Monday, January 27, 2014

Tree Cake - Baumkuchen (January Daring Bakers Challenge)

The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

Tree Cake - Baumkuchen

Well this challenge did not work too well for me! For some reason my batter was really thick, and in using a 10 inch springform, the pan was just too big.  So my layers were too thin, and the sides almost burned and the bottom was pretty hard yet the inside wasn't fully done.

Tree Cake - Baumkuchen
You can't really see the layers - but I did get in 9 of the 10! Then the chocolate glaze was wayyyyy to thick. I tried to thin it out, but it was still incredibly thick. You can see how thick it is in the above pic.

Tree Cake - Baumkuchen
See how dark the edges are? Oh well. It still tasted REALLY good - moist with a slight almond flavor. And as a bonus - I made my own marzipan! Maybe that had something to do with the thickness of the batter, not sure, but I was still pretty proud of myself!

homemade marzipan! Woo!
I won't include my recipe here, but if you want it, lmk, and I will post it!

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/27/14

Last week's meal plan went off without a hitch! The stuffed shells were soooo delicious! 

Monday: leftover pizza

Tuesday: Mama's Spaghetti Casserole

 Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Friday:  leftovers

Saturday: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken (or dinner out with the in laws)

Sunday: Super Bowl!!! We are going to have some snacky appetizers and easy pull apart pizza bread at halftime

Dessert of the Week: for the Super Bowl... birthday cake dip with nilla wafers and pizza crumb. YUM!

Find more meal plans at!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shortbread Sugar Cookies

Shortbread Sugar Cookies - so festive!

Last week we got a pretty big snowstorm - 11 inches! My wonderful husband went out to shovel, all by himself. Yes, I am lucky that most of the time I can stay warm and comfy inside while he is out in the cold doing the physical labor! He said the snow was at least pretty light and fluffy, but was also surprised and grateful when our neighbor with a snow blower came over to help clear the driveway. So I knew I had to give him some homemade goodies as a thank you. I already had some fudge, but wanted to round it out with some cookies. These cookies hit the spot - decadent and crumbly, with fun sprinkles. They are also very easy to make, though it takes a long time to bake and cool.

Shortbread sugar cookies right out of the oven and so good!

Shortbread Sugar Cookies
based on the recipe by Chelsa Bea

1 cup sugar plus 1/8 cup
4 sticks of butter (1 lb.)
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
ginger or zest of lemon or orange
sanding sugar (in place of the 1/8 cup sugar)
(whatever else sounds yummy!)

Preheat oven to 250°.

Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment.
Cream together 1-cup sugar and all butter. Once creamed,, slowly add the flour, then the cornstarch, then salt. If desired, mix in ginger, lemon or orange zest.
Pat it into baking pan.
Bake for 1 ½ hours at 250°.
Remove shortbread from the oven, but leave the oven on.
Cut into smaller pieces, cutting down the middle then cutting across into sections. Sprinkle cookies lightly with remaining sugar (or sanding sugar), until they are evenly coated.
Turn the oven off. Place pan back in oven for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and allow shortbread to cool, in pan, for at least 20 minutes. The cookies will be very fragile when they first come out of the oven and will easily fall apart if handled. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/20/14

I am a little bummed that I did not do a menu plan last weekend... I actually bought meat?!?! and made some amazing pork chops! Gotta refine the recipe before I post it. I also made a dessert from an old church cookbook that my mom gave me, from the very first church I ever attended. I want to make some recipes from there throughout the year, This week it is supposed to get really cold, so I am going to make some soups and warm stuff.

Here are my food resolutions this year...
~ Do at least 8 Daring Bakers Challenges. I have already done this month's! It will be posted the 27th!
~ Make a few homemade items such as granola bars, applesauce and bread (which I have made before) etc!
~ Post a recipe a week - and find a new photo sharing site to more easily upload pictures
~  Save our favorite recipes and remake them! I am so bad at making recipes more than once! Also write down the favorites ones and cookbook ones to keep them all in one place.

We'll see exactly how well that goes :) I know I need to narrow them down to some specific items.

This week is a regular week, with nothing going on the weekend. Last weekend was insane, so I am looking forward to some down time!

Monday: Hamburger Stuffed Shells (halving recipe)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder

 Wednesday: leftover chowder

Thursday: Crock Pot Pizza Chicken

Friday: leftovers

Saturday and Sunday: pizza, hopefully!

Dessert of the Week: I THINK and HOPE that we will finish all of our Christmas junk this week. It's so sad... I bought less than usual but we still have so much! We are eating in moderation :D

Find more meal plans at!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/6/14

 Rushed plan this week... somehow the weekend got away from me, even though we didn't do too much! Net week I will be sharing my food and meal related resolutions!

Monday:  leftover pizza, with lots of veggies on the side

Tuesday: Kraft Recipe Makers

 Wednesday:  leftovers

Thursday: chicken quesedillas
Friday: something from the freezer

Saturday and Sunday: no clue!!

Dessert of the Week: nothing... I am doing dietbet, and DH is on plan with me. So we are cutting back on sweets this week!
Find more meal plan at!