Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy New Year...here's to new beginnings...

Hi! Remember me?

Let me first apologize for being M.I.A for almost a year. So much has changed since my last post back in March of 2010. I have since tied the knot with my "Answered Prayer" (see happy-dance-post-wedding pic above). I completed two semesters of "33 and Back to School". Spring 2010 was awesome-4.0 GPA awesome! Fall 2010 was good, but given all that was on my plate, my GPA took a dip. I ended the semester with 3 B's and an A. Not too bad, right. I registered for Spring 2011 classes today and am on track to graduate from SDSU this December! Yay! (insert happy dance pre-graduation)

2010 was most eventful. Answered Prayer and I are finally living under one roof, in the same city and state. Almost 3 years of happy loving and we are officially husband and wifey. We are living proof that long distance relationships do work and do result in marriage. I must say, married life is the BEST life when you marry the right person. I am looking forward to life as a wife and all that newlywed bliss has to offer.

Aside from getting married and the Husby making the big move to sunny San Diego, I had to trim a lot off my plate. This is why my Beauty Brains and Baking blog got NO love, many of my hobbies became afterthoughts and many of my projects got placed on the back burner. CattyCakes is still around. Sadly, I had to make the hard decision of putting school first and finishing what I started years ago. Launching a new business while planning my dream wedding and going back to college was not in the cards. I say this all to somehow give you a little insight into what has been going on with the "BakingBeauty" and to provide you with a brief explanation as to why my blogging gusto turned into blogging dusto. Forgive me?

I have so many recipes, tips and tricks in my mind. I owe you all a BIG dose of catch up. My first tip of the year is this: allow yourself the opportunity to say, "no". You can be Super Woman and still say, "no" when your plate runneth over.

I turn 34 this Thursday. I'm looking forward to all that 34 has to offer. Perhaps the good Lord will bless the Husby and I with a little one or maybe He won't. Perhaps I'll lose the 40 lbs I think I need to in order to fit into the graduation dress I've hand designed in my Vera Wang inspired daydreams. Perhaps I'll get into an amazing research lab, get accepted into a FABULOUS grad school, or maybe I'll just take some time for myself and write another blog post...only time will tell. Happy New Year 2011 everyone! Make the most of it or don't. Either way you will have achieved all that you sought out to and all that you were destined to. Remember, everything happens for a reason and sometimes life just gets in the way. Sacrifices are the stepping stones to success, so step cautiously and with great purpose. And when in doubt, bake a cake or two: one for you and one for a friend. Happy Baking my Baking Divas and Divos! Love and Baking, Mrs. CattyCakes the Baking Beauty...

I felt it only appropriate to end with a picture of "my" cake.

Here's the Husby's:

He Scored!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

something borrowed

Talk about a good read! Thank you to my friend for life (FFL), Marcie. This book was awesome! I almost feel bad about saying that, but it was!You'll understand why I say this once you read chapter one. I don't want to spoil this book for you, but it is a must read for those of you searching for your next "good book", "yummy novel", or just something to consume your time and keep you on the edge of your seat. Let me warn you, once you pick up this fabulous piece of written word, you will not want to put it down! If you can overlook the periodic curse word and remember that fiction books are story books, you will love me for this recommendation. This book was on the New York Times Bestseller's list and I sooo understand why. Check out, something borrowed, by Emily Giffin. You will love it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

No oil in my muffins! SAY WHAT?

A client of mine asked me to make him some OIL-free muffins. What you talkin' 'bout Willis? I didn't actually say that, but I thought it for sure. Muffins made without oil? How the heck will they be moist? That's like hot bisquits without butter. Oh no! I was up for the task and gladly took on the challenge. Boy, am I ever glad I did! After a little trial and error, I have perfected my recipe and am SOOOOO in love with these scrumptious, waist-friendlier (there I go making up words again), ever tasty, little baked goodies. Throw your hair up and get to baking these amazing muffins right now! Seriously, stop what your doing, get a pad and paper-heck copy and paste this recipe, and get to baking! Your family, honey, and tastebuds will thank you! Trust me. What is the secret ingredient? Other than your obvious BakingBeauty and BakingHandsome love? The secret is applesauce! Here it goes...

