Our Christmas in pictures (and words)

So, what happened then is that Kitchen Scrapbook ended up totally missing Christmas! I was living the moment, er, moments, surrounded by family and making food and snacks without blogging about it.

You know how when you get a whole bunch of Christmas cards in a row, 4 one day and 5 the next, and then it tapers off towards the end of December and then no more cards and then the 2nd week of January, you get another Christmas card? Well, that’s how this post is… the other blogs you read have posted Christmas now and are switching from red & green colors to January blue and New Year’s resolutions, but here, we’re pulling you back to Christmas…

First, we have Pretzel Turtles
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I got this idea from Judy on a message board that I frequent. Take small pretzels and put a Rolo candy on top of each one. Then, put them in the oven for a couple minutes at 350. When you get them out, immediately press a pecan half on top of each Rolo. Yum! They went over very well here!

We also had monster cookies, party mix, and gingerbreadmen:
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Lexi said, “Mom, look! I made twins!”…
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Hmmm, someone samples cookies as she decorates…
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And then onto our Christmas meal…

Here was our menu:
–Mashed potatoes and gravy
Ham, rotisserie on the grill
–Noodles
–Baked corn
–Candied sweet potatoes
–Corn chip salad
–Rolls
–Jellied cranberry sauce
–Pies (pumpkin, lemon meringue, and peanut butter)

This is my husband, making some awesome ham…
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Missed the pies before they were eaten…
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Pictured in the picture right under the ham collage is the candied sweet potatoes. I was trying to make a knock-off of Texas Roadhouse’s loaded sweet potato. I baked 3 sweet potatoes, peeled them and put them in an 8×8 pan and mashed them with a fork. Then, melted a stick of butter and stirred in some cinnamon and about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, poured it over the potatoes, put a layer of marshmallows on top, then baked it at 350 until the marshmallows were browned. It was GOOD!!!

In addition to food, our Christmas consisted of gift opening, football throwing, baby holding, and much more…

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Comments

6 Responses to “Our Christmas in pictures (and words)”

  1. Shannon on December 30th, 2008 7:53 pm

    Aww it looks good! Fun fun fun with family isn’t it. :)

  2. Berneice on December 30th, 2008 8:40 pm

    Food and family go together very well. Like someone told me tonight. One without the other is like a kiss without a squeeze!

  3. Ruthie on December 31st, 2008 7:13 am

    NICE to see pictures of your family all together. The way it used to be… Happy New Year!

  4. Suzanne on December 31st, 2008 10:46 am

    Looks like you had a wonderful time. How did your husband make the ham? It looks to die for!

  5. Liz on January 2nd, 2009 9:53 pm

    Can we have a redo? Those couple of days were so MUCH fun!!!! The pictures of the ham makes me want to have some more and I would really love to have more candied sweet potatoes. At least you wrote it down so we can use the ‘recipe’ for next year. Happy New Year!

  6. Fran on January 3rd, 2009 12:48 pm

    Looks like you had a nice holiday. The ham looks really good, and I love the pretzel, rolo candy. I want to try those.

Chex Party Mix

Posted on December 18, 2008
Filed Under Holiday cooking, Snacks

I love party mix! For me, it is another ‘must’ for the holiday season! As much as I like it, I oughta make it year-round. It freezes well, so I could make a big batch and get a small bag out of the freezer as needed. Do any of you do that? Or is it more of just a holiday snack for you, too?

One thing about party mix is that is so variation-friendly. You can replace some of the Chex for other unsweetened cereal, you can use mixed nuts or peanuts, you can use different shapes of pretzels, and then the cracker part can be any kind of small cracker, cheesy crackers, bagel chips, or whatever. I don’t think I’ve ever made it the same twice.

I do use a recipe to get the total amount of cups about right for the amount of sauce, then follow the sauce recipe exactly. And where this recipe comes from is… the back of the Chex cereal box, but I bake it instead of microwave it.

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The Original Chex Party Mix

Printable recipe

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-sized pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-sized bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1″ pieces (I used Cheezits)
Or about 12 cups of any combo of the type of things listed above

6 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder

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In a large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings.
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Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
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Microwave uncovered on High 5 – 6 min, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes OR spread mixture out onto baking sheets and bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
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Spread on paper towels to cool.
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Store in airtight container.

