Sunday, December 27, 2009
We'll be sharing these with our buddies tomorrow! I used 1/2 the recipe for the play dough sugar cookie dough for these, and as the Parents Magazine did, we baked the crowns separately (tinted the dough for the crowns yellow), sprinkled them with yellow sugar, and attached them when decorating. You form the crowns freehand by cutting a 1x2-inch rectangle and then shaping a zigzag top with a paring knife—voila! A crown! Jelly Belly jellybeans are the noses, and melted chocolate candy melts acted as our "glue" and drawing medium! You can find cookie/candy sticks at most craft stores, or anywhere Wilton decorating supplies are sold.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Erik's Fave Spinach Souffle
(although this recipe came from Martha's Everyday Food magazine, I've changed it enough that I consider it Erik's recipe)
Cooking spray or butter (to grease casserole) and
About 1/4 c. bread crumbs
1 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1.5 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 egg yolks
1 pkg frozen, chopped spinach (defrosted and drained - squeezed, really)
1 c. Parmesan cheese
4 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Melt butter in saucepan and add flour. Stir and cook about 3 minutes, then slowly add the milk, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and add egg yolks (temper first by adding several tablespoons of hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, then add the warmed yolks to the pan). Cook about 3 more minutes, or until Bechemel (white) sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in drained spinach and Parmesan. NOTE: to make this recipe more kid-friendly, I chop the chopped spinach very fine in my food processor for more incorporated "green" bits , and use the Paremesan in the green can (milder flavor), but I didn't do either of these things for Christmas dinner at my in-laws house, and it is fabulous without these steps, using fresh, grated Parmesan as well.
Whip the four egg whites with a pinch of Cream of Tartar in your Kitchenaid with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. While it's whipping, grease a 2-quart casserole and coat with bread crumbs. When whites are ready, stir 1/3 of them into the spinach mixture in the pan, then when incorporated, fold the spinach mixture into the rest of the whites.
Pour into the prepared pan, reduce the oven temp from 400 - to 350-degrees F, and pop into the oven immediately, to cook for about 30 minutes (until "set" and golden-brown on top).
Serve warm, cold or reheated! Even if this baby falls, it's still delish.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Candied Orange Peel Slices
5-6 large navel oranges
3 cups sugar
Cuts ends off and score the oranges lengthwise, then peel. Slice lengthwise in 1/4-inch slices. Put in pot and cover with water. Boil and drain water three times. Then, add the sugar, and cover peels with water again (just cover, don't fill the pot up). Boil for 35-45 minutes, until the peels are transparent. Drain (save the liquid to boil down for syrup too!) and dump onto a wire rack to cool and dry a bit.
To finish, dredge in sugar, or dip in white or dark chocolate. They are AMAZING!!!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Awhile ago I saw a post by a friend of Jen's about Play Dough Sugar Cookies. Easy to shape, kids can play with it, then you bake it and eat it! And, best of all... they are tasty. So, for Erik's party, I made a batch, tinted it all the colors of the rainbow, and they created. It was a huge hit, didn't get to warm and mushy when worked with, and all the guests had a blast (even some grown-up kids got in on the fun!) I just wish I had a photo of John's "cheeseburger" creation, but he wisely ate it up before any littles could get it. This photo is of cookies made with only about 1/3 of the dough.
Here's the recipe, originally from The Cookie Shop blog:
Play Dough Cookies
(this recipe is a double batch)
1 .5 c. butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese
2 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla
5.5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
assorted colors of paste food coloring
In an electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Then add flour, baking powder and salt to bowl and mix until a soft dough forms.
Divide dough into as many separate colors as you want to make. Squirt color into the center of each ball of dough and work the tint in with your hands. Wrap each color in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 8 minutes (for relatively flat creations), 3-D cookies will need more baking time. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Monday, December 14, 2009
And... some mini cupcakes to represent the dwarf planet... Pluto!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
My favorite thing... my new decorating bottles by Kuhn Rikon that the kids can easily use (Sur La Table, Jen, in a big basket near the front door... in case you need some too). Merry Little Christmas to me!
