Archive for the ‘Dessert/Baking’ Category

Pretzel Dogs

My, my where has the time gone? I’ll tell you! Between having a seven month old, four year old, full time job, and my life blowing up (not in a good way), I’ve been preoccupied. I remember starting this blog because I wanted something that was mine. Not me as a mommy. Or as a friend. Or Neighbor. Or Churchgoer. Just me. Mine. I am still all those things, but deep down somewhere I, just me, exists. But lately free time (time to blog) is so scarce and at times writing requires so much thought effort that much of my free time is spent mindlessly pinning on Pinterest, reading, or not as often as I’d like, sleeping. One day, maybe far far from now, I’ll write that True Life: My Life Blew Up post, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do such a thing without…uhhhmm making myself or others uncomfortable :)

anywho.

These pretzel dogs are shut the front door delicious.  Slap yo’ momma good. Eat them three days in a week good. And pretty easy for what you’d expect. and I have pictures. Finally. They’re not great, admittedly. I’d love to take a food photography class one day (along with the other 4,563 other things I’d love to do. that’s a post all by itself), but until then, you’ll just have to imagine these are even more beautiful in person.

Ingredients

·        1 package active dry yeast (approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
·        2 Tablespoons brown sugar
·        1 ¼ teaspoons salt
·        1 ½ cups warm water (110- 115 degrees F)
·        4 cups flour
·        2 cups water
·        2 tablespoons baking soda
·        2 – 3 Tablespoons melted butter
·        Coarse Kosher Salt (optional)

She says to use a mixer, but I just used a wooden spoon. I lie. I used the wooden handle of my baster brush. That just sounds unsophisticated. Life’s kind of that way. Make the bread as usual (combine yeast, brown sugar, salt, water) and knead it. I’ve made bread and dough several times before but this is by far the absolute most amazing dough I’ve ever made. I think maybe I didnt’t knead the dough enough on previous attempts? I actually did it the full 8 minutes on this recipe and when I let it rise for the hour, it more than doubled in size. It was so soft and fluffy and easy to work with.

There was plenty of dough, which was fine by me. I think I made 8 pretzel dogs and a few pretzels, which were surprisingly easy to twist; it’s not scary with the help of a Youtube vid. After you’ve wrapped the dogs and twisted the pretzels, dip them in the baking soda water for 30 seconds ish, let them rise another 10 minutes, and then bake ’em.

I just can’t even tell you how delicious they were. Make them please! And then come share :)

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Pizza Bites

I’m fairly certain I mentioned this before, but I’m currently crushing on mini food. If I can plop it in a mini muffin pan, I want to make it. So what’s better than mini, mouth-sized bites of pizza? Not much. I also brought these to MOPS; they’re a great make-ahead-and-take food. They are better warmed up though, in my opinion. The recipe came from Lick the Bowl Good and was really easy to make. I actually had everything on hand already, which is a miracle because if its not on the menu, I don’t buy it! I’m a very strict grocery-list-only-shopper. As far as the website, I must encourage you to look at some of her other recipes, because they certainly do look lick worthy.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning note: I used basil and oregano, eyeballed
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce

Mix all the dry ingredients and spices, then the wet, and then the cheese. Let it rest for 10 minutes and voila! you’re done. It was super simple. Unfortunately, I only got 22 mini muffins out of it :( But they were very tasty and UHdorable. Which is all that really matters. I was really impressed with the consistency of the muffin/bread part. The inside was nice and hole-y, fluffy. I just wasn’t expecting it to be like that I guess because I didn’t use yeast or actually make dough or bread in the traditional sense. Anywho, these are another great food for potlucks, baby showers, picnics, etc. It’s always good to have a few easy, yummy, transportable, and cute foods in your repertoire!

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread MINI-Muffins

Say that three times fast. I’m pretty sure I don’t have pictures of these little cuties and for that I’m sorry. I go to MOPS every other Friday and haven’t really taken food very often (we have breakfast there) until I started working Thursday evenings and decided that would be a great time to cook for the next morning :) These were easy to make and perfect for our brunch-y, breakfast-y, bring-whatever-you-can-make Friday morning potluck. They would also make good appetizers, picnic food, party food, etc. You can eat them at room temperature, but if you can heat them up a bit in the microwave before serving (or right out of the oven of course), go for it. They were spicy, but not offensively so. Apparently my love of spice developed during pregnancy never went away. My family isn’t that happy about it. Lily however, doesn’t seem to mind :o)

The recipe comes from Love and Butter.

