Thursday, January 28, 2010

Retirement tastes gooood.

I just wish it were me retiring! Ha! :-) A lady at my office, who's been there for, oh... 30 years? Something crazy like that... is retiring effective tomorrow. Yay, Dale! Congrats! Here's the cake I made today for her party:

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The cake is chocolate fudge, filled with strawberry pie filling (YUM!). The icing is chocolate buttercream, made with dark chocolate cocoa powder (DOUBLE YUM!!!) and then drizzled in dark chocolate ganache. *dies* I hope she likes chocolate... 0_o ...

HA! Just kidding. She does. :-D

Annnnd, here are the cupcakes. We're expecting a lot of people. I really hope they show up, too, because I'm not taking any of this home with me! I'm tired of cake! *gasp* Yeah, I said it. :-p So there! I always am after spending 6 hours in the kitchen smelling ooey gooey icing and cake. (yes, and snitching some from time to time. What?? I have to taste it, don't I??)

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These are vanilla cake filled with strawberry, and coated in white chocolate ganache.

I had some chocolate batter left over, so I made some chocolate cupcakes, too, filled with chocolate buttercream and dunked in dark chocolate ganache. I actually like the way the chocolate ones turned out better. The cupcakes themselves rose a lot more, and the white chocolate ganache was not as WHITE as I envisioned it, but looks ain't everything! They'll still taste good! :-D


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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken 'n Dumplings

I thought I might post some of the meals we have frequently around our house. I'm always looking for new recipes to make weeknight meals easy and weekend meals yummier, as I'm sure many other working gals are (and guys, if you're the main chef in the house!) :-)

Here's how I make my chicken 'n dumplings. Just an apology before I start... I don't measure anything when I make these, so I have no clue what quantities I use. It varies every time I make them. But that's ok! It doesn't make it any harder to MAKE, just harder to TELL you how to make them :-) You can't mess them up. Worst case scenario you make too many dumplings and waste a little flour. Meh, no biggie, right?

Basic ingredient list:

Chicken bouillon cubes
Chicken breasts, cubed (2-3 breasts)
Self rising flour
More water
Pepper, to taste

Fill a large pot about halfway up with water and add bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Toss in chicken breasts and boil until done, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix up the dumplings. Pour some of your flour into a large bowl, and add enough water to make a dough that looks something like a drop biscuit dough. Or like the dough in the picture below! :-D


When chicken is done, start dropping in small bits of dough.


When all the dough is in the pot, reduce heat to medium and let boil for 10 minutes.


Give them a gentle stir as they start to cook, making sure none are sticking to the bottom. Add as much pepper as you'd like.


After 10 minutes, reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook for another 10 minutes.


Voila! Chicken 'n Dumplings! See, wasn't that easy? And cheap, too :-) This is more of a weekend meal for us. It's just a little too time consuming for me to fix after we get home from work. But leftovers are wonderful for lunch the next day! This is a common Sunday supper for us. :-)

***A couple of notes: if you add too much water, just add a little more flour until it looks right. If your dough is too stiff, add a little more water. When dumplings are nearly done, taste the broth and see if you think it needs salt. Josh and I don't add much salt to most of our meals, but your family might find them a little bland without it. :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christmas Fever

Yes, I know that Christmas is over, and there are 347 days until Christmas 2010. BUT, Josh and I decided while we were putting up the lights after Thanksgiving, that next year we'd have an even better yard - the best yard in the neighborhood, even! For years I've had a Christmas obsession with all things sweet. My tree has been done in Christmas treats since we've been married, and the one year I swapped to snowmen, my second Christmas love, it just didn't feel the same. Josh requested we go back to sweets this year, and I happily acquiesced. SO, for my first post to this blog thingymajig, I'll post one of the projects I've already started on for this year's Clark Griswold-ish Candyland. We're shooting for a picture in the paper! (Hey, Prattville's a small town. Maybe we'll get it on a slow news day *grin*) I bought these shatterproof (read-plastic) ornaments at BigLots during their after Christmas 50% off sale. I got the cellophane at Michael's with a 50% off coupon. The cable ties were freebies :-) So for this project, I spent a total of about $15. Plus I got to spend an hour or so with Josh, watching him play Fallout 3. Moses "helped" me with the ties and cellophane, too. Overall, it was a pretty nice evening, excepting the mutant chunks being blown around the screen. Eeew. Can you feel the Christmas spirit?

I reinforced the hangers with a piece of tape, so I can slip a hook through the cellophane without (theoretically) ripping it to shreds. We'll see how it works come November.

I also got quite a few giant candies at BigLots after Christmas. Woot! They're so expensive online, but I got some for $6 a box. Double woot! (You can see them toward the back in the picture below.)

Here are a couple more bargains we snagged during after Christmas sales. We've got quite the collection of Christmas decorations going, and all at awesome prices! I'm so excited! *grin* Please excuse all the other junk. This is our very messy garage. It's on my list of things to organize. Promise!