It’s Valentines Day!

Posted on February 14, 2014
Filed Under For special occassions, Garnishing, Holiday cooking

Happy Valentines Day!

I’m actually not sure yet what I’m going to do for our meal tonight. Can you say “last minute”? I like to at least acknowledge Valentines Day each year with a meal, but for tonight I’m kind of thinking regular food with Valentine décor and dishes. I’m really in the mood for Parmesan Chicken and I don’t know how to make that heart-shaped without being too corny and chicken-wasting with a large cookie cutter and chicken breasts.

I’m not even sure why I said the corny part… that ship already sailed. Half of the stuff at Valentines is corny because we use our imaginations and anything goes as long as it involves hearts and red and love and “awwww”. I think you’ll see what I mean if you keep reading this post. ????

Today I’m posting a meal that I made on a previous Valentines Day. So, if you’re looking for some last minute ideas for tonight, here you go.

valentines meal

The menu was:
-Meatloaf
-Amish noodles
-Salad
-Biscuits
-Red velvet cake

Meatloaf
I used this recipe because it’s THE *personal opinion alert* best meatloaf ever!! And I baked it in a heart-shaped pan. My mom used to always do that with meatloaf on Valentines Day.
valentines meatloaf

Amish Noodles
I made regular noodles and cooked a couple pieces of lasagna in with them. After it was cooked, I took a heart cutter and cut hearts out of the lasagna pieces and threw them back in with the noodles. When I dished it up, I pulled some of the hearts up to the top.
Here is the recipe for the noodles in case you’d like it:
1/4 c. butter
1 1/4qt. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. chicken base
1/2 tsp. Lawry’s
8oz. homemade egg noodles
1/3 of a can of cream of chicken soup
Brown the butter. Add the broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream of chicken soup, stir, put on lid, and turn off the burner, and let set 20 minutes.
valentines noodles

Salad
Another one from my childhood that Mom did… it’s simply lettuce salad with little heart-shaped cheese tossed in it.
valentines salad

Biscuits with jam
I made regular biscuit and cut them out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and then just for extra color, piped a heart shape of jam on top before baking them (we ate more jam and butter with them at mealtime). The jam kind of got messed up in the baking process, but you could still tell what I was trying for.
valentines biscuits

Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting
I used this recipe, made only a 1/2 recipe and 1 layer, and made it heart-shaped instead of round. The rose is red and green candy melts. The rose tutorial is here and then I just sorta winged it with the stem and leaves.
valentines rose cake

For the décor:
We put red ribbon around on the table and the girls used a heart punch to cut out hearts to sprinkle around.
We used goblets, dipped the tops into colored sugar, and tied red ribbon around the stems.
We had a red centerpiece (you can see the base of it on the first picture up there) that looked more or less like an explosion of spikes and hearts. Festive, but we didn’t end up using it because the table was too full.
Lexi sneakily made Valentines for each of us and put it on our plates.

I really wish I’d have seen this Valentine note that I made to myself earlier because now it’s too late because I don’t plan to (or feel like) going anywhere today, but here is an idea I had tucked away for this Valentines Day and just found a bit ago. I’ll put it on here though, because we’re in the Valentine mode.
Remember what I said up there about corny? Well, here’s a huge *corny alert*!
The idea was to put these on each plate:
For my husband: chocolate candy from our local bulk foods store that looks exactly like rocks, along with a note that says “You ROCK my world”
For Lexi (11): Starbursts and “I’m BURSTing with happiness that you’re my girl”
For Tiffany (7): Gummy bears with “I love you BEARy much”
For Megan: (3): Suckers or smarties or anything sweet with “You’re my little SWEETie”

Wishing all of you a wonderful Valentines Day, and thank God for all the ones you love!

valentines rose

Comments

3 Responses to “It’s Valentines Day!”

  1. Shannon on February 14th, 2014 10:29 pm

    You were created to be in the kitchen! This looks great.
    If I made a meal that looked like this my family would probably fall over. :)

  2. Jan on February 15th, 2014 5:48 pm

    We had good ol’ meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, and salad last night for supper. Nicoleta thought we should cut the lettuce out heart shaped, but I quickly vetoed that idea. Of course, the candles flickered and died partway through the meal, but the girls strongly resisted the idea of turning the lights on. We finally compromised with lights on in adjoining rooms and the oil lamp kept burning, so we made it through.

  3. Kay on February 18th, 2014 11:29 am

    Ha, Jan, I love the candle story… brings back memories of the guys lighting up their cell phone screens and propping them by their plates when we wouldn’t allow the lights on. :)

    Shannon, you are good in the kitchen too… 2 of our family fav recipes are from you (Raspberry Cream Cheese Cinn Rolls and Snickerdoodle Bars). Seriously, you’d fall over if you knew how often I make them… esp snickerdoodle bars!! Can’t believe I never featured them! Must. soon.