And just so you know, these are incredibly cheap to make. Also a bonus ;)
Ingredients :

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave the seeds. dare you.)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 8oz can cream style corn
  • 8.5oz box corn muffin mix

Mix the egg, canned chiles, and corn together. Add the cheese and jalapeno. Open the muffin mix into another bowl and make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients. Stir about 20 times. Spoon into your mini muffin pan and bake at 400 for 13 minutes (20 for regular muffins).
But really, you should check out the website version cause she has pretty pictures :) I WILL make these again. They are definitely a keeper for all things potluck, take-food-type events. I swear I’m going to do a hyphen-useage tutorial. And more things made in muffin pans. Especially mini stuff. Or mini food in general. It’s kind of my thing right now. Speaking of my things, check out my pin boards at Pinterest :)

Happy Easter! Food edition.

I realize that most serious bloggers have their holiday posts up like a month early. Let’s just say I’m not as serious as I’d like ;) BUT, you can bookmark me if you see something you like for next year, or check out my pin boards at Pinterest, aka something else new and fabulous that keeps me up at night. Think visual bookmarks. It’s grand. But NOT as grand as our Lord and Savior Jesus whose resurrection we celebrate each year some time in March or April :) Here and here  are some things we did last year.

Let’s get to the food shall we?!

Chocolate Peep’s Nests

chocolate birds nest

peeps nests

Just make chocolate krispie treats and put them in a greased muffin tin and then smoosh down the middle with a shot glass or small cup.

peep peep!

I’m not even sure why my Peeps look radioactive, but they surely do. I bought the little robin egg Whoppers and then plopped a Peep on them! :) Cute and easy peasy. Next year I want to make these though: Lemonade Krispie Bird and Nest, cause ya’ll know I love citrus right?

French Vanilla Strawberry-filled Chick Cupcakes

cupcakes with filling

making a hole

I got the original recipe here. I substituted strawberries for raspberries because Abby wanted strawberries ;) I think the raspberries probably break down better though. I ended up with large chunks of strawberries. This probably could have been a non-issue though had I chopped the strawberries up beforehand :)

icing cupcakes

filled and ready for icing

These pictures are turrible. But you know what? It was like 11 o’clock at night so not only was it dark, but I was also too lazy to get the good camera out (not that it would’ve helped much). I really liked this buttercream. Although I did my own thing toward the end up with sugar and heavy cream. I like the idea of adding heavy cream. I don’t really like icing to begin with, but the cream (to me) was a good way to get a good consistency and add creaminess at the same time.

Easter chick cupcakes

cute and delicious

Finite! (that’s finished in some other language, not fie-night, as it appears) I like them a lot. Dye coconut with some food coloring. The eyes are mini M&Ms and the mouths are Starbursts. They’re not as orange as I would’ve hoped. The original poster used “fruit chews” of some kind that seem more orange-y.

Anywho. That’s my Easter food. Actually, I lie. We’ll also be making Resurrection Rolls and Resurrection Cookies. There are many different versions of both of these all over the internet. Some of the rolls are made with biscuits, some with crescent rolls. I’m going to use whatever is cheapest. I lie again, I already bought crescent rolls, whoops! We had them at MOPS and they’re delicious. I’ll update and do pictures after we make them! :)
Speaking of MOPS, if you are a mommy with young children check them out here to find a group near you :))

And once we get the crafting part done, I’ll post that too. If you check my pin boards you can find the future crafts there!

