Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Thanksgiving Party!

I decided to throw a Summer Thanksgiving party because Thanksgiving is just too good of a holiday to only celebrate once a year. Plus... everyone loves Thanksgiving food which left me not at all surprised when almost of the invites came and brought their delicious dishes! What did surprise me was that most of my friends said others were confused by what a Summer Thanksgiving party was.

Let me explain... I cooked a turkey, an apple pie, apple cider... a few other things and provided dishes as well as a place to meet. All the guest were required to bring a Thanksgiving dish to share. Dishes could only be made once and we ended up with mashed potatoes, ham, deviled eggs, croissants, appetizer platter, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, gravy, wine, beer, soda, cookies, salad and sweet potatoes. We all ate, drank and enjoyed several games of Apples to Apples.

Unfortunately I was a bit too busy to get ANY pictures until the end... and since I begged all of my guests to PLEASE take home the dish they brought I only have pictures (of what was left) of the things I made.

The turkey was fantastic and I give ALL of the credit to Alton Browns Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe . Comments on the turkey... moist, delicious and I want this recipe. Pictured here is what was left of my turkey by the end of the night. 

I have shared the recipe for my apple pie before and its just so damn good that I have to share it again! Pictured here is what was left of the apple pie... I had to fight my man off of the last slice so I could just get this picture!

And last but certainly not least is the apple cider. While this picture may not be the best... everyone LOVED the cider. I used a few scoops of mulling spices and apple juice. The recipe calls for apple cider but cider is only sold during Thanksgiving season (apple cider versus apple juice). That was definitely a downside to having a Thanksgiving dinner during summer. Luckily there is not much of a difference between apple cider and apple juice... the cider was just a bit sweeter then normal. Here are several great mulling spices.

Would you ever have a Summer Thanksgiving Party? Are there other holidays you would like to celebrate (legitimately celebrate like my Summer Thanksgiving Party... obviously we would all love to have two Christmases or two Birthdays) more then once a year? 

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I have been crazy busy this week trying to get ready for a Thanksgiving in Summer party I'm having this weekend! Next weeks blog post will be all about the Thanksgiving feast so get excited!!

I decided to make a dessert I tried a few weeks ago while in Odessa, TX for a family reunion. Crookies... tastes similar to a Twix bar and will probably be the easiest dessert you every made.

Tools Needed:
Baking pan

Crackers (I used Club Crackers but almost any kind of crackers will work. The recipe suggests saltines!)
Package of chocolate chips ( I used semi-sweet because I ♡ dark chocolate but most people would prefer milk chocolate)
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Stick of butter

Spay your cookie sheet with Pam. Spread one sleeve of crackers on to the baking sheet

 Melt on medium low one stick of butter and one cup of brown sugar. Pour evenly over crackers. Bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Will be bubbly!

 Sprinkle one bag of chocolate chips over the crackers. The chocolate chips will melt fast so be ready to spread them out with your spatula.

 Pop your baking sheet into the fridge or freezer. Once the Crookies are set break them apart and... Enjoy!

Extra little tid bit for all those bloggers out there... I changed my Blogger icon from the standard B to a cute little cupcake. You can do the same sort of thing for your blog! Read this how to article.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

12 Pantry Item's Every Aspiring Baker Must Have

So I'm taking a baking break this week... actually not really... I just didn't take pictures of the chocolate cream pie I made which mysteriously disappeared while I was out of town this weekend. Hmmm... I'll have to talk to my man, Sneaky McSneakerson, about that!

So... if I were stranded on a desert island or if you live in Oklahoma like myself and are unable to visit the store due to the annual (or biannual) ice storm and have an urge to bake --  I would be able to make do with a baker's dozen of pantry items. 

Welcome to my baking shelf! I like to keep all of my baking goods (other than flour, sugar, brown sugar and refrigerator items) in one place. If makes finding ingredients fast and easy! 

As for the flour, sugar and brown sugar... they get their own containers! I suggest everyone own a set of canisters. I have seen some adorable ones at Pier 1, Williams - Sonoma and of course Target (where my lovely canisters are from)!

