The Wiivers


Daring Baker’s December Challenge!
December 22, 2007, 8:00 am
Filed under: Daring Bakers, Decorating, Dessert, Uncategorized

So, this past month I joined a group of online people called The Daring Bakers.

DB logo

Daring Bakers are a group of people online who tackle one recipe a month, then blog about it all on the same day.  Here is more detailed information about how it began if you are interested in it http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/2007/07/welcome.html.

So, what was December’s Challenge you say?  It was a Yule Log!

Yule Log

(Mine isn’t the prettiest, but I think it’s pretty good for my first Daring Baker’s Challenge. 🙂

We made a genoise, buttercream frosting and either marzipan or meringue mushrooms.

I made the genoise first.  It was a little tedious whisking the eggs over the boiling water, but I made it.  I whipped it up in my mixer, put it in the oven and waited for it to be done.  I had read if you roll the log as soon as it comes out of the oven, then unroll it, it won’t crack when you try to roll it after it has been filled.  So, I did that.  Did it help? I don’t think so, you be the judge though….

Cracked log

But don’t worry, I didn’t throw in the towel just yet.  On to the buttercream frosting…  I decided not to use the coffee flavoring, so I needed something to make my buttercream brown.  So I bought some food coloring…. except I left it at work…. ooops, so after a quick trip to my office to get the food coloring I was ready to go!  More whisking of eggs over water? seriously…. (I guess I should’ve read through the recipe first, I just looked at the ingredients, lol).  So, the buttercream went well, no incidents, everything is how it’s suppossed to be…. so far….. yay!

Next Marzipan.  Hmm, almond paste? I don’t think they sell that in my town, or I can’t find it at least, so I used the recipe for almond paste…. (maybe I should have looked harder in the stores…)  As I’m making the recipe for almond paste, I’m noticing it calls for a food processor, oops, don’t have one of those, BUT I do have a blender, surely it’s the same concept…. so off I go making my almond paste.  I don’t really know what it’s suppossed to look like, but it seems to be working… next to turn the almond paste into marzipan…. hmm, this is really really really runny, quick how do I fix it!  So, I just kept adding more and more “blended” almonds, then lots of powedered sugar, and finally some flour.  Yay, the flour worked!  Now, it’s more sticky and less runny… hmm, how will it taste though… oh well, we’ll worry about that later.

So, after looking at other people’s marzipan mushrooms, I realized that a food processor and blender apparently cannont be interchanged… most people’s marzipan is white and smooth, where mine is full of brown chucks (almond skin perhaps…)  But, thankfully we were making mushrooms with the marzipan, so I think the flecks just make it look more authentic, hee hee.  That’s what my story is and I’m sticking to it. 🙂  Here are the beloved mushrooms.

Mushrooms

Oh yea!  I almost forgot my buttercream disaster!  I made it a couple of days early since it was mentioned that it would keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.  So, I pulled the icing out to frost the log and uh-oh… what’s this?  This is all hard and yucky, what happened to my dear buttercream that I labored so hard on!  Luckily, my dear friend Nikki (http://crazydeliciousfood.wordpress.com/)  happened to be on gchat so I frantically messaged her asking what to do.  She mentioned I might try putting it in the mixer and try whipping it.  So, I tried that, no go… nothing changed.  Then, she mentioned maybe adding a little milk.  So I did that and it looked like chocolate syrup with big chunkies in it… uh-oh, it’s getting worse… So, Nikki said since it can’t get any worse try adding a tiny bit of powdered sugar in it.  So, about half a bag ( 🙂 ) of powdered sugar later I had my pretty buttercream back!  Yay!  Thanks Nikki for helping make my Daring Bakers adventure not a huge disaster.

My work Christmas party theme was “Around the World” so I figured this would be perfect.  All of my coworkers seemed to enjoy eating the cake very much also. 

So, there is my yule log story. (Now you know the secret recipe is Clara 🙂 ) I hope you have enjoyed it.  If you would like to hear other Daring Bakers retell about their adventure visit http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/

Oh yea, here’s the recipes and instructions in case you want to make a yule log also.

Continue reading



Happy Birthday Momma!
December 19, 2007, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Family, Random Thoughts

Today is my momma’s birthday. She’s the best momma around in my opinion, so I hope you have a very very happy birthday!!

Momma and Dad and I



Christmas Candy
December 19, 2007, 10:45 am
Filed under: Candy, Dessert, Holidays

On Monday night I was in the mood to make Christmas candy.  I haven’t really made candy before, but I had a couple of good recipes so I figured I should give it a try. 

First up: Turtles!

My Granny has always made Christmas candy.  One of the things I always eat tons of are her turtles.  I remembered her vaguely telling me how to make them a couple of years ago, so I put my memory to the test.  Here are my very detailed instuctions, lol.

  1. Place pecans on waxed paper in groups of three.
  2. Put a dollop of melted carmel in the middle of each pecan group, let cool.
  3. Put a dollop of melted chocolate on top of the caramel, let cool.
  4. Eat and enjoy.

