Saturday, June 25, 2011

{Bridal Shower} Tiffany Blue, Black and White

Mikaelah and some of her close friends hosted a very pretty bridal shower for their friend Gina this weekend.

Decorations for this were simple. Black and white table runners, white floral centerpieces, a few poms and also a little touch of a select few brighter colors.

But everyone knows a bridal shower is all about the gifts ... well, and the desserts! Yummy!

I made the engagement ring cake =)

It was a two-layer white cake with whipped frosting, sprinkled with blue sugar and candies. So simple and cute.

A handmade sign welcomed all of Gina's guests to the party.

The color theme continued on these customized ribbon topiary centerpieces.

I just adore these poms hanging over the dessert and punch table. And so easy to assemble!

Also loved the flower centerpieces Mikaelah put together. The flowers match what will be in the bride's bouquet on her big day.

A few "splashes" of color here and there =)

Ok, now back to those desserts ...

Since the cake was a white cake, I wanted to have a little bit of chocolate offered in there somewhere. So that's where the cupcakes came in. One dozen was chocolate with the same whipped frosting as the cake, and the other dozen was made similar to Mikaelah's "Milky Way Cake" she made recently for the American Cancer Society's cake contest.

That tasty recipe can be found in this previous blog entry.

And, oh yes, more chocolate. Had to have the bowl of matching colored M&M's!

I really hope Gina had a great bridal shower (and got some great gifts, too!)


Here is where I'm linking to:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day: Three Treats for Three Great Dads

Three awesome dads. Three awesome baked goods.

This is my blog tribute to some of the fathers in my life: my husband, my father, and my father-in-law.

The best part about what I baked for them? Each of their desserts says so much about them! All three are so different yet so special. So here's what I baked up for them:

For my husband I made a peach cobbler (it was actually his request). It's his grandmother's recipe that I found on an old, tattered recipe card a couple of years ago. Simple and sweet.

My husband doesn't have much of  a sweet tooth ... of which I am so jealous! But if he has his choice, he will take a pie or cobbler any day over cake or ice cream. (Now, for me, I'd be the one downing some ice cream before you even asked me what I wanted! Or cheesecake, at that!)

For my dad, it was all about the peanuts. He LOVES peanuts, peanut butter ... anything like that. So for him I baked Rocky Road Brownies.

Yum! Chocolate, chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, marshmallows and more chocolate, all on top of chocolate brownies! He's going to love it.

Now my dad has a major sweet tooth. Mom says in that part he's just like his father, my Grandpa Becher, who would always ask "What's for dessert?" within a second of finishing his meal at dinnertime. Dad's just got one major sweet tooth.

And then there's my father-in-law. Now, he's got a sweet tooth, too. But he and I share something very special, and that's our love of cheesecake.

Ah, we often reminisce of the DELIGHTFUL cheesecake we had while we vacationed in Disney World a few years ago. Absolutely the best cheesecake ever.

So for him, I baked Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie Babies. They are individual brownie bites complete with yummy cheesecake in the middle. (And there's a little peanut butter mixed in there as well!)

 I hope they LOVE these desserts. All of the baked goodies are so different, but each of them just seems to "belong" to each of these great men in my life.

Happy Father's Day, Josh, Dad and Vernon! Love you!


{Cake Contest} Banana vs. Lala

It was sister vs. sister in this week's "More Birthdays" cake contest for the American Cancer Society.

Even though we didn't win, Mikaelah and I had a great time baking and decorating for the contest. Mine was a lemon cake that looked like a golf course, and Mikaelah took on a swimming pool-themed "Milky Way" cake.

And here we are standing proudly over our cakes at the left and right.

No, we can't claim the lovely fondant cake in the middle. One day, though, we'll be able to make stellar cakes like that! ... But we can make cute and creative ones like this!

My votes definitely went to Mikaelah on this one. It was only the second cake she'd ever baked, and it turned out GREAT and absolutely adorable, too.

I'm mean, using chocolate frosted doughnuts as inner-tubes for the "people" to float on? Precious.

And of course, the crafty and creative one that she is, she added stickers!

My reaction when I saw how cute they looked at the edge of her cake? Ummm, I believe it was something along the lines of "No fair!!" (I wanted stickers on mine, too!) She's just so darn creative and clever.

