Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Cakes: Part 1

Easter Cakes!  So many possibilities I am having a hard time deciding on just one to bake today.  I have ruled out cheesecake, too much dairy for the crowd I am serving, at least that is one less dessert to consider.  I am leaning towards the Silver Palate Carrot Cake.  I made this cake years and years ago, but still remember it, it is that good.  Should I also then make a fun cake for the kids?  I own the Wilton 3-D Lamb Pan, it is really only good one day a year, do I skip my chance?  And bunny cakes or cupcakes, how fun would it be to make bunny cakes?  Off to the store to pick up my carrot cake ingredients, I'll post this cake after it is complete.  Still on the fence about the kid cake.  We are having dinner with friends so we will have four adults and 4 kids, is two cakes just overboard?  Maybe not.

Cake and candy of Easter's past.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smoothie Time!

We have been on a smoothie kick, so imagine how excited I was to see this tear out in the new Food Network Magazine (so excited I ripped it when removing it from the magazine).  Crazy as it might sound, I had never really made a smoothie until a few months ago.  It certainly seems easy enough to make, toss some fruit, yogurt and maybe milk or ice cubes right?  There is an actual formula and sequence that is necessary to get a nice creamy smoothie and Food Network Magazine gave me some  interesting new mix-in ideas to jazz up my boring, lumpy smoothies.  For the most part though, anything goes in smoothie land, mix and match whatever you like. A creative mind could find an endless number of smoothies to make.  Have fun!

My Perfect Smoothie Formula

1 Cup Ice
1-2 Cups Liquid - Milk, Soy Milk, Juice
1/2 Cup Yogurt - Plain, Greek, Vanilla
1-1.5 Cup Fresh or Frozen Fruit

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Sweet - Sugar, Honey, Vanilla Extract, Lime Juice
  • Dash-1 Teaspoon Herbs and Spices - Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Fresh Basil, Ginger
  • Protein Powder - I am not a health nut, don't know much about these things, but many people put protein in their smoothies.  Not me.
  • Added nutrients - Flax Seed, my sister-in-law puts flax seeds in all the smoothies she makes, something I want to add to mine for healthy family colons.  I suppose you could sneak any added nutrient or vitamin into a smoothie if you need it, go crazy!
  • Coffee - Make your own Coolata!
Preparation:  Ice first!  Place the ice cubes in first and hit the Ice Crush bottom on your blender.  Once the ice is crushed to perfect consistency add the rest of the ingredients then blend on high for a minute.  If it gets stuck, add a bit more liquid or mix so the ice is not stuck on the bottom clogging the blender.

Fun Ingredients
  • Exotic Fruits: Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Coconut Milk, Pomegranate 
  • Melon:  Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Pumpkin puree, try some of those weird ones in the produce isle you have never heard of.
  • Citrus: any kind of citrus could be blended.   Remember lemon and lime juice in small doses add some zing to a smoothie.  A bit of peel or zest would be good too.
  • Veggies:  Hide the healthy stuff! Carrots, Spinach
  • Coffee
  • Obvious Fruits:  Apples, Grapes, Berries, Bananas
  • Nuts:  Peanut butter, Nutella
  • Dairy:  Yogurts, Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream, Cream Cheese 
  • Not so healthy: Ice cream, cookies, candy, you could go anywhere with this, think DQ Blizzard.

Crazy Cubes
My new favorite thing is coconut milk ice cubes.  Found this little tip in the Food Network pull out, freeze coconut milk in an ice cube tray then you have flavorful ice cubes to add to your smoothie.  Imagine how good those ice cubes will be this summer in a Rum Runner.  Can't wait!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pillsbury Due Date!

Today is the day!  All entries for the 45th Pillsbury Bake Off are due today.  I am proud to announce all 7 of my entries are in and I am officially off Pillsbury for awhile.  Whew!  After months of testing and trying to perfect my recipes I almost chickened out and didn't enter.  Why would I do that?  It was weird, I lost all my motivation for in the last two weeks.  Luckily I got re-motivated,  cooked a bunch of Pillsbury things last week and entered them all this weekend.  90 winners are notified in September while the 20 wildcard winners will be notified from May till August.  Of the 20 wildcards only 10 will make it to the actual Bake Off, there will be voting this summer.  Ugh, I hope I don't have to go to a vote. I just hope for some feedback.  Fingers crossed till September!