Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Corn Dog Cupcakes

Yesterday we made corn dog cupcakes. Miss Z was a big help. She cut up all the hot dogs. It was her first chopping experience and lest you think I have wanton disregard for the safety of my daughter, it is a butter knife and I was supervising very closely.

That was the beauties in the oven.
Fully cooked.

Served on a plate (one with ketchup frosting which remarkably, just like regular frosting, got licked off, leaving behind the intact cupcake).
I will not post the recipe because although I still believe this is one of the greatest ideas ever, the cornbread recipe that I used was a little too dense and dry. I will give out a recipe when I feel I find one that is worthy of blogland.
Life is delicious!

The Whole Wheat Beer Bread is GOOD!

And it makes great toast.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Big Visit

Daddy and Melinda (Mimi as the girls call her) came to see us this weekend!

Unfortunately, Dad got trapped in an evil blanket net set by our two young explorers. Because of his camo pants, he was almost never recovered.

I made Dad a batch of my super amazing , all-time world's greatest chocolate chip cookies. Daddy used to get upset because I would bake dozens of these and tell him he couldn't have any since they were for my friends. So this was a batch all for him. To his credit, he did share.

I take no credit for the genius of this recipe. It was given to Daddy by one of his co-workers when I was in high school and I have been using it ever since. It has apparently won many a blue ribbon. I know I have used them as currency for favors. People will do a lot for these cookies. People hide these cookies from family members. People sometimes call ahead to see if any of the cookies are at my house. They are good.

Now I have futzed with this recipe a little over the years. Instead of 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of brown, I use 1.5 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup white. And instead of one teaspoon of baking soda, I use 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder (I think it impoves the texture). I would also like to tell you that there is no place for butter in this here recipe. I don't think chocolate chip cookies should taste like butter. That is for toast. Use plain old greasy, globby shortening. You will thank me for the tip.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (in emergencies, these can be substituted for love)

2 cups + 4 Tblsp. flour

1.5 cups brown sugar

.5 cup white sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1tsp. salt

1 cup chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350

Cream your sugars and shortening. Add the eggs. I know this isn't how you are supposed to do it, but I am not a patient baker, so I add the salt, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla to the egg/sugar/shortening mix and then dump in the flour and mix up. After that, just add the chocolate chips (and nuts if you like- my personal favorite is with pecans). I scoop the dough out with an ice cream scoop and then bake until they are the desired browness (your desired browness may differ from mine).


Then I made jelly. I did not use a recipe. I just figured if you mix certain things, you would get something kind of like jelly and it worked. I just boiled a bag of frozen strawberries with 1/2 cup of sugar and a little water. When it was all cooked down and syrupy, I added some unflavored gelatin and let it cool in the fridge. This is not for canning. But it is yummy. My hubby is a strawberry jelly fiend and this passed his test.

We were running out of bread and I was running out of time, so I made a loaf of beer bread. Haven't tasted it yet and I don't recall where I found the recipe. If it turns out to be good, I will try to post it.

And then there were pretzels. Oh, how I love thee soft pretzels. You call to me at the mall with your yeasty and buttery voice. You are the perfect accompaniment to overly sweet lemonade and mall walking. Sweet pretzel. You are divine indeed.

As you can tell from the picture. Miss Z took to making pretzels with much vim and vigor.

This is Miss Z's version of pretzel flower. Mommy sort of "fixed" it before we actually cooked the pretzels.

I decided to make pretzel circles. It wasn't easier, but the small holes in a regular pretzel seemed like they would just fuse into a pretzel blob. Here are the pretzels boiling in a baking soda and water bath.

After boiling, they were laid out on parchment paper for baking.

Et Voila! Delicious golden pretzels. They really are yummy! I got the recipe out of MaryJane's farm magazine. I need to copy it down and add it to this post cuz I couldn't find it online.
Pretzels are also getting crossed off the big list. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The lovliness of this weekend

This is a bouquet that Miss Z picked up for me during her Sunday hike with Daddy. As you can see, it is on the large side. Not so much in girth, but in horizontal length. It was difficult to find a place of honor for the bouquet. And Miss Z swears it is growing.

Close up on bouquet.

I took the now tried and true whole wheat graham cracker recipe and made lemon cookies this week. They are yummy!

Just so you know, I substituted lemon juice for the 1/4 cup water, omitted the cinnamon and added the zest of 2 lemons. I also sprinkled sugar on top.

Below is a yummy recipe if you like cabbage. If you think cabbage is an evil, stinky vegetable, then you will have to agree to disagree.

You start by sauteeing apples and onions until soft. I eyeball the amount in relation to the amount of cabbage I am making but this was 2 apples and 1 onion. The kind of apple doesn't so much matter, but I never use Red Delicious for anything cuz I think they are too mealy.

Once the apples and onions have reached your desired tenderness, add in sliced cabbage. This is two heads of sliced cabbage. When the cabbage has cooked down, add in cider vineagar to taste and pepper (I don't find that I need to salt this because of the cured meat that is coming next).

I usually add in kielbasa at this point, but we had hotdogs, so that is what I added here. And it was DELICIOUS all the same. Who doesn't love a hotdog? Then you are done...enjoy!

