Friday, December 23, 2011

A package and a Sugar Cookie recipe from home.

…what more can I ask for?

 

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I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but I am horrible at making cookies. My cookies may taste good.. .but in the looks department they fall short. I like easy breezy cookie recipes anyway because my kids eat them before they even make it into a cookie jar. Plus I am very lazy when it comes to making them. I just can’t understand the amount of work that goes into making one. Yes… this is me typing this.. the girl who spends 12 hours or more decorating a cake.

I have been on the quest for a Bermuda Sugar cookie recipe. I have received and tried three. This one is by far the easiest and is very tasty.

Now my problem with Bermuda Sugar cookies is that I am not making them in Bermuda. That is causing me not to be satisfied. So when my Aunt gave me her recipe and I tried it.. it tasted like hers but the texture was way off! And when I tried the one I found on the web, they tasted phenomenal…yet again.. the texture was not there. I also did this recipe that was brought to me from an Angel. And…her name really is Angel. This is the recipe I am about to share.. and they tasted really, really, really good… 

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…a lovely visitor from home brought me goodies. Goodies in a Bermuda grocery store bag. I used to work at this company for a few years part time. Ahhh.. the memories.

Alas… in the bag…

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I haven’t seen Kerrygold Irish butter in years! And Robin Hood flour! Score!!  My Angel says that it is the butter that is making the difference in the cookies. The Kerrygold website says it is sold at Publix and Whole Foods.. well, while on the hunt I also found it at Trader Joes.  I also feel that the flour makes a huge difference too. Robin Hood flour is my favorite for making cookies!

I was still a little skeptical because I still think that the altitude can effect these cookies as well… but I was willing to give it a go.

Here is the easy breezy recipe from an Angel.

Bermuda Sugar Cookies

Recipe:

2 cups Powdered Sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
1 pound of  butter
1tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Bake on 350 until golden brown.

I criss crossed the cookies with a fork after placing them on the cookie sheet which I lined with parchment paper. I also sprinkled some granulated sugar on some of them and amused the kids by sprinkling some colorful non pareils on others.

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That’s it folks. I promise you. It’s that easy. Within minutes.. my family was gobbling them up.

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I will say that I am very happy with the outcome of these, texture and all. I plan on getting more of this butter and trying the other 2 recipes that I have and posting them on the blog as comparison.  But for the moment.. .I must end this post as there is one more cookie left on the cooling rack and I must go claim it as mine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cornbread is calling my name.

…and I answered.

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My kids love cornbread. I crave it certain times…not often. But when I crave it I have to make it. I had a go to recipe and I couldn’t find it. Dinner was on the stove, vegetables steaming, red beans and rice boiling, fish cakes rolled up and floured ready for frying and I didn’t have anytime to search for that dang recipe.

Hello Allrecipes.com and thank you. Thank you for supplying me with an endless list of cornbread. The “eenie meenie miny mow” game had to come into play. Oh.. and the fact that I had to pick something that I already had the ingredients for.

Golden Sweet Cornbread

Recipe:

adapted from: Allrecipes.com

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

Combine milk and cornmeal in bowl and soak for 10 minutes

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

Stir in egg,  butter and cornmeal/milk mixture until well combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

 

This recipe was well worth the kiddy game. It was a little sweet and of course my little ones loved that. It also didn’t help that I drizzled honey on it when it came out the oven. Oh yeah… it was good. Almost too good… I practically annulated it while frying the fish cakes.

If you like a less sweet cornbread I do recommend cutting the sugar in this one. If you like a dryer cornbread then I do recommend you don’t try this one at all. This will be my new staple cornbread recipe. Now that I have noted that.. any bets the old one will show up?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Buddy and Me :)

…I’d like to think so anyway.

ME with BUDDY

I don’t usually gaa gaa or go goo gooo over celebs. There are only a few. And honestly Buddy Valastro the Cake Boss…wasn’t someone on top of my list to meet.  I do love his work and admire his drive and his passion… !

I now view him a whole different light.  Really… this is a man who is so genuine and sincere. This is a man whose drive is inspiring!! I didn’t even know his story until I won a chance to hear it directly out of his mouth….

Serious… I friggin won something else. How great has this year been too me!! I was blown away with the support of my husband and friends on facebook and twitter! I couldn’t believe that I won the TLC Cake Contest after only entering the night before. I couldn’t believe that so many people spread the link and so many people voted for my cake. That brought tears to my eyes. Even when I had thought I had lost the contest I felt as though I was a true winner…

The email I received from Amy of the Discovery Channel was a shocker. I was truly excited!! I won! I won!! Of course I had to take my mentor cakiest Christine of Not a Crumb! Exquisite Cakes because if not for her I wouldn’t have known what my hands are capable of doing. She opened my eyes to so much in the cake world and continues to do so! Plus… she is a pleasure to be around.

We packed up the car and headed to Tennessee. We certainly stood out at the Tennessee theatre! For …sure.. you could tell we were from Atlanta. We stood staring up at the theatre which reminded me of the Fox Theatre here in the ATL..a bit. The line was practically wrapped around the building. I guess that is what the line looks like outside his shop in Hoboken. Wow! This man is soooo admired!

