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Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Christmas Treats!

Very simple treats for Christmas! Oreos with white candy coating piped on top. stick mini chocolate chips in for the eyes and mouth. I used orange starburst for the "carrot" nose.
Santa's are nutter butters  with white candy coating piped on the top and bottom. dip one end into red sprinkles but not the whole way in. used red star burst for the nose and mini choc chips for the eyes. they are attached using white candy coating as well.
the snowmen idea I got out of a magazine and they were supposed to be on a lollipop stick but the stick I bought were to thick (walmart was out of stock of the thinner sticks) and the oreos were too thin so sticking the stick in only caused the oreo to break or open up too far. There were also supposed to have hats. Half an oreo place on top, glued on using white candy coating. then a large Marshmallow dipped in chocolate candy coating place on top of half of the oreo. however, the way I did it, i think it is still cute and it didn't take as long to make.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cute Christmas Treats

Tomorrow Gary's class is going to decorate the classroom christmas tree so I decided it was a good opportunity to make some cookies! :)

The reindeer is a peanut butter cookie. Roll dough into balls and flatten on pan. Place pretzels in place for ears. Bake as long as recipe recommends. Place chocolate chips for eyes and red M&M for nose (or whichever color you want) while the cookie is still warm so that they stick.
the cookies with the M&Ms in them are easy. I bought refrigerated cookie dough that is already cut into pieces. Place pieces in mini muffin pan. Press down to make a well making sure dough doesn't go above the edge. Bake for 10-11 min. Place M&Ms in hole while cookie is still hot. Mine don't look all that full because I didn't have enough M&Ms to fill them up but you can put however many you want in them. You can also use any flavor chip you want instead of M&Ms.
The Last one is a little more complicated.
Buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Crush pretzels to make about one cup and mix into the sugar cookie dough. form dough into balls and place into mini muffin pan, pressing down to make a well but make sure the sides don't go above the edge. Place in oven for 5 min. Remove and place chocolate chips and caramel bites in the hole. Place back in oven for another 5-6 min. remove from oven to a wire rack. let cool for 10 min before removing from the pan. They should come right out. I used toothpicks to help pull out, but a knife will probably work also. Then place 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1 TB shortening in microwave and heat for 30 seconds, stir and heat again in 15 sec interval (stirring after each) until chocolate is melted. Dip the tops of the cookies into the chocolate or take a spoon and pure chocolate over the top. Place sprinkles on top of chocolate.
Here are pictures of the cookies before the chocolate and sprinkles were added on top...
You can see the chocolate chips and kind of see the caramel bites inside.
Here is a picture after I placed the chocolate on top with sprinkles...
In the future instead of placing both caramel bites and chocolate chips in the center while still cooking I think I will just place extra caramel..with the chocolate in the center and on top it gets to be too much unless you like that much chocolate.
Also in the future with the M&M cups I am going to try putting the M&Ms in the center after 5 min of baking and then push the top of the cookie inwards to hide the M&Ms and then place back in oven for the rest of the 5 mins. Then it will look like a cookie ball with the M&M surprise on the inside. we will see if that works out or not. I am sure I will take pictures if it does work out! I tried pressing the top inwards after it was done baking but the cookie just broke, so i am hoping it work out the other way.
I have more cookies I will be making for the christmas party his class will be having later this month so stay tuned for those! There will be santas, snowmen, wreaths, and maybe one or two more treats.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cookies with Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate Cookies
1 sticks butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2/3 cup flour
2 packages of hot cocoa mix (I used Nestles)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
chocolate chips (optional)
Marshmallows (optional)

1. cream together both sugars and butter until light and fluffy
2. in another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients
3. mix in egg and vanilla
4. slowly add in dry ingredients
5. add chocolate chips
6. chill dough for an hour
7. bake at 350 for 9-11 min (add marshmallows on top for the last three min)

I tried this recipe without chocolate chips and marshmallows, with just chocolate chips, and with chocolate chips and marshmallows and I enjoyed it best with both chocolate chip and marshmallows. although if i don't have marshmallows on hand in the future, just chocolate chips is still delicious. Without either one I thought it was a little bland. I made hot chocolate and drank it with the cookies and it was great!
All recipes that I post on here are good enough that I would make again. Found this recipe off the website Bakerella.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Angry Baker

