Sunday, October 31, 2010

Diaper Wreath

After making my diaper cake, I had a few leftover diapers. So, I did some searching and found an adorable diaper wreath. I used an online tutorial, although I couldn't see the pictures from the tutorial on my computer. It was still pretty simple to follow and easy to get the hang of. This honestly took me only a few hours and turned out soo cute! I made mine to match the brown and blue theme of the shower and decided to include more socks and bibs instead of toys. I loved that Johnson & Johnson had a baby travel pack, they were the prefect size for the wreath. Curling ribbon is a must for the wreaths. It adds beauty and does a great job holding the items together. I'm looking forward to making many more wreaths!

Click HERE for the online tutorial.

Diaper Cake Tutorial

A lot of my friends have just started having babies and getting pregnent, which means more baby showers for me. Recently, I saw pictures on Facebook of a diaper cake at a shower a friend of mine went to. I was instantly obsessed. I was in love with how cute they were, loved that they could be personalized for each mama to be and it was something I could definitely do. It was right up my alley and I couldn't wait to make one for an upcoming baby shower for my friend Danielle. I did a lot of online searching and put everything I learned from many different sites together to create my three layer diaper cake.

1 box of size 1 diapers (I used Pampers Swaddlers 90pk)
1 spool of thick ribbon
1 spool of thinner ribbon
1 stuffed animal or bottle for the middle
Rubber bands
hot glue gun
Plastic cake plates (3 sizes, 1 for each tier)

1. Get plate ready to put diapers on.
2. Unfold diapers.
3. Roll up diapers.
4. Secure with a clip.
5. After doing 3 diapers, wrap a rubber band around a set of three.
6. Line up diapers around cake pan. Once layer is completely filled, wrap a large rubber band around the entire layer. Repeat for each layer.

7. On the top layer, I removed a group of diapers in order to make space for my lion topper. A bottle would fit in this space as well.

8. Wrap layers with ribbon. I needed another pair of hands for this task. I used hot glue to secure the ribbon, but did not hot glue the diapers. I glued the ribbon on top of each other. When you do this, make sure to use a thick ribbon to cover the rubber bands. Repeat with each layer, using a variety of ribbon if desired.
9. Stack layers on top of each other. I made bows to add to the center of where each piece of ribbon met in the middle. Here is the tutorial for making bows.
*I did not use anything to keep the layers together because I wasn't shipping the cake and it was very sturdy as is*

Black & White Cookies

I made these cookies last year for my best friends bridal shower. This past weekend, I made them again for her sister's baby shower. Each time I made them they were used as the favors for the parties. When I first thought of black and white cookies...I thought they would be too difficult to make. But, to my surprise they were pretty easy. The most difficult part for me was the frosting. It took a few tries to find the perfect consistency. I wasn't a huge fan of the brush strokes you could see on the cookies after the frosting dried, but I'm sure that is something that was only visible to me. Overall, something pretty simple to make, but looks like they were bought at a store.
**These are blue and brown to match the shower decor
Black & White Cookies by Paula Deen
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup boiling water
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cake flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Then beat in the milk and vanilla. Gradually, beat the dry ingredients into the wet. Drop tablespoonfuls of the cookie batter onto parchment paper lined sheet pans, 2-inches apart. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown..

Meanwhile, make the icing. In a large mixing bowl, stir the boiling water into the confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is spreadable but still thick. Transfer half of the icing to another mixing bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.

When the cookies are done let them cool completely. Spread half of the flat side (baked side down) of the cookies with white icing and the other half with the chocolate icing. Let the cookies dry and harden completely.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

Another FABULOUS pumpkin recipe was conquered in my kitchen last weekend. This is another recipe from the Taste of Home 2004 book my grandmother saved for me. These were hands down the best pumpkin cookie recipe I've tasted. They were easy to make-even though I ended up spending a few hours in the kitchen because the recipe makes 10 dozen. My husband said these tasted chocolate chip ginger snaps. They were the prefect filling to the Halloween treat bags I made for my team at work. Happy Baking!

1-1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 10 dozen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Banana Chocolate Walnut Bread

The October 2010 issue of Cooking Light rocks! I found so many recipes in the issue I had to go buy a new recipe organizer! Believe it or not, I have never baked banana bread before. But, there were so many banana bread recipes in the issue, I was inspired. The first-yes there will be more, recipe I tried was this banana chocolate walnut bread. The end results were divine! I didn't add the chocolate drizzled over the top because I didn't think my waistline would appreciate the added touch! Enjoy!

