Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Venison BBQ in the Potato Patch and Chocolate Lava Cakes

just look at that gooey chocolate lava, just under the surface......

Chocolate Lava Torte for dessert. 
And then there's dinner.... 
Pressure Cooker Venison BBQ Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheese, Sour Cream, Green Onion and Bacon Bits

And, I'm supposed to be on a diet! Tonight I will skip the sour cream and bacon bits then eat a bowl of high fiber cereal with nonfat milk and watch my family dig deep into chocolate heaven....or.......maybe.....not...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Sugar Free Wedding Cake- 50th Anniversary

I was asked to plan and execute my grandparents 50th Anniversary party including cake and small ceremony. I jumped at the chance!
Remember this post? Well, a lot of research, hope, faith and imagination and......

I used a rich chocolate batter with Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. Then I torted-(I think that's an actual term) each of the six cakes with sugar free ganache and  whipped sugar free cream cheese buttercream. 
The homemade fondant, tiny sugar pearls and handmade white chocolate flowers painted with edible pearl gold dust were of course, not sugar free...but really the cake and frosting were so nice and decadent that you wouldn't  miss the fondant if you didn't use it..
The fondant just makes a more even finish on the exterior. Especially with the soft sugar free buttercream. And those that ate the fondant were pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted (nothing like that rubbery stuff you might be used to).

I went with a white/cream/gold theme. Gold being the 50th Anniversary color. I found that the gold can get 'gaudy' pretty easily if you let it get out of hand, so I kept it to a minimum.

cream and white paper flowers were scattered around the table

cream, white, and hint of gold pearls and stones added to dozens of candles

White love birds topped the cake while delicate edible pearls, gold fondant trim and gold tipped handmade white chocolate roses decorated it.    
There were label cards in cream colored frames trimmed with 'pearls' to let guest know what they were eating beside each dish. The label cards rested on golden mini plate stands.

Rose petals were strewn about at the bottom of the arch where my grandparents renewed their vows. The lights were dimmed and candles lit. It was beautiful. They are beautiful. The memories I share with them will carry me through my life. 

Feb. 24, 1961

50 years later  

Fifty years. That is an amazing feat. Even when times are great. When asked how they've stuck together all these years, they both agree that forgiveness and compromise will get you through anything.

I love my Granny and Popaw!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A quest for EDIBLE sugar free - frosted cake

Or the lack, there of... 

Personally, if it isn't natural, has a natural parent or grandparent- at least- I'm not a big fan. But sometimes you need some stinking good cake even if you can't use sugar~

With widespread anti-sugar ads and Diabetes on the rise, you'd think there would be more than just a small handful of sugar free dessert recipes. There are unnaturally textured cookies and the occasional pie, but no cakes or icings.. 

So I am out to find some TASTY recipes for cake and icing.

People with diabetes do have birthdays and weddings, after all.

There are some recipes like this one- that have sugar free instant pudding as the base - YUK!
SUGAR FREE---INSTANT---not a good combo!

Then I found a cream cheese version. Probably edible.

I also found a recipe for making your own powdered sugar replacement with dry milk powder, cornstarch and artificial sweetener. This would probably work well IN a recipe but not for frosting a cake or cupcakes.

As for cakes-- I found several recipes that start with box cake mix---hello Pillsbury!  And from the only brand you'll have any luck finding in your local supermarket there's still only yellow or chocolate..

If homemade is what you're looking for, you could try This one. Nothing special about it at all. You maybe could add some other flavors or extracts in place of vanilla - orange, rum, raspberry....

A quick Jello Poke Cake recipe with the help of Mr. Pillsbury and a can of diet lemon lime soda can be found here. I like this one, simply because it can be easily adapted for lots of flavor won't get the 'lemon again?' remark from the family.

I'm thinking~ because I'm in a Black Forrest mood~

And you got yourself some cupcakes!

Have you had any luck with sugar free cakes and icings?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Easy Healthy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Leftovers Spaghetti Bake

28oz can

1 small chopped bell pepper
1 lb. Extra Lean 93/7
1 small chopped onion

1 tsp.
Star of the party!

easy bagged side salad with your favorite dressing

Some simple whole grain garlic toast

That's all you'll need to make a healthy, simple, homemade comfort-food meal. Save those leftovers!

