Sunday, October 31, 2010

November 2010 Menu Plan

Wow! I just got home from Trick-or-Treating with my boys and I can't believe I'm writing about Thanksgiving already! I think time is moving faster and faster. I think most moms of young children probably feel that way. This month I plan on making two Thanksgiving meals. One that will be sponsored by Kikkoman using their recipes and products and one on the actual day of Thanksgiving. I'm actually contemplating having an non-traditional real Thanksgiving since I'm going all out on my mock Thanksgiving, we'll see if which one we end up going with. I've got a full menu listed below, but I'm not sure if we'll make everything since Thanksgiving is involved and I will only be cooking for my boys a lot of nights this month. I also don't have many treats listed to make, that will change as I find what desserts I want to experiment with this month. I hope you all had a festive October and are ready for Turkey month! I'll be hosting two giveaways this month so keep reading and you might just win something for yourself! There is also a link up below if you want to link up your menu plan.

Mock Thanksgiving Meal- (Sponsored by Kikkoman) Savory Turkey Brine, Panko Crusted Mashed Potato Cakes, Glazed Yams, Green Bean Casserole, Homemade Rolls, Stuffing, and Dessert (pies probably)

PWs Chicken Pot Pie

Baked Manicotti, Salad, French Bread (sweet luvin' in the kitchen)

Stove Top Chicken Casserole, steamed broccoli

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowls

Pinto Beans and Corn Bread

Mini Hamburger Sliders, fries, and salad (Siggy Spice)

One Skillet Chili with tortilla chips or fresh bread

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with fresh bread

Chicken Spaghetti (PW)

Dirty Rice and green beans

Ravioli Lasagna, Garlic Cheese Bread, and Salad

Easy Baked Crab Cakes, green beans, and stove top mac and cheese

Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Jambalaya and navy beans with whole wheat french bread (annie's eats)

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, fluffy couscous, salad

Pizza Rolls

Crispy Fish Sticks (leftovers from last month), Mac and Cheese, and green beans
Baked Spaghetti, cheesy garlic bread, and salad

Chicken Kiev (TCIAH), broccoli, pasta

Real Thanksgiving Day Meal- Savory Turkey Brine, Deviled Eggs, Corn Casserole, Hashbrown Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Fresh Rolls

Turkey Pot Pie (using left over turkey)

Parmesan Herb Crusted Salmon, broccoli, pasta

Chicken Parmesan, pasta, fresh salad, garlic bread

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Sweet Yeast Rolls (Annie's Eats)

PWs Cinnamon Rolls
Dessert for Thanksgiving

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vellarikka Parippu Charu (Cucumber Dal Curry)

  • Toor dal 1 cup
  • Sliced cucumber 2 cup
  • Coconut 1/2 grated
  • Green chilly 3 to 5
  • Shallots 2 to 3
  • Garlic 3 to 4
  • Dry chilly 2
  • Turmeric pdr 1/2 Tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1/4 Tsp
  • Mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Oil
Soak dal for 1/2 an hour. Cook dal and cucumber with little salt, water and turmeric pdr. Grind together coconut, cumin seeds, chilly, shallots, garlic and curry leaves. Add this grounded paste and rqd amount of salt into the cooked dal and boil it in low flame. Season it with mustard seeds, shallots, dry chilly and curry leaves.

[Recipe Courtesy: Vanitha]

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sugar High Friday Roundup - Layer Cakes!

So many great cakes, I'll get right to it. Be sure to check them all out, there's a wide variety of flavors.  Happy Cake Baking!

Vanessa at Sweet Artichoke made this beautiful Chocolate "Truffé" Cake.

Akheela at Torviewtoronto made this Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Jam.  Check out the fancy plating!

I made this Yellow Cake with Amaretto Mocha Buttercream Frosting.

Barbara at Modern Comfort Food made this Carrot Cake with Pecan Coconut Frosting.

Valerie at Une Gamine dans la Cuisine made this Chocolate Sweet & Salty Cake from Baked.

Corina at Searching for Spice made this Chocolate and Macademia Cake.

Sunmi at A Heap of Lemon Zest made this Deep Dark Chocolate Cake.

Katie at Level2Mommy made this Lemon Coconut Cake.

Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food made this Sugar High Chocolate Cake (fitting name or what?).

Melissa at Cute Kitty Punk in the Kitchen made this Sugary Sweet Spumoni Cake. Love the Italian theme!

