Thursday, September 23, 2010

A day at the park

Our original plan for this park outing was to get Keegan to ride his new bike. Along with my new bike, we also thought it was time to get one for Keegan too. We don't have a sidewalk on our street, and it's also a busy 4 lane thoroughfair so obviously the front yard wasn't going to work. We were going to have to take them somewhere.

But Keegan didn't want to ride it. He just wanted to push it around.

We also took a ride on toy for Reece to play with

But you've gotta play on the swings!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Herb and Tomato Sourdough Bread with Garlic Basil Butter

Herb and Tomato Sourdough Bread with Garlic Basil Butter

For this weeks Iron Chef Challenge, I wanted to try making something I haven't done before. So first time for sourdough starter from scratch, first time for homemade tomato juice and first time for basil butter :D

Sourdough Starter

I started this on Tuesday, did a feed 48 hours after, then used the starter (the bread recipe ended up using all of it) on Sunday. So 5 days.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast


Mix together flour, warm water, and yeast in a large glass bowl. Let stand uncovered in a warm place over night or up to 48 hours. The longer the mixture stands, the stronger the ferment will be.

After fermenting, the starter is ready to use or to store covered in the refrigerator. Feed once or twice a week with 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar; allow the starter to rest at room temperature for several hours after feeding. (I halved the feeding because I was afraid I would end up with too much starter)

The bread recipe calls for tomato juice, but I wanted something earthier. So I made my own V8 juice with some herbs.


4 roma tomatoes
1 stalk of celery with leaves
1/3 red onion
1T parsley
2 dashes worcheshire sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Simmer veggies on the stove with parsley until tender. About 45 minutes.

Run ingredients through a food mill.

Return sauce to pan and add seasonings. Let cool to warm.

Sourdough Bread


1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm tomato juice
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
7 cups all-purpose flour(I used bread flour)


Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water, set aside.

In large bowl; mix starter and tomato juice. Add yeast mixture, salt, sugar and stir well.

Add 1 cup of flour at a time and beat well to develop the gluten. When a stiff dough forms, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding the last 1 cup of flour as you go.

Turn into greased bowl and lightly grease top, cover with towel and place in draft free area for 2 hours. Will double in bulk.

Punch down and divide dough in two, form into rounds and place each on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled generously with cornmeal.

Let rise 1/2 hour, rub top lightly with flour and slash with sharp knife.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ) for 45-60 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned when checked.

For a soft crust, cool under a clean dishtowel. For a harder European type crust, cool without.

Basil Butter


2 sticks butter, softened
2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1/4 salt

Whip the butter until soft. Add basil. With the chopped garlic spread out on a cutting board, sprinkle with salt. Smash and drag with your knife until garlic begins to break down. Add to butter. Stir until mixed.


This tasted so good. You really get the earthy sweet taste of the tomatoes in the bread and the basil and garlic in the butter. Outstanding.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beulah's Maiden Voyage

A few months ago, I bought myself a bike that I fell in love with.  Sadly when it arrived, after quickly tearing into the box, I noticed some of the parts were bent beyond repair. My darling of a husband called the manufacturer and apparantly this was a big problem. My parts were back ordered and "would show up sometime in the next few months."  About 2 weeks after I had forgotten about them, a mysterious box appeared on my door step. Upon one glance at the return address where the word HUFFY was written in small print, I realized that Beulah would finally be complete. :D

In the weeks between getting my bike and getting the parts to complete her, we gathered the other neccessities for our family bike outings.

A helmet for Keegan

And a helmet for Reece

And a trailer for them both to ride in

Our first ride was short. I guess it's not a great idea to go riding when it's 96 degrees outside and you have a cold. The sweats and the headache came on fairly quickly. But we had a great time. The boys had a great time, giggling all the way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Buttery Caramel Apple Cake

Fall is fast approaching. What better way to celebrate than to start enjoying fall flavors. This recipe was in the most recent Food Network Magazine. I always get such great ideas from there. I halved the recipe and it still made a pretty good sized cake. I think next time I will add some pecans for a great crunch.


For the Caramel and Apples:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3 cups sugar
5 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
4 large Golden Delicious apples (1 3/4 to 2 pounds)

For the Batter:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs


Butter a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan. Make the caramel: Cook the sugar and corn syrup in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is dark amber, 7 to 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully add the cream and 4 tablespoons butter (it will splatter) and cook, stirring, until combined, about 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and let sit 1 minute. Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel into a glass measuring cup and set aside. Pour the remaining caramel into the prepared pan and set aside until set, about 30 minutes.

Cut 3 apples into quarters and cut out the cores with a paring knife. Arrange the pieces skin-side down in the pan (overlapping them slightly) to form a ring about 1/2 inch from the edge. Save any pieces that do not fit for later.

