Monday, February 28, 2011

Last week of Cake Class 1!

These are our "final cakes."  Tonight we got diplomas!  Okay, so it's just a certificate that says I completed the class... but that's basically what a diploma is, right?  Never fear, there will be more cake pictures!  We signed up for cake class 2! 

This is Mom's cake

This is my cake.

Taking this birthday cake to small group tomorrow...
even though I don't know of any birthdays!

This is a white cake with strawberry filling.... recipe to follow after we taste it. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Banana Pancakes!

We needed to use up a very ripe banana today... and I'm tired of eating eggs for Saturday breakfast.
The recipe called for 2 bananas and we only had one left.  They were still good though!
Here's the banana pancake recipe I used...changed it a little as per suggestions to get this:
(Made 9 pancakes about 1/4 cup each)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. apple sauce
1 mashed banana (Try 2 if you have them! We just ran out)

Heat pan over med-low heat and pour oil into hot pan to heat up.  Mash bananas and beat the egg in a bowl.  Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well.  Batter will be slightly lumpy.  Pour batter into pan in small circles, about 1/4 cup each.  Cook until pancakes are golden brown.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

I would recommend these cupcakes if only because they are so easy to make.  None of this creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs, blah blah, do it in this order... you just dump everything in the bowl and mix.  Oh, and they taste good.

For cake decorating class this week we were filling cupcakes... so I made these with a cream filling.  I think I need to practice filling them, because all of the pictures on this website seem to have much more filling inside than mine do.  Here's the recipe I used, once again from Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes.

We practiced making the "shaggy mum" this week...which is the hilarious looking giant yellow blobs.  Don't remember what the other blue ones are called.  Oops.  And the other yellow one was me forgetting to change my tip before I started, then just "going with it".  Oops again.

I can't take credit for all of these.  Mom did some...but I don't know which of us did which.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Melted Snowman cookies!

Okay, so I didn't make these...but they're SO cute.

Go to Carrie's Sweet Life blog here to see more!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Saw this recipe and said yes to it for one important reason: BACON!   I am really a bacon lover.  And in this recipe your use some of the bacon grease for your sauce...which gives it wonderful flavor.  It's really easy too.  My only issue was getting the bacon to be crispy.  I had a hard time cooking "chopped bacon" - had to cook it for longer than I thought because every time I stirred it there was still some not getting cooked.  So all my bacon wasn't crispy.  But I'd start on that before you cook your pasta because it takes longer than spaghetti anyway.  Here's the link to the original recipe, from
Makes 8 "servings" - depends what you call a serving when you're hungry for this!

1 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 dry white wine (optional) - I used just a splash of cooking wine because I was afraid of losing liquid
4 eggs
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese

1. Chop your bacon and cook it in a large skillet.  In a large pot, cook your pasta until al dente.  Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with a tablespoon of oil or enough so that it will not stick to your pot.

2. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels.  Keep 2 tablespoons of bacon grease (I didn't have that much - I kept it all!).  Add a tablespoon of olive oil to bacon grease and heat.  Add chopped onion and cook until translucent.  Add minced garlic and cook one minute.  Add wine if desired and cook another minute.

3. Add skillet mixture and bacon to spaghetti and mix well.  Re-heat spaghetti on med-low or low.  Add more olive oil if it is sticking to the bottom of the pan.  

4.  Beat eggs.  Add parmesan cheese and mix well.  Pour into spaghetti and continually toss while heating.  Sprinkle in parsley and mix.

Ta-dah!  Don't forget some garlic bread!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I wanted to make some banana muffins this morning.  So I looked for some recipes on my trusted old friend, and found a few.  I love because people review the recipes and say how they changed them to make them better.  I usually follow some of the tips of things to here is my updated recipe of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  It made 17 muffins for me.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup french vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips + some to decorate the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin pan.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In another bowl combine the egg, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.  (Batter will be very thick).  Fold in bananas and chocolate chips.  Fill greased muffin tin 2/3 full.  I put 3 chocolate chips on the top of each to decorate.  Bake 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to cooling racks.

They are very moist and yummy!  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nick's Cooking Adventure - Venison steaks

Nick decided last night that we would make venison steaks tonight.  
Okay, I'm not big on deer, but whatever.  
When Nick makes something he likes to do it all himself.
And he does a good job.

Tenderizing... a lot.

He dipped in egg + milk, then in bread crumbs.
Then cooked in a pan with olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Finished product.  


