Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm BACK!!!

Good Morning Fellow Readers,

Although I still feel as though I am talking to the "Great Internet Void" and took a year-long hiatus from my blogging...I'm back. And I am going to begin, yet again, blogging about my baking ideas and pitfalls in an effort to educate others along the way.

A lot has transpired over the past year. Without dwelling on the drama, as this is more of a baking blog, with a little bit of "life" thrown in from time to time, I won't delve into the specifics here. I'll just let you all know that I am now a single mom with three very active children and a full-time job to keep me busy. My children and I suffered a great deal of trauma for about five months last year, but we have bounced back and are stronger than ever. I'm just beginning to get back into the swing of baking and unfortunately due to the tragic life events of last year, I was unable to receive my certification from school. It was the most heart-wrenching decision of my life. I had two classes left and an externship to complete my certificate, and I had to decide to take a job(as I had no money coming in from their father or a money tree) so I chose the job and cried like a baby. Then I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and continued on my journey. 

So here I am with a vehicle that barely runs, a full time job that I love(although it can be a tad bit stressful from time to time), and my beautiful children by my side. 

If you are reading this I thank you, and if you comment, even if it's just with a simple hello, I thank you even more. 

Have a wonderful weekend. I will be back over the weekend with some baking info to share with all of you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Need Some Dough....

No, seriously, I need some dough.

Not the money kind of a dough, a starter dough. I am not quite sure which one to use for our latest class project on breads. There are 3 of us on a team, each having to create our own unique bread formula consisting of a starter dough and some filling of some sort if we desire, along with a recipe chart which consists of the amount of ingredients used(which includes oz/grams/lbs of each ingredient), we also need to have the baker's percentage of each ingredient used in reference to the total flour weight.

Fun times folks, fun times.

I have a pretty good idea of the type of bread I am going to use. And after I make it I will post a photo of it for all to see along with the ingredients I used to formulate this bread. 

I'm nervously excited about this. I just hope it turns out okay.

I had more to say but this goofy firefox isn't playing nice with me today. I hit enter in my blog here, and the cursor just sits there, blinking at me...not moving. I'm sure Mercury being retro is probably also helping to wreak havoc on me today.

Anyway, to whomever should pass by my blog today, be sure to have a lovely weekend, week, month.

Until next time.....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back in the Baking/Blogging Game

Although I don't have many followers, and I'm not quite sure if anyone happens to "stumble upon" my blog here, I still like to randomly post things from time to time in the event someone should need the information I post here. Also, it keeps my writing skills in tact so I don't lose my "gift of written gab".

Anyway, I thought I'd update those who happen to come across my blog as to why it's been a long time since my last post. I have gone back to school to pursue my dream of one day opening my own little bakery of sorts and cashing in on my gifts so that I can finally have something to call my own and provide all the fun things for my kids I normally wouldn't be able to do with a minimum wage job. It will take me a while to get back on my feet financially but patience is a virtue, one I am learning quickly.

Last night I was craving Chocolate something fierce. My daughter and I were hanging out on the couch watching cupcake wars and I was dealing with a severe case of PMS. What better thing to calm the PMS nerves than a two-layer Chocolate Peanut Butter cake made from scratch, right? LOL I measured out the ingredients I found on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa Powder and let me say this was one of the most richest, chocolatiest (is that even a word?? loll Spell check is telling me it isn't...oh well) cakes I have ever eaten. It was so moist and yummy I could have eaten the whole cake myself. However, I managed to cut a slice for my children and myself and washed it down with a cold, refreshing glass of Vitamin D milk and I slept like a baby after that dessert settled in my belly.

I topped the cake with a chocolate ganache which was basically 8oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream. I should have added a tad bit of sugar, because even though the chips were semi-sweet, there was a teeny tiny bitter aftertaste. It was still delicious, and I noticed today, after the ganache had set the ganache was a tad bit sweeter to the palate.

I also used a peanut butter frosting to layer the two nine-inch round cakes together. I had barely any powdered sugar, so I wanted a recipe that was PS free. And I found one. :) The baking Gods were smiling on me last night. LOL I found the recipe here: Peanut Butter Recipe and it was absolutely divine on this cake. I've been working on my piping skills which are a wee-bit rusty to say the least. I'm more of a pastry pro, baking items such as cookies, bars and sheet cakes with simple frosting. I was told by my chef to continue practicing with parchment paper in an effort to hone my decorative skills. I had mentioned to her previously that I didn't have very good creative skills and my cake artwork needed some work. Then she mentioned the parchment paper. Basically, I need to find photos of designs and place them underneath the parchment, then trace over the top of the design. Easy peasy.

