Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Son's Birthday!

So this is my first time making a child's Birthday cake. My son decided he wanted a pirate theme and with out the money to go and buy everything I needed, I decided to improvise.
Even though this cake is not really that great... I ran out of time due to husbands inability to find a birthday present until last minute..... I am still proud of it.
There's not really a recipe.. I used 2 boxes of cake mix and cut into 4 squares. Stacked them and used the extra cake that gets cut off when leveling for the lid. The extra pieces of cake are supposed to be sand and the blue sugar/water is suppposed to be water.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A spark of Creativity

Whenever it is someones birthday, I feel that little spark of creativity flare up. I constantly want to give gifts that will surprise and please the other person. Currently I am working on a few gifts but this one I was particularly proud of. It is my newest painting. I painted it for FiL because I couldn't afford to get anything nice...I like it though and so does my husband. I hope you do too. I would love feedback...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cake on the go!

I love to bake.
I love to create wonderful, yummy things in my kitchen. I am not really into the low-fat, low-carb, low-sodium, low-taste diet. So I tend to make things the way my grandmother used to. When I am baking an old family recipe, like my great aunt's banana bread, my grandmother's divinity or my mother's chocolate chip cookies I get all nostalgic. That's what baking is to me, remembering good memories and making new ones.
This recipe was my mothers but I like to think it's older than that. It is actually completely vegan. I think that is just because, in way back when, it was hard to have things like milk or eggs on hand unless you lived on a farm. Of course, this might be just a fanciful thought. One I enjoy, so please don't burst my bubble. It's labeled as a vinegar cake but don't let that fool you. It is moist, rich and wonderful. It's not so sweet that you can't handle a big piece but you don't even have to frost it for it to taste good. Okay, now I sound like I am rambling....

This cake is usually made in a full size pan but with my family on the go..I went with cupcake style. It actually worked out pretty well.

Here's the recipe...

Wacky Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup oil
2 cups cold water

Combine in large bowl, flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and soda. Mix throughly.
Make 3 large dents in the mixture.
In first dent add oil, in next second vinegar, add vanilla in third.
Pour water over all and mix in.

Bake in 325 degree oven ( in glass cake pan)
or in 350 degree oven for metal pan
(I used 350 for the cupcakes and baked them for 25 minutes)

Bake for 30 minutes.

Surface will be sticky but an inserted toothpick should come out clean.

Homemade Macaroni Salad

I came up with this in the middle of summer, and here in Florida, the middle of summer means that you are trying to cook dinner in 120 degree heat. I have a tiny kitchen and when I get the oven going it is unbearable. So this is my quick remedy for a side with sandwich, salad or grilled dinners. You can add olives or whatever to it also. I happen to dislike olives hence making my own recipe. It became a huge hit with my family and is a great snack to keep in the fridge.

Homemade Macaroni Salad

6 cups water
2 cups macaroni
1 small diced green pepper (or 1/2 a large one)
1 small diced red pepper (or 1/2 a large one)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup miracle whip ( or mayo and use 1 tsp vinegar)
1/3 cup ranch
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water and add macaroni. Cook until tender. Drain and rinse until cool.
In Large bowl, add macaroni and sprinkle with lemon juice (and vinegar).
Add peppers and onions. Stir to mix in.
Add ranch and miracle whip (or mayo) and stir to evenly coat.
Salt and pepper if desired.

So yummy! Also quick and easy. Hope you love it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tator - Tot Cassarole

So when I finally got over my devestation of the surfboard incident.. I got right back into baking my comfort foods. This is definitaly one of them. I don't have a picture of it because 2 of my birds started eating it before I could.
This cassarole dates back to before we realized just how bad condensed soups are for you. But when I need comfort.. I don't care.
1 lb of beef fits nicely in a 9 x 9 cassarole dish and 2 lbs is for the 9 x 13. It just depends how many you are feeding.
The Cream of Mushroom can be substituted for a regular cream soup if you don't like the thought of mushrooms. I actually dislike mushrooms but when it is mixed with the ground beef you don't even taste or notice them.

Tator-Tot Cassarole

1-2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup water
Enough tator-tots to cover the top
shredded cheese

Place the drained hamburger in the cassarole dish, 9 x9 or 9 x 13. Take the soup directly from the can and spread evenly over the hamburger. pour the water over that.

Place on top the tator-tots with the small end of the shape down. (I place in a cicle on the outside rim and work my way in.)

Sprinkle the cheese over it all.

Bake at the temperture the tator-tot package says or around 415 degrees for 3/4 of the packages time or 12-15 minutes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sad Surf Morning....

So living in NSB is awesome, you get up and check the surf report and if it's good, you drive 3 minutes to the beach, unload and you're out there in the waves... If its bad.. you go back to sleep.

Well it's been bad for a little while, the ocean gets really calm when there are storms on the west side. So yesterday we were pumped. Out at 8:30, surfing and loving it. Chill out for a few hours and join up with friends, drink a beer and go for that final swim of the day.

Somebody stole our surfboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have been coming to this beach for 3 years and we have never had anything like this happen. We go for a swim, we come back and our board is gone! I couldn't believe it.
I blamed myself because I was the last to make it into the water and just left our things, but what was I supposed to do? I'ts not like I could lock up the surfboard.. I mean even if you put them into roofracks, they still aren't locked in... My poor husband, it was his baby and the stupid thing is these people who stole it aren't even going to use her, they are just going to pawn it!

I hate when the places you feel safe and comfortable get violated. I hope these bastards get caught....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yahhh... Hot pockets!

Okay, Okay I know, they are more like calzones. It's just every time someone says calzone, I think pizza. And since I am allergic to the acid in sucks. This creation came about after I tried to buy groceries for two weeks with fifty dollars. Normally I buy all fresh food that has the capabilities to be great meals with a little cooking. The problem? My husband is a full time cook at his work and if there are no leftovers...well needless to say it's a lot easier to have quick heatable food rather than cooking at one a.m.

I used a no-rise pizza crust my sister recommended and it worked pretty well. The recipe makes 4 fun size or 2 meal size. The filling can be whatever you like, though I recommend either cheese or sauce be in them or else the pastry is a little tough, like pizza crusts. I made 2 fun size as barbecue chicken and 1 meal size as pepper jack ranch chicken. You can also use pre-made pizza crust, like the Pillsbury kind.

These actually remind me more of meat pasties. Originally from Cornwall, United Kingdom, they were filled with meat, potatoes and onions. Tradition claims that the pasty was originally made as lunch for Cornish tin miners who were unable to return to the surface to eat. The story goes that, covered in dirt from head to foot they could hold the pasty by the folded crust and eat the rest without touching it, discarding the dirty pastry. The pastry they threw away was supposed to appease the knockers, capricious spirits in the mines who might otherwise lead miners into danger.
So eat the filling and throw the crust into the compost.... or else !

Homemade Hot Pockets

No-Rise Pizza Crust

1 (1/4 oz.) package dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast into warm water in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Beat vigorously for 20 strokes and let sit 10 min. Take (1/4 for fun size, 1/2 for meal) dough and place on floured surface. Shape into a round and place filling in center and fold top half over to about a 1/2 inch from lower edge. Fold lower edge and tuck in to make seam.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or browned. Serve now or later

My Filling today
3 chicken breast tenderloins, browned and sliced
1 tbsp diced onion
1/3 cup barbecue sauce

Place all in small bowl and toss until coated. Scoop into crust