Thursday, December 13, 2012

Update and a Cake

Wow, it has been a while since I posted last.  I don't know were the time has gone - it seems like I lose months at a time when things get into marking season at my new job!

I am not entirely sure what all I have been cooking in the last month (mostly things I can through together quite quickly).  I have been trying some slow cooker recipes and hope to get a few posts prepared while I have a break from marking over the next couple of week.

To hold you over I am going to tell you about a delicious bundt cake I made a few weeks ago.  Sadly I did not get a picture of this cake, as my husband whisked it off to hockey before it had even cooled.  Apparently it smelled good and the team needed goodies, I am still not sure why the hot cake went (it was a little difficult to carry in the car). 

This cake came about as I went to use up some apples and make a quick apple crisp, sadly I forgot that I didn't have any oats in the cupboard and needed something to use up all the cut up apples.  I did have some cream cheese in the fridge (not sure what I had bought that for), so I went for this cake recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 medium apples, (for about 4 cups pealed, cored and chopped)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg

1.  Grease and flour a 9 inch bundt pan and preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Toss the apples with lemon juice, dark brown sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice. Set aside for now.
3. In the bowl of a mixer combine oil, sugar and vanilla until well mixed.
4. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
5. To the oil/sugar/egg mixture add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix until just combined - it will be a very thick batter.
6. Fold the apples into the batter.
7. Pour into the bundt pan.
8. In a bowl beat togther the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg until creamy and smooth.
9. Form a well/ tunnel in the batter in the bundt pan (I had to remove some of the batter at this step to make it work), and pour the cream cheese mixture into the tunnel. 
10. Add the batter back in over the cream cheese if you had to remove any.  Swirl the cream cheese into the batter with a butter knife.
11. Bake cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool. 

This cake smelled fantastic and the small pieces of cake that I was able to snag were great!  I never got a chance to make the glaze or caramel sauce, but the cake was fantastic without it.  I never got more than crumbs as the hockey team devoured the cake.
They did remark that it was one of the best things I had baked for them in a long time - even if it was a little difficult to eat as it wasn't even sliced when my husband stole it.  I was still getting compliments on it at the next game I attended 3 weeks later!  It is a total winner. 

So for any hockey team members, that is the recipe, sorry it took so long.  For anyone else, I do suggest trying it and if you can keep people from eating it right away try the glaze or sauce - i am sure that would take this cake from excellent to out of this world!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apricot Jam

My husband is a big fan of apricots, I think he might get more excited about them than he does about the peaches!  We missed out on the apricots last year and so this year he was eager to get some apricot jam for the winter.  I tried a no pectin added jam this year to maximize the amount of flavour and the amount of fruit I would use!  I found this recipe for “French” apricot jam on the recipe of the day section of guardian UK and decided to give it a try.  I ended up not cooking and adding in the stones, that will have to wait for next year.


1.5kg fresh apricots
800g sugar
1 vanilla pod
¼ cup of lemon juice

1. Half and remove stones from the apricots.
2. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
3. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan combine the fruit, vanilla pod, seeds, sugar and lemon juice.
4. Let the mixture sit until the fruit has softened (several hours).
5. Bring the mixture to a boil  Continue boiling for 20 to 25 minutes and the mixture has thickened.  (Jam sets at about 220F if you have thermometer or use a chilled plate and a small amount of jam to see if it sets).
6. Transfer the jam into sterilized jars and seal.  Process for 10 minutes. Ensure the seal before storing.

Note: I removed the vanilla pods before distributing the jam into the jars.

I had 3.5 jars of jam.  The half a jar is already finished and I believe Owen has opened another jar as well - guess this batch will be the first gone!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kiwi Daquari Jam

A few weeks ago Kiwi’s had gone on sale and I had picked up a bag of them.  However, life got busy and BC fruit (Cherries, yum) starting coming in and the poor Kiwis were forgotten behind something in the fridge.  I discovered them and decided I would not be able to eat all of them before they needed to be used, and as it was already canning season jam seemed like a good use for the rest of them.  

