Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Baking For Me

I haven’t been able to bake this week, because sweet little Hadlee is sick.  She has pneumonia, poor thing.  Even when she is so sick, she is still her happy, silly, loving, self.  This is what she does; I give her medicine, it kicks in, she starts to not feel so feverish and stops coughing so much.  She runs to put on her swimsuit and begs to go swimming, I say no, so she starts playing with her toys and stuffed animals and her make-believe friend.  She plays too hard, starts to feel bad, comes to me and says “I sick”, then we lay down (I lay down with her because she wants me to), she falls asleep and stays asleep for anywhere to 30 minutes to 1 hour.  And, then we start it all over again.  Here’s hoping that the antibiotics work and she will be on her way to recovery. 
This is Hadlee when she is feeling good!!
P.S.  I do have to bake some sugar cookies and make some Cake Pops for a special little girls birthday party tomorrow.  Wish me luck!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apples, Apples, Apples

Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Via my iPhone (Lindsay's iPhone)
I was trying to help a friend come up with some ideas for September gift baskets. Since it is APPLE season we came up with doing a dessert or treat made with APPLES. Oh, and what a sweet treat it turned out to be! I am not a huge fan of Apple desserts, (I'm not a huge fan of fruit or vegetables, that's a whole other story), but this is one I knew I would like just from the aroma coming from my oven. The frosting puts this cake over the tipsy top. The recipe is from Southern Living, those southerners have got it going on.

Fresh APPLE Cake
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith APPLES (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
Browned Butter Frosting (recipe follows)
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350`. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

2. Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

3. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in APPLES and 1 cup pecans. (Batter will be very thick, similar to cookie dough.) Spread batter into a lightly greased 13-x 9-inch pan.

4. Bake at 350` for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 45 minutes). Spread your choice of frosting over top of cake; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pecans.

Browned-Butter Frosting
1 cup butter
1 (16 oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan from heat immediately, and pour butter into a small bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add powdered sugar alternating with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar. Beat mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

2.Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until well blended. Stir in vanilla.

The Brown-Buttered Frosting deserves using good quality butter, yes it is true, not all butter is equal. I used Land-O-Lakes European Style Butter, it has a higher fat content. Which is good in Butter and Baking!! My fave was the Brown-Buttered Frosting it just was so yummy with the APPLES and pecans. However, the Cream Cheese Frosting was good and alot sweeter, so if you like sweeter (is sweeter a word,) you will like the Cream Cheese Frosting.

A little side note, I liked the cake served warm, so I did not frost the cake. I would warm the cake slightly in the microwave and then dollop the frosting on the cut servings of warm cake, don't be shy with the frosting. I'm already thinking of new ways and new treats to put the Brown-Buttered Frosting on. I will keep you posted which means Lindsay gets to do some more taste testing.
Love your sweet guts,
P.S.  I added this photo because, I can't have a post on apples without thinking of my Parents and there Apple Trees.  My son Rylee loves his Grandma and Grandpa's Apples.  All my kids and my nieces and nephews climb in the Apple Trees, ride in the bucket of the little tractor while their Grandpa lifts it up so they can pick the apples.  I have some great pictures of the kids playing among the Apple Trees, I just have to find them.  But, for now this is a picture taken at dusk standing by the gate in front of the Apple Orchard.

Left to Right,  Jacque(my niece), Christopher(my nephew), Lindy(my niece)
bottom, Rylee(my son), and Malisa (me)

Rolo Cookies

Rolo-Over It's Time To Get This Party Started!!!

 You might think that I just stay home everyday and bake, but you would be wrong. It's every other day!! When I screw-up on something, which is more often than I would like to admit, I have to fix it. Most things can be fixed with sweet treats, and for sure with chocolate. I forgot a birthday on Sunday for the sweetest boy, and in our church you get to stand up front while all the children sing happy birthday to you. It's a big deal!!! So, I had to think of something that all kids love; chocolate, cookies, and candy came to mind. I came across this recipe on the Hostess With the Mostess blog, one of my favs. These Chocolate Caramel Rolo Cookies are ooozzzing with sweet goodness. I whipped them up, packaged them up super cute and delivered to the birthday boy. (I forgot to take a picture of the cute package.)  I managed to tuck a few away before my husband and kids could devour all of them. Good thing my dinner group loves sweet treats as much as me. I was thinking maybe Lindsay and Mike could enjoy them on the plane ride, if they last that long. Did they last that long, Lindsay?

