Big Annoucement!

Hello friends and fellow bloggers!

I owe you an explanation of why I have been missing in action the past few weeks. It appears that the wiring in our new home is overloaded and our Internet was the straw the broke the camels back. Apparently wires don’t like too many things traveling it’s currents at once, such as internet, phone, AND a home security system. And so living in the boonies, it takes forever for a company to contract someone to come all the way out here to fix the problem. THEN we went on a week long vacation. HOWEVER, I think we’ve got most of the bugs worked out and I am back!

When I started this food blog I wasn’t real sure which direction I wanted it to go. In truth, when I started this blog I HATED to cook. But the idea of food blogging intrigued be, as I LOVE to EAT!  I had hoped that if I started a food blog, it would give me the incentive I needed to break out of my box and try new recipes, and hopefully learn to like cooking. Well in only a few months this blog has already done way more than I expected ! I have learned to love to cook! I have learned that I LOVE fresh ingredients. I have learned that I love using herbs and spices, and that I HATE using boxed and bagged foods! They are so unfulfilling!  I have learned that it gives me great pride and joy to serve my family a home cooked meal of fresh foods. I have also learned that my style seems to consist of “Simple and Delicious” and thats OK!! That there are MILLIONS of recipes out there that cater to busy family’s, and we don’t have to eat boxed and bagged crap!

Having this blog also opened a new world and direction for me. I have always known that I like desserts. OK OK not just eating them! I have always enjoyed baking over cooking. This blog introduced me to the world of baking I never knew about. And I LOVE it! It opened the doors to so much that I didn’t even know was out there. And I can’t forget the people! So many wonderful people out there that I never would have met otherwise.

Which leads me to now say, that I am so pleased to announce that I have made the descision to follow my heart and start my own baking company! It’s a bit scary but I’m more excited than anything. Who knows where this journey will take me next!

Here is the Website if anyone is interested in taking a peak! I will be serving the greater DFW area of Texas.

 Itroducing: Sweet Addictions Sugar Art Bakery !!

sweetaddictionssign

 

www.TheSweetAddictionsBakery.com 

 

Not to worry to my readers! I won’t be abandoning this food blog. The Reluctant chef will still be here. And I will still find the time to publish more recipes!  If you’d like to start following my bakery blog too, you can do so here :

 blogbutton

 

And we are also on Facebook! We’d love you to stop by and become a fan! 😉 

 facebook

 

Many thanks to all my readers out there! With out you guys I wouldn’t have a blog and may never have found this new direction in my life!  HUGS TO YOU ALL!  I appreciate your support and look forward to a bright furture together! 🙂

 

 

.

Cookie Cups

WEB036

Tell me something. If someone offered you one of these. Would you turn it down? I sure wouldn’t! Hold on tight because your about to have an AHA! moment.  Guess what these are?? Cookie Cups! That’s it! plain and simple! Just the way I like it! Seriously, your not going to believe how simple! Check it out.

 

First your going to want to whip up a batch of your favorite cookie dough. I used  a nice traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. I made sure to use Milk Chocolate chips instead of semi sweet because we are going to ice these later and I didn’t want them overly sweet, but you might and that’s ok too!

 

WEB001

Now grease you a MINI Cupcake Pan. (oops I originally typed a “mini cupcake MAN”  , if you can find you one of those, go ahead and grease him up real good too 😉  I always use Baker’s joy spray to grease my pans

 

WEB003

now take a spoon full of cookie dough and drop it in the pan. spread it out so that the dough covers the bottom and the sides of each opening, leaving an open well in the middle.

 

 

WEB009

Repeat the process until the entire pan is full. I only filled each opening about half way up the sides to allow for rising

 

WEB014

Bake at 350 degree’s for about 10 min. or until the tops are brown

 

WEB026

let them sit for a min before popping them out of the pan. While they cool, the middles will fall,. This is good! we want this. If some don’t fall, you can always give them a little poke.

 

WEB053

When they are cool, pipe on some icing, and wallah! there you have it, iced cookie cups! ( I used my Chocolate buttercream icing on these)  I told you it was that easy!  You can come up will all kinds of delicious combinations! Next time I make these I’m going to try it with Cream cheese frosting. YUM!