Drizzled Chocolate Fruit Kabobs, plus How to Keep Banana Slices from Browning

These fresh fruit kabobs drizzled with chocolate are the perfect item for adding a bit of beauty and pizzazz to the table without a lot of time-consuming work. You can’t beat that, right? So, keep it in mind next time you need to take food somewhere. It doesn’t even require a fork so it works for “bring finger food” occasions. These particular ones were made for my husband Shannon to take to a company potluck at his office at Keller Williams Real Estate.

chocolate drizzled fruit kabobs1

There is no recipe, just use any kind of fruit you want to… They all work great. Well, except apples. Apples sometimes split when you put them on the skewers. If you’re using apples, the thinner the skewer the better. Just for the record, apples and chocolate go together awesomely! Is awesomely a word? I figure as long as you know what a word means, it doesn’t really matter if it’s technically not a word. ????

Chunk up/slice all the fruit that gets chunked or sliced. Take stems off of fruit that gets de-stemmed. Toss fruits that get brown with lemon juice (more on that later).

In other words, before I start threading them on skewers, I like to have them all ready to go.
Then, start poking fruit on until: 1. Fruit is gone, 2. Skewers are gone, or 3. You have the desired amount.

fruit kabobs

After the fruit is all on the skewers, put about a half cup of chocolate chips or candy melts in a sandwich bag, but don’t seal shut. Put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Flip it over and microwave it for 20 second. Work the bag with your hands and put them in for 10 seconds. Do this until all the chocolate feels smooth and no chunks are left.

I need to get back in my zone… that zone where I automatically remember to take pictures at each step! I was having too much fun and just kept rolling instead of stopping for pictures.

Now, you’re ready to drizzle. Put the kabobs all really close together so less drizzle lands on the table. Snip a little corner off of the bag and just scribble back and forth over the fruit. Then immediately separate them or else the chocolate will harden and pull drizzles off of its neighbor.

Put them on a plate. Garnish if you want to.
lemon rose chocolate leaves
Here are tutorials on the rose and leaves, in case you want to make some:
RoseChocolate leaves
The rose tutorial is actually for making a tomato rose, but it’s the same technique.

Now, about the bananas and keeping them from browning.

Lemon juice is the secret here. I did a little test where I checked them after 3 hours and after 6 hours. A little after the 6-hour mark, my girls came home from school and I let them eat my experiment for an after school snack… and then thought of it later that I should’ve tested the bananas longer, like 24 hours. But what I did learn is that lemon juice works its magic for at least 6 hours, and that was the info I needed because unless they have to set/freeze/marinate/etc, I rarely make things more than 6 hours ahead of time. Maybe that’s because I’m a procrastinator.

So here we go, the experiment. The pictures above were taken right after I made it, where even a fresh banana would still be looking good. The pictures below were taken 3 and 6 hours afterwards.

3 hours after being tossed with lemon juice:
banana slice browning2
From left to right: uncovered room temp, covered room temp, uncovered refrigerated, covered refrigerated, covered frozen, and a fresh slice.
The fresh slice is NOT 3 hours old, it’s just there for comparison. The frozen one is thrown in there for fun… it actually has no lemon juice on, it was peeled and put into the freezer right away and is probably more like 3 months old.

6 hours after being tossed with lemon juice:
banana slice browning3
The middles are starting to get a little brown, but are still fine.

What I was surprised was that between all the lemon-juiced ones, there was pretty much no difference! I’m glad about this tidbit because it gives flexibility. Here is a closer up. They all stayed firm too, no mushiness.
banana slice browning1

chocolate drizzled fruit kabobs

Here come the Holidays… make some of these pretty things!  It’s a delicious, healthy snack to set out on the snack table (with the chocolate covered Ritz crackers, cookies, red-green-silver-foil-wrapped Hershey kisses, and party mix).

Comments

4 Responses to “Drizzled Chocolate Fruit Kabobs, plus How to Keep Banana Slices from Browning”

  1. Twila on November 22nd, 2013 11:30 pm

    These look yummy. I’m wondering where you found the short skewers, or did you cut skewers in half. If you cut them in half, what did you cut them with so the ends didn’t splinter?

  2. Kay on November 23rd, 2013 12:55 pm

    Twila, I get the short ones at Meijer, Hobby Lobby, JoAnns, or Michaels. Are you close to any of those stores? I was out of them at the moment, so for these I used the longer ones. I cut them with a wire cutter… makes a nice clean cut, no splinters. :)

  3. Shannon on December 5th, 2013 1:43 pm

    I miss your posts! :)

  4. Kathleen on September 17th, 2014 12:12 pm

    Can fruit kababs been frozen and them dipped. If so what is the shelf life in a freezer before the fruit gets mushy? Would it be ok to eliminate the lemon juice if the kababs were frozen?

Snowman Cake… cute and EASY, I promise!

We have snow!! So I’m gonna post a snowman.

snowman-cake-and-cupcakes.jpg

You know, I was just thinking… after I wrote those first 2 sentences, I looked out the window for awhile at the snow I was talking about… you know the snow that I used TWO exclamation marks after when I said we have snow, and I realized how my standards have changed. Do you know how much snow we have right now?
About 1/2 inch.
1 inch at the deep parts.
Wow. :)

I was born and raised in northern WI and moved to OH 3 years ago. If we’d get this much snow in WI and Shannon’s dear grandpa from PA would call and say, “What’s the weather like out there? Do you have snow?”, same as he’d always start every call with between Sept and May, we’d say “No, not really, just a little dusting.” I do really like the mild winters here though. I think it’s pretty cool that in Ohio right now, it’s mid-January and I still haven’t gotten out my winter coat… my temp mark for bulk-of-winter-coat-is-worth-it-for-the-extra-warmth-over-light-coat is about 25 degrees, unless I’m going to be out for a long period of time.  I haven’t gotten my boots out either because… I have none. I threw them away last year because they were so out of style and I was so in love with them… so when I was tempted to wear them, I’d weigh the pros (love them) and cons (out of style)… and love always won. So the only way to make myself stop wearing them was to throw them away.

