WELCOME to CAROLINA PANACHE! I believe our homes should be a haven, a place of beauty and peace that reflect who we are and what's important to us. I'm on a journey to add personality and panache to every corner of my house. For me, good design evolves, grows and changes with the needs of one's lifestyle. I want my home to be creative, to be stylish, to be entertaining, to be real. I hope you will join me on my journey. It's always more fun to travel together.
This blog is all about bringing style and elegance to the home. The art of dressing your home goes beyond hanging a few items on the wall and arranging furniture. Much like a fabulous set of earrings or a new stylish handbag may take your little black dress from fine to fabulous, home accesories and key furnishings can take your rooms from ho-hum to singing the Halleluiah Chorus! Join with me as we discover new ways to add panache to every room of the house.

The Cook's Corner - Choctails & Jewelry

Welcome to The Cook's Corner! I wanted to share some delicious, quick and easy dessert recipes today. I am preparing for a "Choctails & Jewelry" party on Friday night and thought I would get some of my "do ahead" items off my list today. I also want to do a run through with my decorations. My very good friend Jerrie opened her own jewelry business last fall with Premier Designs Jewelry. You may not be familiar with it but it is high quality fashion jewelry. Many of the pieces remind me of Brighton Jewelry and the prices are similar. So I scheduled Jerrie to come on Friday night and present her lovely jewelry to a group of my friends while us girls celebrate Valentine's Day just a little early. The party is at 7pm and since most of the girls will have had dinner by then, my theme is "Choctails". Everything on my menu will be CHOCOLATE! I have 4 recipes to share. The first one comes from my Easy to Bake, Easy to Make cards.

Valentine Heart Cake
1 package white chocolate cake mix or cherry chip
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 large egg whites
1 jar marshmallow creme
1-2 tablespoons heart-shaped cake decors
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one 9-inch square cake pan and one 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper or waxed paper. I use parchment paper.
  • Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers of cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  • Mix sugar, water, and egg whites in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, beating continuously with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add marshmallow creme; beat mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes longer.
  • Remove cakes from pans and remove paper liners. Place square cake on serving platter. Cut round cake in half.
  • Place round cake halves against 2 adjacent sides of square cake to form heart shape. Spread top and sides with marshmallow creme frosting and decorate with heart-shaped decors as desired.
My next recipe was found in Women's World magazine a couple of weeks ago.
Cherry Cheesecake Brownie Bars
1 tube refrigerated triple chocolate chunk brownie batter
2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can, 21 oz., cherry pie filling
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line 9" square baking pan with foil, leaving 2" overhang; coat with cooking spray.
  • Spread tube of brownie batter in pan. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until fluffy.
  • Spread over brownie. Bake 20 minutes or until cream cheese topping is set.
  • Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1-2 hours. Use foil to help lift from pan. Just before serving cut into bars and then top with cherry pie filling. I use about a tablespoon of cherry pie filling per bar. Garnish with white and dark chocolate curls.

The next recipe I plan to use came out of Southern Living magazine a couple of years ago during the Christmas holiday season. This is easy-peazy and tastes oh so good!

Chocolate Passion Bowl
3 cups cold milk
2 packages Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding
1 tub French Vanilla Whipped Topping, thawed and divided. Such as Cool Whip brand.
1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups fresh raspberries
  • Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
  • Place half of brownie cubes in 2-quart serving bowl or trifle bowl, top with half of the pudding mixture, half of the raspberries and half of the remaining whipped topping. Repeat all layer.
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

I scanned the picture from the magazine. Doesn't this look like just the perfect dessert for Valentine's Day? Red, White and Chocolate!

Back in 2005, I was in a Williams-Sonoma and found these little heart-shaped silicon molds. They are perfect for making individual cupcakes, muffins or Valentine treats. I think I will make little heart-shaped Chocolate Lava cakes using this mold. For the beverage I plan to make an Iced Mocha Punch. The recipe is super easy and you can make it ahead of time and let it chill in the fridge until the day of your party.
Iced Mocha Punch
3 cups strong coffee
1 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 gallon 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 gallon French Vanilla ice cream
Blend coffee, chocolate syrup, milk, sugar and vanilla extract together. Chill until ready to serve. Then, scoop softened ice cream into punch bowl and pour mocha mixture over it. Carefully fold mixture together. This makes about 50 punch cup servings. I am really excited about using my Grandmother's milk glass punch bowl and cups.

While I was at W-S, I also found these adorable pancake molds. The heart with the arrow through it makes a great cookie cutter too! The cookies are rather large using this, about the size of two regular sized Chocolate Chip cookies.

I decided I would do a run through of my decorations for Friday night. I had these two red, pink and white striped runners and decided to crisscross them along my island. I found these at TJMaxx a few years ago. About the only time I use them is at Valentine's Day. When decorating for Valentine's you really don't have to worry about matching your room's decor. It's more about setting a festive and fun atmosphere that reflects that special occasion.

