The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Girls’ Day Out Dessert
June 10, 2013, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , ,

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My girl and I love girls’ days. We shop and eat, which are two of our favorite things.

Last Saturday, we went to our favorite shoe store and stocked up on flip-flops and sandals for the summer. Then, we went to the best place in town for lunch. Dessert topped off the day-creme brulee.

Someday, my girl will not want to spend her day with me. Someday, she will prefer her friends or a boy. In the meantime, I plan on spoiling her rotten with as many days like our shoe shopping day and this dessert.

This is the life.

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A Mother’s Day Mess: The Pioneer Woman’s Coffee Cream Cake

Mother’s Day is all about the desserts.

On Mother’s Day, our family always eats lunch after church at a restaurant, and then we usually return to our house for dessert. Actually, we eat dessert before and after lunch. It’s our day, and the girls like dessert.

Please don’t judge.

At church on Mother’s Day, our youth hold a dessert auction to raise money for the youth fund. I always am willing to participate to help out the great cause.

Of course, I also consider it a competition. My goal is to make the cake that has the highest bid and shows the old ladies up. I haven’t done that yet, but I still keep trying.

This year, I made my strawberry cake and Trisha’s key lime cake. The key lime went for $55, and the strawberry went for $50. The highest cake went for $85, so if you take both of my cakes together, I won! Sorta.

I wasn’t brave enough to enter The Pioneer Woman’s coffee cream cake in the auction, because I had never made it before and I only wanted to enter a sure thing into the auction. Also, if I sell it, I don’t get a bite. I decided to make it and save it for before and after lunch on Mother’s Day.

The recipe was easy enough. I split the batter into two round cake pans and baked them up. While the cakes were baking, I made the creamy filling. The snag and mess occurred here. PW’s recipe called for whipping cream, which I guess makes sense. However, I only had half and half, and I didn’t realize the difference it would make. My filling was delicious, but not thick at all. It was more like gravy on top of the first layer of cake.
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When I placed the second layer on the other with the filling, it all splurted out of the sides of the cake. Luckily, my cake stand had tall sides.
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I pressed on and iced it for the big dessert day.

When we cut the cake, the flavor was so, so good even if the cake was so, so messy. It had the right mixture of coffee and sweetness and soft cake.
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The only weird thing about it was that the cake had a slight inexplicable green tint.
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Regardless of the color and the mess, it was still good. Now I know that whipping cream is the key, and the color is curious.

Maybe next year it will make it to the youth auction and bring in the big bucks.



Snow Day Mississippi Mud Cake

Snow days-or ice days around here-mean baking.  I have the time to try something new on these special days, and it is great fun.

We got out of school today in the early afternoon due to the impending white gloom on its way, and Mr. Opinionated got off work a little early too.  I perused several cookbooks before he got home from work trying to decide what to bake.  I was thinking of maybe a new sweet potato pie recipe or maybe a coffee cake.  Both, however, were shot down.

“How’s about a Mississippi mud?” he asked.

And so it is.

Snow day baking is the epitome of making do-I can only do with what I have on hand.  I had plenty of eggs, sugar, flour, butter and such.  I didn’t have plenty of powdered sugar and oil, though. And, I was not about to leave the house only to slide from here to the store.

So, the question of this snowy, bleak day is: Will this cake idea work?

The recipe is the same as my momma’s with some minor snow day-necessary modifications.  I used 1 and 1/4 cups of water instead of 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of oil.  I had heard that that would work and was the secret to my friend’s super moist cakes.  Instead of oleo, I used salted butter.  I didn’t have a whole box of powdered sugar, and so I used the 2 cups I had. I also added a cup of pecans that I roasted for seven minutes in the oven while the cake was in.  That’s a Paula Deen thing.  I also had to substitute marshmallow fluff instead of marshmallows; I used most of a 13 ounce jar.  Last thing, I baked my cake for 25 minutes instead of 30 minutes to help achieve the muddy quality I was looking for.

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The cake came out of the oven fine.  I poked holes across the top of the cake with a toothpick to prep it for the creme.  Spreading the marshmallow creme was a challenge, so I plopped it on the top of the cake and covered the whole thing with aluminum foil to let the creme melt a little.

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That took a while, but it worked.  The creme spread so nicely that I decided to add a little extra.  Wallah!

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Then, I sprinkled the pecans on the top.

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The warm icing went over all of that, and then the aluminum foil went back over the whole thing to rest.  I noticed the creme poofing a little, but I thought that would be a good idea to keep the whole thing warm and gooey.

