Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Pear Cake

I decided this morning that we should have some sort of holiday flavored dessert tonight.  No cookies though.  I think I'm starting to burn out on those already.  So I settled on a super simple gingerbread pear cake.   

Here's the recipe:

2 tablespoons real butter, melted

1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 (16 ounce) cans pear slices, well drained
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 (14.5 ounce) package gingerbread cake mix

1.  Preheat oven to 350*

2.  Mix the melted butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a 9-inch round cake pan.

3.  Arrange pear slices over sugar mixture.

4.  Sprinkle pecans around the pears.

5.  .Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, and pour over the pears and pecans in the cake pan.

6.  Bake approximately 50 minutes.
7.  Cool slightly before turning out onto a serving dish.

I just took it out of the oven a little while ago and my house smells AMAZING!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homemade Bread Bowls

You know those super cute bread bowls used by some restaurants for serving soups and stews and such?  Well, they are really easy to make and, because you make them fresh just before you need them, they're softer than the restaurant ones too so you can actually eat the bowl!  The kids love them - and hubby thinks they're pretty cool too!  ;)

I use a recipe published on Allrecipes by Taste of Home Test Kitchens and these bread bowls come out perfect every time!  If you decide to try them, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to make!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Does This Look Bad to You?

If you've ever wondered (and who hasn't?) if you can still use products beyond the date on the packaging, or how long to keep something in the refrigerator, check out this site:   http://www.stilltasty.com/  It is full of information on which foods will last and for how long. 

Did you know that the date on the egg carton is not really an "expiration" date?  I didn't.  According to this site, it's just a guideline for the stores selling the eggs.  I don't know who created this site or how scientific it is, but it's pretty interesting.

Christmas Baking Party

My friend throws a Christmas Baking Party every year at her house.  There are usually 20-30 people in attendance and this is how it works:  Everyone brings their own ingredients and we cook.  Everyone gets a personalized apron the first year with the year sewn on it.  Each subsequent year, you get that year's holiday themed pattern stitched on by her my friend's mom, who sets up her sewing machine right there in the kitchen.  Back to the food:  Once everything is made (this is an all day event, btw), bags are assembled with a sampling of all the cookies, candies, etc. that were baked that day.

I've been giving alot of thought to what I will make this year and have settled on Hello Dollies because they are super easy, quick to prepare, and really yummy!  This is all it takes:

1.  Make a crust by combing 2c. graham cracker crumbs with 1/4c. sugar and 1/2c. melted butter; press into an 8x8 pan.

2.  Top with 1c. semisweet chocolate chips, 1c. shredded coconut, and 1c. chopped pecans.

3.  Pour 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk over the top.

4.  Bake at 325* for approximately 30 min.

I'll probaly triple the recipe for the party.  So easy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Recipe Overload

My recipes collection is out of control and desperately needs to be organized. The books and the online recipe boxes are fine but the problem is with the binder that has become a permanent fixture in my kitchen.

The purpose of this binder is to organize recipes I print from various sites.  All Recipes and Food Network are probably the most common.  I also get Food Network Magazine, which is awesome!  I highly recommend it if you love to cook are not already a subscriber. 

Back to the binder:  It started out as a great idea.  I had little sections with labels like, Bread, Soups, Beef, Vegetarian, etc.  It was all very cute and organized - at first.  Now it just looks pitiful.  There is more paper crammed in there than the rings will actually hold.  I've considered getting a giant binder or spreading everything out in several.  This may seem trivial to some but, let me tell you , it's really becoming a problem!

I do have alot of recipes stored online so that's helpful.  Another good thing is I actually do know what's in here very well and can usually locate what I want fairly quickly.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1

Good morning everyone!  Please tell me I'm not the only one who woke up this morning, realized it's almost Christmas, and almost panicked at the thought of everything that needs to be accomplished - and soon!

Now that I've fully recovered from Thanksgiving, it's time to get serious about Christmas.  I did get the tree up and decorated yesterday and have some of the outdoor lights up so I guess that's a good start.  Today, I plan to finish all indoor and outdoor decorating and decide for sure what I plan to make at an upcoming baking party and test the recipe. 

Also, lots of shopping to do today...cards, paper, bows, tins, tissue, bags, tags, ...etc., etc. All the running around can get exhausting so I think it's important that I work in a stop at Starbucks for an eggnog latte.


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