Welcome to V's Daily Indulgence!! My site is dedicated to recipes with ingredients that are easily found in your grocery store, no fancy ingredients, just basic everyday cooking recipes that are easy to follow even for the beginner cook!  

For my how-to-videos Click here

I am passionate about cooking and keeping my recipes Simple, Savory and Satisfying! Grab a cup of coffee and stay for awhile. I hope you find something that will soon become a family favorite! If you do, I would love to hear your comments! I'm listening.

Favorite quote: " "The best thing to hold on to in life is each other." - Audrey Hepburn

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Sweet Reward-Spiced Sweet Potato Sandwich Cookies with Caramel Infused Cream Filling

 Interupting my regularly scheduled blog post with a short and sweet note. The title is a mouth full, Yes? BUT just in Time for the Holidays!!!

I absolutely love food blogging, but I have to admit that there are both pros and cons to this hobby.

Pro: Creating and eating lots of yummy recipes.
Con: Coming up with recipes that other people will want to make and eat (not always as easy as one might think)

Pro: Having a greater appreciation for food in general.
Con: Driving my family crazy with my photo taking and over-excitement for food! ;)

Pro: Always having fresh baked goods in the house.
Con: Weight gain caused by eating everything I make!

Pro: Entering my creations in Recipe Contest and WINNING!!!!!

Last year while browsing the internet, I came across a recipe contest.



Although the deadline was fast approaching, my thoughts were spinning because I absolutely love Sweet Potatoes. I had several ideas stirring in my head when I created this recipe. Originally I was going to make sweet potato biscuits when I decided I wanted something more spicy and sweet. Then the idea occured to me to try and make a cookie. My vision took a few turns while making these little babys. A sugar cookies with a sweet potato filling....No a cookie with a kick and sweet cream....

It wasn't until I baked them that I had the idea to add the caramel infused cream icing. I quickly stored the cookies away and made the icing which I use alot for cupcakes. I used a piping bag with a star tip to swirl the icing on the cookies to make a pretty presentation. My mouth was watering the entire time I was icing the halved cookies. I couldn't wait, I knew the combination was going to be a hit. I was so sure of the delicious direction I was going that I iced the entire batch without hesitation. After I chilled the cookies and topped with the other half, I finally rewarded myself with a bite! Oh------- my------ was I right.

The sweet potato cookie with a kick and a slightly sweet cream filling was more of the decadent cookie I was aiming for. The combination of the salted carmel cream with the sweet potato sugar base cookie was love at first bite.

Happy with my creations, I entered the contest. It seemed like forever, in fact I had already assumed a winner was picked when I received this email:

Good morning Valonda,
I am writing to let you know that your recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato Sandwich Cookies was the Dessert category winner for the 2013 Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest. Congratulations! The competition this year was fierce and we were very pleased with the results. The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission is preparing your plaque and prize check for $500 and you should receive it within the next few weeks.
As part of the contest you will be featured in the November/December issue of Louisiana Cookin' magazine and I will have some sent to your address below when it's back from the printer. The winning recipes will also be posted on louisianacookin.com.
Attached is a recipe release that I will need you to look over and sign. It is a non-exclusive agreement that lets us edit the recipes so they match our editorial style and gives us permission to reprint the recipe in the future. Please don't hesitate if you have any questions.

Best regards,
Daniel Schumacher
Editor, Louisiana Cookin

You can only imagine my surprise! I am so honored. A few weeks later I received a package with a letter from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission congratulating me on being their 1st place winner out of 800 recipes. WHOA 800? If it wasn't in print I wouldn't believe it either. Whoo hoo. Now this really is a bigger honor than I initially thought. I carefully removed the bubble wrap that surrounded this beautiful plaque. Absolutely beautiful. My family standing with me, I would not let them touch it. Yeah, go ahead and laugh, you would do the same. The photo of my cookie was perfect! I had to display it, no this wasn't going to be in a box somewhere. This plaque is proudly displayed in my kitchen! Makes me smile everytime I look at. SWEET!!!!

Just a couple weeks ago, As I am preparing to compete in the World Food Championship in Las Vegas, I received my copy of the Nov/Dec 2013 Issue of Louisiana Cookin.



How cool is that! Duck Dynasty on the cover of the magazine that my recipe appears in. Another Woot!

Wanting to keep this short and sweet (no pun intended .... well maybe just a little) I can now share with you the Winning Recipe. Go Induldge, leave your comments and let me know what you think.








