Sunday, September 28, 2014

Biker Bear Cake for 75th Birthday

Completed cake at my parents house. 
My mom called me two weeks ago and asked if I would make my dad's 75th birthday cake. There is only one answer to that question - YES! My parents ride a 2007 HD Road King and my dad collects bears. This cake was a natural for his birthday. #bikerbear

Hand rolled fondant lettering, a first for me. 
Cake Firsts
  • Hand rolling fondant into narrow strings for forming letters, eyebrows, mouth
  • Making sunglasses or goggles out of fondant
  • Making mini-fondant rolled ribbon roses

Fondant leaves.

I loved how well the bear's face turned out. 
Bear's Face
  • Sunglass Lens - cut out two circles with the wide end of a 1M tip. Then, the wide end of a cake decorator tip was gently pressed into the center  to make the "frame" detail.
  • I used the wide end of a decorater tip to cut the nose  circle and a cookie cutter for the pale circle.
  • The "do rag" was 1/3 of a fondant circle that I shaped to the cake pan.(dust your cake pan with confectioners sugar first) Then I put the cake pan  with the shaped fondant "do rag" into the freezer for a couple of minutes to harden the fondant "do rag". Next step was to remove the fondant piece from the cake pan and place it on the cake. 

Three quarter view

I make my own fondant. 
You will find the basic recipe and the chocolate fondant variation here:
Sallee's Butter Cream Fondant

Remember that it is better too much fondant than not enough.

Cake Pans

1 Teddy bear mini-cake             9" tall x 4" head-7" bottom x 1" - 1.25" deep
2  Square cakes                          9" x 2"

The pans were greased with shortening and dusted with flour. 

The Basic Cake

  • I used two, extra moist, devil's food chocolate cake mixes, 16.25 I followed the box directions EXCEPT for the amount of vegetable oil.
  • I like to replace 1/2 of the vegetable oil with unsweetened applesauce. This change will lower the fat content of the cake, plus make a moister cake
  • All three cakes were baked at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 38-40 minutes. The three pans fit on the same rack in my oven.

Cake Base

Two, 9"x 2" square cakes. The cakes were leveled and coated with a base coat of butter cream frosting. I did not drape the entire base with fondant, just topped the layers with a fondant square.

The sides were frosted with tinted, butter cream frosting using a 1M tip. Red, orange, and tan were the three colors I chose to use.

The orange was made by blending yellow and red liquid food dye; 20 drops yellow to 4 drops red. 


The mini bear cake was placed so that the base formed a diamond. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bacon Cheese Turtle Burgers

Bacon Cheese Turtle Burgers

I am so going to make these burgers! Imagine a blanket of woven bacon wrapped around a hamburger patty. Hot dog halves make legs, head and turtle tail. Click on the link to see the Burger Doctor's pictures and direction

Update: The link has been repaired and is now working. Thanks SalleeB

Sallee B's Yogurt Cornbread Recipe

Cornbread Bites
I don't like to buy a whole quart just for one batch of cornbread.

I tried substituting regular milk with a teaspoon or so of vinegar added, but the end product was crumbly and a little drier than usual.

My mental gears kept whirling around this problem when a sudden thought occurred to me. Plain yogurt might work if I thinned it down to the consistency of buttermilk. Additionally, I always have plain yogurt in the refrigerator.

The Yogurt Experiment

  • I took out my two cup liquid measuring cup and filled it with one cup of tap water and four, slightly rounded tablespoons of plain yogurt. 
  • Next, I whisked the mixture till it was smooth. the yogurt/water mixture looked a LOT like buttermilk. The addition of yogurt to the cup of water yielded 1 1/4 cup. 
  • I was now ready to whip up a batch of golden goodness(cornbread to the uninitiated).

The substitute "buttermilk" worked perfectly in the recipe; the cornbread texture was moist, tender and didn't crumble when I sliced it.

Are you hungry for cornbread now?


