Sunday, January 30, 2011


...Miss Payton Brielle Anderson. My little brother Jarom and his wife Alysha are the proud new parents to a beautiful, tiny and sweet little baby girl. I got to meet her on Saturday and fell in love with her instantly. Being the only girl in my family with 4 younger brothers, a son of my own and 3 nephews, the addition of a little girl to our family is lots of fun! Despite the fact that she peed on me twice (hahaha)while we were taking her pictures, I had a blast cuddling with her, taking her pictures and now putting together some announcements. She is a keeper for sure. I can't wait till I can see her again. I also can't wait to send the disc of pics to her Mummy and Daddy with some little added bonuses on it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Apricot & White Chocolate Coffee Cake

A week or so ago my sister in law Liz was sweet enough to surprise me one morning by dropping dinner off to us. Our little guy has decided all of a sudden that there are scary monsters lurking in every corner of our house and this has translated into little to no sleep for a little over a month now. Not having to worry about dinner for a couple of nights was much welcomed and appreciated. I made this dessert to return the favor.

This cake was easy and fast to throw together and I served it warm with a drizzle of unsweetened heavy whipping cream. I liked the addition of the unsweetened cream as for me it seemed to tone down the sweetness of this cake just a tad. Don't get me wrong, I love desserts and sweets but my faves are the ones that don't leave me feeling like I'm about to fall into a diabetic coma once I have eaten them.

Apricot & White Chocolate Coffee Cake
Yields 12 servings

For the cake:
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2 tbl spoons sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup milk (use whatever you have on hand but preferably not skim)
2 tbl spoons canola oil
1/2 cup white baking chips
1/2 cup apricot preserves

For the topping:

1/3 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbl spoons cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix and sugar. Whisk the egg, milk and oil: stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9 inch round baking pan.

Drop preserves by teaspoonfuls over batter. Cut through batter with knife to swirl the preserves.

For topping, combine the biscuit mix and sugar in a small bowl; Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Easy Crockpot Apple Cobbler

One night a few Saturdays ago I was in the mood for a little something sweet but wasn't feeling too awfully inspired by much, nor did I feel like spending alot of time in the kitchen. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home cooking magazine and it was just the ticket.

Easy Crockpot Apple Cobbler
Taste of Home Magazine- December/January 2011

Cooks in 3 hours and serves 6

1 can (21 oz) apple pie mix (see note below)
1 pkg (9 ounces) yellow cake mix- note this is not a whole box cake mix only 9 ounces
1/4 cup chopped pecans (I ommited these)
1/4 cup butter- melted
Vanilla ice cream or sweetend cream- optional

Place pie filling in a greased 1-1/2 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with cake mix and pecans. Drizzle with butter. Cover and cook on high for three hours or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or cream.

***Note*** I wanted a little more apple in my filling and happened to have some apples at home so I peeled and thinly sliced some fresh apples and added them to the apple pie mix. Adding the fresh apples not only bulked up the apple filling but it also added a fresh taste to the dessert.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Delicious Cheesecake

Another goodie from I love this cheesecake recipe. I recently made this for my mother in law for her special birthday dessert. She isn't a huge fan of cake so I thought this cheesecake seemed like a great substitute.

Having your birthday be just a few days before Christmas isn't always fun an attempt to make this yummy treat the least bit wintery I chose to top it with some fresh mango puree. I love fruit puree over cheesecake. However, being the fruit lover that I am I prefer not to add sugar etc etc to it so this puree is nothing but pure mango. I simply removed as much of the flesh and juice from the mango as I could and drizzled it over the top. The cheesecake is creamy and delicious and the mango gave it a refreshing burst.

The Ultimate Cheesecake
adapted from Tyler Florence

3 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 40 squares)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 pint sour cream

To prepare crumb crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (I use a 10-inch springform pan b/c it is all I have and it works great) with non-stick cooking spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and 1-inch up the sides on the pan, use your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.