Start by adding pasta to boiling salted water. Boil stirring  occasionally to be sure pasta strands don't stick together. Allow a little more boiling time for this pasta. It takes slightly longer than traditional spaghetti.

While waiting on the water to boil, brown ground beef in a medium sauce pan. Cover while cooking over medium heat to retain moisture. Since the meat is so lean you'll want to spray your pan if it isn't nonstick. I like to add the bell pepper and onion in while beef is still cooking, it allows more time for the veggies to soften before adding tomatoes later. Add garlic salt. Cover but stir occasionally until done.
When beef is cooked through, add tomatoes. Turn heat to low and simmer until pasta is done. 
Prepare garlic toast.
Toss drained spaghetti and sauce in a large pasta bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve with salad and garlic toast.

 And, Voila!

You have a high protein, high fiber meal full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! Simple-easy- and very tasty.

If you have a family of four that includes two small children, you'll probably have some leftovers.
Here's what I do with mine.

Quick Spaghetti Bake

Preheat oven to 400

In a medium bowl, mix:
leftover spaghetti
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper
Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup cheese of your choice- use what you have.  (or more- I personally think more is more with cheese:) 

Of course you'll want to add more cheese on top!

Place mixture into buttered casserole dish and bake until bubbly and golden.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Monday- Chicken Fried Deer Steak and Coconut Rum Balls

So there are some deer steaks in the freezer that are begging for a destiny....

I found the perfect future end for these guys HERE


Chicken Fried Deer Steak

Mashed Potatoes

Gravy With Onions

Peas and Carrots

Steam several small butter gold potatoes in microwave while preparing steaks and gravy.

I sprinkled a little Lemon Pepper and Season Salt on both sides of the steaks, dredged in flour, coated in egg, dredged again in flour and pan (iron skillet) fried until golden brown. Place steaks in oven on warm until gravy is ready.

Saute a thinly sliced onion in butter until translucent with browned edges. Set aside.

Add two tablespoons of the oil from frying steaks to two tablespoons of flour, whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add milk about a cup. whisk. Add more milk a little at a time until gravy is formed. whisk. simmer for two minutes. Add sauteed onion. 

Mash potatoes (butter golds) with salt, pepper,butter and sour cream. 

Heat up some peas and carrots. I prefer frozen but to be nice to my hubby I heated the mushy canned stuff:) For some reason, he likes canned peas... 



I am also looking forward to grilling some Venison Kabobs! Garlic, Rosemary, Lemon......good stuff!


 And to remind you of warmer weather, how about some coconut??

Coconut Rum Balls

1 box vanilla wafers (crumbs)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup coconut
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup coconut rum
1/4 cup white corn syrup
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

mix dry. add wet. add chips and pecans. form into balls. I use a cookie scoop, it just makes them more uniform. coat with more confectioners sugar. These are best after a chill out in the fridge over night.

Pace are going to want to eat more than one!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tips on Teaching Toddlers/Preschool age children

When teaching my little ones the ABC's I  found that repetition is the best approach. My daughters loved
The Letter Factory because it is funny and very 'animated'. The others follow right along. They even have math videos. These have been around a long while and I realize that there are new fangle-dangled learning toys out there. My kids have tried most of them but really loved the videos the most.

You can order the whole beginning set from Amazon here.

We also did simple workbooks from the dollar stores and Walmart. I found that with my children the books with colorful pages got the best response. Kumon workbooks are awesome. Every night my oldest daughter went over the alphabet and numbers to twenty with flash cards. Sounds boring and repetitive, right? Well, that is just what we did instead of reading bedtime stories because we read stories all through the day. She was still sleeping with us and I had to find something to help her relax enough to go to sleep and I wanted to overachieve..don't judge- we all do it with our first borns:) Anyway, we did the flash cards each night, stories and poems during the day, and colored shapes in between.

I of course, didn't do the flash cards at night with the second daughter because...well, I wanted my bed and worked a little harder on teaching her to sleep in her own bed. But she is doing well. She didn't know all her letters and numbers at fifteen months but she did by eighteen months. So, no harm done.

I hope this helps a little. I'll go into more detail next week.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Web Search Wednesday - Valentines

Happy Valentines Day everyone! Here are a few cute ideas to share with your loved ones!

Heart Hot Cocoa

Lovely Raspberry Layer Cake

Lava Cake