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips, divided
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted and divided
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add sugars; beat until blended.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended.

4. Fold 1/3 cup minichips and nuts into batter; pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Combine remaining 1/3 cup minichips and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over bread.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple Oat Cookies

This recipe popped up in my inbox and caught my eye. You see, I don't usually make cookies without some sort of chocolate component. I wanted to make some sort of cookie last Sunday, but I already made chocolate chip the day before. So, I decided to make these for my mister to take to work on Monday. I wasn't crazy about the way these came out at first. Then, when I had one the next morning for breakfast they grew on me. I think it was the tartness of the apple that I wasn't used to at first, but the sweet cinnamon aftertaste made it all worthwhile. Enjoy!

Apple Oat Cookies
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup shredded)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons apple juice or milk

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs, scraping sides occasionally, until blended.
In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture. Stir in oats and apple. Onto cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart.
Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar and apple juice until smooth, using wire whisk or fork. Drizzle over cooled cookies on cooling rack. Let stand about 1 hour or until glaze is set.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Coconut Bars

This recipe caught my eye for many reasons...
1-I LOVE coconut!
2-I usually have all of these ingredients in my fridge at most times.
3-I could make it in 20 minutes.
This is another recipe from my 2004 Taste of Home mini book. This recipe definitely didn't disappoint. I used reduced fat ingredients and it was still tasty. I recommend putting it in the fridge after the chocolate has had time to cool. It helped harden mine a bit and made cutting easier. Enjoy!

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Unroll crescent roll dough into one long rectangle on an ungreased baking sheet; seal seams and perforations. Roll out into a 13-in. x 9-in. rectangle, building up dough around edges.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and egg until smooth; stir in coconut. Spread over crust.
Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is set. Immediately sprinkle with chips. Let stand for 5 minutes; spread melted chips over the top.
Sprinkle with nuts. Cool completely before cutting. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Monster Chip Cookies

When cleaning out my craft room, I came across a Taste of Home Halloween magazine from 2004. I'm pretty sure it was one my grandma saved for me and knew it would come in handy one day. Well, that it did...there are tons of recipes I can't wait to try from this issue. The first one was these cookies. The cookies were tasty, but I didn't have time to refrigerate my dough overnight and they turned out pretty flat. I decided not to make "monster" cookies, so I cut the recipe in half. Therefore, the suggested cooking time was off for me. 10 minutes was perfect for slightly brown cookies-I found that out on my third batch in the oven =-(. I'd give this cookie recipe a 7 out of 10.

Monster Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped nuts
In a large bowl, cream shortening, butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice. Combine the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chips and nuts. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 in. apart onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned and center is set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bow Holders

Now that I am spending a lot of time making bows, it only makes sense to have somewhere to put them. What I love about this creation is that they can be personalized. I'm going to start selling my bow creations soon and think I'm going to add these to my inventory.

1 piece of ribbon, cut to the length of your choice (my preference is 20in-30in)
1 D ring- I used 1 1/4in.
hot glue
Wood decoration for child's initial or name (I find these at craft stores and they go on sale often & they are painted already)
1. Fold ribbon over D ring and glue.
2. Personalize the wood decoration with initial or name of choice. I used a new Sharpie paint pen, LOVED it!

3. Glue wood decoration onto the ribbon. I've made one with the D ring hanging out and another hiding it behind the wood. I recommend putting the glue on the wood and positioning from there.
4. Fray check the ends of your ribbon, let dry.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Loved these! Took me no time at all, will definitely make these again!
Note: I only made one batch using one box of cake mix, 1 15oz. can of pumpkin and 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 spice cake mixes (Duncan Hines, although not pictured, is the best for this recipe)
1 30-oz. can pumpkin
1 12-oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mixes and pumpkin. Add in chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into lined muffin tins. This can make as many as 48 muffins or as few as 36, just depending on how full the tins are filled. These really don't rise very much, so you can fill the tins pretty full. If aesthetics are a concern, keep in mind that how they look going into the oven is very much what they will look like coming out of the oven. So a cookie scoop works great to keep things on the prettier side.
Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.

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