Thursday, October 30, 2008

Caramel Caramel Corn

I decorated 1 of my Chocolate Chocolate cupcakes. I figured
it could be the teachers cupcake at the party.
It has been a busy morning in my kitchen. I got the kids off on the bus and then got busy. I needed to make a double batch of Caramel Popcorn and 2 dozen cupcakes this morning. I also need to get to the gym and to the school to help with the book Fair by 11:00. This is my favorite recipe for Caramel Corn. It is simple and and always turns out great.
Caramel Peanut Popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bags butter flavoured popcorn
Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.
I always make a double batch! Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

All ready to go to the school for Halloween Party! I batch down 1 more to go.
The great cupcakes unfrosted!

I love cupcakes. They are the perfect portion control piece of cake. You can also do so many different things with them! They usually always turn out great and all you have to frost is the top. I always have great intentions when making full size cakes but they never turn out very pretty. I even failed cake decorating 101 that I took several years ago. Clara of I Heart Food For Thought chose this recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes. This was a very simple cake batter with the addition of melted chocolate and buttermilk. I also added 1 T of cooled coffee to my batter. I sampled some of the cake batter. It was wonderful and tasted almost like fluffy frosting. I am taking these to my sons class for a Halloween party. The finished product picture will come after the kids decorate them. I did not fill these with nutella or fluff but left them plain. Next time I will be more creative and make some amazing kind of filling : ) I bought all kinds of Halloween treats to decorate these with from Candy Corns to Sprinkles. I can't wait to see how the kids do.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Relaxing Sunday Afternoon

My Fall Decorations

My little paper Pumpkins!

A Variety of Cards I made today.

I made tags too. I am going to
make Caramel Corn bags and put
the tags on it for Friday!

Today was one of those relaxing Sundays. We did all of our normal Sunday things. We got up, went to the gym, then off to church. Jonathan had a Cub Scout bike path clean-up this afternoon. Mark took the kids and the dog to it this afternoon. It gave me 2 hours to do exactly what I wanted. MAKE CARDS! I haven't got to do this much since we moved. There are so many other things to get done that it seems like such a luxury to sit down and create cards or work on my scrapbooks. I enjoyed my 2 hours so much. It is a lovely Fall Day and I sat in front of our windows in the dining room. My time went very quickly but it was so relaxing for me. What a lovely way to spend my afternoon.
Apple Crisp
6 apple - peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup water
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Arrange apples in an even layer in bottom of baking dish. Pour water over apples.
In a medium bowl mix together cake mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter or margarine until ingredients are thoroughly blended; mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apples.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes.
We had a friend over for dinner last night. I made Chicken Parmesan, Roasted Vegetables with Couscous and yummy Apple Crisp. The warm Apple Crisp was the best so I posted the recipe above.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD Pumpkin Muffins

Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp picked Pumpkin Muffins for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. I loved these muffins. They turned out so great and were wonderful with coffee. I did make a couple small changes. I added crystallized ginger that I found at Traders Joes and I also swapped dried cranberries for the raisins. I made a double batch of these for Bible Study this morning. I loved the pumpkin and cinnamon flavours along with chunks of ginger and cranberries. I did omit the nuts completely. I didn't have any and we aren't big on nuts in muffins. Thanks Kelly for choosing a great recipe. Next week we are making Chocolate Chocolate cupcakes. These will be great for the Neighborhood Halloween Party this weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The newest member of the Friesen Family

We have been searching for the last couple of months for a puppy for the kids. Our yard is very small and so it limits the size of dog that we can get. I started looking into rescue dogs in our area. I found Jack a purebread Cocker Spaniel from a link on that site. He is 7 months old and such a sweetie. He loves to follow the kids all over the house. He is very sad that the kids are in school right now. He has been going to the front door and whining for them. He has a great temperment and is very calm. We are so happy to have found him. Anna and Jonathan are having a great time teaching him to walk on a leash and play catch.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto tastes even better then it sounds!

I had to thin it with extra chicken stock at the end.

