Category Archives: food

Glazed Almond Cakes

When I was packing to come to Mozambique I knew I had to take some of my favorite cookbooks and recipe magazines with me. So I sat down and started looking through all my recipes and put a few books/magazines aside that I use most often. One of my favorites is the old Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazines. I found this Glazed Lemon Cakes(recipe here) inside and decided to give it a try. I loved it but when talking with a friend we were saying how much we love Almond flavor and she wondered if I could make them Glazed Almond Cakes instead. I figured why not. So here is my recipe, adapted from Martha Stewarts Glazed Lemon Cakes.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tin
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for muffin tin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt ( I used plain yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (plus 1/2 teaspoon for glaze)
  • 2 tablespoons milk plus 2 Tablespoons milk for the glaze
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin(I used a 12-cup muffing tin). In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, almond extract, and 2 tablespoons milk. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk mixture.
  3. Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in tin, then cool completely on a rack.
  4. Set rack over wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract until smooth. Pour over cakes, spreading to edges with a small knife. Let set 30 minutes.

Making & Canning Applesauce w/o all the Fancy Equipment

I don’t have all the fancy stuff most people have to make and can applesauce so I found instructions on The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen on how to make and can applesauce with what you have in your kitchen and it worked like a charm.

You will need apples, lots and lots of apples, cause a lot of apples don’t go very far. My friend has a few apple trees and she was kind enough to let me come and pick some… I think she had more than enough, so I may need to get more and make some more applesauce.

For the full instructions click here.

The instructions were super easy to follow. The most time consuming thing was peeling and coring the apples. I do not have a apple slicer, peeler, corer. I added sugar and cinnamon to my apples because they were a bit tart. Let your taste buds be the guide, you can add some at the beginning and after an hour or so taste them and see if you need more. I also left the chunks in the apples, whatever didn’t turn to mush I just left as it was.

A Cupcake Bar

Im getting excited because I finally figured out how I can make so many different cupcakes and frosting’s before the big graduation day party, saving me the stress of having to assemble them the day of the party.

All I need is a Cupcake Bar!

I have never heard of this being done before but what a great idea. I saw it on a photography website from a wedding shower. You make the different frosting’s and put them in mason jars and have knives out for frosting your own. Your cupcakes and frosting can safely be made the day before. I also figured I could have some sprinkles out, but that may tend to get messy.

The sad part about this is that I already made all these really cute cupcake flags. What am I going to do with them now?

The biggest problem, that I have yet to find a solution for, is what about the kids, who like to lick their fingers, stick their fingers in the frosting, you know all the gross wonderful things kids do. Do I have two cupcake bars? One for adults and one for kids or do I just let is slide and try not to think about little Jimmy’s unwashed hands in my frosting?

Cupcake Bar Photos courtesy of Jen Huang.

Homemade Caramels

I wanted to make some caramels to give to friends for Christmas and I found this recipe over at Givers Log. Amber Lee has shared a wonderful caramel recipe, try it if you don’t already have a caramel recipe that works.


I recycled a jam jar to put the caramels in to give as a gift.

Homemade Caramel (or caramel dip) Adapted from the Givers Log.
Yield: about 60 caramels
Prep and cook time: 1 hour (not including time to cut and wrap caramels, save extra time for that)

2 1/4 cup brown sugar (14.5 oz.)
1 cup light corn syrup (11.5 oz)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk or two cups half and half or light cream (the sweetened condensed milk makes for shorter cooking time)
1 cup butter, unsalted
1 tsp. vanilla

candy thermometer
heavy, 3-qt. sauce pan (or 6-qt. if doubling the recipe, which I always do)
parchment paper (how I love parchment paper, i’ve never found anything that sticks to this stuff)
8×8 or 9×9 pan (or large jelly-roll cookie sheet if doubling recipe)
wax paper for wrapping caramels