I found an intriguing looking recipe on the Bernardin canning site and decided to give it a try.  I found a few of the instructions a little confusing (it calls for rum in the ingredients but never tells  you to add it), so I improvised a little.  Here is what I ended up with.

5 kiwifruit, peeled
3 cups (750 ml) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (150 ml) unsweetened pineapple juice (I used a Dole in a tetra pack)
1/3 cup 75 ml) fresh squeezed lime juice
1 pouch (85 ml) Liquid Pectin  (I used the certo brand and it worked fine)
4 tbsp (60 ml) rum (I used a spiced rum as that was all I had in the house)

1. Clean and sterilize 4 or 5 250ml jars. ( I keep them  in the oven at 275F while working so they are sterile when I want to fill them).
2. Mash or blend the fruit (I put mine in a blender and pulsed a couple times.  I found this worked better than my potato masher as I like fewer large chunks in my jam).
3. In a large saucepan mix together the fruit, sugar, pineapple and lime juice.
4. Stirring constantly bring the mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Note: once the sugar is fully dissolved I stop stirring constantly, but still every 30s to 1 minute.
5. Remove the jam from the head and immediately stir in the pectin (skim the foam off if there is any.  
6.  Stir in the rum, mixing well.
7. Fill jars, leaving ¼ inch head space and place on the lids and rings.
8. Process jars for 10 minutes, let cool to seal.

I love this jam - it is something very different from the normal berry or peach jams that I normally make.  I gave a jar to a friend of mine and she liked it so much she was eating it with a spoon!  This will be great for a cheer up treat in the middle of our long winters!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I am sorry for the lack of posts lately and I am working on getting a couple of new recipes and items ready for posting.  There have been a lot of changes around here the last couple of months.  I have started a new blog for the quilts, so they won't be taking up room from the cooking anymore!

The other exciting event is that I changed jobs a few months ago, I went from working in a research lab to being a lab instructor at a University were I live.  I have been busy working on getting lectures, assignments and quizzes ready,  For the last three weeks I have been teaching classes! 

It is exciting and I am loving, but finding that I have less time in the evenings than I am used to.  For these reasons, I am trying out more slowcooker and freezer recipes.  Hopefully things will work themselves into a schedule and I will have more time to start posting them recipes again!

Thank you for reading, and look for more fall posts coming soon.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry

It is harvest season and that means zucchini, lots and lots of zucchini (although oddly enough I haven’t had as much this year as in the pasts, and I have actually had to buy zucchini this summer)!  I love zucchini just grilled on the bbq but as the weather cools I am looking for other ways to use up the yummy veggies as well.  On pinterest I came across instructions for making zucchini noodles - very easy with a mandoline or the right peeler!

I made the zucchini noodles and let them sit to lose some of the water while I chopped the remaining veggies.

Stir Fry with Zucchini Noodles

1-2 zucchinis
Red Pepper
Yellow Pepper
1 - 2 stalks celery
Bean Sprouts (optional)

Sauce of your choosing (I used a little lime juice and pepper).

1. Using a mandoline or peeler make zucchini into small noodles and discard the seeds.
2. Sprinkle the zucchini noodles with a little salt and lay on paper towel to drain.
3. Slice the peppers, onion and celery.
4. In a fry pan or wok with ½ to 1 tbsp oil, cook the vegetables until tender.
5. Press the “noodles” into the paper towel to remove the water on the surface.
6. Add the noodles, bean sprouts and sauce to the fry pan.  Cook until warm.
7. Enjoy!

This was a great dinner with lots of veggies.  You could easily add in some chicken or pork to add more protein or use it as a side dish for supper.  I am looking forward to trying this out again - maybe with a spicier sauce!

