Monday, December 3, 2012

All I Want for Christmas!

Ah, Christmas time!  One of my faaavoritte times of the year.  I love Christmas!  I love the decorations, the scents and the smells.  And quite honestly, I cannot get around the whole Christmas season without a little bit of peppermint.
 
It seems that these days, it's all that I want.  Whether it's a cup of peppermint hot cocoa or a little minty-mint in my eggnog....I'm gaga over Christmas & peppermint this year!
 
 
Hence, my facsination with this recipe: My Red & White Peppermint Delights.  These babies are as easy as pie.  No really!


 
Here's what you'll need:
 
Chemeeka's Peppermint Cookie Treats
Cookie:
* one package of sugar cookie mix
* one teaspoon of peppermint extract
 
Frosting:
* half a teaspoon of peppermint extract (two separate places in the recipe)
* one bag of red candy wafers
* white sprinkles
 
Directions:
Prepare your package of sugar cookie mix according to the instructions, and add in one teaspoon of peppermint extract to the mix.  Bake according to the instructions.  Let the cookies cool completely on a cookie sheet or in an air-tight container.
 
Frosting:
 Once the cookies have completely cooled, begin working on your frosting.  Melt an entire bag of Wilton or name brand red candy wafers in the microwave for one minute on high heat.  Stir.  And place back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.  Remove from the microwave and even if the wafers are not completely melted, continue to stir until any lumps have become smooth.  Add half teaspoon of peppermint extract.  Frost each cookie with your peppermint-flavored red melts and cover with sprinkles right away.
 
Place the cookies on a shallow cookie sheet in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. 
 
And there you have the most delicious, easy-to-make, fun-to-look-at, put-you-in-the-holiday-spirit, if there ever was one, cookie.
 
 
Happy Holidays Everyone!
 
xo Chemeeka
 
 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

I'm Back!

If there is one thing that I have found, it is the fact that I cannot run from baking no matter where I go!  It's inside of me & it is at the very core of me.  It's who I am & all that I love and will be.
 
 
I love to bake.
 
 
I can bake.  I can craft.  I can write.  I can do a lot of things but the thing that I love above (all of the things that I can do) is sweets/treats & baking.  That's me.  So that is why I am back, at Bakie Me Sweet!
 
Dust off your aprons honey, and grab the sugar.  'Cause we're getting back down to...the baking business!!
 
 
 
Love you ALL!
 
Enjoy the journey:-)
 
 
xo Chemeeka (for Bakie Me Sweet)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Oriental Orange Chicken Salad


I LOVE this salad! And when I say, "love" I mean, absolutely love, love, love this salad!! My family does too & that's why I wanted to share this recipe with you. It's super easy & super simple. Just take:

Ingredients:
One bone-in chicken breast
1/2 cup of your favorite teriyaki marinating sauce.
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 of an orange (peeled & segmented)
1 full cup of brocolli, gently steamed & chopped
2 cups of romaine lettuce leaves or mix greens

Makes 2 to 4 servings


 First take your chicken breast, bone side down and place it in the oven on 350 degrees for 35 minutes, to make sure that it's done.  Pour your marinade on first.
 While you're waiting for that to get ready.  In a large bowl, add your washed & ready lettuce leaves and then go ahead and segment out your orange.   Seedless is best if you have it.  If not, you can always, catch the seeds before you add the oranges to your salad.  Next you're going to chop your brocolli.  Now, for my family, I've got to blanche the brocolli first (because they don't like it too crunchy:-)  Blanching simply means that you steam it for a couple of minutes, then immediately transfer the brocolli into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process. 
Once the brocolli is cooled, drained it and add it to your salad.
 
 When your chicken breast is done, give it about five minutes to rest.   And then we're ready to chop.
 Pull it apart easily with a fork or chop it with a knife.  Then add it to your salad. 
Next add in your walnuts.