Anyway, the cake came out a huge success to my kids and I have to say I was quite pleased with my work, although my piping looks a tad bit off(to me anyway). Took about an hour total to finish the cake. 

Hopefully I will be posting more tips and recipes as the year unfolds.

Have a good week and I'll see you later.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Holiday Pics

Just wanted to share a few of the items I baked for the holidays. The first photo is one of our gingerbread cookies the kids and I cut and iced. Those were fun. A tad bit time-consuming but very fun. The second photo shows(starting from left, clockwise) Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies, Nut Cups, Gingersnaps(that's an easy recipe BTW), Cupcakes, and in the middle, my personal fave...Baklava. 

I also made lemon squares, pumpkin bars iced with a cream cheese frosting and a pan of brownies. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons....Bake or Cook Something

Okay, today was a pretty good day. Mercury hasn't been very kind but I succeeded anyway. My recipes will reflect the days events and the saying "When life hands you lemons make lemonade"(or in this case Lemon Squares and Lemon Soup). Despite the fact that my dishwasher seemed to have a mind of its own and was doing funky things all afternoon forbidding me to get my dishes done in a timely manner I managed to get my house cleaning done and my dishes clean without fail.  My neighbor had guests and as I was pulling in front of my house to my little tiny spot I have for my van, the neighbor's guest decides she can't wait one teeny tiny millisecond (I put my pointer finger up to motion "just a minute" to her and smiled laughing, literally out loud because I park like a little old lady LOL) she was apparently in a hurry and decides to turn her car around from the side of the street she was on to my side of the street without even a grin.

"Bah Humbug Lady!"

I get inside the house  and finish cleaning. I run for gas and wanted to head to the dollar store when I realize that I missed the street I wanted to turn onto. Darnit! I get home and head upstairs here to do my blog for today since I missed yesterday and the day before. Gotta remain diligent ya know. I hear rustling in the bedroom adjacent to the loft here where I'm just typing away and I have no clue what it is because all the kids were downstairs. It's our dog. Our 40 some pound border collie/blue heeler, Rocky, is in the bathtub. LOLL He's been acting strangely tonight.  First thought in my head was "Earthquake??" Nahhhh....he's been hanging all over me and just acting...well, jumpy since my daughter and I got home. Crazy! I just went downstairs to get my cell phone and as I turned the corner at the top of the steps, the dog literally ran into me and just about knocked me over here.

Fun times. Fun times.

So for those days where they are a little sweet and sour, balance it out with some toasty warm Lemon Rice soup or, for the ultimate sugar junkies like me...make some lemon squares. Either one is guaranteed to make you smile. Lemon rice soup is awesome. I kid you not. Most of my friends have cringed at the thought of lemon in a soup, but this soup is oh so yummy. Trust me. Make one small pot for yourself if you must, just to try it out.


10 cups boiled water
1/2 cup chicken base(I use about five cans of chicken broth instead as I have no base, then I just use 5 cups of boiled water instead of 10)
2 cups of Rice * I have used Minute Rice, and my mom uses Orzo as well for a bit of variety to this recipe as well instead of the "standard" rice*

1 stick butter
4 tablespoons cornstarch
Lemon Juice

Simmer first three ingredients for about 30 mins or so. Then, in another pan you want to melt 1 stick of margarine and 4 tablespoons cornstarch. Gradually add 5 cups of milk stirring constantly so it doesn't lump up on ya. Then just add salt, pepper and Lemon juice to your liking. Add it to the soup mixture(DON'T just  pour it in there. Use a giant serving spoon or ladle to gradually add it to the soup mix)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powder sugar
4 eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
6 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Mix flour, butter, powder sugar and salt together with a fork. Press into a 9X13" pan. Bake. * When you press the dough into the pan, be sure to raise the sides up a bit because when you pour the liquid filling in you need something to kind of "catch" it so it doesn't burn on the sides when you bake it.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together in your blender. About two minutes on a low-med speed should do the trick. Pour over the baked crust.  Bake 25 more minutes.  Cool. Cut and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

My kids love both these recipes and they are picky eaters.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let's Talk About the Holidays Shall We?

