Diet Coke Cookies

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diet coke cookiesConfession time.  So many people ask me how I find time to decorate cookies with five kids ages 8 months to 12 at home.  Actually I really don’t have time to decorate cookies.  What I do have is Diet Coke!  And the hours of maybe 10:30 pm – 2 am once or twice a week if I am lucky and if sweet little baby girl decides to sleep through the night that time is mine.  All mine!  I just need a little help from my BFF – Diet Coke.  I have a problem.  I admit it!  I am a Diet Coke addict.  Is there a 12 step recovery program for this??  If so, I am totally signing up in 18 years when my youngest moves out of the house.  So Diet Coke recovery program I will see you in 2032ish?  I will be old!  Wait, my baby will be 18!  And no more Diet Coke?!  Sad, sad, sad.  Never mind the 12 step Diet Coke recovery program can wait.

So where am I going with this?  Oh ya, I was making these Diet Coke cookies for a friend and my sister Cathy asked me how many ounces of Diet Coke I drink for every Diet Coke cookie decorated.  I think it was 1 ounce Diet Coke for every one Diet Coke cookie I made.  Such a nice ratio.  I actually loved making 36 of these, and sipping about 2/3 of my 44 ounce tanker.  Very fun!  I don’t think I would be able to make a Diet Pepsi Cookie.  GAG!!!

Keep reading to see how I made these Diet Coke Cookies. Continue reading »


How to Make Pita Bread

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Pita bread is a staple in our home.  I grew up outside Detroit, Michigan and pita bread was always available.  I can not stand the really bready and flavorless pita bread sold at most grocery stores so I choose to make these at home.  I make pita bread to go with mideastern meals, homemade lentil soup, hummus or tabbouleh.  I also love it used simple as “pocket” bread, stuffed with whatever I have on hand, turkey & cheese, chicken salad, Caesar salad, Greek salad, falafel – anything goes.  We love the flavor and texture of this flat bread and a batch of this bread does not last long in our house.  The kids really enjoy watching the bread puff up in the oven and the pocket created during baking.  Keep reading to learn how to make pita bread at home. Continue reading »


St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

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St. Patrick's Day cookies 1Where is this year going?  It’s already St. Patrick’s Day?  What??!!!!  Well life has been super busy – yes, wah wah, wah – but really it has.  I forgot how much work it is to have a baby at home!  These St. Patrick’s Day cookies were thrown together at the last minute.  I wanted something gold and something green… but with zero time I came up with this design for these simple St. Patrick’s Day Cookies.  I used a can of Wilton  gold spray and scrapbooking stencils to make a fun gold chevron background for these cookies.  No, these St. Patrick’s Day cookies are not perfect – but t hey are fun!  And I was able to decorate them in no time at all!  Next year my St. Patrick’s Day cookies will be amazing!  I promise.

Keep reading to see how I made these St. Patrick’s Day Cookies! Continue reading »


How to Make a Purple Minion Cake

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purpleminioncake 1Here it is – the “how to make a purple minion cake” tutorial you have all been waiting for ;) .  Purple minions are so 2013, but I think the movie Despicable Me movies are a new classic!  What is cuter than a minion?  I made a regular version of this cake (click here) last Fall for Matilda and one of her cousins who came to the party decided he wanted a purple minion cake.  After making a regular minion cake it was fairly simple figuring out how to make a purple minion cake.  One thing that I spent hours thinking about – the crazy hair!!!!  If I could, I would have made a big puff of hair out of purple cotton candy.  I almost went to Walmart at midnight to buy a mini cotton candy machine – but realized it didn’t come with purple sugar.  So next time, I will improve the purple minion cake by making crazy hair!

purpleminioncake 5Before I continue with this tutorial I have to share this picture of my brother John holding the purple minion cake on the way to the party.  This was back in December, on the evening of a huge snow storm.  We chose to take public transportation to the party to avoid driving in the snow.  It was hilarious taking this little guy on and off the light rail and onto the high speed train.  What better way than carrying a minion cake to cheer up grumpy commuters headed home.

