Monthly Archives: August 2011

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie

I love raspberries!! Growing up my parents had a lot of raspberries. We had so many berries that we sold them by the flats. It was a fantastic summer job for me. I have so many fond memories with my family in the berry patch in the early morning hours. This pie was one of our all-time favorite summer desserts. It was always a special treat to see this pie chilling in the fridge. The pie would always disappear fast. However, sometimes we would have an extra slice leftover…and whoever was lucky enough to find it the next morning would have an extra tasty breakfast (or maybe that was just me)…isn’t pie a breakfast food?

Remember when I posted the amazing Lemon Buddies? Well, the same day (while I was with my Mom, Grandma, and Aunt) they whipped up a couple of these lovely desserts. See what I meant about getting into trouble when I am with them? But it’s perfect for taking pictures and having lots of blog material. :)

This recipe is really easy and it comes together beautifully! The recipe makes 2 pies, but you can adjust it as needed to make one.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie

Cream Filling:
One 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
One 16 oz container whipped topping
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Raspberry Topping:
1 Raspberry Danish Dessert, prepared according to package
4 cups raspberries (more or less)

*Two 9-inch Graham Cracker crusts or Nilla wafer crusts (we usually use a pre-made crust, but feel free to make your 0wn)

Make the cream filling by beating cream cheese, whipped topping, and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Spread in bottom of crusts.

Prepare Danish Dessert according to package. Gently fold in raspberries. Pour on top of the cream cheese layers.

Refrigerate until set. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

**We usually use this recipe to make two pies. However, you could use this recipe to make one really tall pie…and if you have any extra you can layer it in dessert cups.**

Linked up at:

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Cast Party Wednesday

Back-to-School Sugar Cookies

It’s that time of year again. I have to admit that I always liked the first days of school. The new school supplies, new clothes, new classes, new teachers, seeing my friends every day, etc. I actually really liked school in general. That might explain why I chose to be a teacher. While I still eagerly anticipated the new school year, going back-to-school when I was teaching was a lot more stressful than when I was a student. Lots of preparation goes into those first few days of school.

This Fall is a little different for my husband and I. For the first time in 22 years, neither one of us is in school (or teaching). CRAZY!! I think I could get used to this for a little while. Soon enough our little one is going to be starting school, but I’m not going to wish away the next couple of years.

So, here are some cookies for those of you who are going back-to-school this fall, for the parents who are sending their kids off to school in the mornings, and for those of you amazing individuals who are teaching and working in the school system. You are all amazing! May you all have a fabulous year!

Cookie Details:

For the cookies, I used Our Best Bite’s sugar cookie recipe. I almost always use that recipe. Bake at 350, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, and The Decorated Cookie also have great sugar cookie recipes.

For the icing, I used The Decorated Cookie’s Royal Icing (sort of) recipe. I love it because it stays pretty soft, but it gets hard enough to pack the cookies. Regular royal icing gets a lot harder and is more crunchy after it hardens.You can find other royal icing recipes from Bake at 350 and The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

If you are looking for something quick, that doesn’t use meringue powder, I like this glacé icing recipe and tutorial from Our Best Bites. I used this icing when I first started until I was brave enough to venture into the world of royal icing…it handles a lot differently than royal icing, but you can still make some lovely cookies with it.

These cookies I decided to keep pretty simple. I used Gourmet Writer Food Decorating Pens for some of the details:

For the papers, I outlined and flooded using a plain white frosting. After it dried overnight, I drew the lines on the paper using the pens and a straight edge as a guide (I’m really bad at drawing straight lines).

The pencils I did in a few parts letting the icing dry between (similar to when I did the carrot cookies at Easter). After they dried overnight, I drew the lines and wrote “No. 2″ using the food pens.

The apples, I used wet-on-wet method when adding the white highlight (My icings were probably not the same consistency because there was a little bleeding).

Hopefully that helps a little, I am definitely not an expert at decorating, and I learned almost everything I know from the ladies at the following blogs. If you are interesting in learning more about cookie decorating, be sure to pay them a visit:

The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle
Bake at 350
The Decorated Cookie
Sweetopia
The University of Cookie

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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of our all-time favorite vegetables is zucchini! Every time we eat it my husband reminds me how much he loves it. While I enjoy eating it as a side dish or even as a main course, I especially like to bake with it. Seriously, doesn’t adding a vegetable to cookies cancel out all of the negative calories? Okay, maybe not. But still…I do feel a little better about eating cookies with squash in them than eating a regular chocolate chip cookie or these lovely sugar cookies.

