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Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Recipe: Chocolate Cream Extreme

OMG! This cake screams delicious. My sister Diane gets an A+ for this recipe. The paring of chocolate cake and a cream cheese and whipped cream blend filling, all topped with a milk chocolate icing, makes this the perfect Bundt cake.
My sister Diane and her Chocolate Cream Extreme Bundt Cake
 
She made this for the annual family 4th of July celebration, where in my family, there is never a shortage of desserts. I missed the holiday bash because I was on my way back from Kansas City with our fabulous grandsons. However, I was told that not even a morsel could be found after dinner.
We have a tradition that we started for my mom after the passing of my father. We would designate a day - once a week - where we would all get together at her house. It's been 13 years now and the tradition still goes on. One thing that evolved since the start of this tradition, is that we celebrate each of our birthdays with our favorite cake. Although it always seems we have much, much more than just the birthday cake.
Like this Poppyseed cake that I baked for my niece Nena (center). I've been making this for her for years. So on her birthday recently at my mom's, she had one of her favorites to go along with the featured Chocolate Cream Extreme cake. And that wasn't all either, we also had another family favorite (Pecan pie). But you'll have to come back for that - it's another sister and another recipe.

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My niece Nena (center) about to blow out the candles of one of her favorite cakes 'Poppyseed Bundt.'
Now for the featured recipe: As soon as my sister cut into this bundt cake, I was sold. Sometimes just one look and you already know you're going to love it. So, make it for yourself and your family and let me know your thoughts, you can leave them right here by commenting. I would love to hear from you.


A slice of Heaven
Ingredients (Cake)
1 box Pillsbury chocolate cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
1 small box Jello brand chocolate instant pie filling
1 can Pillsbury milk chocolate frosting
2 Tbl water
 Filling
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 8 ounce Philadelphia cream cheese
1 8 ounce Kraft Cool Whip


Directions
Prepare cake according to directions. Mix in package of chocolate instant pudding and mix well. Batter will be stiff, add 2 tablespoons of water and finish mixing.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake according to directions.
While cake is baking prepare filling.
Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla with mixer until smooth and fluffy. Fold in Cool whip until well blended. Set aside.
When cake is done, remove from oven and place on wire rack. Take a knife and run it along the outside of the cake to prevent sticking.
Invert cake onto a plate and cool completely.
Using a sharp knife, slice cake evenly from side to side. Gently separate the top half of the cake from the bottom half and set aside.
Spread filling evenly on bottom half of cake and gently replace top half.
Completely frost entire cake with milk chocolate frosting.
Now enjoy!
Variations
 Add an extra cup of Cool Whip topping for a fluffier filling. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the milk chocolate frosting. Melt frosting in microwave and drizzle over top of frosted cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries or raspberries and this cake could be served at any of your finer restaurants.

 I would like to thank my dear sweet sister Diane for not only making this amazing cake for us, but also for sharing this recipe with me and all of you. 

Be sure to check back for my sister Mae's Pecan Pie!
Enjoy! VA


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today's Gadget:: Reacher Grabber tool

Reacher Grabber Tool
If you've ever been in a situation where just the thought of bending over makes your back scream out in pain, you need to pick up this handy gadget.
Whether your situation is permanent or temporary, having one of these around your home can give you a lending hand.
It's a pretty simple looking tool, the featherweight style is 26-inches long with  a claw-shaped, slip resistant grip.
It also has a clip attached to the top for storing if using from a wheelchair.
A second model is available at 32-inches long and gives you the added length you need when picking up from an upright position.
Due to my husbands back injury, you'll always find one or two of these around our home. Use it in the home for picking up items off the floor or for those hard to reach cupboard items. Take it outside to help in picking up yard items, branches or anything that keeps you from bending over.
The 24-inch model sells for $25.99 and the 32-inch model goes for $2.99 more and can be ordered online at Amazon. 
There is also variations of this tool available, your local CVS, carries a PikStick which will also serve all the functions of the Reacher Grabber Tool and can be easily picked up locally at CVS for $23.99.
So if you need a little assistance around your home - check out one of these reacher tools.
Hope today's gadget review helped you out. If you have one of these tools and would like to share how you use it, feel free to leave your comments.

