United States of CAKE

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July Fourth is just around the corner. As you are making plans to celebrate the anniversary of our independence why not add this cake to your cookout menu?

This is just another spin on the multi colored Bundt cake I have made in the past. I didn’t get the swirl effect I was going for instead it looks more like a Pepsi logo. Haha!

I added too much batter to my blue layer. I will remedy that when I bake this for our family cook out. If it turns out the same way I will have a cooler of Pepsi’s on hand to make it look like the Pepsi logo was intentional.

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The day of the fourth we will begin by watching “The Patriot” because my husband is obsessed with that movie. We will have family and friends join us for a cookout. Last but not least we will gather in the town square to enjoy the fireworks display.

Have a great and SAFE Independence Day!

Red, White and Blue Cake

One white cake mix.

Follow directions on box.

Divide batter up between three bowls.

Using food coloring color gel mix your colors.

Layer colored batter in Bundt pan.

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Bake.

Cool.

Turn out onto cake stand.

Using a can of white frosting, divide it between three bowls.

With the first bowl of frosting. Melt in microwave. Usually 15 to 20 seconds.

Add color, mix well.

Drizzle over cake.

Do same with second bowl.

Finish with the third bowl.

Let the icing set up.

Dazzle people with your awesome cake design.

After admiring your work finish up by EATING CAKE!

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Strawberry Chia Seed Jam in the Crock-pot

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I have made strawberry jam in the crock-pot before. Using apple for the pectin to make it gel. For me that process it hit or miss, one time I used apples it set up fine the next time we ended up with strawberry syrup. Then I got some Chia seeds to use as egg substitute in baking. You mix 1 tablespoon Chia seeds in 3 tablespoon of water let it set for at least 15 minutes. The seeds absorb the water and you are left with this jello type mass to use in place of your egg.

That got my dark mind racing, ideas began to form. I think there may have been evil plotting music playing in the background. Or that might have been in my head. I asked myself, can it work? Will Chia seeds be the gel that holds my jam together?

I went to Pinterest (I go there now before heading to Google) to search this out. I discovered that yes, yes you can use Chia seeds. Once I discovered that golden gem of knowledge I began to form a recipe. I then tried that recipe out. Eureka! It worked!


 

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Ingredients:

4 packets of Truvia (or 6 for a sweeter jam) You can also use granulated sugar. ½ cup.

2 pints strawberries, cut in half

¼ c. lemon juice (this will help the strawberries keep their red coloring)

2 tbsp. Chia seed

In the Crock-pot add berries, lemon and Truvia. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Stir and mash your mixture up some. Cover and cook 1 more hour. Stir. Cook uncovered for 2 hours or until the mixture thickens/reduces down some. Stir in Chia seeds. Let set about 15 minutes. Then pour into your jars. Refrigerate and/or freeze.

Strawberries, sweetener and lemon juice in crock pot

Strawberries, sweetener and lemon juice in crock pot

I wish I could tell you exactly how much this made but it seems the day I made it and before I could put all of it into jars the husband went on a PB&J kick. I did manage to fill two 4 oz. jars and one 8 oz container before he confiscated the rest. He ate a lot of PB&J over the following days. His only complaint… he would have liked it to be a little sweeter. Next time I make the jam I will use more sweetener.

Nice and cold. oh so yummy

Nice and cold. oh so yummy

That was a month ago. I froze the 8 oz container of the jam. Today I thawed it out to see how well it held up. It was still great.

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How to crack your marbles not lose them

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One pin from Pinterest I have been wanting to try is the cracked marbles. Turns out it’s very simple and FUN! I wanted one to go in my miniature garden to use as a gazing globe.

How to lose crack your marbles.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place marbles in a pan, one with high sides. Those marbles tend to roll around.

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Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately place in a bowl of ice water.

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Here is the fun part: you can hear the water sizzle and the marbles pop. I also did the same to a few glass ‘rocks’ used for decorating. They cracked but not as much as I wanted, maybe they need higher heat or a longer bake time.

