Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Watermelon Spritzer

I made a tasty new discovery earlier this week. Muscato wine goes amazingly well with watermelon. I fixed me this refreshing little spritzer, perfect for a hot summer day!

What you need:
Muscato (I used Jacob's Creek Muscato, a sparkling wine)
Juice from a watermelon

Mix 1 part watermelon juice, and 1 part sparkling white wine. Drink chilled. It makes a refreshing pick me up on a hot day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New York Time's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe has been going around blog land, and I've seen it a lot especially pinned on Pinterest. You know I had to make it! The first batch I made, I used crisco in place of the butter, and I used dairy-free chocolate chips (Ghirardelli semi-sweet). They were good, but not spectacular. I wanted to know what the real recipe tasted like. I wanted to have just a bite of one of those cookies. So I made a whole batch. Yup, I made an entire batch, just so I could try a bite. I sent most of them to work with my hubby, and pawned the rest off on my family.
Let me say, THESE were spectacular. The butter and sugar meld together to make an almost (chocolate covered) toffee-like bliss. They were amazing, still warm from the oven. Ya know what my husband said when I asked him what he thought? "They taste like a chocolate chip cookie". About 5 minutes later, I caught him with his eyes rolling back in his head saying "these are sooooo good" about the Nacho Cheese Doritos he was shoveling in his mouth. Needless to say, he's lucky he woke up with both his testicles in tact. ;)
Anyway, the cookies were amazing. They were especially good straight out of the oven. The people at my husbands work apparently loved them, they've now started a list of things for me to make! (I've already sent in my practice Flag Cake, and some Turtle Cheesecake).
Now it's your turn to go make these cookies! You can find the recipe here. It's a pretty large batch, I suggest cutting it in half (unless you have lots of people to eat them!) I made the entire batch, baked half last night, and refrigerated the other half to bake up this morning. I wrapped it in wax paper in a log, like this. When I was ready to bake them, I just unwrapped and sliced them up with a chef's knife.
Personally, I liked them better when they were baked fresh from the original batter, the refrigerated ones seemed to bake up funky. But that's just me, they were both delicious!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pizza braid

Tonight we had this delicious pizza braid for dinner. It was sooo good. It's like pizza and bread sticks all in one.

Prepare you pizza dough. I used this recipe.
Roll it out into a rectangular shape. 
Using a pizza cutter, cut the edges into strips.
Put your pizza toppings down the middle.
Braid it by taking a piece from the right and laying it across the middle and then from the left. Repeat this until all of the side strips are folded into the middle.
Put it a warm place to rise, and rise for about 45 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Brush with garlic butter, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. I liked to pick off the top pieces and eat them like little mini delicious bread sticks. The bottom part I ate like a thin crust pizza. YUM! 
I can't wait to see what other foods I can make into a braided treat!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baked onion rings

I saw this recipe online a couple weeks ago, and after trying it, I decided to make a few changes. Overall it was pretty easy to make, much easier than I expected! Here's the recipe:

1 large onion (I used a Vidalia)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
4 cups corn flakes (crushed)
Salt and pepper
2-4 tbsp oil

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Slice your onion horizontally and separate the rings. Throw them into a gallon size ziplock with 1/4 cup of milk and shake it up. Pour out the excess milk.
Dump 1/4 cup of flour into the bag, seal it and shake it to coat the rings. Add more if needed. 
Beat 2 eggs in a bowl, and set aside.
Using either a food processor or your hands, crush your corn flakes and put them in a bowl. Season them with salt and pepper to taste.
Dunk each ring into the eggs, and then coat it with the crushed corn flakes. Set on a clean plate.
Once all of your onion rings are ready, put 2-4 tbsp of oil onto a baking sheets (one with sides). Place it into your 450 degree oven for 2 minutes.
Place onion rings on the baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes, depending on what level of crispiness you want. Turn them once half way through.
These onions rings were just as good as any other recipe I've had! There weren't deep fried, so they were a little lighter and less greasy, but I don't think any of the flavor was sacrificed at all!

Frozen pumpkin mousse pie

I know this is out of season, but it's my hubby's favorite, and this weekend is Father's Day! So he's getting something tasty.
I was planning on doing my Pumpkin Mousse, but decided to put a summery spin on it, and make it into a frozen pie!

What you'll Need:
1 3/4 cups Gingersnap crumbs
3 tbsp Butter (melted)

15 oz. Can of Plain Pumpkin (if you use pumpkin pie mix, just leave out the sugar and spices from this recipe)
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Sugar OR 4 No Calorie Sweetener Packets
1 pkg Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
8 oz. Tub Cool Whip

Throw your gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in your food processor and pulse until combined.
Press the crumbs into a 10 inch. pie pan and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Add your pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, pudding mix, and spices into your cleaned food processor.
Mix for about 30 seconds, scrape down the sides, and mix again for another 30 seconds.
Fold in the cool whip, and add the mixture to your cooled pie crust. 
Freeze for at least 4 hours, or over night. Garnish however you want, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cheap, easy and HEALTHY dairy-free ice cream

I keep seeing this all over Pinterest. Since I'm dairy-free, I finally got around to trying it. Bananas as ice cream? It actually wasn't that bad. The texture was amazing (for an alternative ice cream). Basically it's just cocoa powder and frozen banana blended in a blender. The cocoa powder masks the banana flavor some, but it's still kind of funky. 
A better idea:
Throw some whipped cream, a maraschino cherry, and some sprinkles on top, and you'd have an awesome banana split ice cream!

