Wednesday, October 30, 2013

{Digital} Freebies...Never Give Up on Your Dream!

I seem to really love this girl:)  And I have been "directed" to her site a number of times and on a number of occassions.  And so finally, I have to just share.  Uh?  "Where have I been?"  I've been here, but I have been busy, stuck in life, and stuck in my head.  And so now, I have finally sat down, and so it is, "time to share".  Okay....Let's Go!

And here we go!
{*Note: This blog has taken on new life.  It started out as just a baking blog and that has now morphed into a baking/cooking/crafting/what's new and crafty/this is my life blog.  I hope that you're here to stay for the journey:) xoxo -Bakie}


Sketch Me Pretty: 11 Hand Drawn Circle Digital Graphics

I'm totally in love with transferring my sketches into digital graphics (See how to HERE!) I've always loved drawing- it's one of my biggest passions. The great thing about these graphics is that you can use them for anything. Website graphics, digital scrap-booking, chalkboard graphics, printables; the possibilities are endless!

By using these images you agree to my terms of use, which are included in the folder.

To see how to use these graphics in Photoshop or Picmonkey, see my tutorial here.

In this photo I used a combination of the Photoshop tutorial I linked to above, and my method for converting photos into shapes in Photoshop. That tutorial can be found HERE.

- See more at:

Friday, August 30, 2013

40 days...many memories, many moments

I know what you are thinking...."Where have you been, Bakie?"   I know.  It has been a whole 40 days since I last posted and for good reason.  Last month we found out that my hubby's father was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.  And for that, we have temporarily re-located ourselves to the western part of the U.S. to be with him and help take care of him, etc.  So there you have it.  Like I said before, "for good reason" but with all of that being said, we all must eat.  Right?  So there will infact be more posts.  I have some goodies in store for you.  So, stay tuned.... this aficionado has got some treat in store for you.

Happy Friday All!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

What Two Ladies are Doing this Summer:)

I had the priviledge of learning about an awesome, awesome, ministry that helps support women in need in a special village in Kenya. On my blog Love Farm Cake I share a one-on-one interview with my friend, Kelly Lessard, as she talks about how she came to learn and be apart of the ministry at the Mercy House.
You can view the entire article here.
Happy Summer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On a Blog..Pictures are EVERYTHING.


I cannot emphasize that point enough...on a blog, pictures are everything.  And I mean EV-REE-THING.  It's the picture that "sells" you.  When you get a picture or walk past a magazine of some really good looking food, what's the first thing that goes through your mind?  "Hmm....that looks good..."  And what next, "That must taste good."  And that merely based on it's "looks"  (it's looks meaning, 1) looks, and 2) lighting and 3) positioning... the cleanliness of the plate and all of the details that are all around.  It can't just taste good.  It's got to look good.  This a (visual) BLOG after all.  So with that said, I am going to give you some of my all-time favorite foodie tricks because it's my passion that you see in what I capture both on the plate and on the screen.

Tip #1: Good Lighting/Natural Lighting
Okay, so you're having to take the picture with your cell phone (for whatever the reasons be).  Trick number one: don't worry about the background, just get that plate into some natural light.  The background is secondary.  If I see that odd, doors and windows are closed yellow light, you are not going to sell me as you would if you too your picture with the natural light flowing in, like you see on the cover of so many magazines;)
Tip #2: Get down on the level WITH the food.
Yes honey, stoop down.  This is your food after all.  Your product and your baby.  You have made it, now go and show that thing off, and proud.  Stoop down and get on the same level as the counter or plate.  Wherever the surface of your food item, I want you down on it's level.  Not these wierd above shots.  Now don't get me wrong, sometimes there's good in getting an above shot, to show a different angle.  (I know what you're thinking...."but you do it..."  Yes, but I only  and I emphasize only  do it to show a different angle.)  Why?  Because, I want you to approach my plate, not look in at a distance.  I am drawing you in with my pictures.  And I am not going to do that at a distance;)
Tip #3: NOW, set the plate/setting
This is not the first step.  Why?  Because you have to "respect the food" and treat it with dignity.  And once you've done that then you set the space.  And what do I mean?  If it's a dish that you eat with a fork, go grab a clean fork and set it on the edge of the plate.  Literally, make it look like, all that the reader has to do is to pick up the fork and start eating or...just take a bite.  It has to look that appealing and with the first to steps in place, you're good.
If it's a Thanksgiving or a Christmas meal, if you have it, go ahead and grab a nice holiday napkin, fold it, and set it under the plate just to the left. 
Got an idea for a breakfast in bed, write a little "possible note" to your honey, and fold the card at the top and set it next to the plate (on the right) to give your reader an idea of what they can do to make someone feel special.  In fact, your reader might even say inside, "my I'd feel good if that note/meal was prepared for me".  It's the reader's feelings and experience that you are giving and the story in essence that you are telling with your pictures. 
Won't you try these tips out today?  Okay, even if you're going to take a picture of your food with your phone, I want you to find a window, and make sure that it's during the day, put the plate on the counter, bend down with your phone at eye-level and then snap your picture and email it to me (  I can't wait to hear from you!
Happy Day!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Restaurant-Style Burger, Right-at-Home

