Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Goodies


Hello all! For many years now, I have been assigned to make goodies and treats for Christmas morning. But I have never made as many cookie varieties as I have this year... Guess it came with the fact I have a bigger kitchen, more space to put stuff in, and I am just plain old crazy. Not sure if I will be able to share pics of everything I made, but I will try. :)

Peanut Butter Fudge. This is the easiest fudge recipe ever!!! 



Coffee Cake Cookies.



Lemon Snowflakes.



This isn't even half of what I made this year. I may make a second post for the rest and probably share some of the recipes with you. 

But for now...

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!! :)


I'm Lovin... Christmas Goodies!

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Goodies from my Kitchen


Hi friends! I have admitted to all of you how I have had no handmade cards done... but I am not behind on the baking [I THINK!]. I have been keeping myself busy as my husband wrestled with all the preparations for his two Christmas programs at work. For band directors and music teachers, December is one of the busiest months. :)

I have been surprising him with a new treat every day. But at the back of my head I am also hoping he doesn't eat them all before the actual Christmas day comes. LOL

The photo above is a picture I took of my kitchen yesterday after I got done cleaning to record this really happy moment of clean and spotlessness. :) It doesn't look like that anymore after all the baking I have done. LOL

Today I have made the easiest Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and a batch of cookies that I found at Pinterest, they are normally called Blossom Cookies but this one has been made festive by using red and green sugar and Hershey's Hugs and Kisses. I thought since I pretty much live in Pinterest, I might as well make something to add to the plethora of holiday treats that I am making to honor the friends and the hundreds of pinners that I follow.

 Here they are!!!


I got playful with this one and dipped it in both red and green sugars. :)


And here's the beginnings of a crinkle. This is an all-time favorite of mine... This is one of the few things I make that I actually do not enjoy sharing with anyone because I love them so much.


Here is the end result. Make chocolate cookies, roll them in powdered sugar and bake them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Chocolatey tastiness!!! :)


I also made dog treats! But I didn't take pictures of it because I already have them all packaged to give away.

I hope all of you are all caught up with Christmas shopping, baking, gift wrapping, decorating, etc! And, keeping warm too!!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Banana Split Cupcakes

Hello All! I hope everyone has had a good day. It's been nice here... Cold, but nice. I had a really good day today. So good, I baked half of the day off.

Yesterday, my Aunt Betty gave me a stack of books. Well really, mostly COOK books. It doesn't take much to make me happy. Give me a couple of cookbooks to look at, and I am in hog heaven. I've already made two things from the books she gave me. Last night, I made Fresh Corn and Chicken Chowder from Taste of Home's All Time Favorites. We ate the rest of it tonight. And the husband [while scraping the bottom of the pot] told me to keep the recipe so I can make it again. [Read: HE LOVES IT!] :)

Tonight, I added an element to the tasty ensemble. I made Banana Split Cupcakes. I will share the recipe soon. I gotta write it down yet, I made a couple of changes to the recipe. So for now, photos are all I have to show.



That's all for now, friends!!! I got cupcakes to devour!!! :)


Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Attempt at a Handmade Card, Candy-filled Cupcakes, etc

Hello there friends! :) This has been another busy weekend... Got to take a short break with my friend Sara, but soon as we got home, our husbands John and Quinton were fighting with washers and dryers and banisters and stairs.

In between all the other things I needed to do, I got to spend some time crafting and baking. I got out the stamps, papers, etc. It felt sooo good to be using my 12-inch Tonic guillotine again! So here's what I made... It's not too bad, but it is obvious I am lacking practice! There is embossing powder all over the background. Not good. But the card itself is worth giving away to some very special people. :)




And I baked too!!! I made chocolate-covered cherries cupcake. I so love how they turned out except that some of the candy melted while they were baking so some of the cupcakes had a huge crater when I took them out of the oven.  But I have been told by my taste testers, the recipe is a hands down WINNER.


I also made peanut butter cup cupcakes! I used the same cupcake recipe as the one above but I baked a peanut butter cup in the cake this time. I tasted it, and I myself love it! ANOTHER WINNER!


And in other news, I finally got to do laundry in my new house.... Big thanks to John, Quinton and Dad for making this least favorite chore of mine possible tonight. You guys have no idea how much it means to me to be able to see the floor of my walk-in closet, because before you all moved my washer and dryer, the whole floor was covered with dirty clothes and socks! SO THANK YOU!!! You are my most favorite boys alive!!!


The photo above shows the end of my very first load. I was so excited John [the husband] was laughing at me.

Okay now that that's out of my system, I think I will go get in my toasty cozy bed and watch one of the shows I have on my Netflix queue.

I hope you all had a great weekend!!! And have a great week ahead!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December First!

Hello friends! I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy. It finally feels like it should be. It is 37 degrees here, and that makes me excited because two or three weeks ago, I thought summer weather/temps was never gonna go away... or the earth just decided to skip fall and winter altogether and head on over to spring!