I purchased a bunch of Pink Gerbera Daisies and Red Tulips from the market this morning. Remember my Grandmother's milk glass from a few blogs back? Well, I decided to use the collection of bud vases and place single stems in each one then cluster them in the center.

Since there is only going to be 10 of us on Friday night, I really wanted to use real plates and napkins. I pulled out 10 cherry red satin napkins and placed Pink Gerbera Daisy napkin rings on each one. I used 5 of the napkins to form a cluster on either end of the island. I found the napkin rings at Bed, Bath and Beyond for 99 cents each a few years ago.

The heart-shaped topiary is from Marshalls. This was another find from a few years ago. The topiary is made with fuchsia and red rose buds. It really adds a touch of whimsy and Valentine's Day flair to the centerpiece.

So pretty and girlie!

Now all I have to do is prepare my desserts and fill my silver serving platters. I should have the paramedics standing by just in case we truly have a "death by chocolate"!
I will take plenty of pictures and share them with you on Saturday. Until then,
Happy Entertaining!


Terri Steffes said...

Good afternoon! I am new to your blog and I was captivated by your party. It sounds delightful! Is it rude to invite oneself over to a jewelry party? I live in Missouri, I think I could make it if I started now!

I think everything sounds yummy!

Unknown said...

What a fun and festive party! I can just FEEL and TASTE the chocolaty goodness from here. Your decorations are precious! I've been to several Premiere Jewelry parties over the years and You are a lucky girl...the hostess always ends up getting tons of free or very discounted jewely!

Have FUN!

Pots 'n Prims said...

HI! Just stumbled across you blog & have enjoyed the little bit of reading I've got to do! Your table setting looks beautiful & the recipes sound delicious! I may have to borrow one of them for our Old~Fashioned Valentine's event we're having in our shop on Valentine's!
I'll be visiting again soon!
Have a wonderful day!

Darlene - Our Creative Life said...

Oh, can I be your friend and get invited to your Chocolate party? LOL... I wish!
Sounds like a great party theme & you did great with your decor for the event!

Tardevil said...

Ditto to Darlene....evertything on your menu looks or sounds delicious. Especially the punch!

Melanie said...

The flowers are so fresh and valentine-y.
I'd love to be there!
I did get your voice mail. Did you get my email?

cherry said...

"death by chocolate"

Oh what a wonderful sweet death it would be ..

It all looks so yummy & beautiful.

Need to go find my chocolate stash! have fun, Cherry

~CC Catherine said...

Alisa...thanks for the precious comments on my Teacup blog today! You won't believe this, but I lived in the Charlotte area for 7 years and just moved to GA 2 yrs ago. I attended Grace Covenant in Cornelius while living there...I'm wondering if you look familiar for a reason? ;) I come to Charlotte on business from time to time, we'll have to meet for coffee somewhere. My corporate headquarters is on Harris Blvd. Email me at cjcosenza@bellsouth.net and let me know where you go to church! This is exciting! =) ~CC Catherine

Jewel Sauls said...

What a wonderful party! Love the recipes and ideas! :D Jewel

Scooterblu's Whimsy~Rhonda said...

Everything is lovely! The recipes and the decor! I love your use of milk glass! I have been picking up pieces here and there for the last year and need to start using it myself! The flowers you used are just perfect! And the recipes sound wonderful!

I enjoyed the asian tablescape below! Very pretty! I have a couple of those square green dishes, that I found before Christmas on clearance at Homegoods. I love your floral round ones!

~hugs, Rhonda :)

Olde Tyme Marketplace said...

Thank you so much for your visit today! After reading this post...I am having a craving for hummmmm...what could it be???????
CHOCOLATE!! Everything looks wonderful!!
Would love for you to come to the shop sometime!
Take care and enjoy your party!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

The deserts sound soooo good, and your flowers in the milk glass vases are just perfect. This should be a really fun time and your guests are in for such a really great chocolate and jewelry treat. Hugs, Marty

A Hint of Home said...

I love the way you arranged your counter. Everything looks lovely. I will have to try some of the recipes. Thanks for sharing them.
I live in SC and my bulbs are popping through, too.
I was born in WV. I hope your parents get settled soon.

Gone said...

Sounds absolutely DIVINE!! It all looks so pretty.......I wanna come!!! LOL!!!


a quiet life said...

loads of goodies and great ideas, love the panache of your blog~

Ldy ~~ Dy said...

I enjoy your recipes and am planning to try the Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake dessert this weekend. I saw your post on your living room and just love the color on your wall! Can you share the name of the color and brand you used! I have been on the hunt for that color!! Thanks!!! Have a Blessed Day!

Magnolia Memories08 said...

Oh girl I know my invitation is in the mail.How adorable everything looks.gosh the table is the cutest.I will see you at the party.
Have a great night.

Melissa Miller said...

It looks wonderful. Love the flowers in the vases like that. So pretty. :)

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