Tag: dessert

Renee Birchfield: Raspberry Sorbet

When I saw that this month’s theme song was Raspberry Beret ,I knew I had to make something. I had never heard of the song until around Christmas 2016 while we were at my in-laws for the holidays. It came on the radio and my father-in-law was singing along— except he would say sorbet instead of beret. It took me a few times to figure out that the song wasn’t about dessert and that it was supposed to be beret. I have not forgotten about it and it still makes me smile. 

This sorbet recipe is adapted from the one that my in-laws made while we were home for  Fourth of July a few years ago. I must say it is delicious but the best part is that it is very easy to make.   Read More

 

Renee Birchfield arwomenbloggers.com

 

Renee, the voice behind If Spoons Could Talk, loves everything food related. You will often see her taking pictures of her food before eating, while her smiling husband shakes his head and waits to eat because, of course, she has to take a picture of his as well. Her time is spent cooking in the kitchen,  researching recipes on the computer, or eating what she’s been researching and cooking! The rest of her time is spent with her husband and two fur babies watching TV. Now she is making time to get a masters so she can be a full-time teacher. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as If Spoons Could Talk and on Twitter as Spoons Could Talk  And of course over at If Spoons Could Talk

Ricci Ellis: Dot Cookies {Foodie Friday}

Celebrate Celebrations

There are just certain foods you expect at every family gathering, am I right? Certain standby recipes, if you will. At Thanksgiving there will always be turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. At Christmas there will always be ham and homemade candy. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.

In my family, something we have always come to expect is my sister’s Dot Cookies. My sister is the baker in our family. I love to cook but baking is just not my thing. The taste is always there but the presentation, not so much! Oops!

 

DotCookies

 

Dot Cookies are tiny sugar cookies with just a “dot” of icing on top and are just the perfect size to pop in your mouth and eat! Or, if you are my niece Paycen, you lick the icing off and give the cookie to your Aunt Ricci to eat. HA!

 I believe the Dot Cookies came about when my aunt worked at a local bakery that made them. She started making them for our family get-togethers and then my sister started making them when my aunt didn’t want to any more.

 Dot Cookie Dough

 

 The recipe has been tweaked a few times throughout the years but I love them no matter how they are made, HA! 

Dot Cookie Mixer

I think these cookies are just adorable and I love these cookies are completely customizable in that you can make the icing whatever color you want to match your event. These cookies are perfect for holidays, birthday parties, baby showers, wedding showers, potlucks, really just whatever! They also travel well which is always a plus in my book!

While they may be a little time consuming, only in that they have to chill for a few hours, I think Dot Cookies are the perfect addition to any celebration!

 

Ricci Ellis: Dot Cookies

Ingredients

    Cookies
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    Icing
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon cear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

    Cookies
  1. Cream butter and sugar together in mixer.
  2. Add egg, vanilla, and extract and beat well.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients and slowly add a little at a time to butter/sugar mixture
  4. When all is incorporated together well, wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours
  5. Roll out on floured surface and cut with cookie cutter
  6. Bake at 375 until light brown
  7. Tip: Don’t over bake or they will be hard, not soft sugar cookies
    Icing
  1. Beat shortening until fluffy
  2. Add vanilla and almond extracts
  3. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time
  4. Tip: If icing becomes too thick while mixing add a little milk. After all powdered sugar is in add more milk to thin to spreading consistency.
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/ricci-ellis-dot-cookies-foodie-friday/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhonda Bramell: Ding Dong Cake {Foodie Friday}

Celebrate Celebrations

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The Foodie Friday 2016 theme is #Celebrate. Come join us as we focus on a different way to #Celebrate each month. In January we are all about “Celebrate Celebrations.” I can’t think of a better way to kick off a brand new year than with this Ding Dong Cake from Rhonda Bramell of Bramell: Party of Five.

Ding Dong Cake whole

Should you find yourself in need of an easy (yet impressive) dessert for a special occasion, check this one out. My friends, this is the dessert that will woo your enemies and win you admirers for life. This is my go-to recipe when I need a birthday cake, office potluck dessert or just for the “lots of people coming over” occasion.

ingredients 2
The beauty of the Ding Dong Cake is that it looks like it was completely labor intensive and difficult to make. Alas, it’s not! There are only a few ingredients and it doesn’t require a culinary degree to pull off. And, I might add, there’s nothing better than homemade whipped cream

The downside to making this cake is simply the temptation of having it in your house. As a result, I don’t make it as often as I’d like…because I would totally eat it myself. As my kindergartener demanded as I removed it from the fridge, “Give me the cake now!”