I promised myself that I would be diligent in my blogging efforts despite the fact I feel like the woman in that movie "Julie and Julia" who had one person who read her blog when she first started out. I have faith that some day I will wake up one morning, log into my blog and find at least 10 people who have decided what I have to say is entertaining enough to be worthy of a following. Then, like the domino effect my followers would grow from that point on.  So although at this point and time I have but two friends(which is more than Julie did when she first started out), I will continue to babble endlessly about whatever seems to be entertaining and informative, even though today's blog isn't a recipe I'm still going to share with you some of my traditions....

Because ladies(and gentlemen), I love to blog.

Today's topic is about holiday menus. What do you serve to your family friends during the holidays? Is it a big to do for you? Or just a simple turkey or ham tossed in the oven and forgotten about until the timer buzzes? Do you carry on any family traditions when it comes to what you cook for Yule and/or Christmas? 

I am planning a fairly simple dinner with a few "elegant" desserts to tease our palettes. First of all our Yule dinner. I'm thinking perhaps a glazed ham, potatoes(perhaps the hash brown casserole recipe I will post when I have more time), corn casserole, green bean casserole, bread/rolls of some sort(I'd like to find a recipe if I have the time to make rolls from scratch). Christmas Eve is just pizza because it's such a crazy day for us around here and when gifts are opened, forget a carefully planned meal, it would be a waste to make. 

I take the kids out to look at decorations and then we search for Santa's sleigh in the darkened sky. Hoping to see a twinkle of red from Rudolph's nose. Their dad will call and tell me "I hear something, I think Santa is here, hurry back home so the kids don't miss him!" Then I relay the message to the children.  I can see their eyes light up and the excitement in their voices as I look into the rear-view mirror. Then when they run in the door the looks on their faces when they see all the (somewhat carefully) wrapped gifts is...well....


Thinking back to my own childhood, I remember running up to my bedroom and we could see the red flashing airplane tower with the blinking red light. Of course it's there all year long, but for some reason we believed that was Rudolph carrying Santa and his sleigh. Then we'd run downstairs and go hide in our guest closet in the hallway peering through the cracks in the folding closet door to get a peek at Santa. We'd hear stomping footsteps and the dog barking and we'd jump off the floor, fling open the doors in the hopes of seeing Santa. A few years he'd come visit us with a Sack full of gifts. We could see his fluffy red suit outside the front room window after the door bell rang. I am so happy to continue this tradition with my children too. 

Yule will be a wonderful time as we will be celebrating again with the Yule log that we had last year(and the year before) as the children help me light the candles and we welcome baby Sun back to life and give thanks for all the things we can do as the days get longer and warmer. We play pin the star on the tree, Bozo Buckets(Yule Style of course), hide and seek(and appropriate game I feel, as the Sun was hidden and now we "found" the Sun again), we do crafts and sing songs and dance to holiday tunes. It's a fun time celebrated by my children and I. It's new traditions that, should my children choose to do so, will carry on to their children as well. 

Desserts will be plenty for both occasions. I will attempt, once again, to bake the Baklava recipe my mother gave me along with some peppermint candy cane brownies and truffles(those are the "extravagant recipes I spoke of earlier, especially the Baklava that is very time consuming and patience is needed for that one no doubt LOL) Nut Cups, Roshky, Chocolate Walnut bars, and I think I am going to try and decorate a tiered Tree Cake. My mother was talking to me this morning about trying a fondant cake. It sounds interesting. This should be fun. I can't wait to begin baking next weekend. And of course photos WILL be posted.

So there's my blog for today. I am grateful I can type fast. I still have to get my daughter and I ready for school as I am helping the teacher today. This time of year, I live there practically every day. LOLLL I love it. Today I get to help a classroom of 29 Kinder kids do a Christmas gift for their parents(I know what it is already as my twins did it last year, so surprise factor is gone at this point LOLL). I'm also helping get crafts for the holiday party ready as well today too. Fun times, fun times ladies (and gentlemen). 

Have a beautiful day. I'll be back tomorrow with more recipes(Including the ones listed in this blog that haven't been posted yet).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our Latest Creations

Here's a few photos of some cupcakes we made tonight. My mom(Thank You Mommy!) had sent me a few of the Wilton's colored Pastes to try out in my icing and cake mixes so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I made butter cream icing and separated it into 3 different bowls adding yellow, red and green paste to each bowl. The kids had a field day with it too.

I noticed that one of the cupcakes in this photo looked like two chili
peppers conjoined with a cotton ball. LOL

I was just trying various "designs" here. Trying to find ideas for Yule 
and Christmas decorating. Notice my first attempt at a Yule log.

Kids and my creations squeezed onto a holiday platter.