Turtle turtle

Next up: Stained Glass Hard Candy!

April (http://wineloverscookingdiary.blogspot.com/2007/12/hard-candy.html) tried this recipe this weekend, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup water
1 tablespoon orange, or other flavored extract (I used strawberry for this particular batch)
1/2 teaspoon food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions
In a medium saucepan, stir together the white sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Without stirring, heat to 300 to 310 degrees F (149 to 154 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads.

Remove from heat and stir in flavored extract and food coloring, if desired. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet, and dust the top with confectioners’ sugar. Let cool, and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Some Nikki tips – do not add the flavoring until the bubbles have gone down in the boiling mixture. Also, if you get some of the mixture in your pan and it gets hard before you clean it, run really cold water over it to make it crack and it will come off. I had to actually pick at mine with a butter knife to get some of it off, but it’s not so bad.

I also made Strawberry flavored, I’m going to make cinnamon and some other flavors, but I have to get some more cornsyrup first.  Here are a couple of pictures.

After it cooled and I flipped it ontop my counter, so pretty!

Big Chunk

All broken up and ready to eat.

Ready to eat



Ornament Exchange!
December 19, 2007, 9:32 am
Filed under: BGEX, Decorating, Holidays

Some of my blogging friends and I had an ornament exchange.  Nikki drew my name and she is stinkin’ amazing!  She went above and beyond and sent me some amazing ornaments and Christmas stuff.  The pictures aren’t the best (John was doing something with my Christmas gift, so he told me to open my box in my room, so you can see my lovely sheets in the background. 🙂 )

All my loot!

Loot!

Clara and Nikki were talking about these adorable ornament ramekins from Target.  I really wanted some, but we don’t have a Target near by so I was bummed.  But Nikki came though, she sent me 8 of them!  I’m going to try to use them at dinner tonight, so keep looking for them in my food posts. 🙂

Ornament Ramekin

Next is this gorgeous red and gold ornament. (I’m not sure what that yellow spot it though… maybe my flash reflecting??)

Red and Gold Ornament

A cute little snowman.

Snowman

A Willow Creek girl holding a blue sparkly star.  She fits in great with my other Willow Creek figurines.

Little girl

AND the CUTEST little ornaments from Halmark.  They are baking ornaments!  I found these online last week and was telling my mom how cute they were, but they were too expensive for me to buy right now.  Somehow Nikki new. 🙂  And I have the perfect size tree for them too.

Kitchen tree

My individual picture didn’t come out too well, so here’s Halmarks stock photo, sooo cute!!

Kitchen ornaments

 So, thank you so much Nikki for making my day.  I love all the ornaments.  (I’m secretly hopeing you draw my name for all future exchanges.)



Buckeyes!
December 13, 2007, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Candy

Last night Angela and Bo came over to do some cooking.  Bo is one of the football coaches at the high school with John.   Angela and I made Buckeyes and Marshmallows while John and Bo watched Deal or No Deal.  They helped dip some of the buckeyes though….. (well, they would dip 2, then eat 1 and then repeat the scenario.  Silly boys.)

The buckeyes turned out really good. (again, my picture skills are not the best)

Buckeyes

Buckeyes

INGREDIENTS

3 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

3/4 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup shortening

DIRECTIONS

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate.

Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.

Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Now, the marshmallows are a different story.  Marshmallows do not taste very good without vanilla, be sure to add it, don’t forget like we did. 🙂



Alfredo Bake
December 13, 2007, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Entrees

April posted this recipe on her blog yesterday (http://wineloverscookingdiary.blogspot.com/2007/12/alfredo-bake.html).  It was so yummy, several of us made it for supper last night.  My picture isn’t the best, so just trust me that it is delish! (I took it in the breakroom at work, so it has a yellow tint for some reason…)

Alfredo Bake

Alfredo Bake

Ingredients

8 oz pasta, cooked and drained

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup mushrooms

1.5 cups chicken, cooked and shredded or diced

1 jar alfredo sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbls butter

Directions

 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees-

Coat the bottom of the two small or one medium baking dish with a thin layer of alfredo sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, chicken, garlic and alfredo sauce until combined.

Place mixture into baking dish and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter on top of the cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly

This recipe was sooo tasty!  I think I’ll make a coupe of changes next time though.

  • Stir the cheeses into the casserole
  • Put a layer of bread crumbs on the top
  • Use grilled chicken
  • Probably some other things too, but I can’t think of any right now…

Also, we are trying to eat healthier, so I used reduced fat and no fat everything.  Still tasted great!



Christmas Table Decorations
December 12, 2007, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Decorating, Holidays

Last night I finally got some Christmas table cloths and a centerpiece put together.

Christmas Table

For the centerpiece, I just used a white ceramic bowl (I got it on sale from Pier 1 for only $10!) and filled it with Christmas balls.  It takes more balls than you would think to fill the bowls, I used 54!

Christmas Balls

Everything was bought with gift certificates that we recieved as wedding gifts, so no out of pocket money was spent.  Yay!