1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal         
1/2 cup all purpose flour   
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar                   
1/2 teaspoon salt                
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil     
1 cup water            
4 slightly rounded Tablespoons plain yogurt  
2 eggs


  • Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Mix 1 cup water and 4 slightly rounded Tablespoons of plain yogurt in a two cup bowl  until it is smooth. 
  • Set aside. 
  • Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. 
  • Stir dry ingredients with a whisk until they are evenly mixed together. 
  • Add oil, eggs, and milk/yogurt mixture.
  • Mix briskly for about 30 seconds.
  •  Pour into a well greased pan and bake until golden brown. 
  • Serve warm.

Pan Size                                                                    Baking Time
9 x 1.5 inch pan                                                         25 - 30 minutes
8 x 8 x 2 inch pan                                                      25 - 30 minutes
2.5 x 1.25 inch muffin pan , about 7/8 full               20 minutes
bite size muffin pan, about 7/8 full                           8 - 10 minutes


1. Try using yogurt cornbread in your favorite cornbread stuffing recipe. I have used it to stuff my Thanksgiving turkey and it was amazing. 
2. Another suggestion is make French toast with any leftovers you have. Cornbread French toast and maple syrup are amazing together!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

SalleeShares: Masterchef Canada

I have never watched Masterchef. Are you horrified, or with me? After watching the two hour, semifinal and final episodes of Masterchef America, I decided to watch the beginning of Masterchef Canada which is airing in the United States after completing the season in Canada.

The first two episodes were typical cooking show-reality TV-select the contestant viewing. However, this morning I watched the DVR recorded third episode that begins with the top sixteen home cooks in Canada.

I found the show to be reminiscent of Chopped, on a larger scale. The Chopped basket is a Mystery Box Challenge on the Masterchef series. Then, you get to listen to some reality TV smack talk and bleeped cursing from the home cook competitors.

The First Mystery Box Challenge - 60 Minutes

The stand out ingredients for the sixteen amateur cooks were:
  • pork loin
  • creamy and chunky peanut butter
  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • honey
  • chorizo
  • chili peppers

Each station also contained a "staple pantry box."
Masterchef Canada judges: Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung, and Claudio Aprile

Judges Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile (Have you heard of them? I haven't
browsed through each station and tasted dishes during the sixty minute challenge. 

Grumpy sounding Alvin Leung, self-styled "The Demon Chef," did his best to intimidate the home cooks. However, it comes off as a bit theatrical. The good judge-bad judge act switches from dish to dish. I say "act" because this is reality TV. 

Top Three in the Mystery Box Challenge

1. Carly - Spicy Peanut Saute Soup
2. Eric - Fruit Tart
3. Marida - Trinidadian flavored Pork Noodle Stir Fry.

As the winner, Marida's advantages were:
  • immunity
  • pick another finalist to join her in immunity - She picked Brooke.
  • pick smelt, venison, or duck for the elimination challenge. 
60 Minute Elimination Main Dish: SMELT

I personally have heard of smelt, but never eaten or prepared it. Apparently some of the home cooks didn't know what to do with it either. The judges discussed how they would prepare the mild flavored fish. Deep fried until crisp was the consensus because other methods would make the fish limp or mealy.

Top Two

Dale and Pino both received compliments from all three judges. 

Bottom Three

Danny - Fish Croquette Danny was only safe because the other two were so bad. 
Meaghan - Fish Quiche Seriously? It doesn't even sound good.
Ben - Fish Cake  Judges were NOT impressed with this choice. Not a chefy choice. 

Meaghan and Ben were told to take their aprons off.


Do I really want to watch a show that has already aired in Canada? I already know who won, it is posted on Wikipedia and CTV.  What do you think? My thought is that I will just wait for Season 6 to air.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Sheet Bacon Sandwich for Two

Love bacon on a sandwich, but hate the bacon falling out at every bite?
Try my five step method for turning bacon strips into a crispy sheet of golden brown bacon that can be sliced into two squares.

