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Movie Time!

For us, Sunday’s are our ‘down-time’ days. Unless we have something specifically planned, we tend to just hang out at home, as a family in the afternoon and evening. Which also means no fancy dinners coming from this lady. To be honest, take out pizza is a big hit at our place…
But, one of our other favorites is popcorn. And last year sometime, I found a recipe (yes, on Pinterest) for diy kettle corn. If there’s one thing in a sucker for at county fairs and festivals, its kettle corn. The smell is tantalizing. It just begs you to buy the giant (yes, you have to get the giant one) bag and eat bite and sweet and salty bite. Mmmm.
Okay, I won’t torture you any more…

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DIY Kettle Corn

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup popcorn seeds
Salt to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat until hot (I don’t have a specific temperature, I just wait til its hot)
Add the popcorn and sugar and quickly stir with a wooden spoon. (or something that can withstand the heat)
Put the cover in and wait to hear a couple pops of the popcorn.
Using hot pads, hold the handles of the pot while also holding the lid on. Shake the pit back and forth a few times and return to heat. Continue to do this until most of the popcorn is popped. Usually when it gets down to a couple pops every few seconds, its done.
Be careful not to burn the sugar. I’ve done that a few too many times and its not yummy when half of it is burnt.
So shaking the pot is very important!

As soon as it’s done popping, carefully pour the popcorn into a large bowl and salt to taste.

Enjoy!

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Gluten Free Pie Crust

My mother-in-law has Celiac’s and has for years. It seems to be a growing trend these days and I, myself, have even had issues with wheat and flour products. I won’t even to begin to tell you the reasons for this, it would take me all day!

Either way, I love to find yummy treats and food to make for her, not to mention, it’s usually healthier for the rest of my family as well.

Well, in honor of Pi Day (Pi=3.14… March 14th is 3/14…you get it, right? Yes, I am that big of a nerd, thanks for my Calc teacher, in high school) I decided to make a pie. A chocolate one, to be exact. I will share that recipe with you as well, but right now, it’s just the crust.

If you’re scared of making gluten free foods, or just starting out, don’t fret. I’ve made many mistakes already with things not tasting good and such. It’s quite sad after you put the money, time and effort into it. But oh well. This one seems to be a winner! (and paired with chocolate or fruit filling…it can’t be bad, right?)

Gluten Free Pie Crust (adapted from Primal Palate)
Yield: make about 1 1/2, 9-inch crusts

2 1/2 cups almond flour (I was a little short so I had to add about a 1/4 cup Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil, (soft, but not melted. It softens pretty easily when you stir)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. I found it best to whisk it together
In a small bowl, combine, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk until mostly smooth I had a few chunks of coconut oil that I tried to break up with my fingers.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. I started out by using a rubber scraper, but eventually had to use my hands. It was pretty sticky at first, but the more I kneaded it, the more pliable and dough like it became. So don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and go at it!
Spray the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch pie pan with non stick cooking spray. Carefully press the dough into the pan and up the sides a bit. (I ended up burning my crust after the filling was in, so don’t press it up too far!) If you have some left over, you can use it in little tart pans for for some mini ‘pies’.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and bake crust(s) for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
Then add whatever filling you want.

Note: If the pie filling needs to be baked, I would almost suggest not baking the crust until you are ready to bake the filling. Maybe the crust won’t burn as easily then. Or, if you have a crust shield, that would keep the crust from burning after you add the filling to bake as well. 

Enjoy!

Buck-Eye Bark

What is Christmas without some good ‘ol peanut butter!?!?!?!

According to my hubby, awesome. As he doesn’t like hates loathes  anything to do with peanuts or peanut butter. Weird, I know.  Oh well, I love him anyway 🙂

Normally I would have at least 3 things peanut butter on my Christmas cookie list. This year: one. Numero uno.

But let me tell me, it’s so worth it.

I am a fan of peanut butter balls, or better known as in the good ‘ol state of Ohio (O-H-I-O!), buckeye’s. And as you may know, a good friend of mine, (I won’t mention any names, *cough, Beth, cough* is from Ohio and VERY proud of it!)

So, I found this recipe on, you guessed it, Pinterest! I was sold. Chocolate. Peanut butter.

My description of these is this: buckeye’s in bark form.

