Category Archives: i bake

the 2015 thanksgiving torch has been passed to us…

are you ready, dolly???

i just found out last night that my aunt and mom have passed the torch to the next generation.

how come i suddenly fell like i am 15 and can’t live up to their expectations.  they are the ultimate hostesses with the mostess.  they have flair.  and don’t sweat.  and don’t get grumpy.  and for some reason can get an entire dinner onto the buffet at the same time and nothing is cold.  how do they do that?

hmmm.  not sure it’s fair.

there are only 2 of us girls.  and our 3 daughters.

the rest are all boys (men).

and let’s be honest, the men are not quite ready yet to make a feast of anything other that dip and chips, salsa and chips, yep… anything with chips.  and maybe a little spray cheese on crackers (by the way, my kids introduced me to that stuff recently… yum.  seriously.)

hey, maybe they could do the dishes.  YES!

it’s up to us, dolly and girls.

we can do it.

and here are a few ideas…


if it were up to me, i’d decorate the table in all white and shades of tan.  gorgeous.  thank goodness it’s not at my house this year.  i’d have a hard enough time finding 15 plates that weren’t chipped or had some foreign spot on them.  and forget about silverware.  it wouldn’t match at all.  thank goodness my aunt is hosting.  in her wonderful home in so cali.  she has everything.

thanks for the idea


i would love to put something like this on the table.  i’m curious what each generation would say.

thanks for the idea


how awesome is this table.  i mean really, would we even need nice plates and utensils?  they are already drawn in.  i think you could use fancy disposable chinette and those silver throw away cutlery… and plastic cups.  you know the kind… with the fake crystal details.  oh, so my kind of table.  why?  do you need to ask?  no dishes to wash!!  but then what would our kids do?

thanks for the idea


and there is pink.  i just love pink.  it makes me happy.  not sure we could pull this off for thanksgiving… but hey, Christmas is right around the corner.  hot pink and lime green.   yep.  that’s it.  ok, who am i kidding.  we will be eating in front of the tv, watching football and holiday shows, on our chipped plates i talked about earlier.

thanks for the idea for my own personal Christmas table

november23feast mode teenovember23fatpants

can you imagine if dolly and i wore these tee’s as we were cooking?  with waist aprons on?  i wonder if i could get them overnighted to us.  really tracy?  don’t you have 8 santa paintings to finish tonight?  how about next year?

love all of your tees

november23 tobin james winenovember23 tobin james winenovember23 tobin james winenovember23 tobin james winenovember23 tobin james wine

there will be wine.  i do know that for sure.  there always is.  the best part?  the two grandpas have wine cellars.  and their taste in wine is so much better than mine.  my palate is that of a 1987 Washington Statue University college grad.  $10 bottles of wine are fine with me.  to be honest with you i usually choose my wine for the label.  the label tells the story.  but if you have a chance, join us in giving thanks with a bottle of Tobin James.  it’s always poured at our table on this special day.  for some reason it became tradition.  we even named our appetizer in the form of a turkey “tobin the turkey”… then ate him.

must needed site for favorites if you drink wine

november23 table topics

i love this game.  hoping to find it on our drive  up the coast wednesday.  best questions ever.  and it beats hours of football!

thanks to my fav site for quick ordering and shipping


just a few more days.

this year i am so very grateful.

as we will be missing a few very important family members who are smiling down from heaven, and a few who could not join us, and to the new baby born into our other side of the family, we raise a toast to family and love.

happy monday.


the sweeter side of lemons…

november19lemon cookie

i love lemon.  lemon anything.

sweet lemon cakes, cookies and bars.  savory lemon chicken and fish.

lemon in my sun tea.

lemon in my hair (okay, that was when i was in college.  no more of that.).

i found this yummy site.

and i think she has the same passion for lemon (and food in general) as i do.

go take a peek at her blog.  you will love it.  she’s brilliant.  and you can get the recipe for the photo above on her site.


in honor of “i love lemon” day (self proclaimed, just saying it needed a day of it’s own), i’m sharing a few of my favorite lemon treats below.  recipes only.  photos are on my old phone.  yep, still trying to figure out how to retrieve them.



