Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kitty Litter Cake

You might be asking yourself if the owner of this blog has gone crazy because she is posting pictures of her cat's litter box. This, my friends, is actually a cake made to look like a litter box. I've been wanting to make this recipe for a long time but never had the chance until recently. We had a Fear Factor activity with our church youth and I decided this would be the perfect dessert to end the night. You could use this for Halloween, April Fool's Day, or a farewell cake for the awful co-worker you couldn't stand (tehe). 

While it was very life like and everybody liked it, it wasn't the best cake I've ever had. In reality, you could make any cake and cover it with the cookie crumbs and tootsie rolls to get the same effect. Nonetheless, I'll post the recipe I used from the Allrecipes site:


1 (18.25 ounce) package German
chocolate cake mix
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 ounce) package vanilla sandwich cookies
3 drops green food coloring
1 (12 ounce) package tootsie rolls

1. Prepare cake mixes and bake according to package directions (any size pan).
2. Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill until ready to assemble.
3. Crumble sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup add a few drops of green food coloring and mix.
4. When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the remaining cookie crumbs, and the chilled pudding. You probably won't need all of the pudding, you want the cake to be just moist, not soggy.
5. Line kitty litter box with the kitty litter liner. Put cake mixture into box.
6. Put half of the unwrapped tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until softened. Shape the ends so that they are no longer blunt, and curve the tootsie rolls slightly. Bury tootsie rolls randomly in the cake and sprinkle with half of the remaining cookie crumbs. Sprinkle a small amount of the green colored cookie crumbs lightly over the top.
7. Heat 3 or 4 of the tootsie rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle lightly with some of the green cookie crumbs. Heat the remaining tootsie rolls until pliable and shape as before. Spread all but one randomly over top of cake mixture. Sprinkle with any remaining cookie crumbs. Hang the remaining tootsie roll over side of litter box and sprinkle with a few green cookie crumbs. Serve with the pooper scooper for a gross Halloween dessert.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake

I could NOT stop eating this. In fact, I wasn't feeling that well after dinner because I ate so much. It was that good! A few extra steps in this recipe for a breakfast bake but it was so worth it. My husband and sister also thought it was excellent. You could easily make this for this conference weekend or Christmas morning as a special treat. The bread is firm and not soggy, and everything is just the perfect mix. Seriously, try this recipe!

Make-Ahead Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake
(via Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

1 (14-inch) loaf Italian bread, ends trimmed (I used French because I didn't want to splurge on Italian.)
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage ( I used 2 lbs because of the packaging)
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups 1% milk
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice bread in half lengthwise then slice each half into ½ inch-thick slices. Spread the bread in single layers on two rimmed baking sheets and bake until golden, 10-15 minutes, flipping bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through (or bake one sheet pan at a time). Take care not to let the bread burn – it should be golden brown and toasted. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage and onion until the pork is no longer pink, breaking the meat into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.

Lightly coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Shingle half of the bread in the prepared pan so that the edges overlap slightly (a couple of times when I’ve made this, my slices weren’t long enough to shingle so I just placed the bread in a single layer and it worked fine). Top with half of the sausage mixture and 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, remaining sausage mixture, and remaining cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and hot sauce together. Pour evenly over the assembled casserole. Place the casserole on a rimmed baking sheet and wrap the casserole with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap lightly on the top of the casserole. Fill another 9X13-inch dish with cans of food (beans, fruit, whatever) and nest the weighted dish on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll be glad you placed the assembled casserole on a rimmed baking sheet at this point as there may be a bit of spillage over the sides as the casserole compacts. This will help the bread soak up the egg mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Let casserole stand at room temperature while the oven is heating. Remove weights, unwrap casserole, and bake until the edges and center have puffed and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mommy but Still Me

Mommy but Still Me
(pic via
Mommy but Still Me By: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
Description from "Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.
At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. "When will I get to hold my first grandchild?"

For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?"

MY REVIEW: I got this Kindle Book for FREE. I have an android phone and they have a free kindle app and tons of free books to download. Any-who, I have one little boy and another baby on the way. I wanted a humorous book about pregnancy and I got it with this one. I've already gone through this once so I could totally relate to her struggles of getting pregnant, then being frustrated with everything pregnancy came with. It was a cute and humorous book.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hearty Beef Stew

Believe it or not, I do have a ton of recipes to review. I'm now over my morning sickness and ready to start cooking again. Just to warn you though, most of my recipes I will be reviewing are from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She's a genius I tell you!

When the weather starts turning cold, I start craving soup. Nothing warms my soul and makes me fall in love with Autumn more than a good, hearty soup. I already have a recipe for beef stew that I love, but I wanted to give this recipe a go since it had a tomato base to it. My husband said it was hands down the best stew he has ever had and couldn't stop eating it! So here's the recipe:

Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker} 

via Mel's Kitchen Cafe (go to her site for her tips on this recipe)

5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
2 cups frozen peas
After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Cook half of the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through – just get some great brown color all around. Toss the meat in the slow cooker and follow the same process with the second half of the meat (you may need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if it looks a little dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker, trying to keep as much oil in the pan as possible.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker, pouring it over the meat.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the counter, lay out a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (use two sheets of regular foil on top of each other if you don’t have heavy-duty). Place the tossed vegetables on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Stir the tapioca into the slow cooker. Place the foil packet of vegetables on top of the stew, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.
When the stew is finished cooking, carefully remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Discard the bay leaves from the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (be careful of steam that may escape as you open it!). Return the vegetables and any juices to the slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Stir in the frozen peas and let them rest in the stew for 5-10 minutes, until they are heated through. Serve.