Monday, November 16, 2009

Picky Palate!

If you haven't already checked out this awesome website...she's a a genius with her recipes...and her pictures are almost edible!

Well, head over there for a chance at a giveaway to an awesome toy website!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bat Cake

I made this cake! And donated it to the cake calk for our ward's Halloween party. I didn't get a picture of mine. It was great! I used a chocolate cake mix, layered it, flavored the home-made butter cream frosting with Chinese Five Spice. Coupled with the chocolate was AMAZING!! Anyways! It was fantastic, if I do say so myself!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plan ahead meals!

So you may have heard of OAMC. Once A Month Cooking. Some people will devote a Saturday each month and cook/prep all the family's meals for the month and freeze them. They'll have soups, sides, main dishes, casseroles. It's amazing. Anyways, i had these potatoes that were crying to not go to waste so I made up a HUGE batch of mashed potatoes and made some Shepherd's Pie. But the fun part is putting it in a cupcake tray and freezing them, making single servings of practically anything. So I even made individual servings of mashed potatoes and froze them!

Give it a try!
Here's a shot of the Shepherd's Pie!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tri- Level Brownies

As requested by Michelle!

Tri-Level Brownies

Bottom Layer:
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 t baking soda
3 sticks melted butter
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c brown sugar
3 c. rolled oats (uncooked)

Mix together to form a "meal" and press into a greased jelly roll pan Bake at 350 degrees for ONLY 10 min.

Middle Layer:
3 1oz square unsweetened chocolate melted
1 1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
2 1/4 c sugar
3 egg
2 c flour
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c chopped walnuts (if you like that sort of thing!)

Combine chocolate, butter and sugar. Add egg and beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Mix well. (Add nuts now if using them). Spread over bottom layer and return to oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Top Layer:
If you have a favorite chocolate frosting then go with it. If not this one turns out great!

4 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c butter, softened
1/3 c milk
2 t vanilla

Combine all together and top when the 2nd layer has completely cooled. You will have left over frosting, this you can freeze for other baked goods!

***A few notes!***

This recipe is TRIPLED! So it makes for a great thing to take for larger groups! You can reduce it easily (if you can remember fractions from 5th grade), and bake in a 9x13 pan.

Always keep an eye on your baking when trying a new recipe so that you don't over/undercook and these delicious brownies turn out to be a failure!

ALSO to make any recipe a real HIT use real vanilla extract...not the imitation stuff. I REALLY like Watkins Brand extract, and I can find it at Wal-mart usually cheaper than the other stuff!

ENjoy and good luck!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar??

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

1c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla (but I usually double vanilla anyways!)
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 c. chopped macadamia nuts
1 bag white chocolate chips

Cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add vanilla, mix well. Sift in flour, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven 1 minute before done and let sit on the cookie sheet until slightly cooled. This will make the cookies really soft and chewy!

*Recipe borrowed from my dear friend Cassie that she donated to "A Taste of Revere 2nd Ward" cook book circa 2003*

Thursday, July 30, 2009

This Cake needs a name!

I just tasted the best cake ever made. Where did it come from you ask? My very own kitchen. That's right I made it! I had sampled a cupcake with a good friend, Genine, and I shared a bite with my sister, Kale. She fell in love with the cupcake and asked that I duplicate it. Well, I did more than duplicate it. I MASTERED it!

I took a delicious white cake recipe adding chocolate chips to the batter, layered it with banana slices in the middle and covered it with a light and fluffy peanut butter- butter cream frosting. There is one problem with the cake, it needs a name! So send me your ideas!

2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Measure sifted flour, baking powder, and salt; sift together or add air to the flour by mixing with a fork.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually, and continue beating only until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.
Cream butter or margarine. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Mix in flavorings. Add meringue, and beat thoroughly into batter. Spread batter in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan which has been lined on the bottom with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. This cake may also be baked in two 9 inch round pans for 30 to 35 minutes, or in three 8 inch round pans for 25 to 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter -Butter Cream Frosting

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2-1 cup creamy peanut butter

In a large bowl, Whip the butter on high speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Whip until double in volume. This takes a very long time, approximately 10 minutes.
While still whipping, drizzle in the heavy cream. Continue whipping until the mixture is stiff, approximately 2 to 4 minutes.
Add 1/2 of the confectioners sugar and whip until smooth. At this point, you can taste the frosting and determine if you would like to add more sugar to sweeten to taste.
Thickly frosts top and sides of two 9 inch cakes.

Layer the cakes putting a generous layer of frosting on the top of the first layer. Top with at least 2 bananas. If you like you can put some more of the frosting on top of the bananas before the next layer of cake. Frost sides and top of cake decorating the top with sliced bananas. Make sure you have milk on hand!!!

