Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Strawberry Cake

This is Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake (and her photos, not mine.)

It is by far the best strawberry cake I've ever made or had... I think because it really does remind me of strawberry shortcake.  You should try this for sure.  Or anything Pioneer Woman makes for that matter... all of her recipes look so good, and her blog is just so funny.

I'm looking forward to keeping up with her blog. (And trying to keep up with MINE too!) I actually considered canceling my blog because I've neglected it the last few months, but then I reminded myself, I'm doing this for me and it's supposed to be something I enjoy... if I'm only able to pop in every now and then, oh well!

So I will be back, hopefully sooner than later :)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Edible ink

Beautiful job Bakerella!  I have always wanted to try this icing method... edible ink printed onto frosting sheets and applied to sugar cookies.

Especially with the darling vintage images you can find:

Aren't they sweet?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If you're reading this...

...I'd like some of these for Valentine's Day <3

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February already?

Well, the month of January absolutely flew by... After the craziness of graduation and Christmas, I moved to a new city for a new job and have a new routine...

So I've just been busy adjusting and have enjoyed every minute of it.  It was time for a change of scenery :)

Anyway, here's proof that we actually did get around to making those Christmas cookies I mentioned before... It may have been after the fact, but my niece and nephew couldn't have had more fun.

And since then, the only other thing I've managed to bake was for our Super Bowl party...

more football cake bites... requested by Chris and Allen.

35 footballs gone in 2.5 days. I'd say they were a hit.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Or as Paula Deen calls them, "Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies."

These are really simple to make and I just love how they look once they crack in the oven!

  I was disappointed because my niece, nephew and I had made plans to bake and ice sugar cookies for Christmas, but we were greeted with a blizzard instead.  In north Texas, we aren't accustomed to weather like that so it through a lot of people's Christmas plans off... Including my family's.  We had to have Christmas on the 26th instead- It was strange postponing our usual Christmas brunch and opening of gifts, but like my mom said..

"I guess it was God's way of slowing everyone down to appreciate what it's really all about."

Our cookie date will be rescheduled, but in the mean time they can just enjoy these yummy cookies.

Just be careful not to overbake these. (In my oven they took only 8-10 minutes instead of the suggested 12) They might look underdone when you take them out, but they finish baking on the pan and harden up as they cool.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
(aka Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies: recipe courtesy Paula Deen)

2 dozen cookies

 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. (*The batter will be very THICK, it's supposed to be that way!)

Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours to firm up the dough so that you can roll the batter into balls.

Roll into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes (Or less if your oven cooks fast like mine.) The cookies will remain soft. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas favorites

Two small gifts I'm excited about:

A Sandra Lee Grilling cookbook- and although grilling in winter may not be ideal, there are some excellent looking recipes you can do with a grill pan in here! 
I can't wait to try some of the marinades and rubs... she has some interesting combinations.


A Janet Hill print of her painting "She Liked the Pink Ones."  
Unfortunately a print will have to do because I cannot afford her originals...yet :)
But after matting and framing it will still be a great piece to hang.
I want to get two more that are similar in size to create a set.
I am definitely going to go after this one:

It's called "Heels"

Janet Hill is such an inspiration to me, I love her colorful work.
Go see her new website, Janet Hill Studio.
 Bella Cosa designed it beautifully.

Have a great week
<3 Ash

Friday, December 18, 2009

What a relief!

I put off this blog post for too long. I kept meaning to update things but sometimes a break away from the computer is nice... I have had a lot of things going on lately and it's been good to just sit back and relax once they were done.

...So what's happened? (As if anyone is truly anticipating my update :)

Well I'll just share the two most exciting things:

I graduated college! Finally, after 5 long years.

And secondly, I got all of the fraud charges taken care of with my cell phone company!  This is huge. I mean, I've been dealing with it every week since Halloween and quite honestly, I thought I was getting the run around. 

The grand total: $ 952.00

And it was all credited back to my account.  We are talking ringtones and games here. That a 16-year-old girl downloaded in 36 hours... Isn't that just ridiculous? 

I had my doubts, but it all worked out. Thank you God!

So I got a new phone (feeling that my old one had been violated, haha) and spent a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends stress free.

I'm going to share a recipe I made for Thanksgiving.  It's a favorite of both my mom and I, and we like it at Christmas too... Sweet Potato Casserole.

 (By the way, if you aren't sure about sweet potatoes, just give this a try, it's almost like a dessert it's so delicious!)

But really, how can you not like sweet potatoes? mmm!

And no, unfortunately I did not take these photos.. I borrowed them from Cooking Light.

What's a post without a couple of pictures?

Anyway, here is the yummy recipe:

Enjoy and I will be back soon!