 Chocolate Caramel Rolo Cookies Ingredients:
 2 1/2 cups flour
 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1 cup sugar
 1 cup brown sugar
 1 cup butter, softened
 2 teaspoons vanilla
 2 eggs
 30-36 chocolate covered caramel candies (Rolo's work well)
 2 tablespoons sugar
 Preheat oven to 375` degrees
 In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix together until well blended.
 Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and mix well.
 Refrigerate and chill dough for 30 minutes.
 Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 rolo candy in the center of each dough ball.
 Form dough ball around the majority of the rolo.
 Roll each dough ball in sugar.
 Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.
 Let cool on pan for 1 minute then take off and place on cooling rack.

I am also packaging up some of these cookies and taking them to a great kid who found out he cannot play football anymore because of his 3rd concussion. His mom was telling me he loves football and it is a passion of his. I talked to him on Sunday and he seemed to be handling it well, but I can only imagine some of the frustration he must be feeling. I am going to put this note with the cookies for him. It is long but worth the read:
 "I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet." Author Unknown

 Appreciate the life that you have. Celebrate the skills and talent that are a part of you. Be grateful for your God-given gifts, your physical body, personality, intellect, and aptitudes. Far too many of us get caught up in playing the dead in games of "the grass is always greener" and "if only I could be like Mike." The fact of the matter is that while we are very busy distracting ourselves with all that we think we're unhappy with, with all that we think we lack, we are blindly missing how very rich we already are. Yes, the grass may be somewhat greener in someone else's front lawn. However, there are far more yards out there that don't have any grass at all. Our society typically sets us up to always look outside of ourselves for our happiness. The sad fact of life is that as long as you look outward for the light to light up your life, you'll remain in the dark. You may have physical handicaps and shortcomings as an athlete/person. You may suffer great hardships and disappointments in your life. Understand that these are there to make you a stronger person. These are there to hone your mental toughness and kindle your determination. Appreciate what you do have. Don't waste energy on what you think you're lacking. There are always those much worse off than yourself.
Words to ponder.
 Love all your sweet guts

It's time to pound in the first nail on this project: Chole's Birthday Party

Let's go back to the beginning:
 1.  Moved to Arizona
 2.  Trying to Love it
 3.  Met my friend Lindsay
 4.  Love Lindsay (she sort of saved me from depression after the move)
 5.  Find out we both love sweet treats and sharing them
 6.  Find out we both love hosting sweet parties
 7.  I do some fab desserts for Chloe's 1st birthday
 8.  Lindsay has photographer take pictures
 9.  Hostess with the Mostess posted the greatest 1st birthday party ever
Dessert Table
10. Lindsay says start a blog with all your great sweets and treats

So, I promise to start posting stuff, all kinds of stuff, sweet stuff, messed up stuff, stuff only I will love.
If other people think my stuff is good, then it's time I start thinking it too.
Love your sweet guts

These are pictures from the "Sweet and Lovely Flower Garden Party" (which you can find on the Hostess with the Mostess blog.
So so many sweet treats
My Red Velvet and Lemon Cake Pops

Sweet Little Chloe (Lindsay's daughter)

Angel Food Cake Berry Basket, I love how the cake spills out over the top.
(small ripple cup from Garnish)

I call these Ooey Gooey Eat Me with a Fork Brownies, but that's too long for
the sweet food labels (the flower garden collection from TheTomKat Studio)

Rice Krispy Treat Lollies drizzled with Candy Coating
(my Niece Mandi was visiting while I was trying to get all 
the desserts made, and she made the Rice Krispy Treats)

Mini Apples Pies & Mini Cheesecakes

Truffle Berry Brownie Trifle (individual servings)

Cute as Cream Puff with Grenadine Whipped Topping

 I also made White Chocolate Covered Mini Oreos & Mini Peanut Butter Ritz Crackers
all of these gorgeous pictures were taken by Sierra Studios Photography.