Friday, December 31, 2010

Thank You For Letting Me Bake

Sadly, my mom, dad, and two sisters who were visting from Iowa left this morning. They stayed with us for Christmas for the past week. It is always difficult to leave them and I have been dubbed "Water Works" because of it. I can't turn the tears off once they begin. I love them to the very core of me and it is always hard to say goodbye until next time. Anyways, I was grateful for all of the baking I was able to do while they were here.

Of course you all know how much I enjoyed being able to bake for my family. I start making a list in my head before I see them of the things I want them to try. I wasn't able to take photos of everything I made this past week but these are the ones I did capture. I think the chocolate chips coffee cake was the biggest hit. The cookies were baked for my family to enjoy during the drive back to Iowa.

The chocolate cookie cheesecake is a staple, I always make this when I am with my family as well as my peanut butter pie which I wasn't able to take a photo of.

I also made some smooth brownie cookie dipped into white chocolate.

For those who did some holiday baking, what did you make that was the biggest hit among your friends and family?

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cookies for Santa

Each year it is our tradition that my daughter and I make cookies on Christmas Eve. These are the cookies we made last year for Santa. I try to make something different or more colorful than what I would normally make any other day. It is the day before Christmas Eve which means we will have to decide on which cookies to make this year and I am still undecided. I will keep you posted on which cookies we make.

On another note, I totally forgot about these boxes I have for cookies and other treats. I used them last year but I have extras and I only remembered I had them when I was scrolling through old recipe photos. I got them at Michael's last year and they are my Martha Stewart. I love the tall house box with the tissue paper windows.

Are you doing any baking on Christmas Eve for yourself or Santa?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I went to the Post Office yesterday and fully expected to stand in line like a sheep for an hour but after 10 minutes they announced the credit/debit machines were down and they could only accept cash. I was not prepared for that, so we just went home and decided to try again the following day.

So today I get up and leave the house an hour and a half before a playdate expecting a long line but there was nobody in line when I arrived at the post office. Our torrential downpour of rain in Southern California might have something to do with that. We had time to waste before going to the playdate, so I drove to my favorite little donut shop in Point Loma. I honestly couldn't tell you the name of the place although I have been there many times. The sign on the building just says Donuts and they only take cash.

They also happen to have the best donuts, especially the cake donuts, maple being my favorite.
They are open until 8:00pm and if you go in the evening you can buy warm donuts freshly made and dipped into their respective icings and sprinkles, but all of the donuts are made daily and they are super fluffy and moist regardless of the time of day you go in.

Do you have a favorite kind of donut? A favorite donut shop?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grapefruit Spoons...Eating Grapefruit The Easy Way

I got these super cool grapefruit spooons at Crate and Barrel. Before jamming my spoon into the fruit and trying to work out of the wedges was messier. These grapefruit spoons are wedge shaped and they a smooth, yet serated sides to get the fruit out with ease.

I think these spoons are worth having if you eat grapefruit.
What do you think?

How do you eat your grapefruit....plain or with sugar on top?

Here is the link to to exact spoons pictured that I have:<

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vanilla Butternut Pecan Truffles

Thank to Dianne for her lovely photos of the Maple Cream Bonbons, I was on the search for a similar recipe yesterday. I looked at several of them and all of them looked good, but the only problem was what I didn't have maple extract. I do have LorAnn's Gourmet Vanilla Butternut oil, which is highly concentrated, but taste similar to maple.  I had to improvise and come up with my own recipe to incorporate the maple oil I had.

MySweetCreations Vanilla Butterut Pecan Truffles
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
2 1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Dram (3.7 ml or .125 ounces) LorAnn Vanilla Butternut Oil
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Pecans

1.) Mix together butter, powdered sugar and heavy cream. Add in the bottle of maple and mix until well blended. Add in chopped pecans.
2.) Drop balls of truffle mixture onto a wax paper covered baking sheet and freeze for one hour until firm.
3.) Melt chocolate of choice, I used milk chocolate for some and bittersweet dark chocolate for the rest. It is your choice to either temper the chocolate or simply melt, dip, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
**I used Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate for half of mine and the chocolate was super thick, more so than other brands I typically use. I will likely not use Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate for dipping again. I also tempered my chocolate. **

Welcome to Sweet Sunday, Share Your Sweets Here!

Welcome to another edition of Sweet Sunday. Sweet Sunday is a blog party which you can link up using Mr. Linky below and share something sweet or baked. Please make sure you provide a link back to this post in your post so others who visit your blog can find Sweet Sunday and enjoy seeing what others have made or want to share. This will also help us expand Sweet Sunday and eventually we will have numerous participants.

