Friday, April 30, 2010

Favorite Friday.....Chocolate Melting Pot

I love, love, love this little melting pot. It works so great when dipping pretzels and cake pops. I think my only complaint is that it didn't come with extra pots so that I could store the one color and start another. I have to clean it out each time.
First you place the chocolate wafers in and then place it on melt. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes with occasional stirring. Once melted, you place it in the regular position and dip away! It fast and easy, and cost around $19. If your doing a lot of dipping , you NEED one of these! You can find them at Michael's, Walmart, or Amazon.
I'll be doing a lot of dipping this weekend, and I'll post the pics next week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Steamed Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Now I am not a big fan of regular beef suet, so it was nice to find that we could use an alternative. Usely when making steam pudding I prefer butter. It can be hard to find the real beef suet and somewhat hard to find this veggie version, which is pricey.

Steamed puddings are pretty easy to put together. Usually they are made in a bowl with a tight lid and baked in a water bath. I have an old boxcar pan with a lid that works out well if you prefer to slice it more evenly. This is normally a dessert or gift that I would only make a Holiday time. It feels strange to make it in the Spring. I guess that is what a challenge is all about......LOL. I make a carmel sauce to add to it, to give it a little more flavor.

Wordless Wednesdays.....Preemies

This is what I call a preemie!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chockablock Cookies....TWD

This week in Tuesdays with Dorie, we baked Chockablock Cookies, a cookie with everything in it, it seems. This was chosen by -Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet . The recipe can be found at Mary's or on page 86 in Dorie's Baking - My Home to Yours.

I did a little switching up by subtracting the amount of nuts, and staying with just ground pecans that I had hanging around. I also added another egg to make them more chewy, along with under baking them a little. Then in place of molasses, I sub in corn syrup.

So when it came down to it my additives were....coconut, pecans. white chocolate chips, dried cranberries. I know.....I could have added more, but I wanted to keep it simple. The kids don't like alot of stuff in their cookies. I would rate this a more adult healthy cookie!

We give this 4 glasses of milk,

for utter goodness!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday....

Tip Toe Through the Tulips with Me!

This picture was taken when my children

were just little and babies.......

I love TINY TIM!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Cream and Cheddar Biscuits

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Melissa of Love at First Bite: Sweet Cream Biscuits! The recipe has all of 5 ingredients and can seriously be thrown together in just a few minutes. No cutting in the FAT this time around! I decided to add a little shredded cheddar to the mix, to serve with my oven fried chicken dinner.
Some of the other TWDer's biscuits didn't rise like they thought they would. So I switched up the recipe a bit by adding another 1/2 Tablespoon of baking powder and a 1/4 c. of plain yogurt to replace some of the heavy cream. Or should I say half and half, because that is all I had in the fridge.
A little overworking hint: Roll out the dough into a rectangle the best you can and then cut into squares. That way you shouldn't have any leftover to rework if you had used the circle cutter. And you can use a nice sharp knife to cut with. It's only my family and they don't care if they're circles or squares. They just care if they taste good!
We give this 4 glasses of milk
for utter goodness .....
and the fact that they were so simple!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thinking About Spring.....

Thinking about Spring....
Our Spring Break starts today, but, it doesn't seem much like Spring
when its this cold outside, nothing more than 55 this week.
Wish I was on a nice sandy beach of course,
or strolling through the streets of Paris,
perhaps drinking wine in Napa with my peeps...
Alas, I'll be here in good'ol Beantown, working a bit here and there,
and thinking up ideas to keep the kids occupied.
Do you have any exciting plans for Spring?
The Annual Boston Marathon was today too.
26,000 people running together for one goal.
Now that's TOGETHERNESS......

Friday, April 16, 2010

Favorite Friday......Vanilla Envy

I've decided to start something called Favorite Friday. Where I will post about an item or ingredient in the kitchen each Friday that I deem to be a favorite. There are so many cool gadgets and ingredients, it will not be hard to keep up with this one.

Most of my favorite things come guessed it! HomeGoods. Every Tuesday after my visit at the nursing home, I pop over next door to my hot spot, just to see what new item are being loaded onto the shelf. Plus I then get a peek at all the mark downs, which they seem to do on Tuesdays.

This particular Tuesday, I was in the markdown section of the grocery aisle, and found this great Madagascar Vanilla from William Sonoma. Something that would normally sell in their store for $20, was on sale at HG for $9 for an 8oz bottle. I think that it was a bargain. If you have priced real vanilla in the grocery store lately, you would find that it is very expensive and not as quality. This bottle has ground up vanilla beans and bourbon added to age it for the extra flavor. It is so flavorful I'm using it in everything right now. Dreading the day I run out of it and can not find any more at such a great price!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mexican Black Bean Chicken Cakes

Last night I fixed these Mexican Chicken Cakes, which turned out so yummy! I love ground chicken patties, and was looking for a healthy version. Black beans are so good for you, so why not add them in. These is so simple if you own a food processor. And if you don't.... pick up some ground chicken or turkey at the market.

Mexican Black Bean Chicken Cakes


*2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (approximately 1 pound), cut into chunks

*1/4 cup sauteed onions and celery

*1 small can of black beans, drained

*1/4 c. Salsa

*Taco seasoning

*1/2 tsp. garlic

*2 large egg whites

1/2 c. breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons vegetable oil or olive oil


**Place chicken pieces in food processor; pulse just until ground. Be carefully not to process too long.

**In a medium-size bowl, combine ground chicken, onion/celery, beans, salsa, taco seasoning, garlic, egg whites, and breadcrumbs; mix well (mixture will be wet).

