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Monday, November 23, 2009

ICE: Apples

Apples, I can do. I love apples. My great grandfather had an apple orchard where my cousins and I used to tramp about and pick apples and run through the fields and the forests, and play on the railroad tracks (shh, don't tell my mom!). Then we'd go inside for Granddaddy's apple pie that was better than my grandmother's. And yes, I made the mistake of telling her so once. It wasn't pretty.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house, and on weekends, we'd have these big huge breakfasts with sausage, bacon, and best of all, apple pancakes. I loved those more than anything else. Grandma would even warm up the syrup so that it went and soaked into the pancake quicker, and tasted so good with the hot apple chunks. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

I came up with these cupcakes a while back for another contest, but they fit so perfectly here that I wanted to enter them today. These cupcakes remind me so much of my grandmother's apple pancakes that they just taste perfect. I also added some glazed maple walnuts, just because they tasted so good.

I've been lax about entering ICE lately, but I had to enter when I saw that it was apples this time around. Plus, I knew I had the perfect recipe, too :)

Check out the sponsors for ICE, and see what they're providing for their prize pack this time around. You can also get more information about ICE here at Iron Cupcake Earth. The winner will receive this prize pack.

Now go vote for me starting this Friday, November 27th, at No One Puts Cupcake In A Corner.

Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:


Apple Pancake Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (this can be adjusted to your tastes, I just sort of kept adding)
1 cup buttermilk
1 apple, finely diced


Preheat oven to 300⁰F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy. Beat in the egg and the extracts until the mixture is smooth.

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and stir until almost combined. Add the buttermilk and stir, again, until almost combined. Add the rest of the flour and the apples and stir until all the ingredients are mixed in.

Using a cookie scoop, fill the cupcake liners just under 2/3 full. You will probably have some leftover batter, and you can either fill more liners in another muffin tin to be cooked at the same time, or save it for the next batch. (**I am going to work on some of the ratios for this recipe and hopefully finish perfecting it. I will post changes then.)

Place the muffin tin into the oven and raise the temperature to 325⁰F. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, checking frequently during the last 5 to 10 minutes. Just take a quick peek, as they are a tad difficult to judge when they're done. They are very moist.

Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes, and then remove from the muffin pan. Cool completely before frosting.



Vanilla Icing


2 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the ingredients with enough milk to the desired consistency.

To frost the cupcakes, place the frosting in a zip top bag, cut the tip off, and place a nice sized blob on top of the cupcake. It will spread out a bit over the next few minutes.



Maple Glazed Walnuts

2 cups walnut halves
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat a dry skillet over medium high heat. Add all ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the walnuts are toasted and the syrup is caramelized. Spread out on waxed paper and allow to cool.

For garnishing the cupcakes, place one or two walnuts on top of the cupcakes in the center. Alternatively, you could also add some thinly sliced apples, and then top with walnuts.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Go Enter This Awesome Giveaway!

This looks like a really great giveaway, so go check it out :D

Friday, October 23, 2009

And the winner is.....

Mexmarr, aka Misty!

Congratulations, if you could contact me with your address I can forward it to the company.

Sorry for the delay in posting this, I decided a little trip down the stairs would be so much fun, and found out that it wasn't. But, nothing is broken so that's a good thing :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

About That Contest I Promised...

Here it is! We got our games in the mail a few days ago. Giraffalaff Limbo, and Scatterpillar Scramble. Now, I have to be really honest and review these games in the way that our own family interacted with them, and how we were able to play with them and whatnot.

I'll start with Scatterpillar Scramble, as that is the one we started with. We got the game set up pretty easily once I found where the baby had hid the batteries. So that part is pretty straightforward. The goal of the game is that up to four people get to use a set of tongs to place marbles on the moving hands that are stacked 7 high. They send you two extra marbles too, in case you lose some, and we lost one within the first few minutes of the game. We spent more time chasing marbles than actually playing the game. Now, some of that could be the manual dexterity of my children, or the fact that we played on a table instead of on the floor, or any number of factors. But the kids weren't too thrilled with having to spend time chasing after the flying marbles, so for us, it didn't go as well as we'd have liked. But again, that could be just our family dynamics, so don't necessarily take my word for it.

Now, Giraffalaff Limbo was pretty cute, but took a while to set up. We were able to figure it out fairly quickly, and got it set up and running. One thing I noticed though, was that even my smallest kid couldn't have possibly fit under the giraffe without knocking him down, and yet the goal is to do just that. To me, that didn't make sense. I couldn't even fit under the highest level, and I'm not that big. So it's pretty much just for the kids. The younger ones had a lot of trouble understanding that there were different ways to go under (you get a little spinner to pick which move you get to make to get under the limbo bar). The older kids thought it was alright, but it wore out quickly for us. Again though, don't just take my word for it. We don't play those types of games as often, so perhaps we're just not used to it.

