Daring Bakers #4 Lavash Crackers

Ok, this post will be short and simple. Talk about waiting till the last minute..I did these Friday afternoon while getting ready for a wake of a dear family friend that passed away from Lung Cancer. My favorite part about this months challenge…..NO MESSY KITCHEN! I only had to wash out my KA mixing bowl, […]

Blog Awards and Martha Stewart

It is no secret that I have been seriously behind in my blogging. As you all know it is ohhhhhh sooooooo time consuming, but well worth it! I have received some wonderful awards lately and haven’t had a chance to post them. Thank you to all of you for thinking of me. I appreciate each […]

Happy Fall

Happy Fall y’all! I cant really say I know much about fall, since here in Florida we don’t get it. Well my calender on the fridge says today is the first day of fall. But the thermometer on my house says its still smack dab in the middle of sizzling summer! So many of you […]

Who won?

Thank you for everyone who commented on my Pay It Forward Post.Random.org is how the winner was chosen. And the winner is………….Random Integer GeneratorHere are your random numbers: 2Timestamp: 2008-09-22 02:04:42 UTC And the second person to comment was TANYA at Take the Cannoli. Congrats Tanya! I am very excited to start my little shopping […]

Unacceptable Behavior

No I have not dropped off the face of the earth.I am sorry that I have been absent from posting and visiting all my favorite blogs. Now y’all all know I ALWAYS return ALL comments. Please forgive me, I got sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo terribly behind this week, there is no possible way I can catch up!! Agghhhhh […]

Pay It Forward GIVEAWAY!!

Will you just take a gander at what I got in the mail!!!!! Crazy huh?? Look at all of those goodies.I won a little Giveaway from Amber at Of Chocolate and Mangos. It is the “Pay It Forward” Giveaway. Some person, somewhere in the world started this awesome Pay It Forward game.Basically, all you have […]

Blueberry Caramel Almond Blondies

Now now now…don’t get excited! I am still grounded in the baking department. I still have a whole load of things I haven’t posted about during my baking binge period! I have NEVER been a fan of Almond flavoring. Almond extract just tastes nasty and contrived to me. But yet I still have a bottle […]

6 Not So Quirky Things About Me

Thanks Mikky at My Finds for the fun tag! Check out her site for lots of fun FINDS!

What’s in the Crock Pot?

Isn’t it funny how STRONG the Crock Pot “Brand” is. It seems like all slow cookers are lumped into the name “Crock Pot”. My first slow cooker was a Crock Pot. I had it for many years and it served me well! A few month ago the ceramic liner got a crack in it, so […]

The Ultimate Compliment

I got the ultimate Compliment the other day from my 5 year old son…. Son: “You know what mom?”Me: Trying to cook dinner, half ignoring him…”What honey”Son: “You are a really good cooker.”Me: ” You mean , cook. Thanks sweetie, that means so much to me.”….HUG…. Kids say the cutest things!Well sometimes the say awful […]

Eclairs..Daring Bakers Style

COCONUT ECLAIRS The Daring Bakers has been a wonderful outlet for me to try new things in the kitchen. And the eclairs were no exception. They were SUPER simple to make, but yet again without the Daring Bakers I would have NEVER attempted them. I am not in a blogging mood today..so this will be […]

Product Body Sale

You all know those fabulous products that I am hooked on? Remember from the Banana Bread Trade? Well Miss Joanna is having a sale through Sept 1st You get 20% off everything in the store. So if you have never tried her products..now here is your chance to try them at a reduced price! I […]

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Daring Bakers #4 Lavash Crackers

Ok, this post will be short and simple. Talk about waiting till the last minute..I did these Friday afternoon while getting ready for a wake of a dear family friend that passed away from Lung Cancer.

My favorite part about this months challenge…..NO MESSY KITCHEN!
I only had to wash out my KA mixing bowl, dough hook, rolling pin, and silpat! SCORE!
My husband was crushed when he saw this months challenge. His exact words, “Crackers??”
(a man of few words).needless to say he was disappointed. He wanted the sweet 28 layer cake he was dreaming up in his head!

Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl are the hosts this months and you can view the original recipe on their sites. You can visit all of the other Daring Bakers Crackers here.

These are Lavash crackers..you know the kind of cracker you get when you go out to eat usually with the black sesame seeds on them?! Our hosts wanted this month to be strictly Vegan with an optional Gluten Free Recipe.
I choose the NON gluten free version.
1st version…Rosemary,garlic powder and sea salt crackers with Sun-dried tomato hummus.
2nd version..Cinnamon with Demerara sugar crackers(acorn and apple shaped) with Pumpkin-coconut dip.
Both were very yummy!

Blog Awards and Martha Stewart

It is no secret that I have been seriously behind in my blogging. As you all know it is ohhhhhh sooooooo time consuming, but well worth it! I have received some wonderful awards lately and haven’t had a chance to post them. Thank you to all of you for thinking of me. I appreciate each and everyone of you who read my blog! It make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!!! 🙂

Thank you very much Hayley @ Away With the Fairycakes.