Five easy steps to the the perfect sandwich bacon


1. Place eight strips of bacon in an 8" x 11.5" casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray, overlap the slices. You may need to place the outside slices slightly up the side of the casserole dish.
2. Place into the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Many recipes will tell you to bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but I think this is too hot. I have made this many times and it is perfect this way.
3. Turn bacon sheet over when top is browned, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove cooked sheet of bacon to a double layer of paper towels.
5. Drain and then slice in half.

Note: Spraying the casserold dish with cooking spray will make cleanup quicker. Also, soak the casserole dish in hot, soapy water for a few minutes. 

The bacon can be cut into a square that fits a slice a bread perfectly because it was overlapped and formed a sheet of bacon!

Golden brown sheet of bacon sliced in half .

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Candy Corn n Peanut Butter Bars

Butterfinger candy bar lovers will find this candy irresistible! Who would have thought that a melted mix of candy corn, mello pumpkins, and peanut butter would make a mock Butterfinger bar. This recipe is a great way to use up extra, or leftover, candy corn. 


3 cups candy corn and mello pumpkins
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter 
12 ounces chocolate almond bark

  • Line a 9"x 9" pan with waxed paper. 
  • Place the candy corn in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  • Microwave the candy corn for one minute.
  • Stir briefly.
  • Microwave 30 seconds.
  • Stir briefly. 
  • Microwave 25-30 seconds.
  • Stir again until the candy is completely melted and smooth.Mixture will be stiff.
  • Add the peanut butter to the melted candy mix and Stir until it is well blended.
  • If mixture becomes too stiff, microwave the candy for 10 seconds and stir. Be careful to not overcook or the mix will stiffen up on you.
  •  Using a sturdy spoon, empty the candy out into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. I patted it down with my hand and then smoothed it with the bottom of the spoon.

  • Following the package directions, melt the chocolate almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • When it is melted and smooth, pour it over the peanut butter candy mixture.

  • Smooth the topping.
  • Place pan in the refrigerator until the topping and candy are completely set.
  • Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Carefully remove the hardened candy from the pan.

  • Slice with a large knife into desired size and shape.
Enjoy eating some homemade happiness on a plate!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sallee Shares: Masterchef Casting for Season 6

Calling all home cooks! 

Masterchef USA is having open casting calls for Season 6 until October 25, 2014. 

Casting Call Schedule

  • San Diego - Saturday, September 13th
  • San Francisco - Saturday, September 13th 
  • San Antonio - Saturday, September 20th
  • Cleveland - Saturday, September 20th
  • Atlanta - Saturday, September 27th
  • New Orleans - Saturday, September 27th 
  • Miami - Saturday, October 4th
  • New York City - Saturday, October 4th
  • Chicago- Saturday, October 11th 
  • Memphis - Saturday, October 11th 
  • Los Angeles - Saturday, October 18th 
For cooks unable to make a casting call, make a video and send it in with an application. 

Click on the Masterchef USA link for more information and applications.

Not Quite a Fail: No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

Chocolate and cheesecake. A simultaneous craving for chocolate and cheesecake was the seed that sprouted into my idea for no bake, chocolate cheesecake bites.

The desire for chocolate and cheesecake had me in the kitchen scanning the pantry shelves and the refrigerator shelves.

 Hmmmm...a no bake cheesecake mix, chocolate almond bark, milk,.......AND chocolate syrup.

Those ingredients made perfect sense for making a chocolate cheesecake.  Brain cells continued to process the bytes of thought into a more developed idea. Finally, a plan emerged from all of the processed ingredient data and options.

THE Plan

  1. Use the no bake cheesecake filling, but not the graham cracker crumbs.
  2. Flavor the milk for the cheesecake with chocolate syrup.
  3. Use the mini-muffin pan with liners for cheesecake bites.
  4. For the crust, use melted chocolate almond bark.
One, nagging thought did keep popping up for attention - What if the chocolate syrup, an added liquid, caused the filling to remain soft? 

You know what I did, right? Told myself it would be just fine.  Anyway, let me continue this not quite a fail tale. 

