Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Meal or No Meal....

Many of you have seen or heard of the game show “Deal or No Deal”. Well, the other night, we attended a party where the theme was “Meal or No Meal”. Thanks to my creative sister-in-law and her family. Our game involved a contestant, a BAKER, and Howie Michael as the host.
Here is the famous baker!

Instead of having numbered briefcases to select, we had numbered pizza boxes. Inside each pizza box was a picture of a treat or goodie. The smallest prize was a single M&M, and the largest prize was a giant box of chocolates.

There were other prizes in between such as an oreo cookie, miniature candy bars, regular candy bars, and king size candy bars. Every so often, the BAKER would call on a cell phone to offer the contestant a goodie to quit the game. This offer was based roughly on the amounts of goodies remaining in play. At this point, the contestant would have to choose “Meal” (which would end the game), or “No Meal” (and they would have to choose another pizza box).

Yes, it really is a cake!

I thought it looked like a real briefcase. I guess I'm not the only one, because somebody tried to open it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One of my Passions Revealed

To all of my friends in cyber land. I am about to reveal one of my passions that I have this time of year. I have many of them, but this passion makes my mouth water and my taste buds dance. It is sweet and tasty. And people either love it or they hate it. It is something that I remember having every Christmas season since I was a small child. It is EGGNOG! I’ve been pretty good at avoiding it as I pass by the dairy section of the grocery store. But today I caved in and bought me some. Ok, to be honest, I bought a couple of cartons.

Now, I didn’t pour me a full glass and sit by the fire and enjoy a moment of heaven. Even though that sounds so nice. I made dinner and dessert with it. Oh, and it was good. Really, really good. My kids gobbled up every bite, and asked for seconds, and thirds, and fourths………ok, they just took seconds. But they liked it a lot. Dinner was Eggnog Pancakes! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Neither had I. But I made some and they were a sure hit. For some reason, eggnog pancakes and maple syrup go really well together. Here is the recipe for my Eggnog Pancakes. You should give them a try.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 1/2 cups eggnog

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup cooking oil

1 pinch salt

1/2 t. rum extract

1/2 t. nutmeg

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Mix all of the ingredients until combined. Melt a little bit of butter in the pan. Pour the batter by spoonfuls into the hot pan, forming 5-inch circles. When the edges appear to harden, flip the pancakes over. They should be golden brown on both sides. Makes 8-10 pancakes. Enjoy!

For dessert I baked an Old Fashioned Eggnog Bundt Cake. It was very moist, delicious, and rich. I got this recipe from Tina over at Mommy’s Kitchen, who by the way, has an amazing site. But you’ve heard me say that before. She truly is the blogger of all things yummy. Here is a link to her site, so you can get the recipe. It was easy to make and took only a few ingredients. And, I got to use a bundt pan that I bought about 10 years ago that I have never used.

Here are the few ingredients. (Notice the big, beautiful, brown eggs. They came from my Rhode Island Red chicken. She just started laying about a month ago.)

I mixed them together.....
......and here is my first Bundt Cake.
An Eggnog Bundt Cake! And it was more delicious than I could ever describe. I will definitely be making this cake again. Especially now that I've conquered my fear of baking in a bundt pan. I hope you give this cake a try and enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Krystal's Package Wedding Cake

I am finally able to post pictures of the cake that we did last weekend. And I say "we", because my husband actually did most of the work on this one. I'm teaching him well. I really enjoy the time that I get to spend with him while decorating cakes. He is by my side through every cake that I make. I keep trying to get him to go into business with me, but he isn't as passionate about cake decorating as I am. Even though he is extremely talented at it.

I am really pleased with how this cake turned out. (BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO GET A BETTER LOOK AT THE DETAILS) I had never made a big bow out of fondant before, and it really was the highlight of this cake. It took four days to make, and it was fun to take on the challenge. Here are some pictures of the progress of my bow.

How To Make A Fondant Bow

I started by rolling out the fondant to about 1/8 inch
thickness. Next I cut it into 1 inch strips.