Many Thanks Dawn…Vanilla Sugar

Denise you Rock..visit her @ Run DMT


Thank you very much Jamie..visit Jamie @ My Baking Addiction

Also don’t forget to visit Martha’s blog. Tell her all about your blog and she just might mention yours on hers!!!

Happy Fall

Happy Fall y’all! I cant really say I know much about fall, since here in Florida we don’t get it. Well my calender on the fridge says today is the first day of fall. But the thermometer on my house says its still smack dab in the middle of sizzling summer! So many of you say your nights are starting to cool off. Here in Tampa, you can cut the humidity with a knife and you have to still bathe in Deep Woods Off to warn off the horse sized mosquito’s! Ohhh happy days!!!

Anyways, what a better way to start of “FALL” than turkey? No not the kind we usually pair with mashed potatoes, the Oreo Bread of Turkey!
Aren’t they adorable? I am not sure where they originally came from, probably one of those crafty holiday food magazines. I saw these many moons ago at a party and they always stuck in my head.

Writing the directions down without a visual is hard. But just one look at them and you can pretty much figure out how to make them.
Here is what you need for 1 turkey
2 DOUBLE stuff Oreos
7 Candy Corns
1 malted Milk Ball
1 Reece’s Cup
Chocolate Frosting(the premade kind in the tub)
White, red, orange and black decorating frosting(the kind in the squeeze tube)

Lay the one Oreo down. Take a smear of chocolate frosting and glue the other Oreo so it stand on top of the bottom Oreo(this one serves as the Turkeys back)
With the chocolate frosting, “glue” the Reece’s cup to the bottom and back Oreos
With the chocolate frosting glue the whopper to the top of the Reece’s.
Place 5 candy corns tip down into the vanilla cream of the “back” of the turkey
For the beak…Break off the tip of 1 candy corn and with the white frosting glue it on the malted milk ball.
Dab on the eyes with the white and black frosting.
Make feet with the orange frosting
Make the waddle with the red frosting
Affix 1 candy corm to the rear of the turkey..for his hiney!

DOES MY BUTT LOOK BIG???

Enjoy..the kiddos will get a kick out of these!

Who won?

Thank you for everyone who commented on my Pay It Forward Post.
Random.org is how the winner was chosen.

And the winner is………….
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers: 2
Timestamp: 2008-09-22 02:04:42 UTC

And the second person to comment was

TANYA at Take the Cannoli.

Congrats Tanya! I am very excited to start my little shopping spree for you!!

Unacceptable Behavior

No I have not dropped off the face of the earth.
I am sorry that I have been absent from posting and visiting all my favorite blogs. Now y’all all know I ALWAYS return ALL comments. Please forgive me, I got sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

terribly behind this week, there is no possible way I can catch up!! Agghhhhh
So I am taking a “Go to Jail” card.
I promise I will return to answering everybodys questions with my next post. I promise!!!
Also dont forget to post a comment om my Pay It Foward Giveaway for you chance to win some goodies.

Pay It Forward GIVEAWAY!!

Will you just take a gander at what I got in the mail!!!!! Crazy huh?? Look at all of those goodies.
I won a little Giveaway from Amber at Of Chocolate and Mangos. It is the “Pay It Forward” Giveaway. Some person, somewhere in the world started this awesome Pay It Forward game.
Basically, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. And you will be entered for a chance to win a LOVELY box of goodies from me. Ohhhhh, I cant wait to go shopping!
But please don’t leave a comment on this post unless you agree that if you win, you will again, “Pay It Forward” to someone else. How about you leave a comment that states your favorite food. Easy enough??? The posting ends at 10 PM EST on Sunday Sept 21st.
Have you been to Amber’s blog?? Oh, she is a HOOT!! She has one hell of a sense of humor!!
Stop by her blog here to see what she got in her mail box from winnings!

Sniffle Sniffle..The bottle of Steak Sauce fell out of the box when I was moving it! Um yeah, steak sauce all over my tile floor. The grout sure did love to suck up all that lovely DARK BROWN sauce!!! It was a bitch to clean up!!!

The bottom BLEW right out of it!!!!


Exotic spices

A nice change of pace from Shake and Bake

I love finishing salts..and all of these smell heavenly!

There are some yummy looking Burgers in this book.


Amber even included something for the kiddos!! So thoughtful.


My husband hates mushrooms..so these are alllllll mine.

Oh the possibilities!!!

