Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!!

On Sunday it was this guy's birthday:

This guy just happens to be my wonderful daddy! He turned 49 years young this past weekend... 49! He doesn't think he'll make it to 50, but we know he will. He is one tough cookie. I am so thankful that I have been able to have my dad around growing up. There definitely have been some really scary situations where the future was uncertain, but he held on and came out on top. He is someone who truly makes the best out of difficult situations and always has a positive outlook on life. He takes such good care of our family and I am so blessed to have such an incredible dad. I don't know what I would do without him.

Anyways, we celebrated his birthday all weekend and it was so much fun! Saturday night we ordered take-out from our family's favorite Chinese restaurant, Lucky China, and just enjoyed time together. Jordan, Amy, and Josh's friend Jordin all came over. Amy I made him some Pecan Bars from my new Better Homes and Garden cookbook. They were pretty much just blondies with pecans, and don't get me wrong, they were good, but not something that I would ever crave. My dad however, LOVED THEM, which is all that really matters right? I would say that if you are crazy about all things pecan then you would probably really like them. I topped mine with some vanilla ice cream, and I think I would have liked it even more if I would have had caramel sauce to drizzle over all of it. Anyways, give them a shot!

Chewy Pecan Bars

1/4 Cup Butter, Melted
4 Eggs
2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Chopped Pecans
Confectioners' Sugar

Spread butter evenly in an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan (I sprayed with Pam instead). In a small bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to egg mixture. Stir in pecans.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until browned. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Sunday afternoon my grandparents came down for dinner, cake, and ice cream. Rachel, Mike, and Ashton surprised us all and showed up as well! I decided to make another bundt cake since I love my pan so much. I went with Red Velvet. Now, let's talk about Red Velvet Cake for a minute. I have never had Red Velvet Cake before this past Sunday, so I was pretty excited to bake it. Everyone goes on and on about how wonderful Red Velvet Cake is, so I thought I would escape to Red Velvet Heaven upon taking my first bite. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but not great. I frosted it with yummy cream cheese frosting which definitely made it better, but I don't know that I'm a fan of Red Velvet Cake. I wondered if I had messed up on the recipe, but Rachel, who has eaten red velvet cake before, said that it indeed tasted like Red Velvet Cake. So, If you love Red Velvet Cake, you will love this recipe! It was so moist and the rich red color was beautiful! Give it a shot. Oh, and don't forget to frost it with your favorite cream cheese frosting. YUM!

Red Velvet Cake

(Recipe from Kiss My Bundt Bakery)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon high-fat cocoa powder (such as Callebaut)*

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer, combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
4. Add dry ingredients to the wet 1/2 cup at a time. Do this slowly so that the batter doesn't develop clumps.
5. Pour the batter into pans that have been greased and floured. The recipe will make one (10 to 12 cup) bundt cake.**
6. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake doesn't jiggle when shaken, about 45 minutes.
7. Cool the cake in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Then invert onto a serving plate. If cake resists, cool for an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting with your favorite Cream Cheese Frosting, at least 1 hour for a single large bundt cake.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Triple Mallow Cereal Treats!

Check out these cuties. Aren't they the most adorable little mallows you've ever seen? Let me tell you something else that makes them even more adorable... they were only 50 cents. 50 cents! It's totally because they are leftover Christmas marshmallows, but I don't care! I was so excited to buy these little fellas so I could use them in a fun after-Christmas treat! Sadly, I wasn't very creative with this one, but this recipe won't disappoint.

Triple Mallow Cereal Treats! They are so simple, but so yummy and cute at the same time. It's totally a win, win, win recipe right here. All you've got to do is make some rice crispy treats, but instead of using rice crispy treats, use Lucky Charms (or Marshmallow Mateys for cheapos like me)! So far, we've got double mallow cereal treats... the triple mallows come in when you decorate them with your cute holiday marshmallows, or other fun marshmallow shapes. I saw some fun snowmen ones at the store yesterday! Try those! Get creative, but make these soon! Trust me, you'll never want to make plain ol' regular rice crispy treats again. That is seriously saying something folks because, if you didn't know, I'm a serious rice crispy treat addict :)

Aren't they cute? Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My First Bundt!!! Thank You Kohl's Cash!