CattyCakes Yummy Applesauce Muffins

Ingredients for muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or freshly grated if you have it)
2 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (or regular applesauce-it works too)
1 cup dried cranberries

Side note: I've also made these muffins with 1/2 Cup dried cranberries w/ 1/2 Cup blueberries, 1/2 Cup mashed strawberries w/ 1 mashed ripe banana, 1 Cup pecans or walnuts (coarsely chopped)

For topping:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or freshly grated if you have it)
Stir together in a small bowl and set aside.

Muffin pan w/ 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups (I use a Wilton, dark, non-stick muffin pan)
Paper Baking Cups (I use Reynolds in Pastels for baking fashion)

How to make these tasty treats:
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.  (I bake my muffins on the middle rack)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all spices.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until well combined. Next, add in butter, a little at a time. Whisk together until mixture is creamy. Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened. Do not overmix. Stir in dried cranberries and divide batter among prepared baking cups. I use a ice cream scooper. It's about a tablespoon and a half. Sprinkle muffin tops with topping mixture (a pinch per muffin will do). Bake until muffins are puffed and golden brown, about 18 minutes depending upon your individual oven. Cool in a pan for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack slightly or until you just can't take it anymore and one makes it way into your mouth! Enjoy!

Brainy Baking Tip: muffins stored in airtight container keep for 1 day at room temperature, longer in the fridge, and even longer in the freezer.

More of a visual person? Me, too.

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Don't forget to whisk.

The Spices...

Eggs and light brown sugar get their whisk on too.

Stir in melted butter, a little at a time. Mmm. Butter.

Motts applesauce-not oil! I know. trust me. It works!

Fold dry ingredients into wet-just until moistened. What the heck does that mean?

It means, this! This is what "just until moistened" looks like.

Bring on the Craisins! Get the big bag at Costco and save $$! Tell 'em CattyCakes sent ya. Hehe.

Today, I used 1/2 Cup blueberries and 1/2 Cup of Dried Cranberries. Mmm!

Using my handy dandy ice cream scooper, I filled each baking cup w/ muffin mixture.

Like so...

My muffin cup doth not runneth over. Sorry, lil' baking humor.
BTW-add a little more mixture to any wimps; like the one I had in the foreground.

Sprinkle a pinch of topping on each muffin, then bake 18 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 minutes then remove to wire rack.

Why did I take a picture of the muffin in my hand instead of in the pan? Uhhh, I was not about to let this scrumptious little sucker go. Take one bite and see what happens to you!

Too late to hide the evidence. Smile.

This recipe makes 2 dozen muffins. Round 2 I got creative and added a few Craisins to each muffin before baking.

To me personally, they look better without the creative addition. There are plenty of Craisins on the inside for you to enjoy.

I whipped up another batch using mashed strawberries and bananas-FORGOT to add in the applesauce-and guess what? They came out great, moist and ever so tasty!

Strawberry and Banana (Oil and Applesauce free) Muffins.
Okay, so I can never wait and take a picture of the finished product without popping one in my mouth first. Sorry. You'll understand why once you make these. Enjoy!

Happy Thursday, my fabulous BakingBeauties and Handsomes! Thank you for stopping by. Remember, it's always best to say it with cake! Love, CattyCakes the BakingBeauty.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Two steps closer!

For those of you who know me well, you know that my dream is to one day open up my very own Cafe and Cakery. I'm not quite there yet. However, I'm two steps closer to achievinig my dream. Baby steps right? CattyCakes has been a hit and the orders are coming in on the regular! All together, "Thank the Lord!" I'm juggling a lot at this moment in time and I know that behind the scenes, God is creating all things in may favor! I don't have much to say today, but I wanted to share with you my new CattyCakes logo! With the help of my little brother, Chauncy and one of my dearest friends, Marcie, CattyCakes has an official logo! Also thanks to Marcie, CattyCakes has its very own website as well! We only have the Coming Soon page up right now, but the website will be up and running soon enough. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support. Check out the website and logo and please continue to pray for me. An order wouldn't hurt no body either! LOL! Spread the word my lovely Baking Beauties and Handsomes!

