Dear Santa,

Thank you so much for such a wonderful Christmas. Thanks (to all our family and friends) for such wonderful gifts. We received games, toys, gift cards, clothes, books and countless cards and pictures of all of those dearest in our lives. We hope that everyone's holiday was as great and blessed as ours.

Raye (too busy opening gifts to look at the camera):

Chris (poor thing didn't know what to do):

Clif received a new bike from Santa *cough*:

...and mommy got a couple of *ahem* nice gifts from Santa also:

Little Santa also put (inside the purse) a wristlet for mommy to have. Yay for Christmas!

It wouldn't be Christmas without...

Eggnog and Rum cake.
So, I absolutely love eggnog. I know that some people have this weird aversion to warmed eggs in a drinkable sauce, but not me. Since a wee-widdle-lad my mom would always have her favorite brand of eggnog during the holidays. Of course, she would spike hers to make it even more special for her. What I remember is that it was thick and creamy, like drinking ice cream after it has melted in your bowl. Well, I don't know what it is, but I've always wanted to make a batch from scratch, and this holiday was my time to do so. After receiving THIS book from my friend, I found a recipe that I couldn't wait to try. It was actually a recipe for a 'Chocolate Cookie Crusted Eggnog Cheesecake.' I'll get to that recipe later, but I found a homemade recipe for eggnog within it.

Sorry, no "making-the-recipe-in-progress" photos this time, only a dark shot of the finished product. I've converted 2 non-eggnog drinkers into full-on egg-a-holics.

3 1/2 c heavy cream
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 c Myer's dark rum
1/2 c whiskey (preferably Crown Royal) or bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Heat 2 1/2 c of cream over medium-low heat. Whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt. Measure out 1 cup of the hot cream and gradually pout into egg mixture, whisk constantly. Slowly pour the egg-cream mixture back into saucepan with hot cream. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens (until it coats a back of a spoon ~ 5 minutes). Strain mixture through fine-meshed sieve into large bowl. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes (stirring occasionally). Stir in rum, whiskey, vanilla and nutmeg. (at this point you can refrigerate for up to 3 days).

Use an electric mixer with whisk attachment to beat last 1 c up cream until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into eggnog mixture. Serve immediately.
I call this next recipe: Rum-Da-Da-Dum Cake
This cake truly caught me off guard. Not only was this a very tasty cake... it was easy to make and had a wonderful flavor and aroma. The recipe is from HERE.

Chopped pecans (in the bottom of bundt pan)

Finished cake (cooling)

Rum glaze (cooking)

Finished (GLAZED) cake

Don't mind me...

... I'm just playing "catch up" with you all.

Let's see:
First there was the carrrot cake. Recipe here

I love the way the mixture looks

Here's the finished product, with a little chopped walnuts on the side

Ahh, gotta love cream cheese frosting...it's truly the best.


One small step for man...

... one GIANT step for Christian.

Chris took 4-6 steps on Wednesday (while hanging out with his favorite baby sitters).

Last night Chris took 3-5 steps while watching mommy and daddy play Mario & Sonic at the Olympics on WII.

Yeah... he's all growed up!


SFAMily Holiday Hoorah 2007

This past Sunday was the SFAMily Holiday Hoorah 2007 gathering at Wan's house. Thank you sweetie pie for opening up your home to us crazy gals. By far the best picture of the day was this one (and it's many variations)
Check out "K's" do!

The brunch was filled with great food, great conversation and even better presents. We exchanged 'normal' gifts as well as 'white elephant' gifts. Which I think is the only animal that was not given away as a poop dispenser

We even had our very own MIMOSA FAIRY

Check out the rest of the
SFAMily Holiday Hoorah 2007
(way too many to post here)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Our family ornament this year!
This year I stayed home and anxiously awaiting what my family would select as this year's holiday tree. Approximately one hour after leaving the house, the troops returned with Helen (I named our tree). She's beautifully FLOCKED (I love that word) and sits perfectly in the designated corner in our livingroom.
Here's pictures of Clif as he brought it into the house.

It was his idea to get a flocked tree.

It was the princess' turn to place the angel on the tree.

Our angel watches over us.

I love the way ornaments shine off of a tree at night.

What a get picture.

Fabulous Caramel Cake!

I got an early Christmas present from my good friend Amie. Her mom, who knows that I love to cook gave her an extra set of cook books to give to me. The books are all about Southern cakes, and let me tell you there are some SERIOUS recipes in this book.

My first trial was at this caramel cake. I have now learned the importance of having (2) of the same sized baking pans so that the end result isn't a cake that has 1 size significantly bigger than the other (oh, and it would help if I didn't use only one pan also - truly lazy).

