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Friday, April 16, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Mmmm... Brown Sugary love!

"What is so new about Pineapple Upside Down Cake?"

Nothing really, but I have two reasons to make this cake...

Monday is Pineapple Upside Down Cake day.

It is my brothers, Brian's, favorite cake and its his birthday!

Happy Birthday Brother Fry!
(Inside joke, don't ask)

There are a two common ways to make this cake; by scratch or by the box. I have made this recipe both ways. Today I am going to cheat and do it by the box, but I am going to give you some new steps you might not have thought of. Don't worry, I will include a recipe to make the yellow cake by scratch. Lets get stated.

1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix
2 - 3 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Can (20 ounces) of Pineapple Chunks, reserve the juice
1 Jar of Maraschino Cherries
Brown Sugar
Parchment Paper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

New Tip:
When you go to mix the boxed yellow cake together, substitute a portion of the water with some of the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple. My boxed cake required 1 1/3 cup of water and substituted the 1/3 portion for the pineapple juice. Too much juice and it will change the recipe. I also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract just for a little push.

New Tip:
I also use a professional cake baking pan. They are taller than the average baking dish on the general market and think this cake looks better fuller.

Place the butter in the baking pan and place t in the oven to melt. When the butter has melted take it out of the oven and this is when you have to work quickly, so the butter doesn't cool and congeal.

Place the pineapple chunks in a nice pattern along with the cherries. I don't put too many cherries on the cake, which think can be overwhelming.

New Tip:
Most versions of this cake use pineapple rings or crushed pineapple. I don't use either. It is harder to cut through the rings when serving the cake and they usually slide off the cake leaving other pieces without any pineapple and I think the crushed pineapple has too much liquid in it to give a chance for the brown sugar to settle. With the chunks you can slice through the cake without issues and each piece you slice has pineapple in manageable bites.

New Tip:
Place a ring of the parchment paper around the sides of the pan. This Helps to slide the cake out when it comes time to flip the cake over.

Sprinkle a good amount of brown sugar over the entire cake pressing down the brown sugar around the edges and through out the cake. This will help to secure a solid cake top.

Pour in the entire cake mix over the pineapple brown sugar mix and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.

New Tip:
If after 40 minutes the top of the cake is still wobbly and the toothpick test comes out wet cook for 5 more minutes and then turn the oven off and leave the pan in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. The heat will continue to bake the wet part of the cake without burning the rest of the cake.
If you use the smaller baking pans then half the cake mix between both pans and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.

After the cake has finished baking and cooled enough I still like to slice the top off the cake for an even bottom layer. This cake didn't necessary need a cutting, but it certainly helps in the flipping process.

This cake doesn't always land perfectly on the plate without falling apart, but man is it worth the process!

Yellow Cake Mix

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk or Pineapple Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla

All photographs have been watermarked

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tomato Basil Pizza

This is what pizza should taste like!

Today was my husbands birthday and he has been asking me to make him pizza from scratch. Now I have no problem cooking any of his requests, but the idea of making the dough by scratch really doesn't set my heart afire. But, it's his birthday and I want him to have a special birthday. I hated the idea of wasting great ingredients if the pizza dough was horrid. I love Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and one of her favorite meals is her homemade pizza. I trust that she test drives all her recipes and so I used her pizza dough recipe for my husbands birthday dinner request. I decided to photograph my process and you can see my pizza turned out just as hers did. Lets begin!

1 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast
1 1/2 Cups Warm Water (105 - 115 Degrees)
4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Here was my only mistake... the water was too hot to add the yeast.

Wait for it to cool between 105 to 115 degrees!

In a medium to large bowl I added the flour, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. and then added the yeast after it has mixed well with the warm water to become active.

Now I am not a rich girl and I would love to have one of those fancy smancy mixin' machines, but I don't. I just used what God gave me at the end of my arms. It was sticky and messy and all over my fingers, but it got the job done and it looked just like Ree's dough.

At this point rub olive oil in the bowl and fold the dough into a ball with a bit of olive oil over, so it won't stick to the bowl. I used my dough right away, but if you decide not to use your dough be sure to put plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and place it into the refrigerator.

Since this recipe yields two pizzas you will only need half of the dough to start your first pizza. Using either a cookie sheet or pizza stone and begin to shape your pizza by spreading out the dough into your desired shape. Next drizzle olive oil all over the dough and place generous helpings of basil on top of your pizza.

