A Valentine's Day Treat from the Farmhouse by charity buchika


It's almost Valentine's Day - one of my favorite occasions for whipping up an extra special treat!  

But I have to confess that I'm just not into adding about 1,000 drops of food coloring to any given combination of butter and sugar in order to make something that looks Valentine's Day appropriate.

What I really love is being able to celebrate the holiday by giving my husband and son something that's distinctive from the usual 'hearts and candy' fare, something that's thoughtfully made to truly nourish their hearts and souls.

So this year, I turned to a couple of farm-fresh ideas to make a simple pound cake into a heartwarming Valentine's Day dessert.

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First, I added a little touch of hibiscus powder (Yep- hibiscus! I get mine from Stock + Spice) to this cake's glaze to make it perfectly - but naturally! - pretty in pink. Not that you need more reasons to eat a slice or two of this delicious cake, but here's a little article about the health benefits of hibiscus.

Then, forgoing the expected candy hearts or red hots I opted to sprinkle on a few tiny fresh blossoms. These might be chamomile flowers, or maybe some type of asters... Hmmm... please comment below if you happen to know what they are!


I think they're so dainty and sweet. They make this cake just right for a modern farmhouse Valentine, don't you think?!

(Cake recipe originally from The Vanilla Bean Blog)

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Cardamom Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze
  • 1 cup (2 sticks | 227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups (594g) granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 3 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons hibiscus powder
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated, scraping down sides of the mixing bowl as needed.Add 1T vanilla and mix on low to combine. Add the 1/3 of the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.Add the sour cream and mix until the batter is just combined. Add another 1/3 of the flour and mix on low to combine.Add 1/2 c heavy cream and mix until the batter is just combined. Add the remaining flour, and mix on low until just combined.Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl and make sure the mixture is completely combined.Pour batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to even out the topBake the cake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.Move the cake to a wire rack with a piece of parchment underneath the rack, and let cool for 15 minutes.Invert the cake onto the rack.While the cake is still warm, pierce all over with a long skewer or a fork. For glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, 1 T vanilla, 1/4 c heavy cream, and the hibiscus powder. Apply glaze to cake with a pastry brush or drizzle on with a spoon. Let the cake cool before slicing/serving.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings


If you make this cake for your Valentine, snap a pic, post it on Instagram, and tag us @teaselwooddesign. It's so fun for us to see you using our ideas!

Photography by Whitney Nichols

2 Apps + A Cocktail for the Holidays by charity buchika

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We thought we'd share the easy-peasy appetizers and cocktail recipes from our Scandinavian-inspired party table setting with you.


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Blackberry Ombre Sparklers
Festive + beautiful, this is a perfect signature cocktail for the holidays! (Originally from Mon Cheri Bridals)
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bottle champagne
In a small saucepan, combine blackberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 12 ~ 15 minutes. The blackberries will become soft and bright in color and a pinkish purple syrup will form. Take off the heat and drain the blackberries, keeping the syrup in a separate bowl. Set both aside and allow to cool.Once blackberries and simple syrup are cooled, spoon about 4 tablespoons of syrup into the bottom of each champagne flute.Top with champagne. Garnish with fresh blackberries or the cooked blackberries and a sprig of rosemary.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 4
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Blue Cheese Tart with Cranberry Chutney
I found this creamy, savory/sweet appetizer recipe from The Galley Gourmet. It's at its best the day it's made, but in a pinch it can be reheated and served the next day.
  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 T cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 3-4 T ice water
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • 4 oz. quality blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 (12 oz) bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 t chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
For the tart dough: In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the flour butter, shortening, and 1/4 t salt just until the mixture resembles pea-size meal. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the flour mixture and pulse until incorporated.Squeeze a handful of dough together. If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time until incorporated.Turn dough out on to a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the corners of the plastic wrap, bring the dough together into a small rectangle.Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until firm.Preheat the oven to 350º F. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface into a 17- x 8- inch rectangle. Fit the dough into a 13 1/2 x 4 x 1- inch fluted rectangle tart pan with removable bottom. Trim excess overhang and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Lightly prick the bottom and the sides of the tart shell with a fork. Line the shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until sides of the tart are set and edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 325º F. For the Filling In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, egg, yolks, 1/4 t salt, and pepper until combined. Place tart shell on a baking sheet and scatter cheese over the bottom of the shell. Slowly pour cream mixture into the shell. Bake until the filling is golden and puffed, about 30-35 minutes. Cool tart completely on a wire rack.For the chutney: Combine shallot, cranberries, sugars, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 t salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries have popped and the shallots have softened, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool. The chutney can be made up to one week ahead and refrigerated, covered. Cut tart into 32-38 pieces and serve topped with chutney. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 32-38 bite sized squares

Recipe via The Galley Gourmet

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Dried Fruit & Pistachio Baked Brie
This yummy recipe is great for a quick holiday app. Originally from Home.Made.Interest, it's a classy stand-in for the not-so-classy typical holiday 'cheese ball.'
  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place brie on a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper (just in case it leaks). When the oven reaches 350°F place brie in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Combine dried fruit, pistachios, and honey in a small bowl. Remove from oven, top with the fruit, nuts, and honey, and serve with crackers.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings

A Simple (But Oh-So-Fancy!) Holiday Appetizer by charity buchika


If your life looks anything like mine does from early November right through to New Year's, you're going to need this!

Running around shopping, decorating, and gathering with family and friends is always great, but I'd rather eliminate the stress of trying to figure out what I should make to put out before big dinners, let alone what to bring to all the cocktail parties, tree trimming get-togethers, and celebrations we're invited to.

These Cranberry & Brie Bites are the perfect party food - they're easy to make, they look sophisticated, fancy, and festive, and they're delicious. While I can't take credit for the recipe - that goes to Nicky of the wonderful Kitchen Sanctuary blog - I do find myself making them again and again.

Nicky actually did a handy (and really cute) video tutorial on exactly how to make the Cranberry Brie Bites here.

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Cranberry Brie Bites
This recipe is from Kitchen Sanctuary, a great food blog out of the UK. Her recipe appears on her blog in video form (see link above) but I've written it out here for you.
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 4-6 T melted butter
  • enough for 20 1" squares brie cheese
  • 1 c cranberry sauce or preserves
  • 20 small fresh thyme sprigs
Unroll pastry and brush entire surface with melted butter.Carefully cut into an even number of squares, approx. 1.5" x 1.5". You'll need 40 squares to end up with 20 'bites.'Place 1 square of pastry on top of another - both with the buttered sides facing up - and transfer to a non-stick cookie sheet.Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden brown. Top each pastry with a 1" x 1" square slice of brie then bake again for 2 more minutes or until brie fully softens and just starts to drip down the pastry.Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.Transfer to a serving platter and top each with a dollop of cranberry sauce or preserves. Garnish each with a sprig of fresh thyme.Serve & enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: approx. 20 bites

Take my word for it and keep the ingredients for these yummy nibbles on hand all holiday season and you'll be good to go, no matter when a celebration pops up!

(If you need more simple + quick party food recipes,  these are a few of my other go-to's)