Wilton Level I Cake Decorating Class Final

I completed my Wilton Level I cake decorating class tonight! I had Jim take my picture with my cake and certificate when I got home.

Does this cake look familiar? It should, because it's the same as Sally's birthday cake I made earlier this week. It was a trial run for my final.  Sally's cake was coconut, but this one is a Devil's food cake with a chocolate ganache filling between the layers. Then, I made purple roses instead of blue. The instructor said it was beautiful. I can't wait to start Level 2 next week! I already have the kit for it and everything!


Mae Dawson's Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie

My friend, Olivia, asked me in an email yesterday what food Indianapolis is famous for. Every year when her family gets together to watch the Super Bowl, they make foods that are famous from each of the cities the teams are from. The first thing that came to my mind is Sugar Cream Pie. I had never heard of this type of cream pie until I lived here in Indiana.

A few years ago, I came across this recipe for Mae Dawson's Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie on Paula Deen's show, Paula's Home Cooking, on the Food Network. I was looking to find a good sugar cream pie recipe, and this is the best one I've tried so far. It has made it to my "keepers" recipe file. The only thing that I would mention about the recipe is that I had to bake it longer than directed. You may also want to cover the crust with foil for the entire baking time so that it doesn't get overdone. Other than that, it's a great easy recipe--especially when you use a frozen pie crust!

I also mentioned to her that beef tenderloins and baked corn casserole were Hoosier traditions. All you native Hoosiers out there, what foods do you think are traditional Indiana fare? Let me a comment to tell me what food you think Indiana is famous for. Thanks for stopping by!


Happy Birthday, Sally!

My friend, Sally, has a birthday today. I decided a few weeks ago I would surprise her with a birthday cake since I'm taking a cake decorating class. Sally's favorite color is blue, hence the blue roses. However, they're probably a little darker than I would like them to be.

The cake is a coconut cake that I made by using coconut milk in a white cake mix instead of water.  Have you seen the Cake Mix Doctor books? I sort of followed a recipe in the Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook, but made a layer cake instead of cupcakes. I should have added coconut flavoring to the cake mix and icing, but I didn't have any. I'll have to get some! There's a coconut filling in between the two layers that comes from a Paula Deen recipe for Jamie's Coconut Cake that I've used before.

This was a trial run of a cake for my Wilton Method Level I Cake Decorating class final on Wednesday evening. The design is from a sample cake in our Level I lesson book. There are little imperfections that I can see, of course, but it looks ok, I think. The consistency of the icing for the roses needs to be a little different, but other than that, I'm pretty pleased with it. Thanks for stopping by!


Cheeseburger Soup

My good friend, Olivia, gave me this recipe a long time ago. I have adjusted it somewhat from what she gave me, so I'm going to give you my version. This is a very hearty soup perfect for a cold blustery day. Even meat-and-potatoes men will like it, because it includes lots of meat and potatoes!

Cheeseburger Soup

2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 c. potatoes, diced
3-14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. milk
1 c. sour cream
1/2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef in a large soup pot.  Drain and set Aside.

Melt 1/4 c. of the butter in the same pot and saute the onions and the celery until clear. Add ground beef, carrots, and potatoes along with the chicken broth. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.

While this is cooking, melt the remaining butter in a small pan over low heat. Stir in the flour until bubbly and gradually add the milk. Stir until thickened and set aside.

Once the potatoes are cooked to your liking, add the flour mixture to thicken the soup. Stir well, then add the Velveeta. Stir occasionally until the cheese is melted.

Just before serving, take the soup off of the heat and add the sour cream. Stir until incorporated and serve. Goes great with some fresh, hot crusty French bread!

Thanks for stopping by!


Tortellini Chicken Soup

A friend of mine called me a few weeks ago to ask me about this recipe. I had made it for her family one time, and then she asked me for the recipe. She had lost it and was looking for it again, so she came here to my blog site. I hadn't posted that particular recipe, so she called me. Now I am posting the recipe here for you since I have neglected to post it previously.

I thought this recipe came from Pampered Chef originally, but I don't think it did. I have no idea where I got it, but have made it since not long after Jim and I got married. It's still a keeper!

Tortellini Chicken Soup

1 c. carrots, sliced
1/2 c. onions, chopped
1/2 c. celery, thinly sliced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 t. thyme
1 T. dried parsley
46 oz. chicken broth
1-2 c. dry cheese-filled tortellini, uncooked
1 bay leaf
pepper to taste

Brown chicken in a large soup pot over medium heat 5-7 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer over medium-low heat 20 min. or until pasta is tender. Before serving, remove bay leaf.

Depending on how much tortellini you use, you may need to add more chicken broth, especially if you have leftovers. The tortellini will continue to soak up the broth.
Thanks for stopping by!


