Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life & Stuff - absolutely no food here..

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due. ~William Ralph Inge

My daughter does not worry, I wonder how long until she does? I can tell you one thing, I will know it has happened the minute she quits hitting her head on the coffee table for the 17th time in one day.

Have you ever seen a smiling face that wasn’t beautiful?
Me neither.

When I don’t give it all for her, I really regret those lost moments. Sometimes I think to myself “Jennifer, is it really that hard!!”

My daughter looked at me this morning, she had about 3 pieces of fruit left on her plate. She said to me “Mommy, do you want to share?”

That is just so precious.

Lollipops, sticker, and Milk. Motivation for anything if you ask Indigo.

Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love you daughter.
Wish it were Friday already! ha

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Very Very Vanilla Cupcakes

There is one fact concerning this recipe for a Vanilla cupcake – True fact is that it is the best cupcake I have ever made…or eaten! I have definitely been on a fruit & tart kick but these lil puppies kinda reminded me of my love for cake and icing too.

So with that being said if you are ever in need of a dessert for a potluck or need to make something for the kid’s party – consider these at the top of that list.

Delightfully X 10 borrowed from : The diggity VANILLA CUPCAKES


1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Get your cookie on with Daring Bakers

This months Daring Bakers was AWEsome. I really enjoyed this challenge the most out of any so far, it was manageable and didn't cause any fights between me or the hubster!

Sugar cookies with Royal Icing, so simple, so gorgeous, so impressive. You can use these for any special event to really personalize and it will not break the bank.

Also I have a question for you all - Why did the cookie go to the doctors office?

ANSWER : Because he was feeling crummy - duh


Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies

200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean


Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture. Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.

Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces, place in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When ready removed dough from the fridge and roll out between parchment paper, cut cookies into shapes then place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place back in fridge for 30 minutes. This keep the cookies in the proper shape you want.

Bake at 350 until the fun begins!

Just google Royal Icing and get your groove on, let's rock!

Here is what I learned

1. Place a thicker line of frosting around the edge of your cookie - just not too close or it might run over.

2. Once you have and outer lining of icing drizzle icing in the center and spread - little goes a very long way.

3. Once completely filled in using a different color place dots around cookie, using a toothpick or skewer to pull color out of those dots. I actually used a corn holder.

“'You have no fortune.' I didn't need a cookie to tell me that.” SJP *Sex And The City*

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Some food humor…Have a nice weekend Ladies & Gents.

Little Johnny and his family lived in the country, and as a result seldom had guests. He was eager to help his mother after his father appeared with two dinner guests from the office.

When the dinner was nearly over, Little Johnny went to the kitchen and proudly carried in the first piece of apple pie, giving it to his father who passed it to a guest. Little Johnny came in with a second piece of pie and gave it to his father, who again gave it to a guest.

This was too much for Little Johnny, who said, "It's no use, Dad. The pieces are all the same size."


• 1 lb spiral noodles
• 1/2 pound lean ground beef
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 1 whole pepperoni log, medium dice (skin removed)
• 14-16 ounces pizza sauce (found in pasta sauce section)
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cook noodles according to package directions.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Drain excess fat. Stir in the noodles, pepperoni, pizza sauce, and mix well. Pour this mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, top with the cheese, then bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

I have been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to come up with a cute, sarcastic, and funny post.


Instead I will share with you some random things about the pets we have and have had.

1. I used to have 3 cats – Izo, Bella, and Gnocchi. When we moved to our new home Gnocchi got out one night and he never returned. I loved that cat. I have been left with one cat who hates all humans and one who has licked half the fur off her body. Ha.

2. I have had 3 parakeets in the last 11 years. Green Bird, Blue Bird, and White Bird. (Very inventive naming, I know!) All have seen the end of life except for the female Green bird who will be 12 years old next year. Green bird likes to spend her days outside chirping to the *free* birds.

This recipe was delightfully stolen from : Rachel Ray, HOLLA!


1 pound whole wheat penne rigate
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
7 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced
Grated parmesan cheese, to pass around the table
Flour for thickening, if needed


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is working, in a medium skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin and cream. Add the hot sauce, cinnamon and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes (add flour if thickness is not what you desire). Stir in the sage.

Top with Parmesan & Enjoy.

“Don’t mind if I do”
If you Love Rachel Ray go here : Taste and Tell Saturdays

Monday, September 20, 2010

Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow, Reindeer Food, Fish Food – Call it what you will. This is a fantastic movie night treat. Being the smart girl that I am, I planned on letting toddlers eat this while watching The Little Mermaid. If you think about it, what could go wrong with toddlers eating chocolate smothered treats on your nice carpet?? Exactly! Not my shiniest moment.

INGREDIENTS (makes enough for like 8 rottweilers)

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
9 cups Crispix cereal (any flavor)
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. Combine peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.

2. Microwave for one minute then stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Stir well.

3. Place the 9 cups of Crispix cereal in a very large bowl.

4. Pour the peanut butter-chocolate mixture over the cereal and toss evenly, making sure all the cereal gets a good covering.