Not sure if it's just me or does anyone feel like this year's holiday season has come in a hurry? One day we were riding the waves in Daytona Beach, next thing you know, I am making turkey gravy and side dishes for our Thanksgiving feast. Time has flown by so fast! Late 2010, we bought our yellow bungalow... Late 2011, we were gifted this beautiful home [by our family].



This is the new neighborhood. :) We know pretty much everyone here, because we frequented this place while my Mom and Dad-in-law lived here. We have spent many a family gathering in this house. And I have had four birthdays here too since I moved here.

I can't show much of the inside yet because we are still in the process of moving in. Between this and the holidays coming in such a hurry and a few other duties I have taken on, there is not enough hours in the day to get much done. Even my Christmas cards are digital this year. I have not made anything handmade to give away. If I can speed scrap by doing it all digitally, I sure could make speedy digital cards with my own photos! :)



There's so much to do and it makes me crazy that I can't get caught up no matter the time management I do. There's just not enough time to get all of it done!

One thing I am at this moment is GRATEFUL. Even how much I complain about not having time, my days are not wasted doing nothing. I am constantly around family and friends... Not so much friends lately, but that's what the cellphone and facebook and Skype is for. I love virtual hugs and long emails and twitter mentions! My friend Sara and I live in the same town, but the two of us have so much to do, I can't remember the last time we sat down and talked! We only get to talk in the evenings through text or twitter. On a good note though, our husbands [John and Quinton] hang out every morning at the gym...

John and I have been so blessed this year!!! We are overflowing! I don't mean material things, but we have been so blessed with all kinds of different reasons to be thankful for time with the people that we love and the opportunity to be with them while they are still here. The past two months with Aunt Betty has been a blast. She is not her best self every day being that she has health issues, but I take every happy, funny moment [with her] with so much joy. I have been introduced to soooo many people because of her. Now the whole town knows me... I am the cool niece that hangs out with old people at McDonald's for breakfast. They are all so much fun to be around. Yes, I get up at 6 in the morning so I can have breakfast with Betty and her friends.

Today is the first of December, and I can't wait for Christmas! Gifts or no gifts, the holidays always gets me all pumped up. All the decorating and getting out all the holiday trimmings give me a wonderful kind of high. :) John and I are like kids and so is his brother. Boy, soon as we were told that our gifts have been bought and have arrived in the mail, we go on a search in John's parent's 4,000 sq ft house for the gifts just to find out they are locked away in Dad's office. LOL

So now you know why I am going to be counting the days til Christmas morning when we could open those nicely-wrapped items! :) I only have three wrapped at the moment. All the rest are in a UPS or FedEx truck somewhere on their way to me.

Hope your holidays are as exciting as ours here. We all always have a great time. I pretty much bake every day in the month of December. I am starting tonight. I am going to start making cookies for my tins so this year I could actually send them out to some special people. :)

Til the next post! Have a happy December First!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone is staying where it's warm and cozy, and I hope all of you are with people who are dear to you.

I am getting ready to party myself. Thanksgiving is as much a big deal in our family as Christmas. We work in the kitchen and cook/bake days before to get ready for the feast and the fellowship.

This year, life has been grand! All the prayers we said in the first of the year all have been answered with a "Yes!" I don't know if I could be anything else but grateful for everything and EVERYONE especially that we have been blessed with this year.

I am grateful, first and foremost for this wonderful husband I have been given. I don't know what I did right to deserve him, but he sure rocks! I love every piece of this human being... My life would be so dull if he didn't dance around shaking his moneymaker in front of my bathroom mirror while I am putting make up on... Or none of these DIY ideas would ever get done if he didn't take so much joy in turning his tools on.... Or I wouldn't have such a great, awesome, wonderful life if he didn't work so hard doing what he loves and does best... Teaching and Drumming! I am so grateful that he respects my thoughts, and don't just shrugs his shoulders and walks off when I say something.

I am thankful for family... both here and the one across the planet. I love them all. My only prayer is for them to stay healthy... all the rest is bonus!

Friends are a gift and I believe I have the best ones existing! We haven't gotten the chance to see them as much as we want this year because we all have been so busy both with work and family stuff. But these ones I have are just wonderful in every sense of the word. We are always together, in spirit and in prayer. I have never had friends who will pray for us and we pray for as much as them.

I am thankful for our church family. I've been and met a few of them in my lifetime, but this one I've had for at least 3 years has been great! I have never enjoyed doing ministry so much until I started working with everyone in this church and I don't believe any other church family can top this one. :)

Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for the God that I worship. He is the source of all that I am grateful for every day. He truly makes all things beautiful for me and all the people I love. He is the reason why I am here and He is the reason I love like I do, because HE LOVED ME FIRST.

So there you have it! How about you? What are you thankful for?


