Friday, September 13, 2013

Bread Pudding French Toast

Bread Pudding French Toast. You may ask what is so special about that?  Well this was a celebratory meal that I made for my daughter when I was staying with her after the birth of our first grand baby. I stayed for a little over a week making breakfast, lunch and dinner for her and my son-in-law. This breakfast was actually day two since day one was bread pudding with maple syrup.  So to mix things up and not waste anything, I decided instead of simple left over bread pudding, I'd french toast it up a bit.  Luckily for me, and for the kiddos, it worked!
For this recipe, I'll give you my bread pudding recipe first. Generally I just use what ever I have in the refrigerator, sometimes putting fruit inside of it too.   And then day two, is where you'll turn it into the recipe below. Super easy!  It's two meals in one really.
Day 1~ Bread Pudding:
10 slices of bread ripped or cut into small pieces.   About 6-7 cups of bread pieces. (I used wheat and white bread for mine and that's why you'll see the marbelization.
2 cups milk
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp sugar to sprinkle
Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. Put bread pieces in a bowl.
 Beat milk, eggs, vanilla and 1/2 c. sugar in a bowl until mixed well. Pour over bread and quickly stir to coat all pieces.

 Pour into loaf pan, sprinkle with tsp sugar and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25  minutes until starting to brown.  Broil the top of the loaf for 3 minutes to get a nice crispy top.
 Serve half of the loaf with maple syrup reserving the other half for day two.  Cover and refrigerate second half.
Serves two ( with left overs for day two. )
Day 2~ Bread Pudding French Toast with berry coulis:
Reserved Half loaf Bread Pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh berries
1/8 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch or vanilla pudding mix mixed into 1 Tbs water.
Over medium heat, spray pan with cooking spray, add berries and cook and stir until they start to break down, about 6-8 minutes.  Once berries are sauce-like, add water, vanilla, sugar and stir well.  Pour mixture into a mesh sieve fitted over a bowl and push mixture gently with the back of a spoon to release the juice into the bowl. Toss out left over seeds.  Pour juice back into the pan. Over medium heat, once heated, add cornstarch mix to juice and whisk until it starts thickening slightly.  You want a thick but pourable consistency. Turn off heat and set aside.  Mixture will thicken more as it stands.
In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla. Slice bread pudding.
Dip Bread Pudding slices into the egg mixture. Coat both sides and cook over med-high heat over stove on a hot griddle or pan sprayed with cooking spray until nice and brown.

Serve with powdered sugar and drizzled with berry coulis.
Happy Making, Eating and Celebrating~

Vodka Worms

Halloween is fast approaching. It's time to get out all the fun, cute, adorable or like me, break out the creepy costumes and recipes. Well last year, I did just that and created a gelatin worm recipe, this one for adults, to really creep out the party guests. I walked around the room inviting friends to try one of my worms. First of all, most were creeped out by my costume and second, by the worms.  But I had quite a few takers.  At the end of the night, I had some of those not willing to partake come up to me begging for a try.  I was laughing when I realized that most party attendees thought they were real worms that had been vodka soaked.  It was so funny because I never really thought people would think they were real even though I tried to achieve the most real look I could. And apparently...they looked real, almost too real!

Vodka Worms:
(These can also be made kid friendly by omitting the vodka and adding more water
1 pack (3 oz) raspberry jello
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cups boiling water
1/3 cup vodka
a few drops of green food coloring
50 flexible straws plus or minus, depending on your jar
A tall jelly jar. The taller your jar, the longer your worms will be.

Combine the jello and gelatin in bowl and add boiling water. Let it cool to lukewarm, add whipping cream, vodka and green food coloring, a drop at a time until the mixture resembles that of an earth worm.
Put your straws in the jelly jar or similar tall jar or container. Make sure the jar is packed with the straws and make sure the flex is pulled on them. That's what gives the realistic look to your worms.

Pour the worm mixture over the straws and let it set until firm in the refrigerator. Give at least an hour until they are firm. To remove worms from the straws, let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes and squeeze them out by pinching down the straw as you go. You can also hold the straws under warm water and the worms will slip out but it can be a bit messy since your worms may get slightly wet and sticky.

