Monday, December 28, 2009

Lions Tial - Leonotis leonurus

Well the holidays are just about over and make baking has come to a temporary stop, so I thought I would share a plant that is currently blooming in my garden, Leonotis leonurus aka Lion's Tail. You can see from the picture why it is called Lion's tail. The orange flowers clustered together like the end of a lions tail. It can bloom sporadically through out the year but it's best display is in the fall when the day start getting shorter.
I like this plant for its unique appearance and because the tubular flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, which I love. Lion's tail is a pretty tough plant surviving much of Florida's temperamental weather. If you have a hard frost it can kill it to the ground, but don't worry, it will rebound bigger and better in the spring. Lion's tail can grow 4ft-6ft and grows well in full sun.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Platter of Goodies

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

I wanted to share one more picture with you that shows some more of the goodies I made this year.

Reindeer Cake balls

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Mini Eggnog Cheese Cake

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

"Turtle" Pretzels

Chocolate Peppermints Circles

and of course more Meringue Snowmen

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Mice

My kids and I have been making Christmas Mice for a couple of years now. Everyone loves getting them because they are so different from all the other Christmas goodies you would normally get.
As some of you already know, my hubby is a cop and every Christmas I send in lots of goodies from them to eat. I love hearing about all these tough cops and how they "love the little mouse". Most of them wont eat the mice because they want to take them home to their kids. Don't let those cops fool ya! Most of them are just big softies like the rest of us. (Just don't speed...ha, ha.)

They are very easy to make, but they can be a bit messy because of the chocolate.
As you can see the mice are resting on half of a sandwich cookie such as an Oreo. The face is a Hershey's kiss, the body is a Maraschino Cherry with a stem dipped in chocolate and the ears are slivered almonds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meringue Snowman

So far, out of all the Christmas goodies I have made, the Meringue Snowman are my favorite. They are soo darn cute!!

To make the snowman, pipe your meringue onto parchment paper into the shape of a snowman. Next get a small bowl of water and wet your finger. You only want your finger to be damp, not dripping. Now lightly smooth out any ridges on your snowman. (The water helps you finger not stick to the meringue.)
After you are done smoothing out your snowman you can add some chocolate chips or sprinkles for his eyes and buttons.

Now it is time to bake them. I baked mine at 225 degrees for 1 hour.

After the snow man cooled I add and orange icing with a tooth pick for the nose and the scarf is made out of a fruit roll up.

This was my first time making meringue snowmen and as you can see some of my snowman are cuter than others. For most of my snowman, I used melted chocolate chips to make the eyes, mouth and buttons. While they still turned out pretty cute, the chocolate doesn't want to dry and I keep accidentally smearing the chocolate. Next time I will put chocolate chips or sprinkles on them before I bake them or I will use black royal icing on them after they are baked.
Good luck.

Busy in the Kitchen!

Like many of you, I love this time of the year because I get to do a lot of baking without too much guilt. Baking is a fantastic opportunity to create some great memories with your kids. Yes, I know first hand it can be crazy and hectic too, I am a mother of 4. But it can be so rewarding to have your kids by your side eagerly helping you bake and decorate all the yummy holiday treats. I personally love getting cookies and treats that I know kids have helped make.
I love sharing all of our Christmas baked goods with our family and friends. Sometimes my family and I will share our goodies Secret Santa style (anonymously). My kids love ringing the doorbell and running as fast as their little legs can go, back into the the van trying not to get caught. If you haven't tried being a Secret Santa, you really should. You don't have to have kids to have some fun and share the Christmas spirit!

Above are a few things I have been working on. I think they are pretty self explanatory on how to make them. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

My brother and my daughter's birthday are just a few days apart so our family decided to combine the birthdays. I had the pleasure of baking the cake. I knew my daughter LOVES Red Velvet and I hadn't made a Red Velvet Cake since she got married so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to give it a go and try a new Red Velvet Recipe.

Well it turned out fantastic! The cake was DELISH! It was so moist and yummy. I wasn't crazy about the icing. To me it had too much of a pudding taste, but everyone else loved the icing. They thought the icing was light and not overly sweet. My hubby even made the comment that this was one of the better cakes I have ever made! Wow!

In the picture you can see the icing is yellow. It wasn't quite as yellow as you see in the picture, but it was still a bit too yellow for my taste. The reason it turned out so yellow was partially from my poor lighting and because the only pudding I had on hand was french vanilla and it is more yellow that the vanilla pudding. But either way it tasted great.

I got the recipe from for some reason I can't seem to post a link , but it is Red Velvet Cake III. Go give it a try and tell me what you think.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I guess I should tell you about Thanksgiving. I did a ton of cooking and baking but I didn't take pictures until everyone had started eating. So I had to take pictures between people grabbing food.

One of the baked goods I made was a Pumpkin Roll; I got the recipe off the Libby Pumpkin can . My oldest son (13) really wanted to try this, and who am I to turn down baking sweets. The pumpkin roll turned out pretty good. A little tip that made the pumpkin roll easier to make was to use parchment paper. I love parchment paper!

I also made Black Bottom Pecan Pie. All this is, is a pecan pie with a layer of chocolate chips put in the bottom of a deep dish pie shell before pouring in the pie mixture. Yummy! This is a must at my family holiday get together's. In fact, when my father showed up and only saw 1 black bottom pecan pie on the table he immediately cut a slice out and hid it to make sure he got some. Don't tell anyone but I actually made family and I decided we needed to taste it and make sure it turned out OK. ;-)

What else did I make... oh yeah I made strawberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting. To me these weren't anything special but it was a special request and the kids loved them. I used a Strawberry cake box mix and a can of vanilla frosting that I piped on to make the cupcakes a little prettier.

One of my favorite desserts I made was a Pumpkin trifle. This recipe was given to me by a friend and it is so yummy. As you see in the picture it is layered kind of strange. I prepared everything for this dessert the day before so I would only have to assemble this trifle dish. However, on Thanksgiving day I had a lot of people in my kitchen helping me with last minute details and I wasn't really paying attention to who was assembling the trifle for me. And it was assemble in a different order. But I must say it still tasted yummy!!!! And I really do appreciate all those that helped me.