Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Floats

That's right, Pumpkin Floats... festive and tasty. Try 'em!!

Pumpkin Floats
(created by me, and they are delicious!)
  1. Dreyer's Pumpkin ice cream
  2. Henry Weinhard's Orange Cream Soda
  3. Glass
Scoop ice cream into glass, pour orange cream soda over top, and serve.

Tastier than pie, my friends! Be brave, Sam I Am.

Monday, October 26, 2009

APPL CIDR DONUTS, Pomegranates, and Grapefruit

Our kids are hilarious. Last night, Erik was insistent that he wanted to eat the "orange" that he'd gotten off the counter. It was a pink grapefruit. I insisted that he probably didn't want to eat the grapefruit. He persisted, so (feeling very sure of the fact that he would spit it out instantly) I cut him a big slice and let him have at it.

"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

Sweets for My Sweets...

Two of my favorite little people both celebrated their birthdays with us this weekend, and I had great fun making cupcakes for both of them. I used the One-bowl chocolate cake, and a strawberry cake recipe, plus my favorite buttercream (with lemon zest added) or chocolate ganache.

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!
Happy 6th and 3rd birthdays to Maggie and Solomon!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates...

Happy Birthday, Jamie! In honor of the BIG "Twenty-17" as Madeline would say, here are some delicious chocolate cupcakes decorated like a box of chocolates (love my cupcakes cookbook Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson, and all the fun ideas in it)!Well, and then I had to do something fun with the rest of the cake batter, so there's a nice gift box of treats to go with it—and who doesn't need a box of cupcakes to celebrate their birthday with?
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
tsp baking powder
tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. warm water
3/4 c. buttermilk
3 Tbs oil
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

Pies, Applesauce & Cookies... oh, my!

We made crock pot applesauce today, and Erik & Solomon cubed nearly all of the apples for it (after I peeled, cored, and sliced). We did 11 apples (since there was some snacking going on), and followed the recipe for the rest. Delish!
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

Seasonal Inspiration...

Madeline came home with this recipe today. I knew they'd made applesauce last week since each kid brought an apple for the recipe, and they sorted, counted, then peeled and chopped them, but I didn't realize that it was a crock pot recipe. All Madeline had said was that they couldn't eat it yet because it was still cooking. Now that makes much more sense.

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

Packing Lunch for School

Bento-style lunch really is the best thing ever. It's so fast and easy. This morning I packed Mads' lunch in about 4 minutes (including the time it took me to dash outside to pick the raspberries).

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.


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