Sunday, August 31, 2008

My last post here

I have decided to change my blog to http://luv2cooktoomuch.blogspot.com/because I don't focus as much on organics as I planned to. Even thou I feel it is vital to care for our body and our earth I didn't seem to focus on it so I thought I would change to show my love of cooking all different things. I am taking about a week off as I am remolding my bathroom and laying hardwood floors down! Yikes it is a big job but it is VERY needed as my house is tiny, dark and the carpets are so old they are affecting my son's asthma. Thanks for reading me and I hope you check out my new blog. Have a Happy and Restful week, as mine will be horrid but worth it. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A New Chocolate Chip Cookie


In my quest for perfect cookies I have been trying a LOT of different recipes. I am thinking I should have picked a name about baking instead. Anyhoo, here is a very, very good recipe. It remains chewy and soft and yet has a crunch. I use large industrial bake sheets that are aluminum and I was worried they would stick so I lightly sprayed my pans. Don't do it as I felt him made them to slick (ugh). The butter should keep them from sticking. I again went to trusty recipezarr.com and then modified one that I liked.



Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I used 60% cocoa disks)
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or pecans)

Directions

In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening; gradually mix in sugars, creaming thoroughly.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Chill for a few minutes or let stand at cool room temperature for 30 minutes.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.

Flatten slightly and smooth edges to make 1/2-inch thick cookie.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and still slightly under-baked in the centre. Let stand on baking sheet for 5 minutes; remove to racks to let cool completely. They do spread slightly just so you know

I am in a quandary regarding using shortening, It isn't really a great choice and I know that Crisco makes a non hydro one but I am unable to find it. I bought shortening to make soap with (i use it as a base). and had some left over so you could just use butter if you prefer but in this recipe I didn't try it - it will probably make it softer. I know there is a fat over whether it is "natural" or not so this week I am using it, next week I will most likely think it is poison as that how I work. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Item of the Week - Lemon Grass!


Well, I have heard about lemon grass many times but I have never seen it in my markets ... until today! Now here is the dilemma, I have NO idea what to do with it. I believe it is popular in Asian cuisine but other then that, no clue. So I am off on a web hunt for yummyness. I rarely see or find new things so today was a good day. I guess because we are in the middle of the Midwest some things don't transport well like they do on the coasts.I did notice when I lived in DE we found a lot more variety then here in Oklahoma. I am happier when I find a new item as I am becoming more aware of cooking then in the past. Before kids we were dinks Double Income No Kids (i love that) and we always ate out because we were usually travelingor just to tired. When the kids were added I started feeding them the Gerber Organics line and we still ate out but due to my sons health issues I started cooking more at home and as natural as possible. I am very very flawed but I am enjoying learning every day so now that I prattled on I will get to the point.


I want to know how you use lemon grass and what you enjoy cooking. I feel like I have learned so much from everybody online and I just want to say thanks for all the great ideas and the pure delish so much of you have shown me.
I will show you what I made so come back soon and I will be ready :)


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Red Leaf

This has nothing to do with food but guess what I say today????? Wow, you are right it was a red leaf a bright red fall looking leaf!!! I am unsure how it happened as the rest of the tree is bright green but it has been in the 70's all week so maybe it will be cooler soon all the time. It was just such a suprise as I have no idea why only one leaf would be bright but i am ready for fall
now !

World's Greatest Banana Bread




OK, so that may be an extreme opinion but it is super good. I like a soft and not dry banana bread and this one is extremely moist. My hubby ate about half a small loaf last night and was on the hunt for the rest. I sent one loaf across the street to MIL to have as I had a ton of bananas. My local market had huge bas of bananas for $1.25, there were about 20 bananas in the bag so I used half and froze the rest for later. Bananas are about 75 cents a pound here so I felt like I had a bananaza (ha). I got this recipe from recipezarr.com and tweaked it only slightly. I am finding they offer better recipes then allrecipe.com. I have a ton of cookbooks and I collect them but it just seems i prefer to get them online as i have more variety and can compare ingredients easier. I like reading peoples reviews as well to see what worked for other people. Here you go;




Ingredients for one loaf pan



1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour



2 teaspoons baking powder



1/2 teaspoon baking soda



1/2 teaspoon salt



1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground



1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground



1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated



1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)




1/2 cup walnuts



1/2 cup butter



3/4 cup sugar



2 large eggs



1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (4 medium)


Directions



Preheat oven to 350°F.



Grease 9 x 5 inch loaf pan or use cooking spray


Sift flour,baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg together in bowl.



Add lemon zest



Stir until combined.




Set aside.




Beat butter in large mixing bowl until soft and creamy.


Beat in sugar until light and fluffy.


Add eggs and beat until thoroughly blended.


Beat in flour mixture alternately with bananas until mixture is well blended.