 

WEB039

Make these today!!

 

 

.

Fishing cake

This is a purely selfish blog post. My husbands birthday was yesterday and I knew I wanted to make him a special cake that was all about HIM. His most favorite place in the entire world is in a boat on a lake with a fishing pole in his hands. So it was no question what his cake needed to look like! I quickly sketched up exactly how I wanted it to look. It actually took me all of five min. to figure it out, which was good because I only had about 7 min before our church service was starting! It took me two days to make this cake from start to finish. Not whole days though, I was out of the house with it at 11 am to deliver it on day two. I took it to his office so he could share. When the cake was completed I busted out in a fit of giggles and couldn’t stop. It looked exactly like I had planned it out.  I couldn’t believe it. It was cute!  lol. So without further ado, here is my hubby fishin on a lake, lol!

 

 

 

WEB016

I definitely intend to get more practice in on making people.  (need to work on my people skills, ha ha) This was my first time, and he came out kinda blocky, but I needed to make sure that he was going to be stable enough. Cause we women like our men stable 😉

 

WEB005

Close up of the cat tails. Everything on this cake is completely edible, minus the fishing pole and fishing line

 

 

WEB017

Close up of the bass fish that he caught, splashing out of the lake 🙂

 

WEB019

the lilly pads. I wanted to make tiny frogs too, but ran out of time. I was tickled the flowers turned out so well

 

WEB025

Back view of the cake, notice the fish in the boat that he already caught.

 

WEB028

Here’s a better view of the fishing line.

 

 

WEB033

The boat was cake that I carved out and covered with fondant.

 

WEB031

 

I only use homemade Marshmallow fondant on my cakes. I won’t use anything else. Not only is it edible, but it actually tastes great! (think cereal marshmallows)

 

So there you have it, my hubby’s fishing cake. It was so much fun ( i have to laugh here, because I originally typed FIN instead of fun, lol pun intended I suppose!)  to make and gave us all a big smile. It made it in perfect shape, even after a 45 min drive on the bumpiest interstate you could ever drive on! It didn’t last long AFTER it arrived though 😉

Thanks for looking!

 

.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

 

 

WEB084

 

Today I made these homemade oatmeal cream pies. Let me tell you, they taste even better than they look! My kids are in sheer heaven. Who can resists these soft sweet cookies filled with gooey goodness?? Not me! I have been dying to try this recipe and it did not disappoint! Wanna learn how to make these yummy treats? Well follow me!!….. 

 

 

WEB003

The cast and crew

you’ll need Flour, Sugar, Salt, Molasses, DARK brown Sugar, powdered sugar, Shortening, eggs, Vanilla, butter, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, & rolled oats

I tweeked the original recipe just a bit for a sweeter filling that was less salty than the original, but not too sweet, the cookie holds most of the sweetness itself!

 

WEB006WEB007

WEB008WEB009

WEB010

 

In a bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp baking soda, & 1/8 tsp cinnamon, mix it all up

 

WEB013

In a seperate mixing bowl, cream together  1 cup of softened butter (2 sticks) , 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, & 1/2 cup granulated sugar

 

WEB014

WEB016

WEB018

 

Add in 2 eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

WEB022

 

Mix in 1 Tbsp Molasses and 1 tsp Vanilla

 

WEB024

WEB023

 

cream well

WEB025

 

Now slowly add in flour mixture a little at a time until just blended.

WEB027

WEB031

 

Now hand mix in 1 1/2 cups whole rolled oats (NOT quick oats! they are too mushy)

WEB034

WEB037

WEB040

 

Spoon tablespoon sized dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Two important things to remember here. Don’t go bigger than a Tablespoon size or so, these cookies will SPREAD, so don’t use too much at once. Also, using parchment paper on your pan will allow the cookies to pop right off while still holding their shape, very important to be able to make these into pies

 

WEB043

WEB046

 Space them out well to give them lots of room to spread, you don’t want to cram these together

 

Bake cookies at 350 for 8 – 10 min. Watch them carefully. You want just the edges to start to brown, the middle will still look wet/uncooked, and thats OKAY! it allows the cookie to fall flat and get that oatmeal pie look. It will be fully cooked don’t worry.

