Monday, January 23, 2012

Valentine Banner

Well Valentines Day is right around the corner and I needed to put something festive up since all but one Christmas decoration has been put away. The house looks so barren with all of that stuff put away until after next Thanksgiving.

 I was going to make a banner with heart shapes, but I decided on using this one sheet of paper that had some of the cutest little pictures. The paper was 12x12 and was divided into 24 rectangular pictures, they almost looked like they were meant to be cards. At first I thought I would make a matching game, I got that idea from my friend Meagan she has a shop on facebook called the The Girl Next Door, but not all of the pictures were duplicated.

 I cut out all of the pictures and matted them with a pinkish/lavender card stock, and tied them off with some pink and white bakers twine. I have been dying to use the bakers twine for a project. They came out cute, they look a little small over my back door, they may look better in a smaller room.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm Sweet and Tart

That is what caught my eye, sweet and tart on a bag of Meyer lemons in Walmart.  While I had heard of Meyer lemons, I had never actually seen them in the store.  What also made them more worth while was the price $1.98 for a whole bag, and there had to be 10 lemons in the bag.

I didn't have to look far for a recipe, there was what sounded like a great one on the bag, Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake.  The only unusual ingredient was the lemons themselves, and well I had already found them.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

3 Meyer Lemons
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
3 Large Eggs, Separated
1 Cup Whole Milk, at room temperature
4 Tbsp Butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 300 degrees., butter an 8X8 baker.  Finely grate 2 teaspoons of zest, then squeeze 1/3 cup of juice, set aside.  Combine dry ingredients.  Whisk together yolks, milk, butter, lemon zest and juice.  Add flour to the mixture and whisk until combined.  Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Stir 1/3 egg whites into batter to lighten.  Fold in remaining egg whites.  Pour into prepared pan, bake until golden 35-40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

I really liked this recipe and it was real easy to make.  The cake was moist and light.  I had berries to serve it with for the company we were having but forgot to put them out.  I did lightly dust the cake with powdered sugar to finish it off.  This is a keeper.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Crockpot Caramel

There is a running joke between me and my husband about what I look at on the computer in the evening.  I usually spend an hour a night skimming through pinterest, he calls it "Missy Porn".  Well on pinterest was where I spotted a picture of a can of caramel, and who doesn't love caramel?

The recipe, which wasn't really a recipe more of directions, and even they were not challenging, was to place a closed can of sweetened condensed milk into the crockpot and cover with water.  Cook on low for  8 hours.  Cool for am hour and open & serve.

Well I have to tell you I expected it to me a little smoother, silkier maybe.  The consistency was thick and not pourable, so I heated a small amount in a glass bowl in the microwave figuring it would melt.  Well I was wrong, it created a more undesirable consistency, kind of lumpy.  Overall the flavor was good, but without that pourable consistency I don't know if I would make it again.  Never say never though, it probably would make a great frosting or filling for a layer cake.

***UPDATE***  I have to tell you after is was chilled in the refrigerator I liked the consistency better, so I would make again to fill a cake with.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's breakfast for dinner.

At least once a week I get on the mood for breakfast food for dinner.  Whether it be waffles, pancakes, crepes and this week french toast, all yummy and cozy on a cold winter night.

I used a good loaf of challah bread, and had it sliced at the bakery.  I wish they could make slightly thicker slices but it seems the bakery has one size fits all slicing.

It may sound silly to some people, but I actually use a recipe for french toast.  On my own I never know ratio of egg to milk, is my batter to think or thin?  So once again I go to my trusty America's Test Kitchen Cookbook because they have worked out all the kinks for me.


8 slices quality white sandwich bread
6 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter and whisk it together with milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth.

Soak bread 2 slices at a time in the batter.  In the meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp butter at a time in the non-stick skillet to cook the french toast.  Let excess batter drip off of bread before putting into the pan.  Cook about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Serve with warmed maple syrup.

Now, there a few things I changed in this recipe.  The milk originally called for whole milk, I only had 1% and that worked fine.  The flour called for all -purpose flour and I used whole wheat.  I also left out the salt because I used salted butter, I never even buy unsalted butter.  The original recipe also called for drying out the bread in the oven prior to soaking it in the batter, I am just too lazy for that extra step.

Even with my changes to the already tweaked ATK recipe it was a huge hit at our house, and it made more than enough to freeze for future quick breakfasts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Celebrating the New Year with Nutella Bread Pudding

Well, I went through a lot of changes last year and all for the good.  There are always new things on my plate, which I like.  My #1 priority is to get healthy, I have a lot of living to do and want to feel great doing it.  But of course I wanted to go out with a bang on New Years Eve.

Well that "BANG" was a Nutella Bread Pudding in the crockpot!  I am a lover of hot desserts, especially hot chocolate desserts.

I started with a loaf of challah bread from Rockland Bakery, if you have never been there and are in Rockland County it is a must stop into place.  You walk right into the back of this gigantic "warehouse" where bagels are coming right out of the oven onto a conveyor belt, fresh loaves are wheeled out on huge racks, and oh the pastries and sweets are overwhelming.  You help yourself with a gloved hand of course.  I should do a segment on that place alone, kind of like a field trip.  I get excited just thinking about it.

The recipe can be found at the Americas Test Kitchen Blog, and it was easy to follow.  One of the only changes I made were to prepping the crockpot with an aluminum foil liner, and I replaced it with one of the new crockpot liners.  They are similar to oven bags and they keep the clean up to a minimum.