Mihaela at De prin lume adunate made this Amandina Cake, a Romanian layered cake.

Alex at For the Love of Sucrose  made two cakes: 

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 

and  Four Layer Coconut, Lemon, Raspberry Cake

Dawn (no blog) made this Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Nuts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Pot Chili

This recipe is so easy! I usually make my chili with McCormick's seasoning packet (one packet, 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1 can of kidney beans). But I saw this on Southern Plate, and it looked easy and good. And that it was, easy and good. It adds rice, which I've never done before. It makes a good filler. The best thing about this dish? It's in the name, one pot!

One Skillet Chili Bake
from Southern Plate

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 can red kidney beans
1 can Ro-Tel (or one small can diced tomatoes and small can chopped green chilies)
1/2 Cup uncooked rice (I recommend instant, my slow cook rice wasn't completely cooked. I also used brown.)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Cup water, if needed (I needed the whole cup.)

In large skillet, brown beef or turkey and drain well. Add beans, Ro-Tel, Rice, Chili Powder, and water. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice is done. Uncover and top with cheddar cheese. Continue cooking until cheese melts. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or french bread.

This recipe has been linked to Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story and Tasty Traditions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fable 3 Cake

Fable 3 for the Xbox 360 launched today and I provided the cake for the local launch party.  As Fable 3 is all about choices it seemed only fitting that the cake consist of alternating layers of "Angelic White" and "Devilish Chocolate", filled with "Never a Bad Choice" vanilla buttercream.

The crown which was made of fondant and airbrushed with Kroma Kolors Gold not only represented a key part of the game but also made a fitting headpiece for the guest of honor.

Check out the video!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts UPDATED

*I tried to post this recipe way too fast, and made some errors. I have halved the ingredients for the filling on these pop tarts, it makes a TON. Below I have fixed the amounts you should use. Sorry if I confused you!!

You asked for it, and here they are, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts. Take that Kelloggs! We don't need your junk filled pop tarts, we can make our own! Last month, someone requested a recipe for these, and who am not to fufill that request? These weren't too hard. The hardest part it making the pie crust. Make sure you flour your surface well, or your dough will stick to the surface and you'll be stuck re-rolling it because it tears. These were really good. I've eaten them cold and warmed in the microwave. Both ways are equally good. My boys loved these, especially the chocolate on top. So, don't skip the chocolate, it adds the perfect touch. Enjoy!

*Scroll down to the bottom for the winner!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts

2 prepared batches of Whole Wheat Pie Crust -or- 2 Pillsbury pie crusts to make it easier
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk

Chocolate Topping:
1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll pie crust ¼ inch thick. Use a pizza cutter to cut pie dough into same-sized rectangles, approximately 4 inches tall by 3 inches wide. You could really make these any size you want, Mine were all different sizes. If you're using store-bought Pillsbury roll out crusts, they may need to be rolled a little thinner, I'm not sure. I didn't use them.

Spoon a 1-3 Tablespoons of the pumpkin pie mixture on top of one of the rectangles. Gently place a second rectangle of pie dough on top. Secure edges together by pressing them gently with a fork. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges of the tart begin to brown slightly. Remove and cool.

To make the glaze, stir together all ingredients until a thick, spreadable consistency is reached. Spoon a thin layer of the frosting on top of cooled pumpkin pie tarts.

To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more liquid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle onto pop tarts, sprinkle with orange sprinkles.

Store in an air tight container. Best if eaten within 2-3 days. Keep refrigerated.

Giveaway Winner

And now for the winner of the silicone baking mat! I'm so excited about how many people entered to win. I'm also happy to see that I have a lot of new followers and facebook fans. Thanks everyone who participated. We had 61 entries (including people that said they like me on facebook or posted about it all in one comment). I used to choose our winner and our winner was...
#23-Frugalissa Finds

I didn't do a scientific poll to see what most favorite recipe was among the readers, but I do know that BBQ Pulled Pork, Sweet and Sour Chicken,  Chicken Parmesan, and Chicken Corn Chowder were mentioned more than once. So if you haven't you should check those recipes out. If you're the winner, contact me at and we will get your new baking mat shipped out! Thanks to everone who participated!!

