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Freezer Meals: Get Cookin'


Before I just go sharing with you all the recipes I have found (note: I'm not pretending to have invented any. I've just found success with some more than others) there are some tricks I've learned along the way that may help you. The biggest one I've alluded to but not yet clearly stated:

Don't just make one meal and freeze it. Make four or five and freeze them in individual servings or servings for two. If you're going to cook, make it count. 
 Personally, I find 3 or 4 recipes and double or triple them. Shop once, cook once and freeze many 2 person servings. (If you have more people you are preparing for, freeze in batches that work for you.)

  • Use Ziplock Freezer Bags. Quart size freezer bags are a good place to start for one-two person servings.

  • Label everything. Once it's frozen and the bag is frosted, the food all looks the same. Label with name, date, and cooking info. This also helps when if you are running late, call home and say "Pick something out, read instructions. You have to get dinner started." (Hypothetically.)

  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your recipe choices to include different methods of cooking. Although you're not starting from scratch after this point, some recipes are still faster to cook than others. You don't want to have all crock pot recipes and be expected to remember every morning to start cooking dinner while making breakfast.

  • Don't freeze that stir fry recipe WITH the veggies. Success is when: You freeze your meats/seafood and sauces together. Leave the other stuff out of it. I always heat up the entree and serve it with ready rice and steam-fresh veggies that I can just heat up separately... if you literally are making stir fry, add your veggies into your thawed and heated stir fry recipe as the last step.
If your recipe is a 'freezer meal' that you've found and it tells you to freeze everything together, edit that one out immediately - and any others with it. The person who wrote that doesn't know what they are doing... I've made this mistake.

  • Always have fillers on hand. As stated above, this method works best when you freeze your entree and not everything else. Keep rice, mashed potatoes, lettuce, etc. on hand along with your veggies to have available as a pairing for any recipe.

  • Don't overwhelm yourself. With big batches of cooking and several recipes, I recommend making your grocery list/grocery shopping at a separate time from the cooking. 

And now, the good stuff. Here are the recipes currently in my freezer. Here is also a picture of my freezer. 1 day, 6 hours and 45+ meals later, I'm all set for about 2 months. May you find success with these as well...

On Ice Now:
  • Salsa Chicken
  • Frozen packaged Halibut (with individual servings of seasoning ready to go)
  • Frozen packaged Salmon (with individual servings of seasoning ready to go)
  • Steak Marinade (Steak TBD)
  • BBQ Chicken 
  • Vegetable Lasagna
  • Peach Whiskey BBQ Chicken*
  • Salmon Cakes*
* These recipes I will save for my next post. This is PLENTY to get you started!

As stated above, I also have on hand at all times, either fruit or veggies (frozen or fresh) and Uncle Ben's 2 person serving Ready Rice because ... well, everything goes with rice.

How to get started: (How I get started)
  1. Gather the recipes you plan to use. Read all the ingredients, read all the instructions. Know what you are getting into. Often times you will find you are able to prepare a few meals at one time for maximum efficiency.
  2. Make a grocery list with all needed ingredients. Go through each recipe, make your grocery list. You will be duplicating some ingredients on your list with the various recipes. That's OK at this stage.
  3. Make a collated master grocery list. Take all the individual ingredients you have listed... group the ones you can. Whether it be according to food item, food type or section of the grocery store, this will help to make sure you don't miss anything while shopping and it will speed up the process for you.
Don't forget your freezer plastic bags!

And now the recipes! ...Starting with the easiest:

1. Salsa Chicken (15-20 minute re-heat time)- My all-time-go-to-no-fail-goes-with-everything number one choice. It's easy. Ready?...

Photo courtesy of Chocolate Therapy

  • Buy (boneless, skinless) chicken breast, as much as you want. Frozen or thawed, doesn't matter.
  • Put it in a crock pot with a whole jar of your salsa of choice, or the amount appropriate to cover your quantity of chicken.
  • (Optional) Add taco seasoning.
  • Cook in crock pot on high for 3-4 hrs. or low for 6-8 hrs.