That's right, today I made my very first Bundt Cake, and boy was it good! Let me tell you the story about my newly purchased(sort of) Bundt pan. Last week I spent a couple of days down in Lehi with this crew:

We played, cooked, watched lots of movies, went to the Lehi Legacy Center to get some exercise, and went shopping at Kohl's. My mom had given me her $20 worth of Kohl's cash to use so I was pretty excited to get some new clothes! Unfortunately, the selection of clothes at Kohl's was very disappointing. But really, what can you expect when you go shopping a few days after Christmas ya know? Anyways, I had found a cute shirt for $7 dollars, but I could not find anything else to spend the cash on! I was bound and determined to not let this free money which expired the following day go to waste! My brilliant, beautiful, and VERY patient sister suggested finding a fun kitchen gadget! As said best by Gru from Despicable Me- LIGHTBULB. Immediately, Bundt Pans came to mind as we darted towards the kitchen equipment. After analyzing every Bundt Pan on the shelf, I selected a Farberware one to match my mini muff pan, measuring cups, spoons, and rubber spatula. I couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day :) I didn't even feel bad when my mom laughed a little bit when I told her what I chose to buy with the Kohl's Cash. I guess it is kind of funny though... I mean, what teenage girl uses Kohl's Cash to buy a Bundt Pan? This one!

I have been searching for days to find the perfect Bundt to make with my new pan, and I am definitely pleased with the recipe I selected. Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake! You can find this wonderful recipe at Tasty Kitchen. The cake is so rich, fudgy, and moist! It would be perfect plain, but I chose to drizzle it with homemade hot fudge sauce to add even more chocolatey goodness to it! I can't remember where I found this yummy, hot fudge recipe, so if you recognize it, or it's yours, please tell me! Like I said, the hot fudge isn't totally necessary, but I thought it was the perfect addition. Chocolate lovers unite! This stuff is GOOD.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

2 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbls. cornstarch
1 Cup Sugar
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 Tbls. butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Dash of Salt

In the bottom of a medium saucepan, combine coca, cornstarch, and sugar.
Pour the can of milk over the top of the dry ingredients. Add the vanilla, pinch of salt, and only 1 Tablespoon of the butter.
Stir the concoction up over medium heat.
After it comes to a boil, cook for 3 more minutes while stirring. The sauce should thicken as it boils.
Remove from heat and add 1 more Tablespoon of butter. Stir butter around until incorporated.
Let sit for about ten minutes before pouring on cake, ice cream, etc.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fudge Puddles!

Christmas this year was wonderful!! I have been able to spend lots of time with my family and it has been so great. I am so blessed. Anyways, I thought I better blog about one of the many fantastic gifts that I received this year. Here is what it looks like:

Beautiful, right? I am now the proud owner of my very own measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula, and last but not least... A MINI MUFFIN PAN!!!! Now, who is responsible for such a gift? I'll give you a hint :)

Remember these cool cats? This is my brother and his wife Amy. They live in Benson, which is just 10 minutes from my apartment in Logan, and they are my life savers. Seriously, I have no idea what I would do without them. I honestly don't think I would have survived my first year of college without them. I love them so much! And... I'm so excited because they are expecting a little boy in April! YAY! I can't wait to have another nephew! Anyways, I love these guys so much and I love their gift :)

Well, I was so excited about my mini muffin pan that I wanted to put it to use right away! So, I made Fudge Puddles. Isn't that such a fun name? My family and I would include "Fudge Puddles" in almost every sentence yesterday just because it was so fun to say! These were tasty treats, and I must say that they went over pretty well at my aunt Deb's New Year's Day party. I did modify this recipe quite a bit though. The recipe originally has a peanut butter crust, but hardly anyone in my family likes peanut butter so I decided to go with a chocolate chip crust instead! Either way, these are YUMMY. The fudgy filling is to die for. Give these a try! You won't be disappointed. :)

Fudge Puddles
(Recipe from the blog: SUNDAY BAKER)

Peanut Butter Crust:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

In a large mixer bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, and both sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla.
Next, in a seperate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to the creamy mixture.

Tollhouse Mini Morsel Cookie Crust:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) package or 2 cups NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.

After preparing your desired crust, chill the dough in the fridge for at least one hour (or if you're impatient like me, in the freezer for about 15 minutes). Remove from fridge and form into 1" balls. Grease a mini-muffin pan and add 1 ball to each muffin cup.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven and make an indentation in the center of each ball.
Let them cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Once all of the cookies are done baking, it's time to make the fudge filling.


1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips (if you don't like butterscotch, just use milk chocolate chips)
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla
chopped nuts or sprinkles(optional)

In a microwave safe bowl or saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the nuts/sprinkles. Microwave for 1 minutes. Stir well. If there are still unmelted chips, continue to melt in microwave for 15 second increments until all smooth.

Immediately start filling the cookie cups with the filling. It will start to harden just a bit as you do it, so make sure to give it a good stir once in awhile. Sprinkle with the nuts or just leave plain. Let set for an hour or so.