Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another 40th Birthday Cake!

I am NOT a cake decorator by any stretch of the imagination.  I just enjoy making and decorating cakes.  It's a fun creative outlet that is SUPER tasty! 
I recently had a friend turn 40 and I offered to make her a birthday cake.  I searched online for some ideas, because I don't have any original ideas when it comes to decorating cakes.  :)  I really wanted to find something that was girlie, but included a skull.  This design was a WINNER!  I loved the little grim reaper and the daisies.  For the life of me, I can't find the site I got this design from so I can reference it.  

I am always in search of new fondant recipes so I thought I would try the following recipe instead of the corn syrup one I have used in the past. 

Basic Fondant Recipe
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3; cup sweetened condensed milk
5 cups sifted confectioners sugar (+ 1 cup for work surface)
Beat butter, vanilla, and salt together until soft.  Add condensed milk slowly and beat until mixture is very light.  Add the confectioners' sugar cup-by-cup.  Dust your work surface with an extra cup of confectioners sugar.  Turn your fondant mixture out onto the work surface and work the powdered sugar in with your hands.

My biggest complaint with the corn syrup fondant is the consistency and the way it gets shiny after applied on the cake.  I was hoping this recipe would offer a better consistency, but it was nearly IDENTICAL to the corn syrup version.  This recipe didn't taste anywhere near as good as the corn syrup version.  It was like a combination of the corn syrup and the marshmallow version.  I'd don't think I'll use it again since I got similar results to the corn syrup without getting a better taste. 

My daughter's birthday is coming up and I have purchased the Duff brand of fondant because I have heard some GREAT reviews about his fondant.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yogurt Pie? Oh YEAH!

I LOVE to recipe surf, especially for fun kid foods (there is a kid in all of us).  I came across a recipe on a blog called 'Cooking with my Kid' that had a recipe for a Yogurt Parfait PIE!  That's right, a PIE!  What things does my two year old like?  Fruit, yogurt, cheerios and graham crackers!
Yogurt Parfait Pie Recipe
Prep Time: 8 to 10 hours (mostly unattended)  Cooking Time: 5 to 10 mins

Crust Ingredients:
1 ½ cups finely crushed graham crackers
3 tablespoons lowfat vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Ingredients for the Filling:
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup water
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ cups nonfat or lowfat vanilla yogurt
1 envelop unflavored gelatin

1.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.    In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, crushed Cheerios and sugar.
3.    Work the mixture together with your hands until it becomes clumpy and moist.
4.    Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate making sure to push it up along the sides.
5.    Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until set and just starting to brown.
6.    Let cool completely (overnight is best) before adding filling. - I TOTALLY FORGOT TO DO THIS!
7.    To make the filling, combine strawberries, blueberries and sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.
8.    In a small saucepan, over low heat, whisk together ¼ cup water, egg yolks and cornstarch and continue stirring until thick. Remove from heat.
9.    Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over remaining ¼ cup water, whisk together and dissolve over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
10. Combine egg mixture and gelatin.
11. Combine yogurt with berries and then fold berries into egg / gelatin mixture.
12. Pour into prepared piecrust and refrigerate until set. At least 2 hours.
 This was a little unusual.  It was like pudding and jello all at the same time. I REALLY liked the crust.  It was super moist, which made for a difficult time spreading it along the pie pan.  My husband thought it was a dessert, but when you consider it only has three tablespoons of's healthy!  :)

Lesson Learned!

Crash and burn!  Not really something you want to read in a cooking blog.  Some people put signs for no solicitation on their front door, but I should have a sign that reads, 'Upon entering this house you agree to be a guinea pig for all food concoctions that enter your mouth.'  Oh yes, I even invited people over to my house for this one.

Come friends, come to my house and learn to make pizza...ON THE GRILL!!!  Oh, it will be spectacular!  Nice smokey flavor, melted cheese, grills marks on the pizza dough!  Guess what I learned about grilling pizza?  DON'T DO IT ON A CHARCOAL GRILL WITH HOT COALS!!!! Know what ELSE I learned?  don't put olive oil on the dough before you put it on the grill.  Oh yeah, I did that too. 
I had seen this recipe cooked on a gas grill a week ago, I grilled pizza dough using my indoor grill pan, but I hadn't made this recipe on a charcoal grill.  Thank goodness I had extra dough.  I was able to recover by using my indoor grill pan, but didn't have a lid big enough to cover it once I had the toppings on so I found myself...oh the shame...I MICROWAVED  it so the cheese would melt.  *sigh*  Pure embarrassment.  LOL!!!