WEB050

WEB058

let cookies cool completely

 

Now let’s make the filling!

 

WEB060

Place 1/4 tsp of salt in a small cup. Add in 3 tsp of very hot water and stir allowing salt to dissolve. Set aside to cool.

 

in a mixing bowl add in one 7 oz jar of marshmallow cream fluff

 

WEB065WEB066

 

WEB067

Now add 1/2 cup of shortening. STAY WITH ME! I know I know, eww ick, ack, but your going to have to TRUST ME on this! No, unfortunately you can not substitute with butter, it just won’t work. Dump in the shortening real quick and do what I did, just pretend it is now marshmallow fluff and don’t give it another thought! lets move on, quick…….

 

WEB068

 

add 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 tsp of Vanilla

 

WEB069

 

Mix on high 3-4 min until fluffy.

 

WEB072

 

Now pour in salted water and mix well again

 

WEB073

 

Ta-da, we have marshmallowy cream for our pies

 

WEB077

 

Now take one cooled cookie and slather on the good stuff

WEB078

 

Top with another cookie and EAT!

WEB079

 

Whew! and we’re done!

 Store in a closed container to keep cookies soft.

 

My review of this recipe:

 

The cookies are sweet and soft, just the way a cream pie should be. The filling is oogy gooey and (WARNING) messy! I was planning on sending these to the Hub’s office, but the tops kept wanting to slide off, and  the filling kept slowly oozing out the centers. It was like it was continuously trying to expand. No big deal really, just not the greatest for presentation wise. So unfortunately for us (HA!) they had to stay home to be eaten by the family 😉  After sitting in a sealed container for several hours I think the filling has finally set enough to where its not moving around anymore, but they are still ooey gooey!

The kids all say these are better than the store bought ones hands down.

I give it an A for taste and a B- for presentation. Trust me, no one’s gonna care how they look once they sink their teeth into them! 🙂
Oh and I got 18 oatmeal pies out of this recipe
ENJOY!

 

WEB084

 

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Based on a recipe from Recipe Zaar.  Adapted for taste

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • Cream Filling
  • 3 tsp very hot water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process

1. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl.

2. In large mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugars. Add in eggs, beating after each. Finally beat in molasses and vanilla.

3. Add to the flour mixture to creamed mixture and beat until just blended; mix in the oats with a wooden spoon.

4. Drop dough by tablespoons on parchment lined sheets, with plenty of space in between.  Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 8 – 10 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges. They will look moist; don’t overcook ( Let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

5. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the filling. In small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Set aside and allow this to cool.

6. Combine marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl; mix on high until fluffy , about 3-4 minutes

7. Add the cooled salt water and mix well

8. Spread filling on flat side of one cookie, press 2nd cookie on top.

Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen

    Store in a closed container to keep cookies soft. 
.

Brownies & Blogging

Sorry it’s been a little while since my last post. I got pretty sick for a few weeks and was not able to eat solid foods, so cooking was the last thing on my mind!  I’m am doing better now, although it might have left me lactose intolerant (NOoOO!!)  But we’re waiting a few more days to test it again.

ANYWAY, I have some exciting news for the blog. Last week I was adopted! lol. I am participating in somthing called Adopt A Blogger, where a veteran food blogger adopts a newbie blogger and mentors them to help them improve their Blog. I’m so excited! My Mentor is Jo from “The Adventures of Kitchen Girl” If you’ve got a minute, pop over to her site. It’s very inspiring! I can’t wait to learn lots from her!

And now for the food! Did someone say brownies??

 Wilton has a new line that is focused around brownies. I bought Wilton’s brownie book, along with a few molds and cutters to play around with. Lately, the folks at the Hub’s office have been whining that I hadn’t sent them any goodies in awhile. So I figured this was a good opportunity to try my hand at some brownies. Now I confess, I went with boxed brownies this go round, BUT I did whip up some different frosting’s from scratch 😉 Next go round I will give it a try doing everything from scratch.

