Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Homemakers and Amateur Cooks


Posted on April 28, 2011
Filed Under Easy meals, Main dishes

I’ve been hungry for haystacks since February. Yeah, I know. You’d think I’d have made them before now, what with being in charge of the food around here and all! :roll: How I know it was February is because for a couple weeks in a row, the church bulletin had “Haystack Supper Fundraiser: Friday eve, Feb 25″ in the Upcoming Events section for this area. Seeing that every week got me more and more in the mood for them and THEN we ended up not going to the fundraiser! So, to make a long story short (after I already told the long story), last night was the night, and I finally got my haystacks craving satisfied. Man, I could dig my fork into this pile all over again!


Haystacks are kind of a ‘to each his own’ thing, so there’s not really a set way to do them… the components vary and the order of stacking varies. So, I’ll just show you how we like them and you can tweak it from there. I use the term ‘we’ loosely because I’m the only one who likes rice on it and the tomatoes are not very popular among the little people around here.

Speaking of rice, the rice totally flopped last night. I mean really. Rice. How hard can it be… get it to boiling in a pan and then let it simmer for 45 min WITHOUT lifting the lid, then when time’s up, you lift the lid and there is your rice, magically perfectly done, fluff it with a fork and put it on the table. Well, *ahem*. I now know what happens when you accidently put in too little water. The magic doesn’t happen. Half of the grains are fluffily cooked and half of them look like you just dumped them out of the bag and half of them look partially cooked— ok, I think I got too many halves here, but you get the picture. I noticed it when I was about to dish everything up, so I put more water in, cranked the burner to High and cooked the rice like crazy for about 10 minutes. It worked ok and was soft enough to eat.

Here are the components to our haystacks. We thought of salsa later, so that’s missed on the picture.


Here’s the order I layer it in:
— Corn chips, slightly crushed (you can also use crackers, but I like the extra flavor and crunch of chips)
— Rice
— Meat mixture (brown hamburger with onion, then add a packet of taco seasoning and a can of kidney beans)
— Cheese sauce (1/4 cup melted butter, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 cup milk; bring to boil, then stir in 1 cup cheddar or Velveeta)
— Lettuce
— Diced tomatoes (can also open and drain a can of diced tomatoes, a handy time-saver tip from my friend Linda Y.)
— Shredded cheese
— Salsa

Maybe there is something I miss that would make haystacks even better, so if you make them different than this and if you feel like it, I’d love to hear what variations you do to haystacks!


While I was making this, I was thinking that this would be a good meal option for those it’s-4:30pm-and-I’m-staring-in-the-fridge/freezer/cupboards-for-a-menu-inspiration moments. Or maybe you guys never do that… I do it more often than I care to admit. Anyway, I think I’m going to keep this meal option on hand from now on… The rice takes very little time to get it to simmering, the meat would be fast (especially if it would be already browned in the freezer), cheese sauce takes very little time and the rest of the stuff is basically just putting it on the table… which the kids did last night. Actually, this meal isn’t far away from the kids totally doing!

Speaking of which, my goal this summer after Lexi gets out of school is to perfect about 5 good, but easy enough, meals that the girls can do by themselves. Then, once in awhile, I can say, “Hey, you guys go make ____________ for supper, please.” ???? Haystacks may just be on that list.

Not sure what’s up next, but it’s seems like f.o.r.e.v.e.r since I’ve made or eaten sinful chocolatey richness, so I see that in my future for this weekend. And since I have to feature it on here in order to make it ‘legal’, that might just be coming up next……….


26 Responses to “Haystacks”

  1. Connie Stoll on April 28th, 2011 11:11 am

    We love haystacks for family get-togethers! We use crackers and corn chips, rice, meat sauce with beans seperate because there are always those who don’t like beans.:) Onions, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, lettuce and for a quick cheese sauce use canned cheddar cheese soup with some milk. Yum! Your post made me want some!

  2. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on April 28th, 2011 2:19 pm

    Oh we call these Frito Pies. I was looking for the haystacks saying, maybe they are coming up after the Frito Pies, lol. I guess it’s a cultural things. We never added rice though. Great addition!

  3. Shannon on April 28th, 2011 2:27 pm

    Now guess who’s hungry for haystacks! ????

  4. Larinda High on April 28th, 2011 2:33 pm

    We do Ritz crackers, rice, meat with chilli beans, lettuce, tomatoe, onion, green olives(a must have at this house), salsa, sour cream, cheese sauce, jalopeno pepper rings. We had hay stacks at our wedding:) We LOVE haystacks! I don’t make them near often enough. I often make them for the youth, or when I have company. It’s a very easy Sunday lunch for company!!

  5. Larinda High on April 28th, 2011 2:35 pm

    OOPs! I forgot to add chips…and it must be corn chips not dorito type chips:)

  6. Kay on April 28th, 2011 2:52 pm

    I’m lovin’ these new ideas!
    I always thought the corn chips take the place of the crackers… never thought of them in addition to the chips! :)
    Raw onions and green olives wouldn’t go over good with any of us here, but the sunflower seeds, sour cream, and jalepenos will definitely need to be added to the table next time!!
    I like the idea of using cheddar soup for cheese sauce and mixing chili beans with the meat… Larinda, do you not add taco seasoning to the meat/bean mixture then? That would be great… one less ingredient. ????

  7. Monica on April 28th, 2011 4:42 pm

    A haystack is NOT complete without crushed spicy nacho Doritos and homemade French dressing. :) Yeah, I’m weird, I know. :) :)

  8. Cheryl Weaver on April 28th, 2011 4:59 pm

    We had them last night too. One thing that my children WILL notice if it is missing is black olives. I like pepperoncinis on mine, too. And yes, the homemade French dressing is a MUST!

  9. Kay on April 28th, 2011 7:42 pm

    Wow, more ideas of stuff that all sounds good! Twila, chopped nuts? That actually sounds GOOD! I love nuts in salad.
    Karen, great idea to use refried beans… we had a bit of complaining about beans last night. ????
    You guys and your homemade French! :) I don’t even know how to make that! I’d be glad if you’d want to post a recipe here! Wonder if it’s like the ‘Tally-Ho’ my mom used to make.???
    Lorene, thanks much for the rice tips! Rice is always sort of blah to me, and how you said to do it almost sounds like it could have a little flavor if you’re not careful! ????
    Sandra, I did the butter really quick and no, they didn’t get soggy… did you do them right out of the oven? as in, at first they were almost too hot to hold. Not sure what else you could do different, unless it would’ve been the brand of the butter??? I used Land o Lakes, but you may have, too.

  10. Karen on April 28th, 2011 6:02 pm

    We like corn chips and doritos mixed…mushrooms,olives, jalepenos,hot salsa,sour cream or ranch….depending who you are, plus what you had. I mix refried beans with my meat/taco seas. mixture, that way the non bean eating ones don’t notice! =)

  11. Lorene Miller on April 28th, 2011 6:12 pm

    What lovely blogs you always post! Just a note on cooking rice…I learned from my sister who was a missionary in C.A. that if you put a tablespoon of oil in pan and stir fry the raw rice till it is a little brown before adding water it helps to get that stir fried fluffy rice that doesn’t stick together. After you add the water, bring to boil then turn down as low as possible. In 15 min. it will be perfect if you don’t lift lid. I always add some chicken base to the rice, but that is not a must.
    Thanks for giving me ideas!

  12. Liz on April 28th, 2011 6:29 pm

    Ok, now I’m hungry for haystacks!
    Like your updated profile pic too.

  13. Twila on April 28th, 2011 6:40 pm

    I like to add diced celery, somehow just adds a nice flavor. And we usually start with crushed crackers and also add the nacho chips somewhere along the way! I also like it with pork and beans but the kids don’t, so I don’t usually bother. My original recipe from 25 years ago also has chopped nuts as the very last item.

  14. Sandra Hershey on April 28th, 2011 7:16 pm

    Yeah i have a new meal for next week!!..I have made it before and but the kids never seemed to like it when they were little.
    I did make your yummy donuts…they were a hit!! Great for sunday morning breakfast!!Next time I need to a double batch:)
    Kay, i do have a question…when you rolled your donuts in the butter…mine got i skipped that and rolled them in the cinn mix,they were ok.Did I do something wrong?

