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Posted by on Apr 10, 2011 in BettyBecca Bakes, BettyBecca Reviews, Come Together | 0 comments

Baker’s Conundrum

I’m out of eggs. Recently, I was low on eggs, and then I bought in duplicate, meaning I had TWO dozen eggs. I thought this would be a great time to bust out egg salad for a spring flavor. Then, on Thursday night, I needed to make some cakes for a cake auction. I only had 4 eggs left, and the cake box called for 3. How did I have 24 eggs, and the next week I have 1? Saturday morning brought waffles, and then there were none.

Now, I found a few great baking sites, and it’s killing me that I don’t have dozens and dozens of eggs to try out these super cute and ultra tasty looking treats.

I forgot to make pictures of my cakes for the auction, but I thought they turned out pretty cute! I heard that the auction raised nearly $3,000 for kids to go to camp this summer.

Without further ado, I want to share all of the goodies with you.

taken by Ashley Rose Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my long-time favorites is Bakerella. She’s been going through some health difficulties lately, and I’ve been worried for her. She is such a talented lady, and I LOVE her latest post. Check it out here.

 

From the post about "Buns. Biscuits. Brownies."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is Joy the Baker. I heard about this one from a friend who was moving out of town at her going away get together. She has some yummy treats!

I just love this one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, I am Baker is one I came across today. She does something really cool when building the cake so that when it’s cut into, there is a cool design inside (like this Jack-O-Lantern with a candle)!

 

I hope you enjoy these bakers as much as I have. I’m off to buy some eggs…

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Posted by on Mar 28, 2011 in Come Together, Kitchen Tools, Long Dog Diaries, On the Basics, Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Popcorn Chronicals

We went to the movies yesterday. We don’t do it very often because it typically requires a small loan, but this time we were lucky. We got the matinee price…SCORE! For $5 each, we watched The Adjustment Bureau. It’s not like you think it’s going to be (more religious undertones than governmental, as I was expecting). It’s good and makes for a good date movie. There’s enough action for the guys and enough love story for the girls. The ending is a little predictable and could have been a lot stronger to match up to the rest of the film. What I’m getting around to is that we also shared popcorn and a drink.

This morning I wake up to read that a large popcorn is calorically equal to 3 Big Macs. Holy cow! Thankfully, we didn’t eat the whole thing.

We eat popcorn quite a bit around here. I typically make it in the Whirley Pop.

Whirley Pop

I keep white and yellow popping corn on hand. We season with melted butter and powdered popcorn seasonings like white cheddar and kettle corn.

I also have a box of this on hand from my mom. It’s quite tasty as well, and I love that it’s my namesake. I drew a unibrow on the Frida-looking lady on the box.

Pop Pop!

The boys LOVE popcorn. Tucker does flips, and Oscar waits patiently for his next piece.

This is blurry because he'll bite your fingers off!

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Posted by on Mar 18, 2011 in BettyBecca Bakes, Come Together, On the Basics, Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Milk and Cookies

A couple of years ago for Christmas, my mom gave me this little jewel. It’s a cookie compendium. One of our favorite recipes is the one for chocolate chip cookies from Neiman Marcus.

COOKIES *nom nom nom*

This cookie has it all. It’s chewy. And crunchy. And delish!

There’s a funny story behind it, too.

The recipe

A mom and her daughter were having a snack at a Neiman Marcus cafe. The cookies they were enjoying were delightful, and the mom asked for the recipe. The server said, “Sure, but we have to charge two-fifty for it.”

The mom got home and checked her credit card receipt. The store had charged $250, not $2.50, for the recipe. She vowed to share it with everyone to get her money’s worth. Who knows if the story is true, but it’s still fun (and delicious).

Milk and Cookies

Preheat the oven to 375.

Ingredients List

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips (or more to taste)*

Beat the butter and sugar together, and add the egg and vanilla.

Sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop by the spoonful onto a greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper). Bake for 8-10 minutes.

I use a disher to drop the dough (1.5 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon, depending on desired size). The ones shown above are the smaller size.

*It also calls for 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder, which I leave out because Mr. J doesn’t like coffee.

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Posted by on Mar 13, 2011 in BettyBecca Bakes, BettyBecca Reviews, Come Together, Everyone Will Eat It, Store-bought Remix, Try Something New | 0 comments

King Cake Review

Fat Tuesday was this week. Last weekend, I whipped up my first King Cake to celebrate. The recipe makes two. We enjoyed one at home, and I took one to work.