Gingerbread House Glue (AKA Royal Icing/Frosting)
5 Tbs. Meringue powder
1/2 c. warm water
Whip until stiff peaks form, then slowly beat in...
almost 1 lb. of powdered sugar;
until a thick icing frosting forms. Load into bags, frosting bottles or just spread.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Those tiny fingers, attention to detail, and fascination with new things made them my perfect partners in crime tonight to clean up the fabulous Chanterelle mushrooms that Joel brought home from Elk Camp this year. John, Joel and Matthew foraged for the tasty 'shrooms and got three gallons between them.
With the help of the kiddos (armed with small paint brushes), we cleaned up all but about eight of the mushrooms, and I think they'll want to do the rest tomorrow.
Now for my turn to hunt... the perfect recipes to prepare these tasty morsels! No doubt they'll be the perfect accompaniment to Joel's birthday dinner tonight.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I had the kids use child safety scissors to cut the Stretch Island Fruit Leather (it's thick and can be poked right into the frosted cupcake), then they frosted, arranged feathers and chose wattle and eye color for their birds. The wattles are red-candy coated chocolate covered sunflower seeds.
E was the first one finished — decorating (his is in the top right corner of pic) and eating. Solomon and Madeline's are the two in the vertical pic on the left, and Mad saved hers until we got back from the playground. G's turkey is the green-eyed beauty in the bottom center, and Solomon is pictured (enjoying his treat) with my demo-bird. Ro made one too, but I was too busy savoring my Toffee Turkey Cupcake to snap a snap. They were tasty and fun!
Flashback: Last year, I did the prep for them... cut out tail feathers from fruit leather and waddles, etc. And, apparently, they rounded out the afternoon with a viewing of The Backyardigans.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Looking forward to reading lots of fairy tales my little pumpkin niece, Ella, once she arrives in December.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
(created by me, and they are delicious!)
- Dreyer's Pumpkin ice cream
- Henry Weinhard's Orange Cream Soda
Tastier than pie, my friends! Be brave, Sam I Am.
Monday, October 26, 2009
"Yum!!! More!! Cute more please, Mama!"
Well, of course he loves grapefruit, right? I hated it until I was in my late twenties because to me it tasted way too bitter (yes, even the pink, and even with sugar). Finally, at a B&B on the Oregon Coast, I had a caramelized sugar-topped grapefruit and it was great. The theory is that the heat messes with the natural sugar in the fruit, reducing the bitterness. Anyway, the boy doesn't take after me on the grapefruit front.
Madeline had no interest in the grapefruit. She was all about the pomegranate I'd gotten out to distract E from the grapefruit. She also had no interest in eating the pom — just in removing the arils from the pulp. All of them. She was laser-focused on this task, and did it quickly and efficiently. It was amazing to watch. We liked the "pomegranate blood" that speckled her little mug.
Today, the torrential downpour kept us indoors, and so we finally attempted the Apple Cider Doughnuts recipe that I found on the Smitten Kitchen blog (one of my favorite sites). These were very tasty, but the recipe made 19, plus a lot of doughnut holes, so we embarked on a doughnut delivery adventure this afternoon. We even left a plate at Joel's office, on his desk, and although he was in a meeting, Madeline left him a note on his white board: APPL CIDR DONUTS with a lovely illustration as well. Hopefully, he'll share them around.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Maggie's were rainbow-flower-sun-berry-clover-plum pretty cupcakes, and she loved 'em. She also noticed the lemon-goodness of the frosting.
Solomon's were inspired by another idea from my Hello, Cupcake book... bug cupcakes—tasty and fun!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
For the cake, I used a recipe from Martha Stewart that I've heard great things about...