She might have earned points on her use of fun stickers, but I got bonus points for saving the day. As she was carrying her cake into the competition, she noticed that one of the little swimmer's bikini was made of (gasp!) two different colored Dot candies! Oh no! (She's the brunette seen here in the back middle.)

I assured her that it would look like we meant it to be that way. But Mikaelah would have none of it.

But of course, me being the mom I am, I had an emergency bag. And what just so happened to be in said emergency bag? Backup candy, including two of the same colored blue, and rather large, gumballs.

Here she is, post-surgery.

And now for my cake.

Mine was a lemon layer cake. Two 8-inch rounds on the bottom, and two 6-inch rounds on the top. In between the layers was a very yummy lemon frosting. =)

Don't get stuck in the stand trap! It was made complete with a golf tee (made from two white Smarties candies), the green (made from green sugar crystals), the flag waving in the wind (pretzel and Fruit by the Foot) and of course the hole (a single M&M turned upside down). And don't forget the golf balls (white Sixlets candies).

"Banana" and her cake

"Lala" and her cake

Here's the recipe Mikaelah used for her "Milky Way" Cake. (This is the way to make it if you're not adding fun decorations to the top. If using decorations like our little swimmers playing in the sun, you'll want to use a thicker frosting. She used two cans of white whipped frosting, tinted blue):


1 dark chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients used to make it, such as eggs, oil and water)
1/2 small can sweetened condensed milk
caramel sundae topping
1 tub whipped topping


Bake cake according to package directions. Allow to cool, then poke holes throughout top of cake, using either a candy stick or toothpick.

Pour condensed milk over top of cake, then topping it off with the caramel.

Evenly spread the whipped topping over the cake. Enjoy!

We're really happy to have participated in this great contest. Not only did we get to experiment with recipes, techniques and creativity, but we also were able to help out a great cause.

Happy baking, everyone!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

{Recipes} Savory Basil, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Muffins

OK, now I'm a big (well, more like HUGE) fan of sweet treats like cupcakes, cheesecake and especially ice cream. But nothing quite gets my mouth watering like these Basil, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Muffins.

I've been wanting to make them for a while because I've had access to fresh basil from the garden. Then I got my husband craving them too! 

Confession: I just had to sneak one of these muffins while typing this blog. I'm telling you, these little guys are wonderful. (And they're best fresh from the oven, or heated up in the microwave for about 10 seconds each.)

Alright, enough talking. Here's the recipe.


2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In another bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk and olive oil. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fold in cheese, peppers and basil.

Fill greased muffin pan 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 375 degrees for 16-20 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack. Serve warm.

I actually first made this recipe from Taste of Home about a year ago as a Baking 101 column for the Evansville Courier & Press. And I've been making them ever since.

So pretty and colorful. And they're just so darn easy to make. Perfect for a brunch menu or for entertaining. Or, well, just because!

Happy baking, everyone.


Friday, June 10, 2011

{Recipes} Yummy Chicken Enchiladas

Who doesn't love chicken, cheese and salsa wrapped up in a tortilla shell? Well this recipe from "Spread a Little Joy" from Philadelphia Cream Cheese really is the yummiest, creamiest enchilada I've ever had.

Serve it up with a little Mexican rice (and maybe a margarita!) and you're good to go.

This is only the first recipe I've tried out of this book, but others look absolutely amazing!

Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup ... Pizza Frittata ... Double-Chocolate Cheesecake. Yup. Those are all on my list of ones to try!

The Recipe:

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded (but I used cubed)
1 cup salsa, divided
4 ounce (1/2 of an 8 ounce package) cream cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese, divided
8 6-inch flour tortillas

* I doubled the recipe. Works like a charm. I also left out the cilantro ... just not a fan.

First step is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. Add onions and garlic.

Cook onions and garlic for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. (I cook the onions first, then add the garlic. You don't want the garlic to burn.)

Add the cooked chicken, 1/4 cup of salsa, cubed cream cheese, cilantro and cumin.

Mix well.

Mmmmm, I love cumin.

And cheese, too!

Ok, back to the recipe now...

Cook for 5 minutes, or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese, and mix well.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up. 

Place seam side down in a 13-by-9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Top with remaining shredded cheese and salsa.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes or until heated through.

Now eat up before it gets cold!