Archive of ‘At Home’ category
After a fairly calm and mild winter, work on the farm is starting up again. Russell is working long days to get ready for the upcoming planting season – which means he has to get up early on weekends to go check sprinklers.
Selfishly, I love my early weekend mornings, alone with my coffee and without any real obligations. I spend these precious hours leisurely reading outside or baking while watching girly movies. Truly, I don’t think that there is anything more pleasant than watching Pride and Prejudice with a batch of cookies in the oven.
This past weekend, I found myself with limited baking supplies. No buttermilk to make my grandma’s chocolate sheet cake. No peaches for a peach cobbler. No apples for an apple pie.
And then I remembered a recipe for snickerdoodle cookies that I used to make all the time. I haven’t made this recipe in years – and I’m not quite sure why not. They’re soft in the middle, light and crispy around the edges, with an intense cinnamon flavor. And, they went wonderfully with my lazy morning and pot of coffee.
Makes 20 cookies
1 stick of butter, softened (almost melted)
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp of cream of tartar
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
Cinnamon and sugar mixture
In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Once light and fluffy, add in egg and beat well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Fold flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Chill dough for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll dough into 1.5 inch balls and roll through the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Cook for 10-11 minutes, or until edges begin to get crispy. Let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and before transferring to a cooling rack.
26 :: Coming home to ecstatic dogs, my own bed, home-cooked meals, and a return to normal life.
Every now and then, I buy bananas, resolving that I’m going to eat more fruit. But, I don’t eat more fruit, and the bananas quickly get too ripe. At which point, I’m forced to bake with them. It’s a tough sacrifice to make.
Today, having two overly ripe bananas, I decided to make miniature banana cakes. And what goes better with banana than peanut butter and chocolate? Nothing.
And thus, these were born:
Mini Banana Cakes with Cinnamon Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
2 very ripe bananas
splash of lemon juice
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat until mixed well. To this mixture, add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk and vinegar. Stir in mashed up bananas and lemon juice until just mixed.
Grease 5 ramekins and distribute the batter evenly. Cook until edges just begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean (about 35 minutes). Transfer the cakes directly to the freezer and let them cool completely.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
2 teaspoons (or to taste) cinnamon
Splash of vanilla
Beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until mixed well and slightly stiff. Add cinnamon and vanilla – to taste.
Once the cakes are completely cool, remove from the ramekins. Cut in half to create a layered cake. Spread peanut butter between layers and frost the rest of the cake. Garnish with chocolate chips.
14 :: Open windows, on a beautiful day, with the sun shining in. It’s simply divine.
13 :: Mister Max. He’s my baby. Enough said.
08 :: Eli is the most entertaining dog in the world. He has two speeds: 1.) On, during which he tons of personality and emotion (maybe too much?) and seemingly endless energy; and 2.) off, during which he is the world’s sweetest cuddle buddy. I can’t imagine life without this animal.
05 :: My kitchen. It’s so pretty and light and functional. I absolutely love to cook and bake in this kitchen.
It’s that time of year when Mother Nature can’t decide if it’s winter or spring. Yesterday was a beautiful 75 degree day, and last week we had snow. This indecision is everywhere – I have a poinsettia in my kitchen from Christmas, Valentine’s flowers in my office, and spring tulips in my dining room. And over the weekend, I went to Express and couldn’t help but snicker at the awkward mix of heavy sweaters next to short shorts.
So, with that in mind, I’m sharing some photos from our snow day last week – while wearing short sleeves today.
Things have been a little crazy around here lately. Being busy with work and school – and having a husband busy with harvest – means that a lot of things aren’t getting done around the house. For example, I only yesterday recognized that although I’m still wearing flip flops, shorts, and white, it is actually Fall. So, I bought some pumpkins to carve – with just a few days to spare before Halloween. Then I went to Hobby Lobby to get some Fall decorations – and I found that there were 7 aisles of Christmas decorations. Overwhelmed, I left with nothing.
Early this morning, my dogs wanted to go outside. I got up to let them out, and there was snow falling from the sky. I was definitely not prepared for that. I’m still stuck in Summer – and mother nature seems to think it’s Winter. I can only think that after the driest hottest summer on record, five inches of snow in October has to be some sort of cruel joke.
But, I figure that I might as well make the most of it. We built our first fire in the new house. I must say, curled up by the fire is a wonderful way to spend a day. There’s certainly something true to the lyrics “the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.”
The dogs enjoyed playing outside… and then joining me by the fire.
And it wouldn’t be a snow day without some soup. I had been craving Russell’s roasted tomato soup for a while now, so a snowy day is the perfect excuse to satisfy that craving. I like that his soup is so broth-y and there’s no cream. We had homemade chicken stock, some garden-grown tomatoes, and snow-covered basil – and those flavors really shine in this soup.
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Start by cutting up 20 or so cherry tomatoes, slicing 1/4 of a white onion, and mincing 3 cloves of garlic. Coat with a tablespoon of garlic oil and add some salt and pepper. Roast on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then, mash up into a sort of puree.
In a saucepan, heat up chicken broth and add the puree. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add basil right before serving.
I picked pumpkin for my October super food for obvious reasons. According to SuperFoodsRX, “The nutrients in pumpkin are really world class. Extremely high in fiber and low in calories, pumpkin packs an abundance of disease-fighting nutrients, including potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. The key nutrient that boosts pumpkin to the top of the SuperFoods list is the synergistic combination of carotenoids. Pumpkin contains one of the richest supplies of bioavailable carotenoids known to man.”
Sounds great! Now, one question, how do I actually eat pumpkin?
I posed that question to a number of my friends and family, and the conversation always followed the same pattern:
Me: What’s your favorite way to eat pumpkin?
Friend: Definitely as a pie!
Me: Well, I was hoping for savory dish or two.
Friend: Hmmm… then soup!
Pie always beats soup in my mind, and two days ago I made my first pumpkin pie. And here’s all that’s left of it:
I based my recipe on this one from Heritage Hallow and on The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pie Crust.
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups Crisco
- 3 cups flour
- 1 egg
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
In a bowl, combine Crisco and flour, cutting with the tines of a fork or pastry cutter for 4-5 minutes. Add and mix together egg, water, white vinegar, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt.
Separate the dough in half and put into zip-lock baggies and flatten the dough to make make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until needed. This is supposed to help with the flakiness.
On a floured surface roll the slightly thawed dough, rolling in only one direction at a time (not back and forth). With a spatula, lift the dough from the surface into the pie pan. I greased the pie pan, just in case, and the crust didn’t stick at all.
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 can of pumpkin
- 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- Pinch of salt
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves to taste. I like a spicier pie, so used about 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2-1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
Mix all ingredients together. The filling was veeeery runny and completely filled my deep-dish pie crust. The recipe instructed to cook for 20 minutes on 450 degrees and 25 on 350 degrees – but this was no where close to enough time. I left it in for another 40 minutes after the suggested cooking time was up. I used a ceramic pie dish instead of a metal one – perhaps that was the difference.
The pie crust was fantastic. Very flaky and so easy to make. The added cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar really gave it something extra. This will certainly be my go to pie crust instead of the store bought ones!
The pie filling was tasty as well, although I think I’m used to a richer pie filling. I think next time I’ll try Paula Deen’s cream cheese filled recipe…