As a side - when using lime juice (out of the container - bad I know) and pepper as a sauce, make sure the top of the lime juice is on tight before turning it upside over your dinner....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spicy Cheesey Grilled Peppers

This summer has been HOT here.  If it isn’t hot and humid (which is a little abnormal), it is a thunderstorm.  Due to this I have been trying to use the kitchen as little as possible to try and keep my house under 26C.  I pulled out this forgotten recipe from 3 or 4 years ago and for the life of me I can’t figure out why I haven’t made this more often.  It has become almost a weekly dish now.

2 -3 peppers, assorted colours
~ ½ cup grated cheese (I like a sharp cheddar)
Jarred/canned Jalapeno rings

1. Remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers.  Then slice into strips about 1.5 to 2 inches wide (you want them wide enough to be able to hold the cheese).
2. Put the pepper slices skin side down and add cheese to the top on each pepper slice.
3. Place a slice of the jalapeno on top of the cheese of each pepper slice.
4. Place on the grill at medium high heat and grill until the peppers start to soften and cheese melts (~8 minutes).  The peppers should still retain their shape and have enough structure that you can pick them up.
5. Remove from grill and let cool for minute before enjoying!

I really enjoy these and we never seem to have leftovers.  They are a great way to use up any peppers we have had leftover from earlier in the week.  Depending on how much spice you like you might want ½ the jalapeno slices on the top of your peppers ( I find I do this for mine a lot, while I put whole slices on O’s peppers).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilled Squash - Zucchini and Pattipan

I love summer and being able to break out the grill to go with all the fresh produce from the garden and the farmer’s markets.  I love grilled vegetables and we eat a fair amount of different grilled veggies during the summer depending on what is in season and fresh.  My current obsession is green beans and squash, yum!  They are simple to make and don’t heat up the stove or require me to be in the warm kitchen when I can be sitting on the deck with a glass of iced tea as I cook supper!

2-3 patty pan squash (quartered)
2-3 small zucchini squash (sliced, 1.5 inch thick)
1-2 tbsp olive oil (just enough for a light coating on the veggies)
Salt and pepper

1. In a bowl combine the squash, oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat the squash in oil and seasonings.
2. On a grill heated to medium high, place squash in a veggie basket on medium heat.
3. Gill for 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of your squash).  Stir occasionally.
The squash should be soft and warm when done but still have some firmness left ( I am not a fan of mushy squash, so I like mine a little more on the firm side).
4. Enjoy

I love how simply this is for those busy summer evenings.  That and it is a nice fresh light vegetable side perfect for eating outside.  These have even got my husband, who normally does not like squash, eating zucchini and liking it!  He even ate the extra I made (hoping to have some for my lunch the next day) along with his regular portion for supper!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gumpaste Lilies

Recently a girl I had worked with during Grad School joined the lab I was working in (well she was actually taking over my job as I was leaving), and she was getting married in a few weeks.  Her wedding was taking place out of province and she was trying to plan long distance.  She wanted to put Casa Blanca Lilies on her cake, but couldn’t find fake flowers that she liked and didn’t want to use real ones for various reasons.  She asked if I could make her some gumpaste flowers for her cake.  I agreed and a few weeks later I was giving her a box of 8 lilies for her cake!

I hope they made it through the air travel okay and that she had a great wedding!  I will post a picture of the cake when I get one!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Burger Cake

A coworker had a birthday and it was my turn to bring the cake.  I didn't want to do a cake with flowers for a couple of reasons.  The first being that this cake was for a male coworker, and although he would not have complained, flowers just aren't really him.  The second reason - I had only recently finished my cake decorating class (alright, well it had been a few weeks) and I was not ready to start making more flowers again.

I came across pictures of a cake that looked like a burger on pinterest and decided to give it a go.  It is a white cake with chocolate frosting (darker for the burger, less coco for the bun), and regular buttercream frosting for the ketchup and cheese.  The lettuce was made using rolled fondant.  The sesame seeds on the bun are large sprinkles.

Everyone at work loved the cake which was great.  I had lot of fun making it and it was nice to make something less girly than I had been making for the last few months.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Root Beer Cookies!

