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Share a Spoon - Mississippi Mud Cake

Thursday, March 31, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share A Spoon


is there anything better?

Google Images

This week's theme is brought to you by my lovely bloggy and Twitter friends @amberella87, @kimslittlelife and @TheBlueZoo.  Apparently cake is pretty popular, or you Smackers are just a crazy bunch of baking machines!

I used to see myself as just a cook and not a baker.  I mean I could bake, but there's all that measuring and perfection and yada yada yada.  I thought there was too much precision involved and I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal.  I didn't have the patience for baking, or so I thought.

However, through the course of trial and error I have learned that mistakes are o.k.  Sometimes mistakes are even better than the original idea.  I started out experimenting in the savory kitchen.  I decided if it's a train wreck I will just throw it out and start over.  There's always take out in a pinch aka a travesty of epic proportions.  Besides, this is my kitchen.  Who says you have to follow a recipe?  

Well, that experimenting bled into baking.  At first it was more of a challenge to see if I could improve recipes that were sweet, the way I did changing things up on classic dishes.  I had learned at that point to start measuring or approximating for my savory recipes to share with others.  Recipe writing requires measurements.  So when I started writing my own baking recipes I was already in the habit of approximating measuring.  

When I decided to make this cake I struggled.  Living in the South, I have had Mississippi Mud Cake several times over and recipe after recipe.  My favorite recipe came from a lady that used to work with my mom.  She made the best Mississippi Mud Cake I had ever tasted.  She shared her recipe, but when others made it, it just wasn't as good.  What's even weirder than that?  The woman couldn't cook savory dishes to save her life, but she was a Master Baking Goddess.

Rather than make her recipe and have it fail miserably like so many others before me, I decided I would make my own.  I worked this recipe over and over until it came out the way I wanted it.  My recipe is different than Naomi's but it's just as tasty in my not so humble opinion.

Brandee's Mississippi Mud Cake

2 sticks butter softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts (I use the ice cream nut topping. It's chopped really fine, works really well!)
1 jar Jet Puff Marshmallow fluff
2 handfuls of mini marshmallows

In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder. Stir in salt. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugars. Add the extracts. Add eggs one at a time. Slowly incorporate the flour/cocoa mixture. Fold in the nuts.

Spread batter into a greased 13x9x2 baking pan. Cook for 35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. (Or until the cake is set.) 

Remove from the oven and let cool until for ten minutes. Spread one small container of marshmallow fluff over the cake and sprinkle 2 handfuls of mini marshmallows evenly over the cake (see what I mean about approximating?). 

Return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 minutes (or until the marshmallow melts and toasts lightly.

Let cake cool completely.


1 stick butter softened to room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and milk together. Beat until smooth and creamy. Takes a few minutes. Stir in chopped pecans. Top the cooled cake with the frosting.

This cake is simply put SINFUL.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  Now, it's your turn.  Share your favorite cake recipe this week!  Link up below!

Happy Eating Smackers!  Leave me some love and let me know what you want to see in the coming weeks on Share a Spoon.  (You don't have to participate in order to pick a theme.  If you are looking for recipes just let me know and I will do my best to help you!)  We're coming up on our 1 Year Anniversary and I am super excited about that!

Wordless Wednesday - Oh Snap!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have a confession.  I'm obsessed with taking photos lately.  I got this cool new camera for Christmas.  It's not a big fancy camera with all the lens attachments. It's a Nikon Coolpix.  The one you see Ashton Kutcher hawking in commercials.  The camera that does night photos and motion.  Not exactly the camera that real photographers get giddy over, but me and my coolpix, we'z tight yo! obsession.  Every time I venture outside these days I have this trusty little wonder with me.  We have all sorts of new birds, and bugs, and flowers blooming because it's almost Summer here in Florida.  Ok...maybe it's still Spring.  It was in the 60s all day today.  Either way, everything is all anew and begging to be photographed.

These are some of my favorite shots from last week.

This is a female Luna Moth that was on my kitchen window.

This is a Leopard Moth we found on the deck.

This is a side shot of the same Leopard Moth.  Cool huh?

Egg shells left in a Blue Bird nest in a bird house in our yard.

The moths in these pictures are huge.  They look more like butterflies than moths in person.  The picture of the nest is in a bird house that my dad made for me.  He collects old fencing and makes rustic little bird houses out of the dilapidated fences.  A piece of the roofing had fallen off due to weathering.  At first I was afraid that an animal might have pulled it away and eaten the eggs.  However, I saw the family of blue birds had moved to another bird house so I am certain those little birds hatched which made my heart happy!  

