Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baby Shower and an Engagement Party

Here are the latest two cakes that we completed, both this past week. The first was for a two fer baby shower and the second is for an engagement party. In the spirit of always wanting to try new things, we used rice krispy treats to make the toy blocks on the baby shower cake. We don't typically use those, but the were a good shortcut for this one. They were both fun cakes and we hope they were both enjoyed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday- Sweet Sixteen

We completed this cake this past weekend, for four lovely young ladies who are turning 16. This is by far the largest cake we have put together and it was a bit challenging, but we were very pleased with the outcome. We had to borrow a vehicle to deliver the cake and we did not get to see it put together until we set it up at the Ag center. The top and bottom layer were both chocolate and the middle layer is white cake.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesdays- Crescent rolls

Today's recipe was one of the first bread recipes that I tried. Unfortunately no pictures today, because I haven't made them lately, or since I started What's Cookin' segments. Anyway, the recipe is really easy and the taste tons better than the canned numbers.
Crescent rolls
2 Pkgs of Yeast- .oz pkgs
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 shortening
4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 butter
Dissolve yeast in water and proof for about ten minutes. Stir in sugar and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening and slowly add in the flour. Knead until smooth then let rise for about an hour, or until doubled. Then divide and roll out your small rectangles. Roll them up and let them rise again on your pan or stone. Finally bake for about ten minutes at 400 degrees.
These are great by themselves or my favorite pigs in blankets. Sorry again no pictures, but come on we all know what crescent rolls look like;-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesdays-Banana Bread

Ok, so before I made this for Special Breakfast Fridays I spent some time perusing our recipe books and looking in other places for a good recipe and found one I liked only to remember this recipe when I was about halfway done.  Silly me, I will have to try Mrs. Ellen's recipe next time I make this wonderful treat.
We don't usually buy a lot of bananas because they don't get eaten that fast in our house, I don't eat them much anymore and Tiff hardly ever eats them. So we have stopped buying them, because they just went bad sitting out on the counter, had I known that banana bread was this easy, I wouldn't have thrown those away. Oh well, waste and learn. This recipe turned out well, we all three liked it, I would have preferred some pecans in it, but I had exhausted our supply from this past fall.

Banana Bread
3 to 4 ripe bananas
1/3 Cup Salted Melted Butter
3/4 to 1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg lightly beaten
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Baking Soda
Pinch O' Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
Pinch O' Cloves
1 1/2 Cup Flour

This is fall off the wall easy to make. You first have to mush up your bananas. When they say ripe, they mean extra ripe, like brown, gross, wouldn't even want to think about eating them ripe, not black mind you. Nor would you want the banana itself all brown and gross looking, however I have worked with folks that eat them like that, ick, I just don't get understand and me, I hate wasting food, but there are limits indeed.
After you have those mashed up, not pureed like baby food, you do need it a bit on the chunky side, set your bananas aside and melt that butter. The next time I make it, I might try using unsalted butter, which I like to cook with far better and perhaps increase the amount of salt in the final mix, but for this go round I used good old Country Crock.
After the butter is melted you, set it aside and let it cool down just a bit and go ahead and mix all your dry ingredient together. Once that is done and after your butter is no longer super hot mix all the wet ingredients together, including your bananas. Now wrestle the dog's food bowl away from the baby. Oh wait, you might not have to complete that step, depending on your child and well dog status, but I typically have to, either the food bowl or fish her out of his water bowl, unless I have had the foresight to pick both up off the floor.
Finally mix everything together and if you like go ahead and fold in some pecans or walnuts or whatever you like, I have even seen it made with raisins, but the wife doesn't like raisins very much, so I leave those out of most everything that I make for her.
Then put your batter in a loaf pan, we happen to have a silicone pan, I wouldn't recommend them, not fond of mine, but since they are what I have right now, they are what I use and I am grateful for them. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or of course until brown, I think I baked mine a little long, because the loaf had pulled away from the side of the pan, but the bread was still really moist and delicious!

Friday, March 13, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesdays-Rosemary Bread

Well I guess that the medicine I take has finally addled my brain. I had some pictures all resized and ready to post, but then completely forgot to post them. Mind they are not very good, I took them with the good ole point and shoot, as the sun was setting and I was trying to finish up supper. They don't do the bread justice either, it really is easy to make and it always turns out well for me.

This week is one of my favorite new bread recipes, well pretty much all my bread recipes are new, seeing as I am but a novice bread maker.  At any rate, this one is pretty good. Have you ever been to the Macaroni Grill? This recipe makes a small loaf simmilar to what they serve, of course you have to factor that is freshly made as opposed to being mass produced and frozen, not to say that their bread is not spectacular, in fact it very much is.