And then as a finishing touch, I usually like to take about an additional half cup of the marinade and bring it to a low simmer over medium-high heat in a saucepan.  I remove it from the heat and add a tablespoon of plain rice wine vinegar, one tablespoon of honey, and one teaspoon of orange zest.  Then drizzle it over your salad and enjoy!  This salad is full of texture and contrasting flavors.  It's filling but yet light at the same time.  I hope that your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

Happy baking, happy cooking & happy fresh ingredients!
-Chemeeka

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for my husband's post-birthday, men's fellowship dinner.  In my mix I started out with my water,
The oil.
And mixed in everything with the exception of my fluffy egg whites.

And then I folded the egg whites in.

Until my batter was nice and creamy; with a smooth consistency.
Filled up my cupcake pans and we're ready to bake.
I let my cupcakes cool, until they were cool to the touch (past room temperature).
Poked some holes in them to get air.
And then started with my milk mixture.

Mix equal parts, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and half & half.  That's my recipe ;-)

Took the tops & centers out of each one of my cupcakes.
Then filled each one with my mixture. 
Put the wisk attachment on my stand-mixer and put in six egg whites to one & a half cups of fine granulated sugar.  Wisked the egg white mixture first over the attachment.

Bring it until it's nice, shiny & fluffy.
Get out your ice cream scooper and you're ready to go.
Top your cupcakes.
Finish it with a cherry on top.  And there you have your tres leches cupcakes.
Happy Birthday Don!

Bon Appetit!




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sweet Peas & Onion Salad


I've made this salad several times in the last week.  It's not only quick and easy but tasty too! This pea salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer picnic or barbecue.  Start with one cup of frozen small sweet peas.



Next add two cups of fresh leafy mixed lettuced leaves...



Add about 1/3 of a thinly sliced sweet vidalia onion, cut into strips, and then quarters.


Add your onions to the bowl with the frozen peas.


Next, in a separate bowl combine 1/2 cup of mayonaisse, 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper and toss in with lettuce leaves, onions and frozen peas.  Once your salad is completely blended, sprinkle generously with sea salt and then give it another stir.  *Note: It's important that you started out with frozen peas and not thawed peas because as this salad sits and waits to be eaten, the flavors will begin to meld together.

Let your bowl sit in the fridge or out on the table for about 30 mins to an hour & enjoy!  Bon Appetit & Happy Picnicing!!


-Chemeeka 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Celebrate the Fruits of her labor

She's up at the crack of dawn, has got the kiddos off to school, your dinner ready, and dry-cleaning ready to pick up..she's none other than your wonderful wife.  And what she deserves more than anything is a sweet ending after a very long day.  Thank her this Mother's Day with this special treat made by none other....YOU!  (Now I know that this website is read by mostly "mom-readers" but simply erase this line in the message and "accidentally" leave it up on the printer..wink).

French Vanilla Orange-Scented Custard
(or French Vanilla Custard a L'Orange)

Ingredients:
One small box of instant french vanilla pudding
1 3/4 cup lowfat milk
1 teaspoon orange extract
cinnamon or nutmeg
fresh fruit to garnish

This one's really EASY!  Combine your pudding packet with 1 3/4 cups whole or low-fat milk (depending on the gal..you'll know if she's watching her weight.  And in that case, use the low-fat milk), add a full teaspoon of orange extract, and a dash of ground nutmeg or cinnamon, which ever one you have handy.  Garnish with a couple of pieces of fresh fruit (I say go with either a blackberry or raspberry so that you're not there slicing) put it in a fancy glass and there you have it!

By the time the kiddos are finishing putting their special stamp on mom's card, you're done.  She's happy.  You're happy.  A sweet ending for all.

Have a Happy Mother's Day & Celebrate the wonderful woman in your life with the "fruits" of her labor:)

~Chemeeka

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Dinner Made Simple

Easter is coming, the family will be here, the kids will be hungry, and you know what that means: Dinner. We need to have it made, with as few steps as possible!  Any body with me?  I really think that you can pull off a tasty meal and I promise to show you how.

