About A Side of Rice

Married, mom, marketing professional. Loves swearing, pedicures and celebrity meltdowns. Hates making dinner and working the little league concession stand.

Hershey’s Kiss Cake

Baking date: December 24, 2017

I found the recipe for this cake on PinterestInspiration Cake

I have made the cake a few times the past few months, the most recent for my family’s Christmas dinner. It’s a super easy recipe. Instead of making the frosting from scratch, I used canned cream cheese frosting. I also added a few extra pops of icing around the cake (no one ever complains about extra icing, am I right?)

If you’re looking for a tasty, easy homemade cake, this is a great option. I have noticed that the Kisses you place on top of the cake batter do not melt away completely when baking, but that means a yummy chocolate chunk surprise when you are eating it.




Christmas Cookies and Mini-breads for Our Baseball Family

Baking dates: December 21, 22, and 23, 2017

Each year at Christmas, I bake goodies for our Summer rec baseball family and deliver them on Christmas Eve. Six of the players have gone on to play with elite teams, but we still see them for high school games. And some of them we see at football and basketball during the rest of the year.

These are the people who welcomed us into the community when we first moved here in 2004. They are the people I have spent many weeknights and weekends with as our boys practiced, played games and competed in tournaments. I have watched their sons grow into fine young men.

This year, there were 24 families with 110 family members to personalize cookies for. In addition, I make mini breads. Some are from scratch – snickerdoodlebanana and sour cream chocolate. Some are from a box mix gingerbread, pumpkin, and cranberry.

I use three vacation days prior to Christmas Eve to do all my baking for my baseball family (and my aunts and uncles who we visit on Christmas day). My kitchen typically looks like this for about 4 days:


Cookies – I make the cookies first, since the royal icing takes a while to dry. The cookies are a chocolate sugar cookie. This recipe makes a lot of cut outs, depending on how large your cookie cutter is. This is one batch – it’s a thick cookie batter and clumps around the paddle with lots more still in the bowl:


I made two batches this year. In the past, I have made Santa hats, and stockings, so this year I went with a long fancy plaque cookie cutter and a square plaque cookie cutter. Here they are:


This year, I tried pre-made cookie icing in white, red, green and blue. It worked fine, however once you snip off the tip for the icing, that’s the size that flows out, and you have less control over the squeeze than you do with an icing bag and tip. So I decided to make the opening medium size for the general decorating and made a small batch of royal icing in white, red and green so I could pipe on names using a #1 tip. Baker’s note: this royal icing recipe called for a flavored extract. For a larger batch recipe, I add 1 tablespoon of almond extract in place of one of the tablespoons of water. I find that royal icing with an extract flavor tastes much better than with only water.

Here are the cookies halfway decorated  – there are very few that are exactly the same:


And here are all the personalized cookies, by family (presented in slideshow format):

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Breads: for the pumpkin, I typically add milk chocolate chips on top before I bake the loaves. But this year, I emptied the one bag of milk chocolate chips I had into a batch of snickerdoodle bread and stirred once before realizing my mistake.

Baking Fail

Because of that mistake, I sprinkled white chocolate chips on the pumpkin bread. But those chips don’t hold up as well (they melt much more than the milk chocolate), so the loaves were not as pretty. I also used the white chocolate chips in the chocolate bread, instead of the chocolate chips. Because the chips were mixed into the batter and not sprinkled on top, they fared much better. (Baker’s note: a friend dropped off all the baking supplies she didn’t use this year because she got the flu and wasn’t able to bake. I think there were 4 bags of white chips!).

For the cranberry and gingerbread, I drizzled the leftover white royal icing (from the personalization of the cookies) on top.

Here are some of the banana breads. The bigger loaves are for some of the larger families. IMG_0964

And when it comes to baking mini-breads, I break out the big gun:IMG_0966

Here is the entire final production of baked goods:


Another element I put in the bags is Christmas-themed chocolate candy minis. There is one baseball player with allergies to many ingredients in my baked goods, so I get candies like Sour Patch kids, nerds and Twizzlers for his family’s bag.


For goodie delivery, this year I used plain white bags lined with a sheet of tissue paper, with the Christmas card for the family attached to the outside. I line the bags up for packaging in the order they will be delivered, with the last families we will visit in the front.


Then, I transfer the bags to the back of my car in the reverse order, with the first families we will visit in the front.


Then, my son Alex and I go about our business of delivering the goodies to the families on Christmas Eve. If people aren’t home, we have plastic grocery bags to place the goodies in (that pile of grey and white underneath all the paper bags). If they aren’t home, I text them to let them know we’ve made the delivery.

Everyone is so appreciative (presented in slide show format):

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I hope you were able to share a bit of the holiday spirit with family and friends.

2017 Ladies Luncheon Cake and Cupcakes

Baking date: December 21 (and, unfortunately, 22), 2017

Each year, the women in my husband’s family gather to celebrate the holidays on one Saturday in December. It is a lovely afternoon of lunch and laughter, followed by desserts. I always offer to bring the host a dessert.

This year I planned on making a tri-colored (red velvet and white cake, halved, with one half dyed moss green) Christmas bundt cake. The recipe is super easy – with the cake coming from two box mixes and the frosting from one can that you separate and color. You also get 6 cupcakes out of the deal since you can’t include all the batter in the bundt pan. In fact, I’ve made this cake in white, light blue and royal blue (winter-themed), black, orange and purple (Halloween), and pastel pink, yellow and purple (Easter).

