Tag Archives: homemade

Paddy Cakes

11 Mar

paddy cakes


Around here we’re preparing for my son’s school’s largest fundraiser of the year–the St. Paddy’s Day Bash!  Last year it was great and most importantly it was successful in raising money to benefit our kids.

Leading up to last year’s event I made hats, cookies, a clever disguise, and the centerpieces for the event itself.

I’m getting into the mood again and made some four-leaf clover pancakes for breakfast this morning.  I made my favorite pancake batter and dyed it green.  I poured it into this squeeze bottle.  I’m sure that somewhere out there someone makes and sells an appropriately festive pancake shaper, but I haven’t had much success with them in the past.  The pancake always sticks and I end up frustrated and eating pancakes that look like a T-Rex had his way with them first.  I’m in love with the squeeze bottle now.  Lots of possibilities!

paddy cakes2

Birthday Bites

26 Feb


My baby is 7.  SEVEN!  Where has the time gone?  He is pretty special–and not just because he’s my first-born.  Although in all fairness I too am the first-born and I think we’re all pretty special.


He is funny, loving, incredibly empathetic, and a great big brother.  We’re lucky to be his parents.  Ugh…tears.

Okay, well the most important part of any birthday is the cake!  Since his birthday fell on a Saturday, I brought treats in to his class on Friday.  Life is more chaotic now so I wanted to make things on easy on myself. I went to Vons and purchased two boxes of Madeleine/Brownie Bites.  Whaaat?!  Yes.  They are half Madeleine and half Brownie, swirled together. Both light and rich and bite-sized, they are the little treat to hit the spot.

I added a personal touch by piping some white frosting on top, a dash of festive sprinkles, and a piece of Cake Batter Bark.  The kids thought they were amazing (one asked that I e-mail his mom the recipe–seriously).  Since I had extra, the teachers and office staff got to have some as well and they too thought they were just right and thanked me for bringing in kid-sized treats.

Riding the wave of Friday’s success, I planned Saturday’s birthday cake with the left over bark pieces in mind.  I made a basic chocolate layered cake with white frosting and added sprinkles and Cake Batter Bark as a decorative edging.


It was fun and cute…and most importantly, tasty!  Also, I love a good dual-purpose anything and the pieces of bark can kind of be used as spacers for slicing the cake.

This particular birthday carried over into Sunday as well when we celebrated with his schoolmates at a local Pump It Up.  I cut myself some slack though and ordered a cake for that celebration.

Now that I have a 7-year-old, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. My days of cool are numbered;
  2. His increasing age doesn’t seem to make me feel older.  I don’t quite feel young.  But, I don’t quite feel old [or mature] enough to have a 7-year-old; and
  3. Thank God for cake.  No matter what is going on and how stressful life (or party planning) can be, sitting down and having a piece of birthday cake is such a relief.




Sugar Cream Pie

24 Feb


I had a baby, went back to work and dropped out of the human race.  Seriously, side-lined. This was my third child so you’d think I would have been more prepared.  I’ve been absent from my favorite outlet, WhoopieCookie. I apologize for that…to you dear readers and to myself.  Truth is I need an outlet for the creative juices that bubble beneath my legal eagle surface.  Now more than ever!

While I haven’t blogged in…nearing forever, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been baking, crafting, seeking all things interesting and cool.  But putting my thoughts out there is part of the fun.  So here I go, attempting to get back into the swing of things and hopefully stay there…

Tonight was Oscar Night!  Yay!  By the way, with all my free time I’ve seen all of one of the movies that were nominated for anything.  I saw Skyfall last weekend.  LAST WEEKEND!  So, at least I knew the words to Adele’s Oscar-winning song.  Some day I hope to see the other wonderful films nominated…on demand…in my jammies.

Tonight was all about the pies at our house.  My hub made homemade “chicken pot chicken pot chicken pot pie!”  So for dessert I made my own pie.  Clearly he’s a savory kinda guy and I’m bringing the sweet to the table.  I guess opposites do attract.  He loves the savory so much that he often does not love the sweets that I make.  Tonight, however, everyone adored the glints of gold on this sugar cream pie.

Super easy and pretty quick (if you don’t let it cool all the way like us).