So Gary said I should change my blog name to The Angry Baker. He has a point. When things don't go smoothly I get frustrated really fast. Last night I was trying to bake a chocolate cake for a family my small group is providing thanksgiving dinner for. I had this picture in my mind of a chocolate cake with a yellow boarder and orange and yellow roses and Happy Thanksgiving written on it. An autumn looking cake. Well, chocolate buttercream frosting just doesn't smooth out as well as the regular. It would have been better if I just smoothed it on with the spatula. Instead I put it is the fridge like you would with regular butter cream. Then tried to "iron" out the icing. Well it just made the icing look more crackly. For my perfectionist personality this annoys the crap out of me! Then I made regular butter cream frosting a dyed it for the colors I needed to decorate the cake. Well I put like 1 tsp too much water in because it was not stiff enough to make the flowers. They looked awful and I just threw all the icing out. This morning I had another go at it. This time the icing was really stiff and the flowers turned out nicely. The cake is decent looking, but it would have been much better if I hadn't tried smoothing out the chocolate frosting. I would make it all over again just because of that, but it would be a ton of wasted supplies. Plus it takes hours to make a cake, frosting it, and decorate it with flowers. I just don't want to go through the flower making again.
I did make another cake this morning for myself and used the leftover chocolate frosting I had in the fridge. I sat the frosting out on the stove while the oven was on baking the cake. This helped warm up the frosting so it wasn't so hard. Then I just used a spatula to smooth it on the cake when it was still slightly warm. It went on very smoothly and nicely...much better looking then sticking it in the fridge and then trying to iron out the creases. Oh well, live and learn.
Don't think professional cake decorating is in my future. Way to stressful for my perfectionist personality and I just don't think I am good enough. It isn't even enjoyable to decorate cakes when you worry and get upset so much because they didn't turn out right. Think I will stick with my cookies and brownies...I'm not much of a cake eater anyway :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sweet Brownie Treats for Gary's Class!

Tonight I think I made some of the cutest little treats I have made so far! These look like mini cupcakes but they aren't. You bake a batch of brownies (whichever are you favorites) When they are cooled a little you form them into balls and place in the freezer for about 14 min. During this time you take a peanut butter cup candy molding and place whatever color candy coating you wish in each cup till it is about half way filled. Before the candy coating sets, take the brownie balls out of the freezer and place the brownie balls in the candy coating in each cup...making sure the candy coating doesn't come up over the edge. Remove from the molding once the the candy coating has hardened. At this time take you favorite icing and pipe over the top . If you wish you can place sprinkles on top. This gives the illusion of a mini cupcake but is actually a brownie ball covered in candy coating and icing.

 I tried to get a picture showing the brownie in the center, but it is hard to see....

Here is the peanut butter cup candy molding I used as the base. Just fill up half way with whatever color candy coating you wish to use. 

I also made brownie balls, which is similar to cake balls. You bake a batch of brownies and then you can do two things. 1. take the brownies and turn into balls place a stick in the center and then dunk into candy coating or 2. take the brownies and add your favorite icing, freeze until it is stiff enough to form into balls. place stick in the center and dunk into melted candy coating. Sprinkles on top are optional of course. You can also add crushed cookies, nuts, etc on top...whatever floats your boat :)

All wrapped up and ready to go tomorrow!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving thankfulness!