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (adapted, as usual)
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. warm water
3/4 c. buttermilk
3 Tbs oil
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven 350-degrees F. Spray with cooking spray - two round 9-inch cake pans, one 9x13 pan (or 18 mini cupcakes, and 12 standard sized ones); set aside.
In the Kitchenaid, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Batter will be fairly thin.
Bake about 20 minutes (less for mini cupcakes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Pumpkin pie made with pumpkins from South 47 Farm (cut the pumpkins in half, horizontally, and baked at 475-degrees F in about 1/2-inch water in 9/13 baking dish until fork-tender, scrape out, then puree the pulp), frosted sugar cookies we did with Abby & Ben, and our crock full of applesauce fixings.
Basic Frosting for Sugar Cookies
2 Tbs. butter
3 tsp. vanilla
5 c. powdered sugar
5-6 Tbs. milk
4+ drops any color food coloring
In a small bowl, beat the butter, vanilla and powdered 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.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
So, here's the recipe, and it's delicious!
Crock Pot Applesauce
10 large apples (peel, core and slice; kids can easily use a cutting board and a butter knife and cut the apple slices into chunks)
½ c. water
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ c. sugar
Put all the ingredients in your crock pot, cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours
or low for 8-10 hours. When done, take a potato masher and mash. Can be served warm or cold—refrigerate remaining sauce.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
She usually gets whatever we have on hand (so it stays interesting), and since the garden is still producing, tomatoes and raspberries are common right now. I haven't taken pics of lunches in awhile, but if the camera is around I snap a shot so I can remember what I've done!One of these lunches was all about dinosaurs, and the octodogs were in the first back-to-school bento (the eyes are black olive that we had in the fridge from making pizza).
Her fave lunch so far this year (not pictured) was all green: rocket salad (arugula), fresh green beans, green grapes, peas, and celery filled with peanut butter—OK, almost all green, veggie booty, and even the container of dressing dip (Green Goddess) was green! Just what I had on hand, but made it fun. Another day (no pic) I did hummus, pita wedges, cherry tomatoes and carrots with sliced Honey Gold apples on the side.
And, on a side note, I am sorely tempted by the new Goodbyn lunch boxes... "green" and it would certainly eliminate the need for so many teeny tiny boxes and containers.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Uh-MAZE-ing!! Amazing depth of flavor, perfect tart-sweetness of plums, light but hearty... really. I didn't have lemons to zest, so I ground up some cardamom to throw in. Fab. Try it.
Rainbow chard has been my fave veggie this summer, and I created a really easy recipe that is delicious and a power-house of nutrition!
Rainbow Chard Saute
1/2-1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 large bunches of Rainbow Chard, ribs removed
1 can S&W Pinquinto beans (pre-seasoned with cumin, garlic, etc.)
4-6 oz. of crumbled goat cheese
Chop the chard into small pieces (maybe 1/2-inch square), then toss in preheated olive oil - in a saute pan. Wilt it down fairly well, then dump in the can of beans. Toss and cook a couple minutes more, then remove from heat. Sprinkle goat cheese of top and toss once. Serve immediately.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We often made salt dough ornaments at Christmas time when I was a little kid, so the smell of salt dough takes me back. The kids loved it, and we had enough to send some of each kind home with our little friend Alexandria, who came over to play today.
(from Playtime - it's a great, soft dough and easy to make!)
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 c. water
1 Tbs. oil
2 tsp. cream of tartar
food coloring (several drops per batch)
Mix and stir over medium heat. The mixture will begin to clump. When the mixture becomes a thick dough, remove from pan to cool a bit, then knead on a lightly floured surface. Store in a Ziploc bag or sealed container.
