Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monster Cookies and Ornaments!

Sorry for posting rather sporadically!

I seriously mean to post at least once a week but then it never seems to happen - really I will get better....I

Today was a great day! I had the day off, the kids and I made my favorite cookies of all time, and we made some homemade salt dough ornaments! Plus I got half of the house cleaned.......I chose season 4 of Cake Boss (that is now on Netflix YAY!) over cleaning the rest of the house. Oh, well :)

We had so much fun! The salt dough ornaments were SO easy to make! Here's the recipe in case you have never made them before.....

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup water

* Mix all together and knead to form a dough
* Roll out the dough to desired thickness and use cookie cutters to cut shapes out
* Or if desired shape dough into desired shapes
* Place tin foil down on a baking sheet so your creations do not stick to the pan
* Bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours

All baked and ready to be decorated this weekend - gotta load up on paint and glitter! This recipe yielded about 2 dozen ornaments for us.

Now onto my favorite part of the day!


Not just any cookies either, these are my favorite cookies in the whole wide world :) They have everything good in them....oatmeal, peanut butter (or in our case soybutter) M&Ms (my favorite candy) and chocolate chips, all melted and baked together into a giant cookie :)

These are a family tradition and a family favorite. My mom bakes them up every year around Christmas time (and sometimes throughout the year too) and always gives us a bag of them to take home. This recipe yields 4-5 dozen! My favorite way to eat them (if they last the is to put the bag in the freezer and let them get crumbly then put it over ice cream :) Serious goodness!

When you make them be sure not to make them too small - they are called monster cookies for a reason! If you make them too small, they will just end up hard and flat (and while I will still eat them that way, it is definitely not the best!) They recommend using an ice cream scoop instead of a spoon to get the right size :) Also don't bake them too long - take them out just before they look done!

Monster Cookies


3 eggs
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (or soy butter for nut free)
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
* In a very large bowl, beat the eggs. Very large.....this seriously makes a lot!
* Add the remaining ingredients in order, mixing well.
* Use an ice cream scoop to put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. I took them out at 13 minutes and they turned out perfect!

This recipe is halved very easily - for the eggs use 2 and the rest just cut in half!


Check out my bakery website here!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Granola (and can you guess what I'm watching?!)

My favorite season is fall. Seriously, I love everything about it (except the impending snow), the colors, the smell, the fall food! We always have cider in the fridge and I make caramel for apples like every week lol. Pumpkin pie is my hubby's favorite for the fall, however, since we are both losing weight and neither of us have done very good on eating clean and healthy for the past month, we decided that making some pie wouldn't be the best idea. So, I decided to make something healthy that is along the same lines :)  

Granola! Oh, the smell of granola baking in the oven is heavenly! And it tastes so very good too! Store bought granola is absolutely nothing compared to homemade and it's so easy to make! So, after church this morning we took the kids out to eat for lunch, came home and put them down for a nap (did they sleep? Nope lol but it bought me at least an hour!) then I made up a batch of granola and popped in a movie that I've been wanting to watch for a while :) I actually want to do a marathon of the series but I don't have time for that. So one movie at a time for now lol..........can you guess what it is???

Also today we had a loss in our family :( Our cat Loki died of unknown causes. We found her after church and we think that she may have ate something bad possibly. We've had her for a few years (I think since 2009) and she left behind 2 kittens plus an older baby - Ernie. I feel so bad for the babies! Its just starting to get cold out and the one kitten is disabled - his back legs are twisted and he can't walk very well. So we brought them into the porch where we can keep an eye on them, and all day the big brother and daddy has been staying on the porch watching over them - sad but very sweet to see them taking care of the babies!

Big brother Ernie taking care of the babies

 Thor (who is a gigantic cat btw) keeping watch on the porch - he usually doesn't hang around

RIP Loki

Ok, so onto the recipe for the granola (sorry I know it's not a good transition) - it's adapted from with style and grace blog and can be adapted very easily to be gluten free and/or nut free and is dairy free!

Pumpkin Spice Granola

  • 5 cups rolled oats (if gluten free use gluten free rolled oats)
  • 1 cup of nuts - your choice ( I like to use 1/2 almonds and 1/2 walnuts)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon. salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used my homemade spiced applesauce - yum!)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries ( I like to use a mix of dried cranberries, blueberries, and cherries)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line your two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract and using a whisk or fork, whisk until smooth.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated.
Spread the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 45 minutes, carefully stirring every 15 minutes for even baking.
Remove from the oven and let cool before stirring in the dried cranberries.
Store in an airtight container.

Sorry - not a great picture - I didn't have any natural light left - darn time change!

Oh, and did you guess the movie? Here is another clue if not lol

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wedding Cake

Hi there!!!

It's been a little while :( So sorry! I have been caught up in a few different things and it's been a bit stressful lately..... So, quite a few things have happened since my last post! I got a new phone which I'm in LOVE with :) it's an iPhone 4 and did I mention that I LOVE it?! I also have started doing cakes - officially - out of my house and made a website for it   AND I did my FIRST wedding cake and delivery!!! SO exciting!!!! 