Rosemary Bread
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Once again bread making and getting bread to turn out like you want it, is all in the method. I have made and still make occasionally loaves that turn out TERRIBLE. Anyway, this one is pretty easy and I haven't had it turn south on me yet, knock on wood.
The first step is to add to put the yeast in your water, I like to go ahead and add alittle bit of the sugar to feed the yeast and let that sit for about ten minutes or so. It needs to be a bit frothy and and bubbly, if not throw it out and start again.
Next add the flour, salt, sugar and get to stirring. Once you get everything incorporated add the all the seasoning. A note, I usually use alittle bit less than a Tbsp of Rosemary, and it still turns out great. In fact I have let out most of the seasoning to try to get something closer to Italian bread, but the seasoning really makes a difference, and it makes the house smell, so, so good. Then go ahead and knead alittle bit while your dough is still in your mixing container. Then finally add the oil, you need to wait until as long as you can to add the oil because it will inhibit the gluten from properly forming and then woala , you get dense, flat bread that nobody would care to eat.
After everything is added turn your dough out onto a floured surface, I typically use the countertop, however, at some point I plan on buying a ceramic tile for this very purpose. It is my understanding they can be bought from flooring stores for a reasonable price. Then knead dough until smooth.
Next place your dough ball in an oil coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let that sit for about an hour in a nice warm spot. This is yet another wonderful thing about the warm weather here, it makes fixing bread so much easier.
Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, pat down and put on top of your baking sheet or stone. Cover you dough with a towel or more plastic wrap, I usually use a towel, and let that sit four about another hour or so. Next preheat your oven to 375 and bake you bread for about 30 minutes or until brown. I haven't tried it yet, but next time I make the bread, I plan on coating with an egg wash, that should give me a nice, shiny crust, but it is pretty stinkin good if you strickly follow the recipe.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our latest cakes

Last week was pretty busy, and well for that matter this week hasn't been any slower. We somehow managed to get three cakes done last week. The first one was for a wedding shower and the last two are for birthdays. We had a great time working on them, albeit a bit stressful at times. We just want to do the best job that we possibly can on each and every one of our cakes. This week is of course testing week here in sunny, warm Florida so we have been making some treats for Tiff's teachers, sorry no pictures. Tuesday was chocolate chip cookies, a new recipe, Wednesday was the vanilla sweet buns, I think they turned out even better this time and today was mini red velvet cupcakes. I tried a new icing recipe, that was pretty tricky to make, but I think it turned out well and as I am told they were a hit. Anyway, back to the cakes, I was hoping to get these posted earlier in the week, but I have been a bit busy with making teacher treats, combined with spending less and less time in front of the computer. It has been much too nice outside!

This is the wedding shower cake, white cake covered with buttercream. The flowers and ribbon are fondant. We had high humidity last weekend, not to mention stinkin butt cold temps. Humidity is no friend of cake but we were still pleased with this one.
This cake was our first birthday cake of the week. It is probably my favorite cake that we have made so far, I was and am still very pleased with how it turned out. It is white birthday cake covered with fondant and the circles are all fondant as well.
This was our last cake of the week. It is white birthday cake covered with chocolate buttercream, which we tried a new recipe, because I don't like just adding chocolate powder to vanilla icing. It works a bit different from our white icing, but we just have to learn how to work with it, like I said it tasted great. The flowers are made with royal icing.
We had a great time doing the cakes, it did make for a busy week, but we really enjoy it and are always happy to make cakes and confections.
After the cakes were finished we were all tired out. None more so than this little one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesdays- Hamburger Buns

Yes I spelled Wednesday correctly this time. I must point out that the one who posted the previous comment had been reading the blog as well and hadn't corrected it, or noticed it before last night, besides I can't help it is the only day of the week that is not spelled phonetically.  Anyway, on with the post. Due to recent demand I have decided to make all of March's food posts bread recipes or at least recipes related to bread. I made this first one a couple of weeks ago when I had decided to make some hamburgers for supper. Tiff pointed out that we didn't have any hamburger buns and I replied well, we will just have to remedy that won't we.
A quick search and a couple of minutes later, this is what I came up with; I think they turned out pretty good. I think I will go to these every time I need buns for hamburger or chicken or what have you, I hate buying them from the store, because we never, ever eat all eight of them and they just sit in the cabinets and go bad, I hate to waste food.

Hamburger Buns
1 Cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Egg
3 1/4 Cups White Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Active Yeast
1 Egg Yolk Plus 1 Tsp Water
Sesame Seeds

First Sprinkle the yeast in your warm water, but do not stir it up, it should get a little bubbly and frothy.  After the yeast starts to proof a bit combine all other ingredients except the sesame seeds and egg yolk wash. After you get everything incorporated, turn your dough out onto your counter or a larger bowl and knead the dough until smooth.
Your work is pretty much done now and all that is left is the waiting. You need to let the dough rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. Next some people punch the dough down and knead again, but I find this makes your bread a little tougher, or perhaps I am just not doing it right. Anyway, I usually just pat mine down and at the point go ahead and divide the dough into equal parts. The suggestion is to weigh the dough to  make sure you parts are equal, but our scale is our and defunct so I just eyeballed mine. I only made a half batch, so I came out with four buns, but if you make the full recipe you should have eight.
At this point you want to put you divided dough onto whatever you want to bake them on, I used the pizza store, a cookie sheet would work nicely. Cover the buns with a towel and let them rise once again.
Finally preheat your oven up to 375 degrees and them bake your buns for about ten minutes, or until golden brown, slice and enjoy.
I did purposely make mine a little smaller.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


So I am looking at the pictures Jeremy posted for Silent Sunday this week and just now realize that he has been spelling Wednesday wrong for the past . . . .oh, month and a half.  Needless to say, I died laughing, for several reasons. . . . I am a notoriously horrible speller and I never noticed it.  I just want to know - who noticed this and didn't say anything?  I think I have changed all of them now.  Jeremy says that "hooked on phonics has failed him again."

So on to other news - Maggie is all over the place.  She crawls all over the house and has become quite quick.  She chases the dog all around, laughing the whole time.  The likes to crawl under the table and is constantly finding new things to play with - many times something she shouldn't (i.e. speaker wire, power strips).  She is pulling up on everything and Mama got her a little stoller walker and she likes to push it around and "walk" behind it.