Thursday, December 23, 2010

Macey's Polka Dot cake

I haven't posted in a while, but I have been wanting to share all of my decorated cakes.  I have tons of them to share, so maybe if I post just one a week, I can get caught up!  This cake was so delicious!  I started adding my secret ingredient to my cakes not too long before making this one.  I'm sorry, I can't give that away, but I will show you what the inside looked like!  The birthday girl loved it!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WINNER and Pound for Pound Challenge Results!!!

I guess I should announce the winner of the $30 Kroger Gift Card just in case you're wondering!  How about a big CONGRATS to VickyB from VickieB's Ramblings!!  She said she likes Cheerios, so I'm sure she'll be using her gift card to get some!

I also want to proudly say that a whopping 6.2 Million Pounds of groceries were delivered to food banks across America!  Thanks to everyone who participated in the Pound for Pound Challenge!  I also hope that you are successfully meeting your weight loss goals!  I pledged to lose eight pounds and I've only lost one so far.  BUT, I'm eating healthier and working out, so I know I'll get there if I keep this up!  The first few weeks are the most frustrating!!  With that said, it's time to go eat some Cheerios and head to the gym!  Have an awesome day!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Peace Love Dance Cake

Here's a cake I made for a customer a couple of weeks ago...it's for her daughter's dance class.  She said everyone loved it!  This cake is a yellow butter cake with buttercream icing...a customer favorite!

Well, I made a few cakes this weekend, but unfortunately, I had a little mishap with my camera and I couldn't take any pictures!  I'll be getting it fixed, but guess what my husband got for Father's Day??  A Nikon Coolpix S4000!!  It's a really good compact camera, by the way!  I may just have to borrow it until I get mine fixed ;)

Hope everyone has a fantabulous week!!  Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY and enter the Pound for Pound Challenge! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kroger $30 Gift Card Giveaway and Pound for Pound Challenge

Ok everybody; it’s time to put away all the cakes, cookies, and other unhealthy foods. It’s time to start eating healthy, exercising, and shedding a few pounds. I know, easier said than done, huh?

Well, here’s a very good reason to do it. The Kroger Co. Family of Stores, General Mills, NBC's hit TV Show "The Biggest Loser" and other key sponsors are partnering to donate up to $1,080,000 to Feeding America this year. All you have to do is pledge to lose a few pounds. For every pound you pledge to lose by June 30, 2010, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14¢ to Feeding America® - enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank.
Visit www.pfpchallenge.com/Kroger to make your pledge to lose weight and to get more information and to find tools to change your life for the better. It is free, easy and only takes a minute to make a change that can help you and help the hungry in your local community. Be sure you tell all your friends about this so they can pledge, too!

I personally pledged to lose 8 pounds. Exercising is on the top of my list right now. Of course, eating healthy is next. Fortunately, Kroger Co. Family of Stores has helped by providing me with a $30 gift card! I can’t wait to go shopping for some healthy General Mills products!

Now, here’s the good news! They are also providing one of my readers with a $30 gift card! Here’s what you can do to win:

Simply post a comment! This entry is required to participate in this giveaway. Make sure you include your e-mail address so that I may contact you.

Additional entries:

• Post another comment stating how many pounds you pledged to lose.
• Post another comment stating which General Mills product(s) you would like to purchase.
• Become a follower on Google Friend Connect and post a comment stating that you have done this.
• Follow me on Twitter by clicking here and post a comment including your Twitter ID.
• Tweet about my giveaway on Twitter (Tweet must link directly back to this post) and post a comment stating that you have done this.
• Blog about my giveaway and post 2 comments state that you have done this (that’s 2 additional entries!)

All entries must be received by Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at midnight. A winner will be selected randomly on Thursday, July 1, 2010. Winner will have 48 hours to respond. If winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be randomly selected.

The Kroger Family of Stores includes Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralph´s, King Soopers, City Market, Dillon's, Smith´s, Fry´s, QFC, Baker´s, Owen´s, Jay C Food Stores, Hilander, Gerbes, Food4Less, Pay Less Super Markets and Scott´s Food & Pharmacy.

This giveaway and information were provided by the Kroger Family of Stores and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I hate to say it...

I guess it's better to say it than to say nothing at all....

I'm (kind of) on a blogging break.  This wasn't intended, but I just realized I haven't posted in over two weeks!  I still love all my friends in the blogging world!!  But, in an attempt to become healthy again and lose some weight, I've added "working out" to my already busy schedule.  This leaves no time to blog right now.  But, the good news is...my grad school classes are ending in a week!  After that, my husband and I are taking a much-needed vacation. Then I'll have time to blog again...and cook decent meals again!  I have so many recipes that I want to share, so I can't wait for the summer so I can share them!  Stay tuned....I'll be back!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Busy Self and Some Special K Protein Meal Bars

Between now and the end of April, I have a gazillion things to do! I have 4 papers to write, 6 homework assignments, and an exam. Plus, I have cakes to bake. We are also giving my brother-in-law and his fiancĂ© a shower this weekend. Then, Chase’s birthday is next week and I want to plan something special for him!

Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy because I have so much to do, but really….I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s the way my life has been for about the last 4 years, and I’m getting used to it! Everything I do is rewarding and I love it!

With that said, I may not be able to blog as much as I’d like in the next few weeks, but I’m still here reading comments and occasionally visiting other blogs! I plan on posting a few more photos from our trip this week!

Now, I wanted to share my latest food addiction with you. I’m absolutely HOOKED on these Special K Protein Meal Bars! They have 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. And they are SO GOOD! Since I’ve been so busy lately, I’ve been eating these either for breakfast or for an afternoon snack...or sometimes both!! I just grab a couple as I go out the door every day! My favorite flavor so far is peanut butter, which is pictured here. They have several flavors and I haven’t tried them all yet! I’m looking forward to trying the strawberry flavor. I actually ate my last bar yesterday and thankfully my hubby got paid today so I can stock up on more!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm Back and We have a Winner!

Hope you all had a great week! I'm back from our road trip! We visited family in Kentucky and traveled up to Ohio as well! We had a great time and can't wait to go back! The land is very beautiful there! Much different from the flat land here where we live! I wanted to share a few pictures from our trip!

Here are the kids at the Ohio River. We were in Ohio. Kentucky was just across the bridge.

Here’s a view of the Ohio River from Maysville, Kentucky! We were standing at an old train station. The restaurant you see in the background is where George Clooney’s parents eat frequently.

And finally here’s a shot of downtown Maysville.


Now, here’s what you've been waiting for….our winner….I chose a winner using randomizer.org. I was surprised that it chose the 2nd comment!

Congratulations to Call Me Pretty for winning the Yoplait Yogurt “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” Giveaway!!

Hope everyone has an awesome week!  Enjoy the warm weather!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter!!  It was such a beautiful day today and I took lots of great pics of the kids!  I love days like today.  We had a nice dinner with the family tonight and now we are packing to take a little road trip!  I've been extremely busy for the last week and I'm looking forward to things calming down at the beginning of May!  I get a much needed 3-month break from grad school!

I will be posting a winner for the Nourish Your Inner Goodness Giveaway as soon as I get back!  Thanks to everyone who entered!! 

Enjoy your week!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nourish Your Inner Goddess...Giveaway!!! - CLOSED!!

Ok, I said I'd post about my giveaway this week, so here it is!!  Do you need a little something to help you relax?  If so, I have the perfect gift pack for you!  I am excited to announce this really awesome giveaway!  Yoplait Yogurt provided me with a wonderful "Nourish Your Inner Goddess" gift pack through MyBlogSpark!  They are also providing the same gift pack to one of my lucky readers and that could be you! 

The gift pack included 2 coupons for Yoplait's new Greek Yogurt. 

"With 12 grams of protein -- twice that found in leading yogurts-- new Yoplait Greek nourishes from the inside out. Available in four delicious flavors, Strawberry, Blueberry, Honey Vanilla and Plain, the brand´s newest offering has a unique thick and creamy texture with the unmatched taste expected of Yoplait."
  
I've never been much of a breakfast person, but in a recent attempt to eat healthier, I've been trying to make myself eat breakfast.  I've been eating yogurt for breakfast lately, so when I received this gift pack, I was very excited that this yogurt included 12 grams of protein!  I don't know of any other yogurt with that much protein in one serving!  I tried Strawberry and Honey Vanilla.  They were thick and creamy, not thin and smooth like their other yogurts.  The flavor was great and once I got used to the thicker texture, I really enjoyed eating this yogurt!  The best thing about it was that it filled me up until lunch!  I didn't have a craving for a snack in between meals as usual!  I will be purchasing this yogurt again!  Strawberry is my personal favorite and Honey Vanilla is delicious when used as a fruit dip!

For those of you that want to try this yogurt right away, click here to download a coupon!  (This coupon may not be valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Tennessee)

To celebrate its new Greek yogurt and to encourage women to nourish their inner goddess, Yoplait has teamed up with actress Izabella Miko, who plays Greek Goddess Athena in the epic adventure new Warner Bros. Pictures´ and Legendary Pictures´ film "Clash of the Titans," in theatres April 2 in 3D.  Click here to check out the trailer for the movie!

How to Enter:

Post a comment to let me know which flavor of Yoplait Greek Yogurt you'd like to try the most! This entry is required.

