Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cherry Cake

On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. "As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent," he wrote James Madison, "it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles."

It is said that Washington cut down a cherry tree in his youth. When questioned by his father it is said that Washington replied, "I can't tell a lie, Pa; you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet."

I personally don't believe this took place. I believe it to be a fabrication on the part of an author to show Washington's honesty and to sell books.

When I think of Washington DC, I also think about the cherry trees that are planted throughout the District. I dream of someday visiting our Capitol and touring it's monuments. If it were to coincide with the cherries blossoming... that would make it even better!

So when I think of President's Day, I think of cherries. What better way to celebrate than to make a cherry cake! This cake whipped up in no time flat (uses a box mix) and is TASTY! I iced it with my Cream Cheese Icing that I added maraschino cherries to. Results... hubby had three pieces ;-) The following picture isn't the greatest, but when you finish making the cake at 9 PM after helping a friend corral her stallion, there is NO natural light to take good pictures!!!

Cherry Cake

1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling

Beat the cake mix and eggs for two minutes until it is well blended. Stir in cherry pie filling. Pour into a greased or lined (I lined my pan with parchment paper) jelly roll pan. Bake at 350* for 18-22 minutes. Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 C maraschino cherries, chopped
2 c heavy cream

Beat cream cheese, sugar and extracts until well combined. Add in cherries and with mixer running, slowly pour in heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I have gone to two different gatherings lately where I was asked to bring food. The first was my friend Cari's birthday! We had a surprise party for her... AND we pulled it off! She was definitely surprised! I had wanted to make Cranberry Meatballs... but for the life of me couldn't find which of my MANY cookbooks had the original recipe :( So I searched around on the internet and found a grape jelly meatball recipe that sounded interesting. I made it and was not disappointed! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of these meatballs before my family inhaled what wasn't eaten at the party.... but here's the recipe anyway!

3 C chili sauce
2 C grape jelly
1 T dijon mustard

Mix all together and pour over precooked meatballs. Crock pot on high 4 hours

I just used frozen meatballs from Costco. This recipe adequately covered 5 lbs of meatballs. Had I had enough room in my crockpot for the whole 6 lb bag of meatballs, with room to stir, I would have used the whole bag. I heated the meatballs in the microwave for this occasion, since I was running behind on my party prep... but you could easily pour it over the frozen meatballs and cook on high for 4 hours to get them warmed through.

So my next occasion was our Quilt Guild service day. Every February, instead of our regular meeting, we do service projects. Today we sewed burp cloths and receiving blankets for the Women, Infants, Children organization, and pillowcases for The Quilts of Valor project. We sew for several hours, have a potluck lunch and sew some more! I was REALLY craving my Cranberry meatballs, and then the lightbulb went off! Since it has been a favorite recipe of mine for a while, I thought maybe I had put it in the Cookbook Emma's school put together a few years back as a fundraiser.... sure enough there it was! So easy... I couldn't believe I couldn't remember the ingredients! I mixed the sauce ingredients in a Ziplock bag, picked up some meatballs on the way to the Guild and threw it together in a flash when I got there.

Cranberry Meatballs
2 cans whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can tomato soup (undiluted)
1 T dijon mustard

Mix sauce ingredients and pour over precooked meatballs. Crockpot on high for 4 hours. Sauce adequately covers 4 lbs of meatballs.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Tacos

I saw these Chicken Tacos on The Urban Homemaker and knew I had to try them! I wasn't disappointed one bit. This is a good way to stretch a little bit of meat. We actually got two meals out of this... not bad for my hungry family of 5 =-)

I was a bit concerned about putting the pepper jack cheese in them, since my littlest does NOT like spicy hot food... but I did not detect any heat from it at all.

I had some chicken in my freezer left over from when we stewed some of our hens. I just nuked it enough to be able to separate the pieces out, but they were by no means defrosted all the way. I used corn and rice straight from my freezer as well. One of these days I will put my baked rice recipe on here. It is the best way I have found to cook brown rice! I make a bunch at a time, so I freeze leftovers in 2 cup increments in ziploc freezer bags. Everything was cooked through in the time given.

Chicken Tacos

3-4 C cooked, shredded chicken

2 C cooked brown rice

1 C frozen sweet corn

1/2 tsp salt

1 C (4 oz) shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

1 can diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

2 (10 oz) cans Green Enchilada Sauce

Crisp taco shells



Sour Cream

Fresh squeezed lime juice

Lightly grease a 13 X 9 baking dish. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, spread into the baking dish. Bake at 450 degrees or 25-30 min, or until bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes and serve!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You all probably thought I fell off the face of Earth didn't ya! I apologize for taking such a hiatus from my blog. I have still been taking lots of pictures of food I've been making, so I have no excuse to not blog about them!

My middle little, Ellie, turned 9 this month. Between family parties and a friend party I made lots of cupcakes and a cake. My favorite has to be the cupcakes I made for her friend party! I have found a lady who does ceramics. She teaches everyone from 2 to 90... although I am sure if you are 92 and still have a desire to paint ceramics, she isn't going to turn you away ;-) I was VERY pleased with her party and her prices. If anyone wants to plan a party I can give you her contact information in a private e-mail.

Ellie decided she wanted her friends to paint fish... so we went with the whole fish theme for the invitations and party. I found some dimensional fish in a scrapbooking section at our local megamart and decided to use glue dots to affix toothpicks to them to stick in the cupcakes.

The frosting was to DIE FOR!!! I guess that depends on your fondness of peanut butter... one of my favorite candy bars is Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.... so this was right up my alley! I doubled the frosting recipe to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes the way I did. If you were just going to spread the frosting on the cupcakes, a single recipe should be adequate... but why would you just want a thin layer!?! =-)

Chocolate Cupcakes

6 T cocoa
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 C flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C vegetable oil
1 C water
Sift together cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and flour. Using a mixer, mix together the eggs, vanilla, oil and water until well combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Scrape down side of mixer as needed. Divide evenly into 24 lined muffin cups and bake at 375* for about 18-20 minutes.

Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting
6 T unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C powdered sugar
3/4 C creamy peanut butter
1/4 C heavy cream
Using a mixer, beat all ingredients together until smooth and combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed while mixing. Use a pastry bag with a large tip to pipe frosting on cupcakes, or spread with a knife.