Overall the cake was good. Very, very, very sweet though, so be careful. It was like biting into a sugar cube - seriously.

Yellow Cake -
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup milk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Carmael Icing -
1 lb (2 3/4 cups) light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
7 tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 325. Grease (2) 9" pans. Combine butter and sugar in saucepan, and cook over low heat until butter melts. Stir well and let cool to room temperature. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl, stir with fork and mix well. Combine eggs and sugar, beat on high speed, until light yellow and thick. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture only until flour disappears. Add the cooled milk mixture and the vanilla, stir well.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until cake is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then cool completely on wire racks.

In heavy saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stir well and adjust heat so the frosting boils and bubbles gently for 7 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Beat icing with wooden spoon until it thickens.

This was my first experience with an icing that begins to harden when you start spreading it on the cake. You MUST frost the cake while the icing is a little runny. Otherwise you'll pull the sides of the cake apart trying to 'smear' the icing along the top and sides.
If the icing becomes too hard re-warm it back up with a little bit of evaporated milk.

Lemon Drop Martini, please!

So, the first pics from my new "snazzy" camera are of the perfect lemon drop martini. Now, I could have worked on the lemon garnish, but TRUST ME, the drink itself was great without it.

1 1/2 shots of Absolut Vodka Citron
3 shots of Newman's Virgin lemonade
1 tsp of Baker's sugar
2 tsp of fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel.... and enjoy.


Thanks JE for good eats

Me and the hub went to his department holiday party last night. His boss took the group out to 21 Oceanfront restaurant in Newport Beach. The restaurant was elegantly decorated and the general mood of everyone was good also. It's always nice to hear how your husband acts while away from home. Very interesting to know that he eats more cheeseburgers and fries than he lets on about. *shruggin shoulders*

The food was delicious (no pics because I didn't want Clif to have to hear about it today at work). We ordered the clam chowder (yum), the apple almond salad, swordfish (clif) and bone-in ribeye (me). For desert we had the Chocolate Fantasy and the Caramel Banana, both were good. I dont' really care for dark chocolate and the fantasy's cake was made using some. The caramel thingy was great because it combine homemade caramel (I am an expert) and alcohol - yay! The best part of dinner was after we sampled the desserts and my hubby told me that my dessert tastes better. *smile*

It was also nice to drive by the location of our wedding. We couldn't see our yacht (well, not our yacht, but you know) but we did see the harbor and the Christmas decoration they have floating in the waters. We really should go back at there more often, it's been over 1 1/2 years already.

YAY for me!

I'm 100 blogs in the books.
I guess this wouldn't count the 100+ posts I had on my other site. I think I'm off to a pretty good start.

Hey... leave me some words of encouragement (why don'tcha)

Best of, huh?

best of 2007

So... I've been invited to participate in this years.."Best Of"
How cool!

I'm not sure yet, what recipe of mine I'm going to submit... maybe I'll make something new, and blog about that. Either way, stay tuned.


Back in business

Although I haven't posted anything substantial this past week (or so) I've wanted to.
Who knew that picture taking was such a big part of bloggin'! *YOWZER*
I mean, everything I wanted to blog about, I wanted to take a picture of, and therefore I either a) didn't do what I wanted to eventually blog about, or b) didn't bother blogging about what I did because I had NO pics to share.

Oh well... that dilemna is now over with. I got my camera the other day (yes.. I've had it for a couple of days, but I've been reading the owner's manual :nerd:)

I'll be back to my old self real soon. Tonight we have a company dinner, so I don't know just how much I'll be able to write/snap/upload/blog about, but I sure will try.

*cross my heart*


If my grandfather could see me now!

So, as you all know... I can't take pictures of anything right now. My camera is DEAD and all of the stuff that I'm cooking has lost a little bit of it's purpose (damn cooking because you're hungry, right?). Today when I arrived home from running my many errands, I found 4 boxes on my door step. I figured it was boxes of stuff that my tenants must have ordered, to my surprise some of the the items that I ordered off of HSN came in...... Saaaah-weeeet! The cool part is they were having a "Wolfgang Puck" day on the show, they were offering up some cool prices FOR THAT DAY ONLY.

(if only the damn camera was one of those things)

Here's what came in (of course these pictures came from another source)
My Wolfgang Puck Bistro 700-watt stand mixer (can you say.. bring on the challenges?)
My Wolfgang Puck Bistro 900-Watt food processor (um, yeah.. I'll be chopping the hell out of something real soon!)

Hopefully, THIS will be coming in soon, and I'll be able to share some photos of me and all of my new toys.

Merry Ho-Ho!



My d-camera has been dead now for the past 3-4 days.
We can not find the battery charger and therefore I can't share any food photos with you, nor can I take pictures of the foods that I've been preparing. The whole experience just has me in a Bah-Humbug time of mood.

