Monday, March 31, 2014

Oscar the Grouch Cake

This is a cake that I made awhile back, but it is still one of my favorites. Probably because it has a very sweet memory tied to it.

All of my kids seem to go through a stage where they are fascinated with Sesame Street. For my oldest son, this was when he was 2 years old. Well, one day we were at a park and there was a metal garbage can tipped over on it's side. My son took off running in that direction at full speed. We followed after him to see what he was up to. When he got to the garbage can and looked inside. Then he turned around and with a look of surprise and great concern asked, "Where is Oscar the Grouch?"

This cake was inspired by this little visit to the park. Whenever I see a picture of this cake, it reminds me of that little story and always brings a smile to my face. You might not have a goofy 2 year old, that goes around looking for Oscar the Grouch in trash cans, to make this fun cake for, but I bet you have someone that would love it!

To make this cake you will need:

Two-6" round by 2" high
Rice Krispy bars (homemade or store bought)
gum paste
2 wooden dowels
Cake board
Food coloring- Red, green, brown, black

On the 3" high contoured cake, using a serrated knife, cut off the contoured part. Set this aside to use for the lid. Next stack the three cakes together (the two 6" round by 2 " high and the 6" round by 3" high minus the cut off piece) using buttercream frosting between each layer. Then frost the whole thing with buttercream.

You will need to make your gray fondant. (Make sure you leave enough white fondant to make eyes.) Mix black food coloring with the fondant until you get the shade of gray that you want to use for your garbage can. Now roll the gray fondant into a rectangle about 19" by 7". This should make it big enough to wrap around your cake. (You won't be draping the fondant over the cake and cover it in the traditional way that you would cover a cake with frosting.) Using a fondant tool with a small ball tip, make vertical indentions for the side of the garbage can. Start and stop each "indention line" about an inch from each end. Now wrap your fondant around the cake and pinch the overlapping fondant to seal it together. Roll down the top edge of the fondant towards the inside of the "garbage can".

Then roll out four long "ropes" of fondant. Placed two around the top of the can and the other two around the bottom of the can.

Use gray gumpaste to form the handles. Start by making 2 thin snakes and shaping them into a rectangle. Next make two rectangles that will be used to attach the handles to the garbage can. Roll out 8 small balls to look like screws. (Refer to the picture.) Allow the gumpaste to harden before attaching them to the can.

Now it's time to make a head for Oscar. Use Rice Kripy Treats to form a ball. Make it about the same width as the garbage can (6" diameter). Cut out a wedge from the circle where you want his mouth to be. For support I pushed two wooden dowel rods into the Rice Krispy Treat ball. (These will later be pushed into the cake to hold the head in place.) I covered the entire head in a fairly thick layer of green buttercream. Then i used a small spatula to give the fur texture. To do this place the spatula against the frosting and quickly lift it away. (I have seen other Oscar the Grouches fur made using the "grass" frosting tip. But I prefer my method because it gives the "fur" a messy, matted sort of look.) Oscar's eyes are made out of white fondant using a black edible marker to make his pupils. His eyebrows and mouth are done using buttercream.

Finally, make the lid using the contoured part of the cake that was cut off and set aside in the first step. Cover the entire cake with a layer of buttercream and then a layer of gray fondant. Use a little strip of gumpaste to make a handle. Make another thin rope of fondant to use as the rim of the lid.

Now use some gray/black frosting to frost the top of the garbage can. Then stick Oscars head on top of the garbage can. Use some green frosting and a large tip to pipe Osacar's hands. Place the lid on top of Oscar's head.

Now watch your child's eyes light up when they see the special cake that you made for them!

(For the life of me, I cannot figure out why I didn't take any pictures of Oscar with the lid on top of his head!)

I hope you enjoyed Sitting At My Table as I share with you how to recreate this adorable cake. If I can be of any help please let me know.

Come back again for a visit.

Purple Ombre Ruffle Cake

Since I share my Orange and White Ombre Ruffle Wedding Cake, I thought that I share with you the first cake that I every made ruffles on. I made this cake for my niece's birthday party awhile back. 

Each layer on this cake is made out of a single layer of cake. The bottom layer is an 8 inch square cake, followed by a 7 inch round cake, then a 6 inch hexagon cake, on top of that is a 4 inch round cake, next comes a jumbo cupcake, followed up by a mini cupcake. 