Additional entries:

• Become a Follower on Google Friend Connect and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Follow me on Twitter by clicking here or by clicking the link at the top of this page and post a comment including your Twitter ID.

• Tweet about my giveaway on Twitter (Tweet must link directly back to this post) and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Blog about my giveaway and post 2 comments stating that you have done this (that’s 2 additional entries!)

Important:  Include your e-mail address so I may contact you if you are a winner. 

All entries must be received by Saturday April 3rd at midnight. A winner will be selected randomly and announced on Sunday April 4th. Winner will have 48 hours to respond. If winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark provided both gift packs, coupons, and information.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is Here and Awards!!!

I’m so excited that spring is here! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the children are enjoying playing outside. Our family tends to stay cooped up in the house when it’s cold outside! Once it warms up, though, we just can’t get enough of the outdoors! And for the first time in my life, we have a garden! My husband has been working hard preparing the soil so we can grow our own vegetables this year! I’m so excited!!

Now, it’s AWARD TIME!!

The other day, I received not just one award, but FOUR AWARDS from Pam at A Love for New Recipes! Be sure to check out her awesome blog! Thank you so much Pam!!

Here are the awards:

BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER AWARD:












SPECIAL HAPPY BLOGGERS LOVE AWARD:


















KREATIV BLOGGER AWARD:










HONEST SCRAP AWARD:












Now, I’m supposed to name seven things about myself and pass this award onto seven others, so here it goes: (Hope you enjoy!)

Seven things about myself:

1. I have a Bachelor’s Degree that I’m not even using right now. I guess you could say that I’m underemployed.

2. The closets in my house are color coded. I started this years ago when I worked at a department store and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s so much easier to find clothes this way.

3. When I was a little girl, I pretended to have my own cooking show, just like Julia Child.

4. My favorite fruit is pineapple.

5. I get distracted really easily. Really really easily. Just ask my husband.

6. I love to scrapbook, but haven’t really had time to do it in a few years. I spent $3,000 on scrapbook supplies the first year I started (Many of it still goes unused).

7. I just started a new blog, Bless Our Soles, where I plan to post about other family related things besides food. I did this so I could keep this blog purely food related! It will only take you a minute to check it out…there are only a few posts so far!

Seven bloggers I’d like to pass these awards to:

1. Megan at What Megan's Making

2. The Veggie Mom at My Veggie Table

3. Me, Myself, and Pie

4. Kitchen Koala

5. Pam at From my Motorhome to Yours

6. Kelli at Come Join Me In…

7. LeAnn at Dinner at the Osbornes

Congrats!  If I had all day, I'd choose many more blogs, but unfortunately, I have work to do! 

Also, keep checking back...I will be posting another Giveaway this week!

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pot Pie

After a successful shopping trip the other day, I scored some great deals on items that I probably wouldn’t have purchased otherwise. I picked up a few bags of Bird’s Eye Steamfresh Vegetables and some Pillsbury crescent rolls for almost free. I wanted to come up with a recipe that used these items, so I put my brain to work! I thought about doing a Chicken Pot Pie, but I wanted something different. So, I took the base that I use for my Chicken Pot Pie and simply added cheddar cheese to it. Then I decided to add bacon to kick the flavor up a little bit. And of course, the broccoli! I tasted the stuff before I had even baked it and couldn’t stop tasting it! It was SO GOOD! I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you! By the way, my husband said it was BETTER than the original Chicken Pot Pie! Let me know what you think!!

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pot Pie

3 boneless chicken breasts
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 (12 ounce) bag Bird’s Eye Steamfresh Broccoli Florets
½ cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets (includes 2 sheets), thawed (If you do not do a lattice design, you can use only 1 sheet by just laying it on top) (See below for other options)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until almost done (just before becoming crisp). Remove from skillet and place in small bowl. (It’s up to you whether you discard the bacon grease or not. I saved some of it because it gave the chicken a nice flavor).
3. In same skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat until almost done (slightly pink in center). Remove from skillet and cut into small pieces.
4. Place chicken back into skillet. Add bacon and Creole seasoning and continue cooking until chicken is completely done. Set aside.
5. Meanwhile, cook broccoli florets according to package directions. Leave in microwave until ready to use.
6. In large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Stir in chicken broth and gradually whisk in the flour until thickened. Then add cheddar cheese and mix until cheese is completely melted.
7. Remove from heat. Stir in broccoli florets and chicken/bacon mixture. Pour mixture into a 9X9 casserole dish.
8. Place pastry sheet on top of the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pastry is done.