I came across this recipe for rootbeer cookies a couple of years ago and was curious.  Root beer is a always a favourite here so I thought the cookies would go over well.  I printed the recipe and put it into my recipe binder.  The only problem was finding the rootbeer extract or concentrate, as you can’t find this at the local grocery store.  After a while I forgot until I went to a candy and cake decorating supply store to pick up some supplies for a cake I was making for one of my Wilton classes.  They had an entire shelf of extracts, and among them was root beer extract!  I picked some up, but with the cakes for classes and spring coming it still took a little while to get to these cookies.  They were worth the time I kept the recipe around!

Root Beer Cookies
½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp root beer extract (concentrate)
1 ¾ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
(the recipe calls for 2 tbsp of water if the dough is dry - I didn’t need it)

1. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.  Add in the egg and extract, mixing well.  
2. Add in the flour and baking soda, mix until combined.  
3. Drop cookies onto a cookie sheet and press down so they are flat, not dome shaped.  
4. Bake for 6-8 minutes, cool on a wire rack.

Root Beer Frosting
This is the frosting that went with the cookies, and it is amazing!  I was eating it with a spoon and almost licked out the mixing bowl (I probably would have if O hadn’t already been giving me weird looks).  This would also be delicious on top of cupcakes or vanilla cookies.

½ cup butter
1 ½ cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tsp root beer extract

Cream the ingredients together.  Add some water to achieve a spreadable consistency.  Ice the cookies when cool.

Everyone loved these cookies, including me.  I couldn’t stop eating them - with or without the icing.  The icing however was my favorite part - it tastes like a root beer float, delicious!  I will be making more of this for sure.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

I love cinnamon buns, well almost anything with cinnamon really.  I had a large craving for cinnamon on day, but didn’t want to have an entire batch of cinnamon buns sitting round the house.  I love the cookie form of anything - they get the flavor but they are a lot smaller than something like a cinnamon bun.  I came across this recipe from Picky Palate and decided to give it a try.

As a note, this recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies (I cut mine a little smaller or else rolled my dough out larger and got a few more per log).  That is way to many cookies to have sitting around or even to try to get rid of at work.  I left a few logs in the freezer after they were made and now if I have surprise guests or I need cookies for the next day but don’t have time to bake, I can pull one out, slice off some cookies and bake them.  It works great!

Picky Palate’s Cinnamon Roll Cookies

2 Cups sugar
1 Cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup sour cream
6 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder

12 tablespoons softened butter, (separated into 6 portions of 2 tbsp)
1 1/2 Cups packed light brown sugar, divided into 1/4 Cups
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.
2. Mix in the vanilla and sour cream until well combined.
3. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda and baking powder, mix until combined.
4. Split the dough in half and form each half into disc.  Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
5. Cut each disc into thirds and roll each ⅓  about ⅛ inch thick and 12 by 5 inches in size.
6. Spread the rolled out dough with 2tbsp of soft butter, ¼ cup of packed brown sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon.
7. Roll the dough into a 12 inch long log. (at this point I put some of the logs into the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap.  When you want to bake them, take them out and continue with step 8).
8. Using a sharp knife cut off slices about a ½ inch thick.  Lay the slices out on a cookie sheet.
9. Bake the cookies 9 to 11 minutes at 350F.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These cookies are great - a nice sugar cookie filled with a delicious cinnamon filling.  Picky Palate has a cream cheese icing for these, but it is not needed (it is a great addition as cream cheese icing always is, but isn’t needed). I had some of my own cream cheese frosting in the fridge leftover from some cupcakes, and it did go on a few cookies - very yummy. These are also nice 2 bite cookies, so you can eat a couple of them without feeling too bad!

