Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Oreo Turkeys

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's so festive, and little pressure is placed upon the holiday. I could go on my soap box and talk about how Black Friday is no longer on Black Friday, but has instead intruded on a holiday where we reflect on the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and are thankful for what we have and the people that surround us. But I won't go take that step onto my soap box, I will, however,  talk about about turkeys.


Thanksgiving has long centered around the family table that is topped with a roasted turkey, a side of stuffing, and a slice of pumpkin pie. That's the way it is, and that's the way I like it. Because of this magnificent fact it is so easy to be festive on Thanksgiving. I can put pumpkin in anything, and everyone's cool with that. I can make food to look like turkeys, and that makes everyone more festive. And that is exactly what I did. 
I try to do this every year. Last year, I made cupcakes, and I made them into a big turkey shape.
 
One of my brothers and one of my sisters wanted a pic with the cupcake turkey. 

This year I decided to use OREOS as my medium for creating my turkey. 


These Oreo turkeys are fairly easy to make. I put each Oreo on a sucker stick (which can be found at Walmart or other craft stores). I used candy corn as the feathers, and M&Ms as the eyes. For the beak, I used frosting that I dyed orange.

Thanksgiving OREO Turkeys:

Ingredients:
Oreos
Sucker sticks
White almond bark or white chocolate
Chocolate chips (semi sweet or you can use almond bark)
Frosting
Frosting dyes (red and orange)
M & Ms
Candy corn

Directions: 
    1. Melt some white almond bark in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl (about 2 squares).
    2. Gently twist each of the Oreos apart, so that the cream stays on part of the cookie and the other is clean. 
    3. Put melted melted chocolate in a baggie with a small tip clipped at one end. Squeeze a small amount of chocolate onto the cream side of the Oreo. 
    4. Next, place a sucker stick on the small amount of the chocolate that is on the cream side of the Oreo. Add the top back onto the Oreo. Repeat until all of Oreos have been done. 
    5. Next, melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. 
    6. Dip the pointy end of the candy corn in to the chocolate. Then put in between the two cookie halves of the Oreo. I put 4-5 pieces of candy corn on each Oreo.
    7. After all of the Oreos have candy corn on them, place in the freezer or fridge so that the chocolate can harden up (In the freezer for about 15-20 minutes).
    8. For the eyes, you will need more white chocolate or just remelt the leftovers the  from previous steps. Using the same bag as before, pipe two small circle dollops on the Oreo (This makes the white of the eye). Then place an M&M on each of the dollops. Repeat for rest of Oreos.
    9. Next, dye half of the frosting orange, place in a sandwich baggie with tip cut off. Pipe the beaks on the Oreos. (I basically did a squiggle; I started the squiggle bigger at one end and then taper off; refer to picture).
    10. To make the snood (the red thing that hangs off a turkey's beak), dye the other half of the frosting red. Using a sandwich baggie with the tip cut of, pipe the snood on the larger side of the beak (I made a little line on the larger side of the beak).
    11. Place in freezer or fridge to allow the chocolate to solidify if it hasn't already. 
    12. Share with the family and friends!


I'm sorry if the directions are thoroughly confusing. It was sometimes hard ot explain what I was doing. If you have any questions please feel free to email me or contact me. Have a Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving,

                              Andrea






Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Cupcakes

I hope everyone is having happy fall. Halloween is upon us. I was busy tonight making treats for my brothers and sisters to take to school for their Halloween parties. I had a lot of fun. They were fairly easy to make, just time consuming to do. They ended up looking pretty great. 
I found a lot of ideas off Pinterest. I love Pinterest. Pinterest has everything a person could ever need know(well, at least about cupcakes). 

    

1. The first cupcake I made was a mummy cupcake. I just made my own version of grease frosting (I call it Crisco frosting). It makes really white frosting because there isn't any butter in it. I then cut a small tip off the end of a sandwich baggie. I piped frosting on the cupcake, and then added Reese's Pieces for the eyes (or M&Ms). This was really easy to do. 