*If you don’t have puff pastry sheets on hand, or you are looking for a cheaper option, there are many out there! I recently purchased refrigerated crescent rolls that were on sale very cheap (with coupons) and used those as a topping. Pie crusts, biscuits, and of course homemade crusts can also be used. I can’t say that I have a personal favorite…they are all great! It’s the inside that counts :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Favorite Baked Ziti

I’ve decided to start working out at least 5 days a week so I can squeeze into my clothes from last spring. I tried to start a month ago, but I was only managing to work out 2 days a week. I’ve also decided to work myself back up to a 5k and eventually a 10k to give me something to really work toward. So, I’m doing a “Couch-to-5k” program to get me ready! My husband asked me the question, “When are you going to have time for this?” He’s right. I’m already limited on time. But, it doesn’t hurt to set a goal and at least TRY, right. So far, I've already worked out 3 days this week!

Eating healthier has also been something I've been trying to do. It works for a while and then I start craving something like this delicious Baked Ziti. But, it’s ok as long as I don’t eat 3 platefuls, right? I did substitute ground turkey in this recipe last week, which cuts down on some of the fat, and it was still delicious!

This is my absolute favorite Baked Ziti recipe, and I sometimes use various cheeses, depending on what I have on hand! This recipe has been adapted from Allrecipes.com.

My Favorite Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped OR 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1 (45 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 (6 ounce) package provolone cheese, sliced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 (6 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded (I usually buy a larger bag and use more than it actually calls for, but if you don’t want any leftover mozzarella cheese, the 6 ounce bag will be fine)

1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until tender. Add garlic or garlic powder. Transfer to a small bowl. (In order to shorten this recipe up a bit, I sometimes skip this step and put garlic powder directly into the meat mixture. It’s great with onions and fresh garlic, but our family really doesn’t miss them).
3. In skillet, cook ground beef (or ground turkey) on medium-high heat until evenly brown. Stir in the onion mixture and spaghetti sauce. Add salt, if desired.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In prepared dish, layer ½ of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, and ½ of the meat mixture. Then add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella cheese (reserving ½ cup for top), and remaining meat mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese are melted.

Important: I have tried layering this various ways, and it just wasn’t as good! This way, the cheeses melt onto the bottom layer of pasta nicely, while the meat, mozzarella, and pasta blend on top.

Also, you may not think everything is going to fit into the dish, and it definitely is a tight fit, but it will fit! You may want to put a pan on the bottom oven rack to catch spillovers, just in case!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We have a winner!!!


Congrats to Brandy from The Windy {City} Wilsons!!  She won the $25 Kroger Gift Card! Brandy said that she plans to stock up on cereal!

I used randomizer.org to select a winner.  Brandy posted our 12th comment!  Sorry for the poor photo, I didn't have my camera with me and my phone takes really terrible photos!

I also have another awesome giveaway coming soon (HINT: It's something to help you relax!)

Time to get back to posting more recipes :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 days left to enter my Giveaway!!

Don't forget to visit Kroger or Kroger family of stores by Sunday March 14th to take advantage of the Cart Buster Savings Event! Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway so that you can win a $25 Kroger Gift Card! Click here to enter!!


MckLinky Blog Hop
Click here to see the entire Blog Hop List....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pink and Black Polka Dot Cake

Ok guys, sorry for the poor photo here, but I forgot to take a final picture the morning after I finished the cake!  I made this cake last weekend.  Trust me, this cake was much cuter in person!  It's all buttercream.  Rather than pipe the polka dots directly onto the cake, I used the buttercream transfer method.  It was so much easier, and I think I'm going to start using that method more often, especially when I have to draw very detailed images.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 Kroger Gift Card!  It ends very soon!!  Click here to enter!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giveaway: $25 Kroger Gift Card!!! - CLOSED

I’m so excited to announce my first giveaway!! I was fortunate enough to receive a $25 Kroger gift card from Kroger Family of Stores and General Mills through MyBlogSpark! The great news is that they are also offering another $25 Kroger gift card to one of my lucky readers!!
The Cart Buster Savings Event is going on now through Sunday March 14th at Kroger and the Kroger Family of Stores. Prices are so low that you can stock up on all your favorite name-brand products without breaking the bank (though you might bust your cart!)

Don’t miss this great event!! To find a Kroger store near you, click here!

How to enter:

Post a comment to let me know what you plan on stocking up on while prices are so low! This entry is required.

Additional entries:

• Become a follower on Google Friend Connect and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Follow me on Twitter by clicking here or by clicking the link at the top of this page and post a comment including your Twitter ID.

• Tweet about my giveaway on Twitter (Tweet must link directly back to this post) and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Blog about my giveaway and post 2 comments stating that you have done this (that’s 2 additional entries!)