Enjoy! And please eat responsibly.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Junior Minted Cheesecake Ball

It's apparent that I have a large family. Why? Because every few days I'm blogging about party food, cakes and celebrations.  Yes, I have a  family that keeps me busy with Party planning and baking like crazy. But Gosh, I love 'em for that.  It keeps me on my toes and it gives me the opportunity to come up with lots of new and fun recipes.  And yesterday was my nephew Ryan's Birthday party so I was in the mode of making.
Last year I had fun creating a Cheesecake Ball that tastes just like a Tootsie Roll. I used a little packet by the Duncan Hines company called "Frosting Creations."  Gosh I love how many of those flavor packs I've used to not only flavor my frosting, but I've used in cakes, cream cheese, chocolate and Popcorn.  Here's my plug...Go buy them, they're great!  Recently, one thing lead to another and since Junior mints are my all time favorite movie food, I came up with the idea to take my Tootsie Rolled Cheesecake Ball, tweak it and make a recipe for a Junior Mint one too.   Trust me, I couldn't make it quick enough.  What I really really like about this party food now that I've made it is that I cannot wait until Christmas since this peppermint flavored Cheesecake ball is going to fit in with all my holiday parties!  This flavorful Junior Mints appetizer was just like having Christmas in September.  I'm in Love! Oh, and Merry early Christmas...

Junior Minted Cheesecake Ball

2 blocks chilled cream cheese
1  Duncan Hines Frosting Creations peppermint stick packet (seasonal so get them when you can!)
4 oz pack Junior mint candy
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. chilled butter
1- 1/2 cup chocolate chips


With a mixer, cream sugars, butter, frosting creations peppermint packet and cream cheese until fluffy . Add Junior mints and mix just until they start to break up. 

Divide into two portions and scrape into the middle of pieces of plastic wrap.  ( I first tried foil here with out thinking about balling it up. Don't use foil.)
Gather up the sides tight so your mixture forms into the shape of a ball. Secure with a tight ribbon or rubber band so your ball holds its shape and chill it in the refrigerator for all least 8 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to coat your Cheesecake ball, in a large bowl, microwave chocolate chips for about 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.  Place unwrapped Chilled Cheesecake balls on a piece of foil or a wire rack.  Drizzle with chocolate until coated.  You can even coat the bottom of your Cheesecake ball if you'd like.   Your ball with instantly harden and is ready to serve. If you used foil, once hardened, you can cut off and trim the excess pieces of chocolate at the bottom with a hot knife. 
Serve with an assortment of cookies.

Oh so very minty and yummy!  As if I wasn't already obsessed with Junior Mints, now I have a great big Junior Mint gracing my kitchen counter... or at least until I eat it all!

Check out my Tootsie Rolled Cheesecake Ball here for another tasty recipe:

Happy Celebrating~

Monday, September 9, 2013

Baseball Cake

Today was my son-in-law Tommy's Birthday.  Since I'm the go-to-girl for cakes, my daughter asked me to make Tommy, a die hard Angel's fan, a baseball cake.  She gave me complete freedom to do whatever.  After thinking about it awhile, I decided on a smaller cake with cupcakes. I like the way it turned out and there was more than enough cake for about 30 plus people. This cake was a celebration all itself.

Baseball cake
A few items you'll need:
red food coloring paste writing gel
fine water color type paint brush
Green food coloring
Square pan and half of a ball pan
Decorator frosting (about 8 cups worth)
White fondant
3 cake mixes

Bake cakes. I used 3 boxes of Duncan Hines Chocolate cake mix to quickly make my cakes. For my square, I used 1 1/2  boxes of the mix.
For the half round, I used less than half of the cake mix. And for the cupcakes, I used the remainder of the cake mix.

After cakes were cooled, I did a scratch coat of frosting on my round cake.  I cut and filled my square cake and did a scratch coat.  I rolled out a thin layer of fondant and placed it over my round cake.  I gently pushed the fondant around my cake making it nice and smooth and then cut of the excess.

I tinted some of my frosting green and frosted my square cake. Here I added the round fondant cake to the top. 
I took a little bit of my red writing icing and added a drop of water to it.  I mixed it in a bowl.  For this, I made sure the consistency was still thick but thin enough to paint with.  I didn't want any drips or running.

I painted on a long line with the red color and then added the stitches.

Once both sides of the ball were complete, I added more green frosting to the cake with a Wilton tip #233. I wanted that grassy field look.

Wilton tip#233 
 And now my cake's complete and ready to party!


This is what makes it all worth it!

Happy Baking and celebrating and of course...eating!


Cake Tip

Have you ever taken the time to bake a cake but when you go to flip it out of the pan, part of it, most of the times the important part of it, doesn't come out because it sticks to your pan? Trust me, been there, done that!  
Years ago I took a cake decorating class.  I learned many tips, some good and some that are no longer valid today since it's 20 years later.  But of the ones that stuck, here is one I practice every time I bake in a round, square, rectangle  or flat surfaced pan. If you're a lot like me, then this tip's for you.  And you don't have to spend months in a cake class or spend the bucks to take the class either.  So enjoy and bake away.
Tip~ How to have a baked cake perfectly fall out of a pan.
1) The first thing you'll need is paper towels.  Make sure they're a nice quality paper towel, thick and not flimsy.
2) Trace the outside of your pan with a pen.  If it's a spring form pan, trace the inside with the middle removed.
3) Once traced, cut it out but make sure you cut the pen tracing off so your paper towel is pen free.