Sweet Potato Casserole


2 pounds sweet potatoes
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil spray, for the baking dish
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


¾ to 1 cup chopped pecans
¾ packed cup light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Prepare the sweet potatoes: Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes. Place them in a saucepan, add cold water to cover and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and let simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then mash them with a potato masher.

2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist a 13 by 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set the dish aside.

3. Place the mashed sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, 8 tablespoons of melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until just combined, about 2 minutes. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula.

4. Make the pecan crunch topping: Place the pecans, brown sugar, flour, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter in a small bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Scatter the pecan mixture evenly over the top of the sweet potatoes.

5. Bake the sweet potatoes until the pecan topping begins to brown and the potatoes are bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Can't wait!

Well, the holidays are here this coming week, ready or not :)
It has definitely snuck up on me, but I am excited- I love to bake Thanksgiving and Christmas treats...

Especially iced sugar cookies!!! You can make so many different variations - How about those Thanksgiving dinner cookies above??? Too cute! 

And my neice and nephew love to help their "Aunt Ashy" in the kitchen... they are so funny and sweet!
So, I looked around online (like I always do) for fun, new ideas and look what I found!

The most precious sugar cookies ever.. for both Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Where did I come across these you ask??  Well a blog post directed me to them on the blog, A Wedding Story.  She too (Elizabeth) loves Eleni's "playfully unique cookies" and she is quite talented in the cookie decorating department herself! Go see for yourself!

Anyway, I can't wait to get busy on some cookies soon- I will share the outcome of course!

Until then though, have a good weekend!!

<3  Ash

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spotlight: Chotda

I was browsing along on Flickr when I came across Chotda's photostream! You must go see her beautiful work- it's so colorful and she photographs so many different subjects...

from heirloom tomatoes,

and cake,

to gorgeous scenery,

and even puppies!

She has a blog too, The Scent of Green Bananas... you may have heard of it, but it's new to me, and I'm so glad I found it so I can just soak up the beauty of her images....

They make me want to paint, right away!

Go see her blog- but also go see her on flickr... you can browse through all of her sets/collections and really get a good look :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I'm here! I haven't forgotten about my blog- I have just been occupied with other things... work, school and my internship being the most time consuming. And let me just add, there are only 4 weeks until I graduate!! (Even less really, because of Thanksgiving break). I am soo excited and ready. It's been a long time coming and I can't believe I will finally be DONE with school :)

Now, for these yummy cupcakes... I made them for my boyfriend's birthday, he just turned 24 also!  Remember his cake last year... well he tried to get me to do something very specific this year too-

 Boone Pickens Stadium...

Right after I finished laughing at him, I told him no. I enjoy a challenge, but like I have the time right now to construct THAT. 

So, he got these instead...

They aren't exactly a stadium, but he liked them :)

And it gave me a chance to try out a recipe I'd saved a while back.  They were pretty easy and tasted like a peanut butter cup, mmm!

Here's the recipe if you would like to try them:

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
adapted from TLC Cooking

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 standard (2-1/2-inch) muffin pan cups with foil baking cups.
2. Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth; beat in sugars until well mixed. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched and toothpicks inserted in centers come out clean.
5. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to racks; cool completely before frosting.

***I filled my cupcakes before frosting with a little bit of a peanut butter and butter mixture.  Warm about a 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 2 tbsp of butter in the microwave and with a piping bag, fill each cupcake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 to 5 tablespoons milk, divided
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Combine powdered sugar, cocoa, 4 tablespoons milk and peanut butter in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at low speed until smooth, scraping bowl frequently. Beat in additional 1 tablespoon milk until of desired spreading consistency. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just take a deep breath...

Can I please just run away and go to a place of peace?

This week has started off terrible and has yet to get any better :(
  I don't mean to complain, and this blog is not to vent my personal thoughts, but I have had enough lately.

My weekend I mentioned before... you know, the one I was looking so forward to? Well, it turned out bad in the end... really bad.  Someone stole my cell phone and charged almost $800 onto my account.

Why are people so mean sometimes?  I can't even begin to wrap my mind around it.

Anyway, the worst part is that the cell phone company might try to hold me responsible!  I am just sick about it.

Ok- enough about that... and I won't even get into the rest. 
I am just going to pray things will get better (I know they will...) And I'm also just going to think happy thoughts (Or I might lose it, haha)

*The image above is from a new blog I've found (well new to me).  It's called FoodbeamYou really should go have a look... there are some great photos and recipes.

Well, have a good night.

P.S. If I ever happen to find your phone, I promise to return it safe and sound.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Flowers

I can't believe tomorrow is Halloween!  Where has time gone??? The last couple of weeks have been so busy with school and work, I feel like it's flown by. 