My steak

Verdict:  It was okay... I think I just don't love venison.  It was REALLY tender (good pounding, Nick!), cooked to perfection... just don't love the taste of the meat.  Anyway, we have another pack in the freezer and another recipe I want to try with a marinade.... so sometime I'll have to try venison again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cake Class 2

Our second cake class @ Michael's.
Here's Mom with her cupcake cake.

This is my fish cake.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lesson of the Day...

Changing cake pan sizes.
When you change from a 8x1 1/2 inch round pan to an 8x2 inch pan (hence more batter fits in your pan), make sure you make the appropriate adjustments to the cooking time of your cake.  Which apparently is 15-20 minutes longer.  Really?

I made a red velvet cake for cake decorating class tonight.  Actually, after I failed to make a red velvet cake (from scratch, might I add), I made a banana cake from a box.

This is why I call myself a rookie.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Breakfast and Game Night Snacks

Nick had Valentine's Day Breakfast today...
I used a cookie cutter to punch out a heart in a piece of toast and then cooked an egg in it - super cute!
And gone before I realized I'm blogging and wanted to take a picture of it.
Idea here.

Adventures for the day:

1. Make Leslie's pepperoni rolls for game night.

2. Make pink punch for Valentine's themed game night.  Pink lemonade, sprite, and raspberry sherbet. Mmmmm...

Update:  Successful pepperoni rolls. And Pink Lemonade Punch.

To make a whole bowl of punch instead of a glass, like the recipe suggests, I used:
• 1 2 liter bottle of Sprite
• 1 Frozen can of Minute Maid Pink Lemonade, make as directed
• 1 Quart Raspberry Sherbert

Pretty good... is kind of more like a fancy pink lemonade than a punch.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Buddy's Pizza Sauce & Crust

Before yesterday, my homemade pizza consisted of Just-add-water pizza crust, sauce from a jar, and some shredded mozzarella cheese (LOTS of cheese when Nick is in charge).  I successfully made homemade pizza crust and sauce yesterday, topped it with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella...Ta-dah! My first real homemade pizza!  The crust and sauce are really very simple, and so good!

Pizza Crust:
• 15 oz unbleached flour - about 3 1/4 cups
• 9 ounces tepid water (clue: 1 cup = 8 oz.)
• 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1.  Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix, low, until mixture comes together.  Switch to the dough hook and continue mixing, medium-low, another 3-4 minutes.  Check dough - if too dry, add a bit more water.  If too sticky, add a bit more flour.

2.  Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-7 min.  (I kneaded longer because I'm not very good at it...I don't even know if it was "smooth and elastic" when I was done, but it was still fine!)  Form dough into a ball and place in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil.  Turn dough to coat, then cover with plastic wrap or a towel.  Let rest 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to rise.

3.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and press down to deflate.  Cut the dough into 2 or 3 and form into tight balls to press air out.
Should make 3 8-10" pizza shells or 2 12-14" pizza shells.

If using today:  Place balls of dough on a floured board covered with oiled plastic or a towel, and let rise 1 hour.

If using tomorrow:  Place the dough on a lightly floured tray, cover with oiled plastic and refrigerate overnight.  Allow dough to sit at room temperature 10-15 minutes before shaping/baking.

Pizza Sauce:
• 1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp. minced garlic
• 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan
• 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
• Salt to taste

Put the diced tomatoes in a food processor and blend until it is a think liquid (10-20 seconds).  Dump into a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour to let the flavors blend.

This is the recipe my way... I halved it the recipe, adapted whole peeled tomatoes in a food mill to diced tomatoes in a food processor, and made smashed cloves of garlic minced garlic, just because it's simpler.

For cooking our pizza...

We don't have a pizza peel, but it's okay!  I used our giant cutting board as a surface, made a pizza a little smaller than our pizza stone, and (with enough flour) it was possible (though not easy) to slide it onto the pizza stone by myself, and very easy to slide it off the pizza stone with Nick's help!  Much better than last time we tried this!

p.s. Fontinella cheese was our new discovery!  I will always use this now!

These recipes are from Buddy Valastro... the "Cake Boss" and now the "Kitchen Boss".
The originals can be found on the TLC website.
Pizza Dough
Pizza Sauce

A cooking blog!?

After getting a bunch of recipes or ideas of things to make from my cousin Leslie's cooking blog, as well as some other blogs, I became inspired to make my own.  Why not, right?

So, here it is.