And when I say admired.. .I mean people practically threw themselves off the balcony when he entered the theatre walking through the aisles! My goodness, I had never seen such a thing. Christine and I were in awe of the crowd.

He enters the stage and began shooting Carlos Bakery T-shirts in the air with some sort of shooter gadget. The people went full attack mode.. trying to grab a shirt. It was so unbelievable.

The show was hilarious. 2 plus hours of cake decorating contest…from moms decorating cupcakes, to dudes making roses from modeling chocolate and having to dance or as Buddy says “get freaky deaky”, to their wives across the stage. Whoever brought their piping bag skills on …and in the men's case.. their dance grove poppin.. basically was deemed the winner. He even had the kiddies on stage. It was hilarious hearing them throw their moms under the bus when Buddy would ask if mom was a good baker!

He also had a question and answer section of the show and he decorated a cake in like 2 minutes (minor exaggeration folks).. piping black scrolls on a three tiered cake. Ah-maze-ing. He proudly told us how his new cake factory will be delivering within the USA in December.

The most heartfelt part of the show was when he spoke of his dad… and how he and his mom came to the USA, of how he wanted to live the American Dream…and of course how he died… and how Buddy took over the bakery…devastated… but knew he must move on and take over and continue what he and his dad had in vision for the bakery.

Part of being a VIP ticket holder was the meet and greet at the end. Christine and I felt so unprepared as we had nothing for him to sign. Imagine our joy when his DJ Rusty, to us Buddy would sign our T-shirts… while they were still on us. Too funny…out of all the people I swear we were the only ones that had to strip a little (removing our layers of clothes to get to the undershirts)  for an autograph from Buddy. I was looking around for Lisa. I would totally run from her.. Yeah..seriously.. she doesn’t look like one to mess with!! Buddy cracked a few jokes about how he wears “wife beaters” as he signed the back of the one I had on. ::Pause for Blush:: ::Carry on::  He also congratulated me on winning the cake contest. ::Blush more::

What struck me the most… ? As Christine and I walked away..he called back to us… we turned.. he wished Christine the best of luck in her bakery. And he told us “God Bless.” He had my heart then.

Best.experience.ever.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Creamy Salmon

..at least that is what I will call it. :)

source: Moms who think

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The listed name is Healthy Baked Salmon Dijon. And it is pretty good. I am not familiar to making salmon with creamy sauce on it so it was “out of my box”. Hubby ate it and didn’t complain about it so I am assuming it was a pass.

Now I am not posting something I didn’t taste. No sir, not me. I did taste it and I thought it was good. So, if you are looking for a different way to do salmon then try it. If you like Sour cream, Dijon and Dill…this is for you. Will I do it again. Yes. Perhaps I would serve it with a rice or couscous. Perhaps I will add less sauce… but I will do this again.

 

Recipe:

1 cup fat free sour cream
2 teaspoons dried dill
3 Tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet with skin, cut in center
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
as needed fat free cooking spray

Directions:

Whisk sour cream, dill, onion, mustard, and lemon juice in small bowl to blend.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place salmon, skin side down, on prepared sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper, then spread with the sauce.

Bake salmon until just opaque in center, about 20 minutes

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Snickers Caramel Cheesecake Cookies

….another recipe brought to me via Pinterest so that I can bring to you. :)

adapted from : Picky Palate

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So. I see these on Pinterest and I tell myself that I totally have to make these even though I don’t eat Snickers chocolate bars. That’s what Pinterest.com does to you folks. It sucks you in… hours upon hours of drooling and wishing, okay…inspiring too.. for you to eat, create, buy, slave over, add to wish list, party plan, hang up, plop down.. you get the point. It is deadly over there and I urge you all to try it.

I also urge you to try these cookies. They are so good and Picky Palate make them look so much better then I do but I just about was able to hide these two slivers so I can snap a half decent picture.

I will be honest though. I don’t have that muffin top pan to make these and I wasn’t going to invest in one for this either. I decided that I will use a regular muffin pan. FAIL! Even though I did it as Picky Palate suggest my mixture overflowed and became a mess. It also didn’t release itself from the pan very well.

We live and learn.. well kind of. I was still defiant as I had some more crust mixture and cheesecake batter left. I decided just to do it in a pie dish. SUCCESS! The only thing I did differently was to add some more butter to the graham cracker crust that layered the pan. That is it. I did everything as per the recipe! My results were very satisfactory.

This dessert/snack… whatever way you want to enjoy it, is very sweet and decadent. I do recommend doing the whip cream topping to break away some of the sweetness. But seriously, mine couldn’t stay around long enough for me to whip the cream.

If you are not on Pinterest.com then I suggest you get over there and request an invite to join. Okay.. maybe I won’t suggest it.. because if you spend long hours on that site you may then come back and blame me. You have been warned. Stay away if you must.. .join if you dare. But if you do join.. you should try complete some of the projects, recipes etc. that you pin. It is the whole purpose… I mean.. why just drool on your keyboard?

Friday, October 7, 2011

RE-Visited.. Luscious Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

…with Caramel Chocolate Whipped Ganache Filling and Chocolate Buttercream with Chocolate Ganache and Caramel drizzle. 

