Monday, August 26, 2013

Pink & Purple Birthday Cake

I volunteered to make the cake for my niece's first birthday and it turned out really cute.  I made a larger cake to serve the guests and then a smaller cake for my niece to dig in to.  Here are the pictures:
 The majority of the cake is frosted with buttercream, but I did make the flowers out of fondant..........

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Kaycie brought this recipe home from college.  Apparently these were a frequent menu item in room B202 at the Eccles Living Center (a.k.a. dorms) at SUU.  Which reminds me...

...did you you know that it's not politically correct to say that you live in "dorms" any more?  According to my highly educated daughter, the word DORM has a negative connotation, so they are called "living centers".  I had to break the news that every parent's worst fear is that their child will grow up and have to live in a "center".

Anywho... my younger children LOVE this recipe.  All you need is a refrigerated tube of cinnamon rolls and your waffle iron.
 Tips from a highly educated college student:

1) Don't use Grands cinnamon rolls, jut get the smaller, regular kind (the Grands turn out doughy).
2) Don't worry if you get a little scared the first time you pop open a tube of refrigerated dough.  Everyone gets scared the first time.
3) Slap the little rolls on the waffle iron and cook them until they are brown.  Frost with the frosting that came with the rolls.  Leave the maple syrup in the cupboard.  It isn't good.  They tried it.
4) Clean your waffle iron well after making this recipe.  Otherwise, sugary black stuff will burn on to your waffles the next time you use your waffle iron.  Sugary black stuff is gross.
5)  Finally, clean up after yourself.  The motto in B202: "Dishes are like boys.... don't let your friends do them."

Chocolate Croissants

Reader, let me introduce you to Chocolate Croissant.  Beautiful outside, deliciously decadent inside. Love-at-first-sight AND love-at-first-bite.  This is the easiest, most beautiful, most delicious dessert I've ever made.  When your husband says, "You MADE these!?" (because he actually thought you bought them at Kneaders)....and then eats's a good day. Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Here is the finished product beautifully served on my great grandma's china plates.
You will need puff pastry and mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese).  Puff pastry is found in the refrigerator section by the frozen dough and pie crust. I get my mascarpone cheese at Trader Joes or Harmon's - I can never find it at my neighborhood grocery store.
Get out the two sheets of puff pastry and let them sit on your counter for about 35-40 minutes.
In a bowl, mix 1 cup mascarpone (or cream) cheese, 1/2 c. sugar, 1 egg, a handful (or two) of chocolate chips and a dash of vanilla.  Beat it all together.
After thawing, unfold the first sheet of puff pastry (it will be tri-folded) and cut it in to four equal squares.  Repeat with 2nd sheet of pastry.  This will give you 8 large squares.
 Put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each square.
Quickly beat an egg and brush around the edges of each square with egg wash.  Fold the dough over to create a triangle and then press the seams together with a fork to seal. Fold the tip of the triangle up and over just a bit (as seen in next picture).
Place the unbaked croissants on a baking sheet (use parchment or spray with cooking spray).  Cut a small slit or two in the top to vent.  Use the remaining egg wash and brush on the top of each croissant (don't skip this step or they won't brown and look beautiful).
Bake at 400 degrees for about 18-20 minutes or until perfectly golden brown.
 For the finishing touch, I threw a handful of chocolate chips in a Ziploc baggie and microwaved it for about a minute. I squished around the melted chocolate chips in the baggie until it was smooth. You may need to microwave the chocolate chips a little longer if they haven't melted.  Cut a small, small slit in one corner of the baggie and then drizzle melted chocolate over the top of each croissant.  Serve warm or cooled.  Makes 8 large croissants.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bandito-like Salsa with A Creamy Surprise

The town of Springville might not have a lot, but what we DO have are TWO pretty darn good Mexican food restaurants, La Casita and Joe Banditos.  Now, nothing beats a cheese crisp and a margarita (virgin for me) at La Casita, but Banditos has everyone beat in the salsa-and-chips-department.  While this recipe isn't an exact replica, it's pretty darn good.  You can serve it plain or dollop in some creamy goodness as pictured below.   