So… what all do you put in your party mix? My sister, Jan, is looking for new ideas too. We just talked about it a couple days ago. And neither of us gave each other any good inspirations.

Comments

19 Responses to “Chex Party Mix”

  1. Fran on December 18th, 2008 1:14 pm

    I always put Life cereal in my party mix. It gives it just a little bit of sweet mixed with the salty. I will never make it without Life again.

  2. Roxanna on December 18th, 2008 1:15 pm

    Party Mix is our favorite snack at this house! It is a staple on any vacation, campout, christmases, etc.! I put Life cereal in it to add a bit of sweet to the salty. I have also used honey nut chex and honey nut cheerios. I am actually getting ready to go make some right now! That and some yummy ranch pretzels! I can’t seem to get in the mood to make sweet stuff this year-just the salty! That isn’t like me at all!!!!

  3. Fran on December 18th, 2008 1:24 pm

    A tip about baking party mix. Just leave it in that stainless steel bowl tou mixed it up in. Put the whole bowl in the oven and bake. It is so much easier to stir. It maight take a little longer to bake this way. The recipe I use says to bake for 2 hours and stir every 30 minutes, but it is a much bigger batch.

  4. Audrey Miller on December 18th, 2008 1:31 pm

    Very cool that you did this post right now because I have to take party mix to our Kilmer gathering and didn’t have a recipe to use. Was gonna go hunting, but now I don’t have to! Thanks! Aug

  5. Michelle on December 18th, 2008 1:53 pm

    I my party mix consists of rice chex, honeycomb, pretzals, goldfish, and bugels. I used to add several different kinds of chex and got tired of it. It was too many chex. So I cut back on the chex and started adding honeycombs. The goldfish I added this year are in Christmas shapes-a stocking and hat. The pretzals I added were in the shape of a christmas tree. I thought it made it look festive.
    I leave my party mix in the bowl I mixed it up in and stick it in the oven like that. It seems to bake fine thatway. I also leave it in that bowl to cool.
    I normally only make party mix around Christmas but I always think I’m going to make it other times too but for some reason I never do.

  6. Kelly on December 18th, 2008 2:20 pm

    I’m no help — we make ours the exact same way! And it never occurs to anyone to make it any other time but Christmas, LOL

  7. JoAnn on December 18th, 2008 3:30 pm

    Someone already gave this idea, but thought I’d add my voice, too. When we visited my inlaws in Africa last summer, my SIL made party mix and had Honeycomb cereal in it. I normally don’t care much for party mix, but the Honeycomb cereal REALLY made it good! I couldn’t leave it alone!

  8. Jessica on December 18th, 2008 4:19 pm

    I bake mine in the 13 qu stainless steel bowl I mix it in. I stir it every 10 minutes for 45 minutes or so. I use any chex, pretzels, cheez-its, deluxe nuts (no peanuts) I want. I sometimes like honeycomb in it. m&m’s are not bad too. Just don’t bake them. :)

  9. Elvida on December 18th, 2008 8:41 pm

    I make mine exactly like you …complete with cheese-its.I guess I do leave out the garlic and onion powder. I’ve tried it other ways and personally enjoy the sweet versions, but my family likes it best this old way…straight off the chex box!

  10. Ruth on December 18th, 2008 11:03 pm

    My party mix has come a long way from the original recipe. I make it only at Christmas, so I like to make it christmassy. No chex, no sauce, no baking … just all my favorite snacks. The base is nuts … peanuts, chashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, whatever … add cereal, cocoa puffs, Capn Crunch, whatever floats your boat … pretzels, I like something delicate. I used to put in the christmas tree shaped pretzels, but I haven’t been able to find them for years. This year I used the cheddar Tiny Twists … Crackers, I love the gold fish, last year I used the Christmas colors, but couldn’t find them this year. Sometimes I use bugles and/or cheez-its. And last, but not least, Christmas M & M’s … lots of them, all kinds, peanut, almond, milk chocolate. The mix never turns out the same, it just depends what you find when you go shopping. This year I added a bag of cajun party mix to give it just a little kick. It’s not exactly cheap, I guess that’s why I only do it at Christmas.

