Today is such a special day here on Apple a Day. It’s one I’ve been waiting on for several months now. It’s Nikki’s virtual baby shower!
Not only is Nikki the super talented blogger behind Seeded at the Table, but she is one of my dear friends. We first “met” as part of an online food and recipe board. Over the last couple of years, through many e-mails and even a book study, our friendship has grown. Though I still haven’t been able to meet her in person, I consider her such a blessing in my life. Her optimism and love for her family is such an inspiration for me and her fun-loving spirit is infectious. Her words of wisdom and prayers have gotten me through some rough times and have helped me grow as a person and as a Christian. In short–Nikki is amazing.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Check out all these outstanding contributions from bloggers and friends far and wide who also wanted to shower Nikki and her family with love.
My incredibly sweet and talented co-hostess, Jessica of Sunny Side Up, definitely got into the Southern theme. Don’t these pimento cheese deviled eggs look awesome? Thank you for making them, Jessica, and thank you so much for hosting with me. I’ve had a blast!
Nicole is one of the bloggers I first met on an online cooking board. She is hardworking, hilarious, and so much fun. Her blog, Prevention, R.D., is all about living a healthy and balanced life. She loves her little indulgences, but I knew she’d come through with something substantial for Nikki’s shower. These craveworthy pretzel-crusted chicken nuggets are just the kind of protein-packed goodies a pregnant mama needs!
Joelen is the creative lady behind What’s Cookin’ Chicago. She took the Southern theme of Nikki’s shower to heart when she baked up these fried apple corn muffins. Two things Southerners usually love are fried pies (apple or any other kind) and cornbread. In my mind, these muffins are the perfect combination of both.
Liz from The Lemon Bowl is making sure we don’t get too thirsty. Doesn’t this sparkling sweet tea with lemon and mint look divine? I can’t think of any lady, Southern or not, who wouldn’t love to sip on this all day long.
When Jessica and I asked Nikki to put together a list of who she wanted to invite to her shower, Sheila’s name was on it. I wasn’t as familiar with her blog, Eat2Gather, as I was with some of the others, so I immediately went to check it out. Oh man! As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d been missing out. She’s got so many fantastic recipes like these chicken enchiladas. Sheila calls them Annette’s Enchiladas. I call them yummy.
There are certain requirements for all Southern cooks. Great biscuits are one of them. Rachel of Rachel Cooks has brought these herbed buttermilk biscuits to the party. I’m pretty sure they qualify her as a bonafide Southern cook extraordinaire.
Lisa, also known as The Cooking Bride, also brought biscuits to Nikki’s shower. Hers are mini buttermilk biscuits filled with ham and pineapple chutney. They look like just the right balance of salty and sweet and the mini size means we’ll all have plenty of room left to sample the other goodies!
We’ve got another Jessica at Nikki’s shower–Jessica from My Baking Heart. We’ve never met in person, but we’ve “known” each other for years. She is truly one of the sweetest, most real people I know. Her blog title is so perfect for her because she truly does do everything from her heart. I can guarantee she put a whole lot of love into the cream cheese banana-nut bread she made for Nikki.
Krystal of Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate is another blogger I’ve know for quite some time. She’s got her hands full with her precious daughter and another little one on the way. But there are two other things I know about Krystal–she’s an amazingly giving person and she’s always up for some fun. These sweet tea cupcakes (just look at that garnish!) are such a fun way to show Nikki how much love we all have for her and her sweet Southern boy!
When I think of Southern treats, anything made with fresh summer peaches comes to mind. Krissy of Krissy’s Creations must agree with me, because she made these adorable mini peach pies for Nikki’s shower. I know Nikki will love these sweet little bites.
Callie’s contribution is equally fun. Her blog, Little Morgan People, is a wonderful account of her family’s moments together. I love the stories of her kiddos moments–big, small, serious, funny, and sweet. It’s so easy to see how much love she has for her family. I can’t help but think she had Nikki’s son, Judah, in mind when she decided to make these airplane sugar cookies. What big brother wouldn’t love to share these with his mama and baby brother?
One of the things Jessica and I really loved when we sent out the invitations for this shower was the versatility in the participants’ talents. Of course there were lots of great cooks and bakers invited, but we also oohed and aahed over the fantastic crafts from two of our guests in particular.
Brooke from the Lemon Drop Shop has an eye for detail. Her blog is just filled to the brim with crafts to make even the smallest elements more fun, more beautiful, and more noticeable. Case in point–these precious bowtie cupcake toppers and all their matching accessories. Seriously…how do you not love them? I wish I’d had them to use with the cupcakes I made!
What shower would be complete without a lovely decorated table and some thoughtful favors? Luckily, Rebekah of Twinkle and Twine had us covered. Her bay leaf favors are so classy and so Southern, the flowers and candles are the perfect feminine touch for Nikki, and the John Deere tractor is just plain fun.
And now for my contribution. I’ve actually had this one held in my mind for quite some time; shortly after I asked Nikki if I could host a virtual shower for her, in fact!
With Nikki and her husband getting ready to welcome their second little boy into their gorgeous new Mississippi home, I know they’re going to see lots and lots of that Mississippi mud. Before it comes in on the boys’ hands, shoes, and faces, I thought I’d give Nikki a kind of Mississippi mud she might enjoy a bit more–the kind that’s made of butter, sugar, chocolate, and marshmallows!
Mississippi mud cake is a classic Southern dessert. It’s fun but not fancy (kind of like little boys!), and completely decadent. This cupcake version is topped with smooth marshmallow frosting instead of the usual sticky, melted marshmallows. I added the chocolate drizzle to maintain the “muddy” look. Topped off with more chocolate and some chopped pecans, these cupcakes are sure to please any mama-to-be and her hungry boys, Southern or not!
Nikki, I wish nothing but blessings on you and your family as you get ready to welcome another precious little one. No matter how big he gets, I know he’ll always be your sweet Southern boy.
Mississippi Mud Cupcakes
from Southern Living, October 2012
For the cupcakes:
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped and divided
1/4-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. pecans, toasted and chopped
For the marshmallow frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow créme
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and fill 12 wells of a muffin tin with paper liners. Spray liners very lightly with baking spray, if desired.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1/3 c. butter at medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add in sugar and beat well, about 3 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended.
3. Meanwhile, combine flour cocoa, and salt salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and baking soda. Add flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Stir in half of the chopped chocolate.
4. Using a spring-loaded scoop or tablespoon, fill each well of the prepared muffin tin 2/3 full so you get exactly 12 cupcakes. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
5. While cupcakes cool, make marshmallow frosting by combining all ingredients except confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add in confectioners’ sugar, gradually, and beat at low speed until completely blended and smooth. Turn mixer to medium-high and beat 15 seconds more.
6. In a double boiler or glass bowl placed over a pot of boiling water, combine remaining butter, chopped chocolate, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Melt completely, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool just a bit until consistency is still thin enough to drizzle without melting the frosting. If chocolate seems to thick, return to double boiler and warm enough to incorporate extra 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.
7. Once cupcakes are cooled, frost with marshmallow frosting, then drizzle with chocolate mixture. Top with pecans.
Yields: 12 cupcakes