Sunday, October 30, 2011

Finished Object- Leaf Lace Hat

I don't think that I'm getting nearly as much done this weekend as I'd hoped:(  ....but, my bathrooms are clean, floors mopped, dinner's in the slow cooker, and dough for Halloween party snacks is in the bread machine......and I managed to complete a little knitting project that was hanging around.  This is my second attempt at the 'Foliage Pattern' from this time using Cascade 220 in colour 8908.... a nice aqua.  I was pretty happy with it.....and it seems my neighbour was too.  It now has a new home.  It is a nice little project for gift giving.....there may be more of these on my needles.  Hope your weekend is wonderful and productive!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nice & Easy Cookies

Now here is a quick and easy cookie recipe for when time short.  It's quick, easy, made with ingredients you probably have on hand, and really quite yummy!  I had been thinking the last few days about what kind of cookie I could make that I had not made in a long time. This fit the bill and was pretty quick to boot.  It is a little different, but not so much so that you'll have to worry if some kids won't like them. They are pretty mainstream yummy....and the coffee flavour in them is really very subtle.  It makes a nice soft almost 'cake' like cookie.
Coffee N Chip Pan Cookies
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup coffee, (cold)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F  Line 11X17 inch pan with foil and spray with PAM.  Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla and cold coffee. Next beat in baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and finally the flour.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if desired.  Spread dough evenly in pan.  Bake 15 minutes until cookie springs back when touched in the center of the pan.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.  Slice when cool and store in sealed container.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

BBQ Sauce for Gift Giving or Keeping

Last weekend.....I think I mentioned....we had our neighbourhood pot luck BBQ and I brought over slow cooker BBQ brisket.  It is so easy I am embarrassed to tell you just how certainly does not warrant a recipe.  Take (1) 4 lb brisket and toss it in the slow cooker.  Pour over a half bottle of your favourite BBQ sauce and let it cook for 8 hours on low heat.  (I let mine cook over night while we were sleeping....I'm so lazy) Remove the cooked brisket and shred the meat.  Clean out the slow cooker and pitch out the liquid....there will be a lot of fat released from the cooking and you probably would like to get rid of that....I know I would.  Toss the shredded meat back into the slow cooker along with the remaining half bottle of your favourite BBQ sauce and let sit in the slow cooker on low or a keep warm setting if you have it.  You can add more BBQ sauce if you like it to be more saucy.  Serve on a split roll with coleslaw.  YUM.
Now this is the BBQ sauce we used.  I have made it in larger batches and canned it along with a few other different flavours to give away for Christmas gifts.  It's a nice gift for someone that you know who likes to grill!  The year we did this for gifts, DH made little wooden crates to hold a row of the four different flavours we made and we printed labels for the tops of each jar with the names of the flavours on it.  This time I just poured the batch into a recycled BBQ sauce bottle and threw it in the fridge.  Oh, and we added a 'saucy' little label....just for kicks.
 Smokey BBQ Sauce 
(Adapted from a copy cat recipe found on the internet many years ago)

1 cup ketchup
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp liquid smoke
Add all ingredients to a pot except the liquid smoke.  Bring to bubble and lower heat to simmer for 30 - 40 minutes to thicken the sauce.  If it become to thick, you can thin is out with a splash of red wine vinegar. Once it has been cooked down, stir in the liquid smoke.   Seal while hot in canning jars with the boiling water batch method to keep for long periods or for gift giving......or keep bottled in fridge for immediate use.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

The chill is in the air now, although the sky is bright and clear, and leaves are falling without the assistance of the breeze.  It has been beautiful autumn weather for long walks, mugs of hot chocolate, sweaters and scarves, and warming fires.  This weekend, we did all of these......I only wish that the weekend could be longer!  
To finish out the weekend, we had our annual outdoor pot luck block party.  We had a good turn out with good food and drinks, and best of all....a warm fire.  It was a good opportunity to use up the huge beef brisket in my freezer and I pulled out a recipe that I had not made in quite a few years.  Pumpkin Cake....from my Auntie Pat.  I made them as cupcakes.....and they were OMG good if I do say so myself.  They are a nice seasonally appropriate cake for autumn.......I kept 8 for our house and brought the remaining over to share at the pot luck.  They would be adorable in mini muffin tins....Maybe next time:)  If you'd like to try they are.  They are light and moist and topped with a yummy cream cheese topping. 
Pumpkin Bars.......or Cupcakes
2 cups pumpkin
4 eggs beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Blend the pumpkin, beaten eggs, and oil in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the two sugars, the salt, baking powder, soda, and spices.  Fold in the sifted flour and pour into a greased 9X13 inch pan or into 24 cup muffin pan fitted with paper liners.  Bake at 375F for about 25-30 minutes for the cake or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes.  Check with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake or cup cakes.  They are done when the toothpick pulls out clean.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz brick of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp light cream if needed
Cream the cheese with the butter.  Whip in the sugar and vanilla and thin with a bit of cream if necessary. Tint with colouring if desired and spread or pipe onto cake or cupcakes.  If icing gets to soft for piping, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up and try again.  Store frosted cake in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm Back....with Chewy Marshmallow Blondies

Well......I just spent 2 weeks away in Chicago that were an absolute test of my fortitude.  Now I am back.....sanity nearly in tact, and try to fix all the issues that accumulated in my absence.  I did manage to spend an entire long weekend doing very nearly nothing.....well nothing very was nice!  
I took some nice walks in the autumn air, and tried to remind myself of all the little things that I should be very thankful for......(It was Thanksgiving this past in Canada).  I came up with quite a few...enough to confirm that my glass is really half full:)
While I had brought along a small knitting project to work on that would be easily finished on my two weeks away.....the schedule was so horrific, that I didn't even get to start it.  Well this weekend......I started it and got a good way through it as well:)  I'm starting to think about making Christmas presents now.....before it's too late!
And......back to making school lunches after a two week break!  I decided to try this recipe for the lunch box.  It is nut free (which is good for Ike's school) but would only benefit from the addition of nuts if desired.  It's sweet and chewy goodness and sure to be a favourite with the kids......with a nice glass of cold milk!
Sweet and Chewy Blondie Squares
1/2 cup butter
1 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups marshmallow (mini)
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 8 inch square pan with foil or parchment. Melt together the butter and butterscotch chips and set aside to cool.  Beat eggs, vanilla and brown sugar and stir in the butter mixture together with it.  Stir the flour, salt, and baking powder in to the wet ingredients until well mixed.  Stir in the marshmallows and chocolate chips....and any nuts it you'd like.  Spread into prepared pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until top becomes golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and slice when cool.