Friday, March 23, 2012


A few weeks ago we experienced a big hiccup with the blogger system.  To try and prevent that from happening again I am moving to my own website.  I hope you will still follow along there and look for some good recipes to be coming your way! 

The new address is

I am working on getting all my previously posted recipes up on the new site. 

Check it out, watch for your favorites to show up. 

Thanks for the support! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits

These biscuits are just what you would imagine good Southern biscuits to be like. 
They are buttery and pull apart easily. 
So good. 

You'll need:
2 cups of flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbs cold butter
1 cup plus 2 Tbs buttermilk
4 Tbs butter, softened

Stir together all the dry ingredients.
If you have a food processor it will make things easier on you.
I don't have one, so I use a fork and a pastry cutter (?- not sure that is the real name).
Anyway, add the cold butter to the dry ingredients.  I like to cube the butter before adding it, it just makes things a little easier.

This is where I use the pastry cutter, cut through the butter and flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles. 
It will still look very dry, the butter is NOT going to make this hold its shape like a pie crust would.

Next add the buttermilk and stir everything with a fork, just until everything is wet. 
You don't want to over mix these, that will make them tougher. 

The dough should be wet and very sticky. 
Pour about 1/4 cup of flour onto the surface you will cut these out on.
I used a silicone mat, a pastry cloth would work as well. 
This next part will be messy, so these portable surfaces make clean up easier. 

 Dump the dough onto the flour and sprinkle a little more flour on top. 
Just enough so that you can touch it without everything sticking to you.

Use your hands to pat the dough flat to about 1/2 inch thick.
You could use a rolling pin, but that will make the biscuits a little tougher.

With your softened butter, spread about 1 1/2- 2 Tbs onto the dough.

Then fold the dough in half.

Spread 1- 1 1/2 Tbs of butter on the dough again.

Fold in half again.

Spread remaining butter on top, again. 

Fold in half for the last time and flatten with your hands again, just til 1 inch think.

Use a cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits.
I sprayed my cutter with PAM so the dough wouldn't stick to it too badly.  I sprayed it a few times more when it started to get sticky.

If you like the edges of your biscuits soft, then put them close together on your pan. 
I like a little crispy to outside of my biscuits so I put them about 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch apart.
I also like the bottoms crispy so I bake them on a dark pan.  A lighter color pan will give you biscuits with softer bottoms. 
Do what makes you happy.  :)

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, til golden brown on top. 
Serve with butter, jam, honey, apple butter, etc. 
Or eat them plain, they are good enough! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How to bake a cake

So, you are probably saying to yourself  "I already know how to bake a cake!"
Well, great!
However, at some point I learned these tips I am going to share with you.
And most of my friends don't know all of these tips, so I bet most of you will not know at least one of these helpful hints.
So keep reading.

First of all, I use boxed cake mixes for my cakes.
I know, I know. 
But when you can make them taste awesome, why bother with a from scratch cake.
Those can be really dense anyway, and that's not what we want.
(I do make cakes from scratch sometimes, just not when they require a lot of decorating.)

So, when baking a cake. First, preheat your oven.

Then, go warm your eggs.
Bring them to room temperature. 
Either set them out for  a while before baking so they can warm on their own, or put them in a cup with warm water for a few minutes and that will take the chill off faster.
Keep them in their shells for all that. 

When mixing the ingredients for the cake FOLLOW the DIRECTIONS. 
Seems like common sense, but most people just mix everything for about 30 seconds, until it looks done. 
Don't do that.
Beat all ingredients ( like oil, water, eggs, dry mix, whatever your mix calls for) according to the directions.
Most mixes say something like this:
"beat on low for 30 seconds, then beat on medium or medium/ high for 2 minutes."
I always set a timer for 2 minutes and don't stop until the timer goes off.
The cake batter should be smooth and fluffy. 

Next COAT your pans with this:
Baker's Joy.

This is a picture of my pan with the baker's joy on it. 
The spray should be thick enough that it looks white. 
(Bad picture, I know...)
 Pour your batter into the pans, filling them 2/3 full.  This will allow the cake to fill the entire pan and usually puff up some.  That way you can cut the tops of the cake off to get them level. 

Once you put the cakes in to oven use your cake box, or an old cereal box, or any cardboard to make a cake board.
I used the paper that came in the cake pan to trace the size for my boards. 
You can trace the cake pan itself, also. 

Cut out your boards and cover them with plastic wrap or wax paper. 
Set these aside the cake is done baking.

When your cake is done a tooth pick inserted near the center should come out clean.

Once you remove the cakes from the over, immediately run a knife around the edges of the pan to loose the cake.  The turn the cake out onto a cooling rack, or plate, or whater. 
Put your cake board on the cake and flip it over so the board is on the bottom of the cake. 
Working quickly, wrap the cake in plastic wrap, sealing the edges, and put in the freezer.

