Friday, December 31, 2010

Lemon Cake

This lemon cake is all lemony, sugary goodness. It is the perfect combo of sweet and tart. My friend made it one day and brought me a couple of pieces and it was amazing! After I ate it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Within a day or two I called my friend and got the recipe. I bought lemons, just waiting for the perfect time to be able to make it for someone else. I finally had the chance for Christmas dinner and made it for my family, who were not disappointed in its lemony yumminess.
Lemon Cake
1 lemon cake mix
1 small package instant lemon pudding
1 c. oil
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind (2 medium lemons)
1 1/2 c. water
2 c. powdered sugar
juice squeezed from two lemons
3-4 drops yellow food coloring
1 Tbsp. lemon rind
Grease and flour a 9X13 pan. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, 2 Tbsp. lemon rind and water and mix well for 3 minutes. Bake it according to the cake mix package directions (I think mine was at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, but just look at the box). When the cake is done, let it cool down, then take a fork and poke that thing like crazy (in a gentle way, you don't want to destroy the top, just make holes in it). Not just a few little pokes, but cover the whole thing in fork pokes. In a separate bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, food coloring and 1 Tbsp. lemon rind until it is smooth. It needs to be pour-able, so if you need a little more juice, squeeze another half of a lemon into it (or more if necessary). Then pour the glaze all over the top of the cake and spread it around to make sure it covers it all and gets into all of those little holes you made. You can either serve it immediately or let it chill for a few hours in the fridge.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies

We found this recipe and loved it! We adapted it a little bit by dipping it in the peppermint bark rather than mixing it into the batter which was a fun twist. It made for a great Christmas treat to take to some friends and neighbors.

Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies


1 cup of butter

3/4 cup of brown sugar

3/4 cup of white granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt

1-2 c. white chocolate chips (to your liking)

white dipping chocolate

candy canes or other peppermints


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2 Cream the butter and sugars together for about two minutes at medium speed or until well incorporated and light in color.

3 Add the egg and the vanilla extract until well incorporated, about a minute. Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl halfway through.

4 Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture slowly, and beating at medium speed, stopping once all of it is incorporated (do not overmix).

5 Fold in the white chocolate chips.

6 Take small spoonfuls of the dough and roll into one inch sized balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for -12 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

7 Melt white dipping chocolate with a double boiler or by melting in a microwave safe bowl, 30 seconds at a time stirring in between, until melted. Crush candy canes to very small pieces and mix in the melted chocolate.

8 Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and lay on parchment paper to cool and harden. (Put in refrigerator for a few minutes to harden quickly.)

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Brownie Covered Oreos

As I was searching through one of my favorite blogs,, I found a wonderful recipe that combines common, deliciously simple treats we eat into one mouthwatering dessert. These were a fun Christmas treat to make for some neighbors and friends.


1 Brownie mix (or use your own brownie recipe)

1 package Oreos, (the Holiday ones would be fun, but I couldn’t find them anywhere!)

White chocolate, melted for drizzle, or Wilton White frosting pen works great

White nonpariels Sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Leave in mixing bowl. Dip Oreos in brownie batter then place in bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through (doesn’t take long).

As soon as you remove, take a plastic knife and run along edges, (this is VERY important so the brownies don’t stick to the pan).

Let cool for 5 minutes, remove and let cool completely. Drizzle with melted white chocolate or icing pens, sprinkle with nonpareils. Makes entire package of Oreos.

I couldn’t believe how many people wanted to try this recipe out after tasting them. They’re a lot of fun!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tomato Basil and Pesto Pasta

I found this recipe on the Sisters Cafe. It was great, fast, and easy. I added a delicious grilled chicken to it to make a great, rather healthy, meal.

Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta

1/4 cup basil pesto (I purchased a yummy basil pesto, but the Sisters Café has a recipe here)

1/4 lb penne pasta

1.5-2 cups tomatoes

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Basil leaves

Shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Just before draining the pasta into a colander, remove 1/4 cup of pasta water; set aside. Drain the pasta, put back in the pot, and then stir in the Basil Pesto and the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, to create a sauce. Add diced tomatoes and toss to coat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer onto individual serving plates and garnish with sliced fresh basil leaves and shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 servings.