The Plan Worked Well
  • The cheesecake filling blended very well with the chocolate milk.
  • The melted chocolate bark was somewhat thick, but it smoothed easily with a teaspoon.
  • The cheesecake filling was quickly poured into each liner.
  • A last minute addition: shaved, chocolate almond bark on top of the cheesecake bites.
  • The completed, pan of twenty-four bites went into the refrigerator on the top shelf. 
  • The timer was set for one hour.

Beep-beep-beep. One hour was up.

Anticipation was high as I removed the pan from the refrigerator. Carefully, I removed one bite from the pan and gently began to remove the liner. 

Remember that one nagging thought about the filling? 

The outside edges of the cheesecake filling remained attached to the liner. Oh well, the cheesecake bite still looked good and the chocolate almond bark was firm.

Greedily, I popped the whole bite-sized treat into my mouth.

Luscious, chocolate cheesecake sent my taste buds into a flash mob dance. My teeth parted to bite into the chocolate bottom, and encountered a disc of chocolate almond bark. 

Remember the last time you bit into a solid chocolate Easter bunny? Biting into the chocolate bottom of the cheesecake bite was exactly like that moment. 

However, I remained optimistic. I am a "glass half full" woman. After all, the cheesecake box directions said to, "wait at least one hour before serving." The filling could still get firmer. Plus, the bottom was solid, but it was chocolate.

24 Hours Later

The cheese cake filling was still slightly soft. The outside edges of the cheesecake filling continued to stay on the liner. 

In Conclusion

The slightly soft, chocolate cheesecake filling had my taste buds dancing with happiness. A perfect blend of chocolate and cheesecake flavor. Chocolate almond bark is chocolate almond bark, it always makes me happy to eat it. My brain cells have already been busy formulating a new plan for making No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Bites. Keep checking in because I have another box of  No Bake Cheesecake!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sallee's Six: The Apple Edition

Cinnamon Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cake.

Apples make me think of apple pie and bobbing for apples. Today, we do not bob for apples at fall festivals or harvest gatherings. Too unhygienic. Apple bobbing may be a curiosity now, but everyone has a favorite apple pie recipe or apple laden dessert. Listed below are six links to kitchen tested, amazing apple recipes for every meal and event.

Sallee's Six: The Apple Edition              

  1. Food Network has an amazing list of fifty, yes fifty, food items that you can make with apples. The list includes main dishes, desserts, and side dishes. 50 Things to Make With Apples
  2. has over a thousand apple recipes that have been reviewed and rated by home cooks. Apple Recipes
  3. Mr. Food Test Kitchen has 34 quick and easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mr. Food
  4. My favorite place for recipes is! Betty's list of Newest Apple Recipes includes Apple Crisp Crepes, Streusel Topped Apple Cheesecake Bars, and six more delicious apple offerings.
  5. A healthy alternative for apple recipes, Cooking Light has 31 Apple Recipes for every meal and every occasion. 
  6. Last, but not least is a Top 10 Apple Desserts recipe list from Taste of Home. How about making some Caramel Apple Bread Pudding? 

Apple Wisdom from Mom

My mother was taught many lessons with country proverbs. Mom then felt obligate to teach those same lessons to my siblings and I. Listed below are six of her favorite apple sayings. (idiom or proverbs)

  1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  2. You are the apple of my eye.
  3. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
  4. Don't be a crab apple.
  5. One bad apple spoils the bunch.
  6. As American as apple pie.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Glazed Peanut Butter & Jam Coffee Cake

If you enjoy eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, this is the coffee cake for you!

A peanut butter coffee cake with a scattering of streusel, dollops of grape jam, and topped by a creamy peanut butter glaze.

Is your mouth watering yet? Best of all, this is a pantry style recipe; no expensive or exotic ingredients are required to make this mouth watering, breakfast cake. Yes, I said breakfast cake.

Ready to make some homemade happiness on a plate? Let's get started. 

Before making your coffee cake batter:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Make your streusel topping.

Streusel Topping 

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter, or margarine


  • Place all of your ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix all ingredients until crumbly. 
  • Make sure the butter or margarine is cold or your topping will not form small crumbs.
  • Set aside and prepare your coffee cake batter.

