Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowflake Cakes

It's pretty much just vanilla cake mix, but I had found this cute little cake pan at Target and wanted to try it out.
For fun and to add a little flavor to the cake, I added a cup of tea made with this apple spice tea in place of the water the cake mix called for. I thought the flavor turned out pretty nice, just a little apple-y.

Blue snowflake:

Hot pink snowflake:

That one looks a little creepy, but the girl liked it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pumpkin Mousse Trifle

I hope everyone had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving. Isn't this a wonderful picture I took of this trifle? I'd like to say I'm getting so much better a photographing food but this pic is actually stolen from Rachael Ray's website along with the recipe.
My pictures were too crappy for even my standards. And as it happens, I think this trifle is too. Which is too bad cause I was planning to take this for potluck at work this next week.
It just tasted like something was missing. I'm not sure what. And, even with the whipped cream topping it only came up about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the trifle bowl.
Fortunately I did have a plan B...a Marie Callendar's pumpkin pie. And that girl knows what she's doing with her pies!
So, what should I take for potluck now? Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Biscuits to Save the Day

Today pretty much sucked. Just picture 8 year old drama queen extraordinaire plus embarrassing failed attempt at dental work...probably 'nuff said. But I feel like saying SOOO much more. But I won't.
So I figured what better way to salvage the day than to finally succeed at biscuit making. I turned to the recipe recommended to me by Tiffany at Eat at Home after my last failed attempt. The recipe is certainly simple it is for ya:
2 cups flour
salt, a pinch or two
heaping Tbs. baking powder
1/4 - 1/3 cup butter
milk, nearly 1 cup
Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. Stir in the milk to form a ball of dough. On a floured surface, pat or roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into circles and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Here's their before pic.
Look how much they puff up! They were so yummy...I should have added more salt than I did was the only problem . Well, that and the biscuit snatcher!

The biscuits were really good but hardly solved any of our dental problems.

Oh least I got to see Twilight yesterday with my good friend Lisa! That didn't suck. HA! That was almost a pun. Sort of.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My New Eyesore and a Loaf of Bread

I've been wanting one of these babies in a bad way for quite some time now. I'm not sure why I think I need one other than all the cool kids have one. I've searched sales, thrift stores, yard sales, craig's list. Just couldn't quite find one in my price range. I've also looked at the alternatives but they just left me feeling cold.
So this little beauty is what I end up with.

I believe this would be the Bosch Kitchen Machine circa 1970 something. I don't know if you can tell but that knob is avocado green which would have been perfect in my kitchen back in Arkansas. Because it is important that all your knobs match all your major appliances, just so you know. I'm not really sure why there has to be a blender stuck on the end there. I'm thinking it's too bad there's not a toaster on there too.

My girl and I hit some yard sales this weekend and just as we were about to wind it up and go home, I heard this little guy saying my name. In a really annoying, obnoxious voice. I told him "you're really nice and all but you're just not what I wanted". He replied "But I'm only 5 dollars. You'll never do any better than me." So that stopped me in my tracks as I was trying to walk away. AND because of my superior negotiating skilz I inherited from my father (thanks Dad!) I got it for only $4.

Of course I had to immediately put it to use to whip up a batch of Martha Stewart's french bread. I have to say, it works pretty darned good. AND if I decide I need a milkshake while I'm kneading my dough....I'm already halfway there with my blender whirring away at the ready. And just WHO doesn't need a milkshake while they're making bread anyway.

Here's the recipe for any interested parties: 2 pkgs active dry yeast 2 3/4 cups warm water 7 cups unbleached all purpose flour 4 1/2 teaspoons salt Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water. Mix the flour and salt in large bowl. And the remaining warm water and mix well. Add the yeast mixture, blend into dough. Turn onto floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Put kneaded dough in a covered bowl and let rise till doubled. Punch dough down and let rise a second time until doubled. Punch down. Turn onto floured board and shape as desired. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, until double in size. Long loaves must be slashed along the top. Preheat oven to 400. Bake about 25 minutes, spraying the loaves with water 3 or 4 times during baking....cause I always need more opportunities to burn myself. I got six loaves with this. So, do I still want a kitchen aid mixer? Well, yeah, pretty much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rainbow Cookies

Let's see...who did I steal this recipe from? I think it was from Little Momma and Company.
These are so pretty! They make me feel all circus-y. If you've never felt circus-y, you need to make some of these. Here's the stolen recipe:
3/4 C butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
2 and 3/4 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
assorted food coloring (gel or paste works best)...
1. In a bowl cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
2. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir until soft dough forms. Divide dough into Fourths. Tint each with a different food coloring. Wrap in plastic and chill for two hours. (I stuck it in the freezer for 15 minutes because I hate to wait!)
3. Preheat oven to 350. Shape colors into 3/4 inch balls. For each cookie place one pink, one orange, one green, and one blue ball together and roll to make one giant ball. Roll into a 12 inch long snake, and then starting at one end coil roll to make a cookie. Place cookies 2 to 3 inches apart on greased cookie sheet to allow for spreading.4. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.Enjoy!
Here are my balls! (I know, I'm not right. I've been told that many times.)
Big ones......
And little ones.