Aboveare photos of Betty Crockers No Roll Sugar Cookies with Butter Icing for Cookies. The icing recipe can be found on These cookies are the fluffiest sugar cookies and one of my all time favorites. I also made a giant chocolate chip cookie. I decorated each wedge individiually.
What are you been baking?

You can also check me out on my YouTube Channel:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

See's Candies Chaos

I honestly had nooooo idea See's Candies Store would be chaotic at 10:00am on a Thursday. I could tell as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. I saw a lot of people walking into the store while I was parking. It was great being greeted by an employee and handed a dark chocolate buttercream truffle as soon as we walked in.

These are the photos of our free dark chocolate buttercream truffle. I ended up with two free ones and my daughter ended up with two frees ones as well as a caramel sucker. They were being generous with the free candy while in the store because there were only 25 people ahead of me in line when I was waiting to check out. As you can imagine it took a while, but that was okay because besides the free candy I was able to scope everything else out in the store.

I forgot to photograph what we bought before I wrapped it. I got some boxed Truffles and Chocolate Covered Peppermints (like Yorks Peppermint Patties) as Christmas gifts. Most of the people in the store had 10-30 boxes of candy each! I guess everyone is out last minute Christmas shopping now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

MySweetCreations Savory Cheese Ball

I am calling this my "Savory Cheese Ball." At my friend's birthday party over the weekend, one of the other guests brought an amazing homemade cheeseball. The first word that came to y mind when tasting it was savory.

She mentioned it was a family recipe and I am never the one to pry, but she spouted off some of the ingredients. There is a different kind of cheese I never heard of that she used in hers, but I cannot remember the name. The following day I began my search for a cheese ball similar to the fabulous one I tasted at the party. Seriously, I would have fought someone for that cheese ball and probably ate half of it myself that night.

After finding no similar recipes......many include weird ingredients like ranch dip mixes, bacon, or olives, I created my own. I plan on making this again later this week and I will have more precise measurements for you. Tonight, I just had to throw one together.
I used 4 ounces of cream cheese, a handful of milk shredded cheddar, a tablespoon of thinly diced onion, a teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce. I mixed in my Kitchen Aid and then chopped pecans to roll the cheese ball into.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Maggie!

Tomorrow is my friend's official birthday, but tonight she threw quite a dinner party at her home.

Her mother sent her a Creme Brulee cheesecake from Neiman Marcus and I made a Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake. The recipe can be found on
For the top, I made homemade whipped cream that I piped on. I also melted white chocolate and piped in onto wax paper. Once it dried, I carefully peeled the wax paper away and placed onto the cheesecake.

If you know me, I can never bring just one dessert, so I made MySweetCreations Peanut Butter Cookie Pie. I made a second white chocolate "M" to lay on top of this dessert just like the cheesecake.

Here are all three desserts. Maggie got out her very fine China from France.

Here we are.....I am the short person front and center. I am 5'2" but I felt like a child compared to everyone else. Maggie is the tall blond in the middle behind me. She is a really great friend and we both have four year old daughters who are best friends.
Maggie is also an author and you can check out her book on Amazon here:

Friday, December 10, 2010

San Diego Morning On The Bay

My friend and I have been continuing our walks. This morning, we walked 4.5 miles along the bay in San Diego. We saw this large container ship anchored in the middle of the bay. They must have been having some trouble because it was on its way out, anchored, and then the tugs turned it around to go back to port.

The air was cool and moist which made for nice walking weather. The fog began to lift towards the end of our walk, but it stayed fairly cool for the remainder of the day.

I spent the rest of the day grocery shopping and baking a cheesecake which I will share with you all tomorrow or the following day. My best friend's birthday is this weekend and she is having a dinner party at her home tomorrow. I promised her one of these cheesecakes. She is also an author and if you are interested, you can check out her book available on Amazon.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Doll Table Makeover

I found this cute doll furniture set at Home Goods nearly two months ago. I really couldn't pass it up. My daughter is really getting into The American Girl Dolls and pretend tea parties so this set was perfect.

I know I am probably silly, but I didn't like the paintings on the table. I preferred a plain pink table without the teacups and flowers because I thought it made the table look busy. The table was only $9.99 so I bought it with this great idea of me simply spraypainting it pink.

It really wasn't that easy. This is my first crafty project ever so I have no experience with this kind of stuff. Spraying over the paint didn't work. It immediately began to crackle. Next, after a trip to Ace Hardware, I began to sand all of the paint off of the table.

Today, I began spraypainting again. I was nervous and I had a feeling it still wasn't going to be as easy as I originally imagined.