I used the same method of decorating this cake as I did for the Orange and White Ruffle Wedding Cake. One thing I did different on this cake is that I frosted the whole thing purple before adding the ruffles. 

Thanks for sitting by! I hope you enjoyed today's featured cake!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Orange and White Ruffle Wedding Cake

I've been loving the color orange lately! Oh, you could tell by the blog design? Good! Anyway that might be one of the things that I love about this cake!

This tiers on this cake are 10", 8" and 6". The cake is white almond frosted with my Creamy Almond Buttercream Frosting. This is the second cake that I have made with ruffles on the side so I still could use more practice. Maybe I will try another one soon!

To make the frosting colors I started with a big bowl of orange frosting and an even bigger bowl of white frosting. The frosting tip that I used was 030. I have no idea where I got it from. I am assuming that it is a Wilton tip but I don't know for sure.

I started with my bag filled with orange frosting and did three rows of orange ruffles. After I finished, I added some white frosting to the orange to lighten the color. I used the lighter orange color and did three more rows of ruffles. I continued to do this until I got about 2/3 of the way up the cake. At this point I wanted to make sure that the top lay was white, so mixed the remaining colors before putting the rest on the cake so that I could make sure each color looked okay.

The flowers are made out of gumpaste with wires attached. The wires are then stuck into the cake.

Thanks for stopping by! I am always happy to see you Sitting At My Table!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Strawberry Cupcakes

Today I decided to make some strawberry cupcakes. I have made strawberry cake in the past by altering my white almond cake recipe, but for some reason I never wrote it down. So today I decided to recreate the strawberry cake from memory. (This time wrote it down!)

 After tasting one, (okay three) I decided that they were good, but could use just a little something more. I wasn't quite sure what, but I started coming up with alterations that I could make to the recipes. As I let my mind wandering, I whipped up a batch of my Creamy Almond Buttercream Frosting.

Now, I rarely bother with small batches of frosting. Why?, you ask? Well because frosting is messy, and time consuming, and then there are the greasy dishes to deal with. Oh and did I mention messy? So when I make frosting a make a very big batch. Twice! Any leftover frosting I put in gallon freezer bags and I stick them in the freezer until I need them.

Before you make this frosting recipe, make sure you have a large mixing bowl. Otherwise, cut the recipe in half or thirds. I use a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer with a 6 quart mixing bowl and it is just barely large enough.

Creamy Almond Buttercream Frosting
1 Cup of Butter, Softened (2 sticks)
3 Cups of Crisco
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Teaspoons of Almond Extract
12 Cups of Powdered Sugar, sifted
3/4 Cup of Milk

Cream together butter, Crisco, salt and almond extract. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time while continuing to mix at a low speed. Add the milk and mix at a low to medium speed until everything is incorporated. Then turn to the highest speed and whip for about 2 or 3 minutes.

My Tips
  • Let the butter sit at room temperature for a couple of hours before making your frosting.
  • Crisco is my preferred shortening of choice but experiment with others, you might find one you like better.
  • Frosting can be made with all butter or all shortening if you prefer. If you use all shortening (which will give you a whiter frosting) you might want to add butter flavoring.
  • Almond flavoring can be switched up with the flavoring of your choice.
  • The salt is very important. It helps offset the sweetness of the frosting.
  • The amount of milk used will alter the thickness of the frosting. Adding more will make it easier to spread and adding less will make it thicker. Thicker frosting is sometimes useful when piping decorations.
  • Always use the paddle attachment instead of the whip. It will give you a smoother texture.
  • Use the frosting that is room temperature, it is much easier to work with
  • Frosting will stay good in the freezer for several months if it is stored properly. I store mine in freezer bags or quality storage containers.

After making my frosting, I frosted the cupcakes that were left and gave one a try. In doing this, I discovered what my Strawberry Cupcakes had been missing all along. The frosting. Adding the frosting gave them the perfect finishing touch.

This is recipe will make about 11 cups of batter which is enough for, 48 cupcakes, or 2-9"x13" cakes, or 1-11"x15" or 12"x18" cake. If you give my Strawberry Cupcakes a try, let me know what you think of them!

Strawberry Cupcakes

3/4 Cup of Crisco
2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
1 Cup of Egg Whites
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Strawberry Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
1-3/4 Cup of Milk
1-1/4 Cups of Pureed Strawberries
1/3 Cup of Canola oil

Mix Crisco and Sugar until well blended. Continue mixing and add in the Egg Whites and Vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together Flour, Cake Mix, Baking Powder, and salt. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the Milk, Pureed Strawberries and Oil.

