Saturday, December 24, 2011


With the holidays looming, both Christmas and New Years, I find myself with a crunch for leisure time. I've been spending a lot of time with my son, and despite what some people think the "stay-at-home-mom" thing isn't a sit around on your butt and do nothing job. We play, we go out, we talk, he talks more... but still... Some days it's all I can do to log into Facebook and check my silly Zynga games. So blogging has been pushed to the background. I will possibly have more time come the second week of January, when he goes back to school... but on the 18th I start classes of my own. Bright and early morning classes!

Bastian will have to get used to a new schedule on Wednesdays and maybe Fridays. We will have to leave here a bit earlier and he will have to be dropped off at the school for breakfast at 7:30 instead of his usual just playground time of 7:50. It's a fairly big change, so we will practice it in the week leading up to the actual event. I think he will be ok. If we're lucky some of his friends will be at breakfast and he will want to do it every day. Some mornings he's a real bear about eating and I have to hover and nag him to eat half a banana. He's not an early morning eater. I'm not either, but  I am not a growing small child!

I am very excited to start my classes. The Pell Grant from the government pays for the classes themselves, so all I have to worry about is the books and supplies. I had originally signed up for five classes, but have cut one so the grant would cover it all. I will just take an extra class in the summer I guess. Four then instead of three, or something.

Right now the schedule looks like this:

One online class: Intro to PC Applications
Wednesdays: 8am-10am Food Safety and Sanitation
Fridays: 9am- 10:30am Nutrition for the Hospitality Professional
Saturdays: 8:00 am - 2:00pm Intro to Baking

I am most excited for the Saturday class. A neighbor of mine has told me she would watch Bastian on Saturdays for me for $25 a day. This eases some worry I had, since I wasn't sure what I would do for child care. The college child care center isn't open weekends. I think if I absolutely had to I may be able to change to the Monday (8am-2pm) Intro to Baking class, if I were to talk to my professor. Hopefully it won't come to that though. When I went to rearrange my schedule almost all the Culinary classes were booked full and ALL the morning classes were closed, so I'm glad I registered really early. I will have to register at the end of March for Summer term to be sure I get the classes I want there, too. I am trying to get the last of my degree out of the way and the sooner I can churn it out the better.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day After Feast Turkey Stromboli

I found this recipe and LOVE it. It's a quick way to use up those leftovers, and I'm fairly sure you could make it ahead and store it in the fridge or freezer (depending on when you wanted to serve it.) If you had enough leftovers you could make more than one, serve one, freeze a few? Who knows. I only made the one. And I sort of cheated. I didn't have any actual leftovers so I just cooked up some turkey breast and instant stuffing to put in it. After Christmas I'll make one from real leftovers!!

Ok, so it isn't the prettiest... but practice makes perfect. Next one will be better. 

Turkey Leftovers Stromboli

1 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 ounce packet active dry yeast
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup cranberry sauce
1 cup (or more) shredded cooked turkey
1 cup stuffing

Egg wash - 1 large beaten egg and 1 tbsp water mixed well

First make the dough:
Pour water into bowl and stir water in until dissolved.
Sprinkle yeast in and set aside 5 to 10 minutes. Should be foamy.
Add the salt, the oil and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Stir well for about 2 minutes. Should be well mixed.
Add remaining flour slowly until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Like any other bread recipe.)
Form into a ball for kneading.
On a lightly floured surface knead the bread out until it's smooth and elastic. About 10 minutes.
Place in large oiled bowl and turn it about until evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap, set in warm space and allow to rise until doubled. (Maybe an hour, depending on your "warm space.")

Set oven to 375*

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper and set aside.
Punch down the dough.
Re-flour your surface, turn out the dough and roll it out into a 10x14 rectangle. Approximate of course. I didn't whip out a ruler or anything. Just made it a little bigger than the cookie sheet.
Spread the cranberry sauce over the dough neatly, then layer turkey and stuffing generously.
Paint one edge of the long side of the pastry with egg wash.
Roll the pastry beginning with the opposite side (the one you didn't just paint.)
Pinch together at the seam and tuck each end under.
Transfer to sheet, seam down.
Brush with egg wash (sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like them) and bake about 30 minutes. Should be golden brown and delicious!!

Let cool 10 minutes before cutting into it, it'll be prettier if you do....

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Lately it has been hard to find the time to blog. I don't know if it's the holidays approaching or the seemingly new lack of time to do anything, really, but I want everyone to know I'm not keeled over or in hiding... just extremely busy!

