Mobirise




Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.



From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs



Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Happy Birthday to Me!

Domestic, Marriage, Small Town

Last weekend, four of my dearest friends made the two hour journey (one of them had a 5 hour journey) to my house in the woods to help me celebrate my birthday.

Backing up a bit, when I was preparing for my ladies (and Andrew) to come up for the weekend, I naturally went on a baking spree, and so I needed birthday items, like sprinkles and candy melts. I literally asked for a handful of 3 colours of candy melts, 3 colours of sprinkles and about 1/2 lb of milk chocolate. My husband drove into town to get the gear I needed and came back with what can only be described as an avalanche of sprinkles and candy melts and other amazing things I didn’t even ask for. That’s love people, that’s love.

 

I had asked for the candy melts and sprinkles to make cupcake pops. I’ve made cake balls many, many times before but these are so much more festive! I used the Bakerella Cupcake Bites Made Easy post as my guide. They really are so easy, all you need is some chocolate, a candy cup mold (like the bottom of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup), candy melts in different colours, some sprinkles in different colours and Smarties. Ready?

First, of course, make your cake. I used the Stir and Bake Chocolate Cake I posted a couple of weeks ago. While the cake is baking, make your chocolate cups. Just melt the chocolate over a double boiler (a lot of people use the microwave with great success), and pour it into the mold. Be sure to coat the sides well!

Once the cake has baked and cooled, cut off any crispy edges so you’re just left with the soft cakey part and then smush it up!

Leave the chocolate to dry on the counter for a bit, and once it’s lost it’s shiny gloss, pop it in the fridge for a few hours.

Now add a few dollops of buttercream or cream cheese icing and mix it up. The ratio is different depending on what recipes you use for the cake and for the icing. We’ve been over the whole store bought things before. I know it’s so much easier to use a boxed cake mix and a tub of frosting but my Granny has drilled in to me that I should just do it from scratch. I swear it doesn’t take that much longer at all!

 

Once you’ve got the right consistency, roll your mixture into cake balls and put those in the fridge as well. Make sure you roll them big enough (or small enough depending on your mold) to sit comfortably in your chocolate cups!

When your chocolate cups are ready, and you’ve popped them out of their molds, melt some of your candy melts down to use as glue to hold the cake balls in the chocolate cups.

Bakerella squished the cake balls right into the melted chocolate in the mold before it even went in the fridge. Which is genius. I, however, did not do that so I had to glue them in. Next time, I will do that.

Now holding the cupcake pop by the chocolate cup, dip it in the candy melts and add your sprinkles and Smartie to it while it’s still wet! These are a lot of fun to make because you can literally use whatever sort of toppings you want depending on the occasion!

 

The purple ones are a replica of the ones in Bakerella’s tutorial, the blue ones just also felt really festive. The pink ones were a little birthday treat to me because my favourite colour combo is black and pink (obviously). These are hands down the best birthday treat I’ve made.

I made extras and let the kids decorate a bunch on their own. They were really creative with it and made a wonderful mess in the kitchen!

Keeping with the theme of treats I love that look a lot harder to make than they really are, I also made Leek Rings. They really should be eaten fresh, so I made them as I knew everyone was coming over. I went with leeks instead of onions because we all prefer them, and they’re just a little different than what you’d expect. So people were arriving as I was making these, and no lie, they were eating them right out of the collinder! Very few of the leek rings even made it to a plate.

 

Very simple to make!! You can cut your leeks (or onions) thin and have a lot or cut them thicker to make a bigger snack out of them. If you cut them as thin as I did, you can just pop them in your mouth in one or two bites. Which may not be a good thing!

Leek Rings
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons steak seasoning (!!)

Heat up a wok (or frying pan or whatever) 1/2 full of canola oil, use a fork to dip the

leek/onion in the batter, shake it off a bit and pluink it in the oil. Let it cook for just a few seconds if you want it a golden brown, then flip it, cook it for another few seconds and move it to a paper towel-lined collinder. If you like them crispier, just leave them in longer – but not too long, these babies cook fast!

I could eat and eat and eat these. They were so good it’s a little alarming. I would gain so much weight if I made these all the time, but boy do I ever want to make these all the time! I will save them as treats for when I have visitors (which isn’t that often out here in the woods)!

One more treat and I’ll let you get on with your day. This was my birthday cake. I was having some serious oven issues and my sister looooves cheesecake, so I whipped up this Chocolate Elegance Cake from Kraft. Amazing, and again, so simple!!

 

Chocolate Elegance Cake – from Kraft

1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups Cool Whip
6 ounces chocolate chips
1 package jello chocolate instant pudding (4 servings)
1/2 cup milk

This cake is made upside down in a loaf pan, set in the fridge, covered in chocolate and set in the fridge again. Then your friends come over and eat it all!

Beat the cream cheese and the sugar till blended, then stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip. Spread 2 cups of this mixture onto the bottom of a 8 x 4 loaf pan lined with plastic wrap.

