Almond Pound Cake…mmm

I coordinated this round of the What’s Cooking? Board’s recipe exchange. Advantage of this is not only do I have a nice compilation of recipes, I get to choose the one for me to make. All the recipes looked delicious, but I wanted to surprise my fiance with a nice dessert one weekend I was over there.

I would have made a bundt cake, but I purchased a stoneware mini bundt cake pan on clearance off Pampered Chef for about $13, so I couldn’t resist. Next time I make these cakes, I will have to half the recipe. This batter made 12 mini cakes, which is more than enough and they are in the freezer for another night :).

These were a light cake with a subtle almond flavoring…great to add berries on top, for a spring cake.

Enough talking, here is the recipe from Delia of Kreeper’s Cooking.

Almond Pound Cake – from my mother in law, Billie Love

1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 t almond extract
1 t vanilla
3 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar ¼ cup at a time, alternating with the eggs until all of the sugar and eggs are added. Mix in the almond and vanilla extracts. Sift dry ingredients and add ¾ cup at a time, alternating with the milk a little at a time. Continue to mix until both the milk and dry ingredients are added. Pour into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for 10-15 minutes before flipping.

This is not at all Weight Watchers friendly, but the mini cakes are large, so if you eat half a cake, this could be reasonable for dessert.

Nutritional Info: (1 serving out of 12)

Calories 564.2
Total Fat 27.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Points: 14* (ouch)

Waist Friendly Chicken Marsala

I had been craving some serious chicken marsala for a while, and so I asked my What’s Cooking sister from A Taste of Home Cooking, if she had a recipe, and SCORE! (she did!!) So, thank you so much for this recipe, which is from Everyday Food by Martha Stewart (my changes noted to make it weight watcher friendly)

Serves 4 (When the chicken was pounded out, it served 6)

Chicken Marsala

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (omitted)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (used Portobella’s)
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish (didn’t have this, used oregano)
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
added oregano
added 2 cloves of minced garlic
added 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions
Place flour in a shallow bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until golden on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm (reserve skillet).

Instead of this, I pounded the chicken to equal thickness, put the olive oil in a hot skillet and grilled/seared the chicken until cooked. I added salt/pepper, some oregano and basted with the balsamic vinegar for more flavor while cooking.

Add mushrooms, shallot, garlic, sage (not for me), and 1/4 cup water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until mushrooms are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine and cream; simmer over medium-high until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter; season with salt and pepper.
Top chicken with mushroom sauce, and garnish with sage. (didn’t have sage)



The results? Total yumminess! Here are the stats:

6 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 191.4

Total Fat 8.2 g

Total Carbohydrate 21.9 g

Dietary Fiber 0.8 g

Weight Watchers Points: 4.5 *

Wilton Course 2…

This was a great course. It took me a while to catch up and learn these flowers but my favorite is highlighted in my final cake.

The filling is fresh blackberries (adapted from Katie’s recipe), the cake is Pillsbury mix (get over it LOL) and the frosting is white chocolate buttercream (oh yeh, yum!)

The coworkers are in for a treat Friday ;)

Mixing filling…looks like something out of Dr. Seuss

Cake from the top…I lovers the LSU colored pansies!

Cake from the side…check out that weave peeps!

A zoom in of those LSU colored pansies..nature has pansies colored right. Geaux Tigers (I need football season again..)

Camo Cake!

This is just a cake I was requested to make…it’s a simple camo cake made with thin consistency icing smeared all over :) I highly recommend to cake decorators to invest (not really invest but buy) the 8 in x 3 in pan. It’s one big cake that you just cut in half when it’s done. It cooks evenly and just (in my opinion) makes things simpler (less cleanup with one pan too!). I bought mine for 50% off last week, so for less than $4….not too shabby right?


Final Cake! :)

I’m finished with my Wilton Course I! Yay!! I may not be taking a course this coming month to help FI move in, since classes are offered on Saturdays (probably the same in Baton Rouge for me) and that would take away from some part of the weekend that we spend together (we only see each other on weekends)…

Anyways, pardon the crumbles…my icing was too stiff for the flimsy diet soda cake I made. I combined spice cake mix with Diet Dr. Pepper :)

TGIF!!

Well, my coworkers are extremely pleased by my cake decorating hobby. So much that I was asked when I was making my next practice cake…so I obliged them with a TGIF cake after a rather hectic work week.

