Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Picks: Cake Decorating- Lesson 4

For the last cake decorating class (Lesson 4) we were to bring a cake frosted. During our class we practiced making more roses and learned how to make sweet peas on stems and added leaves. We added a border and I put white dots all over the top of my cake. I am very excited about this cake. I love how it turned out and my roses were a success this time. On my border, I used the star tip and added little dots of green in the middle. It might be hard to see in the picture but it added a little color around the edge.

At the end of class we all got a completion of Course 1 certificate. I plan to continue on to Course 2 which is flowers and borders sometime next year. I am anxious to practice in the kitchen with all the techniques and fun things I learned the last four lessons.

The pictures are all of the cake I made during the class.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Recipe: Beef Burgundy

1 (2 pound) top round steak
1 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cans beef broth
1/2 cup Burgundy red cooking wine
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspooon dried thyne
dash of salt and black pepper
3 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles

Drizzle oil in pan on stove and brown meat on all sides.

In a crockpot, drizzle olive oil on bottom.

Place meat in bottom of crockpot.

In a pan on the stove, saute onions for 3 minutes and add garlic.

Add flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes.

Gradually add beef broth, wine, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper; mix well and let simmer for 4 minutes.

Place entire gravy in crockpot over steak.

Turn crockpot on LOW for 4-6 hours, or HIGH for 2-4 hours.

Serve with hot cooked egg noodles.

My Own Recipe
October 2009
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recipe: Company Pot Roast

1 (2 pound) boneless chuck roast
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans beef broth
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 medium onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 (16 ounce) package baby carrots
2 large sized potatoes, peeled, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 can tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons water

In a crockpot, drizzle olive oil on the bottom.

Brown roast on stove in a hot pan on all sides.

Place on botton of crockpot.

Add soy sauce, garlic, beef broth, pepper, onions, carrots, and potatoes.

Cook on LOW in crockpot for 10 hours.

Take out vegetables and place in a bowl, covered with tin foil to keep warm.

Place roast on a cutting board and cover with tin foil to keep warm; let set for 10 minutes.

Turn crockpot to HIGH and add flour and water to crockpot juice to make gravy.

Stir well and let come to a little boil.

Serve with meat and vegetables.

Makes 4 servings

My Own Recipe
October 2009
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Random Picks: Cake Decorating Class- Lesson 3

Our third lesson of the cake decorating class I had made white cupcakes and frosted them with white frosting. We started with making a rose on top of our cupcakes. We learned how to make the shell borders and swirl flowers. We also learned how to stripe our piping bags and have our frosting come out with colored stripes. We made clown bodies and put on plastic clown heads- adorable and fun! We also learned how to make leaves and add them around our flowers and roses. For our final lesson (Lesson 4), we are to make another cake and bring it frosted. We are going to complete the cake with everything we have learned; roses, leaves, borders, flowers, dots, and lettering and hopefully by the end of class bring home a complete cake.

The pictures of the cupcakes are the actual ones I decorated in class.

One of the supplies we had to get was a Course 1 Cake Decorating book with all the lessons and what we will be doing in class. There are also practice sheets in the back of the book to practice flowers, step-by-step to make roses, borders, lettering, bows, and more. It will be a great book to refer back to for ideas and what tips to use and techniques.
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Random Picks: Cake Decorating Class- Lesson 2

For our second class (Lesson 2) we all brought our cake, leveled, and I filled mine with raspberry jam, and frosted it with white frosting. We took our printout of our image we wanted to transfer and put wax paper on top. We filled a piping bag with clear piping gel and traced the image. We turned over the wax paper and pressed it onto our cake. We took our colored frosting in our piping bag and traced the gel on the cake. We learned how to make a rose also, which is hard work and will take lots of practice. For the next lesson (Lesson 3), we are to prepare cupcakes and bring them frosted.
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Random Picks: Cake Decorating Class- Lesson 1

Sometime ago I signed up at a Joanne's Craft store to attend a cake decorating class by Wilton. They gave us a list of supplies we needed to purchase and bring to class. I was so excited to get started. As much as I cook and bake I have never made a cake, ever, and only used a piping bag once.

