"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas Pie

I just finished reading White Christmas Pie by Wanda Brunstetter.  You can visit my other blog bodaciousbookworms.blogspot.com for the book review.  I had to try the recipe at the back of the book, it is like eating a cloud.  It is a pudding, whipped cream, meringue and coconut all mixed together in one pie.  It is delicious.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

White Christmas Pie
1 tablespoon Knox gelatin (I used one packet)
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sugar, divided
4 tablespoons flour (you can substitute oat flour to make it gluten free)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk (I used raw milk)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup whipped cream, whipped until stiff
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup flaked coconut
2 (9 inch) baked pie shells

In small bowl, soak gelatin in cold water; set aside.  In saucepan, mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour salt, and milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for one minute; remove from heat.  Stir in softened gelatin.  Cool.  When partially set, beat until smooth.  Blend in vanilla, almond extract, and whipped cream.  In separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.  Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  Fold into gelatin mixture; then fold in flaked coconut.  Divide equally into baked pie shells.  If desired, sprinkle with additional flaked coconut.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

This recipe is definitely a keeper.  I love Amish desserts!
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fruitcake and Sculpted Dog

I've had the flu for two weeks so I am very behind on my Christmas baking!  I haven't even started on my on my cookies yet!  This last weekend I made my first sculpted dog cake.  She was supposed to look like their pet dog Cocoa, but I was not able to achieve a realistic look without using fondant.  I think she is cute, she's just not what I had pictured in my head.
I was up until midnight last night making my fruitcakes.  I must say, I think this is my best batch yet!  I got the recipe for "Prize Fruitcake" from my step mom, who got it from her mom, who got it from her mom. I am the only who makes it in the family now.  I do not like store bought fruitcake anymore.  If you have never had a homemade fruitcake and don't think you like fruitcake, well just try this!  My husband claimed he hated fruitcake, until he had mine.  Now he is disappointed if it does not get made!

 Prize Fruitcake
 I'm going to give you the original recipe and give you my "changes" in parenthesis
1/2 box seeded raisins (3 cups, soak in grape juice overnight to plump or boil in water about 30 min.)
1/2 lb candied citron
1/4 lb candied orange peel
1/4 lb candied lemon peel  (since you can't find the citron, lemon peel and orange peel anymore, I use about 1 lb of fruitcake mix instead)
1/4 lb candied cherries, leave whole  (I get the 8 oz. package of red and green, save some for the top)
1/2 lb pitted dates (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 lb candied pineapples (I put in a whole 8 oz package)
1/2 lb walnuts, shelled (These are cheapest at Costco or in the bulk section)

* Find your biggest bowl and mix all the fruit and nuts together.

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves (If you don't already have all of these spices - go to your bulk section to get them)

* Sift into a bowl, then use a whisk to mix it all together.

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 dozen eggs
1/4 cup fruit juice (Marge always used OJ, I usually use grape)

*Prepare fruits and nuts.  (cut up dates and nuts).  Leave nuts in good size pieces.  Mix flour, salt, baking powder and spices and sift 3x. ( I sift once, then use my whisk to finish mixing))  Sift about half this mixture over the fruits and work to separate.  (This is why a big bowl is important, you need room to mix).
Cream butter and sugar together, keeping light.  Add well beaten eggs, then juice, flour and fruit mixture.  (I used the juice left over from soaking my raisins and added just a little more then a 1/4 cup total.)  Pour into well buttered pans.  Grease pan (my step mom always uses shortening), then line with brown paper (either parchment paper or brown paper sacks work.  Be sure the whole pan is lined.), then grease again.  Fill about 3/4 full (I add extra green and red cherries and half walnuts on top for prettiness) and bake in a slow oven at 275° for 2 1/2 hours for a tube pan.  Loaf pans will get done sooner, approximately two hours.