1 box white cake mis (i like betty crocker)

2 eggs, divided

5 Tblsp. melted butter

1 c. sweetened flaked coconut

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice (yes, from a real lemon)

3 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1/2 c. sugar

butter and flour a 9×13 pan.  i like to use the foil, disposable pans.  they cook real even in them.  just a preference of mine.  i’m sure professional bakers would not agree.  hey, i’m just a mom and an artist and an occasional cake baker.  what do i know?

preheat oven to 350.  mix cake mix, 1 of the eggs, butter and coconut together.  it will be crumbly.  reserve 1 c. of the mixture for the topping and set aside.  press remaining dough into prepared pan.  bake for 12 minutes.  remove from oven.  while crust is baking, mix cream cheese and lemon zest.  add lemon juice, sugar and the other egg.  spread over crust.  sprinkle remaining mixture on top.  bake for 25 more minutes or until golden on top.  cool on counter.  refrigerate until ready to serve.  so yummy if you make them the day before your event and they are cold and chewy.  omG… i want one right now!




1 c. flour, 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, 1/2 c. butter, softened, 2 Tblsp. sugar

mix and spread into lightly greased 9×11 pan.  bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  cool completely.


1 c. cool whip, 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

whip together and spread over crust.


2 small packages instant lemon pudding, 2 3/4 c. 2% milk.

mix together on medium speed until thick.  spread over frosting.


1 large container cool whip.

cover the filling with cool whip.  then refrigerate for at least two hours.

ok, here’s the deal… i like to make 2 small ones in 8×8″ pans.  they are thinner but this method is worth it if you want the majority of the cake for yourself….  i keep one (covered in foil) in the back of the refrigerator since nobody in my family looks back there, and the other in the front (covered in clear wrap).  you can use your imagination.  yes, midnight, when all are asleep, sneak to kitchen, eat directly out of your own in the back with a spoon.  ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  you will thank me for this tip.



1 c. butter

2 c. flour

1/2 c. powdered sugar

4 eggs

3 Tblsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 Tblsp. flour

2 c. sugar

2 tsp. lemon rind

1 tsp. baking powder

powdered sugar for dusting on top


preheat oven to 350.  combine butter, flour and 1/2 c. powdered sugar.  mix well.  pat into a 9×13 pan.


while crust is baking, mix together eggs, lemon juice, flour, sugar. lemon rind and baking powder.  as soon as crust comes out of oven, pour mixture over top and return to oven for 25 min longer.


when lemon bars are finished baking, immediately dust with sifted powdered sugar.  cool.  cut into squares.  refrigerate.

special note:  i like mine frozen.  they get sticky, ewey gooey and firm.  a great summer treat!


that’s it.

i’m sure i could share more.

but you guessed it… i have to take my kid to baseball.

happy thursday.


p.s.  if you want more recipes, email me at and request a cookbook.  they are $15 each (plus $4 for shipping).


what should i do with all of this candy? said no one ever…


i was looking at this blog today.

i love love love it.  the sides of her site are covered in donuts with sprinkles.  perfect.

i scrolled through recipes.  drooling.  wishing.  wanting someone to make a treat for me.

and it hit me…  that’s what i can do with our left over halloween candy.

i’m going to freeze it and wait until brookie comes home for winter break and i’m going to make this cake for her homecoming.

she will love it.

all you have to do is bake a chocolate cake according to the box.  when it comes out of the oven, poke holes in it.  then drizzle 1 c. caramel sauce and 1 c. chocolate fudge sauce over it.  when it cools, top with a tub of cool whip.  then the ultimate layer is the chopped up candy on top.


happy monday.


“f” is for friday and fudge (hot fudge, that is)…


a day truly deserved!




so, why not whip up some homemade hot fudge sauce.

ok, make some boozy caramel sauce too.

pick up some vanilla ice cream.

and a can of spray whip cream.

and a jar of cherries.

and wait for your kids to come home with their candy tomorrow night and top your sundae with their treats!

here are my personal recipes for ice cream toppings.

oh, and i like mine with gummy bears sprinkled on top.  just sayin.  in case you invite me over.



1 c. sugar

1/3 c. cocoa

2 Tblsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. boiling water

1 Tblsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla

mix together the sugar, cocoa, flour and salt.  add 1 c. boiling water.  cook over medium heat until thick.  remove from heat and add vanilla.  serve hot, warm or cold.