Add walnuts and mix in by hand unless you have a big mixer.


Pour into prepared pan.


Bake in center of oven 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.




It gets better the longer you leave it alone. It is perfect the next day.


Invert from pan and cool completely on rack.




I used my silicone loaf pan as I LOVE silicone bake ware as it usually is super easy clean up however, the bread went wide instead of up. so the silicone gives to much for breads I have metal for yeast breads so I will need to use it for banana bread as well. I hope you like it :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Just For Fun

OK, this is fun! This is from http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ Do you have the spirit of adventure in your food? Do you wonder if your diet is boring?

Here's the simple rules:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I'll try anything once, remember!)4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

If I counted correctly, I have 41/100!


Omnivore's 100

1. Venison (my daddy was a hunter)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare never gonna happen
5. Crocodile (in Fl at gatorworld!)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart (from ny several times. yummy germs:)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras This is a sad food to me
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (One of the best things in the world)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain (I had this in purto rico and it was yummy!)
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (does cooking as a newlewed count?)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail - I think so but I can't remeber where so i didn't bold it :)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.(I wish!!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse (I'm a horse lover but this one kind of scares me like eating puppy!)
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (rattlesnake sausage!! I had this at Disney world’s Coral Reef Resturant)

I must admit there are some things on this list I had never even heard of- and some I can't find like unusual fruits. The midwest is not a wide source of new things but I am thinking of buying a fig tree from ebay so I can FINALLY try figs.

mini Garfield cakes


I have a brother and when we were kids he LOVED Garfield. I think he had every book there was. If I remember right it was like 30 books back then. Now I have kids and they love Garfield too, they are to small for the books but they love the tv shows, NOT the movies that are live action that is just wrong! :) So as I was making these cakes I was thinking of my brother and remembering how mad he would get as I was not careful with his stuff and often ruined a book or 6 . Thanks for being a great big brother Herbie. I may have to make these for him some time.


This is a simple yellow cake with a buttercream frosting. I used a shaped Wilton pan. They are about the size of a fist.


Yellow Cake (from recipezarr.com with changes made)


Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
Directions
Heat oven to 350*.


Add butter, milk and vanilla.
Mix well and add dry ingredients.

Beat on med for 2 minutes.
Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds more.
Bake in greased 13x9 pan for 35 minutes, or until pick comes put clean

For mini pans or cupcakes bake for 20-40 minutes depending on size.

Cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove to let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.


I used a simple Buttercream for the frosting.


1/2 c butter

1/2 c shortening- I debated over this but pure butter melts to fast

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb powdered sugar

2 Tablespoon milk


Cream butter and shortening together

add vanilla

add sugar mixing completely scraping bowl as needed

add milk last

divide into bowls depending on what colors you will need. try and make all the color you will need as it is very, very hard to match up later if you need more.


I get all my bags and tips ready and put the buttercream in the fridge as I have hot hands. You don't have to put it in the fridge but for me it makes it easier to manipulate the frosting.


Hope you like them. I did think about rolling out some fondant so the eyes would be super smooth but decided since it was just for the kids and they love buttercream just to go with lumpier eyes. I also noticed a few spots that needed another star spot so I added them after I took the pictures.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tired of cooking your ice cream?

I wanted a quick and easy recipe that didn't involve a long prep time for my ice cream. No making custard and cooling in fridge overnight. Sometimes you just want to make it and not wait overnight so I did some looking around and a bit of tweaking and I made a really delish base vanilla. I think this would be great with chocolate drizzled in or some fresh peaches or some type of fruit.

No Cook Vanilla

2 c cream or half n half
1 c milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon or pinch of salt

Mix it up thoroughly and start your machine.

That is it!

I like that it requires no preplanned thought. Company coming, it can be dressed up. Hot and just want something sweet and smooth, done. I think it would be yummy with some fresh peaches mixed in as well. We have tons of peaches in Oklahoma from the Porter Peaches Festival and it is peaches time of year here, so dig in everybody! :)

It's BLT time

I think I know when I like a tomato. Slather it in Mayo and peppered bacon and they are delish! I was going to take a picture but it got eaten so fast I didn't get a chance. The Dairy here in town has a man that grows tomatoes when he feels like it and they are producing now. (If he doesn't want to grow them he just doesn't plant any.) But they are so fresh and pretty they have that smell unlike what you can find in a box store tomato. My daughter (she is 3) adores tomatoes and she ate 2 whole tomatoes at lunch and wanted more but I don't want her to get an upset tummy. I am very lucky that both my kids love their veggies. Carrots are often served for dessert. How crazy is that??? But anyhoo as I am supposed to have recipes;

Perfection on bread

2 slices of white bread (store bought or homemade)
1 luscious red tomato
a few leaves of butter lettuce
Mayo (store bought or homemade)

Slather the bread with mayo stack lettuce then tomato then bacon then bread again. I like mayo on one side and bacon on the other piece of bread to balance the fats . Does that count as a balanced diet?