1 (14 oz.) can S&W Mexican Stewed Tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes with jalapenos
1 (14 oz.) can whole tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
1 clove fresh garlic
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh cilantro
salt to taste (may take about 1/2 tsp. or more)
2-3 chopped green onions
Throw all ingredients except cilantro in to a blender and pulse until chopped and well mixed (don't puree or blend it too much).  Throw in the cilantro and chopped green onions and pulse once or twice to just slightly chop.  Serve with chips!  If you like more heat, throw in a seeded, chopped jalapeno.
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c. salsa
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Mix cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in sour cream.  Stir in salsa and cheese.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Serve alone with chips, or add a big scoop to the center of a bowl of salsa and serve together.

Strawberry Pineapple Shortcake & Homemade Pound Cake

Today was one of those days when I just had to throw things. I had some leftover fresh pineapple in the fridge and decided to throw it in with some strawberry shortcake I was making. While I was at it, I threw some almond flavoring in the whipped cream instead of vanilla. Next I threw some coconut in the oven and toasted it. Then I threw it all together in one big giant yummy stack of goodness. I should throw things more often.

Start with your favorite base: Pound cake, homemade biscuits, plain white cake, angel food cake, or (tsk, tsk)those twinkie-like little round things you buy at the grocery store.
Chop strawberries and sprinkle with sugar (I use about 2 cups strawberries and about 1-2 T. sugar). Allow to sit for several minutes and stir the mixture every now and then.
Chop pineapple (I use 1 cup) and stir in with the strawberries.
With a mixer, beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar, and ¼ tsp. almond extract on high until stiff peaks form.
To assemble: Place base on a serving plate, pile the fruit mixture on top. Dollop with flavored whipped cream. Top with toasted coconut and a pretty slice of both strawberry and pineapple.
 1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
3 eggs, room temp
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream
Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla and sour cream.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour into a greased 8 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (do the toothpick test to check it).  Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan. 

Almond Torte

My dear friend Karen, an awesome teacher and fellow foodie, just announced that she is moving to Texas.  I have been in mourning...and denial.  This torte is one of the most delicious recipes that she shared with me.  I will think of her every time I make it.  Here's to Karen and to almond extract!

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
dash salt
1 cup melted butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp. almond extract
slivered almonds to sprinkle on top
Mix all ingredients except the slivered almonds together.  Pour in to a greased and floured 9 inch springform pan.  Sprinkle with sugar and slivered almonds.  Bake at 325-350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour (do the toothpick test). 
Serve it plain or with chocolate sauce, strawberries, and whipped cream. 

Mini Fruit Pizzas

I've been making this fruit pizza for years and it is a favorite!  You can serve them pre-assembled, or you can do a fruit pizza bar and let each dinner guest frost and assemble their own.  Either way, they are a hit!  If you are in a hurry, you can use the refrigerated Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough.


1 cup butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. milk
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and milk.  Chill dough for at least an hour, then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into rounds using the top of a glass.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes.  Let cool. 
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) cool whip
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Slowly fold in the whipped topping. Spread on cooled cookies and top with your favorite fruit!
sliced bananas
sliced pineapple
sliced strawberries
mandarin oranges
sliced kiwi fruit

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cinnamon French Toast with Warm Vanilla Syrup

You COULD use regular bread to make this delicious French toast, but buying Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread makes all the difference. We also love to drizzle this with homemade vanilla caramel syrup on top. 
1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread, sliced
6 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 T. brown sugar
Optional:  sliced strawberries, sweetened whipped cream, warm vanilla syrup
Heat a griddle to medium heat.  In a shallow dish, mix eggs, milk, salt and brown sugar until well combined.  Spread butter on griddle until melted and bubbly. Dip bread slices in egg mixture, then place on buttered griddle.  Cook on both sides until nicely browned on each side.  Serve with warm syrup, sliced strawberries, and a dollop of whipped cream. 
1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
In a  LARGE saucepan, melt butter, sugar, vanilla and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. Stir in baking soda and boil 10 seconds more, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.  Mixture will bubble up and foam, so be sure to use a large enough saucepan so it doesn't boil over.  Serve warm.  Refrigerate leftovers.   

Sunday, April 7, 2013

1 Recipe, 2 Cakes

My daughter wanted to make her friend a "basketball" birthday cake last Saturday.  It just so happened that a good friend of mine was also having a birthday.  We made a double batch of our favorite  boxed cake batter, and a big bowl of cream cheese frosting and came up with these two cakes for our two good friends!
This is just a simple chocolate cake baked in a 9" round pan.  We frosted the top with white cream cheese frosting, drizzled red and blue dyed frosting around the edges, and finished it off with some red and blue sprinkles on top. 
This cake was baked in a 13x9 pan.  We simply trimmed a half circle to create the neckline and carved a little cake off both sides to create the jersey look.  It turned out so cute and was delicious too!