Cinnamon Bread

This. Is. So. Good! I will warn you, it takes awhile to make, but I think it's worth it. I made this way back in September for our first MOPS meeting of the year. Needless to say, I only had one piece to bring home when the meeting was over. It is so pretty and slathered in butter, it is way good! I will also warn you that this bread is not a soft, fluffy bread. It is more dense, I guess like normal cinnamon rasin bread is. I don't usually eat it because I don't like raisins all that much. This recipe would do just find adding them in if you choose to do that. This bread would be absolutely amazing used in making french toast, don't you agree?

Cinnamon Bread

1 cup Milk
6 Tablespoons Butter
2-½ teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Eggs
⅓ cups Sugar
3-½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
⅓ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
Egg And Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
Softened Butter, For Smearing And Greasing

Melt butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined. Add raisins now if you want them.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it’s warm. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, draft free place for at least 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Smear loaf pan with softened butter, I sprayed mine with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix a little egg with milk, and brush over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve. After slicing each piece, I spread a small amount of butter on each piece, put it back together as a loaf, wrapped in in tin foil, and put it back in the oven to melt the butter. It was so good!!

This recipe has been linked to Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story and Tasty Traditions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yellow Cake with Amaretto Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Sugar High Friday

Small Chocolate Rose

Don't forget, time is running out to submit your cakes for this month's Sugar High Friday - Layer Cakes Edition!  Click here for more info. The deadline is tomorrow, October 26th.

Last week, I took the first of three week-long cake decorating classes from Toba Garrett at the Institute for Culinary Education in NYC.  It was a basic skills class which I had to take to take the more advances courses, but it was definitely worth it.  The chocolate rose alone was worth the cost of tuition.  And it was so much fun.  First you make modelling chocolate from chocolate and corn syrup. After it rests for 24 hours, you can mold the chocolate.  The rose above is a small chocolate rose or if you keep it a little tighter, the first step of the full chocolate rose, below.  It took about 2 hours to make the large rose for the first time, but it was great! 

We made this cake at the end of the week. Because the rose took so long, that left very little time to actually level, frost, fill, and decorate the cake.  The recipes can be found in Toba's book The Well Decorated Cake.  The cake was good, though I'm still a devotee of Shirley Corriher's yellow cake.  The buttercream is great if you like a very buttery buttercream; if you want a lighter frosting, try this swiss meringue recipe, and add the coffee & Amaretto mixture instead of the vanilla and jam.

Moist Yellow Cake 
(Toba Garrett's The Well Decorated Cake)

3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F, and spray 2 8" pans with baking spray.  Line with parchment paper, and spray again.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the butter up into small pieces, and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes until light and creamy, scraping the bowl occasionally if you don't have a beater blade.  Gradually add the sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is just combined.  

Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.  Divide the batter between the two pans, and smooth the batter with a knife or spatula.  Drop the pans on the counter from a height of 3" or 4" to burst any air bubbles.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans.

Double wrap the cake in plastic wrap.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 2 months.


Hand Sculpted Large Chocolate Rose

Amaretto Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(Also Toba Garrett's)

12 ounces egg whites (about 1 1/2 cups or 10 large egg whites)
3 cups sugar
3 pounds butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons instant espresso coffee
1 fluid ounce Amaretto

Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together in a mixer bowl over simmering water until the mixture reaches 140F.

Beat on medium-high speed with whisk attachment until it's about double in volume - soft peaks.  Cut up the butter into small pieces while the mixture is beating.

Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter, and increase the mixer's speed every 10 seconds until you reach medium-high.  (If you have a 5-quart mixing bowl, add half the butter, pulsate the mixer on low until the meringue covers the butter, and add the remaining butter; otherwise the butter might spill out).  Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes.

Whisk the coffee and Amaretto until the coffee is dissolved.  Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the frosting, and beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. 

You can store the frosting in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Cupcake Theater - Halloween Edition

Fog rises from the graveyard.
A full moon casts shadows across the barren ground.
A lone wolf howls in the distance. (A-wooooooo!)
Terrifying, isn't it?

From the shadows emerges a horrifying sight.
Two huge eyes glow in the dim light. (shudder!)

Suddenly, two more ghouls appear...

Then more!
 The attack of the dreaded String Monsters has begun.  Ahhhhh!

But wait!  They have joined forces with an even more frightening enemy- the Fur Balls. 
(What's next?  Dust Bunnies??) 

Just looking at these guys makes my hair stand on end.

Closer and closer the evil ones approach.  (cue the demonic organ music...)

They are so close, I can smell their breath (raspberry, actually, and not that bad - but I digress)...
more howling, more organ music.........