Ding Dong Cake from Rhonda Bramell
I definitely suggest making this your next celebration dessert, too. Or, at the very least, go grab a gallon of milk and a fork and celebrate your baking victory!

Rhonda Bramell: Ding Dong Cake {Foodie Friday}

Ingredients

  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Bake devil’s food cake according to directions on box, using a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.
  2. Let cake cool for 15 minutes then remove from pan.
  3. Let cake cool completely.
  4. Cut cake in half lengthwise then put the bottom half back into the pan.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, beat whipping cream with ¼ cup sugar until stiff.
  6. Spread whipped cream on bottom layer of cake.
  7. Stack the other layer on top.
  8. In a medium sized bowl, microwave ¼ cup sugar, butter, milk and chocolate chips for about 2 ½ minutes until melted, stirring frequently.
  9. Stir until smooth and pour over cake.
  10. Refrigerate cake until time to serve.
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/rhonda-bramell-ding-dong-cake-foodie-friday/

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Rhonda Bramell is a blogger in Northwest Arkansas.  She is the ringleader of a circus that includes her husband, three kids and a rambunctious Boston Terrier. Rhonda has been blogging at Bramell, Party of Five for eight years; her blog is a collection of stories about the real life joys and challenges of parenting.

Facebook: Bramell, Party of Five

Instagram: mamabramell

Twitter: @rhondabramell

Britney Lee: Gluten Free Pecan Bites {Foodie Friday}

Brittney Lee of Razorback Britt 

A couple of years ago, my mom went gluten free.  She isn’t allergic to gluten, but she found that gluten aggravated some of her pre-existing medical conditions, so she cut it out. Gluten is typically found in most baked goods, as flour contains gluten. While there are gluten free flours, they behave differently when cooking. So for the first year or so, we had difficulty replacing some of mom’s favorite foods with gluten free alternatives. We struggled to adjust to the gluten free lifestyle, especially when it came to holiday cooking.  

Thankfully, over the years we have discovered some delicious gluten free dishes to add to our holiday table. We have found a cornbread mix that makes great cornbread stuffing.  And our local health food carries a wonderful gluten free baguette that pairs wonderfully with our cranberry cheese dip. And we’ve adjusted our chicken and wild rice casserole recipe to be gluten free. But one dish was the thorn in my holiday baking side: pie.  

My mom loves pecan pie, and we hadn’t found a gluten free pie crust either ready-made or homemade that was perfect for pecan pie.  Either the crust turned out too fluffy like a puffed pastry, or it was more of a graham cracker crust.  Nothing seemed right for the pecan pie. I wanted so badly to recreate the pecan pie flavor for mom.

I ditched the pie idea and went for something that hit the right flavor notes instead.  These gluten free pecan pie bites hit the spot!  They are sweet, have the traditional flavors of pecan pie, and are actually pretty healthy! You won’t feel guilty indulging in them all holiday season long! 

gluten free pecan pie bites

In my recipe, I used corn syrup to bump up the traditional pecan pie taste.  Every pecan pie I’ve ever made used corn syrup, so that’s what I used here.  If you want an alternative, you could try another liquid sweetener like maple syrup, molasses, or honey. The point here is for the liquid to be a sweetener and binder. The mixture needs to be sticky enough to hold together in a ball.

pecan pie mixture in processor

Even if you aren’t gluten free, these are an easy treat to make that your family and friends will love.  They make great snacks or party food! For a twist, you could drizzle them with chocolate to mimic the flavors in a chocolate pecan pie. They are beautiful stacked in a bowl or spread them out on a platter with fun party picks. Or eat them right off the pan. That’s what I do!

make pecan pie bites

 

Britney Lee: Gluten Free Pecan Bites {Foodie Friday}

18 - 20 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup oats (make sure they are gluten free!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (honey, molasses, or maple syrup would work too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Place dates and pecans in food processor until well chopped and blended.
  2. Add oats, cinnamon, vanilla, corn syrup and salt, and pulse until incorporated.
  3. Scoop out 2 tablespoons at a time and roll into a ball.
  4. Serve room temperature or cold.
  5. Refrigerate up to a week. Happy snacking!
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/britney-lee-gluten-free-pecan-bites-foodie-friday/
 

