Oct 11, 2011


I can not believe that I haven't blogged for months. Having two toddlers to deal with is proving quite tiring, but that's another blog.  I haven't felt inspired much lately except to bake birthday cakes for both kids.

My little man munchkin turned 2 in July so I made him a train cake. I came across the pan at the thrift store and figured why not. I had an inspiration site for the design, but can't find it right now. Once I do, I'll link it here.

I think it turned out better than expected. I made a yellow cake and bought the Wilton's icing from the party store. Mixing bright red icing was not my way of having fun.

Hence the end result. It was denser that I like, but the flavor was good.

My little girl munchkin turned 1 this October and boy is she a handful. I decided to go semi homemade for her cake and keep it simple.  Simple for me was trying my hand at Tres Leches cake.

What an awesome cake it turned out to be. Everyone enjoyed it very much. I used http://www.mommyskitchen.net/2008/11/tres-leche-cake-semi-homemade-style.html as an inspiration. I also made my own whip cream icing.


Jun 23, 2011

Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake

This is by far my most successful experiment.  We had a graduation cookout and I wanted to try my hand at something no one would think I would try.  I went full force ahead and tried a cheesecake.  Everything I read online made it sound really scary, but I was not to be put off.  Not only did I make the cheesecake, but I also made the caramel! Crazy I know, but that took me less than 10 minutes. Who knew!!!!

The crust

Before going into oven

Final product
With caramel

I need to learn how to take better pictures because that doesn't look so good.  I've gotten many compliments on the cheesecake and even some request to make more. Yah me!!!!

Here are pictures of the caramel in progress, thanks to DH for his great camera work.

Melting sugar

Adding butter

Adding cream

All done, easier than I thought


This is a quick recap of items I baked but didn't get a chance to blog about.

1. Strawberry Clafouti - Fail
I had strawberries and needed to make something for lunch at church.  It looked great right after it was cooked, but once transported, it was ugly. Will have to try again with Cherries (what the recipe calls for).

2. Round Scone - Fail
Not sure if it's the fact that I tried to bake these early in the morning with two kids crying for my attention, but they were hard.  The taste was so so, but I didn't like that they didn't flake up like I wanted.  What saved the day was the strawberry jelly that I had made after picking twelve pounds of strawberries from the orchard.


3. Semi Homemade Graduation Cupcake - Success

I wanted to make something unique for my nephew's graduation and came upon a recipe from "Cake Mix Magic" magazine that called for using cake mix to make these cupcakes.  Getting the colors to match his schools' was a bit hard since I had never played with coloring, but it was fun to see how they turned out.  Everyone loved them. I would definitely make them again.


4. Semi Homemade Strawberry Shortcake - Success

Yes I know two successes from cake mix, but it was so easy to work with.  I didn't have my camera, so the phone did the job. Picture does this cake no justice. It was topped with homemade whip cream and fresh picked strawberries. Can you tell it's strawberry season? LOL

Apr 19, 2011

Strawberry Scones

Tonight I decided to use some of the many strawberries we purchased on sale.  I wanted scones for breakfast, so adding strawberries was only natural.

I love the simplicity of this recipe and how quick it was for me to make, however, I hated the wetness of it.  I'm not sure if I over mixed it or not but it looks really good.  It only called for three tablespoon of sugar, I thought that was good because it will offset the sugar from the strawberries.  What I forgot was, the strawberries are not that sweet. SO the scones have a bit of a tart taste to them.

Hubby and his ever funny comments, walked into the kitchen and said "my those are some big scones, I'm sure the green giant will be happy if he was here. Oh Oh Oh, she hooked me up!" LOL! Got to love him.

They do look big huh?

What I didn't tell him was that I had already cut them, but was still baking in a circle.

SOOOO good!

I'm back and eating pizzas!!!!!

I feel like it’s being an eternity since I’ve been on here.  Life has gotten busy, and I have slacked off a bit on the baking, but I hope to pick it up again soon.  I started baking not only because of some dream of making the perfect bread, but also for health and economical reasons.  My family has a better selection for breakfast and it saves us money.

In the process, we’ve designated Fridays as “pizza night”.  This past Friday was really busy and with two very tired kids, I opted out of making pizzas.  We decided to do it on Sunday instead. 
What a great dinner that was, it gave me time to search the web for easy yeast recipe and I didn’t feel rushed to make it and have the kids in bed at a reasonable time.

I decided to use the recipe that comes on the back of the Fleishmann’s pizza dough yeast packet.

Ann Kroeger’s recipe was great! I did one cup wheat/white, the mixture was easy to make by hand and the dough was nice and fluffy.  I set the oven at 375 and cooked for 10-15 mins.  I think next time; I’ll set the oven at a higher temp and cook for the same amount of time.  It wasn’t brown enough to hubby’s liking, and I ha v e to agree that it could have gone a little longer/higher.