If you are one who requires precise measurement, you can find this recipe formally listed here.

... Done. SO easy! Makes great tacos, great on rice alone, great in a taco salad.... LOVE, love, LOVE this one. You can serve it up right away or freeze it in smaller portions to have available whenever. 

To thaw and re-heat directly from freezer (on the fly):

  • Fill a pot with water, bring to a simmer on the stove. 
  • Place freezer bag (maybe double bag it at this point for good measure), place it in simmering pot.  Water doesn't have to cover the bag, but it should cover a majority.
  • Let it thaw and re-heat in the simmering water 15-25 min. depending on your amount. 
  • Take the bag out, place it on a towel, cut open the bag... serve the chicken. Careful! It will be hot!

2. Frozen Halibut and Salmon with Seasoning (Follow cooking time as instructed on product packaging) - Admittedly, I don't make these. I don't even eat seafood. But, my husband loves it and it all goes back to the 'make my life easier' goal. This also speaks to one my tips above in that it's another readily available option that happens to cook more quickly than some of the other recipes. It also balances out the meat options on the frozen menu.

The only thing I do to these is add a seasoning mix on top. I made a seasoning batch at one time, packaged it in little baggies with a serving per bag.

(4 Servings)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Combine in bowl, separate into four small bags to keep on hand. This, you do not have to freeze.
Recipe provided by CuisineTonight Fresh & Fabulous magazine (literally, found in the check out aisle at Lowes) #multitasking 

3. Steak Marinade (Re-heat time: TBD)- This is a similar situation to No.2. This exists in my freezer currently because I had a steak recipe with marinade and for whatever reason ending up with more marinade than steak. SO, to not waste it - I froze it! If I plan ahead, I will thaw it in the fridge ahead of time and just buy some steaks. If I am feeling more impromptu and buy steaks on a whim, I will thaw and heat my frozen, packaged marinade in a pot of simmering hot water on the stove... #shortcuts

Any marinade recipe would work for this but mine happens to be this one. Thanks! I love you! (True story.)

4. BBQ Chicken (30-45 min. Cook/re-heat time)- With it being summer, I wanted something adequate for an impromptu cook out. It is available on it's own (with rice and veggies) but I also plan to maybe grill some corn, buy a watermelon and host a cook out with half the fuss.

Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman blog

This recipe is courtesy of Pioneer Woman. I have it pinned on my .:EAT:. board, here.

To convert this into a freezer meal, read below before starting on the linked recipe.

  • STOP near the very last step. DO NOT put the chicken back in the oven at 350˚
  • Do dip all the chicken in the sauce, as instructed.
  • With tongs, place the coated chicken into freezer bags. (I do two per quart size freezer bag).
  • Place all chicken into bags before sealing them.
  • While your bags or open and ready, disperse among them the remainder of the sauce so your meat has extra marinade.
  • Make sure your bags are labeled with Name, Date, Cooking instructions.
  • Freeze
  • To re-heat/cook off the frozen chicken, place frozen chicken in a lightly greased, shallow baking pan. Cook at 350˚ for approx. 30-45 minutes, pending your serving quantity.
By not finishing the cooking previously, you are not OVER cooking the chicken when you pull it from the freezer.

4. Vegetable Lasagna. This recipe is one of Pioneer Woman's as well. Her style of cooking seems to go very well in our house, so I often grab recipes from her blog.

To be honest, I have not yet tried this recipe in particular. However, lasagnas freeze, thaw and cook really well so logistically it just comes down to what you feel like putting in it. And, as previously stated... the PW has a high success rate in our house, so I don't really question it. The recipe is now forever pinned on my .:EAT:. board. You can always reference, here.

To convert this to a freezer meals:
Prepare the lasagna in smaller containers. This is one recipe built in three tin containers found at the grocery store. Each is about the third of one full lasagna tin. With one recipe, this required no adjustments in measurements so it was an easy transition.