  11. Carmen on December 19th, 2008 11:52 am

    I pretty much follow the recipe for the dry ingredients. I do use Cheezits and usually use pecans, almonds and peanuts. I adjust the amounts until it looks right. I make about 1 1/2 times the sauce, using more Worcestershire sauce, no seasoning salt, lots more garlic powder and some good shakes of Tabasco or some form of hot sauce. I scored a great deal on Chex. $1.56 per box and I had a coupon for $3 off on 3. Three boxes of Chex for $1.68. Woo Hoo!!

  12. Kay on December 19th, 2008 12:37 pm

    Wow, I love all the ideas! I hope my sister Jan is reading them too!

    So, it is actually ok to put sweetened cereal in party mix?! And M&Ms?! I thought the sweet taste would clash with the worcestershire/garlic/onion taste! I will have to try it!!!!!

  13. Twila on December 19th, 2008 6:36 pm

    I guess I like to make certain things like party mix, caramel corn etc.In the winter,keeps it more special.I have recipes I only make in the summer too.I haven’t made party mix yet. I have a cajun one I like to make.

  14. Suzanne on December 20th, 2008 9:05 am

    I usually follow the recipe, but I don’t buy all the ingredients. I use what I have at home. I do put in Lawry’s garlic salt as an addition though. I don’t typically buy garlic chips. I’ve never heard of putting sweet stuff in the mix, and I honestly don’t think I will be trying that. Sorry. Corn Nuts might be good though. I like the Bugles idea.

  15. Christy on December 21st, 2008 2:04 pm

    I’m in the process of making some. I’d copied this recipe a long time ago, but have never made it. Just came to check if I had the butter amount right–it seemed sparse. Maybe as it bakes it mingles. I did use the beagle chips instead of cheese nips since we prefer them. I added honey comb, skipped the nuts, and will add m&m’s once it comes out of the oven. (I love salty and sweet together–like French fries and ice cream.) I forgot about adding bugles. I think the next time I’ll replace one kind of cereal w/ the honey comb, and the other w/ bugles. I didn’t really like opening that many boxes of cereal that we’re not crazy over.

  16. Jo H. on December 21st, 2008 6:00 pm

    I love your site! I couldn’t resist adding a comment this time.:) I have a Taste of Home recipe I like that calls for barbecue sauce, worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and the melted butter. Its especially good with Famous Dave’s. :) But then, I love anything barbecue!

  17. Lisa Feather on December 22nd, 2008 11:05 pm

    Oh yum! Who doesn’t like Chex mix? I think it’s great fun to have a sort of unusual shape or ingredient or two. And I never really thought about freezing it. What a great idea.

  18. Connie on December 23rd, 2008 11:21 am

    Bugles are a must in mine, too. I use Krispex cereal usually. That way you get two kinds of cereal in one. I mix and bake mine uncovered in a roasting pan. Saves on washing dishes. Enjoy your site!

  19. Cordy on December 24th, 2008 10:07 pm

    I just wanted to wish you and your family, Kay, a very blessed and joyous Christmas. I have appreciated you so very much for all the recipes and accompanying pictures! I feel so blessed to have “found you!!” :) Christmas morning I plan to make your egg breakfast! I can hardly wait! (You have a kindred spirit in enjoying food!)

‘Tis the Season… bake some festive Meringue Candy Canes!

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Mostly when we talk about food, we think of taste. Well, not this time… the strong point of these candy canes is the looks, not the taste. Aren’t they pretty? I think they’d technically be called a candy… they have no substances like a cookie does. Speaking of substance, they might even be calorie-free because when you take a bite of one, within seconds, that bite dissolves into nothing inside your mouth, so the calories must dissolve into nothing too, right? ;) Lexi says they taste like dried out frosting.

They were fun to make… you get to make swirls with a decorating bag. I actually did something I’ve never done before in featuring cooking and took a video. It’s a very poor video, but my standards have gone from no videos to poor videos, so gradually, I’ll up my standards to good videos. Part of the problem may be that my lighting was bad or that I saved it in low resolution or that I was piping the meringue with one hand while holding the camera and videoing with the other hand. Not a good idea. Live and learn.

