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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Exploding with Sweetness

What Fourth of July celebration would be complete without some sweet treats? Yesterday I was busy in the kitchen cooking up some fun. (just a little warning, these photos are far from the best since I took them quickly this morning)

Chocolate dipped Rice Krispie Treats…on a stick! A super cute idea from Twig & Thistle. Although mine didn’t come out nearly as cute…or as hard and seem to be a little stuck to the plate…oh well, they will surely be eaten.

Then I made these:

(sorry for the blurry photo)

Pillow Cookies! Thanks again to Bakerella. Although I used 1/4 cup for the dough and they came out a bit smaller. Still huge, but I got about 20 or so out of the batch vs. 12. Mr. Magoo taste tested a casualty – light and airy he said! Perfect for a hot day.

I then downloaded Twig & Thistle’s Brownie Bag Template, opened it in Photoshop, tweaked it and made my own template to print out on vellum and white paper, since I could not find bags to print on. I then just snipped the top with a pair of craft scissors to give it some flair.

Happy Fourth!

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Burgers and Fries

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take on Bakerella’s Burgers and Fries for a little Father’s Day treat. Thanks Bakerella!

I downloaded and printed out and assembled her templates first – because well, presentation is everything and because they were cute. Then I began the baking. What possessed me to bake on the two hottest days of June, in my unairconditioned home, is beyond me. First I made the brownies.

Ooooh man, they were hard to resist! Thank goodness nothing was made from scratch, because with juggling a toddler and a nursing 5 month old, with no help, it was a little tough with the timing of naps and baking – so the boxed goods made it super easy.

Next I tackled the fries.

Rolled out the dough using parchment paper (love this idea!).

Cut, sprinkled with lots of sugar and baked. I like my fries crispy, so after 8 minutes of baking, I cut them according to Bakerella’s directions and then popped them back in for three minutes.

Ding! The fries are done! Mmmmm, these were good. What? You know you have to taste test when you are baking, it’s the law. Be careful though, these fries are addicting, especially with a glass if milk.

Finally I dealt with the cupcakes.

Once everything was baked, the assembly began.

The “fries” were placed neatly in their sleeves.

The “patties” were cut out next.

I then took the tub of frosting I had and divided it three ways and mixed in green, yellow and red food coloring.

Cut the “buns” in half…

….and voila! A sweet take on burgers and fries. Hopefully all the dads in my life will love them tomorrow.

Happy Father’s Day!

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I’m A Pop Star

How excited am I? Oh I am thrilled, terribly thrilled to the core! It is the little things that make me happy.

A couple of years ago I found Bakerella’s blog – if you are not familiar with Bakerella, you MUST check out her blog. She is amazing and so incredibly talented when it comes to the creativity in the baking world. One Thanksgiving she did a feature on her Turkey Pops and I decided to give them a try, making my own changes along the way.

It was a pretty intense project, as I had to stop every now and then, juggling Little Magoo as a baby.

They came out fantastic in the end and my family and friends raved about them.

So, as soon as Bakerella recently put up her “Pop Stars” section, I HAD to submit a photo. It was about a month ago that I submitted and lo and behold, I looked this morning and there were my little ‘ol turkey pops! Featured right in her blog! I couldn’t believe it…such a little thing, but such a BIG thing in my world! Thanks for featuring me Bakerella!

And if you haven’t checked out her blog or the other amazing featured “Pop Stars”, go take a look, there is some amazing talent in this world!

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Refreshing

The other week I posted about my voyage on cooking with yeast (and BTW, poor Baby Magoo has thrush…again) and the fact that I am trying to be more conscientious about what exactly is in our food. This upcoming week it is supposed to be pretty hot here in New England, so I thought about making lemonade. Now, I grew up just with that lemonade mix – either that or store-bought lemonade…I think we grew up on Veryfine since there was a factory discount store nearby and I can remember sipping the lemonade while sitting on the stairs outside and clicking the metal pop-up top under my thumb. That’s when they were sold in glass bottles – remember those kids?

Anyways, I digress.

I got to thinking – really how hard can it be to make my own lemonade – at least I would know what was in it and it would be fresh, versus those powder mixes. So I searched the internet and found this recepie. Great reviews and easy, I’ll try it!