Before cooking the lasagna, cover it and wrap it for the freezer. Rather than cooking it immediately, write the cooking instructions on the containers to pull out at a later time.

NOTE: Adjust your timing with consideration that you will now be putting the lasagna in the oven as a frozen meal. This exact length of time is TBD but I started with doubling original cooking times instructed.

Also, cook lasagna has you would typically, with a foil tent. This particular packaging I purchased came with paper lids unbeknownst to me. I will be sure to switch them out before cooking so I don't burn the paper!

WHEeW! So that's it guys. That's where I will leave it for now. It's a great starting point. There are so many more recipes I've tried and have saved with notes and tweaks. I will be sure to post more in the future.

This is all worth it in the end, I promise. You do all this once, and for month(s) after, you can kick back and let your oven do the work.

Now, get cookin'!


I Cooked Four Times Last Year: An Introduction to Freezer Meals


I know this blog typically hosts cake posts exclusively but as my life evolves, so does my relationship with cake, food, design, etc. I feel it's only appropriate to allow this space to evolve as well. So, let's talk about something else, shall we? Freezer meals…

Although I enjoy cooking, I don't enjoy cooking every night. Especially after a 10+ hr. workday. Nor do I enjoy the last minute grocery run, the ever-present, still-forgotten ingredient or getting the kitchen that messy for just that. I never imagined the kitchen would be deemed 'my domain'. Nor did I ever think I was going to be a little Susie-Home-Maker and have home-cooked meals on the table every night for my husband and myself. Pa-leease! But, alas… it is my domain. My husband is, as I say, kitchen-illiterate. As a very proud and stubborn person I struggled with falling into this archetype. But, if we're going eat healthy food and not pay an arm and a leg for it... I'm doing the cooking. And, if that's going to happen, I'm going to make it work for me.

On a whim, on a holiday break last year, I ventured on to the holy Pinterest and actually cooked from one of those pinned recipes. Holy cow guys… life. changing. This is like life's greatest loop-hole! It's amazing. I cooked FOUR times last year. Five if you include Thanksgiving. FOUR TIMES! It might have been a choice made on a whim but there have been so many benefits, I'm never looking back.

What are those benefits?? Allow me to share because they are glorious...

Freezer Meal Plan PROS:

  • Save $$$. With meals always readily-available you are far less inclined to dine out and spend double the money.
  • Much healthier. Because you aren't dining out, you are in complete control of what you are eating. And, with the money you save from not eating out.. it's much easier on the wallet to afford all organic ingredients from Whole Paycheck Whole Foods or local, organic meat from your local market (Hey, North Market!)
  • Because you are cooking in bulk, you will most likely actually use ALL of that weird oil or spice your recipe requires you to use that is so random, you will most likely never use at any other time.
  • You cook ONCE and food lasts for at least a month and a half. You could even venture to cooking seasonally, people. Get crazy.
  • You can save your recipes in smaller portions so you don't have to commit to eating the same thing all week or even eating the same thing as the person you are eating with.

And my favorite:
  • Timing. Because let's be honest at the end of the day, you pretty much only have energy and time to heat up a meal. Forget cooking one from scratch.

Do I have your attention yet?? Good. Stay tuned. This was just an introduction. Next up: Tips and recipes I've personally tried and had success with. 


It's Shower Time!


This weekend I made a cake for a baby shower. The requirements: "yellow, gray and elephant themed." Naturally, I started looking online for some inspiration photos. If you ever need a pick-me-up... google image search 'baby elephants'. SERIOUSLY.  Better yet - do an image search on Pinterest. (Fewer random pictures). I think it will just make you smile. Baby elephants are so freakin' cute! So... I was pretty excited to sketch out some ideas of this cake. As I do with all cakes, I provided a few sketched out concepts. Some ideas more illustrative, some more graphic and clean. The winner was this clean & simple design. My favorite part is how clean the side surface is, leaving all the detail in the top. 