One of the things that I love best about being able to cook at home, is eating food that you can make yourself to taste just like something that you'd have at restaurant.  And that is exactly what we did with these burgers. 

For a lazy evening, we decide that we're eating in and that means, making dinner at home.   Out walks the ground beef, on, turns the grill.  My hubby grilled these for me but if he wasn't a grill-handler, we could make these same 4 patties indoors.
All you need for your burgers:
~One package of 93% lean ground beef
~Some all meat seasoning*
(*We like to use a combo of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder, all mixed up in a container or a baggie and we shake it on just about anything;)
 After are burgers were done, we grabbad few whole wheat buns (trying to make it restaurant-style so the whole wheat buns made it feel like something special), some dijon mustard, lettuce, a nice thick slice of tomato,

And these 100 calorie guacamole packets.  LOVE!  Okay, these little pre-made guacamole packets took our burgers to THE.NEXT.LEVEL!
Okay, add some bbq potato chips on the side, and you're good.  So happy that we're eating in tonight!
What are you making?  Do you have any restaurant favorites that you like to re-create at home?
Happy Eating Everyone!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Patriotic Berry-Rich Smoothie

Happy Monday to you!  I hope that you had a happy & safe post-holiday weekend:)!  I thought that this smoothie would be a great way to kick-off the week & a Monday morning at that;)  One of my little ones, has been begging, and begging me to make a smoothie.  So I have finally gotten around to it.  And so here we go....Easy, fresh, tasty and did I say, "healthy?"  Oh yeah.  Who is with me?

I have to admit that as much as this smoothie was healthy, it is tasty.  Here's what's in it:
1 1/2 cup lowfat milk
1/2 uncooked regular oats
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon of molasses (for good like that;)
(Well the blog name is Bakie Me Sweet after all:)

I could not find the bottom base to our blender so, in the food processor it goes.  I just pulsed this on medium speed.  And there we have it.  Easy enough, right?

For me, it is the perfect start to a Monday morning.  *Note: you could also substitute in 1/2 cup of plain unseasoned silken tofu for the 1/2 cup of lowfat milk.  Just as good, and would make it a touch creamier.
 And there you have it.  A great smoothie for a great start to your week:)  What are some of the things that you like to drink or make (besides coffee) that gives a real boost to the day?  I hope that you're having fun grabbing some of these recipes.
Happy Monday to Ya!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Star-Spangled Blue Velvet Cupcakes-in-A-Jar

I thought that I would re-post this fun, delicious and need-I-say portable treat for you to try:)
Happy 4th of July Everyone!
* * * *
There's nothing like a portable treat when you're ready to enjoy yourself at a barbecue or picnic.  For this 4th of July I have decided to make my version of cupcakes-in-a-jar with blue velvet cupcakes-in-a-jar.  The recipe is super easy & promising to be a colorful treat!  Just start with:


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tablespoons royal blue gel paste food coloring
1 tablespoon purple gel paste food coloring

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cupcake or muffin pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.

Place the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until thoroughly mixed. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together and slowly add to the mixer on low speed. Scrape down the bowl thoroughly, as needed. Add the food colorings in a steady stream until desired shade is achieved; it should appear bluish-purple. Beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl one last time and mix for 30 seconds by hand.

Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter and bake until they form a semi-hard crust on top, about 25 minutes

Once they are cool, I slice them in half. You will have a stack of tops and a stack of bottoms.
Place 1 bottom in each jar. Put a layer of the frosting.

 Take the top of the cupcake and place on top of the layer of frosting.
Beautifully frost the top of the cupcake.
 Add sprinkles between the layers for that extra festive touch :)

For a double decker, cupcake and frosting add another cupcake, repeating the first three steps.  Lastly, attach a small wooden or plastic spoon with baker's twine & you're good to go!  This treat is easy, sweet, and has very little clean-up.  Bon Appetit everyone!

