Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome to the Club

I've been a slacker with this blog thing. The reason I have been such a slacker here is because I haven't been a slacker in the other areas of my life. Since the semester began, I find myself trying to balance work and the rest of my life, which unfortunately means less time to bake and less time to blog.

Anyway, I have some exciting news. (At least I find it exciting - you may not.) I am now a member of two blogging groups: The Cake Slice Bakers and the Moving to Maryland Cookbook Club. I have been following The Cake Slice Bakers through two of the blogs I regularly read -
Lick the Bowl Good and McPolish - and have longed to be part of this club. The group picks a cake cookbook once each year and then bakes one cake a month from the book and blogs about it. October will be my first month baking with the club, and I'm really excited!

The Moving to Maryland Cookbook Club is a group I learned about through a friend - her friend actually started the blogging group. Each month, one member selects a recipe from one of her cookbooks she has been wanting to try. She shares the recipe with others in the group, and everyone makes it and blogs about it. September's recipe is from Rachael Ray's book 2, 4, 6, 8, a book that I own but have barely used. The selected recipe was for Mega Meat Stuffed Shells. Here are my thoughts on the recipe. 1) You can use less red pepper flakes than the recipe calls for. I only used 1/8 of a teaspoon, and it was still plenty spicy. 2) The shells need to cook a little bit longer. The centers were chewy. 3) If I make this recipe again, I will put the sauce over the shells in a casserole dish and put them in the oven for just a bit. Without this added step, I felt that they were too dry. To serve with the shells, I made a Warm Mushroom and Sherry Vinegar Salad, also from the 2, 4, 6, 8 book on page 63. I omitted the celery and used spinach rather than the recommended greens. The salad was so yummy!

Lastly, unrelated to either baking/cooking club, I made a rather delicious cake this past weekend. It was a piece of cake to make. (Pardon the lame pun.) It starts from a box mix, and you add other ingredients to make it special. I found it on the Better Homes and Gardens website after doing a Google search for "fall cakes." The recipe is for a Butterscotch Marble Cake. I found the name a bit of a misnomer because it's not really marbled. I did my best to marble it by running a knife through the batter and was surprised upon cutting the first slice that my cake turned out just like the picture. I took most of the cake to work today, and it was gone in less than an hour. I had co-workers upset that they didn't get a piece!

I'm hoping that things will slow down a bit soon or that I at least get more of a grip on life so I can find some more time for baking. I'm looking forward to fall cooking and baking - casseroles, soups, stews, pumpkin, and apple.