Roasted squash

Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook chose today's recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto. I was very interested in how this recipe was going to work. I was surprised at how easy it was. The stirring the chicken stock into the rice was the biggest part of the recipe. The prefect risotto has always scared me. I tasted awesome risotta on our trips to Italy. I have attempted it a couple times before but never with butternut squash and bacon. I made some chicken stock in the morning to use in the recipe. I par cooked the squash before roasting it. It really helped save on time when I was making this. The butternut squash was awesome. I am going to try my squash roasted next time as a side dish! It was sweet and salty at the same time and had a great caramelized flavour from roasting it in the oven. My husband and I both loved this recipe. We had enough left for leftovers for several days. My husband took it to work the next day and people were asking for samples of it because it smelled so good. Ina always has such great recipes. I can't wait for her new book to come out. I pre-ordered mine and am hoping that it will ship soon! If you want to check out the other Barefoot Bloggers .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWD Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

This was such a great weekend off from work and school! We had warm Fall weather and even enjoyed a family hike on Monday. I think Fall is my favorite Season of the year. I love the cool evenings and early mornings. I also love all of the leaves changing colors. It is definitely my favorite time of the year for running outside.
This recipe was for last week but I am a little behind so I chose today to write about it. Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy chose this yummy, caramel and chocolate goodness! I have been wanting to try this recipe. It has all of my favorite things in it: chocolate, and caramel. I was so excited to read the list of recipes that I get to make this month. I made this into a 9 square baking dish since my spring form pan was destroyed in our move. I could easily eat a couple of these at one time and I did. I made these for a BBQ on Sunday! They were a big hit with the neighbors as well. I decided not to do the peanuts at the last minute but sprinkled the top with Grey Sea Salt. I have a recipe for salted caramel brownies and combined the 2 recipes into 1. After I baked the cake I noticed it being very dry and crumbly. I made a simple syrup and poured over it to regain some of the moistness. I also chose to follow my friend Jeni's family recipe for the caramel topping. I have had too many batches of caramel crystallize on me in the past. She makes the most incredible caramels ever. She shared her secret recipe with me before she left Germany and walked me through each step of making them. They are so good!
P.S My husband deleted all of the pictures for this recipe. This is the third time that this has happened. I think I need to get my own camera to avoid this from happening again!

TWD Creme Brulee Disaster

I am a little late in posting my recipe for Creme Brulee. Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake chose this recipe for last week. I was so excited to make this. I love this dessert! It is so simple to make and tastes incredible. It started off fine. I followed the simple directions and stuck it in the oven to bake. I was in a little bit of a time crunch with the baking time. After the 50 minutes it wasn't even close to done. I decided to crank up the oven a little and hurry up the process. It made the pudding curdle into huge chunks. I didn't know if it was savable at this time but decided to use the immersion blender to make it smooth again. It worked but in the meantime I sprayed hot creme brulee over the entire stove and counters... Now I was late for the kids school so I left it and hoped it would be OK when I got home. It set up nicely in the fridge. I thought the my disaster was going to work out. After the kids soccer game, I put the sugar on the top to finish these only to find out my torch was empty. I decided to broil them instead. After burning all around the top of each dish so black that it starting stinking up the house, finally the sugar caramelized. These were so bad I dumped them all in the trash. No pictures because I have never made such a disaster or mess up of a recipe before... Esp. when it was such a simple and straightforward recipe!