All that said, the games had the potential to be a lot of fun, and you can enter to win your own set of games right here, right now! Just leave a comment and make sure that I can contact you either through your blog (if you have one), or an email, and when the contest ends on Thursday, October 22nd, (my best friend's birthday!), the winner will be notified, and then your address will be sent to MyBlogSpark so that you can receive your games. Good luck!

Feeling The Love


Thanks so much to Jacquie over at Joy Made Full for sending me this lovely award :)

And now I get to send this on to a few more blogs that I like. I don't get to do as much blog reading as I used to, so my list is a little short. I have been spending some time on a few food blogs, looking for ideas and inspiration, and lately I haven't been doing as much of that as I'd like either. Such is life with 6 littles underfoot. But, I wouldn't trade it for anything (except maybe a nap), and even though I don't get to do this as much as I'd like, I still try to get to it as often as I can :)

1. Needle N' Thread
2. Bake at 350
3. Salt and Chocolate

So I will pass this along too, and hope everyone has a great day :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Do You Dress Up Your Hot Cereals?

Maybe I'm the only one, but around here we make large pots of some sort of hot cereal for breakfast. Usually it's either Malto-Meal or oatmeal, but I fill my big dutch oven pretty fill with whatever I'm making that day. Since it's usually fairly plain tasting, I've found some ways to help my kids learn to love these hot cereals, with just a few additions.

Like today, to my massive pot of Malto-Meal (about 10 servings worth), I added somewhere around 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, about 1 cup of brown sugar, and roughly a cup of milk. Other days I've done plain cinnamon and brown sugar, and sometimes I add nuts and/or raisins as well, depending on what I have on hand and what the kids are in the mood for. The nice thing about cinnamon, is that it has a lot of good properties, one of which being that it helps control blood sugar to a degree, so that the kids don't go on a sugar high from all the carbs. I love that about cinnamon, among other things. And my kids love the extra flavor.

Other flavors I've done are apple pie spice, as well as just a mix of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg (sort of like ginger snaps). They really liked that one. I have also added vanilla extract in the past (homemade of course), and honey in varying amounts.

While they weren't too thrilled about the plain hot cereals at first, after a few trial and errors, they seem to love it now, especially as the weather starts growing colder. Even the baby loves it now, with all the yummy flavors.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Contest Is Coming, But While You're Waiting....

Check out this coupon for $4 off any Elefun & Friends game. The coupon is available for download through October 31st, and good for use until December 31st. So while you're waiting for this giveaway, you can get a really great coupon to use for some fun games for your kids. The giveaway will involve two new games from Elefun, and I will let you know as soon as I can start it :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

They Want To Inject My Kids With What?

This is a link to an article containing several videos discussing the dangers of vaccines.

Watch the first one especially, if you have a daughter nearing the age of getting the Gardasil Vaccine.

They Want To Inject My Kids With What?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lemon Ginger Cookies with Boysenberry Cream Cheese Frosting


This is my first entry in Bake at 350's Flavor Of The Month carnival. I missed out on the last one, which was pie, due to, well, life. But, I made it this time, and I'm excited to participate in the theme of lemon and/or lime. I chose lemon, mostly because I can't stand lime, but also because I have some good recipes with lemon in them. The following recipe is one I stumbled across recently, and fell in love with it. The frosting was something I concocted because I was in a crazy mood that day, and thought I'd be adventurous. I'm not sure how the adventure turned out, but the cookies are very good, and the frosting, while tasty, doesn't necessarily add to the cookie, though it doesn't take away from it by any stretch. As my husband put it, he's ambivalent about the frosting. But, it does make it look pretty :)


So, go check out the carnival over at Bake at 350, and if you have any lemon and/or lime recipes, go turn them in :)


Lemon Ginger Cookies

1 c. butter

2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1/3 c. dairy sour cream

1 tsp. lemon extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 1/2 c. sifted flour

2 tsp. soda

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground ginger

Cream together first 7 ingredients until fluffy. Sift remaining ingredients together and add to creamed mixture, blending thoroughly. Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 12 minutes or until done. Remove at once from pan. Delicious!! Yields: 6 dozen.


Boysenberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I took a half recipe of my favorite cream cheese frosting, and then melted down some boysenberry jam until it was runny. I then blended that into the frosting until it looked about right and I could taste the jam. I think I used only a few tablespoons.

The frosting is completely optional, you could even use a plain cream cheese frosting for these. I ended up topping them with some coarse sugar too, just to make them pretty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hair

I've been making some changes to my hair routine, and so far they're going well. On Monday, I washed my hair with a baking soda rinse, and followed it up with an apple cider vinegar rinse. Then, I didn't wash my hair for 3 days. It's insane, I know. Usually by the end of the second day my scalp is begging for mercy from the itching, but I didn't have that this time. Today, I get to wash my hair again with the baking soda, but no ACV rinse. I've made a rosemary rinse though, so we'll see how that feels. It's too hot to use it yet, but I'll be doing that in a little bit. I was surprised at the 'rosy' color of the tea though. I simmered a sprig of rosemary in some water for about 15 minutes, and it turned out a really pretty rosy color. I can't wait to use it, it smells so good.

