Saturday, January 28, 2012

Double Chocolate Chip Bars

 Here is a very Easy Peasy Recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Bars...

 I first lined a square baking pan with Parchment Paper and spray the top and sides of the paper with cooking spray.  Make sure you leave paper hanging over the sides for easy "lift out" after baking...

 I always have pre-made cookie mix on hand.  I never know when the mood or taste buds will be screaming for some gooey goodness..!

I followed the directions on the package of the cookie mix and placed 3/4 of the mix on the bottom of the cake pan. Then I Generously layered the chocolate chips on top of the first layer of mix and topped with the remaining of the cookie you can see I did not skimp on the chocolate chips:)

After baking for approx 25 mins on 375 degrees...I let the baked bars cool slightly and then lifted them carefully out of the pan with the parchment paper.  After they set for a few more minutes I cut them into small bars.  You can see how nice the sides baked with the pan lined with the parchment paper.  No hard or over baked sides.  Just Lovely..!!

 I had to try a piece...!  Every good baker tastes their food, right!!?

It was so easy to cut into bars. I lined the pan with plastic wrap, gently placing each bar back into the clean pan.  I was able to get two rows of bars, placing another piece of plastic wrap on the top of the first row and then placed the second row on top of the bottom row.
Securely wrapped the top row and placed the lid on the pan. 

And so good!

Enjoy your week-end, friends!

Monday, January 23, 2012

 Dried Apricots....Are so Yummmy!
And add a little chocolate...Spectacular!!

I purchased these Apricots for a family member who is recovering from surgery.  Her recovery is a very slow process and her appetite has been greatly diminished.  Between her daughter and myself, we are trying to provide her with the foods she may be craving in order to keep her body nourished and get stronger.  Her recent requests were some Dried Apricots and my Lemon Cookies...
I was able to get the Apricots to her this past weekend, however when she tasted one her response was,
"they taste like cardboard"...with that said, I suggested I take them home and coat with Chocolate.  The suggestion was well received:) 
I have to admit, they are very tasty with a bit of Chocolate!!

 I took a half bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, placed them in a 2 cup glass measuring cup.  Placed in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes.  Individually dip each Apricot in the chocolate and placed on wax paper for the chocolate to set. 

 While the chocolate set on the Apricots, I mixed a batch of Lemon Cookies....!

Someone is going to have some good treats tomorrow..!

Have a good week, my Friends!


How We Choose To Remember.....

I'm sure at this time of reading my post you or many of you have learned of Joe Paterno's passing.
I'm not going to list all the reasons or why JoePa should be remembered.
I will share with you a Tribute my Cousin posted after learning of his death.

"Sad, Sad day. I feel like I lost a member of my family. Joe Pa wasn't just the coach of my favorite team, he was my coach. He taught me how to be a coach and what the top priorities in coaching should be; family, academics, honesty, humility. I made the comment to my friend, Jamie Belk the other week that he wouldn't last 6 months after he lost his job. Sad that I was right. Truly sad that Landon will never see him walk the Sideline. Says something about a football coach who has a library named after him. Hope he is remembered for his positive contributions and not the actions of another man." -Todd Stokes
A little back ground on Todd... 
Todd has his Masters in Education, he has been the football and wrestling coach for the district in which he teaches for several years.  Todd has also been voted and awarded the "Best Coach" within his coaching league.  Last week Todd and his wife celebrated the birth of their second child, a son Landon.  
I know I can speak for many within our family, we agree with Todd's choice of words for JoePa.
May his family find peace and surround themselves with the love of so many who give their love and support.  God Bless the Paterno Family......

Have a great week friends and find your inner Joy and walk in His Love......

Friday, January 20, 2012

Take That, January....!

January is quickly coming to a close for 2012 and I will share I am not sad to see it leave.  We're only now getting cold temperatures and snow in the forecast for this weekend here in PA.  I am not a fan of the white stuff any more, only if I can stay put sitting by a roaring fire.  I'm hoping for an early Spring!

There has been so much going on and then as I reflect back on all the happenings,
it really is just the busyness of life.
This past week was here and gone within a blink of an eye, busy with the Salon along with the every day activities and chores in need of being done.  The highs of the week have been talking with a new blogger friend, a new birth and completing over due "catch up" around the house from the Holidays.  The lows, an illness with a family member that seems to be taking set-backs rather than forward and conquer..after several days of reiterating and focusing on the issues some progress has been made and hoping for a positive prognosis and continuing to move forward. Also a death this past week with services arranged for tomorrow which includes a snow storm.. And my Steelers wont be playing in the Super Bowl!

After a long and mentally exhausted week I'm looking forward to relaxing most of the weekend, I do have a batch of my Lemon Cookies to bake per special request for someone very special, which will be baked and delivered also sometime this weekend.

