Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

St Pete beach

Obama Express Food Market, St. Petersburg, Florida

More Chihuly

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Chihuly museum st petersburg florida

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Chihuly Museum St Petersburg

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake Recipe - since we are trapped briefly by the rain

Let's bake something!
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 65 min. + cooling. Yield: 12 Servings


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, divided


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into one portion. In a well-greased 10-in. fluted tube pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans. Spoon chocolate batter over pecans; top with pumpkin batter. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.
  • Bake at 325° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 494 calories, 25 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 65 mg cholesterol, 239 mg sodium, 68 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Originally published as Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake in Taste of Home August/September 2008, p59

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baking trifecta today . . . Cookies, cupcakes, and a cake (pie and quiche tomorrow!)

Today I tried three new recipes.  The cookies are oatmeal with dried cherries and pecans.  They are supposed to be twice that size; the recipe indicates 'makes eighteen' but I didn't want ginormous cookies.  Or perhaps I do now that I've sampled one....

These are skinny chocoloate banana peanut butter cupcakes from Sally's Baking Addiction.  I'm not sure how skinny they are but the ingredients indicate they should be.  Maybe you are supposed to eat just one at a sitting to make them qualify for the 'skinny' adjective.  dunno.
Finally, this is the Domino Sugar Recipe for their one bowl cake and icing.  I made the vanilla version because I heard it was fabulous.  There is also a chocolate type that I will probably be baking next week.  Since I usually can't leave a recipe alone of course I had to alter this one... plus it doesn't have ANY chocolate.  Well, mine does... 1/2 of this cake has mini chocolate chips.  Before I put it in the oven I mixed some in along one side of the pan.  Let's see if it worked!

Frosted cake and cupcakes ready to sample.  See those ingredients in the background?  That's dinner.  I need to cut back tonight since I over-indulged today with cake batter and cookie dough.  Not much but you know how it goes.... Grilled Veggies and Rice - something I cook at least once a week.

Domino Sugar All in One Cake and Frosting

Sally's Baking Addiction Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes

Rachael Ray Magazine Cherry-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Papertey Ink Hexagon die and Memory Box Flutter Vine, Chloe Stem, and Fresh Daisies dies (Simon Says exclusive)

Glazer Children's Museum with Krystle and Elijah yesterday

Since the blogger software really sucks and I'm tired of trying to reorganize and move these photos... I'm just gonna 'splain them in the order in which they appear...
Elijah in the ball pit.  He was checking out a little girl who just plopped in next to him.
Here he is in the rubber 'sand' pit.  Pretty cool actually.  No sand in your shorts at this beach.
This actually the last photo I shot.  As you can see, he is passed out.  Worn out from the morning playing at the children's museum.  We walked across the street to find some lunch and settled at a greek restaurant.  We ordered him cheesy pita bread but he didn't make it past the cracker.  I ate his bread.  It was yummy.

His mama says he loves windows and he proved it here.  He wanted to stay here for a while and watch what was happening outside.  Behind him is the historic Tampa Hotel.  That is now the Univeristy of Tampa campus and one of my favorite places in my beautiful city.  A stop at UT is always on my 10 cent tour for my visiting guests.
How do you get a toddler to crawl through a tunnel?  Give him a target!  He didn't want to go in until I started tossing items in.  Then, he crawled right to them.

Mama Krystle and Elijah near the ball pit.  And fianlly another window shot.  Posing!

made these for some friends today with my Pick Punch - lovin it!

If you want to make picks, click here and buy the punch direct from the inventor. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tuna (Chicken!) treats from Rachael Ray magazine

For this recipe I substituted chicken since I'm not a tuna fan and didn't want to work with it. 
Also, since the recipe calls for a 3.5 ounce can and my market has only 5 oz or 10 oz I decided to buy the 10oz and triple it.
One thing I've learned over the years with baking dog treats is that they are very forgiving.  Basically you are just mashing ingredients together and then baking the moisture out of them. 
I should have added more flour because the treats didn't get as dry as I thought they should.  So, after I scored and broke them into pieces I put the pan back into the oven (turned off because I was done for the day) and let them sit in there until the oven was cool.  Not really baking but just using that heat to dry the biscuits.  I hope that makes sense!
These also passed the taste test and since they are very easy to make I will repeat this recipe in the future.

Meat Your Match dog treats from Rachael Ray magazine ( the girls are low on snacks!)

The girls are almost out of dog treats so this morning I was busy baking some tasty snacks for them.  This recipe makes 6 regular size muffins and since my dogs are teeny-tiny I had to alter it a little.
First, I doubled the ingredients so I will have enough for a few months.  The extras are frozen in small packages.

Second, I used my mini-muffin pans and made much smaller meat bites.


Since I doubled the recipe I had A LOT of meat to cook.  I quickly filled the pans and thought of another way to cook everything at once.  I used my stone baking pans and made small balls of the mixture.

My ingredients:
a little over 2 pounds of ground sirloin (2 packages from the market)
1 bag of frozen peas and carrots (why save the little bit left in the bag?)
3 whole eggs and 3 extra egg yolks (I used the whites for my breakfast)
1 cup cooked brown rice
rubber gloves for mixing by hand
Very easy and quick recipe.  Thanks Rachael Ray!  
Note:  Every month in her magazine she includes a recipe for the pooches in our lives. 

These totally passed the taste test so I will make these again for the girls and their friends.  What will I do different?
I won't use the mini muffin pans at all.  I will use all of my baking stones and dishes for cooking.  MUCH easier to clean the flat pans vs. the mini cups. 
Call me lazy.  I just try to save time and effort whenever possible.
Double the recipe.
Bake to suit you. The dogs don't care what shape the treats are - they just want to eat them!

I started making my own dog treats a few years ago after the dog food/treat additives scare. It's like cooking my own food - I prefer to know what is in there and the same goes for my girls.

Everything I cook for them is suitable for human consumption too. They will be a little bland due to no salt, pepper, or other flavorings.

Happy Dog Treat Baking!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds show tonight - and - loving the PICK PUNCH!

I know you hear this a lot:  "This is one of my favorite bands"...
but this is truly one of my favorite bands!
If you'd take the time to witness a show with me (or without me!), this group would be on your favorite list as well. 
Seriously, how can you not love the sound and stage show?

from the website:
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is a nine-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of seven men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it’s clear they’re focused on delivering the band’s infectious music as a single entity. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive.
(and that's no joke! srp)