Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Solomon!

Sunday is our little buddy Solomon's 2nd birthday, and so I thought a wee racing car would be fun... it's a 9x13 orange cake with almond vanilla buttercream (with Ding Dongs for tires and M&M's for lights).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Autumn!

Homemade French bread, fresh from the oven... Navy Bean soup simmering on the stove, Pumpkin "Boston Cream Pie" (an experiment), and Iced Autumn Sugar Cookies...

Navy Bean Soup

1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans
6 c. water
3 diced tomatoes (fresh from our garden)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 pound chopped smoked Canadian bacon (or other fave cured ham, bacon, etc.)
1 cube chicken bouillon
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. dried parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 c. water

Combine beans, water, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ham, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, garlic, and bay leaf in a stock pot; bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for two hours.
Add additional water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an additional two hours. Discard bay leaf, and serve with warm French bread!

and the cookies...

Delilah's Frosted Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
(adapted slightly from -easily the BEST sugar cookie recipe that I've used, and the tastiest!)

3/4 c. shortening
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
3 Tbs. milk
2 drops any color food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

In a small bowl, beat the butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a good spreading consistency is reached. Stir in food coloring to desired shade. Decorate cooled cookies, and set on waxed paper to harden.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Free To A Good Home

Anyone want a nearly new (used twice) bamboo steamer? Great for dim sum, etc. I bought it about 4 years ago, and just don't use it enough to warrant storage space in my kitchen or pantry. Let me know it you want it (I'll deliver in person next time I see you).


Friday, October 3, 2008

Cheese, Please!

I found the fondue pot the other day (that we've not used in about, oh, 11 years...) and the kids wanted to know what it was for. So, today when we went to Ro's to play I took the pot and stuff to make fondue. All the kids loved it—"This dinner is delicious!!" said both Gavino and Madeline. E was in love... hot cheese to dip bread in?! Sharp poker to eat with?! Self-serve meal?! Woohoo! No one burned themselves either. It was the perfect lunch for such a chilly, rainy and gray day (although we played outside in the rain after lunch anyway). Now that I've got a basic (and simple) recipe, I think I'll be making a variation on this theme fairly often. I found the recipe on, but of course switched it up a little...

Super Easy Cider Cheese Fondue

3/4 c. apple cider
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese (or any other kind - I used a Colby Jack blend)
1 Tbs. cornstarch
Several grinds of fresh pepper

Bring the cider to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat to medium-low. Toss the cheeses and cornstarch together, then stir the cheese into the cider. Add the pepper (or any other seasonings you want). Cook and stir until the cheese is melted. Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm.

Serve with cubed French bread, sliced apples or pears, or anything else you'd like to dip in cheese.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies...

From David Lebovitz—the secret is to NOT soften the butter... found the recipe on 101 Cookbooks right here. Try them. They rock!


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