The balloons and elephant are fondant with added Tylose powder to stiffen them. The frosting at the top is buttercream (same as inside cake), piped with a petal tip. The side is fondant to provide a super smooth surface.

Happy Baby Showering! 

Want to see the other designs created for this cake? Here are the original concepts:


The Sport Of Choice


Monday at work: "Can you make me a soccer ball cake for me this weekend?" "SURE!" I said. ...I knew I could figure it out, but I'd never done one before. After a few minutes on YouTube and a bit of a 'Soccer Ball Cake' image search, I realized there were a lot of bad soccer ball cakes out there... I'd like to think that this won't  be one of them!

It really wasn't too difficult but the precise geometric pattern did concern me, slightly. All in all though, it's a round cake... no tiers. Sounds harmless enough. I did invest in a Wilton Soccer Ball cake pan. I used it to make sure the cake I made was perfectly round, but I also used it as a guide for shapes on the ball. That was a good short cut and pretty handy.

Layering one thin base layer of white fondant over my frosted cake soccer ball to start, I then cut and placed (without adhering) the various white and black pieces overtop. Once I knew everything fit, I just dabbed a little water on the back of each shape to stick it to the existing fondant base and viola! A little bit of stitching and a little bit of fondant grass... SOCCER BALL = DONE.

I layered the fondant this way so that if, for any reason my seams did not meet between shapes, I had a white, clean base underneath to make it less apparent. I also wanted the surface texture of my soccer ball to mirror the texture of a real, stitched soccer ball as closely as possible. This meant building it in a similar manner to a real one. The black pentagons aren't on top of the white, they are on the same plane. The shapes are seam to seam.

I did steam the cake as well, before placing it on the cake base. This gave it a high gloss finish that new soccer balls have. I steamed the soccer ball before placing it on the base so as to not steam and add a gloss texture to the grass. That just wouldn't make sense. - To be a total cake geek for a minute - I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to steam a cake and test that out so I was pretty pleased about this whole opportunity. (Geek moment over.)

Pretty happy with the way it turned out. Didn't hurt that the sun was shining and my Spotify radio was playing the perfect songs all day either. 

Enjoy! Happy Birthday Alek!

Look Who's 30!


Over the weekend I made a cake for someone who had won a COTS gift certificate a while back from an auction. She was putting together a big 30th bday bash. I was happy to have the opportunity to make this cake. It was fun, graphic & came together smoothly!

This cake was vanilla with strawberry filling and french vanilla buttercream for one part. The other, chocolate cake with carmel filling --I found amazing carmel filling btdubs-- and chocolate buttercream. Yum!

Here's how the cake turned out. Happy Birthday Blake!

Wedding Bells: Now In An Ombré Purple Pattern!


How beautiful is this pattern? A co-worker of mine recently got married at The Venue @ Smith Brothers in downtown Columbus. (One of my fave wedding locations in town.) Her colors were purple and navy using an ombre purple in her flowers and invitations. I'd not seen this color coordination in a wedding setting previously but she executed it perfectly! The flowers and decor were so gorgeous in this brick, industrial setting. And of course the space was filled with candles. So gorg!

She also used this repeat pattern throughout her printed materials so we decided to incorporate it on the cake. Each tier is darker than the next and hand-painted. 

Her cake toppers are simple but super chic! Ordered from Etsy. They top the cake perfectly.

The flavors for this cake were almond cake and lemon, both with french vanilla buttercream. They'd requested the almond flavor be very strong. This was tricky because almond is a soft flavor. After a few trials, my solution was to bake with almond emulsion rather than almond extract. Extracts bake out slightly so the flavor is never as strong after it's baked. Emulsions don't have this side effect. They are almost a gel consistency and they provide a much stronger, purer flavor. I highly recommend them for your future baking! You can find them at the local cake supply shops or online. It was perfection!



Back At It


It's been quite a while since my last update. Time flies when you get married, get a new job, renovate a duplex and tear your tricep... What can I say?

