July 18, 2011

Birthday Bonanzas

This is the last of what I've been baking recently. First up is a birthday cake I made for the office to celebrate Heather and Pastor Aaron's birthdays.

And next, here's a carrot cake I brought to Gramps and Nanny's this past weekend to celebrate Nanny and Dad's birthdays. Carrot Cake is Dad's favorite, and I do love it too :)

There wasn't much writing involved in this post, but I'm tired, I have to get up early, and this is about the fifth blog post in a week...so I'll keep it short and sweet!

Baked Oatmeal and French Bread

This post involves a random combination of foods. I've been baking a lot lately, and I have a lot to post, so I figured I would combine foods and not have to post quite as many times.  Anyway, the first food on this post is baked oatmeal. I found this recipe and decided to try it for breakfast. I love oatmeal, and this one looked really delicious. I chose to add blueberries in the mix. Then, once I scooped my portion into my bowl, I added some bananas, too. Both fruits were great in it! Next time, I'll definitely be adding some raisins and nuts before I cook it. Here's the recipe...

Baked Oatmeal

1/2 C melted butter
1/2 C honey
2 eggs, beaten
3 C old fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C milk (I used almond)
1 C Fruit or nuts of choice

In a bowl mix together the butter, honey and eggs.  Add in the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and the milk.  Mix and then fold in fruit of choice.
Bake in a lightly greased 8 x 8 pan at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.  May be served with milk and more fruit on top.

Next up...french bread. This was my first attempt at making bread, and it turned out REALLY good! I was so proud of it. Best of all, it didn't require nearly as much work as I thought it would. Also, it made a lot of bread, so I wrapped some up and put it in the freezer to eat another day. Here's the recipe for this one...

French Bread

5 1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages of active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water

1. In a large mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast and the salt. Add the 2 cups warm water to the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes) Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl turning once to grease dough surface. Cover; let rise in a warm placeuntil double in size (about 1 hour).

3. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet.

4. Roll each dough half into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Tightly roll up, starting from a long side; seal well. If desired, pinch and slightly pull ends to taper them. Place shaped dough, seam sides down, on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl stir egg white and the 1 tablespoon water. Brush some of the egg white mixture over loaf tops. Let rise until nearly double in size (35-45 minutes).

5. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Using a sharp knife, make three or four diagonal cuts about ¼ inch deep across each loaf top. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush again with some of the egg white mixture. Continue baking for 15-20 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack. Enjoy.

July 14, 2011

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook...for the win!

My brother gave me a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for my birthday last year, and it has DEFINITELY come in handy over the past couple of days.

Tonight's dinner menu: Vegetable Pizzas (recipe courtesy of the BH&G Cookbook) and fresh watermelon (orange watermelon...who would've known!?). These "pizzas" were AMAZING and pretty easy to make. They're just tortillas topped with a mixture of grilled yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomato, and a special mixture of spices, pesto, and mayo. After all of that was assembled, I topped it with shredded cheese and put it back on the grill for a couple more minutes. These were seriously good...and healthy. One of my new favorite recipes.

Tonight's dessert menu: Chocolate Marble Cheesecake Supreme (recipe courtesy of the BH&G Cookbook). Now...I know what you're thinking. Marble? I don't see any marble. Well, the swirl effect didn't exactly go as planned. Nevertheless, the cheesecake had both chocolate AND vanilla in it. And it tasted pretty good if I do say so myself :)

Happy Birthday Jamie!

Birthdays are my favorite. They give me an excuse to make a cake, decorate it, and then get it out of the house before I have a chance to eat it. I happened to follow this cake to the celebration though, so eating a piece was absolutely necessary (darn)! One of my best friends, Jamie, turned 18 on Tuesday, and her special request cake was my chocolate cake with peanut butter chocolate chip filling and chocolate icing.

Jamie's mom (one of my favorite moms in the world) made a cake, too. That's what the one on the left is in this next picture...

I wish I had had a chance to take a picture of the inside. The peanut butter chocolate chip filling is the absolute best part. Oh well. You'll just have to use your imagination. So in conclusion...HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY, JAMIE!! And what better way to celebrate than with chocolate cake!?

July 1, 2011

Vacation Intermission

Now that I'm back from my first of two consecutive vacations, I have a little bit of time to post to the blog. With my being gone so much, I haven't had time for many new recipes. However, I did get some baking done before I left, so here are the products...

The smiley face cupcakes were made for my sweet NEW neighbors, and the colorful ones for my wonderful OLD neighbors.

Over the past few days, I have had some goooood seafood. I took a picture of one of the best meals I had on my trip. It was grilled tilapia with mashed potatoes at Bubba Gumps in Charleston. SO GOOD.

I'm off to Gulf Shores in the morning for a vacation from my vacation. Time for some more sun, sand, and relaxation!