I baked 3 loaf pans and 8 mini loaf pans.  Let cool, then remove from pans.  Fruitcake is best if you let it rest for a while after baking, 2-6 weeks.  Although I ate some for lunch today (Made them last night), and it was wonderful!  So you can wait or not.  It's your choice!  After your fruit cakes have cooled down be sure to wrap each one in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, then put in a Ziploc baggie to seal in the freshness and to help the flavors meld together.

I don't think any Christmas is complete without a homemade fruitcake, so enjoy! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Texas Baker's Bill

I wanted to discuss something important today, and that is the Texas Baker's Bill.  I am terrible at political stuff so I went to the lady who is pushing to get the bill passed.  I asked Kelley Masters if she would guest blog for me about the bill, which she did and much more.  Be sure to read this and pass it on to your friends.  We need a lot of help to get this bill passed.

"I love to bake. In fact, I’ve loved it ever since I can remember. One of my favorite childhood memories is standing a dining room chair at the kitchen counter so I could “help” with dinner by stirring the cornbread batter. I was always the one who could be counted on to bring dessert to the family gatherings. When my husband’s cousin was getting married in 2005, she called me and asked me to make her groom’s cake. This threw me into a bit of a dither – I didn’t know how to decorate a cake, I only knew how to make them delicious! So I signed up for a series of cake decorating classes that I could complete before her wedding date.
Little did I know that taking a “practice” cake to church, or to a child’s birthday party, was the equivalent of handing out business cards. When people saw a decorated cake, it was almost as if they had found buried treasure: “You do cakes?! “ Soon my phone was ringing with orders, even though the last thing I had planned was to start a cake decorating business. But I enjoyed it, people seemed to like my cakes, and I could earn extra income as a stay-home mom. As the mother of a rambunctious 2-year-old boy, this was very important to me.
Because I’m the kind of person who likes to dot her i’s and cross her t’s, I figured that I’d better make this whole venture legal. So I spent a frustrating day on the phone with various State and County Health Departments, until I got the answer that I hadn’t even considered could be possible: It is not legal to sell home-prepared food of any kind, and therefore impossible to obtain a license for a home bakery.
I was crushed. It seemed like all my life I’d heard stories of women who earn extra money by decorating cakes or selling other types of baked items. I tried gamely to play by the State’s “rules”. I arranged for use of a local restaurant’s kitchen. It was so unclean that I would sometimes come home crying. I did not want to sell cakes that I made there. I even called the Health Department to inquire about their latest inspection reports, but found they scored very high. When I told the Health Department Rep that it was dirty, she responded, "of course it gets dirty, they're making food in there." I then moved to a rental commercial kitchen, but it also had some cleanliness issues, it was expensive (paid by the hour), and very inconvenient, because the only time I could go was after my son was asleep.
So I gave up my dream of owning a little cake business. But at the same time, as I became more active in the online cake decorating community, I learned that there ARE other states that have “cottage food laws” that allow people to legally sell food made at home. I was consumed with learning about their regulations. What quirk of logic dictated that a homemade cake in Ohio was perfectly safe for consumption, but a homemade cake in Texas was, in the words of my Health Department Rep, “contaminated”?
I started a letter-writing campaign to our Texas Representatives and Senators, and I began calling the regulators in other states. My critical question: “How many incidences or complaints of food-borne illness do you get from these home bakeries?” The answer was unanimous: Very few, or none at all. My phone calls confirmed what I already knew in my heart. Homemade cakes and cookies don’t make people sick. These foods are called non-potentially hazardous foods, which is a fancy term for saying that they have a low enough water content and high enough acid content that they don’t support the growth of dangerous bacteria. Think of it this way: you don’t keep a chocolate chip cookie in the refrigerator. It doesn’t spoil if you leave it on the counter. It might get hard and stale, but it won’t mold.
The current food law in Texas says that no “food establishment” can be operated from a residence. The law assumes that a home cannot be kept clean enough to serve safe food to the public. There is just one problem with this line of thinking: where did you eat today? Where did you eat yesterday? Did you serve your kids the same food? Did anybody have to rush to the hospital with food poisoning? According to the Public Hearing testimony of the Health Department’s own resource witness, 80% of food poisoning cases originate from commercial facilities. Why, then, the hysteria over homemade food?
Our letter-writing campaign started to have some impact, and in 2009, State Rep Dan Gattis introduced the Cottage Food Production Act, HB 3282. HB3282 attempted to give home bakers a way to start a small business safely in their home. It provided that the cottage food operator would register with the State, and obtain a safe food handling permit. That the only foods sold would be non-potentially hazardous. That the foods sold would be labeled “Home Produced”, and may only be sold directly to consumers; in other words, they would not be able to be re-sold at a grocery store or coffee shop. This put the power of choice in the consumer’s hands. Those who did not feel comfortable purchasing from a home baker would still be able to go to the licensed bakery of their choice. But those who do choose to purchase from a home baker could be assured of some level of training and responsibility.
HB3282 was voted unanimously out of committee, but in a session with over 5,000 bills filed and very few bills getting read, it eventually died on the calendar with hundreds of others when it was not read by the end of the session.
In a society that values freedom and entrepreneurship, a cottage food law is both necessary and moral. The idea that home-prepared food, properly prepared and labeled, is a danger to the public, is the antithesis of freedom and all that it stands for. The law would give Texas citizens a way to begin a safe, legal home business, with a minimum of startup costs. Homemakers would be able to contribute to the family income without having to put children in daycare. Retirees could supplement their limited incomes. And, as has happened in other states, some cottage food operators will be successful and find that demand exceeds the capacity of their home’s kitchens. They will move up to larger commercial operations, knowing that they have a proven, viable business.
We are preparing for the 2011 Legislative Session! The cottage food bill is again in the drafting stages in Austin. If you would like to help this bill get passed in 2011, please give “The Baker’s Bill” a “like” on Facebook! This page is the best way to stay in touch as the bill works its way through the system. The most important thing you can do is stay in touch with your State Representative’s Office. They are elected to serve the will of their constituents, but they don’t know what you want unless you tell them! Go to http ://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.usand enter your home address to find out who represents you in Austin. Be aware that all State Representatives are up for re-election in November, 2010, so you may get a new Rep in November. Call your State Rep and tell them that the cottage food bill is currently being drafted (reference HB3282 from the 2009 session). Tell them what the bill would mean to you, and ask them to keep an eye out for it when it is filed. After it is actually filed, there will be more calls to make, letters to write, and more you can do to help us pass this piece of legislation that would improve the lives of so many Texans who have the talent and desire to begin a legal home-based business.

