Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Chocolate Coffee Creamer

I love coffee.  And I really love coffee with flavored coffee creamer.  But, have you looked at the ingredients on the bottle of this yummy stuff?  It is scary!  Now, my favorite coffee creamer, is the chocolate flavored ones.  So I got to thinking about how I could make my own healthy version.  This is what I came up with, and it is even better than the stuff in the cold cases at the store! (I think :-) )






My Chocolate Coffee Creamer

* 1 c heavy cream

* 1 c milk (as a short cut, you can buy a pint of half and half instead of milk and cream, I buy organic)

* 1/2 c baking cocoa

* 1 1/2 c organic white sugar (this could probably be replaced with something else, but I haven't experimented with it)

* a pinch of salt

* 1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, mix together the cocoa, sugar and salt. Pour in the milk and cream (or half and half). Stir well. Turn the heat on medium and very slowly bring it not quite to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk or heat-resistant rubber scraper . You want everything completely dissolved. When it just barely starts to bubble on the edges of the saucepan, not quite boiling,*** remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, stirring for another 20 seconds or so. Allow the mixture to cool a bit, stirring periodically. Pour into a container and store it in your refrigerator. You can adjust the "chocolateyness" by increasing or reducing the amount of cocoa. I store mine in a salad dressing carafe. It only holds about half the batch, but it is easy to pour. The other half I store in a jar with a lid, and just pour the jar into the carafe when that is emptied.

I plan on experimenting in the future with some other flavors, and will post successful results.

(Hint, hint.....this might be very good on some icecream too!)

(P.S. In "healthier" I meant real ingredients, not low-fat! LOL)

***I actually altered these instructions, as I used to have the mixture boiled for a minute. But this caused a problem. If the mixture boiled too long, we ended up with a VERY thick substance, that could barely even be poured. By not boiling it, but simply dissolving everything, it works just fine, and stays a pourable consistency.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe has been updated HERE

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yummy Pizza

This recipe has moved. You can find it --> HERE

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Personalizing Wrap Skirt

I have had several requests for a child-sized version of this skirt.  To be honest, I am not a seamstress, and really don't have a ton of experience sewing.  I don't have any little girls to sew for anymore, so I truly don't even know where to begin.  BUT, if you were wanting to create this skirt for a different size (like a child) this is probably the best way to do it....



This is how I enlarged my original instructions (that were published in Making It Home Magazine) a little to make a pattern for "fluffier" ladies.  I would imagine the same steps could be used for making a smaller version as well.



Here is the basic directions for adjusting the size of this pattern.



To determine the cutting radius of the waist (smaller arch) use the measurement of your waist, times about 1.5.  That gives enough wrap for overlap to make sure there is no exposure.  Then you do a little simple geometry to find the radius of a circle that will give you the circumference (for HALF of a circle.)  That is how you know how far to cut the waist from the center fold corner. 



Geometry:  Circumference = Pi (3.14) x Diameter

so 1/2 of the circumference (which is what you need) here is what you do:



First measure the waist of the person the skirt is for.  And substitute the "32" below with your number.



Example, let's say I am making a skirt for a 32 inch waist.  I am going to plug 32 into my equation:



32 x 1.5 = 48 inches Don't forget this step, or your skirt will not wrap!



-->  48 / 3.14 = 15.29 inches (round to the nearest inch.)



Giving you a cutting radius of 15 inches.



This gives you the radius of the circle (arch) to cut for the waist.  Take that number, and measure from the corner fold of the fabric and mark the arch.  This is the measurement you would use for this line/cut.







Now because this is a wrap skirt, and because you will measure yourself to determine where to put the button holes, this has A LOT OF WIGGLE ROOM.  This measurement will fit a range of sizes near and around a 32 inch waist.



Then for the bottom arch (hem/length of skirt) I simply measured from my waist to the point I wanted the skirt to go down to, and added an inch or so for the hem.  That told me how far from the inner arch to cut for the outer arch. 



OR add that number to the number you came up with for your waist-cut radius and measure from the same corner.  Either way you will come to the same location.



I hope this is of help.  Like I said at the beginning, I am NOT a seamstress, just a mom who took Home Ec in 7th grade, and knows a little geometry :-)






Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blackberry Elation

I tried an experiment last night...and the result was absolutely fantastic!!  But we couldn't call it "that really fantastic blackberry preserve cream sauce cake thing," so we had to come up with a name.....



Blackberry Elation

Cake:

1 1/3 c flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c vegetable shortening
2/3 c milk
1 Tb vanilla
1 egg
powdered sugar


Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Add shortening, milk and flavorings, beat 2 minutes with a mixer.
Add egg, and beat 2 more minutes.
Pour into a 9" round cake pan (greased and floured, or treated with the "pan-ease")
Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool on a rack 5-10 minutes, and gently remove cake from pan. Cool.

Place on serving platter and dust with powdered sugar.

Creamy sauce:
1 8 oz. block of Neufchatel cheese (similar to cream cheese, but creamier)
1 cup (8 oz) of whipping cream
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a mixing bowl, beat cheese and cream until fluffy.

Mix in the sugar and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form.