All that to say that I’m in the market for boots. I love the style of boots right now… especially the sorta short ones with a heel and slouched and black and a bow-type thing on the side… so I’ll probably be back in my out-of-style-but-love-em predicament again in 5 years. :) Maybe I’ll buy some boots tomorrow… we seriously need to get out of the house because we’ve been sick for nearly a week around here and I think we’re all functioning at 85 – 100% power today now… so what better thing to do on a Saturday than to go out on the town.

Anyway… let’s circle back around to where we started… “I’m gonna post a snowman”.

snowman-face.jpg
Isn’t it crazy how M&Ms can almost seem to make something have a personality? :)

I feel like I need to talk really fast to interrupt any crazy “I’d never have time for that!” thoughts. It’s simply 2 cake mixes… dump one in a mixing bowl instead of a 9×13, dump the other one in a small mixing bowl and the rest in cupcake liners. Bake. Frost… you don’t even have to add food coloring because snow is conveniently white! ;) Press M&Ms on. Make a melty chocolate/peanut butter hat. Fruit roll-up scarf. Eat. There is no carving or shaping of cake going on here. I made this for dessert for hot lunch at school.

Get your 5-yr-old to decorate the cupcakes… Tiffany did all of them while I did the snowman. We used orange M&Ms for noses only and put them sideways so they stuck out a little more.

snowman-cupcakes.jpg

Keep the 18-month-old demolition-crew-of-one as far away as possible. Or do what I did and count one cupcake and a small handful of M&Ms as loss and set her up to destro—, I mean, decorate it.

snowman-cake-making.jpg
*cell phone pic alert* Yeah, we tried just giving Megan some Apple Jacks to munch on so she could happily watch while munching, but nope, no luck, she was more into M&Ms and gooey frosting.

One thing I should say about the baking… I was afraid the cake wouldn’t get done in the middle, so I looked around the kitchen, saw a glass Coke bottle (filled it to make it heavier), covered it in tin foil, and put it in the middle, like it’s sitting in the mixing bowl here… kind of an angel food cake pan effect. It worked perfect. I don’t know if it would be necessary or not, though. I baked the cake for 1 hour.
snowman-baking.jpg

I used candy canes for the arms (broke off the curved part), but you could use pretzel rods or whatever. The hat is a chunk of leftover buckeye-type peanut butter filling dipped in melted chocolate with too much chocolate poured on top so it ran down beside it, making a hat brim. Then I put it in the fridge until it hardened. You could pretty much use anything… like a chocolate-dipped small cookie or whoopie pie or something.

*gasp* Did I just used the phrase “too much chocolate”?! Sorry, it should read “extra chocolate” instead… I’m more comfortable with that term.

Add a fruit roll-up or fondant the color of your choice for the scarf. Snip the ends with a scissors to give a tassle effect.

snowman-cake-done.jpg

And there you go… celebrate winter with your kids! Whether you have 2 feet of snow, a 1/2 inch of snow, or only dream of snow.

Comments

9 Responses to “Snowman Cake… cute and EASY, I promise!”

  1. Beth Graber on January 20th, 2012 8:32 pm

    Do I get to comment first? Well, I think this snowman is just plain perfect!! When I got to the part about you feeling like you need to talk really fast, I automatically started reading faster. lol What I love about your site is all the little stuff you add to it (like the whole thing of the Grandpa who always asked if it snowed). :) P.S. I still wouldn’t attempt this – you just don’t know how good you are.

  2. Freida on January 20th, 2012 9:24 pm

    That is one cute snowman!

  3. Sheila on January 21st, 2012 12:49 am

    Ahh, how fitting since it snowed at least half the day here. We only ended up getting about two inches though. Up until a week or two ago, you hadn’t missed much snow here. I really should make something “snowy” yet this winter. You make things look easy but I’m afraid this would take me at least half a day. :-/ I agree with Beth about liking the interesting little rabbit trails you take in your writing. Glad you all are feeling better!

  4. Kay on January 21st, 2012 1:17 am

    Haha, Beth you’ve made a train; Sheila, you’ve made a teapot and other cool cakes… you guys would think this is easy and fast. Frosting a round something instead of a flat something and pressing M&Ms on, you could use a doll hat if you wouldn’t want to make one, and then flop a fruit rollup around the neck.

    I think a snowman cheeseball would be cute too… thought of that when I wished I could use a real carrot for the nose.