Thanks, Missy, for inviting me to guest blog about something I’m so passionate about!

Who Represents Me--Home

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fyi.legis.state.tx.us%2F&h=b2d57Share  "

Thank you Kelley, that is great!  If anyone has any questions be sure to ask so I can pass them on to Kelley for answers.  I would be interested in hearing what some of the laws in other states and countries are, so be sure to share!

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake

As ya'll know, I am running behind on all of my posts, so this one is from Thanksgiving, but is also great for Christmas!  When my husband said that he needed something for the Thanksgiving potluck at work, I knew I needed to make Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, but I couldn't find my recipe anywhere.  My facebook friend, Brenda, gave me this recipe and it was great!  It's a cross between cake and muffin, but very moist.

1 Can (16 oz.) pumpkin (about 2 cups)
2 Cups sugar (I used organic sugar)
1 Cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Cups flour (I used organic, unbleached flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
(I also added:  1 tsp ginger and 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/2 tsp. salt

  Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  In large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and beat until well blended.  Pour into a greased 15" x 10" baking pan, or cupcake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick.  Cool

Her recipe calls for a cream cheese frosting, but I used IMBC (Italian Meringue Buttercream) instead with a couple of dashes of cinnamon added.  I then sprinkled the top with cinnamon, I didn't have time to decorate the cake so they had cupcakes instead.

I am now taking orders for my fruitcake.  It is $5 for a miniloaf or $15 for a standard size loaf.  Be sure to order now to reserve your loaf!

