Welcome to my blog!

I'm so glad you came to visit! My goal with this blog is to share my cooking and baking adventures, kitchen tips, and fun!! I hope you'll join me on the adventure. Keep an eye out for new kitchen tips every Friday. Have some you'd like to share?? Let me know, and I'll be sure to post them! I'd also like to share recipes and swap some with friends, maybe even cook our way through a cookbook or 2. Who knows??

Please feel free to leave a comment if you like the post! (For those of you new to blogging,
under each post will be the word "comment"
- click on it and follow the directions.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate Covered Pretzels!

In the midst of my pie baking (pics and such to come on Friday!), I made some chocolate covered pretzel rods. As if chocolate covered pretzels weren't fabulous enough on their own, I rolled some of them in mini Reese's Pieces. Now, can I just tell you how completely fabulous these are????? I don't know if I've yet mentioned my absolute love and adoration for the combination of chocolate and peanut butter - but, I'm kind of an addict! They're super easy to make, and they look cute set out with your Thanksgiving meal. So I took pics of them - which is swiftly becoming a favorite activity of mine....wonder if I can convince the hubby to buy me a fancy camera for my birthday? Hmmmmm......better start working on those hints now!!
Here are the pics from "The Chocolate Covered Pretzel Fashion Show". Enjoy! ;)

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hello, Gorgeous!!

Tonight I made cake ball samples for my mom's work friends.
Here's just a couple pics of the process. (For a real tutorial, visit Bakerella, which is where I learned how.)

Start by baking a Red Velvet Cake. (Go ahead and use a box mix - I won't tell!)
Once cooled, crumble it all up into a bowl.

Next, mix it up with some cream cheese frosting, and roll into balls.

Toss 'em in the freezer for about 15 minutes, then dip in chocolate!
Voila- Cake Balls!!
(Now you can indulge me by looking at all these pics - can you tell I'm experimenting with photo taking???)

I hope you enjoyed my cake ball "photo shoot". ;)  They were very cooperative models, and fairly easy to shoot. None of them had diva attitudes, which is always a relief for a photographer.
Oh dear! Can you tell I'm a little punch drunk?? I need to get myself to bed before I start naming them all and giving them personalities!! haha (It's been a looong day!!)
Good night!

Now on Facebook, too!!

Happy Sunday Everyone!
I have a page on Facebook now too! Please stop by and check us out, "The Cake Girl". You can see some more pics of my work, and there's info to place orders as well. I hope you'll stop by and "Like" my page!! The business is continuing to grow, and I'm so excited! I met with two Moms-to-Be this weekend to help plan the goodies for their shower, and I'll be doing my first wedding cake in March! I'm really hoping to keep on growing and to keep expanding my repertoire!
Thank you to my loyal readers - please be sure to recommend this blog (and my Facebook page) to your friends! I greatly appreciate referrals!
Stay tuned this week for more baking and lots of pies!!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Had to share...

I loved these dog cookies over at Flour and Sugar. Check em out - they made me smile!!
You should swing over and check out her site!! Super cute stuff!! I just love the humor in these puppies!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cakegirl and Baby Cake Collaborate!

So, this afternoon my darling daughter (Baby Cake) and I were looking through an issue of Rachael Ray Magazine when we stumbled upon a recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies. Baby Cake remarked "I like chocolate pretzels though." Which got me to thinking....how could I combine those flavors? Baby Cake and I decided to experiment with different options.
Now, generally I don't experiment with baked goods. In fact, this is the first baked good I've ever created a recipe for. Let me share my oh-so-scientific findings with you: (oh, and you'll also see I had the cutest sous chef ever assisting me - my beautiful Baby Cake!)

So, we started with a basic peanut butter cookie base. We also got to work breaking up small pieces of pretzels. (We prefer Rold Gold brand around here.)
Then we whisked together 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 tsp of baking soda.

Next, we beat 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 1 cup of peanut butter in my beloved Kitchen Aid Mixer, till fluffy. (About 5 minutes.)
Then beat in two eggs (one at a time), and slowly add the flour mixture. Then I put Baby Cake to work unwrapping 12 Dove Chocolate Caramels. (Isn't she ridiculously cute??) She may have sampled 1 or 2....
Then we scooped a heaping tablespoon of dough into her hand, where she then tucked a Dove chocolate.

