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Caramel Sauce

Happy New Year! To start this year on a good note I decided to try something that I’ve been wanting to make for some time now…and that’s Caramel Sauce. I’ve had this fear of boiling sugar and somehow knocking the pot off the stove and burning the shiz out of myself ( I’m crazy….I know), but no worries it hasn’t happened…well not yet.

*Sorry for the crappy pics…I took them with my phone…couldn’t get my camera, until I was done making this.


Caramel sauce is very easy to make, just takes some patience and standing in front of the stove for a bit. If you walk away, you risk burning your sugar and the sauce will be ruined….ruined I tell you…cause I did that!! There’s nothing sweet about the smell of burnt sugar in your house.

This sauce is pretty amazing…not life changing…but sooo good. If its done right, you will not go back to store bought caramel sauce…ever…pinky swear! So give it try, it took me three times to get it right.

*The key to getting great caramel sauce it dissolving the sugar before bringing to a full boil. Do this and you will be a very happy person.

Caramel Sauce
adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Make:

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Set the pan over med- low heat and stir the mixture gently until the sugar is dissolved. The syrup will not be completely clear  but  let it warm over medium-low heat (a 3 on my stovetop) for at least 6-10 minutes (I set my timer for 8-10 min) before moving to the next step. To be sure the sugar is dissolved.

A good way to tell is by dipping a spoon in the sugar mixture and then gently slide your finger (it might be hot, so use caution) over the mixture on the spoon and take a taste. If the sugar is dissolved, the syrup will be smooth and not at all grainy. If you still feel grains of sugar, keep stirring over low heat until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before letting the mixture come to a boil.

Once the sugar is completely dissolved, increase the heat to medium or medium-high and bring the syrup to a boil. Cover the saucepan and let the syrup boil for 2 minutes.

Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to boil the syrup until the edges start to turn golden brown. Carefully and gently stir the syrup until it turns a medium amber, caramel color. This can take up to 5-7 minutes. But watch it, cause when it starts to turn gold, it will get dark pretty quickly. I like to take the pot off the stove a few times and swirl the caramel around then place it over the heat as it starts to darken. I do this until its a deep gold color.

Remove from the heat and add the butter. Gently stir until the butter is incorporated. Stir in the cream. If the sauce becomes lumpy and isn’t whisking together, set the pan over low heat and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature. Store the sauce in a jar or airtight container, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Reheat on 50% power in the microwave or in a saucepan, adding a tablespoon of two or water, if needed, if the sauce is too thick.

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Holiday Punch

Happy Holiday’s Everyone! Hope you are enjoying them as much as I am.

If not this drink might make you a little more Merry! Enjoy

Holiday Punch
adapted from What Katie Ate

1 cup cloudy apple juice (use organic or regular is fine)
1 cup cranberry juice
50 ml Vodka (1 travel size bottle)
1 cup ginger ale
Ice

Place apple juice, cranberry juice and Vodka in a jug of a blender. Whiz until light pink and frothy. Pour mixture into a medium size jug. Top with ginger ale and a handful of ice.

Serves 4

Coca Cola Cake

Coke in a cake? That can’t be right? Who came up with this? These are the questions I asked myself when I came across this recipe. Being a lover of Coke I had to try it. A cake that had two of my favorite things in it, chocolate and soda I can’t live without…this had to be good.

This is a very easy recipe. You don’t need a mixer and it takes no time to make. The cake comes out so moist, its ridiculous.

The only issue is its SWEET …SUPER SWEET. You need a glass of milk …kind of sweet.

I have no plans on making this again any time soon. This might be a once a year kind of cake. But it is a great cake to take to a party.

Coca Cola Cake
adapted from May Flaum

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup coca-cola (from bottle is my preference!)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze
1/4 cup unsalted butter (half a stick)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coca cola
2 cups confectioners’(powdered) sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 35o’F and spray non-stick spray into a 8×8 pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium or large sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine butter, cocoa powder, coca cola and buttermilk. Stir the mixture really well and bring to a boil.