Thought since it is almost thanksgiving that I would do a thanksgiving post. Also the message at the The Bridge yesterday was about thanksgiving and taking pleasure in what God has given us and how that is a form of worship.
I remember as a 10 or 11 year old I was feed a stray cat and her babies in hopes that they would gain my trust and I just remember after one particular night when one of them let me get really close to it, I stood outside and prayed my thankfulness to the lord for that simple little thing and how excited I was. I had to have been out there for an hour just talking to him about my feelings of happiness and hopes of gaining trust from one of the three little kittens. Such a simple prayer of thanksgiving from a child! But about year after that prayer one of those kittens, now grown and mother of one herself, did befriend me. This is almost unheard of from cats that are born strays, they never trust people. Yet this sweet cat whom I named Midnight trusted me! Some would say it was the food I gave her. But I must disagree. Midnight had a another kitten, when no one else was around but me, she brought that two day old kitten out from under the patio and layed it in front of me on the grass. She layed down next to it and held her head high and puffed out her chest in pride, showing off her beautiful kitten to an 11 year old girl whose prayers were answered beyond measure! A cat that was born feral was bringing her vulnerable kitten out from hiding just to show it off to me! After a couple minutes she took her kitten back under the patio. But I will forever remember that gesture from a simple animal.

As an adult, with the daily stresses of finances and raising a child I have a tendency to forget these simple things that I used to find so much pleasure in. So now I will take the time to once again appreciate the things that the Lord has given me, rather then be distracted from the hecticness (if that is a word) from life.

What I am  MOST thankful for (of course) is my savior, Jesus, who has given me purpose and meaning to life. When everything else in life is taken from me, I still have the hope that someday he will make life whole again. A savior who loved me so much he wanted to feel my pain and so limited himself to the human body and played by the laws of mankind that he set up, even when being beaten and spit on and nailed on a cross he didn't call down angels to save himself. Who knows what it is like to pray to the Father to have the pain taken away, but it isn't. Who is faithful when I am unfaithful. Who died for me while I was still a sinner. Who is teaching me grace and courage. For his patience because i am a slow learner!
For my husband, who treats me with gentleness and kindess, with soft words rather then criticism and condemnation.
To a son, who is randomly gives me kisses and says I love you. Who always wants me to sit and watch tv or play toys with him.
To my mom and dad who raised me the best way they new how. Telling me of Jesus, sending me to a christian school. For putting up with my selfish behavior and laziness!
For my siblings whom I share fond memories of growing up with and present memories as well.
my nieces and nephew whom I adore! Whom I wish I could see more of so I could spoil them :) Who put a smile on my face.
For The Bridge and the people who are apart of it or were apart of it. Who helped me during a difficult time in my life. A time when I was distant in my relationship with the Lord, due to bad church experiences and my own personal bad decisions as well as difficult circumstances. I don't know if I would have ever stepped back into a church, if it weren't for a few people who kept at us, constantly inviting us to events. I need to work on my shyness so that I can do this for someone else in return and I need to get over my fear of rejection!

I am thankful for nature, for animals, for my dogs. For a house, for Gary's job, for friends who put up with me! :) For being able to stay at home with Kydan.
I am thankful that health this summer was exceptionally good and after small relapse in september, that once again my health has been good. And even if my health wasn't good, I would like to think that I would still be thankful, because some day my body will be made whole!
thank you Lord!

Oh and how could I forget cookie?!!! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

S'more Cookie Bars (the recipe that almost went to trash)

This was the recipe Gary was talking about on facebook that I threw away but later was looking through the trash to get it back. :) I tried this recipe while it was warm and did not care for it so I threw it away. Later I tried a piece again when it was completely cool. SOOO much better :) I have another smore bar recipe that I think is a little better than this one, but this one is still worth keeping around.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Hershey's milk chocolate bars
1 cup marshmallow creme

1. heat oven to 350. Grease 8 in baking pan.
2. beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. add egg and vanilla; beat well. stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. press half of dough into prepared pan.
3. Arrange chocolate bars over dough, breaking as needed to fit. spread with marshmallow creme. scatter bits of remaining dough over the marshmallow; carefully press to form layer.
4. Bake for 30-35 min or until lightly browned. cool completely on wire rack.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stuffed Cookies and Prayer

So I adapted these recipes off the website pickypalate. You can pretty much stuff a cookie with anything! The day after Halloween I stuffed a couple cookies with chocolate candy that Kydan got from trick or treating. Yesterday was a tough day emotionally so I gave way to temptation and made some brownies than made my favorite cookie dough recipe...wrapped some of the cookie dough around a brownie piece and baked it...the result was deliciousness!
Here is a picture of a snickers stuffed cookie:

Her is the brownie stuffed cookie:

On another note I just want to thank everyone who has been praying for Gary and I while we go through this stressful time....without going into too much detail due to confidential reasons...Gary and I have been working towards becoming foster parents since this past spring. We had two particular boys in mind whom if everything worked out fostering we would have liked to adopt. These boys Gary knows very well and the youngest boy has grown pretty attached to Gary even developing Gary's sense of humor and such. There is a third brother but he has many problems that Gary and I don't feel qualified to deal with.
Yesterday we were told that another couple is interested in adopting all three of them. This is devastating news for us since we had no clue...for 6 plus months we had have dealt with fears, worries, hopes, dreams, praying for these boys and this decision. Last week were finally approved to be foster parents and set up a date to talk about visiting. Needless to say this has come as a complete shock to us.
I have compared it to having a miscarriage all over again. The hopes, dreams, the maternal sense growing as you prepare yourself to love and care for another human being.  The whole day after my miscarriage I cried, and so I cried most of yesterday.
I know God has a plan, but that doesn't make it easier to deal with. All I have to do is look at his word to know that current difficulties have purpose when you can see the whole picture. I just can't see the whole picture like he can. However, that doesn't take away the pain of the moment. Yes there are other kids out there who need a home with parents who will love them, and maybe someday we might consider that...but just like a miscarriage you don't want to be told you can always try wanted THAT baby, not another baby.
But there is still hope that we could get these boys...we will go through with the weekend visits and such and just wait to see what happens. Waiting is the hardest part.
As many of you know, Gary and I can't have any more children of our own. Based on a decision we made due to my health problems that were brought on by my pregnancy with Kydan. But since middle school I have considered fostering/adopting as a great alternative to having biological children...why bring more kids into a difficult, painful world (I was depressed in middle school) when there are children who are already in the world who need a family. So when we made the decision to finally start this process of fostering to adopt it felt right...Please keep praying that God's will will be done, even if it means the boys going to another home. I want what is best for them and for us, even if it hurts in the meantime. Thank you again.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Party and Treats

Made some Halloween party treats for Gary's class. I made pumpkin and ghost cakes pops and I also made dirt cups with a cookie as a tombstone and wrote RIP on them.
Had friends over tonight also. Here is a pic of our kids in their costumes!
 Kydan the fireman, Benjamin the pumpkin, Reuben the skunk, Emilee the princess, and Xander superman!

 Dirt cups with cookie tombstone. Dirt cups is basically whipped topping mixed in with either vanilla or chocolate pudding mix, cream cheese, butter, and some confectioners sugar and milk. Than you crush up oreos and put it on top to make it look like dirt. I dipped peanut butter cookie sandwiches in chocolate candy coating and than piped the RIP on to make it look like a tombstone. I had wanted to put skeleton bone sprinkles on top of the "dirt" but I couldn't fine any.

 These Ghost are just cake pops (crushed up cake with frosting stirred in...refrigerate and form into balls...dip into candy coating)
Here are my pumpkin cake pops. I used the tips of stick pretzels for the top. I was going to put faces on, but ran out of black icing and I was getting tired :)
Tomorrow is Trunk or Treat!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Haunted House Cake

Ok so I couldn't hold out...I had the ingredients to make it...even though I don't have anyone to make it for, i did it anyway. I made the Haunted House cake. I thought I did good for my first attempt at doing something like this. I saw better ones on google images, but I still think I did good for a beginner. I didn't have any marshemallow ghost to add to make it look more spooky, but oh well.
so here it is.....
 The colors aren't exactly what I was looking for. I think it would look better with the roof black, but I didn't have anything I could us to make it black. I just used graham crackers for the roof. The tower is made out of cupcakes. The slanted roof is just cake that I cut into that shape. The icing is buttercream...not my favorite because it is too sweet and leaves my mouth and throat feeling funny, but it is the best to use for decorating. I used a toothpick to make lines in the walls to give the impression that house is made of grey brick.