Spiced Sweet Potato Sandwich Cookies with Caramel Infused Cream Filling


Prep time: 30 min | Cook Time: 30 min | Servings: 2 1/2 dozen

If you want to impress your friends, you can convert your sweet potatoes into a delicious sinful dessert with just a few turns of the mixer. This recipe may seem complicated, but having all the ingredients measured out ahead of time is key. These cookies are definitely a *sweet reward.*
INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup canned sweet potato, puréed
2½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Caramel Infused Cream Filling:

[Makes approximately 2 3/4 cups]
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled heavy whipping cream
½ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons prepared caramel ice cream topping

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar,beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla and sweet potato.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, and cayenne. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until combined.
3. Divide dough in half; flatten each into a disk. Roll each disk to ¼-inch thickness between 2 sheets of wax paper. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Working with one portion of dough at a time, remove top piece of wax paper; cut with a 2-inch round cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake until edges are golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute; transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

Cream Filling:

1. In the work bowl of a food processor combine sugar, salt, cream, butter, and ice cream topping. Process until thickened slightly.
2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of bowl, about 15 minutes. Do not overmix.
3. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large round or star tip.
4. pipe about 2 teaspoons Caramel Cream Filling onto half of cookies. Top with remaining cookies.
Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

World Food Championship Cooking with Love for Autism Awareness

Having won several recipe contest recently and having my recipes published in national magazines has been a tremendous highlight in my cooking adventures. To be recognized for my creativity and execution gives such a satisfaction. Now, I am having to take a deep breath several times a day.

Earlier this year I entered a recipe contest and not only won, but subsequently was named a finalist to compete in the World Food ChampionshipThis is a huge honor as you have to be invited to compete in the World Food Championship in Las Vegas.

The World Food Championships will take place in Downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience, November 7 - 10, 2013.



Just A Pinch Recipes is my corporate sponsor and they have been amazing. There is so much more to this than I initally thought. We have competitors packets that are updated sporadically. Our packets contain information regarding everything from the 'big day' schedule -to what will be available to us in the cooking arena. It wasn't until a week ago that I found out that each competitor will each have certain items to prepare their dishes. Imagine trying to focus on your recipe not knowing what kind of equipment you will have. This has been nerve racking to say the least. I was thinking of that Cliché, and will be the one that shows up saying it I packed everything but the kitchen sink

Okay so now that I know I will have refrigeration and a convection oven, I am thinking about what I'm going to make. I’m competing in the ‘Bacon’ category, and we’ll have two ‘builds’, a ‘signature’ build and a ‘structured’ build. I've already started working on my ‘signature’ build. It’s what I'm going to showcase for that first turn in. The structured build will be different—the folks at WFC are gonna call the shots on this dish.

Why is this so important to me?

When I go to Las Vegas, I won't just be representing myself, I will be representing Autism Awareness.  Family members and friends of individuals with autism are presented with many joys and many challenges throughout their lives. Learning that a family member or friend is affected by autism is a powerful moment. I remember taking my 2 older boys to a therapist one night, after my husband and I discussed how our youngest was going to affect all of us. The intention was to create an opportunity for them to focus on their feelings, react to their sibling’s diagnosis and give them more information about autism.

People respond with a wide array of emotions: shock, grief, fear, denial, anger, acceptance, and many more. Many begin to feel their lives will never be the same. Parents can feel overwhelmed, siblings can feel isolated, grandparents can feel helpless, and friends can feel apprehensive. With our family, we couldn't imagine life any different. Yes we deal with tantrums everyday, behavior issues, repetitive conversations, but what touches my heart is the acceptance my son feels. Whether it be that our friends and family are around or we are in public, they don't turn their attention away, instead they interact with our son on a level that he understands. I believe that if more people were aware of autism and the challenging behaviors that family members face on a day-to-day, in an effort to ease the fears of and provide encouragement to all people with individuals with autism in their lives, the world would be a better place.
Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization and has helped our family with all kinds of resources such as how can we as parents provide the best support for our child with autism and to ensure the whole family's needs are met? It's a question faced by every parent of a child on the autism spectrum.

Autism is not a single condition but part of a wide range of conditions - so called 'Autistic Spectrum Disorder' - with many features which may or may not be present in a given child, each child is different.

I have kicked off a crowd funding campaign at Indiegogo.com. I have just over 2 weeks left to raise $800. I need an extra push to take me all of the way. Please contribute! Every dollar counts. Even if it's $1, I need your support. Whether you support me with your dollars, your kind words or your social media and email promotions, I accept all things good and positive to send me to Las Vegas in November. 
Contribute to my campaign by clicking on this Link.
I'm currently looking for all kinds of sponsorships (monetary and equipment) so if you, someone you know or a company willing to take a chance on projects like mine, let me know!


As I have the Rocky theme song blasting in my kitchen. My juices are flowing because there is a lot at stake here. This competition is serious. People compete and travel all year round to competitions like this. People train for months at a time and spend exorbitant amounts of money in order to win. Some entered contests and won thousands of dollars in addition to a berth at this competition. Some have entered contest after contest after contest and they are HUNGRY. Salivating. Ready to get to Vegas and compete. And I'm going up against 49 of these people in my category.

I want to win this World Food Championship to push myself to the limit to help raise funds to help those struggling with autism. 