Melt 3 ounces of the chocolate chips, and add to the rest of the cream cheese mixture along with the pudding mix and milk. Beat till blended and spread over the first layer in the pan. Pop this in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Once the cake as set, melt the rest of the chocolate (3 ounces) and Cool Whip (1 cup) together, let it cool a bit. Now invert your cake onto the platter you’re using and take off the plastic wrap. Spread the glaze you just made over the cake and immediately top with either sprinkles or nuts or whatever you like. Put it back in the fridge for another half hour or so, till the glaze is set.

This cake was amazing, and I later thought about tinting the first layer to a bright colour, or making several layers like that one and tinting them all different colours!

I made one more treat for my birthday party, but I can’t tell you about it yet because it’s a Daring Baker’s challenge and we’re not unleashing it until tomorrow. Trust me though, it’s good! Once you read how to do it, you’ll be wondering why you don’t make it yourself all the time!!

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Cakes of 2010

Domestic

45. December 16 – Candy Cane Cake

44. November 27 – Blueberry-Filled Chocolate Cake

42. November 27 – Raspberry-Filled Vanilla Cake

41. November 25 – Stargate Cake

40. November 13 – Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

39. October 28 – Halloween Cake Pops – Witch

39. October 28 – Halloween Cake Pops – Spider

39. October 28 – Halloween Cake Pops – Mummie

39. October 28 – Halloween Cake Pops – Monster

38. October 28 – Candy Corn Cupcakes

37. October 22 – Vanilla Cupcake Buns with Brownie Burgers and Sugar Cookie Fries

36. October 15 – Double Chocolate Candy Coated Cupcake Pops

35. October 15 – Chocolate Elegance Cake

34. October 9 – Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Mini Loaves

33. October 9 – Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

32. September 19 – Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

31. August 13 – Marble Soccer Cake

30. July 30 – Swiss Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

29. July 19 – Love Cakes

28. July 9 – Apple Crisp

27. July 2 – Ontario Apple Cranberry Crumble

26. June 19 – Key Lime Cake

25. June 5 – Chocolate Snowball Cake

24. May 30 – Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

23. May 8 – Almond Meringue Cakes

22. April 24 – Chocolate Banana Cake

21. April 10 – Chocolate Minis with Peanut Butter Frosting

20. April 7 – Cocoa Cupcakes with Coconut Icing

19. April 1 – Cadbury Cream Egg Cupcakes

18. March 27 – Chocolate Butterscoch Cake

17. March 21 – Butterscotch Ganache Cake

16. March 17 – Guiness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting

15. March 12 – Mini Super Apple Cakes

14. March 7 – ‘Very Special’ Vanilla Cake

13. March 5 – Classic Tiramisu

12. February 26 – Blueberry Friands

11. February 19 – Tres Letches Cake

10. February 14 – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

09. February 14 – Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

08. February 11 – Cinnamon Hearts Hugs & Kisses Cupcakes

07. February 5 – 10 Layer Smell You Later Cake

06. January 30 – Black Forest Cake

05. January 30 – Chocolate Coconut Cake

04. January 23 – Brown Sugar Cake

03. January 16 – Double Lemon Cake

02. January 9 – Chocolate Topped Almond Cake

01. January 2 – Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Smell You Later (with pie!)

Domestic

One of my best and oldest friends has left the country – again. The first time she left was for England, then she came back for a few years and now she’s trying Australia on for size. I knew she’d love Australia, and though her Visa is only good for a year I wanted to give her a serious send off! The weekend before her Smell You later party, I made this pretty little pie and we finished up the prep work for the following Saturday!

Keeping in my kick with the chocolate crust, I pulled together this number – Peppermint Pie with a Chocolate Crust. Most of the ladies at the Stitch n Bitch where I served this said it tasted like Christmas. It’s a pretty accurate description, actually, so much so that I think I’ll pull this out at Christmas time from now on.

The Smell You Later party was all about good friends and good food. :) It was a semi-surprise, as in she knew about the fete being thrown in her honor, but didn’t know I was inviting all her favorites – even the ones that don’t usually cross social circles! Fun!!

    

First up was this Apple Caramel pie! Essentially, you can rig up any apple pie recipe for this. My only suggestions for altering your favorite recipe to include the caramel is to not use Granny Smith apples, up your cinnamon and use all brown (or golden yellow) sugar instead of granulated. Even when the caramel started to ooze out the top, I was still very happy with it! I dusted the top of it with cinnamon and sugar before baking as well.

I also made Marshmallow-Topped Cocoa Brownies from my fail-safe Good Housekeeping scratch brownie recipe, I just sprinkled marshmallows on top, as per wee one #2′s suggestion. They turned out as good as they look!

Raw batter and mini marshmallows…

Baked brownies, melty and browned marshmallows….

Cooled and cut!