By the way, if someone would just out of the blue ask you, “How do you spell meringue?”, could you spell it? It has gotta be one of the weirdest-spelled words in the English language!

Meringue Candy Canesfrom the Taste of Home Christmas Cookies and Candies cookbook

Printable recipe

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Red paste food coloring

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating on High until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 6 minutes. Beat in peppermint extract.
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Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry bag; insert star tip #21. On the inside of the bag, brush 3 evenly spaced 1/4″ strips of red food coloring from the tip to 3/4 of the way to the top of the bag. Carefully fill bag with meringue. Pipe 3″ candy canes onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I didn’t have parchment paper, so I used tin foil. Worked great and they didn’t stick to it.
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And now for the video:

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See the difference in redness here in these 2 panfuls? The top ones on the left were made first. I guess the food coloring got less concentrated as the meringue slid past.meringue4.jpg

Bake at 225 for 25 min; rotate baking sheets to a different oven rack. Bake 25 min longer or until firm to the touch. Turn oven off; leave canes in oven with door ajar for at least 1 hour or until cool. Yield: 4 dozen. I must’ve made them bigger because I got only about 2 1/2 dozen, but I did use the #21 tip.

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Put these festive candy canes on an assorted cookie plate for your mailman this Christmas! Or take a plate to your local fire dept. Or to your neighbors. Or eat all your Christmas cookies yourself.

Comments

4 Responses to “‘Tis the Season… bake some festive Meringue Candy Canes!”

  1. Shannon on December 14th, 2008 9:16 pm

    Had to come watch this video. :) Where’s the sound? Wanted to hear a step by step how-to-do on it. :)

  2. Jessica on December 14th, 2008 9:30 pm

    cool.

  3. Katrina on December 19th, 2008 7:20 pm

    Those look great!

  4. lou on November 23rd, 2011 11:08 am

    How much sugar in grams do i need?

Oven Denver Omelet… Good morning! :)

Posted on December 10, 2008
Filed Under Breakfasts

I love hot breakfast foods. Sometimes when we go out to eat to we-serve-breakfast-all-day restaurants, I never get past the breakfast section of the menu. So, there I am, eating an omelet or stuffed French toast while everyone else is eating a cheeseburger and fries. But I’m fine with that. I don’t get hot breakfasts enough. And now that I think of it, I guess that’s nobody’s fault but mine, what with me being the cook around here.

I oughta start doing what my mom does… I grew up with having one evening meal a week a breakfast foods meal. With school and Dad going to work early, it didn’t work out in the morning to have breakfast as a family, so that is how we got those good hot breakfast meals in… have them for supper. I know quite a few of my friends do that now and then too.

This baked omelet is what we had for a Saturday brunch recently. Mmmmmm, it was good! And quite easy too! It comes from the 2001 Quick Cooking annual cookbook. By the way, if you’re keeping track of how often I’ve used this cookbook lately, awhile ago I sat down with it and whenever a recipe grabbed me, I wrote the recipe name and the page # on a separate piece of paper. Till I got to the end of the cookbook, I had 25 recipe names written down. So, little by little, I’m making them.

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Oven Denver Omelet

Printable recipe

8 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 cups frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes
1 cup diced fully cooked ham
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and seasoned salt.
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Stir in the remaining ingredients.
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Pour into a greased 8″ square baking dish.
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Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Yield: 6-8 servings.
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I’m going to have you all start helping me a little with serving ideas. I find a recipe I want to make and then get stuck on the ‘What shall I serve with it?’ question. I like to have a minimum of 3 things at each meal. What would you serve with the Oven Denver Omelet?

I know, it won’t help for this time because I already served this omelet, but I want your suggestions anyway for future reference, in case I make this again or something like it. By the way, I served this with Raspberry Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls, fruit, and orange juice.

Comments

10 Responses to “Oven Denver Omelet… Good morning! :)”

  1. Joanna on December 10th, 2008 8:52 pm

    Since breakfast is usually our only sit-down meal as a family, I often run out of ideas. The past week or two, I’ve been uninspired in the mornings, and we’ve had some pretty sorry excuses for breakfast. Your omelet is inspiration! It looks easy, & I have all of the ingredients (or substitutes). Thanks for saving my reputation with my family; looks like this is breakfast for us tomorrow!