So what's on the menu?  None other than an Easter favorite Rosemary Roasted Lamb chops and Red Potatoes dish with Fresh Green Beans.  (Let me start off by saying that this is not my original photo but giving credit to it's author, it serves as a guide for a really delicious and balanced meal.)  Now, let move forward with our shopping list for our special dinner.  You'll need:

A package of 4-6 medium cut lamb chops
A bag of red potatoes
A fresh bag of microwavable green beans
Extra virgin olive oil
Three springs of fresh rosemary (you can usually find these over the bags salads in your produce section)
One tablespoon onion powder
salt and pepper
*(This recipe adequately feeds a family of 4-6)

Directions: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and start setting all of your ingredients. 

For Easter dinner I typically like to have either a cold potato salad or a roasted potato dish.  We're going with the roasted potatoes this time because it's a lot less work than potato salad but just as delicious.

Remove your lamb chops from their packaging and give them a quick rinse.  Line a 11x14x 2 inch baking dish or your trusted roasted pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (for easy clean-up;-)  Drizzle your lamb chops with olive oil, salt, pepper, and two of your sprigs of fresh rosemary, un-chopped, laying across.

Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan and cover with a foil top for about 20 minutes.  We want to keep the chops moist almost to the end of our cooking process.  Take the foil off for the last 5-10 minutes to give them a nice little crust,  but no longer as we do not want the chops dry out.

When the lamb is done remove it from the oven and sprinkle with the half tablespoon of onion powder.

Next, ( and you can do this step while you lamb is in the oven or knock them both out at once, but be sure to check the doneness of your potatoes)
Wash and quarter half of your red potatoes (about 2 pounds).  In a large bowl, toss potatoes, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, rosemary sprig chopped, salt, pepper, and half a tablespoon of onion powder.  Again, in on a foil lined cookie sheet (with a rim around the edge) bake in the oven at 350 for twenty minutes or until done.

Steam your bag of green beens.  If you really want to get fancy make this dressing and drizzle it over your green beens and throw some silvered almonds over the top, other wise, I am sure that a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste will do fine.  (Olive oil, salt and pepper always make things taste better in my opionion!)

And there you have it...Easter dinner in a bag!  Want to add a dessert to the equation?  Have a guest pick something quick up on the way in.  If you're like me, you've been sampling all those yummy creme & pound cakes near the bakery section at your local supermarket.  After a long day of an easter egg hunt, and getting dressed up, trust me, no one will be upset that you didn't bake too!

Hoppy Easter everyone!  Enjoy the ones you love,

& as always,

Happy Cooking!
Chemeeka


Saturday, February 25, 2012

I finally made Cake-pops that I am proud of...!

It's four in the morning...and what am I doing?  I am up blogging about baking & cooking and all those fun ideas.
I have finally, finally, finally  made some cake pops that I am proud of!  Where's the pictures?  No pictures.  At least not this morning.  My camera's bottom has decided not to "shut" once batteries are put it in.  So this post is "picture-less", I'm sad to say.  I could get my phone but I have a 9-week old...oh, well, you get my point.

Any-how, I have finally, finally made cake pops that I am proud of and it happened tonight in a series of three steps.  If you've checked over my blog or looked at it for any length of time, you've noticed that I have  made cake-pops before.  Sure!  But they weren't "right".  You know what I mean... too crumbly, too moist, there was always something not quite right.

Now this time around I have finally gotten Bakerella's cookbook...and I've followed the instructions...and they turned out right.  Sounds simple, I know.  But you have to understand, I jumped on the first train to "something new in the cooking world" and I didn't even check to see if I had my train ticket, lol.  And the conductor (the result) came asking me for my ticket (the instructions) and did I pay for it (was I following them)...and I was not.  Hence the "not so great end product"!  Well, I've got my ticket, paid my fair, I know where I'm going...I am finally on my way to being a pop-star, a Cake-pop star that is!  Anybody want to come with me?  Or already on their way there?  Got your ticket?  I do now...(smile).  And it's all up-hill from here.

Song:
I'm gonna make cake-pops,
I'm gonna make cake-pops,
And good ones this time,
And good ones this time!

