Monday, March 31, 2014

Spray Painted Sugar Cookies

I know Valentine's day is long gone but I was asked to make heart shaped sugar cookies for a church activity last week. I was kind of excited because I bought some fun Wilton heart shaped cookie cutters a few years ago and I still haven't used them. This gave me the perfect reason to test them out. They were awesome. They came in a 4 pack of different sizes and two of the edges were straight and two of them had "squiggly" edges. I don't really know how to describe them. You can see the different outlines of the hearts in the pictures.

I also bought these awesome Wilton color mist cans a little while ago and I have only used them once. They look awesome. Everyone kept asking me how I got the cookies to look like that. It is really easy to use. Just make sure to keep the can about a foot away when you spray the cookies or they'll be splotchy and the color will run. You also want to put the cookies on a cookie sheet when you do it.

The recipe and frosting I used came from In Katrina's Kitchen

This recipe was awesome because I made the dough and baked the cookies all within an hour. It's a great recipe to work with when you are crunched for time and everyone said that they were delicious. I made 30 cookies and I only came home with 6.

The sugar cookies and frosting both call for almond extract which I didn't have. They tasted great without it but maybe next time I'll try it.

1 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in extracts and eggs.
  4. In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a counter top surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
  5. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
  6. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
I used her butter cream frosting recipe found here. It was the best cookie frosting I've ever worked with. It was the perfect consistency of soft but not too soft. I was able to stack the cookies without the frosting sticking to the other cookies. I will warn you though that this recipe makes a ton! I have enough frosting for probably another 6 dozen cookies. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it all.

Butter cream frosting
  • 2 Cups shortening
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract 
  • 8 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 Cup heavy cream (more or less to desired consistency) (I didn't have any so I used 2% milk)
  •  food coloring, if desired  
      1. In the bowl of your mixer beat shortening until smooth and creamy.
      2. Mix in vanilla (and almond extract if using).
      3. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until combined, then add  cream & mix until smooth and                    spreading consistency. Adjust cream to desired frosting thickness
      4. Add a few drops of color, if desired.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Beach Kit Kat cake

I have a whole board on pinterest of cakes I like. I want to try and make most of them someday but 99% of them are probably way out of my league. The boy scouts were doing  fundraiser at our church and they were having a cake auction. I decided to sign up to bring a cake. It would at least give me a good reason to try and make one of the many cakes I pinned, right? I decided to copy a cake from Lovely Party Things.

The only thing I did differently from her cake was that I used crushed graham crackers instead of brown sugar for the beach part on top. I just kept thinking that a slice of cake with brown sugar on top probably wouldn't taste all that good. Anyway, other than that, it was really easy to go off of. I made a chocolate cake from a box and then made home made vanilla frosting with blue food coloring added in.

I  made two round cakes with frosting in between and frosting on top. Then, I put Kit Kats around the outside of the cake and secured them with ribbon. I can't remember how many Kit Kats I needed, but I know that I started with 6 Kit Kat bars and it was only about half the cake. I want to say I used about 10. It's much more than you would think. I broke the Kit Kat bars into pairs before putting them on.

Then I put the crushed graham crackers on half of the cake. In the graham crackers I put two palm tree "models." I went to Michael's and got plastic palm trees in the models section. The lady at the store said I wouldn't want to use them because they will have fuzzy stuff on them that wouldn't be safe for food, but I looked at them and they were completely plastic. So, I just cleaned them with soap and water before I used them in the cake. I had to cut a little bit of the cake out and put the palm trees in a little bit of a hole because they kept tipping over. I filled the hole in with frosting and graham cracker crumbs.

The rest was pretty simple. Teddy Grahams on Fruit by the Foot and Teddy Grahams in Peach candy rings.

The kids loved the cake. It was auctioned off at $40. I'll take it. It was a fun night. We bid on a vanilla cake with butter cream frosting that was delicious. I was very impressed with how many amazing cakes were there. I better take some cake decorating classes before next year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pepperoni Penne

I am either really prepared for dinner, or my husband is on my way home and I'm looking in the cupboards, the fridge, searching pinterest, etc. trying to figure out what I'm going to make. I decided to make this and it was quick, easy and tasted so yummy.

I got this recipe from AllRecipes.

Now, I wasn't sure how this meal was going to turn out. I was kind of on the edge about even making it because it sounds a little bit like a kid's dish. Pepperoni penne? Anyway, it turned out really good and it tasted really fresh. When I served it to my husband he said, "This is Cheesecake Factory status."