  2. Berneice on December 10th, 2008 9:37 pm

    Definitely have to have toast, then probably some juice and fruit. Btw, it looks delish. I will have to try it soon.

  3. Melissa K on December 11th, 2008 5:29 am

    While the cinnamon rolls would be great with it, I need toast if I’m eating eggs of any kind. Then fruit or maybe smoothies too! This looks yummy. Too bad I’m the only one in my family that actually likes eggs!

  4. Twila on December 11th, 2008 6:48 am

    I would probably also serve toast, maybe even pancakes. And sweet rolls or doughnuts is always a happy ending to brunch!

  5. Beth on December 11th, 2008 9:37 am

    I shall certainly try this. Looks awesome!

  6. Ralph on December 11th, 2008 12:23 pm

    An english muffin topped with some sort of fruit preserves and a drizzle over the top of the omelet with some hollandaise sauce.
    Fresh fruit on the side would be a great addition too.
    In my family an omelet topped with tomato gravy would have been the order of the day.
    I’m gettin hungry just looking at the pics.

  7. Fran on December 11th, 2008 12:50 pm

    Yummy! This looks so good. I love almost any kind of egg casserole. Thanks for another recipe.

    I finally updated my blog.

  8. Judi on December 11th, 2008 2:27 pm

    That looks totally YUMMY!! (I’m teaching my granddaughter to go ‘yum’ when she eats something she likes – I always do – say ‘yum’ that is) I think I’d serve it with toasted bagels and cream cheese and just a glass of juice. It has everything else in it which is just fine with me.

  9. Sharon on December 12th, 2008 2:08 pm

    toast and applesauce or fresh fruit. Salsa or ketchup is great on casseroles like this. I make a similar breakfast casserole and use sausage. And you know you can do it the night before, right? And sprinkle a little more cheese on top when it comes out of the oven to melt…mmmmm……

  10. Shannon on December 14th, 2008 9:19 pm

    Oh this looks good. Not sure how I missed it. I love breakfast foods too, maybe we should meet for breakfast sometime. :)

Let it Snow! – Happy 6th Birthday, Lexi!

Posted on December 8, 2008
Filed Under Birthday cakes

Lexi turned 6 yesterday. The big 6. She’s got a loose tooth and she starts Kindergarten in March, then 1st grade next Fall. Life is pretty exciting for her right now.

See?…
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Actually, what she’s exclaiming about here is the mini kitchen set that she got from her cousin Krista. I think we’ll have a kid’s cooking post coming up soon… she’s anxious to try it out. It IS really cute.

And here is her birthday cake:
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It was an attempt to match her hat, gloves, scarf, and boots. She gets all excited every time it snows, even though we haven’t had much yet. The colors didn’t exactly match, but it was obvious at what I was trying for.

Especially because I had her put on her snow stuff for the picture:

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The base is an ice cream cake, covered with Cool Whip. I was trying to copy the cakes that Dairy Queen makes, you know, with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream layered on either side of that to-die-for fudgy layer. If I’d do it over, I’d get regular vanilla instead of French vanilla because I think it’s whiter.

I lined a 9×13 pan with plastic wrap (so it would turn out onto a tray easier), then put a 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream in, then a layer of crushed Oreos, then about 2 jars of Smuckers hot fudge topping, then a 1/2 gallon of chocolate ice cream, then froze it for awhile, then turned it out onto a tray, then covered the top and sides with Cool Whip.
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And now for the fun part! ????
The things on top are just carved out of a baked 9×13 chocolate cake, then covered with fondant (a roll-out icing). The gloves got carved to about half that size… they wouldn’t have fit on the cake being that big.
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The scarf shows the fondant process the best. To make stripes, the fondant (which is pure white) is tinted different colors, then rolled into ‘sticks’, lined up against each other, and rolled out flat…

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6bday12.jpg The fondant is soft and pliable, but dries out pretty fast, so it was pretty easy to get a the-scarf-was-just-thrown-over-there look by lifting up one edge and putting a ball of tin foil under it and then flipping the other end over. Then, instead of covering it, I let it out to dry and it hardened in that shape. The fringes were piped on later.