  15. Amy Burkey on April 29th, 2011 7:41 am

    We make the haystacks with Doritos, and the meat sauce is made with chili beans instead of kidney. And we just use real grated cheese and no cheese sauce. And I’m the only one who eats rice with it.:( Which is sad…. About rice. I’ve learned a few fun things. Always buy rice that says parboiled on the pkg. For rice that I’m using to eat with things mexican I like to put something tomatoey in for part of the liquid and add some cumin and other seasonings. For rice just to eat with pork chops or fish I like to throw in some real butter and dill, mint, cajun, and a little garlic and onion pwd and some lawrys when it’s done boiling…put it in in the “fluff with fork” process. It’s really good. And to cook the rice so it always turns out? simmer 10 min in hot liquid and then pour off excess water and put the lid back on with a wet towel to seal the lid good and simmer again for 10 more minutes. It fluffs beautifully. make sure you have a thick bottomed pan though and you will have a little crust over the bottom of the pan. Anyhow, enjoyed all these good ideas for haystacks..taco salad…whatever you call it! :)

  16. Arla on April 29th, 2011 3:44 pm

    I made haystacks for the Graber family once and didn’t have enough of it. I coulda died of embarrassment. Seems like desert took care of it, but those completely clean bowls and kettles was scary to me. Do you remember that, Kay? I would guess it’s one of our favorite meals around here summer or winter. And we use beans and rice too besides the meat. Cheese sauce is our pick for cheese, and we like onions,lettuce, ranch and salsa if I have it on hand. Lance uses hot sauce on his, and not many of us likes the tomatoes.

  17. Eleanor on April 29th, 2011 10:21 pm

    This was interesting. And my husband pretty much has a standing order for haystacks any time I want to make them. We do Doritos instead of corn chips and add salsa, sour cream and French dressing and usually just use cheese instead of cheese sauce.

  18. Sandra Hershey on April 30th, 2011 9:55 am

    Thanks Kay!..I did do it right when they were hot..but i never thought that it may be the butter.I used that could be it:)..They were still a hit!

  19. Kay on April 30th, 2011 11:37 am

    More rice tips! Thanks alot, Amy!!!

    Oh, Arla, I can just feel it… running out of food, but no, I do NOT remember that! At least it was just the Grabers… or should I say Oh no! and it was the Grabers of all people! ???? I have 3 major fears when it comes to serving a meal… something flopping, someone finding a hair, and not having enough!

    Eleanor and whoever else suggested Doritos, good idea. Seems like they’d add more flavor than corn chips!

    Sandra, I was more just grasping at straws… I don’t know if brand would’ve made a diff or not. The recipe actually calls for margarine!

  20. Freida on April 30th, 2011 11:48 am

    Nobody mentioned instant rice? That makes the meal even quicker. :)

    Our haystacks consist of taco meat mixture w/ chili beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese sauce, chips, (for hubby) crackers (for me), salsa, and ranch dressing or my homemade french island dressing. Yumm! Now I’m hungry! Me thinks this will make a delicious Sunday lunch tomorrow. ????

  21. Tonya on April 30th, 2011 6:42 pm

    We do crackers, rice, taco meat, dorito chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, cheese sauce, salsa, olives, sour cream, tomatoes. We love them too and I don’t make them nearly as often as I should.

  22. Judi on May 3rd, 2011 4:18 pm

    I make a variation of this. I start with refried beans, seasoned beef, tomatoes, onions, cheese and sour cream. We then scoop it all up with corn chips. Yum… just had it last night.

  23. Jan on May 4th, 2011 7:22 pm

    Need another rice tip? I fry mine in a little oil, then dump in the water (slightly less than asked for)and some salt. I cook it until the water level is down to the rice level and then shut it off. I peek in all I want to. You have to so you can check the level. Let it set there for about twenty minutes or so and the water will continue to be absorbed. The end result is not sticky, undercooked, or overcooked. One of the few foods Dan is picky about is rice and he is proud of mine! I am cooking rice right now (Yes, for haystacks) and almost forgot to shut it off. ????

  24. amber on May 5th, 2011 3:30 pm

    i now know what we’re going to have for dinner.. :)

  25. Larinda High on May 10th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Yes, we still add Taco seasoning to the meat…it’s a must:) the spicier the better!

  26. Shannon on May 19th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Some GREAT ideas now that mine is all made! ha :) It will pass but it’s not great.

    I posses those same 3 fears when cooking! Failure, hair and not enough. Tonight I’m worrying about not enough because it’s the youth group and I have no idea how much they eat.

Lightning McQueen Cake… Happy Birthday, Regan!

Posted on April 25, 2011
Filed Under Birthday cakes

I’m really glad I have friends who have boys. And that they let me make birthday cakes for them. Otherwise, when would I get a chance to make boy cakes, what with having only girls? I know girls love Lightning McQueen and Thomas the Tank Engine too, but when it comes to birthday cakes, a zoomin’ car or train isn’t the first thing they’d usually pick… although, while I was making this cake, Lexi said, “Mom, I know I’m not a boy, but I WOULD really love a Lightning McQueen cake next time.” I’ll bet she’ll change her mind before December 7. :)

This Lightning McQueen cake was for my friend Joe’s son, Regan. Regan turned the big 5 this past week. Here he is. Cute little guy!


And a brave little guy. He’s all smiles… on the picture, anyway.

This is the first time that I’ve ever written a Kitchen Scrapbook post that I felt like just closing my laptop and crying.

There was pain behind the smiles at the party and there is pain woven throughout this post. There was a mama-shaped hole the size of Texas at this birthday party. Regan suddenly lost his dear mama this past January. It just breaks my heart. And no 5-yr-old should have to celebrate a birthday without a mama. Thus, a little extra love was built into this cake because that thought was in the front of my mind the entire time I was making it. Deb was a dear friend and I feel very honored to have had the privilege of making a birthday cake for her son.


1-2-3 BLOW, Regan!!!!!

I didn’t ask Regan what type of cake he wanted… I was just going to do something in the cowboy/horse dept because that’s a significant part of his surroundings. But… Lexi is in 2nd grade with Regan’s older brother Riley, and she came home from school one day and said, “Riley said Regan wants a race car cake.” So, I asked Joe and he said Regan would love that, either Lightning McQueen or Dale Earnhardt Jr. By the way, did you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr and I have the same birthday? He’s 2 years older, though. Brett Favre and I have the same birthday, too… only he’s 7 years older. Anyway, that’s my claim to fame… being in the October 10 Birthday Club with them… we get together every year on our birthday and split the time in 3rds, talking about Nascar, NFL, and birthday cakes. I could be wrong on some of these details. But even though Dale Jr and I have the same birthday, we decided on Lightning McQueen because Missy was going to get party decor to go with whatever the cake is and there’s anything and everything you could ever want for a Lightning McQueen party.




I didn’t take progress pictures of making this cake because it’s made pretty much the same as the Lightning McQueen I made a couple years ago (I’ll post a link at the end of this post).

I did do something different with this one for the spoiler because the spoiler of the other one had issues and had to be propped up with toothpicks… and toothpicks propping stuff up sort of takes away from the coolness of a 3-D cake. With this one, I cut a slit in the cake and put a graham cracker in it, then covered the whole works with fondant. Here it is before it’s covered with fondant…
I think the graham cracker eventually took on the moisture from the cake and broke because at first, it was solidly in place, but after a couple hours, I could easily wiggle it. It didn’t matter though because by that time, the fondant had dried enough to hold it firmly at the proper angle.

In case you wonder what something is or how it’s done, I’ll just make a list here, hopefully answering some questions before you need to ask them. ????