Now with that, go out and get yourself a cookbook or go online and learn how to make your favorite item, by following a recipe, step-by-step.

You'll be so glad you did!

Good Night (or Good Morning...)
and Happy Baking!
-Bakie (aka Chemeeka ;-)

Monday, February 13, 2012

A really moist meatloaf


When you hear the word, "meatloaf" what is the first thing that comes to mind?  (Be honest...) "Dry", "crusty", "not tasty.." does any of that ring a bell?  Many a person I have spoken to whenever I even mention the idea of making a meatloaf they always tell me how their mother's was very, very dry and just didn't leave a good taste in their mouths or their minds for that matter.

Now when I think of meatloaf, I think of, soft, juicy and even flavorful.  Why?  In part because I have come across this recipe~actually a concoction of mine that I think just might work to solve those dry meatloaf woes, if you will.  Let's start with 2 pounds of 80/20 ground beef.  To that add:

1/2 cup no-salt added tomato ketchup
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
2 egg yolks
1/2 part-skim ricotta cheese (just trust me on this one)
1/4 breadcrumbs
1 cup dry rolled oats
your favorite seasonings (for me that would be salt, pepper, a little garlic
powder and maybe some italian seasoning)

Go ahead and mix all of this by hand in an un-greased 2quart oval baking dish.  Form it into a loaf and top it with a mixture of 1/8 cup sweet barbecue sauce & one 1/4 cup no salt added ketchup.  (The reason for the no-salt ketchup is because it seems to be a little "fresher" an adds more moisture to the dish ;-).  Pop it in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins.

Let it rest when it's done before slicing, so that it doesn't crumble when you do.  And there you have it..a very moist and delicious meatloaf.  What more could your family ask for?  :-)

As always...
Happy Baking!
-Chemeeka (Bakie :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bakerella, You inspired Me!