I have loved having these in the freezer as well, it is great when I want a couple cookies, and they still taste just as fantastic!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A while back when a friend was having a baby I came across the pattern called For Baby With Love from the Pattern Basket. I loved the look of this and knew I had to make it - they weren’t telling people the sex of the baby so this was a gamble as the quilt was more for a boy. Well they had a girl so I ended up making her a pinwheel quilt and had the top for this at home. I was sure I would find something to do with it sooner or later. Well it seems like it was meant to be, as recently a friend asked if I could do a baby quilt for her. A good friend of hers had recently adopted a baby and she wanted to give her something special. The little one was a boy and she loved the quilt top, so I got to work on finishing it.

 I was waiting for the backing fabric to come in (I had ordered it in as I wanted something specific and the local quilt shops were out), so I embroidered the little guy’s name on the “ribbon” of the quilt. I just freehand wrote his name on with some disapearing ink and then did the embroidery.

I had recently come across a tutorial for Orange peel quilting on Oh Fransson, and decided to give that a try on this quilt. I didn't want to quilt it to close to keep it really soft, so this was great. I love this quilt and am hoping that it is well loved in it's new home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cake Decorating - Advanced Gumpaste Flowers

I just finished my final class of the Wilton Advanced Gumpaste Flowers class. The flowers that I came home look fantastic and were worth all the wrapping of wire (although I wasn't so sure when I was wrapping wire after wire).

The bouquet (above) turned out nice, even though I pretty much just randomly put the flowers together.

The stargazer lily is gorgeous (my classmate made a tiger lily in orange which was fantastic and I am going to have to try one day!).

The real winner if the class for me though was the briar rose. I want to cover a cake in these!

Thank you to Erin of Erin's Go To Cakes - I had a fantastic time in the class (and all the ones before it)!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patty's Day Green Vodka

I know St. Patricks day is all about the beer, however I have never been a beer drinker. I wanted to get in the spirit this year, so I decided to do my own thing - in green.

I decided to make a green drink that I could actually drink - green skittles vodka and sprite. It was simple to make and tasted just like candy! I followed the directions for making skittles Vodka from Mix That Drink (I actually have all the colors of original skittles, but green seemed the most appropriate for the the holiday).

Green skittles (you will need 6 skittles for every ounce of vodka)
Sprite/Seven up

1. In a bottle mix together the skittles and the vodka. Shake to dissolve the candy and leave sit overnight.
2. Run the vodka through a coffee filter to remove any undissolved candy.
3. Mix with sprite/ 7-up over ice and enjoy!

This tasted just like Skittles and I enjoyed it. It won't be my everyday drink, but it is fun once in a while. I love how bright the color is from the skittles.

Playing with Dr. Seuss

I have been wanting to do something for the last year with some of the Dr. Seuss fabric, but could never find a reason to make anything with them. Finally I just gave up and bought a fat quarter pack to play with. I am sure that they will find good homes (actually I already have recipients in mind for a couple of the projects). In my playing on the Internet I had come across a Dr. Seuss quilt that was strips and liked the looks, so I tried my own version with the stripes, but included some of the panels as well. I like the way it turned out - it is so bright and happy.

I quilted this with wavy lines that are randomly “drawn” across the quilt. This gave so much flexibility and softness to it compared to my last few projects that were stippled and I like the effect.

Then I played with some of the scraps from that quilt and a little bit more of the fat quarters to make a Peek-a-Boo Bunting quilt. I had eagerly awaited the tutorial for this, and then stalled as I couldn't decide what fabrics to use that I had on hand. Once the Dr. Seuss came in it was easy to use my scraps for it - as I love the bright colours and having the characters to place under the bunting.

I love how this turned out! The bright colors are fantastic and make a big impact even with using so little of it. I had been looking for a project to try some hand quilting and this seemed small enough and it needed something between the lines, so I quilted just like the original with the triple wavy lines. I would have to say that it turned out pretty good for my first time with hand quilting!

I still have some more Dr. Seuss Fabric left after these two projects and can’t wait to see what other fun things I can make with them!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Birdie Stitches Update

Last year I started the Birdie Stitches BOM by LittleMissShabby. I have finally finished the top!