Cake board – flat cardboard box, covered with wrapping paper and a strip of tin foil for the cake to go on.
Flags – wooden skewer with white fondant square, I took a paintbrush and painted little black squares on it (my ‘paint’ was food coloring paste)
Birthday wish – piped on with red frosting, the moisture from the frosting soaked into the wrapping paper a bit… it worked fine, but you wouldn’t want to do it too far in advance because it gets worse and worse and looks like dark shadowing around the writing.
Base under racetrack – 2 white sheet cakes with a layer of melted-chocolate-chips-mixed-with-peanut-butter between… because just plain ol’ white cake is booooooooooooooooooring (that’s a fact, but you can consider it an opinion if you prefer to ???? ). The cakes are covered with a layer of white frosting. Here is a cut view…
Checkered squares around base – I love this look, but I’d do it different next time. How I did it was very time-consuming. I cut a bunch of little fondant squares, then fit them all in on all 4 sides of the cake. Next time, I’d put a black strip the entire way around the cake and then cut little white squares and put them on, spaced appropriately to get the checkered look. Or I’d put a white strip all the way around and paint black squares on like I did the flags.
Race track – black fondant with piped frosting accents, graham cracker crumbs for dirt in the middle
Car – chocolate cake carved into a car shape and covered in frosting, then in fondant. I was afraid the weight of the car would make it sink down into the frosting of the base, so I cut a piece of cardboard roughly the footprint of the car, covered it in tin foil, put the car on it, and then set it on top of the base where I had spaced and poked 5 skewers down thro’ and cut them off about even with the top of the cake.
Details on car – it’s all fondant with frosting accents except the Rusteze logo and the eyes. The brown circle on the logo is… ahhhhhh… FUDGE! and the writing is peanut butter. The eyes are painted on with a paintbrush and blue and black food coloring paste.
And you’ve gotta notice the candles! I was so tickled to find them! They fit in SO perfectly!!! :)

Now… I KNOW you’re itching to make your own Lightning McQueen birthday cake for that sweet little guy in your life ???? , so here is the post with step by step directions with progress pictures: Lightning McQueen step-by-step

And for those of you who are thinking “Oh, I could never do that!”, this post is for you: Pictures of Lightning McQueen cakes that readers have made and emailed to me. So proud of them for taking on the challenge! And a couple of them said, “It was easier than I thought it would be.” ????

Have fun being 5, Regan!


29 Responses to “Lightning McQueen Cake… Happy Birthday, Regan!”

  1. Shannon on April 25th, 2011 7:26 am

    Another beautiful job Kay! I can only imagine how it felt to make this and think about Debra! Cheers to you for doing this for him!

  2. joe on April 25th, 2011 7:41 am

    Kay….words fail me…I wish I cud interpret my tears…

  3. Katie Mast on April 25th, 2011 8:57 am

    Thank you, Thank you for so lovingly making a cake for this sweet guy. I cried reading it. So glad you could make this birthday boy cheerful inspite of him not having his mommy there. We all miss her, but thanks for doing your part. It is very well done. Wish i was closer to help out as well.

  4. amber on April 25th, 2011 9:08 am

    absolutely AMAZING, lady!! you rock!

  5. esther on April 25th, 2011 10:02 am

    Such a kind thing to do Kay, for a 5 yr old who cannot control the circumstances of his life. At one time, our family was at the mercy of friends and family for this kind of thing. My brother had his 8th birthday 2 days after mom’s funeral. He had a cake, I don’t remember who made it. But someone took the time and cared.

  6. Mom on April 25th, 2011 11:15 am

    Ditto sentiments that were already expressed above. Proud to be “mom” to a talented, but even more so, a caring, big-hearted lady.

  7. Mom on April 25th, 2011 11:30 am

    Oh, and I forgot to mention the famous part, too, besides being talented and caring – the October 10 birthday club!

  8. lisa on April 25th, 2011 2:49 pm

    this post made me get teary…jase’s next birthday is his 5th and to think of him celebrating it without me…wow. i am really crying. your kind, gentle heart has always inspired me, so that you would do this does not surprise me. but it makes me even more proud to call you a friend.

    i hope regan always holds some cherished memories of this birthday party in his heart! i wish hope and healing for him and his family!

    p.s. just LOVED your mom’s comments!

  9. Renita on April 25th, 2011 3:23 pm

    Why am I always amazed at your bday cakes? They always get better! No joke! God bless you for helping a hurting family. The birthday club-my brother’s bday is Oct. 10th but he’s a few yrs older. :) And NOT famous. :)

  10. Liz on April 25th, 2011 4:15 pm

    Way to go Kay! That is so awesome that could do this for Joe, Regan, and the rest of the family.
    And way to share a birthdy with some popular people. I just didn’t know I had such a famous SIL! :)

  11. Jana on April 25th, 2011 6:40 pm

    Wow, cool cake! Looks like you had way too much fun! :)

  12. Rita on April 25th, 2011 7:09 pm

    Kay…..thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!! I’m Deb’s sister and am so thankful that Joe and the kids are surrounded by such loving and supportive friends. You did such an awesome job on that cake. My son was in awe! So thanks again for taking the time to be Jesus’ hands in this way.
    ~RIta Miller

  13. Ruthie on April 26th, 2011 6:07 am

    What a touching post…and amazing cake! Now I know I can’t take any credit for your talents and big heartedness(I have to leave that to your Mom)but, don’t you think I should have a little credit for teaching my son how to choose a wife? =)
    I quickly serched to see if I’m in any famous birthday club, but all I could find was Henery VIII’s first wife. She was a bit older than me, so we never did get together.

  14. Cindy on April 26th, 2011 6:10 am

    wow. you are so amazing! you have a way of making it sound like anyone could do this…but i ain’t fallin for that. :) that is one cool cake.

    i can see all of the love in it for a little boy having a birthday without his mom…i am so sorry for their loss…and yours.

  15. Marylou on April 26th, 2011 7:38 am

    The cake is amazing and I’m sure he loved it. I have a friend whose 6-year-old absolutely LOVES Lightning McQueen. He would go bonkers over this cake!

  16. Rachel H. on April 26th, 2011 7:48 am

    Kay, this is just precious of you. Beautiful cake and beautiful words.

  17. Judi on April 26th, 2011 11:51 am

    You make the most amazing cakes!! And yes, Ryan’s loss put a tear in my eye too. *hugs* for Ryan

  18. Judi on April 26th, 2011 11:52 am

    make that Regan :)

  19. Kay on April 26th, 2011 3:44 pm

    JOE (INSERT MIDDLE NAME HERE)!!!!!!!! ;), go away!!!! That’ll be enough out of you! I’m just glad YOU’re not in our little birthday club or we’d be doing good to get 5% of the talking time!

  20. Kay on April 26th, 2011 2:25 pm

    Ok, you guys! I feel like I need to step in and add my own comment.
    I love your comments, and wow, it melts my heart to see that the sadness of a 5-yr-old celebrating without a mom makes you cry too, even those of you who don’t know the family.

    I just want to clarify something… some of the comments have a “helping them” twist to them, as though this was a sacrifice or noble thing on my part. I’m not sure how to explain what I’m trying to say, but it’s bumped up a level. It was simply a casual conversation with Joe about Regan’s birthday… “What about the cake?” “Not sure yet.” “Can I make it?”(thinking yay!! a boy cake!) “Do you want to?” “Yeah! I LOVE making cakes!” and that’s as far as my thoughts went.

    Once I got to making the cake then, it hit me what I was actually doing and I felt very honored to be making this cake, so it was more a thing of me being in awe that I actually got the honors to do it!!!! So, yeah, please skip the lofty comments… they make me uncomfortable. Plus, it was 100% FUN FUN FUN to make this cake!!! :) The condolences and feeling the pain right along with us are very appreciated, though! And I’m glad to hear that the cake passes inspection. :) And of course I’m very comfortable talking about my birthday buddies, Brett and Dale Jr!

  21. joe on April 26th, 2011 3:36 pm

    And just to clarify the muddy water some more…..I did talk to “junebug” this afternoon and he confirmed what most of us thot all along….I merely mentioned that “kay” seemed fine with splitting the conversation pie in thirds, and he abrubtly rolled his eyes and said and I quote “that girl can talk better then she bakes cake!”

  22. verna on April 26th, 2011 8:19 pm

    Kay, just so you know I have had occassion to insert middle name , too… Did figure out that JOSEPH in a very loud high pitched voice works , pretty well..for future reference.
    Bless, you for making Regan’s day and as a result his dad’s too.

