Saturday, November 29, 2008

Operation: Baking GALS, Team Ugly Angel Round 5

Operation: Baking GALS (Give a Little Support) is a blog group that teams up to mail home baked goodies to our troops each month.

My team, TEAM UGLY ANGEL, hosted a Marine last round and had a fabulous turnout! This round, I have another Marine who is also a very good friend of ours.

Captain Tom GibbonsCapt. Gibbons is on the far right

Tom is currently stationed at Al Asad, Iraq. He's a CH-53D helicopter pilot with HMH-363, the Red Lions. Their mission is to transport "beans, bullets & bandaids" to the surrounding military bases in Iraq.

Tom is getting close to completing his 7 month deployment, and should be home in January. During his deployment, he missed the birth of his first child. Little Tommy Jr. Luckily, he was able to see him soon after he was born via web cam. His new wife and baby are back home with her family until Tom returns home.

If you would like to join Team Ugly Angel and send some goodies to Captain Gibbons, go to the Baking GALS website, register, and then click on Join a Round 5 Team, scroll down to Team Ugly Angel, and join us! There are lots of tips on the FAQ page, so take the time to look around the website.

Once you join the team, I will send out the mailing info and any additional supplies or requests that Captain Gibbons has.

We are shipping packages between December 5th-18th, so that the packages will arrive before Christmas.

I know December is a busy time for all of us, but let's remember the troops in Iraq who have to spend the holidays away from their loved ones. Let's help make this holiday extra special for them by baking special holiday treats!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

TWD: Baking, Baking & Baking

So I held out on making Tuesdays With Dorie this week until closer to the big day. A bunch my friends in our squadron are getting together this holiday, and having a big potluck of Thanksgiving feasting!

This week's recipe was chosen by
Vibi of La Casserole Carree.

Thanksgiving Twofer Pie
It's a cross between Pumpkin and Pecan Pie

I remember growing up how much my dad LOVED pecan pie. I just couldn't stand it! I thought it was too rich and just.... bluck! But now, I think I've kind of grown to like it. It's definitely not my favorite, but I'll eat it.

My 4 year old, as you know by now, loves to help me in the kitchen, so he was very excited to help me make some pies. I don't do pies much, so this was his first experience with that!

He was quite an expert at designing the crust edge! Not even letting me help him!

I partially cooked the crust, but didn't get the crust completely covered with the foil. The edges got a bit browner than I wanted.

It was fun to pour all the different layers in the pie. I was worried it all wouldn't fit! But it did!

And here is the final product! I snuck a little sliver to try it out! I am thinking I'll need a bigger slice this afternoon after the big Thanksgiving feast to decide it I really like it...however, I could taste the pecan pie part instantly, and then right at the end, you get that burst of pumpkin flavor! Both I love very much!
Notice my crust edges are pretty much burnt! Argh!

I decided that just in case this pie wasn't a big hit, I'd bring back up...
Besides, what is Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie?

The spouses are also baking/cooking some food for the single marines living in the barracks, so I baked up some cookies from some dough I had leftover from yesterday. I pulled out some cupcakes from the freezer and frosted those up, and then made little mini pumpkin pies from the extra pumpkin pie filling and pie crust.
I have two pans full of the goodies my husband will deliver this morning. I hope they enjoy them!

As I'm posting this, I'm waiting for my potato rolls to rise so I can start baking those up! These always go fast, and I am wishing I would have made a double batch... oh well, hopefully 4+ dozen will be enough!!!

Then, I think I'm going to make up some mashed potatoes to take along as well. Then, I'm done. Then the rest of the morning I'll just be running around getting things loaded up, kids bathed and ready, and oh yes, try to get myself made up too, if I have time! Oh, a mother's work is never done!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Simple Carrot Cake

I had a last minute order for a carrot cake for Thanksgiving!
They wanted it here it is!
Yum, I love cream cheese frosting!

Here is the simple recipe I use:

8 oz. cold cream cheese
5 T softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2+ cups of powdered sugar
(depending on the desired consistency)

Fall Treats

A friend of mine has family flying in for Thanksgiving, so she asked me to make her some goodies! Here is a fall birthday cake I made for "grandma" who gets to see her little grandson for the first time!
I also made 2 fall leaf cookie bouquets.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shaka Cake & Frog Cake

My fellow squadron spouses get together every other Thursday for playgroup with our little ones. They are all turning a year old- one month apart, spanning across about 5 months!

Here is a frog came I did for one of the little guys in our playgroup!

Happy 1st Birthday Richie!

And you can't have a first birthday without the #1 smash cake!

Here is a "shaka" cake I made for a friend's husband! Living in Hawaii, we had to have a little fun with this one!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Volleyball Cookies

As a follow up to the last cookie post, I made these volleyball cookies for my daughter's volleyball team. She was in charge of treats for her last game this season. I had the dough leftover, as well as some leftover rolled buttercream, so I whipped these babies up in no time! I just used some leftover pink icing to outline the volleyball.

Again, these cookies were a huge hit!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TWD Rice Pudding & Rugelach

So for starters, I am posting the strawberry rhubarb rugelach I made last week, which even then was a week late. This recipe was chosen by Grace of Piggy's Cooking Journal. Someone else on TWD tried this variation and it sounded good to me. I have never made, or even heard of Rugelach....but it looked good in the book!

I substituted strawberry preserves and fresh rhubarb for the filling.