Stay tuned as I take you on my journey.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Winning Birthday, Restaurant Style-Orange Chicken




Last week was my birthday! Not really wanting to celebrate this one, but didn’t want it to slip by either, I decided to take a few days and go visit my mom at her beach house. We had a great visit, as usual, soaking up the coastal air, just relaxing and getting caught up was just what I wanted and needed.

As we were out and about on my big day, my mom asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner. It’s always been a treat in my family to choose your birthday dinner. In fact, I always felt a little guilty when my boys were younger and they chose McDonald’s or Burger King, but hey it was their big day and it made them happy, so I guess I can’t feel too guilty. As they grew up, so did their tastes so all that changed anyway. They had the choice to dine out or request a family favorite for me to prepare is always a surprise. Several times my boys would just want to go to the mall and get their favorite orange chicken bowl. I was all over that because I love orange chicken. In fact, we went so many times that I became obsessed with trying to recreate it. After several failed attempts, I finally created a recipe with flavors reminiscent of the orange chicken from the popular restaurant in the mall and enough to be requested on their birthdays.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Nut Muffins



What a great way to start the week and what’s better than to get exciting news on a Monday nonetheless! This absolutely made my day. I couldn’t stop smiling when I got the email from Shelley from Yummly saying that my Healthy Banana Nut Muffins has been picked to be featured on their blog!

So what does all this mean you maybe be asking yourself. This means that my blog is now Yummly Certified, it an honor for food bloggers, a recognition their blog is somethin' to talk about. tee hee. It's the little things that makes this girl happy. Over the weekend I had been working on the behind scenes of my blog. Check out my cute little favicon I made.
So cute right?

I'm all a twitter now and want to share the recipe that got my blog Yummly Certified.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Award-Winning-Garlic Shrimp & Orzo Salad


Sliding down the hallway sideways in my socks and feeling like Steve Martin in "The Jerk"....yelling 'the phone book is here, the phone book is here, I AM SOMEBODAY' I can legitimately say this recipe is award-winning. I just received my complimentary copy of the August/September issue of Country Woman's Magazine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Caramel Corn Snack Attack



Who doesn't like to eat snacks? My husband and boys love "Crunch'N'Munch" you know that sweet and salty treat we still find and reminisce about from our childhood. What child hasn't squealed of pure excitement when they got their own box of Cracker Jacks. We couldn't possibly share, afterall there was a prize in every box.

It seems like the only time you see homemade caramel corn is during the holidays. I thought it would be fun to have on our movie night instead of just popcorn. Focusing on the child inside us all I decided to give this one a try.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Butter Believe It.

Although computer issues has slowdown my blog and I haven't posted in quite sometime, I've missed my blogging days. I've found another creative side of myself and have been busy creating custom cakes for all occasions. I plan to incorporate my baking addiction to this site in the near future. If you would like to take a peek at some of my cakey bites, you can find me on Special Occasion Sweets Facebook's page

As a matter of fact, todays post has to do with baking, butter to be exact.
I finally took the time to make myself a little cheat sheet for butter measuring. Maybe I’m the only person in the world who has this problem, but in case I’m not I figured I’d share my crib notes with you.

Am I the only person who curses almost every time a recipe calls for butter and lists the amount in cups? You’d think that I’d have this whole butter thing down pat by now (no pun intended), but I never remember. So if you're like me, hope this helps.







Friday, September 30, 2011

Bumble Bee Quick 'n Easy Recipe Contest

Bumble Bee Quick 'n Easy Recipe Contest
Winner: Michaela Rosenthal!
In August, Bumble Bee launched its Quick ‘n Easy Recipe contest  on Facebook. There were numerous original recipes submitted, and after the fans helped us narrow it down to the top 10 recipes, our celebrity chef partner, Chef Scott Leibfried, declared a winner!
The grand prize winner is Michaela Rosenthal with her Creamy Tuna & Green Olive Quiche recipe. Chef Scott noted that her recipe incorporated an excellent variety of fresh ingredients that are easy to find. Check out Michaela’s full recipe below:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Baking Molds and Hong Kong Trip Goodies Giveaway-- Winner...


I recently entered a Giveaway on a terrific food blog at uTry.it and just received word I WON! I just wanted to give a shout out to my readers, not only because I get the bragging rights, but to let you know if you haven't visited uTry.it you need to! Not only will you find some wonderful recipes, but there is always great Giveaways!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Let's Bake Love!


Everyone in life is blessed with some kind of good fortune. Maybe it's wealthy parents. Maybe it's a dazzling voice. Maybe it's that perfect body or something else. My good fortune is my husband.

My husband has beautiful brown eyes and a smart-ass smile. He twirls his wedding band around his finger when he's deep in thought. He has an obsession with all televised sports: when his teams are playing he will cheer yell and carry on like he's wearing the coach's hat or a player's jersey. While he'd never admit to it, he has the most wicked sweet tooth I've ever seen. He bellows at me if I stir the pan while he's cooking, and he rubs his face whenever he grows tired, and he gives the best back rubs in the world.

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