Tag Archives: baking

Saturday:) Some More Baking, Storms and My Silent Sanctuary

22 Jun

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

― Ansel Adams

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I stayed up till after 2 am baking my mini cupcakes. I like to do the baking part the night before, but I prefer to frost them right before I need to deliver them, so they’re fresh. I hate dry crusty frosting, don’t you?

I was baking for St. Gabriel’s big Casino Night fundraiser tonight. The Women’s Club sent an email requesting baked goods. Say no more. But also, as is my tradition, when I bake for one thing, I also make extra for my firemen.

I didn’t set an alarm or have an early agenda, so I woke up, and took a short walk, less than two miles. It was already pretty darn hot. Google said, “The temperature in McKinney is 95, but with the humidity and heat index, it feels like 105.” Yikes!

I came home, drank a lot of water, then proceeded to frost and package up the mini cupcakes. These are my favorite. Chocolate with a cherry from pie filling hiding inside.

My first stop was Fire Station 9. They really appreciate my sweet treat drive by visits.

Then, off to church with two containers. When I got to the community center, there weren’t too many cars and the inside looked dark. But, the door was unlocked and I saw four men sitting at a distant table. All the other tables and chairs were set up and ready for the big event later. One gentleman came over and said,”Thank you,” when I said I had some cupcakes.

The bottom of the foil pans didn’t feel that sturdy and the plastic covers kept popping off. For some reason I said, “CUIDADO!” when he picked up the containers. I’m not sure why? Maybe he looked a little Hispanic, it just slipped out. And that means “Watch out,” or “Be careful,” in Spanish.

Without skipping a beat, he responded while juggling the flimsy aluminum pans, “Muchisimas gracias.” OK! He spoke Spanish. Phew!

I decided to stop in the adjoining sanctuary just a few feet away. It was Saturday afternoon and no one else was around. I love having the entire silent sanctuary all to myself. And, our beautiful new church is like an amazing old European Cathedral. It’s very quiet and peaceful and I feel like I’m alone there, talking to God, and He’s listening to only me. I’m pretty sure He is.

When I got home, it was a little overcast and they were calling for big storms, so I figured I’d try and get a little more walking in. When it’s hot, I prefer to take several short walks instead of a long one. A couple of times, I over did it and had to sit under a tree to catch my breath when I got light headed. Not good. I managed to get 3.5 miles total in today.

I barely got home when the skies opened up. A nice refreshing rain. The temp is 78 now instead of in the 90’s.

So, a very nice Saturday so far. I have dinner plans at Miss Pat’s and then we are off to the Performing Arts Center on the square for a concert at 8. What a perfect day.

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) Find Your Passion, Share Your Passion

22 Jun

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

~Maya Angelou

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I love this quote from Maya Angelou. There is so much more to life than making money and only looking out for yourself. And, what better way to live life than with passion and compassion.

I have many passions… art, painting, writing, baking, dancing, singing and sharing. The first thing I wanted to share today was my no-recipe recipe for Clean Out the Freezer Fruity Upside down Cake,

My freezer is always jam-packed to the gills with fruit, vegetables, left-overs and ice cream, of course. I tend to buy more groceries than I need, mostly because I buy food, then end up going out to eat all the time. Thus, I have food to freeze, not to mention left overs from all those lunches and dinners to freeze.

So, when I want to use up a few things in the freezer, I bake a cake. I went into the freezer and took out several different packages of frozen fruit. I had strawberries, blueberries, mango, and peaches. Then, I mixed in a can of apple pie filling.

First things first. I like to make a funny face with the mix before I start blending. It’s a goofy tradition I have. Humor is important.

I melt 1/2 stick of butter and add about a cup of brown sugar (I don’t measure) into a foil lined pan, stir that around till the pan is coated. Mix up the defrosted fruit with a can of apple pie filling and pour on top of sugar/butter mixture. Then, I use a yellow cake mix following directions and pour over fruit.