 

Fudge Brownies

 

webpan

So I started with a box of basic brownies (actually I made two boxes)  and put them in this mini loaf pan.

 

webplainbrownies

After baking, I popped them out and allowed them to cool completely

 

 

webchocolatebrownies

Then I iced them with a nice fudge icing. I LOVE icing on my brownies. Let me tell you this icing is Divine.  It was light chocolaty and not too sweet!  which is very important for a brownie. But this one was perfect. It sets ok, but I’m still on the lookout for a nice thick fudgy icing. One that I would be more comfortable decorating.  But as for taste, this one is awesome.

Here’s the recipe I used:

Baker’s Chocolate Frosting (recipe by Bakers’ Chocolate)

4 Squares of Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate

1 lb (or 4 cups) of confectioners sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick)  butter or margerine (softened)

2 tsp Vanilla

1/3 cup of millk

 

Microwave chocolate for 1 1/2 min, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. In a mixing bowl, Mix Chocolate, sugar, butter, and Vanilla. Gradually add milk while beating on low speed until well blended. If desired, thin icing with more milk one tsp at a time until desired consistancy.

 

 

Mint Grasshopper Brownies

 

webmintborwnies

I also ran across a box of mint brownies in the store and new insantly what I wanted to do with them. I saw these in the Wilton brownie book, so I combined the two ideas

I started with the box of  mint brownies, and made them in Wiltons mini square molds. The jury is still out on that mold, as they were difficult to remove them. The best way I have found is to freeze the brownies and then pop them out, but thats VERY time consuming if you only have one pan. Next time I make these I will just bake a pan and cut out the squares myself.

when they were cool I whipped up a batch of mint icing and spread on top.

That recipe is here:

Mint Filling (recipe by Wilton)

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

1/4 tsp mint extract

green icing color

 

Beat butter, sugar, and milk with mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in mint flavoring and icing color. Spread over cooled brownies and chill until set

 

Super easy!

 

Then I drizzled them with chocolate (this chocolate happened to come with the box of brownies, but you could make your own)

For some of them I just stopped there

 

webmintbrowniescandy

For the others I topped them with Chopped up Andes Candies to take that mint flavor to the extreme. You can find pre-chopped Andes in the store ( I got these at walmart) but for a greener look I suggest cutting some up yourself, as the pre-chopped ones look kind of dingy. I would prefer a greener prettier color, but it got the job done.

 

My oldest is a die hard mint fan and I think he almost passed out once or twice while eating some of these. Hmmmm these might make me some good bribes if I use them right 😉

All in all very easy recipes, and at them end of the day, you get to eat BROWNIES!

Broccoli Cheese Garlic Crossants, and the Winner!

 

THE WINNER:   First of all I am behind in announcing the winner of the Jewel Tone Measuring cups. The Winner is Jennifer Herring!   Yay! Congrats Jennifer, I will be in touch with you to get your snail mail addy to get these purty things off to you!  I learned a few things after this first give-away. First of all people love free stuff! I had more hits than I’ve ever had while running this contest. Second, measuring cups are a little boring. lol. Out of all the visits, not many people commented to participate.  And that’s ok! I know that a single set of measuring cups isn’t very sexy. So this little trial lets me know that people ARE out there reading and they want bigger and more excited prizes! Not to worry. I knew it would most likely go that way. I wanted to start off small to see what the turn out would be. Soooooo, more exciting giveaways coming soon! 😉

 

Now for today’s recipe.Today’s recipe is easy!!! Have you noticed I like easy yet? 😉  I must confess, I am running out of food in the house. We are going out of town this weekend and so I have put off grocery shopping and doing my best to scrounge up meals with whatever is left in the house. Lunches are the hardest for me. I’m not sure why. I guess I tend to lean toward lunches that don’t take much time or ingredients to prepare. And its getting Booooooring! I was soooo craving something that took more than two ingredients today. So I scrounged around in my fridge and found a lone can of croissants. This peaked my interest. I then found the remains of a bag of frozen broccoli. My tongue started to tingle! Oh whats that? Cheese? alright! We’ve got ourselves a meal! Lets go!