I chopped up everything up ahead of time so when we were ready to eat, it only took about 15 minutes to make. I added a chopped green bell pepper because I had one chopped up in the fridge and I think it made the dish taste really yummy. I added it in with the shallot and garlic.I would also recommend making a little less than 16 oz of penne to go with it. A lot of the reviews said that there wasn't enough sauce with that much pasta. I made about 12 oz or 3/4 of a 1 lb box of penne. It was the perfect amount. 

On a side note, I do not like tomatoes. I usually pick them out of things when I can taste them. The tomatoes made this sauce really yummy without being too powerful. I ate them without even noticing. Maybe you can trick your kids. Or, if you're like me, maybe you can trick yourself. It probably helps that we used tomatoes from our garden too.

I'm so proud of our tomatoes. Ever since we moved our tomato plant has been growing like crazy!

3/4 lb sliced pepperoni sausage (I used Hormel sliced pepperoni's because that's all I had)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
4 medium tomatoes- peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup heavy cream
1 (16 oz) package penne pasta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the penne according to the package directions.

2. In a large skillet saute the pepperoni until crispy (about 5-8 minutes). Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the grease. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook until translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the cream and cook until reduced (about 8 minutes). Add the parsley and remove from the heat.

4. Add the drained pasta and toss. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Grilled Chicken Fajita Kabobs and Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad

I have the hardest time cooking on the weekends. The weekends are a time to relax and recover. Sometimes I feel like I eat junk food all weekend because I'm too lazy to make something. This weekend I decided to plan ahead so that this didn't happen. I wanted something easy but delicious. I would agree that this met both of those criteria. I will definitely be making this again.

I cut up the peppers onion and chicken in the morning and placed them in the marinade. Then, when we got hungry inn the evening we put it on skewers, threw it on the grill and while it was cooking, I made the salad. Pretty simple. 

Marinated Grilled Chicken Fajita Kabobs
Recipe credit to Dashing Diet

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 ts red pepper flakes
2 lb chicken
bell peppers

Cut up peppers and onions into squares. I used green peppers because it was all I had, but you can make it as colorful as you want. Cut up chicken into squares. Place all other ingredients into a zip lock bag and mix around. Then, place chicken, onions and peppers into the marinade.

Let the chicken, onions and peppers marinate for at least 2 hours. Then, place the chicken, onions and peppers onto skewers and grill on medium high heat until done, about 8 minutes. Flip over half way to evenly cook all the way through.    

I paired this with a healthy Balsamic Vinaigrette salad.

1 head of lettuce (I used green leaf lettuce. I also like it with red leaf lettuce or half green, half red)
1 apple
feta cheese
sliced almonds or pecans
balsamic vinaigrette dressing 

wash and cut lettuce. Place into bowl. Cut up apple into small pieces discarding the core and seeds. Sprinkle feta cheese and sliced almonds or pecans over salad. Add dressing a little at a time and mix until combined.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wardrobe HELP!

What has happened to my style? The past two years I worked as a personal trainer and I mostly wore workout pants and tops everyday. Then when I got home, I would just stay in them because they're pretty comfortable. Now that I'm a stay at home mom, I still feel like I'm trying to figure out how to wear regular clothes again. It's been an ongoing process of putting outfits together again. Some days I feel like I try on half my closet and I still feel like my outfit is ugly. That is the worst.

A couple weeks ago I met Tyrone at church because he had to be there early for a meeting. I only have a couple of skirts that fit and I feel like I wear the same ones every week. So, I decided to wear a dress. I love dresses and I have a bunch but because I'm still breast feeding it makes it really hard. I saw a dress that buttoned down the front and decided to wear it. It was a grey summer dress. It had big pockets on the side and then 4 other random pockets on the front. It was decorated with bright pink and white flowers all over it and the bottom was bunchy, I don't even know if that's the right word. It was a very casual dress that I wouldn't normally wear to church but I just needed to wear something different. I knew that I couldn't wear it with high heels so I paired it with black leather flat boots.

That afternoon when I got home from church I asked Tyrone what he thought about my dress and he said, "do you really want to know?" I thought, no I'm pretty sure I already know. Then, two seconds later I changed my mind and decided I wanted to know. He said, "throw that thing away." I started busting up laughing. Needless to say, I sold it on ebay last week for $7. I'm never wearing it again.

My wardrobe has been so bad lately that even Tyrone volunteered to go shopping with me. If any of you know him, you will know what a big deal that is. He won't even go to the grocery store. He hates shopping for anything. I mentioned that we are going to Vegas on a vacation soon and that he should take me shopping there. His response was "I know what kind of stores are in Vegas. We aren't going there." After laughing I asked, where did you want to take me? He thought Ross was a good idea. We're probably going to have to come somewhere in the middle. Don't get me wrong, I like Ross, but I need serious wardrobe help.