Wednesday, April 15, 2015

March's Cookie Trial ::. Magic Cake

For the month of March, I didn't come across a cookie that I particularly wanted to make... but I DID find the Magic Cake that looked pretty cool.... so I gave that a shot instead.



The gist of the Magic Cake  is that it is one batter that magically creates 3 layers when baked. I think I got 2 layers pretty solidly... but only like a millimeter of a 3rd layer; but the flavor was great!! Also, the recipe I followed said to bake it until the top was golden brown for 40-70 minutes (which, by the way... is QUITE a difference in time). So I baked mine until golden brown (just over 40 min) and took it out. It was a little jiggly in the middle, but I figured that since this was sort of custard-ish that it might firm up when cooled....
Looking golden on top... in my opinion
...  it didn't. So I lost the middle of my cake. But oh well.

In doing further research, after the fact, I saw that many recipes said to make sure your melted butter had cooled before adding it in... I did not, so maybe that was one issue I had.

MAGIC CAKE
src: Jo Cooks
INGREDIENTS4 eggs (separate yolks from whites) at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
125 g (1 stick or ½ cup) butter, melted
115 g (4 oz or ¾ cup) of all purpose flour
500 ml (2 cups) milk lukewarm
powdered sugar for dusting cake
INSTRUCTIONS1. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish.
Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and mix until egg whites are stiff. Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside.
2. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light. Add butter and vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or two after which you can add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.
3. Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together. Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are folded in. Another variation to folding in the egg whites would be to add a third of the egg whites and gently whisk them in to the cake batter, then reverse the process and add a bit of the cake mixture to the egg whites and gently whisk in, repeat until all cake batter has been whisked in.
4. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 40 to 70 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. The baking time could vary greatly depending on the oven, so take a peek at around 40 minutes and see how it looks.
5. Sprinkle some powdered sugar after cake has cooled.
RESULTS
Great flavor, but too soft in the middle. I may try the lemon one to give that a shot, put foil over it to keep it from browning and leaving it in longer.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

SUNDAY
Pan seared chicken (freezer), green beans (garden), and wild rice

MONDAY
Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Grits

TUESDAY
Gymnastics
Crockpot Flank Steak

WEDNESDAY
Soccer practice
Pesto Ranch Crockpot Chicken

THURSDAY
Eye of Round Roast

FRIDAY
*new* Crockpot Cheddar Beer Chicken Tacos

SATURDAY
Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

Last weeks recap
French Bread Pizza
Salmon with Champagne Sauce
Chef Salad


Breakfast for dinner, YAY!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

This week starts all of our spring activities... soccer, gymnastics (not new), and swim lessons... back to the busy busy schedule! I need my meal plans more than ever with less time for grocery shopping on a daily basis (which I hate!!!) and less time to prep meals at night.

SUNDAY was...
Easter! Ham,  green beans, loaded mashed potatoes, and crescent rolls

MONDAY
Salmon (sale) with Champagne Sauce
a favorite of the hubs!

TUESDAY
Gymnastics day
Chef Salad using leftover Easter ham and hard boiled eggs

WEDNESDAY
late late soccer day
French bread pizza with salad and apple sauce

THURSDAY
Taco (frozen beef) Night

FRIDAY
Tortellini Au Gratin (half now, half to freeze)

SATURDAY
Busy busy day of soccer, birthday party, rock climbing (if the kids aren't exhausted!)

Recap from last week



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Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

SUNDAY was...
Leftovers

MONDAY was...
Chicken Parm courtesy of the hubs

TUESDAY
Date night

WEDNESDAY
Boursin Bundles... again - request of the kids

THURSDAY
Skinny Tuna Melts with soup

FRIDAY
Taco Night

SATURDAY
We have house guests... so maybe pizza... OR homemade pizza kind of night!

Recap
Oven Baked Tilapia

*New* Avocado Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken (pin)

Boursin Bundles

Taco Night

Finally made... Ground Beef Tater Tot Casserole
And I realized after the fact that this particular recipe I followed was missing a key ingredient :(

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Our raised garden :. The first month

Last year we attempted to have  a garden in our backyard, and it started out so nice (see here). We even got our green beans to start to sprout from seeds, yay (see here)!! AND THEN we got one of our famous heavy rains, realized that ALL the water drains to that corner of our yard and the ground got so saturated that water literally oozed around my foot if I stepped into the garden; and then the sun scorched everything. Good bye garden 2014 (I stopped taking pictures so there is no evidence of this).

Hubby still really wanted a garden, and we had a "wild garden" (aka weeds) growing in this certain square of our yard, so for 2015, we are trying a raised garden bed. So after hubby built the garden bed and filled it with dirt, we put everyone to work.


The Garden: Day 1


What is in our garden:




After 1 month:
 It's going pretty good I think!! Fingers crossed; like I've said before... I do not have a green thumb. I'm just the day-time weeder and monitor... unless I forget.




What have we learned: With our first successful (so far) garden, I'm sure there are going to be a LOT of lessons learned
- When head lettuce says it needs 10-12 inches... it really means that. The hubs takes that information as "suggestion". I think we will need to remove some of our plants otherwise we may get some rot.

Super crowded head lettuce
- It was recommended to us to put the strawberry plants in between our tomato plants; but by now the tomato plants have exploded and block out the sun from our poor strawberries... so we moved the strawberries to a separate container.
Tomatoes

Strawberries in pot
- We are still trying to figure out if our bush (green) beans require the supports that hubby made... mother-in-law says no... hubby isn't sure.

This months yield:
- A couple of strawberries
- A WHOLE lot of basil
- Some red romaine lettuce for several nightly salads and a couple of sandwiches
- No ripe tomatoes yet, but we got quite a few starting
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan ::. Post-Spring Break

Spring Break has come and gone and now it is officially time to get back into the swing of things.

SUNDAY was...
Oven Baked Tilapia with macaroni and cheese and a salad (lettuce from OUR garden!!)

MONDAY
*New* Avocado Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken (pin)

TUESDAY
Boursin Bundles

WEDNESDAY
*New* Slow cooker Zupa Toscana (pin)

THURSDAY
Taco Night

FRIDAY
Ground Beef Tater Tot Casserole


Recap from last week (or so)








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Friday, March 13, 2015

February's Cookie Trial ::. Red Velvet Glazed Cookies

I sort of cheated with February's cookie trial; I was nearing the end of the month (um... maybe THE last day of the month) and STILL hadn't made cookies, so I checked my pantry and found a box of Duncan Hines Red Velvet Decadent Brownie mix and saw a recipe for the Red Velvet Glazed Cookies and I was sold. As a bonus, I had all the ingredients necessary: boxed brownie mix, eggs, lemon peel, and butter.

We thought the cookies were fabulous... we didn't think so much of the cream cheese glaze. Luckily, I only glazed half of the cookies because the hubs wasn't so sure about the cream cheese icing. Phew! But seriously, the cookies were great!



Red Velvet Glazed Cookies (src)
Ingredients

1 package Duncan Hines® Red Velvet Decadent Brownie Mix
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Set aside cream cheese packet.
2. Combine brownie mix, butter, eggs and lemon peel in large bowl with wooden spoon until blended.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool cookies 1 minute on pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
5. Cut the cream cheese packet according to package directions and drizzle over cookies.
* Baking Tip: Use a 1 to 1-1/4-inch scoop to form dough into balls. For best results, bake one baking sheet at a time. If baking two sheets together, rotate pans halfway through baking.

Results:
2 thumbs up (minus the glaze).



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