Adapted from this recipe

brittney lee headshot

 

Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies
 
 What food reminds you of childhood? 
 My mom’s porcupine meatballs. Mom didn’t home cook a lot (and these DO have rice-a-roni and jarred gravy in them, so it’s not exactly home cooking) but it always felt like a meal she put a lot of love into. And it was delish! http://www.razorbackbritt.com/favorite-meal-moms-porcupine-meatballs/
 
 What is your favorite international cuisine?
 Mexican! I could eat salsa by the jar. I like the spicy, creamy, smoky flavors together. I also like that I can lighten up the restaurant versions at home with lighter ingredients.
 
What is always in your refrigerator at home?
Liquid egg whites. Easy and healthy to whip up for any meal. I usually do mine with cheese and a little green onion. 
 
What is your go-to ingredients that you use time and time again?
The Cafe 1217 Cookbook from Cafe 1217 in Hot Springs. I cook the gingerbread muffins several times a year. 
 
Do you have a favorite food indulgence?
 Queso with chorizo. As if queso isn’t indulgent enough, let’s add some sausage and dip it with fried tortillas. 

What is your most used cookbook?
 The Cafe 1217 Cookbook from Cafe 1217 in Hot Springs. I cook the gingerbread muffins several times a year. 

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My slow cooker! I use it at least twice a week. I make soups, stews, roasts, and just about anything in the crock pot. 
 
What is your favorite food meal to cook at home? 
I love to cook steaks and potatoes. A nice steak with some garlic, and top it with blue cheese at the very end of the broil. A side of potatoes roasted with some garlic, herbs, and Parmesan cheese. 
What is your favorite go-to ingredients you use time and time again?
 Canned fire-roasted tomatoes. An easy way to add to the depth of flavor in my crock pot recipes.
 
What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
 Learn what you don’t know! Don’t be too scared. We all start somewhere. Watch the Food Network, watch Youtube videos, read blogs. Learn about common flavor combinations and kitchen skills. My mom wasn’t a cook, but I learned by watching the Food Network a lot as a teen. I would watch, print out the recipe, and play with it. I would add this, take out that (especially for spices or ingredients we didn’t have or I’d never heard of)…and figure it out. Don’t know how to cook an artichoke? Watch a Youtube video and buy an artichoke. Give it a try!
 
When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
 I enjoy Zumba, walking my dogs, and reading. I try to stay active so I can enjoy treats in moderation.

What else would you like us to know about you?
 I’m a foodie who loves to try new things. If it’s funky and on the menu, I’m ordering it. Hamburger with peanut butter? Delish. Pizza with pears. Awesome. I’m not afraid to try most anything once. Except rocky mountain oysters. I have no interest in trying those!
 
Brittney is a native Arkansan with a love for bright lights and big city. She often escapes her 20-acre home in a small town to shop, eat and catch a concert in the big city nearby. She blogs about her life, her faith, her adventures, her dogs and her country home at Razorback Britt.
 

Karen Weido: Cooking With Kids {Foodie Friday}

tingsmom-easy-apple-cake 

Since the day my daughter was old enough to sit up, she has been in the kitchen with me. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I had her sitting up on the counter top while I measured the ingredients, analyzed recipes, and did my best to place something edible on the table for my family.

As soon as Ting got old enough to help, baking together became a tradition for us. Lately Bug has been in on the action as well, and cooking with my kids has become one of my favorite activities.

At our house Fall doesn’t really bring a longing for pumpkin flavored anything, but it does stir up a need for apple based desserts. I started searching for a new apple-something for us to bake, and I found this Apple Cake recipe on one of those recipe database sites.

The first step for me when cooking with my kids is always prep work. It is so much easier to get all the ingredients measured out before the kids hit the kitchen. I know the day is coming that Ting will be ready to practice measuring, but for now our cooking sessions always begin with pre-measured ingredients.

tingsmom-apple-cake-ingredients (1)

I love this recipe because it is so simple for both my kids to just pour and mix all the ingredients together. Everything just goes into the same bowl and then it pours over the apples. It makes it easy when both kids can participate at the same level and this cake was definitely on that scale.

tingsmom-apple-cake-kids-cook

 We also loved this cake because it smells delicious when it gets in the oven, and it tastes even better when it gets on the table!

