Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TWD - Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

Oh, how I love cheesecake!! A big thank you to Anne Strawberry for this weeks selection of Tall and Creamy Cheesecake. Be sure and check out her blog!

This recipe was really wonderful. I like a good cheesecake and usually don't add any extra ingredients to my cakes. This week I decided to step out of my cheesecake box and add some Reese's Peanut Butter cups. These are the mini cups and I quarted them. I folded them into the batter just before pouring into the springform pan.
Now of course I said I don't usually add any extras into my cheesecake batter. I failed to mention that I don't use graham crackers for my crust. I have found that I like to use a box of the 100 Calorie pack of Oreos. It does take the who box crushed up, but it is really good. In the past, I have also used regular Oreos as the crust!! Wow is it good!
This is a recipe I will use again. It was really light and had a wonderful texture.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve - TWD, update #1

Okay folks....I've got my cheesecake in the oven. This is a TWD recipe, so I won't post any pics or go into details just yet. I'll wait until next Tuesday and actually be on the regular TWD schedule for once this month.

The cheesecake will have my ovens undivided attention for the next 2 1/2 hours, so I think I'll go and throw together either my breakfast casserole or the sausage balls.

Christmas Eve - TWD


Today, Christmas Eve, will be a busy day for me in the kitchen. I have a long to-do list and hope that all of it will be done before I go to bed tonight. I've already crossed one item off the list. My Tuesday with Dorie recipe, Real Butterscotch pudding. This recipe was chosen by Donna and can be found on page 386 in Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I whipped it up fairly easy this morning, but didn't exactly follow the directions. After reading lots of comments about small food processors making a mess of this recipe, I opted to leave it out. Instead, I whipped everything by hand until the very end. At the point of adding the butter, vanilla and scotch, I poured it all into my blender and used it to smooth out the consistency. I have to say that the smell of the pudding was wonderful and very hard to resist as I was pouring it into my individual bowls. The pudding is now resting in the fridge until later tonight when I will dig in.

I hope to be back later today with updates on how my baking and cooking is going. I plan to make a cheese cake (another TWD recipe), Cookies, Sausage balls or Sausage Pinwheels (or perhaps both) a Turkey if the crazy thing will ever thaw, a breakfast casserole for tomorrow morning and of course dinner for tonight!! I hope that's all, but I'm thinking I've forgotten something along the way. hmmmm......

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TWD - Grandmas All Occasion Sugar Cookies

A big thank you to K├╝chenlatein for this weeks selection. This is a great recipe for December. I realize it's now Wednesday, but....here is my Tuesday with Dorie blog anyway...

I usually shy away from sugar cookies because rolling and cutting just isn't my thing. I'm not good at it and it frustrates me (perhaps I just need more practice). Anyway, I opted for the slice and bake method. I made the dough several days ago and placed it in the freezer. One suggestion on keeping the dough in a nice round log, is to save a paper towel roll and cut it open and put in inside. This way, you don't end up with a flat side. Once I was done with my dough and had 2 nice cookie logs, I realized I had NO empty paper towel rolls. It was time to improvise...lol. I had plenty of paper towels, so I used a full roll. It was kind of funny to watch me trying to stuff the dough into the full paper towel roll. Luckily I had the logs skinny enough to just fit. My dough stayed nice and round in the freezer and my paper towels are no worse off for being frozen.
Yesterday, I pulled out my logs and decided I would do the first half with colored sugar. I rolled the log in green sugar, sliced the cookies and then sprinked red sugar on top and baked. These turned out really well. I liked them so much that I almost did the same with the second batch. However, I resisted the urge to use the same route and opted for colored icing on the next batch. I sliced the cookies again and baked them plain. Once they had cooled, I made green Sugar Cookie Icing and spooned it onto the cookies. I then added colored sugar or bits of candy canes to some of the cookies and left others with only the frosting. I think they turned out great. I'm going to be making more of these this holiday season.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

TWD - Linzer Sables


This weeks recipe can be found on page 134 or visit Dennis at his blog to view the recipe. I know it's not Tuesday, but I'm adding my December TWD baking blogs as I have time this month. It is a rather busy month you know.

