Friday, December 26, 2008

More Christmas pics and Red Velvet Cake

I hope all of you have had a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Ours has been full of food, family and fun. I just wanted to invite you into my home once more and this time I'll give ya a slice of cake ;-) Enjoy!

This is my dining room.....we never ate off the Christmas dishes this year!

Master Bathroom

Now for the Red Velvet Cake. What I've learned over the years is that most people have a love/hate relationship with this cake. They either LOVE it or they HATE it. My 5 year old daughter is on the love end of this well as myself!

7-layer Red Velvet Cake
(Paula Deen)

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup whole buttermilk (I can never find whole b-milk, so I use fat free)
2 large eggs
1 (1oz) bottle red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Pour 3/4 cup of cake batter into each cake pan, turning to distribute evenly. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
Wash and dry pans; repeat procedure with remaining batter until all layers are baked. Spread cream cheese frosting evenly between layers and on top and sides of cake.
For the icing: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My home at Christmas

What a busy few weeks its been!!! With working, school functions, shopping, decorating, and then getting sick...I've been swamped. I did manage to get some pictures taken this evening of some of my decorations. I did not get my bathroom...because of all the laundry sorted on the floor! The Red Velvet Cake is in the oven and I'll post on that tomorrow! Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas tree and garland on the stair-rail

The Mantel (with dirty mirror above)

Beautiful lighted block on the end table

A little snowman complete with a shovel and a little "snowman poop"

Nativity in foyer, my 5 year old set it up this year

Tiny kitchen themed tree

A few Christmas cards lining the doorway from kitchen

We also have another Christmas tree upstairs in the girls' playroom with all their ornaments.
Have a very blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Carrot Cake

This is a very delicious carrot cake. It's a Paula Deen recipe..from her first cookbook. I do tweak a couple of the recipe I post will not be exactly like hers..but not far off. I decrease the amount of pecans inside the cake. I never even liked carrot cake until a few years ago when I made this one...and I was hooked ever since. I hope over the next few days I can post some pictures of my Christmas decorations. I love looking at others for inspiration. Be on the look out for another cake coming up....Red Velvet!

Carrot Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil and mix well; add carrots and pecans. Pour into three 9 inch round greased,floured pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxpaper, and allow to cool completely before frosting.


One 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
One 16oz box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine all ingredients except for nuts and beat until fluffy. Stir in nuts. Frost cake.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Soap, Holidays and Family

Its been a while since I last blogged! In that time, I've had a sick child, birthday parties, a messy house, and soap making. I won't post again probably for another week or so...but don't leave me please! I'll be back. I have been experimenting with making soap. Its a lot of fun and I hope to start selling some soon. Thanksgiving is around the corner, so I'll be cooking, eating and spending lots of time with family! I hope all of you have a very wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Garlic-Basil Chicken and Pasta

I wanted to make something different tonight with boneless, skinless chicken tenders. I used what I had on hand. I probably would have use linguine or maybe even fettuccine, but all I had was egg noodles....which worked out great. Give it a try...we loved it.

Garlic-Basil Chicken Pasta

Cook 8 oz of egg noodles..or whatever pasta you prefer (in salted water)
Drain, set aside
Chop 2 cloves of garlic and saute in hot olive oil
Add 1 lb or so of boneless, skinless chicken tenders. Sprinkle both sides with black pepper seasoned salt and sweet basil (I used dry, but fresh would be better I'm sure). Cook until chicken is done.
Add pasta back to pan. Mix together 1 can chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch..mix well..then pour over chicken and pasta. Over med-low heat, stir until sauce thickens. Oh yea..I threw in a couple tbsp of butter too.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Camping Out Cake

Tomorrow we are having my daughter's 5th birthday party. She wanted a camping themed party. We are having a camp fire with weenie roast, smores and other goodies. We are also having games and a hay ride. Today I decorated her cake and it was a lot of fun to do. I just wanted to share my pictures of how it began and the results.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Looking for suggestions....