And a Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 24, 2013

DIY {Fabric} Yarn Wreath (4th of July)

The 4th of July is coming and it's time to make a wreath, y'all!  It seems like the perfect occasion to make us a little wreath....well, ANY occassion is fit enough for me to make a wreath.  (Sometimes, I am just looking for an excuse to have to make a wreath, lol.)  So, let's get started:)  This wreath is super easy and honestly, I first saw it here on Pinterest.  And just knew that I had to make one!:)

For my door, I used the following

* spool of deep red yarn
* spool of rich navy blue yarn
*spool of ivory colored yarn
* 18 inch foam wreath base
* 12 inches of burlap or ribbon for hanging

*packet of white foam stars (mine came in a three pack of silver, gold and white & for this project I just use the white. 

I chose a premium brand of yarns.  There were were some that were of a thicker band but I wanted my yarn to almost look "silky".  So I made sure that the yarn that I chose was thin, deep and rich in color and even had a little shine to it.  (You'll see when we get to the end...) 

Okay so first I watched a YouTube video on this and I was so glad I did because I noticed a couple of things:

(1) If you're doing a yarn wreath, you must, absolutely MUST use a foam wreath base.  No a wire wreath base, or a twig wreath base. Absolutely not.  With wrapping a yarn, no other base, (except one that is COMPLETELY smooth, like a foam base will do!)

Second, when you're wrapping a yarn wreath DO NOT unravel your spool of yarn.  Keep it rolled and wrapped up & only pull out enough of the yarn for that cycle it around the wreath. 

Watch this video to see what I mean.

Next after I got this rotation going I went around and around.  Now, you see that we are trying to make this wreath in the similitude of the American flag.  So you want to have the blue cover the top left quadrant, just like it does on the actual flag.  And then on the bottom left quardrant and all of the right side of the (top and bottom quadrants) we're going to make our "stripes".  If you watched the video, you saw that you tie your yarn at the beginning point before you begin wrapping.

As you go, these little knots will be at the beginning and the end of all of your white and red sections.  Turn your wreath over before you at the hanging ribbon and stars and cut off any loose ends, above the knot.  If you cut "below" the knot, your yarn is likely to unravel, so don't do it;)
After you're done cutting off any of the loose ends, you're good to go with applying your stars. 
These stars have a sticky back and so you just peel off that sticky back and take your time pressing them all around the navy blue part of the base.  You're making up your stars section because you already have your stripes done.  (*Back note: Use your discretion as to how thick you want each section of white (or ivory) and deep red to be.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just rhythmic:)

And there you have your wreath!  Happy Independence Day!

So what are you doing for this 4th of July?  Does your family have any special
"crafty" family traditions?  Making this wreath could be your first:)

Happy Crafting Y'all!

xo -Bakie

Pin It

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bourbon Chicken & Sweet Potato w/Quinoa

How many different ways can you say, "yum"?  "Yum", "yummy" & "yumm-o".  There are several ways, and I am saying them all when I bite into this!  Perfect meal for the weekend, fast dinner, or just a romantic dinner for two but....I hear you..enough already!  Let's get down and get this recipe.

Bourbon Chicken
It's simple and as easy as pie!  P-I-E.  All you need is a rotesserie chicken from your local grocery store.  Yes ma'am.  Short cuts.  Glorious short-cuts.  De-li-cious shorts cuts.  Somebody say it with me, "Shortcuts!"  Next grab your:

Soy sauce (1/2 cup)
Honey (1/4 cup)
Powdered Ginger (1/2 tbsp)
Olive oil (2 tbsps)

And you are working it right now, like seriously.  (You know when you go to the mall and they hand you that little piece of bourbon chicken on the end of the toothpick.  Well, here it is!  Just chopped up your chicken from the store and cover it in this sauce.  But wait!  I am getting ahead of myself.

Step 1:  Chop up the roteserrie chicken from the store, keeping on the skin, and removing the bones.

Step 2: Make up your sauce (recipe above) and set it aside.

Step 3: Steam 1 1/2 cups of fresh chopped kale greens.  Set aside.

Step 4: Peel, chop and boil 2 small or one medium sized sweet potato.  Set aside.

Step 5: Sautee one cup of frozen bell pepper slices.  Preferably, yellows, oranges, and reds or oranges, greens, and reds.  (You get my point.  Just keep it colorful & if it's already sliced and from the freezer section- like at Trader Joes- you're going to get a much better price then buying it fresh.)
Set aside.

Step 6: Make up your red quinoa.  This is easy enough to find.  Trader Joes will have it but also check your local grocery store.  (Prepare, half a cup of quinoa, with one cup of water (or chicken stock).  Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss your quinoa, sweet potatoes, red pepper blend (again, the red preferrably for color), your kale greens and your chicken.  Make sure that your sauce is warm and then drizzle it over and toss again.  Delish!  Just like what you see in this photo:)

So what are you making this weekend?  Anything special?  Try this recipe and I am sure that you will make the tastebuds in your home, very, very, happy;)

Happy Cooking Everyone!
xo Bakie

Pin It

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hello Strawberry Salad!

