Monday, December 17, 2012

Black Magic Cake

So I am addicted to Pinterest... imagine that.  I find the most amazing looking recipes and pin the heck out of them.  Some are as good as they look, some are meh.  One of the best I have come across so far is Black Magic Cake.  I think everyone with a Pinterest account has this on their food board. 

I was looking for something sweet to make my husband feel better after suffering through a dinner of spaghetti squash (It was amazing by the way, but there was no dead animal in it so he was disappointed) and I saw this cake calling my name.  It was super simple to make, no creaming of butter and mixing dry and wet together separately, however, it has a long list of ingredients.  It was 100% worth it.  This is a fantastic cake.  I tweaked it a little to suit my taste, a little less sugar and more coffee flavor.  I will give you my recipe as well as the link to the original.  So, if you have to redeem yourself after a sub-par meal, whip one of these up.  I guarantee all will be forgiven!

Black Magic Cake
1-3/4 c. flour
1-3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. coffee + 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer.
Add remaining ingredients and beat two minutes.
Pour into greased 9"x13" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
When cool, frost.
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
Combine all ingredients and beat until fluffy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easy Initial Bag

It is the time of the year where I am scrambling to finish all my Christmas gifts.  Right now I have two sweaters, a pair of socks, a chenille blanket and a carry-all (Want to make one?  Look here in the works.  My cousin's girls are very into crafting, so along with some fun crafty items, I wanted to make them bags to tote around their projects as they work on them.  Unfortunately, I have a million other things to do, so making them from scratch was not an option.  I decided to fancy up ready-made bags.  I kept it simple and quick, but still fabulous.  Here is how I did it.

First I printed off huge letters.  I just used Word and blew them up to 600-ish.  Whatever took up the whole page. 
Then I traced them onto my fabric and cut them out.  Be sure to place the letter face down on the back of the fabric.  I know from experience you don't realize it is backwards until you have completely cut it out, and it really sucks to have to make another one.
I used fabric glue to hold the letters in place, and machine stitched around the edges.  Don't use too much glue, you just want to hold it in place while you sew.  You could stop now and have a super cute bag.  I opted to make removable bows to up the cute factor.
Using a hot glue gun, I made a loop of my ribbon and glued it together in the center.
I cut a piece to wrap around the center and made a pleat in each end, putting a dot of glue in the fold to hold it in place.
Wrap that around the center and glue each end at the back.
Last, glue on the tails and a barrette (this makes it easy on and off).  Done!
I clipped my bows to a handle.  Easy peasy!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Salted Chocolate Topped Honeycomb Candy

My mother used to make candy when I was little.  I have fond memories of her fishing the little ball of whatever she was making out of a glass of water and giving it to me to try.  Candy making was always a happy occasion...  until I grew up and realized candy making is a pain in the...  well, if you've tried to make candy you already know.  Thermometers, hard ball, soft ball, not to mention the constant threat of dropping a pot of boiling hot sugar on myself or one of the littles (yes, I immediately go to worst case scenario, death by candy making).  Happily, I found there are quite a few candy recipes that are quite foolproof.  This is one of the easiest and fastest recipes I know.  It makes a crispy layer of almost butterscotchy candy topped with a slightly bitter chocolate layer, cut with the salty crunch of sea salt.  If you and mother nature are hanging out this week, this is the perfect fix.  Sweet, salty and done NOW!

Salted Chocolate Topped Honeycomb Candy

1/2 c. sugar
4 Tbsp. dark corn syrup
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
sea salt
Tear a square of parchment an have ready on counter beside stove.
Combine sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. 
Place over medium heat. 
Without stirring, heat until boiling. 
When it looks golden and syrupy and very bubbly take off heat and QUICKLY whisk in baking soda.  IMMEDIATELY  pour onto parchment.  DO NOT TRY TO SPREAD.  Let cool.
While honeycomb is cooling, melt chocolate.
Carefully pour chocolate into the center of the honeycomb and spread to edges. 
Sprinkle top with salt. 
Let harden.  Break into bite sized pieces.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa

I love quinoa.  I like the little pop you get in every grain, I love how quickly it cooks.  I love how diverse it is.  I love to say it.  "Keen-wa".  Fabulous.  I found a recipe that used quinoa in place of the pasta in mac and cheese on Pinterest (where else, right?).  I was saddened when I followed the link and found that it contained evil ingredients such as low-fat cheese and soy milk.  Really?  What did mac and cheese ever do to her?  I do realize that quinoa is an extremely healthy ingredient, but it also tastes fantastic.  I cannot say the same for soy milk and low-fat cheese.  Anyhoo, I made up a version I would be willing to eat, even though it has a pretty decent nutritional value.

Cheesy Quinoa

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
1 c. milk (I used 1%)
1-1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
2 eggs
4oz. (1/2 block) low fat cream cheese
garlic powder
hot sauce

Combine quinoa and water along with 1/2 tsp. salt in pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until water is absorbed (10-15 minutes).
While quinoa is cooking combine milk, eggs and cheddar cheese.
Add cream cheese to cooked and still hot quinoa and stir to combine.  Add in milk mixture.
Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and hot sauce to taste.
Spread in greased 8" square baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Frosty Date Balls

I love the holidays.  I love the decorations, the time with my family, the music...  Mostly I love that I can bake copious amounts of cookies without judgement since most people assume I am passing them out as gifts.  Snort.  I guess I do start with good intentions, but they fly out the window as soon as the oven timer goes off.  Since this is the season of giving, I felt I should stop being so stingy, so I have decided to share my cookies with you...  Unfortunately, the Internet does not yet transmit baked goods, so all I can offer you are the recipes.  Shoot.

Frosty Date Balls
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 c. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 c. chopped dates
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Cream butter and sugar.
Stir in water and vanilla.
Add flour and salt and mix well.
Stir in dates and nuts.
Roll into generous 1" balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes until set, but not browned.
While warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Where Have I Been?

So I flaked.  Well, maybe it was laziness.  Lack of motivation?  I was just tired.  Really, REALLY tired.  I have missed quite a few months on here, but I have spent those months working on a HUGE project.  Would you like to see it?

Hopefully a picture of my sweet new baby boy will forgive all.  I am back.  I am breastfeeding.  I am hungry.  Be warned.