In my defense my mayo is made with olive oil and is low fat but still has the right taste to it.

So that is it a yummy bit of summer as it seems like we are getting near the end, for the past few days it has been so cool and wonderful it is hard to believe it is still summer. Fall is my favorite season so I am ready!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

grilled stuft burrito


I made enchiladas the other night and had some of the bits and pieces were left over. I assumed that I could just mix it all up and boom lunchtime! I used premade enchilada sauce and had a little left so I mixed it in there as well. I had buffalo meat cooked with onion and some taco seasoning. I had some Spanish rice. I finished it off with sour cream and cheese, roll it up and put it in a hot pan to crisp up. I think they came out really nice and I used a cast iron fry pan to get a nice crust. I didn’t make the tortillas because I tend to have them laying around for wraps, I am WAY to lazy to make tortillas for only 1 or 2. So this is 3 recipes from my first dinner and then the leftover lunch.

To make enchiladas


1 lb ground buffalo


Taco seasoning – you can use premade pkg


1 onion chopped


¼ c water


Enchilada sauce 16 oz can


Cook the buffalo and onion together add taco seasoning and water cook for about 5 minutes- just till the water is gone.
Put ½ enchilada sauce in bottom of a 8x8 pan
Put filling in tortilla and wrap up lay in pan in a row.
Pour rest of sauce over the top and add about ½ c cheese over the top cover with foil bake 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

To make awesome rice


Use the same pot you cooked the buffalo and spices in add 2 cup water, 1 cup rice and ¼ c salsa. You can leave a little of the leftover meat in the pot as well if you want to add another layer flavor. When it starts to boil turn to lowest setting on stovetop and leave alone for 25 minutes.


They should both finish at about the same time. Dinner is done. (and yummy)
If you don’t want to use buffalo just use hamburger, you may need to drain off the fat if you use hamburger meat.
I used all the ingredients (except for cooked enchilada as you don’t want double tortillas) mixed up put in a tortilla with sour cream, cheese and put in a hot lightly oiled pan till it is hot and crispy for next day lunch.

You can use homemade enchilada sauce and your personal favorite spice mix or you can use premade for both.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yogurt

I tried a new technique that i thought would be easier then boiling the milk. I used dry milk and added it to room temp milk. Then added the yogurt base and blended smooth. It did make a smooth and thick yogurt so i think this is a preferred way to do it as it is much faster.

42 oz raw milk
6 Tablespoon dry milk
6 oz Stoneybrook Plain Yogurt.



By the way I am typing this on my new flamingo pink dell laptop as my other is trash thanks to the virus. It came today by DHL and was a whole day early!!!!!!!!!!!! I may have scared the delivery lady as i sort of declared my love for her. :) Have a happy day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am on a quest.

I need your help. I am trying to make the perfect spritz cookie. So far I have tastes kind of weird, tastes kind of blah, tastes good but crumbles right away and doesn’t crumble but is tough. Wow! That is a lot of different recipes. I like spritz because it is the cuteness of cookie cutter without the rolling out work. I want one that is perfect for a school lunch or as a gift quickly. I have been having fun trying except I have gained about 5 lbs so far this week! Please send me any recipes you have for a good spritz cookie and I will try them all. I appreciate any help you can give me as I am starting to hate spritz cookies!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fresh Fettuccine in a lite sauce


Yumm, fresh pasta! I decided to make a fettuccine as I like hearty pasta when it is fresh made. My kids aren’t picky but if they don’t like it they don’t have to eat it. I am not a short order cook - I make 1 dinner not 5. :) My daughter often eats a bite or two but that it but this she came back and asked for more! Even hubby was surprised by that. I did a simple smooth tomato and garlic smooth sauce as I wanted the pasta to shine. It would have been prettier if I had some fresh basil to scatter but alas my black thumb has struck again and my basil has DIED (again). One of these days I will give up but for now….. I did a simple Mario pasta;

3 c AP flour

4 eggs

1 splash water

Put the flour in a large bowl, make a well and put the eggs in the middle and beat the eggs first then start incorporating the egg into the flour. If it is wet add more flour if it seems dry add a bit of water. Mine seemed dry so I added about ½ teaspoon water and it was perfect. I knead it in the bowl as well just to make cleanup easier. Knead it for a few minutes until it is smooth and somewhat elasticity. Let it rest for 15 to 20 min at least. I let it rest for about 2 hours as I made it ahead of time and was perfect. I let the remainder rest for about 8 hrs as I had some left over dough and was curious. It changed to a darker color and deeper smell that I did not find a good smell. J So I didn’t make pasta with the over rested section. Make sure that you seal it airtight to rest, either with cling wrap or a covered bowl, it helps to keep it moist as you don’t want it to dry out. Keep a wet towel over the waiting portion if you don’t have a tight fitting lid so that while you are rolling out sections you can take your time. I made a super simple sauce so the pasta would stand out. I also had some Italian bread I smeared with garlic I had grated and some unsalted butter I popped into the broiler till edges were crispy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Homemade Rocky Road


Rocky road is hubby’s favorite flavor. I made the base the night before and let it refrigerate over night. I got my base recipe from kitchn.com. It sort of tastes like a cup of chocolate milk, it is a light color not a dark brown as you might expect.