Cake Pops

They’re here, they’re fantastic, and I’m obsessed with them. You see all of cute little variations and think, “Hey! You make cake, roll it, dip it, and voila”! Kind of like patty cake. Roll it and pat it, etc. But no, no, NO. It is NOT that easy. At least for me it wasn’t. It all started with Abby’s fourth birthday. The bumble bees (photo credit Bakerella). Mine did not turn out like Bakerella’s bumble bees. In fact, mine were grounded. Yes, they had wings, but they were stuck in a sad little pan.

what mine looked like

The smiles on their faces were literally painted on. They were sad, trust me. However, cake pops are everywhere and my new goal in life was to make them. So I did my research. I scoured the internet. Food blogs. Dessert blogs. Google. The science of melted chocolate. And finally there was a good reason to make them. I was making dinner for a friend and all good dinners for friends need dessert. Here is what she got :)

meet the gang

There are  few secrets to success. Master these and you’ll go far. Now I realize these are plain jane cake pops, but let me celebrate my small step for mommy-kind, ok? Making buses, basketballs, and bumble bees will no doubt take more practice and a fine tuning of skills, but a good foundation is always crucial.

Make your cake. Let it cool. I made this a two day job. There’s a lot of steps and with two small kids that means a lot of steps spread over a few days. OK, back to the steps. Make the cake. Let it cool. Enlist the help of your four year old to crumble up the cake. Take a deep breath, walk away if you must, but let the kid(s) play in the cake. Give them a big bowl and room to make a mess. Nice, small crumbled cake. Now most how-tos I’ve read say to add a half can of frosting–I’ve found this to be way too much. You don’t want a sticky mixture and most box cakes nowadays are super moist, so I added two heaping spoonfuls of icing and that’s all I needed. The mixture should be moldable, but not sticky. Get rolling! Roll the cake mixture into any shape you’re needing. You can even use small cookie cutters and smush the mix into them to get your desired shape. It gets tedious. Press on. Now, let them cool. I cover mine with plastic wrap and let them hang out overnight. I have a big mess to clean up from kiddo helping and need lots of time to regroup for the next phase.

*overnight chill period*

I half my cake balls so I can work in batches. Start melting your candy melts (ps, I did NOT like the Wilton brand). I do mine on the stove with a pot of simmering water and a glass bowl. I just dont trust the microwave and the stovetop method keeps it nice and melty the whole time. Here is the super secret step that made the world of difference for me: add solid shortening to the chocolate. I was scared. I didn’t want it to taste like shortening, but don’t be scared. I started with a Tbsp and then one more. Your chocolate needs to be fairly runny.  Ok, chocolate melted. Get your sticks ready! Dip the tip of the stick into the chocolate (still in a bowl on the stove) and then into the cake ball. Don’t get crazy, just dip it enough to secure the cake ball (soon becoming a cake POP!) onto the stick. It should look like this afterward.

dipped cake pops

pretty maids all in a row?

I finished a batch and stuck this batch back in the fridge while I worked on the other batch. Switcheroo back to the first batch. Super secret tip number 2: pour the runny chocolate into a deep reservoir (I used a cup)! It makes it tres easy to dip and pull out without incident. Dip the cake pop (good job! its a pop now!) straight down and pull it straight back up. I ended with a little DQ-like swirl on top. If that won’t suit your pop, do a very gentle tap tap tap. I hope you have your styrofoam block ready! Super secret number tip 3: cover your styrofoam with plastic wrap! :) That way you can reuse it if there are any drips! Or jumpers :(

pink cake pops

success! minus the one who just couldn't stand it and threw himself down :(

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat, ad nauseum. Then celebrate. Take pictures. Show your friends. And enjoy :)

pretty inside AND out

ps–flavor wise, go crazy. these were lemon cake and lemon icing. i <3 citrus. so so much.

Here’s a video:

My favorite cake pop links:

Bakerella

Bakerella –Easter bunnies, yes!

Bakerella –pumpkins

Bakerella –baby shower idea

Love and Butter –footballs

Love and Butter –funfetti pop rocks (DEFINITELY making these!)

Love and Butter –apple pops (for your favorite teacher maybe?!)

Three Kids and Us –conversation hearts

Valentine’s Day Fun Stuff

I know these posts are kind of supposed to be done before the actual holiday, in case you want to steal my ideas and stuff, but I’m just not that ahead of my game yet. Lily is 10 weeks old and I’m still catching up. At least it’s not the day after right?!

