Monday, January 24, 2011

Reaching Out

One of the first things I learned about food bloggers was, that they were a generous and compassionate group.  They banded tightly together in times of need and freely gave of themselves.  A recent example of this was when Monica blogged about a dear blogger friend that passed away.  Monica never meet Jeanette but still felt a strong less of loss at her passing. The supportive comments Monica received were amazing.  Going a little further back, another example was when  Ericka, a fellow blogger and her family were lucky to escape a fire that took her home and all her possessions.  The out pouring of support she was given was incredible.  I didn’t know her but soon felt like I did after reading about her and her story on many blogs.  Those are just two examples.  There are many others and I’m hoping that same supportive spirit will continue on and be bestowed on the family of another blogger. 

This afternoon I received an email from Michelle of One Ordinary Day.  Michelle’s sister Bea and her family lost their home on Saturday morning to a fire.  Thankfully everyone made it out alive.  However, Bea’s husband did not escape unscathed.  Given what could have been, they’re very thankful but it’s hard to ignore the fact that their home and all their possessions were lost.  Yes, they can be replaced but it’s so hard when it’s everything.  Michelle has a short post about it on her blog.  She doesn’t go into many details but does ask for your prayers and good thoughts.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit Michelle and extend Bea’s family good wishes.  I know times are tough and I hate to ask but if you are able to, please consider making a small donation, every little bit helps. Thank you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Little Late

I know the holiday party season is long gone but if you don’t know or haven’t already tried Hickory Farms sausages and cheeses you might be missing out.

hickory farms1

I was a lucky recipient of a small Hickory Farms gift pack through Food Buzz’s Tastemakers program.  I actually received it just before Thanksgiving though it wasn’t until New Year’s Eve that we sampled it.  We loved it especially the kids.  They gobbled  it up faster than I could cut it.  I’m not one to blog about savory foods (Kudos to you guys that do!  It’s tough getting good photos!) but I thought it worth mentioning.  And really you don’t have to wait for a party to serve it.  You can do like I do and feed it to the kiddos as an after school snack.

hickory farms2

I want to thank you  for sticking with me these past few weeks.  I know I haven’t been around and my commenting has been sparse.  I’d like to say that I’ll be better but it may be a few more weeks before I’m back into the swing of things. 

Now for the reason I’ve been MIA.  As most of you know I got a dslr back in July, well I’ve been teaching myself how to use it.  In order to do that I have to read,read, read, and practice, practice,practice.  At the same time I’m trying to master my camera and the manual setting I still have to work fulltime, “keep house”, raise three children, and juggle all their activities.  It isn’t easy and I don’t know how the rest of you guys manage but it’s tough juggling act.  It’s a poor excuse for my neglect of our friendship but it’s the only one I’ve got.  :)  You know, it’s partially your fault too.  All your  lovely comments on my photos and how I’ve improved is what encouraged me to really dive in and learn more. 

I didn’t intend to share as I’m kinda nervous about what you’ll think but I’m participating in a Project 365 and post my daily photo here if you’re interested.  (Please, don’t feel like you need to visit or comment.)  Thanks!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Banana Roll w/Cinnamon Cream Cheese

It’s even better than it sounds and it sounds pretty darn good, doesn’t it?!  :) 


I stumbled across this recipe while looking for another recipe.  (Wanna hear something  funny? I don’t remember what recipe I was originally looking for.   Must not have been a good one. )  The blog I found this on is called Pinch My Salt and the title for the blog post was, “Tired of Banana Bread?  Try this recipe!”  And so I ask you the same thing?  Tired of banana bread?  Make banana roll with cinnamon cream cheese frosting! :)


I followed the recipe exactly.  My only change was to spice up the filling by adding some cinnamon.  I did have a problem flipping the cake out onto my powdered sugar towel and later trying to roll it up.  It was very tender.  I probably should have cooked it for a minute more. 

Banana Roll, from Pinch My Salt

Powdered sugar
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3 eggs
1 C sugar
2/3 C. mashed banana (2 medium bananas)

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar, sifted
6 T. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla extract

1/4 C. powdered sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan (also known as half sheet pan); line with parchment or waxed paper. Grease and flour paper; set aside. Spread out a clean, thin dish towel on the counter (make sure the towel is larger than your jelly roll pan); sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (this can be done using a mesh strainer).

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda.

3. In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar; beat until thickened. Add banana; beat until well mixed.

4. Stir in flour mixture into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, easing it carefully to the corners with a spatula.

5. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.

6. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert cake onto the prepared towel. Remove pan; carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake in towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely on wire rack (will take at least an hour).