Be sure to include your e-mail address so that I may contact you if you are a winner.  All entries must be received by Sunday March 14th at midnight. A winner will be selected randomly and announced on Monday March 15th. Winner will have 48 hours to respond. If winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Thanks for entering and GOOD LUCK!!!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On TV tonight: Food Wars


I’m always excited about new cooking shows on TV. Lucky for me, there’s a new one coming on and I don’t want to miss it! It’s Food Wars. It’s actually coming on in about 30 minutes on the Travel Channel. From the looks of it, it seems to be like Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay, which I thoroughly enjoy. They’re going all over the U.S. to settle debates of which restaurant makes the best dish in town. It looks like two episodes will be on tonight. They are “Chicago Italian Beef War” and “Buffalo Wing War.” I think they are airing the same episodes tomorrow night for those that can’t catch it tonight!

Click here to view a sneak peak of Food Wars

I'll let you know what I think of it after tonight's episodes!

Barbecue Country Style Pork Ribs and Rice


Is anyone else enjoying warmer weather? I love it! I’m already dreaming of relaxing in the pool or going to the beach and feeling the sand between my toes! Then, when school gets out, I can stay home with the kids every day and feel like I’m a stay-at-home-mom for a little while! I can’t wait!

This recipe is great for a lazy day when you want a good meal, but don’t feel like slaving in the kitchen. It’s a crock pot recipe, but requires some boiling first, so it’s not really something you can prepare on a workday.

Boiling these country style ribs first makes them so tender! Plus, you are left with a wonderfully seasoned broth for rice. Add some veggies, and you’re done!

Barbecue Country Style Ribs

6-8 Country Style Ribs
8 cups water (approximately – I usually just make sure the ribs are covered)
1 bottle of barbecue sauce
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

1. In large pot, bring water to boil. Add ribs, reduce heat to medium, and boil for about one hour.
2. Remove ribs from water. Place ribs in crock pot.
3. Add barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and Creole seasoning.
4. Cook for 3 hours on high setting or 6 hours on low setting.

Pork Seasoned Rice

4 cups broth left over from above recipe
2 cups white rice
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

1. Bring broth to a boil. Add bouillon cube.
2. Once bouillon cube is dissolved, add rice and reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until rice is done and all juice is absorbed.





Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Exam results and Warm Cinnamon Apples

Well, I got my Economics Exam results back and…I made a B. A low B. I’m not happy about that since I’m trying super hard to make straight A’s, but I realize that this is grad school and not like undergrad, so it’s a little bit harder.  Well a lot harder. Plus, I have many more responsibilities now than I had before, including a husband and children and a full-time job and a cake business and a blog and I could go on….Ok, so I guess I should be satisfied with a B, but I’m still going to try to pull my grade up to an A!





I’ve always loved those yummy Cinnamon Apples that most country restaurants, like Cracker Barrel, serve. I ran across this recipe at Recipezaar.com and figured I’d give it a try. Of course, I adapted the recipe to our liking.








Cinnamon Apples

10 apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin (I used Granny Smith Apples – they are best for baking)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (this is optional, and I didn’t add it because I didn’t have any, but I will definitely add it next time)
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients. (You can mix in the baking dish for less clean-up, but I like mixing in a bowl).
3. Put apples into a 9x13 baking dish that has been covered in aluminum foil. (Use double layers of foil, just in case. It can be messy to clean if it happens to get onto the baking dish!)
4. Bake in oven for about one hour. Stir about every 15 minutes to ensure that they are evenly cooked.  They are done when all apple slices are tender and the juice has thickened.

I really enjoy eating these cinnamon apples alone, but they are also very good served with ice cream. Eaten alone, they are like a healthier version of an apple pie!

Or you can top an oatmeal bar with cinnamon apples, top that with vanilla ice cream, and drizzle with caramel! YUM!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gadget of the Week: Paula Deen 3-Piece Chef Set

Life has been so busy lately! I just took another exam Thursday night for my Economics course and boy, am I GLAD it’s over. I’ve fallen asleep with my book and notes open on my lap every night this past week! My husband was also out of town for 3 days, so it’s been really chaotic in my house! The house is a complete wreck and I spent all day today trying to catch up on laundry! I was hoping to spend this weekend cleaning, but Chase had a derby car race yesterday morning for cub scouts and I baked cakes all day after that!