Here is a progress picture and then the finished product. It was fun to make and I learned alot about using fondant! One main thing is that it you need to keep it tightly covered because as soon as it dries out even a little, it breaks instead of bends. I do think I’ll use it more often though. It’s fun! :) The only other time I used it was 5 years ago to cover the building blocks on Lexi’s 1st birthday cake. But that time I bought it and just let it white, no tinting it.

6bday14.jpg If you see that jar of jelly in the foreground, they say fondant holds to the cake better if you spread jelly on the cake first.

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Oh, one thing I forgot to mention was the snowflakes… I melted white chips and then piped snowflakes onto plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and chilled them till they were hard, then placed them on the cake. They were fun for the kids to pick off and pop into their mouths. :)

Enjoy the snow if you have some! We’ve got a little bit on the ground here.

Comments

19 Responses to “Let it Snow! – Happy 6th Birthday, Lexi!”

  1. Shannon on December 8th, 2008 8:43 pm

    YOU, my lady, are absolutely unreal!! Want to start a business? My girls are just in awe of this cake and I agree, it is just completely cute!!

  2. Freida on December 8th, 2008 8:48 pm

    You are completely totally amazing and I am standing in complete awe!!! Wow! I agree with Shannon- you really should start a business.

  3. Traci on December 8th, 2008 9:19 pm

    You are so much more a better mother than me! I don’t think I would have had the patience for that. You did an amazing job!!! Pat yourself on the back. I would have had to framed the cake…ba haaaaa….NO TOUCHY!!!

  4. Twila on December 8th, 2008 9:37 pm

    It’s ever so cute!

  5. cretora on December 8th, 2008 10:28 pm

    wow. that is really neat!

  6. Karen Layman on December 8th, 2008 10:36 pm

    Impressive! Really really cute.

  7. Charlene on December 9th, 2008 5:27 am

    WOW! looks cute, May I ask how long it took you??

  8. Audrey on December 9th, 2008 8:34 am

    That is a beautiful cake and Lexi should certainly appreciate the time and effort that went into it…although she probably won’t appreciate it fully till her little girl wants her to make a cake that is so tough. I can guarantee you this…if I had tried it, it wouldn’t look 1/2 that nice. Great job!

  9. Berneice on December 9th, 2008 10:57 am

    Brooklyn wants a cake like that for her 5th B-day. There you have your fisrt order! :) It is beautiful!! Btw, her b-day is in March

  10. Loretta on December 9th, 2008 1:23 pm

    You did a great job. I am not a decorator at all, so it looks extra hard, I do love to bake.

  11. Marilyn on December 9th, 2008 1:55 pm

    Wow! great job on the cake, it is so cool! :-)

  12. Sharon on December 9th, 2008 2:15 pm

    Neat cake! You are one creative Mom! I love spending a little extra time to make special cakes too. That fondant looks a little complicated, but maybe I should try it sometime. Can you still eat it after it hardens? Why does it look shiny? And HOW did you make the pom pom on the hat?

  13. Kay on December 9th, 2008 3:00 pm

    I’m going to answer some questions on here, and thanks for all your nice comments.

    Shannon, no, I don’t want to start a business, I’d have to charge too much to make it pay. ????

    Charlene, I didn’t time how long it took (thankfully!), but at least 5 hours, I’d say. *gasp* Oh well, I won’t start justifying it. At least it’s fun. :)

    Sharon, yeah, the fondant is a bit complicated, BUT yeah, you should try it sometime. ???? Yeah, you can eat it, it doesn’t get rock hard. It’s made out of egg whites, light corn syrup, and powdered sugar (I guess I didn’t post the recipe). Mixing in the color takes FOREVER, but with kneading it so much, it gets soft and pliable (that’s how you mix the food coloring in, by kneading it). The shiny part was because of a mistake on my part… I found out that fondant and freezing does not mix! After I took it out of the freezer at partytime, it got shiny, then the colors started running! Ack! But it had to be frozen because the base was ice cream. So, I will never put fondant and ice cream cake together again. For the pom-pom, I put a chocolate covered cherry on top of the hat (you can see it on the one progress picture before it’s covered), then piped little dots all over it. Should’ve made all the dots pink, not sure what I was thinking because Lexi’s pom-pom has no brown in it!

