Sunday, November 30, 2008

Southern Hospitality

Yuh-Mmmm... We finally tried out Casper's Everglades Supper House for lunch this afternoon, and it was amazing! I'm officially addicted to their fabulous sweet tea, and their fresh beignets are nearly good enough to make you cry. The pulled pork was great and the hot-link sandwich that Joel got was delicious. The kids devoured everything that we shared with them, and at one point Erik was eating with two spoons—one in the baked beans and one in the free homemade cranberry sauce they gave us to try. They also gave us a whole slice of Key Lime Pie on the house, and it was the best I've tasted. Including my Key Lime Pie. And, on top of it all, the service is cheerful, helpful, and they love kids. The owner even impersonates Donald Duck to make kids giggle, and Mad and Erik thought he was pretty great.It's a small place (three 2-tops, and a 6-seat bar along the window) with 12 chairs total indoors (plus outdoor seating in warm, dry weather) but they do take-out, and the great food more than makes up for the view of Bothell-Lake City Way out the window. We'll definitely be going back to sample more fine Southern hospitality and cookin' (there are stil Po' Boys, alligator, frog legs, coleslaw, deep-fried pickles, and a bevy of other things to try)!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pie Day!

No, not that Pi Day... that's in March, silly!! Today was Pie (baking) Day at our house though. Cranberry Custard Pie (another twist on Jerrie's Rhubarb Custard Pie - again - I love this pie!) A couple pumpkins, and next up is Daisy Martinez's Mexican Flan (especially for Shannon who recently had surgery and is on a soft-foods diet). I'm just waiting to make this one until the kids are in bed since I am not caramelizing sugar with little people in my kitchen.

Cranberry Custard Pie (formerly Jerrie's Rhubarb Custard Pie - delish either way!)

3/4 c. sugar
3 Tbs. flour (slightly rounded)
1/4 c. melted butter
2 eggs (beaten)
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 c. milk
pinch of salt
unbaked bottom pie shell
1 c. fresh cranberries (or slightly more, whatever fills the top of the pie up)
About 1 Tbs. cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top (sprinkle on the last 25 minutes of baking)

Stir flour into sugar, then moisten with a couple add butter, eggs, vanilla, salt & remainder of milk and blend well.

Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell, and add the cranberries on top. The recipe calls for 1 cup, but add berries until the filling is up to the bottom lip of the crust.

Bake 20 minutes at 375-degrees F.
Then continue to bake 25 minutes at 300-degrees F. It is finished when knife is pulled out clean and it should jiggle a little. You may need to bake it for a few more minutes if the custard is too far from set - you be the judge!
Daisy Martinez's Flan

Caramelize 1 cup sugar with a couple Tbs. of water and swirl in pie plate.
Blend in blender:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can Nestle Medela Crema
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 Tbs. vanilla

Pour into pie plate and bake in water bath (in 350-degree oven) for 35 minutes or until set. Chill for at least three hours, and invert on plate to serve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Treats!

Today, Madeline and I did turkeys again during E's nap. I had stuff to do Pilgrim Hats (from the Family Fun web site), and modified the activity based on an idea I got from another moms' blog. So, here are our turkeys (and fashionable Pilgrim chapeau too).We trimmed the chocolate/vanilla Jet Puff marshmallows with scissors, cut one of the two Keebler cookies in half, and used melted chocolate chips to coat the "body" and glue the tail on. Madeline insisted on wings "... turkeys have wings, Mom. And feet. They need feet too Mom." And, then the Papa bird had to wear the Pilgrim hat, and there needed to be a baby turkey... It was fun. Oh, and we had some orange frosting in the fridge from another project, so Mad added some of her own touches to the turkeys too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alphanumeric Flapjacks

The easiest way to crank out pancakes in intricate shapes... Cut the top down a little on an empty squeeze bottle (like this Agave Nectar one), to make a larger opening, fill with your fave pancake batter, and go to town! The occasional "mistake" (AKA happy accident) when shaping letters and numbers can be turned into a flower, a snowman, or a shovel with the flick of the wrist and a little imagination!

Cowboy Bunny Cookies

This used to be a Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie recipe, that I got from a friend (and I think she got it from the Quaker Oatmeal container) but I've changed it so entirely, that it's mine now. It's like a Cowboy Cookie, and we've been reading Cowboy Bunnies by Christine Loomis this week, so that's what I've dubbed them.

Oh, and they are incredible. Light, crunchy on the outside and chewy / soft on the inside. Lovely and delicious!

Cowboy Bunny Cookies

1 c. shortening
2 c. organic sugar or raw sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 1/2 c. quick oats (not rolled oats)
1 c. rice Krispies cereal
1/2 c. roasted salted cashew pieces
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut (like Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
dash Kosher flake salt
1/2 bag milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and vanilla and mix. Mix in oatmeal, then add Krispies, cashews and coconut. Next add flour, soda, powder, salt and chips. Scoop about 2 Tbs. out and shape into balls. Place 12 on each pan and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Cool on pan 1 min, and transfer to rack to cool.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

PB Sandwich Cookies & A Puppy Cake

When I saw the recipe for these Peanut Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies in a magazine a week ago, I actually gasped, and said, "I have to make these for John for his birthday!" They are amazing, and for a fellow PB lover like John, they are heaven. Peanut Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies (recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine Nov. '08)
1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Beat PB and shortening until combined, add brown sugar, egg and vanilla and mix. Beat in the soda, salt and flour, then shape into balls using a level teaspoon of dough for each. Flatten with a fork in criss-cross pattern dipped in sugar. Bake 7-8 mins. and cool on cookie sheet slightly before moving to wire rack to cool.

Fill cookies with 1 tsp. of Peanut Butter Cream filling, and sandwich together. Store in airtight container up to 3 days, freeze unfilled cookies up to 1 month.

Makes 4 dozen if you stick to measurements, about 3 dozen if you use a standard small-sized dough scoop (which is slightly more than 2 tsp.) and halve each to make two cookies for each sandwich.

Peanut Butter Cream Filling
3/4 c. crunchy peanut butter
3/4 c. marshmallow creme
3 Tbs. milk
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground coriander, which I used
(or 1/4 tsp. ground cumin - original recipe)
3 Tbs. powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients, except powdered sugar, in Kitchenaid with whisk attachment—gradually add the sugar and combine, then fill cookies!

And, I found an excellent (really, Anne and Jamie licked their plates... in the restaurant) Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting recipe, which I've posted below (this one's a keeper).
Amazing Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (adapted from

2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 c. Dutch processed cocoa powder
6 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk (plus 2 or more additional Tablespoons depending on desired frosting thickness)
3 tsp. vanilla

Blend butter and cocoa in mixer until combined, then add the milk, vanilla and sugar and mix until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Add additional milk to achieve desired frosting consistency.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Gingersnap Latte

Yes, that's right. Gingersnap Latte. I was corrected this morning when ordering my first of the season. It's no longer Gingerbread Latte, and the difference appears to be the crystallized ginger sprinkled on the top of the drink. I'm glad that I knew it was there, because when you get to the bottom of your drink and there are chunks of something... startling even if you knew something was there.

Anyway, how is it? Pretty good. The bite of the ginger cuts the formerly too sweet drink (at least in my opinion - I always only get 2 pumps in a tall because of that). I like the change, except for the chunks at the bottom. And, this is one of the few flavored Starbucks drink that I do, so I'm happy that they didn't totally change the syrup or something more drastic.


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