Old Fashioned Cocoa Ice Cream
about 1 1/2 quarts

1/4 cup powdered unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 water
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups half and half (I used 2 cups cream and 2 cups whole milk)
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the cocoa, sugar, water and salt together in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat over medium heat until boiling then simmer for 2 minutes. Whisk in the half and half and heat just until bubbles appear around the edges. Pour a cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks and whisk until tempered, then add back into the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low-medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 170F. You may want to stain it before refrigerating in case you have a few random bits of egg.

Chill overnight and then process in an ice cream maker.

It took about 30 min to reach a nice smooth and thick consistency and then I added the marshmallows and you can add chocolate chips or mini chips or almonds at this point.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Yogurt try #2


As you can see in the picture- smooth as silk!!!!!!!!!! I did a few things different then my lumpy try number one. I used the same amounts of ingredients;

42 oz raw milk from my local dairy
6 oz Stoneybrook organic yogurt- plain flavor


I boiled the milk longer this time, I allowed it to crawl up the sides in a boil for about 2 minutes (last time I took it off early). Then I allowed it to cool to room temp naturally (last time I used a water bath and let it get cold). I let it cook in the machine for 10 hours (last time I did 8 hours). I also drained the whey off 2 and stirred one and left the rest untouched. The untouched is smoother and perfect so I learned I need to leave it alone. I am so happy and my daughter thought they were perfectly yummy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baked doughnuts


You have most likely seen doughnut cake pans and many people say the doughnuts that come out are to hard and don’t rise. I looked at a lot of different recipes and decided to mix a few for a light and soft doughnut that requires no rolling out. You could put it in a muffin tin as well. The pictured doughnuts are from the mini doughnut bake pan, you can see the flecks of spices in them.


Baked Spice Doughnuts

2 cups AP flour

½ c sugar

1 t cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 egg beaten

1 teaspoon yeast

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 teaspoon oil

1 t baking powder
Oven at 325 degrees
Take a 1/c cup milk lukewarm add one Tablespoon of the sugar and dissolve the yeast. Let sit for a few minutes while you get the rest together.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, spices together add the egg, vanilla and oil add the milk. Mix well and let rest for about 10 minutes. It will be very loose and very sticky but it has some body to it. Spray with non stick spray. I used Bakers Joy with flour in it. Pour it into the molds. Let bake about 12 minutes. They should pop out easily but you could use a wooden skewer to help pop it out if you need to. You can frost them or dip them in cinnamon sugar. You can also leave them plain, whatever you like is wonderful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Homemade yogurt Try #1


I made my first batch of yogurt and it tastes good! If you look at the picture it looks more like cottage cheese. The darker color is due to the fact I made vanilla flavor. I like the vanilla as it stains less if my daughter has a spill. I think I know where I went wrong as I messed up a few different steps. I added my entire yogurt to the milk at once and the directions said to add a small amount of milk to the yogurt and mix until smooth. That is why I think it looks chunky. I also don’t think I boiled the milk long enough yesterday. Today I boiled the milk longer and also made it super smooth before I put it in the little cups. I made them all plain except one that I made strawberry to see what it tastes like to cook it that way instead of adding the flavor after, which is what I did yesterday. At 8:30 tonight it will have sat on the heat for 10 hours so let’s see what happens. It does look different today as it is much smoother then yesterday.


42 oz of 2% raw milk from the local dairy (I am lucky) :)
6oz Stoneybrook Farms organic plain yogurt

Cook milk until boils and starts to crawl up the side I stirred it slowly to prevent burning, let cook 2 minutes. Then let sit till room temp or to speed it up use a ice water bath. I forgot to pull it out and it got very cold (another mistake from yesterday). Have the 6 oz yogurt in a bowl and add some of the milk that you let cool to room temperature, mix until smooth I whipped it to get it super smooth. Then if you have a machine divide into 6 oz cups (mine are glass) and set the timer for 8-10 hours depending on what your machine says. If you don’t have a yogurt maker you can look on http://www.seriouseats.com/ and they discuss other ways to make yogurt. One of the techniques is to use a heating pad. So come back tomorrow and we can see if I succeeded.