So here it is, it isn't done yet. I actually left a strip of original pink paint around the side of the top which you can see crackled a little. It took many thin coats to cover the table, but I am overall pleased. It is by no means perfect. I will share the finished table in another post coming soon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Rewards of Walking

First I have to say I really regret not bringing my camera with me today. When I woke up this morning I had no idea I would be walking a vigorous seven miles today. In fact, I didn't plan on any exercise. I mentioned to my new friend and neighbor that I would like to walk to the library from our neighborhood sometime and she suggested that today we take that walk. You must know there is a very steep hill along the way. I was huffing and puffing by the time I pushed my stroller to the top. My body felt like it was on fire.
The library was closed, so I dropped my stuff in the drop box and walked across the street and I introduced my friend to this hole in the wall type place that makes the mozt amazing donuts. Next time I will bring my camera so I can show you these delicious donuts. We also walked by a cupcake place called Cupcakes Squared. Yes, their cupcakes are really square. I resisted buying anything from the store and we continued our walk back home.
Once we were back in our neighborhood near the shopping area, a marketing research team was asking people to wear these new GPS watches for running/walking. They were testing them out for a major sports company that they couldn't name, but if you walked their route they had mapped and wear the GPS watch, they would give you $25 cash.
They were not intrusive in anyway and didn't want much information from you other than age, height, and weight. My friend and I talked about it for a minute and decided to do it. The route that was mapped out was right in our own neighborhood and would require us to walk that route four times.
We completed the route which took us an hour and twenty-something minutes to walk just over 5 miles. My four year old was pretty patient during all of this walking so I promised I would split the cash with her and she could buy a new toy at Target later today.
The good news is I burned 950 calories just on the 5 mile walk around our neighborhood. That doesn't include the 2 or so miles we walked before that. I will likely rest for the next couple of days after all of the intense walking, but it sures feels great.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cupcake Courier Improvision

Love, love, love my Cupcake Courier. It is the only one that holds 36 cupcakes at once and is versatile because it can also carry a cake and you have the option to purchase cookie tray inserts to lay over the cupcake holes. As you can see, I haven't been able to order my tray inserts and I need to use my courier tomorrow.

I decided to improvise. I found a cardboard box and used an empty tray and a sharpie to trace the shape I would need to cut out.

After tracing, I got out my Christmas wrapping paper, plain silver from Costco this season, genius on my part because that paper will work for any holiday or birthday! It also worked well for my purpose this evening...wrapping the cardboard inserts.

Here is the finished product. It worked out beautifully!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Welcome to Sweet Sunday, Share Your Sweets Here!

Welcome to another edition of Sweet Sunday. Sweet Sunday is a blog party which you can link up using Mr. Linky below and share something sweet or baked. Please make sure you provide a link back to this post in your post so others who visit your blog can find Sweet Sunday and enjoy seeing what others have made or want to share. This will also help us expand Sweet Sunday and eventually we will have numerous participants.

Above is a photo of Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter M&M Cookies sanwiched with buttercream. Did I mention these cookies are also larger than average? Yes, that is one big cookie sandwich and I am sure a ton of calories.....but totally worth it.

You can also check me out on my YouTube Channel:
Participating in Tuesday at the Table:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gingerbread Caramels

I made Martha Stewart's recipe for Gingerbread Caramels last night. Tonight, I cut the caramels and wrapped individually.

The recipe makes a large batch of caramels.

I am filling white candy boxes for Christmas gifts. The Scotch paper cutter works better than scissors when cutting the wax paper for wrapping.

Here is the link to the recipe. I followed the recipe with one exception. I left out the molasses only because I used it up a few days ago making Gingerbread.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Morning Desserts

Some ladies in my neighborhood who have small children decided to get together every Thursday morning for breakfast, chatting, and letting the children play. In case you didn't know or can't tell I love baking. I am thrilled that this allows me to make a sweet breakfast treat each week. These are some photos I have taken this past year.
First up is the Easy Cream Cheese Danish. This is one of my favorites. These are actually very tasty from the freezer. I cut mine into squares, pipe the icing on each one and freeze (or refrigerate) until it is ready to serve.

These are what I call "Heart Healthy Oatmeal Cookies." Everything about this cookie is healthy. I add dark chocolate chips in mine, but you could raisins or nuts if you prefer. These are my husband's favorite and they would work well as a breakfast cookie. They are surprisingly delicious too.

Granola bars.....I made these earlier this year. I think they are good, but need to be consumed within a day or two.

Love this one......Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. This recipe creates a very fluffy coffee cake. I know I will be making this one again soon.

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