Bake the cupcakes ate 350 degrees for about 20 minutes

My Tips
  • 1 cup of egg whites is equal to about 8 egg whites. You could also use 5 whole eggs instead. I prefer to use the liquid egg whites in a carton.
  • Cake and cupcakes freeze well. If you don't need them all right away, freeze the leftovers
  • I generally use Betty Crocker or Pillsbury cake mixes. Any others would work too. If you use a cake mix that doesn't having pudding added to the mix, this will affect the texture of your cake.
  • Put the milk, strawberries and oil into a large measuring cup with a pouring spout. This will make it easier to add them to the cake batter.
Thanks for stopping in. We hope you enjoyed our Strawberry Cupcakes! With Strawberry season right around the corner (well in some places anyway...the snowbanks are still ten feet high here), maybe you will get a chance to make some with field fresh strawberries!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cheeseburger Soup

A while back a friend told me about cheeseburger soup. I had never heard of it before and I thought that it sounded interesting. So I got my hands on the recipe and decided to give it a try. It's one of those recipes that came from a friend of a friend and nobody really knew the origin. 

As I was making it I began to wonder if it was one of those recipes that was created when someone was planning to make Cheese Broccoli Soup, only to discover they where missing a few essential ingredients like maybe the broccoli and the chicken! Then she opened the fridge to discover the ground beef in there just waiting to be used. (As all mom's know, dinner has to have a name because your kids are going to ask what you are having for dinner and if you don't give it a specific name they will already be suspicious. Or if you tell them that you are having Cheese Broccoli Soup with hamburger instead of chicken and broccoli they will turn up there nose without so much as a glance at the soup you lovingly slaved over all afternoon, and tell you they don't like it.) So being the creative mom that she was she called it Cheeseburger Soup.

Well, I decided to do a little research to see if Cheeseburger Soup was really a "thing" or if it was somebody's spur of the moment creation. A quick search on Google told me not only that it was indeed a "thing" but it also lead me to what was most likely the original source of the recipe. This Cheeseburger Soup recipe posted on the Taste of Home website is the same recipe that I was given with the exception of the kind of cheese that was used. Of course I had to give the recipe my own little twist, partly because I didn't have all the right ingredients and partly because I'm not very good at following in I like to create my own way!

I really like this soup and look forward to making it again. I'm thinking that some bacon might be a nice addition to this soup. Bacon Cheeseburger Soup, I can almost taste it now! Next time that is how I will make it and I will let you know how it goes!

My modified versions of Cheeseburger Soup

1/2 Pound of cooked ground beef
1 Large Onion, chopped
4 Shredded Carrots
2 Tablespoons of chopped Celery Leaves (see note below)
1 Teaspoon dried Basil
1 Teaspoon dried Parsley 
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
4 Cups of peeled and diced Potatoes
1/4 All purpose Flour
2 Cups of Cheese (use what kind you like, I used shredded cheddar and colby)
1-1/2 Cups of Milk
2 Ounces of Cream Cheese

In a large pot, saute butter, onions, carrots, celery leaves, basil and parsley until tender. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the chicken broth while continuing to stir. Add the potatoes and ground beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to cook the potatoes. Add the cheese, milk and cream cheese. Cook on low and stir until the cheeses are completely melted.

Add some fresh baked bread and you have yourself an hearty meal. 


My Tips
-Did you know that you can cut chop and freeze the tops of celery stalks to use to flavor soups or casseroles? Next time you are cutting up celery chop up and freeze any of the top part (small stalks and leaves) that you aren't eating. Pull them out of the freezer and add them to your soup or casserole!
-Next time I will use more ground beef. Probably about a pound.
-I don't think it's necessary to shred the carrots. There is nothing wrong with them shredded, I'm just not sure it's any better than chopped carrots. Next time I'll probably used chopped carrots unless my 4 year old is around looking to help out. She does an impressive job of shredding carrots.
-Freeze any leftover soup. Soups with a cheese based broth change texture slightly when you freeze them. I add some more milk when I am reheating soup from the freezer and this smooths it out. If you don't mind this slightly different texture, than this and all cheese based soups are great options for freezing. 