I think I will make yogurt smoothies with the batch that is lumpy.

1 banana
Cup of vanilla yogurt - I think it is runny enough I won't need milk
Half handful berries
Little bit of ice

Blend and eat

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie


I haven’t tried the hot “now” recipe from the NY Times because I forget to leave myself the resting time but these are awfully good. They are a nice simple go-to type cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

8 oz block of chocolate broken up or a bag of chocolate chips
you can add nuts walnuts or pecans would be good about 1/2 cup ( I didn't)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Line 2 cookie sheets with silpat or a silicone sheet. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
Place the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and continue to mix until a smooth batter forms. Add the chocolate chips.


To form the cookies, scoop about 1/4 cup of cookie dough into your hands and roll it around into a ball; place them about 3-inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets; you should get about 4 cookies on each pan. Press down the tops of the dough slightly and bake until the cookies are light brown, 12 minutes for chewy cookies, or about 15 minutes for crispy cookies.
I use a scoop so that I don’t have to worry about hand forming matching sizes.




On a different note, my laptop computer is now trash. I got a Trojan virus that ate a great deal of my computer! How someone could find that fun is just……… Anyway I got a new Dell and it is PINK! I am very excited it should come by the end of the month so my posts may not be everyday until the end of the month but hopefully I will have no problem posting as my ice cream machine is coming on Thursday so tomorrow I will get my chocolate base ready and I will be posting how it goes.

See you soon. I hope you all have a healthy computer tonight :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

My laptop is sick!

My laptop got a virus and isn't working so I am unable to download pictures today. I will be posting a super yummy chocolate chip cookie recipe tomarroso please come back. BTW you can't cath my virus - in case you were worried :) . Hubby sealed it off and now we have to repair the harddrive but all will be well soon. He is off to the big box store to see if they have what we need as we are nowhere near a computer shop.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting!


Ok, I am proud of my cake. It is a football helmet with a removable faceplate. I was trying to decide what to use it for when the Packers made a giant oopsie. I did a Jets cake, just for fun. My MIL & FIL are coming over for dinner and I though it would be a fun dessert. I made a chocolate cake and let it cool then I put a crumb coating of cream cheese frosting on it and put it in the fridge for the night. I took it out in the morning and let it get to room temp before smoothing it out and adding a fondant layer. The cake must not be cold or you WILL have fondant problems. Also please note that fondant really shouldn’t be put in the fridge unless you have no choice and it makes it gummy and doesn’t form properly. Trust me; I learned this the hard way! I used a cake recipe I got from foodnetwork.com
.

Chocolate cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and slowly whisk in wet ingredients. This will be very loose. Don’t worry it bakes up perfect. Pour into greased 9 by 12-inch baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool. If you are baking a large pan or a specialty pan cook as 325 for 50-80 minutes

I used my favorite cream cheese recipe as I thought it just sounded good and I had a package of cream cheese that I needed to use.


8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 stick unsalted butter softened

1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla till fluffy. Slowly add the sugar with the mixer on low so you don’t make a giant mess. To make a crumb coating use it while still freshly made as it is much easier to smooth out.


For the rest of the dinner I am going simple stuffed baked pork chops and sweet potato casserole but (hopefully) the star will be my cake as I am really working on improving my decorating skills.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summer is Yummy

To many summer is tomatoes. NO SIR! Summer is corn bought of the back of a truck or from a neighbor so fresh you can smell the sugar. When you go to the market it is super cheap and super easy to prepare. I take a huge pot of water so that all the ears are submerged. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and a dash of salt throw in the corn, when the water is boiling start counting ten minutes. And boom dinner is ready! If the corn is super fresh I don’t add any sugar but that is very hard to find unless you are lucky (I am not). I read that corn starts to lose its sugar as soon as it is picked- I have no clue where I learned that but that is what I have always heard.



By the way come back later as I am making a cool chocolate cake I want you to see!

Friday, August 8, 2008

My day to burn!

I was making strawberry cheesecake muffins today and didn’t hear the timer go off. After 45 minutes I started to smell that smell and lo and behold –black as night! Ok, so maybe I was distracted. I had ordered some cinnamon oil earlier in the week and it came today so I thought I would make some jolly ranchers. Cinnamon is hubby’s favorite flavor and so he asked me to make them so I was thinking of what time I would start them. I haven’t burned two things in one day in years! I was so annoyed with myself I made hubby go thru a drive thru for dinner as I was to nervous to cook. Oh well tomorrow is another day and I have cooking to do tomorrow as I need to make cookies and also the candy. I hope I don’t burn anything. Do you ever have a day when nothing at all goes right?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

School lunches and my baby is growing up!