The recipe was easy to put together and the end result was good. I did decrease the amount of cinnamon and ground cloves that the recipe calls for. Dorie said she liked hers spicy, but I don't like when cookies have too strong of those spices. I played safe and opted for less. The recipe calls for either Almonds, Walnuts or Hazelnuts (finely ground). I opted for Almonds and ground them up in my food processor. After adding all the ingredients in my mixer, the dough was rather dry, but I resisted the urge to add some additional liquid. Instead, I kept on with the recipe and rolled out the dough. After reading lots of comments on TWD about many bakers not being able to get enough cookies with the dough being 1/4 of an inch thick, I rolled mine out a little more.
Of course, some are thicker than others. I'm not good at rolling out the dough evenly yet. The edges are always a lot thinner.In the end, I was able to get 23 sandwich cookies. This is only 2 fewer than Dorie said she had. So, I think I did pretty well. I put raspberry jam in my cookies and the girls and I had lots of fun adding the powdered sugar to the cookies.
I think my cookies look very similar to Dorie's. What do you think??

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family.....

You can't choose your family!! I have to say that I love my family, but that doesn't mean that I have to like all of them, and I don't! I just can't stand some of them right now, but I'll leave it at that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD - Thanksgiving Twofer Pie


Last week, I skipped out on TWD. I don't like rice pudding, so I opted to not make it.

This weeks selection was Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. It was really easy to make and mine turned out pretty well. However, I do wish that the recipe would have warned me that this pie will fill every bit of my pie shell. It did overflow in the oven, but luckily I followed directions and put my pie plate on a cookie sheet.

This is my VERY full pie before going in to the oven.

This is my pie fresh from the oven and on the cooling rack. It came out of the oven after my girls had gone to bed. They were very disappointed and wanted to have a piece before bed, but it was too late for them to wait.


Guess what I let the girls have as part of their breakfast. Yep - since they didn't get to try it the night I made it, they got it before school yesterday! Sarah liked it, but Ella didn't enjoy it as much. I certainly didn't want her piece to be wasted, so I ate it!! Yum Yum

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kugelhopf

This weeks TWD reicpe was Kugelhopf. The first web site listed on a google search for this cake gave me this website which gives Dories recipe.
This cake has to rise several different times and takes practically all day to make. Luckily, it was a warm day here in NC and I had no problems during the rising process. You can see in the pan above all the butter I coated the pan with (yummy). I used a pastry brush to be sure and get into all of those groves.

Above is the cake just out of the oven and it has been coated with butter and a layer of suger sprinkled on top.

Just before serving a light dusting of powdered sugar was added. It kind of soaked into all that butter that I put on the top.

I think this cake turned out like it should. It was a very light and fluffy cake, similar to a croissant texture. I used dried cherries instead of raisins, but the quantity didn't seem to be enough. There are several pieces of the cake that were left without any cherries. I had a piece of this cake while it was still a little warm and it was good, however I found it much better the next day with butter (yes MORE butter) and some raspberry jam on top. I put the slice in the microwave to warm it a bit and I really liked it.

I don't think that this is a recipe I will try again. It just took too long and I prefer much, much sweeter cakes. I did enjoy the experience and can say that I've successfully made Kugelhopf.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stamp Something Challenge

I somehow stumbled upon the Stamp Something blog and began to watch their weekly challenges. I have lots of stamps, but don't use them as often as I should (or would like). I have decided to have their challenges help me get back into the swing of stamping.

This weeks challenge is to simply create a card with only 1 layer of cardstock. This was the perfect week for me to start back into stamping. I didn't have to worry with layering and "over-doing" the card. It also helped that my daughters are going to a b-day party tonight and can use these!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rugelach

I've signed up to join the Tuesday's with Dorie baking group. I haven't been officially added yet, but I baked last weeks item (Rugelach) anyway. I should have blogged about this recipe on Tuesday, but due to computer issues I have delayed until today. I guess since I haven't been officially added to the group it doesn't matter when I post..lol.