Here are the sites where I got my ideas from:

Babyslime

and

Rosemary

I am hoping that the rosemary will help with my hair strength, since after 6 kids my hair has gone a bit brittle. Wish me luck :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ice Cream Bon Bons

I don't know if anyone else remembers the little ice cream Bon Bons that were around when I was a kid, but I remember them being very good, covered with lots of chocolate. After seeing a yummy recipe on the new Tasty Kitchen, which Pioneer Woman has so lovingly created for all of us ^_^, I started coming up with all sorts of ideas. The original recipe called for vanilla ice cream, banana slices, and chocolate. Then, I thought about nilla wafers, ice cream in a number of different flavors, and more chocolate coating. Then I started thinking about about a billion other possibilities.

The basic structure is the same. Something on the bottom, ice cream on the top, dip the whole thing in chocolate.


Oreo cookie
Oreo or vanilla ice cream
Dip it in chocolate

Nilla wafer
Any flavor of ice cream
Dip it in chocolate

Banana
Vanilla ice cream
Dip it in chocolate
Top it with nuts! Mmm!

Small chocolate chip cookie
Vanilla ice cream
Dip it in chocolate


The possiblities are really endless. Any combination of small cookies, covered in ice cream dipped in chocolate (even white chocolate might work), would taste soo good. I will have to experiment, and if you're lucky, you'll see the results :D

Oh, I had another one!

Nilla wafer
Raspberry ice cream
Dip it in either white or dark chocolate

Now I'm drooling :D

Yep, Another Giveaway!

Since I didn't hear back from me, Amanda is the next winner. If you could please contact me within 24 hours that would be great. Congratulations! However your profile is not available and you didn't leave an email, so I will need to hear from you for you to win.

******
And the winners are......

me **I don't have an email address for you, so if you could contact me with that, I would appreciate it. If I don't hear from you within 24 hours, I will pass the prize on to the next entrant.**
and
throuthehaze

I used random.org to choose the winners, and I will be contacting you shortly. Congratulations!

*********************************
I've been given one more opportunity to host a giveaway, this time for a nifty little prize pack from Pillsbury Simply Cookies. I have a package of those yummy looking cookies sitting in my fridge at this very moment, waiting to be cooked up.

And while my cookies are waiting to be cooked up, you can enter the contest for this nice little prize pack:

A coupon for a free package of simply... cookie dough

A tote bag

A small ceramic cookie jar



I've used the bag at the grocery store a few times already (it holds quite a bit!), and once I get the cookies baked up I"ll be putting them in the cute little cookie jar :)

Enter in the comments section, and make sure that I have a way of contacting you either through your profile or by leaving an email address. Once the contest is over, I will contact you for your address which I will forward to the host of the contest, and they will mail you your prize pack.

While you're commenting, here is a question for you:

What do you do to make your meals more simple?

Contest ends on August 2nd at 5pm.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mmm... Tasty!

***Congratulations to Kelly and April, you have both won the Chex Mix Turtle Bars prize!!***

I have been given another opportunity for a giveaway here, and would like to share with you Chex Mix Turtle Bars. I don't normally care for the cereal bars like this, but these were very good, and my kids ate them up pretty quickly too.


So, if you want to sign up, just enter in the comments section with a way for me to contact you, and I will forward your information so that you can receive your free Chex Mix Bars too!

Deadline to enter is July 26th, 2009 at 5 pm.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How To Repair A Tear In Microfiber

I recently acquired a nice microfiber couch from a friend who was getting rid of one. It is in much better shape than our old couch, which ended up in the trash bin (it was un-salvadgeable). Anyway, the only flaw in the couch was that there were a few tiny little tears in the fabric of one cushion that needed a bit of repair.

So, I set out to find instructions on repairing microfiber or microsuede, and found very little information. A few sites suggested expensive kits, but they didn't seem right for the type of material I was working with. The rest of the sites were all asking the same question, with no answers.

I managed to stumble across a site suggesting using a Fray Check on the edges of the tear to prevent further tearing, and then sewing the hole shut, but didn't give good instructions for sewing the hole shut. So, I decided to make my own instructions, and created a way to sew the hole shut so that it not only blends, but should be very, very sturdy, even with 6 kids jumping on it.

How To Repair Microfiber

You will need:

Fray Check
Buttonhole or Button Craft thread to match your fabric (it's a sturdy thick thread that is good for tears like this)
A sharp needle
Scissors

Find the hole in your microsuede, and treat the edges with Fray Check or some sort of anti-fray treatment available in the sewing section of a store. Allow it to dry completely.