2. The second cupcake I made was the ghosts. I made these ghosts on mini cupcakes for my little brother's class. He has a fairly large class, so it made it easier. I made Crisco frosting again. I cut a tip off of a sandwich baggie again, but this time I made a slightly larger cut. A tip when doing this, make sure to make a clean, straight cut. If you have the 1A or 2A frosting tip then you could also use that. I then colored some left over frosting black, and then piped little dotted eyes on each ghost. 


3. The last cupcake I made were green monster cupcakes. I made more frosting, which I then dyed green. I pipped the cupcakes in a swirl using a baggie; you could again use the 1A or 2A tip here. I couldn't find mine. I melted some white melties (white almond bark). I put the melted chocolate in a baggie with a small tip cut off. I piped enough to make eyes for my cupcakes. After, I placed a M&M on each of the dots I just made with the white chocolate. Now you have your eyes.


While those cool, I cut up Airheads in different shapes. I did triangles and rectangles. After the eyes cool and harden, place on frosted cupcake, and then add eyes. I then added Mike and Ikes on the side for ears. I let the kids help decorate these. It was a fun activity to do with them. 



I hope ya'll have a happy Halloween. Keep warm, and trick or treat to your hearts content. Eat as much candy as you can get, I know I will. 

Happy Halloween.

                         Peace, love, bake on.

                                  Andrea 
           

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baked Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Allow me to first start off with that my dad hates macaroni and cheese, and he also happens to dislike cream cheese. But does that stop me from making dishes with my first love, cream cheese, and making gooey comforting macaroni and cheese? No.
That does, however, make me stop and think of a macaroni and cheese recipe that I hope everyone will like. You see, I had been using a mac and cheese recipe for a year so that was just mediocre. My dad wasn't a big fan nor was the rest of my family; it was truly just meh-- not bad tasting just meh. I wanted something extraordinary that was creamy, filled with flavor, and extra cheesy (of course). 
What I found and created, I believe is truly yummy and extremely comforting. The secret ingredient is cream cheese. I had never really thought of cream cheese in mac and cheese. I never thought of combining the two, but I'm glad I did. 
When I ever use cream cheese in any dish, it's always treat and oh-so-delicious. So, enjoy the dish (and the calories). 


Baked Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
8 oz. macaroni
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
(or just do 2 cups of milk instead 1 1/2 milk and 1/2 cream)
1 pkg. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 Tbs. butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cook noodles according to directions. Cook to al dente.
  3. In 3 quart sauce pan, melt butter and then stir in flour over medium-high heat. Cook for a minute or less, or until smooth & bubbly. Stir constantly. 
  4. Mix in cream cheese, milk, salt & pepper, and dijon mustard. Cook sauce until it has thicken. Mix together thoroughly so that the cream cheese softens and mixes in throughout. 
  5. Before adding noodle, add cheese. After adding cheese, mix in the noodles. 
  6. Pour in a greased greased 2-3 quart casserole dish. 
  7. Melt butter (I melt mine in the microwave). Mix butter and bread crumbs together. Sprinkle on top of macaroni and cheese. 
  8. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  9. Serve and enjoy!



Please enjoy and savor this recipe like my family and I do. Please comment or email me with your questions or comments. Have a happy fall!

Peace, love, bake on.

                                The Fiery Redhead

Friday, September 19, 2014

Homemade bread and butter pickles.

I know I say this pretty much every time I post something new, but it has been forever since I have posted anything on my blog. I feel bad about it because I had all these plans, but then things got crazy and super busy. I started college on a few week ago, which was crazy. It has been a long few weeks.
A few weeks ago, my grandma and I were searching for a good pickle recipe that would yield good, crunchy pickles. We had two cucumber plants, and I never knew how fast cucumbers produce until this summer. We had so many cucumber, so we thought we would make pickles. My family loves pickles. My grandma used to can pickles all the time. She'd do bread and butter, lime, and dill. However, her dill pickles never stayed crunchy, and usually ended up salty. We knew that we could make bread and butter pickles with some success. So, we did some searching for a relatively easy user-friendly recipe. And we, of course, found one. I have made three or four batches of these now and they are really amazing. My family loves them, and pretty easy to make, which is why I thought I would share them with you. 
Bonus: they only require a water bath to can, and they are required to be canned. They can be stored in the fridge. 
Good luck!