I hope to find some solid light colored marbles to try. I think they would make pretty pendants.

Cracked

Cracked

Not much cracking going on

Not much cracking going on

Garden gazing globe

Garden gazing globe

 

 

 

Cookies plus Chocolate equals Happiness

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In a world filled with stress and tragedy bombarding us everyday we need something to help us cope, something to fill us with happiness even. Is there such a thing that can do this? Is it possible something can bring us joy amidst the stresses in life?
Hell yes there is something. Chocolate. Chocolate by itself, chocolate with marshmallows, with peanut butter, with ice cream, in milk, in cookies, chocolate covering other items, like nuts or raisins or even bugs. For the record I have never ate a chocolate covered bug but If there is ever a chocolate shortage and that’s what’s available. Look out bugs.

Today it is chocolate chip cookies that are calling my name. “Gotha. Gotha” they are whispering to me.
I found a pin that took me to a post with several chocolate recipes. This one claimed to be THE Best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Was it the best? Close, what would have made them the best was if someone else had baked them for me. Ha-ha. Seriously, out of all the chocolate cookie recipes I have tried over the years this one is my new #1.
Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I used 1 cup, I’m a rebel that way)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. I used a hand mixer and it works better if you use a fork to work your butter a few minutes before using the hand mixer. Add the brown sugar along with the sugar, mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Next add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix in the wet ingredients until well combined. The cookie dough will be thick, if you’re using a hand mixer it will be struggling at this point. Add the chocolate chips and mix for several seconds until evenly disbursed, at this time I just used a fork to mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with aluminum foil to chill for at least 1 hour.
After the dough chills is done chilling out in the fridge let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. I used a silicone mat, I love it!
Roll into balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough per balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should keep up to one week. If they last that long, they are pretty darn good.
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Super Bowl of Disaster

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In baking sometimes things can go wrong, sometimes they go Titanic. The ship is sinking with no hope for rescue. That happened today. One baking pin went wrong and one went Titanic.

Pin 1:
Baking pancake mix in muffin tins to create a pancake bowl. I ended up with pancake muffins. So I didn’t get my pancake bowl, no problem. I just cooked up some sausage patties and made pancake/sausage breakfast sandwiches. Pretty tasty.

Pin 2:
Turning your muffin pan upside down to make cookie bowls. Yeah…that one was a disaster. No survivors. I have burnt cookie pieces in my hair, a pan that almost did not come clean and a husband who is still laughing at me. I will laugh about this one day also. Just not today.

The pancake bowl. I followed the instructions so I don’t know what went wrong. I will check out more pancake bowls pins and see if I can do something different next time. When I finally get it right I will share the experience with you.

Tasty pancake sausage biscuit

Tasty pancake sausage biscuit

The cookie bowl. It was a last minute thing, I was baking cookies for tomorrows family dinner. I was down to the last bit of dough when I spotted my muffin pan sitting innocently in the dish rack drying. I got an idea (obliviously this was my first mistake). I remembered a pin, if was just a photo with no instructions, but it looked easy enough.
So I flipped the pan over, gave it a nice coat of cooking spray, slapped on the cookie dough and popped it into the oven. The pin showed the cookie down covering each muffin tin completely. I worried I didn’t use enough cookie dough, I didn‘t have much dough left. Apparently it does not take much cookie dough to make a bowl. I used too much and ended up with a darn big mess.

Prelude to the horror

Prelude to the horror


Cookie was baked/burnt onto the pan. I had to get a butter knife to fight and scrape the cookie mess off the pan. Burnt cookie was going everywhere. EVERYWHERE. All over my nice clean counter, the floor, my hair, I even had some crumbs get into my eye. I did learn that saying curse words at burnt cookie stuck to a pan does not do a thing to help get it off the pan. I did go seek out other pins. Next time I will mold aluminum foil to the muffin tin. I will also use less cookie dough per bowl. Hopefully I will have success next time.
Shameful

Shameful


Oh the horror!

Oh the horror!