Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Cooking Segment on PBS!

Something really exciting happened to me last week! I was asked to come tape a cooking segment at our local PBS station for a show called KCTS 9 Cooks! I had submitted a few recipes to be included in their semi annual cookbook that they give away when you donate during their pledge drive, and was chosen to come cook on the air. I went to the studio last Saturday, along with 10 other home cooks, and we taped the show. I was so nervous, especially during the short interview before cooking but it was such a fun experience! The recipe they asked me to make was my Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I brought all my own ingredients to the studio along with a finished product to pull out of the magical oven at the end. All of the cooks got to hang out in a room where we could prep our ingredients, watch the others on a TV as they took their turns, and try each others' dishes as we finished. Before it was my turn I received a touch up from a real make up artist!! Then I loaded all of my ingredients on a cart and we went into the studio. I had 2 minute interview with Mark Christopher and then I went over the the kitchen set and assembled my recipe with Chef Bridget Charters. I told her it was a little intimidating cooking next to a real chef! We were told to keep talking, no dead silence, and try to keep it fun. About 7 minutes later it was over. At the end Bridget said, "Don't mess with Texas." Hahaha, I'm interested to see if they cut that out. I keep replaying it in my mind to try and remember what I said, so that I can be prepared for how ridiculous I might look and sound. :) It premiers Saturday, May 16 at 12pm, and is shown again at 3pm. I'll share a link to it once they have posted it online. For now, you can see the recipe line up here. They also decided to post another one of my recipes on their website and on twitter to promote the show. It's one of my favorites! You can find it here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Easy Ice Cream Cake

This cake turned out amazing! It was SO easy! AND you can use any flavor of cake mix or ice cream...endless possibilities! My daughter wanted an ice cream cake for her birthday and I found this genius idea for making the ice cream layer. It worked perfectly. I might force my kids to have ice cream cakes for every birthday. :) See my notes at the bottom.

Easy Ice Cream Cake
1 cake mix (made according to package directions)
1  (1.75 quart) container of ice cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Make cake according to package directions (or however you like to make your boxed cakes). Pour into 2 (8in) round cake pans. Bake as directed.
2. While cake is baking line another 8in round cake pan with wax paper. Scoop ALL the ice cream into the cake pan. Press down and smooth out. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer.
3. Once the cake has finished baking, let it cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans. After cake has completely cooled, cut off the rounded tops if desired (left mine on). Stack one cake layer on a serving plate. Remove ice cream layer from freezer. Pull up wax paper and remove from the ice cream. Place ice cream layer on top of bottom cake layer. Place 2nd cake layer on top. Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer.
4. To make ganache: In a small saucepan, bring whipping cream to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add chocolate chips. Do not stir. Remove from heat. After 15 minutes, stir until smooth. Let sit for about 1 hour or until cooled.
5. Remove cake from freezer pour ganache on top covering the entire top of the cake, it's ok if it drips down the sides. Do not cover. Return to freezer for 1 hour.
6. After 1 hour, the ganache should be set enough to lightly cover the cake with plastic wrap. Keep frozen until needed. I have had no problems cutting and eating it straight out of the freezer.


For this cake I used a yellow box mix and added some chocolate chips to the batter to make it look like 2 big cookies. The ice cream in the middle is chocolate chip cookie dough.

If you only have 2 cake pans, make your cake, and after removing it from the pan, wash the pan and use it to mold the ice cream.

If your ice cream layer gets pushed out by the weight of the top cake layer, you can cut around the side with a knife for an even looking edges. I liked the artisan look, so I left mine alone. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mini Carrot Cakes

This is one of the desserts I made for Easter. I used my recipe for Carrot Sheet Cake here. After it had cooled, I cut out 2 1/2 inch circles with a biscuit cutter and then cut them horizontally to have 2 shorter circles. I made some cream cheese frosting, saving some out to add food coloring for embellishment. Assembly was one circle of cake, pipe on frosting, 2nd layer of cake, pipe on and smooth out frosting, then pipe on carrot. It was a little more work than just serving the sheet cake, but they turned out so cute and so good!

Even this bunny wants to eat it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Deviled Eggs

I recently posted recipe for something my husband loves and I DO NOT. Now it's time for one that I LOVE (and he doesn't)! :) We had these deviled eggs with our Easter dinner. I could eat them all day, but unfortunately hard boiled eggs somehow make my husband spout all kinds of negative things relating to their smell. They even had to stay in the garage fridge. Poor little eggs! They are simple to make and this is how I like them. I have also included instructions on how I boil my eggs after the recipe.

Deviled Eggs
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt
Paprika or chili powder (optional)

1. Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a fork. Add mayo, vinegar, mustard and salt. Mix well.
2. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle paprika or chili powder on top for garnish, if desired. Keep refrigerated until serving.

How I hard boil my eggs:  Put them in the bottom of a pan, and fill it with cold water to an inch above the top of the eggs. Bring to a rolling boil. As soon as it boils, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 15 minutes. Dump out hot water and fill pan with cold water. Peel when cooled.

Oops, I stuck my thumb in one.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thick and Chewy Spring Cookie Bars

Aren't these the most spring looking cookie bars ever?! I saw something similar on Pinterest and couldn't get over how cute they looked! The idea for these comes from this website here. I love my own cookie bar recipe though, so I used that, and did a few different things, LIKE adding a little coconut and coconut extract. YUM!

Thick and Chewy Spring Cookie Bars
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
12 TBSPs butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 1/4 cup spring M&Ms
3/4 cup vanilla chips
3 cups mini marshmallows

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and coconut together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1/2 cup of M&Ms and 1/2 cup vanilla chips. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
3. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle marshmallows and remaining 1/2 cup of M&Ms over the top of the cookie bars. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup vanilla chips and sprinkles over the top. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins

Don't set carrots out for the Easter Bunny! He would MUCH rather have these carrot muffins! I don't create many of my own recipes, but this one is mine. :) It is my muffin version of carrot cake. They are not overly sweet, but my kids love them and I feel good about serving them as a snack. You can leave out the coconut if you prefer it without. My husband doesn't like coconut, but he wants me to add raisins next time, so I'll probably give it a try with those. I also made a few mini muffins with this batter, and they worked well too.

Carrot Pineapple Coconut Muffins
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup grated carrots, loosely packed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut.
3. In a medium bowl, add the butter, egg, vanilla, buttermilk, pineapple, and carrots. Stir to combine.
4. Pour carrot mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just until everything is blended.
5. Using a large scoop (about 1/4 cup), scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20-22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

Makes about 18 muffins.

For mini muffins bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuna Fish Gravy

Let's be honest. I think this is kinda gross. My husband, on the other hand, loves it! So consider this his guest post. As long as you've got tuna in the pantry and a loaf of bread, you can make this for dinner...if you really want to. :) This was made with 1 can of tuna, but if you like it more meaty, then use 2.

Tuna Fish Gravy
dedicated to Gavin
1 can of tuna, drained
3 TBSPs butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until thick and bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue to whisk until it starts to simmer and reaches desired thickness. Add tuna and salt and mix together.
2. Serve on buttered toast. Top with pepper...and sweet pickles, if you are my husband.