Posts tagged ‘food’

June 7, 2011

Black Bean Blender Brownies

Today, we’re testing recipes for Colin’s upcoming birthday party. He’s craving brownies and I just had to try this recipe I found on the Whole Food’s website: Flourless Brownies. I’d seen recipes for black bean brownies and really wanted to try it out. Since Colin is looking for a fudgy rather than a cakey brownie, we made a test pan.

Organic black beans…

All the ingredients are to be mixed in a food processor, but alas my processor died awhile back and has not been replaced. I used the next best thing, my blender…

Super nutritious and taste rich eggs from Ravencroft Farm…

More blender magic…

Blender black bean brownies baked (say this several times fast)…

Cut and ready to try…

The result: A fantastically fudgy brownie enjoyed by all:)

Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Job 12:11

May 23, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 1

I really, really love family celebrations!  My mother and sisters and I share this passion so our family events range from very large gatherings (family of 23) to over-the-top themed-parties complete with bouncy castles and fondue fountains.

So, for my immediate family, I like to keep it simple. A birthday box is filled with supplies including a birthday banner, birthday lights, birthday plate and candles which come out for each birthday.  The decorations adorn walls and table the night before (0r just before dawn) in preparation for our morning celebration.  Birthdays begin with a sleepily-sung birthday song, candles to blow out and the traditional cupcakes.  For dinner, the guest of honor chooses a special meal & cake (usually carrot cake or strawberry pound cake) served for them on our traditional “You Are Special Today” plate.

Of course, this is a rough draft and each birthday writes it’s own unique script…

Drake’s 16th

Some more of my birthday presents (aren’t the silicone teacups just plain fun?), slated to be transformed into birthday cupcakes for Drake….

Graeme, my baking companion, doing a little taste testing…

Red Velvet ala Sprinkles!!

Yummy cream cheese frosting…

You Are Special Today and every day in my heart!!

You have a special place in my heart. Philippians 4:17a

February 17, 2011

Cake Stand

After so many close calls, my cake stand finally bit the dust today. Even yesterday, my tulip loving cats had attempted  to pull flowers out of the vase I’d placed on the stand.  Water and flowers and vase scattered, but the stand solidly and stoically stood firm.  Not today….  In my rush to get dishes put away and start lunch and finish school and get hockey jerseys dried (you get the picture), I dropped a jar of mayo from the cupboard and without even looking I knew my stand had met it’s demise.

The stand was a simple, clear glass, domed piece given to me by a dear friend as a wedding present. Since it also converted into a trifle bowl, it was incredibly useful and functional. I appreciate pieces like that! It proudly displayed and served many birthday cakes, freshly baked cookies, trifles, punch, scones and more.

“Thank you, dear cake stand. You served our family for well for many years (and thank you, Lisa, for the very considerate and lasting gift!)…”

Currently looking for some cake stand inspiration…

So pretty from Home Decorators, and the deep dome would probably even hide my beautiful Valentine tulips from my evil kitties…

Adore the simple and unique lines on this Michelangelo Masterpiece from Macy’s even though it lacks multifunction…

A grouping of smaller stands from Pottery Barn…. hmmmmm….

A little more ornate from Ebay….

Tried and true Anchor Hocking Cake Stand…  This is the one! It’s all versatility and function of my former stand, but with an even sleeker design – love!

And, the grand finale and a punch of color – how about this red number!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:111a

February 2, 2011

Doughnut Love

Yeast-raised, homemade doughnuts – what’s not to LOVE?  I’ve grown quite fond of yeast-based recipes that are begun the night before as is the case with these little scrumptious morning treats.  The original recipe is from The Pioneer Woman’s website (the post can be found here).  As I indicated, the dough is made the night before, placed in the fridge to slowly rise, and in the morning Viola! doughnut dough – YEAH, half the battle is won!

A little rolling…  A little cutting…

(I had to improvise a bit since my doughnut cutter has gone missing along with my pastry cutter…  A canning ring & salt shaker lid did the trick!)