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I was bored yesterday and decided to make a 6 inch cake. A decadent 6 inch cake. If I haven’t said so before…I will say it again.. this is the best chocolate cake ever. Yes.. ever.

So, you have the recipe. Now I urge you to try it. If you like a cake filled with chocolate flavor then this is it. The recipe has sour cream.. duh… and unsweetened chocolate.. its great.

I wanted more chocolate.. so I made a great Chocolate Buttercream from Food.com. This is my go to Chocolate Buttercream recipe.. and I have mentioned that before to. But just incase you all didn’t get it the first time I thought I would mention it again.

Still.. that wasn’t chocolate enough. So hey, a ganache. Why not? I was bored.. .I had semi-sweet chocolate chips laying around doing nothing and being bored like me. So I put them to work and made my go to ganache recipe. This time I decided to whip it. Whip it real good… while cold. Then I added some caramel topping that I had in the fridge. Yes, that looked bored too so I invited it to the party. And boy.. that was the best guest as it complimented the chocolate so very well. I even decided to give it a bonus by drizzling it on top of the cake… which of course I had poured some un-whipped ganache that was leftover. Why waste?

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Anyway, the result was worth the effort.  Can’t you tell?

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Basil Pesto Chicken

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My 12 year old son loves chicken and he certainly has his favorites. I am so bored of making the same old chicken recipes. Actually, I don’t have many chicken recipes because I don’t make too much of an effort when I cook it.

I decided to look for different ways to prepare chicken.. but they had to be easy too. I am finding that now all my kids are in school or preschool that my day is still busy or even busier then when I had the little ones home all day. I spend most of my day in my car picking them up or dropping them off and soon they will be back in after school activities so I will have less time in the kitchen.

Easy and delicious now has to become part of my daily lifestyle… during the week at least.

Basil Pesto Chicken Recipe

source: Moms Who Think

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast

1/2 cup basil pesto

2 tomatoes

shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix and toss chicken with pesto in a bowl till covered.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place chicken on sheet. Try to use a rimmed cookie sheet to prevent spillage.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Place slices of tomato on top of chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for additional 5 minutes.

 

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cake

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Since this was all over Pinterest.com I decided to bake it and see if it lived up to the hype.

Honestly.. I didn’t think it did. The taste of cinnamon is there… you can tell it is supposed to be cinnamon roll. But the texture of the cake throws me off. And the cake seemed very very dry. Unless I baked it incorrectly or I am just so used to my cakes, then I could be wrong.

Maybe it warrants another go? It sat around my house for about a week until there were about 4 or so slices left. Then I discarded. With 2 grown males and 2 small kids… no baked good last that long in this house.

So I ask you to give it a try. It is a very easy recipe. And if you find a different result..please let me know! I could have over mixed… over baked… anything could have happened. We all know in the world of baking everything comes down to science.

Recipe

Source: Cooking up North

Cake:
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Mix everything together except for the butter.

Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined.

Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.


While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fifty and Fabulous! “Queen of Sole” Cake!

 

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This cake was tons of work but so much fun. I didn’t think it would even look this way when I finished! I mean I knew the look I was going for but when I put all the elements together it was better then I thought!

It totally fit the theme of the party! The birthday girl loves shoes! Thus.. “Queen of Sole” was born.

This was my first gumpaste high heel shoe. Well, technically.. my second. The first one broke. Note to self: Give yourself at least a week drying time when you do sugar stilettos.

Okay.. the crown was a cinch. I did want to go into more detail but since I knew I was going to have a top pillow full of so much detail and pops of color I opted to tone it down a bit. I don’t think the overall cake misses it!

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The only thing non edible on this cake is the jewels on the crown. I didn’t have enough time to make some isomalt jewels. But I think these look great! I wanted the crown to have an old world feel to it.. Viking like and powerful.

The flavors were vanilla cake with buttercream filling which was the top tier and the bottom tier was Cheesecake cake with Chocolate Cheesecake marbled throughout and it was filled with strawberry buttercream!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For the love of Quinoa

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Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a relative of leafy green veggies, such as spinach or kale.

Kind of hard to believe because for some reason I thought it was a grain. We use it as a grain so it is commonly thought as so.

Alright enough of all that.. I am just here to tell you that is is delicious. The added bonus is that it is better for you then that grain of white rice. In fact it is similar to brown rice but has more protein. And in my opinion taste a whole lot better then brown rice.

I love beans so naturally eating quinoa with beans was a delight for me. The recipe I found on Allrecipes.com and I substituted kidney beans for the black beans because that is all I had. I love kidney beans more then black beans anyway so it really was a win win situation for me!

Quinoa and Red Beans

adapted from : Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Directions:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the onion and garlic, and sauté until lightly browned.

Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth.

Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Mix in the black beans and cilantro

 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Easy Eggplant Curry

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I love Curry. But for the longest time I thought you boiled it in a big stew pot and that was the only way that it was done. My mom didn’t have any curry dishes in her rotation, which didn’t bother me too much because a lot of things she did make were really delicious, such as her scallop potatoes.. which I must blog about soon, and her farine pie.. that I will be blogging about as well.  When I visited a few households I would always see a big ole pot of curry chicken. This led me to believe that that was the only way to curry anything.