So my friends, January can close with a swift kick in the behind and it wouldn't make me sad at all..!
How many more days til Spring..!??

Thanks for stopping by...!
Hugs my Friends,

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Little On Top, Please...
That's....a little bit of Rich and Creamy Butter!

This sculpture was created for and displayed at this year's 100th PA Farm Show Anniversary.  The case protecting this beautiful work of art which was created with over 1000 pounds of sweet butter, was displayed in the Main Hall of the Farm Show Complex.  The Main Hall also happened to be the same area for the Hershey Chocolate Cake Contest I entered...(few posts below)
I was able to get some very clear pictures of the sculpture and wanted to share with you all..!
The Sculpture depicts a 4-H member and his calf with a fair queen presenting
the young person with a ribbon.

 The sculpture really was a sight to see...! 
And How About All That BUTTER..!!?
All that butter sure would make a lotta Cake and Icing...! 

Thanks for stopping by...

Sad Day in the Restaurant World

Founder of Cracker Barrel has Passed..

"The company said Monday that Evins — known as Danny — died Saturday in Lebanon, Tenn. No cause of death was given.

Evins opened his first restaurant in Lebanon, Tenn., in 1969. The restaurant catered to highway travelers and focused on offering Southern hospitality, country-style cooking and an associated gift shop that came to define the chain.
He fashioned the restaurant after the country stores of his youth in rural Tennessee and used a number of family recipes. The restaurant was named after the practice of customers gathering at country stores to share news and play checkers on top of an empty barrel that had been used to deliver crackers to the store.
Evins helped build the chain into a national brand as CEO from 1969 to 2001 and chairman until he retired in 2004. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., headquartered in Lebanon, Tenn., now operates more than 600 restaurants in 42 states.
“Danny was a straight-shooter and dedicated to authenticity. It was an honor and a responsibility that I took seriously to follow Danny as CEO, and then as chairman when he retired.” Cracker Barrel Executive Chairman Michael Woodhouse said in a statement. “Danny was the keeper of this special brand for so many, many years, and he left us with a strong culture that values quality and honesty. He will be missed deeply.”
Survivors include five children. A private funeral service was being planned."

Cracker Barrel  has always been my Favorite Restaurant stop while travel via car....I have a map which I up date frequently listing all the Cracker Barrels along the US roads.  My stops and travel route are sometimes determined by the locations of a Cracker Barrel.  I have eaten many Breakfasts, Lunch and Dinners where the food is never disappointing and the company is great..!  I especially like the gift shops, how their goods and gifts cater to the local area and community with each restaurant along with some same all time favorites they sell at each location.  Many thoughts and prayers are with the Evins Family.....

Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic week, my friends..!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Refreshing Side of Things...

To know me, I Love Chocolate!  I have a very good friend who tells others frequently, "If one wants to give K something she really likes, give her Chocolate!".   Well, I must confess...for as much as I love the Chocolate, I equally Love Orange, Cranberry and Nuts all mixed together in any form of Cake..!

I crave it....frequently
It's my weakness to all sweets!
It has Orange and Cranberry and Walnuts...that makes it healthy, RIGHT!!?

Here is what I mixed together and placed in a Bunt Cake Pan
 I started with a Yellow Cake Box Mix...
 Rind from a large Orange
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice from the same Orange
Three eggs
1/3 cup of oil
Water combined with Orange Juice to make 1 cup
After mixed well, Add your Dried Cranberries and Walnuts... 
I usually just "dump" an unmeasured amount of the
Cranberries and Walnuts...which would properly measure
1/2 cup of Cranberries
1 Cup of Walnuts
 Spray pan with Cooking Spray
 Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins...

 After the cake cooled for a few mins I inverted onto a plate 
and added an Orange Glaze on top.

Orange Rind from Large Orange
Orange Juice from Large Orange
One cup of Powdered Sugar

 The picture shows the cake much darker than it really is...
If you look very close, you can see the Orange Rind with the Cranberries and Walnuts...

You can make your Glaze thicker,
I wanted the glaze thin so it would seep into the cake giving even more of an Orange Flavor.

Tomorrow I will cut the cake into separate individual pieces, wrap in freezer wrap and freeze them for an easy grab on the go with my coffee:)

Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic week-end!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Final Hershey Cake Contest

And The Winner Is...

There were 75 cakes to be judged...
That's a lotta chocolate cake!

Listed below are the top 5 winning cakes at the PA State Farm Show...
My cake was tasted twice by the judges, however did not make the final cut. My thoughts are, I lost points on presentation.  When I decided to enter this at the Local Level, It really was on a whim and I learned more complete protocol after the fact.  Next year if I decide to enter, (I'm already brain storming presentation) I will be more prepared. 

First place winner

2nd Place

3rd Place

4th Place

5th place

My cake
 YES...My name is spelled incorrectly!
Not sure how that happened, all was correct on my submitted forms.