 What are your favorite fall dessert recipes?

Easy Apple Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds apples, peeled & sliced
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 ½ cup sugar
  4. 2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 cup vegetable oil
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish.
  3. Place sliced apples into baking dish.
  4. In bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients.
  5. Spread mixture over apples and pack down.
  6. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  7. Bake 45 minutes or until puffed and lightly brown
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

tings mom

 

Karen lives in South Arkansas with her husband and two kids. When she’s not working or chasing kids, she blogs about her family’s life on Ting’s Mom Blog. She also reads books for all ages and reviews them on her book site, Ting’s Mom Books.

It’s a Great Day for Angel Food with Great Day Farms

By Great Day Farms Brand Ambassador Heather Disarro of Heather’s Dish 

Great-Day-Farms-Logo with frame

 Angel food cake is one of those things that’s rarely made but often enjoyed in our house. Fluffy and flavorful with basically zero calories (fine, the calorie part is false…) it’s a cake that is sure to please almost any palate. You can dress it up with whipped frosting and chocolate, dress it down with a scoop of ice cream, or meet it right in the middle, in my favorite way, with a simple creme anglaise and fresh berries. 

angelfoodcake2

This summer has been, from my experience and the stories from friends, a very mild one. Just the other day my husband mentioned that we’ve been lucky the past two summers in Arkansas to have relatively mild weather; I told him he better find some wood to knock on because summer isn’t over. Truly though, this summer has been filled with days outside in the warm sunshine, long walks at dusk and sweet baby tan lines. There isn’t a more summer dessert, with the exception of ice cream, than an angel food cake with fresh seasonal berries. Light and sweet and completely satisfying, this is one dessert y’all won’t want to miss! 

Cakes

Very Vanilla Angel Food Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 12 egg whites at room temperature
  2. 1-1/2 cups superfine sugar
  3. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Very lightly grease ONLY the flat part of a 16-cup tube pan. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites until they start to become foamy.
  4. Add the salt and cream of tartar, then whip until the whites start to get very fluffy.
  5. Increase the speed and slowly stream in 1 cup of the sugar.
  6. Continue to beat until the egg whites form soft peaks.
  7. Add the vanilla and beat until just mixed.
  8. Working in batches, gently fold in the remaining sugar and the flour, alternating, until all of the ingredients have been used up.
  9. Gently work the batter evenly into the pan.
  10. Gently tap the pan on the counter several times to release air bubbles.
  11. Bake at 325 for 55 minutes or until the cake springs back from being touched.
  12. Allow to cool completely upside down; some cake pans have feet to rest on, but if your pan does not then be sure to prop it up slightly on a couple of plates to allow air to circulate.
  13. Gently work a sharp knife around the edge of the cake pan to release once completely cooled.
  14. Cut with a serrated knife.
  15. Serve with creme anglaise (recipe below) and fresh fruit.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

  

angelfoodcake-4

 

Basic Vanilla Creme Anglaise
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Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  2. 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. 4 egg yolks
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Combine the heavy cream, milk and sugar in a large stockpot.
  2. Heat very gently over medium-low heat until small bubbles start to form around the edge of the milk.
  3. Remove from the heat and scoop about 1 cup of the mixture out of the stock pot.
  4. While whisking the egg yolks, very slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture into the yolks to temper.
  5. Once all of the hot milk has been whisked into the yolks, whisk the tempered yolks into the remaining hot liquid.
  6. Cook slowly over medium low heat until the mixture has thickened enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon.
  7. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  8. Gently press plastic wrap onto the top of the creme to keep a skin from forming.
  9. Cool completely before serving with the cake.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
 Heather Disarro_1_Lowres2

 @heathersdish
Email
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Heather Disarro is a food-centric lifestyle blogger who is passionate about embracing the beauty that surrounds us with in our everyday lives. She is a Texan living the expat life in central Arkansas with her husband, son and two massive dogs. Heather writes her blog, Heather’s Dish, from an office filled with dust, dog fur, toys and plenty of love, grace and music.  She specializes in creating delicious and creatively nourishing recipes.  Cooking seasonally and with as many local ingredients as possible is an important component to Heather’s style of food, and she revels in the opportunity to bring the love of cooking to the world as a way to love others well! 

