Monday, October 20, 2014

Oktoberfest Apple Strudel

Oktoberfest has already come and gone but we decided to have a small celebration of our own this weekend. We had bratwurst, sauerkraut, soft pretzels with German mustard, spatzle, salad, and topped it off with Apple Strudel for dessert. This recipe wasn't very hard to make and I loved that it made two strudels! We heated the strudels up in the microwave and put Cool Whip on top - they tasted so good! Two years ago my husband got to celebrate 'real' Oktoberfest in Germany, so it was nice to celebrate it with some German beer and food with our kids and some friends this year!

Apple Strudel

- package puff pastry sheets (2), thawed
- 2-3 baking apples (I used granny smith apples)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. flour

- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, almonds or walnuts
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, plain
- 1 egg with 1 tsp. water beaten together, for brushing

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease your baking sheet.
2. Peel, core, and dice your apples and place in a bowl. Add your cinnamon, sugar and flour and combine. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix your nuts, brown sugar, sugar, and bread crumbs together.
4. Roll out your puff pastry and place half your nut mixture on one side of the pastry and then top with half your apple mixture. Repeat with other puff pastry sheet.
5. Roll your puff pastry over and over and fold the end under the strudel.
6. Place on your baking sheet and brush with your egg wash.
7. Cut openings on top of your strudel for the steam to escape.
8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.

 Granny Smith Apples

 Nut mixture, apple mixture, and egg wash

 Puff pastry sheet with 1/2 nut mixture and 1/2 apple mixture

 Strudels with egg wash and slits on top

 Baked Apple Strudel - slice and top with whipped cream!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kids' Pumpkin Pudding

Still not sick of everything 'pumpkin' over here! My son brought home this super easy recipe for Fabulous Pumpkin Pudding from his Preschool. I actually had all the ingredients and had my son make it. He was so excited that he "baked pudding for dessert!" It turned out really well, so we thought we would share.

This weekend we are having some friends over for a little "Oktoberfest" celebration. I will be trying my hand at a homemade Apfel Strudel that I will share and I might even share my Spatzle recipe with you all... if you're lucky (it really is that good!)!

 Fabulous Pumpkin Pudding

 Adding the milk and stirring

 Folding in the cool whip

 Sneaking some licks from the spoon...

Dig in!


Monday, October 13, 2014

German Chocolate Brownie Bites

This month I have joined a "Pinterest Challenge" group on Facebook where ladies share and post their Pinterest fails/successes. It has been so much fun to see what other people are pinning and trying out! I have been trying to share a few pins a week and my family seems to like it... since they are eating well! I will have to do a roundup blog of all the things I have tried at the end of the month. Today, I am sharing these German Chocolate Brownie Bites with you! We are headed my husband's boss's house for a "Steak Supper" and volunteered to bring dessert. I wasn't sure how many people would be there so I'm very glad this recipe make 4 dozen brownie bites. Hopefully every single one gets eaten up so we don't have to take them home! However, they are so good, I know my family wouldn't mind taking them home...

German Chocolate Brownie Bites

- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1.5 tbsp. extra at high altitude
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your mini cupcake pan.
2. In your Kitchenaid mixer, mix your eggs, salt, cocoa, vanilla, and baking powder together.
3. Add your melted butter and sugar and mix until well combined.
4. Stir in your flour and  mini chocolate chips.
5. Spoon 2 tbsp. of batter into your mini cupcake pans and bake for 10-12 minutes.
6. Allow brownies to cool 10 minutes before taking them out of your pan. Transfer to your wire rack to continue to cool.

- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups chopped pecans
- 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

1. Beat your egg yolks, sugar and salt together.
2. Add the butter and continue to beat together.
3. Slowly add your cream and then your vanilla.
4. Transfer frosting to a saucepan and heat on low for 15-20 minutes while stirring. Your frosting should "fluff" and thicken.
5. Transfer frosting to a medium bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
6. Add your coconut and pecans.
7. Scoop 1 tbsp. of frosting on your brownie bites.

 Brownie Batter

 Brownie batter in mini cupcake pans

 Frosting cooking to room temperature

 Frosting with coconut and pecans

 Brownie bites with frosting



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My 30th Birthday Pink Rose Ombre Cake

I turned the big "3-0" yesterday. Now I haven't been looking forward to turning 30, but my realistic husband kept reminding me there was no avoiding this from happening - so empathetic! No amount of crying could keep my birthday from coming so I made myself the most beautiful birthday cake! My husband has actually been deployed for my last two birthdays, so I am so happy he was here for this birthday. He even made reservations and took me out to dinner that didn't serve "chicken nuggets and french fries" and treated me to a pumpkin stout beer at a local taproom. I'm so glad I got to celebrate turning '30' with my love and got to start the evening out eating a slice of this sweet cake with my two sweet boys! (Apologies to our babysitter who had to entertain two sugar high kids!!!)

Now, I'm not sure if it's bad luck to make your own birthday cake, but I have been dying to make an ombre cake covered in gorgeous roses - so why not make one for myself for my big special day?! Of course I used pink food coloring in a darker shade, lighter shade and white frosting for my three later cake. I do wish I had had enough frosting to frost it before I frosted the flowers on it, but details details! Pink is my favorite color and this cake was perfect for a girl surrounded by boys all day long!