This all got started because I found a recipe for an icing made out of flour and white sugar...never made a frosting like that so I decided to try it. Well it was very delicious (not too sweet) but takes forever to make. Than I was thought I would make a cake to put it on so that I can see what it taste like on an actual cake. But while making the cake I decided to use up my gallon of icing that I bought for my cake classes and decided to just go for the haunted house :) I actually didn't even use the new icing on the cake after all because I didn't want to ruin my haunted house if it turned out to not be a good frosting to I went with what I knew  was good for decorating.
It took hours! But it was fun :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weight Loss and Baking

Just a little bit of what has been going on here. So I haven't been baking nearly as much because I am try to loose 15 lb. so far I have lost about 5-6 depending on the day :) It is soooo hard some days. I help myself by looking at a whole of bunch of baking websites, printing off the ones I want to try and stuffing them in my ever growing dessert recipe book. So once I lose these 15 lb (the weight I was before pregnancy and after until I started gaining) I am going to have a ton of recipes I need to try and probably gain all the weight back in a few short weeks :)
Actually, I am going to try and pace myself with making my recipes and maintain my weight once I reach my goal. Thankfully, Gary's class is having a halloween party coming up and I have decided I am going to make Cake Pops for his class and dirt cups. I'm sure I will post pictures when they are all done. This will help get my creativity out and I won't be tempted to eat because cake balls aren't my favorite dessert, but his kids liked them the last time I made them.  I would have loved to make a Haunted House cake also but financially it is too much to spend right now...I've already spent way too much for the cake ball and dirt cup supplies! There are 30 children total so it is going to be a lot to make anyway without making the cake. Oh well, I'll just have to get my creativity out in another way. But if anyone wants a Haunted House cake just let me know. I would love to try and make one for you ;)
I also want to make a fire engine cake (kydan would love it), a Caterpillar cake and a castle cake.
My beginners cake decorating class is over. But I will be taking the second course which focuses on making flowers and than the third course focuses on fondant. I really enjoy the class! I am surprised at how much I enjoy it. I am shy and nervous person going into things like this. But the instructor is sooo nice and the other women are nice also. We just have fun and it is nice to get away from the child once in a while and just be creative with other women. I will be sad after I finish all the courses, it gave me something to look forward to. This is the way school/college should be. It should be learning about something you enjoy, without pressure so that you learn better and fun.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies!

These were delicious I must say! I found a couple of wonderful baking blogs here recently and saw this wonderful recipe and just has to try it. Trust me there are a LOT more of recipes I need to try but I am trying to pace myself :)

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 TB vanilla
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Chocolate chips
oreo cookies

1. preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars until well combined. add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.
2. in separate bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.
3. Freeze dough for about 15-30 min or refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.
4. Remove cookie dough from freezer place a scoop of dough on pan, than place an oreo on top, pressing down. Place another scoop of dough on top of oreo. press dough down over sides of oreo cookie.
place directly in unused dough back in freezer until the batch in the oven is done.
5. Bake 9-12 min. if half way though baking the dough seems to be spreading to much and oreo in stick out, the dough may not have been cold enough...take spatula and press the sides inward and continue to back.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Creativity and Frustration