Keisha Pittman: Manhunt Menu {Foodie Friday}

By Keisha Pittman of Big Pitt Stop

keisha Collage

I’ve always heard it said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  But, I’m convinced that not just any meal will do. 

As a single gal one thing I’m thankful I snagged from my mama is her cooking skills.  (I guess it doesn’t hurt that I look just like her too!)

But, I’m pretty sure if I knew my house were burning down, there are about 3 things I’d quickly grab and the typed collection of my mama’s recipes are at the top of that list. 

See, at our house, food was the way you told someone you loved them.  Whether it was a German Chocolate pie when my dad got a promotion at work or a pasta dinner to carb load the night before my sister’s big soccer game, she always came through with just the right meal. 

So, one can only assume then that if one were on a manhunt, then one would prepare a meal. **hypothetically of course! **

I recently found myself walking into my Sunday night bible study with what I thought was a perfectly prepared offering for the dinner menu that had been posted on our Facebook page.  What I quickly found out was I was the only one who showed up with a 9 x13.  Everything else was in its original grocery store container and displayed perfectly for our smorgasbord buffet.  Much to my amusement the new guy in the group was standing closest to the delectable delight I had hauled across town in my carriage which was protecting the dessert I had just removed from the oven moments before I left the house. 

“What’s wrong with these people?” was my first thought.  But I quickly learned that girls my age don’t really do much home cookin’. (Which surely has to give me the upper edge?)  So, I’ll keep showing up with homemade desserts and hope at some point it will overcome all my other faults. 

The way I see it, I have two options: show up with a homemade layer cake or bat my eyelashes and twirl my hair.  Since my lashes are stubs and I’m not one for putting up fronts, I’m gonna stick to mama’s recipes.  They worked for my daddy and he’s a pretty cool dude.

So, today I’m sharing with you Dirt Dessert – the last menu item I made and carried to a man’s house to finish off the menu, just the way my mama fixes it on a summer afternoon while dad’s mowing the yard!  After all, everybody needs a treat for dinner.

Dirt Dessert
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies
  2. 3 cups milk
  3. 2 3.5-ounce packages instant chocolate puddling
  4. 8 ounces cream cheese
  5. 1 cup powdered sugar
  6. Dash vanilla extract
  7. 1 tub frozen whipped topping
  8. Gummy worms, optional
Instructions
  1. Mixthe pudding and milk in bowl and set aside. The pudddig will thicken while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Crush the cookies in food processor (If you don’t have a food processor, put them in a gallon Zip loc bag and crush with a rolling pin or meat mallet – you know the tools you’ll use to chase him when he’s your husband later!)
  3. Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.
  4. Add in vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in ½ of the tub frozen whipped topping.
  6. Reserve ½ cup of cookie crumbs; spread the remainder of the crumbs across the bottom of 9x13 baking dish.
  7. Top with the cream cheese mixture and spread evenly.
  8. Cover cream cheese mixture with pudding, spreading evenly to edges. Cover top with remaining frozen whipped topping and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
Notes
  1. I’m not a fan of the worms. I just don’t feel like grown men are into gummy worms, but if you’re making this for kiddos or another occasion, feel free to make it a little more “fun” and add your own gummy creepy treats! And of course, it’s always better when served in a container where you can see all the pretty layers – to make the layers, split the cream cheese and pudding layers in half and save a few cookies for in between.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
 While I’ve still not snagged the man, I’m going to guess it has nothing to do with the menu.  The right one just hasn’t eaten any of my treats yet!

 

Keisha headshot Keisha Pittman is learning to dance in the rain and glory in the rainbows. She started a blog, bigpittstop.blogspot.com, to tell the story of her walk through cancer. Five years later, she’s kicked cancer’s butt, and learned to navigate life a little differently. A self-proclaimed nerd, there’s nothing she won’t try, no side road she won’t take and no recipe she won’t improve. Lucky for us, she likes to talk about her adventures with a healthy dose of self-deprecation humor, and always looks for the good in every situation and person.  Come follow along.

