Tasty Tuesday–Funfetti!

You know it’s a HOLIDAY at our house when Pillsbury Funfetti cupcakes arrive on the scene. Even though I do a lot of our baking from scratch, there’s something special about a Funfetti cake with brightly colored frosting and more Funfetti sprinkled on top! I think we’ve now tried all the seasonal varieties…Valentine’s, Spring, Halloween, Stars & Stripes, and the ubiquitous Holiday.

In addition to the seasonal varieties, I’ve made at least one of the other colorful varieties. What I’m really waiting for, though, is the day when they might make “Lucky” Funfetti with bright green frosting and shamrock sprinkles!

Tasty Tuesday–Apples!

The apple dessert contest on Sunday had me thinking…how many apple recipes have I shared over the years? There are actually more than I remembered, and they’re not all desserts…I even have a main course on the list!

How do you like to use apples in your cooking and baking?

The 9th Annual Apple Dessert Contest

At the end of August, I saw a contest that STL Today (the online home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) was running. They were looking for apple recipes in two categories–pies, and other desserts. I entered a recipe in each category, and promptly forgot about it.

Then while Ryan was out-of-town, I received a phone call telling me that my apple-pumpkin bread had been chosen as a finalist in the dessert category! I was shocked, if only because I had put the contest out of my head, and also excited. Today was the big day (the contest was part of the St. Louis Builders Home and Remodeling Show), so after smelling the bread all throughout church, Sunday school, and choir rehearsal (I kept it with me all morning, because it was just too hot to risk leaving it in the car!), we headed west to the lovely Convention Center in St. Charles.

Now, I make this bread at least once a year in the fall, every year. I have done so for at least a decade. But I was really nervous about baking it yesterday, and I was worried that it was underdone and overdone, all at the same time. I also fussed over the presentation, until I came up with this (which I think looked pretty nice!):

If making the bread wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, waiting through the judging process was a nightmare!

But I had the best cheering section there (thank you family, for making me laugh when I felt like I was going to be sick!), and they were just as excited as I was when I placed second!

Even without the prizes (which were a wonderful surprise!), this was a fun thing to do. One thing you have to say about me…I’m always putting myself out there, and sometimes, like today, it pays off pretty well!

The Cinco de Mayo Feast

This year, I made our family’s favorite fish tacos for our Cinco de Mayo feast. I also made Horchata for the first time (which the children really liked, even though I was afraid they’d think it was too different), and a chocoflan for dessert. Of course, there were also margaritas for those of us old enough to drink!

Tasty Tuesday–Ideas for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! I love an excuse to make a Mexican meal, authentic or Americanized, and my family loves an excuse to enjoy eating it! Here are some of my favorite Mexican recipes (mostly Americanized, I suppose) that I’ve shared over the years…main dishes, a side, and desserts. Some of them even use leftovers!

What are your favorite Mexican recipes?

2016 Christmas Cookies

It’s been two weeks since I finished our Christmas cookie baking, but we just finished our share of the cookies a few days ago! This year, I baked somewhere between 50-60 dozen of seven different kinds of cookies…sugar, gingerbread raspberry-almond thumbprints, chocolate peppermint, cranberry white chocolate, chocolate chip peppermint m&m (which we used to make ice cream sandwiches on Christmas Day!), and Saltine Christmas crackers.

It took about three days to bake all these cookies…and they were very full days! We watched a lot of Christmas movies throughout the baking process, especially different productions of the Nutcracker. Mostly, though, it was a fun family tradition, that looked a lot like what we made last year, plus a little something different, just for fun!

Tasty Tuesday–Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

Even though I wasn’t planning on making a dessert for New Year’s Day, once I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I did have to make a few changes, based on what was available to me at the store, so you’re getting the recipe I actually used, not the one I found. I also used Kahlúa in place of the coffee required in the original recipe, because I wanted to add more mint flavor, plus, I’m always looking for a new booze-soaked dessert recipe!

  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peppermint hot chocolate mix
  • 1/4 cup peppermint mocha Kahlúa
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows, divided

Place the eggs in a blender and blend on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar and then add the hot chocolate mix and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the Kahlúa, milk, and vanilla and blend until well combined.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch dish and place 1/2 of the cubed bread in the pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows on top. Add the rest of the bread and pack tightly. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and another 1/4 cup marshmallows.

Slowly pour in the custard. Press down on the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to thoroughly saturate. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Bake at 325, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes or until the bread cubes are crisp and browned and the center is firm.

Remove the dish from the oven and top with the remaining mini marshmallows.

Switch your oven settings to broil and broil for about two minutes, or until the marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Watch it closely, the broiler will burn the marshmallows easily.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.