When your fabric is dry, take a length of buttonhole thread that will be just about the length of your arm (it's better to have too much than too little, and I am repairing a small hole). Tie a small knot on the end and trim off any excess thread. Thread your needle through the hole and down a little bit under where the hole starts.



You want to be able to start your sewing just a little before the actual hole.

Make a few straight stitches under the hole. You want it to be taut, but not tight enough to make the fabric pucker. I could have made mine a little tighter than I did.


When you get to the actual hole, you will want to begin a sort of weaving process with your needle. Come up through the fabric to one side of the hole, put your needle through the hole, and bring it up on the other side of the fabric. Pull it taut (not too tight), and repeat the process.




You can use the fabric itself as a guide here, following the weave of the fabric to make your stitches. Continue "weaving" until you reach the top, keeping it taut as you go.





When you reach the top, create a few more straight stitches. When you're ready to tie off, make a small knot using your needle (like a French knot), and pull your needle through about an inch of fabric, bringing it up and pulling it tight. If you can pop the knot under the fabric, that would be great. If not, just clip the tightly drawn thread and let the tail get sucked back under the fabric.



(my apologies on this one, blogger keeps turning it sideways on me, and I can't figure out why...but, you get the idea, don't you?)



And, you're done! A nicely repaired hole, that, unless you're sitting next to it staring at it, will blend in fairly well and stay repaired for a very long time.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Pillsbury You Be The Judge - And Win Prizes!

You have been invited to participate in the 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. For the first time, everyone gets a chance to vote on the final winning recipes. Every two weeks there will be a new pair of recipes to vote on. To help you decide who is worthy of your votes, please watch this short video.

On top of all the fun of drooling over new recipes, I have been given the opportunity of giving away not one, but TWO great little prize packs! In each prize pack you will find:

  • A magazine featuring past Bake-Off recipes
  • A Pillsbury Doughboy Giggle Doll (my kids would love that!)




So please, go watch the video, vote for the finalists, and enter the giveaway by answering one or both of these questions:

  • What do you think makes a winning recipe
  • If you've seen the Pillsbury Bake-Off before, what are some of your favorite past recipes?

Voting will close at midnight on Sunday, July 19th, central time. Winners will be chosen at random on Monday, July 20th, and announced later that day.

Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you, or I will pick another winner. Good luck!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Do These People Want To Lose Their Jobs?

Scott Walker tried shortening the workweek by about 5 hours a person in an effort to save some money for the county. However, an arbitrator tossed it out. Where do these people think the money is going to come from? Everyone is losing money like crazy, and the spending overall is out of control. Walker has been great about making budget cuts and cutting spending (though the board keeps overruling him when it's important). If you don't make small cuts here and there, you're going to have to make big cuts later, like whole jobs will just disappear because there is no money. Would these people rather lose a few hours a week, or their jobs altogether? There aren't many jobs left to be had, so where do they think they're going to go?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let The Propaganda Begin Continue

Not only will the White House be in charge of televising a push for Socialized Healthcare, he is apparently planning on leaving out any opposing voices.

This is blatant propaganda, and yet millions of Americans will swallow it hook, line and sinker. We have been so indoctrinated in the ways that our benevolent government would have us follow, that we don't even realize that we have been programmed to believe what we are told, no matter how absurd.

***Here is yet another example that this is blatant propaganda.***added 6/18/2009

When will we wake up and start asking questions? When will we realize that we have been lied to repeatedly, while we are patted on the head and told to trust, while our livelihoods are taken right out from under us? We need to think, use the brains that God gave us, and realize that we are being led like sheep to the slaughter, and we're dancing along the way. We need to question policies like Spend Money To Save Money, or taking money away from one group simply to fund Socialized Healthcare (which in the end, everyone will be one whether they want to be or not, because the more you take money away from a person to give to someone else, the quicker that first person will end up like the second). We are logical creatures and yet we ignore the facts in front of us.

Study, research, ask questions. Before you become the sacrificial lamb.

Are We Blind?

Or are we been so self absorbed that we don't even care about our fellow men?


Police say there were several customers walking around the store after the crime. But only one called 911 for help.

When asked what he finds most disturbing about the surveillance footage, Titus said, "The fact that people went in and out of the store and didn't call police. There is a man laying there. Nobody thinks to dial 911 or check to see if he's OK or anything."


The clerk got shot, and these people acted like nothing happened. They just kept shopping. No one checked on him to make sure he was alright. Are these people just that self absorbed that they would rather keep shopping than help their fellow man? This reminds me of the Good Samaritan. The people you expect to help you are the ones who leave you stranded because they're too self-important to be bothered with a person who's dying.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

HR 2749: Totalitarian Control of the Food Supply

HR 2749: Totalitarian Control of the Food Supply

Shared via AddThis

Please read this article. Read up on the bill. Our food supply is going to be controlled by the government soon, to the point that we will not be much different from many of the third world nations who have to fight to keep their food from the government. We are very close to that edge.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Havarti and Ham Herb Brioche

I got the idea for this from a comment that a friend made. She told me how she used to work in a bakery, and how the favorite item was the Havarti Dill and Ham Brioche that the bakery would sell. I had been wanting to make the Brioche from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and this sounded like a perfect experiment.

