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Easy Toffee!, Recipe rewind because somethings are too good to miss

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Thursday December 24, 2009. 

(I was a ) Big Fat Candy Baby

I have always been too frightened to make candy. The thermometer, the boiling hot, the splashing of the boiling hot, etc etc. A big fat scared candy baby! But I come from a long line of pioneer women, really I do. My grandmother on my father's side migrated to California in the back of a covered wagon in about 1907. My grandmother on my mother's side was born at home by a visiting midwife, in a kitchen warmed by a wood stove, that was used for cooking. A bit different from midwife-assisted births of today.

In looking back there was not much these women were too frightened to do, including making candy. Which during the war, one of them did. It was how they survived financially. The sugar ration was turned into candy for profit, profit that put other food on the table.

But for me, no way. I bought my candy, thank you very much. Until today. I found this post, and thought, what a perfect starting place. Let's make Toffee, shall we?

EasyToffee!
adapted from which name?

1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c large broken walnuts (between 1/4 - 1/2 inch in size)
1/2 c chocolate chips

Butter (or spray with Pam) the bottom and sides of a 8" pan, scatter walnuts over the bottom. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat, add brown sugar. Over medium heat continue to stir while mixture boils for 6-7 minutes.










I found with my stove I had to turn down the setting slightly as the mixture cooked, so it would not get too hot and burn. This is hot, be careful with the spurting, that is why I chose a large flat bottomed pan.


Pour cooked toffee evenly over the walnuts, rotate pan gently for candy to go to the corners. Sprinkle with the chips, let sit one minute, spread chocolate to cover the entire surface.











I think the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to cool! When cool, break into pieces.



Since I made this recipe  or a gift, I used a springform pan for easy removal. A quick gift wrap and a bow, and I will be done.











As the hours count down, I hope all is happy and good for you and your loved ones! Thanks so much for your visits here this year, and please come back again!

As always I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!




4

Real Fruit Cake, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday December 9, 2009.

Real Fruit Cake, made with dry fruit. From Alton Brown.

Real Fruit Cake, made with dried fruits. From Alton Brown. This is the best fruit cake I have ever eaten!
Real Fruit Cake, made with dry fruit.

I love fruit cake, all kinds. It is dense, richly flavored and always a treat. I have wanted to bake an old fashioned fruit cake; with dried fruits, rather than the artificially colored "fruit cake mix" found in the produce section this time of year. I took a quick search on Google and I found this recipe by Alton Brown. Now I don't watch the food network, but the lovely Jess does. I took a moment to read the reviews for this cake, and that was all it took. He calls it Free Range Fruitcake, and invites the cook to have a good time, so that is what I did. This looks like a lot of work, but it is easy to break down if time is short. It goes together very quickly.

The fruit got to hang out with the rum all night. This smelled so good, every time I stirred it!

Free Range Fruitcake
adapted from Alton Brown

1 c diced apricots
1 c diced dates
1 c currents
1 c dried cranberries
1/4 c chopped candied ginger
1 c golden rum

Stir together and let rest overnight covered or heat on stove top or microwave to hydrate. Set aside to cool if using the heat method.


The next day or when cool, combine in a large non reactive pan:
the fruit and rum combination
1 T lemon juice
zest of 2 oranges
1 c coffee
1 c sugar
1 1/4 sticks of butter
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp gr allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp gr nutmeg

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 - 10 minutes. Most of the liquid will be evaporated. Set aside to cool. You may stop and place in the refrigerator if desired, simply bring to room temperature to proceed. To make the batter:


1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to mix together. 

2 eggs

1 c pecan halves, that have been toasted and broken into pieces

additional rum or brandy for spritzing

Add the flour mixture to the fruits and spices in the pan, stir quickly to incorporate flour mixture into the fruit. Make a well in the mixture, add the eggs. Beat with a wooden spoon to mix well. There should be no streaks of egg or dry flour.  Stir in the broken pecans.



Scrape batter into prepared bundt pan, bake 325 degrees for 50 minutes. If not completely cooked when tested, return to the oven and bake additional 10 minutes. Let cool, 20 minutes then carefully turn cake out. Let cool, spritz with rum and/or brandy. Check cake every 3 days, if dry, spritz with more brandy. Cake should "rest" 2 weeks before serving.

Real Fruit Cake, made with dried fruits. From Alton Brown. Ready to bake.
Real Fruit Cake, made with dry fruit. Ready to bake.

This smells so good, I think it is going to be a long 2 weeks!

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 

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PS, you may also enjoy our Homemade Household page, it can be found right at the top of the blog!
4

Homemade Dishwasher Powder and truth in blogging!