The last time I used the packet instruction, it had a bland taste. I was wondering why until I realized that I forgot to add salt to the mixture.  I’m not sure if that’s a rookie mistake or if I was just rushing.  This time around, I decided to make a basil crust, I added maybe two tablespoon of dried basil to the mix AND I did not forget to add the salt.

The result was great, the crust was nice and soft the basil g  e it extra flavor. I wonder how it will work if I used fresh basil?  Again, I should have left this to cook a while longer, but the cheese was bubbling so much, I thought it would burn.


Oh and both make great leftovers. Since both didn’t cook till super brown, warming them up in the oven provides another day’s dinner. Add salad and viola!!

Mar 8, 2011

Pizza anyone?

I feel like I haven't blogged in years when in actuality it's only being two weeks!!

Life has been busy, but that hasn't stopped me from baking and trying my very best to fight the ever growing battle with my good old friend "yeast".

Hubby and I have decided to make Friday nights, Pizza Nights.  We had a very good friend that made the first batch of yeast dough for us.  We've enjoyed eating homemade pizza so far, even though I have yet to make a yeast dough on my own.

Enjoy the pictures below of the delicious pizzas we've had. I hope to make a yeast dough soon.

Cornmeal dough

Spianch with feta cheese on cornmeal dough

Pepperoni on regular yeast dough

Half Chicken/half cheese on regular yeast dough


Feb 18, 2011

Quinoa Whole-Wheat Muffins

About a year ago, I was introduced to quinoa by a friends' of my husband.   Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous. It's high in iron which is why I decided to try it.

I've cooked it as a rice and also as oatmeal.  The texture is more like oatmeal.

After having a rough day at work, I knew that I had to bake something.  Since I had quinoa at home, I decided to bake something with it and found this great recipe in "The Bread Bible".  Cool book by the way!!!

Ease of instructions - 10
Ease of baking - 10

Outcome - 8
Taste - 7 (I will add more sugar next time)

Feb 12, 2011

No eggs you say!!

I've been under the weather lately baking was not part of the recuperating strategy.  However, by weeks end of no muffins for breakfast, I was starting to have withdrawal symptoms.   I finally decided I'll bake something, but then PROBLEM.  I was out of eggs and going to the store was not an option.

Sooooo, I put it off and had oatmeal instead.  That didn't cure my longing to bake though.

The next day, I decided to bake eggless. Big undertaking since I had never looked at an eggless recipe before. Did I have the right ingredients or was I stepping myself up for the STOP sign again. 

Off to the cloud I went.  I found a really easy blue berry muffin recipe and I had everything except for lemon (I substituted with cardamon).  I'm getting permission from the site's owner and I'll include the link later.

I was very surprise at the ease of mixing and baking. What was more surprising was the taste. It was DELICIOUS!!!  I never thought that I would like items baked without eggs and butter (oh yeah there was no butter included. I did use vegetable oil).

You be the judge, visually anyway.


Feb 3, 2011

Chocolate Oreo Cake

Since today is my husband's birthday, I asked him what kind of cake he wanted me to bake for him.  His request was chocolate Oreo with full kid excitement.  I should have known that it will be something with chocolate.

I went to the "cloud" because other than Betty Crocker, I have never baked chocolate cake.  I found what I thought was a good recipe at http://meemoskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/07/tgi-friday-oreo-chocolate-cake.html.  Mine definitely doesn't look like hers, but the taste is rich and delicious (according to the birthday boy).

Recipe is on meemo's blog, but I altered it a bit (lack of ingredient). I used cool whip with the filling instead of whipping cream. I also cut the sugar for the filling from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.  My fear of sugar kicked in big time LOL.

Ease of instructions - 8
Ease of baking - 10

Outcome - 7
Taste - 8

I need to get better at taking pictures.

Feb 1, 2011

Pound Cake with Kahlua Icing

I wanted to bake a cake for my chocolate loving brother-in-law but didn't have all the ingredients I needed.  I couldn't search online for easy recipes because the Internet was out, so I turned to the good old "Better Homes New Cook Book 10th Edition" for cake recipes.

I decided to try my hand at the traditional pound cake.  Did you know that the reason it's called pound cake is because it was originally made with a pound each of eggs, sugar, butter and flour?  Thank God that is not the recipe they had posted because that would not be very healthy in this "car seating" era (my terminology of always being in the car).

Doing the mixture was pretty easy and it came out looking exactly as I pictured.

Before icing

I left it slightly covered while going to church and when I got back, it felt a bit hard.  I'm not sure what I did wrong, if anything, but I would have liked it a bit softer.

I also decided to ice it using one of the "fast" recipes from the same book.  I decided on the powdered sugar icing but with a twist. I added Kahlua to the mix to give the sugar a bit more flavor.