I love this tip from Nony at A Slob Come Clean about having cooked ground beef in the freezer. It makes cooking recipes like this one a lot quicker!

Monday, March 24, 2014

An Elegant Rosette Cake in no time at all!

I volunteered to make a birthday cake for an impromptu birthday party last weekend. The cake needed to serve 20 to 25 people so I thought I would make a single layer half-sheet cake. I reached into my cake pan rack and came out with a 14" square cake pan instead. They serve about the same amount of people, so I figured I would just roll with that. 

Plus, in my mind anyway, a square cake somehow seems to be more personal. It's probably because a sheet cake has the "grocery store" feel. As in "Sorry Grandma, we forgot it was your birthday until we were on our way over, so we stopped at the grocery store to pick up this cake." Now don't get me wrong, a grocery store cake beats having no cake at all, because you know what they say, "A party without a cake is just a meeting."

Anyway, so back to this cake I was making. I made it half chocolate half white almond. As soon as I had the cake in the oven, I started whipping up a large batch of frosting. A cake need to be completely cooled before it is frosted, otherwise you risk the frosting melting and sliding off the cake. 

I knew the cake wouldn't be cool enough to frost before we left home (the party was at Grandma's house!)so I started putting together a a box of decorating supplies. I stilled didn't have an ideas in mind, but I thought maybe I would come up with some inspiration along the way. I took along some frosting bags and an assortment of tips. I also through in some sprinkles, some fondant and some food coloring.

When it was time to decorate the cake, I only had about 15 minutes to do it, so I got started and hoped that I would be inspired along the way. The first thing I did was completely frost the cake. There is nothing like a blank canvas, or in this cake a nicely frosted white cake, to give an artist some inspiration! 

I figured that I would start with a border and then I could write "Happy Birthday!" add some pretty sprinkles, and call it a day. I filled a large frosting bag and added a 1M tip to it. I took a deep breath, and then the inspiration hit!

I've been seeing all these beautiful cakes covered completely in frosting rosettes. I have been wanting to make on of these for a while. So I thought that I would make the border out of these rosettes. I figured that this would add an elegant touch to the cake. I liked the look so much that I decided to cover all the sides of the cakes with the rosettes. Well it turns out that this is a very fast way to decorate a cake! 

It uses a ton of frosting but not a lot of time! There was still a good amount of frosting left so I decided to add another round of rosettes on the top of the cake. At this point it was very questionable if I would have enough frosting left to cover the whole cake with rosettes, but I figured I would go for it. I'm glad that I did, because I love the way it turned out! Beautiful! Elegant! (and very fast, but nobody else needs to know that!)

The best part about this design is that it could be used for so many occasions. Birthdays, showers, weddings, you name the occasion, this cake is probably appropriate!

To make this cake you will need:

A plain frosted cake
Tons of frosting! (When you think you have enough, you better make one more batch!)
Large frosting bag
Large coupler
1M tip
A spoon or spatula to scoop the frosting into the bag.

Start by using the coupler to attach the 1M tip to the bag. Then fill your bag with frosting. Starting at the bottom of the cake, make rows of rosettes until you have completely covered one row. Now move up and repeat! To make a rosette, make a large circle (however big you want each rosette to be) then continue circling inward (only slightly overlapping the frosting) until you have completely filled in the rosette. It is the same motion that is used to frost a cupcake using this tip.

Enjoy your cake! Now you have a fast, elegant cake design to make next time you are in a hurry!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Today my kitchen is filled with the smell of fresh baked bread an bagels! I love the smell of bread fresh from the oven. The only thing better then the smell of fresh baked bread is the taste of it! I love to have a slice (or 2 or 3) when it is still warm. That way the butter melts nicely as you spread it on. Mmmmmm...heaven! But today, we are not talking about the bread we are talking about the bagels. 

I have used this recipe by John D Lee a few times and I really like it. It is a very simple bagel recipe to make. I have never tried an other recipes, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I guess I haven't found the need to look else where. Go over and check out the recipe! He has some great descriptions on how to make bagels if you are new to making bagels! Just make sure you come back to hear my tips on how I made them.