The classes are held on Tuesdays from 6-8p at the back of the Joanne's store for 4 weeks.
The first week, Lesson 1, was more a lecture class. The instructor had shown us how to make frosting with three different consistancies (stiff, medium, and soft), and used coloring for each type. She had prepared a cake, levelened, filled and frosted it. By the time class was over she had completely decorated it; made roses, added leaves, borders, and dots around the cake. The instructor taught us so many tips, tricks, and things to do (and not to do) it was overwhelming- but tried to take good notes. By the next class, we were to bring a cake, leveled, filled if we chose, and frosted. We were going to learn how to transfer images onto our cake and fill them in using the star tip.

Thanks for my dear Grandma for sending me all her frosting dyes, tips and cake decorating supplies. I have used them many times and am SO happy to have them. They will get lots of use decorating cakes and cupcakes!

The pictures are of the final cake the instructor made during our first class.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Recipe: Meatballs and Garlic Bread

2 hoagie rolls
Parmesan cheese
dash of garlic powder
1 pound ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons minced garlic
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
Spaghetti noodles

In a large stirfry pan, or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat; swirl to coat.

Mix ground beef, eggs, panko breadcrumbs, and water in a bowl until well combined.

Add meatballs and cook turning occasionally until browned, about 7 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon garlic, 3/4 teaspoon oregano, and pinch of sugar.
Season with salt and pepper.

Bring sauce to a boil, reduce to rapid simmer and cook until meatballs are coated through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, split hoagie rolls and place cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet.

Spread with butter, and shredded parmesan cheese till covered; add dash of garlic powder on top.

Broil in oven till cheese has melted and edges of bread have browned.

Serve meatballs and sauce with cooked spaghetti noodles.

My own recipe
October 2009
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recipe: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspooons coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high until light and fluffy, 6 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, one at a time.

Beat in vanilla.

Mix in flour mixture just until incorporated; fold in chocolate chips and chunks.

Using a 1 tablespoon, drop dough onto a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Bake until edges are light golden brown, 17 to 18 minutes rotating sheets halfway through.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Bake remaining dough.

Makes about 24

Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine October 2009
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Friday, October 9, 2009

Recipe: Sloppy Joes with Corn

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (6 ounce) can no salt-added tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (14 ounce) can fat free, less sodium chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can no salt- added corn, rinsed and drained (optional)
6 (1 1/2 ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; saute 3 minutes.

Add meat to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.

Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and broth.

Reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir in corn, if using; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Spoon about 1 cup meat mixture on bottom half of each hamburger bun; cover with top half of each bun.

Cooking Light, June 2006
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recipe: Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
coarse salt
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup unsalted cashews, toasted
2 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
cooked white rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with sherry, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch; season with salt.

Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In another bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch; set sauce aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high.

Add half the chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken (reduce heat if chicken is overbrowning).

Transfer to plate.

To same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, cashews, and scallion whites.

Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to soften, 30 seconds.

Whisk sauce and add to skillet along with chicken.

Cook until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds.

Top with scallion greens and serve with rice.

Everyday Food, Martha Stewart April 2004
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Recipe: Marble Cheesecake Squares

1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 (8 ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) block 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 ounce semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place crumbs in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; drizzle with butter.

Toss with a fork until moist.

Press into bottom of pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth.
Add sugar and flour; beat well.

Add vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat until well blended.

Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan.

Place chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave high 1 1/2 minutes or until soft, stirring after 45 seconds (chocolate should not completely melt).

Stir until smooth.

Drop melted chocolate onto cheese mixture to form 9 mounds.

Swirl chocolate into batter using the tip of a knife.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until almost set.

Cool on a wire rack.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

Makes about 12 servings

Cooking Light, October 2004
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Food Fact: Apples

Studies have found that eating apples on a regular basis significantly cuts the risk of heart disease, most likely because they contain a lot of antioxidants.

A medium unpeeled apple contains 4 grams of fiber, about one-fifth the amount most women should consume in a day (and more than the amount in a serving of many whole-wheat breads). Some of that fiber is soluble and can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. The rest is insoluble, which aids digestion and weight control.

Several studies have connected the consumption of apples with a reduced risk of cancer, particularly lung cancer. Research also suggests that people who regularly eat apples are less susceptible to asthma. The fruit may protect the body against the risk of 2 diabetes as well.

Everyday Food, Martha Stewart September 2009
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