I haven’t featured a Gadget of the Week in a few weeks, and I’ve been debating on what I wanted to feature next. I wanted to choose something smaller since I’ve been featuring larger electronic gadgets. I also wanted to feature something that I used often.
So, here it is….my 3-piece chef set from the Paula Deen Collection. I am so in love with these knives! They are non-stick and feature a non-slip handle. The set comes with an 8” Chef knife, 6” utility knife, and 3.5” paring knife. I love that they come in the red color because it matches my kitchen – even the blade is red! They also come with a protective sheath, which is very nice when storing the knives. From now on, I will not purchase a knife unless it does have a protective sheath. In fact, I’m loving these knives so much that I probably won’t be purchasing another knife any time soon! The blades are made from high-carbon Japanese steel. So far, I haven’t had to sharpen the knives and I’ve had them for 7 months. Cutting a pineapple is still as easy as cutting butter, and I’ve cut quite a few pineapples!

These knives are available at Walmart.com for $24.97. I think this exact set may be exclusive to Wal-Mart because I haven’t seen it anywhere else. There are similar Paul Deen knife sets at other locations, but the prices were a little higher.

I can’t say anything bad about these knives, and if you happen to be in the market for a new set of chef knives, I think you’d be happy if you purchased these!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oatmeal Bars


These oatmeal bars are soft and chewy and full of deliciousness! The first time I baked these, the kids wouldn't even taste them because they had oatmeal in them. I finally convinced the kids to give them a try and they loved them. They even asked for another batch about a week later! If you are a chocolate lover, I recommend adding the chocolate chips, but they are fabulous both ways!

My stepmom gave me this recipe when I was looking for something different to bake at Christmastime. Thanks for sharing, Renee!

Oatmeal Bars

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups oatmeal
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional: 2 cups chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large mixer bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar.
3. Add eggs, oatmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and vanilla and mix well.
4. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.
5. Spread evenly into greased 13x9 inch pan. (I spray Baker’s Joy into pan).
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in for 3 more minutes. (It is done when edges begin to turn a little brown. Middle will be very soft until completely cooled).
7.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.




Happy 101 Blog Award!!


A couple of days ago, I received my very first blog award!! I was so excited and am so honored to have received this award!! It was given to me by JDaniel4’s Mom. Take a minute to visit her blog and check out her latest giveaways!

The rules for accepting this award are to list 10 things that make me happy and to pass this award onto 10 other bloggers. So, here it goes:

Ten things that make me happy (In no particular order):

1. Comments totally make my DAY!
2. I never knew how it felt before, but I now know that blog awards make me very happy!!
3. My readers, whether you comment or not, I ♥ U!
5. My husband, especially for trying all my recipes and being patient as I blog!
6. My children, for being my little guinea pigs!
7. When my husband sends me a sweet text message during the day saying how much he loves me (he just sent one and I started smiling immediately – I ♥ him)
8. The rest of my family! Love them all!
9. My loyal cake customers!
10. Food (of course!!)

Wow, I had a very hard time choosing just 10 blogs, but the following 10 are really awesome, so you should check them out!












 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spiderman Cake


You can probably guess what I've been doing lately.  I promise to post more recipes soon, but meanwhile, I'll keep sharing my cakes with you.  I got the order for this cake on Wednesday and had to make it Thursday.  Since time was limited, I used a cake kit for this one.  I usually buy cake kits from Wal-mart.  Yesterday, they charged me $6.50 for the kit, but they JUST went up.  They used to charge $5!  But, that's still cheaper than ordering one online and paying shipping.  When I buy kits, I simply add the price of the kit to the normal price of the cake. 

For this cake, I used the Spiderman Cake Kit, which included the Spiderman figure on the top left and the web ornament on the bottom right.  The rest was buttercream. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Carolina Panthers Cake

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE!!

I hope you all have had a great day!  Jason surprised me with a sweet card and a gift certificate for a 60 minute massage!  I REALLY need that!  I don't know when I'll have time to get it, but I can't wait!  I cooked him dinner last night before he went to work...salmon and baked veggies.  He said it was very good, so I'll be posting the recipe soon!  By the way, I have such a wonderful husband!  I really think I love him 100 times more today than I did when I married him!! 

Ok, now I'll share a cake I made last weekend for a Carolina Panthers fan.  I drew the logo onto the cake with buttercream.


GO PANTHERS!!

Black Lab and Flowers Cake

I had an order last weekend for a chocolate buttercream cake with a lab and flowers on it.  It's always challenging to get orders like that.  How can a dog and flowers go together?  And how can I make it look nice on chocolate buttercream?  So, I put my brain and my keyboard to work!  I found a cake that was made by LetThereBeCake07, a member of CakeCentral.com that had a couple of labs on it.  I copied her black lab because I liked it so much and because I couldn't really remember how a lab looked.  I added the rest of the details, and this is what I ended up with!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mama Dip's Peach Cobbler


I’ve often been asked what my favorite dessert is, and I've never been able to decide. How in the world can you choose just one when there are thousands of delicious desserts?? Well, after all these years, I think I have finally made a decision! One dessert that I could eat and eat and NEVER get tired of is PEACH COBBLER!