I am so excited. School starts in 1 week! I will miss my little man but I am excited because he will now be in full time kindergarten, no more half day running around like when he was in pre-k. I am a little sad as I am used to having him around 24/7 so this may be a big change for both of us. I will be going to take him his lunch for the first 2 days of school to help him adjust to full days and then (hopefully) he can take his lunch himself in the mornings. I thought it would be fun to doll up his lunch and I know the bento style is very popular but I was worried he would have trouble with the boxes. I didn’t want him to get confused at school as he is autistic and could get vocal when confused. I did however decide to do a modified bento box. I bought a new fun item to help him smile when he opens his lunch box.



They are egg shapers. You put a shell removed hardboiled egg in it and close it. It creates a 3-d design on the egg. They are so hard to find so I snatched these up on eBay today. I was so excited to find them. I will post the lunch I make with them as I thought it would be fun to match the shape of his sandwich to the shape of the egg! I will only show him one shape to explain that it is an egg for him to eat and the rest of the shapes can be a surprise.

Please tell me if there are any tricks I need to know about using these egg shapers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Homemade yogurt

I have been following the person on www.seriouseats.com who is trying to make her own yogurt. (link here http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2008/08/homemade-yogurt-my-second-attempt.html) I have decided the easiest thing to do to make my own is to buy a yogurt maker. My town doesn’t have anywhere that would see this kind of item so I went to my friend the internet and as always I found just what I needed. Euro Cuisine YM100 Automatic Yogurt Maker Machine So needless to say I am excited. Yogurt is a big expense and my daughter loves it every morning. The first thing she says every morning is “ you get my ugert now right mommy” how she hates it when I run out. I don’t mind her love of it s it is a good choice for her breakfast. I am so excited to make my own sour cream and cottage cheese as well. Please let me know any good recipes you have for making your own milk products as I am having a dreadful time finding recipes. I will post recipes after I get my machine. I expect it to take about a week. I never ever get presents so this has been quite the week for me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hobby Lobby Lust

I have a problem with loving craft shops. We have one tiny scrapbook store in my town and I desire every single thing it stocks. I already own about half but dream of the rest. Hobby Lobby however is a giant superstore of everything I need or want or think I might need sometime in the future. I went today as I am on the hunt for a specific type of cupcake holder. I didn’t find what I needed but I found much I wanted. I am now the proud owner of a frosting edger for around the outside edge of cakes as I can never get them to look right. I also got some different cupcake holders as they were on sale and therefore needed. I got some black gel food coloring as my local market never has it in stock. I can’t remember why I needed black but I am sure that I do. I put the football shaped cake pan on my personal wish list as I won a helmet cake pan on E-bay yesterday and have tons of football items like a crock-pot shaped like a football. Someday I might get friends and then I can have a super bowl party! I am excited to get busy using all my new tools to decorate cakes and cookies. We shall see if I can make anything amazing as every time I go to craft stores I get about a million ideas. I am thinking this might be a baking week as I have seen some really great recipes this week. I will report back tomorrow on what I picked to do first.


Oh I forgot that I already used some of my new toys. I made suckers using my new race car molds. It is important to remember to make sure any molds are high temp for hard candy as I made grape hard suckers and they are hotter then chocolate candy. I can guarantee that it is very hot as I really burned my finger badly. I make candy often but this is the first time I splashed myself. OUCH!!! I wish I knew what to use as the FDA says corn syrup is natural but I don't kno whaqt else to use so.....I do use corn syrup in my recipe. Here is the link to my recipe. Here is little man unable to wait to get one. The race cars have more definition in real life. the powdered sugar to keep them from sticking also highlights the details.

http://organicandnaturalmom.blogspot.com/2008/02/treat-day_27.html

Monday, August 4, 2008

Doggie Treats


I have 2 dogs that are best friends. They love each other very much.Well I should say that I might only have one dog now. The dogs ran off after a rabbit Friday afternoon and we called and hunted for hours. We searched all weekend and then on Sunday my chocolate lab named Star was in her doghouse like she never left. My other dog is a miniature pincer named Chirrpy. She hasn’t come home yet so that makes 3 nights that a 10 lb 8 month old dog has been out on her own! Needless to say, I am extremely worried. The dog catcher said she would be on the lookout and give us a call if they find her. I am bursting with nervous energy as my other dog is so sad without her. Star just lies around the house and last night she cried for her. She is 8 months old as well. We got them 3 days apart after they were weaned. Anyway before I start crying I will move on. I thought it might cheer up Star to have a treat so I decided to make her some doggie biscuits. I used a website that I have enjoyed many times they have a lot of doggie treat options http://www.desertculinary.blogspot.com .

Pumpkin Canine Cookies

2 cups oats

1/2 cup butter

2 cups boiling water

5-6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup non fat milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup mashed pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 350

Lightly coat cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the oats, pumpkin, and butter in a large bowl.