I have through the years become offended by the high chemical content in modern day cleaners. My nose was the first victim, it burned just walking down the cleaning products aisle at the market. Then there was the second victim, my perfume, it was overpowered by those same chemicals that burned my nose. It was time to make a change, I started with a simple window cleaner of rubbing alcohol, water and vinegar. Spray on and dry off with crumpled newspaper. Now a few years later, I have several I make and I am happy to share them with you.

In the archives you will find a spray cleaner and Laundry Powder.. You can find them here:

Easy Clean , spray cleaner

Laundry Powder

Now I have a great Dishwasher Powder to share also, that needs improvements.

 Yep, for this recipe, this little guy is a star!

Dishwasher Powder
adapted from yahoo

1 c borax
1 c baking soda
1/4 c salt
2 packages (half an ounce) unsweetened Kool Aid

If the borax has lumps, press through a sieve. Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Place in a sealed container and use 2 T in each cup to wash a load of dishes.  Especially dirty dishes may need additional cleaner.


Your dishes will sparkle! 
See below for updates!

UPDATE: I have observed that the family members in my household each load the dishwasher differently. This included the scrapping/pre-rising of the dirty dishes. These differences may affect the final outcome of the washed dishes. While I don't pre-rinse I do scrape with a flexible spatula. I also will make wet any dish with egg, as I have found that dried egg is difficult to get cleaned off. Cheese is the biggest challenge for this cleaner, and I disagree with the original article, you will need 2 T of cleaner (or more depending upon your dishes) in each cup.

Long term use:  I have read about other homemade dishwasher soaps and those articles have indicated that for long term use the homemade powder was not effective, and unfortunately this one have proven to be true at my house. I am not sure if it is water temperature, my water source/type or that it simply is not strong enough to do the job. But back to the drawing board, not giving up, but this is not as good as it needs to be. 

I guess it is stay tuned for more!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments. If you like what you see here, please feel free to share it with a friend.

This post will be shared with:

Hearth and Soul #73 @ Moms Sunday Cafe

Key words:  homemade, cleaners, fragrance free


3

Gingerbread and Ginger Snap Cookie Mix

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

This is one of my favorite recipes, gingerbread. But not just any gingerbread, a homemade mix that can be used 2 ways. This will come in very handy this upcoming holiday season.

Gingerbread and Ginger Snaps from your own homemade mix.
Gingerbread and Ginger Snap Cookies, homemade mix.
This baking sheet has baked 1000's of cookies! 
Often times, gingersnaps. 

I have had this book for 30 plus years. These two ladies seem unstoppable in what they will cook. My love and respect for cookbooks will always show that old does not mean useless. I get just as much enjoyment and information from my old books, as the new ones!

So many things marked for future fun in the kitchen.

I love gingerbread and chewy gingersnap cookies. So when I was looking and marking things I wanted to try and make ahead (some are mixes), I came across a homemade mix that will make a gingerbread or chewy gingersnap cookies.



BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT, Authoritative recipes for the foods that most people never knew they could make at home.

by: Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie

Gingerbread and/or Ginger Cookie Mix
Makes 2 packages

1 c sugar
4 t ground coriander
3 1/2 t baking powder
3 t ground ginger
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cloves
4 c flour- spoon lightly into measure cup and level

Measure all ingredients except flour into a large bowl and mix together using a whisk to combine.

Add flour and continue to whisk until all ingredients are mixed together and no white streaks of flour are present.

Divide the mixture into two batches (2 1/2 c each), if any amount remains in the large mixing bowl, divide equally between the two packages. Store at room temperature in either plastic bags or glass jars.

Gingerbread
350 degrees

1 c boiling water
3/4 stick (6 T) butter
3/4 c light un-sulphured molasses
1 package (1/2 batch) Gingerbread/Ginger Cookie Mix
1 egg plus 1 yolk

Combine boiling water, butter and molasses. Stir until butter melts, let cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl combine the package of mix and the cooled butter mixture, stir to combine. In a small bowl, beat the egg and yolk, stir the egg mixture into the ginger bread mixture, mixing well. Pour into prepared 8 inch pan.

Bake 45 minutes or until top spring back when lightly touched. Let cool before cutting. Serve with whipped cream or lemon sauce.

Serves 9

Make your gingersnaps extra delicious with a simple lemon glaze.
Ginger Cookies
375 degrees

1/2 stick butter (4 T)
2/3 light un-sulphured molasses
2 eggs beaten to combine well
1 package Gingerbread/Ginger Cookie Mix

Beat the butter and molasses together, stir in the eggs and mix lightly. Add the cookie mix and combine until mixture is evenly dampened. Drop by teaspoons onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake 6 - 8 minutes or until the centers spring back when gently touched. Remove from cookies sheets and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 4 dozen

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 


And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

7

Old Fashion Pound Cake

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Old Fashioned Pound Cake, easy, delicious, from your oven!
Old Fashion Pound Cake

Until today, I had never made a pound cake. There is one right now in the oven, baking up to a golden brown wonderfulness. I love pound cake, it is buttery and delicious.