Whatcha Need:

1 Refrigerated Pie Crust
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup Sugar
½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Cut Into ½ inch Pieces
⅛ Teaspoon Nutmeg

Whatcha Do:

Preheat the oven and a cookie sheet to 425 degrees.  Bring the pie crust to room temperature, per the package instructions.  Place in your dish of preference.  Poke holes in the bottom with a fork and place in the fridge or freezer to cool and harden a bit while you get the filling ready.  Whip heavy whipping cream, sugar, flour, and vanilla.  Pour into the prepared dish and drop the butter pieces all over the top of the filling.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower to 350 degrees and bake until the crust is golden brown the pie filling is bubbly and only a little jiggly in the center (think Pumpkin Pie consistency).  That was about 50 minutes in my oven.  Let it cool (for as long as you can).  It will continue to set as it cools. Serve at room temperature or cold.


Mine kind of bubbled over and spilled onto the cookie sheet.  Everything still ended up looking and tasting great. This is the first time that I’ve made this pie and it was delish.  I’m already dreaming up an individual version with maybe a [cheater] Nilla wafer crust and a fresh berry on top.  Mmmmm….

A Valuable Gift

11 Jul

Looking for a gift idea for that special summertime birthday coming up?  I recently gave two of my favorite little girls a gift that keeps on giving.  I created a lemonade stand gift basket that included a jug with spigot, a juicer, a pad of paper for taking orders and keeping track of sales, a yellow tablecloth, plastic cups, straws, ice bucket, lemons and a jar of sugar (although they’re sweet enough already!).

The kids squeezed the lemons, mixed up the fresh lemonade, made their own signage and set up shop outside.  I made some lemon shortcut cookies to help lure in customers too.

I happen to ADORE fresh lemonade (and a good cookie) so I was the first customer in line.  But once the word got out on the street everyone from the neighborhood kids to the mail lady stopped by for a fresh treat on a warm summer day.   We all had a great time and the kids got to practice counting money  and learned a little business lesson too (like why it didn’t make good business sense to charge $5 a cup).

I told the kids to remember where they got their start when one day they’re powerful CEOs of their own companies…Cheers to summertime fun!

Orange French Toast

10 Jul

How French is your toast? Is French Toast French?! Probably not. But French Toast is definitely my favorite breakfast dish. And since my kitchen tends to be heavy on the citrus these days, I threw a little in my breakfast as well.

  • 1 loaf Sourdough Bread
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoons Vanilla
  • Zest Of Half an Orange (or zest the whole thing for even more flavor)

In a shallow dish mix the egg yolks, heavy cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and orange zest. Slice your bread and coat each side in the egg mixture. Cook on a hot griddle until its nice and golden. Serve with syrup and powdered sugar.

It’s so fresh and rich! It’s a great way to start the day!

Tortillas Para Mama

5 Jul

I love all forms of bread and growing up in a mostly Mexican family, tortillas were a standard.  Somehow I made it through life having never made any myself though.  Well, on his last visit to the local Mexican market, I asked my hub to pick up a tortilla press.  This weekend I finally got to put it to use.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup hot water (keep extra on hand in case you need to add a tiny bit more)

Mix flour, salt and baking powder.  Cut in shortening.  Make a well and add the water.  Combine until your dough comes together and isn’t sticky.  I gather it all in one lump and then cut it with a knife into 8 sections.  Then I rolled each section into a ball.  I put the balls back into the bowl I was working with and covered it with a damp cloth.  Let it rest for 15-20 mins.  Then you can either roll them out as paper thin as possible or use a tortilla press.  Cook on a griddle or hot pan for about 30 seconds on each side.  Slather it with butter and eat!

Or, you can go all the way and fry those puppies!  After frying them I drizzled honey on each side and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.  Mmmm…Bunuelos!


And if you’re a real glutton (like myself) you can serve it with some vanilla ice cream!

Paradise Cake

18 Jun

For years my family has made the Kings Hawaiian Bakery’s Paradise Cake a go-to for any type of celebration.  The bakery is near by, its a crowd pleaser and just plain beautiful!  Now that I live in San Diego, 2 hours away from Kings Hawaiian Bakery, I’ve come to appreciate it that much more.  It really hadn’t occurred to me that this cake isn’t available everywhere.  This is probably because their breads are available in my local grocery store.

