Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oh my stars has it been a busy month! But I'm proud to announce to the world that I have the cutest grand niece and nephew in the universe  =D

Our land lords, whose farm we live on, had a Mama goat die suddenly and we've been bottle feeding the kids who are cute little devils. every time I show up with the bottle they start bleating their wee heads off and climbing ALL over me! They are so adorable when they're small, these kids are mostly Nubian and have floppy ears to add to the cute factor. And speeking of cute, they also bought four Alpaca recently and I call them the Dr.Seuss beasties, because they are just the silliest looking creatures I've ever seen! Friendly and amusing little guys.

I've been farm sitting this week for them too, so Christmas has kind of got away from me this year. But, for now, it's time to just stop stressing over unfinished projects and enjoy the holidays.

I LOVE Christmas, and in my family of Scrooges, I'm considered eccentric and a bit crazy for my enthusiasm, but I must say , that we are NOT made of money and even though we save back a bit for it, having a Christmas with gifts for friends and family , a nice Christmas tree and  lovely table with all the trimmings is getting over the top spendy!
From now on, I will be employing all of my crazy off the wall ideas ALL year long to pull off the Christmas that everyone knows me for! I can just see the eye rolling and hear the sighing and grumbling of my poor stolid long suffering dad now =D

Every year we end up doing this little comedy of calling friends and seeing who's truck we can  borrow to go buy a tree and bring it home, since we drive a little green VW "bug" and little green bugs and big Christmas trees don't work out too well. So this year, we did all of the calling and begging, got the loan of a truck and  off we went to our regular tree lot and our jaw dropped due to the cost! Almost double what it was just last year. We found a beautiful tall pine and were already talking about how to decorate it when she said the tree would be $70! , which we were not willing to spend on a dead tree. We ended up with a smallish scotch pine and our little 5 foot tree cost $40! Last year we bought a 7  foot tree from them for $35.Wow! We could have shopped around, but decided not to this year, since we were already standing there looking through the trees and chatting with the tree lot lady. I think I'll be heading over to the University nursery and buying a bunch of young trees to plop in the rear of the property to start growing  my own! Yes I'm a penny pincher and proud of it!

Lest any one thinks I've become a complete Grinch, there is the fact that homemade Christmas candy is just not that expensive to make and so, so rewarding. Here are three recipes gathered from around the web to add to your holiday indulgences

~* Orange Dark Chocolate and Coconut Pieces*~

Ingredients ~
    2 cups quality dark chocolate, bar or chips
    1 teaspoon orange extract [or almond extract]
    1 cup almonds, toasted and then chopped
    1 cup shredded [sweetened or unsweetened] coconut, toasted

Directions
Using a double broiler, melt the chocolate. Once it’s all melted, add the orange extract.

Make sure almonds and coconut are completely cool before you stir into the melted chocolate.

I used silicon baking cups, but you can use either a cupcake pan [sprayed with non-stick] or drop directly onto parchment paper – lined baking sheet. With an ice cream scooper or spoon, drop chocolate mixture into the cups or onto parchment paper.

Place baking pan/sheet in the refrigerated for about 2 hours, allowing them to harden.

Enjoy!

****************************************************
~*  Salt and Pink Peppercorn Caramels *~
                Prep: 30 mins Cook: 40 mins

Ingredients
    1 cup butter
    1 16 ounce package packed brown sugar (2-1/4 cups)
    2 cups half-and-half or light cream
    1 cup light-colored corn syrup (I use agave syrup)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 - 1 1/2  teaspoons flaked sea salt, tho' other  large grain sea salt would do
    1/2 - 1 1/2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, crushed

Directions

1. Line an 8x8x2-inch or 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil. Set aside.

2. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, half-and-half, and corn syrup; mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan (see Candy Thermometer, below). Reduce heat to medium. Continue boiling mixture at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until the thermometer registers 248 degrees F, firm-ball stage (40 to 50 minutes). Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.

3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour mixture into prepared pan. Cool 10 to 12 minutes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When firm use foil to lift candy out of pan.* Use a buttered knife to cut into 2x1/2-inch size pieces. Wrap each caramel in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Store up to 2 weeks.
******************************************
And last of the sweets are these delicate mints. These mints were my mama's favorite and they have a lot of Christmas family tradition attached to them. Eat them with caution, they are surprisingly addictive!

~* Cream Mints *~

  Prep time: 30 minutes
Ingredients ~ 
3 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
food coloring (optional) - i used a few drops of yellow to get a very soft butter color
4 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
about 1/4 cup superfine or granulated sugar

    beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy, about two minutes. add the mint and food coloring, if using, and mix until blended.
    add the confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a stiff mixture.
    form into little balls no bigger than a nickle,  roll in the superfine sugar and flatten with your thumb or tines of a fork. store in the refrigerator. Yum!

And now it's time for me to start wrapping and baking some more, so I wish all of you a splendiferous holiday!

Cheers!
Annika


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Be Thankful and Brine Your Turkey!

I woke up thinking thankful thoughts this morning. Thankfulness has become a daily thing with me lately, as I read the news and see what kind of a mess America's in now and how hard it is for people just to get by.  my thankful list grows longer all of the time but to sum it up to the top five.

1.) I'm thankful for my wonderful sweet Andrew, every waking moment . You are all wrong,  I have the best man in the world =P

2.) For having lived a wild and adventurous life, all things considered , I'm pretty lucky to only have an arthritic knee!  Andrew is equally thankful to still be alive and kickin'!

3.) I own my house outright, no mortgage!!!
Sure it needs paint and a new roof (crossing my fingers that it doesn't leak this winter), but we have a huge yard, fruit trees, privacy and quiet!

4.) Andrew has a great job that is continuing to grow despite the rotten economy so that we can actually afford to pay some on the bills each month AND afford to eat =)

5.) That, though I might rant about them sometimes, I've got a  wonderful family and family-in-law and wouldn't trade them for anything in the universe =)

How about you, what are your top 5?

Ok, all rounded up this might make for 6 top Tankfulnesses, but it's cold and blustery on the Palouse today and I'm SO grateful for all that I have that allows me a comfortable simple life! My sweetie is off work for the holiday and is slurping down coffee and playing some weird computer game and I'm off to brine the thawed turkey. Here is a great link that explains brining. Turkeys that have been brined  are so smooth, moist  and delicious! Give it a try and you won't go back =)
 http://laurasbestrecipes.com/2010/11/turkey-brining-101---best-brine-recipes.html
I will be adding rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, pepper corns, grated orange peel, garlic and Herbs d Provence to my itty-bitty turkey  =)

We will be having a round of Brie and some fabulous chicken liver and make this. it IS to die for1 pate mousse with home made crackers for our appetizers

Then we will bring the lovely golden bird to the table with a cornbread dressing full of dried cranberries, apple and bits of  bacon, fresh cranberry sauce with orange zest, home made gravy, gingered carrots and braised leeks in brown butter with almonds. For the sweet finale, it will be gateau au chocolat and pumpkin pie with an almond flour crust!

Here is a wonderful recipe for  gateau au chocolat, which is a dense, very rich flourless chocolate cake from France. If you are a chocolate fan, do yourself a favor and make this sinfully delish dessert! It IS to die for!!

gateau au chocolat
Serves 12
List of Ingredients ~
   7 oz (200 g) of good quality semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate
   4/5 cup (200 g) butter
   1 cup (220 g) sugar
   4 eggs, separated
Directions ~
    Preheat oven to 350 F
    Line a 9 in (23 cm) cake tin with greaseproof or other non-stick paper and grease.
    Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it with butter over hot water.
    Beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar.
    Fold in the melted butter and chocolate mixture.
    Beat egg whites until frothy by using an electric mixer; gradually add the remaining sugar,      beating until stiff peaks form.
    Gently fold in the  egg whites with the chocolate mixture.
    Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer center comes out clean, about 40 odd minutes .
    Use a knife to separate the cake from the non-stick paper. The cake is quite sticky and terribly rich!
I like to serve with either fresh berry sauce or a little mound of fresh whipped cream dusted with cocoa or nutmeg. I have also added extracts to flavor the chocolate mix. Our favorite is orange-chocolate with grated orange zest! This is pure chocolate bliss at it's best.
Enjoy!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

P.S. If you don't celebrate thanksgiving, you will still love the chocolate cake ;)


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fences, Goats and Bacon...Again!






















http://blog.seremeres.com/?p=149

So, it's been a few days. The weather here in the Idaho Palouse has become decidedly icky with cold winds and rain/snow. Goats always seem to find that perfect moment, when the weather is the most horrible to break down a few fences. These aren't even MY goats, so I couldn't just go break their little necks. My landlady keeps a large herd of mixed sheep and goats, and it is usually the goats that find some spot or six to destroy fences in their endless quest for "The Other Side". So I've been slowing helping move electric mesh fencing out of the flood plains of the large creek, and bashing the goat twisted cattle panels back into some semblance of normal shape and wiring them in place. there is a lot yet to do to make things deep snow weather ready. At least, cane or no cane, I'm up and continuing to move about and get things done =)

Have I mentioned that it's yucky and raw out ? LOL! 

About the bacon part of my title. Drew, the most dear man in the world and the love of my life, is a bacon addict. I try to keep the bacon-addled fellow to a few pieces a week, but bacon has a habit of slowly creeping back in to the every day diet if I'm not vigilant ;) So, when I came across this bacon ornament on Seremere's blog, I knew that I would have to make one especially for him. Isn't it cute??? It's just the most awesome tree ornament surprise you could give the mad for bacon people in your life!

I need to shop for some materials for making sugar and salt scrubs, baking parchment and dried fruits (The real kind, not the sugar-pickled red and green grocery market kind), but that won't happen until Saturday, I'm afraid. In the mean time, I'm makin' bacon ;)    And a couple of aprons, some lounge pants and a bunch of therapy sacks of various sizes for gifts



Laters !
Annika










Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Winter's Kiss

Frosted rosehips by anataman on flickr

















 This morning,  I woke to two of my three indoor cats cuddled around me purring loudly.  If the house had been warmer they would have been having a hissy fit being that close to one another, but all turf wars are off when the cold weather starts setting in. The light was so pale coming through the blinds that at first I thought that it had snowed, but instead it was the most velvety luxurious frost I've seen in a long time. Since the land lords don't want to afford heat for the animals water containers, I was out leaning on a cane with one hand and practicing my wild Irish chick impersonation with the other one, bashing holes in the ice for the farm animals to drink. Cory, a none too bright but enthusiastic goat buck, kept attempting to jump up and bleat loudly in my face, while I was hacking at the ice. So it was a good time all 'round.

I love all that nature has to to give and the world remains the most beautiful work of art ever. When I have a good camera again, I'll be posting my own photos! The wretched cold is still with me, but I really started in today on the kitchen today...for a two person household, I have a LOT of kitchen ware and spares! So I've been going through it all, and weeding out what I don't need..I'm loving the space and now theres room for NEW  kitchen gadgetry that I don't need =P

My kitchen is a an L shape with a pro range and cabinets on an island in the centre. I'm really disenchanted with the sterile white ceiling, window frames and icky melamine counter tops . There is a big ugly florescent light that I never use that I want to take out too. The cabinets are low-end faux wood things and I can't afford to replace them all so I'm going to paint the hideous things!I'm dying to paint the whole thing something warm and vibrant and now I'm just waiting for Drew to agree to a colour scheme!

I've been recipe hunting this afternoon for choice tid-bits to add to my gift baskets and bags for Christmas and this recipe is a keeper! So gorgeous and delicious sounding!

Ginger-Coconut-Dark Chocolate Bark

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
This ginger-coconut-dark chocolate bark is bitter, spicy, and sweet so a little goes a long way. Along with a cup of tea or coffee, it makes the perfect mid afternoon pick-me-up or evening treat. This bark can be kept refrigerated for several weeks.
Unsweetened shaved coconut and candied ginger can often be found in bulk bins in the natural foods section of your grocery store. Shredded coconut can be substituted for shaved, but it’s softer and doesn’t have the same “crunch” that shaved coconut provides.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (6 ounces) good quality Bittersweet Baking Chips (I used Scharffen Berger 70%)
  • 1/4 cup Candied Ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Shaved Coconut
  • 2 ounces Macadamia Nuts, chopped

Preparation

  1. Line a sheet pan with either a a silpat or a 9×11 piece of parchment paper sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Create a double boiler by setting a bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir until fully melted.
  3. Working quickly, spread the chocolate in a 1/4-inch layer over the prepared baking pan. Scatter the ginger, coconut, and macadamia nuts evenly over the chocolate – be careful not to leave any big gaps!
  4. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 1 hour to allow the chocolate to set. Once the chocolate is firm, use your hands or a sharp knife to break the bark into roughly shaped pieces.

Doesn't this sound nummy??? I will be adding dried fruit or nuts or whatever to the basic recipe, but it just sounds scrumptious!!  http://healthy-delicious.com/  has so many incredible recipes!

Drew is working late on projects, and will catch his own dinner out, so I'm just going to have more jasmine tea  with honey for my throat and goof off on til he gets home , I just don't feel up to dinner tonight with this stupid cold   =P

'til tomorrow
Ta!

Annika






Saturday, November 5, 2011

Starry, starry COLD night!

 http://www.flickr.com/people/jekert/

I hate to open a post bragging, but I feel that I really hit the lucky jackpot today.! To start off though, Drew has also started coming down with my cold, so we were both grumpy bears all day. Traffic, such as we have in Moscow Idaho, was just messed up. People were just totally crazy on the road and coming from a Seattle girl, that says a lot!  The big bummer part was that it looks like our really cool quilt shop is either closing or moving, and I'm afraid that its going to just close. We don't have any other near by quilt shops  =(
But our next stop was a local meat seller and we bought some really good cuts of bison and a half turkey (the breast and drumsticks only) for Thanksgiving. YUM!  then on to a few thrift shops and a bit of antiquing! I found two big beautiful ribbed ball shaped jars with lids, and old coal scuttle, a small decoupaged coal scuttle, which may end up as a Christmas centerpiece and some old tin cookie cutters. At the next place on my list, I found 9 yards of extra wide burlap for $16, 4 yards of heavy red felt for $3, a bunch of gorgeous baskets and numerous sewing supplies. and finally at Goodwill, I found a large bag of cloth ribbon, a bunch of candles, 8 gorgeous old punch cups (since I can't find the one's from my great aunt)  two beautiful Christmas craft book for my Christmas craft book addiction and a seriously hot long flowing cranberry red/black cherry red dress. Altogether it was an incredible day of being in the right place at the right time and I actually got away really not spending all that much !

You might as well know now that I am an artsy, rather liberal minded, penny pinching, homestead dreamin' old crazzy chick with an addiction to good cowboy music ( who is your favorite? suggestions please!) other kinds of good music, dark chocolate, cooking, books, hats, big dogs, bigger horses, people who are straight shooters, the feeling of my hubby's arms around me, the word "Sale" and crafting things, even though I'm kind of a black-thumb crafter! Thankfully, I'm a self-taught food snob and cook  (my mama fed us tv dinners and wonderbread with bologna and velveeta, I had no choice but to learn!) and have a nice list of things to bake, cook, can, pickle and distil for my Christmas baskets/bags to make up for any clumsy stitchery!


Its cold and starry-clear, so since I suck at night time photography, I'm sharing a photo from flickr creative commons instead =) It should be down in the low 20's tonight and I can't wait for the first real snow fall!

So...

Blessings and happy dreams!

Annika



Sorry for the lack of posts, I've come down with a rotten cold, and have little add these past couple of days . However, since my hubbydubby has the weekend off, we are going to go out and hit all of the thrift shops, at least one antique shop, the fabric and quilt shops, Michael's , our local and very awesome co-op and do lunch someplace fun!

Catch you all later!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pinterest baby! My new addiction

I hope that all of you are having a peachy Wednesday ! I took cold medicine this morning and have Cheeze Wiz for brains =P  Never the less, it doesn't take brains to do house work. Recently while out thrift shop hunting, I found a gorgeous vintage cut glass punch bowl for $3! I've been going through and de-cluttering all of my kitchen cabinets because I KNOW that I have some of my great aunts punch cups some where! Since my house is itty-bitty and I can only have 6 over at a time, I'm thinking that some where in my busy mess of a life, I need to throw a couple of holiday parties for my close friends, so I NEED to find those punch cups!

But, I'm taking a much needed tea break from cleaning, de-cluttering and crafting and sharing my insomnia inducing addiction: Pinterest!

http://pinterest.com/annikaloveshats/

Check out my pin boards and pins, if you aren't already addicted  =)

This is my first recipe for the still-in-planning holiday parties. What do you think??  It looks so yummy to me! I may do it with portobellos instead of the wild mushroom mix .

Wild Mushroom Galette



1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini or shiitakesWild Mushroom Galette

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup sliced green onions

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 lb. assorted fresh wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini and shiitakes, brushed clean and large mushrooms thinly sliced

1/2 lb. fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced

5 oz.  good-quality blue cheese

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until softened. Drain the mushrooms and mince finely.

3. Preheat an oven to 400°F.

4. In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Increase the heat to high, add the fresh and re-hydrated mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid they released has completely evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

5. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper.   Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl, add the cooled mushrooms and stir well. Spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the mushrooms and cheese, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Have a sweet evening !
Annika



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Goats, weddings and other fun!

It's been a week! Everyone has been some kind of sick but me, and I'm just arthritic, slow and gimpy =P
Since my sweetie is diabetic, I've been venturing into nut flours and Splenda baking and cooking. Stevia is really bitter tasting to me, I know, weird,  right?  I haven't had any kind of luck using agave syrup in baking, so I'm stumped, for now at least.  I'm having the best luck with almond flour. I've made yummy waffles and snickerdoodles so far, and am looking forward to pumpkin cheesecake!

Then, I've been farmsitting since Thursday, so far an elderly cat has taken sick and wouldn't eat, a buck got his head caught in an electric mesh fence and ruined the thing, the herd of goats my landlady's keeps, utterly destroyed a cattle panel gate while we were trying to roll out a huge round bale of hay, and I was body slammed by a penned goat buck when he tried to push past me to escape. BUT , I'm a stubborn and feisty old bird and I grabbed him under the chin and pushed back! Aside from a bunch of bruises, I won.

The highlight of my weekend has been the wedding of a beloved friend to her best friend and true love, the inclusion of her two young children in the ceremony made them a family. It was beautiful and sweet, though I don't usually tear up at weddings, I sure did at this one!

Then I went up to the barn to check on the animals when I got back from the wedding and found a newly hatched nest of baby chicks and a very protected mama hen! Something about the chirping of baby chicks just turns me to marshmallow inside =) I had to really struggle not to scoop up a soft little fluff ball and snuggle it against my cheek!


Ive been going through all of my junk in storage and that I have cluttering up my house, and am proud of myself for getting so much of it bagged up and ready for the thrift shop. Also, I've been trying to follow the rule of re-cycle, re-use, re-purpose and re-make and separating out clothing and other things to use again. I'm finding the creative re-visioning a lot of fun and it really appeals to my thrifty earth wise side.

So, now it's Sunday evening , it's rainy and cold out and I'm happily puttering around on my laptop and feeling drowzy from the pain meds. for my aching knee.  My pumpkin is carved, my spooky bats are hung in the windows and I'm ready for Halloween.  So, Happy Halloween ...BOO!!!!!




Friday, October 21, 2011

Have yourself a homemade little christmas...

So, This morning I woke up to "Jingle Bells" in my head, and I knew that I'd be in a Christmas-y mood all day =) . I seem to always end up with a big bunch of bills to pay going into the holidays, which leave me strapped for spending greens. So, I decided that I would go through all of my craft good and resources around the farm and start making plans for a natural homemade Christmas. In my front yard I have a huge Ponderosa pine, with gorgeous long needle that will make for elegant swags and garlands. Under the tree, I gathered up a large bag of cones for holiday crafts. I am going to gimp around the farm gathering up other tree's cones, we have plenty of pines and firs! Then I noticed how lovely the wild rose bushes that grow along side the pastures were with their dark twisting branches and red hips. I am going to make lovely door wreaths from the roses. Near by are wild apple trees that I am going to go gather apples from to make apple butter and jellies. I know where there are some oaks and will be collecting acorns for gilding or leaving natural to add to the tree, swags, wreathes, banners and to add to gift toppers! I have a huge bag of rice, so I'll make microwavable/freezable therapy bags and warming inserts for mittens and boots. I have plenty of flour and cornmeal and sugar, with a bit of careful expenditure, I'll be able to make many breads and cookies for gift baskets. I'm also thinking of trying my hand at toffee!  Spiced and sugared peanuts are on the list too. I have a tiny great niece and a feisty great nephew to come up with a bit of fun for. Another nephew and his fiance, my dad, my sis and bro, my ma and pa in law and  a bunch more! So I'll be making a bunch of Gimpy Christmas Fairy  Goodie Baskets, full of all sorts of wild creations. In a weird sort of way, I enjoy having to get creative with the materials at hand, it forces me to look outside the box, to stretch my creative wings and try new things. Sure I'd like pots of money, but I am also happy with the bursts of creativity that I get when I have to really dive into the creative flow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Of Roosters and Chocolate!

This is my adopted roo, T-Rex, who I saved from the landlady's stew pot. He has turned out to be a friendly and rather intelligent yard companion and will follow me around as I work in the yard and garden His real weakness, tho', is getting into the farm cats cat food. He has scared the poor cat away many times, chasing poor Kiki around the yard and beating his wings loudly. I'm always laughing too hard to snap a pic.  But as I've been out getting what's left of my poor garden  put away for the year, he been a tireless eater of stray bugs and I'm really looking forward to my  chicks and ducklings. I am a city girl turned farmgirl, and I would have never pegged myself as a chicken person, but there it is!

Lately I've been indulging my chocolate addiction and  this recipe if the best of the best for pure chocolate heaven!

Fancy French (Flourless) Chocolate Cake


Ingredients:
7 oz  semisweet chocolate (45-50 % cocoa)
4/5 cup  butter
1 cup  sugar
4 eggs, separated

   1. Preheat oven to 350deg F
   2. Line a 9 in  cake pan with greaseproof or other non-stick paper and grease the tin.
   3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it with butter over hot water.
   4. Beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar.
   5. Fold in the melted butter and chocolate mixture.
   6. Beat egg whites until frothy by using an electric mixer; gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
   7. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
   8. Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes.
   9. Use a knife to separate the cake from the non-stick paper. Please observe that the cake is quite sticky!


Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall has fell!

Its such a mild autumn morning , the sun hasn't yet appeared over the hills of the Palouse yet and I'm drinking a nice strong cup of coffee and thinking of pumpkins!   So here is an easy recipe for pumpkin spice butter. If you've never had pumpkin butter before, do your self a favor and make some! It tastes just like autumn looks =)




Pumpkin Spice Butter

Ingredients:

    3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    3/4 cup apple cider
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    2-3 cinnamon sticks
    1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)


Directions:

Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple cider, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste. Remove cinnamon sticks and pour into clean jars and refrigerate. I've never tried water bath canning it before and always just keep it in the fridge.  I usually make a big pot of it and send off jars to friends and family during the holidays. It really is yummy!

Happy Autumn =)

Dirty Politics

Ya know, I'd say get all of the crooks and blowhards out of American politics, but there'd be no one left =P

First Frost and Carrot-Raisin Bread!!!

Well, I think this morning may be the first frost of the autumn, at least the first one that I got off my lazy cupcakes early enough to see  =P

So, since I love all of the little firsts of each year, first frost deserves  this yummy recipe! Try it, you'll find it yummy too! 

 Carrot-Raisin Bread
  
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp apple pie spice
1 tbsp margarine

1 egg
1 cup milk
 sugar to taste
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins

   1. In mixing bowl sift together flour and spice. Cut in margarine until crumbly.
   2. Beat together egg, milk and sugar to taste. Add to dry ingredients with the carrot and raisins. Stir slightly.
   3. Turn batter into lightly greased loaf pan. Bake in a 375 oven for about 1 hour, until top springs back when gently pressed.
   4. Cool slightly in pan. Turn out onto wire rack. Cool well and serve with a dab of cream cheese or whipped cream =)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Raise Small-breed Milk Cows

Raise Small-breed Milk Cows

I would NEVER have pegged myself as a cow person, that is until I saw these miniature Jerseys.
And then, of course, I fell immediately tail-over-teakettle in love with the sweet little things. A full sized cow would give me way too much milk, even if I made cheese all the time, since its only my hunny boo and me ( His real name is Andrew ;) )

I've already chosen a name for my future bovine friend, I will name her Juniper Moon =P Because I'm silly and I think its cute.


First I need to talk the hunny boo into it, and then when he's stopped yelling, I'll build a nice cozy cow shed for her and her future calves.

I'm SO looking forward to cheese making !
Yup, I may be crazy ;)







stars and hearts

stars and hearts by monda loves...
stars and hearts, a photo by monda loves... on Flickr.

I LOVE these little stars! They would look so sweet in a garland too! I am a hard core Christmas fanatic and collect Christmas ideas every day of the year =P

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kill Your TV, ETC.

Well, I don't know what "Aardvark" means, but I'm all with the other sentiments! Happy Sunday! Be real and for heaven's sake bake something =)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind

These are the words that I try and live my life by. Contrary to its imagined harm to one's dignity, silliness makes life's Polaroid moments. It frees the spirit and is just plain fun. The honesty part is easily deceptive. We lie to our selves all of the time, and learning to be honest with yourself gives your life a much added layer of richness. And what can I say about kindness?  Kindness never hurts anyone, neither the giver nor the receiver. I'm not always a wonderful person ( Never get between me and my morning tea) but I must admit that I am addicted to kindness, both giving and receiving.  I love the strange mixture of surprise, gratitude and slight embarrassment that a person has when you let them go ahead of you in line at the market, when you hold a door, when you do something so small as to pay for their cup of coffee. If everyone did one small kind act a day, the world would be in much better shape. This I truly believe. When I'm gone I always want to be remembered as a kind soul.

So by way of all three of my aspirations, I am starting my blog with a favorite recipe!  The silly part? Ginger puffs just call to my mind fat ginger haired cherubs. The honest part? These suckers are fattening! And the kindness part? I'm sharing my recipe =P


~ GINGER PUFFS ~
 muffin recipe ~
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar ( I use baking Splenda and it works just fine)
1 egg
2 tsp freshly grated lemon peel ( if you're not a lemon fan, only add 1 tsp)
2 cups of flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 cup milk

Topping recipe
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground ginger

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the lemon peel and mix until blended
In a separate bowl sift and combine the flour, baking powder,salt , nutmeg and ginger. Slowly add this to the sugar & butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Make sure that it's all blended but don't over mix.

Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full ( I like to use my muffin top pan) Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. While still hot brush the melted butter over the muffin tops and sprinkle lavishly with the ginger & suger.

Enjoy with your favorite drinkable!