    I love snowmen… they’re so goofy and cheery. If we ever get more than 1/2 inch of snow around here and build a snowman, I want us to build a couple of them and make one upside down… then put 2 sticks sticking up out of the bottom ball (which is now on top) and put boots upsidedown on them. ;)

  5. Aug on January 21st, 2012 2:01 pm

    I am just happening to be looking for ideas for Kendall’s birthday party in about 2 weeks. I may have to try this. But I always have this doubt in my mind…will it actually turn out looking as cool as Kay’s? And btw, I love how you are always involving your girls!

  6. Amy Burkey on January 22nd, 2012 9:50 am

    I made one of these. It wasn’t as rounded? shall we say! But it is pretty easy….for the ones who think it’s not. Here’s mine. http://amyjane30.blogspot.com/2011/01/happy-birthday-keagan.html

  7. Kay on January 22nd, 2012 2:29 pm

    Amy, I hadn’t seen yours! *mental note to add your blog to my Google Reader* Thanks for assuring people that it’s easy. :) Yours looks even harder than mine because you have 3 “snowballs”. And thanks for adding your link.

    Good luck with deciding on a cake, Aug. That’s always kinda fun. Something makes me think you might be thinking down the penguin route too. ;)

  8. Beth on February 6th, 2012 12:33 am

    Hey, guess what? I’ve been browsing your website for lunch ideas for this week (while the guys are remodeling). I found the Thursday Thirteen section & got some great ideas. It was just super fun to read this kind of thing from back when you lived in WI. You made me lol a few times too. :)

  9. amber on March 7th, 2012 1:48 pm

    i’m just always amazed at your talents~ you are a woman of so many skills! i need to come spend a week {or two or three} with you!! :)

Valentine Cookies for Grandma – Cooks in Training #5

Posted on February 14, 2009
Filed Under For special occassions, Holiday cooking

Lexi (6) was all into Valentines all week. So often I heard “Hey, we should try making that into a heart shape because, you know, it IS Valentines!” And setting foot inside a store created alot of inhales and exclaiming from her (the V-tine displays were always right inside the door). And she has a stack of Valentines ready to go with her to church tomorrow for her little friends.

We had a bit of fun earlier this week. We took regular cookie recipes and made Valentine cookies out of them. We used the Smiling Sugar Cookie recipe featured here, only they cut heart shapes out of rolled out dough instead of forming balls and putting popsicle sticks in them. We also used my good ol’ chocolate chip cookie recipe (which I don’t think I ever featured) and left the chocolate chips out, then they put chocolate decor on top of the cookies.

First up is the sugar cookies…

vtines1.jpg

vtines2.jpg

vtines3.jpg

vtines4.jpg

vtines5.jpg

And then the chocolate chip cookies, with a bit of variation…

First, I melted chocolate and spread it out to harden, then they cut hearts out of it for on top of some of the cookies.
vtines6.jpg

vtines7.jpg

Then, they cut the rest of the cookies into heart shapes and decorated them with melted chocolate…

vtines8.jpg

vtines9.jpg

vtines10.jpg

Now the cookies are all ready. We separated them out, one batch for each Grandma. Lexi scrapbooked cards for each one and we packed them in a box and UPSed them.
vtines12.jpg

vtines11.jpg

P.S. I did help some with these cookies so the process wouldn’t drag on and on. ;)

And now, we wish you a Happy Valentines Day, with our Valentines gifts from Husband/Dad.
vtinesroses.jpg

Comments

4 Responses to “Valentine Cookies for Grandma – Cooks in Training #5”

  1. Shannon on February 14th, 2009 9:50 am

    Ohhh that looks like fun! M has been soo into V-day this year too. The V-day party at school didn’t help the hype. :)

    I love that last picture!!! You and your flowers are beautiful and they look so cute holding theirs. :)

  2. Karen Layman on February 14th, 2009 10:20 am

    Awww….I think that is so sweet that the little girls got flowers from their Daddy. Precious!

  3. liz on February 14th, 2009 3:05 pm

    hey, it’s good see pics of u guys again. So what happens if the box comes within the next couple of days? i’ll send an e-mail with more thoughts

  4. Kay on February 14th, 2009 3:37 pm

    Liz, don’t eat ‘em. :) Actually, the box got to the office yesterday. When we made them, we forgot they were gonna be gone.

How to Make Chocolate Roses

Posted on February 11, 2009
Filed Under For special occassions, Garnishing, Holiday cooking

roses4.jpg

Valentines Day… Chocolate. Roses. What a perfect time to merge the two and make Chocolate Roses! Actually, it isn’t just a Valentines treat, it’s timeless decor for any table or dessert year-round.

