Thursday, December 31, 2009

Easy Fire Roasted Salsa

I have made salsa for years and I always like to experiment with ingredients : ) This time around I used fire roasted canned tomatoes instead of petite diced canned tomatoes! Final result? Delish!!!


2 small cans fire roasted tomatoes (undrained)
1/2 bunch cilantro (chopped)
1/3 - 1/2 of a red onion (chopped) - depends on how oniony you like it
1 whole fresh jalapeno (seeds included) - I love super spicy so I keep all the seeds
juice from 1/2 of a lime
olive oil (float a bit on top once it's in a storage container - this helps to keep it fresh)

Options: serrano peppers instead of jalapeno - in case you like it really hot!

Once you get all your ingredients ready - put it into a food processor and pulse a few times until it's a nice small chunky salsa - that's it!

I do not add salt since most tortilla chips are riddled with it. I feel adding salt to the salsa itself makes it way too salty : )

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Gramma's Cranberries

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone - a day late! I wanted to post this before Thanksgiving but I didn't have a chance to. I had to wing this recipe since I couldn't find my Gramma Mere's recipe, my mom couldn't find her copy and Gramma herself couldn't find hers. So I did it from memory and in my opinion it came out perfect! And it's so easy!

(2) 12 oz bags fresh cranberries - rinsed
(2) c. sugar
(2) c. water

Bring these ingredients to a boil and and let them cook about 10-12 minutes. They'll start popping and making noise : )

They look like cranberries in the snow!
They're starting to pop!
At the end of about 12 minutes they've reduced down to this!
Remove the cranberries from the stove and let them cool a bit.

Meanwhile zest 3 nice size oranges and juice 2 of them. You'll hopefully end up with about 3/4 of a cup of juice. Set aside zest and juice.

Take about half of the cooling cranberries and push them through a sieve. The idea is to push them through to release the pectin (that's what makes it thicken as it cools). Don't throw away what's left behind in the sieve!!! That's where all the nutrition is! Mix it all together with the other half of the cooling cranberries that didn't get pushed through the sieve.

Add your orange juice and zest to the cranberries and mix well : )

You'll end up with this! The color is amazing! The taste is out of this world! You'll never want to eat congealed cranberry out of a can ever again!
I love this cranberry on pancakes, waffles, vanilla ice cream, and my favorite marzipan white on white cupcakes I'll be blogging about in my next post!

Monday, November 2, 2009

And the Winner is.............

Catherine of Mrs. Toad Designs!!!!
Thank you to all who participated in Pinks & Needles First Blog Giveaway! Catherine will be receiving this handmade Holiday Cupcake Ornament made by me with lots and lots of LOVE!!!
Be sure to check out Catherine's blog at:
Mrs. Toad Designs
See you all for our Big Re-Opening of Pinks & Needles on Etsy Monday November 16th! Tons of fun Holiday gifts will be available! We'll be hosting another Blog Giveaway for the month of December - please stay tuned!

See you all for our Big Re-Opening of Pinks & Needles on Etsy! Tons of fun Holiday gifts will be available! We'll be hosting another Blog Giveaway for the month of December - please stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Very First Blog Giveaway!!!!!!

Choose which blog you would like to follow by clicking on "Follow Blog" at the top of the page. I keep 4 blogs current (listed below)! Choose to follow 1 or more. The more blogs you follow the better your chances for winning! I will enter your name in once for each blog you follow : )
Pinks & Needles Blog a place to keep up to date with my Etsy shop Pinks & Needles!
California Girl Confections a place where I share recipes!
California Girl at Heart a place where I share fun things!
California Kiss Studio a place where I share art!
I will be giving away a lovely handmade surprise to the Lucky person who's name I pull from a hat on November 1st!!!!!!
Please note: you can comment here but in order to be entered into the drawing you must "follow" me at 1 or more of my 4 blogs : )
Thank you so much! I look forward to my first giveaway!!!! If you are already a follower you will automatically be entered into the drawing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Homemade Limoncello