1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. light brown sugar

2 Tblsp. light corn syrup

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

1 Tblsp. Maker’s Mark bourbon

pinch of salt

melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and cream in saucepan.  keep on medium heat for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  if it starts to boil, turn it down.  once it thickens, add bourbon and a tiny pinch of salt.  stir.  cool.  refrigerate overnight.


happy friday.


it’s halloween in 2 days? nobody told me…


and it’s also mason’s 15th bday.

we used to have huge parties at our house.  lots of people came.  opened our doors every halloween for over 10 years.  sandwiches, chips, pop & adult bevies… and a cake made of anything other than cake mix.  one year donuts.  one year twinkies.  one year swiss rolls.  one year oreos.  never real cake.  now he has grown up.  he’s a man.  not really… still my baby.

holy cow.  where did time go?

i do know one thing…

everyone in our family gets a donut on their birthday.


whether i have to go to the store in the pouring down rain the night before to choose from the ones that were left, or if i can get my act together and get up at 5:00am and go get a fresh one, they will get woken up with a donut and a lit candle on top.

and yes, i do sing to them.  whether they like it or not.  i think they secretly love it.

it’s my one tradition i never forget.

(thank you for reminding me)


omg.  yes.  gotta make some of these.  way cool.



if they are lucky i will make these too.  yummo.



just noticed we don’t have one pumpkin on the porch this year.

what is my problem?

with brooke in college, greg working 2 hours away, and mason having a big social life… do i really need to carve a pumpkin?

i might just carve a pineapple.



swamp juice.  this one’s for me.

( for recipe)

i love gummy worms.  i love lime.  the only thing i’d do differently is i’d add just a tad (or more) of frozen vodka.



that’s it.

not a very crazy halloween around here this year.

we were invited to a party but greg has to work this weekend.  and he got asked by his old high school buddies to go to the UW football game.  um, i’m a WSU cougar so i don’t usually attend them.  and really, to be honest with you, a rainy, cold college football game with 4 old HS friends really doesn’t sound like my best night ever… so i said no to the couples costume party.  i mean really… who goes to a halloween party alone?  do they?  should i?  i don’t know.  got an offer from a friend to whoop it up somewhere local.  hmmm.

decisions.  decisions.

speaking of decisions.  so proud of my stud kid.  he was invited to a party at his new school by some girls.  he was really excited.  then got invited to another party at his old school also by some girls.  HEY, what’s with the girls???  his friends bailed on him to go to the second party.  and he said he’d already told the first party he’d show up.  wow, didn’t know he had that in him.  stuck with his guns.  i even told him i’d pick him up and drive him to the other party which is in the neighborhood next door.  maybe.  but he said he made a commitment.  and my answer to him was… good boy… you are true to your word… that is one of his strongest traits to be honest with you… and he would have done the same if he were invited to the other party first.   i told  him this is where really cool things happen… like you meet the girl of your dreams… or you make some fun friends… or something… it’s just fun to see what is in store.  have fun. oh, my sweet halloween birthday boy.  i love you.

probably should tell these new girls.  gotta find out who they are first.  haha.

and brooke… our sweet brooke.  called the other night needing costume ideas for a few guy friends of hers.  we searched pinterest and chatted for an hour.  ok, i searched pinterest while she talked and did her thing on the other side of the screen.  i love facetime.  best invention ever!  can’t wait to see what they all wear.

hope your halloween is fun and happy.

when my family is happy, i’m happy.

so, looks like it’s going to be a good one this year.

gotta run… getting ingredients for the swamp juice.  if nothing else, that’s what i’m doing for halloween.

happy thursday.


5 things i need to get me through the 12th…


since i have said yes to painting for an event on nov.12, i think i will need a few things…

this tee.

love it.

gotta get it.

it says it all… NOPE!

i’m not taking any personal orders until after the 12th.

and yes, i will be able to have a few pieces finished by Christmas for those who are waiting.

just email me at with your request.

i’ll let you know if the answer is “yes” or “nope”.

remember i am just one person.

(photo from pinterest.)


these necklaces will surely help with my prayers for time management.

(photo from pinterest)


i broke my favorite watch the other day.

the one greg gave me years ago for my birthday.

i loved it.  tortoise shell.  funky.  nobody i knew had one like it.  individual.  like me.  insert tears.

so, time for a new watch.

how about a timex for my next piece.

i love bringing back the old school stuff.

and i think this one is adorable.

