Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sharing Smiley360 Mission

Sharing Smiley360 Mission: I just became a Smiley360 member! Sign-up for free at and you could win an iPad 2. *Please remember the FTC requires you to mention that you received a free sample courtesy of Smiley360 when sharing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Homemade Runza

I had a Runza in Nebraska years ago and forgot about it. The other day my girlfriend gave me her recipe for Runza using Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls. I used her recipe but made homemade crescent dough from a recipe I tweaked from the web. You can use store-bought crescents to make this. If you do, pinch together two triangles, add some filling, fold over and pinch together at the edges. My girlfriend suggests 2-3 tubes of crescent rolls depending on how many Runzas you want to make. If you're using store bought rolls skip to the Runza filling.

Homemade Whole Wheat Crescent Dough:
Put 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast in a bowl. If yeast was refrigerated or frozen allow yeast to warm to room temperatures about 5mins. Add 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 warm milk (I nuked in a mug for 20seconds). Add one egg and 1/3cup soft (NOT melted) butter and whisk briefly. Add 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt and whisk again. Then add 3 3/4 cups flour (I used 3cups white and 3/4cups wheat). Stir to combine and then knead dough with hands until well incorporated. Madelyn had fun "kneading" the dough. Let rise on a warm counter 30mins-60mins. While the dough is rising make the filling.

For filling:
Brown 1 pound ground beef, drain and rinse. Return to pan and add 2 cups diced cabbage and diced onion to taste. Add 2tablespoons butter and allow to simmer until cabbage is soft. Add salt and pepper  to taste. Add one can cream of mushroom soup (concentrate without diluting).

Back to the dough: 
This is where the filling should go

Knead briefly and then divide dough into 8 portions (to make even pieces divide dough in half, then divide those pieces in half, then divide those pieces in half one last time). On a floured surfaces shape a piece into a circle about 5inches wide. Then add filling off center on the dough. Fold dough over and pinch edges together to create a half moon shape. 

Here's the uncooked, half moon shaped Runzas on cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 15mins or until bread is golden and not doughy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Super Man Cake

For Father's Day this year I wanted to make my husband a special cake. I made this with dark chocolate cake, raspberry filling and ganache frosting under the fondant. Next time I make a cake I think I want it to use these same flavors but without the fondant decorations. Something just... yummy. We will see what I come up with :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Lately I've been delving into the enjoyment I find in making cakes. I wish I had a lot more time to spend messing around with different techniques but cake making has to be a pretty rushed process around my home these days, while my children are small. Of course if I didn't have children I'd likely still be working away from home 40hrs a week. Here are some of the cakes I've made.

This was a cake I made for my son's baptism. It was the first time I did piping around a cake. My buttercream was really soft by then and it's something I'd like to play with more. I also can hardly look at the "e" without cringing although my family said it was lovely :)

This is the cake I made for my husband's 33 birthday. It was my first attempt at fondant. My little guy had a rough couple days and it was hard to find the time to get this cake enough attention. I used raspberry jam and raspberry jello to make a delicious filling for this cake that didn't squish out the sides. There's buttercream under the marshmallow fondant. Marshmallow fondant is pretty tasty, nothing like the store bought stuff. The cake is dark chocolate Pillsbury, my current favorite. Next time I'll find cutters for the circles b/c I can see where the edge of a glass pressed onto the fondant leaving a seam instead of giving it a sharp cut. I also need to work on the timing of when the buttercream is made and the fondant is ready to be rolled. I had to wait for my buttercream to soften and then my fondant was already rolled and got a little dry and cracked in a few places. Not bad for a first attempt.

This is the cake I made for my daughter's second birthday. A friend of mine made it and I found the idea on Woman's Day website. I LOVED it and I imagine next year Madelyn will be asking me for a certain kind of cake so I took advantage of being able to make her whatever I wanted this year! It's a layered pound cake, goldfish crackers in two colors and sizes, fruit roll up cut to look like algy, and the pebbles are nerds. As tradition holds we gave Madelyn the first cut piece. She was so excited and suddenly looked very surprised and unhappy and started crying for "balls". She so badly wanted a piece with nerds on it! Well normally I wouldn't have a child crying over which piece of cake but it WAS her birthday so we gave her a piece with nerds. She hardly touched the cake and just ate the nerds off it! Everyone else liked it though!

