Thursday, March 29, 2012

Butter Pecan Cake

Before I go any further....I have admit right now, if all my cakes looked as good as the picture, I would be a professional baker. LOL! I borrowed this picture, my cake didn't turn out half as pretty but it sure tasted that good!!

So, who doesn't love a butter pecan cake? What's that? Oh, you haven't ever really had a piece of butter pecan cake? Well, let me tell you, I hadn't either but I think it's my favorite now!! I found this recipe online and tweaked it a bit for high altitude and such. Making cakes from scratch is a difficult thing to do so if yours doesn't turn out just right, keep trying. It takes some tweaking but it is pretty amazing how good they taste. Okay, enough chatter. On to the recipe.


  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

  • 1 cup butter

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 package Jell-O pudding mix (I usually use either vanilla or white chocolate flavor)

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 eggs


In 2-quart saucepan over medium low heat, brown pecans in butter until butter is lightly browned; stir constantly. Drain browned butter into a measuring cup, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and pudding. Mix together well. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the browned butter (save the rest for the frosting). Beat together for about 2 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chopped pecans. Pour batter into two greased and floured 8 or 9 inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans and cool thoroughly before frosting. (I always have a hard time with the cake coming out when I make it from scratch. Be sure to be generous with the grease and flour. PAM does not work very well. Okay, it doesn't work very well for me!)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar

  • Reserved brown butter

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/4-1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

  • remaining chopped pecans

Whip browned butter and butter together. Blend confectioner's sugar with butter mixture, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Add more whipping cream if necessary, a little at a time. Whip the icing to get it light. At this point, you can add the remaining pecans to the icing or, you can frost the cake and use the pecans to decorate the top. Whichever you choose, you will not regret it. SO yummy!!! You should probably just plan on taking it somewhere because if you keep it at home, you will gain 10 pounds. Believe me. I learned it the hard way. :)

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Breakfast Under The Sea

You may be asking yourself what these two vastly different food items have in common.
Fish and pancakes?
Let me assure you, there is nothing 'ew' about it and I'm going to show you how so.

First, a little back-story; getting those all-too important beta-vitamin-omega what-have-yous into a child's diet is like pulling teeth sometimes. I say 'fish for dinner' and my daughter suddenly comes down with a rare cases of full-body heaves. I've done many things with our scaly little underwater friends (or their corpses, to be exact) trying to mask the fish out of the goodness and have found some success. But this one takes the cake...the pancake.
So here is what you're going to do;

Fish-a-licious Pancake-Battered Tilapia

Thaw yourself some Tilapia fillets (or if you're fancy, just yank the fresh ones from the plastic)
About one pound for a family of four.

Whisk yourself up one egg with a dash of water into a lovely egg wash in a shallow dish.

Get about one cup of dry pancake mix, your choice of brand, and toss in about
a tablespoon of Mrs. Dash original seasoning blend

Followed by a around one rounded teaspoon of
dried cilantro.

Mix that up well in a shallow dish, as well.
Give your cooking pan a heavy hit of olive oil and preheat until hot but not scorching.
While your pan is preheating, take the fillets and douse them in the egg wash then toss them around in the pancake mix. Fry for about four minutes each side in the olive oil until the fish flakes and is cooked through.
Light, flavorful and packed with omega-what-nots and other things kids hate.
But they will love the fun flavor of this fish and you will, too!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Homemade Cheesecake

My husband LOVES cheesecake. Out of all the desserts we have that is the one thing he actually asks for.
His birthday was coming up so I decided to try and make him a homemade cheesecake.
I searched the internet and found this recipe on it is supposed to be just like The Cheesecake Factory.  Oh boy...was I excited.  So I read the recipe and it actually doesn't cost too much to make, it just takes quite a bit of time.  So I went to the store and got the ingredients and since I didn't have much time the week of his birthday, I made it two and a half days before the actual day.  This turned out to be a good thing because letting it season is the key to the flavor!

These are the ingredients for the crust.  You really are going to want a spring-form pan  to make this cheesecake.  Luckily I have an awesome sister (thanks Erin!) and she had one I could borrow.
Vanilla wafers, walnuts, pecans, almonds and butter.
There is a recipe (below) that doesn't include the nuts and it is just as simple.

