Friday, October 31, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and an Award!

I always make pumpkin seeds after carving our Halloween pumpkin. They are so easy to and the kids love them! Just save the seeds, lay them on a baking sheet to air dry overnight (I hid them in the oven), next day I sprayed them with a butter flavored spray, sprinkled on some kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and then shaker Parmesan! Roast them in a single layer at 250' for about 45 minutes, until golden. I stir them half way. You can season them how ever you like. I also don't rinse the pumpkin guts off, I think it adds some color and original flavor to them. Do you know how good it smells in my kitchen! Mmmm!

I received this Kreativ Blogger Award from Nicole at Test Kitchen Recipes and am now passing it along to a few other kreativ bloggers.

The Story Of A Princess And Her Hair! If you have a little girl or know of any, you'll appreciate this blog! Her hair styling is just out of this world! I don't think my girls would sit still long enough for any of that, and my hands would get cramps so bad too, haha. I've only recently heard of her blog, but thought this award is perfect for her!

Aran at Cannelle Et Vanille for her breathtaking food styling and recipes. I always look forward to seeing her next post. Beautiful talent! I'd like to know how she does it and keeps her little one's hands out of the way ;)

Angie at Bakerella because she has too many cute ideas for those cake pops! My girls love looking at her blog.

Priscilla with Priscilla's Baking Adventures who's always got dessert ready for her family! This young lady has talent in the kitchen, baking up something to keep her brothers, sisters as well as parents satisfied.

Trick or Treat! Have a safe and fun Halloween everyone!
Let me give a little Birthday shout out to my Dad today too!
Maybe I'll bake something this weekend and blog it for you!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are you a Blogger?

I just discovered the Circle of Moms group on Facebook. After looking around and finding recipe communities, I searched for other foodie blogger groups. I found none! SO, I created a community there for ALL blogging Moms. If you're on Facebook, blog, and are a Mom, check out Bloggin' Moms!

While I'm at it, I also have a Flickr group for Flickr Foodie Bloggers. Check out I'm A Food Blogger! too!

I look forward to meeting other bloggers out there!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes! This is my 4th dozen I've made in the last week! Most went to the school, but Dorie's stayed home for me, uh for US I mean. I wasn't even going to do them, but my inner chocoholic made me. So crazy me, started these as I was making dinner. My reasoning was that they'll make me feel better since I'm getting a cold.

Clara of I Heart Food4Thought picked this as the recipe this week, check out her Blog for a peek at the recipe. I had read that other TWDers came out dry and it was not a favorite recipe. Then I read one where someone took them out earlier than required. So I baked them for 18 minutes, and the toothpick came out clean, I couldn't imagine baking longer! I used a semi-sweet chocolate for the glaze, which I almost didn't have enough for all the cupcakes. These came out pretty good. Because I had decided to make these at 4pm, that meant my lighting indoors wouldn't be fit for photos, so I headed outside. So chocoholics, here you go...

*I will try to figure out November's TWD, since my 'puter is in serious need of repairs. Maybe I'll keep baking then do a big TWD when I can get back online. I will miss you, my blog! (who saw my silly typo? hahaha)

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Monday, October 27, 2008

POM Syrup

I was recently contacted by the makers of POM, they saw my blog post about Nigella's No-Churn Pomegranate Ice Cream and wanted me to sample more of their good stuff! Sure! Who says "no thanks"? hee hee

Not long after, I received a box of 8 mini bottles of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. I had already visited their site and saw they have some great recipes to share. I already have my mind on a few, but made this POM Syrup late one night to have all ready and nice and thick, in the morning . Man, that is some great syrup!

Did you know?

100% Pomegranate Juice:
contains no added sugars, preservatives or
is a good source of potassium
is gluten free
is flash pasteurized to retain both flavor and nutrients
is available in 8 oz.(limited distribution), 16 oz., 24 oz., 48 oz. and 60 oz. sizes (237ml, 473 ml, 710 ml, 1.4 L, 1.7 L)
is certified kosher

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Alton Brown's really good Pancake Mix

with POM syrup

I've blogged about a few recipes here for pancakes, but trust me this will be my last. These are great pancakes! Mr. Alton Brown has a great recipe. I usually add vanilla to pancakes, but I made myself to just follow the recipe as written for once. It is prefect without it! I didn't have any blueberries or fruits to add, but next time I will. This is great because you make a big batch of the mix to keep on hand, then just add the wet ingredients when you're ready to make them.

"Instant" Pancake Mix
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.
Use the mix within 3 months.

2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick butter, for greasing the pan (I just used butter flavored spray)
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.
Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)
Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.
Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cake Walk Goodies

see more of these at my Flickr

Baked From Scratch

I volunteered to donate some homemade baked goods for my little one's Halloween Festivities at school, for the cake walk game. I wonder if any of the 6 winners that chose mine, will visit my Blog (ok, so I snuck in a website URL card, heehee). Here is what I baked up:

Green and orange vanilla cupcakes from Joy of baking:

Vanilla Cupcakes:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
-food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour, stir in food coloring. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting.