Bread and Butter Pickles

Ingredients:
14 medium cucumbers
2 large onions, sliced
2/3 cups canning salt
6 cups sugar
2 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 1/2 Tbs. mustard seed
7 cups white distilled vinegar

Directions:
  1. Cut unpeeled cucumbers thinly (I do a 1/4 or smaller, depending on the size of cucumber). Place sliced onions and cucumbers in a large pot. Mix in salt, evenly. 
  2. Refrigerate for 3 hours. 
  3.  Clean (sterilize) the jars, if canning.
  4. After 3 hours, rinse salt off cucumbers and onions and drain. 
  5. In a large pot, combine sugar, Turmeric, whole cloves, mustard seeds, and vinegar. Scald (a hard boil). Stir regularly. 
  6. Add cucumbers and onions. Bring to boil and then remove from heat. 
  7. If canning, spoon cucumbers into jars. Add the liquid to the jars covering the cucumber and leaving about 1/2 an inch of head space (just to the lip) in each jar. If you are not canning, just place in a container to store in the fridge. 
  8. If canning, boil in a water bath for 25 minutes. Let cool for 24 hours. 
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Even if you don't have any experience canning or pickling, I believe you can make these. The recipe is really straight forward. If you have any questions or just want to comment, please do. Thanks! 


                                                                                         Andrea 


 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mini Bagel Pizzas.

I don't know about anyone else, but I sometimes I am at a loss to fun easy creative lunch ideas for the kiddos. Finding fun and easy lunches can be a challenge during the summer. I mean I don't mind putting a ton of effort in occasionally, but it is my summer vacation too. So if I can do as little as possible sometimes and still have yummy lunch then it's a win-win. 
I have two brothers and two sisters. My youngest brother is seven, and my youngest sister is eleven. They both love to help me in the kitchen, so I usually try to find a meal where they can make their own lunch creation. One that we just tried and made together was mini bagel pizzas. They were so easy and fun to make together. They are effortless, and the best part is the easy clean up.
I loved this lunch because the kids got to do all the work. All I had to do was put it in the oven and remove it from the oven. The very best thing was that the kids loved it, which made it all worth it.



Mini Bagel Pizzas
Inspired by my love of carbs, cheese, and smiles.


Ingredients:
Mini bagels (purchased from grocery store)
Cheese, such as mozzarella 
Pizza sauce 
Any other pizza topping desired

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Slice each bagel in half. Top each bagel with sauce. Add toppings (Don't forget the extra cheese;the more the merrier).
  3. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven 10-17 minutes or until cheese is melted (I always bake mine until bottoms are crispy because you don't want chewy pizza). 
  4. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Eat up and enjoy your hard work! 
Don't forget to let the kids decorate their pizzas. I remember as a child, I loved to make pizza. My friends and I would have pizza parties, where we would decorate pizzas. Those were the good ol' days. To be young and only have to worry about what you were going to top your pizza with. Anyway please enjoy your summer, and don't forget to stay cool with a sip the perfect sweet iced tea

Peace, love, bake on.

                                             Andrea 
                                                                       
                                     


Monday, June 23, 2014

Perfect Sweet Tea.


