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January 31, 2011

Terrific Tiramisu Cake

I am a fan of Tiramisu desserts, but it is more work than I generally dedicate to making a dessert...I'm lazy, what can I say?
Anyway, here is a recipe for a shortcut/easy Tiramisu cake that I think is really great.  Try it!

1 box white cake mix
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. brandy
(if you don't have brandy, try 1/4 c. water with 2 Tbsp. Vanilla extract as a replacement-excellent option!)
3 egg whites or whole eggs

Espresso Syrup
1 pkt. Starbucks instant coffee, Via Italian roast
1/2 c. boiling water
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/4 c. chocolate syrup or hot fudge sauce

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. whipping cream 
(I like to use heavy cream, but light works well too)
1 Tbsp. baking cocoa

Heat oven to 350 degree's.
Lightly coat the bottom only of a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, 1 c. water, oil, brandy, and eggs white (or eggs).  Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour mix into prepared pan, and bake as directed on the box.  Cook the cake for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl stir the instant coffee, boiling water,corn syrup and chocolate syrup.  Mix very well.
Pierce the top of the cake using a long-tined fork or skewer every 1/4 to 1/2 inch across the entire cake top.
Brush the cake with the espresso syrup until syrup is used up.  Let the cake completely cool for 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy.  Add the powdered sugar and continue beating.  Gradually beat in the whipping  cream, 1/2 c. at a time until well incorporated, then beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Spread on cake, and dust with cocoa powder.  Store in the fridge.


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Beat the winter blues and indulge yourself!

January 28, 2011

Creamy Tomto Soup

Last evening I made my favorite comfort food meal. With cold weather all around us I thought it would be nice to re post one of my very favorite recipe's...

I have always had a bit of an obsession with Tomato Soup. When I was 9 years old I even begged my mother to make me  tomato soup for Thanksgiving dinner! I love tomato soup so much that back when I was a bride-to be my Aunt Peg gave me  48 cans of Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup at a bridal shower!
So, even though this recipe didn't originate with Aunt Peg, it's one of my fast and favorite meals, and when I shared this recipe with her she was crazy for it too!

1-(10 3/4 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
1-(15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1-(8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. milk
 In a large sauce pan melt the butter, add the diced onion and saute until onion is translucent.
  Add the condensed tomato soup, canned tomatoes, and milk.  
Heat until simmering.
  Add in the cubed cream cheese, return to a simmer and whisk until cream cheese is melted and completely incorporated.
Ready to serve!
NOTE:  The soup thickens significantly as it cools, so when reheating any leftovers you may want to add more milk.

This a very satisfying, creamy soup and it is the ultimate comfort meal if you serve it with 
or  these 

Originally posted 3/21/2010

January 27, 2011

Epic Bread Quest... baking bread = failure #2!

Here's my second post on my quest to bake a great loaf of bread... and more failure!  
First off, I have to say that I had a wonderful recipe from a great blogger and she also provided me great tips to work with.  Apparently I can't follow written or verbal directions :(.
The recipe is courtesy of 
and the name of her recipe is:

Now you may be asking what happened?  I have that same question swimming in my head too!  As usual the dough started out great, but it never raised to the height I thought it should, but hey... I put them in the oven after waiting SEVERAL hours for the loaves to 'double in size" (I'm beginning to think this is a myth that accomplished bakers say you must obtain just so they can laugh at us fools). OK, back to the oven, I placed them in the oven, set the timer, and because the loaves need to bake about 40 minutes I went back to make some jewelry (no wasted time for me!).  I could smell the bread baking, and my stomach was rumbling, I was imagining the huge pat of butter I was going to put on that first piece of hot sliced bread!
Making jewelry...some computer work...edited a couple of photo's...sorted some jewelry orders...what is that smell?  Is something burning?  AUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!  I didn't hear the timer! My bread had been in the oven over an hour!!!!!!!!!!
Can you say...
Maybe a SLIGHT exaggeration.

pause for this safety tip
Well, I couldn't bring myself to actually post pictures of the results from this episode of the epic bread quest, I do have my pride, and I know you get the gist...
I am going to persevere!  I will try this recipe again, and let you know...  But check out Pam's blog and browse her recipe's-they are awesome!
I swiped this cartoon, don't tell on me-it's just soo fitting!!!

January 24, 2011

Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Aunt Peg's Jewelry used this recipe along with some darling Christmas mugs to create quick and inexpensive gifts.
These were a hit with everyone who purchased them, and we have had a lot of requests for the recipe since...

It really makes an excellent cake (enough for 2 people) in the microwave in 3 minutes. No Kidding!

Chocolate Cake in a Mug
4 Tbsp. flour 
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips (mini are best)
Mix dry ingredients together.
(at this point if you are making this mix to give, place the mixed dry ingredients in a small bag, and add chocolate chips on top-seal bag)
Add chocolate chips.
Remaining ingredients & directions...
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. oil
Small splash of vanilla
Lightly coat the inside of a microwave safe mug with non stick spray. Add dry ingredients. Mix well with a fork. Add egg, and mix again.  Pour in milk, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Add chips.
Pour into mug, place in microwave and cook for 3 minutes (1000 watt).
photo of the cake baking in the microwave
Cake will rise over the top of the mug, don’t be alarmed. Allow to cool slightly, dump onto serving plate and enjoy!

