Nothin’ Says Lovin’…

I’m not sure if Pillsbury still uses the slogan or not, but growing up, I heard it again and again:

“Nothin’ says lovin’

Like something from the oven…

And Pillsbury says it best.”

I grew up believing it, at least in part. Freshly-baked goodies really do express our love whether the treat comes from Pillsbury, Sara Lee, Pepperidge Farm, or from our own old-fashioned, made-from-scratch recipes.

Of course, I love to cook, so whenever possible, I do enjoy gathering up ingredients, mixing, stirring, folding, and kneading. But, that’s not always possible.

We’re all busy, and sometimes finding time for special treats is a challenge. We can always dash to the supermarket for “store-bought” goodies, but quite honestly, opening a package of stale “honey buns” doesn’t have quite the same appeal as pulling a tray of fragrant sweet rolls or fruit turnovers from the oven.

The ideal solution for me is something quick and easy but still home-made. In searching through my recipe files, I came across one of my favorites. We have grandchildren spending the night — sleeping like precious little angels at the moment — and I’ll be heading to the kitchen soon to get breakfast going. Along with waffles and bacon, I’ll be serving up a lot of love…disguised as Pineapple-Orange Blossoms.

This recipe has been a great “hit” in my family for years, ever since it won the Pillsbury “Bake-Off” contest in 2004 and appeared in one of their cookbooks. It truly is a winner, and I’m glad to share it with you.

Pineapple Orange Blossoms



1 can (12.4 ounces) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained on paper towels

1/3 cup orange marmalade

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

To Prepare:
Heat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Spray 8 muffin cups with cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 rolls, then cut each roll into quarters. Place 4 quarters (points up and slightly separated) into each muffin cup.
In a small bowl, mix pineapple, marmalade, and cream cheese. Place 2 tablespoons of fruit/cheese mixture into the center of dough in each cup.
Bake approximately 20 minutes until light golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of muffin cups to remove muffins. Place on serving plate.
Open icing. Microwave on medium for about 10-15 seconds, then drizzle over warm rolls.
Serve warm…and enjoy!
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The original recipe from Pillsbury and complete nutritional information is available here:
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Thanks for visiting!

Planning the Perfect Picnic

Picnic Basket   It’s summertime here in the states, and for me, that means picnics. Nothing is more romantic! I’m not talking about church suppers or family reunions, although those can brings lots of love and happiness into our lives. I’m talking instead about the romantic picnic for two, the sort of picnic where lovers stroll hand in hand to a quiet, secluded spot away from the rest of the world. The joy of picnicking — and the romance — comes, I think, from the idea of an idyllic retreat, a “time-out” from the usual routines of our day.

Of course, not all picnics are created equal. If you’re going to have a picnic, make it a REAL picnic. It’s more than throwing sandwiches into a brown paper bag, grabbing a can of soda, and hiking out into the woods. That sort of impromptu picnic can be great fun, but once in a while, take time to plan ahead and make your picnic into a truly memorable event.

To help you do exactly that, here are a few tips on packing the perfect picnic:


Tip #1: Location, Location, Location


Choose a romantic spot where you and your sweetheart can forget the rest of the world for a little while. A grassy spot in the park, a blanket on a rooftop, or a picnic table beneath a shady tree…all can be perfect places for your picnic. If you’re going to a public place, be sure you know in advance of any rules or restrictions. Check the site out ahead of time. And be sensible. If you’ll be walking a good distance to reach your picnic area, pack light! You don’t want to be worn out before the picnic begins. Choose paper plates, paper cups, and plastic utensils. If you’re planning a picnic close to your kitchen — under that gorgeous tree in the backyard, for instance — you can go all out with the fine china and silverware.


Tipe #2: A Well-Stocked Picnic Basket


Personally, I think a picnic basket is an essential item on any lover’s “must-have” list. Invest in a sturdy basket with handles, and keep a checklist of what you need for that perfect picnic. Nothing ruins the experience quite so much as having a yummy dessert then discovering that you’ve forgotten the spoons, or pulling a bottle of wine from the basket only to realize you neglected to bring a corkscrew. Be sure your basket is stocked with drinking water (freeze ahead of time), outdoor dinnerware, utensils, cups or glasses, napkins, corkscrews or bottle openers, tablecloth or blanket, sunscreen, bug spray (or citronella candles — don’t forget matches or a lighter), a decorative centerpiece, and a big trashbag for clean-up.


Tip #3: Add Food


The traditional food for a picnic is crusty French bread, a variety of cheeses, delicious fruits, and a bottle of wine. Simple. Romantic. Of course, you might choose to add other items to the menu, as well. A lot will depend on when and where you’re serving the food. Crackers, fresh veggies and dips, jams, jellies, and pastries can all be delightful treats for a picnic. Oh, don’t forget the butter for that bread! Check out your grocer’s shelves for packaged foods that travel well, and keep your picnic basket stocked with “goodies” from fast-food restaurants, such as little packages of honey, or salad dressings.


Tip #4: Use Common Sense


Ideas for picnic menus abound, but don’t get carried away, especially not on a hot summer’s day.  Choose foods that can be enjoyed cold — such as chilled soups — and keep them on ice until serving time. Don’t prepare foods that spoil quickly. Picnic foods should be thrown away if they’ve set out longer than an hour. Learn and follow “picnic safety” rules for food handling.





Tip #5: Create a Romantic Mood

How many times have you heard the old adage that it’s the little things that count? There are lots of little things you can do that will make your picnic a special event.  They require a little imagination and a bit of planning, but the end result will be beautiful memories you and your partner will cherish. Begin by choosing a theme. Maybe your concept is “A Parisian Picnic” or “A Day in the Country”. You might choose an Italian theme, or in autumn, maybe an “Octoberfest” idea. Look for ways to bring your ideas to life through the tablecloth or blanket you use, the foods and drinks you plan, the decor your create. Send a card ahead of time to invite your special someone to join you, and plan for those “little touches” that add thoughts of love and romance.  Bring candles or hang paper lanterns from the trees. Create a playlist of romantic music, or if you’re musically-inclined, bring along your guitar to serenade your sweetheart.


Tip #6: Enjoy!


Things don’t always work out at picnics, no matter how carefully we plan. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes the bugs bite. Sometimes somebody else finds that secluded spot and then where will you go? If it rains, spread your picnic blanket out on your living room floor and have fun. If the bugs bite, pack up, run to the car, and have a good laugh. If you lose “your spot” on the riverbank, stroll into the woods. You might find an even better spot for love.

Having fun is what picnics are all about. Don’t get so caught up in planning a “perfect” picnic that you can’t relax and enjoy yourself. Dress casual and be comfortable.


Here are a few links for picnic ideas and menus:

Romantic Picnic Ideas

Make Ahead Picnic Recipes

Tasty Picnic Recipes