My Tips

-I doubled the recipe. The single recipe only makes 8 bagels. By the time my family finished sampling them, there would not be any left. Next time I will quadruple the recipe and put half of them in the freezer for later.
-I softened the yeast in water first. The recipe doesn't say to do this but I always do. If I try it without doing this I will let you know how it turns out.
-I used 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (out of the total 8 cups in the doubled recipe), next time I will put more.
-After the bagels cooled, I sliced them using my electric knife and stored them in a plastic freezer bag.
-Freeze any bagels that you won't be able to eat within a few days. To thaw bagels, leave them at room temperature in the closed bag or container. They should be ready to eat after about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Here is my slightly altered, quadrupled list of ingredients for bagels. 

(this recipe will make about 32-34 regular sized bagels)
12 Cups of All Purpose Flour
4 Cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons of Active Dry Yeast
5 1/2 Cups of warm Water 

Head on over to this post on hubpages to find the directions on how to make bagel. If you have a recipe for bagels that you love, please share! I would love to try some different ones. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

French Toast Sticks

French Toast Sticks! They are not just for kids. They make an excellent addition to a special weekend brunch. Or add a side of ham or bacon along with some sliced fruit and you have a meal that everyone will enjoy. 

I have always loved french toast sticks! There is something about a food that is meant to be dipped that makes it fun! Plus, when making french toast sticks you can bake enough for the whole family at one time, as opposed to regular french toast, you can only make a few at a time.

The recipe that I like to make is based on this recipe from Taste of Home. While french toast sticks are easy to make, they are a little time consuming. However when you are making them, you can easily double or triple the amount you are making and freeze the rest for an easy week night dinner or a special weekend breakfast.

I prefer to make these out of "cheap" store bought white bread. But you could definitely make them out of any kind of bread. You could try using the homemade bread from my Basic Bread recipe. Or if you want to make them a little healthier and heartier you could use a whole wheat or whole grain bread. The original recipe recommends using Texas Toast. However, like I said my preference is the store bought white bread!

Start by cutting the bread slices into 4 strips. I like to stack up the bread and cut it using an electric knife. Next make your egg mixture in a shallow dish (cake pan, pie plate, Pyrex dish). Mix 4 eggs, 1 1/3 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Next place your strips of bread into the egg mixture. (I like to do about 5 or 6 at a time.) Let them sit in the mixture for about 30 seconds and them flip them over using a fork. Let them sit for about 30 seconds on the other side, then pull them out and let the excess egg mixture drip back into the dish.

Place the french toast sticks on a pan covered by freezer paper. Put in the freezer and allow them to freeze until the are firm to the touch (about 30 minutes). If you don't plan on using them right away, put them into freezer bags and store in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the french toast sticks on a greased pan for 12 minutes. Flip the french toast sticks and continue baking until the they are golden brown (about 10 more minutes).

Serve them hot with a side of pure maple syrup to dip them in!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bride and Groom Cake Pops

It is always fun to have some food with a meaningful touch when celebrating a special occasion. I made these fun cake pops for a bridal shower. But they could just as easily be used for a wedding, an engagement party or a bachelorette party!  

If you are new to making cake pops there are many tutorials on the internet. But perhaps the best one is by Bakerella . So you know how to make cake pops now? Well let's get started with decorating these ones!

You will need

White Candy Melts (melted)
Black Candy Melts (melted)
Large Pearl Sprinkles
Granulated Sugar
Two Squeeze Bottles (one for the white candy melts and one for the black candy melts)

Dip all of the cake pops in the melted white candy melts. Allow them to completely harden. They should be dry to the touch. 

Groom Cake Pop

To get the "tuxedo look" you will have to dip the cake pop into the melted candy at three different angles. Dip the back half in completely, then dip the two sides in at angle, leaving a white triangle. This might take some practice to get the desired look. Make sure to leave this triangle area large enough to add a bow tie and some buttons. Next use the bottle of black candy melts to go over the collar and lapel. Also add the bow tie. Now using the bottle of white candy melts add two for the buttons and quickly place a pearl sprinkle before the melts harden.

Bride Cake Pops

Use the bottle of white melts and draw some squiggly lines to give it a lace look and sprinkle it with granulated sugar before it dries to add some texture. Next draw a line around the top of the cake pop and add pearl sprinkles before it dries.

Now enjoy your beautiful cake pops!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Take me out to the ball game. A Glove, Bat and Baseball cake.

Spring is just around the corner. That is what the calendar says. With 33 inches of snow left on the ground, I have a hard time believing it! But the longer days and sunshine give me hope that it might be true. To get us into the spring spirit I thought I would feature a baseball cake that I made for my niece. Because nothing says spring is here like the start of baseball season.