I gathered my ingredients: lemons, sugar and water – easy enough! I only bought 10 lemons, I like my lemonade sweet.

First I washed and scrubbed all the lemons.

Then sliced them, removing the seeds as I went along.

Three cups of sugar went in next.

Then I dumped it into a bigger bowl, because I was naive and thought I could do it in the tiny bowl I started with…then I mashed and mashed until the sugar was dissolved.

Next I added the 8 cups of cold water. The recipe then called for 4 trays of ice cubes, which I did not have ready. So I filled an empty ice-cube tray with water and measured that – about 2 1/4 cups for one ice-cube tray…multiply by 4 and you add 9 additional cups of water – and mix!

After that I pulled out my gallon pitcher and scooped the lemonade in there, straining out any lemons or lemon peels along the way. It filled the whole pitcher and about three additional glasses – enough for a taste testing party.

This last photo was taken today – as you can see, it is already more than half gone – it is GOOD!

So here is my take on the recipe:

10 lemons

3 cups sugar

17 cups cold water (or 8c water and 4 ice-cube trays)

1. Thinly slice lemons and remove seeds.

2. Mash together in large bowl with 3 cups sugar.

3.  Add 17 cups cold water.

4. Strain if desired – leave in punch bowl if it is a party or put in a pitcher(s) for the fridge

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Now because I was on a roll yesterday I also decided to make a pitcher of my very favorite summer beverage from a popular coffee chain that begins with an S and ends in an S…Sweetened Passion Iced Tea.

First go to that popular coffee chain and purchase these (sorry the photo is so horrible, but I’m not retaking it), Tazo ICED Passion Tea filter bags.

The directions are right on the back – how convenient!

Boil your water and place the tea bag in your 2 quart pitcher.

Fill your pitcher with 1 quart of your boiled water and let seep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bag and fill the remainder of the pitcher with cold water. My pitcher has a convenient 1qt and 2qt marker on it…so I fill it to the 2qt mark, leaving room for the next ingredient…now this is what makes my Passion Iced tea taste so good…just like the store…

…a simple syrup. Easy to make – 1:1 ratio of water and sugar. If you like it really sweet, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water together, stirring constantly. I like it sweet, but not too sweet so I used 3/4 cups sugar and 3/4 cups water. Let this cool while your tea is chillin’ in the fridge and when it is good and cool, mix it in with your tea.

Perfection!

I hope everyone had a nice refreshing weekend like myself!

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On the Rise

Yeast has been so involved in my life over the past two months.

First Baby Magoo and I ended up with thrush. Terribly painful. I was so excited when we finished the last of his medication at the beginning of the week. I think the clouds parted, the sun shone and I heard heavenly angels singing. No more waking Baby Magoo in the middle of the night if we had missed a dose, dragging the medication with us or me having to use my cream after every feeding, even while half awake in the dark. Yes, I certainly heard angels singing that morning.

Yesterday I embarked on a different journey with yeast, fully aware how fickle it can be. I decided to make some honey wheat bread. I had recently been thinking about the cost going to food we buy – along with the preservatives and now that Baby Magoo is affording me some more time to pursue cooking a bit more, I thought I’d give it a go, in hopes that maybe we can start eating a bit healthier and save some money along the way.

The recipe started out with making the “sponge”.

Butter and honey, melted together…

…and my dear friend, yeast.

In you go, old friend.

Look how nice and bubbly – perfect. Or so I thought…this, I think, is where I failed. I didn’t measure the temperature – because well, I’m Mrs. Magoo and I operate like that sometimes…thinking that I am above measuring temperatures for things.

Salt into the flour mixture.

Added the “sponge”…

…and mixed…adding more flour along the way…

Stopped and took some random snapshots of the kids.

Because that’s what chefs do, right?

Finally the dough was ready and needed to be kneaded. Har. Har.

Look how gorgeous…let’s set it to rise!

Here is where it all went down hill. I was terribly disappointed and tried to no avail to get my poor dough to rise. But yeast and I have a love-hate relationship and this bread was not meant to be…

So I made chocolate chip cookies instead and the world rejoiced.

Take that yeast!

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