What’s up with the apostrophe? Is there an apostrophe in Valentine’s Day? I know apostrophes show possession (?), so there shouldn’t be an apostrophe right? Because the valentines aren’t possessing the day, or are they? Or is it a day for valentines (as in a bunch of valentines)? I’ve thoroughly confused myself. Any teachers out there care to shed some light?

We started the day with breakfast. Last year I’m pretty sure I made heart-shaped chocolate chip pancakes. Last year I didn’t have a wittle baby to feed at 7am. Not wanting to drop the ball on holiday tradition, I decided to make biscuit donuts. They’re fairly easy, but when you’re pressed for time because wittle baby slept in (yea!) and daddy dearest has to get out the door for work, nothing is fairly easy.  All you’re basically doing is frying refrigerated biscuits. You can roll them in cinnamon and sugar afterward, make some chocolate ganache and make chocolate donuts, the possibilities are endless! I decided for festive (aka all I had and all I had time for) valentine colors this morning. I also used a heart cookie cutter to complete the valentines/valentine’s day food fun.

 

ready for an oil bath

peppermint sprinkles are my FAVORITE

pink candy melts add messy flair

Don’t make the oil super hot. I couldn’t find my thermometer (did I mention I was rushed) and I was rushed so I set the temperature too high which led to quick browning and not a lot of cooking which led to doughy donuts. Boo. It’s the thought that counts, though, right? Abby bit into one and said, “Dad, what’s that cheesy stuff inside?” Bless her heart. Sorry babe. I hope the pink milk made up for it.

This next craft I won’t take credit for and it was just something else I was rushed to do (for some reason having a wittle baby makes me feel very rushed. I wonder why? And she’s even a good baby!). But hopefully dad will appreciate it nonetheless. The idea came from Roots and Wings. It will be a cute thing to continue on down the years as the girls’ hands grow.

our version. i love four year old hands.

And finally (whew, this is a long one, no?), my new obsession (aside from cake pops!!), Tagxedo.com. Here are a few of the things I’ve made.

daddy/husband dearest

grammy whammy

Lord willing, I’ll also be able to make one for Abby’s teachers as their valentine tomorrow. Isn’t it the coolest? It takes some messing around to get it just how you want it and I’m still not exactly sure how to make it how I want, other than randomizing it until I hit the jackpot, but have fun and go play! I see many gifts in my future. And, a thesaurus.

A Fairy Party

Abby turned four. I can’t even believe it. She’s growing into a little girl right before my eyes. I still refer to her as a toddler though. Toddler she is not, however. She is…a force to be reckoned with. For good, bad, and otherwise, she is a strong little person and I’m so blessed she is in my life. Having Lily actually made me appreciate Abby even more, if that makes any sense. I’ve told many people in my real life this, but I think I’ll tell the general blog population too: very early on in my pregnancy with Abby I prayed for her to be a joy and blessing. Those exact words. That exact phrase. Many, many times. Well, can I just tell you how awesome God is? You couldn’t even guess how many people (strangers included) have told me exactly that, that she is a joy and a blessing. And that she truly is. She’s just amazing. She is dynamic. She is loud. She’s hilarious. She’s outgoing. She’s absolutely smart. Sometimes too smart (she takes after momma ;)). She is cuddly, but only at bedtime now because she knows we will take any chance we get to cuddle with her, delaying bedtime. During the day though, she tells me that she is four and doesn’t want to cuddle anymore. Enter my broken heart. She’s a parrot. I love the way she smells. She smells like a kid. You know? Like peanut butter and honey sandwiches and all the other food she eats with her hands :) She’s trying to figure the world out and it’s scary.

Anywho, I’ve gone on long enough. I’m absolutely in love with her though. On to the party! Her interests change from day to day all depending on the movie or show she’s watched most recently. So, we had a fairy party! After watching the Tinkerbell movies 78 times, I decided that I wanted the food to go along with the movie. I made fairy friends for all of us to munch on. Nice, huh?