How about this news: I'm back in the kitchen! Not as often as I used to be, mind you. I no longer work from home and my flexible schedule is not as flexible these days. But I manage to get a cake order in from time to time and I always enjoy it. It reminds me of my days at art school when I was up late working on some major project due the next day. The only difference here being that this is WAY better. Point being that it takes me back to my 'roots' a bit.

I may not post as often but if you are looking to get a cake, cookies or some kind of sweet eat - shoot me an email! Let's chat about it. I'm always down for making you a SWEET custom treat if I can. 


Here's a cake pop wedding I did last summer. In the kitchen currently I'm whipping up a custom, ombre printing wedding cake confection. Sure to be super chic and super yummy!

New Year, New Sitch: Life Update


Happy New Year baking buddies!

2011 was a pretty good year. It brought me a new marriage, a new JOB, a new kitchen so it's time for a LIFE UPDATE!

The past couple years I have been working from home doing graphic design. This was a great set up. It allowed me much more time to bake, decorate and play in sugar all day. (- While working hard at my REAL job, of course.) Although it was great fun and I loved the connection it was allowing me to form with you... I was getting antsy for my next career move. I missed the daily socialization, the hustle and bustle of it all. So I began to look around...

Meanwhile, I got married. (Hooray!) That was fun. Aside from all the obvious newness that a new marriage brings, it also brought me a smaller kitchen. My previous kitchen was very accomodating. Both in storage and counter space. Unfortunately, my current accommodations do not allow for such luxuries. We're currently in the hot spot of Columbus. The Short North. It's super fun! But, we are here for the convenient location, definitely not the spacious floor plan. #shoebox. It still works. It just involves much more strategic baking, as most of my tools are in storage. (Ok, so it's a bummer.) But hey! We can walk to all the trendy spaces! Ah, city living!

Then there was the job thing. Imagine a newly set up apartment. All boxes finally put away in every nook and cranny I can take advantage of. I get a call. "You have an interview. Today. In two hours [with a very reputable company]."

#$!@@!. Where did I put EVERYTHING??! A quick trip to some local retailers, my storage unit and then next thing I know I am sitting in a glass conference room in a very pretty, sleek office, in a very nice, big fancy building.

...I got the job. I got the job? I got the job! WOooo HOooo! - That was a good day.

This brings me to present day. 2012. Since I no longer working at home, I have tried to balance baking and work. It has been difficult. The luxury of flexibility is something I no longer have. For this reason, I want to let you know that I have to bake less. I've already come into a disappointing situation where I had to let a customer down and I don't want to do it again. So, I will have to be much more selective with the cakes I commit to. 

The good news (aside from the fact that I have a great new job, a great new husband and a happy home)? I also have a friend who is a PHENOMENAL baker and she's looking to expand her love of baking into something more. This means, fortunately for all of us - she and I will be pairing up to work together! Stay tuned, friends. You'll definitely be hearing from me (and her) again soon!

Until then, enjoy some personal highlights of mine from 2011. 




Recently I had the pleasure of making this beautiful, Fall-inspired wedding cake for Gina and Jake, a lovely couple. Their gorgeous fall wedding was accompanied by this five-tiered white wedding cake with fondant fall leaves and navy spacers for extra drama. 

I made the leaves by coloring fondant with added Tylose powder and pressing it into leave molds. From there, I positioned them to dry overnight and added various color dusts overtop to enhance the veining detail. See below for links on the molds and color dusts.

Congratulations Gina & Jake!

A five tier cake with spacers, and fall leaves made of gum paste. Want to know a money saving tip for your cake?? Use dummy cakes for half of your display cake and keep sheet cakes in the back! 

Interested in getting your hands on some of the products it took to make this cake?

The leaf molds I used for these leaves can be found here.

And, as for the color used on the leaves, I used CK Products dusting powders in combination with edible color food spray. Both of which you can find locally at Happy Hostess House, or online, here.

Happy Baking!


Starving Artist?