Halve the remaining whole apple crosswise. Scoop out the seeds with a melon baller or measuring spoon, leaving the stem on the top half. Chop the bottom and any of the leftover quartered apples into pieces; set aside.

Arrange the apple top, stem-side down, in the center of the pan. If the quartered apples shift, just push them back into place.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, orange juice and vanilla.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Slip them into the mixer bowl, one at a time, and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 5 more minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low speed, add half of the sour cream mixture, then half of the flour mixture. Repeat. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula; finish combining the batter by hand.

Spread the batter over the apples in the pan. Top with the chopped apple. Bake on the middle oven rack until the cake is brown on top and springs back when pressed, 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes (don't worry if the top is dark). Cool in the pan on a rack.

Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a skillet wide enough to hold the cake pan. Carefully run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan several times, then rest the pan in the water to soften the caramel, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the water and dry.

Invert a plate on top of the cake, then flip over the cake and plate. Using pot holders or a towel, wriggle the pan off. Soften the reserved 1 1/2 cups caramel in the microwave, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the cake with some of the caramel. Slice and serve with the rest.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do not leave a package of wipies around

I repeat, do NOT, unless of course you'd want to spend 15 minutes trying to shove said wipies back into the small package, giving up, then dropping them into a ziploc bag. Reece had a ball though. Can't leave that kid alone for a second!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Carrot Cupcakes

One of my favorite cakes. Carrot with cream cheese frosting.  I like to add pecans for some crunch, but you can also use walnuts or just omit the nuts all together. 


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups finely shredded carrots

1 cup cooking oil

4 eggs

1/2 chopped pecans

1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)


1. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add carrots, oil, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer till combined. Stir in nuts.  Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).

2. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or 35 to 40 minutes for 13x9-inch pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool layer cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. Or, place 13x9-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cover and store in refrigerator. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened; 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened; 2 teaspoons vanilla; and 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar.

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer is Over

Can't believe the summer has flew by so quickly. Time for Keegan to head back to preschool. He really does love it there, and lets face it. The naps he takes afterwards are always nice!  We purposely waited until the day of to tell Keegan with was time for school again. Otherwise, we would have never heard the end of it. We also made the mistake of fixing his lunch 1/2 an hour before it was time to leave. As soon as he saw his lunchbox on the counter, he grabbed his shoes, his lunchpail, and his backpack and was headed out the door!

He also remembered everything he was supposed to do at school. He found his cubby, put away his lunchbox and backpack, and sat on his letter in the circle. So proud of him!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

S'mores Cupcakes

These were DIVINE! But the marshamallow is so gooey, it's best to eat with a fork. Totally worth it!

First layer - Graham crackers

1 package graham crackers
1/2 cup butter softened
2 T sugar

Blend in a food processor until smooth. Add about 1 T to the bottom of each cupcake paper and pack down. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes

Second layer - fill cups with your favorite chocolate cake box cake

Third layer - Once cupcakes have cooled, scoop a small amount out of the middle of the cupcake. Fill with hot fudge topping, replace top.

Fourth layer - Melt marshamllow fluff until smooth and creamy. Drop a small dab onto the top of each cupcake. THIS IS MESSY!! The fluff runs down the side of the cupcake and next time I would probably omit this step.

Fifth layer - Boiled fluffy icing

1 1/2 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
1/4 cup cold water
1 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbs corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Makes: About 4 cups of icing.


Beat meringue powder and 1/2 cup cold water until stiff, about 4 minutes. In microwave safe bowl combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. Heat on high bringing syrup mixture to a boil (approx. 5 minutes). Remove from microwave and let mixture cool slightly (1-2 minutes). Slowly add syrup to meringue mixture. Beat on HIGH for 4 minutes until stiff and glossy.

Pipe onto cupcakes and "toast" with a butane torch

Friday, September 3, 2010

Meatball Sub with Baked Potato Salad

So we had to turn out computer in to get repaired. Of course, Best Buy had to send it out so we've been without it for a little bit. But now it's back and here is your reward!!

Meatball Sub on Homemade Bread with Baked Potato Salad

Chop up six slices of bacon and fry until crispy. Remove from pan, reserving drippings.

Peel and cube 6 potatoes, boil until tender. Strain and cool. In a large bowl mix 1/2 mayo, 1 T mustard, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese and the bacon. Mix well, add potatoes and stir until coated. Chill.

Saute a 2 chopped green onions and 3 gloves of garlic in bacon drippings until soft. Drain, again reserving drippings, and add to bowl with 1 pound of ground beef. Add salt, pepper, and an egg. Mix well and form into meatballs. Cook in bacon dripping until cooked through, turning occasionally.

While the meatballs are cooking, in a large saucepan, heat 1/2 can stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, parsley, garlic, onion powder and garlic powder.

Once the meatballs are cooked, drain on paper towel. Add to marinara sauce then spoon over homemade roll. Top with shredded mozarella cheese.