King Cake before baking

Finished King Cake

The history is pretty interesting. Around these parts, not a lot of people take part in Lent, the 40-day period before Easter. So here’s a quick summary. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday, is the party period that precedes it. King Cake gets its name from the three kings of the Christmas story. If you want to read more, click here.

The recipe I tried was pretty good. I would recommend a few changes, though. First, the oven temp was a bit too high. It was nice and golden brown before the inside was done. I found out that you can take the internal temperature of bread, much like checking to see if meat is done. When the thermometer reads 200 degrees your bread is done. Next time, I would bake it at 350 instead of 375. I would also do more with the filling. I split the filling amounts over the two cakes, and I would probably put that amount on one. This may take it away from the traditional taste, but I think it needs a little more moisture and flavor. The cream cheese and pecan filling sounds really good, too. The icing was the best part. It was lemony and a perfect compliment to the cake.

Sadly, I couldn’t find a baby to put in it. I’ll be on the hunt all year so I’ll be prepared next time. I also went with more of a party/celebration look instead of the traditional purple, green, and gold sugars.

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Posted by on Feb 11, 2011 in Come Together, Everyone Will Eat It, Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Becca’s Manicotti

This is so delightful. It’s my go-to whenever I’m ordering in a restaurant, so I was very excited when I made it at home for the first time. It’s quite easy as well!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 16 oz container cottage cheese
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided 1 cup for filling 1 cup for top
1/3  cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T Italian seasoning
1 t seasoning salt
3 lg cloves garlic
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

You will also need
1 1/2 pkg manicotti pasta (tubes), uncooked
2 jars spaghetti sauce (I use 26 oz Kroger Homestyle Tomato with Basil)
1/4 cup water

Pour a little of the sauce (1/4 of jar) into a large greased baking dish (I use 3 qt.), let it coat the bottom, and place the filled pasta on top.

Combine all ingredients for the filling.  Put into gallon ziplock bag and cut one corner off (start very small).  Fill each tube of pasta. You may want to put filling in both ends so that it gets really full. Cover with remainder of sauce. Put the water in the jar and shake to get out the last of the sauce.  Make sure all pasta is covered .

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. Top with 1 cup mozzarella, recover, and bake for 10 minutes. (Yes, it takes the whole time. Be patient. Also, it is VERY HOT when it comes out of the oven, so be careful when eating.)

I made the batch half with and half without spinach for Mr. J and used half the package of spinach. If you do the whole batch with spinach you can use the whole package.

So freaking good…you don’t even know.

Notes: The deal with the really large baking dish and extra pasta and sauce requirements is due to the fact that the filling is more than will fill one box of pasta. You can make less and only use one box, but with the egg in the filling, it’ll need to be used for something else right away. I have layered it with rotini, sauce, and cheese for a baked pasta in another format. This makes a ton, but I like it.

You can also use large shells. Cook them for a little while so that you can get the filling inside easier, but not too long or they’ll be hard to handle. Cook for approx. half of the recommended cooking time, drain, toss with olive oil (so they don’t stick together), and let them cool slightly (or they will burn you).

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Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Come Together, Everyone Will Eat It, Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix | 0 comments

Crockpot Lasagna

Where all the magic happens

This has got to be #1 in the Italian Favorites category. Mr. J asks for it often, and I’ve had several people tell me it’s the best lasagna they’ve ever had. It’s super easy too, and you can’t ask for anything more.

Crock-Pot Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 1/2 t salt
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
12 oz. cottage cheese/ricotta (I usually use the large container, and it’s perfect)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz. lasagna noodles (uncooked)
16 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in skillet. Strain out grease, and add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings. Cook long enough to get warm. Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the crockpot. Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit), and top with cheeses. Repeat with sauce, noodles, and cheeses until all are used up. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serves 10.

Notes:
Our crockpot is a medium oval one, so it doesn’t take as many noodles as are called for to make one batch, and it only takes 3-4 hours on low to be fully cooked. It says to double stack the noodles, but you have to be careful or they won’t get fully cooked if they’re too thick. Alternatively, you can add a layer of noodles between each layer (after cheese AND sauce).

You’ll have to experiment to get the right amounts of each ingredient per layer. The first time I made it I think I ran out of a few things toward the top. Now, I use each ingredient kinda sparingly and get 4 complete layers and end on meat sauce. Try to end with sauce on top for best results. The cheese doesn’t do well on top for that long. You can add some at the end, if you want.

Sauce in the works

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