I found the recipe via Pinterest from Right @ Home. The only adaptation I made was to use unsalted butter and add about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt; I also left out the walnuts (I have a thing about nuts in cookies).

While they were perfectly delightful, next time I think I’ll try them with Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips. Be sure to check out the recipe!!

Linking up at:

Cast Party Wednesday

Buttercream Iced Sugar Cookies

This weekend I made some sugar cookies…some easy, delicious sugar cookies. At first I was planning on decorating them with royal icing, but I finally decided I just didn’t want to worry about the clean up (Washing squeeze bottles, decorating bags, and tips is kind of a pain some times–actually for me it is the worst part of the sugar cookie decorating). So, instead I whipped up some easy buttercream. They might not look as fancy as the royal iced cookies I have done…but they sure taste amazing!!

I made the sugar cookies using Our Best Bite’s recipe. I’ve tried some other sugar cookie recipes, but I always come back to this one. For the frosting I made a basic vanilla buttercream (butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla). Here is a similar recipe from the Betty Crocker Website.

If you are looking for a yummy way to satisfy your sweet tooth, give these delicious sugar cookies a try!!

Raspberry Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream

Raspberry Peach Ice Cream

When I started my blog a few months ago, the thought didn’t even cross my mind that I would write more posts about ice cream than I would cookies or cupcakes..but here is another ice cream post (maybe I should change the categories on the top of my page)! Don’t worry, I’ll be back to making and decorating lots of sugar cookies soon; I’ve been taking a little break since it has been so hot and I haven’t had a lot of reasons to be baking.

This sweet treat was definitely something new for me. I have to admit that I don’t use a lot of buttermilk around here. The few times I do see it in a recipe I substitute it for a milk/lemon juice mixture. The other day I decided to buy some (actually a lot). I made this ice cream and then I may have forgotten about the buttermilk…for a while. Needless to say, I didn’t use it in anything else (Well, except some cookies…you might see those sometime). It will probably be a while before I buy buttermilk again. Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for buttermilk? I’d love to hear them!!

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still make ice cream! There are freezing directions on the original recipe for making it without a maker. Although I haven’t tried making ice cream without the machine before.

**Warning this recipe makes more than 1 1/2 quarts. I had to freeze it in two batches using my ice cream maker. I strongly recommend reducing the recipe if you have a 1 1/2 quart machine by half or possibly a third).**

Raspberry Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream
slightly adapted from About.com Home Cooking

1 lb peaches (fresh or frozen, remove skins)
1 lb raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups buttermilk

Puree all ingredients except buttermilk using a blender or food processor. Pour into a large bowl and stir in buttermilk. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until ready to serve. (Mine froze really firm after being in the freezer, it is easier to scoop after it sits for a while).

Linked up to:

Cast Party Wednesday
 

Lemon Buddies

Deliciously dangerous things happen in the kitchen when I spend time with my Mom and Grandma! I’m pretty sure Dad thinks all I ever do is bake and eat sugary goodness (and I’m sure you might be thinking the same thing). But really I make a ton of treats whenever I’m around my family and I take a million pictures so I have lots of blog material ready to write about! Luckily (for our waist-lines) we only see each other once a month or so.

Making these heavenly lemony delights was my Mom’s idea. Last time we were together, she had the recipe printed out from the Chex website and all the ingredients ready to go (actually I didn’t even help make them…I just got to enjoy them)! She told me that Sugarbelle mentioned them on Facebook…I must have missed the link, but I’m glad my Mom saw it!! These are absolutely delicious…I ate a lot of them!

After I uploaded the pictures, my husband saw them on the computer and asked when we had these treats. I looked at him and was confused for a few moments. Did we make them when he took a nap and eat them all before he woke up? Sure enough…I found this picture sandwiched between my lemon buddy pictures. He took a short nap…

…and completely missed the treats (Isn’t this the sweetest picture?). I really should have saved a few for him, but they disappeared so fast I didn’t even think about it (although he says he doesn’t mind, since lemon isn’t really his thing). I might just have to make some again…to share with him…of course.

For the recipe check out Lemon Buddies on the Chex website! If you like lemon…you will love these!! Seriously!

A Peanut Butter Pie for my Loved Ones

Friday morning, I logged into Facebook and did my routine scan of posts. I noticed a couple of peanut butter pie links and found it a little unusual for more than one blogger to post a peanut butter pie on the same day. Then I came across this link that had been shared by a few of my fellow bloggers. Jennie’s story was completely heart wrenching. Last week Jennie (In Jennie’s Kitchen) lost her husband from a sudden heart attack.

