Monday, October 14, 2013

Sargento Cheese VoxBox Awesomeness... Kinda

Thanks to VoxBox and I have had the privilege to try Sargento Cheese Snacks.

I’ll admit. I don’t think I ever bought Sargento Brand Cheeses before… and I don’t know if I would again. My husband and I are string cheese fans. However the cheese must have the right texture and flavor to be considered good.

Thus brings me to SARGENTO! (When you say the name don’t you think it should be shouted as an exclamation, or is that only me?)

I got two Coupons in my VoxBox. One for a FREE package of cheese snacks, and another for $1.00 off cheese snacks. I decided to use them both.

I purchased a package of Mozzarella String Cheese and a package of Sharp Cheddar Cheese Snacks. The packaging itself is sneaky in the fact that it is red and it’s been proven that the color red makes your brain think it’s hungry.

Let’s start with the Sharp Cheddar since that was the package we opened first…. In my own opinion -- I don’t like it.

The first stick I pulled from the package discouraged me with the way it felt between my fingers. It was squishy-soft.

The cheese itself lacked the flavor I was looking for in a SHARP CHEDDAR. There should be some bite to it and when eaten the texture between your teeth should be semi-firm. The taste of it was reminiscent of American cheese… You remember that gross cheese your parents would feed kids in the 80’s. This I definitely wouldn’t buy for myself again. However if I needed a cheese for little kids I might choose this.

The String Cheese was slightly better. In the usual Mozzarella flavor this is a package I may purchase again if I had a coupon. The texture was firmer than the cheddar, and it had all the qualities I look for in string cheese. It peeled apart easily and was sufficiently stringy.

We love just eating string cheeses straight from the packages… but there are so many other uses for it as well.

Have you tried using your string cheese for:

            Addition to scrambled eggs

            Grilled cheese sandwiches

Steak sandwiches

Breaded cheese poppers

Deep fried cheese sticks.

Yeah, we use it a lot.

As a whole, it seems to me that Sargento seems to be a company that spends their time cutting cheese instead of making better cheese.


Go eat some cheese. It’s yummy.


I got my sample and that cute mini snack cheese cooler compliments of for review purposes.

This did not influence the content of my review.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever... but I'm bias.

My Grandma Mc’s Doughnut & Sweet Roll Dough

6-7 cups Flour
½ cup Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
2 pkg. or 4½ tsp. Yeast
1 cup Water
1 cup Milk
½ cup or 1 cube Butter
1 Egg


Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
Heat water, milk, and butter till warm. Add egg to liquid when slightly cool.
Add liquid to dry ingredients. Mix until the wet and dry are evenly incorporated.
Add 3 cups flour and continue mixing until the dough forms a ball.
Flour work surface and knead in extra 1½ - 2 cups of flour for 10 minutes. Dough should no longer be sticky to the touch, but should not be dry either.
Place dough in oiled bowl cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough. Divide and shape as desired allow dough to rise again after shaping.  
Bake at 350 degree F for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

The dough can be mixed in a high powered stand  mixer (kitchenade)
Start with 5 cups of flour, sugar, salt & yeast
Add wet ingredients

Mix using dough hook adding the additional flour until dough forms a ball. Allow mixer to continue kneading dough, adding flour and periodically pulling dough from hook for 10 minutes.

Check the dough. It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). If you can't judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch.

I usually punch down the dough several times during the raising process if I don’t have time to shape and bake at the moment.

Dough can also be stored in the refrigerator overnight (and up to 5 days) then allowed to come to room temperature and rise before shaping and baking.


Two Options or Choices:

1. Refrigerating or Freezing Unbaked Cinnamon Rolls:

At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I've actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for one (1) month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.

If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I've done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking. If you rolls are not rising enough after being refrigerated, your yeast may need to be tested. To overcome this, let them rise, while sitting on the counter, until you achieve the desired rising before baking.

2. Bake Immediately After Making:

Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).

Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Bake approximately 30 - 35 minutes in a regular oven until they are a light golden brown. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 190 and 200 degrees.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm.

Best served warm, but room temperature is also great!


Forming a Cinnamon Roll:
After dough has risen, using your rolling pin, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15 x 24-inch rectangle.

Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter (listed below in the Cinnamon Filling) over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula or a pastry brush (or your hands.) Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal.

NOTE: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.

With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a serrated knife and saw very gently or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and crisscrossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.


Cinnamon Filling


½  cup butter, softened
½  cup granulated sugar
½  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon


Spread butter on rolled out dough.
Combine sugars and cinnamon until well blended and sprinkle evenly across dough.


Cinnabon Frosting


1 pound Margarine, room temperature
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 pound powdered sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Allow margarine and cream cheese to reach room temperature. Beat cream cheese and margarine together in a bowl with a mixer until combined and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl frequently. Slowly add in all powdered sugar. Once all of the sugar is in the bowl mix for at least an additional 12 minutes. When almost done, add in the extracts. Enjoy!

This makes a TON of frosting. It can easily be halved or quartered to make the amount needed. It is very good frosting so remember, more is better.

HELPFUL HINT: Buy your powdered sugar in 1 lb. bags or boxes. That way when a recipe calls for “1 Lb.” you can just dump in a bag and there is no measuring required.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Love in the Shade of Orange

The most loving deserving, lovely, wonderful woman was married on February 1, 2013. I was not only lucky enough to make her cake, but I also have the privilege of being her cousin. 