I am so glad it's Friday though- it could honestly not get here fast enough.  Once I make it to 5 o'clock I should be able to slow down and enjoy the weekend, yay!

It should be a really good one- I'm going to the OSU/Texas game in Stillwater for Chris's birthday! Maybe I'll bake something for Halloween when I get back (I have an idea in mind!)- as for now though- NO time. 

Happy Weekend!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter bars...

...aka Special K bars!  These are so simple to make and they are pretty darn good too.  At first I was worried because I stuck them in the freezer to harden the chocolate before cutting, and before I knew it, they were rock solid.  (My dad was like mmm, let me have one... then he couldn't even bite into it, haha!)  But I let them thaw out completely and they softened up.

(My mom said she even heated her's a little, like 5-10 sec, in the microwave and that they were even better warm!)

Want some?  Here's the recipe:

Special K bars
adapted from cooks.com

1 c. sugar
1 c. light Karo syrup
1 1/2 c. peanut butter (I used crunchy)
6 c. Special K Cereal

Chocolate Topping:

2 Hershey's candy bars
3/4 c. peanut butter

Bring sugar and syrup to a boil but then immediately turn heat down to low. Add peanut butter, stirring until melted completely. Pour over Special K and mix well. Put in a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. (Put wax paper on top and smash down to flatten into the pan) Melt Hershey's bars and peanut butter together in the microwave, then spread on top.

That's it, enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!! :)

I'm 24 today!

*Thank you everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes!  I truly appreciate you taking the time :)

I had a GREAT birthday by the way... My boyfriend threw me a little surprise party with family & friends!  I was shocked and so excited- no one has ever done anything so thoughtful and special for me like that <3  He planned every detail with our moms- how cute is that!

I think I'll keep him :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doodle dee doo

This is the result of major boredom in class today.  The faces are a little strange, I know.  I wasn't too terribly focused on the subject matter as you can see, just passing by time.

It's dark outside and pouring down rain which makes me just want to stay inside and doodle or paint the day away...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Aren't Owls Cute?

graphite on cardstock

Friday, October 16, 2009

TGIF Flowers

I'm so glad it's Friday. Finally.

I'm off to finish up the projects I've been working on, along with the million other things I have to get done...

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

It's been a little bit since my last post, but I have lots to share with you soon I promise! I have paintings that are coming along, drawings, and some cupcakes too (remember the Bake It Pretty order I put in???)

Anyway, this is my dad's German Chocolate cake I made for his 54th birthday. I made Trisha Yearwood's recipe again, but I filled and decorated this one a little different. (I wasn't too pleased with the look of the last one, still a little too much like a giant cheeseball!)

But this one was much more attractive and was more yummy than the last... maybe it's due to all of the extra ganache I spread onto the sides :)

Here's the recipe if you want to try it! (The only difference with mine is that I added chocolate ganache, decorating it differently.)

German Chocolate Cake
Trisha Yearwood


4 ounces sweet dark chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 medium egg whites
2 cups sugar
5 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk, well shaken

For the coconut frosting:

1 cup sugar
4 medium egg yolks
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces fresh or frozen and thawed grated coconut
1 1/2 cups finely ground pecans

Yields: 12 servings


Prepare the chocolate by melting it in the top of a double boiler, stirring until it is smooth. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of the butter and stir until it is melted and blended. Add 1/4 cup of warm milk and stir until smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line the bottoms only of three 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper, or grease each pan bottom only with solid shortening and dust lightly with flour. Sift together the sifted and measured flour, baking soda, and salt.
Whip the egg whites until stiff using the wire beater of the mixer. Transfer the beaten whites to a separate bowl and set aside.

In the mixer bowl, cream the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and the vanilla. Mix well.

With the mixer on very low, stir in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Do this by adding about a third of the flour and slowly stirring it in completely. Then add about half the buttermilk and stir it in. Continue adding flour and buttermilk in this manner, ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir again. With a long-handled spoon or spatula, fold and stir the beaten egg whites into the batter until the batter is smooth with no visible clumps of whites.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pans and springs back to a light touch. Cool layers in the pans for about 8 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool layers completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the sugar, egg yolks, and evaporated milk in the top of a double boiler. Stir with a wire whisk until the yolks are fully incorporated. Add the butter. Place over simmering water and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 12-15 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Add the vanilla, coconut, and nuts. Cool.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake stand and spread with frosting. Frost each layer completely, top and sides, as it is added to the cake.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Flowers

I'm not sure why but I have been especially drawn to sunflowers lately.

Isn't this just beautiful?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I want to Bake It Pretty, too!