Happy Baking,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cranberry/Apple Relish

It has been so long since I have had time to blog!  I went to my mom's for two weeks, then was sick when I got home, then was helping my neighbor who was on bed rest while trying to get my house back in order.  I'm sure there are other people who struggle with housecleaning.  It just does not come naturally and then when I get behind I get so over whelmed that I don't know where to start.  The only two rooms left are my office and bedroom!  YEAH!  I also got two new kittens!  I have several interviews and posts from the Oklahoma Cake Show to share and several new recipes.  I'm excited to get back to my blogging!
On a whim I decided to make fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, I have always eaten the canned cranberry sauce, always preferred the can, but I wanted something different this year.  I was also going to make from scratch rolls but forgot to make them in the morning so they would have time to rise - made popovers instead.  I found two recipes I liked and combined them together and this is the recipe I came up with:
1 bag (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries
2 apples peeled and finely chopped (I used my Pampered Chef Chopper)
2 cups apple cider or juice
2 cups sugar (If using palm sugar do not skimp or it will be sour)
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (I found this in the bulk section at the grocery store)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1.  In a 3 qt saucepan, combine cranberries, apples, apple cider and sugar; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, add ginger and cloves.  Simmer until most of the cranberries have burst, about 30 minutes or more.
2.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.  Serve warm or chilled.  If you let it chill for a day or two it will gel up some.

Refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.

I hosted my sewing circle Tuesday and needed to provide the lunch.  I used my relish to make turkey salad sandwiches and they turned out great!  We re-ulpholsterd my rocking chair and Chrystal and Susan helped me with a new pattern for an apron I made for an apron swap.  To make the sandwiches cut up some leftover turkey, add a lot of relish(to cover?) a bar of cream cheese and a big spoonful, about 1/2 cup, of plain yogurt.  Mix it all up and serve between bread.  I think I'll add pecans next time.  It was delicious!

Here is a picture of the apron, I put the pocket too far back and you can't see it.  The green material has sugar cookies and gingerbread men on it, the red and white is peppermints, I made the pocket solid red with a green stripe.  I love this apron!  LOL

Thursday, October 7, 2010

OSSAS 2010 Articles

For some reason blogger will not let me post any pictures today, I am going out of town tomorrow though.  I'm going to have my husband put all of my pictures on a disk for me and I will post them all next week.  Sorry about that, I wanted to get as much done as I could, meanwhile here is an article about the Cake Show you will find interesting.

This one has the top six cakes:

Edna De la Cruz posted a video of the cakes:

I promise to get more posted next week while I am visiting my mom!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

OSSAS 2010 Winners

I got to go to the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show at the Tulsa State Fair in Oklahoma this weekend.  I had a blast!  Yes, that is me sitting on the front row during one of the demonstrations.  There were a lot of people, cakes and information!


 The work on the cakes was magnificent and I got to meet a lot of new people, even some celebrities!  Between my husband and I, we took 1,127 pictures!  It has taken me two days to get all of the pictures downloaded, edited, sorted into separate folders and the cakes "watermarked".  Kerry Vincent asked that I put OSSAS on the cake pictures to prevent people from claiming them as their own.  I think a person who would do that has absolutely no integrity or talent.
Chef Richard Ruskell and Chef Alan Shotts were there giving demonstrations on chocolate and sugar, they will each have their own post with all the fun tidbits I learned from them - and of course lots of pictures!  Alan Richardson and Karen Tack from Hello Cupcake were also there giving demos and they hosted a cupcake competition.  They will also have their own post.  I have a couple of interviews set up from some ladies who entered the competition also. 
The theme this year was mansions and monasteries and I thought everyone was going to have to make exact replicas of the buildings.  I was pleasantly surprised when I got there and realized that each artist was able to pick a mansion or monastery and their own interpretation of that building.  These people probably spent all year designing and practicing making their cakes.  They were gorgeous and the work was precise and exquisite.  Now why don't we talk about what everybody has been waiting for?  Who won the National Grand Wedding Cake Competition?  There were five winners and a grand prize winner.  My pictures of the award ceremony did not turn out great because of where I was sitting and the lighting.
In fifth place is Dawn Parrot from Texas and she called her cake "Heaven to Earth".