I’ve been wanting to try these for awhile. But they always looked so complicated. But they still intrigued me. So, I finally made some…

roses6.jpg

This is all you do:

Take about 2/3 cup of chocolate chips and melt them. Add about 3 Tbsp. light corn syrup.
roses1.jpg

Stir until mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl and starts balling up. It’ll be kinda like taffy. Dump it out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten. Cover with more plasic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour or so.
roses2.jpg

Get it out and pull a chunk off, about a tsp., and roll it around with your fingers till it’s a smooth ball, then flatten it into a petal. Make 6 -10 petals, depending on how big you want your rose.
roses7.jpg

Take one of the petals and roll it up loosely. Use your finger to bend the top back just slightly.
roses8.jpg

Take the next petal and start it just behind where the first petal ended.
roses9.jpg

Continue like that until all the petals are used up, bending the tops back slightly as you go. When your rose is done, cut off the stem (which will have gotten quite chunky) so the rose can sit flat. Or, go ahead and try making it thin and having a long-stemmed rose! I might try that next time.
roses10.jpg

roses11.jpg

roses12.jpg

I tried a rosebud by using only 2 petals. After making 2 roses and 1 rosebud and the leaves, I had some chocolate left yet, so I just made a heart with it. So, what you see on this plate is how much 2/3 cup chocolate chips makes.

roses31.jpg

Now what I need is a nice dessert to put them on. ???? But, I don’t have one, so I’m just gonna keep them in the freezer and whip ’em out sometime when I need some quick dessert decor!

So, what do you think? You gonna try them? :)

Comments

11 Responses to “How to Make Chocolate Roses”

  1. Katie Mast on February 12th, 2009 6:17 pm

    Yes i will try them this week. They look so beautiful. I will let you know how they get for me. I used to make roses out of apples, much the same way you did here. Thanks for the cool idea

  2. Lori on February 12th, 2009 9:55 pm

    I made a flourless chocolate cake. It is a dense chocolate cake for chocolate lovers. I found the recipe at allrecipes.com. The roses would look great on my heart shaped cake!

  3. Elaine on February 13th, 2009 12:51 pm

    These would look great on my Chocolate Turtle Cheese Cake for our couples dinner tonight. Now let’s see if I can do it! :)

  4. karen on February 15th, 2009 6:30 pm

    Wow!!!!!!!!Thanks for the beautiful idea. It worked great and I used them on a fruit platter.

  5. katie mast on February 17th, 2009 7:13 pm

    I tryed them, they didnt look as pretty as yours. I thought mine melted so fast. did i do something wrong?

  6. Maria on March 25th, 2011 7:01 am

    Hi. Wow, it looks really amazing, and it looks like it’s not that hard to make. Looking forward to try making some roses, hope I’ll manage to make’em as pretty as yours :)

  7. jayne on May 5th, 2011 3:48 pm

    Hi Kay,
    Chanced upon your site as I am looking to make chocolate roses (I recon I will need around 80-100 for my daughters wedding cake. I can only find recipies with corn oil. Do you know what the equivalent of this is for us in the UK ? can we use a sunflower oil?
    Thanks
    Jayne

  8. Kay on May 10th, 2011 5:10 pm

    Jayne, use corn syrup instead of oil. Wow, 80-100, that sounds like work, but FUN work! :) That will be beautiful on the cake! And congratulations to your daughter!

  9. Kim on May 17th, 2011 3:44 pm

    Do you have to use chocolate chips? I would like to make red roses. Can I use red chocolate wafers?

  10. Kay on May 17th, 2011 3:54 pm

    Awesome idea, Kim! I don’t know if it will or won’t work, but I’m going to try it! :)

  11. UMM on June 6th, 2011 6:01 am

    HOW LONG DO THESE KEEP IN THE FREEZER AND HOW LONG TO THAW

Back again, with a few pictures…

Posted on July 31, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions

It was a wonderful trip. Lexi and Tiffany travelled well. And if it wouldn’t’ve been for the gum episode (where Tiffany took it out of her mouth and was playing with it and it got on her carseat and the floor and on Shannon’s computer case) and the cappuccino episode (where I actually dropped mine and caught it upside down and had to wash up part of the area in and around the cup holders), we’d have had an uneventful trip, disaster-wise.

The wedding was beautiful… have you ever seen one that wasn’t?! It was pink and brown w aqua accents. Here are some food-related pictures from the reception…

The cake. Neat, huh?
wedding1.jpg

As we entered the reception hall, there was a table with a chocolate fountain and fruit and pretzels and marshmallows and also a punch table that we stopped at before being seated. I don’t have a good picture of those tables, but here’s my plate from it…
wedding2.jpg

Decor on the guest tables was little cups filled with mini buckeyes and tied shut with tulle and ribbons and there were tea lights sitting on top of coffee bean filled votive candle holders. They looked really neat. Some people were actually munching on the coffee beans. I love the chocolate covered ones, but never ate one plain!
wedding3.jpg

The meal was chicken sandwiches, baked beans, chips, and macaroni salad (I think, for some reason I’m having a hard time remembering the salad and I don’t have any pictures of the main meal part). Good food! My b-b-qued chicken sandwich was great!

The dessert area. Instead of the usual cake and ice cream, they had an impressive display of desserts. Cheesecakes, cookies, chocolate roll, trifles, bars, cakes, fruit pizza… Just delicious! It was so hard to choose from…
wedding6.jpg

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And the bridal table, beautifully decorated…
wedding4.jpg

Comments

7 Responses to “Back again, with a few pictures…”

  1. Rene on July 31st, 2008 10:33 am

    Kay — could you send me some of that cheesecake?!? That looks great!! My friend is a cake decorator at a local German bakery in our little town and they have been making cakes like that one lately too. They have a really cute one on display that looks like hay bales with a farm themed bride and groom on top. It has little tractors and animals sitting on each of the tiers. I’ll have to go over and get a pic. I love going over there but when I’m on a diet (like all the time) it’s dangerous!