  23. Shikha on June 24th, 2011 4:12 pm

    Wow .. I am so happy I found you .. From a very long time I was searching to how to make this cake. I have a birthday cake to bake for my nephew next week, he is turning 5 and love this mcqeen car.. When my brother asked me if I could bake one for him I said yes but was so tensed how will I do it..
    Thank you so much for sharing this, Love your website and now I am a big fan of you.. you are an inspiration… with kids around you handle it so well :)

  24. Kay on June 24th, 2011 5:02 pm

    Shikha, thanks for the comment. Same to you about being an inspiration… I was just on your website from your link here… I’ve GOTTA try that rose-shaped cake, it’s beautiful!! I saw your other amazing cakes and alot of other creativity going on over there and I know you’ll ROCK Lightning McQueen! I’d love to see a picture when you’re done! :)

  25. Shikha on June 24th, 2011 6:14 pm

    Thank you Kay, thats so sweet of you to say.. :) I shall try my best to get it as wonderful as yours.. I Was just showing this to my hubby and he was like so cool .. :) I will surely send you the pic once I finish the cake.. :) takecare

  26. Shikha on June 29th, 2011 11:24 pm

    Hi Kay,
    need some info, I just finished my cake, I was wondering can we place it in fridge, I am afraid for the fondant car.. The base is butter cream but the car is fondant.. What did you do ? Please advise thank you :)

  27. Kay on June 29th, 2011 11:41 pm

    Great! You did it! Can’t wait to see it! :)
    Almost all of my cakes do not go in the fridge because *ahem* till I finish them, it’s usually only hours till party time (that’s not on purpose, that’s just how I roll and I know it’s crazy because what if something would go wrong?! This particular cake was finished about 8 hours before the party. The closest one was the school bus cake with 45 min till party time! Anyway, why am I saying all this?!) Is the party tomorrow? Just let it sit out on the counter. If the party is later this weekend, go ahead and put it in the fridge.
    The puppy cake I featured recently, I did 4 days before the party and I had it in the fridge and then got it out a few hours before the party and set it on a table in an air conditioned room. Allegedly, if you get a fondant cake out of the fridge and set it out when there’s alot of humidity in the air, it’ll sweat. I’ve never tried it.
    Whatever you do, don’t put it in the freezer. ???? I did that with a winter wraps cake and the fondant got wet and shiny and the colors started running as it thawed!

  28. Shikha on July 6th, 2011 2:26 pm

    Thank you kay for the lovely info, I have just emailed you my cake pics, :) I had so much fun making it. I love your cakes its amazing.. thank you again for the help..
    takecare :)

Mini Donut Muffins

Posted on April 22, 2011
Filed Under Snacks, Sweet rolls and Coffee cakes

If cooking was basketball, this would be a slam dunk! Seriously, these little things are aWeSOmE!!! (I only put 3 exclamation marks there because I know some people get annoyed when bloggers go wild with exclamation marks, but in my mind, I’m adding about 30 more.) You’ve gotta try them… your taste buds will love you. They won’t take much of your time… 40 min from walking into the kitchen to popping one in your mouth.


What was it that you could be doing 40 minutes from now?

Ok, just wanted to be sure you caught that.

Here’s a little unnecessary tidbit… I made these with one hand. I was going to quickly get them into the oven before putting Megan down for a nap. Well, just as I was ready to start, she got crabby and clingy, it was over, naptime was NOW.
Unless I was holding her.
So, I thought ‘oh well, no age is too young to start training a little cook’. Actually, I didn’t think that, I just thought it right now, but it would’ve been a cool reason to hold her while making these! So, yeah, from measuring the first ingredient to spooning the batter into the pan (including taking pictures), I had a 24-lb 10-month-old on my hip. She was tired enough to just lazily watch and not grab stuff. Then, while they were baking, I put her to sleep. Yep, I rock my babies to sleep. My babies were never trained to just lay down and go to sleep on their own. Not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. It’s 18 months out of each of their little lives that I rock them to sleep and that’s some cozy little moments that I’ll never regret. And it gives me plenty of time to try to memorize the feel of them in my arms in hopes that when they’re all grown up, I can reach in and grab those memories again… and remember.

Ok, where was I? (Yeah, I know this is a cooking blog, but I don’t do a personal blog, so I like to (and my mom likes me to) stir bits of life into here sometimes.)


Donut Muffins …taken from here, but I’d have probably never found and tried them if my friend Diane hadn’t alerted us to them on a message board I frequent. So, Diane, if you’re reading this, thanks a ton! :)

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used butter)
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flour

1/4 cup margarine, melted (it’s up to you… you can either add a few Tbsp more right away or you can melt more butter when you’re running out halfway through dipping them ???? )
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 24 mini-muffin cups. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Stir in the milk, then mix in the baking powder and flour until just combined.

Fill the prepared mini muffin cups about half full. Yeah, I know these aren’t all evenly filled, but I was never a perfectionist, and probably never will be. Plus, I was holding a baby and by this time, my left arm was starting to kill me.

Bake until the tops are lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes. During this time, a mouth-watering nutmeggy smell will be wafting throughout your house. While muffins are baking, place 1/4 cup of melted margarine in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Remove muffins from their cups, dip each muffin in the melted margarine, and roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Let cool and serve. I don’t know WHY it says ‘cool and serve’! I say ‘serve warm’! I only had one and that was a warm one and it was such incredible melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness that I’d try to serve them warm on purpose, if possible.

I don’t know what category to put these in. They’re so versatile.
— Make them for an after school snack.
— Take them to a ‘bring food’ church function.
— Make them for brunch.
— Serve them for dessert.
— Make them this evening for a bedtime snack.

Coming up next… a Lightning McQueen cake. ????


14 Responses to “Mini Donut Muffins”

  1. Cindy on April 22nd, 2011 1:53 pm

    note to self: never read kay’s blog when this hungry!!!!!!!!!! (using lots of exclamation points because i like to. and they don’t annoy me, i have kids that do that. so excessive punctuation does not.)

    these sound wonderful. i already printed off the recipe and am going to make ’em instead of folding laundry. :) yum.yum. only 40 minutes till heaven. and btw. i like how you stir bits of life here in your kitchen blog. you have a way of “seasoning” it just right.

  2. Shannon on April 22nd, 2011 2:37 pm

    They look marvelous! Might have to give them a shot (if I have nutmeg). :)

  3. Cindy on April 22nd, 2011 2:39 pm

    my laundry is still in heaps…
    but my taste buds

    these are what we call in our family, make-again-good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Kay on April 22nd, 2011 3:01 pm

    CINDY!!!!!!!!! You totally made my day! Honestly, the best thing anyone could do for me in the comment section is say they’re gonna make what I posted RIGHT NOW and then come back in less than an hour and give a review on it. :) Love ya!

  5. Wilma Troyer on April 22nd, 2011 6:00 pm

    Unfortunately I cannot make these muffins right now, but I WILL make them sometime very soon. And btw, I like the life bits you share. I also rocked my babies ~ all six of them. I know, too, that it’s not for everyone, but I sure don’t regret it. I cherish the memories now.

  6. Beth on April 22nd, 2011 6:42 pm

    I also like the life bits…keep ’em coming! These things look good — we had cinnamon rolls around here today, so these will need to wait for another day, but I already know I’ll LoVe them. So…may I ask what a serving size was this time? Ok, I won’t ask. :)

  7. Mary Gingerich on April 22nd, 2011 8:17 pm

    This is very similar to a recipe my mom used to make…that we called french breakfast puffs! I haven’t made them for quite awhile and my boys have been asking for them. Maybe it will be tomorrow morning!

  8. Kay on April 22nd, 2011 10:06 pm

    Beth, in this case, serving size was one…. until I needed another one, then 1 suddenly morphed into 2. :) No really, I justified it because I could’ve made these into 12 reg-sized muffins and had a whole one (which would’ve been the same mass as 2 little ones) AND I really needed to try a room temp one to see if they were still good after they cooled.

    So, here I am with an “after they’re cooled” opinion… good and still could’ve eaten half the batch, but not NEAR as good as warm. Not near. When they’re warm, they just melt in your mouth; when they’re cooled, they taste exactly like a donut hole (a cake donut, that is).

    Wilma, glad to hear of another rocked-my-babies mom… I’ve always been in the minority in that dept. :)

  9. Twila on April 23rd, 2011 8:58 am

    Oh my!! I made these for brunch this morning and 4 of us ate almost all of them!! I couldn’t remember what they were called because yesterday I just jotted the recipe on a sticky note, so we just kept saying, “pass whatever those things are called!” I think there were about 5 left which I just put on a plate because I knew they’d get eaten as people walk through the kitchen. I will definitely be making them again. Often!!!!

  10. Amy Burkey on April 23rd, 2011 9:19 am

    We’ve been making these here for a few years too and we love them….but I never thought of doing them in a mini muffin pan! I’ll bet they’re even batter that way. So that’s what I’ll try next! After I lose these next few lbs…..Ha Ha!

  11. Chandrima Pal on April 25th, 2011 1:55 am

    Hi there,
    I have recently started a saturday morning baking session with kids – all for fun and teaching ourselves some team spirits and ways to have fun. I was searching for some new ideas and saw your blog. It is very nice resource and specially you have done a lot of kids friendly stuff. Stories behind the food you cook are very good read too I will keep coming to you!

  12. Mom on April 26th, 2011 1:02 pm

    Hey! How did I miss this one? – must have been off to AK at the time! Yes!! that’s the “sugary spice” I like “stirred” into your posts! And yes! the recipe will have to be tried, maybe next Sunday (40 minutes from start to finish!) when we have company here for breakfast – they’ll be warm!! Count my exclamation marks!!!

  13. Kay on April 26th, 2011 1:21 pm

    Mom, I just knew you like it because you said that when I make a cookbook, I need to put that ‘extra’ stuff in there too, not just the recipe. :)

  14. Evangeline on May 1st, 2011 3:39 pm

    I made these and they were very good! Has anyone tried these, rolled in powdered sugar? I think I’ll try that next time. I’m not real fond of crunching white sugar, so thought that might be a nice alternative. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

Think Spring with Food… aka playing with your food :)

Posted on April 18, 2011
Filed Under Breads Biscuits and Rolls, Cooks in Training, Holiday cooking

You can do so much more with food than just eating it. I mean, yeah, eating is usually the end result, but how about having a little fun first? ???? It comes naturally, really. Kids do it without being taught… I remember using Bugles for fingernails, biting eyes and a mouth out of a round slice of bologna and using it for a mask, making roads with stirred up ice cream, shooting baskets with popcorn or M&Ms (in which the basketball net is your or your sibling’s mouth), and best of all was peanut butter playdoh… you could form a bowl and spoon and peas in the bowl, and then actually eat the ‘peas’, and well, eat the spoon and the bowl, too.

Now, I play with food in a more grown-up way. So does my mom. She made garden meatloaf a couple weeks ago for a group of school children.

The middle 3 rows are obviously corn, tomatoes, and peas. The 2 end rows are potatoes and carrots, which are there, but underground, of course. :) She made sure to put a potato and a carrot against the edge of the pan so you could see it from the outside. And that’s not all… she put in mushroom pieces and the white ends of green onions and told the kids to look for slugs and worms. They had a heyday, digging through their meatloaf.

She also made bird-shaped dinner rolls, which were also a real hit.

When Mom emailed these pictures to us girls, my sister Jan wondered if she had taken progress pictures. I thought that was a bit strange that Jan would need progress pictures because she has proven herself quite capable of creating in the kitchen with no directions (more on that later). Mom didn’t have progress pictures, so, Jan, this portion of the post is just for you. Awww. :)

Roll a rope about 7″ long. Tie it in a knot. Fan out one end and make little snips for tail feathers. Put a sliver of almond in the head for the beak and cookies decorations or bits of raisins or something for the eyes… I used cloves.


Let them rise and bake them. And TA-DA! fat little birds awaiting butter and jelly. Ok, that may be an unappetizing choice of words.

If you notice that the one bird (lower right in the picture with 3 unbaked in a pan up there) has some brown on it… I was making mini cinnamon rolls with this same bread dough, so I made a cinnamon roll bird by rolling the dough extra thin and into about a 4″ wide strip, spreading on butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, rolling it up, cutting about 7″ off, and knotting it the same as the rolls above. Then, glaze it.


Another Spring thing we did was Bird Nests. This portion should be a Cooks in Training post, since my little cooks did these. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips with about 1/2 cup of peanut butter and mix it with 2 cups chow mein noodles. You can either spoon them onto a plate of some sort and then make a little indent for the eggs to go in, or you can do it like the girls did and put them in little containers to keep them round. They put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden the chocolate, then popped them out of the container with a spoon, put eggs in and put a chic— oops, I mean, a BIRD on top. Really, who ever heard of a little yellow chick sitting on a nest… of COURSE that’s a canary! :)

Uhhhh, is that what I think it is in Tiffany’s apron? How did part of her nest get there?!



Then, they took them in the dining room to eat some and Lexi in a very excited voice said, “Mom! Come look! If you’d ever make a river cake with beavers, this would make a PERFECT dam! See? Doesn’t that look just like a dam? All I did was flipped my nest upside down!” So, there you go… an idea for all those of you out there who are planning beaver cakes. :) Then, Tiffany flipped hers upside down on her chic-, uh, canary, and said, “Or, it would make a good hat too.” I think it looks more like a turtle shell, considering the size ratio of hat to bird. Wow, the possibilities are endless with this chocolate chow mein noodle combo! Ha.
It tastes really good too. Could forget about the whole nest thing and just make these things and drop them on wax paper until they harden and you’d have a yummy snack. I’d double the amount of chocolate and peanut butter for that though. Meanwhile, Megan sits in her highchair, healthily eating peeled apple chunks.


Now, I want to add one more thing yet, even though it has nothing to do with Spring. It does, however, have to do with my sister Jan (who I mentioned up there) and playing with food (which I mentioned up there).
Once upon a time, Jan won a contest. It was a Make Real Food Look Like Something Else contest from a few years ago on my cooking blog. If you feel like checking out the entries, here’s the link: Contest
Jan won it fair and square, I might add… no rigging of votes by her big sister.
Here was her entry:
She has that miniature tea set  (in the back) as decor in her kitchen and made a little knock-off set from it. It’s all cake and frosting except the ‘coffee’ is chocolate syrup and the cup/pot  handles are piped chocolate covered with frosting. She had some truffles on hand, so she put 3 on a plate to go with the coffee. So, this lovely detailed 5-piece tea set coming from a lady who sees bird-shaped rolls and asks for progress pictures?! C’mon, Jan! :)

As I was looking at these contest pictures again, I saw this, so I’ll throw it in here because it DOES actually have to do with Spring. You could serve this for dessert at your garden-themed party…
Dirt pudding, in which one of the ingredients is crushed Oreo cookies. I think this entry was submitted by Lavonne.


In other news, not really related to anything, but just something I’m excited about… I get to make a Lightning McQueen birthday cake tomorrow afternoon! I found this post with directions how to do it. ???? The one tomorrow will have cake under the racetrack and maybe a couple other differences. We’ll see how it all turns out, but the thing with having made it before is that I can learn from my mistakes. :)


7 Responses to “Think Spring with Food… aka playing with your food :)”

  1. Jan on April 18th, 2011 11:19 am

    Thanks, Kay! I’m honored.

  2. Beth on April 18th, 2011 11:31 am

    Neat-o! This obviously runs in the family! Loved the post & am looking forward to seeing how you could possibly improve on the Lightning McQueen cake! Have fun with it.

  3. Rosanne on April 18th, 2011 12:52 pm

    Have fun making the cake! And the garden meatloaf is so adorable!

  4. Liz on April 18th, 2011 8:46 pm

    If you would live closer a certain nephew would be begging for a Lightning McQueen cake. Well, he might beg anyway because he wouldn’t get the reasoning of not being able to transport a cake very good.

  5. Audrey on April 19th, 2011 8:33 am

    I remember when Jan won that competition and I was in AWE of her tea set. So pretty!

    I love that you are posting more often, Kay. I really enjoy the way you write and the pictures you take of your cooking and baking!

  6. Renita on April 19th, 2011 3:46 pm

    I didn’t realize the “greatness” in the kitchen runs so much in the family, WOW! The tea set is awesome. So when are you gonna show your brothers or dads’ work in the kitchen? Or did the girls “get it all”? :-) I enjoy the posts. Thanks.

  7. Kay on April 20th, 2011 7:21 pm

    Uhhh, Liz… the directions are right there! Make Lightning McQueen for his 3rd birthday! Worst case scenario, it would flop and you’d grab a DQ cake instead (did I just call a DQ cake ‘worst case scenario?!!!), but it would most likely end up great, and easier than you thought.

    Renita, my brother can make trifles that look like thick disks laying in the bowl. Seriously, they are so neat and perfect. He’s pretty handy with the grill and gourmet desserts and coffees.

Ladybug Birthday Cake – Happy 5th Birthday, Tiffany!

Posted on April 12, 2011
Filed Under Birthday cakes


Yeah, I know… you’re thinking “Ewww, a ladybug.”

Me too.

But hey, I’m just the cake-maker, not the cake-decider.

Tiffany isn’t really a cake-decider either… she had THE hardest time nailing down what cake she wanted. For awhile, it was a big huge whoopie pie cake. Then, for awhile it was a gazebo. (The difference between those 2 cakes in time and skill is like night and day!) Then, about a week before her birthday, she started switching daily… seriously, we were all over the place… castle, house, ballerina, heart, ladybug, bird nest, space shuttle, garden…

The morning of her birthday, I was ready to bake the cake. Once I bake the cake, it’s pretty much no-turning-back because depending what it is depends what I bake it in. At the moment, we were on a bird’s nest with eggs in it and a bird sitting on top (and the bird sitting on top would be sturdy and removeable so it could be played with beforehand… we weren’t planning to have a cake party, so I didn’t care if the girls played with the cake before eating it). I got the cake mix out of the cupboard, then said, “So, we’re doing a bird-on-a-nest cake, right?” She said, “No, I was just thinking… I’d rather have a ladybug.”