As I began to crave the taste for curry more and more I wanted to learn how to make it for myself. I tried a few different ways and it was just so so to me. I even tried those premix curry paste cubes sold in the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong.. those are good and so quick and tasty. But I wanted to know how to do it from scratch!

My mother in law was visiting and took me to a Caribbean store on the other side of Atlanta. I picked up some soy, some coconut candy, a box of Sorrel Ginger tea for the hubby and some graham marsala. She pointed out to me the curry powder she uses for her dishes. Her curry dishes are delicious and full of flavor. I long to make curry as good as she does.  I had to start somewhere, so I picked up the brand she showed me which was Lalah’s.

Its simple to use and you can make a curry paste out of it if you don’t want to use it dry. The amount of the ingredients depend on the recipe you are using.. but in some case I eyeball it. I love curry and a little goes a long way but I always tend to use more then needed.

The most important thing about curry is sautéing the mix prior to adding your meat. That 1 minute of browning the fragrant spice in the frying pan makes a huge difference.  In making the eggplant curry, I heated my butter in the pan and added sliced onions. I fried the onions until they were light brown in color and then added 2 tbsp of curry. I also like to add graham marsala with my curry but this is not at all necessary. I bought it and wanted an excuse to use it! I stirred it for about a minute…until I smelled the flavors and the curry mixture turned a light brown. Don't over cook it and keep and eye on it as it browns quickly! Then I added my chopped eggplant and sautéed for a few minutes. I added some water, just enough to get the consistency that I wanted for the sauce. Remember this will thicken as it cooks. I let the Eggplant Curry stew for about 20 minutes.. on low heat until it was ready to eat!

You can eat alone, or over roti or naan bread.  I like it with peas and rice, or red beans and rice or just plain white rice.

At this time this is my curry method of choice. But I will be trying a ton of recipes of the Lalah's website. I am getting more confident with making it and can’t wait to try different meats and vegetables! By far this is the best curry seasoning I have had.  A pound container last a long time and the price is right for $4.70.

Feel free to let me know how you do your curry and what you like to add it with!

 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Salmon in a can.

For a long time I only made lentil burgers. The reason is being new at whole “hubby is a pescatarian” thing I wasn’t comfortable or knowledgeable about making any other burger but beef or lentils.

Now with portabella burgers, chickpea burgers, and veggie burgers being very popular I decided to jump out of the lentil box.

I make a great Codfish Cake and enjoy it being placed in between a Hot Cross Bun never realizing that it is a version of a fish burger because the word “cake” is embedded in my brain.

So then comes the salmon burger. It sounded interesting enough because we love salmon. Salmon in a can not so much. But was I willing to try that? Okay, yeah….why not.  It is Friday and cooking in this house on a Friday night is a little bit unheard of. So canned salmon it is. Opening the canned salmon didn’t make me go running to the nearest pizza or Chinese restaurant…our usual boring first choices for a Friday night. It kept me interested enough to see what it would be like seasoned and fried. Frying has to make all things taste good. Right? And anything called burgers usually do.. like lentils. :)

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Lemon makes things taste great too. Three things such as frying and lemon and fish… a recipe for tempting my tummy.  And it did. This Lemon Salmon Burger was every bit of yummy. The basil, parsley and onion addition helped the burger to pop and it really makes you forget you got the salmon out of a can.

I served the burgers with brown rice and sautéed spinach. A very healthy clean meal. But I am sure these burgers would taste just as good between a bun and slathered with sauce.

You can find the recipe here at  Allrecipes.com and do try the sauce that is posted with the recipe. I did and it was perfect!

 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brown Sugar Cupcakes for Josie

 

Delicious moist Brown Sugar cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream swirled on top and a sweet raspberry for decor along with sugar flowers and dragees. This makes for an elegant delicate subtle treat that can pack a light sweet punch even at a virtual baby shower. Yes.. a virtual baby shower.

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Anybody who knows me has heard me mention the name Josie. My friend Josie has a great blog called Pink Parsley. I have referred many a friend in Bermuda to her blog.  Some of whom have emailed me pictures of the recipes they have made. Pink Parsley’s blog is full of yummy goodness.  I heart the name.. I heart her blog… her recipes… and I totally heart Josie.

Behind that blog lies a quiet Josie..who always smiles and listens and offers advice only when the time is necessary. I met Josie before blogging. We have kids the same age and used to meet at a local coffee house to chat about life as stay at home moms and anything else.  At our kids’ last play date she told me she was expecting again and I was thrilled! Her 3 year old daughter is so precious and now I can’t wait to meet the newest addition!

When Josie started her blog I was inspired and extremely happy to have a friend who could create such delicious dishes and be so gracious to share the recipes. And the best thing is she loves Mexican food. My absolute fav!! Another thing Josie loves is cupcakes. So when Annie of Annie's Eats asked me to participate in Josie’s Virtual Baby Shower, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  Josie loves baking cupcakes.. and she does them well.

RECIPE

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

source: Your Home Based Mom from Martha Steward Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3 cups sifted all- purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F.

Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale fluffy. This should take approx 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of the buttermilk and beating until combined after each.

Divide the batter evenly among lined cups.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean.