I have never been much of a baker (or cook either), but recently I've begun to enjoy baking. For me, I found this recipe a lot of work for just a few cookies. They were quite good and even my 16 year old son enjoyed them. I used raisins instead of currents in the recipe and I don't have any white decorating sugar. I do have plenty of red and green decorating sugar and decided to use up some of it. My Rugelach looked really funny, but they tasted great.
My son wanted to eat it before it was even cut up, rolled and baked.

Ready to go into the oven.The final product.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My First Award

Thank you Michelle of Flour Child for this (my first) award. You have to check out her site for some wonderful baking blogs!! I love her pictures of mouth watering baked goods and I even pick up some great recipes from the blog. I also love keeping up with what is going on with her family through her blog. My favorite blog on her site is dated August 10, 2008. You must go read about how her wonderful hubby is the discus champ!!

I will be passing this award on to some other well deserving blogs later today. For now....I must get some children ready for school.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here is a video of my daughter

This video is from my oldest daughters competition acro dance 2 years ago. I just loved it and thought I would share. Mulan Princesses

Maybe I can figure out how to post videos that I have on DVD from last years competitions....hmmmm.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

My friend posted a pumpkin bread recipe on her blog (http://homebakedsweetness.blogspot.com/) and I gave it a try. I had never made pumpkin bread before. I've never really been much of a baker. I'd only baked cakes from box mixes a few pies for holidays, etc. This year, I've really started to try other things and I find that I enjoy it. My girls even loves to help me and make their own pies.

Here is the pumpkin bread from yesterday. I think I'll go eat another piece now!


Here is a picture of my ugly cake!! It is the first cake I did from scratch(back in the spring). It is certainly ugly, but it tasted sooooo good.
I made the same recipe for my mom in May. She was on her way to Charleston SC with my dad and came for a few nights. She was at my house for her birthday and I am honored to have been able to make her a homemade cake for her last birthday. She loved it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In a sweets kind of mood!

In the past week, I've made 2 batches of homemade peanut butter candy. I was really missing my mom earlier in the week and that made me think of her peanut butter candy recipe. I had never made it before. I remember asking her for the recipe years ago but never made it. My mom didn't really ever measure and part of her directions was "cook it til it's done". When I asked "when is it done?", her reply was "you'll know when it's done, it will spin a thread". Of course I had NO idea what that meant, so I never used the recipe. Fast forward to this week, and I sat at my computer to google "spin a thread". I think it is the same as "soft ball stage". It turned out great. My kids love it and it reminds me of my mom. Perhaps my kids will think of me someday when they make this candy in their own homes.

Peanut Butter Candy (aka Peanut Butter Fudge)

2 cups of sugar
1/3 cups light corn syrup
1/3 cup milk
1/4 stick butter
2/3 cup peanut butter

Cook the sugar, corn syrup and milk until it "spins a thread", stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add butter and peanut butter and stir quickly until butter is melted and peanut butter is blended into the mixture.

Pour onto a buttered platter to cool.


I, of course, have to eat some while it is warm!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hodge-Podge

hodge·podge (hjpj)
n.
A mixture of dissimilar ingredients; a jumble.

I think that I should have named my blog "Hodge-Podge". It is certainly a mixture of dissimilar items (just like my life). Today will be no different. LOL

I received an email yesterday titled The Most Dangerous Cake Recipe in the World. I usually quickly read over this type of email and then hit delete. I'm not sure why I kept this one, but I'm sure glad I did. The email contained the following recipe:

Ingredients

4 tbsp self rising flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract

Directions

1 - In a large coffee mug, add dry ingredients and mix well
2 - Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Add the milk and oil and mix well
3 - Add the chocolate chips (if desired) and vanilla extract and mix again
4 - Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
(The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!)
5 - Allow to cool a little. Tip the cake out onto a plate if desired
6 - EAT!! (This can serve two if you want to feel slightly more virtuous

And...why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!!



