..Miss Gracie's Sweet Shoppe..
Add a little sweetness to your life!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Time!

Here are some of the FABULOUS gifts I received!

From totally sporty and fun...

to totally GLAM!

Oh, and I also was given enough money to go buy one of these! And I even get to go on a shopping trip with my older sister to pick it out!

I felt the LOVE this Christmas( oh, and every Christmas always!) from all my dear family.

God has truly blessed my life with so many wonderful people that I love and that love me in return. That is the greatest gift of all! It just shows up more at Christmas when people go out of their way to bestow such unexpected presents... Thanks everybody!!!!

In case you were wondering what was on the dessert menu, here you are:

-Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream Cake

-Vanilla Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce

-Pumpkin and Apple Pie

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Assorted Mini Cheesecake for my Friends

Stressful fun! Ask my Mom if she thought I was having fun, and I am not sure that she would say yes, but it WAS fun! My biggest problem today was that I didn't really wake up until 3 p.m. so that kinda made the day not as fun as it could have been, but oh well. And here I am posting at 10:45 p.m. so that I should have the same problem tomorrow! Good thing it's Christmas Vacation( whoever came up with Christmas "vacation" was of their rocker! I mean, who doesn't work at least twice as hard as any other time of the year?).
The boxes awaiting their goodies...

Chocolate, Vanilla and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecakes!

Hopefully all my Basketball teamates are enjoying them this very moment - oh wait, they SHOULD be in bed, but I guess since I am not in bed they won't be either!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yes, I have been baking plenty, but I just have not had the time to take pictures and post and all that fun stuff! I hope to post some of the many Christmas goodies soon!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monkey Bread


Even with the stomach flu I managed to make monkey bread yesterday - what a sacrifice right? Actually, I ate one piece and couldn't even enjoy it! But I made up for that this morning and ate some for breakfast since I am feeling a little better. The only problem is that I have such a small appetite that I filled my stomach on fluff instead of something of substance - Oh well, I'll have something of substance later!

Monkey Bread:
This is a bread lovers perfect dessert! In our family it's gone in about 5 minutes!
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

8 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, butter, sugar, water, and yeast. In a mixing bowl fitted with dough hook, combine 3 cups flour and salt. Once combined, slowly add the liquid ingredients while mixer is running. Knead at low speed until dough is smooth and elastic about 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed. The dough should be very sticky but should pull away from sides of bowl. When done kneading, place in a greased bowl and let rise until double. Dump out onto floured surface, punch down or fold like a trifold wallet 3 times. Form dough into a rough square and cut into about 1 inch pieces. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Grease a large bundt cake pan very well with nonstick spray. Dip a piece of dough into butter then roll in brown sugar mixture and place in bundt cake pan. Repeat with remaining pieces. Cover with saran and let rise until double. ( At this point you can cover it with saran and let it rise in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temp. then continue with regular directions.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 -35 minutes . Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then invert onto plate.

P.S. My family and friends should be happy to know I have this recipe memorized, so you all know what that means! Anytime, Anywhere, MONKEY BREAD!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts and Blueberries

I made Baked Oatmeal ( from the December 2007 Gourmet magazine) this morning for breakfast. I added blueberries instead of the raisins and thought the walnuts would add a good little crunch, although I think that any fruit or nut would be just as good. I think it was an overall success and hey, if you can get your oatmeal but still have it taste almost like dessert, then it's a win-win situation! And this is your lucky day - I am actually going to post the recipe!
Baked Oatmeal:
3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 whole milk or half and half
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Lightly oil a 8 inch square baking dish.
~Stir together the oats, granulated sugar, baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
~Whisk together applesauce, yogurt , milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir into oat mixture, add nuts and berries, then pour into baking dish.
~Stir together brown sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over oatmeal, then bake until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
~ Serve with milk if desired.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks... pies!

LOOK at this stack of pie crust dough awaiting its fate...
3 Pumpkin and 2 Apple pies ( and don't forget the whipped cream)!

If I had a vote I would say forget the turkey and mashed potatoes -- let's just eat pie! Actually, I kinda dislike making pumpkin pies because they are really hard to make look very pretty-- the crust always slips or gets burnt or SOMETHING before the custard is actually set up. Oh well, they still tast pretty good and I shouldn't worry much since it disapears so quickly. Note to self: Make a pecan pie ( or 2 ) next Thanksgiving.

On a different note besides pie:

~ things I am thankful for this year~

1) God and His wonderful Word, The BIBLE. It always seems fresh and new with something powerful to say to me everytime I open it!

2) Family... That flag football game was sure fun today

3) 3 darling blue-eyed little nephews

4) A warm bed to crawl into every night

5) A daddy that takes me to races, even on Thanksgiving morning! ( yep, I ran in a 5 K race this morning - it was quite nippy!)

6) AND many more blessings, more than I can count... God is so good... there is no excuse for a lack of joy in my life, that is for sure!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Change of Subject...

Today I had an adventure of a different kind... coffee filter roses. I got the inspiration over at Mommy Makes Roses and the directions over at Martha Stewart's Website. There is even a video, which is really helpful! It took me about 2 hours [ :-0 ] to make my first one, but I am happy with the results and I am sure that I will be faster next time... hopefully! Sorry about the blurry pictures. There is something really wrong with our camera and I haven't figured out how to fix it yet.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I was TAGGED by my dear Mother over at Miss Gracie's House. Here we go.