To recreate this cake you will need a half sheet cake (single layer), Rice Krispy Treats (homemade or store bought), buttercream frosting, fondant, icing coloring (brown, green and black), brown sugar, and cake boards (2 half sheet size or one full sheet size). On this cake, The home plate and pitchers mound are cake and the glove, baseball and bat are made out of Rice Krispy Treats covered with fondant.

Let's start with the home plate and pitchers mound. These will be carved out of a single layer half sheet cake. First cut the pitchers mound out of the cake by making a simple cut across the full length of the short side of the cake (refer to the diagram). Then to make the home plate, cut triangles out of the bottom corners of the remaining cake (refer to diagram). These triangles are "extra". (This would be a good opportunity to sample the cake!) Now you have a pitching mound and home plate. Next you will need to prepare your cake board. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake board using light brown frosting. Next sprinkle a layer of brown sugar over the frosting. This gives it a more realistic appearance of dirt. Place your cakes on the cake board and frost with white frosting.

Now prep your second cake board. On this one, spread a thin layer of green frosting. To add some texture, I swirled green frosting using a #5 tips. However you could use the grass tip or dye some coconut green and cover the board with that. Now you are going to use your Rice Krispy Treats to form a Ball, Glove and Bat. After forming the shapes, cover them with a thin layer of frosting. For the bat I covered it in tan frosting. But if you prefer you could cover it with fondant. the ball is covered in white frosting with black frosting used with a #2 tip for the details. The glove is covered in brown fondant. The detailing of the glove is also done with brown fondant. I used my "real" baseball glove for inspiration on the details.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grilled Flatbread Turkey Sandwich

Last night's dinner was created out of a need to use up some deli turkey. My original plan was to have turkey sandwiches. But for some reason, sandwiches just don't feel like dinner to me. Especially when they are of the boring turkey and cheese variety, with maybe a little mayo added for those in the family who are a little more on the extravagant side. So all day I was brainstorming about what I could make using up the rest of the turkey. What I came up with was a Grilled Flatbread Turkey Sandwich. It was delicious! I was happy there was enough left over to have for lunch today!

For the crust, I used this breadstick/pizza dough recipe from ourbestbites. Start the crust first so that it has time to rise. While your crust recipe is rising, you can start prepping your other ingredients. The toppings that I used were, sliced deli turkey, sliced smoked provolone cheese, caramelized onion and garlic, and shredded Colby Jack cheese. 

To caramelize the onions, start by heating 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan. Add your desired amount of sliced onions. I used a half a large onion, next time I will use at least a whole one. Sprinkle in a little bit of salt and add some garlic. I used granulated garlic because that is what I had on hand. I think fresh garlic would add some great flavor! Cook the onion mixture over medium-low heat until soft tender and starting to turn a golden color. Set your onions aside to cool.

If your crust dough is ready, now would be a good time to cook it. I did mine on the grill, but you could also bake it in the oven. Preheat your grill (or your oven). Roll/stretch/shape your dough into a large rectangle. (Actually doing two smaller once would probably be the better/smarter/easier option, but I always like a good challenge!) If you have never cooked pizza dough on a grill before, check out  In a Nutshell. They have a good description along with some pictures to help (and make your mouth water and pizza cravings kick into high gear.) Fully cook the crust. (If you are using the grill method make sure you flip the crust and cook both sides.) This should take about 10 minutes on the grill. 

While your crust is cooking, heat up the pan you used to caramelize your onions. Heat up your sliced turkey. I put about 6 slices in the pan at a time. Let them cook for about a minute and then flip them over and let them cook for a minute more. Repeat until all of the turkey has been warmed up.

Take your cooked pizza crust and evenly top with the caramelized onions. Next add your cheese.(I highly recommend the smoked provolone and would have used only that if I would have had enough on hand.) Lastly add the turkey. Stick it back on the grill for a couple of minutes. Just long enough to melt the cheese. Now enjoy and smile because you served you family something other than sandwiches for supper!

Favorite pizza crust recipe
1 large onion
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Garlic powder
8 oz of your favorite shredded or sliced chees
1/2 pound of Sliced Deli Turkey

Saturday, March 8, 2014



This is a delicious, basic waffle recipe.