 Then we rolled it in the bowl of pretzel pieces and set it on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
We baked them for about 17 minutes. A little caramel leaked out of the bottom of a few of them.

We thought they tasted a bit like a Take 5 Candy bar (one of our favorites.)
 Then, on to part two of our experiment.
To the remaining dough we added a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

We scooped them and rolled these ones in the pretzel bits as well. Then they were placed on the baking sheet.
After about 17 minutes, we took them out to cool.

SEE PART TWO OF MY POST! (for some reason it would only allow me to use a certain number of pics in this post!!)

PART 2 of Cakegirl and Baby Cake Collaborate!

These ones had more of a chocolate covered pretzel taste.
We made 12 of those, then the remaining dough we just cooked plain without the pretzel bits.

Needless to say, Baby Cake enjoyed all three types!!

Give 'em a try and let me know what you think!!!

One last thing, since it's also Friday and my "Kitchen Tip of the Week" day, I lumped it in with this cookie post. I'm excited to share one of my favorite kitchen tools with you. We use a LOT of garlic in this house, and I always find that mincing it is kind of a pain in the butt. Then at a super cute store in downtown Plymouth, MI (called Isabella's Copper Pot) I discovered a nifty kitchen tool. Check out this garlic mincer!! It's made by "chef'n". You just peel your garlic clove and stick it in the top. Roll it across the counter and it finely minces your garlic for you!! Love it!! And it's dishwasher safe!!

Have a Great Night!
-Cakegirl (and Baby Cake too!!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Improv Night

As yet another testament to my crazy week, tonight I almost blew dinner completely. Another one of those space-out moments when I wonder where my brain is taking a much needed vacation.(and why couldn't the rest of me go along with it?! Kind of unfair, if you ask me!)
Let me start at the beginning. Each Sunday I sit down to make my meal plan for the week, along with my grocery list. I found a  recipe for green chile enchiladas. I have never made it before and thought it sounded good for something different. I added the ingredients to my shopping list, assigned the meal to Thursday night and thought no more about it.
When I got up for work this morning, I took out a package of meat to thaw. (Did I mention that it was supposed to be chicken enchiladas, and I took out ground turkey?) When I got home and started getting ingredients together, I grabbed the recipe and realized that it was a crockpot meal.(Did I forget to mention that, too??) One that would take 6 hours to cook. Somehow I had completely erased this information from my brain.
So I sat staring at the meat, onion, corn tortillas, and sauce. Nothing. I looked at the back of the sauce can - a recipe for chicken enchiladas. Not helpful.
So I just started chopping the onion and then threw it in the pan, then the ground turkey. I found a bottle of fiesta seasoning in my cupboard and added that. I remembered I had a poblano chile in the fridge, but when I got it out, it was all shrivelled and gross looking. I then found a bottle of hot sauce that my husband had purchased on a business trip to Maryland, made by a company called  Rising Sun Pepper Farm. (It was the Pepper Garlic flavor.) I added a few shakes of that and browned the meat. I preheated my oven to 400 and sprayed some Pam into an 8x8 casserole dish. When the meat was done, I spooned it onto corn tortillas, rolled them up, and put them in the dish. Then I poured a can of Green Chile Enchilada Sauce over the top and sprinkled it with Colby Jack cheese. I threw it in the oven for 20 minutes.
As I cooked, the hubby looked over and said "Whatcha making?"
I replied "An Improv dish."
"Again?" he asked.
"Hey last time I did an improv, I came up with the Asian stir fry pasta that you love!" I said.
"They can't all be home runs though," he said. Gee, thanks for the support, babe.
Meanwhile, I fried up my own tortilla chips. It's pretty easy - just slice up some corn tortillas, heat up some veg oil in a pan, and fry them till they just start to get golden (flipping once).

Then remove them to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, and add a little salt.
When the enchiladas are done, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
(Mmmmm...yummy gooey cheese! Have I mentioned that I love cheese?)
Serve it up with the tortilla chips, and guess what.... HOME RUN!!! (In your face, hubby!!)

Good stuff!

Coming this weekend: a return to my true love: BAKING!!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Love the Smell of Fresh Apple Pie!