 

Raspberry Buttercream Recipe:

adapted from: allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

1 cup butter

8 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tsp  vanilla extract

6 ounces heavy whipping cream

2 ounces of Seedless Raspberry Preserves

 

Directions:

Cream shortening until fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and blend until incorporated.

Continue adding sugar continue creaming until well blended. (I would taste after 6 cups to test if sweet enough. 8 cups of sugar can sometimes be too sweet for me. And remember the raspberries will make it sweeter.)

Add salt, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream and blend on low speed until moistened.

Add Seedless Raspberry Preserves. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

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The food blogging community is an awesome one. They are very giving like a tightly knit community. A neighborhood of foodies except we only see each other online. We wave and communicate through the windows in our homes via the desktop or laptop.  Despite that, we know each other as well as we can. Some of our foodie neighbors we dream of meeting in real life, and some of them we actual do! Its a blessing when you have a local friend that is one of them and a great blogger at that. Make sure you see the rest of our virtual baby shower guest and their shower yummies by visiting our hostess’ blog Annie's Eats and our mommy of honor Josie at Pink Parsley.

I have been doing more cakes then anything else, as you can tell by my blog if you have been following me. Click on the Cake tab to the right and you can tell fondant and me are friends. Ironically enough Josie was one out of a few people including Michelle of Cook Au Vin, who encouraged me to decorate cakes for others.  I felt it only fitting to make a little gumpaste shaggy teddy bear because of that. Josie, the little gumpaste blue bear is yours…but the deal is you must come by and visit with little baby in order to get it. :)

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The tutorial for this shaggy gumpaste bear can be found here on You Tube! I absolutely love Michelle Cake Designs. Her work is very inspirational!

Josie… enjoy today as we all unite even more through your virtual baby shower. You are very much deserving and I congratulate you on your new bundle of joy. Now come get your blue sugar bear!

 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guilt free Crust. :)

Many of us that enjoy a good crust to a pizza. Sometimes too much. Well, I know I enjoy it too much. My son pretty much leaves the pizza crust on the plate. What a waste!

Speaking of waste… my waist doesn’t like my love of pizza crust. Or French bread for that matter… but that is a whole other post. 

Since trying stop eating so much simple carbs and sugars I am researching other ways to have my crust and eat it too… guilt free.

Thus the chickpea is introduced. Add with some dry oatmeal and olive oil and you have this:

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I suppose you could spread it out a bit neater then I have but I like all the nooks and crannies in it. This was chickpea delicious. Clearly.. the chickpeas taste is stronger then the oatmeal. The crust is soft and good. You can add herbs and seasoning and it would really take it over the edge.

I made applesauce to spread on it after toasting.  I also put sliced tomatoes on it and sprinkled with some black pepper and it was amazing. I have yet to try it as a pizza crust but that is next on my list.

This will be my go to crust recipe when I feel carbs are not my friend. I never said I will never eat a good ole crusty crust of pizza again… just in moderation as with everything else. But this has potential to be my go to guilt free snack.

Chickpea and Oatmeal Crust

source Diet Science.com

 

Ingredients :

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 egg white
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic salt to taste

 

Directions :

Blend ingredients in blender/food processor until smooth.

Add a little water to loosen up ingredients.

Keep mixture like a dough-like consistency.

Bake in oven at 400 degrees until edges lift off from pan and the crust looks cracked

 

 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Wife Bakes

This wife also cooks. This wife also cleans. This wife also runs errands. This wife also is the designated driver. This wife tries to do it all. But through it all this wife is still a person… a person that still needs to take care of herself.

I told you all that I would share some of the things I learned in the BlogHer Food11 conference. One thing I learned was if people wanted to read recipes then they would buy a cookbook. I can’t remember which member of panel said that but it hit home. My blog started as a recipe collection for me and for others. I kind of wanted to bring some of Bermuda to America and vice versa. Then it turned into cakes. Well, I love to bake.. but didn’t want my blog turn into a huge cake gallery with no personality. And to me, that is what it was becoming. That member of panel then said the person who is reading your blog wants an experience… your experience with food. My blog wasn’t showing my experiences with food.  I mean, it showed some of the good, the bad and the ugly…but not my thoughts on the dish… my thoughts of making it. I have become more relaxed in my writing since first starting but now I crave more from my blog. It is time for a change.

In addition to changing how I write up a recipe I am adding more healthy recipes. Oh… don’t huff and puff about it. I will still be blogging some good ole fattening desserts. Life isn’t life without some sweet dessert.

For the next few months I am trying to focus on my health and make a lifestyle change. I want to enjoy the lovely desserts with less guilt.  Don’t we all? So majority of my meals can use a little cleaning up!

This brings me to a recipe I want to share. A healthy one. :)

Oatmeal Banana Muffins

adapted from: 3 fat chicks

…no flour….no sugar… just good ole fashion oats and fruit.

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Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup dry oatmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup skim or 1% milk

2 large egg whites

1/2 cup of applesauce

1 banana, mashed

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cinnamon to taste

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin pan with non stick spray or use liners.

Mix oatmeal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in bowl.

Add rest of ingredients and mix just until incorporated.

Add to muffin pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 10 muffins.