Blog – bigpittstop
Twitter – @bigpittstop
Instagram – bigpittstop
Pinterest – Keisha Pittman or bigpittstop
Facebook – bigpittstop-new journey, new normal, new adventure

 

In an effort to eat more veggies, today I shall have carrot cake {Foodie Friday}

 written by Shannon of Still Seeking Martha 

In an effort to eat more veggies, today I shall have carrot cake!

I love a good carrot cake. Honestly, I love cake PERIOD! There is just something about a carrot cake that makes me feel like a kid again.

In a single bite it takes me right back to the “pie” auctions the Cattlemens Association used to have.

I loved going to the auction with my Godfather. What little kid wouldn’t want to go bid on cakes and pies?!? Plus, everyone always said things like “Oh, I see you brought the boss with you.” Me? The boss? Alright I could handle that.

My Godmother, in what I chose to believe was an effort to make me smile throughout the year, but was more likely an effort to keep her husband’s wallet a little thicker, started making me carrot cake any time I asked.

Yes, I was that spoiled by them.

You’re going to need:

  •  A couple large mixing bowls
  • A mixer (unless you’re crazy and want to do this by hand)
  • A large spoon
  • An oven heated at 350 degrees
  • Either a 13X9  cake pan
  • OR two 8 or 9 inch round pans
  • A little bit of shortening
  • A tiny bit of flour

As well as:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

and to frost it you’ll need

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

 Now that you have everything needed, I’ll tell you just want to do with it.

If you read this from the start, your oven should already be preheating to 350 degrees. If not, do that now.

Grease the bottom and sides of the pan(s) with shortening and lightly flour them.

Get one of those large bowls and your mixer and beat the granulated sugar, oil and eggs on low for about 30 seconds or until its well blended.

To that, add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt; beat on low 1 minute.

Stir in the carrots and the nuts. STIR, with the large spoon I mentioned earlier.

Pour your batter into the pan(s).

If you used a 13×9-inch pan you’ll want to bake it 40 to 45 minutes.

If you used the round pans, bake them 30 to 35 minutes

Either way, you want to bake them till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Once baked, let them cool completely. You can cool the 13X9 in the pan or on a cooling rack. Cool the rounds about 10 minutes in the pan then remove them and let them finish cooling on a rack. It should take about an hour.

While that’s cooling you should probably make the icing so get the other mixing bowl and your mixer back out, or cleaned off.

You’ll want to beat the cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla on low until its smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Gradually… like 1 cup at a time. Your mixer should still be on low so just keep it going till its smooth and spreadable.

Since that didn’t take an hour let your cake(s) finish cooling.

Now you can frost the 13X9 or fill and frost the rounds.

 If by chance you have leftovers, store them in your fridge or invite me over.

Shannon is a 30-something Mom to 5 beautiful children. Yes, 5! You could call it a modern day version of yours, mine, and ours. Her blended family of 7 keeps her on her toes and on the go. Add in working from home as a legal secretary and quickly you’ll see her life is crazy and often chaotic, but she wouldn’t trade one sarcastic moment of it. Her blog, Still Seeking Martha is just a place she goes to share the ups & downs of blended mommyhood, like mowing what feels like 127 acres with a push mower, favorite foods and recipes, mostly cake, and sometimes some DIY projects like great teaching tools. You can stalk Shannon at http://stillseekingmartha.blogspot.com, on Facebook, Twitter, or just email her at seekingmartha@gmail.com.

Bananaza Bread {Foodie Friday}

Bananaza Bread {Foodie Friday}
Written by Grace Pennington of Fruitful

It’s pretty amazing how spotty, blackening, forgotten bananas still have a use. Can you think of another fruit that can make something taste so good when it’s gone bad?

I love the fact that when I buy a bunch of bananas, I won’t have to beat myself up when I forgot to eat them during the week. I won’t feel like I abandoned a beautiful fruit and wasted money.

I’ll just know that these bananas were meant for something greater!

This time, I used my aging bananas to make a loaf of Bananza Bread: banana bread with apricots and swirl of Nutella. I decided to spice up the old banana bread recipe with a different kind of nut flavor, hazelnuts, a sweet swirl of chocolate and a few bites of tangy apricot.

The bread turned out wonderfully. It’s super moist and has such a unique flavor. What goes together better than bananas and chocolate? And who can say no to Nutella bread?

I found this exciting spin on the classic banana bread to be a wonderful change.