I am not a big fan of dill, so I took the herb mixture from my favorite Herb Peel-Away Bread, doubled it to fit the amount of dough in the Brioche recipe from ABin5, and then got myself some plain creamy Havarti cheese, and some ham. I would have gotten some nice, maple honey ham from the deli, but they were closed up by the time I actually made it to the store, so I had to settle for cheap ham from the packaged section. Nothing terrible, but the deli stuff would be really good in this.


So, here is my recipe for the Havarti and Ham Herb Brioche.



Havarti and Ham Herb Brioche

Make a batch of the Brioche dough from ABin5. To the dough add:

2 Tablespoons dried Parsley
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon crushed Rosemary (try to find the crushed stuff, you don't want big rosemary leaves getting caught in your teeth)
1 teaspoon dried Thyme

Mix it all up and allow the dough to rest overnight. It is much easier to work with when cold and you need the dough to have set for a good amount of time.

3-4 ounces thick sliced ham
3-4 ounces thick sliced turkey
4-6 ounces creamy havarti cheese, plain

When your dough is ready, chop up a few pieces of ham and/or turkey. You can use whatever kind of ham or turkey you want, just dice it nicely so that it will go into the dough easily. Shred or dice some havarti, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup or so.


Flour the top of the dough, as well as your hands. Have a little flour on the side to help with stickiness. You don't want to over flour these, but you don't want them sticking to your hands either. Look for a nice balance.

Take a piece of dough roughly 3 ounces.

Flatten it out a bit and make a well with the dough. Fill with a little bit of Havarti, some ham, turkey or both, and a little more Havarti.


Close the dough around the filling, and place in a very well greased muffin tin. Do this 12 times (or 24 if you want to do two muffin tins). Make a nice little indent in the top of each brioche. Take a walnut sized piece of dough, roll it into a nice little ball, and place it on top of each of the brioche (this will be your top-knot).


Turn your oven on to 350 degrees. Allow your dough to rest for about 20-30 minutes or so, or until they've risen a bit. You don't quite want it to double, but you want it to have sufficient rising time.

Brush with your egg wash, andake for about 30 minutes or so, or until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes, pop out of the muffin tins, and eat warm.


I just barely managed to save a few of these to freeze and reheat, which would make a wonderful backup lunch for my husband. I'll let you know how well they reheat. **they reheated pretty nicely from the fridge**

As my husband and I were talking about these, we started coming up with some other ideas too. I thought about using an Italian herb mix, and filling these with some Provolone, mozzarella and pepperoni, to make some little pizza bread brioches. I could probably do some turkey and havarti or another type of cheese as well. The possibilities are endless :) My husband said they're like little hot pockets, but way better.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Homemade Granola Bread

When I saw this recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, I was a bit skeptical at first. But, the homemade granola looked easy enough, and modifiable to my liking, so I figured I'd try the bread out at the same time.

I made up a batch of granola (which I couldn't stop munching on while it was cooling). I did modify it a touch though...I left out the sesame seeds and dried fruits (keeping the raisins), and I used sliced almonds in place of the pecans. It turned out very good. I mixed up a batch of the bread dough, let it rise, and stuck it in the fridge overnight.

This morning, I shaped the dough into my loaf pan, realized that the instructions for the egg wash weren't included, checked online for them (just to be sure), did the egg wash and sprinkled with more granola (took a few more bites of granola, mmmm), and then popped it into the oven. Hopefully it rose long enough, though it seemed like it could have gone longer. I went by sight more than timing, and it "looked" like it was doubled in size, so we'll see.

The bread cooked up beautifully, and tastes very good. I don't have any pictures at the moment, but hopefully a little later. The only thing this bread needs is a little butter and cinnamon sugar, but I'm out of butter so that will have to wait.

Monday, June 1, 2009

So Let Me Get This Straight...

If I don't mow my lawn, I could be fined and lose my driver's license. But, if the city decides to leave the grass growing in a public park, and a person decides to mow it for them, for free, he is the one fined, not the city.

Now how does that work?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wontons

I started making these wontons when I was in 7th grade. That was a very long time ago :) It started out as a foreign foods project for Social Studies. I ended up with China. So I went to the library, and started looking through all the cookbooks for Chinese cooking. I managed to find one that looked interesting. The cover was yellow, with red writing. I don't remember what the name of the cookbook was though, otherwise I'd probably be trying to find it now.

So, I looked through the recipes, looking for something that wasn't too "weird" or called for strange ingredients I'd never heard of. The first one I found was the recipe for Wontons. They looked relatively easy, and we had most of the ingredients available. The one thing we couldn't find was Chinese Parsley, which I found out many years later was actually cilantro. But, I hate cilantro so I stuck with our substitute of regular parsley.