I hung the strips over a wooden dowel, to shape them into a loop. I painted the ends with water and pinched them together.
Then I painted each loop with a shiny, red luster dust.
I found a plate that was about the same size as the bow that I needed, and covered it with waxed paper.
I made a royal icing and colored it the same color as the bow. I started by putting a big glob in the center of the plate.
I placed 7 loops on the bottom layer. I know the picture only shows 6, but I added one later.
After the first layer dried a little bit, I put another big glob of royal icing in the center.
And proceeded to add more loops...
....and still more loops.
I added more and more layers of icing and loops until the bow was complete. It was very fragile, and I wish I had another day or two to work on it. Next time I will start the bow a week in advance, which will give it a little more time to harden. But I was very pleased with the end result.

A big THANK YOU to Krissy for letting me be a part of your wedding!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Friday Deals!!!!

I always love to go out shopping on Black Friday. Last year I took my daughter with me, and we had a great time. Our adventure started about 3:30 a.m. and ended about 9:00 a.m. I'm not sure if I like it because of the deals, but I know that I like the thrill of being in a crowd. And I really like to people watch. People get so crazy when they are trying to get a good deal on things. It's like their inner demons come out as they rush into the store and wrestle with others to get that one COOL gift.

My husband thinks that I am crazy for even wanting to go out so early. He would much rather stay in bed and shop online without the crowds. Now, I know that a lot of you are like my husband, and would rather stay in bed. So that is why I am doing this post. Amazon has already started their Black Friday Deals. They started today!

Amazon searched for the best Black Friday deals everywhere--including deals other stores are planning--so they can meet or beat their prices and bring them to you even earlier. These limited-supply offers will go quickly but they will add new ones throughout the day, every day this week, so you can skip the long lines and still save a bundle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Bread Cornucopia

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity of hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at my house. I was thrilled at the chance I had to decorate and get ready for such an event. I decided to make a Cornucopia out of bread to hold my home-made rolls. It was a little tricky to make, but in the end it turned out really cute and was well worth the effort. If any of you are feeling adventurous this year, I will post the instructions so that you can give it a try. I wish I would have taken step by step pictures as I made this, but unfortunately I wasn't a blogger back then. Hopefully you can do it with just the instructions. You can also email me if you have any questions.

Bread Cornucopia

Ingredients and materials:

Aluminum foil
Vegetable oil
2 loaves of frozen bread dough (I used my own bread dough)
Egg wash (used as paste)
Cooking brush

Wrap a colander with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil.

Let the frozen dough thaw (but not rise), then roll one over the colander. Use egg wash as a paste to attach the bread around the colander. Once it's attached, egg-wash the entire surface.

Cut the other loaf of bread dough into strips. Lay the strips of dough from the top to the bottom and tuck inside the colander. Lace the cornucopia with the dough strips, basketweave style.
Egg-wash the complete surface again and twist the bottom together. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

**This portion is just for show, not to be eaten.

Friday, November 6, 2009

In Loving Memory of Kevin's Youth.....My First Tombstone Cake

A dear friend of ours turned 40 today. His wife surprised him with a HUGE party. It was a funeral for his youth. I was so lucky to be able to make the cake. (Be sure to click on the picture to get a better look at the details.)

This cake was a lot bigger than it looks in the picture. It took more than 5 dozen eggs and a half a gallon of oil. The top portion of the tombstone was made using rice crispy treats (5 recipes). My husband, Jim, helped out a lot with this cake. He started by drafting it out on the computer for me, and he even marbled the fondant. Isn't he good?

Here is the back of the cake.

Almost everyone came to the party dressed in black.
Here is the birthday boy, Kevin... aka Bishop McEvoy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
It was such a fun party. I am glad that I got to be a part of it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Sheet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

We got to go to many parties this weekend for Halloween and Birthdays. We ended up taking a Pumpkin Sheet Cake to two of the parties. I really enjoy pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies, and really anything that is made of pumpkin. But this pumpkin sheet cake is the MOST DELICIOUS pumpkin cake that I have ever eaten. It is super moist. For this reason I am going to share the recipe with you. I think EVERYONE needs to try it.

