Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Twelve Days of Cookies

November 29, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location:, where I post daily.

It’s time to make cookies! Yesterday I got my first installment of The Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies email. Now I know it’s Christmastime.

Each year the chefs and editors at the Food Network find 12 cookie recipes they like best and email them, one at a time, for 12 days. The recipes are an inspiring way to get in the mood for the holidays.

Way to go Food Network. I already love you — I’ve learned so much from you over the years. I think it’s the way many Americans are learning to cook: From Emeril, Paula, Giada and all the others. You remind us that it’s OK if we don’t know how to boil water; just watch, listen and try it out.

Food TVs Web site is a favorite stop for me. If I like a recipe on one of its shows, I immediately go to the Web and save a copy. Make note of this — you must get the recipe within a certain time period. I don’t know how long they keep recipes up, but I’m still searching for a Paula Deen recipe that uses ice cream sandwiches for an amazing frozen dessert pie.


To Bake or to Buy? Should You Make or Buy the Birthday Cake?

November 26, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location:, where I post daily.

For my son’s second birthday I struggled with whether or not to make the cake myself. Last year it was an easy decision: You need something special for the first birthday. I need to make the cake, I thought. Months before the event, I took a cake decorating class. Not knowing that I had to bake and frost a cake every week for a month, I endured the class and learned the basics of how to frost a decorative cake.

The night before my son’s first birthday I was up past midnight, with yellow icing up to my elbows. It was worth it. (The wine helped.) The cake turned out so cute and I was very proud.

This year, I wanted to do that same thing. We matured from a duck cake to a car cake. He loves cars so how could I not make a cake in the shape of a car? If you’ve never made a specialty cake before, it takes a lot of work. And I mean a lot of work. And, it’s not that it’s cheaper than a store-bought cake. Even though I had all the supplies and I’d already purchased the cake mold a few months ago, I was still dreading the baking and icing of the cake. Shouldn’t I just call Publix and order the Disney Cars cake?

I was about to make the call, but finally decided that I wasn’t going to let myself fail. I want to make this cake and have him point to it and say his favorite word, “car.” So, I forged ahead; made a plan, baked and frosted that cake. Even as I was making it, I made mental notes to think twice about doing it for birthday number three.

Finally, it is complete. The little blue car cake is sitting on the table in all it’s splendor. It is adorable. The kids love it, the adults are impressed and Mommy feels great for doing something special for her son’s second birthday.


  • Take a class at your nearby craft store. It really helps to learn the techniques to make the perfect cake.
  • Make all your frosting several days before you are ready to decorate. Store in air tight containers.
  • Make extra, white frosting. You might need to dye it for a color you didn’t plan on needing.
  • Buy the specialty gel coloring dyes; regular food dyes only make pastel icing.
  • Bake the cake a day before you want to frost it.
  • Keep a bowl of water on the table to clean the icing tips and to use on your frosting spatula to smooth the surface of the cake.
  • Frost a layer of “flat” icing before you pipe the star shapes.
  • Leave plenty of time to frost the cake. Do it the night before or early, early in the morning, depending on the time of your party.


car cake

Turkey Hot Line and Apple Pie — MMM-MMM Good!

November 14, 2007

What is happening to the month of November? Thanksgiving is next week. NEXT WEEK! It’s early this year, which means the Christmas season starts a week early too. Already, a house on my street is decorated for the holidays: green garland is up on the porch railings and the lights are strung around the roof of the house. Wasn’t it just Halloween? Don’t people take the time to celebrate Thanksgiving?

I’ll be making my Grandma Ople’s apple pie this Thanksgiving, even though I have no idea who Grandma Ople is! Several years ago I found the recipe on my favorite recipe Web site: I made the pie and it’s amazing. It drips with caramel sauce so silky that your mouth waters just looking at the finished pie. So, this year, for the first time, I’m going to make it for my entire family. Here’s a link to the recipe so you can try it too.

If you are like me, you don’t know a lot about making a turkey; Butterball turkey company started a hotline for people like us. Every year on Thanksgiving (and Christmas) Butterball opens a “Turkey Talk-Line” for newbie turkey cookers to call when in a turkey crisis. You can imagine the types of questions they get; Associated Content decodes three of the most unusual calls the company has had.

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