This actually turned out very well!!! It was quick and easy. I wish that the chocolate chips would have been all throughout the cake, but they settled to the bottom of my coffee mug. Then when I tipped it out onto my plate, it acted kind of like a chocolate chip frosting (which is okay too!!). This is quite a lot for one person, so you can share. I was sharing with my youngest and she liked it soooo much that she acted as if she was going to stab me with her fork if I took too many bites!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Books I like to read

I finished my most recent book about a week ago and haven't started up another yet. The book I finished is a 1980 book by Dean Koontz called Whispers. I have enjoyed Dean Koontz books for a long time and am now trying to go back and read many that I have missed over the years. Thanks to the Dean Koontz collection of a friend and thanks to the many books at Value Village, I can find many books that are no longer in print. I hope to start my next book soon. I believe my next Dean Koontz selection will be Strangers, which was released in 1986. I'll keep you informed of what I think of it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'm still here...!!!...

With 3 kids I have a hard time finding the time to blog (or time to do much of anything). I'm still here and wanted to put a quick post on my blog.

With Halloween coming up, I went through some of my older Halloween pics and found one from 2004 that I like. Aren't they sooooo cute???

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Garage sale over...but I still have lots of junk.

The garage sale was yesterday. I only had about 25% of my normal turn out. I'm not sure if I just picked a bad weekend or if the ad in the paper just didn't grab much attention. Well, at least I've got everything boxed up and ready to go to either Goodwill or to keep for the neighborhood garage sale planned for next month. I don't know if I want to have another sale so soon or not..but at least it's all ready.

My brother, his wife and son (Andrew - aka Matthew) came for the weekend too. My brother, Kyle, put some shingles back on the roof for me. Some had blown off in some high winds and he took care of that for me. It was good to visit with them again. They only live about 2 1/2 hours from here, but it's hard to find time to visit in this day and time.

Now...here are the pictures of the progress of my first embroidery project.

The stitching isn't evenly spaced, but...hey....it is my first attempt. I'm sure it'll get better with time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I sure do have a lot of junk!!

I have been working in the garage all week going through boxes, sorting and tossing and making a big mess. I've come to the conclusion that I have entirely too much stuff. No one family should have this much stuff. While trying to prepare for my garage sale on Saturday, I've only focused on the garage. I have plenty that I need to go through in the house, but I haven't made it that far yet. If I don't get to all the things in the house, I guess I can have another garage sale in October which is when the neighborhood sale is.

I have priced lots of items, tossed lots and am just downright unsure what to do with a lot of stuff. I'm sure the girls would want to keep it all. They are bigger packrats than I am. I had several boxes already in the garage full of items that I had planned to get rid of. While going through those boxes, I pulled out a few items that I now want to keep. These are items that my mother had given to me. I had placed these items in the garage in the spring, but since her death in June, I guess I just can't part with things as easily.

I have also started on my new found hobby of embroidery. I haven't done much since I've been working in the garage, but I have traced the pattern onto a pillowcase and started a few stiches. I'll have to take a picture and upload it later. It's time for me to head back into the dusty, dirty garage.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My First Post

This being my first post, is a good weekend to do so. Yesterday, I went to lunch with 3 friends I had met in Idaho. It's been a long time since all 4 of us have been in the same room. I met up with Tona (flew in from Colorado), Stephanie (moved to the area in June) and Erica (moved here a few years ago). What are the chances that 3 of us who met in Idaho would now live close to each other in NC??

Today, Erica and Tona came over for lunch before Tona met up with her family in Hickory. We had pulled Pork, green beans, Broccoli Cheese casserole, home made rolls and Chocolate Pie. How is that for a Sunday lunch?? Tonight, we have leftovers.

For those who know me, you know I like to craft (Scrapbook, Stamp, Crochet, etc.). Now, I've decided to try yet another craft. I bought a book on embroidery yesterday and today I bought supplies to embroider some designs on pillow cases for Ella and Sarah. I hope to get started today...but I really need to go through things in my garage and house. I'm planning a garage sale on Saturday, but I have nothing ready. I'll keep you posted on how things are going.