Like the Candy Corn Sugar Cookies that I made, this recipe also comes from Tina at Mommy's Kitchen. I really love her site, because she has a monthly menu and she posts recipes for all of her meals. They are easy, practical meals that anybody can make. And of course, she also has delicious desserts and treats. Stepping into her blog is like stepping into her kitchen. So thank you Tina, for having such an AMAZING site.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

15 oz. can pumpkin (I used Banana Squash that I had baked)
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Add eggs and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture, beating until well blended. Pour into a greased 10X15 inch baking pan.

Bake for 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool the cake completely and then frost it with the cream cheese frosting. Here's what you'll need for the frosting:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick butter, softened (1/2 cup)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
5-6 tsp. milk

Beat the butter and cream cheese together. Add the vanilla and blend till smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the milk a bit at a time until you get it to a spreadable consistency. Spread on top of the sheet cake.

You can also top this cake with some chopped pecans or walnuts, but that is optional.

I hope you give this cake a try and enjoy it as much as we did. DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Are you looking for that perfect, last minute Halloween treat to make? I came across these adorable sugar cookies on a fun blog that I follow. Tina over at Mommy’s Kitchen had them as a feature on her site this month.

You can make these cookies using your favorite sugar cookie recipe, or you can just purchase the refrigerated dough from your supermarket. Here is the recipe that I used (and I doubled it):


3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ sup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

½ cup sour cream


Into a bowl, sift together the sifted flour, baking soda, and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Beat for 2 minutes. Add sour cream and half of the sifted dry ingredients; beat 1 minute. Stir in remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in thirds. Add orange food coloring to one of the portions, and yellow to another.

Line an 8-inch square pan with waxed paper and press yellow dough in the bottom.

Next, press the orange dough on top of the yellow dough.

Then press the plain white dough on top. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pull the dough out of the baking dish, and cut into ¼ inch thick slices.

Cut the slices into triangles, and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. My cookies came out perfect at 8 minutes.
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here's A Little About Me!

I am crazy about a lot of things. I am especially crazy about my adorable kids and my wonderful husband. Their love, kindness, and smiles are enough to make anyone happy. I am crazy about baking, and filling my home with a yummy aroma that is inviting to anyone. I am crazy about serving others. The joy that I get from doing acts of kindness for others is unbelievable. Most of all, I am crazy about life!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Easiest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are quick, easy, and delicious. Since pumpkins seem to be in abundance this time of year, you can either use fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin. I chose to use canned pumpkin.

3 Simple Ingredients:

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 Small Can (15 oz.) Pumpkin
1 12 oz. bag of Chocolate Chips

Start by mixing the pumpkin and the cake mix together. You don't need the oil or eggs. Just the dry mix.

Mix it together well, and add the chocolate chips.

Mix well, and scoop onto a greased cookie sheet. I always use a non stick cooking spray.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Your home will smell inviting, and you will have a delicious treat! I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as my kids do.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Megan's Diamond Shaped Wedding Cake

Tonight was Megan's wedding reception, and I was able to make her cake for her. This three-tiered cake was amazing! The top layer was a white cake with a raspberry filling. The middle layer was a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream filling, and the bottom layer was a carrot cake with a buttercream filling. I did chocolate fondant for the first time ever. And I was extremely surprised at how easy it was to make and work with. I will share the recipe at the bottom of this post. Be sure to click on the top picture to get a better view of the details.
The reception was beautiful! I was really glad to be a part of it.

For the Chocolate Fondant, I mostly followed the Wilton recipe. I changed it by using real chocolate instead of the chocolate candy melts. The texture was perfect.

Wilton Chocolate Fondant


14 ounces dark cocoa candy melts
1/2 cup light corn syrup
24 ounce package Wilton Fondant
Brown Icing Color (optional)
Black Icing Color (optional)

Makes: About 2 pounds chocolate fondant (this cake took about 10 pounds).

Melt Candy Melts following package directions. Add corn syrup; stir to blend. Turn out mixture onto waxed paper; let stand at room temperature to dry and harden several hours. Wrap well and store at room temperature until ready to continue with recipe.

Knead small portions of candy mixture until soft and pliable. Knead softened mixture into fondant until smooth and evenly colored. If darker color is desired, knead in icing color.