I bake at 350, but you can’t really time it. It takes a lot longer than a regular cake because of all the gooey fruit, so, I just keep testing doneness with the touch cake with your finger method. It has to bounce not sink. Bakers know that. Once it looks done, I actually turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven a while longer.

After it cools, I put a platter on top and flip it over. That’s what the foil is for. It peels away, leaving a beautiful fruity topping. Yum!

Then, share with your favorite local fire station.

Well, that was last week. After I’m done posting this, I have more baking to do tonight, as I volunteered to bake a mess of mini cupcakes for the St. Gabriel’s Casino Night tomorrow. A baker’s work is never done.

Sharing is caring. My mission in life…

Saturday:) Sayin’ Thank You To My Favorite “Peeps”

20 Apr

“Everybunny loves somebunny, sometime.”

(Popular song)

“Easter is a good time to count your blessings and say thank you to all your Peeps.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This morning, I was sittin’ around with all my Peeps. Everybunny was relaxing. But, that didn’t last long. I still had much to do.

Yesterday, I baked around 150 mini chocolate cupcakes with a cherry in the middle, then made the frosting. This morning, it was time to frost, decorate and dispense the marshmallowy concoctions.

Now, here’s my secret, I use a thin pretzel to secure the Peep to the cupcake. Otherwise they tip over. (Experience talking)

My Peep army with General Godiva leading the troops. The Bunny Battalion.

Packing up the troops into smaller Bunny Brigades to take over to my Peeps at the Fire Stations.

I know, I know, it’s not all about bunnies and candy and Easter egg hunts and new clothes. It’s about the ultimate sacrifice, death and resurrection of Our Lord. But, it’s still a good time to count your blessings and say thank you to the people who sacrifice and care for us here on earth.

Happy Easter my friends.

Friday:) Fun and Games and My Bunny Baking Frenzy

19 Apr

“It’s all fun and games until I break out the marshmallow Peeps. Then, I get serious.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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With Easter just around the corner, I needed to start my baking frenzy today. It’s Good Friday, so a “Good” day to begin. I think I have all the cupcakes baked, and the frosting is made and in the fridge, waiting to frost them tomorrow. Then, I get to add the adorable marshmallow Peeps. Then, to stop over to a few of my local fire stations and a few neighbors, I frosted just a few today just to check out the consistency of the frosting. Looks good.

Let the frenzy begin! I’ll let you see the results tomorrow.

Hoppy Easter!

Saturday:) Super-Duper Fruity Upside-down Dump Cake

7 Apr

“I was never one to follow recipes. I just follow my heart and see what’s in the freezer.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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As promised, I wanted to share the recipe for my fruity upside-down cake that I made for my friends at Towne Creek yesterday. Because I wanted to use a really big pan, I used two yellow cake mixes. I followed directions on the back, but used a tiny bit less water.

I had some canned apple pie filling in the pantry, but looked in the freezer to see if I had some other fruit to put in. I always end up buying more fruit than I can consume, (because I go out to lunch too often) so I freeze the extra.

I found some mango, blueberries, and strawberries, so I added it to the canned apple pie filling.

First, I lined the pan with foil. While the oven was pre-heating, I put a stick of butter in the pan and put in the oven to melt. Once melted, I added some brown sugar. How much? Hmm? Somewhere between one and two cups, enough to cover the bottom and mix with melted butter.

I spooned the fruit mixture on top of brown sugar butter mixture, then topped with cake mix. Two boxes of mix was a little too much, but one would have been too little. So, I made a smaller apple upside cake for my Fire station friends with the extra batter and another can of apple filling.

I baked at 340 because it was one of those dark shiny pans. I checked it after about 25 minutes and it was still gooey in the middle. Then, I realized maybe I should cover it with foil so it wouldn’t burn on top before the middle finished baking. I never trust a timer. I just touch it to see when it’s done. This one took over 30 minutes. The smaller Apple one was done before the big one. I didn’t get a good picture of the finished fruit one because I took it warm to Towne Creek. So, I flipped it with a spatula in sections and added ice cream.