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Looking back, I don’t think I should have done that.  My warm and gooey cake looked more like a hot mess than a chocolate cake.  The warm cake and warm icing turned the topping into a mesh of marshmallow, chocolate icing, pecans.  It didn’t look too much like the mud I was looking for.  Mississippi Slosh Cake, anyone?

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Regardless, it tasted amazing.  It wasn’t like my momma’s cake; I didn’t taste it and say, “Mmmm…childhood,” or anything like that.  It was amazing, though.  It was warm and gooey and good.  The recipe, however messed up it is, is a keeper.

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Snow days are the greatest.



The Easy Bake Oven
January 9, 2013, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , , , ,

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Miss Helper got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas!

Easy Bake Ovens=Long Wait Time + Very Little Food

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Our first order of business was chocolate, of course. We made the smallest chocolate chip cookies ever served on the face of the earth. Interestingly enough, the package said the amount to be made was twelve.

We got eight.

212And, might I brag here that they were the best chocolate chip cookie ever devised on God’s green planet?

I think we may have a baker on our hands. The girl’s got talent.



When Paula Fails, Stick With the Original: Mississippi Mud Cake

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Mississippi mud cake is an old favorite.  Long before The Food Network and popular cookbooks written by celebrity chefs, my momma used to make Mississippi mud a lot.

For Christmas this year in my search for soul food desserts, I made one too.  I used Paula Deen’s recipe.

It was fine, but my cake was very, very dry.  Mud cake should be very, very moist.  I followed her recipe to the T, but something did not go right.   We did like the addition of pecans, though.

Next time, I will stick with Momma’s recipe written here in her words:

2 cups sugar  mixed with 2 cups of self-rising flour.  Set aside.

Take 1 cup water, 1/4 cup of oil, 1 stick of oleo, and 3 tablespoons of cocoa  mix and boil together.

Pour the mixtures together.

Beat in  two eggs and add 1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vanilla.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 in a large flat pan.

For the icing-1 stick of oleo, 6 tablespoons of milk, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, 1 tablespoon of vanilla-boil all together and add 1 box of sifted powdered sugar.

Put miniature marshmallows or marshmallow creme on the hot cake and pour the icing over the whole thing.



Another Hot Mess: Cake Pops
December 9, 2012, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Food I Make, Food Made by Other Food Folks | Tags: , , , , ,

Going to Toys-r-Us with two kids within three months of Christmas has to be the worst idea ever.  Their minds are filled with the greatest of expectations from the toy commercials that constantly bombard them, and then the toy aisles are filled to the ceiling with the material realizations of those expectations.

It is a bad, bad place to take a kid in December.

For some reason that must have made a lot of sense at the time, we recently had to go in Toys-r-Us.  We got what we needed, and then both kids were allowed to get one small item.  No problem for Mr. Picky.  He is actually very easy to please and entertain.  It only takes him moments to find something that he can be happy with for a long while.  He made it out of there with a small trinket and a smile on his face.

And then there was his sister.

After looking for many, many minutes and not finding any satisfaction in anything less than $20, I had had it with her.  Finally, though, we found something we thought we both could love:

058Don’t those kids look happy? Couldn’t Miss Helper and I be that happy too? Don’t we love cake? Yes, yes, and yes!

So, we took our sanity-or at least what was left-and our cake pop kit home to make some awesome cake pops and be happy with shiny, smooth hair like the kids on the box and just like the Christmas-time commerical had promised.

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The cake pops on the box. We could do this, right?

We followed the directions and worked our little hearts out.  Little Miss Helper and I baked and shreadded that cake like nobody’s business.  We mixed in the frosting and dipped those balls in that melted chocolate.  This was going to be awesome!

054Ours weren’t too shabby, if I do say so myself.  We put sprinkles on a few,  and we left them to cool as directed by the shiny haired girls’ directions.

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Cake pops in real life.

Later, somehow gravity began to work against us and the heavy chocolate began to drop like poop.  It was bad.  Miss Helper wanted nothing to do with them, and I must say they didn’t look too appetizing.  Another Christmas commerical proven wrong.

We didn’t even bother to finish them.  We just chunked them and put the box in the closet where it shall gather dust until we are bored enough to get it back out.

I hope the cake pop fad dies, and soon.

Next time I will push for her to get a Barbie.

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Flan
September 11, 2012, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , ,

I needed a quick dessert for a mediocre meal. I find that a dessert that is delicious can make up for a meal that misses the mark a little.

Instant flan, anyone?

I am pretty sure that even the dog wouldn’t eat this monstousity, and I also pretty sure that real flan doesn’t look and/or taste like this did. It was pretty bad. Now, I have to make up for two missed marks. Yikes.

Flan out of a box? Bad idea.




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