemon, orange and lime slices. Also include fresh raspberries, strawberries and slices of cool cucumbers. Fresh herbs add fragrance and a refreshing taste. Make sure to include fresh lavender, basil and sprigs of mint.

8. For your ice tea drinkers, spoil them with some fancy ice cubes! Use a standard ice cube tray, and add an edible flower, a curl of lemon zest or some fresh herbs. Fill with water and freeze. Serve cubes in a crystal bowl with silver ice tongs.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Clark is a mother of five and enjoys living in Phoenix with her husband and her family. Every day is a creative endeavor for Suzanne. A self-taught artist and cook, she creates award winning recipes and decorates homes with her unique style and artwork. A few of her many accomplishments include winning first place in the top ten in The World Food Championships, and winning many other national cooking contests throughout the past years. As an artist, her artwork in showcased in many homes across the country from Michigan to California. Suzanne loves to share her creativity by teaching art and cooking classes to people of all ages. She also is featured on several local television shows in the Phoenix area, as well as being featured in an upcoming miniseries coming this spring.

posted on April 18, 2014