Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Hey Mom, It's Cold Out Here!"


Do you think this little girl wants in? I got this feeling she is done playing outside. She sure does love the snow at least for a little while. I recently gave her a haircut, most of her black came off. But, she is still as cute as can be!
She is 6 months old now, and about 4 1/2 pounds. Still real small......And boy, does she love to cuddle.
*Happy 1/2 Birthday Riley!*

Friday, January 30, 2009

This Friday, I'm hooked on Cookies....



Julia from Hooked on Houses is sponsoring a Hooked on Fridays, and is asking everyone: What they are hooked on today? Well, it's not just today, but all of the time. I am a Cookie-aholic. Yes ,it is a true addiction! It leads to a spare tire around the midriff. I am on a diet and trying to avoid it now, but am not having any luck.......

Here is just a few of my favorites:

Linzer Hearts, made with sugar cookie cut-out dough and raspberry preserves inside. I make them every Valentine's Day...



Chocolate-Chocolate, just like a crisp brownie....


Molasses---I just bought a gallon of dark molasses over the Holiday Break and have been making them every week since.
I love them with lots of Ginger....

All American Chocolate Chip....Who doesn't love
Chocolate Chip??


And my new favorite-- Butterfinger Delights.....
I love Butterfingers so why not put them in a cookie.
I'll be posting a recipe within the week for these,
so stay tuned....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Baker Challenge - January...Tuile


This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

This is a very light dessert, for those of you on a diet. What I did with mine: after baking I placed my just baked circles into a mini muffin pan to make a little bowl. After they hardened up I place a 1/4 cup scoop of frozen chocolate yogurt in each one, and placed them on glass plates which had been garnished with chocolate and raspberry sauce. (I would have loved a sprig of mint, but because of the yucky weather we're having, I couldn't or wouldn't go out..)

I have included the recipe, so give it a try, it was very easy and it would make a nice accompaniment to your Valentine Dinner.

Chocolate Tuile

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup softened butter
½ cup sifted confectioner’s
Dash of vanilla extract
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS
**Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

**Preheat Oven to350F

**Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites.

**Continue to add the flour and cocoa powder in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not over mix.

**Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

**After refrigerating, drop by small teaspoonful, and spread around into a circle or use stencils as your shape.

**Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until it bubbles, take out and allow to sit for 2 minutes, then shape it into the shape you prefer. VERY IMPORTANT: In order to keep up with the shaping only bake one pan at a time.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Banana Zabaglione Cupcake Challenge....


It's Iron Cupcake time again and this month's challenge is WINE...And it is down to the wire. So I decided to go to what I knew, which is Marsala Wine. I use it alot in cooking, a nice sweet wine....so I thought of Zabaglione, a Italian creamy sauce, used on fruit.


Back in the day, in Italy, Zabaglione was used on the wedding day. It was the groom's breakfast, served over fruit. It is said that it would help the man last through the night on his wedding night. I don't know, is it a old wives tale or what??? Or is Marsala Wine the secret ingredient in Viagra....


Back to the cupcakes...I decided to go with everything I had on hand. We always have an abundance of bananas, so that was an easy choice. I started with a banana bottom, with a cream cheese frosting, topped with sliced bananas, drizzled with the sauce, and then finished with crushed walnuts. Easy? Yes, I know...but it was getting down to the wire, so to speak. But, that's what it should be easy, easy for you to make at home!



BANANA CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk


DIRECTIONS

**Preheat oven to 375°.
**Line cupcake pan.
**In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
**In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
**In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
**Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
**Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
**Stir in banana mixture.

**Scoop batter into liners and bake for 15 - 17 minutes, after baking let cool before frosting.


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1Tbl. marsala wine


DIRECTIONS

**For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
**Beat in 1 Tbl. Marsala
**Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.
**Pipe on cooled cupcake, Drizzle sauce, garnish with walnuts.


ZABAGLIONE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine


DIRECTIONS

Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a metal or glass heat-resistant bowl and whisk until foamy. Set the bowl over the simmering water, without letting the bottom touch the water, and continue to whisk constantly. Gradually pour in the Marsala while continuing to beat - don't let it boil. Keep working-out that arm and whisk vigorously for a good 5 minutes, until the custard has doubled in volume and is very thick and yellow.


*PRIZES GALORE*


Here are the wonderful prizes I am competing for this month.
DOGBONE ART - here
LOTS OF SPRINKLES at etsy
CAKESPY at etsy
SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY here
and our corporate prize providers here:
HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS here
HELLO CUPCAKE here
JESSIE STEELE APRONS here
CUPCAKE COURIER here
TASTE OF HOME BOOKS here
UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM here
1-800-FLOWERS here


Voting begins Thursday Jan 29th at 8 pm at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner. Please take time to vote before Feb 4th at 12pm. Check out the Iron Cupcake Earth site to join or enjoy.


Thank you all for your votes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What are you Hooked On?

Julia from Hooked on Houses is sponsoring a Hooked on Fridays, and is asking everyone what they are hooked on today. Well, I have to admit, I am hooked on Cookbooks, especially Baking Books. If I had more room , there would be more books in my collection. But, thanks to the Internet, finding recipes and reviews for those recipes have become even easier. You really do not have to purchase a book unless you absolutely love it. And if your like me, you read them like a favorite novel in bed, before you go to sleep at night, and then dream of your next creation.

Fannie was my very first Baking Book, given to me by my BFF Shanna. There are tried and true recipes in here!

