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!