 I took several close ups so you can see the details of the cakes.


 Notice how perfect the molding and crown are?

Our fourth place winner is Rachel Snyder from Missouri.

Notice how she used rocks as part of her cake base?  That really added to the cake!

 Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them.  Notice the exquisite string work?

Our third place winner is Mercedes Strachwsky from Florida.  Her cake is called "Reflections of Love"

Talk about attention to detail!  Notice the potted plant and the bridge?  The grass looks real!

Notice the garden arch with the perfect tiny roses and shrubs?  Look at the corners of the moldings too.

Here is a back view and front view of the cake.  In the judging process even the table coverings make a difference!

Rebecca Sutterby from Kansas won second place.

 The gumpaste flowers look so real!

Edith Hall from Missouri won first place.

 Look at that amazing gold string work, it looks like thread!

The grand prize winner is Flora Aghababyan from Las Vegas!

Kerry Vincent designed the trophy, it is huge!  It was beautiful in person!

Can you believe the hand painted details and brush embroidery work?  It's amazing!

The first place winner won over $9,000 and over $600 worth of prizes.  The grand prize winner won over $12,000 and over $6,000 worth of stuff.    I did think it was funny that they won cake decorating videos, the type that I need. 
Be sure to click and become a follower of my blog (on one of the side bars) so that you don't miss any of the posts.  I will post the rest of the pictures of the main competition tomorrow, and the rest of the cakes and highlights over the next few weeks.
I will enter a cake next year, just not in the main competition.  The theme for next year is "Wedding Cakes Rock".  The competitors need to design the best, most awesome wedding cake ever made.  I do want to try my hand at one of the lesser categories.  It should be fun!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crisp Meringues with Whipped Cream

It's my friend Ebbye's birthday and she has been asking me for a year to make this for her, but I either lost or forgot to write down the ingredients. I found a similar recipe to guide me and just switched a few ingredients and amounts around.

Crisp Meringues

Take a small salad plate and trace circles on a piece of parchment paper. Invert the parchment papers onto two separate sheet pans. Preheat the oven to 200°. Have all ingredients at room temperature(I have found that it is easier to separate eggs while they are cold, but they whip up better at room temp.)

6 large egg whites
1/2 cup thot not sugar (you can use granulated sugar and if you want it sweeter use 3/4 cup, but it was just right)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond meal (this is finely ground almonds, you can substitute 1/2 cup chopped almonds or pistachios, or even pecans)
Whip the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until frothy.

Gradually add the sugar and cream of tartar, I did a tablespoon at a time.

Fold the nuts, vanilla, and almond extract (if using a different nut, omit the almond extract).  I found that the extracts did not distribute evenly, so they probably need to be added first.

Gently place the meringue into a pastry bag with a #805 tip, or cut a big hole in a plastic baggie. Pipe out the circles, filling in each circle with a spiral into the center. If there are holes, just smooth the meringue over them. Bake for 2 hrs, or until totally crispy. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon to allow the meringues to cool slowly to help avoid breakage.   I layer the meringues with whipped cream.  Fill and assemble the meringues immediately so they do not lose their crispness.  This is also delicious with shaved chocolate in the layers on top of the whipped cream and you can also cover it with ganache then frost with Italian Meringue Buttercream.  You can also freeze it and eat it frozen, which I have not tried.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 tbl thot not, palm or cane sugar (I put the cream and sugar int the mixing bowl and chill for at least 30 min. to dissolve the sugar)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whip until stiff, do not over whip or under whip.  It will leave peaks in the whipped cream.

Here is a picture of one I made with chopped nuts instead last year.

As you can see, I have a very small kitchen to work with!  LOL
Have fun baking, these are easier to make then you think!!  If you have nut allergies, omit the nuts!

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Psalm 34:8