( website provided this photo…. love love love her site)


i will need some new note cards.

these will be to write all of my thank you’s to friends who will be driving my kid around for me.

no, I have not asked you.  yet.

you will get a text or a call.

i will sound frantic.  then you will know.


i do promise to trade you for some home baked cookies though.  mason has requested i still bake cookies during this crazy time.  ok son… for you… of course.



then i will proceed to do what this mug says.

love it.



wish me luck!

oh, and YES… i will post art for sale after the 12th on this site.

and will also answer my emails regarding special orders at that time also.

happy wednesday.


special request… cookies, please!!!


guys weekend starts tomorrow.

greg and mason are going to see brookie.

and her one request…


lots of cookies.

here is one of her requests…


3 Tblsp. butter

1 bag mini marshmallows

5 c. lucky charms cereal

microwave butter and marshmallows for 3 minutes; or until puffy.  remove from microwave and stir in cereal.  fold together gently.  place in lightly buttered 9×13 pan.  cool for a little bit.  take out of pan and cut into squares.  or, just eat straight out of the pan with your fingers and who cares if the lines are perfect.  that’s our way.


yes, i’m also sending MONSTER COOKIES.


i’ve posted the recipe so many times that you can find it if you just go back a little bit.

have fun with the boys!

happy thursday

-tracy  (aka… mom… favorite cookie maker)

sick. day 5. help…


day 5.

antibiotics. ear drop. pain killers.

and i’m still “mom of the year”.

who would have thought.

you need a ride home from the game (of the team you aren’t even going to their school)?

you need a bow tie instead of a tie for tomorrow nights homecoming?

you need me to ship you some tampons and snacks in a care package?  don’t they have a drug store some where in los angeles?

you need me to check the mail for something that is coming to you from a company i never worked for?

“i will be home 5 minutes before we take him to his party tomorrow night for the dance!!”  um, so i need to get him ready, fill the car with gas and make sure i have directions to someones house i’ve never been to before?

you need that same tennis tshirt washed every day this week?  i smelled the arm pits last night and decided it was ok.

the cat pooped.  again?  and i should take it out every time?  i didn’t even vote to get a cat.  funny how the cat poops 10 minutes after he leaves for school.

homemade cookies?  i know they taste better.  but we have store bought in the pantry.  oh, you need them by tomorrow and i will be judges as a mom.  by other perfect moms?

we are out of tp?  does anyone realize there is a store just a few short blocks away?

manicure?  i’d love one.  oh, no time?  that figures.


only 5 more days of antibiotics.  and hopefully i will be able to hear and sleep again.  prayers please.

happy friday.


ps… mom, thanks for stopping by today with the thermometer (because i know we have one and do not know where it could possibly be, and the soup…. yes…. soup!).  i always need my mom.  i love my mom.

pumpkin muffins. with cinnamon sugar on top, please…

sept22four muffins

so, i have this thing with brookie.

we send each other a “photo of the day”.

she told me she missed my cooking.

funny because i haven’t cooked much since she’s moved to CA.  shhh… don’t tell her.  i like being known as a good cook.

between tennis and baseball and youth group and dances and friends… oh and I’ve started painting again after taking the summer off… i don’t feel like cooking because there isn’t anyone here to appreciate it.

i cook twice a week now.  a good meal.  a great meal, greg and mason tell me.  i cook enough for left overs; so technically they get 4 decent meals a week.

since we love having “breakfast for dinner”, i thought i’d try a new recipe.

in honor of my halloween baby (mason); who loves loves loves anything pumpkin.

and brooke, i promise to make you some of these when you come home this december.

they are sooooooo yummy!



1 1/2 cubes butter (3/4 c.)

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (from a can… i do not like the organic one… use the regular good ol libbys)

3 c. flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

preheat oven to 350.  in large bowl, mix butter and sugar.  add vanilla and eggs.  mix.  add pumpkin puree.  mix until smooth.  add flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  pour into simply baked muffin cups.  these muffin cups will rock your world.  trust me.  bake for 22 minutes (25 min if using larger muffin cups).

sept22simply…. order these today!!!

remove from oven and do the following…


now… EAT!

this recipe will go in my file as a favorite.  that’s for sure.

happy wednesday.