Oh yes, the reason for the foil is, when you flip the cake onto a platter, it’s easier to put a platter over the pan, flip it over, then remove the foil to reveal the pretty fruit. I had enough left over to give some to the ladies to take home and some to share with some neighbors. Oh, and an entire 9×12 cake for Station 9.

This is a very easy yummy cake and a good way to use up any extra fruit in the freezer or getting too ripe in the fridge.

Tuesday:)Toni’s Tasty Tip for Today~ Mini Cherry Cupcakes

22 Jan

“It’s not enough to just share my tasty treats, I have to share the tips and tricks so you can make them too.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Last week, I made a zillion mini cupcakes that I shared with a lot of folks, and people always ask me for my secret recipe. I have a standard response for when they ask, “Did you make that from scratch?” I always reply, “Of course! I scratch open the box, and go from there.” Then I’m asked what boxed mix do you prefer, and I am very picky about that. I prefer that the cake or brownie mix be on sale. I refuse to pay full price.

My favorite mini cupcakes are made easier by using several ginormous pans that hold 4 dozen and two dozen at a time. If you’re baking a lot, it’s worth the investment and goes a lot faster. I use the mini cupcake paper liners, and I can scoot those little devils in and out of there, right quick.

The secret surprise filling is what amazes first time recipients. I put 1/2 batter (about a tablespoon) into the liner, place one cherry on top, I use canned cherry pie filling so it has some goo, and bake. The Cherry usually gets covered over in baking. Another tip, if you use those dark teflon pans, reduce to 325*. I’ve burned a lot at 350.

I usually make homemade chocolate frosting (from scratch), but I didn’t have any milk, not a drop. So, I decided to make cherry frosting, using the extra pie filling goo for the liquid. 1 package cream cheese and two sticks butter softened, 1 pound confectioners sugar and cherry pie filling goo as needed. (I don’t measure.)

Now, here’s another great tip. I HATE cleaning up those huge cupcake pans. They don’t fit in my sink and the rims get all crusty and gooey. Once, in the summer, I got a huge plastic bin and soaked them outside over night. But, it’s been really cold there. So, I discovered that if I placed a sopping wet dish towel over the tins and let soak a few hours, the crusty part cleans up in a snap.

Then, I just get a soapy scrubber and go round and round right quick in each cup and rinse. TA-DA! Ready for another day. Like this weekend…yikes…more baking on the horizon for the St. Gabriel’s women’s CRHP retreat on Saturday. Another tip…I just leave all that stuff out on the counter. Just gonna use it again.

Friday:) My McKinney Firefighter Friends

19 Jan

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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I’ve had a busy week of baking. Monday I baked brownies for the dance at the senior center, some for Creative Community potluck, a batch for Fire Station 9, and a few to take to Miss Nelma at Towne creek. I decided quite a while ago that every time I bake for a potluck, birthday, or celebration that I would bake extra for my firemen.

I love the smiles I get when they open the door and I hand them their treats. Station 9 is the new station less than a mile from my house. It’s funny, when I arrive, I pick up the outside house phone. When someone answers, I just say, “Hi, It’s Toni with some treats for you guys.” The response is always, “Thank you. I’ll be right there.” Here’s the funny part, whoever opens the door with a big smile, also has my plastic container from last time. They save it for me.

Yesterday, I made a zillion mini chocolate cherry cupcakes with cherry cream cheese frosting. I made enough for Miss Loretta’s birthday, to share with some neighbors, and take over to two fire stations.

Some of my Station 9 friends. I also shared my baking tip about putting a slice of fresh bread in the container to keep the frosting and cake soft for left overs the next day. I was informed that there was no such thing as leftovers.

Station 5 friends.

My neighbor across the street is a fireman, and his two little boys are just adorable. They are always playing outside in their little firemen uniforms or riding their little fire truck car. I always get a wave and a “Hi Miss Toni.” Most likely, a couple little firemen apprentices in the making. So of course, my little mini firemen get some treats, too.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make someone smile and feel appreciated. And, nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.