Grilled Chicken Breasts
2 breasts (6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small clove of garlic finely chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces)

Mix lemon juice, oil and garlic in shallow glass or plastic dish. Place chicken in marinade, turn chicken to coat with marinade. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the portable grill about 5 minutes.
When the grill is hot, remove chicken from marinade, discard marinade and place the chicken on grill and cook about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over and grill another 3 minutes or until the juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey & Rice Soup

To preface this recipe- I am not a fan of leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Past eating it with the rest of the leftovers, I do not enjoy it. Because we had plenty of it leftover this year, I searched for a recipe I would enjoy it in. I found this gem and will be using it every year. I loved this recipe. It's very similar to the Chicken Wild Rice Soup I posted earlier which is my favorite soup ever, but this had some fun differences. The main one for me was the addition of slivered almonds! I loved the added slight crunch. The best part about this recipe was that the turkey tasted delicious.

Turkey Wild Rice Soup: adapted from

2/3 c. uncooked wild rice
2 c. water

6 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. finely chopped celery
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. turkey broth (I used chicken broth which tasted fantastic)
1/3 c. thinly sliced carrot
2 c. chopped cooked turkey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 c. chopped sliced almonds
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. half-and-half cream


1. Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 40 to 45 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork, and cook uncovered 5 minutes more. Set the cooked rice aside.

2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and celery until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, and cook until it turns a pale yellowish-brown color, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the turkey stock until no lumps of flour remain. Stir in the carrot. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook, whisking constantly, until the stock is thick and smooth and the carrot is tender, about 2 more minutes.

3. Stir in the wild rice, turkey, salt, pepper, and almonds. Return to a simmer, and cook 2 more minutes to heat the ingredients. Stir in the lemon juice and half-and-half; bring the soup almost to a boil, and serve hot.

Eyeball Cake Balls

This recipe is a little late, but I thought I would add it for next year. These were a lot of fun for our Halloween party this year. Simpler than I realized. Although, I may need to increase my skill at getting the chocolate to come out smoother while dipping.

Cake Ball Eyeballs:

1 box of red velvet cake mix
1 container of cream cheese frosting
1 lb. white chocolate or almond bark (for dipping)
tube of red decorating gel
m&ms or other colored candies


Cook the cake following the directions on the box. Let the cake cool, then gently crumble with a fork. Crumble until the entire cake is in fine crumbs.

Next, mix the cake with the tub of frosting, stirring until it is thoroughly combined and creates a smooth, doughy consistency. Mold the soft cake mixture into small balls with your hands and place on parchment paper. It helps to freeze for about an hour before dipping.

Melt the chocolate or almond bark in a double boiler or in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Once it's completely melted, remove from heat and begin dipping cake balls in chocolate.

*Remember that the whole process of dipping should go very quickly before the ball starts to melt and you get a crumbly mess.

If you use a fork, gently dip and roll the ball in the chocolate, lift out and place on parchment paper to dry. Gently push an m&m in the center of the ball before the chocolate dries completely. You can also use lollipop sticks to roll in the chocolate and stick in Styrofoam balls to dry to make cake ball suckers.

Once the chocolate is dry, decorate with red icing to make veins.

Enjoy the spookiness.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This recipe could also be called German Pancakes (at least I think it is the same thing). Dustin grew up calling it Monsters, and we now all call it Monsters in our household. I think it is because it puffs up in the oven as you cook it. The kids love it though, and it is about the only way I can get some of my children to eat something eggy (I'm pretty sure that is a word, even though my spell check tells me it is not :).
by: Lana
6 eggs
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
6 Tbsp. butter (I only use about 3-4 Tbsp and I use the margarine spread stuff. It is easier to spread than a stick of butter)
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the flour, salt and milk and stir until combined. FYI, there is always chunks after I stir this up, and it comes out fine in the end. The chunks actually rise up to the top while it is baking and make a nice little crust-like top. In a 9X13 pan, spread the butter around and cover the bottom as best as you can. Pour the egg mixture in and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until it has puffed up. I didn't get a good picture of the puffs, because it deflates pretty quickly after you take it out. But know that it will really puff up high before it is done. Serve it with powdered sugar, syrup or jam.