I designed my own blocks for November (to make it a little more Canadian - thanksgiving is in October here) and the June block.

I liked the original June block, but wasn't sure about it with the other blocks. After finishing the top I have decided to make the original June block and put it into the back of the quilt as a signature block. Now I just have to decide what I want to use as a backing for my quilt so I can finish it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blueberry "Mojito"

I was having drinks with friends this summer when I had a blueberry mojito. It was delicious, and I have found myself wanting one ever since. The only thing about it I could remember was that it was made with blueberry vodka, so when I saw blueberry infused vodka on Keep it simple, I knew I had to try it.

I followed the directions and left 2/3 cups of vodka sit in 2 cups of vodka overnight, then ran it through a coffee filter to come out with a nicely colored vodka (that albeit still pretty much tasted like vodka if drinking it straight).

In a glass crush some blueberries and mint leaves. Then add 1 ounce of the blueberry vodka and top with sprite. Enjoy.

I know this isn't a true Mojito, and really all it seems to have in common pretty much is the mint - but it is a tasty drink! You don't have to use sprite/7up, but I like the lemon lime flavor it adds.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Family Tree Quilt

December 2011 marked the 55th anniversary for my Grandparents. I was very excited for them, and wanted to do something special for them, so I decided to make them a quilt. I ended up making them a Family Tree quilt with all their kids (medallions), grand kids (leaves) and great grandchildren (leaves) at the time of their anniversary on it.

Sadly I was unable to finish it for their actual anniversary, but I did show them the top which was finished. They loved it.

Now I have it quilted (I love how the tree shows on the back with the quilting), bound and sent off. It arrived yesterday just in time for the snowstorm! I hope it is keeping them warm in all the snow.

I would like to thank my very talented friend Iza for drawing the tree for me - it was perfect.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Mini Bookshelf Quilt

I finally got a project finished! I started this weeks ago, and had it all made, waiting for the binding. Apparently that was a big obstacle as it sat there for week, with the binding waiting to be sewed on. I got it all finished finally, and I think it looks great. Now I just have to decide were I am going to put it - it will most likely end up hanging on the wall by my bookshelf.

This was a great quick project (except for my stalling on the binding) and was a great way to use up my skinny scraps. I used the tutorial from Don't Call Me Betsy, which was great.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Jam Bundt

A couple people at work take turns baking cakes for people’s birthdays. Recently it was my turn to make the birthday cake for my cake decorating buddy. I was getting a little tired of making cakes with flowers on them, and knew she probably was as well. From previous discussion I knew that she was a fan of bundt cakes – both look and texture wise, so I decided to give everyone a break from the icing laden cakes that had been coming from class. I have loved following the Food Librarians “I like big bundts” over the past years and thought that would be a good place to start looking for something to make. When I came across the Peanut Butter and Jelly Swirl Bunt, I had to make it – especially as the recipient loves peanut butter!

I did make a couple changes with the jelly. I used a strawberry rhubarb jam (complete with fruit chunks) that I had made in the summer and I increased the amount as it didn’t look like there was enough jelly in the pictures.

I also topped it with a peanut butter frosting, and served it with additional jam should people wish to add more (I don’t think anyone turned down the extra jam, and by the time it was done my 2 cup jar was almost empty!)

Below is her recipe (originally from Welsh’s) with a couple of small changes.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Swirl Bundt Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth worked fine)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup dairy sour cream

¾ to 1 cup Jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the baking rack in bottom third of oven.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Continue beating as you add the peanut butter and vanilla.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated, followed by the sour cream.
5. Slowly add flour mixture and mix until just blended (if using a mixer, use the lowest speed). Spoon half of the batter (about 3 cups) into greased 12 cup bundt pan. Dollop 1/3 Ts of the jelly over batter avoiding edges of pan.
6. Partially stir jam into batter using a skewer or thin bladed knife. Spoon remaining batter into pan and dollop and swirl remaining jelly into batter.
7. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Frosting

¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar

1. Cream together the butter and peanut butter.
2. Mix in the icing sugar until smooth.
3. Enjoy

Everyone loved this cake, especially the birthday girl. It went so fast I was unable to get a picture of the inside of the cake with the jam swirls.