5. Coat with powdered sugar, sprinkling evenly over the cereal and tossing as you sprinkle to cover each piece well. Place the whole lot in your freezer for at least 2 hours - these puppies are great frozen.

“Here boy, Here boy!”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brown Sugar & 5 Spice Carrots

There are a few facts from my cooking they are in no particular order - NO JUDGEMENT ZONE HERE

1. Rice a Roni, this is a healthy dinner...and considered real cooking
2. Ranch is good on EVERYTHING...ok this still rings true
3. Carrots are for rabbits, or need to be adequately coated in ranch (reference # 2)

There are many more rules I lived by - those are just a few.

I have since reversed my standing on the whole rabbit carrot thing, depending on if the rabbits care to share.


8 Carrots, skinned and sliced
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tbs butter, melted
2 tbs brown sugar
1/8 tsp Chinese 5 star spice (go light, it is mighty powerful)


Pre-heat oven to 400.

Place carrots in a foil lined baking pan and toss with olive oil.

Add brown sugar & 5 star spice to melted butter, toss with the carrots. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.

I ate mine plain and added them into a chicken wrap I had for dinner!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fig Cake with Rosemary

I have a mega HUGE HONKIN rosemary plant in my backyard. It often taunts me and shouts obscenities as I walk by…one time it even smacked me arse! After that scary incident I did my duty and found a new recipe that incorporates its tastiness.

So before you wrinkle your nose at rosemary and fig marrying, let me say that is quite shocking at first – People will look at you funny and then ask “what’s that I’m tasting?” You answer rosemary and they keep on eating. While odd and different I think it is quite good – and wonderful for a Sunday afternoon treat.

Delightfully lifted from FIG CAKE


1/2 cup butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup brown sugar
5-8 fresh, ripe figs of your choice, tips removed, sliced sideways (medium)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons walnut pieces, or as many as needed
1 cup flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F.

2. Add butter to a 9-inch-round baking pan, and place inside of a warm oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter. Add figs, flesh side down, and sprinkle with the rosemary. Fill in the nooks and crannies with walnut pieces.

3. In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir.

4. Using a hand mixer, in a metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until fluffy. Set aside.

5. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and beat well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Pour cake mixture evenly over the fruit, and smooth with the spatula.

6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm !

Have a spendid weekend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Sweet Sloppy Joe

Hey! I thought I would share not only a recipe but a few things I am in love with lately.

Things I am Loving

Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins
Fage Greek Yogurt smothered in Wild Desert Honey
Roasted Vegetables with cumin and fresh thyme
Planning Thanksgiving, I hope to impress
New friends, old friends and my cats!....ok that is a lie.
My daughter demanding to cuddle – AWEsome.
My husband demanding to cuddle, he he.

What are you loving lately? I’m listening.


1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste


In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place meat on your favorite bread, I prefer a white bun toasted.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Strawberry Tart of Beauty

“Hey Strawberry Tart – That right you over there all gorgeous and stuff”
“Hey Tart, does your crust hurt? Because it must have hurt falling from heaven”

You would totally flirt with this tart if it was sitting in front of you - it is darn gorgeous & tasty.

I delightfully and to everyone else’s delight borrowed this recipe from
Confessions of a Tart

Now on to the dough, perfect specimen it is! I was even able to remove that tart from the tart dish without it breaking – GO ME


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter cut into small pieces1 large egg yolk

DIRECTIONS for tart crust

Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl and whisk together. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and press in with a potato masher—you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time until incorporated. Now work the dough into a ball, use a tablespoon of ice water to help the process along. Wrap in Saran Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Easy peasy - once cold and combined, roll out on floured parchment and place over your buttered and floured pan. Pinch the edges to desired shape. I used a fork dipped in ice water for this affect.

Bake fitted with foil and filled with bean at 375 for 25 minutes, then remove the beans and bake for another 8. Crust will be a gorgeous golden light brown.


2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS for pastry cream

Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Add the salt, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

When the milk is ready, slowly drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking until the custard is as thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. The mixture must come just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let this cool for 10 minutes. Now stir in the butter.


Let your inner artist decorate with halved strawberries, blueberries, berry berries! Anything you desire, even chocolate chips would be fine…or plain.

I present my masterpiece in all of its glory

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Apple & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Cheese, oh how I love thee...let me count the ways.

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Sugar is Sweet
But dude, cheese is da'bomb

So kill me if I didn't rhyme.


1 log of goat cheese
1 apple - peeled, cored, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
French Bread slices, use as much as you need depending on how much topping you like.


Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack 3 to 4 inches from the heat source.

Toss together the goat cheese, apple, thyme, oregano, and pepper in a bowl; set aside. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet; toast the bread under the broiler until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the goat cheese mixture evenly over the bread slices. Return bread to oven to broil until cheese is softened, about 1-2 minutes more.

And now you can enjoy