I'm still cooking.

Hi.  You'll notice I haven't posted since Easter.  Sorry.  Believe me, I have been cooking since then.  I have tried some new recipes too, but life has been hectic.  Sitting down to blog has slipped way down on the "to do" list--so far down that it doesn't get done!

In addition, one of my most frequent source of new recipes was the Kraft Foods magazine.  When I first started receiving it a few years ago, it was free.  It is no longer, and I didn't pay to continue my subscription.  So one source of recipes to tell you about is gone.

Also, I started receiving Taste of Home magazine a few months ago.  I have tried some recipes from it, but I am unable to link to those recipes for you on this site.  Their site only allows current subscribers to the magazine to have access to the recents months' recipes.  I'm not going to tell you about a recipe and then not give it to you, and I think there are copyright laws that prevent me from typing it in here when they go to such lengths to make those recipes only for their readers.  Sorry.

I am continuing to do cake, cookie and cupcake decorating, and I am chewing on ways to put the photos of those things on some sort of online gallery.  Once I figure out how I want to do it, I will let you all know how to get to it.

So, with all the changes our family has been going through lately with school schedules, the boys getting older, my commitments and my husband's commitments, blogging has slipped very far down my list of priorities.  I gave it a go for a while, and honestly, not that many people were visiting my blog.  I'm not a natural blogger like Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.  My ramblings aren't nearly as interesting and entertaining.  haha.  So, this is likely my last post here on the Cookin' with Melissa blog.  For those of you who have tried some of the recipes and enjoyed seeing the cakes and cookies I made...

Thanks for stopping by!


Wilton Level III Final Cake

In this post, I showed you the royal icing Easter Lilies I made to prepare for my final cake for the Level III Class. We completed our cakes on Wednesday night. We could take the cakes covered with fondant and finish them there. I made my own marshmallow fondant that I told you about here. It worked pretty well. At class, I assembled the two cakes, put on the garland and string work along with the ruffle along the bottom, and then placed the Easter Lilies. It was fun!

This cake didn't turn out as perfect as I had planned. I had more practice with all the others. Why would I make tiered cakes for practicing? Who needs that much cake? Anyway, I found out that royal icing works better for the garland and string work on the sides, and I was trying to do it with buttercream. My homemade fondant wasn't quite right, because I did something out of order when making it. (My 3-year old was in rare form that day. I think I was chasing him around the house every 30 seconds cleaning up his trail of messes. Hence, my attention span for my cake was not very long at any one point in the day. He didn't nap either. Grrrr.) Anyway, it's done.

Happy Easter! Thanks for stopping by!


Jill's Cake

My sister has been telling me that she wants me to make her a cake now that I'm taking cake decorating classes. However, we will not be visiting at her birthday. When we were all at our parents' house last weekend, I baked her a cake. I took all my decorating supplies and tools along to PA so I could.

Jill likes bright, bold colors, and she wanted lots of flowers. Unfortunately, many of the flowers I've been making are royal icing flowers. They need to be made in advance and dried, and we just didn't have time. So, I just made her some buttercream flowers all over her cake. She picked different ideas from a bunch of different cakes out of my books, and I did whatever she wanted. This is how it turned out. Thanks for stopping by!



Here are pictures from the third (last) class of the Level III Cake Decorating Course. The fourth class is always the one where we make our final cakes, so we don't learn new techniques at that one. At this one, we learned to work with fondant to cover cakes, make roses, and make lilies of the valley. I had an injured finger, so it was a little difficult for me to manipulate the fondant to make a nice rose. I'll have to practice it some more.

Fondant doesn't taste especially good, but I found a recipe on the Cake Central website where you make it from scratch with marshmallows.  I made some of the Marshmallow Fondant, and it tastes much better.  The trick is to get it the right consistency. I think it will work for covering cakes, but I'm not sure it's stiff enough for making roses. That's ok. I don't mind making the decorations with the Wilton Brand if I can cover the cake with the better tasting--and less expensive--stuff. Thanks for stopping by!


Welcome Spring! Jumbo Cookies

Shortly after making the St. Patrick's Day jumbo chocolate chip cookies, I decided they would be the perfect snack for my stamping workshop. I got these all made and ready, and then had to cancel the workshop.

I used an image from Stampin' Up! for the chick in the egg. It's fun to use the transfer technique using decorating gel with any king of image. I need to practice my writing technique. Thanks for stopping by!


BIG Cupcake Daisies

I'm making assorted cupcakes for our church's spring ladies' retreat. I thought I'd make BIG flowers to put on the tops of them to distinguish the different flavors. I'm going to make big roses, pansies, and daffodils too. Here are the first big flowers, big daisies. They're about 3" in diameter. They were fun to make! I hope the rest of the flowers turn out ok too. We're going to put the cupcakes on cake pedestal plates in the middle of the tables as centerpieces. Hopefully, they'll look like big flower bouquets. Thanks for stopping by!