Another plus is that they were so easy! The hardest part, was cutting the chocolate coating. Seriously. That’s it. And if you’re man is around, make him do it…lol

Buck-eye Bark (from Live Sigma Kappa)

2 1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating
1 (16.3 oz) jar (about 2 cups) creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt half the chocolate (1 1/4 lb if you are weighing it like I did) according to package directions. I just did mine in a pot on the stove. I just kept in a low heat. Spread the melted chocolate on parchment paper line cookie sheet. Don’t spread too thin. Only 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Place in freezer until firm,

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Blend until creamy. (it will be pretty thick) Remove the first layer of chocolate from the freezer and spread the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate. Place back in the freezer until firm.

Melt the other half of the chocolate. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Place back in the freezer until the top layer is firm.

Once firm, break the bark up into small-ish pieces using a large knife.

Store in the fridge or freezer until served.

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Flamingo, 2011

Fantasy Fudge

My mom makes he best fudge.
No. Really. She does.
This recipe is one I’ve been making (and eating) with her since I was a kid.
It wasn’t until recently that I found out the recipe she’s used is found on the back of the marshmallow creme jar…oh well. It’s still the best fudge ever.

I usually have to make two or three batches of this stuff, cause everyone loves it and I like to give it as gifts as well.

Life’s just better with fudge. That’s all there is to it.

Fantasy Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 (12oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (7oz) marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, butter, and milk; bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Cotinue stirring constantly and let boil for 5 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 234 degrees F.
Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat and mix in chocolate chips until melted.
Add marshmallow creme and vanilla until well blended.
Pour into a greased (or parchment paper lined) 9×13 or 8×8 pan. (depending on whether you want thick or thin fudge)
Let cool before cutting into squares.
Store in refrigerator.

Flamingo #4, 2008

Flamingo #4, 2008

Soft Gingersnap Molasses Cookies

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Growing up, my mom always made Molasses Cutout Cookies. We always watched a Christmas movie and frosted cookies. It’s probably one of my most favorite memories of Christmas as a kid.

When my hubby (we’ll call him A) and I got married, I wanted to continue on some of these traditions. Let just say, he wasn’t as into it as I was. And, I was thrilled about making cookies to bring to A’s family Christmas parties! I learned quickly that his family didn’t appreciate the same type of cookies that I had enjoyed growing up.

The molasses cookies had Anise extract in them. If you don’t know what that it, it is quite similar to a black licorice flavor. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of black licorice and it’s definitely a taste you either love or hate. Well, as you may have already guessed, A hated it…as did his family. After a couple years of that, I started making half and half. Some molasses cookies with anise and other without. Now, I’ve given up and let my sister make those cookies so we can have some at my family’s Christmas. Since, us normal people, like anise flavoring. (I’m not sure what’s wrong with A’s family…lol. Just kidding. I love them!)

I still love molasses though, but I’ve moved on from cut-out’s with them. (I use my soft sugar cookie recipe for that!)

I found this recipe on a new favorite blog of mine. Not only does Sally bake, but she clearly has an addiction! LOL. (Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. I love corny jokes)

Anywho, I’ve made a few things from her blog, and besides that fact that it’s making fatter, it’s great! She has so many good ideas!

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer!

Happy Day 2 of Christmas Flamingo Style!

Soft Gingersnap Molasses Cookies (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)Yield: a lot. A few dozen, at least

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar, for rolling (you might need some more, depending on how many cookies you actually get from the recipe)
Butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter for about a minute on medium speed. Add brown sugar and mix until fluffy, scraping the sides as needed. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla. Mix well, scraping the sides as needed.

With your mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Do not over-mix. Cover the bowl with foil and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (mine were probly a little smaller). Roll balls in white sugar. Place on baking sheet a couple inches apart. (they don’t spread much) Bake for 8-10 minutes. I suggest for closer to 8, depending on how hot your oven is. DON’T OVER BAKE!! They will be hard and crunchy if you overbake them and that’s what we DON’T want.

If you are adding the chips to the top (you can leave them plain too!), immediately place 5-7 chips in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I apparently to forgot to take pictures of the cookies with white chocolate and chocolate chips...

I apparently to forgot to take pictures of the cookies with white chocolate and chocolate chips…

Note: That red spot you see on my parchment paper is NOT blood. I had made colored sugar covered cookies prior to these 🙂

Flamingo #2 from 2006

Flamingo #2 from 2006

 

 

Pumpkin Doughnuts

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I know, you must think I’m crazy for posting another pumpkin recipe, but I just couldn’t resist! This one is just too perfect. Too yummy to not pass on.