With warmer weather and nothing but sunny days ahead, I had a craving for a Paradise Cake.  Its three layers of fluffy chiffon cake with light whipped frosting.  The real treat is that the three layers of cake are made up of Guava, Passion Fruit, and Lime flavored cake.  Do I have your attention now?

I checked the interwebs and couldn’t locate a copycat recipe, so I came up with my own.  Please make note, however, that I am not a professional so some of this is eye-balled and guess-work…

1/2 cup water
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7 eggs, separated
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup passion fruit juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup of guava nectar
food coloring

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and grease three 9 inch round pans.  Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Make a well in the center of your sifted dry ingredients.  In the well place the oil, water, egg yolks and lemon zest.  Beat with a whisk until it is smooth.  At this point, separate the batter evenly into three bowls.  Add passion fruit juice and a drop of red food coloring to one bowl, guava nectar and orange food coloring to another bowl, and finally the lime juice and zest with green food coloring to the last bowl of batter.  Stir until fully incorporated.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until they hold a stiff peak (**note this is vital…this part really  makes or breaks the cake**).  Add a dollop of the egg white mixture to each of the three bowls of flour mixture and gently stir each. Evenly divide the remaining egg white mixture into the three bowls and gently fold it into the batter.  Pour the three fully incorporated batters into their baking pans.  Try to resist the temptation to tap the side of the bowl as it will kill some of the air that you worked so hard to whip into those egg whites.   Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, or until the top springs back when you touch it.

The frosting I used for this cake is a whipped cream frosting, but its a little sturdier.  In other words, it won’t melt if you let it sit out on the counter for a little bit.  In fact this cake traveled with me to grandmother’s house (nearly an hour drive) and remaining completely in tact.

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Place the bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before preparing the frosting.  Use an electric mixer to mix the vanilla, sugar and cream cheese.  Pour in the heavy whipping cream slowly and beat until it thickens up and holds a peak.

Frost and enjoy!

While this cake can make it on the counter for the duration of your party, it should definitely be stored in the frig since the frosting is dairy based.

I have to say mine wasn’t as good as the original, but its a fresh cake for a summer day!

Strawberry Bread with Lime Fresh Cool Whip

5 Jun

Strawberry Bread?  Huh?  Ya, that’s right…you can make a quick bread out of strawberries too!  Who knew?

Here’s what you’ll need…

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon set aside
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar + 1 teaspoon sugar set aside
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil 
2 cups strawberries, sliced

Here’s what you do…

In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 2 cups sugar.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs.  Add, vanilla and oil.  Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients, mixing until well incorporated.  The batter will thick.  Fold in strawberries.  Separate batter into two greased loaf pans.  Top each loaf with the remaining ground cinnamon and sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let it cool and then serve with Lime Fresh Cool Whip.

For breakfast, dessert or with tea and coffee, this is so fresh and yummy!  Its a great way to start your summer time taste buds!

My Little Leprechaun

8 Mar

St. Paddy’s Day is coming!  What will you find at the end of the rainbow?

I found a sneaky little Leprechaun!

My six year old and I made this leprechaun beard with some dollar store streamers.

You can find a tutorial here.

Of course, Easter is also around the corner…So we took down a box of Peeps while we worked…

Be sure to check back next week for more St. Paddy’s Day tricks and treats!  Have a great weekend!

Gifts in a Jar

22 Jan

For Christmas, I made decided to try out Bakerella’s idea of cookies in a jar! I decided to make these last-minute, so I couldn’t get the cute mason jars like she used. That’s okay, next time!

With limited resources, I was able to find some 2 quart containers by Ziplock. I followed her recipe and instructions for the dry goods, but changed my m&m colors to Christmas colors and added Christmas fabric to the tops.

This was a fun and easy project to follow! Homemade gifts are the most thoughtful and I love giving them! I will be making this project again, using real jars, for Valentine’s Day! I’m going to change the m&m colors to red and pink and use a cute heart fabric for the top! I plan on giving these as a treat for my daughter’s preschool teachers!

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