I will be making this cake again soon – I think it would be great with some blueberry jelly, and I am looking forward to trying it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentines!

I had some leftover fondant from my last cake class, and decided to use it up on a cute Valentines day cake. It started with the green fondant and then I had the great idea to make some lady bugs. As it was Valentines, I decided to try some writing. I think it turned out pretty good considering I had no idea what I was going to do when I started!

The cake was a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting - everyone at work enjoyed it and I had no trouble finding someone to take the last piece off my hands!

Lady bug with her antennae (I couldn't decide if I liked them better with or without).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Creamy Jalapeno Chicken

I needed something new and interesting for supper this week to get myself out of the rut I have been in lately. When I came across a recipe for Jalapeno Chicken on How Sweet Eats, I knew this was perfect as I love jalapenos. There isn't a lot of color in this dish (veggies on the side sort of make up for this) but it is very tasty.

Creamy Jalapeno Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons sunflower/safflower oil
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour (any kind will do, I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup skim milk
1 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

1.Finely chop the jalapenos, onions and garlic. This is easiest done with a food processor, just give it a couple of pulses and you are done. Keep these for later.
2.In a pan, heat the oil and add the chicken breasts (seasoned with salt and pepper if you would like). Cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes a side, the chicken should be cooked through and browned on the outside.
3.While the chicken cooks, add the butter to a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook the jalapeno/onion/garlic mix for 2-3 minutes (will the a little soft and fragrant).
4.Add the flour to the butter vegetable mix and stir (the butter and flour will become a thick paste) and cook for 1 minute.
5.Slowly whisk in the milk and evaporated milk to the butter/flour/vegetable mixture, allowing it cook and thicken. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until thick and add the parmesan cheese. If you want it to be a thicker sauce, turn the heat to low and leave it cook for a couple more minutes.
6.To serve, place sauce on the chicken.

Yum! I loved this and the sauce was fantastic with rice (I even ate just the sauce on rice for leftovers the next day). This meal will be in my regular rotation of meals from now on, it was easy to make and made a tasty dinner.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Final Cake - Gumpaste and Fondant

My Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste class has ended and I had a great time. It was a lot of fun playing with fondant and the flowers all turned out really great. I decided to play around a bit, and convinced O to shape me a new cookie cutter, and ended up with some great looking Plumeria flowers! I love the tropical look (especially as it is February and I am anxiously awaiting spring).

Thank you Erin for a great class. I am looking forward to the upcoming Advanced Gumpaste Flowers class later this spring.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cake Decorating - Gumpaste and Fondant

I am now taking the third Wilton class (from my fabulous teacher Erin of Erin's Go To Cakes), and I am loving it. I am half way through the course and have so far learned how to make a fondant bow:


Calla lily and carnation (I love the carnations).

I can't wait for the next class when we learn daisies and mums!

Belated Happy New Years

Wow, I took a bit longer of break over the holidays that I was intending from blogging. I haven’t done a lot of baking or even cooking really since the end of the holidays and have spent a lot of time trying to get the house back in order and finding homes for things that have shown up over the holidays.

The spice drawer in my kitchen was a disaster (see what I mean).

A trip the the dollar store for some little jars and an evening of labeling later it now looks like this:

My quilting room has also been rearranged (I can not fully open the door to get in!), and I have been working on something to fill the blank space on the wall above the ironing board. The rulers have finally found a home - with easy access from my cutting area, and the catch all drawer has been emptied and my supplies are organized in a handy little organizer (I got it for 50% off at Michaels!). I will have to post pictures, as soon as I get around to taking some and not getting distracted by working or cleaning. Now hopefully I can get some of those projects left over from last year finished (there are only 5 quilts in various stages sitting around the room, along with other smaller projects that were started and never finished).