Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Product Review: Duncan Hines Decadent Cakes and Glazes

*I didn't receive the carrot cake mix, but this picture was so pretty and professional looking that I wanted to use it here*

I can't tell you how excited I was to receive these in the mail to review! It was right up my ally, unfortunately I had just started Weight Watchers a few weeks earlier, so I had to wait and try them when I had enough points to cover my "treat". Of course I went for the Chocolate cake first :) I hadn't really eaten anything sweet in a month, so I was really excited to try this, sadly, it just didn't taste that good to me. Maybe I've become spoiled by my homemade death by chocolate cake, but this chocolate cake tasted like it came from a mix and just didn't taste all that good. The kids said it was okay and didn't ask for seconds. I had tons of leftovers that went in the trash.
I was still very eager to try the Apple Caramel cake, it took me about 6 weeks later. The kids were sick, then it was finals time for me, then Christmas! I fixed this on Christmas Eve and let me tell you, it was very yummy!! I was pleasantly surprised about how the cake had a homemade taste. I would definitely buy this cake mix at the store!
The glazes were both very good. I would buy both of them!

I just love Duncan Hines products! In fact when I'm making a cake from a box, Duncan Hines is the brand that I always buy. I'm not sure what was up with the Chocolate cake, but I would try it again, that's how much faith I have in Duncan Hines products! To set the record straight since it seems like I'm working for Duncan Hines here, LOL! I did receive the 2 cake mixes and 2 glazes for free, but everything that was said is my honest, humble opinion!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Since the big kids are now officially on Christmas Break and my husband is off work too, I won't be on the computer much. Christmas day is my most very favorite day out of the entire year! It's truly magical to see the kids open their presents and just have the joy of their excitement fill the room! This year they're predicting a white Christmas, how wonderful will that be? I can't recall the last white Christmas we had! I'm SO excited!

I'm normally in the kitchen the entire day, but I don't mind it one bit! I always fix a big ham dinner with the works. I asked everyone if they wanted anything special for Christmas dinner, and all the kids said my homemade rolls with the honey butter! So out of everything that is what they have remembered from past dinners! I asked if they wanted to fix their own homemade pizzas like they did last year for Christmas Eve dinner, they all looked at me and said, "I guess". Like it was just something they would do if they had too, I guess we do homemade pizza too much for it to be a real treat for them! I may have to come up with something else to do, or add something "cool" or "fun" to do with it.

On Christmas Eve the kids always open their presents from each brother. I started that years ago when the kids didn't have much money (still don't at such young ages), so they would always be super excited to open any present before Christmas. You wouldn't believe how amazing a $.50 toy or a $.25 book looks on Christmas Eve, LOL!

Someday I hope I will see this little perfect thing underneath my Christmas treewhen my real babies are big, then I can go back to dog babies, LOL!

I hope your house is filled with that magical feeling that only Christmas through the eyes of a child can bring! Merry Christmas!!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The long road ahead is hard...

Does anyone notice the extreme happiness that is on this lady's face? If I were getting ready to eat that I would be happy too, hmmm, maybe that's the reason I'm overweight! I eat because I'm happy, not because I am sad or depressed. Too many good things are linked to a good meal. My biggest problem isn't emotional eating, it's portion control! Too much of a good thing turns out to be a bad thing!
Last weekend we went out of town and I ate whatever I wanted too, sure I cut down on my portion sizes and showed restraint from drinking pop, but I didn't count any points and basically was eating like before. We got home Sunday and I hopped on my treadmill, desperate to "undo" what I had done in the previous days. I was full of optimism when I awoke on Monday, only to find out that my eating whatever I wanted over the weekend mindset was still with me! Not to mention that I'm pms'ing and having food cravings!
My Weight Watcher's meeting is tonight, but will be cancelled due to inclement weather. I'm very glad, because that gives me a week to get back in control and take off these additional pounds I gained. My husband was running out to the store to get contact solution and always asks me if I need anything. I informed him I did need something, an Almond Joy chocolate bar. He looked totally shocked and asked if I was serious. I told him yes I was. He asked if I was quitting Weight Watchers. I said I would if I hadn't just paid for another month. He told me that the program's not working because I haven't changed how my mind thinks. Ah, the wisdom of skinny people, who have never had to deny themselves a morsel of food their entire life! It's just like anything in life, Weight Watchers or something else, if you work the program, then the program works, it's as simple as that!
I know my sweet husband will never understand what dieting entails, I mean how could he since he's never had to deal with something like this before? Even someone that only needs to lose 10-20 pounds will never understand my personal struggle with weight loss. The road ahead of me is very long and hard, indeed! But it's the path that I've chosen to walk down to improve my life and the life of my loved ones! I just need to block out these road obstacles, LOL!

