Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mardi Gras King Cake

It's time for Mardi Gras and nowhere in Las Vegas can you find a King Cake... how sad.

I would love to post the story of the king cake, but right this second I don't have the time, so I will do my best to remember to add that at a later time!

Here's the recipe! SO YUM!
from (with a few changes)

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour unsifted
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest, this is lemon rind, grated
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Philadelphia Ready-to-eat Cheesecake filling
green, purple, and yellow sugar sprinkles
white icing (3 cups confectioners sugar, the juice from 1 lemon, and 3 tablespoons milk... add more milk if your icing is too thick!)
1 1" plastic baby doll (optional... we didn't have one... sad)


Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl, and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for ten minutes, or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and, using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat 2 minutes, or until dough can be formed into a medium-soft ball.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Using your fist, punch dough down forcefully. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shake dough into a cylinder. *We rolled it out to add the cream cheese filling... and I cheated and bought the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cheesecake Pie Filling* Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time.

Icing: Combine sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons milk until smooth. If icing is too stiff, add more milk until spreadable. Spread icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle the colored sugars in individual rows consisting of about 2 rows of green, purple and yellow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

SOOOOOO... i totally stole this recipe from a friend. thanks debi for sharing!!! they were delicious!!!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 15oz can pure pumpkin
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

1 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional..I don't use them)

1 c. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your baking sheet or stone with non stick spray, wipe off excess. You want a slightly greased surface for these cake like cookies. This needs to be done for the first batch only.
~Combine DRY ingredients, stir to mix.
~Cream together the butter and sugar with mixer.
~Add remaining WET ingredients.
~Gradually add in the mixed DRY ingredients, beating until you have a thick cake like batter. ~Stir in your ADD INS.
~Using a small cookie scoop, drop onto your greased baking pan or stone. Your dough will be thick, sticky and cake batter like. Bake 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Your cookies will be cake/muffin like in texture. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
~Meanwhile, combine GLAZE ingredients. Stir until a smooth glaze forms.
~Spoon or pour the glaze into a sandwich baggie, squeezing it all down into one point. Snip the point with scissors and use as a decorator bag to zig zag glaze across cooled cookies. (or you can spread the glaze on with a knife)
~Glaze will set within 30 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

chicken and okra gumbo

i have been feeling pretty homesick lately and thought a tasty pot of gumbo might help. it was a lot of fun to make because kevin and i made it together. i spent several days searching for some filé (ground sassafras leaves), but it is not available in Vegas... i cried... LOL! however, we made the gumbo without it and it was just as wonderful!! it just reminded me that i'm not in Louisiana anymore! SO... here's our recipe... bon appétit

Chicken and Okra Gumbo

1 whole chicken boiled and deboned
4 stalks celery diced
1 onion diced
2 medium green bell peppers diced
1 16 ounce bag sliced okra
4 cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon garlic
2 teaspoons parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and salt to taste

~ heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot, then add 1 cup flour. this is making a "roux" and is used to thicken your gumbo and give it that pretty brown color.

~ it depends on your preference how long you cook the roux. kevin likes darker gumbo and i like lighter gumbo, so we met in the middle... this is what it will look like when it's ready... the longer you brown the flour, the darker it will get... if you cook it too long it will burn!!! so be careful!

~ to the roux, add your mirepoix *cajun style - "the trinity"* that would be your diced onion, bell peppers, and celery. cook them in your flour/oil mixture long enough to get them soft.

~ once your veggies are done add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

~ while you're waiting for your gumbo to boil, if you get a little thirsty, enjoy a nice cold beer from Abita Springs... yep, that would be in Louisiana... actually, kevin worked across the street from the brewery when we lived there! cool huh?!

~ once the broth and veggies come to a boil add your chicken, okra, and your seasonings (garlic, parsley, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, white pepper, Tony's, and salt)

~ return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30-45 minutes. the okra will also thicken the gumbo.
~ serve over rice and with some crusty french bread and a tall glass of sweet tea!

Ahhh... the taste of home!

i do these every year, couldn't resist!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, November 2, 2009

curried pumpkin and carrot soup

O.M.G. i had no idea pumpkin soup would taste so good!!!! LOL! i am really excited about this because this was my first attempt and i didn't really use a recipe, just played around with the ingredients... hope you guys like it! i'm sure you could do it with more pumpkin instead of the carrots if you want... i may try that next time!