This cake has the board under it, is wrapped up, and ready to freeze. 
You want to freeze the cake right away so that all the moisture get sealed in the cake.
This will make your cake nice and moist when you eat it. 
It is also much easier to frost a frozen cake.  It cuts down on the loose crumbs a lot. 

I like to leave the cakes in the freezer for at least a day.

Once frozen and you are ready to decorate, level your cakes by trimming off the puffy tops with a knife.
Be careful, it is hard to cut through the center of a frozen cake...
Ouch, I learned that the hard way.

Next frost the cakes with a crumb coat.  Frost between each layer first, if you are stacking cakes.
Then frost the top, and finally the sides. 
A crumb coat should be a very thin layer of frosting. 
Smooth it out as best you can and then let it dry before frosting the with the final coat. 

For ideas on how to decorate click here.

Kids Cakes

Princess cake

3D Train Cake

Baracuda Cake

Racoon Cake

Campfire Cake

Butterfly Cake

Train Cake

Transformers Cake

Gift Cake

Charlie Brown Cake

So fun, try some for your self! 
Or, you could hire me and I'll make it for you!  ;)

Flower Cake

My little girl turns 4 tomorrow. 

She is into all things pink, purple, princess, ballerina, you get the idea.

She decided she wanted a flower cake this year.

But not a cake in the shape of a flower like most 4 year old girls might want.

She wanted basically a wedding cake. 

This what I cam up with.
Luckily she LOVED it!!

This was just an extra cake we had in case we ran out of the first one. 
We had a good sized party...

I used fondant for the white. 
Royal icing at medium consistancy for the flowers, the lettering, and the pink rope trim.
And cream cheese frosting for the purple rope trim, and also for the crumb coat, and purple frosting on the small cake. 

I've made a LOT of frosting this week. 

Red R2D2 Cake

This cake was very intimidating...

My son wanted this for his 7th birthday.

I tried to persuade him to choose something easier, but was unsuccessful. 

I used 3 6-inch round cakes for the R2D2 body.

Here they are with the crumb coat of cream cheese frosting already on. 

I covered them with fondant.
However, I had too much fondant so I smoothed out the front and back and brought the excess fondant to the side and cut it off then sealed the seams.

I knew the arms would cover up the seams on the sides, so I wasn't worried about them being perfect.

I used a metal bowl about the same size as my 6-inch cakes to make the dome part for the head. 

I used black and blue food coloring to make the grey color. 

Here are the rice krispy legs. 
We made a base the same shape as the legs and body to help support the cake. 
I just forgot to take a picture of it. 
(Imagine a circle cut out of wood with two small bumps on two sides where the legs attach.)

Next I colored some fondant red and cut out shapes to sort of match an R2D2 coloring page. 

The black is just buttercream piped on.

I cut the arms out of rice krispies as well. 
Gave them a crumb coat with cream cheese frosting as well, then covered them with fondant.
Same this with the legs and base. 

Then I put the body on top of the base.
We put two ramekins under the base in case the cake settled over night. 
Rice krispies can only take so much, right?
The cake did settle, and by morning the ramekins were pinned.  So we just left them there. 
I am happy with how it turned out. 
Most importantly, my son was happy, too.    :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dominican Republic Rice and Beans

My very first food post was for Chili Relleno Meatballs.
With those meatballs, pictured here, I served this rice.

Finally, here is the recipe.

My sister used to have a neighbor who was from the Dominican Republic. 
She taught my sister to make this dish, who then taught me. 

For some perspective, imagine a woman from another country teaching YOU to make something with no measurments, just adding a "little of this, and a dash of that." 

We have done our best to give you mesurements, but you may need to alter the amounts to fit your tastes and needs. 

You will need:
1 onion
1-2 stalks of celery
1-2 cloves, or 1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 - 1 whole bunch of cilantro
1 tsp oregano
3 tsp chicken bouilon
1 tsp Adobo seasoning
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 Tbs oil
2-3 cups rice (depends on how much you want)
2-3 cups water (according to how much rice you used)

Mince your onion and saute it in the oil over medium heat.

 Chop the celery.  I like my celery in very small pieces.
Add it to the pan with the onions.

Give the cilantro a rough chop, discarding the ends. 
Add it to the onions. 
Also add the garlic, and cook for a few minutes, til the onion starts to get soft and translucent.

Then add the stewed tomatoes and the beans (undrained), the vinegar, chicken bouilon, adobo, and oregano.

At this point I pour my rice into a rice cooker and then add the onion and tomato mixture from my pan.  I cover with the water and set the rice cooker to cook.  Easy.

If you are not using a rice cooker:
In a heavy bottom pot add your onion and tomato mixutre from above, and the water.  Bring your liquid almost to a boil then add the rice and stir.  Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. 
Check on the rice and give it a stir every 5 minutes or so.  If the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot you can add oil 1 Tbs at a time and stir again.  Cook rice for about 20 - 30 minutes.  Taste, you can add more water if you like your rice moister. 

 Like I said this recipe is not an exact science, but it's authentic and it tastes great!
Good luck!