Happy Wednesday Smackers!  Join me tomorrow for Share a Spoon CAKES!

I don' you?

Monday, March 28, 2011

So, I am sitting here watching The Talk on CBS, as I do most afternoons.  Well, I half watch while I am doing other things.  The girls are chatting about Julie Chen being perfect, blah, blah, blah.  Julie relays a cute story about a "fight" she had with her husband.  Silly story and it wasn't a real "fight", but more a funny story about him giving her material for the show.

That's when Leah Remini pipes up and says she had a real fight with Angelo (Remini's husband).  Jenny McCarthy tweeted something about having a pimple, was it a turn off or some such nonsense.  Angelo replied "Not if you're naked", this according to Remini.  She was LIVID.  Like crazy mad.  How inappropriate for him to say something like that to a "girl" friend of hers.

REALLY???  I mean REALLY???????????

I sat and thought about the conversation that they just had.  Chen has said she and her husband don't fight, much to the chagrin of the other ladies.  You know, after all, she is "prefect".  That was the gist of the conversation.  I thought, that isn't that unnatural.  I mean, BDC and I don't fight.  We really don't.  Not ever.  Nine years of marriage and we are still that compatible. 

That is not to say we don't disagree on things.  We do, occasionally, but we don't fight over them.

I know so many women though that would have been just as inflamed and upset if their husbands had made similar comments as Remini's did.  I don't get it though.  Why?  It's such a guy thing to say.  It's also funny.  I mean, it's funny right?

Google Images
I think it's deeper than that though.  These are the same women who get upset if their fiancées go to a strip club for their bachelor parties.  These are the same women who freak out if their husbands watch a porno.  These are the same women who check their husbands wallets.  Break into their phones and monitor text messages, emails, FB, etc.

So my question Smackers is this, is it their insecurity that makes them get so mad, crazy jealous and ridiculous?  Are you one of these people?  Do you get crazed over these things?  

I want to understand.  Help me with this one, because I just don't get it.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme


Wii Controller Cake I made for Michael's Bday 2 yrs ago.

I have had several requests for cake as a theme.  Kim over at Mo' Betta, Steph from The Blue Zoo, Amber of Amber's Life have all asked for cakes.  Since we have done savory things the last couple of weeks, I thought we should have some fun with sweet confections this week.

I would love to see every kind of cake you can think of this week.  Pound cakes, coffee cakes, layered cakes, molten cakes.  If you have a recipe for a cake that starts with a boxed mix and you spruce it up, bring that to the party. I know there are several of you out there making cakes lighter and more figure friendly.  Bring those for sure!

Your cakes don't have to be fancy.  The don't have to be pretty.  They just have to be YUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMY!  Bring it on Smackers!  I want some lip smacking, belly pleasing, taste bud teasing, yummy cake recipes this week.  See you Thursday!

Share a Spoon - Cauliflower Chicken Casserole

Thursday, March 24, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


compliments of @VectoringMomma

If you aren't Twittling your Twat, or Tweeting your Twit, or Twatting your Twittle you are missing out.  Toni joins me most Thursday mornings for #beanchat which is hosted by Gevalia Coffee.  Just a bunch of ladies and gents having morning coffee talk.  It's a jolly good time.  Yes, I'm feeling a little British tonight.  Gimme a break.  It's late.  You bloody well know you love it anyway.

So...anytwit, Toni aka @VectoringMomma was faithfully tweeting with me last Thursday when I hosted #beanchat.  We discussed Share a Spoon and she said she would love to see recipes for casseroles.  Voila!  A theme was born.  See Smackers?  It's just that easy to get recipes for your repertoire. 

Casseroles for my family are one way to hide those veggies that the picky eaters try to say they don't like.  I have a couple that will look at vegetables and say "I don't like that", just because it's green.  I don't accept that answer, but, when I hide them, there isn't a fight to get them to eat them.

Images via Google.
I was short on time and feeling a little icky this evening so you'll forgive me for not taking photos.  Right??

Cauliflower Chicken Casserole

1 Rotisserie Chicken shredded (you can roast your own if you like)
1 head cauliflower cut into flowerets (use frozen if you want)
1 large onion diced
3 stalks (ribs) celery diced
2 medium carrots diced
2 cloves garlic grated
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tablespoon brown mustard
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
6-7 slices of bacon cooked and chopped
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

In a 375 degree oven bake bacon slices until almost crispy.  Remove and chop.