My website:www.cattycakes.com

Check it out! Remember, it's always best to say it with cake!
Love, CattyCakes~the BakingBeauty

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Happy Tuesday and 26th day of 2010! I've been running in circles-ok, maybe not circles-working to get things in order. A little insider info on the woman writing this blog...I just turned 33 two weeks ago, I'm getting married in July and planning my dream wedding with my answered prayer (yeah, that's his name), I'm an Advanced Unit Leader with Avon with a team of over 90 fabulous Reps, I'm taking my baking business to the next level (with the help of AMAZING friends), and I just started going back to school last night. Yes, I'm 33 and going back to school? Why? I know some of you may think I'm crazy, but I'm not. Well, at least not today. *smile* I'm going back to school to finish what I started back in 1995. To make a long story short, life got in the way; a very successful Real Estate career, a gruesome 2 year long battle with Crohns-Colitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis and some other stuff sprinkled in here and there. I'm just trying to find balance in my life. Aren't we all?
I'm the kind of person who loves to multi-task. I work best when I have more than 3 or 4 or 10 things going on at once. I wasn't planning to go back to school until Fall 2010, but I found out last week that in order to do that I had to take 4 classes this semester. Doesn't the California School system know that I'm getting married in 6 months and I so don't have time to be sitting in classes, writing papers and such for 4 of those 6? Guess not, so I guess I have time. I'm making time and I'm LOVING it! Learning at this stage of the game in life makes so much sense! I've always been a nerd when it came to learning and education. Yeah, I said it! I love to learn about new things and expand my brain knowledge! I'm a Psych Major and the long of it, is that I want my PhD. In due time, it will all come to pass. Bring it on!
Okay, so enough of that...just a little tidbit of why it's been 5 days since my last post. Since then, I've fallen in love with something so POP-tastic! Cookie Pops! Omg! *insert fabulous photo of yummy cookie goodness on a stick*

do u love them?

Here's how I fell in love...

Long ago, I met the back of a bright yellow Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Semi Sweet package. I followed the directions for the listed Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. http://www.landolakes.com/mealIdeas/ViewRecipe.cfm?RecipeID=11317%20 minus the nuts!

After sampling this Original Classic of a cookie, I started having feelings of likeness. I so just made up that word. Sorry, Professor Archer for my poor grammar! Anyhow, I met up with this "cookie" from time to time. Then, the other night, I found myself dreaming of this "cookie" on a stick! Imaging that. Could it be? Could there exist a Cookie on a lollipop stick? Cookie Pops? Baked in the oven and made for my eating enjoyment? Why, yes! So I did what any reasonable minded Baking Beauty like myself would do- I Googled it! Right there before my eyes: Cookie Pops! My dream come true! I rushed to meet my dream come true. I busted out a big bag of Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Semi Sweet Morsels, followed the directions on back for their Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and brought dough to stick and it was a match made in Heaven! I was hooked! Love at first bite. So, here it is my Baking Beauties and Handsomes...Cookie Pops! Pure baking goodness on a stick! You can try this, but lemme tell ya-this love was mine first! Enjoy my sloppy seconds! I joke! I joke! I like to think I was the first...

Measure out a tablespoon of cookie mixture-about this much. Your Cookie Pops will be perfectly sized.

Roll in a ball and then flatten in the palm of your hand, like this.

Insert a lollipop stick through the center of the cookie about half way up.

Neatly arrange your pops on a silicone mat or waxed paper. 3 on a side with space to spread.

Bake in at preheated oven at 350 degree F. 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to cooling rack as such:

Don't rush a good thing, so wait until ur cookies cool completely before you devour them or dress them up like I did.

These Pops are great, but a Fashion Intervention was so necessary...

Tadah! They're all dressed and ready for their Baby Shower Debut! Happy Baby Shower Marcie!