My cake being judged

This truly has been a great experience..!

Congratulations to the Final Winners...!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Round Two with the Hershey Cake...

 Today was registration from 3-5pm at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex for the Hershey Cake Competition.  Tomorrow is the official start of the Farm Show with additional registration starting at 8am to 11am.  Judging starts at 2:30pm for the chocolate cake lasting approximately two hours.  I was hoping I would be able to register today and not have to worry about being there on time with the traffic and rush of people.  Fortunately it worked out and I was able to accomplish registration this afternoon. 
My cake number is 7.   

After registration was complete I was handed the bag below filled with some Goodies from Hershey Corporation.  Inside was a White Apron, a very nice set of metal measuring spoons, a small cake spatula, Hershey's Cocoa and Hershey's Semi-Sweet Morsels...

I'm really lovin this Apron...! 

Measuring Spoons and Cake Spatula
The set of Measuring Spoons are very good quality as well as the Cake Spatula..!!

This has been such a great experience! And I am anxious to see all the cakes tomorrow that are already WINNERS..!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's the Little Things That Sometimes Remind Us Of the Big Things and What Matters the Most..

Today I received a package in the mail from a New Blogger Friend, Tricia at Hillcrest Home Prims.

Inside the package was this handmade Tea Stained Prim Pillow and the newest Edition of Rachel Ray's Magazine.  I have to admit, I can't recall ever reading or picking up to browse through a copy of Rachel's Magazine.  With that said, I certainly have been missing out on some good recipes and good articles.  

Thank You, Tricia..!!

If you follow my blog, this past Fall I won first place in the Local Competition for a Hershey's Cake Bake.  This was my very first time entering any type of a baking competition, so you can imagine how stunned and shocked I was to learn I had won first place.  The rules and regulations are directly from Hershey Corporation, Hershey PA.  All first place winners at the local levels automatically qualify for the State Competition in Harrisburg at the State Farm Show Complex in January.  The Farm Show starts this Sunday for the public.  I must register my Chocolate Cake at the Complex by Saturday morning before 11am. with Judging promptly at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon.  One of the Judges for the State Level is the Head Pastry Chef at Hotel Hershey....this is serious stuff!  I'm totally thrilled and honored to be apart of this contest, the experience has been fun and very rewarding.  Not to mention the awesome people I have met with common interests.  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of all the different yummy chocolate cakes and share with you all

Have a fun weekend and stay warm....
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter has most definitely made his appearance!

A few days ago my cousin asked me if I would be available this day in the morning to be with her two grandchildren from Virgina, Miss Abby and Master Austin...
My cousin's Mother-In-Law passed suddenly this past weekend, to which her services were being held this morning at her church.  The family had decided to not have the Great-Grandchildren  attend the three hour service.  Fortunately, I was available this morning to help out.  I decided to take the material along for the Sock Snowmen I recently made thinking this would be a neat craft for Abby and Austin to make and take home to Virgina...and a remembrance of their Great-Grandmother, her farm is within a stone's throw of the church on this cold and flurry day.

Austin and Abby were more than excited when I shared what I had planned.....
Austin created Snowman Mr. James along with Abby's creation of Snowlady Miss Katie.

Austin with Mr. James....Abby with Miss Katie

The total time for this craft with a 5 and 7 year old was approximately one hour.  If you would like the complete Tutorial on the Sock Snowmen, scroll down my page a bit where you will find complete instructions.

Thanks for stopping by and many Blessings..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year...!

Me with two of my Favorite Ladies...BFF's Mother and BFF

A Toast and Cheer to you for the New Year..! that the Holidays are finished, we all can relax a bit...

My "Old"" was taken out having dinner with 4 other couples, 10 of us gathered for a nice dinner of Prime Rib and lots of Sea Food.  Then we did a bit of shopping and finished the evening back at Kathy's (BFF) for some after dinner/shopping cheer..!  Kathy's mother was staying at her home, babysitting Chole, the family Bison.  Chole hasn't been feeling well, her hip becomes dislocated causing her much discomfort:(  Helen, (mom) is the sweetest Lady ever!  I LOVE her, She is very quick witted and doesn't miss a beat..!

I was back home in time to see the Ball Drop in NYC, then lights out for me.  My son was attending a private party within a gated community, (a live band with catered food..not too shabby!) the homes surround a beautiful really is too bad the area is gated, because it would be a fantastic place to spend summer evenings.  I did receive a message from my "Favorite" Son at Mid-Night wishing me a "Happy New Year" and also my brother Mike called me from Texas, so it was a great end of the Old Year and started the New One just fine..!!

Now it's time to put my Pork n Kraut into the Oven for a Good Old Pennsylvania Good Luck Meal!

Happy 2012

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