  14. Katie Mast on December 9th, 2008 7:04 pm

    WOW! how cool. You are amazing. I have only made a few cakes for my kids. The ice cream cake i made for our oldest looked a lot like yours, but i only put cool whip right on top and put a space shuttle candle and space candles on it. Very easy compared to yours. I would love to play around with the fondant, i may need to come up with a idea to use it. I love your cooking ideas.

  15. Ruthie on December 10th, 2008 11:06 am

    Glad I could personally see and taste the cake. Thanks for the snack. Lexi looks so happy. We thought about her on Sunday.

  16. Katrina on December 10th, 2008 2:31 pm

    GREAT cake! I would not attempt something like that. Looks great. What a great mom!

  17. JoAnn on December 11th, 2008 8:38 am

    Very, very cool cake!

  18. Judi on December 11th, 2008 2:41 pm

    Wow! you went to a lot of work. Your Lexi better appreciate you. That is absolutely adorable! Bet it was positively yummy too. There’s that word again ‘yummy’ lol

  19. Christy on December 17th, 2008 2:44 pm

    That’s an adorable idea!!! The fondant looks like so much fun. I’ve wanted to play with it, but just haven’t done it, yet.

Robust Italian Salad with Homemade Croutons

Posted on December 3, 2008
Filed Under Salads

Here’s a quick and easy and delicious salad recipe you’ve gotta have. It’s got Italian flavor. Yum. I actually put Italian seasoning on lots of stuff, including all salads.

This salad recipe comes with a homemade croutons recipe. I haven’t bought croutons for several years now… these don’t take long to make and it uses up bread that’s not soft anymore and here’s the best thing about them (besides the taste): They’re soft enough to poke with a fork, but still have a crunch. I don’t like croutons that are so hard that when you try to poke them on your fork, they break into 5 pieces and no piece actually gets onto the fork. Just a trivial tidbit that this reminds me of… when we were on our FIRST date, we were at a restaurant eating our house salads and my boyfriend (who’s now my husband) poked into a crouton and a piece shot across the table and hit me. I still remember, in my nervousness, trying to make a quick decision of whether I should ignore it or laugh about it or throw it back at him. We just laughed about it. Now, I kinda feel like telling you all about our first date because several funny things happened and I still remember thinking it was so crazy that I was nervous because we were highschool sweethearts and were just WAAAAAAAITING for my 18th birthday when I was allowed to date (we had our first date the evening of my 18th birthday) and I guess I was nervous because the atmosphere was somehow different and this was the real thing, but I guess I won’t go into it because most of it has nothing to do with cooking, not that everything I write on here has something to do with cooking.

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Robust Italian Salad …recipe comes from the 2001 Quick Cooking annual cookbook

Printable recipe

1 pkg (16 oz) ready-to-serve salad
1 pkg (2 1/2 oz) sliced pastrami, cut into 1/2″ pieces, optional
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
1 cup Seasoned Croutons (recipe below)
Sliced ripe olives, optional

In a large salad bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Top with croutons and olives if desired.

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Garnish with tomato roses and parsley.
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Seasoned Croutons (the kind that don’t shoot across the table when you poke them with your fork)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
Pinch of salt
6 slices day-old bread, cubed
In an ungreased pan, combine the first 7 ingredients. Place in a 300-degree oven until butter is melted. Remove from the oven; stir to combine. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Bake for 10 – 15 min or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Cool. Store in refrigerator in airtight container. Yield: 3 cups. These are not only great with salad, but we also use them in soup.

Comments

3 Responses to “Robust Italian Salad with Homemade Croutons”

  1. Shannon on December 3rd, 2008 7:56 am

    Oh my lands, I could eat some for breakfast! :) Without tomatoes. :)

  2. Arla on December 3rd, 2008 12:26 pm

    Hi Kay,
    It’s good to see you’re back and writing blogs again. I like the crouton idea. It’s just about as good as making the old bread into bread pudding.

  3. liz on December 3rd, 2008 7:46 pm

    Mom was just saying she told you that you probably don’t have time to update what with having so much company. You must need more company – wish I could help you out.=) Give me a couple of weeks. Can’t wait.