This was Madelyn's first birthday cake. We had always called her a monkey so I had to go with that for the theme. The belly was cooked in a Pyrex bowl to look rounded. The ears were cooked in small bowls as well. The face is actually two layers to give it dimension. The arms and legs were free-hand cut from a sheet cake and the tail was free-hand cut from a round cake. I had a LOT of extra pieces of cake that I just threw away to make this. It was a lot of fun!

This was Madelyn's smash cake for her first birthday. It's in the shape of a banana although I forgot to take a photo before I put the little monkey on it and I should have just put the monkey next to the cake. It's two layers for dimension and to give her plenty of ammo for messy cake eating! She certainly did smash right in, loved it, and I had to change the bathwater to get her clean!

Okay this isn't a great cake at all. The piping was done with a plastic bag. There is jam in the middle squishing out the sides but now I know to add jello to the jam to make it not slide around. This was a year we couldn't go home for Christmas and I was very sad. I made this in between church services...we went to all the services we could to try to make up for not being able to spend the holiday with family. Minnesota winter was rough that year!

I made this cake, in a hurry, last night. I didn't plan on it at all. In fact I wanted to go out for ice cream but my husband thought it would be too crowded on a hot Memorial Day night. I thought it would be fun but that's okay. I made a quick cake so we would have dessert. It ended up being VERY quick b/c my son became very needy. There are many things I would do differently if/when I did it again. I'd use fondant for sure. Love the crisp look of fondant! Still this was a pretty tasty cake and it was fun to make. I like that I was able to make a cake with 50stars even if they aren't lined up exactly right...and 13 stripes :)

My next cake will be for Father's Day. I already have a design all picked out. It will use fondant and be a little more difficult than the first one. Hopefully I can refine some skills and use some new ones. I really love making cakes. It's so fun to see an idea come to live especially since I'm not much of an artist!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jello Yogurt

I found a recipe for jello yogurt and after reading the reviews changed it a bit... of course. Since I just made my own homemade yogurt I had thinner yogurt than most store bought so I thought changing it a bit would be a good idea. Someday I'll share my homemade yogurt recipe but I don't have it down quite yet although this batch was thicker than the last. Even though it's thin we just use it to make smoothies and now... jello yogurt!

Simply make a small package of jello according to directions and add an envelope of unflavored  gelatin (but don't add the additional water for the gelatin recipe). Add the gelatin to the HOT water and dissolve completely before adding the cold water.

Once the Jello is made and still hot add it to 2cups of your favorite yogurt. Mix and put in fridge to firm-up for a few hours.

Since I used yogurt that was lightly flavored but hardly sweetened I ended up with a dessert that's not too sweet and I didn't feel bad giving my daughter "seconds" on a special treat since it's mostly milk and water!

This recipe is easy to alter with various flavors, and more or less gelatin for a firmer or thinner result. Using plain yogurt with the Jello will make it not as sweet. I'm guessing you could add drained canned or frozen fruit to this as well although I like things smooth ;).

I made cherry this time but next time I'll try orange!

Taco Lasagna

One of my creations which I may have gotten an idea from someone else somewhere along the line but it was so long ago I can't remember where. Had to post this for my girlfriend today.

What you need:
-Tortillas (flour/corn/whole wheat are all fine. You may want to fry them ahead of time, I usually don't.)
- A can of diced tomatoes or a cup of salsa
-TWO cans of beans, drained (kidney/pinto/ or black). I use two different types.
-A can of refried beans.
-1 lb ground beef, cooked
-1-2 packages taco seasoning or your own taco seasoning.
-Shredded cheese (any type, we like cheddar)

1. Mix the tomatoes (or salsa), beef, and beans including refried beans.
2. Add 1 package of taco seasoning, add more to taste. I usually use 1.5packages.
3. Spray a round casserole dish with non-stick spray.
4. Start with a layer of tortillas. I leave the tortillas whole if I can but then rip one in half to make them fit in the dish.
5. Add a layer of bean mix and then some shredded cheese. Top with more tortillas and repeat until ending with bean mix. Top with shredded cheese. (To save money and calories I usually only top my casserole with cheese instead of including in each layer).
6. Bake at 350F for 45mins or until heated through. Cut pieces like a pie to serve.

We just had this but ate it too fast for pictures!