I do have a recipe I want to share, but I need to make it first. I don't like recommending recipes that I haven't made. How do I know it's easy? Or quick? *laugh* It's actually very great looking. It's a Turkey Stromboli, made with leftovers from holiday dinner. It has a crust filled with cranberry sauce, stuffing and shredded turkey. It seems pretty amazing to me. Perfect use of leftovers after a huge meal, and I think you may even be able to make it ahead and fridge or freeze it to pop in the oven later. Which is ideal, since I know the last thing I want to do after a huge baking/cooking day is cook again the next morning!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Six Year Old!

I can'r believe Bastian turned six today! It was very exciting for him. He told me he "didn't feel any bigger." He is though, so much bigger than last year.

Made 30 cupcakes for his class... in the fish style I showed in an earlier post. I was a bit more sloppy with these, since I was making so many. I didn't do the white dollop behind the eyes. They still look cute, but not as professional.

I also made him a 4 layer cake, with strawberry and chocolate. The icing I made for the piping came out much softer than I would like. I didn't anticipate the room temperature would affect it so much! That's ok though. He loved it anyway and had a great time overall.

Next cake my personal goal is to do fondant (the pretty flat icing layer) and make it look more smooth overall.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Fudge

Starting my Barn Hop post a bit early this week. I wanted to make sure I got it all written and didn't forget!! *laugh*

As promised, the recipe for fudge. Completely customizable as you will soon see. I will first post the basic recipe and then explain how to make it any flavor you want, with any add ins you may desire. I once made a delightful white chocolate cranberry walnut fudge, it was very popular.

I want to mention that you should have everything out and measured and ready before you start. Trying to tear open a bag of chocolate chips while the mixture is bubbling over = not good fudge. My first year (years and years back) was a complete mess.

This is pretty much the recipe on the jars of marshmallow cream in the stores, with a few tweaks. And of course in a bunch of flavors and styles.

Basic Fudge

Greased or foil lined pan. 9x9 for thicker squares, 9x13 for thinner.

3 cups sugar
2/3 cups or 1 small can evaporated milk
1 and 1/2 sticks (3/4 cups) butter

1 bag chocolate chips (12 oz.)
1 and 1/2 cups marshmallow cream or 3 cups marshmallows
1/2 cup nuts (any kind), chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ok, so you take the first 3 ingredients and put them in a saucepan over -medium- heat. Don't try to speed it up by using high, that didn't work my first year either...

Mix, mix, mix constantly. It will melt down very nice, smell heavenly and bubble well. You need to do this about 5 minutes. I used to time 5 minutes exactly until I got a candy thermometer. The temp should be soft ball stage, 238*.

Remove from the heat and add the cream and chocolate chips (nuts, if doing nuts...). Stir like crazy, when almost blended add the extract and mix quickly. It will start to set up fast so pour it into your pan.

Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Now for the first three years I made this fudge, this way only. Then I decided it was boring and tried white chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. I was very pleased. So to make any flavor you want just use any flavor chip you like. I made butterscotch this year, as well as a white chocolate with mint pieces. For the add ins just substitute your desire for the nuts, up to one cup. I wouldn't go over one cup because then you get crumbly fudge. So half a cup nuts and half a cup dried cherries = one cup add ins. You can also change the extract. One year  made a great chocolate orange fudge just by using orange extract instead of vanilla. Looked like chocolate fudge but tasted fabulously orange-y. Like those break apart chocolate oranges do. So you can see how this can be very versatile and super personalized to your family.

For my pictured fudge I used one cup of starlight mint candies, but once they were crushed it was only 1/2 cup. I used white chocolate chips in place of chocolate and I also substituted mint extract for vanilla. Once poured into the pan I sprinkled with a bit more crushed mint and lightly pressed them in so it would grip. I also used a 9x9 pan, which is why they are so fat.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I am planning a few batches of fudge for this weekend. A plain, a mint chocolate and maybe I will try a chocolate coconut this year. I usually do 6 or 7 flavors, but the budget this year demands smaller batches and less, less, less. Still.. can't go through the season without making at least one batch. I will share my recipe on Monday for the Barnhop. It's very easy and I am sure anyone could make it. I love the fact that it's also VERY customizable. I use the same base recipe and just add flavorings or tints. As long as they have a "chip" in the flavor you want you can make fudge out of it. Peanut butter chips, mint chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips... you name it you can fudge it! *grin* Not to mention if you just make regular milk chocolate you can add extracts to flavor them. Raspberry, cinnamon, rum, banana (if you wanted I guess) ... they have all sorts of stuff. I want to make Monday's post super Christmas-y because they are having a Christmas themed contest and the winning blog gets a prize. So I'll have to plate the fudge up really pretty and make it extra special. Oh, I bet I could do a peppermint bark type fudge... *ponder* Excited!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


My neighbor Sandy gave us a pantry cabinet yesterday. It's empty now, but I plan to do some kitchen rearranging very soon.Perhaps I can make more counter space with this here. It isn't huge or anything, about the size of a regular bookshelf, only a little deeper. I want to put all my baking goods and supplies in there... cake pans, casserole dishes, flour, sugar, etc. Then maybe some canned goods. Also Bastian's after school snacks, so he has easier access to them and won't have to come to me for them.