Oh. Ok. Uhhh. Yeah. Sure. No problem. :)

Turns out a ladybug is a VERY simple cake to make. There are 2 things I’d have done different, though.
1. I baked it in a mixing bowl and I wish I’d have picked a mixing bowl that was a little deeper, that curved more at the bottom. I thought this ladybug got too flat and wide. But, on the other hand, maybe looking LESS life-like is a good thing! :)
2. I cut about a third of the circle off for the head… should’ve cut off more like a fourth. I thought the head looked too big.

But anyway, here it is in pictures. You’ll see that it is easy… no carving involved. And you could just use black and red frosting instead of the fondant.


Cutting off excess red fondant. The other part is frosted and ready for black.

Making the line down the back where the wings separate…

Starting to look a bit more ladybug-ish. You can see the leaf on the right… I rolled out green fondant, cut out a leaf shape, and made a few indents for veins. Then, I put wads of tin foil hit-n-miss around underneath it until it dried… that way, the leaf has a bit of character to it instead of just laying totally flat.

Looked around in my cupboards for something the perfect size to cut out circles for spots. Found a water bottle lid. ????


The antennas are made out of fondant wrapped around a twist-tie… not kidding about that! I got to that part and hunted around for something to use. My first thought was to use little pretzel sticks, but we didn’t have any. Everything else is either cake, fondant, frosting, or covered cake board.


“Done, Tiffany. Here’s your ladybug.”

“Mooooooooommmmm! You forgot the mouth!”


(That did actually happen… I didn’t make up that little exchange just because the pictures look like it.)

NOW we’re done…




Tiffany’s birthday wasn’t totally party-less. She woke up to a little ribbon & balloon canopy, complete with her name and a couple of gifts. For her birthday meal in the evening, she opted to go to a restaurant with Preston and Kara (and us, of course), where the waiters and waitresses gave her a birthday wish. As we were walking out, a couple of the waitresses wished her a happy birthday again. She was surprised that they remembered it was her birthday.


10 Responses to “Ladybug Birthday Cake – Happy 5th Birthday, Tiffany!”

  1. Rosanne on April 12th, 2011 3:55 pm

    Adorable is what I am thinking!

  2. Shannon on April 12th, 2011 4:27 pm

    Now that is just plum cute, not gross at all! :) As always, you did a fabulous job! Happy birthday Tiffany!!

  3. Ida Friesen on April 12th, 2011 7:12 pm

    Kay, that is adorable! Nothing gross about it:)Happy Birthday Tiffany. You’re a lucky little girl to have such a talanted Mama:)

  4. Christy on April 13th, 2011 4:50 am

    I think ladybugs are adorable, so I love it. I like your creativity that comes out in your supplies for the cake–tinfoil balls, twisties. I remember Anita’s girls changing their minds about their cakes almost daily when they were little. :) The mouth exchange sounds like the kind of conversations we have here. You know what’s a little crazy? When I first started blogging, Tiffany and Katlyn were babies and I was pregnant. I remember one of the first pictures I saw on your blog was the one of all you moms at church lined up with your babies. Now here we are with 5 year olds!!

  5. Beth on April 13th, 2011 8:00 am

    Love it!!! These girls are going to grow up thinking all their friends have boring moms!!! jk. But seriously…you did it again. Make it sound so effortless & if I’d try it, I’m sure there would be no blogging — more like running & hiding. It also shows Tiffany’s creativity to even think of THAT many options for a cake!

  6. Katrina on April 15th, 2011 10:58 pm

    That cake is so cute and you make it seem so simple. You also look great, by the way, Kay!

  7. Di on April 17th, 2011 12:30 pm

    Awesome cake, like always. I am the mean mom that buys the birthday cakes which normally are fairly boring.

    Was looking at your diet post a little back, and WOW girlfriend YOU are looking GREAT!!! :)

  8. Emi Puglisi on April 17th, 2011 3:17 pm

    Love it! I really love you blog! It is on my favorites tab! :)

  9. Emi Puglisi on April 17th, 2011 3:18 pm

    oops meant to say “your blog” not “you blog”.

  10. Kim on April 19th, 2011 7:14 pm

    Kristen likes your ladybug cake, Tiffany! She thinks she will make one for their last day of school program because their program is about “A Day at NMS from a Ladybug’s perspective.” :) Thanks for the inspiration.
    Once again, enjoyed browsing!

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

Posted on April 9, 2011
Filed Under Garnishing, Side dishes

Is this recipe made up, you wonder?
Yep, it is.
All because I fell in love with some chipotle mayo from Yutzy’s Farm Market and I use it on everything that I think it might possibly go with.

We had a fish fry last night. One of the couples from church (Jr. and Darla) go up to Lake Erie to fish every year. Then, they clean the fish. And then, they GENEROUSLY share them with us. I know. We’re privileged. And we realize it and are very grateful.

They and their kitchen helpers fry/bake the fish (there’s some of each) and make a big roasterful of scalloped potatoes and do pork chops for anyone who doesn’t like fish. Then, the rest of us bring salads and desserts. It’s quite a spread… the row of food tables is roughly the length of an airport runway (give or take a few hundred yards) and is lined down both sides with food food food. Good stuff! I’m wishing right now that I’d have taken my camera along to take a picture of it.

So, anyway, I was trying to decide what to make in the salad category. I just got a new Dessert Decorator, and it HAD to be something that I could use that for. The decorator was a just-for-anyhow gift from my husband, which are THE best kind of gifts.

So now, we’re only eating soft foods that can fit thro the decorator… but hey, at least we’re eating pretty stuff. ????

I made twice-baked potatoes a couple days ago and piped them into the shells with the decorator, but then I had a problem. I hadn’t thought of the cheese. So it was forfeit cheese and see the beauty or have potatoes with yummy melty cheese on top. The cheese won. Oh well. I still had fun doing it.

Anyway, back to what to take to the fish fry, I thought of Deviled Eggs.


And while I was getting the yolks out of the whites, I thought of my beloved Chipotle mayo and decided to throw some of that in there. Next time, I’d add more… it adds a little kick and I didn’t want to add too much kick for some unsuspecting person at a church fish fry who doesn’t like kick.

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

12 eggs
3/4 cup mayo (use less if you prefer a stronger egg yolk taste)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Roasted Chipotle Mayonnaise (more would be better ???? )
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Hard boil the eggs. Peel and cut in half. Put yolks in a food processor; set whites on a serving tray.

Running the yolks thro’ the food processor makes for a creamier filling. After there are no chunks left, add the rest of the ingredients. Pipe the filling into the egg white shells. (Side note: sometime, try piping egg filling into an egg white with one hand WHILE holding still enough to take a picture with the other hand :) )

Here’s a little tip: when you’re getting the last of the filling out of the bowl, it’s nice to have one hand to hold the bowl and one hand to use the scraper, putting the filling right into the decorator as you’re scraping. This leaves no hand to hold the decorator so… prop it in a cup.



If you want to garnish the tray with tomato roses, but don’t know how, this link is for you: How to Make Tomato Roses.

Coming up in the next few posts: Tiffany’s ladybug birthday cake, Fun play-with-your-food Spring-themed stuff, and Donut Muffins.


6 Responses to “Chipotle Deviled Eggs”

  1. Arla on April 9th, 2011 9:52 am

    Kay, I’m so glad you’re back here at your scrapbook!
    My family would be terribly awed if I were to follow in your footsteps and create in the kitchen. I have no clue! So you inspire me, thanks.

  2. Christy on April 9th, 2011 12:49 pm

    They look pretty and I really like the idea of adding the Chipotle kick!

  3. Ruthie on April 9th, 2011 2:28 pm

    Wow! They look so good! I’m going to have to try the processor next time, mine are always kind of lumpy. I would be the one that doesn’t want the kick. =) The tomatoes look lovely! Your whites are so white, no dark edges. Good looking dish!
    Do you ever sprinkle paprika over them?

  4. Celesta on April 9th, 2011 6:38 pm

    The eggs were lovely. I would surely have tasted them for the chipotle flavor, but there were none left when I got to go through the line! I admired the tomato roses. It has been too long since I made them. Love your blog!