    Welcome back and just to let you know I started my own recipe blog (http://cookingwithwingsaway.blogspot.com) and I linked to your site and said a little something about you. You’ve inspired me to spend more time in my kitchen — something I’m sure my family is very grateful about!

  2. lisa on July 31st, 2008 10:40 am

    i love the cake, except the black curly things don’t quite seem to fit. picture it with just the daisy on the top layer. and maybe a few daisys on top. better, right? =) the coffee beans, the chocolate fountain, the DESSERT TABLE-so neat! looks like a fabulous wedding!

  3. Michelle on July 31st, 2008 11:04 am

    I love weddings!! I liked the display of desserts!!

  4. Michelle on July 31st, 2008 11:04 am

    Oh- by the way, Welcome Back!! I missed your daily post.

  5. Angela on July 31st, 2008 2:40 pm

    Hey, that wedding was at my church, wasn’t it? Things were looking familiar there. . . It does look beautiful, and yes, I have seen some weddings that weren’t much to behold!

  6. Kay on July 31st, 2008 3:15 pm

    Rene, good for you on starting your own cooking blog! :)

    Lisa, those things on the top looked great in person… it was chocolate melted, then piped into a design, then stood up on top of the cake. It was brown instead of black. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

    Thanks, Michelle. :)

    Angela, do you go to United Bethel?

  7. Jan on August 1st, 2008 7:42 am

    I agree with whoever thought that daisys would look better on the cake. My first thought was, “No flowers!” But the dessert table!! I wouldn’t be fit to be turned loose with an array like that around, esp. with having to watch my sugar right now. I could eat some cheese cake……NOW!

July 4th follow-up post…

Posted on July 7, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions, Holiday cooking

First off, about the USA jello. I used a jello mold that’s the shape of the US.
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The mold has teeny shallow lines between each state, so to get the different colors effect, I mixed up the blue and red jello, then used a medicine dropper to drop it into the different sections. (I don’t keep a medicine dropper around, I took a bottle of infant Tylenol out of the medicine cabinet, took out the dropper, washed it really good with hot water, used it to color the states, washed it good again, and put it back in the bottle.) In some states, there’s a mixture of both blue and pink. That happened when the dropper dropped before I was over the state I wanted or when I got too much in the state and it went over the little ‘walls’ between each state. It was a little tedious, but I thought it would look a little blah with just all one color on top. After I got all the states filled in, I put 1/2 of the white mixture in, then layered red, white, and blue from there.

To cut the jello, I followed the lines and cut it apart into states (except some of the New England states!). It was kinda nice because then you could pick your size. Lexi was declaring that she was gonna get Florida and that she’d get Wisconsin out for Tiffany. But when I finally gave them the go-ahead to dig in, she saw the size of Texas and changed her mind about Florida. Then, Tiffany wanted the biggest one too, so to save a fight, we suggested California and she was happy with that. They each ate about 1/4 of their piece, then said it was too big. Sigh. I was thinking, “So, then WHY did you guys have to get the biggest pieces?!” but instead I said, “Just wrap them up in Saran wrap and put them in the fridge. You can finish them later.”
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We got together with some friends Friday night and grilled burgers and hot dogs before the fireworks. I made a fruit pizza for dessert. It’s this recipe, but I cut back on the amounts because it wasn’t gonna fill up the whole pan since it was shaped into a rectangle, a flag. Oh, it was so good. I didn’t count how many pieces I ate. Fruit pizza is one thing I crave, especially in the summer.
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I have a few fireworks pictures, but other than that, nothing. I was lounging in my lawnchair thinking, ‘I should go get my camera and take a picture of Shannon grilling and of the kids playing and of the adults talking and capture the party atmosphere around us’ and then as I kept lounging, I lowered my standards and started thinking, “I should at least get my camera and take 4 pictures because that would make a pageful for when I scrapbook this event’, but I just kept sitting there, living the moment instead of capturing it. I actually don’t like taking pictures at social events. BUT the only thing I hate worse than taking pictures is not having pictures, so that’s what drives me to take them. Except for this time.

And with that I leave you with a little fireworks show…

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Comments

7 Responses to “July 4th follow-up post…”

  1. Rene on July 7th, 2008 11:22 am

    Kay — Thanks for the explanation! I was wondering how you did the states!! Great fireworks pics!!

  2. Lisa on July 7th, 2008 11:33 am

    I bet my state would’nt fill anyone up! (Rhode Island!)

  3. Shannon on July 7th, 2008 11:34 am

    To cool. Not sure I’d have the patience to fill all the states in. :) I’d be very hungry for fruit pizza right now too. Might have to make some.

  4. Cordy on July 7th, 2008 12:29 pm

    That fruit pizza almost drives me to my kitchen right now. Oh my, that looks wonderful! I appreciate this blessing on here you give to us so very much – THANK YOU! I did wonder how you keep the bananas nice? Do you dip them in lemon juice? P.S. When Bernice drops you a note…..must tell you she also is a wonderful cook….we’ve had brunches at her place…often celebrating someone’s birthday. She loves to give everything an extra special touch. It is not only a wonderful experince with friends but she gives the whole time we’re together a meaningful start as she lifts our time together to our Lord.
    Isn’t the family of God more than precious!!

