Diaper Cake

March 19, 2011 at 10:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

I told a few folks that I was going to be making a diaper cake for my friend’s upcoming baby shower.  Evidently, the diaper cake phenomenon has not spread amongst my social circle because most people’s reactions indicated that they thought such a cake would be edible, not to mention incredibly unappetizing.

But now that they understand the concept, I think everyone agrees a diaper cake is the perfect baby shower accessory… and not all that difficult to put together!  To make a 4 tier cake like mine, you’ll need 4 pans – a 12 inch, a 10 inch, an 8 inch, and a 6 inch.

Start by fanning out the diapers in your largest pan:

Continue filling with diapers until they are pushed firmly against the edges (meaning you can’t force any more diapers into the layer.  Tie a ribbon (or use a rubber band) around the outside of the layer, and flip the pan over onto your base.

Remove the pan (gently) and you have your first layer finished!

Repeat with all your remaining layers until you have a beautiful, plain white diaper cake.

I kept the layers together with a plain white wire clothes hanger, bent straight.  To use tape or glue would make the diapers unusable for the mommy-to-be.

 

And then decorate however you like!  If you search the web, you’ll find tons of extremely decorated diaper cakes.  Most of them are covered in baby toys and baby goodies, but I went pretty basic.

Serve with cupcakes so you don’t disappoint those who are expecting an edible diaper cake!

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Go Ask Alice – How to Melt Chocolate

March 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Received a question from a blog reader tonight that I thought was worthy of sharing with y’all.  The reader is having trouble with melting chocolate for dipping the truffles – the chocolate is seizing up and not smooth.

So here’s your answer:

Chocolate is very finicky – and white chocolate is the worst.  I have ruined many batches of chocolate when I get impatient and try to melt it too quickly.  There are two key components to getting smooth melted chocolate.  The first is the type of chocolate, and the second is method of melting.

Type!
I use the Baker’s semi-sweet baking chocolate squares and white chocolate bars.  This type of chocolate melts more easily and evenly than chocolate chips, for example.  Chocolate chips have stabilizers in them (like wax!) which make for less that perfect melting, which would be a problem if you’re trying to get a smooth dipping chocolate.  This is VERY important when using white chocolate as white chocolate has a high cocoa butter content – which means the chocolate can seize easily, resulting in a lumpy, ruined mess.  The baking squares melt better than the chips, and if you are near a craft store, they sell chocolate wafers which are designed for candy making and almost impossible to screw up (I don’t like their flavor as well – but they really do melt perfectly.)

Method!
The key step in melting chocolate is patience.  Always remember to melt them over a double boiler or if you use a microwave like me, cook the chocolate in short, low power intervals (I use 50%) of no more than 30 seconds.  You will near to stir at each interval.  Other pointers – avoid any and all contact with water, as this will also cause the chocolate to seize up.  And once the chocolate has turned, there’s no going back.  Throw it out, get a new bowl, and start over.

Lundi Gras Red Beans and Rice!

March 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

With Mardi Gras tomorrow and a trip to New Orleans on the horizon,  I wanted to make red beans and rice for our Monday night dinner.

Red beans and rice is traditional creole dish traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, veggies, spices, and pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner – an old custom from the time when ham was a Sunday meal and Monday was washday, as a pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes.

BUT given that we didn’t have a ham dinner yesterday and I had to make this after I got home from work today, I made the following simplified version, which still kept me in the “holiday” spirit!  I hope you will enjoy it too.

What you’ll need:

2 cups uncooked white rice, prepared as you like
1 (16 ounce) package turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove chopped garlic
2 (15 ounce) cans canned kidney beans, drained (I used one can of dark and one can of light)
1 (16 ounce) can peeled tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
cajun seasoning to taste

Directions:

First, make the rice to your liking so that can cook while you’re prepping your veggies and starting on the red beans.  Chop up your green pepper, onions, and kielbasa.


Now, once you’ve got all your ingredients ready to go, in a large skillet over low heat, cook sausage for 5 minutes.  Stir in onion, green pepper and garlic; saute until tender.

Pour in beans and tomatoes with juice. Season with oregano, salt and pepper.

Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

You may decide you want to add some water or milk, depending on how thick you’d like the consistency.  I added about a half cup of each.

Serve over rice.

Pretzel Turtles

March 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There couldn’t be an easier candy/dessert to make than these pretzel turtles.  They’re so easy, it’s embarrassing, but they’re yummy, especially if you are a sweet and salty person.

All you need is some caramel filled chocolates – Rolos would work, but I used Dove Promises, some small pretzels, some whole pecans, and some white chocolate to drizzle over top.  You don’t even need the white chocolate.

First, unwrap your chocolates.   Preheat your oven to 300.

Next, lay out your pretzels.  Top them with the chocolates.

Next, top with the pecans.

Pop them in the oven for about 4 minutes.

Pull them out and gently press the pecans down into the chocolates.  Some caramel will run out, and that’s okay!

Drizzle with melted white chocolate and cool!

And you’re done!

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