Boy do I love my strawberry salad.  And even better, I love strawberry season!  Well strawberry season is here & it's a official with our local Strawberry Festival that was underway this past weekend:) 

What's so great about strawberry season?  I'll tell ya.  You've got super fresh. sweet. delicious. yummy. you could never have enough of these DELICIOUS strawberries.  And one of my favorite things to make (besides desserts of course:) with this yummy strawberries is my strawberry salad.  And I'm calling it my "Love My Salad: Strawberry Salad".  Why?  Because you'll love it.  Whispering to you: trrrrusst mmmeee:)  And what's even better are that the ingredients to make this salad are easy and accessible.  I'll be giving you the tools, to make this salad, again & again.
I'm taking:
A bowl of fresh strawberries (2 cups sliced)
a 4-ounce of container of crumbled bleu cheese (gorgonzola will do too!)
1 1/2 cups of candied pecans
3 cups of fresh mixed lettuce greens
one small sweet onion or red onion, thinly sliced
**My (secret) vinegrette**
(don't worry, I will give you the recipe;)
To make the candied pecans you simply just melt, 1/4 cup of unsalted butter in a sautee pan, and then add to it a 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar, half a tablespoon of kosher salt and your pecans.  ( I know what you're thinking..."do I really need that much salt?"  The answer is, you do!  The reason being that between the crunchiness of the pecans, and the sweet butteriness of the brown sugar and butter, the amount of salt here, just works.  It really does.  You'll see what I mean. 
Set the pecans aside and let's get our vingrette done.  Go ahead and mix up 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/3 cup of rice wine vinegar (the plain one), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of french dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  And stir.  Now, about here (at this point) is where I would usually warn, "Do not dress your salad until..." but Barefoot Contessa has taught me a thing or to.  So, hold onto your vinagrette.  No need to panic.  Your salad is not going to go wilting all over the place.  But you don't want to dress it now.  At least not until I tell you the right way to dress a salad ahead of time.  It can be done.  You'll see.  (Keep reading:).
Okay, now in a large bowl, you will want to toss (and add these in, in the order that I tell you):
Your greens (mixed lettuces)
your onions
the strawberries
the pecans
the bleu cheese crumbles (or gorgonzola).
Now toss, without the vinagrette.
Now once everyone in the salad bowl looks happy, just take a third of your vingrette and move all of the salad to one side and pour it, only into the bottom of the bowl.  And do NOT toss it again UNTIL you are getting ready to serve it.  Otherwise your salad will wilt.  What to do with the remaining vinegrette?  I like to drizzle most of it (at least half of what's remaining) over the salad and toss right before people eat.
It's one of those salads that's really delicious when you eat it fresh, but you've got to really be in love with it to try and take a bite out of it the next day.  You know what I mean;)

So do you love my salad?  Think that you'll give it a try this strawberry season or next?  Whisper: You can even make this one in the off season....I won't tell anybody.
Bon Appetit & Happy Strawberry Picking!

Pin It

xo- Chemeeka

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Every Cooks Must Have {Recipe} for Pound Cake

Any fashion editor will tell you, there are several "must-haves" for every woman's wardrobe..those key things that she need keep handy and be able to call on to really work it on any day!  Well the same goes for us cooks, home-cooks that is.  There are six or seven key components that any wife, mother, cook, should have in her go-to wheelhouse.  Like a recipe for:
1) a good dip
2) the perfect one-pot wonder
3) her slow cooker speciality
4) "I'm in a bind but the kids are hungry" (ie, breakfast for dinner or grilled cheese sandwiches & soup)
5) great mashed potatoes
6) a good spaghetti sauce
and last but not least
7) a killer pound cake recipe
Now I know what you're thinking..."who even makes pound cake these days?"  But you and I both know, long gone are the days were granny's pound cake is readily available where you can just walk over and get a slice.  Now, we're the mommies and sometimes granny lives, really, really, far away and by the time you convinced her to make and mail it...well, you know where I am going.
You need to have (in your cooking arsenal of "I got this!") a really good pound cake recipe.  Until recently, I've found one.   And a really good one at that.  This is simple, yet delicious.  Buttery and tender, yet sweet.  And not too sweet.  And oh, did I say that you'll be really, really proud of yourself, when you make this little nellie and knock it right out of the park?  Yeah.
So here it goes,
Southern Pound Cake recipe  as adapted by Chemeeka Sparks
You'll need:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3 cups of sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 baking soda
8 ounces of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1/2 tablespoon of grated orange zest
With an electric mixer on medium speed cream unsalted butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in granulated sugar until combined.  Next, add your eggs one at a time, continuing to combine until the yolk disappears, before adding the next egg.  Once all of your eggs have been added, set the mixture aside and in a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients.
Alternating with your sour cream, begin adding your dry mixture to your butter, sugar, egg mixture.
Starting with your flour mixture you should be adding, dry/sour cream/dry/sour cream/dry/sour cream/dry all of your flour and sour cream have been added.  Next stir in your grated orange zest and both of your flavorings.
Grease and flour a 12-cup tube baking pan, and pour in your cake mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 mins or until a tooth inserted comes out clean. 
Top with your favorite pie topping or fresh berries that have been mascerated with one tablespoon of granulated sugar per 2 cups of fresh fruit and Bon Appetit!
I love, love, love this recipe and hope that you will too.  Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Printables for Spring!