Now don't discount this recipe because I am a schmuck!  When it was made it on a gas grill it turned out really good!

Grilled Veggie Pizza
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1/4 of a white onion
1/2 red pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil - or regular olive oil
1 loaf of Rhoades frozen bread
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Defrost bread according to package instructions.  Slice zucchini and yellow squash into thin equal size pieces. Cut onion into half moons and red pepper into small bite sized pieces.  Place cut veggies into bowl and toss with Italian seasoning, olive oil and cheese.  At this point you can put the veggies in a grill basket or you can saute them in a pan on the stove top.

Roll out dough and shape by preference.  Grill on low heat for 3-5 minutes on each side.  Take off grill and load up with veggie and cheese mixture.  Put back on covered grill until cheese is melted.
Grilled pizza is fun and creative.  Learn from my mistakes and enjoy! :)  And to my friends...thanks for continuing to be my friend after this fiasco!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love random finds!

I got a wild hair tonight and thought it would be fun to create a want-to-be, lazy girl's version of focaccia/naan.  I had a loaf of Rhoades frozen bread to be used.  I followed the quick rise instructions on the package (place in non-stick pan, pre-heat oven to 200 degrees F, then turn off and add boiling water to a pan beneath the bread), rolled it out with a rolling pin,

 spread garlic infused canola oil over both sides and


Oh MY!  Was this a tasty method for cooking dough!  I had some seasonings for bread dipping and soaked up their yummy goodness with this GRILLED BREAD!!!  I think I have found a replacement for garlic bread!  I used my indoor, stove top, grill pan to cook the bread, but now that I know it will turn out, I'm going to do it on our charcoal grill next time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crunched for Time!

I hate when the 4pm hour hits at my house.  Invariably, I have put off making a decision about what to cook for dinner and my stomach is starting to grumble.  DOH!  Today was no different.  I had left overs from taco's I was considering making stuffed baked potatoes with, but I didn't want to go to the hassle of baking the potatoes.  LAZY!  A couple of months ago I purchased the Deep Dish Baker from Pampered Chef.  This INGENIOUS product allows you to cook recipes you would normally make in the oven...IN THE MICROWAVE!  It ROCKS!!!!  You can roast a whole chicken in the microwave in 25-35 minutes using this product!!!  It saved my day!  Pampered Chef also sells a recipe book specifically for recipes you can make using the Deep Dish Baker.  I scored a SWEET recipe from it that would use up my taco leftovers!

Family Burrito Bake
1 medium onion
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
2 tbsp Southwestern Seasoning Mix
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 can Mexican-style corn
1 jar chunky salsa, divided
1 can refried beans
3 tbsp water
7 6-inch corn corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese blend, divided

Coarsely chop onion.  In Deep Covered Baker, combine onion, beef, seasoning mix and pressed garlic; mix well.  Microwave, covered on High for 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking crumbles halfway through.  Drain beef mixture.  Combine beef mixture, corn and 1 cup of the salsa, mix well.  combine refried beans and water, mix well.

To assemble, place two tortillas over bottom of baker.  Cut one tortilla to fill any gaps as layers are assembled.  Spread one-third of the beans evenly over tortillas.  Top with one-third of the beef mixture and one-third of the cheese.  Repeat layers one time.  Arrange remaining two tortillas over cheese.  Top with remaining beans and beef mixture.

Microwave, covered, on High for 12-15 minutes or until center is hot.  Carefully remove baker from microwave using oven mitts.  Top evenly with remaining salsa and cheese.  Let stand, covered for 10 minutes before serving.

HOLY MOLY!!!!  This recipes was AWESOME!!!!  It was CRAZY fast and pretty healthy at 340 calories per serving (assuming 8 servings).  If you don't have a Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker...get yourself one!!!  I can't believe how fast and easy it was to use the Deep Dish Baker.  Because it is stoneware and has a lid, it quickly cooks meals evenly in the microwave.  I'm looking forward to making more meals with this dish!!!