 

So I made Broccoli cheese garlic croissants. I don’t claim to be the first to ever try this, just think of it as a nifty reminder if you ever get the hankering for “complicated flavor but super easy to cook” !

 

let us begin……

web037

First I steamed my broccoli in the microwave.

 

web0391

open a can of croissants and pull apart the pieces.  Lay out one piece on a plate

 

web042

Spoon some of your cooked broccoli onto the croissant at the widest point

 

web043

sprinkle on some cheese. Here I used a mixed blend

 

web044

Go on, really dump it on 😉

 

 web0451

Now at the widest end start to roll it all up. because of the heat of the cooked broccoli, the pastry will be soft and pliable and easier to pull over the broccoli

 

web0461

Place in a greased baking dish

 

 

web048

Repeat process until all pastries are used. Now I almost stopped here, but I got to thinking, this needs something…

 

web0491

so melt you some butter and brush it all over the tops of each pastry

 

web050

Now lightly sprinkle some garlic powder across the tops. Trust me!

 

web052

Pop them in the oven for about 10 min at 350, until they are golden brown…..

 

web054

LIKE THIS. oooohhh let me tell you the warm garlic butter smell alone is enough to make your mouth water. Not only did the garlic add so much to the taste, but it also provides a purty golden brown color on top. These would be great as hor’ derv’s for parties, as appetisers, or even a meal! (like I did 🙂  )

 

Now eat and enjoy!! I can not tell you how this deliciousness brought me to my knees today! It’s that mmmmm mmmmm GOOD! light, flaky, buttery cheesy, oooooooh!

 

web0611

web059

web067

 

Hope you will try it!

 

 

.

Banana Banana Bread

bananabread

BANANA BANANA BREAD

 

Theres so much banana in this bread it needed to be said twice! This is a yummy recipe with loads of banana and cinnamon, its just mmm mmm good! throw some butter on there and your in banana heaven!

 

Lets get started:

 

web0102

Cast & Crew:

all-purpose flour, baking soda , salt, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, overripe bananas (these could have prob. been aged a little more for extra sweetness but I couldn’t wait any longer 😉

 

 

 

web0111

grease pans. I always use Baker’s Joy, as I always say, Its God’s gift to baking! I also prefer to use mini loaf pans as well as mini cupcake pans. I prefer small servings as opposed to one big loaf. But that’s just me 🙂 It’s also easier when you are giving them as a gift or taking them to the office

 

 

web012

in a bowl, start with 2 cups of all purpose flour

 

web0131

add 1 tsp baking soda

web014

and 1/4 tsp salt, mix together

 

web0151

In a seperate mixing bowl, start with 1/2 cup butter (one stick softened)

 

web0161

Add 1 cup brown sugar

 

web019

Cream together

 

web027web0261

Now mix in 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla, and then turn the mixer off

 

web0201

slice up 5-6 bananas in a cup or bowl,

 

web021

and mash them up, this will give you aprox 2 1/3 – 2 1/2 cups of mashed banana, give or take. the more the merrier in my eyes 🙂 if you have less banana it will still work, but it won’t be as sweet, and it will be slightly less banana-y , but it will still come out as banana bread 😉

 

web022

go back to the creamed sugar and beat in 2 eggs

 

web023

now beat in your mashed bananas until well blended, turn off the mixer, you are now done with the mixer.

 

web0281

it will look like this

 

web029

now add in your flour mixture AND……

 

web030

HAND STIR mixture together just enough to moisten, do not over mix

 

web031

and it will look like this!

 

web0322web033

Spoon into greased pans

 

web034web035

Bake at 350 , aprox 18 min for mini’s and one hour for large loafs

 

web040

cool on wire racks and wallah ! Warm yummy Banana Banana Bread!

Enjoy plain or with some lucious butter !

 

INGREDIENTS

 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas ( aprox 5 – 6 bananas)

Optional drizzle icing:

3 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs water

DIRECTIONS

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2 In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add cinnamon & Vanilla, mix. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Hand Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten, do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
3 Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Mini loafs & Muffins take aprox 18 min