Steam cauliflower in the microwave or on the stove top until almost tender.  Leave a little bite, there will be carry over cooking in the oven.

In a large skillet melt butter and olive oil.  Saute onions, celery and carrots with a little salt and pepper until just tender.  Grate in garlic and stir well.

Add the flour to the veggie mixture.  Stir well until all butter and olive oil is incorporated into the flour.

Slowly stir in milk a little at a time until the sauce thickens.  Add mustard, nutmeg and Parmesan.

Drain cauliflower.  Stir into creamy veggies.  Add shredded chicken.

Pour mixture into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Top with Gruyere and chopped bacon.  Cook in 375 degree oven until bubbly.  Takes 15-20 minutes.

My pickiest eater who absolutely hates veggies, LOVED this.  He actually ate seconds.  That never happens.  The cauliflower gives this casserole some texture and you won't miss having rice or noodles or some other starch.  It really works.  If you wanted to make this a more carb-friendly version, omit the flour, substitute heavy cream for the milk.  Cook the heavy cream over low heat until it thickens.  It takes roughly 20 minutes or so but it will thicken.  Then add the mustard, parmesan and nutmeg.

Now, it's your turn.  Break out your favorite hot dish, casserole or whatever you call it.  Type it up and get yourself all linked up with us today!


Wordless Wednesday - Spring Sprung

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I had the opportunity to really put my camera that I got for Christmas to the test this weekend.  The super moon was just begging to be captured.  Spring has really sprung in Orlando.  It has in Jacksonville too, but it's always 5-10 degrees warmer there.  So today I thought I'd share my favorite shots from the weekend.

Also....I'm guest posting over at The Pixie's Place today for Michelle while she soaks up some family fun.  Be sure to check that out, I get my funny on over there today!

Alright, see you tomorrow for Share a Spoon - CASSEROLES!  Now go see me over a Momma Pixie's Dreams!

Wizards, Monkeys, Ducks and a famous dog!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We went away for a long weekend, sans children with weekend.  BDC and I went to Orlando with my sister and her husband for BDC's birthday and our anniversary.  We rented a house, which I have to say is the way to go!   There were no noisy neighbors in the hotel room beside us.  You didn't hear people passing in the hallways.  Just quietness.  It was wonderful.

We went to Universal Orlando to see about a wizard.  We tried some butterbeer and pumpkin juice.  Both were a little too sweet for my taste buds.  BDC had some pear cider though that was fabulous!  When you walk into the Harry Potter portion of the park it does take your breath away at first.  If you are a Harry Potter fan and have read the books several times, it's like being transported right out of your imagination to a living breathing reality.  

BDC and I enjoyed the park differently than when we have children.  When you go with kids it's all about going from ride to ride.  We had the opportunity to enjoy some of the nuances that get missed in the hustle and bustle of ride hopping.  I enjoyed taking pictures of the the wildlife who make the park their home.

I also talked to some of the animals.  I got real friendly with a monkey!  We were close!

And this dog was a little frisky!!

The best part of the whole thing though was this guy!

I just love his sense of humor.  Though I like the no hair look below over those dreads.  

Happy Tuesday Smackers!

Share a Spoon Theme - Casseroles

Saturday, March 19, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme


Image provided via Google Images.

This week's theme brought to you by @VectoringMomma

I hosted @Gevalia's #beanchat this week.  For those of you who don't know, #beanchat is a weekly Twitter chat.  Each week a blogger hosts, we discuss different topics, we all chime in and just have a good time.  Every Thursday morning from 10am EST - 11am EST.

We talked a lot about food this week.  Imagine that!  While discussing Share a Spoon, Toni said she would like to have a casserole week.  She's been experimenting in the kitchen and finds casseroles an easy fix meal that she can do for her family.  I told her we would let her host Share a Spoon for casseroles.  And thus, the theme was born.

Now, I don't care if you call it a "hot dish", a baked wonder, or a casserole.  The name doesn't matter to me.  I just want your recipes!  Every single one of you has a baked dish that makes you feel like home.  Probably because said dish is smothered in cheese.  So....come share your favorite this week with me!

Now, leave me some love and let me know what you want to see here on Share a Spoon.  I'm off to see Harry Potter!  I'll post some pictures when we get back!