I’ll start with the bees.

what they should've looked like

what mine looked like

First off, I’m not even 100% sure there were bees in the movie, but Abby didn’t mind. I had high hopes for these little suckers. They looked so easy. On paper. Everybody and their uncle are making cake pops these days. They’re everywhere. My particular inspiration was taken from Bakerella. Her stuff is true art. It’s amazing. Cake pops are no easy thing though. I would like to ask her how she got her chocolate so perfect looking. As you can see from my picture, my bees are hardly uniform (creative decorating aside). I was making these suckers at 5am, but still! How did she get her yellow chocolate so PERFECT?! I gave  up on actually having the bees fly after forming the balls, errr bodies. My mixture was a gloppy mess, and I used flour to dry things up. Didn’t seem to affect the taste any because these bad boys were the first to disappear. Delicious? Yes. Ridiculously time consuming? Yes. If anyone has any cake pop tips, I want ’em! There are so many cutesy things on the Bakerella website I want to try. But not if mine are only going to look like a kindergarten attempt compared to hers :(

Next we had acorns. Why acorns? Because of Terrence.

acorn hat

acorn snacks

Terrence wears an acorn hat and Daddy dearest is always Terrence when we play pretend, so we had to pay homage. And because I like healthy, fun snacks :) These are just almonds dipped in chocolate! They really do look like acorns, no? Here is where I got the inspiration. There are actually a few different options to make acorn snacks, should you ever have a need to make acorn snacks.

Moving on to more healthy and delicious and my personal favorite.

insect snack food

yummy ladybugs

I wish the picture was better. But I was learning to wear Lily (incorrectly) and I only had one hand to hold my big ol’ camera. These were so delicious I want to go make some now. A strawberry with mini chocolate chips stuck in the top and a blueberry skewered on. How stupid cute is that?! And healthy?! Bonus? Ladybugs were featured a lot in the first movie. Score for me and my themed party. Jk.

This next snack was good, but could’ve been better. Next time I’ll know.

butterflies

Another crappy picture. Whoops. These are pieces of celery with tinted cream cheese, raisins, and pretzels. Now, a friend and I made these the night before and stuck them in the fridge. Mistake. It made the pretzels reaaallly gross. Mushy on the bottom and hard on the top. Skip the pretzels until serving time. The raisins too, just to be safe. But what a fun way to get kids to eat this stuff? Food coloring makes everything more fun and apparently so does making it into an insect.

What’s a party without favors? My party apparently. I swear I made them folks. But when it was clean up time, the bag they were in got put in the car with the rest of our miscellaneous stuff. Sorry :(

woulda, coulda, shoulda

oreo suckers

The oreo suckers were also more difficult than anticipated. Delicious? Without a doubt. But man, Oreos sure are fragile. I had about 18 of them break on me trying to twist them open to stick the sucker stick in there. I normally don’t twist them open though, so maybe my technique was bad. My friend helping me make them had a hard time too though, so I blame the Oreos. Stupid good though.

The cake.

tinkerbell cake

stripper cake

Oh the cake. It is truly only by the grace of God I managed to get this thing made in 8 hours with both girls by myself. I made the skirt (although Daddy dearest was kind enough to point out that it doesn’t look much like a skirt but rather something one pops out of) using a metal mixing bowl and the top half of another bowl. It took an obscene amount of time to cook, and I’m not sure if it was even good. I put it on top of a regular 9×13 cake. I wrapped Tink in saran wrap because I knew if something happened to her skin Abby wouldn’t play with her. Boo.

doll cake

glad she put some clothes on

Then I squished on some icing to cover her up. It was a children’s party after all. I’m no good with the star tip. I don’t know if my icing was too soft or what. It looked fine and nice even, but up close it was a hot mess. Not the nice starry, strapless shirt I imagined.

doll cake

tink and her friends (and herself again)

The crown jewel of the party. For me anyway. What’s a Tinkerbell cake without her friends?!

So this is my fourth major cake. I started when Abby turned one and have continued with an outside of the box cake ever since. I’m thinking of stopping after five though. Unless I take a class, which I will probably do once Lily is older. Peace. It’s late. And I need to stop eating Sour Cream & Cheddar ruffles. That is no way to lose baby fat. That’s your free tip for the day.