Package of fresh basil
2 Fresh Mozzarella Balls
2 - 3 Fresh Roma Tomatoes

Add your mozzarella and tomatoes and top with any extra mozzarella and add some Parmesan cheese.

Place your pizza in the lower half of your oven in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the dough looks golden brown.

I have to say this was a tasty pizza and the dough was great. More important my husband was in pizza heaven and said, "This is the best pizza!" Two bites later he then said, "This was a really good birthday meal." and he kissed me! Mission accomplished.


All photographs have been watermarked.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cowgirl Collection

Snuggle up with our NEW

Giddy Up Girl ~ Love Me Lovey

from our

Cowgirl Collection

All photographs have been watermarked.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cowgirl Collection

Giddy Up Girl!

The newest into our collection of baby chic for girls

All photographs have been watermarked.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Deviled Eggs

I have made several versions of this recipe, depending on my mood and the ingredients I have on hand, but this one seems to be the one my family loves best.

12 Eggs, hard boiled
4 - 6 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 - 4 Tablespoons Sweet Relish
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Tablespoon Dill Weed, plus extra for topping

In a large pot with water, place the eggs and cover them with water about an inch above the body of the eggs.

Boil the eggs for 15 minutes from the starting point from when the water begins to boil. This time frame has always produced a perfectly boiled egg every time.

Pour out the hot water and under cold running water slightly crack each egg and peel the eggs immediately. I have found if you peel the eggs right after they came out of the pot the shell and membrane comes right off rendering a smooth egg.

With a clean, sharp knife slice the eggs in half, placing the egg white on a platter and the egg yolk into a bowl.

Clean your knife under hot water between each egg you cut. This will help to get a clean cut on every egg.

With the backside of a fork smash down the egg yolks until the yolks have a smooth consistency.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix together until the filling is smooth.

To give the deviled eggs a finished look I fill a cookie press with the filling, which give the deviled egg a finished look. If you don't have a cookie press fill a plastic sandwich baggie with the filling and snip a tiny piece off the end of a corner (enough for the filling to squeeze out of it) and fill the egg shells.

Sprinkle a small amount of the dill weed on top of the egg to decorate.

Happy Easter!

All photographs are watermarked.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Color of Eggs

I can smell the vinegar. I can see yesterdays newspaper layered across the kitchen table to catch the occasional spill from the coffee cups filled with that magical colored water that would consume our white, hard boiled egg and turn it into masterpieces of egg-art. All of my brothers and sister gathered around the table waiting, timing our egg bath and having to move your color clockwise to the next awaiting dipper. Always the contest to make the egg that would stand out above all others. It's Easter and it wouldn't be the same if we didn't celebrate the memories of it by dying eggs.

Although the prepackaged store dye is easy to use and comes in a convenient package , I prefer a homemade recipe to dye my eggs with. The ingredients are simple and depending on your color preferences, you can create almost every variable shade possible. So, spread out the newspaper and get started!

Peach to Salmon
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
1 Drop of Red Food Coloring
1 Cup Boiling Water

Pistachio to Green
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
1 Drop of Yellow Food Coloring
2 - 4 Drops of Green Food Coloring
1 Cup Boiling Water

Light Yellow to Canary Yellow
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
2 Drops of Red Food Coloring
1 Cup Boiling Water

Robins Egg Blue to Dark Blue
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
1 - 2 Drops of Blue Food Coloring
1 Cup Boiling Water

Boil your eggs for 15 minutes, starting at the time the water begins to boil. This insures your eggs are cooked on the inside. Cool and dry your eggs completely before you begin the dying process.

Your color preference is determined by the length of time you leave your egg in the dye. The shorter it stays in the dye, the lighter your egg will be and the longer your egg stays in the dye, the darker it will be. To achieve the colors above I kept my eggs in the dye 5 - 7 minutes, keeping the yellow in one minute longer that the rest.

No matter what colors you choose to make your eggs have fun doing it. Make the memories for your child to carry to adulthood, which I know will be recalled when they are sitting around the table with their children making new memories like the ones you created with them.

Happy Easter!

*Since these recipes require boiling water there is always the chance of receiving a potential burn. With anything always use caution, especially when children are participating. I see no reason why the water can't be hot instead of boiling to reduce the risk of a burn.

All photographs are watermarked.