Over the years I've tweaked this recipe to the point where I really don't even measure anything, I just add it until things look right, or smell right, or whatever pleases me that day. The liquids usually stay roughly the same (although I'll add a few extra squirts of soy sauce usually), but the dry ingredients usually get upped a bit, especially the ginger root. I love ginger root, and add probably about 10 times what the recipe calls for. It makes these taste soooooo good.

So, without further ado, here are my instructions for making some very good wontons. I will share the original amounts, but you can always feel free to increase or decrease whatever you like.


Wontons

1 whole boneless chicken breast, cooked
2 scallions
1 thin slice ginger root
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 pkg. wonton wrappers or egg roll wrappers cut into 4ths.
1 egg, lightly beaten
Oil for frying


Mince and mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. In a small bowl mix the remaining ingredients (excluding the wrappers and the egg). Combine both mixtures and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Place a teaspoon of mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper. Using a chopstick or the back of a spoon, place a small amount of egg around two edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, touching the sides with egg to the sides without egg, forming a triangle. The egg will seal the edges shut. Deep fry in oil until a deep golden brown. Serve warm or chilled.










Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Almond Brioche "Bostock", Continued

Well, I've got it baking right now, and so far, it looks pretty good. I had trouble with the dough though. Being that it's such a wet dough, it does make it difficult to work with. I think I may have rolled it a bit thin, too. So when I put it in the freezer, it ended up spreading out quite a bit. So I just sort of rolled it over on itself, which will make for some interesting swirls... though I don't think they'll be well defined at all. Even after a 20 minute set in the freezer, they were still pretty loose. However, they're looking good, and baking away.

Now, for this recipe, I ended up making a homemade almond paste. I love the texture of homemade almond paste much more than the storebought stuff, and it's really pretty easy. Here is the recipe I use:

Homemade Almond Paste
Ingredients:
• 1-1/2 cups blanched almonds
• 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1 egg white
• 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
Place almonds in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, egg white, extract and salt; cover and process until smooth.
Divide almond paste into 1/2-cup portions; place in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months. Yield: 1-1/2 cups.



I then pulled out 1/2 cup for the Bostock recipe. Which is starting to overflow in the pan by the way.... I think I had too much dough. I need to work on those measurements again... It does smell good though.
40 minutes didn't seem to be long enough.... when I turned it over there was still some raw dough on the bottom. So, back in the oven for another 10 minutes. We'll see how that goes...

And another 5 minutes just because I still don't think it looked quite cooked (thought much closer than last time...)


Mmmm... much better. And pretty. This looks so pretty with the poppyseed in the dough. This turned out very well :) I can taste the almond cream mixed in throughout the dough, and the poppyseeds, like I said, make it so pretty. And then there are the yummy sugary almonds on top... Mmmmm! I will definitely try this again soon. Hopefully with actual raw almonds for the almond paste instead of roasted and salted (a little purchasing mishap). It's still good though :) Maybe I'll even break down and use that storebought almond paste just to see how well it works.

Lemon Poppyseed Almond Brioche "Bostock"

I have been reading through Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day for a few weeks now, and I just love the book. The concept of minimal input for maximum output is just great. My husband and children love having fresh bread at almost every dinner, and I love trying different ways to vent the bread. I am planning on using the next batch of dough to teach my two oldest how to mix the dough and how to shape the dough when it's ready to be baked. It's so easy they really can do it, and I know they will be happy to help with the meals a little more.

So anyway, as well as reading the book (which you really must buy), I have been following their website. There have been some very good ideas of how to make variations of their doughs, with different recipes using already made bread, as well as variations on the doughs themselves. The most recent one was a recipe for a Lemon Poppyseed Brioche dough, which was used to make little "muffins". It didn't turn out too bad, but I'm a muffin girl when it comes to lemon poppyseed, so it seemed a bit odd to me. It tasted good, don't get me wrong, but the texture just didn't seem right with the flavor.

So, I remembered reading in the book about an Almond Brioche "Bostock". Looking through the book, I found it. A simple brioche dough (which in this book, really is simple), rolled up with an almond cream, cut up like cinnamon rolls, topped with more almonds, and baked. I even found this example while searching for an image of what Bostock should look like, and it looks very tasty.

Now, onto today. I have a bucket of Lemon Poppyseed Brioche dough that needs to be used, and no immediate desire to make more "muffins". Enter Lemon Poppyseed Almond Brioche "Bostock". Using the dough from this variation on the website, filling it with the almond cream, changing everything from orange to lemon, I hope will produce something tasty and pretty.

I will be making this recipe today, and posting it this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eggs In Toast

I've been looking at some of the recipes for Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, as well as perusing their website, and when I saw this recipe, I got excited. These look so tasty, and simple, and if you've already got the dough and eggs onhand, you're in luck. These Eggs in Toast looked so tasty I knew I had to try them.