 I've never made Limoncello before but have wanted to for years! I searched the internet over and over for a recipe that had a long steeping time and this is the one I found. ~Patty's Recipe from California
So far I have only done Step 1. I used the zest of 21 California grown lemons....I hand peeled the first 2 lemons but I was getting little bits of the white so I switched gears to zesting instead. I had quick results as far as the color of the brew changing from clear to bright yellow so I'm thinking it's going to be a good batch!!! Tune in in 2 weeks (October 27th) for Step 2! I should mention too that I used Tito's Vodka from Austin Texas. They have excellent ratings! Beating out Grey Goose & Kettle One among others!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Campy Cotton Candy Cake

The Campy Cotton Candy Coconut Cake
The easiest recipe ever! Bake a white cake as directed. I tinted my batter the lightest color pink. For filling: Mix 2 c. sugar with 2 c. sour cream and 1 bag of coconut together ( I tinted mine aqua - hence the cotton candy refrence ). Add one container of cool whip to about 1 c. of the filling mixture - this is what you will frost the top and sides of the cake with. Once the cake is cooled split the 2 layers so you have 4. Spread the filling in between the layers and then frost with the Cool Whip mixture! You're suppose to refrigerate this cake for 4 days!!!!!! I can't wait that long!!! But if you think you can hold out before you dig in - by all means do so! It mellows and makes the moistest cake on the planet!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Coconut Bread

I found this recipe on Originally submitted by Donna Abbott
This is a wonderful recipe!! My husband is a huge fan of coconut so when I told him about it - he was thrilled! The bread itself is very dark but I think it's becasue of the brown sugar in the ingredients. I didn't over bake it but it might look that way. It's very moist and chewy too : )


* 2 cups white sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 4 eggs
* 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 cup flaked coconut
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

* add to recipe box Add to Recipe Box
My folders:
* add to shopping list Add to Shopping List
* Customize Recipe
* add a personal note Add a Personal Note


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
2. Mix together sugars, oil, and eggs. Mix in pumpkin. Add flour, salt, soda, and spices, and then water. Stir together until just moistened. Stir in coconut and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pumpkin Breads ~ Squirrely Little Pans

pumpkin breads ~ finishedThe first week of Fall is really here! And it seems like it's been a horribly long Summer! Especially since we live in the desert - Hot desert I should say!
What better way to celebrate (the weather throwing hints anyway) that cooler days are upon us than to bake up some yummies!

I found this recipe on All Recipes. It's called Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread! Submitted by Laurie Bennett who states: "This is a great old Maine recipe, moist and spicy. The bread actually tastes even better the day after it is baked. Great for holiday gift giving!"


* 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 2/3 cup water
* 3 cups white sugar
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I used All Spice instead)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The loaf pans I used are small so I baked them for 30 minutes then rotated them in the oven and covered them loosely with foil. I think I baked them another 10 minutes and then turned out perfect!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Barbadian Pound Cake Turned Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake
Originally uploaded by Gigi & Big Red
As promised! Here's the finished product! It's amazing how much real whipped cream vs. canned can make or break a dessert!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ingredients for Barbadian Pound Cake

I found this recipe online from Bernadette Beekman

She is quoted as saying:

"My grandmother, Gladys Payne Gittens, came here from Barbados about 1906. She read this to me over the phone when I was in law school in 1978. Thanks to my friend Elayne, the Soulful Yenta, to whom I gave a copy, I was able to find this on Mother's Day. It's a great simple pound cake, good with tea."


* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 2 cups butter
* 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 eggs
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon almond extract
* 2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch bundt pan.
2. By hand with a spatula cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs all at once and beat well.
3. Sift the flour and the baking powder together. Add to butter mixture along with 1 cup of the milk. Continue to beat well (the batter will be doughy). Add the remaining 1 cup of milk along with the vanilla, and almond extracts. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue baking for 15 minutes longer.

Note from Gigi: it seems my oven has a mind of it's own so I was a little worried about over baking it at such a high temperature. i did cover it with foil the last 10 minutes or so.

But it turned out delightful! Very moist!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big Red's 34th Birthday coming up!

Well how sad is it that I haven't blogged in a year! Whoops! Hubby's birthday is in a couple of days! This year he requested strawberry shortcake! Sounds delicious and easy enough to make! I promise to post pics of the "real" delectable fruity goodness soon! For now I leave you with a picture of my newest obsession Re-Ment. These are Japanese miniatures - so life like! So real! It's hard not to get hungry when I'm playing around with my stash! The detail is amazing as you can see!!!