My guest room needs some freshening up. I need some ideas! Please leave your suggestions. Its kind of a beachy theme in the room. The walls are a bright yellow...this will not change..cause I don't feel like painting them over. The roman shades are a navy blue. The bedspread is navy on one side and a lighter blue on the other. You'll see in the picture that I have the bed up on risers. I like a tall bed. I just need to get a bed skirt for it. I am wondering should I change the bedspread out (FYI the curtains are striped), keep the bedspread and use a white bed skirt? Or another color? I have those little plates to put on the wall too. And there is that wheel..Should I paint it white or stain it. I was going to hang it on that wall (see pic, I was trying it out)...but, it looks so alone and small on that wall. can see from the pics I do need some help ;-)
Now...if my family, who actually uses this room when visiting, is reading..feel free to offer suggestions too :-)

Thanks you guys!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie

It seems I have an obsession with pies lately. Maybe this will be my last pie post for a while..bare with me, but I had to try this pie. It looked so good in the cookbook! I sliced the pie while it was still a bit warm, topped it with cool whip and dug in. It didn't knock my socks off initially, but the second day it was so much better. I just have to learn to be patient and actually wait for certain dishes to chill before I can partake. The cookbook I took it from is Better Homes and Garden. This is a great addition to any cookbook collection. So, give it a gets better the next day! The pecan and brown sugar topping gives it a yummy crunch.

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie

1 recipe for a deep dish pie crust, or use refrigerated pie crust
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups half and half or light cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie crust and place in pie plate. In a small bowl, combine pecans and brown sugar. Spread 3/4 cup pecan mixture in the bottom of the pie crust lined pie plate; reserve remaining pecan mixture. For filling, combine pumpkin, half and half, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; mix well.

Place the pie plate on the oven rack (or a pizza pan). Carefully pour filling onto pecan mixture in pie plate. Bake about 50 minutes or just until set in center. Stir melted butter into remaining pecan mixture. Sprinkle pecan mixture over pie filling; bake for 10 minutes more or until topping is bubbly around edges. Cool on wire rack. Cover and chill within 2 hours.

Friday, October 17, 2008

German Chocolate Pecan Pie

It appears I've got pie on my mind again! This recipe is just sinfully rich..but ohhh so good! I took this recipe from this month's issue of Southern Lady, well just the filling part. My pictures aren't that great this'll just have to make your own to get a better look!

German Chocolate Pecan Pie

Use a crust for a 9 inch deep dish. You can use a store bought crust or use the recipe here.

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put crust in deep dish pie plate, trim edges, fold under and crimp. Bake for 8 minutes and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrups. Add melted butter, eggs, vanilla and salt. Whisk until well combined. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the bottom of crust, evenly. Then sprinkle coconut on top of chocolate chips. Pour pecan mixture on top of coconut. Bake for 1 hour or until center is set. Cover w/ foil last 10 minutes if needed to prevent excess browning. Cool completely before serving (this is the hardest part!).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The importance of a back-up disc....

Our lap top CRASHED a couple days ago. We have another computer so I didn't have complete withdrawals ;-). It was still difficult. I am still grieving the loss of all my pictures and videos. My babies, my youngest's 1st dance recital, my oldest's first chapel skit at school. So many memories! We have a lot of work to do to rebuild favorites and such. Our lesson learned is that we really need to back-up our information often in case this happens again. I just loathe a virus! Hopefully a new recipe will be blogged soon..but if know I'm probably busy rebuilding the computer ;-).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Apple Pie

We have apple trees in our back yard. This year we had the most apples we've ever had. Each fall I make apple pies. I've had to freeze apples too because we've had so many. To me, the best part of an apple pie is the homemade flaky crust! I like to use Granny Smith apples, but any apple will work just might need to adjust the amount of sugar used.

So, are ya ready? Here it is...


Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 small egg, beaten
1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
5 Tbsp. cold water

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt. With a pastry blender (or two knives), cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together egg, vinegar and water, then add to flour mixture. Mix until dough is moist enough to form a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half into a 12 inch circle. Press dough into pie plate (I like to use deep dish). Crimp edges or use a fork to make a decorative border, then prick bottom with a fork. Put the plate in the freezer while preparing the pie filling. The other half of crust will be used on top.

Apple Pie Filling:

5 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
4 Tbsp. flour
1 1/3 cup sugar (remember I use granny smith apples, you may want to decrease the amount of sugar if using a sweeter apple)
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir gently. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Dab with butter and pour milk over filling. Roll top crust same as bottom and lift onto filled pie. Crimp edges again and cut an X in the center of pie w/ sharp knife..pull the edges at the center of the X back some to open the center of the pie a little. You can also make a woven lattice top with the top pie crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Game Day Fun

This weekend my husband, my cousins and myself went to a Virginia Tech football game. We had a lot of fun tailgating and watching the kids play and of course eating..I didn't get any great shots of all the was kind of hard with it all crammed together in the back of a vehicle.

That was our day! One thing that I made that everyone seemed to love was the hot wings. This is how I did it... I bought a 4lb bag of frozen chicken wings. Thawed them almost completely, poured some olive oil on them, salt and pepper..grilled them until done, then tossed them in 1 cup of Frank's Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce. Thats it! Yumm!!!