Tuna Ball

This is one of my favorite holiday snacks. I don't know why, but we only ever make this at Christmas. This recipe was originally my aunt, Karen's, recipe. My mom and I make it at Christmas every year now too. It goes great with Wheat Thins!
Tuna Ball

2 small cans tuna in spring water, drained well
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. dried parsley
2 T. chili sauce
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce (or more if you like)
1 tsp. minced, dried onions

Mix together all ingredients and chill until ready to serve. I never form this into a ball, but usually put it in a pretty dish to be served with a spreader. Also, I make this with the low-fat cream cheese, and I think it's just as good. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


Colts Cake

The past two days I have told you about my cake decorating class and the cakes I made for a church event. This is the second cake I made for the Men for Christ event at the church Monday evening. The speaker was the Colts Chaplain, and everyone at the church is excited about the Colts in the NFL playoffs right now.

I decided to make a Colts cake. This is a simple white cake made with a cake mix and made-from-scratch buttercream icing. I finally used clear vanilla and clear butter flavoring in my icing, and it does make a difference in how white it looks. This was a fun cake to practice my leveling and crumb coat application skills on. It was fun to put the Colts horseshoe on it too, although I need to buy a darker blue icing dye.

Since my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers are not in the playoffs this year, I guess I will cheer on the Colts. I do like Peyton Manning. He does all those goofy commercials and doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. He was also at Tennessee in the same years I was at Penn State, so I feel like he's the same age as me and I've "known" him for a while.

Thanks for stopping by!


German Chocolate Cake

Our church hostes a Men for Christ meeting Monday evening. The women of the church were asked to donate pies and cakes for the event. I signed up to bring two cakes--before I decided on a whim to take a cake decorating class. After having my first class last Wednesday, I decided to practice with the two cakes I would make for the church. I just practiced the basics with them:  leveling them, putting on a crumb coat, and simple star tip decorating.

I have never made a German chocolate cake before. I used a chocolate cake mix for the cake, but made both icings from scratch. The Coconut-Pecan Frosting was from my Better Homes & Gardens binder cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!


Wilton Method Cake Decorating Class Level I

I'm taking a cake decorating class. Last November when I made my youngest son's birthday cake, I was disappointed with the way it turned out. I took a simple cake decorating class in 4H when I was in junior high, but I wanted to learn more than what I already knew. I thought to myself that I should take a cake decorating class to learn how to do it better. I mentioned it to my husband and my sister, and they both encouraged me to do it.

Last Monday, we were just back from being in PA, and my house looked like a tornado had gone through it. Instead of unpacking us and getting us settled back in, I decided to look online for local places that give cake decorating classes. I made some phone calls, and found a Michael's store with a Wilton Level I class that was starting last week. There was still time to register, so I had my hubby stop on his way home and sign me up.

Last Wednesday evening was our first class. We learned about leveling and torting cakes, icing consistencies, how to put on a crumb coat and other various beginner's skills and techniques. Our teacher, Jackie, brought each of us a little carrot cake to practice on. This is the cake from my first night.


Pioneer Woman Blog and Cookbook

I've read about Ree Drummond's "Pioneer Woman" blog on other women's blogs. I haven't followed it closely, but I'm going to make it one of my feeds and read more frequently. On the "Thrifty Northwest Mom" blog last week, she mentioned that Amazon.com had the "Pioneer Woman Cooks" cookbook for 50% off at $11.50. You can get free S&H from Amazon too, which makes it a pretty good deal!

I purchased one, because I can't pass up a good-looking cookbook for so cheap. I received it today, and it looks great! It's a beautiful hardcover book with plenty of "normal" down home recipes--just the kind of food I like to make.  Many recipes look to have a southwest flair, which I also love.  I'm excited to try some of these great new recipes from this book. Thanks for stopping by!


Baked Pineapple

Last month our church had it's annual holiday meal to celebrate the holidays. Someone brought a baked pineapple dish. I didn't have any of it, but my friend, Sally, did. She commented how good it was, especially with ham. It wasn't at the dessert table, but in with the side dishes. That made me curious, so I went about looking for a recipe to try.

While visiting family in PA between Christmas and New Year's, I made this Baked Pineapple recipe I found online. It was good, but I don't think it was like what was at the church dinner. I'm going to have to find out who brought it and get their recipe! Thanks for stopping by!


Aquarium Birthday Cake

I mentioned yesterday that my oldest son's birthday was Friday. He got a small aquarium for his birthday. To continue the theme, I made this cake for him. He really likes Swedish fish, so that was an added bonus. Thanks for stopping by!


'10 Birthday Cupcakes

Yesterday was my oldest son's 6th birthday. He wanted me to bring cupcakes in for his class. We talked about what kind of cupcakes he wanted, and how he wanted them decorated. He got a red gumball machine for Christmas. He really likes it, and we decided to put gumball machines on his cupcakes.

I used a plastic milk jug cap to make a circular imprint in the white buttercream icing. Then I traced the imprint with the light blue icing for the globe of the gumball machine. The rest is just free-handed. The kids really liked them and thought the gumball machines were cute. Thanks for stopping by!