Alright... Top 12 Pantry Item's Every Aspiring Baker Must Have
  1. All-purpose flour
  2. White sugar
  3. Brown sugar
  4. Table salt
  5. Baking powder
  6. Baking soda
  7. Vanilla extract
  8. Eggs
  9. Milk
  10. Butter
  11. Vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  12. Chocolate (chips, bars, coco powder)
Extra baking items I personally like to keep around
  1.  Peanut butter
  2. Cream cheese
  3. Sweetened condensed milk
  4. Powdered sugar
  5. Corn syrup
  6. Honey
  7. Old-fashioned rolled oats
  8. Nuts
  9. Food coloring
  10. Sprinkles
Did I miss something in my must have list ? What do you always keep in your pantry?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday Cupcake Pops!

Going along with the theme from last weeks Birthday post I decided to do yet another Birthday beauty with cupcake pops! I have been wanting to make birthday pops ever since I discovered them on Bakerella. Bakeralla of course does a much prettier and cleaner job then I did but my cupcake pops turned out delicious and I am so proud!

The recipe I used is from from Martha Stewart and it is as follows:

Tools Needed:
The usual
Baking sheet
Parchment paper or foil
Lollipop sticks ( I could not find lollipop sticks in my grocery store so I used some craft sticks and that worked very well. You can find lollipop sticks at Hobby Lobby, Michael's or (probably) a specialty food store).
Double boiler, crock pot or microwave
Food Processor
Mini flower-shaped cookie cutter
Styrofoam square (found these puppies in the craft and the flower arrangements aisle at Wally World)

9-by-13 Inch - Chocolate cake (You can use whatever flavor cake you want... I read a recipe which used red velvet cake and it looked wonderfully delicious!)
2 Cups - Cream Cheese Frosting (Again any flavor and conveniently one regular size icing container equals 2 cups!)
1 Package - chocolate coating bark
1 Package - white coating bark or candy melts (white coating bark can be found at your grocery store but you will have to venture to Hobby Lobby, Michael's or (probably) a specialty food store to get the candy melts).
Sprinkles - for garnish
Candy-coated chocolates - such as M and M's or Reese's Pieces, for garnish

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside. Trim about 1/2 inch from the perimeter of the cake. Working in batches, crumble cake into the bowl of a food processor; process until fine crumbs form.

Add the frosting and blend together until well combined. Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (I personal think you can do whatever size you want... within reason. Obviously a baseball size cupcake pop will not stay on the stick)! Transfer cupcake balls to a prepared baking sheet. Transfer to refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours or to a freezer for about 10 minutes.

I felt like a video was needed here instead of just a photo. Since I am not the best at video recording and because there are several ways to form cupcake pops here is a link to a video of shaping cupcake pops. Begin to shape balls into cupcakes by rolling balls first into logs. Fit logs into a mini flower-shapedcookie cutter. Push cake mixture into the cutter halfway so that some of the cake mixture extends beyond the top of the cutter. Shape extended cake mixture into a cupcake-shaped top. Push cake from cutter to remove.

Transfer molded cupcakes to freezer until chilled, 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate... if you read last weeks post then you will remember there are several ways to melt chocolate. Here is the article on ways to melt chocolate... pick your favorite method! I went a new way this week and used the microwave because crock pots are slow and my double boiler is satan.

Remove cupcakes from freezer and dip the bottom of each cupcake into the chocolate; transfer, bottom-side up to back to baking sheet. You can place dipped cupcake pops on to the same baking sheet but it may be easier if you have two prepared baking sheets.

Insert lollipop sticks into dipped cupcake immediately after you dip them! If you allow the dipped cupcake pops to sit to long the sticks may crack the chocolate coating. Let chocolate set, 15 to 20 minuets.

Melt white chocolate or pink candy melts. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the chocolate and place right-side up on prepared baking sheet or stick lollipop sticks into a styrofoam square. Place a candy-coated chocolate in the center of each and top with sprinkles. Let dry completely in refrigerator. And... Enjoy!

As always this baking blog was edited for fantasticalness by The Lady In Red (who promises to update her new blog with fantastic Movie, Book and TV Show thoughts, reviews and opinions!).