Sunday, December 25, 2011

Baking, Baking, and more Baking!

I hadn't planned on doing much baking this season but at the last minute my hubby asked if I would make a bunch of goodies for his office. So of course I said I would. Here are a few pictures of some of the goodies I have made in the last few weeks.

White Fruit cake (taste ton's better than traditional fruit cake) Macaroon's, Flourless Chocolate cupcakes, Peanutbutter cookies, Pumkin bread, and Chocolate covered Peanutbutter balls.
Flourless cupcakes, Pumpkin Bread, Eggnog Pound Cake, White Fruit cake, Caramel and Chocolate dipped Pretzel's
Chocolate cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting with crushed candy canes
Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Frosting, topped with Candied oranges
Chocolate Cupcakes with peppermint Frosting and topped with Andes Mints!

Santa Stopped By...

It was late and the kids were fast asleep when I heard a noise. I jumped to my feet and tip toed to the family room and who did I see? Santa, of course! So I quickly grabbed my camera and was able to take a few shots before he disappeared up the chimney!

When the boys woke up the next morning I showed them the pictures of Santa. My older two were only slightly impressed, but my youngest was thrilled to finally have "evidence"of Santa . What a great Christmas we had!

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

My oldest son just turned 15.(How can I be old enough?)
Anyway, for his birthday we had family over for lunch and cake.
For lunch I kept it pretty easy by having a Taco bar. I was able to prep most of the food the night before which made everything sooo much easier.
For his cake I tried something a little different. I found a recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Cake from
I think it turned out pretty good. What do you think?

1 1/2 cup(s) flour
2/3 cup(s) cocoa
2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
1 cup(s) canned pumpkin
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
3/4 cup(s) butter, softened
1 cup(s) dark brown sugar
1 cup(s) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk


1.Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter.
2.Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.
3.Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean--about 35 minutes. Cool layers completely before icing.
4.Step 1: Frost Beat 6 ounces softened cream cheese using a mixer set on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and a scant 1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring on medium-high to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake. Chill 30 minutes and proceed to step 2. Makes 3 cups.
5.Step 2: Glaze Place 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, and 3 tablespoons corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil, pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently stir, using a whisk, until smooth. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly. Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and smooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drop over the sides. Makes 1 cup.

Late Halloween Update

I am really behind with my blog, sorry.
However, I thought I would still share with you what we did for Halloween.

The spooky food- monster face pizzas, muumy hot dogs, ghost plasma eggs and more.

I love the Halloween peeps on a stick.

The beverage labels are so cute! I got them free at
Floating pumkins
A few of our monsters

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do You Boo?????

Never heard of it? Well it's kind of like secret Santa but it's for Halloween instead of Christmas . You secretly leave some goodies at someones front door with a boo sign and instructions for them to boo someone else, ring the door bell, and run! And hopefully you have a chain reaction of lots of people anonymously getting treats from others.

This is a family tradition we have been doing for years, the kids love it. OK....I love it too! You can't go wrong giving goodies to someone.

There are soo many different ways too "Boo" someone, get creative, have fun! Spread some Halloween Fun!!!!!

Here are a few examples I found on the internet.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Camping, Pancakes and more

We recently went camping at Ft. Desoto and I must say we had a great time. The camp site was great, we were only yards away from the water, the weather was fantastic, the mosquitos left me alone, and the kids were great!! What more could you ask for?

Beautiful Sunset
Catching bait fish

Night time fishing with an amazing sunset.

Mama Raccoon (with no tail) and her only baby.

This sign is no joke!

We had a bag of Oreo's stolen from the cooler and they mocked us as they sat next to us eating them. They also stole some 18in long twizzlers and I have to admit that was pretty funny to watch.

Yummy Breakfast, Pumpkin Pancakes and bacon.

You gotta have bacon when you go camping!!!!

Pumkin Pancakes
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

I think we made all the other campers jealous with the delicious aroma of pumpkin and bacon coming from our campsite!

We saw a group of people kite surfing down on the south end of Fort Desoto Beach. Unfortunatley it was very gloomy out, so the pictures do not do it justice! It was really pretty amazing to watch.

We will definately camp there again. Everyone had a great time fishing, even though we didn't catch very many. The only crazy thing was, the place was over run by racoons! The could be a bit intimidating (I am thinking rabies the whole time) but they were quite entertaining. They stole our Oreo's right out of the cooler and some Twizzlers. So make sure everything is locked up good.

Yummy Spiders AND Pumpkin Whoopie PIes

Isn't he cute? The boys and I had a great time making and eating these spiders.

Here they are guarding some whoopie pies.

Some of the whoopie pies were rolled in sprinkles and drawn on with chocolate.

The spider were pretty simple to make.
The body is a Little Debbie Cake.
The eyes are Reese's pieces (except for the mean green eyes those are left over from another project)
The fangs are Mike and Ike's
The legs are pretzels dipped in chocolate / almond bark

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
These were delicious!!!Luckily I was making all these goodies for my hubby's work or I would be in trouble having all those pies in the house.