If you have a favorite gadget around your home that you just wouldn't want to be without - send it to me. I will review it and post it here on my blog and on Twitter @OCKidsKorner.com. VA....


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Family Favorite: Chocolate Passion

Last week I shared the men in the family's favorite cake - today's recipe is all about the ladies in the family!
And it starts with chocolate. Light and moist - melt-in-your mouth chocolate cake.
The first time I had this cake it immediately became 'my favorite.'
My wonderful daughter-in-law - Jessica (who's every bit as sweet as this cake) brought this to Christmas Eve dinner one year. She also greeted us with this scrumptious delight on one of our fabulous visits to see our KC Family.
It's not the packaging of this cake that will sell you. What appeared to be another 'chocolate cake' quickly became the perfect chocolate cake for me.
The simplicity of this recipe and the delicious results will keep you wanting this 'Chocolate Passion' for years to come.

Chocolate Passion
1) box chocolate cake mix (I like Duncan Hines devil's food but any chocolate cake will work - light or dark)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle brand)
1 20 ounce jar of Sanders Classic Caramel topping
1 12 ounce container whipped topping
1  king size Hershey's Health candy bar
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Directions
Prepare cake mix according to directions and bake in 9 x 13 cake pan.
Immediately after removing cake from oven, punch holes over the entire top of cake using back of tablespoon.
Pour entire can of sweetened condensed milk over top of cake.
Pour entire jar of caramel topping over top of cake.
The first time I made this cake and complained to my daughter-in-law Jessica that mine just 'wasn't the same' as hers, she gave me this very important tip.
TIP: For best results, the condensed milk and caramel should be poured over the cake hot-out-of-the-oven without cooling.
(I like to leave the cake set overnight to allow the milk and caramel to totally absorb into the cake before refrigerating).
After cake has then completely cooled, spread whipped topping over entire cake.
Break candy bar (still in wrapper) into pieces and scatter over whipped topping.
Cover and refrigerate and this will keep nicely for 5 days.
Enjoy! VA

Other options:
Sprinkle nuts (walnuts or pecans) over top
Use Butterfinger candy bar topping or another favorite candy bar for topping.
Use Butterscotch Caramel topping instead of Caramel topping
*Fat-Free Eagle Brand condensed milk
Sugar Free Caramel topping
*I have not used either one of these options. They are both much thinner than the regular and may need to be applied to a cooler cake.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today's Gadget: Hula Ho Weeder

If you have a garden - vegetable or flower - you don't want to be without this garden tool. The Hula Ho Weeder or the 'weeder with a wiggle' as Gardeners Supply Co. calls it, is a must-have for my husband and I. The one we own, purchased years ago from True Value Hardware, has a 54-inch handle and a high carbon heat treated 'wiggle' blade and works as well today as it did when we bought it. We also purchased one for our son and daughter-in-law for their flower garden a couple years back.
This tool easily removes weeds from around your flowers and plants. Simply push the blade back and forth through the soil, the weeds are easily cut in both directions. The 'wiggle' in the blade gives it just enough movement to easily glide through the soil.
We have fairly sandy soil in our gardens and the weeds are no match for it. If you have a lot of clay in your soil it may constrict the easy glide somewhat, but I think it will handle it well.
Because this gadget is lightweight and has such a smooth glide to it, you'll want to be careful not to get too carried away and uproot more than your weeds!

Save your knees and your back and do your weeding with ease with this 'Made in the USA' product.
The Hula-Ho Weeder sells for $20.99 at True Value Hardware and can be shipped for free to your local store.
The Hula-Hoe sells for $24.99 at Gardeners Supply Co. and is sold online.
Enjoy!


Have a household gadget that you wouldn't want to live without? I would love to hear about it and share it on my blog. Thanks for reading and sharing! VA

If you enjoy gardening, you'll love it even more when you involve your kids or grandkids. Take them outdoors and have some 'fun in the sun' and let them experience your love for your gardens.