4) Spray the sides only of your pan but don't worry about over spray on the bottom. 

5) Place your cut out paper towel into the pan. Fill with cake batter and bake.
6) Once cool, use a knife to loosen the sides and your cake will pop right out.  Gently grasp edge of the paper towel and peel off slowly.  Your cake is ready to frost and doesn't have missing parts or isn't greasy to the touch. Voila!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lady Bug Baby Shower

Babies. They're simply magical.  Even better yet today, even before a baby is born, it seems that baby showers are the icing on the cake and are the start of something wonderful to come.  With the rise of facebook, pinterest and bloggers, ideas are not only easy to come by, but there are some many things out there to make a shower completely gorgeous and magical without having to pay thousands of dollars for it.  So if you love crafting, making and planning, then events can be a beautiful breeze with a few ideas from those who have been there or done that.
I had the pleasure of helping style a bit of this shower that I attended a few weeks ago.  I was so excited that the mommy-to-be was going with a lady bug theme. Two months ago I had thrown a shower for my daughter and our theme was Princess Pink so I was thrilled with the dramatic color change to red, black and yellow.   Here are a few pictures that I took from the shower and I hope if you are going with Lady bug shower or even birthday party someday, that this can inspire you.  Blessings~

The momma-to-be and her lovely momma. They did a fabulous job at putting this beautiful shower together.
Here are some flags that were made to put pops of color around the room and over the dessert table. I had found some vintage black polka dot and red sunflower material in an old material suitcase I have in my shed. It was perfect for this styling and turned out so cute.

Red Crepe paper flowers were hung with black polka dot ribbon.  More cuteness.

There were lady bugs everywhere!

These adorable cupcakes were made by a friend of the momma-to-be as a gift to her. One thing I regret is not snagging one of these cuties before I left!  I would have loved to have tried it. Darling!

Long pieces of red fabric and white fabric was hung almost to the ceiling to achieve this look.  The homemade flags were hung in front of it and the cute lady bug balloons popped color so well.  The table skirt was made by tying the center of long pieces of toile, these pieces were red and white toile, to a ribbon that was made to fit a 8 ft table. The ribbon went around the front of the table and wrapped the sides for a cute finished look. They had a nice simple candy buffet with red and yellow candies, added a bit of confetti to the black table cloth and a beautiful shower was born.

I had to take a close up of this cute cake, also made by mommy-to-be's friend. So sweet, so cute.  The top had daddy-to-be's name on it, mommy-to-be's on the bottom and beautiful baby-to-be, Ella's in the middle.

Here is a link to my daughter's shower if you'd like to see the similarities and how a color change can give totally different perspective to the same sort of look.

Happy Making, Baking, Eating and Celebrating~

Reese's Puff & Biscoff Marshmallow Treats

I made the most amazing thing.  I could actually stop right here, you could just look at the pictures and salivate if you are a Marshmallow and Peanut Butter junky like me. But just for fun's sake, I'm going to continue on.
My oldest daughter and son-in-law just had my first grand baby.  Her name is Scarlett and she's a beauty.  Oh my gosh I could eat her up every day!  I'm in love.  So after she was born, I stayed with them for almost two weeks (my son-in-law said he was jipped because I promised a full two weeks.  I told him to fear not, Nonna Kimberly would be back to make it up to him.) While I was there, I was going through their pantry and trying to come up with meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts.  Talk about a dream job...making food all day while holding grand baby.  Yes, we're talking heavenly here. Well, in their pantry was Reese's Puff Cereal and lots of marshmallows.  While I was at the market, I had picked up a jar of my favorite peanut butter, Biscoff Butter, and the marriage between Biscoff, Marshmallow and Reese's Puff Cereal was born. Nuff said, let's get on with the recipe.
Reese's Puff & Biscoff Marshmallow Treats
1 box Reese's Puff Cereal
7 Tbs butter or margarine
1 standard bag of marshmallows
2 Tbs Biscoff Butter
Over medium heat, melt butter in a large pan.  Add marshmallows and stir until they have melted. Remove from heat, mix in Biscoff Butter and stir well.  Add Cereal and stir until all the cereal is coated and it starts to form what looks like spider webs. This mixture will be thick with Marshmallowy goodness.  I put my cereal in a large roaster type pan that I had sprayed with cooking spray.  Done!  Let sit on counter for a couple of hours to firm up.  If it's hot in your kitchen, place in the refrigerator for about 10 more minutes to firm up.  Enjoy, enjoy...enjoy!  I sure did.

Happy Baking, Making and Eating~