Ease of instructions - 10

Ease of baking - 10
Outcome - 9
Taste - 7

This is going to be my rating system going forward when following printed recipes. If the rating system isn't at the end of the post, then it means that I altered the original recipe.

Jan 23, 2011

Pork Chops Forestiere

Recipe came from "Cooking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America".  Took me two years from when I was given this book, to start cooking the recipes.  I thought they were difficult, but I'm finding out that they are not.

Hubby made this for dinner tonight.  Pork chops were on sale and thought why not, let's give it a try (we don't normally cook pork).

It was delicious...

Flaky buttermilk biscuits

The idea of making homemade biscuits is so delicious that I jumped at the chance to make some.  Hubby was making Pork Chops Forestiere and I thought that you can't have them without biscuits.  The last time I made biscuits, they were huuuugggggggeee. Unfortunately, I can't find pictures to post here.

This recipe was so easy; chilled butter, buttermilk, salt, honey and flour. I didn't think I could go wrong until I read that I had to roll the dough.  Why would that be a problem, you ask??

I DON'T HAVE A ROLLING PIN!!! Well I didn't say I had this baking thing down yet.

I know I've been saying that I'm getting one but haven't yet (that's another post).

Anyway, I did the mixture and used my makeshift rolling pin

Yes that's a thermos. LOL

It was hard to roll, next challenge was how to cut them into circles. When in doubt, make your own. I use a glass.

Are you sensing problems already??

This is what they looked like in the oven.
I'm thinking I didn't do all of them thick enough. Well you judge for yourself. 

All in all, I made plenty of mistakes in making these. I left my mixture sitting while tending to my daughter (DH), so the butter started melting. I didn't use the right equipment and I may have over mix. It didn't rise (not sure what happened there).

One thing you can't take away from this disaster is how it taste; IT WAS GREAT!!

Family loved it regardless of the lack of rising.  Got to love them for eating my experiments.

Baker's Pantry

I found this really cool blog on 13 things a baker MUST absolutely have in their pantry. As I was reading down the list, I was super excited that at this very moment, I have 10 of those items. I ran out of brown sugar and butter on Wednesday night when I baked banana muffins (I don't have pictures because I was super tired and being lazy).  Here is the list, original list posted by theperfectpantry.com.

  1. All-purpose flour
  2. Whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  3. Granulated white sugar
  4. Brown sugar
  5. Yeast
  6. Table salt
  7. Baking powder
  8. Baking soda
  9. Vanilla extract
  10. Eggs
  11. Unsalted butter
  12. Frozen puff pastry
  13. Chocolate (chips or bars)
Which ones I don't have you ask? Butter of all things, I have salted but not unsalted. Brown sugar; I should have stock up on this during the holidays when they were on sale. I substitute white sugar with brown sugar on all of the recipes I use. I also don't have the puff pastry. I do have pie crust but don't know if I'll use it since a co-worker showed me how to make my own crust with just three items.

Next post I'll talk about the one item that every baker should have, but I seem to be missing.

Jan 16, 2011

First bread experience

Once I decided to start this journey, I immediately wanted to try my hand at bread making.  Not sure if that was the best decision, but I'm glad that I did because it thought me that I shouldn't be jumping into a fire without knowing where the fire extingisher was LOL.

I searched the web for plenty of easy recipes, when I thought that I found one that I was ok with it took me two days to finally get the flour down and get to the baking.

Problem I immdiately encountered was with good old yeast, IT WILL NOT RISE!!!  I followed the recipe exactly as stated, left the bread to rise AND NOTHING HAPPENED.  Needless to say I was perplexed. 

Called the hubby and vented on my lack of rising and his response was "when Mom used to make it, it didn't take that long".  Didn't do much for my confident that he was conparing my non-baking skills to his mother's great breads she used to make.

I stuck with it though, and after many hours of waiting for it to rise. I went back online to find out how to revive a bread that wouldn't rise. Good OLD INTERNET had a solution.

Didn't really work as you can see by the photo, but it tasted GREAT.
Good thing we were having seafood stew, so the bread came in handy.

After this experience, I decided to hold of on the bread obsession for now and focus on breakfast ideas. They seem simple enough.


This blog is being created so that I can document my adventures with different recipes in baking and cooking.  I've always had a love of baking fresh breads and muffins but with that love came my fear of measuring and baking in general.  Cooking is easy for me because I can come up with recipes and not have to worry about making sure that the measurements are correct, baking on the other hand... well you get the point.

It took years of me say "I'm going to learn how to bake bread", for me to get to this point.  My husband loves the scones from Starbucks, however, in our quest to save money I started nagging him about how much he was spending. His response was "well since you want to learn how to bake, why don't you bake some?"  I love a good challenge, so I had to respond with "then I will".

Six months later, here I am creating a blog about my adventures in baking.

Hope you get to enjoy this journey as much as I am and gain inspiration to start something that you've being pondering and putting off for some time now.