Thursday, January 29, 2009


Today I witnessed a little bit of heaven at the grocery store.

943 grams of deliciousness.

I couldn't bring myself to purchase one.

Since they cost $13.

And I am pretty sure I would have them eaten in less than 9.43 hours.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Final Cake

This is my final cake for my cake decorating class.
The ribbon was an after thought... I didn't want to do a tacky icing border. Next time, I think I would put the ribbon on first and then decorate it. (I am sure you can see why!)
It is a fun-fetti cake with fun-fetti icing. mmmm. The icing doesn't stand up too well under the fondant. So I guess buttercream is the way to go from now on!
My instructor just kept saying "your cake is so cheery." Pretty sure she had nothing else nice to say about it! ha!
Want some? Come on over!! We can have cake and ice cream. While watching Facts of Life!
I made a goal to make a cake for family members birthdays. But that would be 26 cakes in 12 months. With 5 in October. Ummm... No thanks. So I am going to try making a cake each month. And I just bought the AWESOMEST cake pan EVER! Stay tuned to see what it is. (I will be making it for the February birthdays).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yummo... well sorta.

I tried my first Rachel Ray recipe. She said it was the perfect American meal- a combo of Cheeseburgers, Chili and Mac & Cheese. It was super easy. Not as amazing as I was hoping- but still yummy.

Cheeseburger Chili Mac and Cheese

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 to 2 cups beef stock (depending on how liquid-y you want it)
1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar (the sharper the better!)

Preheat broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.

Place a medium pot over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the meat to the pan and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.

Add the onion and chili powder to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the ketchup, mustard and beef stock to the pot, bring up to a bubble and simmer until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.
While the chili is working, salt the boiling water and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions then drain thoroughly and return it to the pot.

Add the chili to the pot with the pasta and give everything a good toss. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the shredded cheese. Place the casserole under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese. Serve with a simple salad alongside.

And that is what we did.

(we didn't have any macaroni so I used penne noodles. Wouldn't recommend it- they were a little too large.)

We had something else with our meal... which was truly the highlight of the meal.

A-maize-ing Cornbread

(From Looneyspoons)

1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg- lightly beaten

1/2 cup cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons butter-melted

1 can (4 1/2 ounces) diced green chilies- drained (didn't have- so didn't use)

1 cup whole kernal corn (thaw first if frozen)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, cottage cheese, honey, butter, chilies, and corn. Beat with a whisk until well blended.

Add corn mixture to flour mixture and stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into an 8x8 inch baking pan (I used a round pan) that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into 9 squares and serve warm.

The cottage cheese sounded a little strange. But it totally cooks out so you don't know it is there. It helps make the corn bread moist- because there isn't anything much worse than dry cornbread.

Veggie Lasagna

I have a LOT of recipe books. And I always want to try new recipes. So my personal challenge this year is to make 2 new recipes a week.
And share them with you!

So here we go-

"Not Nearly as Complicated as it Looks" Veggie Lasagna
from Looneyspoons cookbook
(Great recipe. Will for sure make it again. See notes at bottom.)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic-minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms*
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped sweet red peppers
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes- undrained- cut up
1 cup "Italian-style" tomato sauce
1 can (5 1/2 ounces) tomato paste
1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles- uncooked
2 cups low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
1 egg white
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach- thawed, squeezed dry & chopped**
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Spray a large saucepan with non-stick spray. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, red pepper and zucchini. Cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 7-8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, basil, oregano, brown sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg white, Parmesan cheese, and spinach. Set aside. In a separate bowl, toss mozzarella and cheddar cheeses together until well mixed.

To assemble lasagna spray DEEP**** 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of pan. Layer 3 noodles over top. Spread 2 cups sauce over noodles, followed by 1/2 of the cottage cheese/ spinach mixture, and 1/3 of the cheese.*** Top with 3 more noodles, 2 cups of sauce, 1/2 of the cottage cheese/ spinach mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.*** Layer final 3 noodles on top, followed by 2 cups of sauce (you should be left with 1/3 of the cheese).

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Let lasagna cool for 10 minutes before slicing. (Be patient. It will hold together much better if you wait!)

Makes 8 servings. (34 calories & 8.6 g fat per serving)

I think it took me longer to type that up than it did to make it!

Changes I did or will make:
*I (nor any of my family members) don't like mushrooms. So I didn't want to put them in. But I felt like 2 cups was a significant amount of an ingredient to just leave out. We had some leftover chicken so I cut it up and added it instead.
** This was a little too much spinach. It wasn't bad- but just a lot. So unless you have a great love for spinach, I would put a little less next time.
***So I have a problem. I just skim recipes before making them. And then will realize I missed a step when it is a little too late. I didn't realize there was supposed to be cheese layered throughout until I was at the 2nd cheese layer. I decided to just put lots of cheese on top. It ended up tasty. But oh my- it would be even more tasty with cheese throughout. So ALWAYS read your recipe thoroughly before making it!
****I did not use a deep pan. And had to put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch the drippings that were surely (and did) going to happen. It doesn't necessarily be a big pan, but just not a shallow glass one!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Decorating Cakes with Fondant

I have wanted to take the Wilton Level 3 cake decorating class since I took level 2 last April. I finally enrolled. And this is my first cake for the class.
It was so exciting learning how to use fondant. But boy is it expensive and such a waste. It doesn't taste very good so it just gets thrown away. It looks good though.
I am excited for our final cake. Stay tuned for that!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Christmas break= Movie time. Here is my take on what I have seen. And my ratings of them according to what I would pay to see them again.

Marley & Me. Such a cute movie. I truly loved it. It made me Sad. Laugh. Cry. Think. Happy. Hopeful. It made me happy to not have a dog. It made me want a dog. It brought back sad memories of when we had to put dear ol' Snuffy down. Thank goodness I wasn't sobbing like the lady across the aisle from me. I really want to read the book now.

I would pay $$$$$$$$$$ to see it again.

(Not really a family movie! Due to a little bit of loving and Jennifer Aniston skinny dipping.)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I don't know what to think. It was a very interesting story. Long. And slow. A little weird at parts. Inappropriate at some. But funny at others.

I am glad to have seen it. But don't think I have any desire to see it again.

Eagle Eye.
I really liked it. It was pretty action packed. I was confused. Wondering what was going to happen next. And satisfied at the end with what happened. The fact that I only paid $3.50 to see it probably made it that much more enjoyable.

I would pay $$$ to see it again.

Twilight. I had read the book. And wasn't too impressed. I had no desire to read the rest. But I did want to see the movie. Although the acting was cheesy. And the makeup was horrible. I really liked it. And it actually made me want to read the rest of the books. (New Moon down. 1/3 way through Eclipse). Read them. Unless you are lactose intolerant. Because they are loaded with a LOT of cheese.

I would pay $$$$$$ to see this movie again.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It Can Be a Great Year!

Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a great Christmas and an exciting New Years!

I have a feeling 2009 is going to be a great year.
Here are my goals for this year:
My friend did such a cute thing for New Year's day.
She made yummy caramel corn.
Canned it at her local Home Storage Center. Made fun labels.
And delivered them anonymously to people. So fun. I need to be more like her. What do you want to accomplish this year?