  5. Judi on April 11th, 2011 12:19 pm

    The eggs look great, but I was amazed at how easy your directions are for the tomato roses. I’m definitely going to try those soon.

  6. Sheila on April 13th, 2011 9:50 am

    That second to last picture is so cool! My children love deviled eggs and beg me to make them. I hardly ever do, though, just for our family. But, lucky for them, there is a family from church that almost always brings them to snacks and carry-ins. I fill my eggs with a decorating tip, too. It’s a little more bother to transger the filling to a bag or decorating tool, but I think it goes faster when you get to filling them.

Randomness… 12 pictures that have something to do with food or kitchen

Posted on April 4, 2011
Filed Under Tidbits

This is just going to be a miscellaneous post of 12 pictures that have to do with kitchen/cooking/eating that happened in the last few months. It’s called catch-up. :) These incidents fall into one of 2 categories:
1. Not important enough to merit their own post.
2. Happened too long ago that a whole post on them now would be like digging up old bones.

I didn’t know I was going to do this post, or I would’ve just thrown my Before/After picture in this list because that whole deal was a bit embarrassing in the previous post. I’m not going to keep talking about my diet in future posts, but I do know that getting it out in the open now definitely makes me feel more accountable, which is a good thing. 

First up is a birthday cake by Lexi and Tiffany. Lexi is 8 and Tiffany is 4. This was this past January and since then, Tiffany had a birthday and turned 5… her ladybug cake will be featured sometime soon. But here, it was Shannon’s birthday. The cake was Lexi’s idea, so I let them have at it. It’s a chocolate sheet cake with peanut butter icing… because a sheet cake would give them more room to scribb—oops, I mean, decorate, than a 9×13 would. I helped with the baking and spreading the frosting, but they did ALL the decorating. Lexi made the smiley face and the heart and did all the writing… meanwhile, Tiffany did the picture down in the corner (yeah, not exactly sure what it’s supposed to be, but I think I can make out a person on the left of it). Lexi was surprised how hard it is to write with frosting. ????
1bday-cake.jpg The other day, Tiffany purposefully went to her room, got her apron on, then came to me and said, “Mom, the ONLY thing I ever eat is cupcakes. So… *pause* can I have one?”. Could YOU have said no? Me neither.
Tiffany was playing with her little doll named Paige while drinking chocolate milk. She thought it was so cool that Paige would stay hanging when she’d let go of her. (And no, she doesn’t have her eyes closed like it looks.)
A random kid snack, all happy and yummy…
This is a window in my mom’s kitchen/dining room. At Christmastime, she took all her grandchildren over to it and sprayed some spray-on “snow” over their one hand (and then washed their hands right away). Long after they were gone back to Pennsylvania/Missouri/Ohio/the other side of town, she still had this little souvenir on her window. 
Here is some monkey bread that I made one lazy Saturday morning earlier this year that I never featured. And now, I’m not even sure what recipe I used! It got rave reviews, but really, you can’t go wrong with biscuits, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, can you?! 
This is a pie from one time a few months ago when I NEEDED a chocolate peanut butter fix NOW. I pulled a baked pie crust out of the freezer, spread a layer of peanut butter on it, filled it with some instant pudding, put chocolate and Cool Whip on top, sprinkled it with Nestles powder, and TA-DA! I had a ready-to-eat-pie in 10 minutes flat!
1pie.jpg Here are some sour cream cookies that I made last week that didn’t make the cut, according to my food critics who live here. Here’s what I wrote beside this recipe in the cookbook: “Kinda dry. Don’t make again. Good, but with a million other cookie recipes out there, don’t bother with this one.”
Here are some of my scrapbooking buddies of yesteryear… Ruthie, Linda, and Liz. We moved to Ohio a couple years ago and went back for a visit to WI this past year for Christmas, so of course we girls had to work a good-ole-days catch-up evening in. Well, ok, we got together the next day, too. This particular evening involved restaurant-hopping. Shannon and I went on a double date with Ruthie and her husband. Then, when we were done there, our men dropped us off at this restaurant, where Liz and Linda were waiting for us at a cozy table by the fireplace. We got dessert here. Then, this restaurant closed at 10:00, so we went over to McDonalds, which closed at midnight. Welcome to Small Town, where 24-hr businesses are hard to come by and Main St rolls up its sidewalks at 5:00, but aw, is it ever cozy and friendly! Even the policemen are friendly, we found out. Heehee. Ok, I won’t go into that or say which one of my friends was driving, but it turned out well because no speeding tickets were involved… the I-was-just-talking-to-my-friends-and-not-watching-my-speed explanation worked. :)
Here was our SuperBowl party cake. The cake was sweeter because we had cake and ice cream after the game was over… the sweet taste of victory. 
I saw Pioneer Woman several weeks ago! She was in Columbus on Feb 19. I didn’t take my camera, so these are with my phone. It was a bit surreal, I’ll have to say! On the talking picture, I was probably saying, “I CAN’T believe I actually get to SEE you!” I forget what all I said, but I do remember saying that.
And last, but not least, here’s Megan. She’s 10 months old. She doesn’t get enough to eat, so she has to supplement her diet with Princess tiaras.


9 Responses to “Randomness… 12 pictures that have something to do with food or kitchen”

  1. Shannon on April 4th, 2011 12:30 pm

    Aww love this post, esp the last 2 photos! :) She doesn’t look tooo malnourished! :)

  2. Liz on April 4th, 2011 1:14 pm

    You got to see Pioneer Woman?! Yay for you. I’ve thought of it when she comes to Minni but it doesn’t happen.
    Megan is looking older and cuter. Her hair is growing. I’m sure she would be so much more fun to talk to/hold than she was at Christmas.
    Your Packers cake is neat. I’ll have to make sure Elvie sees it.(Should I just go ahead and comment on all the pictures?)
    Yay for you for letting the girls ‘have at it’ with decorating Shannons cake.
    Ah, that was a good night with the old scrapbooking group. (Not sure that it’s an old one beings a new one hasn’t really replaced it.) And we all said, “Thank God!” that there was no ticket issued.
    I know the kid snack is kind of basic but I like it. Don’t know that i would have thought of doing that.

  3. Christy on April 4th, 2011 2:05 pm

    Kay, you look SO GOOD!!!! Wow, I’m proud of you!

    Your cake looks great!

    Hey, another spin on choc. p-butter pie–just make crumbs like you do for peanut butter pie, and use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla. Mmmmm, it’s my favorite!

  4. Jan on April 4th, 2011 2:24 pm

    I have been wanting to comment on your last post, but here you have a new one before I got around to it! First of all, you look fantastic! I am looking forward to my “halfway” picture, but first I have to take a “before” picture. :( Leta would love if I’d set a snack plate like that down in front of her! She has a weakness for smiley faces. I just noticed that Mom had geraniums blooming at Christmas time. Did you inherit her green thumb? I can’t find it here! Megan looks totally irresistable! Wish I could give her a squeeze!

  5. Dorothy on April 4th, 2011 6:43 pm

    Great to hear from you again. Was good to chat with you at Christmas too. You look great keep up the good work. You either put me to shame or challenged me there.

  6. Katie Mast on April 5th, 2011 7:56 am

    you got to see Pioneer women!!!!! wow!!! She came to DC once and i had something planed and then NYC and i couldnt go then either. I hope someday she comes to Harrisburg that will be much closer. Glad you had a chat with her. I love her cooking blog

  7. amber on April 6th, 2011 7:28 pm

    loved catching up a bit with your life here, kay~! every shot was so fun & now i’m HUNGRY!! :)

    so cool you got to meet PW. and you look amazing~

  8. Sheila on April 13th, 2011 9:39 am

    I really enjoyed this one! How could I not enjoy it with all those pics? :-) I’m going to have to try that smiley snack for an after school snack sometime. The children would probably fall over if they would walk in and see a snack all ready for them – it’s been so long since I’ve done that.

  9. Kim on April 19th, 2011 7:20 pm

    You’re looking great, Kay. Inspires me to keep on. We’ve got a Northwoods dieter’s group going. Helps to have some support. Don’t think I’ll take a before picture though. ;( Just an after one. :)

Mint Patties plus an Out-of-My-Comfort-Zone Tidbit

Posted on April 1, 2011
Filed Under Candy, Tidbits

You know how when you have a problem, you try to find a solution? And then sometimes the solution doesn’t work because it hinges on another problem? And then you have to back up and fix that problem before you can fix the initial problem?

Is anyone still with me? If you didn’t follow, I’ll explain it using a few more words… I know I was kind of concise in that first paragraph. Ok, just kidding.