I know this seems a little quirky, but she really does have some great ideas for cake mixes. The Chocolate Biscotti is a favorite!
She has also written 3 more excellent books.


There is alot of great recipes in here: pate choux, rugelach, pastry cream.



Great book I just purchased, after reading all the bloggers out there that do "Tuesdays with Dorie", as they work their way through the book.


I know alot of you may not be fans, but I absolutely am!
She has some great recipes in here, including the pizza dough
which is super easy to make.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome Mr. President!

At 12 noon today, we ushered in a new President. How exciting to see those millions of people from all walks of life, watching as he took his 'Oath of Office', on the exact bible that was used by President Lincoln.

He brings with him a fresh new hope for Americans, as he commented:


"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America."
So true, Mr. President, although it will take much time before our dust will settle. So much despair in the Country right now. Even here in the East, things are very tough.....The one thing we have going for us, is our state ranks number two in Education, and that if you can not afford Healthcare, the state will help you out.
I hope everyone will give him and his team the chance, and not expect that things will be accomplished overnight or even in the first year.
The change will come, we'll just have to wait and see!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Birthday Wish! , to the 1-800 Baby....


My First son turned 9 yesterday. We call him the
1-800 Baby
....he was born as the Millennium was just turning on January 8th, 2000, hence the 1-800.
When he was 6 months old I subjected him to this photo. I thought of this idea and my wonderful friend the photographer made it happen. We strung the rope from two poles, which we had two people hold on to, and then I secured him from behind the sheet holding on to his britches, so to speak.
He had the U of M baby t-shirt that they gave all the newest babies, and the rest of the clothes came from the GAP. Isn't that the cutest little boy scout shirt? It should have been a GAP ad....instead the photographer used it for her ads in the phonebook and in print ads. (Such the little celebrity)
So, even though he may be embarrassed that I'm posting this, I'm doing it any way!
Happy 9th Birthday First Son!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008 Top 10 Projects......From Suzy Homemaker!

Well, it's 2009 and time to reflect on any projects you may have finished this past year. And Rhoda from Southern Hospitality is hosting a before and after reflection of what she and others have done in 2008, and is asking others to join in. Because 2008, was a big project year for us, I thought why not join in!

Except, there were way more projects within this big project, than 10! I've decided just to narrow it down to 10 pictures of our BIG project. We are as you can see a DIY couple here. We added on a 900 sq. ft. 2-story addition to our home, where a backyard and a old garage used to be. We acted as our own contractor, and hired the excavating and framing out to bid. We had the old garage torn down, and because of variances could not put another one back up.

At the moment I can not hunt down any before pictures, which were of the 100 year old, small garage, and the never ever used, back yard. Because the terrain was mounded and bumpy. So my finished addition pictures will have to do!


Let me just tell you, I Love my new addition, especially the kitchen. When I say, we did almost all of this ourselves, we really did! We were able to buy this kitchen from a showroom in Michigan before we moved, at a drastically reduced price. Then we hauled it here with us when we moved and placed it in storage until we could afford or have time to put the addition on. The cabinets are a beautiful quarter sawn oak, in a darker honey-walnut color.


Most of the items you will see, have come from Craigslist or Ebay, including this gas fireplace insert (EBAY). Then the hubby built a mantle around it. He actually did all the wood work in the addition. All the furniture and windows came from Craigslist. I love to search up a bargain!!!



Look at the beautiful stove from EBAY. It was actually used on a movie set and came across country after a knock down, drag-out, up to the last second, bidding war! We stored that too , until the kitchen was almost done, and then it took four moving men to bring it from storage to here.

The lovely island was hand crafted by the hubby to match the cabinets. It is very hard to find quarter-sawn oak. So we ordered it on the Internet, and then mixed stains together to match the cabinets.



I loved these tiles when I saw them, so the colors of the room were an after thought. I actually tiled this back splash, along with all the other tiling in the addition. My husband said"Go for it, better you than me!", and I actually enjoyed it!!!!

We found this tub on someone's porch, all rusted and gross, and took it to be re-glazed. I painted the outside after having it installed, because I liked it better than all white. I also, thought of putting it up on some sort of stage so it wasn't so low. The sink cabinet was a LOWE'S find where someone had returned it, because it had a scratch. Then marked it down from $800 to $299. Then I wanted it a darker color, so I used Mahogany stain gel. (Nice job on the tiling, right?)



The 3 x 4 shower was my first tiling job ever by myself. It is hard to believe I even attempted it. But I think I did a great job for a first-timer....Tile was from LOWE'S and HOME DEPOT. We would like a glass enclosure, but waiting to find the right price...




After finishing the addition we had the backyard to contend with. We started from scratch, leveling and building. Found most of everything on CRAIGSLIST! (railroad ties, perennial plants, cement patio stones)



Cute little steps for the patio leading from the beautiful french door with side windows, bought off of CRAIGSLIST.


Then we added the addition of a clubhouse made with reclaimed wood and products. Did I mention we have a great dump in our town for finding treasures, including this yellow slide. Then we just used a tarp for the roof. And the outdoor paint color was for $3 a gallon off the mistake table. And we have since, placed playground stone pebbles in the playground area. When if you pick them up yourself is about $3 a big bag, which it took about 20 bags for this area. Making it much cheaper that delivery.


So as you can see these are just a few of the projects we have had in 2008, and of course looking forward to many more in 2009. Check out Southern Hospitality for more ideas from others.


When you think you can't do it, just watch a few How To videos on YOU TUBE, and take a chance. Start out small.....YOU CAN DO IT!