Who can save us?

(insert gory battle scene here:  blood, guts, buttercream - oh, the horror!)

Sweet victory!  Bwhaaa haa haa haa haa!  Happy Halloween!


Okay, so not that creepy.  They're actually kinda cute.  Really anything with gummy fangs can't be all bad.  But creepcakes sounds Halloween-y, doesn't it?  And they ARE blood red velvet cake... oooh, creepy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

For my oldest son's birthday party back in September, I made chocolate covered pretzel rods as party favors. I dipped half in semi-sweet chocolate and then rolled it in sprinkles and I dipped the other half in white chocolate and rolled them in crushed/food processed oreo crumbs. The white chocolate covered in oreos were by far my favorite. I don't think I had ever had chocolate covered pretzels, I have definitely been missing out. The combination, of sweet and salty is perfect. Just like my Halloween treats I posted earlier this week. These are easy and can be dressed up for any season, holiday, or event. Yum, yum, yum!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

Pretzel Rods
16 oz chocolate chips, white or semisweet
2 TBSP oil
Toppings such as crushed oreos, sprinkles, etc.
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. I don't have one of these, so place a glass bowl on top of a sauce pan with water in it. Place just enough water in the sauce pan to where when the water boils, it won't touch the glass bowl. Place chocolate and oil in bowl. Heat over medium low heat until chocolate is completely melted. Make sure that the water does not mix with the chocolate. Dip each pretzel rod into the chocolate, covering as much as you desire and then roll the chocolate covered pretzel rod in your chosen topping. After rolling it in your topping, place on wax paper. Allow to cool and then store in an air tight container until ready to serve. This is an easy and inexpensive treat.

This recipe has been linked to Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story and Tasty Traditions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Raw Plantain Peel Curry

  • Raw plantain peel (vazhakka tholi) 1 cup
  • Garam masala 1/2 Tsp
  • Turmeric pdr 1/2 Tsp
  • Chopped onion 1 big
  • Chilly pdr 1 1/2 Tsp
  • Ginger 1 big piece
  • Mustard seed
  • Curd 1/4 cup
  • Curry leaves
  • Chilly 2 to 4
  • Salt
  • Oil
Chop the plantain peels and keep it aside. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, saute the onion, ginger, chilly and curry leaves. Saute it well and add the chilly pdr, turmeric pdr and garam masala pdr. Mix it well and add the plantain peels into this and cook well. Remove it from fire and allow it to cool. Then add the curd and rqd amount of salt.

Homemade Apple Pie

It's dessert week here on This Mommy Cooks! I just decided that, so that's why I haven't mentioned it before now! haha I have so many dessert recipes just waiting to be posted since I usually only do them on Tuesdays. I will probably regret posting more than one this week, but I love you guys so I'm going to make a sacrifice. That just means I'll have to make more new desserts, right? Well, this one is definitely a keeper. I made it a couple of weeks ago and it was DELICIOUS! With the exception of peeling and chipping the apples, it was very easy. I used store bought Pillsbury roll out pie crusts, because I can. I wanted it to be pretty, and when I make my own pie crusts, they never turn out pretty. I also wanted this to be quicker and I had them in my fridge. Anyway, this is a great recipe to make right now since it's fall and apples are cheap ,cheap, cheap! It would also be a great addition to Thanksgiving or Christmas menus or any other occasion you think an apple pie is fitting. Make this soon! And don't forget to serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, or you'll regret it.

My giveaway ends tomorrow at 12 Noon, est. Don't forget to go here and enter if you haven't already!

Homemade Apple Pie
from Mommy's Kitchen originally from Southern Plate

1 - Package Pillsbury Pie Crusts (there are 2 in a box, found near the cookie dough at the store.)
9-10 apples, two different kinds, one Granny Smith Apple (I used red Delicious and Granny Smith)
1/4 Cup Apple Juice
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
dash of salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 -1/2 tsp allspice
1 TBSP butter, melted
1 TBSP sugar

Preheat oven to 425. Roll one pie crust out into pie plate. Peel and chip apples into large mixing bowl. I prefer to chip them instead of slice them because I like smaller pieces. Now this took me forever. I would plan on it taking at least 30 minutes if not longer.

In separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir to blend. Combine all liquid ingredients in another bowl and stir to blend. Pour dry and liquid over apples and stir well. Spoon apples into prepared crust. Wet your fingers and wipe around the edge of the crust before unrolling your other crust on top. Press to seal around edges. After you have sealed them together, fold the edges over and crimp them with your fingers. Cut a few slits on the top with a knife. Melt some butter and brush it over the crust then sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.

Place in oven and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover entire pie with foil (leaving center open, basically you're covering the edge and a small amount of the pie.). You just want the outer edge covered (to prevent it from burning). Reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe has been linked to Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story and Tasty Traditions .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet Treat Tuesday-Sweet and Salty Halloween Treats

I saw these cuties on my friend Avril's blog last week. I immediately decided I was making them for my bonfire last week. They were so easy to make, so cute, and so yummy! I think I ate 10 of them! These are perfect for Halloween treats and require no time at all to make them.

*If you missed my post yesterday, I'm hosting my first giveaway. So click here to enter!

Sweet and Salty Halloween Treats
from Baking and Creating with Avril

Mini Pretzels (I used the snaps, shaped like squares, but you could use the twists too.)
Hershey Kisses Hugs (any kind of kisses would do)
Candy Corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place pretzels on cookie sheet, not touching. Unwrap Hershey's Kisses and place on top of pretzels and then place filled cookie sheet in oven. Bake for 3-5 minutes but no longer.You will know they are ready when the Hershey Kisses start to get shiny. Take out of oven and gently place candy corn on top of Hershey Kisses, pushing down ever so gently. Cool and then transfer to serving platter or wrap up as gifts. I actually placed mine in the fridge for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process, and it worked perfectly.

This recipe has been linked to Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story and Tasty Traditions .

Parcel cake

This cake was made for a little girls first birthday.

Scooby doo and Batman cake

This cake was made for a tiny tubing party at Tamworth Snowdome. Designed by the birthday boy it has Scooby doo, Shaggy, Freddie, Batman and two kids coming down the slope on inflatable rings.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Giveaway!!

So, as I mentioned last week, This Mommy Cooks finally reached 100 followers. Actually, the count is up to 106 now. That is so exciting! I had no idea I would love this little blog so much when I started it! I probably should have known, since I've managed my own family blog now for over 4 years. Anyway, I know you're anxious to see what I'm giving away. I've been talking about it for awhile now. My all time favorite kitchen gadget, with the exception of my kitchen aid stand mixer (sorry folks, I won't be giving one of those away), is my silicone baking mat! Oh how I love that thing! Actually, I use it almost nightly. If I haven't mentioned it before, I eat two Nestle Toll house Ultimates Chocolate Chip Lovers cookies almost every night, warm, with a tall glass of milk. I am not joking. When the cookie dough was recalled, I had to come up with my own recipe to make because I was going through withdraws! So, needless to say, my silpat has been around the block and back a couple of times. I'm having to use a picture from the Internet because mine is so yucky looking I can't bear to post a picture of it! haha I actually got my silpat (brand name for silicone baking mat) as a wedding gift from a sweet friend, Kristen. I had absolutely no idea what it was. She had gotten married the year before and received it as a gift too. Oh, am I ever so grateful she bought it for me! It is my go to gift for weddings, not woman should live without one! That's why, I'm giving one away! There are a couple of ways you can enter.

*First and mandatory, you must be a follower of the blog, and you must tell me your favorite recipe on This Mommy Cooks. Just comment below that you are a follower and your favorite recipe.

For additional entries you can do one or both of the following:

*You can "like" This Mommy Cooks on facebook, that will get you one additional entry. Write on my wall to let me know you "liked" me.

*and you can post about the giveaway on your blog for an additional entry. Just leave a link to your blog post.

You have until Friday at 12 noon (est) to enter. I will use to pick a winner and announce it Friday night. Good luck!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hashbrowns Scattered Covered

Awhile ago, we had breakfast for dinner. It doesn't really happen all that often, because I'm not a huge fan of breakfast food. I know, crazy huh? Well one night, I hadn't planned dinner, and decided we would have Brenner. I wanted to do something different so we tried our hand at making our own Waffle House hashbrowns, the way we like them, scattered and covered, with cheese that is. They were easy and yummy. This is pretty self explanatory, but I still thought I'd post it.

