Monday, May 28, 2007


See those beautiful noodles in my new logo? Uh huh. I made them. And when I get around to it, I'll post about it. You'll just have to wait until then, m'kay?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cream Puffs

My daughter wanted to make dessert for me for Mothers Day, and when she suggested Cream Puffs, I just knew we had to make them! Today was definitely a Cream Puff Day!!!

They are quite simple to make and they are oh so fun to eat!

For the Filling:

Make 1 recipe vanilla pudding. (I made homemade vanilla pudding from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but a box of pudding made according to directions works well too). Whip about 1 cup of cream, adding vanilla and sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding until fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.

For the pastry:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.

When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.

When I split the shells, I pulled out a little of the inside to create a little pocket to hold the filling, but this is optional.

Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle some homemade hot fudge sauce on top.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yes, that's an orange and blue birthday cake.

We've had two birthdays these past few weeks. Hypatia is a Cinco de Mayo baby, born on May 5, 2000. She turned 5 on 05/05/05!! And I didn't even plan it that way!! May 5, 2000 is also special because of the way the planets aligned that day, too. I'll have to google it:

So, now she is 7 and I had to decorate a cake. She wanted pink frosting, but I accidentally used peach. When I informed her, she got excited and said "YES!! I really wanted orange, but I didn't know you had it!! Make it MORE orange!!" Serendipity! So I kept adding peach until we had an orange that would rival any Halloween cake out there. Then, for the accent color she insisted on a nice blue color. So, this is what we ended up with. It suited her just fine.

Dylan turned 11 on April 25. Due to the rush of the day, and things going on in the evening, I didn't get a cake made. Dylan wasn't bothered in the least. He stuck some candles in some cookies he had made and opened presents anyway:

And, for a laugh, I have some good blackmail photos for when my 3 year old grows up:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ok, so I took a cake decorating class a couple of years ago at Michaels.

I decorate cakes for my family, but thats as far as it goes, lol. I'm really not very good. This is the cake I made for Sean for Valentine's Day.

I'm also going to give a little lesson in photography. Not that I know much at all, but I do know one thing. Natural lighting beats out flash any day. When you are taking pictures of food, use natural lighting, or your pictures will suffer from an ugly yellowish cast. If you take pictures when natural lighting is simply not available (say, during the winter in Alaska), then I would suggest buying or making a light box. While I have yet to do this, I've read many tutorials about this on the internet, and it seems to work very well.

Now I'm going to tell you a little secret: When photographing my food, I usually put the plate on a dining room chair and scoot it next to the window. High tech, huh? Its just the place that has the best natural lighting. The table is a little too far away to take advantage of the natural light, and I don't want to bother with moving the whole table, then moving it back. So I just move the chair and take the picture there.

So, here are the pictures. See what you think!

A close up of my dandy cake. I placed it on a chair and scooted it next to the window.

This next picture was taken the same way, on a chair next to the window.

This next picture was taken on my dining room table, and the flash was used. As you can see, the window is nearby, but just not near enough. The picture is yellow and ugly. All of these three pictures were taken within minutes of eachother.


This next picture is of some carrot cake that I made some time ago, way back in October, I think. When the cake was ready to eat, it was dark outside, so there was no natural lighting available. So, for comparison, I took one picture with a flash and one without. Then, the next day, I took a picture in the middle of the day, when there was plenty of natural light coming in through the window.

This one was taken inside, with a flash.

This one was taken inside, without a flash.

And this one was taken the next day, with natural lighting and no flash.

So, you can see the difference that lighting makes.

Wasn't that educational?

Carrot Cake Recipe:

1 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 cups finely grated carrots or zucchini, or a mixture of the two
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, sugar, applesauce, vanilla and eggs until combined.

Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl. Fold gently into egg mixture, until just combined.

Fold walnuts and carrots into batter.

Bake in a greased and floured 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 lb powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

This is like my recurring dream...

For years I had this recurring dream. Not frequently, but maybe once or twice a year. It was something like this:

Phone rings. I answer, but forget to say hello. Because I never say hello, noone responds. I'm sure that someone is there and I know that if I had just said hello, that person would respond. But, since I missed my chance to say hello (and there is an illogical dream rule that states that once missed, I couldn't get that chance back). The mysterious caller and I would just sit there in a dreamy stalemate, listening to silence. At this point I would wake up, rather frustrated.

A few weeks ago, I realized that this blog had turned into something like this dream. Once I had gone a couple of weeks without posting, I felt like I had lost my chance! I would look at it and just continue to wait...

Well, this morning, I made crepes, and they were fabulous!!! Oh my! I can't just let this one slip by my blog, oh no.

So here goes. I just woke up from my dream, and now I'm going to post again. Wish me luck!

This recipe comes from my Mother-in-Law. When she made it for me the first time (just after I was married), there was no fruit in it, just the crepes, syrup, and whipped cream. It was so good! We have added the fruit and I think its even better!

Fruit Filled Crepes with Orange Syrup

For the Crepes:
1 c. milk
3 eggs
3/4 cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine the ingredients in the blender and blend on high speed 1 minute until smooth. Allow to sit for a while (I made the syrup during this time).

Heat an 8" crepe pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a few drips of water on the pan; if they sizzle, the pan is ready to use. Coat hot pan with a spray of oil, or a drizzle of butter.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet. Immediately pick up the pan and tilt and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl.

the edges of the crepe with a metal spatula. You can use a spatula to turn the crepe, or you can use your fingers. Using both hands, pick up the loosened edges with your thumb and index finger and quickly flip it over.

Cook on the other side until lightly golden (usually less than a minute). and slide it out onto a plate. I stacked them on top of each other and they didn't stick. If you are making them for later use, you may want to separate them with wax paper.

For the Syrup:

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Bring honey and butter to a boil, remove from heat and add the orange juice and orange peel. At this point, I added a bit of vanilla.

To Serve:

Sliced bananas
Fresh or frozen fruit: blueberries, strawberries, etc.
Unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream
Orange Syrup

crepes with fruit inside (and a little syrup). Top with additional fruit, syrup and whipped cream.