 

Folks… do not make these and expect a fluffy oatmeal muffin. Nah… this muffin is purely oatmeal and banana and I chose not to add Splenda. But by all means you can. The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of it. This muffin is dense and not too sweet. But for someone like me who is trying to break away from too much sweet and enjoy eating wholesome…it works.  It makes a great healthy choice you can grab on the go. I toasted mine this morning and added mashed apple. It was a great breakfast treat with no guilt. If you are watching you flour and sugar intake I would definitely encourage you to try these and enjoy trying them in different ways!

Experiment with adding blueberries, raisins,  oohh.. pineapple.. yum.

I think I am going to make another batch.

The Greatness of the BlogHer Food11 Conference

Yes… I am here. Busy as ever but still here… thankfully. I have had 3 weekends of busy-ness. From the time May 20th I have had company visiting from overseas. Can’t neglect family… but did neglect the blog.

The day my cousin was due to arrive from Bermuda I had made plans to attend BlogHer Food11. She didn’t have me for a whole weekend, but it was a weekend I couldn’t miss. I had wanted to attend this food blogging conference for a good 6 months. But as time got closer it seemed that it wasn’t to be. Then a friend of mine, the lovely Shelly Chapman of Eat.Relate.Love.com told me about a contest that one of the sponsors was having.

POM Wonderful was offering a ticket!! FREE! All I had to do was email them. I never win anything… not like this.. .but man, it must have been my time to shine. I was stunned that my email was picked. I was elated that out of many few were chosen and I was one!

BlogHer Food11 was more then I could hope for. I went there  with cards in hand, made by Precise of Extreme Atlanta. I was ready to learn and ready to meet and ready to eat. I met people that I respected in the food blogging world… like Brady of Branny Boils Over. I love her blog! And meeting her showed me she is just as true to herself as how she writes. I also met Tami from Running With Tweezers and Betsy who is the sister of Rue Drummond. And my twitter pal Lauren of Celiac Teen a young blogger with a mature lovable and educating personality. I also got the pleasure of meeting Erin of Erin's Food File whom I think is awesome and would love to sit at a bar with and have a drink. Man, there are so many more..

I met bloggers whom I had not heard of but upon meeting them thought were so cool that now their blogs list amongst my favorites. Irvin from Eat The Love, Sabrina of The Tomato Tart. Also one of my favorites is Chef Asata, her realness is the coolest.

And I can’t forget my friends such as Shelly of Eat.Relate.Love and my girl Josie of Pink Parsley. It was great hanging out with them there.  I can’t name everybody, seriously… there were many that I had the pleasure of meeting and so many that I didn’t.

Amongst all the bloggers there was food. Oh my gosh… Along with the hotel feeding us every five minutes…the sponsors were everywhere enticing us with their goodies… A few of my favorites where Bays English Muffins. It is at their station where I first tried Nutella. Yea, I said it… never had it before. And now I am hooked. I am also hooked on Bays English Muffins. You find these in the dairy section of the grocery store… you know.. by the eggs. I will never buy the other English muffin again. Ever.

Scharffen Berger was very popular at the conference. They were giving out bags of chocolate! Oh my. And of course POM Wonderful was giving out some of their delicious pomegranate juices.  Amongst them were the other great sponsors of the BlogHer Food11. I came home with a bag of wonderful goodies! Got to love free stuff!

Anyway, the main thing is I learned. I learned a few things. And because I forgot to take a camera to the BlogHer Food11 event this post is picture less.  Which leads me to tell you that I will be making a new post of some of the things I learned from BlogHer Food11 conference. Soon…..

Oh.. wait.. .I found a picture of me at the conference…hanging out with Shelly and Asata..

Click here to see!! How fun!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ice Cream Bread. Yes, I did it.

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As strange as it sounded, I was intrigued.  As easy as the recipe is… I figured.. why not?

Two ingredients folks. Ice Cream (any flavor) and self rising flour. I used Strawberry Shortcake flavored Ice Cream…it had chunks of strawberry and shortcake throughout a buttercream flavored ice cream…Perfect for this recipe I thought.

That’s it.

I promise you it gets no easier than that.

I feel that the “bread” takes on whatever flavor ice cream you use. Since I used an ice cream that was filled with strawberries, the cake was strong with the strawberry taste (and a pretty color too).  The texture is soft and somewhat cake like.. almost… not quite. But it is good! Surprisingly.

What made it even better?… When serving it, I put a dollop of the ice cream on top!

Ice Cream Bread Recipe

source: the Hungry Housewife 

2 Cups of Ice Cream, softened (any flavor of your choice)

1 1/2 cups of Self-Rising Flour

 

Grease and flour loaf pan. I love Baker’s Joy for that job.

Mix ice cream with flour in bowl until they are just combined.

Pour in loaf pan and smooth top.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool.

I checked mine at 30 minutes and it was done but I notice my bread wasn’t as high as the one in the original recipe. hmmmmm?

Anyway, if you try this recipe… feel free to let me know how yours turns out. This recipe will be a staple in my house for a quick treat… I am so ready to try different flavors!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It’s Saturday night… Is Scooby Dooby Doo around?

