Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Two or three years ago, I found these nut-shaped cookie molds in the King Arthur Flour Baker's Catalogue. After purchasing them impulsively, I promptly placed them in the back of my baking-gadgets drawer and forgot about them. When the most recent catalog came in the mail, it had a recipe for Chocolate Nut Cookies, which uses these molds. I knew these cookies would be perfect for Thanksgiving, so I dug out my set and got to work.
Oh, I'm so glad I made these! They are time-consuming, but not difficult. They taste like brownie edges with a nice fudgy surprise in the middle. I think that making these will become a new Thanksgiving tradition.
Friday, November 20, 2009
from Taste of Home Magazine
and toss to combine.
2. Combine 1 envelope taco seasoning (1 oz), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano,
and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; sprinkle over the crackers and toss to coat.
3. Bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. Makes 16 cups.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I love to bake. More precisely, I love to bake cookies. Along that vein, I have been collecting the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine annually since 1996. I first flip through and look at all the gorgeous and delectable photos of the cookies, then I spend a little more time
perusing the pages and making mental notes on my favorites. Lastly, I read through the recipes and decide on a few must-makes for the holiday season. The cookies that caught my interest almost immediately in this year's edition were the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies, whose recipe was submitted by reader, Emily Orton, of Bonner Springs, KS. According to Emily, "they have the consistency of cake and should be sold in bakeries".
On the first day that was cool enough for baking, I fired up the oven (an arduous task as my oven will now only turn on if I first light the right back burner on the stove-top. Note to self: call repair-man before Thanksgiving.), whipped up some dough and proceeded to bake some super-yummy little cakes. While they cooled, I mixed up the caramely goodness that was to frost the tops of these pumpkin gems. Lastly, the taste test. These were as good as I had imagined: Soft and cakey, with a mild pumpkin-pie flavor that is nicely enhanced by the brown-butter, caramel flavors in the icing. They have been added to my "make again soon" list.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies
Preheat your oven to 350-degrees. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups softened, unsalted butter on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg to the butter and beat until combined, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; beat until combined. Beat in 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree. Lastly, beat in 4 cups (20 ounces) all-purpose flour.
Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons (the flatware kind) 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Remove from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.
For the frosting, heat 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar in a saucepan until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup whole milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat in 2 + 3/4 cups powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Makes 60-ish cookies.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I was browsing around on Ravelry and I came across this sweet star-shaped washcloth. I had all of the supplies on hand and knew I had to make one right away. If you want to make one too, you can find the pattern here. I have a feeling I won't be stopping at one of these. They are easy and fun to make, not to mention that they are super cute!
This particular wash cloth is going to be part of a gift for a sweet, little bambina. I found this organic, all-natural baby wash at Target. It cost a bit more than I would usually spend on such a product, but it smelled so good and heck, it's for a gift, so I decided to splurge a little. I hope the wee one will be happy with her present.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
It has finally started feeling like Autumn, sunny but with a crisp chill in the air. I have been wanting to try out some new soup recipes and it is now time to do just that. This recipe is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, the tome I turn to most often when I want to make something tasty. I was glad that I made this recipe because it turned out to be very tasty indeed! It has a beef stew-type flavor but is not quite as heavy. Simply delicious!
I had to go out and purchase a new slow-cooker for this recipe because the 5-quart size I received as a wedding gift 13+ years ago wasn't big enough. I found a 7-quart Rival Crock Pot at Kmart for $30 (plus there is a $5 rebate!). It isn't one of those fancy-dancy programmable pots that you can find nowadays, but I figure that the less it has going on, the less likely it is to break. It made an excellent pot of soup and that's good enough for me!