  5. Berneice on July 7th, 2008 12:35 pm

    Thanks for clueing us in on your USA finger jello. It looks cloo, but I doubt I will ever try it. Not nearly enough patience on this end :( Fruit pizza looks refreshing too.

  6. Kay on July 7th, 2008 1:08 pm

    Cordy, to keep the bananas nice, I glazed them right away as soon as I put a row of them on. The glaze keeps them from browning for awhile. I made it in the afternoon and the next morning, the bananas on the leftovers were just getting a hint of brown, not too bad, but if you’d make it a day ahead, you’d want to save the bananas to put on later for the freshest look.

    Btw, the ’stars’ on top of the blueberries are just little dollops of Cool Whip.

  7. Denise on July 8th, 2008 8:31 am

    I love fruit pizza, and that flag is just so neat. Also thanks for explaining the USA jello. I was wondering how you did it. With you showing all these neat things it makes me want to thow a July 4th party next year.

It’s Independence Day!

Posted on July 3, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions, Grilling, Holiday cooking

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How are you spending the holiday? …Going out on the lake? …Firing up the grill? …Getting together with family and friends? …Going out to watch fireworks? I don’t specifically remember not watching fireworks any year, but I’m sure there was a year or two missed in there somewhere. When we lived in town, we could see them from our house. Fireworks is what I think of first when I think ‘4th of July’, then I think of my oldest brother (Happy Birthday, Tom!), then I think of grilling and burgers and brats. I know, with having a cooking blog, you’d think grilling and all would be first on my list.

Speaking of grilling, I’m sure we’ll be doing some. Here are some of our favorites:

Hot dogs, our favorites are Ball Park beef franks…
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Brats, it’s gotta be Johnsonville…
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Cheeseburger, this has got to go on the menu this weekend! I’ll have to talk to the guy in charge of grilling around here…
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New York Strip Steak, and please don’t forget the sauteed mushrooms! Mmmmm…4th-new-york-strip.jpg

Rib-Eye Steak done medium, this was melt-in-your-mouth tender, didn’t even need A1 sauce…4th-rib-eye-medium.jpg

Shrimp and mushrooms grilled on skewers, a great appetizer…
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Pork chop sandwich, last but definitely not least! This is the thing out of this whole list that we grill the most. Yup, even more than throwing hot dogs and brats on the grill. Maybe next time we make them, I can remember to get a better picture! They’re easy, at least for me, because all I do is set the table…
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And then I couldn’t let the holiday go by without playing around with my beloved for-any-occassion layered finger jello! It’s a nice side benefit that it tastes good, too.
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Instead of using a 9×13 pan for a batch, I used a large cookie sheet with sides so it wouldn’t get so thick. The red and blue layers each have 2 batches of jello in them and the white layer is all of the white mixture (as opposed to dividing it in thirds). When I cut it into little shapes, it looks better if it’s not so thick.

4th-stars-flipped.jpg And then you can play around with it a little more and makes squares and cut a star out of the middle, flip it over, and put it back into the hole.

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And then you can play around with it a little more and make the United States of America…
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And, being in the spirit of things, this is what I was snacking on just now as I wrote this post…
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Red strawberries, white sugar, and blue blueberries.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Comments

10 Responses to “It’s Independence Day!”

  1. Shannon on July 4th, 2008 7:11 am

    Oh the food looks good. But then it always does here. :) I love that jello, looks too cool in the stars and the states.

  2. Jo on July 4th, 2008 8:46 am

    Did you SERIOUSLY do that map of the U.S. in jello????? I am in complete awe. May I have your autograph? ;-)
    I was going to do layered jello like that to send w/ my husband to OH for their big doin’s tonight…but changed my mind & did a layered jello cake instead. Red on the bottom, blue on the top, iced w/ the old stand-by Cool Whip. So simple…just hope it tastes good! (since I won’t be there to check) Happy 4th!

  3. Marilyn on July 4th, 2008 3:11 pm

    love the finger jello, esp the stars, those are so cool! my kids would love them. Happy 4th of July to you too! :-)

  4. Mary Faith on July 4th, 2008 3:32 pm

    I decided to google “red, white,and blue finger jello” to find a recipe and guess what? The very first site that came up was this one. LOL It took me back to the recipe you had on here. I had forgotten you had the recipe before. So cool. :)

  5. Kay on July 4th, 2008 5:01 pm

    Mary Faith, sorry I didn’t get here to answer your question! Glad you found the answer in the meantime! :) Hope it turns out good for you!

    To get to the recipe from this post, the words “layered finger jello” in bold red up there between the pork chop and the finger jello pictures is a link to the recipe. Also, the names of some of those grilling pictures are in red… those are also links to their respective recipes.

  6. stephanie on July 5th, 2008 7:04 am

    Whoa lady! The United States? How in the world did you do that?
    Love the stars and the whole Ble, Red and White theme who were the lucky recipients of the gourmet atmosphere?