It’s kind of amazing how a few mushy, rotten bananas turned into something with such complex flavor and sweetness.

And if you’re like me and have ever been frustrated when your banana bread gets too brown on the top and is still gooey inside, this recipe has a great tip for you!

Bananza Bread (Adapted from Recipe Girl)

Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ Nutella (chocolate-hazlenut spread)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

3. In a separate large bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, on at a time, beating well
after each addition. Add banana, yogurt and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture and apricots, beat at low speed just until flour is incorporated (don’t over mix).

4. Spoon Nutella into a medium dish and soften in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Add 1 cup of the banana bread batter to the Nutella and stir until blended well. Spoon Nutella batter alternately with plain banana bread batter into the prepared pan. Swirl batters together with a knife.

5. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check the oven at 40 minutes to check the top of the bread for browning. If it’s browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil for the remainder of the baking. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Cookie Exchange {Handmade Holiday}

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Cookie Exchange
Written by ARWB Dec. 2011 Blogger of the Month, Stephanie Hamling of Proactive Bridesmaid

I got my annual cookie exchange invitation in the mail today, and, so, the wheels are turning. Have you ever hosted or participated in a cookie exchange? This gathering has become one of my favorite Christmas-time traditions. The effort that goes into both hosting and being a guest can be overwhelming, but it is, without a doubt, always worth it.

One of the members of my cooking club, along with her sister-in-law, hosts the yearly event. After ten years, they have it down to an art. I’ve never hosted an exchange, but I’ve taken mental notes from them every year.

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept, here’s how the exchange works. Each guest and hostess bakes a set number of cookies, which they take to the exchange. During the exchange, each person gets a set number of cookies from each of the other guests. Basically, you end up with however many cookies you brought, but you get a far wider variety.

 

You can organize the event a number of ways, but I’m fond of the way my girls set it up. Two to three weeks in advance, a cheerful invitation arrives in the mail. We know about when to expect it, but for an inaugural event, a little more notice might be in order. Included on the invitation is the standard when and where, RSVP info, how many cookies to bring, and a listing of prize categories.

Yes, there are prizes, and the more competitive among us take them very seriously. Awards are given for best taste, best presentation, and best overall cookie. The first two categories are chosen by popular vote and the hostesses choose the third winner. The prizes are glory, a year of bragging rights, and a small Christmas-themed treat.

The prize for best taste necessitates tasting, of course. After a round-robin story telling session about the origins of our cookie recipe, we have a tasting. We make the rounds to check out the presentation and have a nibble. Each person’s cookie is assigned a number for voting, and secret ballets are cast. After prizes are awarded, its time for everyone to grab their take-homes.

And, that is how it’s done folks. There are more bells and whistles that can be added as you wish. Our hostesses start the party with appetizers and drinks and we play a few rounds of party games, everything from bingo to a complicated race involving unwrapping a Hershey’s Kiss with mitten-covered hands. They end the night with a handmade party favor for each guest. Seriously, these ladies could write a book.

A cookie exchange is great to find new favorites, to get more bang out of your baking time, and to take care of treats for holiday parties or teacher gifts. If you ever have a chance to attend one, I hope you will. If you are encouraged to start your own, your friends will love you for it!

Tips for the hostess:

  • Tag team with a friend. Split the duties and alternate houses each year.
  • Don’t limit your group to only great bakers. Break-and-bake and even bakery cookies are welcome in our crew.
  • Send the invitations early and have clear instructions.
  • Have a few boxes or plastic bags on hand for folks who forget to bring anything to transport their cookies home.

 

Tips for the guests:

  • RSVP!
  • Put in some effort, but don’t stress. Some of the worst cookies make the best stories and bring out some great cooking tips.
  • If you know how many cookies each guest gets, prepackaging make things go more smoothly.
  • Thank you cards are never out of fashion. A hostess gift is a nice touch.
  • Bring a copy of your recipe for each guest, so they can recreate their favorite. Try to pick a recipe that travels well and has a good shelf-life.

 

My name is Stephanie Hamling. Originally from Wonderview, Arkansas, I now live in our state’s capitol, Little Rock. A freelance graphic artist, I also work as a social media liaison and webmaster for a local grocery market. My joys include gardening, cooking, photography, spending time with family, and blogging.  Stephanie is the Arkansas Women Bloggers December 2011 Blogger of the Month.