Beach Ball!

They look much the same after baking as before.

I think next time I would double the recipe (I got about 13 cookies out of this recipe) and add a smidge more sugar. Cause I'm NOT sweet enough already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

This was pretty good for a quick meal. The recipe called for broccoli in it, but I knew that would never work so I just served it on the side. I also used almost twice the meat it called for and a cheaper cut that turned out just fine. Here's the recipe:
3 cups dried wide noodles
3 cups broccoli spears
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish (I skipped this too...not a big horseradish fan)
1/2 tsp snipped fresh dill
1 pound boneless beef rib-eye
1 small onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cooking oil
4 tsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 14 oz can beef broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Add broccoli during last 5 minutes....drain and keep warm.
2. In a small bowl , stir together sour cream, horseradish, and dill. Chill until serving time.
3. Cut steak into bite size pieces. In a large skillet, cook half of the steak, onion and garlic in hot oil until onion is tender and steak is desired doneness. Remove from skillet. Add remaining steak and cook. Return all steak to skillet. Sprinkle flour and pepper over meat; stir to coat. Stir in beef broth, tomato paste, and worcestershire. Cook and stir until thick.
4. Divide noodles into serving bowls and top with steak mixture, and sour cream.
I really liked the flavor that the dill added to it. I think if I made it again I wouldn't add as much tomato paste...just cause.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Homemade Doughnuts

There's nothing quite like a pile of deep fried dough to brighten your day. I didn't want to flat out label these as a failure. They have potential. I kept getting interrupted, and got the oil too hot; burned the outside of some of them and left the insides doughy. But the smaller ones that cooked through a little better weren't too bad. I thought it would be a fun thing for me and the girl to do together, but she kinda took issue with the stickiness of the dough.
She had fun mixing and stirring....
Then the all important taste test.
After deep frying we gave them different toppings: powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar, and a dusting of cocoa. Here's the recipe I found in a cookbook called "Best of the Best of Arizona".
2 eggs beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp shortening
1 tsp nutmeg
4 cups flour
oil for frying
Mix all ingredients and add flour last. Pinch of pieces of dough and roll into circles. Fry in hot grease, turning when brown. Drain on paper towels.
And there's Mr. doesn't get any!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Post-election Potluck

Some of us at my work wanted to celebrate our candidate's victory. Others of us wanted to seek comfort after our candidate lost. Me...I just wanted to eat!
I brought the lasagna...I've been making this same lasagna from a recipe I got off the back of a pasta box probably 20 years ago; a brand I don't think they even make any more. I know everyone's got their own favorite version so unless somebody specifically wants it, I won't bother posting the recipe. To me what really makes the difference is using sausage instead of (or in addition to) hamburger.
Michelle brought these lovely braciole, something I had never heard of before. Apparently she got her recipe from her Italian grandmother. It's London broil that is cooked then has several ingredients rolled into it, including ham and chopped boiled eggs of all things! Sounded odd but was really good! And I think this dish got her a marriage proposal.
Then there were some veggies to munch on so we wouldn't be tempted to overindulge in any naughty desserts. Because that would be bad.

Really really bad.

Just downright wrong. There's no way I would have eaten more than 2 or 3 servings. Of each.

Next month, we're doing barbeque!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nut Wedges

I found this recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine and thought it looked easy enough even for me. Here's how it's done:
Preheat oven to 375 (or less if your oven is possessed by demons like mine is)
Mix together 1 cup of nuts (I used a combo of pecans and pistachios), with 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tbsps honey, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp lemon juice.
I used the pre-packaged pie crust in the dairy section for the crust. Lay the bottom crust on an ungreased cookie sheet and spread the nut mixture over it.

Then cover with the top layer of pie crust. Prick holes all around with a fork, then crimp around the edges with the tines. Brush with milk.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes and cut into wedges. Drizzle some melted chocolate all over it. Not bad but not as baklava-ish as I'd hoped.

Now on a personal note, an unspeakable tragedy occured during this photographic journey. I dropped my *insert many vile curse words here* camera. *continue cursing here*.

Okay, I got it out of my system. It still seems to function but it has issues. Everything else I own is broken so why not the flippin' camera. Pity party starts at 6.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Yummy Baked Squash

This just kinda screams autumn, doesn't it? And it's super easy.
Just split an acorn squash in two, scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff.
Drop a big dollop of butter in the middle, 2 big spoonfulls of brown sugar, and drizzle the whole thing with some maple syrup.
Put the squash in a baking dish, add a couple of cup fulls of water, and cover with foil.
Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, then uncover and give it another 30.
After it cools off, I like to drink the syrupy stuff with a straw. Just kidding, that would probably be yucky, but it's awfully good with the squash.
As usual the recipe is PW inspired. I should probably just go ahead and dedicate my blog to her.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hannah Montana Loves Bears

Poor Simon was so hot in that bear costume. He barely kept it on long enough to beg for candy.
Since when is petting small animals a Halloween tradition? Where's the toilet paper; where's the eggs?? Cakewalk champEEon!