  7. Jan on July 5th, 2008 7:42 am

    Map of the US???I’m in awe. I’m not artistic so I’m always wowed by those who are. The stars are cute, too.
    I also love the photos of the little cooks in the cherry pie post. For some reason, Tiffany just cracks me up! And Lexi looks so grown up in the apron.

  8. Berneice on July 5th, 2008 8:46 pm

    Like the rest. I stand (sorry,I sit) amazed! Did you really do that map? How in the world?? Happy belated 4th

  9. Katie Mast on July 6th, 2008 7:38 am

    Happy July 4th to you. That Map is incrediable. I have a mold for that as well, but never did it like that. How did you do that? I love the star shape idea and the sq. how cool is that! I am making your meat loaf recipe for lunch today, it has become one of our favorites as well.

  10. Mary Faith on July 7th, 2008 12:34 pm

    I did the star shaped finger jello for the weekend. Took it to Cheyenne on Sat. and then again to the carry in yesterday. (I made how many batches on Fri. to make it enough!) It was definitely a big hit both places. I took some of the “scraps” along to Cheyenne and the children ate those quite freely. :) All that’s left here is a few more “scraps”.

Food Ideas for a Baby Shower

Posted on June 10, 2008
Filed Under For special occassions

I just ran across some pictures of a baby shower that I was at recently. So, I’ll post pictures of the food in case anyone needs any ideas if you’re planning one. As I go to more baby showers, I’ll be sure to take pictures of the food and post them. I’d love to post some other pictures too, like of the washline game we played, but I guess I’ll just stick to the food. :)

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This baby carriage was so cute. Someone did a good job on it! baby-shower3.jpg

The girl in the white dress is the new mother-to-be… lookin’ good for 8 months pg! We also had chips and dip, which you can’t really see on any of the pictures.

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This shower was from a couple years ago. We had a baby boom at church and one of them was a first-time mom.
baby-shower5.jpg That fruit pizza was great!

baby-shower7.jpg The ice cream wasn’t out yet on this picture. We also had hot chocolate made with melted candy bars. It was SO good. I need to get that recipe from my friend who made it.

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And I’m also adding a couple pictures of the baby shower that my friends did for me just before Lexi was born 5 1/2 years ago. I don’t have digital pictures of it, I just scanned a page of Lexi’s baby album, so the quality isn’t as good.

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Notice there’s another watermelon baby carriage. That must be THE thing!

What other foods have you seen at or made for baby showers?

Comments

9 Responses to “Food Ideas for a Baby Shower”

  1. Jo on June 10th, 2008 2:04 pm

    We’re having a baby shower for my SIL in July…that baby carriage is a cute idea. Thanks! I’ll be checking back here for other tips.

  2. Monica on June 10th, 2008 2:58 pm

    I just helped with a baby shower at church and we did the “Little Yellow Duckie” theme. We had brushetta, a hot dip, blue and yellow finger jello cut with a duckie cookie cutter, cheese cut into ducks with crackers, mixed fruit with rainbow sherbet, and blue hawaiian punch/7Up with a few yellow duckies floating in it!! Also a yellow duck foil balloon with blue balloons around it (balloon bouquet). We had a lot of fun decorating for it and a lot of compliments, too!!

  3. Monica on June 10th, 2008 2:59 pm

    Forgot to say that the baby carriage is so cute!! I’ll have to remember that for later!!

  4. Kay on June 10th, 2008 3:11 pm

    Monica, that sounds so cute! If I’m ever in charge of a baby shower, that would be a good theme to go with. I love the idea of the ducks floating in the punch. :) And little ducks are easy to find! They’re everywhere!!!

  5. Lois on June 10th, 2008 5:11 pm

    An idea I used for a shower was “Diapers”, and was a hit. We took a square napkin and folded it to look like a diaper, keeping the corners together with a small safety pin. Then filled them with nuts/mints. Oh, we put 2 cho.covered raisin in the bottom, and found a lot of them in the trash later!!+) We had that rubber ducky theme, by accident at this shower too. And it was so cute… But a different twist to the punch was vanilla ice cream on the punch, to look like bubbles. I had a watermellon carriage at my shower too… must be the thing to have.

  6. Mary on June 10th, 2008 6:16 pm

    The watermelon carriage is adorable! Shouldn’t be too hard to make either.

    Diaper cakes are all the rage now too. If you can fold or roll diapers and tie a bow around them that makes a layer. Then just add baby stuff for decorations.

  7. Rene on June 10th, 2008 8:31 pm

    Too cute! I’ve seen watermelon baskets but what a neat idea to make a carriage instead.

  8. fran’s kitchen on June 10th, 2008 9:35 pm

    Wow, I never went to all that work when I helped with baby showers. Ours were boring compared to this. The only food I can ever remember at a baby shower is “chicken salad”. Exciting, huh?

    I hope you get the recipe for that hot chocolate. Sounds wonderful!!

  9. Jo on June 12th, 2008 8:25 pm

    Another idea for the duck theme…my cousin did this for her SIL’s shower…they made little soaps for favors, clear glycerin w/ a tiny ducky inside. Then they attached a card that said, “Thanks for ‘showering’ with us!” Love the pun! :-)