A little time for the doughnuts to raise…

Fry the dough & glaze the doughnuts & bar the doors…..  Every time, I turn my back another dozen goes missing (I’m sensing a conspiracy here)…

One time, I only made a single batch.  With four growing boys, we nearly had mutiny here.  Now, I always double this recipe.

If you’ve looking for a special Valentine’s breakfast treat or a gift for someone you LOVE, homemade doughnuts made with love & sprinkled with red and pink confections are a delicious and thoughtful gift:)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.  1 Cor. 13:13

May 10, 2010

My Mom and Hostess Cupcakes

Hostess cupcakes aren’t simply a tempting treat. For me, they are a nostalgic reminder of childhood and of my mother. As a child, I was awakened each year on my birthdays at precisely 7:58 am with a Hostess cupcake and a festively burning birthday candle (she may have only done this a handful of times, but it’s etched in my memory now as if it were every year. It’s funny how children’s memories work). Because of this I gleaned three significant facts.  One – From an early age, I knew exactly what time I was born. Two – I knew that my birth was an important event to my mother. Three – A hostess cupcake for breakfast, I knew it was a very special day.

Growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s, we didn’t eat a lot of store bought sweets. In our family, there were huge gardens from which we produced much of our food. Hostess cupcakes were a major treat in our family. My mother did have a knack for procuring some of the best sweets when she was inclined. One such treat was the rare Orange Hostess Cupcake which was available (and still are) in limited quantities at significant times.

Hostess cupcakes are nostalgia food for me. They remind me of my early morning birthday surprises, and my mom teaching us to savor and celebrate special moments with special treats.

So…  For Mother’s Day this year, my goal was to duplicate those precious gems to reflect how precious and rare it is to have a Mother like I have.

First, I found an orange cupcake recipe….

Then, I made a filling ala Organic & Chic Filled the cupcakes…

Improvised an orange-flavored white chocolate ganache with white chocolate chips and orange juice concentrate…

Spread the ganache….

Used left over white chocolate chips to create the signature seven Hostess swirls…


Handmade cupcake cards from me and my creative boys, a new cake-carrier with a spiffy ribbon and…

It was a Happy Mother’s Day with lots of Hostess Cupcake LOVE!

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

 

 

May 8, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Color Burst

Breakfast in Bed this year should be a BURST of COLOR! Color makes me delirious with happiness. I love the British spelling of colour (a little random, I know). I delight in reading paint-chip colors. I dream in color – brilliant blueberries, vibrant violets to rosy red roses. I stare in child-like wonder at brand new boxes of crayola crayons imagining all the possibilities….

(This fantastically fun photo is from flicker.) Breakfast in Bed Color Burst should include the basic elements: a pretty teacup, cloth napkins, a serving tray, and, of course, breakfast.A full spectrum of pretty teacups from The Teapot Shoppe….a colorful array of red tea options from The Republic of Tea

a rainbow of cloth napkins from Jupiter’s Child….

How about a plateful of technicolor pancakes inspired by Every Food Fits?

Or duplicate this edible masterpiece from Whisk Kid….

Breakfast in Bed wouldn’t be complete without a brightly colored serving tray from Crate and Barrel.

But the piece de resistance would be brilliantly painted artwork made with LOVE for Mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day to my gorgeous and colorful Mom. As I age, I hope to be as generous and confident and creative as you (and pretty, too). You live with your arms open wider than anyone I know. To my spectacular sisters, each a dramatic and independent color, you remind me of our mother with your humongous hearts and bold beauty – you inspire me like no one else. To my mother-in-law, a veritable rainbow, you have loved me as your own – I’m truly blessed. And, to my jazzy friends, who are incredible mums and exceptional women, you encourage me and teach me and challenge me. Wishing you all a full-spectrum of blessings and joy on Mother’s Day and beyond!!

May 4, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: A Mother’s Day tradition

Breakfast in Bed is a Mother’s Day tradition. My children started blessing me when they were still wee guys with Breakfast in Bed usually consisting of buttered toast with jam, Earl Grey tea, and lovely handwritten notes. Whatever the fare and presentation, I felt lavished with love on those special mornings.

With Mother’s Day approaching, here are some images and thoughts on what Breakfast in Bed might just look like this year…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme:

Tiffany Blue Teacup (not mine, but a girl can dream…)A Silver Tray (mine is similar)White RosesTiffany Blue Cloth Napkins from Etsy

Sweet decadence in Tiffany blue

With a presentation this stunning, a simple muffin and banana would appear haute cuisine. Add a little more elegance and authenticity, and place a pain au chocolat on a plain white plate. And the icing on the cake…. A well-written love note to Mother expressing love and devotion – You make me smile because… My favorite memory with you… You inspire me because…

Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. James 1:!7

 

 

May 2, 2010

Nana’s Cake

Poppies make my Nana’s heart sing so I made this sweet delight for her 84th birthday party! Organic & Chic continues to inspire…


April 29, 2010

Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Chicken Noodle Soup

Martha does it again…. Found a fabulous chicken recipe on her site from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s cookbook, “Mad Hungry.” I deviated a bit from the recipe, and found the result to be delicious and extremely fast to cook – about an hour for a whole chicken! The trick is to cut the chicken down the backbone, fry in a pan and then throw the pan and all in the oven. I really got into punching the chicken to flatten it so much so that the recipe was dubbed by my family as “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Chicken!” Looks like I may have to add this cookbook to my collection…

Sorry, no pictures of our dynamite dinner, but I do have a few of the home-made chicken noodle soup made from the left-overs.

April 27, 2010

Dandelions

The darling of seasons, SPRING, has arrived. Flowers are popping up to treat winter weary eyes with their unmatched beauty. One of the first lovelies is the humble dandelion. Just as the majestic lion is the crowned king of the beasts, dandelions are the reigning monarch of SPRING!

Recently, I read an article about the woman who brought dandelions, not indigenous to North America, to Minnesota for her famous dandelion bread and other concoctions. Dandelion bread – who knew? I’ve had dandelion greens in my spring salad green mixes, but the thought of bread opened a whole new world. I began to research and found other recipes such as dandelion wine (my grandmother used to make) and jam, but what really caught my fancy was dandelion syrup.

I read several references about Swiss grannies in the Alps with jars and jars of dandelion syrup. Now not only was my curiousity peaked, but now my imagination was in full bloom. I had to have some – I became a bit obsessed. If little Swiss grannies can, I can too!

Gathering my faithful foragers, we picked a bucketful of the fragrant spring blossoms (fortunately, I’m closely related to some certified organic farmers so I knew where to find the good stuff!). Alas, my busy bee-like boys soon got bored, and grabbed their baseball equipment. Apparently, the romance of gathering spring flowers for sweet and sticky syrup was lost on them. I knew once they tasted dandelion syrup, they would be transformed. Undaunted by their lack of enthusiasm, I acquiesced and joined the ball players. Even though I was stuck in the outfield, I managed to continue to pluck a few more dandelions and chase the occasional ball that came my way. In the end, we had a ton of fun and my bucket of flower heads was full.Then came the work of separating the petals – this was fairly easily managed with a knife. I covered the blossoms with filtered water, boiled for the designated amount of time, turned the heat off and let steep overnight.

In the morning, the mixture was strained and I was left with a yellowish, dandelion blossom tea. I added sugar and some lemon juice, and the mixture was simmered for about 3 hours. The end result was a unique and special syrup rather honey-like in taste.

Dandelion syrup is a delightful addition to warm cornbread or wheat germ pancakes. I’m excited about the possibilities; a whole new world has opened up to me. I’m now eyeing the fields of yellow dots of sunshine with a fresh point of view (my taste buds). Dandelions, the reigning monarch of Spring, have found a new and sweet place in my heart!

Follow some of my rabbit trails for dandelion recipes & inspiration:

5orangepotatoes.blogspot.com

fxcuisine.com

yummysupper.blogspot.com

fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com

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Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:12