Hashbrowns Scattered Covered

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup shredded hashbrowns (found in freezer section, thaw first)
1 slice American cheese, cheddar cheese, or shredded cheese

Heat the oil on a large, flat cast iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Immediately "scatter" the potatoes over the oil. Season with salt, to taste. Let the potatoes cook without stirring, until the outermost edges have started to brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Flip the hashbrowns with a spatula, and place the cheese on top. Let the cheese melt, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the hashbrowns to a plate and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Bald Head Island Wedding

My cousin had a beautiful wedding on Bald Head Island at the beginning of October and asked me to make a cake to accompany a fun, beachfront lobster bake.  The result?  Lobster Love!

Since I had never been over to Bald Head on the ferry (the only way to get there!), I wasn't sure how to transport a cake.  The caterer baked and iced the cake for me and delivered it to the reception.  That left me the fun part - the decorating!  My family helped me carry carefully packed sugar lobsters, blue hydrangea and silver chocolate shells on the boat.  We got a few quizzical looks, but it all arrived safely and got onto the cake in time for a great party. 

No Fuss Cheese Focaccia

So we did it. Well, you did it really. This Mommy Cooks now has 100 followers! That is so exciting!! Well for me at least it is. Keep checking back within the next week and I will be hosting my very first giveaway!! You too can own one of my very favorite kitchen gadgets!

OK, now on to today's recipe. Have you ever made Focaccia? Have you ever even had it? I'm sure you have. I think it's the kind of bread the like to serve at Italian restaurants with olive oil to dip it in. Well I saw this on my friend Nancy's blog, Casual Cuisine, and decided to make it a few weeks ago. I made one loaf with cheese, and one without. Note that I am posting a recipe for Cheese Focaccia. I liked the one with cheese so much, that's what I'm going to post. It was so yummy! I actually think it could maybe use a little more than one cup of Feta cheese. I've noted that below in the ingredients. If you need to do without cheese, then just omit it, the rest of the recipe is exactly the same. You can change this up with any combination of herbs your little heart desires. And the best thing about this bread? It is so easy to make, and it looks all fancy! (Well my picture doesn't really do it justice, but it could look really fancy.) This would go great dipped in olive oil and herbs, with and dinner, or even a good sandwich. I haven't tried it with my whole white wheat flour yet, next time I will. I'm sure it will be just as good, only healthier. Have I convinced you to make your own bread yet? Don't be scared of that little jar of yeast, it is your friend! It gives you so much yumminess!

No Fuss Cheese Focaccia
slightly adapted from Casual Cuisine originally from King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups (14 ¾ ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup (or more) crumbled Feta cheese*
4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavoring, optional (i did not have)
1/4 cup Vermont cheese powder, optional (i did not have)
pizza seasoning, optional
Parmesan Cheese, shredded for sprinkling on top
any seasoning you choose
Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom. (I used two 9 inch round cake pans.)

Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds. Add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese to the dough after it's been kneaded for 60 seconds.

*If you want to make your bread without cheese, just omit the cheese and follow the rest of the directions.

Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it’s become puffy.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.

Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Make a Fondant Monkey

Since I havent posted in a while I thought I would make it up to my readers with a monkey tutorial.  The monkey is by far my most requested fondant animal to put on a cake.  Here's how I make the little rascal. 

Color your fondant two shades of brown - one light, one dark.  I used americolor gels and FondX brand fondant.  I also like to knead in a little tylose powder to my fondant to help it dry.  Shape fondant into a tear drop for the body and a round ball for the head.  Insert a toothpick to help keep it in place.

Affix the head onto the body with gum glue (I use a mixture of tylose powder and water).  Roll out a small piece of the lighter brown fondant and cut out a flower shape using a wilton flower cutter.  Remove 3 of the flower petals so you get the eye shape of the monkey.  Form the mouth/nose by making a moon shape out of the lighter brown fondant.  

 Glue down the face pieces with gum glue.

Using the end of a small paint brush and plastic stick create the mouth and nose holes. 

Using the end of your paintbrush mark two spots for her eyes.  Roll out two tiny white balls and glue into the spots.  Also add a tiny black dot for the pupil. 

Make two ear holes and shape two little tear drops for the ears.

Using the end of a paint brush hollow out the ears.

Roll out a thin piece of the lighter brown fondant and use a larger flower cutter (wilton brand) to create the belly of the monkey and glue into place.  I also added a little wisp of hair.

Roll out 4 sasuage shapes to create 2 arms and 2 legs.  I like to use my exacto knife to cut out fingers and toes.  Glue arms and legs onto her body.  And don't forget her long curly tail like I did!  :)

Voila!  She's a cutie!