Sunday, September 30, 2012

Luke's Birthday Cake Meltdown

Today is my wonderful husband's 24th birthday! I wanted to make him some special birthday treats, but our lack of kitchen supplies left me grasping for straws. I knew I couldn't beat the chocolate chip peanut  butter pancakes and chocolate chip peanut butter cookie cake from last year, but I thought I had a great idea to make him an ice cream cake, being as it is still in the 80s here at Fort Sill. I've made this a few times before with no problems, but I should have realized I made it before in normal kitchens with functioning appliances, i.e. freezers that actually freeze. So I made the delicious fudgy filling and got the ice cream sandwiches out only to find that despite being in our freezer for over 24 hours, they were melted. Not completely liquid melted, but way too soft to spread or stack or anything that was necessary. I had a little meltdown that ending in shouts about me hating living in a hotel and hating Fort Sill. Not my proudest moment. Even on his birthday, my husband loved me so well by salvaging the ice cream sandwiches and taping our freezer shut so they could be fit for use later today. Such a good man. So, I was finally able to make him a birthday cake, and it turned out as best as could be expected.

Here's the recipe, though I had to make a few changes due to hotel living circumstances.

1 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 cup sugar free cool whip
 1 package chocolate pudding
2 "rows" of Oreos, crushed (about 1 cup crushed)
12 ice cream sandwiches (we only had 8)
2 cups sugar free cool whip

In a bowl, combine hot fudge, 1 cup cool whip, and pudding. Whisk it until all of the pudding is incorporated. Add the crushed Oreos. Depending on the thickness of the hot fudge topping, you might need to add a little milk to make it easier to spread.

this stuff is great to eat straight from the bowl too...

On aluminum foil, place 6 ice cream sandwiches side by side. Top with fudge mixture. Place 6 more ice cream sandwiches on top, and cover this with fudge too.

Spread 2 cups cool whip over the whole thing.

Loosely fold foil around the cake so that it's not touching the cake. Put it in the freezer for about 4 hours. You'll need a heavy knife to cut it after it freezers thoroughly.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Garlic Bread Meatballs

We had a potluck with our Sunday school class tonight. It was great to get to know some of the people in our class better. All of them have a lot more military life experience, so it was good to hear about that too. Of the 5 couples represented, 2 of the men were deployed, so that was also eye-opening. I know deployment is coming, but for some reason, that made it more real. It was also a great reminder to take advantage of this time we have and enjoy each other.

I took some crock pot tortellini and wanted to try out an easy appetizer recipe I saw in a magazine a while ago. I couldn't remember it exactly, but it turned out great, it was super easy, and it was a big hit. It was also safe for a potluck since it was really simple.

2 cans of Pillsbury reduced fat flaky layers biscuits
30-40 frozen, fully cooked meatballs, thawed (or you could be amazing and make them yourself)
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Pull apart the biscuits along the layers into halves or thirds. Some of the biscuits were too hard to pull into thirds, so halves worked fine. Sprinkle a little mozzarella on the biscuit and then wrap a meatball in the biscuit. Place it seam down into a baking dish. Sprinkle all of the balls with the amount of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and parmesan that you want. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Take them out and sprinkle a little more shredded mozzarella on top and put them back in the oven for a minute or so.

the flaky layers

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crock Pot Tortellini

Over the 96 this past weekend, Luke and I went to Frisco, TX to see a Rough Riders game. This was absolutely the nicest AA stadium I have ever seen. It looked like a horse track reproduced with a MLB stadium. We spent the next day exploring Dallas and saw the grassy knoll. Mostly it was miserably hot, but we had a good time anyway. On the drive home, I was certain I had picked up some illness and immediately assumed it was West Nile Virus considering Dallas is the breeding ground. Turns out I got a nasty spider bite, and now I'm just praying I don't end up with a rotten hole in my arm. So, with being sick over the end of the weekend, a crock pot recipe was ideal. No work, forget about it, pass out on the couch to Dance Moms. This smelled really good cooking all day, too.

2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic, drained
1 can crushed tomatoes with juices
1/2 lb mushrooms, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 lb ground beef or Italian sausage, browned
16 oz tortellini
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Mix everything except for the tortellini and mozzarella in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. Mix in tortellini and mozzarella and let it cook until the tortellini is tender - around 15 minutes. Yum, easy, literally no work, and this was so delicious. And if the 16 oz of tortellini wasn't a clue, it makes a ton. Leftovers are my dream come true while living in a hotel...

Easy Coffee Cake

One of the hardest parts of moving frequently is having to find a new church home. In Annapolis, we loved our time at Bay Area Community Church and met some really encouraging people. After trying a few on for size in Stafford, we found a great home in Mount Ararat Baptist. It's always intimidating for me to "church shop" because I feel bad if we don't like one, but I also don't want to settle somewhere that isn't going to encourage us spiritually. When we got to Oklahoma, didn't have to shop around long before we found a church that felt like home. They even have Sunday School, which seems to be a lost art. The teacher is a West Point grad, so I anticipate some friendly hostility come December. This past Sunday was my day to bring a snack for Sunday school, so I made this really easy coffee cake. It was easy enough to make in the morning before we left, and we didn't get to bring much home, so I think it was hit.

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup milk, or as needed
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the streusel:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

In a large bowl, mix 2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Crack the egg into a measuring cup and add milk until the mixture is 1 cup. Add the vanilla to the egg/milk. Pour it into the crumb mixture and stir it until is moistened. Spread this into a greased brownie or 8x8 pan (the 9x13 is too big - I tried. more dishes, dang it!). The batter is thick and sticky, so I'll spray my spatula next time I make this.

In a smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the streusel. Cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs again. Sprinkle this on top of the cake, and bake it for 25 minutes at 350.

I forgot to take pictures of this one, so I only have the last remaining piece that we brought home.  It disappeared within 5 minutes of being home.