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Something Good to Look At... And Eat Too!!!

I have been working on this cake for 3 days. This is for John's [the husband's] drumline kids... Sorry other folks who are close by. I am planning to make this again some time but not today. I am too pooped from stirring the chocolate stuff that went in that cake my arms are spent. lol I doubt that I'll get any of this cake, but I don't care for what I make anyway so what does it matter?!




Friday, September 30, 2011

Random Thought

Since I am still in the process of thinking up something crafty to share, here's an insane truth I want to share with you:

Enough said.

Have a great weekend all!!!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY Roman/Roller Shades

Hello all! :) I have had the most interesting few days... but everything kindda worked themselves out so I am happy that they are part of history now. Amidst the weirdness of it all, I have had a couple of things done and a few other projects planned [for my house, that is]. I have not done any paper crafting in the past two weeks because I have been so obsessed with my living room. Check out the pics in John and I's blog

I have a really long living room, 25.5 feet to be exact. Aside from the big window that I have been constantly taking pictures of lately, I do have 2 other big long ones that overlooks the front porch [which isn't a very pretty site as of the moment because it has become our catch-all room], and two little ones on each side of the fireplace. I could probably get away with hanging just a valance on the small windows, it's the two big ones that need addressing. :) 

Let's look at some inspiration, to give you an idea how I want this whole project to end up looking:

This very last photo reminds me of how our living room walls used to look like. It reminds me how sick I used to feel every time I looked at my living room with those dark walls. ;) I'm so glad it's all gone. :)

Now, all I have to do is decide on a pattern and a color [fabric] and I will be on my way to DIY-ing my own shades. :) 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Favorite Things

I love kitchen tools. The easier they make my life, the more I love them. I also love kitchen electrics... I have quite an addiction to them, even the things I already have and don't need I keep track of their prices in my favorite web stores.

Here is a list of my favorite tools... :)


I don't even have to tell you why I think every cook should have one of these things in their kitchen. This baby has served me for five years and I have been thinking about getting a second one, but this time I want the Viking stand mixer. It is a tad higher in price, but I want to try a different brand this time around. :)


This little guy is one irreplaceable tool. They have come up with a ton of hand crank versions of the food processor that are supposed to be better but what can be better than being able to push a button and get pesto in like 3 seconds? I use this at least twice a week. :) This was a gift from my Mom and Dad-in-Law one Christmas. I love this thing.


I retired all my traditional measuring spoon sets after I found this all-in-one measuring spoon. I bought three of them--one for dry ingredients, one for wet ingredients and one more just in case I lose one of them. :) This is an all-in-one measuring spoon. It is the best thing to have in hand if you are like me, I am notorious for losing stuff ALL THE TIME! i got this from Bed Bath and Beyond.


This is the plunger. It is a measuring cup set all in one. :) I watch too much Good Eats. I love that show.  That is where I found this little gadget. Alton Brown uses this a whole lot. John and I got this from an outlet store in Branson, MO. This is perfect when you are measuring honey, corn syrup, peanut butter or anything sticky. You will have less scraping to do... I promise.


If you have a stand mixer, you don't have to have this. I only have a hand mixer because I am crazy about kitchen electrics and I do bake and cook a lot. It is handy to have when I have something going on in my KitchenAid and I need to whip up something else. :)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Coffe Cupcakes


Hi all! I have been hard at it all day in my kitchen since yesterday evening. I have ventured into divinity-making, sugar cookies and currently in the process of decorating them, and coffee cupcakes. :) There is nothing as good as the smell of stuff baking in the oven. It has been really cool today so I've had my windows open all day and the warmth from the oven has made my kitchen really cozy.

So here it is folks, the recipe to my all-time favorite cupcakes! I have adapted the recipe from Ina Garten. 

Coffee Cupcakes

For Cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups dutch process cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sour milk or you can also use buttercream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • a few drops LorAnn Oil in Keoke Coffee flavor or you can use 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed Newman's Own Dark Roast Variety K-cup
  • 2 tsp instant espresso granules
Preheat the oven at 350˚ F. Line your muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment on low until well blended. 

In a separate bowl, combine all your wet ingredients/liquids. Then with your mixer on low, slowly pour your wet ingredients into the flour mixture.

Add the espresso granules into the freshly brewed coffee and pour into the rest of the batter. Scrape the side of your bowl and beat with your mixer for a few more seconds until everything is well-combined.

Fill your molds two-thirds of the way and bake for 19 minutes or until springy to the touch.  Let cool.

For frosting

1 batch of your favorite chocolate buttercream recipe
1 whole tub of hazelnut spread
3 Tbsp heavy cream
a few drops of LorAnn Oil in Keoke Coffee flavor

Whisk all of the ingredients up with an electric mixer until it is all combined. Fill your piping bag with the frosting and decorate your cupcake. Top each cupcake with a chocolate-covered espresso bean to finish!


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