A little close up shot. Why not?
Rubber-duckie-color-inspired CattyCakes Cakebites made their way into the mix as well.

They look like cute little baby rattles. Aww.

So I've introduced you to my new love, "the Cookie Pop", updated you on the craziness called my life and included some helpful pics along the way. That's it, folks! Class dismissed. Enjoy your fabulous day! And remember, it's always best to say it with cake! ~CattyCakes the BakingBeauty

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let them eat cake! Red Velvet Cake that is...

Ok, so let me first start by thanking you all for your patience and understanding. It took me longer than planned to get this Red Velvet Cake recipe posted. The last 48 hours have been non-stop! Between tornado warnings, extreme weather, being sick as a dog, treating fevers, hives, runny noses, body aches and everything else that comes with being ill in the winter, I've not had a moment's rest. I couldn't bake yesterday, because I broke out in hives and had a fever. I didn't get to bake this morning, because I had a long list of TTD's that had to be done by 5pm. Did I mention I'm getting married to my fabulous, amazing fiance and best friend? Yep-6 more months and I will proudly be a WIFEY!

After all of my earlier obligations were met, I had a field day in the kitchen. Oh how I love my kitchen! After a long day's work, I get to throw on my honey's oversized uber-comfy Charger slippers (even though I'm not a Bolts fan), roll up my sleeves (I didn't actually wear sleeves today), coordinate my baking ingredients and utensils, take a deep breath, preheat my oven and go to town. Well, it's 7:00pm PST and I'm beat. I've been up since 1:00am-INSOMNIAC!

My Red Velvet Cake is cooling on the kitchen counter, my eyelids are not cooperating with me to stay awake, my nose is running again and it's time for me to take my evening dose of Theraflu and TV shows that knock me out! You know which ones I'm talking about. Am I the only one who sleeps with the TV on? Do not fret my lovely Baking Beauties and Handsomes. I managed to take pictures of my cake making process and I've uploaded them all for your viewing pleasure. I don't have the strength in me to translate GAWM's cake recipe into simple English for you all tonight, but I will in the morning. For tonight, rejoice in the lovely story told by the following pictures. I may not be dictating instructions, step-by-step, but a pictures says a thousand words right? Enjoy! If there was a such thing as Blog-A-Smell, you would be in a sweet-cake-coma-trance. I just made that up and I'm way to tired to use Spell Check. Detailed instructions to follow. I've included GAWM's recipe as she gave it to me-literally. You will love me when you see what I had to work with. Hehe. Love you Great Aunt Willie Mae! Thank you for the yummy recipe. Our ancestors are dancing with Baker's delight!

See the thing in the middle? Yeh, that's what I got from GAWM. Just a list of ingredients!

Not to worry, I've figured out the actual recipe and it's simple:
Grease your pan-I used a bundt pan my adorable little brother gave me for my bday this month. I use Crisco. Dust greased pan with Cocoa (Nestle's is great).

What you will need to make this cake...

Note: I only used one 1oz bottle of Red Food Coloring. Actually, I only used 3/4 of that 1 bottle.
2nd Note: I didn't have Vegetable Oil, so I used Canola Oil-it tastes the same.

With an electric mixer on low, combine sugar and oil.

this is the mixture after adding in eggs and 1tsp of Cocoa. I always increase that to 2tsp of Cocoa. I don't follow instructions well. LOL!

Bring on the blood bath-just kidding-it's red food coloring!

We're done. Time to get our bake on.

Ahh...the pour...

There's actually enough mixture to make a cake and cupcakes, but I was weak and only made a cake.

37 minutes later-TADAH!

Your cake is done when it starts to pull away from the sides or when you stick it with a toothpick and it comes out clean-NO CAKE ON PICK!
Let your cake cool completely before inverting it to a fabulous cake plate or platter.
Frost and enjoy!
Nighty night my Baking Beauties and Handsomes. Stay tuned for Cookie Pops and more!
Remember, it's always best to say it with cake! ~CattyCakes the BakingBeauty