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Posted by on Oct 30, 2011 in BettyBecca Bakes, Come Together | 0 comments

Fall Wedding Tea

My friend E is getting married in a couple of weeks. I helped host a wedding tea in her honor, and I wanted to share the eats with you. We had a fall theme with lots of pumpkin treats!

I shared the food prep with my co-hostess so I’m not sure of her exact recipes. I provided links to similar recipes from some of my favorite bloggers.


  • Spicy Cheese Crackers (like these)
  • Brownies with Dark Chocolate Chunks and a Cream Cheese Swirl (similar to this)
  • Pumpkin Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
  • Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese (This is one of my favorite recipes this fall. Great on cinnamon raisin bagels)
  • Assorted trays of cheese cubes, crackers,  nuts, and fruit
  • Mulling Spiced Cider Punch (scroll to the bottom to Cold Spiced Punch)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

For the life of me, I can’t find the source. I’ll keep looking. I served mini ones in toile liners on a clear glass cake stand, and “parfait” style in flutes were fun to eat. Those were on top of my marble trivets.

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners or spray pans with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk or sift to combine and set aside. In mixing bowl, cream together pumpkin, sugars, and oil. Mix on medium high speed about one minute until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture in three additions, mixing on low speed until just incorporated after each addition.

Fill cupcakes 3/4 of way full and bake approximately twenty minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost as desired.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

(From Ms. Humble)

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

Put your mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 10+ minutes before you start the whipped cream. Add the heavy cream, and beat increasing the speed every 45 seconds or so to full speed until stiff peaks form.
In another bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Scrape this mixture over into the stand mixer and beat on “quickly and briefly” to combine.
Just a reminder when you’re making something fluffy in a mixer like whipped cream or whipped egg whites…DON’T TAP YOUR SPOON ON THE SIDE OF THE BOWL. It makes the air bubbles settle and negates all of that work you just put in to make them fluffy. 😀

Pipe onto cupcakes. Here’s a great idea for easy piping bag clean up.

Here’s the food and tablescape:

I made a burlap runner from a reclaimed gunny sack. A fall leaf garland, mini pumpkins, and orange mums rounded out the decor.

Instead of a guestbook, guests were asked to Leave a few words for the bride.

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Posted by on Sep 13, 2011 in BettyBecca Reviews, Come Together, Mr. J, Try Something New | 2 comments

Amazing Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. J planned a weekend away for us. It was so lovely, and I’m still smiling looking back on it. I was given Friday night in Chattanooga to plan a surprise. Mr. J had Saturday after the Cirque show in Atlanta to plan as his surprise. He really outdid himself (as always). We really enjoyed planning the surprises and spending time together. I hope we can plan some get-aways like this on a regular basis. They’re so relaxing and fun!
I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but here are the highlights:
  • I scheduled dinner for us at Porter’s Steakhouse in Chattanooga on Friday night. He had 12 oz. Pepperloin and Mashers. I don’t eat steak, and I probably would have traded plates with him. I had salmon, rice, and asparagus for my entree and crab cakes with fresh corn remoulade for appetizer. VERY good meal!
  • We had a terrible night at the Hampton Inn. The air was blowing but didn’t cool, and it was 90 outside. Boo!
  • After a quick breakfast, we struck out for Atlanta. We had lunch at Lenox Square Grill and shopped a little at Lenox Square Mall. Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters were my main stops. Cornbread at the Grill was to die for! I’ll be trying to replicate that soon. My Chef Salad left much to be desired.
Image from
  • Cirque du Soleil – Dralion was wonderful. Loved the silks, juggler, acrobats, trampolines, flippers, and and and. It was a beautiful and amazing show! The comedians were quite good, too.
  • After the show, we checked into our relaxing B&B, Stonehurst Place. It’s very green and very comfy. It was a great surprise to be staying somewhere so nice and cozy!
  • The house has been impeccably renovated. It’s a 19th century Southern mansion, and the decor is neutral and modern and traditional and lovely. There were orchids everywhere, and a beautiful art collection graced the walls. It was an attraction in itself.

For you, Mom Ary

  • We had a newly updated bathroom with beautiful tile work and a neat shower. The bathroom might have been my favorite part. There were cozy bath robes, and the all-natural shampoos and soaps smelled wonderful. The bed was out of this world – 1200 thread count sheets and a custom mattress. We were very pampered.

This is a photo from our room's twin. I wanted to show how beautiful the neutral but glam bedding was.