  1. Every time before using a candy thermometer, clip a candy thermometer onto a pan full of cold water and bring it to a boil (make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan). I cheat on a lot of things, but I never cheat on this. Boiling water should read 212°. Once the water is boiling, make note of any difference in your reading, and adjust your reading accordingly when you make the candy (for example, if thermometer reads 210° in boiling water instead of 212°, then take caramel off at 242° instead of 244°).
  2. Line pan with parchment paper, even up the sides. Prepare any apples, pretzels, or other things you’ll be dipping. Chop any nuts or prepare any candy you’ll be sprinkling on top.
  3. Cut butter into smaller, even sized cubes for even melting. Melt over low in sauce pan.
  4. Add and mix sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk (or cream). Take care to pour sugar in center of pan. If any sugar crystals stick to side of pan, push them down with a damp pastry brush so they do not crystallize the entire batch and make you want to cry.
  5. Cook and stir on med.-high until boiling. Once boiling, clip on your candy thermometer (again, don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan).
  6. Reduce heat to about medium, adjusting so that you keep a moderate, steady boil. Stir frequently.
  7. Temperature does not raise at a steady rate, so watch thermometer closely. When your thermometer reaches thread stage (230–233°), take out any caramel that you would like to use as dip. When thermometer reaches late soft ball stage (234–240°), dip in a few apples for caramel apples.
  8. When thermometer reaches 244°, remove caramel from heat (this is low firm ball stage; reaching this stage from boiling will take about 30 minutes with sweetened condensed milk and longer with cream).
  9. Stir in vanilla. If dipping, start immediately. If making caramels, pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Either way, take care not to burn yourself, this stuff is so so hot.
  10. Allow to cool for several hours and use a butter knife or kitchen shears to cut pieces (UPDATE: a clever reader suggested a pizza cutter, I’m looking forward to trying this). Wrap in wax paper. Or to save on cutting time, just leave the whole batch out on the counter with a knife next to it and watch it gradually disappear.

And, for handy reference, here is the candy temperature list:

230–233° Thread
234–240° Soft ball
244–248° Firm ball
250–266° Hard ball


Stirring the caramel.


I think I actually did it!


Wrapping the caramels in parchment paper.

Cinnamon Roll Sweetness

Ok so I made these sweet dinner rolls a few days ago and I loved them. Reading through the reviews, one person said to try making cinnamon rolls out of them. So I decided I would give it a try. Of course that meant going blindly into it, knowing how to start it but not knowing how to finish it. I have made cinnamon rolls before so i figured it would be easy. Just roll the dough out, add some butter, cover with cinnamon & sugar, roll up and cut with string.

(Revision: My friend Jenni told me that I needed to put brown sugar and cinnamon so that it would caramelize when its cooked, I knew that, but I totally wasn’t thinking. Thanks Jenni!)

Doing all of the above, I am not sure that I love how they turned out but I am not giving up, next week I will try a different recipe and if I don’t get it that time, I will try yet another! I wont give up, until they turn out perfect! Yes I am stubborn, just ask my dh, he will be more than willing to give you some insight into my personality. 🙂

Easy Refrigerator Yeast Rolls from allrecipes.


  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 cups self-rising flour


  1. In a small saucepan, heat margarine and water over low heat. When margarine has melted, remove pan from heat and stir in salt and 1/4 cup sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/4 cup sugar in 1 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine yeast mixture and margarine mixture. Stir in beaten eggs and 2 cups self-rising flour. Beat in remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until a stiff dough is formed. Divide dough into two pieces and place each piece in a well oiled freezer bag. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator. Pull off pieces of dough and form into 2 inch diameter balls. Place in lightly oiled baking pans so that edges of balls are just touching. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake dough balls 15 minutes, until golden brown.
A recipe I am thinking of trying next is from Joy the BakerCream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls. If that doesn’t work than I may just have to try this recipe from epicuriousCinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze.
3612792171_a4c6ea7a9ePhoto Courtesy of Joy the Baker

Red Velvet Happy Birthday Cupcakes


Photo Courtesy of Joy the Baker! Doesn't she make those cupcakes look delicious!

Its my daughters birthday today and in honor of her 12th Birthday, the last year before she becomes a teenager (although she already seems like one) I am asking you to make one of these awesome recipes from my favorite baker on the internet – Joy The Baker. I love all her recipes, but check out the cupcakes, I have baked most of them and am in love with these red velvet cupcakes and cinnamon cream cheese frosting. For the Red Velvet cupcake recipe click here. The frosting recipe is below.

Others to try:

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Brownie Bottom Ice Cream Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

double recipe to frost a 2 layer 9-inch cake

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, cold (I used room temperature)

scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.

Add the cream cheese all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.

Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Do not over-beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.

Happy Birthday Emily – I couldn’t ask for a better 12 year old! You amaze me!

Banana Bread with Ruby Port

So I am starting on a few projects at once, not sure if that’s the way to get much done but my mind has been flowing with ideas, it must be the new children’s multi vitamins that I am taking(yes I have been stealing my kids vitamins, they’re chewable and tasty, sue me).


But in the midst of all the dress revamping and apron sewing, I made some banana bread. I need sustenance to keep me going, what’s better than banana bread? Nothing, absolutely nothing, ok maybe somethings, like chocolate, but I had a bunch of over ripe bananas that needed to be made into this beautiful banana bread.


I got this recipe from a friend, Bianca, who, along with her family, owns a winery rightly named Chateau Bianca. So of course you can guess what she has added to this recipe to make it a bit better than the normal everyday banana bread.

So if you aren’t familiar with Port – here is a little helpful info: In terms of sweetness, Port wine can be very sweet, sweet, semi-dry, dry or extra dry. Port wine is often served as a dessert wine and has an above average alcohol content; ranging between 19% and 22% by volume. But as most know, when cooked the alcohol dissipates.

Continue reading for the recipe….

Continue reading

Gifts for Christmas Past


Oh I am so embarrassed to admit this but here goes….I still have Christmas gifts to make and give out from last year! Ok close your mouth, I know its hard to believe, but I do know that I am a tad bit behind.

Yes its true, last Christmas I promised each of my nieces, sisters and mother an apron. I have 9 nieces, 4 sisters and one mother. I completed some of the aprons, but the sad part is that I am not sure who I have left to make an apron for. I do have a bit of an excuse though, my father was in an out of the hospital the months leading up to Christmas and passed away on the 23rd of December. Wow still brings tears to my eyes.

Well this morning as I was laying in bed, I spotted my beloved A is for Apron book sitting next to the sewing machine, it was calling to me(I am not the only one this happens to, am I?), so I opened it up(haven’t looked at it since last December) and my mind started going, thinking of all kinds of great aprons I could make. The creativity is flowing and I am excited to get the aprons going and to their rightful owners(if I can figure out who they are).

And it doesn’t help that I have a bunch of over ripe bananas on the counter too, waiting for me to make them into a wonderful banana bread from a recipe I got from my friend Bianca. Dang too much to do today, better get moving! Check back for the finished aprons and banana bread recipe.

Joy the Baker Rooftop Virtual Picnic

Ok so if you dont already know – my bff and I will be going to LA, California for Joy the Bakers Rooftop Picnic. I am just a little excited! So for all of you that I am leaving behind or that are fans of Joy the Baker, she is going to have a live streaming video of the picnic extravaganza using TwitCam at 4;30 PST. So tune in so you can see Sandi and I as we eat our way through the picnic.

For more on that click here to go to Joy The Baker’s website.

I know I said I would have photos of my dresses for you, don’t fret, there are still a few hours left in this day. They are almost done thanks to the help of my lovely sister. Ok so don’t hold your breath, you’re right, you probably wont see the photos until tomorrow.

Joy the Baker’s Rooftop Picnic

Back in June Joy the Baker threw out the idea of getting together for a picnic. Of course I was on board the minute I heard and well I live in Keizer, Oregon, a tiny little place compared to LA and a fair distance away. Does it help that I grew up in Portland? Well anyway, on July 24th she announced that she would be having the picnic on August 23rd on a rooftop in downtown LA and that it was on a first come, first serve basis.  I knew I had to get my email in as soon as I could and then it was time to wait to see if I was invited.

On July 28th I received my invitation! Yes I am on the guest list! OK, so you are asking why I want to go to this picnic so bad, well the main reason is because I love food, you could call me a foodie, and Joy the Baker’s site is chalk-full of wonderful food recipes, beautiful pictures and if that isn’t enough, she is witty, you could even say a ‘Joy’ to read :). I know this blog isn’t about food, but aside from recycling items into something lovely, I happen to eat(a lot) and a dream of mine has always been to go to culinary school. I have so much to do to get ready for this, gotta find something fabulous to wear, buy airline tickets(or should I drive?), pack and well… make sure my friend is still planning on going with me.


View from the Rooftop - Courtesy of Joy the Baker