The bottom layer is Devil's Food Cake with a chocolate filling. The top layer was white cake, also with a chocolate filling. Topped off with vanilla frosting.

Jennifer & Duane Fox
February 1, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another pricing update...

Someday I’ll settle on pricing. Here is the latest edition:

Wedding Cakes are priced “Per Slice” based on the industry standard of a 1 x 2 x 4 inch slice.

Party Cakes - 1 1/2 x 2 in. Slices


6"  ........  12
8"  ........  24
9"  ........  32
10" ........ 38
12" ........ 56
14" ........ 78
16" ........ 100


6"  ........ 18
8"  ........  32
10" ........ 50
12" ........ 72
14" ........ 98
16" ........ 128
18” ........ 162


9x13   ……..   45
11x15  ……..  60
12x18  ……..  72

Wedding Cakes:

Basic Flavor     ……..     $2.50 per slice
Deluxe Flavor   ……..     $3.00 per slice

32 serving minimum order.

Groom’s Cakes:

Basic Flavor     ……..     $2.50 per slice
Deluxe Flavor   ……..     $3.00 per slice

32 serving minimum order.

Party Cakes:

Price determined by size, complexity and time required

Double Layer Round Cakes                 $30 - $60
Double Layer Square Cakes                $30 - $60
Single Layer Party/Sheet Cakes          $30 - $60
Double Layer Party/Sheet Cakes        $30 - $60

Any 3D or carved cake will start at     $40 - $$$


$1.75 per cupcake.

* Minimum of 2 dozen (24) cupcakes per order


** additional charges may apply depending on what is needed to complete the order.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cake... On the grill!? Who knew.

Did you know you can bake a cake on the grill? I didn't, until today.
I have a few cakes to bake in the next few weeks... With the temperatures over 100° all this week the thought of heating the house just makes me sweat.
I needed a good idea of how to bake without the heat.
After some googling I discovered quite the secret.

Baking on the grill!

How to:

  1. Preheat grill to 350°
  2. Use a really good grilling thermometer to gauge the temperature. I use THIS ONE.
  3. Bake this using indirect heat. (I used 2 out of 4 burners. One on each end of the grill and placed the cake in the middle.) Once the grill has reached the appropriate temperature set it on low heat.
  4. Mix cake as usual.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  6. Place cake on grill in the "cool" spot.
  7. Moderate the temperature so it stays around 350°
  8. Let bake 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

I actually baked the cake at about 330° and just cooked it a but longer.

The cake turned out beautifully.

I will be doing this again soon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2012 The End of It All

After such a busy summer it was really nice to take a break from Caking. Sort of. I missed having the use of my arm and was shocked and surprised on how long it persisted in hurting. I didn’t back again until December. Two cakes requested for the same day.
Sure I could do it… before the broken elbow thing. After the broken elbow? That had yet to be seen.
This is the first cake I made post elbow.
A birthday cake for one of my friends. Her birthday happened to fall on December 21 2012. This day, according to the Mayan Calendar, was supposed to be the end of the world. So we went with that theme.
First I had to make the earth. I used the Wilton “Sports Ball Pan Set” I hadn’t used the pan set before, so I was pleased with the cake I got out of it. Nice and round.
Next I created the earth. So pretty.
I wasn’t going for perfectionism. I just wanted it to resemble the idea of a planet.

The earth at 11:59 pm December 20, 2012

The earth at 12:01 am on December 21, 2012

The cake was fun to make. Especially the destroying the earth part.

I AM IRON MAN, Na Na Na Na Na NA NA (ala AC/DC)

Another cake I got to make on December 21st was for my niece. She was turning 4 on the last day of the world. Her cake of choice was… Iron Man. A girl after my own heart.


To make the cake fun my husband and I found an Arc Reactor in the toy section, you know, the ones that light up and make noise. I had thought that maybe I’d cut a round out of the center of the cake and install the reactor, but as it turned out it sat very well on the top. I had all sorts of Ideas on how to do the cake; in the end I used the Superman/Batman Pan to get the hero shape. (This pan has a most amusing story behind it.)


My arms were tired from decorating the other cake I had made this day, so I’m not as proud of this cake as I should be. It turned out great. But it could have been better. But Kira loved it anyway.




And Just a side note on how absolutely adorable my nieces are:


My Lucy requested an Avenger Ponies cake… Sadly I wasn’t able to make it for her, but it would have been Awesome! Maybe next year.



Avenger Ponies on YouTube

Friday, May 17, 2013

It wasn't me! It was the one armed man!

For Labor Day weekend we went to St. George to play. My first ever attempt at driving a quad-bike... I failed. Dumping myself and husband off and breaking my elbow. 

This is not long after the fall:

Then to InstaCare:

And this is how I spent September, October, and most of November:

Eureka! This year, Christmas will be - OURS!

My Nephew's name is Jack. His older sister loves The Nightmare Before Christmas. Needless to say a lot of what little Jack has is related to Jack Skellington.
When his birthday came around there was no question that his first birthday cake was going to be Nightmare Before Christmas. Since this is also one of my favorite movies I had so much fun making this cake. It was a lot of work for a smash cake, but it turned out awesome.

Jack's 1st Birthday Cake 
August 29, 2013

oh, and we can't forget the cupcakes. Those were fun to make too.

and here is the lucky boy who got to eat it...

finally, here is a nice 360 view of the cake.