Gift Cake and Fondant Bows

One of the things I love about being home now is making birthday cakes for my family members! Who doesn’t like getting a special birthday cake? This past weekend we celebrated my Aunt’s birthday. Her house is the ‘gathering house’ for family functions so I wanted to make her something special since she is always opening her home to everyone. I thought cake to look like a present would be so cute! Now that I look at it, I wish I cut the cake to have hard edges like a box, but oh well. The bow was the only thing that took a little time. I read a bunch of tutorials, and my fondant could never stand up straight, I think I’ll try gum paste next time I want something that can stand on it’s own. Overall, I’m really please with this! I made a rich chocolate frosting for underneath, and just a plain yellow Betty Crocker cake mix.

Fondant Bows
1. Cut two rectangular sections of fondant about 4″ long and 2″ tall. Fold both pieces end to end and pinch together, use a tad bit of water to make fondant stick to each other. Crimp pieces together until folds form to resemble bow material. (I had to do this several times before I was satisfied.
2. Cut a smaller piece of fondant, about the size of a postage stamp. Wrap around the crimped centered of the bow, adhere to cake with some water.
Note: You can also make bows by wrapping the fondant around something cylinder shaped, however since my fondant didn’t want to stand on its own having a complete rounded shape didn’t really matter. Take a look here for the demonstration.

Sriracha Dip

I’m beginning to see a glimmer of hope the end of winter is near. Spring cannot get hear soon enough, I’m ready for some warmer weather! In an effort to speed things up, I bought my Spring scents from Yankee Candle last weekend in New Hampshire: Blueberry Cobbler, Lemon, and Clean Cotton. The down side of the blueberry one is I know have the incredible urge to bake some cinnamony-sugary blueberry muffins. Maybe the Clean Cotton will urge me to do the laundry? Eh, probably not.

I’ve really taken a liking to spicy foods. I fell in love with the Sriracha Burger I made in summer I had the thought to turn it into a dip. I love dips since for me they make a great dinner when Alex is working and I don’t feel like putting together anything overly complicated for myself. I really liked this dip, the hint of bacon crisps really add something different. Add as much Sriracha as you’d like, although the amount of spice I could handled tapped out at 5 tablespoons.

-1 block cream cheese, softened
-3/4 pound ground beef
-5 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
-4 bacon strips
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-4 slices Swiss cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400. Cook bacon until crispy. Dice into small pieces.
2. Cook beef and drain. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, beef, bacon pieces, mozzarella cheese, and Sriracha sauce. Mix well to combine. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish and top with the slices of Swiss cheese.
3. Bake 15 minutes. Broil an additional 7-8 minutes until Swiss cheese is browned and bubbly.
A Seasoned Greeting Original Recipe

Sherry Glazed Carrot Ribbons

Hold onto your hats people, this is my first recipe using carrots. Yes, I eat carrots, but I’ve never actually made anything with them…ever. I had this very easy recipe for a Chardonnay glazed carrot, but since I didn’t have any wine (I know you’re shocked) I substituted Sherry cooking wine instead. I also made my carrots into ribbons using my peeler instead of just slicing them. These are incredibly easy to make, but taste way more involved than they actually are!

I just got back from a fabulous weekend in New Hampshire visiting family. We had a blast! Snow tubing, skiing, ice skating, and good old family fun. It was a much needed relaxing break from the recent craziness. Check out this beautiful sunset!

-3 carrots
-2 tablespoons Sherry cooking wine
-1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon butter

1. Peel carrots. Using the peeler, slice carrots into thin long ribbon pieces.

2. In a sauce pan over medium high heat, heat the Sherry to a boil and add the butter, honey, and carrots. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Pepper Crusted Steak

If you couldn’t tell from the fact that I only one one, yes one and it happens to be this recipe, steak recipe on my blog, I’ve never been a “steak person”. It’s not a red meat thing, since I’m a big fan of a juicy cheeseburger, I’ve just never enjoyed steaks. I’d much prefer to order fish. But this is what I love about these recipe swaps, it can force me to try something I don’t normally eat.

I received a Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon as my recipe. I opted to use a sirloin, as I already had it in the freezer, but that was the only change I made. I have to tell you, this was absolutely incredible. The cooking time was perfect for a slightly more then medium center, extremely juicy, and very very flavorful. Quite a kick from the peppercorns, but I happen to like that.

Coming from a former non-steak person, I will 100% be making this again.

-2 sirloin steaks
-4 tablespoons EVOO
-3 tablespoons peppercorns
-2 teaspoons salt
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place peppercorns in a ziploc bag and crush with a meat tenderizer.

2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the EVOO with the crushed pepper. Cook 8 minutes. Pour into bowl and let cool.

3. Generously coat steaks with pepper mixture. Heat the remaining EVOO in a sauce pan over medium/medium high heat and at steaks cooking 4 minutes per side. Don’t move the steaks!

4. Place steaks on baking sheet and bake in 450 oven for 6-7 minutes. Steaks will be slightly more than medium, with a slightly pink center.

Source: Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks


Apple Glazed Pork Chops

Things around here are finally seeming normal. After the big move from SC back home to NJ, and making through the busy holiday season, I’m getting used to living in the colder weather and getting used to living in a high-rise apartment. I love the convenience of having a bank, drugstore, and nail salon in my building and a grocer right across the street. The Light Rail stops right outside our building and the Exchange Place Path station is about 3 blocks away providing us easy options to get into NYC or Hoboken. Bailey loves all the natural light we get but is still adjusting to hearing people (and dogs) in the hallway making their way to the elevators.

You’d think pork chops are as easy to create recipes with as chicken is, but for some reason I’m always at a loss of what to make with a chop. I’d been hanging onto this recipe for quite sometime and finally got around to making it. Apple and cinnamon is such a sweet and savory combination for pork chops

-2-4 boneless thing pork chops
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-1 cup apple juice
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-2 teaspoons corn starch
1. In a small sauce pan, combine the apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, soy sauce, and corn starch. Bring to boil, then simmer to thicken.
2. While sauce is simmering, heat the EVOO on a frying pan and saute pork chops about 5 minutes per side, adding a little of the glaze to the pan while cooking. Serve immediately, with glaze generously poured over top.
Source: All Recipes

Shrimp BLT Bites

Well to say the past week has been crazy would be an under statement!

Last Tuesday my husband was in a car accident, and thankfully he wasn’t harmed. Our car didn’t make out so well though. The car we had for 2 and 1/2 months was totaled, and we’re now going through the process of getting a new car. Holy Paperwork Batman!

My blogging has been a bit slack this week due to the hecticness, but hopefully will be back on track next week! Maybe there will be a post about a new car (fingers crossed).

For this edition of the Recipe Swap hosted by, I was assigned Sparks from the Kitchen blog. I love the Blogger’s Choice Swap since I really get to browse someone else’s blog and find something right up my alley. Well, these little appetizers are amazing!! A delicious shrimp salad on top of a crispy piece of bacon. The only slight modification I made from the original recipe was adding the water cracker. I think it makes it manageable to eat without having to really touch the greasy bacon. I’ll be making these again for sure!

-1 and 1/2 tablespoons mayo
-1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
-1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, diced very fine and shredded
-1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
-4-5 slices bacon, cooked crispy
-1 tomato
-A few leaves leafy green lettuce
-1 box water crackers

1. Combine the shredded shrimp, mayo, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Cut bacon pieces to about 1 inch long.

2. To assemble, lay a small piece of lettuce on a water cracker, top with a piece of bacon, spoonful of shrimp salad, and small slice of tomato.

Source: Sparks from the Kitchen document.write(”);