My Uncle Glenn loves to cook, and often comes over on Fridays, especially before a large weekend gathering, to play in the kitchen with me. This week he showed me his favorite dish to make for a crowd, Sausage and Peppers. We started with a red onion, chopped it really chunky and sauteed it with some whole garlic cloves and a bit of olive oil, and added the sausages. At the same time, we chopped the peppers, put them on a cookie sheet with a bit of fresh black pepper and some olive oil. By the time the sausages were cooked, the peppers were ready, we added everything to one casserole dish and popped it back in the oven for another 30 minutes or so. Tah-dah!

 

I know we’ve got a blurry one here and I try to avoid that but it’s the only shot I took of all three of this week’s pies. The Apple-Caramel Pie is on the left, on the right is this Triple Layer Mud Pie from Kraft, and under it, my first successful Frozen Key Lime Pie, recipe courtesy of Martha!

My hands down favorite treat that I made for Lindsay’s Smell You Later party was this tray of pink cake balls, which I think we all know by now I discovered on Bakerella. I made these ones from cherry cake and pink frosting! I ran out of lollipop sticks, but had chocolate to melt, so I made little cake balls with my tablespoon, dropped them in cute cupcake liners and drizzled them in chocolate! So so so good, I swear it doesn’t matter what you do to a cake ball, it’s delicious. Bakerella has so many amazing ideas for decorating cake pops, check it out!

 

I will end this post with details of the full spread, though the three pies I mentioned above are not pictured here, as they were all in the fridge when I snapped this photo. Going across the back row, from left; pork and chicken meatballs, with a bowl of tangy dipping sauce, pizza bread, loukoumathes (my mother picked up a box of them from Athena Bakery), my cheddar crackers, and raspberry scones. Going across the bottom row, from right to left; apple-cinnamon scones, cherry cake balls, cheesy garlic bread, a rice and broccoli number and the sausage and peppers are just out of the frame. Honestly, there really wasn’t much left over!

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Pies, Tarts, Cake Balls and Chocolate

Domestic

Not necessarily in the order of the post title, but it’s been a seriously busy month! Knitting is not progressing fast enough to note, but the kitchen…oh the kitchen is buzzing!

My last post was just before Easter, and that weekend at the Stitch n Bitch, I made Chocolate Nests and Chocolate Mint Grasshopper Pie. The following week I made Strawberry Vanilla Pie, followed by Strawberry Mango Tarts, Banana Cream Pie and then last night Pineapple Pie. My Stitch n Bitch ladies (and Andrew) helped make about 200 Cake Balls for wee one #3′s baptism on the long weekend.

 

The chocolate nests were really, really painfully cute. The kids loved them, but so did everyone else. They tasted much better than I figured Shredded Wheat and honey would taste, even with chocolate. I pressed the mixture into a silicone mini tart tray and let it set in the fridge, of course I had to use Cadbury mini eggs in them!

Grasshopper Pie … This crust is Oreo cookie crumbs and melted Becel, next time I’ll try adding coconut to it. I didn’t make it exactly as the recipe, I didn’t use the Mint Oreos (instead used regular Oreos and a bit of mint extract), and I used vanilla pudding with green food colouring instead of pistachio.

I started making my own vanilla custard in March for fruit topped pies, and I’ve pretty much got it down now as I sometimes make it for the kids as well. But when I made this pie, I burnt two batches before I finally cooked one properly. Bad custard mojo? The last batch turned out perfect. Since I’m doing a different pie every week, I couldn’t just make this a repeat of Daphne’s Welcome to the World Pie, so I used graham cracker crust instead of Oreo cookie crust. Gill has a strange love of winding yarn, which naturally makes us knitters very happy. Here she’s wound the second ball of my snazzy Greek cotton for my mother in law’s socks!

 

I had been making a lot of these crumb + melted Becel crusts lately because they’re soooo good and so easy to make. But in the spirit of mixing it up and getting creative I had planned to make a mango pie. Of the mangos I had on hand, 4 were not ripe enough leaving me with only 1. I did however have strawberries that I just added in place of the rest of the mango pieces and made a tray of Strawberry Mango Tarts. Delish! This was the same evening that we made up the kofeta for the baptism, but I’ll save those pics for the baptism post. :)

 

Banana Cream Pie has been on the list since I started making a pie a week, but I hadn’t gotten around to it till now. I used a graham cracker crust and banana custard with a layer of sliced bananas between! This was for sure one of my hands down faves so far!

I settled on a Pineapple Pie this week because I had never made or even tasted one and came across a recipe for it on All Recipes. It was good, really dense but it wasn’t heavy when we ate it. Emerald free handed a pineapple cutout!

 

Now, on to the really fun stuff. When I made Cake Balls for my friend Lindsay’s birthday last month, all of us loved them enough to marry them. Really, they’re so amazingly good. So of course I wanted to make some for wee one #3′s baptism on the long weekend. We ended up making even more because several of these were eaten as the night wore on.

Next post will bring everything back up to date with a full post on all the crafty (and tasty) creations we made! My ladies are good at this stuff!

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