I’ve made peach cobblers before, but just haven’t found the “perfect” recipe. I was determined to find that recipe the other day and I think I found it! It’s actually been in a cookbook right in my own kitchen for years. It’s perfect to me, but it really depends on how you like your peach cobbler. Some people like them sweeter, some like them spicier, and some like them cakeier! This recipe is an excellent recipe to start out with and then adapt it to your liking! Personally, I could have eaten the entire pan of cobbler as it was. But, my husband said it needed to be sweeter and my mom said it needed to be spicier. So, like I said, it REALLY depends on how YOU like it!

This recipe comes from the cookbook, Mama Dip’s Kitchen. Mildred Council, or “Mama Dip,” is the wonderful lady behind these recipes. She’s from Chatham County, North Carolina and now has a restaurant in Chapel Hill. Twenty-seven pages of this cookbook are dedicated to the story of her life of cooking. It’s definitely interesting to read. And the recipes…oh, the recipes!! If you love southern cooking, I recommend this cookbook!


Cobbler Crust (Makes top and bottom crust)

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shortening
¼ cup cold water (I ended up needing more water here – probably more like 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In large bowl, sift flour, salt, and sugar.
3. Add shortening and mix together well until crumbly.
4. Add water and mix to form a moist ball of dough.
5. On a floured surface, roll out half of the dough so that it will fit in the bottom of the pan. (I used 9X13 casserole dish). Press into bottom of pan and prick with a fork several times. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until done.  It should look done but not brown. Cool for 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Add fruit mixture (SEE BELOW).
7. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top of fruit. Prick with a fork several times. Or roll it out, cut into strips, and make a lattice design over the fruit.
8. Brush the top crust with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake cobbler for 35 to 40 minutes.



Fresh Peach Cobbler (This is her exact recipe, but I doubled it for one cobbler, keeping the crust recipe the same).
2 tablespoons self-rising flour
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 cup sugar
6 cups sliced fresh ripe peaches (OR substitute canned peaches, drained)
¾ stick butter

1. Mix flour, ginger, and sugar together. Add peaches and mix well.
2. Spread onto bottom cobbler crust (See #6 above).
3. Cut butter into small pieces and dot on top fruit mixture.
4. Place top crust over the peaches and continue with #7 above.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Refrigerator Yeast Rolls

Last week was one of the BUSIEST weeks of grad school so far. I had 3 homework assignments to do, an exam to take, and a paper to write. I managed to get it all done, BUT unfortunately I wasn’t able to cook for the family like I normally do. And the saddest part…I wasn’t able to blog!!!

A couple of weeks ago, my mom gave me this recipe for Refrigerator Rolls. She received this recipe in home economics class in high school...that would be about 30-something years ago. You can tell from the picture that the recipe has been used!  She said she used to make these rolls all the time. I decided to try them, and I really enjoyed them. She recommended rolling the dough into small balls and using a muffin tin to bake them in. I put three balls in each one, which made for some nice looking rolls! These rolls are pretty dense, not light and fluffy as I was expecting them to be, but the flavor is great!

Refrigerator Rolls

½ cup boiling water
½ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 package dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
3 cups all-purpose flour

1. Combine boiling water, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend well and cool. (I combine in same pot that I boil the water).
2. Add egg.
3. In large bowl, sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water and stir until dissolved.
4. Add egg mixture.
5. Blend in flour. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
6. Shape into rolls or small balls as described above. Place on greased pan (or muffin pan) and let rise for about 3 hours in a warm location.
7. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (The directions say to bake for 12-15 minutes, but I found that this was too long).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gadget of the Week: Rotisserie/Convection Oven


This rotisserie/convection oven is a great gadget to have in the kitchen. It does take up counter space, but luckily I have an unused corner that I could put it in. The one I have is made by Euro Pro. It was a gift from my father-in-law, but from my research, they run somewhere around $100. This is something I would have never purchased myself, but I’m very glad that I have one now!! So, what are the pros and cons of this gadget? Here you go…

Pros:

  1. The rotisserie function is awesome. The chicken is so moist and juicy and full of flavor! We simply sprinkled some Creole seasoning on the chicken before cooking. That’s all it needed!
  2. The oven function is wonderful. You have 2 bake racks, so you can fit about 8 pork chops in it. Again, they are very moist and juicy! Actually nothing that I’ve baked in this oven has been even the least bit dry!
  3. It has a lot of settings which include warm, bake, broil, toast, and of course convection and rotisserie. I’ve also heard they bake cakes very well, but I haven’t tried this yet!
  4. There is a crumb tray at the bottom as well as a basking tray. Between those two trays, all of the grease or crumbs are caught and it makes clean-up super easy!
  5. Did I mention that clean-up is super easy!?
  6. It has a 60 minute timer and also has a stay-on mode. (I usually use the stay-on mode).
Cons:

  1. It gets very hot! The handle stays pretty cool, but the rest of the oven it too hot to touch. I always make sure I don’t have anything on it or close to it.
  2. The words around the dials are very hard to read. This seems to be a common complaint about this oven, from the research I’ve done. I have to get pretty close to it to read it, and I don’t have vision problems at all. It would probably be very hard for someone with vision problems to read.
  3. It’s definitely bigger than a regular toaster! It does take up a more counter space, but it’s not so big that you can’t leave it on the counter all the time.
OVERALL, I think this oven is a great buy. It works great for us when I’m cooking things like pork chops or chicken and we have a family of 5. Instead of having to fire up the big oven, this oven can be used to save on electricity! Another way to be green!

Crock Pot Roast

This is my favorite way to cook a roast, and it’s in the crock pot, so that’s even better! You can prepare it in about 5 minutes and then leave it to cook all day. It’s so tender and perfect served over rice or mashed potatoes! Sometimes I throw in some potatoes (chopped) a couple of hours before serving. Good stuff!

I apologize for not getting any plated photos of this dish...everyone was so eager to eat, and we didn't have any leftovers!

Crock Pot Roast

2-3 pound roast (I used round roast this time but my favorite roast to use is chuck)
1 onion
1 package onion mushroom soup mix (I used Lipton brand)
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 ½ cup water

1. Place roast in crock pot.
2. Chop onion and place in crop pot on top of and around roast.
3. In a separate bowl, mix onion mushroom soup mix and water. Then add cream of mushroom soup and mix well. Pour over roast.
4. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Free Everlast Energy Bar at GNC


Click the link below to get your printable coupon and head to GNC to get a free Everlast Energy Bar!  Unfortunately I don't have a GNC here, but I wanted to post this so that others can take advantage of it!  Expires January 31, 2010.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Week's Menu - Jan 17-23


Happy Tuesday everyone! It’s actually Monday night for me since I haven’t made it to bed yet! I’ve been working on some Economics homework that’s due tomorrow night. And now I’m thinking that I’m pretty dedicated to this blog since I’m posting at 2 a.m. AND I have to work tomorrow!

I wanted to post this week’s menu so that I can hold myself accountable! It’s been working very well so far! I’m leaving Saturday night open because I’m thinking of inviting some friends over and I want to take a little more time to plan just in case! Also, I skipped yesterday because Jason had to work and Chase and Macey were with their Grandmother. Since it was just Madison and me, we ate leftover soup and cake!

Monday – Chicken and pastry*, lima beans, biscuits*
Tuesday – Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday – Chicken enchiladas* & Spanish rice*
Thursday – Country Style ribs in crock pot*, green beans, & macaroni & cheese
Friday – Hamburgers & Fries
Saturday – Lunch – Sandwiches
                 Dinner - ???

* Recipes coming soon!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rich Chocolate Icing

This cake was requested by my husband a few nights ago, and I finally had a chance to make it last night. The icing is rich…so rich in fact that it knocked me off my feet last night! It seriously did...but that’s only because I have to avoid caffeine and this icing is loaded with chocolate, which means it’s loaded with caffeine! It caused my heart to race and I went straight to bed! Yes, I knew better, but I couldn’t resist :)

My husband took the cake to work tonight and everyone enjoyed it. They really liked the icing.  It's not the smoothest icing to decorate with, but it did ok with the little bit of piping I did.

Rich Chocolate Icing

6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 cups powdered sugar, unsifted (This is equal to 2 pounds minus 2 1/2 cups OR 1 pound plus 1 ¼ cups.  If you wish to sift, do so after measuring)
1/2 cup milk  (you may need to add a little more, depending on the desired consistency)

1. In small saucepan, melt baking chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly (until it is warm)
2. In mixer bowl, mix butter and shortening until blended.
3. Pour chocolate into butter mixture and mix well.
4. Add vanilla.
5. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture.
6. Gradually add milk and mix well.  (You may want to alternate milk with powdered sugar because the mixture will become dry as the powdered sugar is added.)

Fun at One First Birthday Cake

I made this cake for a customer to coordinate with the “Fun at One” theme. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish this cake! I had to make it Thursday night, and my daughter had a ton of homework to catch up on that night. So, at 11 pm, I was decorating this cake and calling her spelling words out to her at the same time! I was so tired, my hand was literally shaking! Not good when you’re decorating a cake! It's not one of my best cakes, but they liked it when they picked it up Friday, and hopefully the birthday girl liked it too! That’s really all that matters!!

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