I have more goodies!  I cannot help myself.  With Easter just around the corner, you could always use a little extra paper or wrapper to make things fun.  Find these and more in my shop!
Pin It

Monday, March 11, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Printables!

I am so excited to share my latest venture with you.  And even better, just in time for St. Patrick's Day!  Since I have a love of all things sweet, and that includes the "paperie" kind of sweet, I felt it only natural to marry my creative and crafty, side to my "design" side, and the sweet tooth in me jumped in and it became one BIG PARTY!
I am launching my new shop online ( and it is called, "Papered Sweet", your new go-to shop for inspiration, party-fun, and of course, seasonal & party themed DIY printables.   Check over at our sidebar on the right for our "Papered Sweet" button and link:)

xo Chemeeka

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Corn & Ginger Chowder

Spring is in the air.  And along with the spring comes the sunshine, warm sunny days, flowers are blooming, and all that is bright.  I like to take that same brightness and incorporate that into some of my dishes.  One quick and easy way to bring the outside in, and get that "burst" of brightness is to add ingredients like the ones I am using in my Spring/Summer Corn & Ginger Chowder.
We're starting with:
* one cup or half of a can of yellow corn
* one can of coconut milk
* a can of cream of mushroom soup
*1/4 cup of fresh chopped lemongrass
* one cup of chopped ginger root
* one cup of sauteed portabella mushrooms
* a tablespoon of ground ginger
* salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, combine can of coconut milk, can of cream of mushroom soup, half can of yellow corn, tablespoon of ground ginger, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Stir and bring to a low simmer 4-5 minutes over medium to low heat.
 Now this chowder is going to bring you layers and layers of flavor.  Your basis is going to be the coconut milk, cream of mushroom soup, corn and ground ginger.  That is going to give us our jumping off point:)

While you're letting your basis for this chowder simmer, sauteed in a medium fry pan your sliced portabella mushrooms. 
I always have a trick that I use for the perfect sautee: three minutes sear, two minutes steam.  Just remember that:
Three minutes sear,
Two minutes steam.
And what that simply means is this, I sautee or sear let's say my asparagus or mushrooms, or squash, whatever it is in olive oil on high heat.  And then I turn the heat off, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan, and cover it with the lid, and just let that baby steam.  Give it two minutes and essentially, you are done to perfection!  Works for me on asparagus, brocolli, you name it.  And of course if it's a green veggie you can blanche it, but that's another post;)
So go ahead and add your mushrooms and let's get to working on our lemongrass and fresh ginger, our spring flavors.
In a perfect world, you'd walk right into your average supermarket and pick up some fresh lemongrass but in a the instance that they're out of it or it's not in stock, the bottled stuff will do.  Two tablespoons to be exact.

Now we can't skimp on the ginger.  The crunch and layers of flavor that this fresh bit is going to add is going to be Un-believe-able!  Trust me.  Take the time to peel it.  *Tip: Cut off each one of the little nubbies on the ginger root before attempted to peel.  Keeps you from having to dig into every little crevice with your peeler;)  Once your done peeling, go ahead and give your ginger a rough chop and add it to the pot now with your other ingredients. 
Once your chowder is complete and has simmered now for about 15 minutes with continual stirring you can tranfer it to a medium-size crock pot and let it simmer on low for the next 4-5 hours. 

 The brightness and layers of flavor in this chowder are sure not to disappoint.  What are you making these days that shines, "spring"?  Try this chowder & let me know how much you loved it.  Oh, and did I mention won't miss the meat:)
Happy Cookin' & Happy Spring!