Remove mixture from heat and add the flour mixture and whisk until combined. Then whisk in the egg and vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into 8×8 pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Your cake will look like its not done, but don’t over bake it.

When the cake is nearly done. Make the glaze.

In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, mix together butter, cocoa powder and coke. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

Slowly stir in the 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Then stir in the chopped pecans if using.

Once cake is done and out of oven (toothpick should come out clean), pour the warm glaze right over the top of the hot cake.

Waite about 10-15 minutes before cutting into it.

Enjoy the sugar bomb!

If you are having trouble figuring out what to get your family and friends, why not try making one of these Crocheted Ornaments . Its a great way to use up those left over yarn scraps.

I came across this little gem on Pinterest. The instructions are pretty simple and there are some step-by-step pictures you can follow. I liked making these so much I crocheted five already and yes I will be making some more.

No worries if you don’t crochet I will be sure to share another very easy handmade gift to give out for Christmas.

Go here for the pattern.

Until then Happy Crafting!

I will admit that I am Pumpkin-d out. I’ve made more than  enough Pumpkin treats this year and its time to take a break from it. Out of desperation, I wanted to use the last can of Organic Pumpkin I had and found a delicious recipe that is great to take to holiday parties or you can be a fatty and not share it with anyone.

The choice is yours…

This cake is not super sweet, very moist and its hard to not eat just one piece. Its really good and so SIMPLE to make! I highly suggest giving some of this to your friends and family, it makes a very large cake.

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Sheet Cake
adapted from Picky Palate

Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)

3.4 ounce box Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

1/2 cup sour cream

15 ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (start w 1/4 cup and add a little more cream if needed)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a jelly roll 12 x 18 pan with non stick cooking spray.

2. Place cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, pudding, sour cream and pumpkin into a stand or electric mixer, beating until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

3. Place butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt, about 30-40 seconds. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to bowl, mixing until combined. Drizzle mixture evenly over cake then take a knife and run it through to swirl.

4. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through and remove. Place powdered sugar and cream into a large bowl and whisk until creamy and smooth. Drizzle over warm cake then let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares. Refrigerate if not serving same day.

Makes 16 to 20 squares

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Its the one holiday I wish would happen more often, but sadly it doesn’t. But instead of getting all bummed out about it, I put up my skinny Christmas tree, decorated my house with decorations galore and now its time to start making wonderful handmade gifts to give to family and friends.


Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve been getting my craft on in a crazy way lately…it might get out of control…

Made this Yarn Wreath (click link for tutorial). It took some time to make, but love how it turned out. The rosettes are made of felt and are super easy to do. Will make a few more for sure.

Crocheted and knitted some tube scarves. I might just make the blue one bigger.


Crocheted these Mug Cozies. These are super cute and I will be making lots of them!

That’s all for now. Hopefully this inspires the crafter in you to make some wonderful gifts. If you’re not crafty or don’t have the time for this kind of stuff check out Etsy, which offers a wide selection of handmade goodness. They have lots of great gift ideas!

Happy Holidays!

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

There have been plenty of times were I have made pancakes and realized soon after they were on the griddle…we had no syrup…really messes up my morning. So to avoid having those kind of moments in the future I made some homemade syrup. Say what?


Yes people…homemade syrup…its easy…and you probably will have all the ingredients on hand.


I will warn you…this syrup is pretty bomb and if your kids are like mine and love all things sweet and delicious then this will not last long in your home at all.

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup
adapted from Creations by Kara

Buttermilk  Caramel Syrup

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
In a large saucepan or pot, bring buttermilk, sugars, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat andwhisk  in soda and vanilla. It will bubble up a lot (make sure you us a large saucepan!).  Let it cool in the pot and stir it occasionally until bubbles go away. Store in fridge in an airtight container or mason jar up to 2-3 months.
Few notes:
* If you are concerned about the butter content. Instead of using a whole stick of butter you can use half a stick (1/4 cup).
*You could probably cut back on the sugar. Instead of a 1 cup of white sugar. Try 1/2 cup, but keep the 1 cup of light brown sugar.
* This is great with pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls…whatever you fancy. Enjoy!