Share a Spoon - Puerco Asado & Black Beans

Thursday, March 17, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

"Low Carb/Diabetic Friendly Meals"

The theme this week was compliments of one of our most faithful contributors here at Share a Spoon link on Thursday, Kim of Mo' Betta blog.  Kim is an inspiration in the kitchen.  She works extra hard to bring healthy flavorful meals to her family.  It would be hard enough to manage having a family member with just allergies, or a family member with diabetes.  Kim has to manage allergies of her little guy, and diabetes of her husband, while still trying to provide both with meals that don't get mundane.  That is a big job, and she amazes me with her recipe adaptations every single week.

I'm quite familiar with the diabetic aspect of Kim's challenges.  My mom has diabetes.  My brother in law who lives with us has diabetes.  Keeping their limitations in mind while preparing meals is definitely challenging on a regular basis.  I can't imagine trying to cut out eggs and nuts as well.  My hat is off to her.  She manages to make sweet treats for her sweetheart and her little guy while providing them with healthy tasty meals too.

This week I am sharing a Cuban classic that incorporates black beans, which have a high "carb count" but they have a much lower "digestible carb" content. Legumes (like black beans) are digested very slowly which are low on the glycemic index and help maintain stable blood glucose levels.  If you are starting a low carb diet this is a meal that would come several weeks into your low carb lifestyle.  But, for those of you who are diabetic, or just watch your overall intake this meal will work well for you.

Puerco Asado (Roast Pork w/Lime)

4-5 pound pork shoulder roast trimmed of fat and rind
1 jalapeño chopped finely seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
3 limes juiced and zested
5 large garlic cloves grated
Olive oil
Kosher Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

1 onion
2 shallots
1 cup chicken broth/stock
(The rest of the lime juice and zest)

In a bowl, combine grated garlic, brown sugar, cumin, juice and zest of one lime and the finely chopped jalapeño.  Mix well and set aside.

In a heavy bottom, oven ready pot, over medium high heat add the olive oil.  Twice around the pot (about 2 tablespoons).  After you have trimmed away the rind and most of the obvious outside fat liberally season the pork roast with kosher salt and black pepper.  Brown all four sides and remove the pork roast.

Add onion and shallots to pan with a little salt and allow them to get translucent.  While the onions are cooking down, poke holes in the roast.  Massage the jalapeño/garlic mixture over the roast pushing the mixture into the holes.

Add the chicken stock, lime juice and zest to the pot with the onions/shallots.  Place the roast back in the pot and cover.  Cook in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours until it’s falling apart.  

Shred with forks and allow the shredded pork to soak in the juices for 30 minutes.  (I pick out all of the fat while shredding the pork.)

Black Beans

1 large onion diced
3-4 ribs (stalks) celery diced
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 gloves grated garlic
1 jalapeño chopped finely seeds and ribs removed 
1 bag dry black beans (washed and soaked overnight)

Rinse black beans.  Allow to soak over night.  Drain liquid.  (If making rice for those not counting carbs, you can cook the rice in the black bean juice for black rice.)

In a large soup pot, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Saute the onions and celery until tender with kosher salt and a little pepper.  Grate in garlic.  Add jalapeño and thyme.  Allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the drained black beans.  Add one box low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Allow the beans to boil over medium-low heat until beans are tender and juice had reduced by half.   Usually takes roughly 45 minutes.  

Make sure you pick out the sprigs of thyme.  All the leaves should have fallen off during the cooking process.

I usually serve these with some sliced scallions (green onions).

Make sure you go over and show Kim some love today.  Dust off your favorite low carb recipe and link up with us!

A quick shout out and Happy Birthday to BDC.  It's St. Paddy's Day and my sweetest heart's "borned naked day" as my BFF would say!  We're going to Orlando sans kids this weekend to celebrate our anniversary/BDC's birthday.  Share a Spoon theme will autopost so no worries.  I will make sure to visit each and every post that links this weekend though, so if you have a low carb recipe link up through the weekend and I will see you Monday or Tuesday! 

The Ides of March bring Tides of Love

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Once upon a time, I fell in love with this Surferboy.

We both found ourselves taking different paths, married to different people.

Then we found our way back to the time and place that was right for us.

Nine years ago today, on the Ides of March, we were married for happily ever after.

Happy Anniversary BDC.  I love you with all my heart and all that I am.  You are my forever friend, partner, lover and Prince Charming.  Thanks for the best years of my life and making our happily ever after!