The admin for the Colonel asked me to make him a bday cake….this is HUGE! :)

Strawberry Bread

Hard to believe, but I reduced the calories by 100 calories per serving on this bread, and am sure that I didn’t impact the taste much at all!

My dad bought a flat of Louisiana strawberries late last week, and so I have been trying to figure out ways to get rid of the strawberries since their lives are at their end..lol. This helped me rid of a pint and in an awesome way!

This bread is delicious, especially with a dollop of cool whip. I want another piece but I know I snacked enough earlier when I got home lol. Here is the original recipe with my substitutions from AllRecipes.

Strawberry Bread

INGREDIENTS

* 2 cups fresh strawberries
* 3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 1/8 cups AP flour)
* 2 cups white sugar (1 cup splenda, 1 cup white sugar)
* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (12 oz. no sugar added applesauce)
* 4 eggs, beaten
* 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans (omitted because I hate pecans)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
2. Slice strawberries, and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, and set aside while preparing bread mixture.
3. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl: mix well. Blend oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in pecans. Divide batter into pans.
4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out, and cool completely.

I did end up just baking this in a 8×8 pan since I couldn’t find the loaf pans :(. Worked out just fine!

All in all this was delicious and I’m looking forward to this for breakfast tomorrow morning!



Original nutritional facts:
Fib
16 servings

Calories: 285
Total Fat: 17g
Fiber: 1.5g
Points: 7*

With my substitutions and omissions (especially note the fat changes):

16 servings

Calories: 165.5
Total Fat: 1.6g
Fiber: 2.1g
Points: 3*

That’s a 4 point difference per serving! I’m sure that was just the applesauce vs. oil difference but that’s amazing!

TCHO Chocolate



Thanks to Blake Makes and TCHO for the sample of the decadent dark chocolate. It tasted wonderful, very rich and chocolatey! My family especially loved it. :)

You should definitely give TCHO a taste if you are a fan of really dark chocolate!

My first Cake!

Just wanted to post a pic of my first Wilton class cake. It’s not really a template, but I felt a need to make an Easter cake using skills learned this week in the class. :) It was a little lopsided but it’s ok..I’m sure the coworkers will enjoy this!


A Fun Idea for Kids!

I am a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement, which I do one day a week during my lunch hour at a local elementary school. It’s a great program, and it’s nationwide, so if you think this is something you would be interested in, seriously contact your local office! It’s so fun and rewarding :)

Anyways, I always like to get the kids something for their last class as a congrats, besides the certificates that are given out by Jr. Achievement. I decided to make them large lollipops!

I don’t even remember how I found this idea, but I came across it on This Mama Cooks!

Apparently, these little foil pans are hard to find, but I found them at the local Dollar Tree. So, 24 of these for a $1?? SCORE! I bought the lollipop sticks at Wal-Mart in the crafts section and I used two bags of 14 oz. Jolly Ranchers for the candy, as recommended on the website.

Here are the directions for these fun lollipops!

* 8 Reynolds® FunShapes™ Stars or Hearts Baking Cups
* 8 (6-inch) Lollipop sticks
* 40 Jolly Ranchers

PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Place Reynolds FunShapes Stars and/or Hearts Baking Cups on a cookie sheet with sides.

MAKE a hole in one side of each of the baking cups near the bottom of the cups with a toothpick. Insert the lollipop sticks from the inside of the cup through the hole made with the toothpick and push it to the outside leaving at least 1 inch inside the cup.**

ARRANGE 5 candies in each baking cup, placing one candy over the lollipop stick. (It does not need to lay flat, it will melt around the stick.)

BAKE 5 to 6 minutes (it took my oven 9 minutes) or until candy is melted. Carefully remove baking cups from cookie sheet onto a tray to cool; immediately twirl stick to completely coat with candy. Prop sticks with handle of a wooden spoon if necessary to keep the sticks straight in baking cup while lollipop cools.

REMOVE lollipops from baking cups by tearing foil and peeling away from lollipops.

I then wrapped them in little cellophane bags and tied them for cute presentation. The kids LOVED it and the teacher kept asking how did I do that with Jolly Ranchers? LOL!

This was super easy and I recommend giving this little project a try! You can make cute bouquets with these for kid’s gifts or parties too!