Orange and green cream cheese frosting from Art of Dessert:

8 oz. bar cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup butter , softened to room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, measure then sift
-food coloring

Beat the cream cheese and butter till blended.Mix in vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time.Once all the powdered sugar is added, increase to a higher speed to whip up the frosting till light and fluffy. Stir in food coloring. Frost cupcakes.
(I recommend serving these within a couple of hours and storing these in the fridge so the frosting doesn't break down or melt)

Sugar cookies with sprinkles from Betty Crocker.
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

In large bowl, beat 3 cups powdered sugar, the butter, vanilla, 1 teaspoon almond extract and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with 3-inch cookie cutters. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. (I use use larger cookie cutters, and sprinkle with colored sugars/sprinkles before baking)

Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

if only they stayed looking like this

Ok, so these didn't make it to the Halloween Festival. For some strange reason, these buggers spread out and lost their cookie cutter shape and became too big for the containers. They looked like blobs of sprinkled sugar cookies. I tried freezing the cutouts for a bit then baked right away, that helped some but I still wasn't impressed with their shapes, but they tasted great. Anyways, these are a favorite, that make it to my Holiday cookie trays every year.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Posts will be few,

My home 'puter is ill, so I only have Husband's laptop at night. So I won't be able to blog or post photos as usual or as often anyway.
I do have some Halloween treats coming up this weekend, I will try to figure out how I can get a post w/pics put up.

I guess I'll have more time to clean or even better, nap!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

3rd Annual World Day of Bread '08:Cheesy Mustard Pretzels

3rd World Bread Day hosted by 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf

Be sure to check out breads from all around the World!
World Bread Day '08 - Roundup

For the World Bread basket, I bring to you pretzels, Cheesy Mustard Pretzels!
Something I knew the kids would enjoy. If you're like me, you've collected those recipe magazines from the checkout counters. That's where part of this recipe comes from, the technique comes from another source. See, I thought these would be better as pretzels than a loaf of bread baked in my bread machine. Having never made pretzels before, I found this pretty easy. Make a dough, cut it, twist it then bake. Easy. They came out soft and chewy.

Cheesy Mustard Pretzels 2-Pound Recipe for a Bread Machine

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons mustard
4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bread machine or quick active dry yeast
2/3 cup shredded, sharp cheddar cheese (we think it could use more, maybe 1/2 C)
Coarse Salt, if desired
Beaten egg with 1TBL water, whisked

Measure carefully, placing all ingredients except cheese and coarse salt in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough/manual cycle. Add the cheese 5 to 10 minutes before the last kneading cycle ends.
Once the cycle is complete, place dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 14x6-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 strips 14x1/2-inch long. Gently pull each strip into a 16" rope. To shape pretzels, make a strip into a circle; cross ends at top. Twist ends and lay over bottom of circle. Place on greased cookie sheets. Do not let rise! Brush tops with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 350' for 8-20 minutes. Makes 12 pretzels.

-Dough recipe can also be found in the Betty Crocker's Best Bread Machine Cookbook. Pretzel technique comes from Fleischmann's Yeast Bread Machine Favorites.

cutting them into strips -yes on my stove top, it works great!

ready to shape

doing the twist

chewy outside, soft inside

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Lenox Almond Biscotti

check out my Flickr for more about these photos

I hadn't planned on TWD this week. I wasn't feeling up to Biscotti. But when I scrolled through the blogroll, I quickly changed my mind. Seems it's a well liked recipe. I ran to the store to grab some slivered almonds and corn meal. For this recipe, I decided I'd swap out 1/4 cup of flour and use 1/4 cup of almond meal I've had for a while now (in hopes to get me to make macarons one day). I also used vanilla extract since Iam not an almond extract fan, but I love almonds!

I was going to use 2 baking sheets, because I saw that other's had joined together while baking. When I was shaping it, I thought it'd be OK since they were skinny logs so I used 1 tray. They flattened out and squished each other. *sigh

Anyways, these came out really really good, they just might join my Holiday cookie trays! I love the flavors, the subtle crunch from the corn meal and the softer centers. Way better than rock hard biscotti. I'm glad I made them, thanks for picking these Gretchen of Canela & Comino!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

And The 3 Winners Are:

Thanks to everyone participating in my 1st Blog Giveaway! The 3 lucky winners will be receiving a Pizza Hut certificate in the mail from them for: 1 free Tuscani Pasta dinner (which includes 5 bread sticks and feeds about 4 people).

I let Random.Org help me decide who gets dinner delivered.

(do you know how long it took me to help pick? Between mommy duties, anonymous commentors, or people not leaving contact info... *ahem...)

Finally, here are the lucky 3!

Now go through and count them to see if it was you! Nah, not really, I already did that. Here are their comments:




CONGRATS!! Check your emails or blogs for my note!

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