Here are some photo's of the gift set we offered during the Christmas Holiday...

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Beat the winter blue's, indulge your sweet tooth

January 21, 2011

Marshmallow Layer Brownies

I love brownies.  So do my family.  We're a bunch of happy campers whenever I make a pan of them.  We really love this recipe!
Oh boy...these are chocolaty goodness at it's best...

1 box brownie mix -family size works best-
(plus the ingredients to make the brownies)
1 (10 oz.) pkg. marshmallows

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
4 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1/4 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. milk
pinch salt
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Using your kitchen shears, cut the marshmallows in half.  Set aside.
Prepare the brownies according to package directions for the 9 x 13 size pan.  5 minutes before the baking time is completed remove the brownies from the oven and cover with the marshmallows.
Return to the oven and finish the baking time of 5 minutes.
Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool completely.
While brownies are cooling, place the sugar, butter, baking cocoa, corn syrup, milk and the pinch of salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, and then remove from heat.  Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth.
Pour chocolate mix over the marshmallow layer of the brownies, spread to even it out, and allow to cool completely until frosting is set.

Cut into 24 equal size squares and store in an airtight container.  Your gonna love these!!!

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Are you a sport's mom? You need these...

This fabulous customized sports charm is being offered by our new company~Joyful Creations!~.
They customize the charm with your child's jersey #, team color, and first name initial!
Spread the word, and hop on over to get one:

January 18, 2011

Frog Eye Salad (what kind of name is this?)

This is a wonderful salad, but seriously who gave it this name?  The name is kind of disturbing...why would I want to try it?

But, on to the salad...IT IS SOOOO GOOD! This recipe is my dad's favorite version and so we make it often.
A small warning however, this recipe make a GINORMOUS amount of salad! It will last several days in the fridge, but we like to share ours with friends or neighbors.

Frog Eye Salad
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 3/4 c. pineapple juice
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 box Acini-De-Pepe pasta
3 (11 oz.) can's mandarin oranges
2 (20 oz.) cans pineapple chunks
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 (12 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed

About 4 hours before you would like to serve the salad (or even the day prior), place a large strainer over a large mixing bowl, open all the canned fruit and drain (BE SURE TO RESERVE THE JUICES).  Set aside to continue draining.
In a medium size sauce pan combine the sugar, flour, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Gradually whisk in the reserved juice and the eggs. Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Add the lemon juice and cool to room temperature.
Cook the Acini-De-Pepe pasta according to package directions.  Cool. Mix the fruit, pasta, and remaining salt together and refrigerate until cold.  Remove from fridge, add thawed whip topping, stirring until incorporated then return to the fridge until ready to serve.

Note:  I always let my fruit drain for several hours before starting to assemble the salad.  The drier fruit helps the salad hold together better.

January 17, 2011

Fabulous Fudge-alicious Bar's

Fabulous Fudge Bars

cookie layer:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly coat a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray.
Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl, set aside.
Cream together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until it is crumbly.  Press into the prepared baking dish, until smooth and even in thickness.
Bake for 18-20 min until light golden brown.
Remove from over and let cool for 10 minutes.
While the cookie is cooling, prepare the fudge layer:

fudge layer:
2 c. milk chocolate chips-divided
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk-divided
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
1 c. toasted pecans, chopped (optional)

Over medium low heat melt 1 c. chocolate chips and 1/2 the can of condensed milk, stirring until creamy.  Remove from heat and the remaining chocolate chips, condensed milk, the egg, vanilla and nuts.  Stir again until smooth.
Spread over the cookie crust and return to the oven.  Bake an additional 22-25 minutes, or until set.
Remove pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Cut into 24 bars and store in an airtight container.

January 14, 2011

Easy White Bread Recipe =Failure :( for me....

One of my personal challenges for this year is to learn to make great bread.  I have never been successful with this! Anything that requires me to use yeast seems to turn out badly.
I found this wonderful recipe and thought "hmmmm, I can make this!"  Nope, it turned out sad...
The bread actually tasted great but I made flat bread instead of raised bread-lol.
But because the recipe tasted really great I want to share it with you, and I will go back to the drawing board to try again...
This is what great bread looks like

(Makes 4 loaves)
4 c. warm water (divided)
8 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. yeast
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 tsp. salt
7-8 c. flour

Add the sugar to 1 c. warm water, and then dissolve yeast in the sugar water.  Let the mix rest until it's doubled in size.
Pour oil into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast mixture, the remaining water and the salt.
Adding 2-3 cups of flour at a time mix together and knead until the dough is soft and not sticky.
(The dough is too sticky if you touch it and it sticks to your finger)
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.
Looking good so far
Set on a greased counter top, cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Lightly knead each loaf for 1 minute, then form into loaves and places in greased bread pans.
Hmmm...not so beautiful but still hopeful
Allow to raise until doubled in size.
Bake at 350 degree's for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Remove from oven and rub the tops with softened butter. Allow to cool in the pans for 30-40 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to completely cool. Store in plastic bags.
What my bread turned out like.   This is sad...