Okay, first I have to confess to something terrible. You may think less of me, but I have to be honest - I'm not a big fan of pie. There! I said it! It's not an easy thing to admit when there are so many pie fans around me. The only pie I ever really like to eat is chocolate. And not even a fancy chocolate cream pie, but just the simple old kind made with chocolate pudding and a graham cracker crust. What can I say, I'm a simple girl! (although I do plan on branching out this Thanksgiving and trying some pie!)
However, I do LOVE the smell of a fresh baked pie, particularly apple pie! And that's what I made today - for the first time ever! So here are some pics and directions. I hope you enjoy! Also, head over to Tidy Mom and check out the Love the Pie Party!!!!

Apple Pie
1 package of Pillsbury Pie Crust (yes - I cheated!)
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
6 assorted McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith apples (3lbs total)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp unslted butter

Roll out one piece of the ready made pie dough and fit it inot a 9 inch pie plate. Set aside.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl.

Keeping McIntosh apples separate, peel, core and slice apples 1/8 inch thick. Place McIntosh apples in one bowl, the remaining apples in a second bowl. Drizzle lemon juice over both bowls of apples.

Toss McIntosh apples with 1/4 cup of sugar mixture; set aside. Toss Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples with remaining sugar mixture.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Scrape Golden Delicious-Granny Smith mixture into skillet; saute 10 minutes or until softened. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450.
Once the sauteed apples are cooled, combine with raw McIntosh apples. Arrange apple mixture in the dough lined pan, packing apples as tightly as possible.

Roll out the other dough on top of the apples and pinch top and bottom edges together. Cut slits in top.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Then lower temp to 350. Bake for an additional 50 minutes. (keep an eye on the crust edge - if it's getting dark too quickly, cover edges with foil.)

Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Who knows? Maybe I'll try a bite.....


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Running behind...

Hi everyone! Running a bit behind in my posts! My plan had been to make my first ever apple pie yesterday, and then link up to the Love The Pie Party over at Tidy Mom. However, fate had other plans, and I ended up spending the day in the hospital with my mom. She is fine now - but as you can imagine, my plans changed a bit!! So, tomorrow will be apple pie day,so watch for a post tomorrow night!
To make up for no recipes for the past few days, here is a quick one for an Asian Stir Fry Pasta that I created. (sorry no pics)
Asian Stir fry Pasta
4 chicken breasts
Kraft Light Toasted Asian Sesame Dressing
olive oil
garlic powder
green onion
spaghetti noodles
green onions

Start by chopping the uncooked chicken into bite size pieces. Heat up about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large fry pan. Add the chicken and sprinkle with the garlic powder. Cook till no longer pink in the center. Meanwhile, boil salted water for your noodles.
When chicken is cooked through, add sliced green peppers, a handful or 2 of cashews, and about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the dressing. Stir and keep on low heat.
Cook noodles following directions on the box. For the last 3 minutes of cooking, add a few handfuls of broccoli florets to the boiling water. Drain in a colander. Pour noodles and broccoli back into pan, and add chicken mixture. Mix well.
Spoon out into bowls, and add a handful of chopped green onion. Enjoy!!

Have a great night!!

Friday, November 12, 2010


I'm so excited to share this recipe with you, cause it was YUMMY!!!
Tonight I made the Camembert Pasta. My original intent had been to make some homemade focaccia to go with it, but after filling in for another mom at school today, I just ran out of time. (Which was a real bummer, cause I LOVE bread!!)
Anyhow, this recipe came from an issue of Food Network Magazine a while back. Here are the ingredients:
1 8oz box camembert cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
4oz parmesan cheese
sea salt
1 lb dried rigatoni
3 cups fresh spinach leaves

Preheat your oven to 350. Open the box of cheese and unwrap it. Place it back in the wooden container.

Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard.

Peel and finely slice the garlic. Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalk. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle with some pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Scatter the rosemary leaves on top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in oil.
Grate the parmesan and set aside. (I'm not gonna lie - I just used Kraft grated parmesan!!)
Place the box of cheese on a cookie sheet and put it in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When your cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the rigatoni to the pot and cook according to package directions. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pot - it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so.
Drain the pasta and spinach, reserving a little bit of the pasta water. Return to pot and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, add the parmesan cheese, pasta water, and a bit of salt and pepper and stir. Remove the cheese from the oven.
Divide the pasta among serving dishes and then spoon some of the cheese over the top of each. YUM!

It was a big hit around here, even with my toughest food critic!!

Well, give it a try and let me know what you think!
Stay tuned tomorrow evening for Southwestern Cream of Chicken Soup!!