Happy Monday!

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!  He is Risen!!!  And because of that we have a way to eternal life with Him.  🙂  Our weekend was very special and fun…and warm (yay!)  I ate WAYYY too much, put back on a couple of pounds that were lost with hard work…but that’s ok…back to it today.  I tried a few new yummy recipes that I will share:

The first is super easy…roasted cauliflower…my kids are not big fans of cauliflower, but this was a hit!  Just cut cauliflower into large chunks.  Drizzle with olive oil (enough to toss the cauliflower in).  Lay on a tin foiled baking and sprinkle with sea salt and chili powder.  Cover with tin foil and roast for 15 minutes on 450.  After 15 minutes, uncover and continue roasting for 35 minutes.  Soooo yummy!

Another easy one…lightly oil a baking sheet and place asparagus on it.  Sprinkle asparagus with salt.  Wrap in pairs with 1 slice of bacon.  Broil for 10-15 minutes.

The last one for today is baby portobello mushrooms stuffed with crab and cheese.  That recipe can be found here:  https://www.hy-vee.com/meal-solutions/recipes/Cheesy-Crab-Stuffed-Mushrooms-R1513.aspx  This was my personal favorite!  Really, with all that cheese…how could it not be.  😉

Enjoy the rest of the week!

🙂

 

 

Its about time

Since it has been around a year since I have been on here, I thought it was well past time to get back in the game.  🙂

What a way to start than with this:

The word you are looking for is…”ahhh…maaaaa…zing!”

This awesome creation by McCormick and Schmick’s graced my plate yesterday in all its splendor.  It is huge!  At least to me.  The size of the picture doesn’t do it justice.  It is truly a delicious piece of art filled with mousse and the raspberry sauce on the bottom is delicious!  I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

We then made our way to see Allegiant…which sadly I would not recommend to anyone and everyone.  My husband enjoyed it, but has not read the book.  Very futuristic…almost to the sci-fy realm.  I, being a HARD CORE Divergent fan, am not enjoying all the artistic liberties being put into the films.  This last one is completely different than the book, changed, not just missing parts.  However, it is entertaining.

That’s it for now!  Figured I would start with a nice light, yummy post before delving into politics and such on my first blog back in action.

😉

snowflakes and time

Can I just say that the snowflakes on the page are kinda cool on the woods picture?  haha!

So, its been 10 years since we said goodbye to our little guy.  Crazy how the memories are still as fresh as yesterday.  My amazing hubby gave me a card today that said life changes, love stays…so fitting.  So sweet that he still takes extra care of me on this day…probably because he is the only one who truly knows how this day feels.  Many relate, sympathize and empathize and have always been great support, but he was there for all of it.  It is also crazy how you can miss someone so much for so long that was here so briefly.  Just goes to show how special each life is, no matter how short.

On a happier note…I am so blessed to have known my little guy, to hold him, to have his wonderful siblings here safe and healthy, to have my family (immediate and extended), friends, and great anticipation for Christmas to celebrate our Savior’s birth.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas a little early in case time flies too quickly before I get back on here.

Christmas

The days surrounding Christmas had ups and downs this year, but one thing that NEVER changes is that Christ came down all those years ago to be born here on earth, leaving His perfect Kingdom, so that He could save our lives.  That is THE meaning of Christmas.  That is the unchanging good news.  That is why despite sadness we have joy!

Joshua’s birthday celebration:

Christmas Brunch, before eating commenced:

Some yummy recipes this year included banana cream cheese stuffed baked french toast, blueberry white chocolate coffeecake, scones, quiche and about a million other things.  😉

Here are a couple desserts after they were dug into…red velvet cheesecake and butterfinger bars:

The butterfinger bars were very good…a little difficult to cut and the recipe is surely for a small pan (I used a 9×13 and had to double and it was still a stretch!)

The red velvet cheesecake I couldn’t try, because of the red dye, so I am not sure how it turned out, but it looked good!  😉

BUTTERFINGER COOKIE DOUGH CHEESECAKE BARS

YIELD: Makes one 8×8 pan

Ingredients:

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE LAYER

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips + 1/2 cup for top
  • 5 Butterfinger bars, king size

CHEESECAKE LAYER

  • 8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

PREPARATION:

Create a sling by lining the pan with foil so that there is a one inch overhang on each side. Cover foil with bake spray. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE LAYER

Melt butter and let cool to warm. Add in brown sugar and mix to combine. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine.  Add in flour and fold to combine. Add in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and fold to combine. Pour mixture into pan; set aside.

TO MAKE CHEESECAKE

Add all ingredients in a bowl and beat until blended. Set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Press 3/4 of cookie mixture into pan. Place Butterfinger bars side-by-side on top of cookie dough. Pour cheesecake mixture on top. Crumble remaining cookie dough sprinkle on top of cheesecake layer along with remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips all over top.
  2. Transfer pan to oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove from oven set on wire rack to cool.

 

RED VELVET CHEESECAKE

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Prep Time: 1 hr + cooling and chill times

Cook Time: 1 hr, 15 min

CHEESECAKE:
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

RED VELVET CAKE:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese- blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake  and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours- or overnight.

2. Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans (or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

3. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not overbeat).

4. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake to get it to the same size as your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

5. Frost and decorate the cake

Herbie

My uncle, Herbie, is about to turn 60.  My task was to make him a Herbie Love Bug car cake.  Here it is…

 

 

I learned a lot from this cake.  I was too timid in my cutting, so it was a little square and lumpy…but once the fondant is on, there is no going back.  I really had a LOT of fun with the details…they take a long time, but they make the cake.

 

Festive Fun!

We recently hosted a Christmas party and had about 100 guests.  I LOVE this party!  It is a lot of prep, but I just love that so many families gather together.

Here are some fun desserts (you all know I enjoy making desserts!)

rice krispy trees

 

pumpkin cakes and cookies, chocolate covered oreos, peppermint white chocolate brownies, Happy Birthday Jesus cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Fun

We had a pretty fun weekend  🙂  The kids went to pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at church.  I LOVE OCC!  And I love even more that the church is including the youth to partake in giving to other children all over the world.  The kids had a great time serving and loving from afar!

We also had my daughter’s birthday.  I am not sure if I have ever seen her so excited!  She loved every single second of her day and went to sleep happily engrossed in one of several books she received for her special day.  This is her cake:

I love how frosting can cover up fondant mistakes.  I did run out of frosting, so had to improvise on the back.

I stayed away from the yellow dye of the cake, but was cursed by the crescent rolls!  I never even checked the ingredients on those!  I am currently an itchy mess.  😉

Also found out that vanilla may come from a certain place on a beaver…gross!  (Thanks a lot source of info…you know who you are.  😉  )   http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/01/beaver-butts-emit-goo-used-for-vanilla-flavoring/

I am choosing to forget that piece of knowledge and hope beyond hope that most still use the good old vanilla bean in making vanilla extract.

My daughter’s friend party is in just a couple days…time to start preparing.

🙂

Cake and Letters

Here is the latest cake.  So funny, when I set it out, everyone thought it was just a bowl of Reeses Pieces.  I made my favorite chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and surrounded it with candy!  The idea is not mine, but it was really fun to make.

On another note, this morning while on the elliptical, I was watching Letters to God.  Highly recommend this movie!  Very touching.

No big news today, just a couple tidbits.  Enjoy your week!

(made for a going away party)