To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to slowly beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Blend in the sour cream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overcook! Do not do a toothpick test in the cake’s center, this will make a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours to set up. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, nonserrated knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each cut.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

If you haven't been to Cafe Zupas need to. If you have and you haven't tried their Wisconsin Cauliflower need to. Put that on your list of things to do...go. Do it now! I promise you won't be dissapointed.

I have only been to Zupas once, but once was enough and I was hooked. When I got home from my delicious lunch there back in September, I immediately jumped online to see if I could find a similar recipe so I could make and eat this soup whenever I wanted. To my great delight, I discovered this little gem at It is amazing. I like to garish mine with a little grated cheddar and a dollop of sour cream. If you want to be really naughty you could also add a little bacon. Enjoy!

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I just used regular mustard and it was fine)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese

In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mint Cheesecake Bites

This is hands down one of my favorite cheesecake recipes. The mint gives it a fresh and different from your average cheesecake taste, the texture is wonderful and creamy and well, how can you go wrong with a Oreo base? You can't! This is also easy to put together and it seems pretty fool proof. Not a fussy cheesecake recipe at all. Win Win.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I love or I am in love with cheesecake. I really have nothing negative to say about cheesecake. It is wonderful in every way. My mother in law learnt this about me early on and so way back in the day when my husband and I were first married she made this for me. I was hooked from the get go. I was excited to make it to take to a family get together we had on Christmas Day. I love the green and then serving it on the red plate just brought it all together and made it pop. Gorgeous and delicious!

Mint Cheesecake Bites

3 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (40 cookies)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
6 or so drops green liquid food coloring (I just eyeballed it-I think I used 8 drops)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used milk- use what you have or what you like)
1 tsp vegetable shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs and butter; Press mixture into an aluminium foil lined 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring. Spread cream cheese mixture onto prepared crust.

Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 35 minutes or until mostly set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 8 hrs.

Place chocolate chips and shortening in a small heavy duty resealable plastic bag; seal. Submerge bag in hot water (or melt in microwave) until chocolate melts; Knead gently until mixture is smooth. Snap a tiny hole in one corner of plastic bag; drizzle chocolate of cheesecake. Cut into squares.

Yields about 24 cheesecake bites.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas has come and gone

We are grateful it came and we are equally grateful it is over. This year we feel truly blessed for the things we were able to do this Christmas season to mark the true meaning of Christmas. After all it is not the worldly gifts we did or didn't receive which made this a special time of year for our little family. That being said, we thoroughly enjoyed watching Gabe understand and get excited for Santa and got huge kicks out of spoiling him...ROTTEN! He deserves it.

Gabe always baffles us with what he understands and how sweet his little spirit is. A couple of days before Christmas, Brad and I were doing what most parents do around Christmas. Gabe was being naughty and we were telling him that if he was naughty that Santa wouldn't bring him any presents. To which he replied "That's OK Mum I have lots of toys huh? Maybe Santa can give my presents to some other kids who don't have any toys. I have enough...huh Mum" Brad and I just looked at each other. What could we say? How many 3 year olds think of that all on their own? Our boy is truly a special little spirit. We are eternally grateful to have him in our lives.

Some pics from the big day.

He came! The one thing I will miss about not having our tree up is the smell, it was heavenly.

Opening Presents!

So a few weeks before Christmas we asked Gabe what he wanted. All he said was a drum. Brad and I looked at each other...a drum? Seemed random, so we blew it off. Christmas Eve we asked again (don't ask me why) and the same response "a drum". Shoot!...he really wanted a drum?! Santa had to hurry and make a pit stop at Toys R Us on Christmas Eve.

As you can was worth it!

Perhaps we have a drummer on our hands?

The aftermath

But wait...there's More. We waited until the end, blind folded Gabe and lead him into the other family room. Santa had left one more surprise in the laundry room. Now we just need it to warm up so we can really have some fun with this toy.

Of all his gifts he has had the most fun it seems with his little dinosaur that he takes everywhere, his play doh and accessories, doodling with his markers and glitter pens and he has spent hours and hours painting on his easel. I think we may have a little artist on our hands.

Even with all the madness of the holidays and having a sick little guy about the house I have still been cooking and baking up a storm. I am excited to share some of the recipes. Will do that tomorrow.