The frosting is also great on top of chocolate cupcakes! These cupcakes have peanut butter chocolate chips added to the mix!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recipe Exchange

Through the Enrichment portion of my ward's Relief Society program we have a monthly Recipe Exchange. The hostess gets to choose the theme for the evening. I love cooking, and entertaining so I couldn't ask for a more fun evening with a bunch of my girl friends and GREAT food. Tonight's theme was CHEESE. Check out the recipes I provided!

Steamed Asparagus with
Warm Goat Cheese

1 lb fresh asparagus steamed and blanched
5 oz fresh goat cheese
Panko-Japanese bread crumbs
Olive oil

Cut the goat cheese into discs, dredge in flour, then into Panko, Freeze for 15min. In a skillet heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cheese disks until browned, about 1 min per side. Serve with asparagus and lemon wedges.

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake

1 pkg (16 oz) Stuffing for chicken
1 ½ lb boneless chicken breasts, cut in 1” cubes
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen broccoli, thawed
1 can (10oz) cream of chicken soup
½ lb (8oz) Velveeta cheese cut in cubes

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare stuffing as directed; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients; spoon into a 9x13” pan. Top with the stuffing. Bake 40 min or until chicken is done! You can substitute the broccoli for other frozen vegetables.

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

1 package cream cheese
1 large tube goat cheese from Costco
(sometimes I double this recipe, or change the proportions if I like)
Cream together with mixer and spread on platter.

6 chopped Roma Tomatoes (Use Roma)
2-3 cloves garlic chopped (not minced, it will be way to strong if you do mince)
One good handful of fresh basil chopped (leave out stems)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to your taste)
Let marinate for 10 minutes and then drain.
Lightly salt with coarse grained salt
Spread mixture over cheese platter. Then serve on bread.

Toasted Baguette
2 French Baguette. (Buy the French kind)

Slice bread(1/2 inch or less thick) at a diagonal and brush both sides well with olive oil. Place on cookie sheet and raise rack in oven and broil on high until toasty. Quickly remove! Warning: You must keep an eye on the bread at this point because you can burn it badly very quickly. Don't leave the oven-site to do other things! Believe me I know!! Depending on your oven to toast the bread properly it will take 30 seconds to 90 seconds. You don't have to put your oven rack up to the highest rack.

Easy Fruit Dip

1 (8oz) brick of cream cheese
1 container of marshmallow fluff

Combine together and serve. Best with strawberries!!!

I can't take credit for coming up with these recipes, but I will take credit for how awesome they tasted!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chocolate Covered Popcorn

This one is inspired by my fantasitcally creative Mother-in-law. She makes a cute little treats for the girls for just about every holiday/season. She has made different kinds of chocolate covered popcorn and I thought it'd be fun to make a Spring inspired mix. I love the Spring. And the colors are the preface to the the colors of summer.

So here's the recipe. I made 4 double batches in about one and a half hours. So a small/normal batch is a snap!

Chocolate Covered Popcorn
1 bag Merkens Chocolate...the disks (3 cups)
2 bags butter popcorn
1-2 cups mini-marshmallows

Pop the popcorn as directed and try to get out as many kernels the best you can. I keep the popcorn in a huge bowl. And combine with the marshmallows. Melt the chocolate using your defrost feature on the microwave or a double boiler. Once smooth, pour on top of the popcorn and cover the popcorn stiring gentley trying not to break the popcorn. Pour the mixture on to wax paper. Once cooled break apart and enjoy. Have fun experimenting with different colors for seasons, party favors for baby showers and fun little gifts for friends.

Check out my mother-in-law's website. The link is on my Shay and Co. blog!

Now here's your part! I want some comments! I want to hear your favorite Spring recipe or Spring tradition. Bring them on!!! Share with me, and everyone who stops on by!

AND this could be your prize! I'll only give away ONE. But I'll have a drawing of all the Spring comments on this post!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I remember coming home from school and seeing home-made noodles hanging from yarn attached to the kitchen cupboards. We'd snap a bit of the bottom off and eat, and be scolded for doing so. The anticipation of that night's dinner was huge: Chicken Noodle Soup and Mom's rolls! To this day I only ever use home-made noodles in my soup.

(from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, the red checkered one)

2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten egg yolks
1 beaten egg
1/3 c water
1 tsp oil

Combine dry ingredients, and make a well in the center. beat together eggs, water and oil, and pour in to the well. Mix with spoon then use hands to mix completely together. Knead in more flour a little at a time until smooth and no longer sticky. Divide into 4 sections, this makes it a bit easier to roll and cut. Let the sections sit for a few minutes covered. Roll out to desired section, not to thin or they will break off easily on the yarn. Cut into 1/4 inch wide noodles, then hang on a thick string (best) or yarn (ok). I make this in the night then let them dry over night and can be used as soon as a noon-day meal. Just make sure they aren't soft. You can boil them with your favorite soup recipe, or eat them with pasta sauce or butter and parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Birthday Cake for a 3 Year-old!

I saw this cake in the Better Homes & Gardens magazine and fell in love! Isn't is so cute and look tasty? Well, I gave it a go it didn't look the same, but tasted delicious!

Well it looked more like this.....

Here's the recipe!

Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake
(Better Homes and Gardens Magazine)

3/4 cup plus 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting, recipe below
1 Recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries, recipe below (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6x2-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans aside.

2. In bowl combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

3. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.

4. Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.

5. Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate. To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries. Serves 8.

6. Cherry Frosting: In chilled large mixing bowl combine one 8-ounce carton sour cream. 1 cup whipping cream, 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice. Beat with chilled beaters on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

I just made my own chocolate cake from a box. But my frosting didn't whip up!? But it didn't stop us from eating it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Best Sugar Cookies & Frosting

These are the never fail kind of sugar cookie. They hold together really well, taste great, and really easy! Thanks to my mother-in-law Stephanie for handing down the best recipes!!

The Best Sugar Cookies

3/4 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder

Mix eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Blend in flour and baking powder. Cover and chill about 1 hour. Roll out dough on a floured and sugared board. Keep about 1/4 inch thick. Cut and bake until bottom edges are lightly golden. at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes, less or more depending on the size. Let rest on hot pan a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 4 dozen 3 inch cookies. Top with the Best Frosting Recipe!

The Best Frosting

1 c butter
1 tsp almond extract
approx. 4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Cream butter until fluffy. Add almond extract. Beat in sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add milk and beat at high until fluffy.

This is the recipe from the Valentines Day cookie decorating play-group post!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Snobby Joes

I got this from my dear friend April. It is delicious and so much cheaper than buying ground beef. It is a great recipe to have with your food storage too! Enjoy!

1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (start small and add more if you'd like)
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard (wet mustard)

4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.

Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can't wait. I like to serve these open faced, with a scoop of snobby joe on each slice of the bun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pantry Dinner

I'm sure many of you think, "What can I make for dinner without having to head to the store?"

Well, here you have a favorite in my home. Danny grew up on it and the girls really love it too! It's super easy and fast.

So check to see if you have these on hand: hot dogs, mashed potatoes (or the fake stuff), cheese, ketchup. Serve with some fruit cocktail or canned veggies and you're good!

We call this the Stuffed Hot Dog. Cut your hot dogs length-wise and unfold to make them lie flat. Prepare your mashed potatoes and put them on top of the hot dogs. Sprinkle some cheese on top and put them in the oven for 20-30-minutes, or however long it takes to get the kids to clean their room, or have the hot togs heated through. I like to use a cookie sheet with foil on it, makes clean up sooo much easier. When they are done drizzle on ketchup if you like, maybe even mustard!

If anyone tries this then post me a comment and tell me how your family liked it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Ode to Crockpots.

Oh my hand-me-down crockpot, how I love thee
From April's home you came to me

For years you've warmed my food
For friends, neighbors, and my growing brood

Meals are so easy when we work as one
And in the end there is only a single dish to be done

We've seen days of potatoes, beans, pasta, and fruit
The time spent preparing seems so minute

Gathering ingredients I have on hand
You make a meal that is never ever bland

All This week you've been by my friend
Warming my soups and stews till the end

So thank you dear friend, for feeding the ones I hold dear
I'll see you next week for lasagna, it's different, have no fear!

Hope you enjoyed that little ode. I think I have used my crockpot 4 time this past week. Sometimes I try stuff without a recipe. This one is very similar to a friend's, Harlan, from back in Boston, I just didn't have all the ingredients, so here is what I did:

Veggie Chili/Soup

1 large can tomoatoes cut up
1 can black beans
1 green bell pepper, cut up in bite size pieces
1 cup mushrooms
1/4 onion, or more if you like it lots!
1 cup water
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed

Throw it all in the crockpot and let cook on low for 5-6 hours or until hot. Near the end of the cooking add 1 tsp oregeno, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp curry, 1/2 allspice, and whatever other spices or flavors suite you. The original recipe you can also toss in some couscous to thicken it up, and peanuts tossed in first with some oil to soften them. I LOVE the crunch and nutty flavor in it. This would be great with some cornbread, yum. Or rolls or biscuits.

Just a tip: You can throw pretty much anything into a crockpot that you'd normally put into the oven, or on the stovetop. Just always make sure that there is enough liquid so that it doesn't burn. Have fun!