Friday, May 28, 2010

Kate's Banana Dessert

If I'm violating any kind of blogger guideline/etiquette by the way that I'm linking back to the recipes that I'm using will someone please let me know? I'm trying to make sure that I'm giving credit to the places/people that I'm getting my recipes from. I just don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to be shady or steal ideas or anything like that. I'm open to suggestions/criticism. Thanks in advance. On to the good stuff...

Earlier this week I was checking in at Kate's blog ( and saw this recipe as her Tuesday Treats feature- I'm always looking for something new and exciting to try so I couldn't wait to get the opportunity to test this recipe out. Little did I know that I would get a request to make something new from the men in my house just last night. So, since I'm nothing if not super nice to my family, I ran to the store to get a couple of things that I didn't have in the house to get the recipe rolling. Once I got the crust in the oven I was getting together the remainder of the ingredients to finish up the recipe. I grabbed a can of sweetened condensed milk out of my pantry and opened it up. Now, I don't know how often you use sweetened condensed milk but apparently I don't use it that often. When I opened the can the milk was a really weird brownish color. I asked my husband if that was what it was supposed to look like and he wasn't sure. So, I did what any other social networking woman would did-I sent a tweet out and waited for a response. And waited some more. Finally I decided to scrap the recipe making for the night because I didn't want to take the risk of poisoning my family. I checked the can to see exactly how old the condensed milk was and to my horror it was from 2007. Another lesson learned-you can't keep sweetened condensed milk for three years!

When I came home from work today I finished making the filling for the banana cream squares and stuck it in the fridge. I left it in there for a couple of hours mainly because I was too busy to get to it between having dinner and going grocery shopping. At this point I did stray from Kate's recipe a little bit. Last night when I made the crust I put the crust crumbs in the oven so that I could use them as a topping like the recipe called for. I must have seen something sparkly in the meantime because the crumbs got a little browner in the over than I would have liked. So tonight when I was putting the dessert together I decided to put my own twist on it. I took some 'Nilla Wafers and crushed them up and put them on top of the pan of banana cream squares. Since I have a healthy appreciation for whipped cream I decided to put a spoonful on top of the squares too.

I was really happy with the end result. My husband and the kids both liked the new "creation". To me it had a perfection combination of sweetness without being overpowering. I can't wait to see what Kate's going to cook/bake up for next week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Need some suggestions...

So I'm having a House Party Game Night in a couple of weeks. I need ideas for what kind of food to servce. We're expecting about 20-25 people (half adults, half kids). I had thought about just doing appetizers but then I realized that the party is going to start at 6pm. That's dinner time for most families so I need to have something more substantial than just chips and dip without having a sit down dinner for 20 some people. So if you have a tried and true recipe or even just an awesome idea leave it in the comments. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This year in pictures

Here are a few pictures of some of the cakes that I've made so far this year.

I made these two cakes for Easter. (Obviously-sorry!) The bunny cake is our annual traditional Easter dessert. This year I decided to make sure that we all remember what Easter is really about thus the cross cake.

I made this one for a friend/co-workers birthday along with another cake that's too un-pretty to show here.

This one was for my mother in law's birthday a few weeks ago. She requested that I make her birthday cake using my "special" buttercream icing. I tried to be all professional with the dots on the sides. I didn't like the way it turned out but I did figure out a better way to do the dots so that they line up better.

My first attempt(s) at roses and petals. For some reason I'm incapable of centering my cakes on cake boards. I don't know why that is. My cakes always end up with one side showing more of the board than the others. I'm thinking it could be because I'm using cake boards that are bigger than the cakes I'm making.
So there you have it. A few pictures of some of the cakes I've made in the past few months.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pound cake and a lesson learned...

Well, I made it through day one! Thank you so much for all of your kind comments. I'm going to make my way to everyone's blog as I get a chance. This whole blogging thing has been really exciting and kind of scary all at the same time. I thought that I'd be out in the blogosphere talking to myself for a while. Luckily, I have all of you to talk to now. I really couldn't be happier.

I decided to try making pound cake tonight. I used this recipe from Bakerella for my adventure. Well, really there was a lack of adventure in the pound cake department. I liked the way it came out and so did my husband. I've only made pound cake one other time and that experience was a nightmare. I used a really big aluminium loaf pan and the pound cake was raw in the middle when I took it out. Definitely not appetizing!

Obviously I'm still honing my photography skills. Hubs just told me that he'll take pictures for me so I might try that next time.

Now for my PSA-if you are making a roast in the pressure cooker and decide that you want to add a can of Coke to make the meat more tender add a bunch of beef stock or water. If you don't you'll end up with a burnt, nasty smelling roast. I may know this from experience. Then again I may not. I actually realized that the roast wasn't smelling as tasty as it usually does and it was starting to smell like burnt sugar. Yeah, that's exactly what it was happening. All of the sugar in the Coke had evaporated leaving no liquid left in the pot. Coke will tenderize meat but since I was using the pressure cooker and not the crock pot I should have added more water or stock. Luckily we got to it before the roast was ruined. All it took was 20 minutes of scrubbing the bottom of the pressure cooker and starting over with lots of stock. Let me be your example-your family will thank you!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Well, here I am!

After much consideration I decided that I'm going to dive in and start blogging. Who knows where this is going to go or what's going to happen along the way. I welcome any comments or suggestions.

Today I wanted to attempt making cookies like I've seen over at Amanda's blog . Her cakes and cookies are gorgeous! My other source for information was Kate at . Kate's got a couple of recipes that I hope to try out soon.

I started with Amanda's recipe for sugar cookies. I also used her icing recipe. I followed the directions exactly and refridgerated my dough for an hour but when I took it out and went to roll it out things started to go wrong. In my effort to not destroy my kitchen this afternoon I decided to roll the dough out between two sheets of wax paper and then transfer the cookies to the baking sheet. But when I went to move the cookies the lost their shape and looked like big blobs. So I figured that I'd just roll the doug out on the cookie sheet and remove the excess from around the shapes I was using. I did that but my dough rolling techinque must need some work because I had a circle of cookies and nothing at either end of the cookie sheet. I went ahead and put the first sheet in the oven for six minutes. When the timer went off the cookies weren't done so I left them in the oven for two more minutes. After that I took them out and let them cool. The only problem was that I didn't anticipate how much the cookies would spread out during the baking process. After they cooled I just took the cookie cutter and re-cut the cookies. That seemed to work out okay for me.

While the first batch of cookies were baking I went ahead and put the cookie dough in the freezer. My thought that maybe it didn't get cold enough originally. When I took it out a little while later it was a lot firmer and rolled out better. I still think that there has to be an easier way. I'll have to consult The Google to see what I can find out.

I didn't really have any issues with making the icing. The recipe was really easy to follow. Once I started to do the outlining on my cookies I realized that I probably should have made the icing a little thicker to begin with because it was really runny/thin. This is how we learn! After the border dried I filled in the centers of the cookies. I've got a lot to learn to make my cookies look as good as Amanda's and Kate's but at least I've got my feet wet.

Here are some pictures of my finished products.

I've got to play around with my lighting and using the flash on my camera etc.