  • Dinner at Pasta da Pulcinella…I had scallops and risotto with tomatoes, capers, and fresh mozzarella with caprese for appetizer. Mr. J had chicken gnocchi with garlic cream sauce. We both loved our meals, and I would highly recommend this restaurant!
  • We enjoyed wine and chocolate cake from the restaurant on the front porch of the B&B. How divine!
  • Breakfast was delicious…to drink – water with lemon, juice of choice, coffee…to start – blueberry scone and grapes sprinkled with sugar…the main attraction – lightly sweetened souffle with fresh berries and whipped cream. I wish I could make this at home. Rebecca (our innkeeper), can I have the recipe please?
  • After checkout, we went to the World of Coke. It was very fun and happy. It was a great experience. We received complimentary bottles of Coke at the museum.
Image from
  • We had lunch at The Varsity. We’ve seen it on Food Network. They’re celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. I had a chili dog with mustard and onion rings, and Mr. J had a chili burger and fries. He didn’t like it as much as me. I LOVED it!
  • On the way home, we hit the Smoke House in Monteagle. We had fried pies with homemade vanilla ice cream on top. Mr. J had chocolate, and I had peach. I don’t think I need to tell you how delicious that was. We both had a bottle of Dr. Pepper. They had a fun little General Store to look around in, too!
  • It was a wonderful weekend! We made tons of great memories! 😀
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Posted by on Jun 4, 2011 in Come Together, Mr. J, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Rib Time

Last week, Mr. J smoked ribs and grilled chicken for his coworkers. I’ve heard lots of good things, so it must have been a success! Here’s the run-down straight from Mr. J…

Ribbies Ready to Eat

So here’s how I did the ribs.  As for the chicken, well if I give that one away, nobody will come visit me anymore. 😉

Rub recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Combine all dry ingredients – makes about a cup, which was just enough for 6 racks of baby backs.

Neely’s sauce recipe (served on the side, but they really don’t need it IMO):

    • 2 cups ketchup
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 5 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Cooking the ribs (3-2-1 method):

      • Remove the membrane from the bottom of the ribs (search YouTube if you haven’t done this before – important to get rub flavor in there)
      • Dissolve 1/2 cup table salt and 1/4 cup of sugar per 4 quarts of cold water and brine ribs for an hour
      • Massage in 1 tablespoon of rub per side of the racks, then wrap in plastic wrap and leave in refrigerator over night
      • For smoke flavor, I used 3/4 cup hickory wood chips to 1/4 cup apple. I ran at 205 degrees. Aim for somewhere between 200 and 215.
      • Place the ribs in the smoker for the first cooking stint of 3 hours. If you’re using baby backs, it should be around 2-2.5 hours.
      • I have three racks in my smoker, so at each 45 min intervals (because they were baby backs), I rotated them so that they all had equal time at each level
      • After the 3 hours is up, wrap all the ribs in aluminum foil, refill the wood chips and place back in for 2 more hours (stick to this time – this is the tenderizing stage)
      • Next unwrap the ribs and place them back in for 45 minutes to an hour
If you don’t, have a smoker, I’ve read of people using a rib rack like this with a pan of water underneath and wood chips inside the grill. You can Google for several methods.
Hope you enjoy!
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Come Together | 0 comments


I’m headed to my first Steeplechase tomorrow. 

I’m bringing Texas Caviar, and I thought I’d share my recipe. I got inspiration from several recipes, and this sounds like the best route to go. I’m about to make it tonight and let it marinate overnight. Serving with tortilla chip strips.

12 oz. corn (I’m using frozen, but you can used fresh or canned.)
1 can BEP (black eyed peas)
1 can black beans
Chopped tomato (2 large), green bell pepper (1), jalapeno (2, seeds/stem removed), onion (1/2 large)

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

You know I’m making my dressing with this guy.

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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Come Together, Kitchen Tools, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Nifty Gadget and Tasty Summer Salad

I got this nifty little gadget for Christmas this year from Mom. It’s an emulsifier. It has recipes on the side for Balsamic Vinaigrette and Honey Mustard dressings. As you know, oil tends to separate from other liquids when mixed together. With a little paddle inside and a pumping action, this gadget mixes all of the liquids together to make one blended dressing.

This weekend, I made Balsamic Vinaigrette for a Tomato Cucumber Salad. It’s a little different from the recipe printed on the side, but I’ll have to try that one next.

I used 6-8 Campari tomatoes peeled using this method and chopped small. To that, I added a chopped, peeled, and seeded cucumber. Then, the veggies went off to the fridge to chill.

For the dressing, add the following ingredients to the emulsifier:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

2 T red wine vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 t salt

1 t Italian seasoning

Mix well, and dress the tomato/cucumber mixture to taste.

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Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Come Together, Try Something New | 0 comments

Tomato Trick

I’ve heard of this before, but I’d never tried it myself. I was making Tomato Cucumber Salad for Saturday night’s dinner, and I wanted to peel the tomatoes quickly.

I started a pot of boiling water. Then, with tongs, I plunged the tomatoes for about 15 seconds (just count to 15). The skin peeled right off without the tomatoes tasting cooked at all. Try it! It’s an awesome trick!

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