I started out with my dough. Being that it's a wetter dough than most yeast breads, it can be a little tricky to work with. I covered my counter in waxed paper (I hate cleaning dough off my counter), floured it, and rolled out the dough. It rolled out nicely, but when I tried to pick up some of the squares I had cut for the recipe, they were a little sticky. I managed to get them up thanks to the waxed paper, and then put them into the prepared muffin cups. By the time I finished all the squares (I made more than 6, I just used what was left of my last batch of dough), the first ones were puffing up a bit already. I just pushed them down again, tossed cheese in the bottoms of each cup, and then came the eggs. Some of the eggs had a little more volume than I had room for in my cups, so hopefully the mess won't be too much... I topped them off with cheese and now I'm waiting for them to come out of the oven. So far, they smell really good. 4 minutes left....


Mmmm.... Tasty :) These turned out great, and the kids love them too. I wish I had some bacon though. That would make these even better.

I think next time though, to avoid overspill, I will make them with scrambled eggs. Maybe I'll even add in some frozen shredded potatoes with onions and peppers. The kids would go nuts over that :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Little Strawberry Goodness

I recently acquired a little MP3 player, which has been very nice. But, I felt it needed a little case, so I went in search of a pattern to make one. I found this cute little pattern for a Happy Star, but the pattern needed a little tweaking, and I wanted a slightly different shape. So, I made a strawberry shape, and cut down the size of the batting pieces by 1/8", making it much easier to sew and assemble. I also altered the size to fit my player, and turned it upside down so that I wouldn't have to make an extra hole for my earphones. Much less work that way.









Mother's Day Giveaway!

Go check out 5 Minutes For Mom for their annual Mother's Day Giveaway!

Company Demands Murdered Man's Rent

Here is the full story: Company Demands Murdered Man's Rent

This is an interesting story. On the one hand, you have a man who is dead, and obviously unable to pay his rent. On the other hand, you have a lease that has been broken. Where does the law come down on this sort of thing? Does the landlord have a right to that money, regardless of whether the man is dead or alive?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I recently acquired a book titled Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It is amazing! I made up my first batch of the master dough in only a few minutes, and after some rising time, made a beautiful loaf of dough the next day that tasted like a beautifully aged sourdough. The concept of the breads in the book are so easy that anyone can make these, even without experience. I am planning on teaching my 8 year old daughter how to make this dough, and possibly even my son, if he's interested. I will try to take pictures of the next loaf I bake, but it disappears so quickly it's hard to catch it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Do Not Buy From Hot Book Sale

I recently bought a book from www.hotbooksale.com. While the book did arrive in a reasonable amount of time, and the price was decent, you are automatically signed up for a program that takes out $12.00/month whether you want it or not. According to the person I spoke with, you cannot complete your order without signing up for this "trial". I read the terms, and there was no mention of any charges that would be made to me for this "membership". So I call, and the person of course barely speaks English and is very difficult to understand. When I say I want the charges removed, she tells me it will take up to a week, and she will email me the cancellation number "later". After about 5 minutes of insisting that I get the cancellation number immediately (at which point she keeps trying to explain that she can't give me the number until she cancels it, and I keep trying to explain that I'm happy to wait until she can give me the number), she finally puts me on hold for all of a minute and comes back with the cancellation number. Oi. Such a headache over buying one little book. Don't buy from this company. It's not worth it. Thankfully the email arrived pretty quickly, with the same confirmation number that she told me, so at least they're keeping their word about cancelling it. Hopefully it will be done though. I will definitely be doing a lot more research next time I try buying from one of these supposed discount book places though. Lesson Learned.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hello Propaganda!

Donald Duck and Taxes You Pay to International Bankers

While this lovely little piece of propaganda is from 1943, it's idiotic to believe they don't do this sort of thing to us now. They've just learned to be more subtle.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Taxation Is Extortion

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This Looks Like It Could Be Interesting

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Is This Really All That Weird?

Newborn Breast-fed By Wrong Mom In Mixup

The father of the baby in the mix-up asked that he only be identified as "Mark." He said his daughter is now being tested for viruses and other illnesses.

"It's a sick feeling," he said. "I don't know the word other than it physically makes you sick."


"I think I am almost borderline obsessed about it -- what could have happened and what still could happen," said Mark.


Now, I understand getting a little weirded out about it, but really, to feel physically ill? Mothers used to have wet-nurses, even Selma Hayek breastfed a starving baby in Africa, and no one was "physically sick". I can understand the question of communicable diseases, but even that is pretty low.

Now, I'm a bit surprised that the hospital had this sort of mixup in the first place, considering they've made those baby wards into veritable fortresses, but still, there are humans involved and there will be error. At least this was caught before the baby went home with the other family.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Who'd Have Thought?