Next, I did something that I can now cross of "the list". I made my own laundry detergent. This replaced drink a Manhattan because I am taking some medicine which has made me unable to get my drink on. But I have always wanted to do this. I like knowing what is in the stuff in my house.

This is a picture of Miss Z helping me grate bar soap for the detergent. It was great fun.

You need the seventy-something ounce box of Borax, the fifty-something ounce box of washing soda, a 2lb box of baking soda and 12 ounces of grated bar soap. Mix it all together. I just shook it up in the giant plastic pretzel bottle you can see here (recycled that from work). You are supposed to use 2 TBLSP for a regular load and up to 1/4 cup if it is a really dirty load. CAUTION: Apparently Borax can bleach stuff if used in warm water so wash darks and colors in cold with this detergent (you probably are doing that anyway). I got this recipe out of Maryjane's Farm Magazine.

I have only done one load with this (which has not made it out of the dryer yet- projects like this keep me from doing my actual chores). I will let you know what I think.

And here it is (drumroll please.....bah dah bah dah bah dah bah dah).

MISS Z EATING VEGETABLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While I am not the kind of mother that encourages "see food", it is momentous that Miss Z has decided to start eating some veggies. I display her bad manners and good eating with pride.

more soon,


Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!

This is a pic of me and my gals at the Mother's Day tea at Miss Z's school. I wish the pictures of Miss Z in her teapot costume turned out, but they are too dark. Her class sang "I'm a Little Teapot".

I just love this picture of Miss Tiny and Miss Z. She is certainly in big sister mode here. She was telling Miss Tiny to smile for the camera.

And now...on to the baking frenzy!!!

I made this recipe I have that makes six loaves of bread this weekend. I am trying to get back into baking our bread. It is ridiculous how much it costs to get a loaf of bread that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it (even the wheat ones!)

Here is the dough rising. Six loaves is a lot of dough. I let it rise in my spagetti pot.

Here is the recipe:

I also like to make power balls for my 2nd breakfast (some people call second breakfast a morning snack). They are yummy and no bake and healthy and I LOVE them. I like to scoop them out with an ice cream scoop. You can roll the balls, but then most of the power balls end up on my hands (I like to keep it in the intended delicious ball form).

Here is the recipe:

Lest you confuse me with Martha Stewart (ha ha) here is what my kitchen looks like during the weekend baking frenzy.

Chocolate graham crackers. I used the same recipe as last week and eyeballed adding in some cocoa. These give me lots of ideas for things like ice cream sandwiches. mmmmmm.......

I decided to get fancy and make a braided loaf and I think it turned out pretty well.

Here's all the bread all stacked together. It really is a good recipe.

Onward to the week ahead. Grant me strength and patience.

Friday, May 7, 2010


So I have been thinking a lot about simplicity lately. Reducing my need for stuff. I would like to be happier. I would like to live within our means. I would like to have a better understanding of the difference between "wants" and "needs". I would like to not turn my children into little robots that just say, "More, more, more!"

So I am trying it....dipping my toe in, if you will.

For starters, I have come to accept the fact that this house will probably not be all decorated. I really wanted it to be the picture of perfection. But it is nearly one year later and we still don't have most of the curtains up and the kitchen never got painted (still has the blue tape on the walls). The extra bathroom is now condemned until further notice, etc., etc. And you know what? I realized I didn't so much care anymore. Over time, I assume my house will develop the character I was after and it will probably be so much more "me" than all the times I have completely done over something, only to hate it in 6 months.

But this is experimental and gradual. Think of the timeline of my process as trying to pour some honey out after you put it in the fridge.

more soon

p.s. My nephew is being born today. I am so excited that I can't stand it!!!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Updates and Further Adventures

So I have decided that this is just my blog. I am still working on the 101 things, but I don’t want to have a million blogs and I like reading blogs and I like blogging (even though almost no one reads mine…but maybe someday).

Anywho…Youngest daughter eats almost nothing these days. One of the things she will eat is bread, so I made cinnamon bread without those pesky raisins they put in all things cinnamon (insert a loud HRMPH here).

This is out of order but the picture loader on this blog thing is driving me nuts right now. See, they like what I made. I am a good mother. I will make them look at this picture if they ever decide to tell me I ruined their lives.

First I made some whole wheat crackers.

Here’s the recipe:

The recipe is great tasting, but it is hard to gauge when to take them out. As you can see, they range from Cajun (nothing is burnt in my house, only “blackened”) to golden brown perfection, but the range between the two stages happens in seconds.
However, even the Cajun ones taste good so whatever.

Then I made cheese crackers. I will not post the recipe because I don’t think they turned out that great. I’m gonna eat them anyway and all, but I think there are better crackers out there to be made.

Then I made graham crackers. These are darn tootin good!

[Dag nabbit, I just erased the picture of the delicious graham crackers. Whatever, you get nothing.]

Here is the recipe:

Note: I just used regular sugar cuz that is what I had.

And here are some updates on my garden and a picture of the composter that is finally in! We are so very green around here. I went to empty the kitchen scaps last night in the dark and I was afraid something was going to jump out and eat my face off, but I am still here.

Miss Z planted these from a kit Nana sent to her.


So all is well with the world. More soon.