Next week I'll be posting about my weight loss and will be incredibly happy. I just remembered all the Holiday baking I must do, ahhh it never ends!! :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Movie Review: The Expendables

We watched this movie last night and it was just okay for me. Normally I love action movies, but this one was just too gory for me, I can tolerate seeing someone shot, I just don't want to see blood everywhere and see all the gross detail. Yeah I'm aware that is what happens whenever someone is shot, LOL! But I just don't want to see it in detail! The storyline was decent, the casting was superb. Although we were left wondering what qualified the one guy from White Chicks to be an action hero. Every time I look at him I see him driving down the road singing that song from the movie, ROFL!! For those of you that have seen White Chicks, I'd bet you money you're hearing that song in your head right now and laughing hysterically :-) For those of you that haven't seen it, well you are sadly missing a funny movie and bare with me in this review!
The most exciting part of the movie was when I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger come on the screen, no, not because I have some weird obsession with him, but because I thought there was going to be some Terminator crap going on and got excited, LOL! Sadly, it was very brief cameo and then he was gone! Stallone delivered some funny lines, but frankly he will never top Rambo in my book! Over all it was kinda boring for me.


Red Velvet Cookies

I'm very hesitant about putting pictures of my children on the Internet, but that doesn't stop me from talking incessantly about them :) The weekend before last my little 4 year old, Evan, entered a cookie contest and won 2nd place!! I honestly do believe I was more excited than he was, LOL! He worked so hard on his red velvet cookies. The only thing I did was to do the proper measurements and put them into the oven and take them out, he did everything else! I guess that is why it was even more special to me, that he cared enough to want to do it by himself. Sure he helps out to lick the batter or sneak a bite of this and that, but this time he was determined to make "his" cookies! I was just as proud as a peacock when they called to tell me he had won! He won $20 and immediately spent it on a Buzz Lightyear Snuggie for himself, and a Cars Snuggie for his brother, another big smile on my face for his generosity!
Did I mention that his 10 year old brother also entered the contest? He didn't even place, nor did my chocolate cake. But it doesn't matter, the fun we had that day makes it worth a million bucks to me!
I just hope he continues to want to bake with me, I would never pressure him into anything. The older 2 rarely want to bake anymore, so I'm just biding my time with Evan, silently holding my breath that he will continue to go grab his little apron whenever he hears me digging around for my pans! Well, I've done went and made myself teary eyed!
Here is his cookie recipe:



2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with the rack in the middle position. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Break the chocolate squares into chunks, place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on High until the chocolate melts, about 90 seconds. Stir the chocolate until smooth and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy; pour in the egg and beat until smooth. Mix in the red food coloring and chocolate, scraping the bowl down regularly, until evenly blended, about 30 seconds. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients, stirring until well incorporated. Beat in the sour cream and mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake one sheet at a time in the preheated oven until they spring back when pressed, about 9 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the cream cheese frosting, whip 1/4 cup butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Blend in the powdered sugar in half cup portions until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.

*TIP* If you want the kids to do the icing, just put it into a decorator set like this
and put a large star tip on, we used a size 1M for this. It's very kid friendly and they really can't mess it up! I have the old plastic one. This one looks really nice!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nothing beats homemade, this is especially true with cookies! In just a few minutes I whipped this up and put them in the oven. I got to thinking, it really didn't even take me any longer to get all the ingredients from my pantry and throw this together than it would've taken me to walk out to my freezer and get some frozen store bought cookie dough and throw it on the cookie sheet! This recipe is super simple and super easy! My favorite type!

-1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
-1/2 cup shortening
-3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. In another bowl, cream softened butter with shortening, add sugar (both kinds) and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. (I do 6 min. for small cookies)
*Take out of the oven before they start to turn dark, unless you like your cookies to be extra crispy, I prefer to take mine out of the oven while they are super soft, not completely cooked, they finish cooking on the hot cookie sheet and they just melt in my mouth, yummm!!!

Another benefit of making everything homemade, or some may say, from scratch, is that you can make them any size you want, add any extra ingredient to the mix too! I like to make cookies of varying sizes, that way when a little one wants 2 cookies, he can have two little ones, that would normally equal 1 big one, LOL! Or if you're trying to lose weight like I am, you can sample a little one too!

*I didn't have any little helpers in the kitchen today, they were busy playing with their handheld video games. But as soon as they smelled the cookies they all came running into the kitchen, LOL! It's a snow day here and I wanted to make them something to go with their hot cocoa!