Her story brought tears to my eyes as she talked about her husband’s favorite dessert, a peanut butter pie, that she had been planning to make for him, but she kept putting it off. She said, “For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

While I don’t know Jennie and I didn’t find her blog until Friday, her story touched my life. There are so many times that I put things off until later. There are times when I could hold my children a little longer and spend more time with my husband. On Friday, I was reminded again how important it is to live my best every single day and to take time for those I love.

Friday, I decided I wanted to make a peanut butter pie and share it with my family. I used the filling recipe from Jennie, you can find the recipe on her post. I decided to make it easier by using a store bought Oreo pie crust. I also didn’t add the extra melted chocolate or peanuts (Although next time, I will definitely go all out and use the whole recipe because I am sure it is completely delicious!).

With the extra filling, I put some cupcake liners in a muffin tin and put an Oreo at the bottom of some and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup at the bottom of the others and filled them up with the peanut butter filling. The pie and the mini pies are delicious! I definitely love peanut butter desserts!

I am going to make a conscious effort for now on to live my life to the fullest! Take more time for my family! Enjoy every moment with my children and husband! Play more! Laugh more! Be happier! And that double chocolate cake that my husband always talks about…no more putting it off! :)

Banana Cupcakes and Cake

Do you ever have one of those days where things just don’t quite go as planned? I have those quite often (inside and outside of the kitchen). I wasn’t thinking very clearly when I was baking these cupcakes and I made  a couple of silly baking mistakes. But since we are all friends, I’ll tell you about it…

I found this Banana Dream Cake from The Novice Chef about a month ago and I knew that I was going to have to try it as cupcakes. The recipe helped inspire the banana/monkey theme for my little one’s 1st birthday party (along with the fact that she is a climber and seems to get herself into some interesting predicaments).

Since I wanted to have a smash cake and some cupcakes, I decided to double the recipe. This was my first mistake. Apparently I didn’t look very close at the recipe before I started doubling. I was dumping all the ingredients into my mixer and mixing away….which was all fine and dandy at the beginning…until I had to mix in all the flour and milk. I completely ran out of room in my little Kitchenaid!! I was able to finish mixing the batter by hand in my largest bowl. Around this time, I also realized that maybe I really didn’t need to double the recipe. Two 6 inch rounds and 4+ dozen cupcakes later at 1 am….I decided that I probably over did it (especially considering there were only a few guests coming).

Side Note about the Cake: Don’t look too closely. The cake almost didn’t even make the post this morning. I kept the decorating extra simple: since my little girl was going to destroy it and I was on a tight schedule.

Since I doubled the batter, I figured I should double the cream cheese frosting. But after getting out my cream cheese, I realized that I didn’t have enough to double the batch (and I definitely wasn’t in the mood to run to the store). I decided that if I didn’t frost all the cupcakes, I could call them muffins and justify freezing them for breakfasts (bananas, applesauce, healthy right?!). The only problem was I had already put the doubled butter in the bowl—See where this is going??–then I added the rest of the ingredients and finished mixing it up. I filled and crumb coated the cake and used the rest of the frosting on the cupcakes.

I whipped up a batch of buttercream to finish frosting the smash cake. As I was adding the butter I realized that 3/4 cup (the same as in the cream cheese frosting recipe) was not 3 cubes….it was 1 1/2. This is when I realized that the first frosting had twice the butter!!! Yikes! It still tasted okay, but not like the amazing cream cheese frosting I was looking forward to eating.  (I even tasted it before frosting the cupcakes, but I couldn’t quite figure out why it tasted a little off). Luckily, everyone still liked them and the party was great.

Here are the lessons I learned while baking these cupcakes and cake:

  1. Check the ingredient list before doubling to make sure it will fit the capacity of my mixer.
  2. When doubling or halving be really careful to calculate the ingredients correctly….or if I decide not to double…be sure to not accidentally double.
  3. If there are 10 people coming to a party each person probably only needs 1 (maybe 2 cupcakes). Especially if I am serving other treats too!
  4. There was plenty of smash cake leftover as well and I didn’t really need to have extra/leftover cupcakes. However, small freezer-safe bowls are perfect for individual slices of cake.
  5. If you have leftover party food…have another party! We invited 10 couples/families from our neighborhood to enjoy the leftover goodies and it was great fun!

So, long long story short. Check out this Banana Cake Recipe from The Novice Chef. It really is amazing and I bet the frosting is delightful as well! She also has some fun banana facts on her post!!

Tuesday Time Out — Co-host!

Today I have an extra special post! Melanie from Reasons To Skip The Housework invited me to co-host Tuesday Time Out with her! I can hardly contain my excitement! I love her website! Plus I am always looking for “reasons … Continue reading