Monday, March 30, 2009

A Keeper

I've had this recipe for awhile but this is the first time I've made it and it was delicious. I would 1 and 1/2 the filling next time though (doubled would probably be too much) because I ended up adding a layer of Cool Whip to the top to make it come to the top of the pan. Maybe my pan was just extra deep. I used a 9 x 2 3/4 inch springform pan. I put a few extra strawberries too. Yum!

Chocolate Strawberry Torte
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp butter, divided
2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
(about 26 squares)
1/4 cup sugar
1 carton (12 oz) Cool Whip
1 cup sour cream
1 small pkg (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 square (1 oz) semisweet chocolate

Melt 1/2 cup butter. In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cool whip, sour cream and pudding mix until blended. Spread half over crust. Arrange strawberries over top. Spread with remaining filling. In a microwave, melt chocolate and remaining butter; stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Drizzle over filling. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serves 10-12.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some Inspiration

After seeing this idea by our big sis, Marilyn, I have been on the lookout for a table like this for like 5 years.

She has two, one on each side of the bed, and I think they used to be dark brown and she painted them white. She added a cut-to-size piece of fabric and a cut-to-size piece of glass to cover the fabric and voila!
I've also seen this done with a picture frame, but then of course it has to be the right size for your table.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I finished them! I'm still deciding on which container to use.

I entered these in the Mod Podge spring contest. The picture quality is bad on this one. The colors are much prettier in person.
It will be a miracle if I win since I don't ever win anything, but I thought it would be fun to try. Maybe I'll win a lifetime supply of Mod Podge or something. :)

A few notes about making them. The styrofoam balls slough off teeny tiny pieces. I found that if you rub it with your hands before you start, it decreases the amount of dust. But, if you use a skewer to hold the ball with one hand and use the other hand to do the messy work, touching only the fabric or paper and not the ball when you smooth it on. If you do get some dust in the glue, you really don't notice it. If you think it will bug you then I recommend spraying the ball with a clear coat of spray paint before you start. It will help to keep those little pieces from sloughing off.

If you are using paper, don't get discouraged if the paper won't lie flat. You just keep working and go back and smooth it down. The paper will soften a little after it's been in the glue for a few minutes. Be careful not to smooth it after the glue has dried enough to be tacky because you might tear the paper. If you do, then simply cover it with another strip of paper.

On the sheet music ones, I thought it would be cool to paste on the song title as well as the composer.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Too Much Chocolate Cake

The Last Piece

I saw that another crafty blog posted an almost identical recipe a few days ago, but I'm going to post mine anyway because I've been wanting to make it for a few weeks now and yesterday was the planned day! It was everything I hoped it would be and has now replaced my old standby doctored chocolate cake mix. I mean seriously, why would you make it entirely from scratch if it tastes this good?

Too Much Chocolate Cake
1 devils food cake mix
1 (5.9 oz) chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour before inverting onto a plate.
Serve with your favorite chocolate glaze or mine ☺.

8 oz tub Cool Whip
6 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate

Melt both ingredients in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and melt for additional 30 seconds or until smooth and shiny.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DIY- Do It Yourself

I have been on a quest to find some of those decorative balls that are really popular right now. I needed to find some black and white ones but was unable to find any that I liked so I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own.

I tore up some pages from a childrens book that we've had for awhile that my kids have never picked up. I bought some 4-inch styrofoam balls from Walmart and Glossy Mod Podge and went to work. It was messy because you basically have to do it with your fingers. I dipped the strips of paper in the Mod Podge and then smoothed it over the ball. It really didn't take long and I love the end result.
They are not really heavy, obviously since they are styrofoam but they are virtually indestructible.

I liked those so much that I had my 6-year-old daughter draw me some simple black on white stick figures, hearts, stars, etc. and I made one using those.

I liked them so much that today I started some more, but this time I cut up some vintage sheet music and pasted those on. I'm going to make a few to put in a cute basket on my piano. I love how these are turning out even more than I like the other ones.

My girls saw me doing them and wanted to help, so we decided to make some for their bedroom, so this is one we started today.