2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves (I used less)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool then make sandwiches from two cookies filled with Whoopie Pie Filling.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Choffy anyone?

I was recently turned onto a drink called Choffy.
Choffy is a brewed Chocolate (Cacao Beans).

According to fitness expert, Jim Karas on Dr Oz today, Choffy helps to burn fat, reduce chocolate craving, boost your metabolism, and block fat absorption.
If that is isn't reason enough to give Choffy a try, I don't know what is!
Also, there are more antioxidants in an 8oz. cup of Choffy than in two servings of blueberries.

I am not a rep or seller of this drink, but I am a big fan!

When I first opened my bag of Choffy I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It smells AMAZING! Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate! YUM!
I like my Choffy with a little French Vanilla Creamer. I even put Choffy in my morning protein shake.
I have been drinking choffy a couple times a day and I love it. It is a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth and has only 20 calories (not including my creamer).

I also want to try a few recipes using Choffy. So check back and see what I make!

Thank you Saralyn for sending me some choffy! Btw, I need to place and order.

If you anyone is in the area and wants to give it a try, let me know.

Come on over for a visit with me and drink some Choffy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Creepy Crawly Bugs

If spiders freak you out, don't look at the following pictures!

We saw this spider at Crystal Springs. It's missing a leg, ouch!

My younger kids would like to think that this spider glows in the dark.

We saw this one at a park. My hubby calls it "The Spawn of Satan".

He's a little freaked out by spiders!

This one has been in my backyard for over a month. My oldest son has named him Timothy and actually catched bugs to feed him. Sooo Creepy!

You can see the hairs on its legs!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fort Foster Historic Site

Originally built in 1837
A view from the 2nd story
Did you know they had a vampire problem? They stocked the shelves with wooden stakes!

Ha ha ha!

My handsome boys!

It was a beautiful weekend and what better way to enjoy our beautiful fall weather than head to a park.
My hubby suggested Fort Foster. It is located in the Hillsborough River State Park. As many times as I have been to Hillsborough River State Park you would think that I would have been to the fort before but, I hadn't.
There is too much to tell you but I will say we all had a great time. Our Ranger/guide Patrick, was a wealth of information and he did a great job keeping everyone interested.
Tours of Historic Fort Foster are every Saturday @ 2pm and Sunday @ 11am for $2.00for Adults. Kids 7-18 $1.00. Kids 6 and under are free!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bok Towers

Hubby and I had the opportunity to get free museum tickets from The Smithsonian Magazine (see previous post). We chose Bok Towers.
We had been there a few years ago but I was ready to see it again. We had a wonderful time and my hubby was so sweet and patient as I took tons of pictures. I couldn’t believe all the different birds we saw, including a few hummingbirds. And the tower is an amazing sight to see.

One of the many benches they have for you to sit, relax, and listen to the bells.

These lily pads are HUGE! They are probably 6 ft across!

At Bok you can explore the beautiful landscaped gardens. You can also discover the history of Edward W. Bok and the building of his 205 foot Singing Tower and tour the historic Pinewood Estate mansion to catch a glimpse of the luxurious lifestyle of the 1930s.
Tucked away throughout the Gardens the curious will find secret garden paths, picture rubbing posts as well as three geocache locations!
Bok Tower Gardens located between Tampa and Orlando.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Free Museum Day

This Saturday, September 24th, you can have the opportunity to get into a museum for free. This is all over the U.S. and is being sponsored by the Smithsonian Magazine.

Click on the title, then "find a museum", type in you state and see all the participating museums. Then fill out the short application and they will email you a free ticket for two.

Super easy and free, that's my kind of deal!

Although not participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day, Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is offering $5 admission on Saturday, September 24. The event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Availability is limited and tickets will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis.

I think I will go to Bok Towers. What museum are you going to?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Makin' Woopie...

Whoopie Pies that is.
Actually I am not making them, My brothers fiance has started her own business called "Small Sweet Things" selling whoopie pies at the Ybor City Farmers Market. I am sure she is in her kitchen right now baking away.
Anyway, I wanted to show her my love and support by mentioning her on my blog, because she is a fantastic cook AND she has great taste in guys too!
If any of you can please stop by her booth, show her some love and buy a few Whoopie Pies that would be fantastic!!! She has lots of yummy flavors to try.
Maybe I will see you there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Canned, Fresh or Frozen

BPA, the synthetic estrogen linked to cancer and abnormal brain development, is in the lining of most food and beverage cans, and it can leach out. Whether the food is organic doesn't matter, USDA tests show. When possible, buy fresh or frozen items; there's no BPA in plastic freezer bags, says Sarah Janssen, M.D., senior scientist at the NRDC. (From Yahoo News)