Well, I am officially a high school graduate. I graduated on the sunny day of May 18th. May was a month of joy and tears. I truly enjoyed my time in high school. However, I am ready to move on. I know that what comes ahead will require hard work and focus, but that doesn't deter me. My family and friends believe that I can succeed, and with hard work, focus, and their support, I know I can. 
April and May were both so busy. As soon as I was done with this huge event that I was coordinating with a friend was over with (which was a huge success), my friend and I had to plan our graduation party. We had about 3 weeks to plan and coordinate our graduation party. It was really tough to get invitations printed, addressed and sent out in time, but we managed. We made all our decorations, which were so cute (I'll have to find some pictures). As soon as that was over, I had all this graduation things to attend to, and, of course, FINALS. That part of the May was relatively stressful, but it's over and I have graduated.
Now it's summer. I can sit back and enjoy the breeze and let my skin soak up some sun-- that is if I put on sunscreen SPF 100. While soaking up the sun and enjoying the breeze, I will take a nice cooling sip of iced sweet tea. Just thinking of iced tea is refreshing. 
Ever take a drink of a tea, and it just isn't all that smooth? Well, I have found the secret ingredient to solve this very serious problem-- baking soda. A pinch of baking soda will give this sweet tea an extra smooth finish, making everyone come back for more. Baking soda really makes all the difference.



Sweet Tea 
adapted from No. 2 Pencil 


Ingredients:
3 family-sized teas bags or 10 regular sized tea bags
4 cups boiling water
12 cups cool water (such as tap water or filtered)
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (I add 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda into bottom of pitcher. Add tea bags to pitcher. 
  2. Pour boiling water into pitcher. If there is a lid for the pitcher place it on the pitcher. Allow to steep for 10-12 minutes (I do 11 minutes). 
  3. After steeping, add sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved completely. 
  4. Pour in remaining 12 cups of water and stir one last time. 
  5. Serve in cups with ice. Enjoy. 
*Tips: Store tea in refrigerator. After a few days sometimes the tea becomes dark and has a harsh after taste. I have found that to refresh the tea, I just add a couple cups of water.


Please enjoy this recipe! It really does make really amazing tea. My sister hates sweet unless I make it. This secret really does make all the difference. But it's called a secret ingredient for a reason, so SSSHHHH! It's a secret. Anyway sit back and take a sip of the perfect sweet tea. Happy summer. 

Peace, love, bake on.

                                          Andrea 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life is like a cupcake.

           I love cupcakes, and really that is an understatement. What I really love about cupcakes is the frosting. And really that's what makes a cupcake a cupcake. Without the scrumptious frosting, it'd be like a muffin or what ever a piece of cake is without frosting. But you, of course, can't have a cupcake without the cake. It wouldn't be a cupcake unless it had cake under the layer of yummy frosting. 
          The cake and frosting go hand in hand. The cake and frosting work together. To truly enjoy a cupcake, there must be a balance. There shouldn't be to much cake or to much frosting in each bite. 
          Then there are those people that like more frosting and less cake, or those who like more cake and less frosting. How do you find your balance? You must test the waters. Or in this case, test and eat some cupcakes. It's really a piece of cake. 
          Cupcakes are like life. One must have a balance. You don't what to much of the frosting or to much of the cake. Each person has his or her own balance; each person is different. Some people are more cupcake compatible with each other than they are with others. 
          The cake is the part of life that is stable, rational,  & logical. It is necessary to life, so that a person may survive a day longer. The frosting is the of part of life that is irrational, fun, and it gives life it's spice. It allows you, through reason, to live and have fun. 
         A cupcake isn't as good when there is to much of one part and not enough of the other. This should be kept in mind when living one's life. A person's life could become toxic or become unbalanced with to much of one element. Life wouldn't be as good if there wasn't a balance, and we all what to enjoy life just like we all strive to enjoy the perfect cupcake. 


           Make sense? It at least makes sense in my head. I wish life could always be explained through food, it'd be much easier. Plus everyone on the planet has that one thing in common: food. That's another post all together. 

           Thanks for reading my ramblings on life and cupcakes, and how they are intertwined. Remember: Life is like a cupcake. 

                                                   Peace, love, bake on.
                                                                                
                                                                                 Andrea