7. When the cake is almost completely cooled, make the filling: beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. (Add some cinnamon to taste to kick it up!)

8. When cake has cooled completely, unroll and spread with filling (or your favorite cream cheese frosting) then re-roll cake. Wrap rolled cake in plastic wrap then refrigerate at least one hour (overnight is best).

9. When ready to serve, unwrap cake and place on a platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired (sift the sugar through a small mesh strainer for a nice presentation). Cut into slices.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Anyone Interested In Cinnamon Roll Cake?

cinnamon-roll-cakeYes? Anyone?  You are?  Well, follow me over to Jolts & Jollies where I share the recipe to this super easy yet so delicious cake in a guest blog post

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut

Well, hello!  It’s been awhile.  I’ve missed you guys!  December turned out to be a lot crazier than I thought and unfortunately blogging to took a backseat to everything else. 


For most folks December is when they break out their cookie sheets, dust off their mixer, and stock up butter and sugar and it should have been no different for me.  As a food blogger and one who blogs about desserts I should have been baking up a storm.  Unfortunately it  didn’t happen.  I did though make these scrumptious addicting candied almonds.  Twice.  Both times I made them with the intention of sharing them with my neighbors but like my Christmas baking it didn’t happen.  I have Jonna to thank for sharing the recipe.  Jonna has a delicious blog and I have yet to be disappointed with any of her recipes.  As a matter of fact the only other recipe I made last month that was baked for Christmas Day was hers.  I’ll be sharing it with you at some point, too.



~ Gebrannte Mandeln~


  • ⅓ cup Water, Plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 cup & ⅓ cup Sugar, Divided
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
  • 2 cups Raw Almonds (I also used pecans.)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I used vanilla bean paste)


Notes before beginning: Make sure that you DO NOT let the first sugar mixture evaporate until it’s dry.  You don’t want it soupy, but rather a very thick syrup that is adhering to the nuts.  This is when you will add your second addition of sugar (1/3 cup).  If your mixture does become too dry, and all the sugar has dried up – don’t throw everything away.  It’s o.k.!  Just add a couple tablespoons of warm water, and stir until you have a bit of shine, but also some lumps beginning to form.

Use a heavy saucepan (NOT the nonstick kind) and a wooden spoon.

First add the water, 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon and stir. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Add the almonds to the mix, raise the temperature to high heat and stir CONSTANTLY until the water is boiled away.

The sugar will dry out a little but start to stick to the almonds. Keep stirring them around, so that the almonds don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

Turn the heat under the pan to medium-low, to keep the sugar from browning too fast. Keep stirring until the almonds start having an even shiny coat.

Now dump in the rest of your sugar. Keep stirring, and add your vanilla. At this point, I like to mention that if you have vanilla sugar or a powdered type of vanilla flavoring, do feel free to use that over the liquid kind. It tends to work better. If you do, mix it with the 1/3 of a cup of sugar you are using for the second lot of sugar.

At this point, there might be quite some noise ensuing from your pan. Some crackling and popping, but hopefully no snapping. It depends on how fresh your almonds were. Really fresh almonds will make a popping noise and the coat may start to crack. That’s the water in the almonds escaping. If the almonds are older, there won’t be as much of that!

Keep stirring until the almonds are fairly shiny, but still a bit lumpy. You don’t want them completely smooth. The best ones are the ones that are shiny in some areas with some delicious lumps of cinnamon sugar on other parts of the almond.

As soon as you see that happening, take them off the heat and transfer the almonds to a sheet of parchment paper. Spread them apart as much as you can, but don’t worry about some of them sticking together initially.  However, BE CAREFUL. These are extremely hot, so only use a spoon. These babies can really burn you!

While they are cooling down, keep on breaking them apart with your spoon(s) until they are all separated. Fair warning: these are totally divine when they are still ever-so-slightly warm. You’ve been warned!

Once they are cooled, hide them in a dry, closed container. Theoretically, they keep for several weeks.

Don’t be put off by the length of the directions!  They are just very detailed.


While we’re on the top of nuts, last month I won a contest Avril was having on her blog.  She was giving away several boxes of The True Nuts.  (Read about the company here.  Even if you don’t love almonds you have to love their social consciousness.) received five different flavors of roasted maple almonds.  Some of the flavors were expected and a few were a surprise.  My favorite was the the coconut.  As a matter of fact I’m last few that are left while I type this.  :) Thanks Avril!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 2011!

I hope everyone had a safe & Happy New Year. I'm looking forward to catching up on my blog & yours!