Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cake Balls

I was asked by a good friend to help provide some sweets/desserts at her baby shower a couple of weeks ago and I happily obliged. Any reason to bake sweets and I'll take it! I haven't always had good luck with cupcake icing and I wasn't quite sure how to transport them in one piece so I decided to take the easy way (or so I thought) and make cake balls.

Full disclosure: cake balls are horribly awful to make. They, however, do taste amazing and look great! I got compliments all afternoon about how great the cake balls tasted and there were very few left when we left the shower. Be prepared to get messy. Another great suggestion when making these is to pace yourself. Bake the cake one night, then roll them another. The next night dip them in the chocolate. This will save you energy and sanity. Just be sure you have the fridge space for however many you decide to make.

Cake Balls
Adapted from: Bakerella
Yields: 6 dozen balls, quarter-sized

1 box red velvet cake mix (and all the ingredients listed on the box)
1 container (16oz) cream cheese frosting
1/4 bar paraffin wax
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Bake cake as directed on box, for a 13x9 cake. Allow cake to cool and crumble in a large mixing bowl by hand. Add cream cheese frosting and mix well (note: if mixing with your hands it will be very messy.) Roll into quarter-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once all the balls are rolled, place the cookie sheets into the fridge to cool; or overnight.

Melt wax and chocolate in a double-boiler on medium-low heat, stirring often. Dip the cake balls into the chocolate with a spoon and place back onto the cookie sheet with wax paper. Cool in the fridge until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

If you really want to make your cake balls look even better, once they have set a little bit (but not all the way) you can take a toothpick and cut around the edges to get rid of any excess chocolate. But then again, who wouldn't want more chocolate.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baby Food - Avocado Puree

Avocado is something I'd never eaten because I hate guacamole. I guess my tastes have changed (aka I eat everything in sight) since being pregnant and breastfeeding so I was curious to see how this super-fruit tasted. I've read that avocado is one of the best foods you can give your child! It also has a very low chance of allergy and are so easy to serve, too. Some people just mash it with a fork in a bowl, but Cam prefers the smoothness of the puree foods so I blended it.

And, of course, Camden loved it! He didn't so much like my first attempt to puree it (using less water and being very chunky). I guess we've got a little ways to go until he reaches the stage where he wants textured foods.

Baby Food - Avocado Puree
Adapted from: Kelly's Kitch original
Yields: 1.5 servings/jars

1 avocado

Slice the avocado in half and remove the seed. Since this was my first time working with an avocado, I looked up a how-to video on youtube found here. Place the flesh of the avocado into a food processor and add 1/4-1/3 cup water, more if necessary (I used about 1/3 cup). Process until smooth and serve or freeze immediately.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Biscuits & Gravy

Growing up I was told my mother made the best biscuits and gravy, but I wouldn't know because I was too afraid to try them. Gravy for breakfast always made me cringe and I wasn't a huge fan of sausage either so it made sense that I never tried it. I'm saddened now about all the great food I've missed out on, including this!

I got this recipe from my husband's best friend's mother (still following? me either). She apparently makes biscuits and gravy so good there's never any leftovers. I got some tips from her about what ingredients to use and not use and this amazing breakfast is what I came up with. I would suggest making Bisquick Biscuits, unless you have a great, fluffy breakfast biscuit recipe. The ones I made from here (without the chives) were flat and not very tasty, although they were very flaky so it made for some good biscuits for these, in my opinion.

Biscuits & Gravy
Adapted from: Kelly's Kitch original
Yields: 4 servings

1 pkg buttermilk biscuits (Bisquick)
1 lb pork sausage
1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
1-2 cups all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
Bake the biscuits according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Once cooked through, add the 1/2 cup of milk to the pan and mix briefly. Add the flour in 1/4-cup increments, mixing constantly, until the gravy is your preferred consistency. We used about 1 1/2 cups. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve immediately with biscuits.