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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Baking Experience

I love to cook. I think I am a very good cook, at least that's what my husband tells me. But I haven't been very good at baking. Why? I have no idea. Either I don't follow the recipe right, try to change the recipe or I over cook it and it just never works. I think the only thing I can bake right is peanut butter cookies that I make from scratch myself or just a simple cake.

But over the Christmas holiday I did branch out and try to make some really fabulous goodies. I know a really awesome lady name Krista from http://doubledippedlife.blogspot.com/ who recommended a some great treats that I attempted to make over the holiday. I just had to try a few of the recipes she had on her blog.

First up I am a HUGE chocolate lover and this was a recipe I just had to try.

This is my version of the Chocolae Cake Bites

This was made with simple yellow cake mix, cake frosting and chocolate. The cake mix was made into just two baked round cakes and then later crumbled into a bowl. The frosting was mixed into the cake mix to help bind the cake together and soon after rolled into little round balls.(see below)

These balls were then placed into the freezer til nice and firm but not too long I didn't want them to freeze. Then I melted some simple Hersey's chocolate and slowly dipped the balls into the chocolate with a big fork and drained all the excess chocolate and then placed onto parchment paper to harden. While the chocolate was still warm I sprinkled some chopped walnuts on top. That's it pretty simple huh.

My Fruit Cake Triffle Bowl



Next I attempted her Fruit Punch Bowl recipe. Although I did not have a large punch bowl, but I did have a nice size glass bowl that I used. This is very delicious, light and fruity desert that did not last very long. I made two bowls because all of it did not fit in this one bowl go figure. After it was finished I was so pleased at how easy it was to make and very light and tasty. Here is the recipe below

Punch Bowl Cake Trifle

1 8qt glass/plastic punch bowl
1 yellow cake mix, and ingredients to make cake
2 small pkg. 4oz instant vanilla pudding- make as directed
2 large cans of cherry pie filling
2 pkg (6oz each) shredded coconut
1 large can fruit cocktail, drained
1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 cartons 8oz Cool Whip
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Make cake according to package directions. You need 2 layers. So, either do 2 round pans, or one 13x9 and cut it in half. It's all going to get cut up and jumbled anyway, so looks aren't important! Let cool.
Prepare instant pudding and refrigerate to set up.
Break 1 cake into pieces and place in bottom of punch bowl.

Add in layers: 1/2 of pudding, cherry pie filling, fruit cocktail, pineapple, nuts, coconut, cool whip.
Break the 2nd cake into pieces and add the other half of the ingredients, in the order listed above, Except I add the coconut after the cool whip so that it is on top! It looks prettier that way!
Garnish with nuts, cherries, coconut.
Refrigerate!

Recipe courtesy of Doubledippedlife


Sweet Potato Pie





My homemade (from scratch) Sweet Potato Pie. I loooooove Sweet Potato Pie. I don't know to many folks that actually like it. I have asked some of my online friends if they liked it and most say either then never had it, never heard of it or don't prefer it but prefer Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkin Pie yuk. I looked around our area markets to find a really good homemade sweet potato pie and I couldn't find one. I went to our local market Shoppers here in my area and I had to ask at the bakery if they had any Sweet Potato Pies. The baker told me they only had Pumpkin Pie but looked in the back to see if they had any frozen ones. I said frozen? So he came back out with a frozen Sweet Potato Pie. Well since I was desperate to find one I said ok and took it home. While it was good and tasty but not quite as good the way it was made homemade when I was growing up.



So I got on the phone, called my mom in Phila and said "ok you have to walk me through so I can make your delicious Sweet Potato Pie" She gave me the ingredients and she did walk me through it step by step and I have to say that I was pleased as punch to see my two finished baked Sweet Potato Pies. I was happy as a clam to have finally made one. My husband just loved it.



And finally my homemade Pumpkin Bread. Yes I made all this last week. I was in a baking mood for some strange reason. I put off making soap and anything business related to concentrate on my baking. This Pumpkin bread is very moist and delicious. This is a bread that I pretty have made many times in the past with success. So I can do a little something something right. I made two Pumpkin Bread loaves and I have one on the freezer now and the other is pretty much gone.



Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year to you all
~Michelle

Thursday, December 17, 2009

That Holiday Spirit




Where is it? For me I am in such a foul Christmas spirit. Why do the retail industry take all the fun out of the meaning of Christmas. It is not about how much you are going to spend or who is getting what for Christmas or what you want for Christmas. Its about the birth of Christ, family love ones and being happy. Christmas time makes so many people miserable and that is not what it is all about. I am so thankful for just being able to get up in the morning, kiss my husband good bye and enjoy my day. We have gotten in such a rut every year killing ourselves to please others. Granted it is more about the spirit of giving yes but I do think we go over board trying to please everyone. Ok so what will happen if you don't give a gift this year? Will family talk about you? Call you cheap? Are you more concerned about how people will perceive you if you don't give a gift? Its the pressure of the holidays to give give give even if you can't even afford it.

We all put ourselves in debt just for one day which we should be celebrating life and the birth of our lord and savior. But we don't. How many of us actually go to church on a regular basis except to go to church on Christmas Day and on Easter Sunday?



We all seem to only worry about the homeless and the hungry and the less fortunate on the holidays then during the entire year. Why is that? Not saying that we all do this because there are organizations and volunteers that give their time and energy on this problem in our country every day of the year so don't get me wrong.

The bottom line here is that I am very fortunate to have a nice home, food on the table and clothes on my back. I give all during the year not just on the holidays. There are some that just are not in the position to give but are in the position of need. The economy has really taken its toll on many families this year and my heart and thoughts are with those that to have a Merry Christmas. Stay strong and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. You just don't know how far down the tunnel you have to travel but there is one. If you keep walking through.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa.

~Michelle

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's New

Well it has been awhile since I have posted anything new in my shops but I do have a few new items I like to share.

Soaps, yes new soaps have arrived. It has been some time since I made any new soaps. The process for me takes some time and I really have to be in the soap making mood to make soap and lately I haven't but I have made some progress in the past month and have been motivated to get into the kitchen and started making some new soaps.

Most recently listed soap.


One of my favorite soaps to use is the Loofah. Some don't like the rough feel of the loofah but I love it. I love how it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and new. This loofah is made with a awesome goats milk soap and a Honey Almond Essential oil fragrance. Absolutely one of my best fragrance. This is filled with the soap and has added almond meal added to it for added exfoliating. This will come wrapped in a plastic bag with tie and label. Great for gift giving and stocking stuffers.

For Men. Yes Men go figure



Winding Curves(Curve type)Glycerin Soap. I originally made this soap for my husband and since I do not have many items listed for men, I thought this would be a great addition to my line of soaps. My husband love the bold scent of the the fragrance and couldn't wait to use it. He actually suggested that I add it to my soap line and I was a little hesitant because most of my customers are women that it wouldn't sell very well but there are women customers who have husband and boyfriends so hey why not.




Cinnamon Brown Sugar Oatmeal Soap.

Doesn't it just look really good. When I started making this soap I was clueless as to how it was going to turn out. I had this wonderful scent called Cinnamon Brown Sugar and it had such a bold scent that I had to make a soap with it. So I began with the grounded oatmeal with a little cinnamon in the mix. Then I added the brown sugar with the oatmeal mixture. When the soap was ready for me to add the ingredients I was still nervous about adding it not know what the outcome will be. I hate experimenting on soap because the oils are so expensive and having a soap batch ruined is wasting money so I don't like to experiment to much with my hot and cold process soap. I have had bad batches just go really bad and I wasted really good oils. So I like to try to keep it simple and not too dramatic I don't like my my soaps to look too much like food. You wouldn't want to use it but just eat it and I want my customers to use my soaps and enjoy them.

So back to the soap, once I added all the ingredients and the fragrance I began pouring the mixtures into the mold. Oh the aroma was so wonderful that it filled my kitchen up. The next morning I unmolded my soap and it was a pale golden color, nothing unusual about it. So I cut it and stored it in my curing closet and in about a week I checked on it and it was really dark in color. I was surprised and happy to see that the brown sugar and cinnamon changed the color to a nice mocha color. So having it look this yummy was not intended but it turned out to be a awesome bar of soap.


Sweet Pomergranate Cold Process Soap.

This scent is one of my favorites during the holiday season. I think this is my second batch of Pomergranate that I have made. This was made using the cold process method and stored and cured for many weeks. Great lather and just a all around awesome bar of soap. It will leave your skin feeling soft and smelling great. It is a nice size bar and will last a long time assuming you don't take a lot of showers LOL. This also will make a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Last but not least


Holiday Gift Set.

I combined all of my most popular items in one gift set. Our famous Shea Butter Lotions, After Bath Body Mist, One of our awesome soaps and for the under arms (we can't forget about the armpits) our famous Vegetable Protein Deodorant bars. This is a great price and great idea for a gift. This can be customize to whatever fragrance we have available and your choice of soaps.