Here is my little 4 year old helper sprinkling on the cinnamon and sugar before we rolled them up!
And, here they are ready to go in the oven...
Where is the final product? Well, they didn't last long enough to take a picture! They were that good! And...I used pink sugar sprinkles on top! That's all I had! Ha Ha

Now, on to this week's TWD, which again, is a day late! This recipe was chosen by Isabelle of Les Gourmandises d'Isa. You can also find the recipe on her blog.

Ok, so I was not too excited about this one, because I could not track down the special rice Dorie recommended. So, I'm embarressed to admit I used minute rice. (Dodging rotten tomatoes)

I also cut the recipe in 1/3 because I had just ove 1 cup of whole milk. Good grief, I know! I followed the rest of the recipe to a T, but it still tasted like alcohol to me, I think it was the pure vanilla....too much?!

I do like rice pudding, so I think I'll give a go another time....when I have the correct ingredients. I will even try the chocolate version then.

Oh, I am so ashamed...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birthday Treats for School

My daughter is turning 11 tomorrow, gulp! Ugh, it's hard for me to say that! I asked her what she wanted me to make for her to take to school for birthday treats, and at first, her pre-teen response was, "Mom, you always make cupcakes or cookies, why can't I just take bags of candy?!"

My quick 'Suzy Homemaker' response, "Everyone probably has tons of Halloween candy leftover, so can I make something?"

Pre-teen: "Ok fine, make some cookies!"

So, tonight, I have been baking cookies...and thought I'd try out some rolled buttercream icing as well. I've been wanting to try that out for a long time now, because I can't stand the taste of fondant, and making my own marshmallow fondant is too messy. (Plus, I didn't want to be up all night knifing frosting on 28 cookies)

I wanted to do something fun, so I started with round cookiesAnd then I rolled out the rolled buttercream real thin.

Using the same cookie cutter I used for the cookies, I cut circles out of the icing, so that they would fit perfectly on top of the cookies. (Since the cookies tend to spread a little wider in the oven)

Now, the trick to getting the rolled buttercream to stick, is to lay it on top of the cookies just as you pull it out of the oven, so that the heat causes it to soften and stick to the cookie!
Once all the round cookies were done, I started on the "M" cookies. I laid them right on top of the frosted round cookies as soon as they came out of the oven so that the warm cookie would stick to the icing below it! Then, same as above, quickly laid the green buttercream on top of the warm "M" cookies.

At this point, my daughter came out to the kitchen to inspect. I think she was pretty impressed and was happy with my creations. She told me how I needed to decorate them before she went to bed, so I hope she likes them!

You'll have to forgive the poor lighting. Like most baking I do, it's done late at night when the kiddos are in bed.

Now, once the icing stiffins, I can bag them up and send them with her to school in the morning!


(using an elec. mixer w/ paddle attachment):
1 cup solid crisco
1 cup corn syrup

1 tsp. clear vanilla flavoring
1/2 tsp. butter flavoring
1/2 tsp. fine grain salt

7-8 cups powdered sugar
over 30 seconds, and then mix another 30 seconds once all the powdered sugar has been added.

Allow to sit for atleast 30 minutes before using. Use at room temperature.

Can be kept in fridge for a few weeks.
Can be frozen for months.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

300 Cupcakes

I was asked to bake 300 cupcakes for the Kids Marine Corps Birthday Ball Celebration on base. I was thrilled! So here are just a few of the 300 red and yellow icing on chocolate and white cupcakes!

All packaged up and ready for pickup!

Happy 233rd Birthday Marine Corps!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Operation Baking Gals: Round 4 Roundup

Here is the Round 4 Roundup for
Operation Baking Gals: Team Ugly AngelHere are the people who have shipped their packages. I heard from Captain Trammell and he has already received some of them! He was very thankful!

Kim (Me...Hawaii) from 3rd Generation Cake Lady
Snickerdoodle Cookies + Extras

Jill (Texas) of
(no photo)
Chocolate Chip Cookies + Extras

Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Filling
Sugar Frosted Ginger Chewies

Sharon (Iowa)
Peanut Butter Blossoms & Snickerdoodles + Extras

Pam (Alabama)

Kristina (Hawaii)

Alaina (Hawaii)
Double Chocolate Chip + Extras
Snickerdoodles, Ginger Snaps, Pumpkin Cookies & Apple Butter... as well as lots of extras and a special drawing by her 6 year old of people enjoying all the goodies (they are licking their lips)!
Marge (Texas)
(no photo)
Cookies, Snacks, Magazines + lots of extras!

Katie C. (MA)
Check out her flickr page for pictures!

Erin (Alabama)
(no photo)
Oatmeal Raisin & Chocolate Crackle Cookies + Extras

DeAnne (Iowa)
Peanut Butter Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies & Pumpkin Scones,
along with all sorts of extras which include toys for the Iraqi children!

Cheryl S.
(no photo)
Red White & Blue cookies (white chocolote chips, cranberry and blueberries...oh my!) And...some maple date oatmeal bars, along with all kinds of extras I'm sure Captain Trammell and his buddies will much appreciate!


Susan (Florida) from Yaffa Dreams
Chocolate Chip Pan Cookies + Extras

Julie from Hawaii
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies + Extras

Thank you to everyone who joined the team this round! I'll keep you posted on next round if anyone would like to join us again! Check out Operation: Baking Gals website!