Some tips: peel and slice the banana before freezing.
Add some almond or soy milk for easier blending.

Add 2 tbsp cocoa powder, your frozen banana, and a splash of milk to your blender. Blended until smooth and enjoy! 
I love that it's cheap, easy, and HEALTHY! And I don't feel bad letting Emma eat all she wants.

Flag cake

I got the idea for this flag cake a few weeks ago. My inspiration came from here and here. I figured I would take the individually baked layer effect from Whisk Kid and the Vertical layers from I Am Baker, and combine it to make a flag! And of course, this morning I found out that I Am Baker already did it! I had no idea before I got the idea for this cake, I kind of thought it was unique! I just saw it online this morning. It was featured at I heart Naptime. Lol, figures. But I decided to make it anyway!

I used the white cake recipe from Epicurious, and made a 1 1/2 times the recipe. Here's the adjusted recipe:
3 cups of AP flour
3 tsp. Baking Powder
3/8 tsp. Salt
18 Tbsp. butter (2 1/4 sticks)
2 1/4 cups Sugar
3 tsp. Vanilla
9 egg whites
1 1/8 cups Milk
Make your cake according to the instructions (if you're using box mix, I would make 2 full boxes).
Take about 2 cups of cake mix and put it in a separate bowl. Dye it blue. This takes quite a bit of food coloring.
Dye the rest of the batter red. This takes a TON of food coloring. I used an entire tube of red gel color for this, and it still wasn't as red as I wanted it.
Mix white sprinkles into the blue batter. I used some of these.
Since I didn't have that many of the snow flakes, I mixed in some of these little white sprinkles, too. (Note: the sprinkles didn't seem to show like I wanted them to, but it's still worth a try, if you can find some you think might show through!)
Trace your cake pan onto parchment or wax paper 8 times, and cut out the circles. 
Take one of the circles and lay it in the bottom of your pan. Butter or spray your pan with pan spray. Put all of your blue batter into one cake pan.
Bake your blue batter for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
To flip the cake out of the pan:
While the cake is still hot, spray a piece of wax or parchment paper and stick it on top of the cake. 
Flop the cake upside down and place it on a flat surface to cool. Don't forget to peel off the parchment paper that was on the bottom!
Now take your red batter and divide it between 7 bowls that are all the same size. By doing this, you're ensuring that each red layer will be the same thickness.
Spoon the batter into your cake pans. I only had 2 round cake pans (8 inch), so I had to bake in 4 cycles. 
Once your layers are cool, start frosting. For the frosting, I used this recipe. I used a double batch.
Put one of your red layers down first, and spread a thick layer of frosting on it. Do this with 5-6 of your red layers.
Make a stencil with a scrap piece of paper. You want to make a blue ring of cake to go on the outside of the cake for the blue part of the flag. You want a decent sized rectangle of blue to be showing. Cut out your circle and place it on the blue cake to measure. If it's a good size, trace around the paper with a knife. Do the same with the remaining red layers.
Making sure that your cake has a thick layer of frosting on top, lay one of your smaller red layers on top, and top it with more frosting. Do this with the remaining red layers. 
Cut the blue ring in half so you can easily move it. Place it so that it fits snugly around the red layers. 

Do a crumb coat on the entire cake, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Frost it however you want! I decided to leave mine pretty plain since the inside was so crazy. I didn't want too much going on with it.
If any of you try this cake, I'd LOVE to see it!
 My little helper was all tuckered out!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aaaw, shucks.

I had this great idea for a 4th of July cake. I was SO excited to make it! I thought it was a 100% original idea. And then my mom sent me a link to a super cute cake, which was very similar to what I was going to make! And I was just planning on making mine today! But on the bright side, mine is going to be a little different. I hope to get some pics up tonight on the Facebook page once I'm done baking and frosting!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Minky Diaper Cover tutorial

More diapers! I've finally got this diaper sewing thing down well enough to give them out as gifts. I made this one for a friend who is due in July! I also made a few others for her.
I chose to do a Minky outside and PUL inside.
Step 1: Cut out your pattern.

Step 2: Apply your snaps and velcro. I highly suggest using hook and loop for these diapers, other velcro doesn't hold up in the wash. And better yet, snaps never wear out! I used hook and loop to fasten the diaper, and snaps for the adjustable rise. 
Step 3: Pin your layers together. You'll want to pin it so that the layers don't slide while you're sewing. Make it so that the shiny side of the PUL and the fuzzy side of the Minky are facing in. 
Step 4: Sew the layers together. Leave the front of the diaper open so you can get it turned right side out.
Step 5: Add the elastic in the legs and in the back. Measure your elastic by stretching it from the front to the back of the leg opening. Make sure both pieces of elastic are the same size! Do the same for the back.
To sew the elastic in, fix it to both the front and the back of the leg opening. I like to sew back and forth a few times to make sure it's good. Be careful not to sew too close to the end of the elastic. It can unravel a bit in the washer and come undone. 

Once you've got both legs and the back elastic done, turn the diaper right side out. 
Step 6: Do a top stitch, closing the front opening, and encasing the elastic as you go.

Step 7: Pin on your velcro tabs, and sew them in place.
You're done! This was one of the easier diaper covers I've done. And I like the look a lot more than the FOE. I hope you found it helpful!
This diaper cover can be used with prefolds and pins, inserts (or a prefold folded in thirds), flats, or a fitted diaper. I love that it grows with the baby!