It's still drying. When we finish them all I'll have to post a picture. And then I think we better stop before it's overkill. :)

But think of the possibilities...fabric, scrapbook paper, your favorite wallpaper, tissue paper, fuzzy fabric, moss...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Finally getting around to finishing up some unfinished projects this week to be posted soon. It's been busy around here so it was a welcome treat from my friend, Alyssa, when she gave me some cookies today. I also happen to have the recipe. Thanks Alyssa!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups oatmeal
1 (12 oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter - add and cream brown sugar and white sugar. Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter mixture, blend well. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and add to butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal and the chocolate chips. Spoon by heaping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cherry Chocolate Cookies

Okay, whenever we get a box of chocolates, I tend to avoid the ones with cherries - just not usually fond of that combo. But these. These are so very good. I ate several of them!

Cherry Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and mix in until smooth. It will be thick.
Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Drain cherries, reserving the juice. Press center of each ball with thumb and place a cherry in the indentation.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool. Frost with this frosting:

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tsp cherry juice

Heat the condensed milk and chocolate chips in a saucepan until the chips are melted. Stir in the cherry juice. Spoon or drizzle over the cherries in the center of the cooled cookies. The frosting will harden a little eventually but you might not be able to wait that long!
You can cut the cherries in half if you prefer less cherry and more chocolate.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grilled Pizza

My very good friend introduced me to this fun and delicious idea.

Here's how you make pizza on the grill.

Start by rolling out your pizza dough. I have wanted to do this
using a homemade crust but just never have yet.
So far I only use these. The dough is good, easy to manipulate
and doesn't stick to your hands or the grill grate.

Just thaw those babies out by laying them out in a pan
in a single layer just like the package directions say to.
Only you can just jam them all together side by side because
you're just going to smoosh it all into a ball anyway.

When they have thawed and risen, smoosh it all together
then just pull off about a fist-size piece and roll it out.
It doesn't have to be a perfect circle.

Brush both sides with olive oil (I couldn't find my pastry brush
so I raided a craft drawer for a brush ☺).

The grill shouldn't be very high. My husband says he puts it on medium
but I'm sure grills probably vary. It should be low enough that you
don't see a flame. If it's too hot, it won't cook on the inside.
Grill the dough on one side until it's golden brown with nice little grill marks.

After you have grilled one side, take it off the grill and flip it
onto a tray or plate so the dough side is down and the cooked side is up.

Usually we let everybody put their own toppings on.
This time we took orders. Don't forget the sauce!

After you have loaded up on your favorite toppings, slide it back on the grill to cook the bottom side, to melt the cheese and heat the toppings.

That's Amore! ☺

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chocolate Camping

Yesterday, I walked into the kitchen and my 11-year-old scout was baking a surprise for the family. He found this recipe in the March-April Scouting Magazine and decided to give it a go. With some help from his dad, he altered the recipe slightly to bake it at home but we will definitely try it next time we go camping. It won the 1st Place award in the Dessert category of their Great Tastes In Camp Cooking Contest.

Three Rivers Muddy Delight
1 box Jiffy Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 egg
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups hot water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut flakes
8 cherries
8 ounces Cool Whip

Preheat large Dutch oven. Prepare the cake mix per instructions and set aside.
Select a disposable aluminum cake pan and pinch the edges of the pan to ease removal of the finished cake from oven.
Pour prepared batter into the cake pan and place in Dutch oven. Mix "mud" ingredients - baking cocoa, brown sugar, hot water, vanilla and coconut extract - in a separate bowl and pour over batter.
Bake for 30 minutes using 12 coals on top of Dutch oven and 8 coals underneath.
Remove lid and sprinkle cake with chocolate chips. Replace the lid and wait 3 minutes for chocolate chips to melt. Spread evenly and sprinkle with coconut flakes.
Serve warm with a dollop of Cool Whip and a cherry on top.
Serves 2-4.

And FYI, the following recipe won the overall Grand Prize in the contest and also looks worth trying out.

Lemon Lime Soda Apple Dumplings
2 large Granny Smith apples
1 12-ounce can lemon lime soda
2 8-ounce cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 stick real butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Use a Dutch oven large enough to accommodate all apples in one layer because they'll rise/expand while cooking.
Cut each apple into 8 pieces. Wrap each piece in one crescent roll.
Melt butter in bottom of the Dutch oven and roll each piece in the melted butter before placing them in the bottom of the pan.
Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle the mixture over all apple pieces (mixing the sugar rather than just dusting the tops better incorporates the cinnamon flavor). Carefully add the soda so as not to wash away sugar from the dumplings.
Based on oven size, adjust the amount of briquettes on top and bottom and bake until dumplings turn golden brown (in conventional oven about 30 minutes at 350°).
Serves 8.

There you go. Two recipes for the price of one. ☺