I had made the cake on Thursday evening. My husband and I were going Christmas shopping Friday morning, and when we returned in the evening I was going to add the frosting and turn the cupcakes into Santa hats.

And then our son Nick called us while we were out and said “so…um…that cake you had on the island? Well, Jake took a bite out of it. A big bite.” He texted us this picture:


So, on our way home, we stopped and picked up two more boxes of cake mix so I could start all over again. To make it easier on myself, I also picked up some pre-dyed red icing.

Here is how I “saved” the canine-sampled cake … and fed it to my husband and boys. The offending section was cut out and thrown away:


Here the two cakes are side by side:


Here’s the party-worthy, non-canine sampled version. On top, I sprinkled holiday pearls.


And the Santa hat cupcakes turned out just fine. I piped on the red hat portion first, and added ruby red pearlized sugar sprinkles. Once that had set, I piped on the base of the hat and the pom on top in white, and added white sparkling sugar sprinkles on that.


Even though it was double the effort, the time spent with family was worth it!

All the Ladies

A Very Special Snow Globe Cookie

Baking date: December 22, 2017

Two years ago, two different friends who have never met posted the exact same tutorial for how to decorate the snow globe cookie to my Facebook page.

I purchased a snow globe cookie cutter and had plans to make the cookie in 2016. But that holiday, I ended up suffering a bulging disc and didn’t get to do the amount of baking I was hoping to.

So this year, I busted out that cookie cutter and was determined to replicate the cookie. One thing I did differently was make the gingerbread man out of light cocoa candy melts. In hind sight, the royal icing would have been a better choice. The candy melts start to set quickly…more quickly than royal icing does. I found it difficult to shape and smooth the gingerbread man once I had piped the shape and filling onto the wax paper.

The base cookie was a chocolate sugar cookie. The cookie cutter was perfect and unlike the inspiration cookie, there were no parts to cut specially and push together:


Here’s the cookie through the first stages of decoration:


And here’s the finished product:


This was a very special cookie and it was going to be part of a package for the family of a dear friend of ours who passed away after a massive heart attack in November. He was a coach to my son in both baseball and basketball for many years. He was also an organ donor, whose liver and kidneys are now helping others.

Like the scene in the snow globe, I remember our dear friend…a sweet, kind soul…suspended in time and living on in a unique way.


Our son Alex and his coach Steve


RIP Steve.

Christmas Goodies for Co-Workers

Baking date: December 17, 2017

Each year, I make goodie bags for my immediate team (6 individuals, including my supervisor). In addition, I make a variety of cookies (small cut outs of gingerbread and sugar) to share with the people on my floor.

This year, the base cookie was a gingerbread cookie. I decorated one for each team member with their name, and then filled the boxes with some mini-breads, other generically decorated gingerbread and sugar cookies and a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Here are the personalized cookies, along with some of the generically decorated cookies, mini-breads and gingersnaps:


Here are more of the sugar and gingerbread cookies:


Here’s the assembly line of cookies and boxed treats for my team:


As one person commented: “Thoughtful, personal, and edible – I like it! Great job.”


50th Birthday White Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Baking date: November 24, 2017

One of my dear sports mom friends turned 50 in November. Her good friend Erin pulled together a lovely brunch for a number of her friends at The Main Cup.

While many of the gifts bestowed upon our friend where of the alcoholish variety, mine was dessert, of course. I had asked her family for the type of cake (white) and frosting (chocolate) she would like, along with her favorite color (red).

I made a white cake recipe I found on Pinterest, in 9″ round cake pans. The frosting is an easy chocolate ganache, another Pinterest recipe that I have made multiple times. The frosting recipe makes a ton, so you will have extra leftover (I rewarmed it and dipped shortbread cookies in it).

I used candy melts to decorate the cake, some red hearts with white stripes and some white hearts with red stripes. I mounted some of the white hearts onto red square candy melts using the ganache. I used the numbers and alphabet candy molds to spell out her name and 5-0, on top of white circle candy melts. Finally, I piped ganache bursts along the base of the cake and added white sugar pearls in the center of each burst.


Happy Birthday, sweet Lou!


Left to right: Lauren, Emily, me, Lou and Michelle


All the gals celebrating Lou!



French Vanilla 50th Birthday Cake

Baking date: November 17, 2017

My dear friend Rebecca celebrated her 50th birthday this year. We met more than 10 years ago when her now ex-husband was coaching a t-ball team my boys were on with her kids.

Her fiance Gary planned a surprise party and asked me to make her a cake. He didn’t have any specific instructions other than vanilla cake, and sharing the party favors/decoration theme he was using, which was pink and sparkly.

So I made a two-tier French vanilla cake with the square 12″ and 8″ pans. For the frosting, I used white canned frosting. I sprinkled pink and silver sugar sprinkles all around the cake.

I decorated using bursts of frosting in rose, white and black along the corners. Around the top base border and lower base border, I made rose bursts with smaller white bursts inside.

Using heart candy molds, I made tri-colored hearts in bright pink, bright white and black. Finally, I used a “5” and “0” cookie cutter pressed into the top and then followed the outline of the numbers with the black icing.


I used a star candy mold on a pink stick to make black stars with rose icing to pipe a letter of her name on each star. The final star I piped on ‘& FAB’.


My intent was that the final product would read REBECCA 50 & FAB.


Here’s to the next 50, my good friend!


HBday Rebecca