**Divide mixture into either 8 small patties, approximately 1/2-inch-thick each.

**In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add vegetable or olive oil and heat. Add chicken patties; cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from heat.

NOTE - the beans will want to escape, but press them in as best you can.

I serve these with Spanish Rice, Corn, Salsa, and garnished with Cilantro and a dollop of LowFat Sour Cream. Great warm weather dish for sitting out on the patio with a nice glass of wine or a Corona.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.....

Just Hanging Around at Newport Beach!
Loving it........

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Swedish Visiting Cake

Here's to Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs (gotta love that blog title, I have some of those in my house, too!) for choosing this week's TWD recipe. It is a complete winner of a cake called Swedish Visiting Cake. This recipe couldn't be any easier to make. Perfect for that afternoon cup of tea or a Sunday brunch.

I had everything on hand to put this cake together which was awesomely easy. If I wouldn't have been in such a hurry, I would have thrown in some frozen berries. Definitely next time for sure! Dorie baked her's in a cast iron skillet, like you do cornbread. I unfortunately, do not own a 9" cast iron. So I baked mine in a 9" springform, which made it easy to come out. You have to give this one a try for sure. Check out Nancy's blog HERE for the recipe.

We give this 5 glasses of milk, for utter goodness!

Monday, April 12, 2010

These Chips are Fat Free!

I'm addicted to these fat free chips.
Is there a 12 step program for this???
This time of year with Spring cleaning in full speed ahead,
I tend to peruse Lowes and Home Depot's paint aisle.
I love looking at all the new shade combos.
Dreaming of a new color I may choose for my room.

Then if you seem to be undecided they now have

small sample size cans that you can buy.

For now I'll just recycle the chips I have now into
these great bookmarkers or for some scrapbook
project I am working on.

So tell me, Dear Reader,

Are you addicted to these too???

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Food Art

I've been getting back to painting lately, and will be showing you some of my most recent works soon. But, for now, I thought I would show you some Acrylic paintings on canvas that I did a few years ago for a Meal Assembly Kitchen.

Ode' To My Mixer
I love Kitchen Aid!

Bowls toppling over,
reminds me of my daily cooking experience.

And, nothing beats a Colander full of pasta....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Cleaning.........

Gorgeous day here in the Northeast.
And I'm beginning my Spring Cleaning.
Nothing says fun like......
Organizing the cupboards and closets,
and donating the kids clothes that don't fit anymore.
Then making a list of the items they'll need for warmer weather.
I then, do spruce up painting,
by going around and painting all my indoor trim.
Steam cleaning the carpet and getting
ready to to some garden Spring Cleaning this weekend.
So, how is your Spring Cleaning coming????

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mocha Marble Bundt Cake

This week's Tuesday With Dorie recipe is the Mocha Walnut Marble Bundt Cake. Erin of When in Doubt…Leave it at 350 (her blog name contains such good baking advice!) chose the cake for us to bake this week. Her blog post will have the recipe, or you can find it on pages 180 and 181 of the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

This cake is moist and thick. It tasted like a Marbled Cake Donut. Soft on the inside a little crisp on the outside. Perfect for a cake that you need to take on the road, and a great cake for a brunch. Actually no icing needed if you didn't want to take the time to add it. Just sift some powder sugar over it, and your done! I would definitely make this again perhaps in my mini bundt pans. So, go give a try!

We give this 4 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies and Kite Flying

We went to Newport to fly Kites on the West side, and enjoy a picnic lunch yesterday.

It sure was winding. We had no problem getting them to get up in the air, that is for sure! We actually had one that got so high that that we started to run out of string. Then upon reeling it in, it fell out of hands and up, up , and way it went! We jetted across the field but it was out of reach fast.
Funny thing is, after about 20 minutes, we see something dangling from our other kite. We could not figure out what it was the string handler from the lost kite. The lost kite was above the low laying hazy clouds. So we began the task of pulling it back in. It was amazing that the kite had drifted off and then came back and got caught up in that string. That will be a story for the kids to remember.......
Now how about some Peanut Butter Cookies?
I have been making these peanut butter cookies lately. So nice and chewy, I could just keep eating and eating. Even better, if I had dipped them halfway in chocolate. Or even better sandwich in a little raspberry jam, for a PB and J!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter or crunchy peanut butter,(If you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

**Cream butter, shortening, and sugars. Add the eggs and blend well.

**Add the peanut butter and vanilla.

**Add all dry ingredients until well blended.

**Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls (I use a tbsp cookie scoop) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Using a fork, make a crisscross pattern in each cookie.

**Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter.....Have you caught up yet?

The last few days have been plagued with a lot of work and lots of things on the home front to get done. With Passover and Easter falling in the same week, along with all the rain and the town flooding.......Crazy Week!

I am taking the time to catch up on the holiday hoopla and what goes along with it...

Coloring eggs is just the beginning!

Trying to crank out some sugar cookie cut outs to keep up with traditions...

And baking off the polish Babka with the colored eggs inside...

Then the huge task of filling 200 plus+ eggs tonight with candy and coins, for the traditional Easter Egg Hunt....
Then it is off to Newport, RI for some gorgeous weather and kite flying!

When will the madness stop???
We still have two weeks until our Spring Break..
Can't wait!