Share a Spoon Theme - Hold the White Stuff

Saturday, March 12, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme

"Low-Carb Carnivores"

brought to you compliments of


My faithful Share a Spoon buddy Kim over at Mo' Betta asked for low carb or diabetic friendly meals for her hubby.  Having a diabetic in the family is sometimes challenging.    Especially for those of us who never met a potato they didn't like, need bread with every meal, and have a sweet tooth that believes it's a ROCKSTAR.  Kim is a culinary ROCKSTAR though.  She has a diabetic husband and a baby boy who has allergies galore and yet Kim manages to retool, rethink and reinvent to make everyone happy. 

I figure if anyone with that much ingenuity, that I respect that much for all she does for her family, asks for some help that we all need to help her out!  RIGHT?  That means I need recipes this week people.  Big, healthy, hearty MEATY recipes, minus the carbs.  So you can use all the cheese, eggs, cream, and non white veggies you want!  

Remember folks, Share a Spoon links are open for the entire week.  I post the theme on Saturday.  Thursday is the day I post recipes and post the link.  I check back throughout the week and always visit everyone who links their recipes.  If you ask for themes, I will highlight your blog and/or twitter account on the day the theme is posted and then again on Thursday when my recipe and link goes live.

So don't be shy.  Tell me what you want to see here on Share a Spoon.

Share a Spoon - 24Carrot Golden Cupcakes

Thursday, March 10, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


Cupcakes are dangerous.  Really...they are.  Do you know why they are dangerous?  Well, I will tell you why.  You think that it's no big deal to eat more than one.  That's why.  They're deliciously deceptive.  Like doughnut holes.  They are smaller than a piece of cake, so, obviously, it's completely alright to have a second.  Then the rationalization comes in huh?  What's one more?

Well my Smackers....I will make it even worse on you.  How will you do that Think Tank Momma you ask?  Well, rationalize this my little Smackers.  I made them healthy too.  Carrot Cupcakes.  That'll surely rationalize the calories away right?  I mean....YOU HAVE to have your veggies right?!?

I'm not a huge chocolate cake fan.  I mean, I like chocolate cake, but, I'll take my chocolate in other forms.  Brownies, now that's a better use of chocolate, in my humble opinion.  I prefer white cakes, yellow cakes, citrus cakes, pumpkin cakes, and the HOLY GRAIL of all cakes.....CARROT!  Some of you mentioned before when we did cakes that carrot was your most coveted cake too.  This recipe isn't my carrot cake recipe, this is specifically developed, by yours truly for cupcakes.  Aaannnnnd, I have to tell you, I think that I outdid myself on this one!  Seriously....AH-MAZING!

Brandee's 24Carrot Golden Cupcakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup canola oil
3 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small can crushed pineapple drained
2 cups grated carrots (3 medium carrots)
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices together in a bowl and set aside.

Combine grated carrots and drained pineapple in another bowl.

In the counter top mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar, oil and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until well incorporated.

Add the carrot/pineapple mixture on medium/low.  Add golden raisins.  Slowly add the flour mixture until it's incorporated and you can't see any more flour.  Do not over mix.

Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers.  I use the regular sized 12 cupcake pans from Wilton.  This recipe yields 18 cupcakes, so I leave a couple of spaces in each pan to achieve evenly baked cupcakes.  (Instead of 12 in one and 6 in another.  See photos below.)

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 way full.

Bake for 18 minutes.  

Remove from pans and allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package softened cream cheese
1/2 stick softened butter
1 2/3 cup Confectioner's sugar
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Cream together butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer.  Add the heavy whipping cream and mix.  Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar (so that you don't wear it!)

Frost your cupcakes and serve!  I put the frosting in a zip top bag, snip the end off with scissors and pipe on the frosting to make them look pretty.  However, this frosting is easily spread with a butter knife if you like the entire cupcake covered.

Now, it's your turn Smackers.  Link up this week and SHARE your favorite cupcake recipe!  If you try these let me know, I'd love to hear your feedback!

Share a Spoon - CUPCAKES

Saturday, March 5, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme


I've had lots of requests for cupcakes lately.  Several of you suggested this theme.  So I am giving in and we're going sweet this week.  I mean really??  Is there anything sweeter and cuter than a cupcake?  I love decorating cupcakes. They have more flair than decorated cakes most of the time!

Here's a couple of the cupcakes I have done for baby showers.

I can't wait to try out some of your cupcake favorites!  So get your bake on and SHARE with us!