Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ryder's First Zoo Trip

In celebration of Ryder's friend Uriah's first birthday, we got to take a trip through the zoo. It was Ryder's first time, and he had a blast! He loves animals and this trip was no exception.

Uriah, Faith and Ryder in the wagon together.

Ryder ain't scared of nothin'!

Uriah driving the tractor with Ryder navigating.

Ryder and Daddy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How's It Coming?

Good, I think. We are going to be bombarded with berries as the different varieties ripen and cycle through. Right now all we've got are some strawberries and some mulberries. The mulberry tree by the creek is already ripe but the one by the garden is just starting to turn. The blackberries are trying to get some color too.

Alright, I'll admit it, I copped out. My tomato and pepper seedlings were just growing too slow. I bought some plants this week. I'm still going to try to cultivate my seedlings, maybe for fall planting or something, but I didn't want to be without tomatoes and peppers in my garden this year. Assuming the weather or bugs don't get them anyway. So now my garden is starting to look like a garden.

The pomegranate is in full bloom, and there are lots of blossoms. Hopefully we'll actually get some fruit this year.  Last year we got one little squatty pomegranate and Nick picked it before it was ready. Although I don't think it would have been very good anyway.

I'm also trying to grow celery. I've already started three plants, but they all died once I planted them in my garden. So I started two more and I'm going to see if they do any better in a pot. More than likely the soil in my garden is poor, so hopefully they'll like the potting soil. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chocolate Toffee Matzo

My absolute favorite unleavened bread recipes, this is so quick and easy and ohh so yummy! And best of all, the toffee isn't break-your-teeth-like, it's soft and easy to eat.

Chocolate Toffee Matzo

4 sheets matzo
1 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line jellyroll pan with wax paper or foil. Arrange matzo pieces in single layer on pan.

Melt butter with sugar, bring to a boil.

Cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly, and pour over matzo.

Bake 5 minutes.

Remove from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand until chips are softened, about 5 minutes.

Spread chocolate evenly over toffee layer on matzo. Refrigerate 1 hour. Break into pieces to serve.

Here's a look at the treat box of all the goodies I made. Gives you an idea of what all the sweets looked like when finished.

London Bars

This is a family favorite for the non-chocolate crowd. Crazy people if you ask me, but I still enjoy these tasty morsels.

London Bars

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. shredded coconut
1 c. chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter, 1/2 c. sugar and 1 c. flour till crumbly. Press into greased square 9x9 pan.

Bake 10 minutes.

 In medium bowl, beat eggs. Add 3 Tbsp flour, 1 c. sugar and salt and mix well.

Add coconut, pecans and vanilla.

Drop by spoonfuls and spread over crust. Bake 20-30 minutes - watch because they burn easy. Cut into bars.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Swiss Cheese Puffs

This is a classic cheese puff that works great as a roll with dinner or a sandwich roll. Omit the cheese and you have regular puff pastry!

Swiss Cheese Puffs

1 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch nutmeg
1 c. water
6 Tbsp butter
4 eggs
1 c. shredded swiss cheese
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Combine flour, salt, sugar, cayenne and nutmeg in small bowl. Set aside.

 Bring water and butter to boil in medium saucepan over high heat, and boil until butter has melted.

Reduce heat to low; add flour mix all at once. Stir vigorously until mix leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Stir about a minute to dry the mix. Remove from heat.

 Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until completely smooth.

Fold in cheese.

Drop by 1/4 cup fulls in a ring on prepared cookie sheet (as you see, I used a pizza pan). Brush with beaten egg.

Bake 30 minutes, turn oven off and leave in oven for 30 minutes.

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies

A light, fruity cookie that can be enjoyed by all.

Raspberry Shortbread Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. white flour
1 (10oz) jar seedless raspberry jam
1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp almond extract

Beat butter and sugar until well blended. Gradually add flour.

Divide dough into 6 equal parts.

Roll each ball into a log. Place on greased cookie sheets, 3 to a sheet. Press a 1/2 inch indentation into each log.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon jam evenly into indentations. Bake 5 more minutes.

Whisk together powdered sugar, water and almond extract.

Drizzle over warm shortbread. Let set. Cut each strip diagonally.

* I forgot to use white flour and used wheat instead. The shortbread turned out more crumbly in the pictures.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Way better than a Reeses, this bar has the best peanut butter chocolaty taste!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 egg yolks - slightly beaten
 2/3 c. chocolate chips
Peanut Butter Mix:
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
Top Layer:
1/3 c. chocolate chips
1 Tbsp oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, 1/2 c. butter and egg yolks until crumbly. Press evenly in bottom of greased 13x9 pan. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Sprinkle 2/3 c. chocolate chips - return to oven 2 minutes.

Spread chocolate evenly with the back of a spoon. Chill in fridge until chocolate is set.

Mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, 1/4 c. butter and vanilla until well blended. Stir in milk.

Press evenly over set chocolate.

Melt chocolate chips and oil.

Drizzle over peanut butter mix.

Chill until set. Cut into bars.

Angel Kisses

Light as a cloud, sweet goodness comes in the form of these meringue & chocolate cookies.

Angel Kisses
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until stiff, not dry.

Gradually add sugar and flavorings, stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

 Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Heat oven to 350 degrees - turn off. Put in oven overnight.

Note: I usually make these alongside the Peanut Butter Bars. The bars have 2 egg whites left over and they bake at 350.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Holyday Weekend

It’s a new year and the holy day season has begun. We had a wonderful Night to be Much Observed at my parents’ house. Lots of good food, drink, and friendship.


Classic family picture

He's Irish and German, what do you expect?

Nick cookin' shish-kabobs.

 Of course, Dad had to share his new favorite toy. Er, I mean, Mom's new toy.

Mom did a sort of Napa Valley theme, mostly going along with wine. She did a beautiful tablescape.

I have a few new recipes that I’ll be posting soon, some from NTBMO and some of my favorite unleavened dessert recipes.

We had an enjoyable holy day morning. We stuck around the house, just chillin’ and lovin’ the beautiful day. I made crepes for breakfast (well, I mixed them up and Nick cooked them) and we topped them off with leftover raspberry mousse.

Ryder got his own crepe!

I walk outside, heading to the garden, when I find a snake! It wasn’t very big, but it had pretty markings. Nick looked in its mouth and told me it didn’t have any venom glands, so we were safe, more or less. 

Later we went on a gator ride. The honeysuckles are in bloom, and it’s so cool to ride around and smell the sweet aroma in the air.

Ryder decided he wanted to drive.

 Picked some flowers too.