So when I combine two things I love, it turns into an addiction of sorts. 1. I LOVE desserts 2. I like to create things. Although most of my creations are not really mine, they are things that I have seen before, I still like to make them for myself. I am a pretty good drawer but I have to have a picture in front of me in order to draw it. I can't just draw and image out of my head. I wish I could though!
This is why I sometimes get obsessed over certain computer games and such. The ones where you get to design your own house, town, farm, frontier, or whatever can hold me for hours because I love decoration/creating. Of course it wouldn't take so long to decorate if they didn't make it that you had to earn money to buy items to decorate with.
Anyway, so I love sweets as anybody who actually knows me will know. Recently I have found a passion for turning desserts into creations. I have soooo many ideas for cakes that I want to decorate...yet I am frustrated because who is going to eat the cake? Of course I will end up eating it. Gary sometimes takes my desserts to school. But I don't want all the kids to get fat because of me :) Or the employees for that matter. I am one of these people if I have something I want to create in my head, the idea will not go away until I make it. I grow antsy because the creativity needs to be released.
I don't even know if my creations are even that good. (of course my melancholy temperament tells me this). My  white icing cake last night just didn't seem as smooth as the other people from my cake decorating class. I was so caught up in trying to fix my runny icing that I guess I missed her instructions on out to smooth out the icing once the cake is fully covered. 
I know, practice makes perfect right? But like I said, I can make all these cakes to practice but who is going to eat them? It is an expensive hobby to end up just throwing it away after Kydan, Gary, and I all have little slices...In my case maybe two ;)
Some have suggested selling cakes and desserts. My mom has even brought to my attention a farmers market nearby that I could sell my desserts at. She also said local town events and such. Gary's one aunt told me that over the holidays I should give a free platter of samples to local businesses(..Like the fire department, vet's office, library and such) along with a business card. As much as I would love to do this...I am a shy person. To walk into an establishment and offer a free platter of desserts makes me nervous. the most contact I have with people out in public is to say Hi. Plus I don't think my desserts are WOW enough to sell. Just ordinary desserts, that ordinary people could make themselves. Why would they pay me to make it for them? It isn't like any of my desserts have brought people to me asking for the recipe.
Also it seems like everybody I know is on a diet (or life style change as some like to call it) or they don't like sweets. I guess I don't care as much about whether what I am eating or not is healthy...most people care because they want to stay healthy and live longer...well my body is unhealthy whether I eat healthy food or not, so I guess I just don't care as much as others. That is probably my melancholy temperament showing itself again :)
Good thing is, holidays are coming up which means party's and desserts...even though my halloween party fell through because nobody but one family can make it...and they always come over and eat my desserts anyway. Won't be going anywhere for thanksgiving that I am aware of...and christmas is still up in the air. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cookie Madness and Holiday Traditions

So I made three different chocolate chip cookie recipes today in hopes of finally narrowing down to one recipe.  One I didn't care much for. The other two where very similar in that they were both delicious. However, the one recipe called for cake flour and bread flour and I followed the recipe precisely. But when it came to baking, the outside edges got really crisp long before the center was done baking. The other recipe with normal all purpose flour was just as big of a cookie but I didn't have the problem with the center not getting done. So I guess that is the winner for my favorite cookie!
Here is the winner:

Here is Runner up, the one cookie that didn't have a crispy edge but still not quite finished baking in the center :)

So I think I am finished baking for awhile! Not only because baking three batches of cookies took a lot of supplies but also because I am cookied out :) A matter of fact I'm just not feeling all that much desire to eat sweets here recently. So guess I will be taking a break.

I'm hoping to throw a little Halloween party sometime this month so I will probably make a couple of cute little desserts. Also might be making some little halloween desserts for Gary's students, but we'll see. His class has been acting up here recently, so if they are too bad they might loose the privilege of a party.

I know Kydan is only two and half and probably won't remember anything yet, but I want to start making memories for him over the holidays... especially since he doesn't have any siblings. Even if we do get to foster these two boys, they are much older and it is hard to say if Kydan and them will even form a bond. Either way, I want to start traditions. Since my family doesn't live down here it makes it hard to find ways to involve other people. Although Gary's parents live down here, I really want Kydan to be around children. And the two cousins that do live near by are also a good bit older and we aren't really close to Gary's sister because we are completely different people. Thankfully we have some good friends you have stuck around and are our family in Christ as well.

Than again why do I think that Kydan needs a sibling in order to be happy and to enjoy holidays and such? Although I have fond memories of my brother and sister growing up (even though they are 6 and 10 years older than myself), a lot of siblings don't get along....especially when they become adults. A matter of fact Gary is pretty much an only child. His youngest sibling is 7 years older than him and they are all girls. He pretty much doesn't have any type of relationship with them now as an adult. He is completely different in personality from all three of them. We only see them occasionally, even the one sibling that does live nearby.