Coffee Cake Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulate white sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 medium to large egg
1/4 cup grape jam


  • Place all of your dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Stir dry ingredients until blended.
  • Add peanut butter, milk, and egg.
  • Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.
  • Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scrapping sides of bowl occasionally.
  • Spread half of the batter in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan, or a 9 x 9 inch square pan.
Half of the batter is spread into the greased pan.

  • Sprinkle half of the streusel topping on top of the batter.
Half of the streusel is sprinkled on the batter.

  • Pour remaining batter into the pan.
  • Spread gently over streusel topping with a spatula, if necessary.
Second layer of batter and streusel.

  • Sprinkle remaining streusel topping over batter.
  • Place grape jam by teaspoonfuls on top of the cake.
Dollops of grape jam placed onto the coffee cake.

  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 30 minutes for an oblong cake pan, 40 minutes for a square cake pan.
Baked and ready for a layer of creamy peanut butter glaze.

  • Cool before applying creamy peanut butter glaze

Creamy Peanut Butter Glaze


2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 Tbsp. hot water

  • Place powdered sugar in a bowl.
  • Add vanilla extract, creamy peanut butter, and 2 Tbsp. of hot water.
  • Beat with a whisk just until mixed well.
  • Add 2 more Tbsp. of hot water.
  • Whisk or beat until well mixed and creamy.
  • Pour peanut butter glaze onto the top of the cooled coffee cake
  • Gently spread with a spatula until the entire top of the cake is covered.

Creamy peanut butter glaze.

NOTE: The streusel in an oblong cake is not in a distinct layer. If you want distinct layers of streusel, use a square, 9 x 9 inch cake pan. OR  double the streusel recipe. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gone Batty for Faux Buttermilk Brownies

I LOVE brownies! Cake brownies, fudge brownies, cakey fudge brownies. Get the picture?

Curious about the "faux" in the title? The secret ingredient is not buttermilk......give me a drum roll please..... it is plain yogurt!

Buttermilk is used so infrequently at my house that it just doesn't make sense to buy a carton to make one recipe. So, I substitute plain yogurt mixed with milk to achieve the consistency of buttermilk. The yogurt works fabulously.

Today's post is a recipe for a made-from-scratch, cake brownie that is topped with a ganache-type frosting made from sweetened condensed milk and semi sweet chocolate chips. The sweetness is more subtle than with powdered sugar frosting.

The chocolate flavor is more subtle than in most brownies. These brownies are a great after school snack, or they go well with morning coffee. Actually, I already had one with my coffee as I was writing this. 

Another plus, bake time is fifteen minutes because you cook the brownies on a large cookie sheet.

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 rounded Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Brownie Directions

  • Combine margarine, water, cocoa, and oil in a saucepan. 
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and cool briefly
  • Place dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Stir dry ingredients until will mixed.
  • Pour cocoa mixture over the dry ingredients
  • Stir three or four times.
  • Place 2 rounded, Tbsp. of plain yogurt into a liquid measuring cup. Add just enough water or milk to make 1/2 cup of liquid.
I was a little over 1/2 cup, but I only used 1/2 cup of the thinned yogurt.

  • Add thinned yogurt, eggs, and vanilla to the brownie mixture.
  • Stir just until well blended.
  • Pour into a foil lined, 10 inch x 15 inch cookie sheet with sides.

  • Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes.
  • Cool and frost.

Frosting Ingredients

1 - 14 oz. can of sweetened, condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 oz., or 3 Tbsp.,semi sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting Directions

  • Over medium heat, in a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk.
  • Cook and stir until it thickens. The original recipe said ten minutes, but mine thickened within five to six minutes.

  • Remove from heat. 
  • Stir in Tbsp. of water; cool. 
  • Stir in vanilla. 
  • Pour and spread onto pan of brownies. 

  • Let frosted brownies sit until frosting is completely cool.
I use a 2" - 3" square, scalloped edge, cookie cutter to cut my brownies.

Slice and serve some homemade happiness on a plate!