Chop up your nuts and your vanilla wafers so they are very finely chopped.
I have a handy dandy Pampered Chef Food Chopper and it did the job quickly.

Combine your cookies and nuts and mix well.  Mix with the butter and press into the bottom of the pan.

Next you are going to start making the good part - the filling.  The most important thing about making this cheesecake is make sure ALL ingredients are at room temperature.
Beat your cream cheese until it is fluffy, and then keeping the setting on low add your sugar a little bit at a time.  Keep your mixer going, don't stop.

Next you will add the eggs one at a time and make sure you beat well before adding the next one.
Add the rest of your ingredients and mix well.

You will then pour your cream cheese mixture into the spring form pan, over your crust.
This is when I did a taste test and I will tell you that the flavor is so creamy and good.
You are then going to bake this for one hour and 15 minutes.  After that time turn off the oven and crack your oven door and let it sit for an hour.

Looks yummy fresh out of the oven...smells wonderful too.

You then place this in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  I kept mine in the pan and covered. (don't let the picture deceive you).  You need to wait for the 24 has to season.  

YUM!!!  It was wonderful. :)

Homemade Cheesecake
¼ Cup Pecans, finely chopped
¼ Cup Walnuts, finely chopped
¼ Cup Almonds, finely chopped
¾ Cup Vanilla Wafers, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Butter, melted

Mix the nuts and wafers with the butter and press into a spring-form pan.

Crust (without Nuts):
1 ½ Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Margarine, melted

Mix the crackers, cinnamon with the margarine and press into a spring-form pan and refrigerate.

1 ½ lb Cream Cheese
1 1/3 Cup Sugar
5 Eggs
16 oz Sour Cream
¼ Cup Flour
2 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Lemon Juice

*All ingredients should be room temperature!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Keep your mixture on the low setting during the entire mixing process.  Add the sugar a little at a time and continue until creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each egg.  Add the flour, vanilla and the lemon juice and mix well.  Add the sour cream and beat well.  Pour your cream cheese mixture into the spring-form pan.   Place on the top rack in the middle of the oven and bake for one hour and fifteen minutes.  When the time is up, turn off the oven, prop open the oven door and leave for one hour.  Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Cheesecake needs to season – be patient and is worth it. :)
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl Scout Cookie Madness

What to do with all those pesky Girl Scout Cookies hanging around your house. 
 Ummm...other than eating them all in one sitting. (Yum!)
 Can you believe that there is something that you can do to these masterful cookies - you can make cookie bars. Thanks to you can. I follow her site and she always has yummies on her recipe page. She posted this (click here) the other day and I just had to make them and share.
Her pictures look tons better than mine - but my oh my they are heavenly.

One yellow cake mix, butter and egg, mixed to form soft dough.  Press into foil lined baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover with chocolate chips.

Pour peanut butter/sweetened condensed milk mixture over top of chocolate chips.

Your lovely Girl Scout Tagalong Cookies :)
Chop those babies up and cover your best as you can.

Looks yummy...not even cooked yet. :)

Fresh out of the oven and looking mighty tasty.

I had to slap hands and fingers away from the pan long enough to grab a bar so I could take a picture. :)
They are very very good!

Girl Scout Cookie Tagalong Cake Bars 
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
10-12 Girl Scout Tagalong cookies, coarsely chopped  (or the whole box...)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, mix until dough forms. Press dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Top with chocolate chips.
Stir sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until well combined and pour over dough.
Top with chopped Tagalong cookies.
Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes. Let cool completely, cut into squares, and serve. Enjoy!!
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Famous Cookies

I know it. I am famous for my cookies. least in my family.  
I have been making chocolate chip cookies ever since my wonderful mother taught me how.  
I love them.  I cannot stay away from them (which is very hard when you are on a diet).
I make them A LOT!
I have my own recipe, and they are good.  But my favorite cookies to make are Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Can I say YUM!!!  The dough is to die for, I have to stop myself from eating just the dough so I can actually make some cookies.  So I am going to share this wonderful recipe with you all.

Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Cup Butter
2 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Oatmeal, blended
Chocolate Chips
Hershey Bar, grated
Nuts (optional)

Measure the oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.  Cream the butter and both sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda.  Add the chocolate chips, chocolate bar and nuts.  Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

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