Curried Pumpkin and Carrot Soup *i'm being lazy and don't want to list all the calories, but it ended up making 10 cups and 1 cup was 115 calories*

1 medium pumpkin
4 cups baby carrots
1 onion
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice *for roasting*
1/2 cup milk
4 chicken bullion cubes dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups milk
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
salt/pepper to taste

- preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- melt 1/2 cup butter or margarine in roasting pan
- clean all of the seeds out of the pumpkin and set them aside for roasting
- peel and cube the pumpkin and cut the onion into quarters.
- combine pumpkin, onion, and carrots in a roasting pan, tossing with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
- roast for 30 minutes (or until tender but not blackened) *you may want to cut up the carrots, they were not as soft as the pumpkin after 30 min.*

- let roasted veggies cool.
- add chicken bullion broth and 1/2 cup milk, then puree with a hand blender/food processor/blender.

- mix pureed veggies with 4 cups milk in a large pot.
- season with curry powder, garlic, onion, cumin, salt, pepper, remaining pumpkin pie spice and bring to a boil.
- i topped ours with some shredded parmesan cheese and ate it with french bread. it also sat overnight and got pretty thick... you can add more chicken stock, milk, or water to make it thinner if you like... i kinda liked it thick!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


so i have been sick the last few days. monday night i was running a fever of 101.7 and was totally freaking out thinking i had the h1n1 virus or something. turns out, in my opinion because i haven't been to the doctor, that it's just a severe case of bronchitis. the last time i was this sick was when i was a junior in high school and got bronchitis for the first time! what's crazy is that i'm currently not teaching and i didn't get this sick when i WAS in the classroom!! LOL!!

what's worse... kevin was sick before me... and is still way worse than i am. he has to go to work everyday so he's not able to stay home and rest (in my opinion he could take a day or two off, but he's afraid to take any time off because he doesn't want to lose his job... )

the hardest part is that we both act so differently when we're sick. i called my mom on tuesday because i was being a big baby about running a fever and feeling so bad and i just needed my mommy!!! i'm very needy when i'm sick. i want someone to let me put my head in their lap and comfort me.

kevin on the other hand wants to be left alone. i try to take care of him the best i can, but the best thing to do is to do what i can to make him comfy, get him medicine and stuff, and then leave him alone.

he has been super though. he knows how needy i am, and even though he has been way sicker than i have, he has tried to love on me and take care of me the best he can, considering he wants to be left alone.

i'm just ready for the weekend so he can have some time off and get some rest. i hate that he is so sick! :-(

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

gettin a little personal

most of you know that i was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (pcos) when i was 19 (that would be 10 years ago). i was given medications (ortho tricyclen and metformin) to help with my issues. once i started taking the ortho tricyclen i gained a good bit of weight, at least 50 pounds. during college i was not thinking about staying active. i was tired all the time and well, i made some bad choices. at graduation i was at my heaviest, somewhere around 250 pounds, if not more. i dropped some weight after college and before i got married, but i was still around 235-240 pounds. last summer when kevin and i moved to las vegas, i started eating right and going to the gym on a regular basis. by christmas i had lost 30 pounds! i was at 205!!! that was the smallest i had been in almost 10 years! well, for whatever reason (my lack of self control and will power) i gained 15 pounds back. i have been at 220-225 pounds for months now and i am currently going to the gym 5-6 days a week for 30 min. to an hour each day and trying to watch my calories. i am still very tired most of the time and am always craving things i shouldn't eat!

there is a point to this story, i promise! because of the pcos, my hormones are all out of whack. i have been in a downward spiral for years. my hormone imbalance causes weight gain, the weight gain causes my hormones to be even more imbalanced and so on. well, because of the hormone imbalance and the weight gain, my chances of having a baby have been lowered. it's not impossible, it's just not going to be easy. my doctor says that if i can get under 200 pounds my hormones should start to straighten themselves out and my changes for pregnancy will go up.

in less than one month i will be 29 years old. i had totally planned on having 2 kids by now. i know my plan isn't God's plan and i have to trust that He is control of the whole thing. but i just feel so strange, so many of my friends from high school already have 1 or 2 kids, and i have friends that are currently pregnant, and it just makes me sad. don't get me wrong, i am totally happy and excited for them, i guess i'm just a little jealous.

so... that's where i am right now. almost 29, 220 pounds, and wanting a baby. my goal is to lose the weight i need to lose and keep it off for a while before getting pregnant. it's such a struggle because i do love food so much. not to mention my lack of love for exercise.

i don't know, i guess i just needed to get that out in the open... to acknowledge what i need to do and face it.