Anyway, I know this post is pretty random. Just a lot on my mind. I love fall....I love the smell in the air, the jacket weather, and the changing colors. It would be by far my favorite time of year if I didn't have problems with seasonal depression. Grrr, stupid moods :) I just get down really easily and feel blah and sad for no apparent reason or over stupid things.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cake Decorating Class and Hunt for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

So I had my first cake decorating class for beginners last night. I learned a lot! Even after searching for cake baking tips online, I had not heard of some of the stuff I learned last night. First off, I learned that you can buy strips that you soak in water and wrap around the outside of your pan and it helps bake your cake evenly. She said that it won't even get that little dome on top of the cake if you use the strips. Also she recommended a product to grease your pan with and it helps release the cake from the pan without problems. She said after using it she will never go back to spray butter or crisco again. I will try it once I get the money to buy it and see if it lives up to her word. :) We also talked about making icing. I never knew this, but there are other extracts you can use in place of vanilla extract. I never knew this! I told Gary and he knew, but for some reason I have never heard of this. She said she likes using an extract called buttery dough or something like that. She said she also likes one called Princess, which is a unique but delicious flavor that is hard to describe.
Next week we are to make an 8 or 9 in cake and bring it to class and we are going to icing it. We are supposed to make our own icing also, which I normally do anyway.
On another note...I'm in search of the best chocolate chip cookie :) I have 3 or 4 recipes for chocolate chip cookies so I am going to make them all (in small batches) and test one from each batch to find the one I like the best.  Two of the recipes I have never tried before. I will be doing this tomorrow. I had to make the one batter today because it needs to sit in the fridge for 24 hours. Here is to hoping that I find one delicious recipe!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apple Peanut Butter Cookies

These were good, but since I am a chocolate lover it didn't quite hit the spot. However, for those of you who don't mind sweets even if they don't have chocolate this is still a great recipe! This recipe was found on the Taste of Home website.

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup peeled and grated apples

1. in a large bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. beat in the egg and vanilla. combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. stir in the apple.
2. place rounded tablespoons of dough on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 min or until golden brown.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elvis Cake (banana cake with peanut butter and chocolate icing)

(Banana Cake, with peanut butter frosting, and cocoa glaze)

Thank to my mom who mentioned to me that Elvis' favorite snack was toast bread with peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate on it. I looked it up online and found an Elvis Cake. I have always enjoyed the combo of peanut butter, chocolate and bananas, but never thought to try it this way until now. It was was gooood! :)

Cake mix:
2 Cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 cup milk
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 mashed bananas
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In large bowl, cream sugar and butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating until just combined. Finally stir in vanilla, mashed bananas, and cinnamon. Pour batter evenly into two greased 9 round baking pans. Bake at 350 for 35 min or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Peanut butter frosting:
2 sticks of butter, room temp.
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
up to 2 TB milk

In electric mixer cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time and use milk to adjust the consistency to your liking.
(I cut this recipe in half and I had plenty to cover the cake and use some in the center.)

Cocoa Glaze:
2 TB butter
2 TB cocoa
2 TB water
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa and water. cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Do NOT boil. remove from heat. Whisk in powdered sugar gradually. Add vanilla and beat with whisk until smooth. Add additional water 1/2 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
(I only had to add one 1/2 tsp extra water and it spread easily and went down the sides with no problem.)

I put peanut butter in the center (hard to see) and a few slices of banana in the center as well. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

white cake with strawberry filling

This is a birthday cake I baked for the P.E. teacher at Gary's work....I made little cake balls for the kids but I didn't take pics because they weren't the prettiest looking. Don't know how in the world people get their cake balls so round and smooth looking and mine are so lumpy.
This was a white cake mix and I made from scratch a strawberry frosting for the center. On top I made a vanilla butter cream frosting. I drizzled chocolate candy coating over the cake and dipped a few strawberries and put them on the sides of the cake.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cookie Dough Balls

If you LOVE cookie dough like I do, but don't want to risk salmonella poisoning than this is for you! It taste just like cookie dough but without the eggs in it!

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 min semisweet choc chips
1-1/2 lb choc candy coating

1. in a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in Vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternate with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in choc chips.