This is a quickie post. One of them cake ones. I just needed to get this picture on the blog before it disappears in my computer. Okay, that isn’t that serious because I have the picture on Facebook too.

I was asked to do a Scooby Doo themed cake for birthday boy Carter who was turning 5. Oreo Cookie Cake was requested for the top tier and the bottom tier was funfetti vanilla with buttercream filling. There are so many awesome Scooby Doo cakes out there.  The best thing about Scooby Cakes is that you can put so much stuff on it… not too much so that it is junky but just enough because there are tons of characters and items that scream Scooby Doo… pardon the pun. Scream? Scooby? Did you get it…

Scooby Doobie Doo

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Here are you…

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I know you’ll catch that villain!

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Oh.. let me throw this Rockstar Chic Cake in the post too. She was white chocolate on top tier and vanilla on the bottom.  I didn’t get to take any great pictures of this beauty because the venue was dark and I assembled it there… but believe you me… she rocked!!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake

adapted from Annie's Eats





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So rich, so thick, so chocolate…you can’t eat it slow but you can’t eat it fast….



I was eager to make this cake. But not stupid enough to make it just because I wanted to. That would result in the cake being in this house and me nibbling at it daily. So when the opportunity came up at a Mother’s Day Brunch for the family I figured that it would be perfect.



Mind you I was going to go another route. I was going to make something lighter…more refreshing like Ambrosia or something. But this cake was calling me.



I made my Luscious Sour Cream Chocolate Cake and paired it with the Peanut Butter Icing that Annie recommended.



Once you make these two recipes begin building your cake. As long as your Chocolate layers are cool. I didn’t torte my layers so it was a 2 layer 8 inch round cake. I also doubled the Peanut Butter Icing Recipe… That is very important because you wont have enough if you don’t double it. Here.. I will make it easier for you…



Peanut Butter Icing Recipe:



adapted/doubled from Food Network.com





2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cup peanut butter, creamy
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream



Mix the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy and making sure you scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add the heavy cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.



You will use this icing as your filling with chopped reese’s peanut butter cup and you will then frost your cake with it. Decorate to your liking using whole and chopped mini reese’s peanut butter cups.



Oh… so delightful.



What was really crazy about this cake was that I enjoyed decorating it… It was sooo simple and took no time at all.



I only bought a 12 ounce bag of reese’s mini peanut butter cups and I had some left over so a tip… don’t buy a huge bag…



Unless your like me and you don’t mind eating the extras. :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

It’s Official.

Pasties are not my friend. Unless I am eating them.

Okay.. wait.. the other official news in that Prince William has married Kate Middleton. So we have a new Princess. And although I wasn’t to gaga about the wedding, the bug bite me last night. I wanted to see her dress, I wanted to see the chemistry between them. I wanted to eat British food. See where that went? Wedding…dress…food…? Okay, moving on.

Turns out I did a cooking class in my first year of high school. I had to either do cooking, sewing or art. I choice art for the rest of my high school years because my goodness, cooking was just not my forte. :/

I dug around for my old Food and Nutrition class note book. Voila!

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Yeah… I still have it. Looks as if I really was attentive in class. Colored the banner and shield with my red pen. Cute.

Anyway, I decided to make something quick and British. Most of the recipes in my Food and Nutrition class book are British as was my teacher Ms Grey.

Cheese and Onion Pasties.  Oh yum. These things were delicious! Oh I was happy cause I was about to make me something British and delighful and in celebration of the Royal nuptials!

FAIL!!!

I am not great at dough. I think I don’t go into making it with a positive attitude so it bombs on me from inception. Anyway, I tried. And I will keep trying. Usually my problem is that the butter melts in my hands and I never get the breadcrumb effect when I rub it in the flour mixture. This time.. that didn’t happen. It was perfect! But.. my dough was brittle. I added more cold water to it but I felt like I was going to destroy the texture of the dough. Anyway, I somehow got through it and made something to resemble a dough like consistency!

Then I put my pasties in the oven only to pull them out and see that my seams busted.

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Oozing out of the seams was cheese and onion. Onion and cheese oozing. Although this sounds delicious it just didn’t look pretty.

My faith in my dough making abilities dwindled more.

It won’t stop me though. I love a challenge. I will keep doughing until I get it right. In the meantime.. you must try these delicious cheese and onion pasties.

Shortcrust Pastry Recipe:

source: the food and nutrition class of Ms Grey

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp margarine (I used butter)

2 tbsp shortening

1/4 tsp salt

2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water.

Directions:

Sift flour and salt into a bowl

Add in margarine and shortening and cut it in with a round bladed knife.

Rub in with fingertips until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Add 2 tbsp water and stir with knife. If it doesn’t start to bind(form into large lumps) then add a little more water.

When the mixture starts to bind, gather together by hand and form into a smooth ball.

Wrap up in cling wrap and set in fridge or use immediately for recipe of your choice.

Cheese and Onion Pasties Recipe:

source: the food and nutrition class of Ms Grey

 

1 cup Shortcrust Pastry

2 ounces of grated cheese

1 small onion, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 beaten egg

 

Directions

Roll out pastry to 1/8 thick and cut into 6 circles (use the lid of a jar as a guide)

Chop onion and mix with grated cheese and half of beaten egg

Add salt and pepper

Damp the edges of the pastry circles and divide the mixture evenly into the centre of each

Bring the edges together and press firmly to seal and pinch or flute to neaten

Brush sides with beaten eggs to glaze and prick once or twice.

Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes to lightly brown.

 

For your Pastry Kings and Queens out there that make this recipe.. please feel free to share the link to a picture and share tips in my comments! I love a tip or two or three :)

And do enjoy it. These were DELICIOUS!! It was quite fitting to have these in honor of our new Royal Highness!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Metemgee (Metem)… Can I call it Heaven Stew?

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I was first introduced to this Guyanese dish over a friends house. I was intrigued by it. It didn’t taste at all like I imagined. And I imagined it wouldn’t taste that great because of how it looked. But you can’t judge a book by its cover…or in this case a stew by its ingredients.

Push forward a year or two and my mother in law served it to us when we were over for dinner. I was elated because I love it. She had a few different ingredients then the one I first had but it was even better.

I began the hunt for the Metemgee aka Metem recipe. Now I hunted for it because just as you ask anybody for the recipe you get “Oh, I put a little of this and some of that and then you do this and add that…” Since I bake I love having a base recipe with measurements that I can start with. Then of course I can play with it after to make it suit my taste. I never could get it.  One of hubby’s aunt kindly emailed me a recipe for it! I was anxious to try it…but life got in the way. I then lost it in email inbox cyberspace and never asked for it again. Then…then I saw it.

I love perusing Jehan can Cook blog. Jehan’s blog is based on Guyanese cuisine. Its a great blog as hubby’s family is Guyanese and I tell you, their food is awesome! So tasty and so flavorful…I have literally been introduced to a whole new world through Guyanese food.

Because I tend to cook some Bermudian dishes for hubby and kids I would like to be able to cook Guyanese food for them as well. I know I won’t be able to get it just as his mom does. I have already come to terms that I will never get my mom’s famous Scallop potatoes cooked just like she does. So I am not even trying.. I just wanted to be able to make it and make it taste good!

Jehan shared her recipe in which I used the exact same ingredients. The only thing I did differently was change the order of how I added them to the pot. I am going to share my way of doing this. But if you want to see how she differs the recipe then please check out the link I will provide. I thank her for sharing this. And I can’t wait to try some more of her recipes!

Metemgee Recipe:

recipe: adapted from Jehan Can Cook

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves minced garlic

1 14 ounce can of coconut cream

3 cups water

10 sprigs of thyme

2 scallion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound salted codfish

1/2 pound cassava, cut into 3 inch pieces ( Note.. cassava here in the USA is also called YUCCA)

2 white sweet potato, medium size and cut into 3 inch pieces

2 plantains

 

and…

Dumplings

Recipe:

this is to be added during last 10 minutes of cooking Metemgee

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup self rising flour

1/4 sugar

1/2 cup milk

dash of salt

For dumplings… mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add milk and mix. Take some dough and roll in palm of hands (should be enough to fit in palm) then form a log like shape.  Do this with the rest of dough and set them aside.

 

Directions:

In large pot heat oil and add onions. Sautee until tender about 4 minutes and add garlic. Sautee for additional minute.

Add coconut cream, water, thyme and scallion and pepper and bring to a boil.

Cut up salted cod in large chunks and add to pot. Add cassava(yucca) and simmer for 35 minutes.

Add plantain and sweet potato. Simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.

Add prepared dumplings and cover the pot. Do not take cover of pot for 10 minutes to allow dumplings to steam.

Turn off pot and remove dumplings.

Metemgee is ready to serve with your dumplings!!

 

I am sure people prepare this dish in many different ways. If you have a helpful tip please share in the comments. I found this way to work for me. It was great to have Jehan’s recipe to start me making this delicious dish. It will be in regular rotation in my household.

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Brownies.

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These are good. I haven’t decided which brownie recipe I like the best though. I always make these brownies but wanted to give another recipe a fair chance.

I was very pleased. Even though I made some changes. Yes, sometimes change is good. In this case change was very good because it made me a believer that I can enjoy a less fudgy brownie.

This recipe makes a cake like brownie. But not to cakey. I am not a huge fan of brownies with cake texture. So if you are like me and love a fudgy brownie then you may like this recipe too.

What I also love about this recipe is the cracked up surface. It has the soft almost cake like with a hint of fudge and crunchy top that makes this brownie mouth pleasing.

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Recipe:

source: adapted from Kittencal’s Extreme Chocolate Brownies

2/3 cups butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

4 cups (24 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Grease 9 x 13 pan

In large bowl mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Bring butter, sugar and water to a boil in saucepan. Stir constantly until butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Approximately 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 4 cups chocolate chips until melted. Tip: Let chips rest in butter mixture for about 2 minutes then mix. This allows chips to soften and you will get less lumps.

Beat in vanilla to the chocolate mixture.

In separate bowl beat eggs then add them gradually to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.

Add chocolate mixture to the flour/baking soda/salt. Mix well to combine.

Spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Be careful not to over bake!

Tip: Best way to cut brownies is with a plastic knife while warm. :)

Enjoy!