Pumpkin Time

This weekend we went on a road trip to Baltimore. Our car had arrived from Germany and was shipped to the port there. We loaded up the kids and drove 8-9 hours to the beautiful city of Baltimore. We have a couple of friends from Germany that just moved there as well. It was a great weekend of catching up with friends and visiting. It was a short weekend trip but our kids had so much fun that they didn't want to come back home. We went to this pumpkin patch with the kids. It was really neat with mazes, pony rides, petting zoo, games, crafts, hay rides and a huge variety of pumpkins to choose from. We enjoyed wonderful dinners at both friends homes. The girls and I even snuck away for a much needed movie date!
I made this last weekend and it was wonderful. It was Marks favorite cake ever. I served it with cinnamon whipped cream
Caramel Apple Cake
(Cuisine at home, October 2003, Issue 41, p. 38)
Makes: One 2 Layer 9
Total Time: About 1 3/4 Hours + Cooling
For the Buttermilk Cake Layers—
Cream:2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
Gradually Add:
5 egg whites, lightly blended
Sift Together:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. table salt
Combine; Add Alternately with Dry Ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
2 t. vanilla extract
For the Spiced Apple Filling—
Saute in 2 T. Unsalted Butter:
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Pinch of salt
Deglaze with:
3 T. apple juice or water
For the Carmel Icing—
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 t. baking soda
1 t. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Top Cake with:
Chopped dry roasted peanuts
Related Recipes:Buttermilk Cake LayersSpiced Apple FillingCaramel Icing
Preheat oven to 350° with rack in the center. Grease two 9" round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line with rounds of parchment paper, spray again, and dust with flour. Cream sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light.Gradually add egg whites, beating until well blended.Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Combine buttermilk and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix just until blended. Add 1/2 the buttermilk mixture and blend just to incorporate. Scrape the bowl, add half the remaining flour, and blend. Scrape bowl again, then add the remaining buttermilk. Fold in the last of the flour by hand, making sure no flour is at the bottom. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake for 40–45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes on a rack for 5 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, and peel off the parchment. Cool before filling and frosting.Saute apples in butter over medium-high heat with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and salt. Cook until fruit begins to caramelize around the edges, about 15 minutes. Stir periodically, but not so much that the apples don’t caramelize. Deglaze with juice, stir, and cook another 2–3 minutes, or until liquid is nearly (but not totally) evaporated. Cool apples before filling.Boil all ingredients (except for the peanuts) in a tall, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts and mixture starts to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until icing caramelizes, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. It will continue to caramelize off heat. Beat icing with a hand mixer until lighter in color and thick, about 5 minutes. It should be liquid enough to drip down the sides of a cake.Top with chopped peanuts.
Spread half the icing over the first cake layer, taking it just to the edge. I double the frosting! It is the best part of the cake for sure!
Top the iced layer with all of the apple filling. Place the second layer on top of the first.
Spread the remaining icing on the second layer, allowing it to drip down the sides.
Lightly press peanuts into the icing on top, otherwise they won't stick very well.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trying something new

I have a hard time trying new things for the first time. I am not sure if I am afraid of failure or scared that something will happen but I always have to really push myself to get out of my comfort zone. This can be anything from trying a new class to running somewhere I normally don't. Last night we had friends over for dinner and the husband was telling me about some great trail running in a town close to us~
I decided to give it a try this morning. It was a lovely fall day and perfect running weather. I am so glad I tried this running trail. The trail goes through the woods, along streams and up and down hills. It was perfect for me and I had such a enjoyable run. I just wish that my sister had been with me. This is her kind of place and she would have loved it. They still had some fallen trees from the storms and I had to climb over them to continue on the path. It challenged my body in new ways and got me out of a rut that I easily get stuck in. I have to admit I did get lost at one point. The loop is 3 miles and I was going to do it twice but somehow took a wrong turn along the way. It all worked out in the end and I ended at exactly a 6 mile run. I decided I am going to start trying something new once a week. It doesn't have to only pertain to running.
We had such a good dinner last night that I wanted to share the recipes. Our friends in Germany made this for us one Halloween and it became a favorite Fall menu.
shredded Pork roast
black beans with garlic
tortillas warmed in oven
chopped cilantro, onions, tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese and a big salad with cilantro garlic dressing.
The roast is the best part of the meal. All you do is buy a 3-4 pound roast and season with salt, pepper and garlic, place in roaster pan with lid. Then you melt 1/2 cup butter and pour over roast and put lid on. Cook for 4-6 hours at 275. When it is done it falls apart! I made a warm bean dip as well to go along with us. We have enough leftovers for tonight. I am so glad about that~ I also made a pan of brownies from a new cookbook but they weren't chocolaty enough for me. I probably won't make that recipe again. Sorry no pictures of our yummy dinner.

Trying New Things

This past year has been a year of change. We moved from a huge running community to an area that does not have the biking and running trails...