The following is a must read from our all inspiring, mother-of-all-baking-inspiration herself, Ms. (Angie Dudley) Bakerella.  Am I a fan?  Absolutely!
From her post, "Cake Pops: An Adventure"  by Bakerella
Today almost snuck up on me. I realized it just in time to reminisce and celebrate with you guys.
Oh and this is a pretty long post, but I had a hard time making it any shorter.
Four years ago today, on February 1, I posted something that changed my life and maybe even some of yours.
Cupcake Pops
I posted these cupcake pops. I posted them the day after I posted these pink cake pops. And I had no idea then the impact they would have. Seriously, read the old posts. Pretty amusing.
While the pink cake pops were super cute and definitely different since they were cake on a stick, it was the cupcake pops that became crazy popular thanks to so many of you.  If it hadn’t been for your enthusiasm, I don’t know if I would have kept experimenting and creating craziness like the muppets cake pops for instance. It could have just ended right here with the cupcake pops. And, that would have been okay, too. They are still my and my mom’s favorite. I guess I have an attachment to them.
A little background history…  when I first made the pink cake pops, I was so excited by how they turned out. I wanted others to see them too because I thought they were so cute and I just knew they would make people smile. I was following the blog Cupcakes Takes the Cake (CTTC) at the time and I thought that if I could just make them look like a cupcake, they might feature them on their blog. So after I made the pink cake pop, I figured out a way to shape the cake balls with a cutter and dip them twice to make them look like a cupcake. Success! I couldn’t believe it. So I added my photos to the CTTC flickr group and crossed my fingers that they would pick them to feature on their site. And they did.
For me that was it. I wasn’t looking for anything more. Just to keep baking and making cute treats. And hopefully bring smiles to anyone that wanted to look at them.
But then, something crazy happened. A month or so after I posted the photos, I was invited to show Martha Stewart how I make them … on her show… like standing next to her. I thought I was being punked. I mean I had only been blogging for about four months when I received the invitation. And I hadn’t been baking much longer before that. Let’s just say I was petrified. But I did it anyway. You can watch the video here on her site. The link is on the sidebar. If you haven’t seen it before I think you’ll get a chuckle at what she calls them. Of course it wasn’t funny at the time. I think I managed to mask my shock pretty well. I know I told them we shouldn’t use chocolate cake on TV. Good times.
Lots of other fun things have happened since then, too.
  • I started experimenting with designs and creating all kinds of cake pop themes.
  • I visited the Pioneer Woman and we had a cake pop demo at the lodge. So fun. Love you Ree.
  • I proposed to Melissa for Rich with cake pops. Miss you guys.
  • Betty Crocker invited me to make cake pops for the cover of one of their magazines.
  • I wrote a little book. You may have heard of it.
  • I made cupcake pops with Blake Lively. Ummm… what is going on?
  • You guys became Pop Stars.
  • I made some cake pops for Disney’s website.
  • I made a little kit and some cards, too.
  • My cake pops were featured in magazines like People, Entertainment Weekly, Taste of Home, Family Circle, O, and more.
  • I went on the Today Show. Kathie Lee shook the pop a bit too hard and got candy coating on her eyelashes. My stomach sunk. Mortified.
  • The book has been printed in several languages throughout the world. Craziness.
  • And there’s a couple more fun things coming that I can’t say just yet.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
But that’s not all that’s happened because of these tiny treats on a stick. So many other things have popped on the scene because you all fell in love with the cake pops I made. Your excitement and enthusiasm for cake pops are probably the biggest reason for their success and why they are now so popular. For example…
  • Cake pops are sold in a certain world dominating coffee shop.
  • Bakeries and cupcake shops now sell them in their lineup.
  • Businesses have packaged sprinkles and such to market for them.
  • Commercials and other kits appeared. Some even use my designs. Flattering, I guess one could say.
  • Machines are now on the market to make them … albeit they don’t let you mix the frosting in or custom shape them.
  • Other books have surfaced on the topic, too, which just reinforces how popular cake pops have become.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
But it’s not all that stuff that makes me shake my head in amazement. You guys have done so much with them on a personal level and have continued to inspire me along the way.
  • So many of you have started home businesses selling cake pops.
  • Or websites devoted to cake pops
  • Or created rollers or stands or just about anything else you can think of to make or use with cake pops.
  • I know many of you that make them just for fun. And make lots of them.
  • Your emails and stories brighten my day every time I read them. There have been so many sweet ones too. Emails from all over the world. From places I’ve never even heard of. Some that made me cry and some that made me laugh. But all that made me feel so special to have played a little part in bringing smiles to your lives.
  • Big hugs and congratulations to all of you, too!
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
I think cake pops have definitely made their mark in the baking world, making life a little bit sweeter.
Actually, I think we need a National Cake Pop Day. Or an International Cake Pop Day. And today seems like a great choice to me. That’s it I’m proclaiming February 1, the Official Unofficial Cake Pop Day. Who’s with me?
I’d love for you to tell me if cake pops have meant anything special to you.
  • Do you sell them? What’s your site?
  • Have you made them on your blog? I’d love to see.
  • Do you have a picture of yours on your facebook? Share a link.
  • Do you follow my facebook page for cake pop inspiration?
  • Do you have the book? Do you have a favorite design?
  • Are you a Pop Star? Do you want to be?
  • Have you started a business to help people make them?
  • Maybe you’ve just eaten them before. Or have seen them at a bakery or wedding or party.
  • Maybe someone has given them to you as a gift.
  • And maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about? That’s okay, too.
Go to http://www.bakerella.com/ to leave a comment.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All The Right Tools

Part of what makes a good meal "great" or even the presentation being "something special" is the use of good tools...and not just good tools, but the right tools.  Several years ago, when I first moved away from home my grandmother sent me a box.  That box was chock full of everything that I needed to make good food, the right way. 