That's right... I too have fallen in love with Bake It Pretty. I just HAD to order myself a few things, which I rarely do online with stuff like this, because I don't want to allow myself to go crazy!

But I've been wanting some for so long, I DID IT! Some big piping tips and colorful, solid cupcake liners: my favorite!

Plus, I haven't had the time to bake anything lately, so I am pretty excited to have these coming my way :)

Go see their stuff for yourself, they have so much to choose from!

Have a good one,

Friday, September 25, 2009

SPOTLIGHT: Marj at "The Icing on the Cake"

I am going to start randomly spotlighting people I come across who I find to be amazingly talented and creative! I'm excited to share my finds with you as they come, and I hope you will enjoy it and look forward to checking them out!

First and foremost, a lady that I admire for her AWESOME cake decorating skills: Marj Jenkins! I found her blog, The Icing on the Cake, a while back and was immediately taken with her work (let me just tell you, I search and look at TONS of cakes on a regular basis to get ideas, and not many strike me as her's did... many cakes you see seem to be ALL fondant-covered and decorated these days, which I do not care for. Accents with fondant, and sometimes covered in it are okay, but it gets old seeing fondant-covered cakes!)

Anyway, Miss Marj ices almost all of her cakes smooth in a layer of fresh buttercream- just wait till you see them all, they are SMOOTH! And then she does either intricate gumpaste/fondant decorations or pipes on them beautifully, OR both. After my realization of how much work and time goes into making a cake, I have come to appreciate any cake decorator. But Marj isn't just any cake decorator, she has got this DOWN!

Trust me, go see why I have spotlighted her... you have to look through her galleries, clicking on the pictures until they enlarge so you can check out the smoothness and detail of her work! (Look closely, her buttercream looks like it could be fondant, IT IS NOT!)

Pure talent.

One last thing that makes her great: She is so kind and will respond if you have any questions or comments. And she puts up new posts frequently! (Which is something I think we can all appreciate :)

Great job Marj! Thanks for letting me show off your wonderful work!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giveaway: PaPaYa Art!

So I was checking out a blog update (of one of my favorite blogs: The TomKat Studio) and GUESS what I found! Kim has handpicked a selection of items from PaPaYa Art for a giveaway! (One is the wall hanging pictured above! See Kim's blog to view more of the items selected- You can check out her amazing work while you're there :)
She was contacted by them and asked to host a giveaway for her readers... I am pretty excited, their work is beautiful!
There are several ways to enter to win, FIVE to be exact. Good Luck!!!

Here are the 5 ways to enter! (Enter up to 5 times by doing the following):
1. Hop over to the PAPAYA WEBSITE. Afterward, go to the TomKat Studio's blog & leave a comment with your favorite item!
2. Visit PaPaYa's NEW BLOG and leave them a comment on a post that grabs your attention. Comment on Kim's blog to let her know you did!
3. Post about this giveaway on Facebook, comment with the link!
4. Tweet about this giveaway, comment with the link!
5. Post about this giveaway on your own Blog, and comment with the link! (Basically just let Kim know what you did to enter)

Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, September 30th at 11:00pm (MST). Any entries received after this time, will not be considered. Open to US residents. Retail Value of prize: $75.00.
Winner will be chosen using random.org

Here's another picture from PaPaYa Art that Kim posted to show off the cool stuff they have:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Every girl needs a man...

The kind that will treat you right. The kind that searches for you with all his heart. The kind that respects you and adores you.

Every girl needs a man who won’t cheat on her. One who can be trusted in a room full of beautiful girls. Because he’s smart enough to know that he already has a girl who has everything that he wants, needs and more.

The right guy will never leave you lonely and wondering. You will always know where you stand with him. He will be your best friend and lover. He’ll call you early in the morning just to say good morning or late at night to say good night and maybe even tell you a bedtime story to make you laugh or talk to you until you fall asleep.

This guy will be the kind that’ll do anything for you, even if it’s just to go to the store to buy you your favorite ice cream. He’ll buy you flowers just because it’s a Wednesday and will notice your hair when you’ve gotten it cut or have gotten all gussied up specifically for him.

You deserve a guy who will cherish you. He’d never be afraid to smile to his friends when you’re around and tell them, “She’s the one”. He’d appreciate you for the things you do for him, even if they’re little… like the little love notes you leave him.

He’ll be chivalrous. He’ll wait for you when you’re falling behind, open doors for you and will walk you to the door to make sure you get in safely. He would defend and fight for you and never bail on you when you needed him most.

The right guy will call you beautiful instead of hot, he’ll kiss your forehead when you’re down and he’ll be the one who will love you for everything you are.

He will be "the one."