3 c. flour
1 c. salt
1.5 c. water
1 Tbs. light corn syrup (I used Agave syrup though...)
Knead the dough by hand until it has an elastic consistency. Roll and cut or shape as you wish, then dry by baking at 250 degrees for more than an hour for flat shapes and longer for 3D shapes. Once they are cool, paint with acrylic paints then varnish with clear coat.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Yeah, OK. I can do that. Two figurine sets from the Disney Store, brown fondant, sugar cone towers, Wilton white chocolate candy melts, seashell truffles from Trader Joe's, Little Debbie peanut butter sticks "stairs," sugar paste Little Mermaid decorations and letters/numbers, and Nerds for decor, we were done. Well, plus one waffle cone tower, chocolate, vanilla and rainbow cake, and a lot of buttercream. Phew!
Literally the day before I baked the cakes, I stumbled upon a recipe for "Rainbow Cake" online. Now, our rainbow-loving girl really needed that too, so I did it, she helped, and she adored it. Actually, all the kids at the party ate the rainbow ocean pieces, exclusively.
There are $18 worth of princesses and mermaids on the cake, and they were worth every penny (and then some). She plays with them all the time, and they work very well with the kids' treehouse/dollhouse.
It's a good thing I'm not a perfectionist because there were a lot of things about this cake that were so very imperfect, but... that's what gives it character! And, it was delicious, by the way!!
I used Magnolia Bakery's recipe for vanilla buttercream to frost the entire cake - just dyed blue for the water:
Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 c unsalted butter, softened
About 7 c powdered sugar
1/2 c milk2 sp vanilla
Cream the butter in the bowl of your Kitchenaid mixer, then add 4 cups of the sugar, the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 mins.), until the icing is of desired consistency.
Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
So, Happy "Sweet Sixteen," Gramma! We did a (Cooking Light recipe) Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Cardamom Frosting (and Praline Frosting for the owl) and an owl design, since Gramma loves 'em!
Friday, June 26, 2009
It is a tasty recipe, and I used both light sour cream and cream cheese in it with no ill effects, so it's lighter, and still delicious! And, I must admit, I also didn't have enough maraschinos, so I used about 10 oz. of Montmorency cherries (in the jar) from Trader Joes that I had in the fridge - they were great.
Black Forest Cherry Cheesecake (or "Grampa's Cheesecake" according to M, no matter who makes it!)
CRUST (mix in a 9-inch springform pan with hand, and press into bottom - bake 3-4 minutes and cool while mixing up filling) :
1 1/4 c. chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies)
3 T. melted butter
FILLING (beat first 5 ingredients in Kitchenaid mixer, then add the eggs one at a time - scrape down sides and bottom of bowl often):
4 boxes cream cheese, softened (I used 3 light, and 1 regular)
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. cherry brandy
Then remove 1/3 of the batter to another bowl and add:
3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted, to 1/3 of the batter, and
One 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained (reserve juice) and quartered to the other 2/3 of the batter.
Pour half the cherry batter onto crust, then the chocolate batter, then the remaining cherry batter, and marble with a knife. It's ready to bake!
Bake at 350-degrees F for 80 minutes (the last 5 minutes, remove from oven and add the topping, then return to oven to finish baking). Cool completely before chilling overnight in fridge before serving.
TOPPING: 2 c. light sour cream 4 Tbs. sugar 4 Tbs. cherry juice (reserved from draining maraschinos)
Share this dessert with people you love.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Spiced Banana Pecan Muffins
1/2 stick softened, unsalted butter (1/4 c.)
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. (3 medium) smashed, ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
zest from 1 medium orange
1 c. white whole wheat (or whole wheat pastry) flour
4 Tbs. ground flax
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cardamom (finely ground)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. toasted, chopped pecans
+plus, a handful more nuts to sprinkle on the tops of the muffins before baking
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Cream butter and sugar, then mix in the rest of the "wet" ingredients.
Mix the dry stuff in a medium bowl, then gradually add it to the wet in your mixer. Scoop into 8-10 standard-sized muffin tins, lined with paper muffin cups (8 generous muffins, or 10 smaller ones).
Nutrition per muffin (8/batch): calories-200, fat-10g, protein-4g, carbs-24g, fiber-4g.