Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I decided to try to make deviled eggs the way restaurants do it, with the designer swirl. The eggs peeled perfectly, which may be because I let them sit in the fridge for half a day beforehand. Once I whipped together the yolk mixture, I fed it into my cake design dispenser and capped it with a large tip. I realize now that I should have used the largest one, since the smaller swirls looks a little weird. The mixture also needed to be whipped, which I knew, but didn't have enough time for.

My icing dispenser already had a crack in it, and in the beginning of making these, it completely cracked. So I had to actually hold the tip on myself while squeezing this thick mixture into it. I ended up with very messy hands, and the dispenser was coated by the end. So...not so fun there, but it would have been a million times easier had it not broken.

I kick myself on that, because I was JUST at the Restaurant Store a few days ago, saw a lookalike of my dispenser for only $7 and didn't buy it because I figured I'd buy it when this one broke. Well I didn't expect it to break so quickly! Now I have no way of getting down there again, because when I do get down that way, I need to go to Petco, Ross's and the Party Store first in any time we'd have left over after a doctor visit or some other reason why we'd be in the area. (Cost too much in gas to drive all the way down there just to grab an icing dispenser!)

Anyway, they came out tasting great, but not looking quite like I had hoped. And two got botched up after the dispenser breaking apart all over them.

I also made a small batch of eggsalad (I usually double or triple the recipe, but didn't have enough eggs to do so. I made this a handful of times though, so it wasn't something experimental at all, but I figured I'd throw it in there. I love making egg salad and deviled eggs because combined, they take maybe 10 minutes to make.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

COOKING: Pot Roast

So I finally tried cooking with a beef roast. Couldn't put it off any longer. I scrubbed out my crock pot and defrosted my roast for two days. Then I chopped it up in 8 pieces and put it in, then poured french onion soup and 8 oz  of mushrooms in. I cooked it on low for 10 hours and the result was juicey, dripping beef that just shredded itself. Bill came home full but I made him taste it - he couldn't stop eating it and said it was one of his favorite things I ever made. Besides wrestling with the meat to cut with my dull knives, it was super easy too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

COOKING: Pasta Bake

I'm in the midst of making another Pasta Bake. I think it's my 4th in 2-3 weeks, mainly because it takes 15 minutes to put together (if you count the cooking noodles time) and it's cheap. It costs about $5 to make and if that's not cheap enough, it lasts both Bill and I 3-5 meals. So it's about .50 cents per serving!

Every time i make it, I play with it a bit. Last time I added more sauce and cheese, using romano, parm and mozzerella. This time, I kept that same amount of mozzerella cheese, added ground beef that i already had cooked and leftover, sprinkled in oregano, and added some large mushroom slices. It's currently baking, so I have to wait to see if it turns out ok. my main concern was forgetting about the beef until the whole thing was already assembled. Bill had requested it simce the first time I made it and i had leftovers that had to be used today, so instead of ruining what was ready, I just added it all on top. I have a feeling it'll turn out a bit hard because of it.

Here's the recipe I use. It tastes GREAT if you follow the recipe as is, but if you play with it, you can get some great tastes!

1 lb ziti (I use trio pasta), cooked and drained
15 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzerella cheese (I use this and a half)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 pepper
3 1/2 cups sauce
1/4 parm cheese

In large bowl, mix all ingredients but noodles until well blended. Fold in pasta until all is well coated.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch dish (I put additional cheese on top of sauce). Pour pasta mixture in and even it out. Top with remaining sauce and add parm cheese.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until heated through. Sauce should be bubbly and top should be lightly browned. Allow 10 minutes before cutting.

UPDATE: This pasta bake is the best so far. I recommend adding some oregano and sliced mushrooms - it really enhances the flavor! I only sprinkled the top with beef, but next time I'll add more and put it inside the mixture.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

COOKING: Cake Decorating!

Just a little update here, I tried my hand at some cake decorating today. Only the second time I've done it, using a really old set from like the 50's or 60's that my grandmother gave me and isn't in the best of shape anymore. But it's definintely something and it's teaching me how to use tips, so it's something.

Now, before you say that I'll never make it as a baker and you wouldn't buy a cake from me, I admit the design on the cake is terrible. Probably because it wasn't planned out AT ALL. In fact, I didn't even know there would be cake decorating 30 seconds before I was putting it on the cake, as this was just supposed to be a yummy cake for tonight's dessert. However, Katie was being super good and before I knew it I was mixing up food coloring and darting it on the cake in flowers and waves.

The color came out terribly. It was supposed to be turquiose, and I thought blue and white would be nice, but it reminds me of a yucky color I'd rather not eat. (however, I will be eating it!) Well, it's better than yellow, orange or green. I would have went for a darker blue if I wasn't afraid it would start changing the taste of the icing too much.

I tried two different star/flower tip sizes and a wavey tip. I have no idea about the names or sizes of these yet, but I managed to get the hang of both of these before running out of icing. So this cake may not look good, but maybe if I plan one out and use these tips, the next one will.

Here's my practice:

And here was my lunch, roasted veggies:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CRAFT: Sleeping Baby Diaper Cake

So I impulsively made a sleeping baby diaper cake today. I saw them when I was pregnant and thought it was pretty neat, so I just grabbed some things I wasn't using (a pack of generic diapers in a size that Katie is outgrowing, a yard sale sleeper, an infant sized hat, etc) and made one today. It took maybe all of ten minutes? I basically just looked at the picture that I had saved on my computer and figured out what to do. It didn't come out quite as neat, it's a little bland looking and I haven't figured out what to put at the face yet (the picture I was copying off of had a pacifier, but I'm only using things that are already in the house. Maybe a toy, or a corner of a blanket?)

Either way, for a first try and just eyeballing it, I thought it came out pretty cute. Doesn't seem as cute in the pictures, but in person it's neat. It's nearly the weight of a newborn with all those rolled up diapers, it has a big diaper padded butt, and I shaped the diapers so you could feel the shoulders, arms, knees, feet, butt, etc.

Here it is, mostly finished aside from the finishing touches that I'm still figuring out.

EDIT: here's the picture I went off of. It used a onesie/sock combo instead of a sleeper, and it's in newborn size (mine is 9 m size!) so it's much smaller: