Berries, berries, good ole berries!

Hello all, how are you? I just want to quickly remind you that you still have time to give your suggestions on last week’s post!  What would you like the feature strawberry recipe to be? Remember you must subscribe to the blog and post your suggestion in the comments to potentially be a winner! Good luck and I look forward to reading your suggestions.  Thank you to all who have made suggestions already!

LET’S COOK!

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Strawberry Time!!

Hey everyone! I hope this cloudy day has not dampened your spirits! If so cheer up because it’s STRAWBERRY SEASON! My favorite time of the year. So in honor of that….I’m asking you…my readers…what you would like to see me create with some ripe, gorgeous, sweet, juicy, delicious, strawberries? List it in the comments. I will pick one lucky reader and that recipe will be featured on the blog! Who knows….if you’re local you may just receive that recipe! So let me know what you’re thinking about…I’m so ready and I can’t wait to hear your suggestions! 

 

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Fresh picked from Lewis Farms in Wilmington, NC

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Easy Peach Cobbler

Hey Yall!!!!  I missed all of you and I missed blogging the last few weeks due to flu and sinusitis….I told you pollen and I have a love/hate relationship…lol…however, I’m back…nothing can keep me down for too long! I’m so glad to be back! What have you been cooking while I was away?

This post will be short but super sweet! I want to give you one more of what I call a cool weather recipe yet it tastes great in any season. It can be made anytime and it really hits the spot during the summer with a cold scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. I found the original recipe in one of Paula Dean’s recipe books a while ago.  Although it tastes great as is, I thought it needed something. The original recipe didn’t include any spices or flavoring. So I decided to add my own twist to this great yet quick classic. You can change the spices to suit your taste or leave them out altogether.  

I’ve had a lot of friends tell me how they’ve enjoyed it and it’s always a hit when the family gets together! Let me know what you think. Did I mention that it takes less than an hour from start to finish?….well it does and it’s so worth it!  Let’s cook!

 

Easy Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup of self rising flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup of whole milk

3 cups of sliced peaches in the syrup

 

Directions:

  1. Place the stick of butter in a baking dish (9 x 13). Place it in the oven on 350° F. Allow the butter to melt. (It will only take a few minutes).
  2. While the butter is melting, in a large medium mixing  bowl, combine the next five ingredients. No need to sift if you use a large fork to stir. Just make sure it’s combined well.
  3. Create a well in the bowl and add your milk slowly to avoid lumps. Stirring the mixtures until it comes together. Then add your vanilla.
  4. The butter should have melted by now and been removed from the oven. Yes, you will now add the wet mixture to the baking dish while it’s hot. Now spoon the peaches on top of the mixture…DO NOT STIR…pour the syrup over the entire mixture.
  5. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes on 350° F.  It will be golden brown and bubbly when done.
  6. Enjoy hot or wait until it cools a little so you won’t burn your mouth. Smile…it always makes me smile.

 

Sometimes, I just can’t wait until it cools. It’s so delicious. You can use just about any fruit in this quick recipe. It can be fresh, frozen, or canned. I’ve tried them all and it works well with each.

 

Cream cheese Frosting

Hey y’all! I hope you are enjoying your week so far. Today is the first day of spring! My grandmother has been out in the yard playing in her gardens getting them ready for all of the flowers she’ll plant! She loves flowers and this time of year breaths rebirth of a new beauty to enjoy.

Me on the other hand…I have a love hate relationship with this time of year simply because pollen has wreaked havoc on my sinuses. Lol…I love the beautiful flowers though. I’ve learned a lot about flowers since I’ve been decorating cakes. Creating a beautiful Rose from buttercream or fondant & gumpaste can be quite taxing and so satisfying at the same time. Having the consistency just right is always important along with technique of course. The same idea applies when you’re frosting a cake. The idea is to enhance the flavor of the cake. I’ve learned that you may have a cake that initially started out as a pre-made mix but with the right icing, you forget all about the mix. My mom used this cream cheese recipe on her carrot cake and I use it on mine. It’s absolutely amazing! Let me know how this simple recipe enhances your cakes. 

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz bar of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 stick of butter

1 tsp vanilla

4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Directions

1. Cream butter, vanilla, and cream cheese until light and smooth

2. Slowly incorporate the confectioner’s sugar until smooth and creamy.

3. Use at your own discretion. It is habit forming!

Enjoy!

 

Va’Raelyn’s Cherry Strawberry Cake

 

 

Hello world! Time has sprung forward and here in Brunswick county, we saw a blanket of snow today. Lol…it disappeared almost as quickly as it came! This weather has definitely made some changes this week.  A few days ago it was 70° plus and today it snowed. Needless to say, I was all snug and cozy in my kitchen cooking away! That means lunch for the next few days. I hope you all have enjoyed your weekend and spent a little time with friends and family…in the kitchen of course! 

I have a 5-year-old cousin who likes to help me in the kitchen when she comes over. She is such a sweetheart and so smart.  One day, several months ago she came to visit and I asked her if she wanted to make a cake and she said yes! So I wanted to make a version of her first birthday cake which was strawberry but I wanted to do something different.  I looked through the pantry and spotted a jar of maraschino cherries and thought to myself…this will work. I measured everything out and let her pour it in the mixing bowl…when I got to the eggs…she looked at me and said, “Sheca will you teach me how to open eggs?” With that sweet little face looking up at me from the step stool she was on…how could I say no. So of course I said, “Yes Rae, I will show you how to crack an egg.” After the first few tries and egg running on the counter…lol…she was cracking eggs like a pro. 

This recipe is the cake that she and I made with a few additions. I hope you enjoy it as my family and coworkers have! Let’s cook!

Va’Raelyn’s Cherry Strawberry Cake

Ingredients:

1 box of strawberry cake mix

1 small box of vanilla instant pudding

1/2 c self rising flour

2/3 c milk

1/3 c canola oil

4 eggs

1 tsp of vanilla

12 oz jar of maraschino cherries chopped and save the juice. It goes in the batter.

2 c cream cheese frosting, less if you’re using a 9×13 baking dish.

2 tbs strawberry preserves

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Prepare 3, 8″ x2″ round cake pans or a 9×13 baking dish by spraying it with baking spray. (I use 8″x3″ round pans which gives me 2 larger layers)
  2. In a mixing bowl combine first 7 ingredients and 1/2 cup of cherry juice and mix well.
  3. Add 2/3 of your chopped cherries to your batter and mix on low to medium speed. Don’t worry the cherries are tough they can handle the mixer, you don’t need to fold them in.
  4. Pour batter into desired pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. To test use a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s done. If not leave it for a 2-3 minutes and check it again.
  5. Remove cakes from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Do not sit them on the counter. The heat will continue to cook them.
  6. Once cooled, spread the strawberry preserves between the cooled layers along with some of the chopped cherries, then icing. Decorate the outside how you like. I added some whole strawberries and cherries.

 

Please let me know what you think. Enjoy and remember to spread a little love today with your family, friends, and those you don’t know. You never know how much your smiling face helps a stranger! Stay positive and keep cooking!

 

 

Tips about Cake Baking

Hey,  I hope your weekend has been full of love, family, and of course great food! 

My tips for you this week are about cake baking. Last week I posted a quick lemon bundt that could brighten any winter day!

As a cake decorator, I’ve had to figure out what works best for my clients, the design, and of course what tastes great. Let’s be real…who wants a pretty cake that tastes awful? The answer is no one! Although it does happen unfortunately.  Here are a few tips to help make your cake baking experience a little easier. Let me know how they work out for you.

1. If your cake is heavy unintentionally, you may have used too much sugar or you haven’t cooked it long enough.

2. If your cake falls (it happens to all of us) there could be several reasons…a)you may have used too much sugar. b) not enough flour. c)outdated baking powder.  d)haven’t cooked it long enough. The one thing that probably doesn’t cause it to fall is running through the house…lol…as children we were told that many times…lol

3. Uneven browning could be caused by baking at too high of a temperature and crowding the oven shelf.  My suggestion is always use an oven thermometer and have at least two inches around each pan.

4. Always mix your batter well on medium speed (unless otherwise directed)scraping the sides periodically to incorporate all ingredients. You don’t want to miss anything or over mix.

5. Always add love to whatever you do! It makes everything better!

I hope these tips have helped you. This is what I worked on over the weekend.

Quick Lemon Cake

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Hello there. Today offers love and good food. My uncle and my cousins have come home. So of course Grandma and I are cooking.  Who can turn down a family get together…not this gal. I’m in charge of the sweet treats of course. So using what I have on hand is  quick and keeps me from having to do a lot of shopping. There will be something for everyone to enjoy. The kids get red velvet cake pops, chocolate covered pretzels, and brownies. The adults get my quick lemon cake and peach cobbler. Although everyone is welcome to eat what they like. The kid’s have treats that can be carried by hand! They can grab and go…who wants to be cooped up on a beautiful sunny day like this plus they can burn the sugar off while playing.

Everything does not have to be from scratch. Doctoring up a box mix is always easy and you don’t need many extra ingredients. Sometimes just the fact that you don’t have to start from scratch makes everything seem a little easier. Make it easy for yourself! When you have time and you want to, then create from scratch. I just want everyone to be happy and enjoy each other while taking in some food love!

Today you get 2 recipes…one is for happiness and the other is for cake! I hope you enjoy them both! The happiness recipe I came across while I was strolling on the Internet.  A website called http://www.oldrecipebook.com.  The author of the poem is unknown. I think it works, how about you?

Recipe for Happiness

2 heaping cups of patience
1 heartful of love
2 handsful of generosity
a dash of laughter
1 headful of understanding

Sprinkle generously with kindness. Add plenty of faith, and mix well. Spread over a period of a lifetime and serve to everyone you meet.
(Date Unknown)

 

Lemon Bundt with Strawberries

Ingredients

1 box of lemon cake mix

1 small box of Jello instant lemon pudding

4 large eggs

1/3 cup of canola oil

1/2 cup self rising flour

1/2 cup of milk ( I prefer whole milk but you can substitute what you like)

1/2 cup of water

1 tsp lemon flavoring

1 cup of lemon frosting of your choice.

15-20 fresh strawberries

2 tbs sugar

Directions

1. Pre heat oven to 330° f. Spray your baking pan with baking spray.

2. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour batter into your large bundt pan.

3. Bake for about an hour. Check it in 50 minutes. Depending on your oven it may be done.

4. While the cake is baking, wash and cut your berries. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and let sit in the refrigerator.

5. When the cake is done, remove from oven and let sit on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Remove from pan and drizzle the frosting over it. Let it continue to cool completely.

6. Once cake is completely cooled add the strawberries to the middle of the cake. Serve to family.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my family today! I hope your day has been full of good people, lots of love, and exceptional food! Let me know what you think about the cake! Enjoy.