Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Retirement Mrs. Vine!!

Aren't these little chalkboard and apple cookies super cute?!! Next time I am going to dip the outline of the red apples in red sugar sparkles. I thought the little pieces of chalk on the ledge were a nice touch. Thank you flicker photos for the idea! These would be great for new teacher gifts. I can't believe THAT is right around the corner!!! My little Ben will be starting kindergarten and his teachers will be receiving these on the first day. Gotta bribe them from the start to put up with him. Just kidding. He is a freakishly good and careful boy. Gonna miss him...kind of...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

4th of July Ideas/Things you can order!!!

Dear Martha (Stewart),

Please forgive me / all of us foodies for using your ideas ALL the time. It just means you are great! I googled 4th of July treats. And...I am sorry ....Martha! Yours are just the best. Thanks for letting me use your photos this time...I didn't have the energy to make each treat myself...but wanted to show my customers and fellow foodies some good ideas. I promise to never use your photos again. Martha, YOU ROCK!!!

(Martha Stewart photo)
(Martha Stewart photo)

great sugar cookie ideas on the cover of Martha Stewart Living this month

another great Martha idea


What are you going to order? What will you be making? Let me know asap!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fondant looking Buttercream Icing

I had to share this recipe with you guys! It tastes like Costco frosting...which to some of you is awesome and others will shrink in disgust. is the can get this buttercream to be super smooth. So, when you want the fondant look without the cost of the fondant...go this route. And if you don't love the flavor of the icing, use a different frosting in between the layers of the cake to problem. Best of both worlds! This photo is not great quality and this cake is well...very mediocre. It was a final project for one of my classes. But the photo does show how smooth this frosting really can get.

Fondant-Looking Buttercream Icing
Source:Helen Sembra-my wonderful cake decorating hero!

2 pounds powdered sugar
4 Tab. meringue powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Crisco
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla or flavoring of your choice

Combine in a mixer at low speed until smooth. If the frosting is too stiff to spread easily, up the water to 1/2 cup water. Spread evenly over cake. Let it set a few minutes, take a Viva paper towel and place the smooth soft side to the cake. If the frosting sticks to the towel, wait a few more moments and then smooth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mouthwatering Strawberry Cake

Greetings from Mexico!!! Okay, well really, we have been back a week. Can I go back?!!! It was a week of fun in the sun! I seriously barely got out of my beach chair the whole week. Paul would beg me to get in the water or take a walk and it would take everything in my power to lift my round butt off the chair and follow him! What a great resort. We stayed in the Riveria Maya at a resort called Now Sapphire. Great place with great food. Service was a little slow, but that is prob the speedy American in me talkin'. We actually saw the actor who plays Deacon on King of Queens there. Oh yeah! Staying with celebrities baby! Here are some picts from the trip...wish you could have joined us!!! My parents were a blast to vacation with!

the guys on the catamaran us girls and Carlos the catamaran guy

Nothing like a Diet Coke in the Ocean baby! I was screaming and acting like I was a little drunk. We attracted a little group of people who came over thinking we were lots of fun. They quickly realized that we were not drunk or fun and went back to their spot in the water.

My favorite person on the trip. I had a blast with my hubby! It was great to be with each other and no kids!

Anyways, last week was so hard to get back into the swing of things!! What do you mean? I have to sweep the floor! And who are these little boys calling me "mom?" Hard to get back. I am. Busy baking and blogging again. Oh and babysitting and teaching and church and making dinners, and ..... making strawberry cupcakes!

Man! I sure am lucky to have a pro photographer as one of my BFF's. LOVE this photo! I am going to start adding some picts from my blog to Pinterest. Heard of it? I just discovered it today. Still learning the ropes. But, check it out. These strawberry cupcakes have a pound of real strawberries blended into the batter. They are fresh and light and DELISH!
Strawberry Cupcakes

2 3/4 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. cake flour

1 Tab. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 1/4 c. sugar

3 large eggs

1 c. buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 lb. strawberries, pureed

a few drops of red or pink food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line metal muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy...about 3 minutes. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating after every addition.

Reduce speed to low. Combine buttermilk and vanilla together and set aside. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture; end with the dry ingredients. if desired, add a few drops of food coloring until reaches the desired shade. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is all mixed in. Divide batter among muffin cups (about 30), filling them almost all the way to the top.

Bake cupcakes until a knife inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool in muffin tins. Top with a swirl of frosting. Cream cheese or a nice whipped frosting. I will share a great new recipe with you tomorrow!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Painting Bread Summer Project "for the kids"

I do this activity twice a year with my preschool kiddos. Rainbow week is one of them. I also just did it with my summer camp kids this week. We were learning about art and famous artists and we had a blast. They painted their bread in all kinds of designs and then...wa la! Perfect snack! This is a fun, cheap, non-messy little project for your kids home from school this summer. Are they driving you crazy yet??!! Here is what you need and do...

You will need:

White bread

a few tablespoon of milk in little dishes

food coloring

little paint brushes

Add food coloring to the milk. The more colors, the more fun! Use a dab of paste food coloring of a few drops of liquid food coloring in each little bowl of milk. Dip in your brush and paint away! Have a contest, practice mixing colors, draw shapes, etc. Have fun!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What the Macaroon?

My mouth is watering just looking at this picture. Coconut, chocolate, can I get a woo woo?!? (You really should imagine me saying that with attitude or else it sounds stupid!) One of my favorite recipes that my friends beg me to make over and over again. This one will definitely satisfy the chocolate lover in you! Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the world of Macaroon Brownies!!!

Put in your shopping cart the following:
1 cup butter or margarine softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Macaroon Filling:
1 package flaked coconut (14 ounces)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, cocoa, cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts. Spread half of mixture into a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
2. Combine coconut, condensed milk and vanilla;carefully spread over chocolate layer. Top the coconut layer with the remaining chocolate mixture.
3. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
4. For frosting, combine sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium to low heat; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until marshmallows and chips are melted. Cool until mixture reaches spreading consistency, about 25 minutes. Spread over the cooled brownies. Cut into bars.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday!

I believe that the best birthday present you can give anyone, is a nice, fat, rich, chocolatey, homemade cake.( well, I can actually think of a few things I might want more, i.e. money, but you catch my drift!) So this cake is a no fail recipe that I promise you will use EVERY time! I found it on The Girl Who Ate Everything. Then I just added my personal touch by making the letters out of fondant. So incredibly beautiful, easy and delicioso!!!! This post is a shout out to my precious first born child who turned 5 this week! I cannot believe it! Kindergarten here he comes!

The Best Chocolate Cake
from The Girl Who Ate Everything
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 small box Jello instant chocolate pudding mix (not the sugar or fat free kind!)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips (you can use regular too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a VERY large bowl (4 qt), mix together everything except chocolate chips. Batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into cake pan of choice (I normally use two 9-inch pie pans). You could use this batter to make any kind of cake: sheet cake, cupcakes, bundt cake, etc. For cooking time, use the cooking times on the back of the devil’s food cake box as a guide and add around 10 minutes to whatever it says. Do the toothpick check, and if it’s not done, I check on it every 5 mins after that. It usually takes around 45 mins for two, 9-inch pie pans.

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