2. with floured hands shape into 1 in balls; place on wax paper-lined sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. (Hint: I made into bigger balls because I didn't want to have to keep flouring my hands; once it hardens in the fridge you can tear apart into smaller balls without flouring your hands)

3. In a microwave or saucepan, melt choc candy coating; stir until smooth. dip balls into coating and place back on waxed paper. refrigerate until firm, about 15 min.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Caramel S'more Cups

1 package Betty crocker choc chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
36 round chewy caramels in milk chocolate (I used rolo candy)
mini marshmellows (1 cup about)
1/2 cup semisweet choc chips

1. heat oven to 375 or 350 if using a dark metal. spray 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. make cookie dough as directed on package, using butter and egg. shape dough into 36 round balls (1 in). place one ball into each muffin cup.
3. bake 8-9 min or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven; firmly press 1 caramel candy into center of each cookie until flush with cookie top. top each with 3 marshmallows. Bake 2-4 more min longer until marshmallows are puffed. cool for 30 min. loosen edges of cookie with small spatula and remove to cooling rack.
4. place choc in microwaveable  bowl and melt. Place melted choc in plastic baggie. Cut a tiny whole in the corner of the plastic bag. Squeeze choc out through the whole and drizzle on top of the marshmellows.

These tasted good and they were also cute. They are also small enough that you can eat one without feeling guilty about it :)

Chicken Pillows

These were pretty good. We ate them with mashed potatoes and corn. the recipe calls for chicken gravy but this picture doesn't show the gravy on top. I give it a 4 star out of 5. :)

1 Package cream cheese (8 oz)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 tbsp dried chives (we didn't use these since we didn't have any)
1-1/2 tbsp onion, minced
3-4 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 (8 oz) cans crescent rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
Italian bread crumbs or whatever kind you like
1 can (14.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 package chicken gravy mix

1. using hand mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. Stir in salt, pepper, onion, chives, and diced chicken
2. using crescent rolls, take 2 triangles rolls and push together at perforated seam to make into a square. Make sure you seal the perforations well so the filling doesn't come out. Put about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture in the center of each square. Fold the dough corners to the center over the chicken mixture forming a pillow.
3. Dip each pillow in melted butter on both sides. Rolls in bread crumbs on both sides, shake excess crumbs off. Place chicken pillow on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 min.
4. make gravy by mixing one package of chicken gravy mix, one can of cream of chicken soup and 3/4 can of water in a small pot. mix together and heat until warm. Serve chicken pillows with gravy poured over top.

Can't remember which website I found this on so unfortunately I can't give credit where credit belongs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Graham Cracker Cookies...loved these!

this recipe makes 2-1/2 dozen But I cut it in half twice since it was just gary and I eating them. We both really enjoyed this which is saying a lot since Gary doesn't normally eat sweets. But you can only eat about two or you will start to feel sick.

1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup marshmallow creme
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package graham crackers

In large sauce pan, combine sugar, butter, and milk. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook 4-5 min longer until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in marshmallow creme, peanut butter, and vanilla.

Break graham crackers in half. spread about 2 tablespoons filling on the bottoms of half of the crackers. ( I also melted choc chips in microwave and put on top of the filling, but that wasn't apart of the original recipe. I thought it tasted great both with and without the choc chips) Top with remaining crackers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monster Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup M&Ms
1 cup or less butterscotch chips
1 cup peanuts (optional)
Marshmellows (optional)
choc. chips (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour

In large bowl, cream peanut butter, butter, and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add baking soda and vanilla. Add oats, M&Ms, butterscotch chips, peanuts. Let stand for 10 min. Stir in Flour. Add choc chips and marshmellows if desired (I did :) )

Shape 1/4 cupfuls into balls. Place on greased baking sheets. Gently flatten cookies. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 min or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from pan to cool.

I didn't use peanuts because I don't like them. I tried half the batter with just M&Ms and butterscotch chips, it was pretty good but the last half of the batter I added choc chips to add more chocolate and the marshmellows for fun. I really liked it with those additions and highly recommend it! Tomorrow Gary will be taking them to school so we will see how everyone likes it there. :)

Thanks to my sister-in-law for mentioning these cookies to me :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oatmeal S'more cookies

1/2 Cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup semisweet choc chips
1 cup mini marshmellows

In large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in Vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in oats, choc. chips, and marshmellows.

Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 min or until golden brown. 

I enjoyed these cookies! Found from the Taste of Home cookies book