To make the soup, first trim and cut up a 3-pound chuck roast into 1/2-inch pieces. Dry the meat with paper towels and salt and pepper it generously. Brown the beef in two or three batches using 2 teaspoons of oil per batch in a hot skillet. Put the beef into the slow-cooker. Heat up 2 more teaspoons of oil and cook 2 onions and 2 carrots that have been chopped medium, along with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook them about 5 minutes or until they are soft. Stir in 1/2 cup of a dry red wine and let it simmer for about a minute. Put the onions and carrots into the cooker along with a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, 4 cups of low-sodium beef broth, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 2/3 cup pearled barley. Cook for 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high, until the meat is tender. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I basically iron a square of fusible web (such as Wonder-Under or Heat n Bond) to the back of a scrap of fabric, draw a simple shape on the backing paper of the web (I used an extra-large cookie cutter as a template for the heart shape), then cut it out. Fuse the shape to one end of a pre-folded cloth diaper and use your sewing machine (with a heavy-duty or denim needle) to make a tight zig-zag stitch all around the edge of the applique (like a satin-stitch). You could also sew a blanket stitch by hand. These are quick to whip up and make a nice, handmade addition to a gift of purchased baby items.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Oh, baby! This is a keeper. I just tried this recipe from the October/November '08 issue of Cook's Country magazine. Not only did hubby like it, both kids liked it, too! This will be showing up on our plates often. Most of the recipes I try from Cook's Country are ones that I will make over and over again. I'm a big fan of America's Test Kitchen, who puts out CC and Cook's Illustrated. All the testing they put into their recipes makes each one turn out great.
For the Maple-Orange Glazed Chicken, you need to cut 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in half, cross-wise. Kitchen shears are very helpful here in cutting across the bone. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. For the sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup real maple syrup, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon minced, fresh thyme together and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, oven safe skillet and brown the skin side of the chicken. Flip the chicken over and put the skillet into a 475-degree oven until the chicken is brown and cooked through (15 minutes). Put the chicken on a plate and cover with foil.
Pour off the fat from the pan and add the sauce ingredients. Cook the sauce over medium heat until thickened. Add salt and pepper as desired. Add the chicken to the sauce and turn to coat.
I ended up over cooking my chicken slightly; it was a bit on the dry side. But, the sauce made up for some of the moisture. The next day, the left-overs were actually quite moist. I think that next time I will double the sauce ingredients so there is more of that delicious goodness to go around.
Monday, August 24, 2009
sweet, green pods of soy
popping them in one by one
they're nature's fun food
Enough with the haiku. I offer up thanks to the humble soybean, or its fancy Japanese name, edamame (ed uh mom aye). It is one of the few vegetables that my kids actually beg for. (Actually, the only one.) They love to pop the beans out of the pod and hilarity ensues when the beans over-shoot their mark! I also love that they are so easy to prepare and keep on hand. And they're cheap, too.
When I make them, I boil 2 to 3 quarts of water for a 1lb bag of frozen beans (in the pod). When it comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon table salt and then dump in the soybeans. Cover and cook until the water just starts to boil again and the pods all float to the top. Drain and rinse with cold water. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Pop the beans from the pod straight into your mouth. If they are difficult to pop, cook them just a bit longer next time.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
This is a hat that I just finished for my hubby. It's made from 2 skeins of Mission Falls 1824 Wool that I had in my stash. It is a nice, soft yarn and not itchy because it is a merino wool. I found the pattern for The Boy Hat on Ravelry and knew I wanted to try it out. It is a simple ribbed hat, but has a clever shaping to give some visual interest at the crown. If I make another one, the only change I will make is to make it a bit shorter to fit my boy better.
Friday, August 21, 2009
For 2 hass avocados, add 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1 finely minced garlic clove. Smash all these together with a fork, leaving small chunks of avocado.
That's it! Now, sit back end enjoy. Best served with chips and good company.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
To celebrate the birth of my new "baby" (this blog), I thought it would be nice to show some baby items that I've made recently. These were made for my neighbor's new baby girl, Ainsley Lynn. I used a basic knit-on-the-diagonal, garter stitch pattern from Lion Brand yarn, using Cotton-Ease in Lime. It is somewhat plain, so I knew that I wanted to crochet some cute flowers to make it pop. I found this free daisy bookmark pattern, and completed rounds 1 through 3 with Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn.
I made a daisy for each corner and attached them by sewing around the base of the flower with the green yarn, leaving the petals free.
I wanted to make a little something else to go with the blanket so I purchased this sunhat pattern from youcanmakethis.com (one of my favorite sites). It is made from the same yarns as the blanket.
I entered both of these items at the Ventura County Fair this year and received honorable mentions for both. There were some amazing knit and crochet items entered this year. It's nice to know that lots of people are still out there making awesome things!
Now I need to wrap these up and present them to little Ainsley. She's almost 3-months old now so I better get crackin'.