This may also free up some space in the closet pantry so we can stock up on dry and canned goods. In case there's ever an emergency. I doubt there will be... I have been here three years and we have yet to get a serious snow or storm. I don't remember even losing power more than once for maybe 10 minutes... and that was a scheduled maintenance on base! Still... better to be prepared than to be one of those crazy people buying $40 worth of toilet paper when it looks like a storm 'might' be coming!! *laugh*

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just About...

The house is almost done. All the rooms are nice and rearranged. Everything is in place, except about four baskets full of laundry which are hiding out in my bedroom. I can't figure out where to put them. I'm out of dresser space and the closet isn't exactly making much space either. I will figure something out... Maybe move some stuff to the storage closet to make room.

Most of the Christmas shopping is complete. Santa has gathered all his gifts and they are ready for delivery. Toys R' Us was a madhouse, but they had the dinosaur toys Bastian wanted on sale buy one get one 50% off. Couldn't pass that up. I also got him some Legos for un-wrappable presents. As well as a WiiMote for his birthday that is made for younger kids. It has Lightning McQueen on it and the buttons are easier to manipulate. So the one he currently has in his room can be moved to the living room and his Cars WiiMote will match his room theme. The Wii in his bedroom only plays Netflix for Kids, but the one in the living room has games and such. Having his bedroom WiiMote in the living room will make multiplayer games easier.

Monday I have to make 30 cupcakes for Bastian's birthday so he can take them to his class. I am going to make those fish cupcakes I featured Monday. They are easy to decorate and kid friendly. I had to buy a muffin tin, but it was on sale at Target for $9 so I did pretty well there. They also had cake pans on sale for 96 cents!! I bought 6. Now I can make layer cakes!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Well... braved the mall today for the sake of my little one. Santa Clause has been informed of the gifts he is to bring and Bastian is rather pleased with himself. We also purchased some pictures, as this Santa Stop wasn't at all like the one a few years back at the mall in Texas where you could bring your own camera if you wanted to. $20 for 2 5x7's and four Wallets. *shakes head* I don't remember memories being this expensive in the past...

Sunday, December 4, 2011


These were so cute that when I saw them I knew I had to make them. Especially since it's such an easy decorating design. Just M&M and frosting. No special fancy tips or piping bags needed.

Make your cupcakes (whatever kind you want or are best at) and then make a base frosting. My favorite is the buttercream I have posted here before. Portion your buttercream into the number of bowls per color you plan to use.. in this case 3, but you can use more or less. Be sure to reserve a small amount for the eyes, which needs to stay white. This step with the eye background can be omitted, they will still look plenty cute with just a brown M&M. Add a few drops of food coloring or icing color to your bowls until you have the desired shade. Frost your cooled cupcakes. Now add your M&M's for scales, eye and lips. Using a small dollop of whit behind the eye if you want for detail. You could also do rainbow scales or contrasting scales... it's up to you and your imagination!

On relaxing...

Today will be a do nothing day. I spent the week working and cleaning and yesterday with a wonderful visit from family and today I am too tired to do anything. I'm even going to leave those toys on the floor over there... maybe....

I am also contemplating another crochet project, but I'm not sure. I haven't decided which pattern I want to tackle yet.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Time Flies

Another week has gone by. Where does the time go? It seems that it alternately speeds up and slows down this time of year. It speeds up when I have cleaning and shopping to do, but slows down when I think about Christmas day or New Years. Maybe I should think of Christmas while I clean... would that even it out? *laugh*

Thursday, December 1, 2011


We have a light dusting of snow this morning. Bastian was very excited to wear his new boots, even though he technically didn't need them. I made sure to put his regular shoes in his backpack just in case the teacher wants him to switch while inside. It wasn't any colder than yesterday morning... until the wind hit you. Then it was COLD! It is supposed to get steadily colder throughout the day. Then mild tomorrow and another blast of chill Saturday. At least we don't have to walk to school then.