To serve:

Cut a portion of cake, place on dessert plate.
Place about 1/4 c of cream sauce over the cake. Top with blackberry (or your favorite) preserves.

*If you have fresh sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc....Place about 2 cups of fruit in a bowl. Top with some sugar, stir, and allow to sit a couple hours in the refrigerator. This will draw out the juices of the fruit and give you a wonderful sauce. This can be used to top the dessert, ice cream or anything else.

Enjoy!

Scallops L'Orange


Scallops L'Orange


I don't have a photo for this, but I made it the other day and it is wonderful....I'll add a photo the next time I make it. (If I remember)



Scallops L'Orange



2 lb scallops

salt & pepper

2 Tb olive oil

3 Tb butter

1 orange, zested (will be about 2 Tb zest)

4 scallions, sliced

2/3 c. cooking white wine



1. In a dish, lightly salt & pepper scallops.

2. Heat oil in a skillet.

3. Cook scallops on medium high heat, until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and place in a bowl, and cover to keep warm.

4. Wipe out skillet, and then melt butter.

5. Add scallions and all but 1 tsp of orange zest. Saute about 2 minutes and add wine.

6. Simmer, stirring gently until slightly reduced.

7. Add scallops back to pan, gently stir until all is nice and hot again.

8. Transfer all to a serving bowl and top with reserved orange zest.



Serve and enjoy.  This is very light and only takes about 10 minutes to make!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chocolate Pie

RECIPE: Chocolate Pie


The dog biscuits are baking, the peanut butter cookie dough is chilling, and I thought I would post the recipe to the chocolate pie my daughter requested for her birthday last year. This recipe is probably as "old as dirt" and I have seen it everywhere with one name or another, slight variations here and there, but this is the one I use:



"Chocolate Pie"



1 c sugar

1/2 c baking cocoa

3 Tbsp corn starch

1/4 tsp salt

2 c. milk

2 beaten egg yolks

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 baked 9" pie shell




  1. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, and set aside. 


  2. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, corn starch and salt.  Stir in milk and begin to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.  Allow to boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.  You will need to "temper" the eggs before adding them to the pan. This can be a little tricky. (If you just add the eggs to the pan, you will have scrambled eggs in your chocolate sauce!)


  3. With a large ladle, scoop some of the hot sauce (about a cup or so) and pour it into the eggs while beating the eggs with the other hand. Mix it together well, and pour it back into the pan.


  4. Return pan to heat, and cook one more minute, stirring constantly.

  5. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla, stirring until butter is melted and all is mixed smooth.

  6. Pour sauce into pie shell.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then cover and place in refrigerator to chill.


Enjoy!







 

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Blondies

NOTE: This recipe has been updated with a pictorial and printable version.

Here---> Blondies


These are a yummy and easy treat to make.  They are a new favorite around here. I made them for my holiday baking, and they swiftly vanished from the kitchen!






Blondies



1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)

3/4 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 c chopped pecans

1 heath bar, chopped (or other toffee bar, or 1/2 c "heath bits")




  1. Grease a 9x13 baking pan, set aside; preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars, beat until fluffy. Beat iin vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time.

  4. Beat in flour mixture.


  5. Fold in nuts and toffee bits.

  6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

  7. Cool.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls (using basic bread dough)

So here are the cinnamon rolls I make, using my standard bread recipe.  (also if you want "white" rolls, simply substitute unbleached bread flour for all of the flour 3 1/4 c)







Cinnamon Rolls



One batch of basic bread dough

1/4 c melted butter

1/4 c chopped nuts (optional)

1/3 c sugar

1 tsp cinnamon




  1. Prepare this dough as you would for making bread, but after the first rise, instead of forming 2 loaves, roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 12 x 9 inches.

  2. Grease a 13x9 inch pan and set aside.

  3. Brush the dough with melted butter.

  4. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the dough. Sprinkle with nuts.


  5. Roll the dough up tightly, starting at the short end. Pinch the edge together to seal it closed.  Turn it over and lay it seal side down.

  6. You will cut this roll into 12 slices.  The easiest way to do this, is take a piece or ordinary sewing thread, about 18 or so inches long.  Slide the thread under the roll, bring the end of the threads together on top and cross like you are about to start tying it closed, but PULL tight.  The thread will slice right through the dough and make a perfect slice.  Lay all the slices into the prepared baking pan.

  7. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until indentation remains when you touch it with your finger.

  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

  9. Carefully remove from a pan and cool slightly.


If you like a glaze, this is the glaze we use.  I make it as soon as the rolls come out of the oven and drizzle it over the hot rolls.



Glaze

1 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 Tb melted butter

2 Tb hot coffee



In a dish, blend all ingredients together with a whisk, and drizzle over the rolls.



I also have another glaze that I use sometimes...came up with this one once when I had made the rolls and forgot I was out of powdered sugar!



Brown Sugar Glaze



1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c butter

1/4 c cream or whole milk

1 tsp vanilla



In a small saucepan, over low heat, mix the sugars, butter and cream.  Whisk together over the heat until everything is dissolved. Stir in vanilla.  Let it cool a little, and then drizzle it over the rolls.  This will thicken up some as it cools.



Enjoy!



Printable Version: Cinnamon Rolls using Basic Bread Dough