Pound Cake
from:  Jim Fobel's Old Fashioned Baking Book
makes 1 9X5 loaf
325 oven

the intro:  Pound cake derives its name from the original formula from which it was made; one pound each of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, enough to make 2 loaves. This old recipe of Aunt Irma's calls for approximately, one-half pound of each of the ingredients and yields one loaf.

2 c all purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder


1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 t vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour (prepare in your preferred method) a 9X5 inch loaf pan.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.


In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.


Gradually beat in the sugar, until blended.

One at a time beat in the eggs. Add the vanilla extract.


 This morning I had a special helper while baking this cake. She learned to crack eggs, opening them will need additional practice, good thing we like to bake, practice does make perfect!

 The butter, sugar, egg mixture will look curdled, don't let that stop you because....

Add the dry ingredients and beat just until smooth.

This batter comes together beautifully.

Turn batter into the prepared pan, bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Time to get things cleaned up!



 Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 


And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

This will be my entry for Cookbook Sundays, link opens at 6:00pm.
6

Easy Clean!

Have you ever had one of those days, where you walk into the kitchen to start a meal and the counters are cluttered? Not cluttered with dishes, cluttered with the remains of the day. Crumbs from getting out a few crackers for a snack, or sugar spilled from sweetening coffee or tea. "Cluttered" in the way a busy household kitchen becomes, as people use it. When that happens and if it has not already, it certainly will, have this simple cleaner ready to go and you will have a clean work area in a jiffy.


"Easy Clean" Spray Cleaner
adapted from:  source not remembered, but thanked!

1 16 oz empty spray bottle
water
2 T white vinegar
3 drops of liquid dish washing soap

Fill bottle with water almost to the top, add vinegar and liquid soap. Top with spray assembly, secure tightly. Turn bottle over about 10 times to mix the vinegar and liquid soap with the water without creating suds.

To use, spray your "cluttered" surface evenly with cleaner.

Wipe with a dampened cloth.

Done.

Now we can get cooking!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by.
I appreciate your visits and your wonderful comments!

This post is shared with:
hearth and soul hop #66 right here at MomsSundayCafe!
gallery of favorites @ 21 century housewife
6

Chocolate Mint Zucchini Bread, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday August 11, 2010.



I had hoped to get this post out earlier, but after picking berries I thought I should snip off the Dusty Miller flowers. It had flowered so beautifully this year, and with so many blossoms it had fallen over with it's own weight!

As usual, I must have been deep in thought (serious or otherwise!) while I snipped because I mistook one of my own fingers for a stem and took a "snip" out of the end of it - ouch! One compression bandage and a few hours later it is fine. Tender, but fine. So lets make some zucchini bread already.

I found these beautiful zucchini while out blueberry picking at a local organic farm. I knew right away I wanted to make something special with them and decided to make up a special chocolate and zucchini bread that was just a bit different than most. Only 3 zucchini went into this loaf, but I definitely have plans for the rest.


Chocolate Mint Walnut almost sounds like a candy bar, doesn't it? I have noticed a lot of different recipes, for zucchini bread. I have also noticed that these new and exciting offerings are really a loaf style cake. A loaf cake serves up easy, is usually complete on it's own and can be packed easy in a lunch. Sounds great to me, and just in time, isn't school going to start some time soon?

Chocolate Mint Zucchini Bread
recipe by the seat of my pants!
oven 350 degrees

2 c flour
1/2 c dry unsweetened baking cocoa
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda

2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/3 c oil 
3/4 c yogurt or buttermilk

2 medium zucchini shredded - about 1 1/2 cups
1/4 c chiffonade mint

1 - 2 c chopped walnuts, use what pleases your family

1/3 - 1/2 c chocolate chips to garnish top of loaf before baking - if desired


Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl, use a large spoon or whisk to combine and mix in the dry cocoa completely.


In a large bowl, beat eggs, add remaining ingredients through yogurt, beat well to combine.


Stir dry ingredients into wet along with the zucchini and mint. Fold in chopped walnuts.


Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, if using and bake 45-55 minutes or until done in your oven.

Time to clean up while the loaf is baking. But the good smell coming from the oven is worth it!

Enjoy! As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop by.
I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

This post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's country cottage

5

Take Big Bites, by Linda Ellerbee

This is a wonderful book!

More than just a great read, it gives you the opportunity to examine not only the choices made by Ms. Ellerbee but your own as well. We all take risks, we all think from time to time, "did I make the right choice". We all need to look back and see that life was one great adventure.

This book could also have been titled " How I worked very hard and cooked up a great life, full of wonder and memories."

One could assert that these lessons are disguised within the chapters. After each adventure, arranged chronologically through the years, there is a recipe to share or end the story.

This recipe touched my heart.