Carefully pour in the boiling water.

Stir in 2 cups flour and remaining ingredients.


With a wooden spoon, mix until it forms into a big ball, adding flour as needed to make stiff dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface, adding flour as needed, until the dough taken on a roll able consistency. In total I used about 5 cups flour.Roll out the dough to 3/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookie shapes using your favorite cutters. Place them on the cookie sheets and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Cool completely.

The only thing I did different is I used my mixer for the dough, instead of by hand. I also only baked them for 15 minutes as they were completely done in that time. I also used my silicone pan covers instead of spray oil.
I did taste it to see what the general taste is and it tastes like a non sweet cookie. I always taste what I make for the kids or the dogs as I assume if it tastes bad to me it will taste bad to them however I will not taste beef or chicken as that would be truly repulsive. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday quick pasta dinner


A good pasta sauce simmers slowly all day getting dark and thick. I did not have all day but I still think it came out delish. This is a perfect meal in 30 minutes start to finish. I think of the pasta sauce as cheater sauce as it is;

1 bottle of pasta sauce
1 med onion chopped
3 large cloves garlic, I grate it so they melt all away in the sauce.
16 oz mushrooms sliced thick so they hold up well
Pinch of rosemary
¼ handful of parsley dried as my herb plant is having “issues”
¼ handful dried oregano
I Mortar and pestle the herbs to release the oils
2 Tablespoons olive oil I used no meat and so I need the fat.
1/3 cup water

I get the oil hot add the garlic and onion and let sweat till onions are a bit translucent.. Ass the mushrooms and still so the mushrooms get a but of the garlic oil all over them then add the jar of pasta sauce and water and herbs. Let simmer about 30 minutes. While it cooks make whatever pasta you want. While the water is getting to the boil point get the garlic butter on the bread;

4 Tablespoons room temp butter
4 cloves of garlic grated or chopped fine
1 loaf Italian bread sliced in half

Have the oven preheated at 350 degrees. Mix the butter and garlic and spread over the bread pop into oven for 10 minutes. It is just the perfect mix of butter and garlic without it being greasy and after 10minutes it is lightly brown and crisp but not burned. I always mess up if I use the broiler so this takes care of that problem. I was buying my garlic bread but again a lot of unknown items for a small level of convenience. This I know exactly what I am eating and it isn’t greasy like the pre made bread tends to be, and really it is no work at all.

Hope all had a safe and happy weekend.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Update on the cookie flowers

My sister loved it! She thought I bought it at a store!! That made me so happy.

Before I took it over to her I wrapped each flower in a clear poly d├ęcor bag and closed it with some curling ribbon. I sealed it as tight as I could so it would last so she could look at it for a few days before eating. I also wrapped a bright ribbon tied with a bow around it.

I didn’t get to see her when I dropped it off as she was having a very bad day and was asleep when I went over but her hubby took it for her. She called me later after she got up. She sounded so happy so I was pleased. It will be quite some time before she is better but I am glad I was able to make her smile.

Thank you to everyone for the compliments I really appreciated the advice and opinions of everyone.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Decorated Cookies as a Gift!!!



I am so excited! Please tell me what you think as I am thinking I will give these to my sister as a get well gift. The round one says Get Well Sis with a funny face on it. I got a close up of it but it didn’t look great. The big yellow tulip is sparkly with yellow sugar on top. I made green fondant for the leaves. The cookies are a basic sugar cookie with royal icing. This is my first attempt at cookie decorating. I usually don’t decorate except for my carrot cake and I just do a lot of simple stars over the whole thing. I made a LOT of cookies before I got it right. The trick to keeping it on the stick is to put a ball of dough down then the stick the then flower on top. I would then use a piece of wax paper to gently push down to adhere it all together. This took the longest of time to get right as I tried a lot of different ways. I used a piece of wax paper to avoid finger marks and also it avoids sticking. The butterflies are a separate pic as I think they look ugly so I didn’t put them in the flower pot. I used brown/gold curling ribbon for dirt. I notice in the pic I have a few spots where you see the green of the foam so I will add more ribbon. PLEASE tell me if you think it is ugly as I am headed to my sister’s tomorrow. Here are the recipes I used.


Royal Icing From Wilton.com

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 pound (4 cups) Confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons warm water

instructions

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Recipe makes 3 cups.
And then to thin it for filling the edges I added 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing but as it was a HOT day I kept a bowl of water and a measuring spoon and added ¼ teaspoon water as needed.