White Cake Recipe

- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line your 9" cake pans with parchment paper.
2. Combine your flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and sift, set aside.
3. In your mixer, beat your egg whites until foamy and slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
4. Beat butter until smooth and slowly add 1 cup of sugar until fluffy.
5. Slowly add milk and flour, alternating between the two.
6. Mix in vanilla, almond, and egg whites.
7. Divide and color your batter is desired before placing in the cake pans (I used 3).
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

White Chocolate Buttercream

- 6 oz. white chocolate, I used Baker's white chocolate bar
- 2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt your white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments at 60% power.
2. Once chocolate has melted, allow to cool completely.
3. In your mixer, beat your butter until smooth. Add your powdered sugar and salt and continue to mix together.
4. Add your heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Combine well.
5. Mix in your white chocolate. Makes about 2 1/2 cups of frosting.

*Roses were made with a piping bag and flower frosting tip. I might try making them with a different frosting tip, since the one recommended I could not find and the back up one that looked like it was not making pretty roses for me. Overall, I am satisfied with my first attempt at making frosting roses!

 Cake batter

 Three shades of batter for ombre cake

 Baked cakes!
 White Chocolate Buttercream Roses

 The boys sang "Happy Birthday" to me and my parents/sister were on FaceTime/speaker phone to join in!

 They had to help me blow out my candles...

 I'm 30. 

Ombre cake inside


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Painted Witch Pumpkin

Happy October! I'm so happy October is here and Halloween/pumpkins/costumes are around the corner! Here in CO our pumpkins do not last very long if you carve them, so I am always trying to find new ways to decorate ours without cutting them up. I decided to try my hand at chalkboard paint. Now I haven't tried to write on it with a piece of chalk, but I really like how dark the paint got on the pumpkin with only two coats. Plus I found this adorable FREE printable for a witch hat and I think I will be making more hats for more pumpkins!

Painted Witch Pumpkin

- painters tape
- foam brush
- chalkboard paint
- white pumpkin

1. Wash your pumpkin and dry thoroughly.
2. Tape your pumpkin and seal the edges with your fingernail. I did strips lengthwise to create 'stripes.'
3. Paint your pumpkin. I used two coats.
4. Allow to dry completely before removing the painters tape.


 Taped pumpkin

 Painting the pumpkin with chalkboard paint

 First coat of paint

 Pumpkin stripes

Painted Witch Pumpkin


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Classic Apple Turnovers

I know I've been slacking on my blog but we have had some company visiting! My mom and sister were here and we made it to 3rd Street Apples Orchard/Pumpkin Patch last weekend! It was super cute and the boys loved being able to pick their own apples and select a few pumpkins. Nana even pushed them in a wagon! To celebrate our new collection of apples, I made some wonderful apple turnovers! They were fairly easy to make with ingredients I already had - except frozen pastry puff. So, I ran out and got some and we all enjoyed what the boys called, "small apple pies."

Classic Apple Turnovers

- 4 medium sized apples, cored and diced
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 x 17.5 package frozen pastry puff thawed

Cream Cheese Icing

- 6 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
- 3 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 cup warm milk

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. On a floured surface, roll your pastry puff out to 12"x12" square. Cut each sheet into 4 equal sized squares (8 total).
3. Combine your apples with lemon juice in a bowl. Add sugars, nutmeg, cinnamon, cornstarch, and salt and mix together.
4. Brush the edges of your pastry square with an egg wash or milk and place 1/3 cup of your apple mixture in the center. Fold the dough over diagonally and press together, making a triangle.
5. Transfer to your cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining pastry puff squares.
6. Brush the tops of the turnovers with egg wash or milk and make a slit at the top of each turnover with a knife.
7. Bake for 20 minutes.
8. For icing, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until smooth. Drizzle on top of the turnovers. Serve warm.

 Bag of freshly picked apples!

 Coring and dicing my apples (some of mine were very small)

 Apple mixture

 1/3 cup of apple mixture in the pastry puff

 Apple turnovers ready to go in the oven

Apple Turnover with Icing

 Apple Picking with my mom and sister

 Me and the boys

My sister, Rachael


Monday, September 22, 2014

Chocolate Birthday Cake

This past weekend my sister flew to Colorado to celebrate her 27th birthday with us! My mom was even able to fly in for the week for a much needed visit. I had asked my sister what kind of birthday cake she would like and she said 'chocolate!' I am a huge fan of Pioneer Woman and she has this amazing recipe for a Big Chocolate Birthday Cake. Well I halved the recipe so we wouldn't be stuck with so much cake - and it turned out to be incredible! Totally worth making a birthday cake from scratch when it comes out as good as this did. I even found a free printable for a 'cake banner' on Pinterest that I put together to decorate the top of the cake.

We also headed out to a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as a gift to my sister. What an amazing venue and good rocker chick concert!

Chocolate Cake by Pioneer Woman (recipe is halved to make 2 x round cakes)

- 2 sticks of butter, unsalted
- 4 tbsp. cocoa
- 2 cups flour (plus 2 tbsp. at high altitude)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease two round cake pans.
2. Melt your butter and cocoa in a small saucepan on low heat. Add your boiling water.
3. Mix your flour, salt, and sugar in a separate bowl. Pour the butter/cocoa mix on top and combine.
4. In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and eggs together. Stir into the flour mixture.
5. Pour half of the mixture into a cake pan and the other half into the other pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz. chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a saucepan, heat your cream until hot.
2. Place your chocolate chips into your Kitchenaide mixing bowl. Pour the heated cream over your chocolate chips. Whisk together until chocolate is melted.
3. Place the bowl into the fridge until completely cooled.
4. Add vanilla to your frosting and beat with your mixer until frosting is light and fluffy.
5. Frost your cake!

 Chocolate Cake with Banner

 "Happy Birthday!"

Wow... delicious.