 I was SOOO nervous about the wedding cake! I baked it up the beginning of the week, dirty iced (or crumb coated it - whichever way you say it) the night before it was due, then decorated it the morning of. I was worried about the timing, however, I actually ended up getting done about 45 minutes ahead of schedule! Awesome!!! Then came the part that I was the most nervous

My awesome husband driving :) He helped me carry and deliver the cake and did a wonderful job of being extremely supportive!
In case you were wondering, yes that is my leg next to the cake - I rode in back with it so I was sure that it was safe........just a little paranoid lol

It ended up perfectly stomach was in knots the whole way there - it was only about a 15 minute drive....actually closer to 30 minutes since we were driving slow....I never realized how bumpy M-53 really is........then we arrived.....after passing it up a couple of times......totally not our fault - there was no sign! Anyways, the hall was absolutely gorgeous....vintage looking with hardwood floors, mood lighting, huge vintage looked amazing. PLUS, what probably was the most exciting part is that the woman owns the hall also owns the bridal shop up above, and she asked for my business cards to put out in her shop!!! AHHH!!! I was on cloud 9 the rest of the day! :)

Here is the finished product all set up..........:)

I just have to say....I'm very proud of it :)

So anyways, here's my recipe for the chocolate cake and the white cake that I use. The top tier and bottom tier are chocolate cake and the middle is white.  It does use a boxed cake base - don't judge it or me until you've tried it! It does not tasted like boxed cake - so very delicious and moist......

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (4 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.
  4. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. On medium low speed, continue to blend for 2-3 minutes more.
  6. The batter will be very thick and should look well combined.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans and smooth it out.
  8. Bake for 27-32 minutes ( I started checking the cakes at 25 minutes-- it was like gooey chocolate pudding-- then 3 minutes later it was perfect.
  9. Another couple of minutes and I think it would have been dry, so keep an eye on your cakes.
  10. Allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

The 16" pan for the bottom tier barely fit in the oven!

I use parchment paper in the bottom of my cake pans instead of flour - grease the bottom of the pan only!  If you grease the sides, the cake will not climb up the sides! then lay down your parchment paper that is cut to the size of the bottom = no cake sticking to the pan! You may also notice the little round indent in the middle of the cake. This is a trick that I learned about a year ago - I take a flower nail, used for cake decorating, and put it in the center of the batter - pointy side up. This acts like a heating core so the cake bakes more evenly. Cheaper than bake even strips!

White Cake


  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) package plain white cake mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in mixing bowl.
  3. Blend with mixer on low speed for 1 minute.
  4. Stop machine, scrape down sides of bowl.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more.
  6. Scrape down sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Place pan in oven.
  9. Bake the cake until it is light brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 35-40 minutes.
  10. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Fun Fact: I used about 60 cups of batter for this wedding cake and about 30 cups of icing.........

and in case you didn't catch it the first time, here is my cake website :) please check it out and tell me what you think!!! I appreciate any feedback!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Playing around with Photoshop

I don't have a recipe tonight....just pictures. Today is my last day off for the week and so I decided that after all the work we did yesterday, that I didn't want to do anything today :) So I've been playing around on Photoshop experimenting with photoshop actions. Here are a few that I did........

PS I entered the second picture down (Oliver's messy face) in the iheartfaces photo challenge :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tuna Saute over Spagetti and a New Car!

So this week has been the week from.....well, you know where. Having numerous problems with my job, hit a deer with our Blazer, went to my friends what seems like a never-ending list of other small things that keep happening. SO glad this week is OVER!!! I'm ready for it to be better!

Well, yesterday it got better - we bought a new vehicle! 2003 Envoy XL - it's beautiful, fully loaded, has 4-wheel and all-wheel drive, 4 doors, and seats 7! It has everything we wanted and more (heated seats :)

Heated seats :-D (can you tell I'm excited about the heated

So to celebrate our new car, I came up with this recipe (actually I came up with it the day before but I couldn't figure out how to transition to the recipe lol).

I wasn't sure how it would turn had a recipe bomb on me a couple of days ago.....yeah that was another thing that went wrong.......ANYWAYS, this one was totally good! I bought some Anise at the market last week and I have been wanting to try it out. From what I have read about it, it is good either cooked/grilled/sauteed or raw in salads. Cooking it is supposed to mellow out the licorice-like flavor a bit, and since the hubby isn't fond of black licorice, I decided that cooking it would be the best route. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do though lol. I got a few ingredients out that I thought would go well together (and honestly what I had left in the fridge/pantry......) and sauteed them together - the tuna was a last minute addition and it was very good, although I think chicken breast would be equally good.

Here are the ingredients - tuna in water, anise, capers, yellow onion, garlic, EEVO (extra virgin olive oil), fresh parmesan cheese

Anise bulb with the tops and end cut off

Garlic bulb
 A GIGANTIC yellow onion! This is half of it!

Fresh parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste

A beautiful huge tomato from my mom's garden :)

The tops from the anise bulb - don't throw away! You can use it as a herb!

EEVO - extra virgin olive oil

Tuna Saute over Spaghetti


* 1 can of tuna in water
* 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
* 3 garlic cloves - minced
* 2 tbsp capers
* about 1/2 cup of roughly chopped anise
* 1/2 medium tomato diced
* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
* 4-5 basil leaves chopped
* salt and pepper to taste 
* 100% whole wheat spaghetti noodles


* saute yellow onion in pan on low until soft - about 10 minutes
* add garlic, capers, and anise and turn up heat to medium for about 3 minutes until heated
* add to cooked noodles 
* add in tuna, parmesan cheese, basil, tomatoes, and salt and pepper
* garnish if you want with the "feathery" tops from the anise
* Enjoy!

As a side note we now have 2 cars for sale - a 99 Saturn for $800 and a 98 Blazer for $1800 - send me a message if interested! We spent all day today cleaning them out and washing them so we can get them out to the road. It was actually fun with the kids helping and it turned out to be a beautiful day!