To cheer me up, I went shopping at HSN yesterday and picked up some new toys. Let's just say that between now and December 14th I'll have another UBER-COOL camera to start back taking photos with. Shoot, now I'm even going to be able to see the damn pictures before taking 20. :)

Stay tuned for more pictures.


Cupcake Hero results are in...

...and I did not win (*pout*)

Nah.. I had a good time coming up with a recipe for the frosting. I'll be back at it again soon. To take a look at who participate and who won the cool t-shirt, click here.


I participated in this month's "does my blog look good in this?" challenge.[smacking myself upside the head]

What was I thinking? I was truly proud of the sandwich that I made. When I saw the invitation, I said to myself "what the heck? I'll submit THIS picture. It wasn't too bad of a pic, I was kind of proud of myself, since I'm still learning how to take a picture. I mean, I know how to take a picture, but when you take a look at the other entries, I clearly DO NOT KNOW how to take a picture.

Oh well, there's always next month. I'll let you know if I get any kind of recognition, maybe from the 'Picture Least Likely to get an Award' category.

Take a look at the other entries here...


I've been tagged!

One of the most inspiring bakers that I know (and I'm studying, reading and watching this blog like a hawk) Julius has tagged me with a "meme?" Did I say that right? It's like a chain letter that we are suppose to answer and then pass along to someone who we think will answer/read. I noramlly don't like chain letter but this one is kind of cool, so I graciously accept. So, as I told Julius, here goes:

What were you cooking/baking ten years ago?

Baking? Ha! I think the only thing I might have been baking 10 years ago would have been boxed cakes. I've always loved eating uncooked cake mix (even so much that I've gotten in trouble numberous times from my mom) I've ruined so many of them by eating over 1/2 of the mixture.

What were you cooking/baking one year ago?

I was definitely baking 1 year ago. About 2 years ago I was introduce to Sprinkle cupcakes. Almost immediately afterwards I began trying to come up with my own creatios for cupcakes (it was so the "in" thing). Besides cupcakes, I've been steadily baking cookies and regular cakes.

The snack you enjoy the most:

SNICKERS! I can eat one of these bars on anyday and at any time.

A culinary luxury you would indulge in if you were a millionaire:

I would love to spend a month in Europe learning how to create authentic pastries.

What do you bake the most?

Cupcakes, cookies and cobblers (the 3C's).

One thing you cannot/will not eat:

(I'm sorry if I piss someone off) Liver. I can't stand the way it looks!

Favourite culinary toy:

(owned) Hand held torch
(wanted) KitchenAid 5 qt mixer (w/flame designs all over - like on FoodNetwork)

A must on your “last meal” menu:

Ribeye Steak or Brazilian-style steak.

Five recipes you know by heart:

Stuffed mushrooms w/italian sausage, etc.
Cream cheese pound cake
Jamacian Jerk chicken wings
Triple chocolate chip cookies w/pecans
Twiced baked potatoes
(so as you can see, it's NORAML recipes the consume my life *sigh*)

Happy food memories:

1. Me and my mom having an egg fight (hey... eggs are food)
2. While giving birth to my first child, my mom place a Snickers (see, there I go again) at the front of the room, to aid me with my focal point. It worked.
3. My husband making me a romantic dinner from scratch.
4. My mom use to get me Carver, numbered, ice-cream cakes for my birthday. I continuted the tradition with my first born (sorry later children)

Well, that's it. I'm going to pass this little assignment onto Nanner, WeMo, my girl "R", the big Potato and "Wan"-erific blogger. Take it away gang!

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

Yup, I did it. I entered into this month's CUPCAKE HERO contest, and I'm proud of myself. Not only did I enter into the contest, but I also 'kinda' created my own frosting. Well, I warmed up some cranberries; soaked them in rum (Don Q. to be exact), re-warmed them back up again until they started to juice out onto the pan.
Then I just combined the cranberries to a standard buttercream frosting mix, and WOALA!
I mixed the ingredients for a white cake, for the cupcakes...
Here is the final product. It was hard as 'H-E-double hockey sticks' to pipe through, which is the reason why the weird frosting technique. Maybe next time we use "cranberries" as the secret recipe... I'll leave the cranberries whole.

Anyway... it sure was good to eat; not too sweet and not too tart.

Can you bake pudding?

SHF #38 - The proof is in the Pudding!

I'm truly psyched to get to participate in the latest SHF.
I'm looking forward to enhancing my "pudding makin' skills" or creating some new ones.

Stay tuned for what is bound to be something VERY INTERESTING (mmuuuuuuuaaaaaa)
[rubbing my hands in a circular motion like an evil genius]