Oranges for Children
adapted from:
From Chapter Fourteen, set in the year 2002

Step 1:

Buy a bag of oranges.

Step 2:

Give them to children, that don't have oranges.




Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

You can also sign up for Our Sunday Cafe posts by email, thank you for subscribing!






11

Homemade Bay Leaf Seasoning, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Saturday March 7, 2009.

Homemade Bay Leaf Seasoning



I went to my spice drawer this morning and pulled out the empty Bay Leaf Seasoning jar. I was glad I kept it after my adventure to Penzy's brought me back home void of a new jar of the beloved seasoning blend, because the empty jar held the secret list of ingredients.

I had picked up bay leaves, hoping I could re-create the blend. Using the ingredients list I set about putting together my best guess of what should be in this herb blend. When finished I decided to take the full jar as an omen that the homemade mix will be good.

Come on now, how many times have you made something at home and it was a perfectly fit? The label lists the ingredients in order of weight, and I calculated them to be as follows:


1/2 oz bag of fresh bay leaves
2 T thyme leaves
2 T rosemary leaves
1 T basil leaves
1 T dried onion
1 T oregano
1/2 t ground pepper
2 T garlic salt
1 T plain salt

Place the bay leaves in the grinder and process until ground. Add remaining and process until powdery. It looks like the real thing, smells like the real thing, so I am hoping it will taste like the real thing. I guess it is now time to cook something with it...............................

Here are some ways you will enjoy using this herb blend,

Season potatoes when you make fried potatoes.

Mix into butter to create a compound butter for vegetables.

Use the compound butter to spread on the cut side of a loaf of french bread, sprinkle with cheese and broil.

Add to flour, when dredging meat before pan browning.
 
Vegetable Beef Soup, found here.

I am sure you will come up with your own favorites!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by,
I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's country cottage

key words:  Penzy's Bay Leaf Seasoning, homemade herb blends
4

Motor Oil Chicken

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

We have been busy here, getting the garage re-organized to bring in an upright freezer. I am happier about this than you might imagine. No more lost food. I know it seems silly, but someone in this household can only place new food on top of old food. And then the food is lost, not like lost in space, but lost to ruin. The small chest freezer can now be used to store large purchased items like, rice, flour etc until it is opened and put into the pantry.

Tonight for dinner, we had marinated chicken thighs. With a funny name, they sure tasted good though! This comes from The Friday Friends, and we will make this again. I also think this would be great for ribs too.
You can make the sauce up and "mop" your meat with it and serve some on the side. Or reduce the vinegar and marinade your meat of choice until dinner time and then get grilling!

Motor Oil Chicken, full flavor chicken, marinated and grilled.
Motor Oil Chicken

Motor Oil Chicken
adapted from: The Friday Friends

1/2 cup white vinegar - I used cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
4 cloves garlic--crushed
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot sauce -  I will increase this in future batches
1/2 tsp ground mustard seed
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1-2 lbs chicken

Combine all marinade ingredients, add chicken (or ribs!) and marinade until  dinner time, about 4-6 hours. You may let the meat marinade longer, however the longer it is in the marinade the stronger the vinegar taste will be. 


Remove meat from marinade, broil or gill until done. 

 (it is not pretty, but this is where the flavor is!)

Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 


And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!

this post will be shared with:
hearth n soul @ Moms Sunday Cafe
7

Nova Scotia Cream Cake

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Nova Scotia Cream Cake, blueberries, sour cream, delicious!
Nove Scotia Cream Cake

When I first spotted this dessert, I knew right away I wanted to make it! Right now we are using up last years  blueberries, getting ready to put away this year's crop. Although the recipe calls for fresh, I thought I would simply use what I had and adapt, this cake was made from freezer stored blueberries and it turned out wonderful!

Nova Scotia Cream Cake
adapted from: Concetta's cafe
375 degrees

Crust ingredients:
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 cube (1/2 c) butter, sliced

1 t vanilla
1 egg

Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and butter in food processor, process until "crumbly". In a medium-large bowl, beat egg and vanilla, stir in the crumb mixture. Mix lightly until larger crumbs form. Place mixture into prepared 9-inch spring form pan.  Press gently.


4 c fresh blueberries (I used IQF blueberries)

Spread blueberries evenly over the top of the crumb mixture.


Topping:

2 c sour cream
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1/2 c sugar

Beat egg, vanilla, and sugar until smooth. Stir in the sour cream. Pour mixture over blueberries.



Spread to cover evenly. Bake 45 minutes, check to make sure the top is not over browning. Bake additional 15 - 20 minutes. If using frozen berries, at 45 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and make up to 45 minutes more. The top will be firm and the edges will be golden brown.


The hard part of this recipe? Waiting for this to cool so I can enjoy a slice.......

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 


You can also sign up for Our Sunday Cafe posts by email, thank you for subscribing!
15
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