Jam Thumbprints

I pulled this recipe from the obscurity of my recipe box last week.  I love the nuts that roast on the edges as the cookie bakes. 
1 stick real butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1/2 cup jam (I use apricot & raspberry)

Cream butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and mix again.  Separate eggs, set aside the whites.  Beat the yolks in with the creamed mixture and add the vanilla.  Finally, mix in the flour until the dough comes together in a ball.  Place chopped nuts in a bowl and the egg whites in another bowl.  Roll the cookie dough in to small 1 inch balls.  Roll each ball in the beaten egg whites and then in the nuts.  Place on cookie sheet and make a small indentation on the top of each cookie with your thumb.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Cool cookies then place a teaspoon of jam in the indentation of each cookie. 

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

These cookies have legitimate lemon flavor from the fresh zest and they melt-in-your-mouth!  The lightly sweet cookie, topped with creamy sweet frosting is the perfect combination. 
 1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, softened
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. grated lemon zest
Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, and salt.  In a different bowl cream the butter, add the lemon juice and zest and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Divide the dough in half and form each in to a log.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  When ready to bake, slice the log in 1/4 inch slices and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool and frost. 
Lemon Frosting:  Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 c. butter and 2 teaspoons lemon juice until light and fluffy.  Frost each cookie with a dollop of frosting. 

BLT Turkey (or Chicken) Salad Sandwiches

My family loves BLT's and also chicken salad. I threw this recipe together using leftover roasted turkey from Sunday dinner (leftover rotisserie chicken works great too).  The results were delicious and the sandwich is a new favorite.
The buns pictured are actually hot dog/brat buns from the bakery section at WalMart. They are super soft and slightly smaller than a big hoagie bun.
Chop leftover turkey in chunks and crumble in pre-cooked bacon (desired amount).

 Stir in mayonnaise - one tablespoon at a time- until chicken is coated.  Stir in chopped tomatoes.  Season with Lawry's Seasoning Salt to taste. 

Spread chicken mixture on bun.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce.

*** You can mix the cheese and lettuce in with the turkey/mayo mixture.  However, it doesn't keep well in the fridge overnight (the lettuce gets soggy).  Mix it in only if you are planning to eat it up that day.

Tea Party Sandwiches

When I was a little girl I loved going to baby and bridal showers where sandwiches like this were served. In my peanut-butter-and-jelly-on-white-bread life, sandwiches like this seemed dainty and fancy, two things my young-self longed to be. My girls and I had fun making different combinations of these triple-deckers today.  We made extra and dropped them off to some family friends who called later to say how dainty and fancy they felt eating them for dinner.
 Use any combination of breads, meats, veggies, and spreads
 Cut the crust off of each side to expose layers and create perfect slices.
Wrap and refrigerate prior to slicing to allow flavors and textures to meld.

Cucumber & Ham Sandwich

6 slices wheat bread
6 slices white bread
1 container chive and onion (or vegetable) cream cheese
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 pkg. thinly sliced ham
6 slices provolone or Swiss cheese

Spread softened cream cheese on one side of a slice of wheat bread.  Layer on cucumber slices.  Top with a piece of white bread that has been spread with cream cheese on top and bottom of slice. Layer on some ham and a slice of cheese.  Top with another piece of wheat bread (spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the bottom of the slice so that everything will stick together).  Carefully cut crusts off all four sides.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to slice.  Repeat process alternating white and wheat breads.  Makes 4 sandwiches that can each be cut in 3-4 slices.

Other Layering Options
Peanut butter, Nutella & apricot preserves
Sliced Turkey, tomato, avocado, provolone cheese, savory flavored cream cheese
Rotisserie chicken, tomato, sliced olives, green leaf lettuce, pesto
Tuna salad, toasted pecans or walnuts, shredded cheddar cheese, flavored mayo


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Banana Bread

My sister gave me this banana bread recipe several years ago. I've tried others, but none stack up to the flavor and consistency of this one... It turns out perfectly every time.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, banana, water and vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Stir in nuts. Makes 1 large and 1 mini loaf or 2 medium loafs (fill pans 2/3 full). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. It will get dark on top but stay super-moist. Test with toothpick in center for doneness.