Well, here’s my problem: I miss this cooking site. And having fun in the kitchen. And trying new stuff, making tried-and-true stuff, playing with food, etc.
Solution: Ok, duh, so start cooking, making, playing, and updating!
Problem hinging on that solution: I’m on a South Beach diet, and I couldn’t eat 90% of the stuff I’d make. And if I can’t taste it, how would I rate it? Plus, it would take ALOT of the fun of cooking away. I started posting alot around Christmas time and was planning to keep it up, then one day in January, I looked in the mirror, and decided to go on a diet, and well, you know the rest of the story (see above).
So, I found a solution: Make a diet exception. So, I did that. I decided that I can have 1 serving of anything I put on here. It’ll just be, you know, a cross I have to bear, you know, because I really DO actually want to stay on my diet, you know.


I hope you won’t get tired of me posting cheesecakes ALL. THE. TIME! ????

When I was thinking out loud, rambling to Shannon about my problem/solution/problem/solution and told him how I’m solving it all, his comment was (as if he was saying this one day after my blog was up and going regularly again), “37 posts on Kitchen Scrapbook today?! and 24 yesterday?!!!” :)

Here’s where the out-of-my-comfort-zone tidbit comes in… I’m putting on a Before/After picture of myself. WAY out of my comfort zone…even if I keep the pictures small …and even if the pictures are in poor lighting. But by posting this, it’ll give me some accountability to keep on and get to the Final picture. So, here you go, this is what the halfway mark looks like, I just passed it a few days ago…


Now, onto the mints. Not sure if you can trust my judgement on these… of course they were good! Hello… it’s CARBS!!

Ahhh, carbs. How I love thee.

Maybe if I was eating normally, they’d get a good/average rating instead of a ‘they were absolutely awesome’ rating. I don’t know. So, just make them yourself… they’re easy enough!

This recipe was not taken from a cookbook. It was taken from the book The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. The book title doesn’t even have to finish that sentence …we all already know that we rule the world. :) If you’re a mom and don’t have that book, you should. It’s great. Every 2-page spread is loaded with inspiration, Bible verses, real life experiences, and here’s my favorite: little sayings/quick quips/advice. A few pages have some fun little recipes on them, like page 145 with Mint Patties.


Mint Patties

1 lb. powdered sugar (I’ll save you some research… that’s 3 3/4 cups)
2 tsp. cream
1 Tbsp. soft butter
1 egg white (unbeaten)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together and shape into patties. Dip in chocolate.

And there you have it, simple as that. I got done putting all the ingredients in and then thought “Uhhhh, MINT patties? It must mean mint patties in looks only, because there’s no mint in the recipe.” So, I added about 1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract.


I just threw everything into a bowl and mixed it, but it made little pea-sized balls, so I added a bit more cream and then it all blended together like a dough.

Instead of shaping the patties (which I thought would be too time-consuming), I rolled the ‘dough’ out and used cookie cutters. Got a variety of shapes that way too, which inspired me to make a mental note that these could go with any theme or holiday… just make it in whatever shape is right for the occasion!

I chilled the patties in the fridge for about a 1/2 hour before dipping them. I dipped some, half-dipped some, and ‘scribbled’ on some. You could even leave some plain, or add a tint of green food coloring.


This recipe made about 6 dozen mint patties.

So, I can only have 1 serving… how many patties is 1 serving? Just wondering, because the recipe doesn’t say. Oh well, I’ll just assume the whole batch is 1 serving. ????


16 Responses to “Mint Patties plus an Out-of-My-Comfort-Zone Tidbit”

  1. Aug on April 1st, 2011 5:54 pm

    I can NOT get over how great you look! I called Jeremy over to see the “before and after” cuz, wow! You are looking SO much thinner and I think you look amazing! I am wondering what you will look like by the time you get all of the way there, if this is only 1/2 way!! I am so happy for you!!

    Excited about you doing a little more updating on here. That will be fun for all of us!

  2. Liz on April 1st, 2011 7:06 pm

    I asked Kaitlyn who the person was on the picture and she said, “Kara?” I thought you would appreciate that. :) You look great! Glad we can look forward to lots of updates. Except now I’m trying to diet. So I’ll just look hungrily. I don’t think I would have enough self-control to just eat one.

  3. becky on April 1st, 2011 7:20 pm

    omGOSH! kay!! seriously, you look amazing! i cant believe how much younger you look. great job, girl!

  4. Beth on April 1st, 2011 7:37 pm

    Love that you went out of your comfort zone to let the world see that you got 1/2 way! I thought the last line was too funny. The whole batch is a serving…wouldn’t that be nice?! I’ll say at least 1 dozen is a serving. :)

  5. Michelle on April 1st, 2011 7:43 pm

    Kay, you look aMAZing!!!!!! You go, girl!!!

    I always wish your blog posts came with those little sample things like they have at Sam’s Club. :) B/c I just want to taste one without having to make it! (Would that make my original problem laziness?)

  6. lisa on April 1st, 2011 8:28 pm

    oh my word! KAY! you look incredible. really, really good!! makes me excited to have this baby and start working on the (minimum of) 30 pounds that are sure to be hanging on! YOU GO!

  7. linda hershey on April 1st, 2011 9:50 pm

    kay, i cannot believe how good you look!!! smashing!!like i said, i am so proud of you!!! because chocolate is chocolate and cooking good is cooking good and you somehow just busted through with nerves of steel, baby! so happy to see you up and running with the show and i hope cooking is kind to you and you are able to eat and enjoy and still see all the good results that you want! i’ll be trying the patties and letting you know how they rated!

  8. cretora on April 2nd, 2011 6:58 am

    Like I said before-you’ve inspired me to keep on my diet. Just when I was feeling like giving up, i saw your pics-thanks for posting! :)

    ps-I made mints like that at christmas and they were one hot commodity on cookie trays. your recipe looks creamier than mine though-i’ll have to try that this year.

  9. Kay on April 2nd, 2011 7:13 am

    Thanks for all your encouragement in the diet realm!!! Linda, you said it well when you used the term “busted through”… that’s exactly what dieting is, there are no easy secrets. ???? Michelle, I’ve often wished I could somehow put samples on here! That would be so fun! Then we could do polls of how each recipe rates.

  10. Shannon on April 2nd, 2011 11:09 am

    These look delicious!! I love Mint patties so I might have to try them, but I’d be the only one eating them!! Bad deal. -Just got to say again how great you look!! Keep it up!

  11. Loretta on April 3rd, 2011 12:16 pm

    Wow!!!! Good job on the weight loss!!! I make mint patties to sell at christmas time!! These look good too! I roll mine in logs and stick it in the freezer for awhile and than slice it!

  12. Sandra on April 7th, 2011 12:21 pm

    Wow lady!! you look beautiful!! So happy for you!..I wonder wahat I could do to lose some###:)

  13. Christy on April 9th, 2011 1:04 pm

    I missed this post somehow, but I am in AWE! Hello, you look PERFECT! How can this be 1/2 way. I’m so jealous, too, because I’ve been on the crackdown for 3 weeks (no sugar or flour) and I have lost 1 lb. I just want to jump ahead to where you are. :) I’m so impressed because I know you worked really hard for it. And it makes me wonder if you’re checking off your list. ????

  14. Judi on April 11th, 2011 12:27 pm

    you look amazing!! Keep it up – hope the warmer weather and outside activities help you move along too.

  15. Sheila on April 13th, 2011 9:11 am

    Here I come, way behind everyone else, but I just had to comment on this one. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the pics! Your Mom had told me that you were losing weight, but I didn’t know it was that much! Like everyone else said, you look SO good! I had to get the computer out and show my family the pics when they were here the other night. :-) Thanks for getting out of your comfort zone to post these pics. I love looking at before/after pictures! And, thanks for the giving me the push I needed to start reading my “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” book. I had been planning to read it again ever since Patrick was born, but hadn’t got around to digging it out until I read this. Now it’s on the table beside my chair and I’m enjoying reading it while I feed Patrick.

  16. Lydia Jo Martin on June 21st, 2011 1:22 pm

    Ok, so I just had fun catching up on your site here. Since we’re in the same diet group and all. You do look amazing. Good job! Such hard work, but so rewarding huh? I don’t grill either. I can’t even turn it on. And last summer when I tried to star the charcoal grill I nearly took off my eyebrows. mmm… I wish all us diet girls could get together. we’d have fun. hope your day is great. -Jo