For the regular minion cake click here.

For details on how to make a purple minion cake keep reading: Continue reading »


Caesar Salad

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Caesar salad is one of my all time favorite side dishes.  I find myself ordering it at new restaurants just to see their variation.  I used to buy the Caesar salad kits, but now that I have this recipe I prefer to make it from scratch.  The recipe has so much more flavor and is so easy to make.  My sister-in-law Rayanne has been making this salad for family gatherings for a couple of years now.   The homemade croutons and large chunks of Parmesan cheese really take this salad to the next level.  Add grilled chicken breast and this can be a main dish.  For a more potent flavor, puree 6 anchovies with the salad dressing.

Caesar Salad

  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • sliced Parmesan for garnish
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  • homemade croutons
  • romaine lettuce

Ahead of time, roast bulb of garlic and prepare homemade croutons (see recipes below). To prepare the dressing, place the roasted garlic, juice of half a lemon, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and grated Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor or heavy duty blender.  Pulse to combine.  With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, thin stream.  Taste dressing and add more salt if necessary.  Makes 1.5 cups dressing.  To serve toss with clean, dry pieces of romaine lettuce.  Add homemade croutons, and sliced Parmesan cheese.  Garnish with lemon wedges, and freshly cracked pepper.

Kitchen note: the original recipe called for the juice of a whole lemon, 1 cup olive oil, 1.5 teaspoons dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. I also add sugar to balance the bitter flavors.  Rayanne does not use sugar, and it is not in the original recipe.

Roasting garlic:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife slice the top off a garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the garlic flesh. Center bulb on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the bulb securely and put in oven. Roast for about 45 minutes.

Homemade Croutons:

Combine olive oil, garlic and salt. Drizzle over bread cubes. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for at least 15 minutes. May need to bake longer until at desired crunchiness. (I no longer measure, but just break up a loaf of bread and drizzle a mixture of olive oil, garlic and salt over it.)


How to Make Disney Frozen Cookies – How to Make Olaf Cookies

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disneyfrozencookies1I had so much fun making these Disney Frozen cookies for my niece’s birthday party.  They were a hit.  This Olaf cookie just makes me happy! I also had success with a new icing recipe.  It dried soft!  No aching teeth like you sometimes get from rock hard royal icing.  I would highly suggest giving royal glaze icing a try.

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Keep reading for details on how to make Disney Frozen Cookies and How to make Olaf Cookies. Continue reading »



Pizza Sauce

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This is a recipe in progress.  Call me crazy but I LOVE Little Caesars pizza sauce and I am on a mission to get something close.  For now, this is what I am using for pizza sauce at home.  We have a Winco grocery store and they sell a spice blend called “pizza seasoning.”  So far I have been happy with the results.  Making homemade pizza is a lot of work so adding just the pizza seasoning instead of 7 or 8 different spices makes the job easier.  I also start with tomato sauce so I don’t have to take out the blender.  Here is how I made pizza sauce this week…

Pizza Sauce

  • One 33.5 oz container tomato sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons pizza seasoning

Simply mix tomato sauce with sweetners and spices.  Use about 1/2 cup pizza sauce for a 14 inch pizza.


How to Make Lollipops

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howtomakelollipops 1There is something so magical about making beautiful treats from what seems like nothing!  One of our Valentine’s Day treats this year is an assortment of homemade lollipops.  We dyed these lollipops red and flavored them with cinnamon – yum!  With the right kitchen tool this takes very little time.

Lollipops

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon oil flavoring
  • food coloring

Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup over medium heat in a heavy duty pan.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Use a heat resistant brush dipped in water to clean sugar crystals off the side of the pan.  Cook to hard crack, 300 F.*  Remove from heat, add flavoring and food color. Pour into metal molds arranged on a cookie sheet or marble slab.   Molds and cookie sheet would be greased with spray shortening.  Makes approximately 30 small heart shaped lollipops.

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