Fall Cookie Basket

Friday, November 26, 2010

My boss gave me an unbelievable task: take $50 and get us 7 centerpieces, name tags, three gift bags and place cards for the holiday party for the employees. Um... what?

But, since I'm crafty, and also thrify, I realized how cheap it would be to make cookie baskets!

I used my usual sugar cookie recipe. Pretty simple. Stuck a stick in them when still warm and sat down ant thought.

I wanted to do the whole veins in a leaf type thing but the first one I made was... kindergarten scribble.

So instead I covered them in colored royal icing and then the same color sugar. Dry, wrap, done. :)

Onto the baskets, if you've never made a cookie basket, they're really simple. All you need are a few simple things:

Zip bags
Floral foam blocks
Tissue paper
Cookies on a stick!

I put three cups of UNCOOKED rice in a zip bag and in the bottom of the basket.

Then I cut a foam block (they look like bricks and may need to be cut to size) and squeeze it into the basket. Since the baskets I got taper at the bottom this was easy. If your baskets don't taper you can use some ribbon, stick it through the bottom of the basket, wrap it around the rice and foam, back down out of the bottom of the basket and tie a knot under the basket... did that make sense?!

Anywho, stick in 3 or 4 pieces of tissue paper and stick the cookies into the foam (through the tissue too) and voila! Cookie baskets! 

I guess I didn't get the greatest pic but there are large and small leaves in red, orange and yellow. I know you get the idea! 

We put them on all the tables and then raffled them off at the end of the dinner. Most of the kids who won them didn't get to take them home though... they ate them with their bowling teams!!! Too cute, and yummy!

Oh, and if you're wondering, between cookie sticks, 7 baskets, foam, rice and tissue (I had all the baking ingredients and baggies) it only cost $29 and some of my time. :)

Everything Crusted Chicken

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Well, I got out my Rachel Ray: 365 cookbook again and found a winner winner chicken dinner!

My recipe is a bit different but delicious!


Vegetable oil for frying
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 1/2 cups italian bread crumbs (you can also use plain)
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
3 Tablespoons onion flakes
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 Cup flour
2 Eggs

1. Heat oil to medium high in a skillet.

2. In a wide deep bowl, mix bread crumbs, garlic, poppy seeds, onion flakes and sesame seeds. Set aside.

3. In another bowl put flour and in a third bowl whisk eggs with a splash of water.

4. Dip chicken in the following order: flour, egg, crumbs. Make sure to coat evenly in each bowl. Fry in an inch or so of oil on each side until cooked through.

It literally smelled like an everything bagel in my kitchen! Now, in Rachel Ray's recipe she stuffed the chicken with scallions and cream cheese but I thought it was bad enough to fry it in oil so I skipped it  and had a scoop of mac and cheese instead!

So easy and delicious. Not sure what else to use the sesame seeds or poppy seed for but at least I know I'll be making this chicken again!

Halloween Candy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I know I know. It seems like Halloween was forever ago. Especially with retail stores completely skipping Thanksgiving and already decorating for Christmas and "leaking" their holiday super sale items. 

But, I had to share this simple treat I made for Halloween. I've seen it all over the foodie blogs and some people are using it as a way to get rid of their left over candy. Either way, it's yummy!


1 1/2 melting chocolate
Any candy or cookies

1. Melt your chocolate either in a double boiler or in a glass bowl in the microwave using 30 second intervals.

2. Just before your chocolate is completely melted, chop up your treats. I used three Oreo cookies, one king size Butterfinger, one king size Reese's, and half of a large bag of fall colored M&M's.

3. Cover a baking pan with foil like in my first pic. Pour in completely melted chocolate and spread over the entire bottom. Immediately sprinkle on your candy.

4. Let cool completely and then break into bite size pieces! 

Here is a complete view of the Halloween treat table we had at my mom's! Yes that's my birthday cake in the middle. :) Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting!

Chocolate covered peanut butter balls made into spiders and green witch fingers!

And for dinner we made monster face pizza for the kids and...

Scary pizza for the adults!

Too cool right?!

Anywho, save for next year or change to fit your next event. With a cookie cutter you can make any shape cheese cutout and with a change of candy you can make peppermint chocolate bark or call it Thanksgiving bark. It works! The colors fit! Get rid of that Halloween candy!

Who doesn't love candy, chocolate and pizza?!

Devil's Food Cake

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Well, it's been a while. I was without a computer for... what seemed like forever. I sold my laptop and got an iPad, which I do love, but you can't upload photos to it.

Finally, today our HUGE iMac showed up and I can finally post this awesome cake I made for my Aunt's birthday!

I decided to make a chocolate cake from scratch, which is terrifying by the way, so I pulled out my Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book and picked the devil's food cake. YUM!


3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cup sugar
4 room temp eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whisk together the hot water and cocoa in one bowl and set aside. Whisk together the flour, soda, powder and salt in another bowl and set aside.

2. Over medium heat, melt butter and stir in sugar. Pour into an electric mixer and mix on a medium setting for about 4 minutes, until cooled.

3. Add eggs one at a time to mixer. Add vanilla and cocoa mixture until well combined.

4. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mix and sour cream in small batches until all is combined.

5. Grease and flour your pans (I used 2-8" pans and had enough batter to make about 6 cupcakes as well). Fill about half way with batter and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Look at those perfectly domed tops! Amazing Martha, amazing!

 After fretting about the cake I went the easy route with canned frosting for between the layers and the sides of the cake. Lick spatula when done.

Here are the cute cupcakes I made. They never made it to Halloween though.

And the cake! I frosted between the layers and the sides with the chocolate frosting. Then I used my vanilla frosting recipe to star the top and the bottom border. My camera didn't quite capture the burgundy pink color of the frosting.

So here is a much better pic taken from Cousin Kelly!

And in case you were wondering, the cake was amazingly moist I was really surprised. I'm all for box mixes especially for the typical flavors. With the right brand you can get a great moist cake every time. For more special and exotic cake flavors a scratch recipe is a must but this chocolate cake blows all box mixes out of the water!


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