I literally thought that I had hit either the jackpot or an early Christmas.  There was everything in there from a new set of mixing bowls, to measuring spoons, mixing spoons, (spoons that I'd had never even heard of...) you name it!  At the time, there were items that I was not familiar with using and didn't really see the purpose in actually "needing" and now I know why!  Having come from a large family, raised one of her own and now passing on these skills to her grandchildren, she knew that part of what it took to make good food, the right way (meaning food that would taste good and you could be proud of) meant initially, first and foremost, having the right tools.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, am I suggesting to rush out to BedBathandBeyond and max out your credit cards on kitchen equipment?  Absolutely not.  I know that being a good chef or a home cook for that matter means evolving.  It means, growing in your journey.  It means learning what works, and what does not, how to please the one that you love around you, and most of all pleasing yourself.  In fact, with the right tools at your access, I bet you'd be surprise what you can produce.  So with that I want to start with a list of items that I consider "must haves" to have at your disposal to put out a "quality meal".  (*Note: I use the term "quality" lightly...)  And now, here goes!  I suggest some of the right tools that you should have in your arsenal of "this-is-my-attempt-at-making-some-really-good-food-that-people-what-to-eat-and-that-I-could-be-proud-of" as the following:

*a fancy glass or plastic juice or ice tea pitcher
* syrup dispenser
* a microplane zester/grater
* a good set of glass or metal mixing bowls
(from very small to fairly large)
*a four set of small white ramekins
*a four set of small blue or clear glass ramekins
* a nice set of plates (2 to 4 individual plates should do
two if you only plan to cook for you and one other person
four if you anticipate entertaining)
*good measuring cups
*good measuring spoons
* bamboo cooking utensils
* a good set of pots and pans, all sizes
* a hand-held sifter

A couple of other additional items that I think are great to have handy for meal presentation are:

*a lemon
* fresh strawberries
* fresh mint

Just a couple of things for you to throw in your basket the next time you're at the grocery store ;-)

For a full list of links where you could get these items click on the links below. 

mixing bowls here and here
hand sifter (they call this one a "double strainer" but it's good to use for dusting things like confectioner's sugar, etc.)

Till next time,
Happy Cooking!
Chemeeka (a.k.a. Bakie:-)



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate for Breakfast

As we all know, Valentine's Day is coming.  And when I hear Valentine's Day, three words come to mind....chocolate, chocolate, Chocolate!  So, if you insist..since it is on the calendar as "Chocolate..." I mean..ahem.. "Love Day," I guess I will go ahead and make sure that I have a chocolatey recipe ready for me the one I love (hehe :-)

If you'd like to join me, this recipe is really easy and really, really, good (and not too sweet either ;-).  Here it is:

Chocolate-filled Orange Crepes (for you and the one you love!)
5 ounce box cook & serve chocolate pudding
3 cups of milk
2 cups of complete pancake and waffle mix
1 3/4 to 2 cups of water
1 orange
1 scrambled egg per person (optional)
2 strawberries to garnish
confectioner's sugar

Directions: Using a medium saucepan, follow the instructions for your cook & serve chocolate pudding.  Cook and mix until just slightly thick and then remove saucepan from heat and let set aside to cool (only to room temperature!) and thicken.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your complete pancake and waffle mix with one and three quarters cup of water.  (Now, you want this pancake batter to be thin, because we're going to be making my version of crepes so, not to thick.  But it's up to you to gauge when your mix is thin enough.  Complete pancake mixes vary).  If necessary, add water to your pancake batter until your mix appears to be thin & runny.  Zest the peel of one medium-sized orange and add to your "crepe" mixture. 

Heat a large skillet or fry pan on medium high.  Once warm, oil the bottom with a pat a unsalted butter and spread around.  Pour one fifth of your batter (should be a circle about seven inches in diameter) in the center of the pan.  Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form around the edge and the center of your crepe.  Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.  Repeat this step for the next crepe until you have made all of your batter.  Remove crepes to a plate to cool until you are ready to fill with your chocolate filling. 

With the back of a spatula, spread generous amounts of chocolate pudding starting in the center of each crepe.  Stop filling about half and inch from the edge and then roll.  Repeat. And top each set of crepes with some dusting of the confectioner's sugar and a strawberry.  If desired, serve with a side of sausage or scrambled eggs.  Delicious!

This recipe is sure to be a treat any day but especially on Valentine's Day!

Enjoy!
~Bakie