6 Interesting Facts about ME:

1) I LOVE to run. Yep, I would probably pick that if I had a choice of one thing to do. Yes, my friends think I am an extraterrestial being - all I wanted to do for my 17th birthday was to run the farthest I have ever run. I ran 6.2 miles which isn't that impressive, but, my bodyguard (Dad) can get a little bored riding his bike, so I haven't ever really had the chance to run as far as I could.

2)I love listening to Josh Groban and Skillet, Michael Buble and Lifehouse, Chopin and Downhere. Kinda different, huh?

3) My favorite movie at the moment would be No Reservations. Jane Eyre( the new Masterpiece Theatre one) is pretty good too.

4)I have played the piano for over 10 years... wow, that's a long time once I think about it.

5)I get really nervous for piano competitions and recitals but I NEVER get nervous for Volleyball and Basketball games.

6)I have no idea what I am going to do after I graduate from highschool this year - I'm just waiting for God's direction... it's hard being patient for Him to work things out! :-)

I don't know who to tag yet. I'll let you know when I figure it out!

Bazaar Baking...

Yesterday I made some goodies for the local Pregnancy Resource Center's holiday bazaar. It happened to be the best day for baking... wet and drizzly outside, Josh Groban playing in the background... my ultimate day! Here are some pics:

Homemade Marshmallows

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars, Mint Brownies, Chocolate Toffee Pecan Bars

Cinnamon TwistsHere is how I packaged the marshmallows - I don't think the picture does justice to how cute the little packages turned out!

Which Jane Austen Heroine Are YOU?

Surprise, Surprise!!!
I am Elinor Dashwood!
Take the Quiz here!

(I didn't need to take the quiz to know which herorine I would be - it's really obivious if you know me personally!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Teaparty with Abigail

Abigail and I had a teaparty today... doesn't it look like fun?! I even got her to dress up and wear some clip-on earrings. But, for the record, this teaparty was all her idea - she chose the menu and made the scones all by herself!

~Rosemary Chicken Salad Sandwhiches with Grapes and Walnuts
~Mini Lemon-Blueberry Scones
~Grapes and Carrot Sticks
~ Lemon Bars
~Good Earth Tea

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mexican Flan

I made flan (notice the link for the recipe!) on Sunday for a family get-together - we had a Mexican fiesta! Most members of our family are NOT custard people, so I was very surprised at how many liked it. I even liked it and I am included with those that usually can't stand it! I never thought flan looked all that appetizing either - another reason why I have stayed away from it. One comment I did get was that it tasted more French than Spanish because it was so rich and creamy. I wouldn't know -I never have had Creme' Caramel or Flan either here in the USA or abroad... bummer, I know! But I am really glad I tried it. Apart from the burnt sugar syrup it was incredibly EASY! The sugar syrup took me 3 tries before I finally just added extra water and then it was a great from there.

Mexican FLAN

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Culinary Taste Test #1: Pumpkin vs. Butternut

Have you ever heard that butternut squash tastes more like pumpkin than pumpkin? Well that is just what I had to find out yesterday. I had also heard that butternut squash make an awesome pumpkin pie - was it true? Well after a couple of hours of cooking, cooling, pureeing, running to the store, etc. I finally had something that we could test. Here are the pros and cons:

Pumpkin Pros:

  • Tasted like "pumpkin" since that is what it actually is!

  • Had a little more 'watery' consistency - which could be a pro or a con depending on your taste

Pumpkin Cons:

  • Far too often you cut open a very stringy pumpkin that takes too long to process and even then it still doesn't taste very good.

  • Pie Pumpkins can be harder to find

Butternut Pros:

  • Thick consistency which I liked, but not everyone else.

  • Butternut is more predictable as far as stringiness goes.

  • There are less seeds and they are easier to remove.

  • Butternuts tend to be available almost year round.

Butternut Con:

  • Thick consistency (described as 'gluey' but that could probably be gotten over if you added a little water to the puree)

The final decision: well, there isn't enough of a difference to go to a bunch of work either way. I will probably go with the butternut since I won't have the problem of stringiness and they just seemed easier to prepare. As a side note: I made the pie filling without the pie for my testing - sometimes I wonder why I even bother with a crust because the filling is so good by itself!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Here are some pictures of a birthday gift for my occasional partner in crime( er, I mean cooking ;-). I found a darling vintage apron and a William-Sonoma cookbook that I think she will love! I think this gift was too much fun for me though - I got to model for the pictures and I even bought copy of the cookbook for myself!

Molten Lava Cakes

How could this little cake appear so innocent ...

... but yet be so SINFUL!!!!

Molten Lava Cakes for my Mom's birthday treat - 1 week late!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blackberry Pie

I love pie... flaky & tender crust, sweet-tart fruit filling, a cloud of whip cream... what could be better?! I made 2 blackberry pies for Abigail's birthday celebration. She really wanted peach, but since we are past peach season she had to settle for frozen blackberries. I don't think she was too disappointed, or anyone else for that matter!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Special Requests: Carrot Cake

To all my friends and family out there: special requests are always welcome. It means trying something new... experimenting! This was a new recipe I tried from my ever trusty Baking Illustrated for a friend that said she was dying for some Carrot Cake. So if any of you just need me to make you tiramisu( or whatever you might be craving), just call me up and I would love to assist you in that area!

Carrot Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Pecans