Sugar Cookies from Wilton.com

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter softened
1 1/2 cups Granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon No-Color Almond Extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt

instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In large mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add 1 cup at a time to butter mixture, mixing after each addition.
3. Do not chill dough. - I did anyway it helped me work longer on the dough.
4. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use.
5. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet on top rack of oven for 6-7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned I used a silpat sheet to make it super easy to remove.
I didn’t have any almond extract so I used 2 teaspoon vanilla. These bake super fast I was really surprised.
Don't move the cookie right away LET THEM REST on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes as it helps them set up. I rushed it at first and they were to soft I have about 50 1/2 daisies.:(
Thanks for any input you have.

Everything is new!!

I have changed everything and hope it has a fresh new look. Please let me know what you think or if you hate it. I thought the brown was getting boring. Is the green better?I am learning so much as time goes by that I felt I could use a little spice. I thought this seemed a little crisper just like summer is crisp and bright. It is about 103 avg temp here in Oklahoma so I don't mean crisp as in cold, just as new and fresh. :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tool Time!!!

It has been awhile since I got a new toy but I have been looking for a tortilla press. I have looked everywhere and last week I finally saw a Mexican grocery store and thought “ummm yeah hello go in” but sadly I didn’t have time until today. I got a wooden press that looks great. I love to make my own tortilla as they are so delish. Fresh made has a totally different flavor then the gummy store bought ones. I do buy the store bought ones as I don’t always have time to make my own. When I lived in St Louis there was a restaurant called Chevy’s Fresh Mex and they had no cans or pre made items allowed in their kitchen. They had a person who made their tortillas right there on a giant griddle type machine. I have spent the last 4 yrs looking for tortillas at every Mexican place but alas none compare. Before we moved to Indiana I bought the cookbook available in the restaurant so the following recipe is for amazingly perfect tortillas. Be warned they must be eaten fresh or they do get dry.


Chevy’s Famous Tortillas

Makes 16 8 in tortillas

6 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shorting cut into small pcs
2 ½ cups warm water


Mix flour, baking powder and salt then add shorting turn mixer to low and add the water slowly. Mix about 2 minutes on low.

Scrape the dough out divide the dough in half- cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Divide each half into 8 balls. You will have 16 balls. Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out into 8 inch rounds stack the rounds with a piece of plastic wrap between each layer. Let rest 1 last time for 10 minutes. Heat your skillet medium heat and spray with vegetable oil spray. Cook for a minute on each side. You will see some brown spots and BOOM! It’s done

Basically it is a super fast recipe the main time is resting time. During that time is perfect to get the rice and other things going.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My perfect dinner

I am feeling yucky tonight. I’m not sick just blahhhh. I made my second favorite feeling blah meal. My favorite is crepes and my next favorite is an egg sandwich. Not just plain egg but I lightly toast a slice of bread then slather strawberry jelly on top. No butter and NO grape jelly. I cook the egg until the white is set but the yolk is runny then add salt. I break the yolk on top the strawberry toast. To me this is bliss. It is sweet and salty and soft but crunchy but chewy. It is nice comfort after a long day. The kids love eggs for dinner because they love breakfast at night they always act like it is so silly.

update on the sushi experiment

I made a few shrimp rolls extra as I thought they would be good the next day. I sealed them carefully to keep them moist and tight. They did not do well overnight. I think that may be the main difference with using sticky rice and using what I had; they got very dry and crumbly so I am going on another quest to find sticky rice tomorrow. If I can’t find sticky rice then I know that I must make less rice as the regular long grain doesn’t hold up well. I just thought I would let you know as I am sure other people have had trouble finding sticky rice and have tried other methods to make sushi.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sushi Time

One of my favorite things about living in Delaware was the sushi restaurants. They were everywhere and they were all so yummy even the grocery stores had it. Then I moved to Oklahoma where tuna comes in a can and that is it! I was at the market the other day and saw some dried seaweed and thought maybe the time had come to try my own. Well I must admit I am pleased. I was unable to find sticky rice anywhere so I decided to just wing it and I used regular rice. I laid out my sheet of seaweed put the rice on top in a even layer and used thinly, I mean super thinly, sliced onion and green pepper along with some shrimp. I used only what I had in the fridge because if it was repulsive I didn’t want to waste money. I loved it!!! I was surprised as I really didn’t plan ahead or I would have got a cucumber and made California rolls. What I did learn is roll as tight as I could and don’t stuff it or the seaweed will break (I cracked one).I also learned that it was a great way to use up some veggies. I am not a green pepper fan but I used some in my salsa so I had some in the fridge, because I sliced it so thin it had a slight taste and a nice crunch but didn’t overwhelm it. I am a fan of the empty the fridge roll and I think that it will become a staple in the house. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yippee, it's Monday!

Ok, I am not that happy it's Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I normally stick to food but I had a super exciting weekend. I saw my niece for the first time in a decade. I was so happy to see her! She looks so much like my sister. My sister died 10 years ago but when I saw her daughter it was amazing how completely similar they are.