Okay.. okay... maybe I'm not quite starving... but I am definitely an artist and I thought I'd take a moment to tell you about it...

I'm a graphic designer by day and I work primarily from home (hence, the baking.) Although, in my heart I'm an illustrator above all else. 

I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of my non-edible work. I'm always looking for ways to grow and take on more opportunities creatively. Perhaps if you don't need a cake, we can still connect on some other creative ventures?

Here, let me show you some of my work....

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Alright ladies and gents... I've returned from wedding bliss and am back in the kitchen! My apologies for the delay in posting this recipe. I may be back but I'm still catching up my To-Do list! Forgive me?

I stumbled upon this recipe long ago and now I've brought it back out of the cupboard. I truly do LOVE this recipe. This cake is SO moist, it's like a brownie cake. You don't even need to frost it. But, if you do, I recommend frosting it lightly or pairing it with a fruit syrup or glaze.

So, try it out! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. :)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
  3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
  6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Viola! A MEGA-MOIST, mega-chocolatey, gluten-free chocolate cake.

(For this cake, I topped it with chocolate genache and white chocolate shavings.)

It's A Jeep Thing


Hey all!

This is my last post for a while before I go into wedding mode and into golf-season-beer-cart mode. (Aside from a wedding order in May).  Before I take a little break I wanted to share with you pics from the latest creation to leave my kitchen.

A covered tire, Jeep cake! Double chocolate fudge style. 
MMmm-Mmmm! Enjoy! :) 

I won't be gone for long so don't stay away. I'll be back again, late May with a fun wedding cake photo update!


How to Make a Cake Board


A few weeks back, my TIP o' THE WEEK was to show you how to COVER your cake board. I guess I'm doing things a little out of order because this week I'm showing you how to MAKE a cake board!
Side note: Technically, I'm showing you how to make a cake drum (thick) with cake boards (thin). However, I don't often go for technicalities so I call everything a cake board. Sorry folks, that's just how I roll. (I'm also one of those people who refuses to order a Starbucks coffee using any of their fancy lingo. It's a Medium Soy Latte people... nothing more, nothing less.) But I digress...
SO, this is a GREAT tip if you need a cake board that is of a custom shape or size! I am showing you how to make it with standard 12" round boards, but once you know the skills, you can apply them however you'd like!

  • 3 Cake Boards (Thin, approx.  1/4") of any relative size/shape
  • Tape (This can be duct tape, masking tape... anything stronger than scotch tape)

Step One:
Apply the tape to the first cake board. (Enough so that it provides a solid hold)

Step Two: 
Apply the second cake board on top of the first. I recommend arranging it so that the corrugation of the board goes in opposite directions. This gives your finished product more stability.

Step Three: 
Repeat! Three boards layered together is sufficient, but if you'd like a thicker base for your cake... keep going!

Step Four: (Optional) 
Tape up the sides. You can run tape along the side of the boards or you can do as I have done here, adding strips.

Honestly, you don't have to do this step. But sometimes I like to because it makes it easier when applying the ribbon edge when you are covering your cake board.

And Viola! You have a wonderfully unattractive but sturdy DIY cake board. Now you just have to cover it!

Handy Manny + Sock Monkey = Cake Love


This weekend was a fun cake weekend for me. I got to practice my sculpting skills, got to get familiar with my tools - cartoon style and I got to watch a netflix marathon of chick flicks as I pulled another (nearly) all nighter creating these cakes. I don't know WHY I do that to myself... but it never fails. Cakes = LATE nights for me. I kind of like it because it brings me back to my art school days. Anyhoo... enough chit-chat. Check out the cakes from this past weekend!

Where it all began...

Getting there... (btdubs: these next two are a cell phone pics. Sorry they're terrible!)

 Handy Manny Tool Box with cupcakes to boot!

In addition, there was this *adorable* one-year Sock Monkey birthday cake. I suppose I could have made a 3-D sock monkey cake, but as you can imagine... a one year old would not really be able to appreciate that. :)