6 eggs, separated
3/4 Cup of canola oil
5 Cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
4 Cup milk

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Set the egg whites aside. Mix egg yolks and oil. Add 1 cup of flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix util combined. Add milk alternately with remaining flour. Gently fold in the egg whites. Cook in a waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions.

Flash freeze any leftover waffles and then store in the freezer in freezer bags. When you are ready to use them, just heat them up in your toaster. These are perfect for a busy school morning!

Basic Bread

This is the basic bread recipe that I use 90% of the time. It is very simple and fun to make. In fact I often have my kids make it along with me. I just divide the recipe by 4 to get the correct amounts for an individual loaf. The kids are always so proud that they made their own loaf of bread! I've included the portions for an individual loaf if you would like to have your kids make their own bread along with you.

Basic Wheat Bread

8 cups all purpose flour

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 1/2 cups very warm water
3 Tablespoons active dry yeast
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar

Start by putting the water in a large measuring cup or bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water. Give it a stir. Next, add the yeast and stir again. Set the mixture aside. Now in a large bowl, add flours and remaining sugar. Stir it a few times to blend the ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour the oil and vinegar into the well you made. Now if your yeast mixture has a thick layer of foam on top it is ready to add. Add the yeast mixture to the well. Now stir everything together starting with the liquid and gradually incorporate the dry ingredients. Sprinkle a light coating of flour onto the counter and dump the dough mixture onto it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Now it will need to rise. You can leave it on the counter and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. You could also return it to the bowl to rise. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. It should be about double in size. Grease 4 9"x5" bread (loaf) pans. With the dough on a lightly floured counter, flatten the dough with your hands. Now divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a loaf and place one into each pan. Cover your loaves and let rise for about 40 minutes (they should double in size). Preheat oven to 425° and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans immediately after you take them out of the oven. Allow the loaves to cool on a cooling rack.

My Tips
-You can use any variation and varieties of flours. The higher the fiber content of the flour used the more higher the ratio of liquids to flour will need to be, so you will need to experiment with this when you use different flour combinations.
-If you use all "white" flour, you can eliminate the vinegar. The vinegar is used to help soften the wheat flour.
-I like to slice all of the loaves and once using my electric knife. I keep two loaves out, and I store two of them in the freezer. I like to have the bread sliced before freezing.

1 Loaf of Bread

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/8 cup of  very warm water
2 1/4 Teaspoons of active dry yeast
4 1/2 Teaspoons of granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Follow the same directions as above.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pannukakku (Finnish Pancakes)

This was a household favorite when I was a kid. I think I could have easily finished off most of the pan of it by myself! But I never had the chance. Turns out the rest of the family like it too and I had to share.

I remember somebody asking me once if I liked pannukakku when it was cold as much as I did when it was fresh out of the oven. As I was debating this question, they went on to say that I that I probably never got a chance to eat it cold. I think they were probably right. It was very rare for there to be any left over by the time we were done with it. However, now when I make it, I make a double patch, and I am happy to report that I do indeed like pannukakku cold almost as much as I like it hot! 

We usually eat our pannukakku plain. However it is delicious topped with syrup (preferably real maple syrup) or fresh fruit! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! 

Pannukakku (Baked Finish Pancake)
(Prep Time: 12-15 minutes   Baking Time:25-30 Minutes

1/4 Cup Butter
5 Eggs
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of All Purpose Flour
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Cups of Milk

Melt butter in 9" x 13" pan in the oven while it is preheating. In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add the sugar, flour, and salt and mix. (At this point the batter will be thick, about the consistency of cake batter.) Now add in the melted butter and mix until it is completely combined. Add 2 cups of milk and mix thoroughly. Make sure you scrape the sides with a rubber spatula. (The mixture will now be fairly thin. About the consistency of melted ice cream.)  Bake in the 9"x13" pan at 425° ≈25 to 30 minutes. When it is done the edges will be brown and puffy. The top of the pannukakku should be solid. If it looks wet let it continue to bake for about 5 more minutes and check it again. When you take it out of the oven, it will be puffy. As it cools, it will sink down. (This is what you want it to do. Don't panic!)


My Tips 
  • Watch butter closely so it doesn't burn. I find it takes about 8-10 minutes to melt, but this is starting from a cold oven. 
  • You could melt the butter in the microwave instead. If you do this, make sure you grease the pan!
  • When the Pannukakku is fully cooked it will be browned on the edges and puffy all over (it will shrink back down after it is removed from the oven).