Cute Wood Ware and Napkins

Israeli CousCous

Blueberry Caramel Almond Blondies

Now now now…don’t get excited! I am still grounded in the baking department. I still have a whole load of things I haven’t posted about during my baking binge period!
I have NEVER been a fan of Almond flavoring. Almond extract just tastes nasty and contrived to me. But yet I still have a bottle in the pantry??!! Along side of every other extract know to man..its parked right next to my Root Beer extract. Does anyone else out there have an absurd amount of extracts?
I was perusing the food blog world and fell upon these bad boys on Smashing Licks.
And for some unknown reason, I had to bake them immediately!! Even with the almond extract, I STILL had to bake them! It took like 5 seconds to whip them up. The batter was really thick, so I was VERY tempted to add milk. But soooooo unlike me, I stuck to the way the recipe was written. And I am so very happy I did. These little bad boys were out of this world. Hmmmm, maybe I do like almond extract(in small amounts).
I found they were best the night they were made. The next day, the flavor was still the same amazing out of the oven flavor..but they lost a bit of chew. So eat them all in one sitting, still steaming out of the oven!!!! Yes, they are that good!!!
Amazing Caramel Blueberry Almond Blondies
1 cup granulated sugar
1.5 tbs honey
1 stick melted butter
1 egg
1.5 tsp almond extract (feel free to use vanilla extract instead)
1 cup flour
Dash of salt
1 cup fresh blueberries (or more if youd like)
nuts (opt)
Combine the sugar and honey until it is a thoroughly combined crumbly mixture.
Then pour in the butter and the egg and mix until well combined.
Add the almond extract.
Stir in the flour and salt until everything smooth and fold in the blueberries. (If you add nuts, add them now).
Pour into a greased baking sheet, (bang on counter to get out the air bubbles) and bake at 350º for about 35 – 45 min until golden brown and semi firm.(It will be a little soft, and when a toothpick is inserted, stuff will stick to the toothpick)
***I used a 8 X 8 pan***

What’s in the Crock Pot?

Isn’t it funny how STRONG the Crock Pot “Brand” is. It seems like all slow cookers are lumped into the name “Crock Pot”. My first slow cooker was a Crock Pot. I had it for many years and it served me well! A few month ago the ceramic liner got a crack in it, so I had to toss it!
I was totally fine with my loss..because that meant I could get a new shiny toy! Waho!!!!
I decided on the All-Clad 6 1/2 Qt. slow cooker! Its bad ass!!! I love shiny stuff! Especially diamonds! What??Did I say diamonds..husband are you reading this??? Hint Hint!!!
Anyhooooo…I love to cook in my slow cooker. Cant get much simpler than throwing all the junk in there in the morning and it being done in 8 hours without me having to do any work!!! Love it.

I decided on some BBQ shredded Beef with Whole Grain Buns!
Yum!
I made these over the weekend. Too bad Jenny at the Picky Palate didn’t post her BBQ sauce recipe until today, cause I would have loved to have tried it! It looks soooo much better than the Bottled junk!

Here’s what you do..

3 1/2 lb organic chuck Roast
1 large bottle of BBQ sauce (or if your fancy..make your own)
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Salt
Pepper
A gulg of vinegar

Rub the meat with the garlic powder, onion powder,salt and pepper. But the meat into the crock pot and cover it with the BBQ sauce and dump the vinegar in. SET IT AND FORGET IT!!
Set it on high for 7 hours.
Take the meat out after hour 7.
Shred it and get rid of all the fatty stuff! (Yucky)
Put it back into the crock pot and cook it on low for another hour!!
Enjoy

P.s…Sorry to my vegetarian readers..I always feel bad when I put up a meat post! I don’t want to gross anyone out.


Have you seen these Slow Cooker Liners???? OMG.. I will never cook anything in my slow cooker without them!! LOVE THEM! No cleaning of your Slow Cooker Required! NICE!!!

The Ultimate Compliment

I got the ultimate Compliment the other day from my 5 year old son….

Son: “You know what mom?”
Me: Trying to cook dinner, half ignoring him…”What honey”
Son: “You are a really good cooker.”
Me: ” You mean , cook. Thanks sweetie, that means so much to me.”….HUG….

Kids say the cutest things!
Well sometimes the say awful things as well….like in the grocery store yesterday..my 3 year old sweet daughter said, “Look at that ladies big butt.” Granted, her butt was on the large side.
I don’t think the lady heard her, but I was mortified. And quickly told my daughter, that wasn’t nice.
I suppose we have to take the good with the bad!
Whats the cutest or worst thing your child has ever said???

Sorry No Weight Watcher Wednesday today. I haven’t cooked anything spectacular this week.

Eclairs..Daring Bakers Style

COCONUT ECLAIRS

The Daring Bakers has been a wonderful outlet for me to try new things in the kitchen. And the eclairs were no exception. They were SUPER simple to make, but yet again without the Daring Bakers I would have NEVER attempted them.

I am not in a blogging mood today..so this will be short!

The hosts this month were Meetak and Tony Tahhan.

Check out all of the other Daring Bakers Creations HERE
With the exception of the Pastry cream I followed the directions exactly.
I made A Delicious COCONUT pastry cream

(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven.

Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:•

Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)•

Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk

• ½ cup (125g) water

• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

• ¼ teaspoon sugar

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour

• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your hand mixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.:

Notes

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk

• 4 large egg yolks

6 tbsp (75g) sugar

• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted

7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted

2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Notes:

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

(makes 1 cup or 300g

1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream

• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

• 1 cup (250 g) water

• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream

• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts

Product Body Sale

You all know those fabulous products that I am hooked on? Remember from the Banana Bread Trade?

Well Miss Joanna is having a sale through Sept 1st
You get 20% off everything in the store.
So if you have never tried her products..now here is your chance to try them at a reduced price!
I promise you will love them!
Go to http://www.productbody.com/ and shop away. And don’t forget to use the coupon code TROOPS to get you 20% off!