I had never made doughnuts myself, but when I was growing up, my mom would make them once in a while. Cover them with powdered sugar, a cinnamon sugar mixer, or just eat them plain, right out of the fryer! Oh, the memories.

So my sister asked me to make these for our “down home” Thanksgiving gathering and I jumped at the chance! We happen to own a deep fryer, so I was pretty pumped to pull that out!

Did I mention it made my house smell fantastic??? Cause it did.

Did I mention we made adorable turkey's with my two boys and nephew that day!!!

Did I mention we made adorable turkey’s with my two boys and nephew that day!!!

These are seriously worth the trouble for the chance to eat them afterwards. Make them for your own Christmas morning…before the kids are up. That way you can have them all to yourself 😉

Pumpkin Doughnuts (from Annie’s Eats)
Yield: I don’t remember how many this made..but it made quite a few

For the Doughnuts:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (1/2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice, fill up to 1/2 cup mark with milk, let sit 5 minutes)
1 cup pumpkin pure

Canola Oil or Peanut Oil for frying. (This can be done in a deep skillet or a deep fryer)

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the dough, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar and butter and beat until well blended and fluffy. Mix in the egg, then egg yolks, then vanilla until incorporated. Combine the buttermilk and pumpkin in a liquid measuring cup and whisk together. With the mixer on low-speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Once the dough is mixed, cover and chill for at least 3 hours (I had to chill mine overnight, which was nice since we had fresh doughnuts for the morning!)

On a well floured surface, roll or pat out the dough until it’s between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. (I think mine were a little closer to 1/4 inch, which was fine with me, it made more that way) Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and with a biscuit/doughnut cutter. Re-roll the scraps as necessary.
Add oil to your frying pan (2-3 inches of oil) or deep fryer and heat to 365-370 degrees F. (Our deep fryer only went down to 375 and it worked just fine)

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Add the rings of dough to the hot oil (only 2 or 3 at a time, whatever fits best in you pan or fryer) a single layer, and not touching. Fry turning once until doughnuts are golden brown and cooked through.  I ended up having a few at the beginning that weren’t quite done, so I left the next ones in a little longer. Use the same process for the doughnut holes.

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. While the doughnuts are still hot (just right to touch) and still a little greasy, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat completely.

Enjoy!

Here are a few more picture of my fun!

My messy doughnut cutter. This is no clean task.

My messy doughnut cutter. This is no clean task.

Coffee, turkey's and doughnuts...could Thanksgiving get any better??

Coffee, turkey’s and doughnuts…could Thanksgiving get any better??

Done to perfection.

Done to perfection.

 

I have to share with you all my Flamingo ornaments. I’m not really sure how or why I got hooked on these birds. I just think they are so cool! So I thought I’d share all my flamingo ornaments with you. One a day per my 12 Days of Christmas Posts 🙂

Here’s the first one!

Our first Christmas ornament; 2005

Our first Christmas ornament; 2005

 

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’ve been trying a lot of new things this week.

Between dinner, baking, working out, and crocheting, I’ve been one busy momma!

And not only am I baking delicious treats, as usual, I’m trying gluten free treats! It just makes me feel so good to make something that EVERYONE can eat. Even those with celiacs. And since this gluten intolerance has been becoming more of an issue lately, I want to contribute to that side of the eating spectrum as well.

I’ve had the muffins ‘pinned’ for a while and decided to make them for a playgroup that I attended this week. Since we do have some allergies in the group, I try to make things that everyone can enjoy. Kid friendly and mommy friendly 🙂

I do have to say, I was probably just as excited to use my muffin cups that I bought from the Wilton Tent Sale with Beth.
I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to use these. And this morning it just felt right. I still have a bunch left, so you may see them in future posts as well 🙂

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from Dessert Stalker as found on Multiply Delicious)
Yield: 12-18 muffins or 30-35 mini muffins (this is a total guess!)

6 eggs
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 3 small bananas)
1/2 cup chocolate chips and a few extra for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners. (I made 24 mini muffins before using my cool baking cups, but I didn’t have enough liners, so I sprayed the pan, but they did NOT come out well, so I really suggest you use liners)

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, honey, salt, and vanilla.
Combine coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a sifter and sift into egg mixture. Whisk together until there are no more lumps. Stir in melted coconut oil. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.

Spoon batter into prepare muffin pans.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until muffins are golden.
Cook for about 10 minutes and Enjoy!

Aren’t these cups beautiful?