Wilton Level III Final Cake Preparation

Once again, I am going to use a cake design from my course instruction booklet as my final cake. It uses petunias, but since this cake will be made the week before Easter, I'm going to use Easter Lilies instead. I started prepping them in advance so that they would have plenty of time to dry.

The cake will be a tiered cake, so I decided to make two sizes of Easter Lilies using the large and medium size lily nails in our class supply kit. I need ten of each size, but I made a dozen of each size in case one breaks or something. It's such a relief to have these done! Thanks for stopping by!


Wilton Level III Cake Decorating Class

At my second Wilton Level III Cake Decorating Class, we made some more flowers using the lily nails. My royal icing was a little soft, so it didn't work as well as it should have. This was my first whack at petunias, morning glories, garlands and string work. Thanks for stopping by!


Happy St. Patrick's Day Cookie

It's a little late, but this is a jumbo cookie that I made for the boys for St. Patrick's Day. I am having way too much fun with me new cake decorating skills. The perpetual supply of buttercream isn't such a good thing. I need to strengthen my will power against it.

One recipe of my chocolate chip cookie dough makes two of these jumbo cookies. We took one for my oldest son's kindergarten teacher on St. Patrick's Day. She thought it was great, and he was excited to give it to her. Thanks for stopping by!


"16" Birthday Cake

A friend of mine saw my final cake--or at least the remnants of it--after I had taken it to the church office to get rid of the rest of it. (You can see it in yesterday's post.) Her son's 16th birthday was coming up, and she was thinking of doing a special cake for it. She asked me if I'd be interested, and I said, "Sure!"

They decided they would like a "16" shaped cake.  I started out with two 11x15 cakes made with 1 1/2 cake mixes each. The "1" is to have Oreo cream filling, and the "6" is to have buttercream filling. I probably could have done this with two 9x13 cakes and had enough servings, but I didn't want to be too small, and I wasn't sure how much cake I'd have to carve out to make the numbers.


I put this in the fridge to chill around 5pm and got it out around 12:30a to carve. I made a big "16" using a cool italic font on the computer, and then blew it up huge to the same size as my cake. I then used that as a pattern to carve my cake. You can see my templates and the excess cake that I cut away. There's a yummy use for cake scraps that I'll have to tell you about some other time.

So after carving the numbers, I decided they would be easier to ice if they were separated. I put them on two trays and iced them separately. Here they are with their crumb coats on. These chilled until the next evening when I decorated them with lime green and royal blue stripes. It was quite a job to get them on one board and completely decorated on the sides of the cakes against each other. Fun, fun!!  

Thanks for stopping by!


Wilton Method Cake Decorating Class Level II Final Cake

Well, here's my final cake from the Level II Wilton Cake Decorating Course.  I finished the class on March 3rd.  I posted earlier about all the royal icing flowers I made to prepare for it.  This was the final product.  I was extremely pleased with the way that it turned out.  It was almost a shame to cut it, but we did.  I cut it for the ladies here at a stamping workshop later that week, and then I took the leftovers up to our church office to get rid of it.  I didn't need to sit and eat the rest of it myself, and none of the boys here liked it.

It was a fruity cake, a Pineapple Banana Smoothie cake from a Cake Doctor book.  Then, I used pineapple juice and pineapple flavoring in the buttercream.  To finish it off, there was pineapple filling between the layers.  I was a little concerned that it would be too much pineapple, but it wasn't.  It was really good. Thanks for stopping by!


Chicken Korma II that I will never forget!

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  Life got busy there for a bit, and then when it slowed down, we lost our internet for a week.

A few weeks ago, I posted about trying a chicken korma recipe that was a disappointment.  My friend, Bobbie, emailed me with two chicken korma recipes that she had found online.  One recipe looked especially interesting and the most like what I've gotten at Indian restaurants when I order it.  Last week, I bought the ingredients to make it.

Last night, while I was cooking this Chicken Korma II dish, I had an accident.  I was getting ready to puree the cashews and yogurt, but my immersible blender attachment didn't seem to be working right.  Without thinking, I went to fiddle with the attachment without unplugging it.  The whole thing spun in my other hand, and somehow I pushed the power button.  Zwing!  The next thing I knew, my left hand was covered in blood oozing from my index finger.

I'll spare you all the details, but I went to the emergency room to get stitches.  I was lucky that the cut wasn't bigger.  I only needed four stitches, and I didn't cut any tendons/ligaments/bones.  It's doing pretty well today.  I have a HUGE pile of dishes that I must tackle with some rubber gloves once I take this big bandage off later this evening.

Back to the korma...  Before going to the hospital, I showed Jim what to do to finish the korma.  He finished it while I was at the emergency.  (My terrific friend, Sally, came and stayed with me and brought me home so that Jim could bring the boys home.)  I finally got to have some late last night, and it was wonderful!  I loved it!  I did add some golden raisins and sliced almonds at the end, which the recipe didn't call for, but it made it even better.  This one is definitely a keeper!

Come back again tomorrow.  I have a bunch of cake decorating pictures to show you from the past few weeks.  Thanks for stopping by!