Archive for the 'cooking' Category

December and January

Boy, the last month has sped by and I’ve been busy trying to catch my breath and get back into a normal routine.  Which of course had been completely forgotten in the two weeks of vacation and Christmas craziness.  So, we’ve been retraining.  And I’ve been making cakes.  Because all of the nephews and niece have birthdays in a three week span.  So, I leave you pictures of the three cakes I made and promise new posts in the next week: a craft and a sensory bin. Enjoy!

 photo PC236320_zpsbb415ffe.jpg
Thomas Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for Miles’ fifth birthday

 photo P1086534_zpsc6d2acd9.jpg
Spiderman Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for Drew’s fifth birthday

 photo P1136544_zps8b881dc5.jpg
Princess Crown Yellow cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugar Cookie embellishments for Chloe’s third birthday

Instant Chocolate Cake

Spring is here! Hooray! We’ve had incredible weather this week and while it is raining here right now, I don’t feel the weight of the grey like I had been since I’ve gotten so much vitamin D this week. We’ve been working hard on the back yard and have de-thatched the lawn, pulled a lot of weeds, and I’m in the midst of digging up and resetting a stone pathway that had become completely covered in dirt. In gardening news, we have asparagus and kale ready to eat and our pea plants are thriving (if not producing yet). The apple tree and blueberry bushes are blooming. I have yet to dig up the garden beds, though. The other projects are taking up all of my spare time.

In chicken news, we have eggs! The girls are laying six days a week and are almost keeping up with Nancy’s insatiable love of all things egg. Both of the chickens are somewhat naughty and have been going into parts of the yard that they are not allowed, including my flower beds where they have been sunbathing (and dirt bathing, too).

Photobucket
Clara has taken to collecting the eggs every day herself. The other day, she got an egg, and since it was dirty, she washed it and dried it in a towel. Then the towel became a nest and she played with the egg for a good twenty minutes and became super attached to her “special egg.” I bet you can guess what happenend. Her poor little egg fell and broke and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men and even Momma couldn’t put her “special egg” back together again. She was so upset.

What to do? We made a little chocolate cake out of her egg and then she was happy again. I googled a cake in a mug recipe and found the easiest cake recipe ever! Here it is if you want to try it.

Mix the following ingredients in a microwave proof mug:
1 egg
1/4 C. powdered sugar
2 Table. cocoa powder

Microwave for 50-60 seconds or until done.
Enjoy!

Photobucket

New Menu Planner!

I just had to share this, as it is currently making me VERY happy! I made a new menu planner for myself and my little sister. I love it because I don’t have to recreate the whole thing each week and all the options that we love are right there waiting for me!
Photobucket
I got this idea here!

Momma needs some Christmas cheer…

Photobucket

Remember those care-free days of college, where the only responsibility you really had was that fifteen page term paper and making sure you rent check somehow got paid?  When you could spend and entire night drinking and then sleep in until 10:30 when you stumbled out to the living room and laid on the floor with all of your friends who passed out there in the middle of the night?  Or maybe that was just me.  But, when I was in college, we had many drinks that we especially liked and one that I have been thinking about lately is Hot Buttered Rum.  In my mind, in this cold weather, I remembered this as a delicious warm-me-up and infuse holiday cheer drink that I loved in college.  And then, as I was rifling through my recipe binder looking for a Christmas cookie recipe, I found the recipe that I used to make I college!

While I know that I will not be able to sleep until 10:30 (or even 6:30) any time soon (well, actually, maybe one day in December with the help of my in-laws, my sister and my best friends Lisa and Marc, but I digress), and my friends, who have somewhat grown up won’t be waiting for me on my living room floor, I couldn’t help but wonder if this drink was as good as I remembered.  So, I made a batch of Hot Buttered Rum batter and as my sister and I exchanged cookies for our friends and family, we drank some.  And it was good, but oh, was it strong!  Apparently, a shot of rum used to be a lot easier for me to take.  In other words, I am now a light-weight.  But, I liked it any way.  And I will be drinking more.  Because my eldest daughter insists that we need to go Christmas caroling.  I can think of no better time for some liquid cheer.

Hot Buttered Rum

1/2 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cardamom (optional, as I didn’t have any and it still turned out delicious)

Mix all ingredients in food processor until well combined and smooth. Can be stored in the fridge for a long time… like a month, and would make a delicious gift for any other mother who needs Christmas cheering!

When ready to make a drink, put 1-2 tablespoons batter in a mug with a hot of rum. Add hot water to fill the mug, stir, and sip!
Photobucket

Rainbow Cookies

My daughter, who wants to be a rainbow when she grows up, declared yesterday after quiet time that we NEEDED to make rainbow cookies.  Who can resist such a request?  So, we did.  I used my Pampered Chef cookie press and my favorite spritz cookie recipe.  We used gel food coloring to color the dough the primary colors, then rolled a log of each color dough and loaded them all into the press vertically.  They were so pretty and super yummy (past tense because they are already long gone).
Photobucket

Tomatoes Galore!!

My garden this year has been somewhat underwhelming.  I got very few squash, cucumbers, or zucchini because of some sort of mildew.  I treated it with a garlic powder and water solution, which worked, but they didn’t produce much after that.  I had great peas, but then it got too hot for them.  My kale was amazing, and I planted a huge pot of it on the patio for the winter.  But, that’s about it.  My green beans were practically worthless.  For some reason, I only got two carrots.  And I’m eagerly waiting on my brussels sprouts to produce anything.

But, the tomatoes!  Oh, the tomatoes!  I finally found the perfect spot for them in my yard and they have been incredible despite that one chicken who thinks that I put them there just for her to eat.  I’m off now to make roasted tomato sauce!  Yummy!
Photobucket

Play Dough Recipe

Photobucket

I was asked what my recipe for play dough is and I have to admit, that my favorite recipe is the one that I made every other week all school year long for our awesome preschool.  The thing that makes this recipe great is the cream of tartar, which keeps it pliable and moist longer.  I buy it in the bulk section at Winco, where it is super cheap (don’t buy the small little bottles in the spice section– that’s a racket!).  I have had play dough, with normal family use, last for over six months just in a Ziplock bag.

2 C. flour

2 C. water

1 C. salt

1/4 C. vegetable oil

4 t. cream of tartar

Food coloring

Mix all the ingredients together in a pot.  Add the food coloring to the desired color before cooking.  Cook at medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom as you go.  When it is ready it will ball up and will no longer be sticky to the touch.  Turn out onto a surface and knead until pliable.  Let cool and store in an air tight container.

P.S.  The picture has nothing to do with  play dough, I know, but I just loved it. 😉