Peta Kills Animals

Really, none of this is surprising though.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Etsy

I've updated my Etsy site with all sorts of goodies, so go check it out!!!

Maybe Some Day....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Curious....

Divorce Judge Orders Religious Woman's Kids Sent Back To Public School

This raises an interesting question here. As far as I can tell, this woman got involved in a religion that at first glance appears to be a cult. Her husband didn't like this new religion, and filed for a divorce, and asked that the kids be returned to public school, presumably in an attempt to help the children not be so heavily influenced by the mother's new religion.

Where do the rights fall here? Is this issue really about homeschooling or religion? Does the father/husband have any rights now in the lives of his children, or will the mother now have all the say over the children's futures?

There are a lot of issues here that could beg tons of questions in any given direction. I am a homeschooling mother, and wouldn't be very happy if I was told I couldn't do it anymore. If I were involved in a cult, I probably wouldn't realize it and would also be unhappy if I felt that my religion was being attacked. But does that make it right? Who gets to decide what is or isn't a cult? So many questions. Any thoughts?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Earth - Nuts and Seeds

Iron Cupcake: Earth - Nuts and Seeds

Nuts: Peanuts
Seeds: Vanilla Bean Seeds

Go check out Sandy at No One Puts Cupcake In a Corner for more great information, and soon there will be links to the contest entries as well.

Thanks to Sandy for hosting this fun event :)

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

In light of the recent salmonella scare, when I first created these cupcakes a few months ago I decided to make my own peanut butter for this recipe. It's fairly simple, and adds a lighter taste to the cupcakes.

Photobucket

Homemade Peanut Butter
  • 2 1/2 cups dry, unsalted peanuts
  • 4 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, peanut, canola, or I use coconut oil)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey
In a food processor, grind the peanuts fine. Add the oil and process again until very well blended. Add the honey and blend again.
Note: You will have leftover peanut butter from this recipe.


Peanut Butter Cupcakes
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose white flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray your cupcake pans with cooking spray. Do Not Line.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter and butter. Beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Next, add the egg and egg yolk and beat for another 2 minutes.

Add half of the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, and mix until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add the sour cream and mix for another 20-30 seconds. Gradually add the remaining flour, along with the hot water, and mix on low speed for another 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, mix for about 10 secons, and then fold with a rubber spatula until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner to about 2/3 full and bake in a preheated 325 degree F. oven for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.


Honey Soak (Completely optional, but it adds a nice touch)
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used an orange blossom honey)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice (the fresher the better)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool until it is still runny but cool enough to dip the cupcakes in.

Dip the cupcakes in the honey mixture and let them drain on a wire rack over a piece of waxed paper. Allow the honey soak to set in and then frost with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Honey Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Seeds from a 1-inch piece of vanilla bean
Combine all of the ingredients and beat until the desired consistency is reach. More powdered sugar may be added if desired.




I will be competing for this prize pack, courtesy of the fine artists at Etsy:

* A Bunnycake Easter Plushie by DOGBONEART, http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21636297.
* A whimsical piece by CAKEASAURUS, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5729584.
* as well as a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6057281.
* a collection of all new printed cupcake liners, 200 in all from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery, http://www.acupcakery.com/
* PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5243382, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!

The following is a list of the corporate prize providers:
HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com,
JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com;
TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com;
a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM http://www.upwithcupcakes.com/. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bad Bad Kitteh

My dear, sweet, EVIL kitteh decided he didn't like the fact that while I was sleeping I wasn't petting him. As my arm was hanging over the edge, apparently he felt the need to remind me of his presence.

Here's the Bad Bad Kitteh in question.


And here's the damage.


Does anyone know how to deal with aggressive kitteh's? He's okay some days, and like this other days. This is definitely the worst he's done yet, and I think he was mad about something too, but I don't know how to work this behavior out of him. Thoughts?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Foo Fighters - The Pretender

Great song, great video. 'nuff said.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Abortion - Murder No Matter How You Look At It

Excellent demonstration by Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests For Life. It is a very simple explanation of what takes place during an abortion. He uses props, so while it's not gory, it's still fairly disturbing. Please use discretion if your children are nearby.




Another great video, by a 12 year old girl doing a speech for her debate class.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In my previous post, I said what could be better than Guns and Diamonds. Well, here's one for you, Guns and Roses.

While I think these gun turn in programs are a joke, as any person who wants a gun can get a gun on the black market, it's still an interesting contrast to the Guns and Diamonds program nearby.

Win $1000 Worth Of Knives!

I love a good kitchen knife, and the thought of winning a nice new fancy set is highly appealing. Most of my knives are sadly dull and bent and probably past their well-used prime.

Go check out the contest and sign up!

H/T No One Puts Cupcake In A Corner

Digital Grammar

I just read a great article about the use of digital penmanship. If you have a few minutes, take the time to read it.

If you have a few more minutes, this video was linked at the bottom of the article, but it's pretty cute on it's own.