Monday, February 21, 2011

Everyday Food Challenge is @6byHisDesign

I changed my mind, folks.  For now, the Everyday Food Challenge (Martha, Martha, Martha!) is going on over at the home blog 6byHisDesign.  Hope to see you there!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Martha! Martha! Martha!

Think Brady Bunch and the memorable: "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!" episode.  Only with Martha Stewart and her Everyday Food magazine.  And me.

I'm starting a personal Julie&Julia journey with the February issue of Everyday Food.  I've read one chapter in Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst - more because she's one of my favorite authors...but I have been looking to change my horribly redundant eating habits (Bread Co for Breakfast.  Stop in for lunch.  Order pizza or bake fish sticks for dinner...).  And the way I'm rubbing off on the eating habits of my children.


So I hope you join me for the next 28 days (or so) as I attempt to make every recipe in this check-out cookbook magazine.  And force my kids to do something outside of their comfort zone.  You know - like eat something besides Poptarts.

See ya soon!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Gorgeous Red Velvet Cupcakes

My mom and I - and my in-laws, too! - enjoy a good cooking class.  In St. Louis, one local grocery provides a variety of cooking classes that we often attend.  My favorites are the baking classes.  Last year for my birthday, my mom took me to a cupcake class.  Imagine.  An entire class devoted to cupcakes. 


The coolest part?  The recipes were EASY!  In fact, this one starts with a Duncan Hines' Red Velvet Cake mix.  Yup.  That's all it is.  Bake into cupcakes.  But you and I both know the fun is in the frosting, right?

The frosting is Jello's white chocolate pudding mix combined with one cup of cold milk.  Then whipped to stiff peaks with 2 cups of heavy whipping cream.  Because not all the grocers in our town carry white chocolate pudding, I've discovered you can substitute white chocolate mousse mix. 

When you bite into it, you're expecting a bit of a heavier, cream cheese frosting, probably.  And you know that would be just delicious.  What I love about this one, though, is it's lightness.  It's a hint of sweet, but not too sweet.  It is truly just delightful.  You'll have to give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cupcake liners can be found here.  But in the StL, you can find them at Dierberg's!


Friday, January 28, 2011

The Best Cornbread You Will Ever Eat Guaranteed

I love this version of cornbread I got from my mother-in-law who got it from her mother who got it from a Marie Calendar's cookbook way back when. 


3c Bisquick
1 1/2c sugar
1t baking soda
3 eggs
1/2c cornmeal
1c butter
1 1/2c evaporated milk (12oz can)

Mix dry ingredients, add eggs and beat.  Add corn meal, butter and milk and beat for 4 minutes.  Pour into 2 pans or one 9x13" pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until done.

The recipe says 30 minutes.  It always takes me longer.  And I have to put a piece of aluminum foil over the bread the last several minutes to keep it from becoming too-too done on the top.  But it's worth it to keep your eye on it.  It is YumOH!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Death by Chocolate Cupcake

These are by far my favorite cupcake when I need a healthy chocolate fix.  And when I say 'healthy' I mean  massive -
not I ate organic.

To Die For Chocolate Cupcakes (actually called Mocha Chip...)
(makes 12 standard cupcakes)
1c all purpose flour
1/2t baking soda
1/4t salt
1/2c unsalted butter, room temp.
1c sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2t vanilla
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2t instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/2c cool water
2/3c semisweet chocolate chips (I used chunks this time - yumOH!)

  • Position the rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 standard size muffin cups with paper liners (I have also made mini cupcakes using mini chocolate chips, pictured here).
  • Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together into a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer on medium speed until butter is smooth (30-60s).  Slowly pour in sugar.   Mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3min.).  Beat in the eggs, one at a time on medium speed until the batter is smooth after each addition.  Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until smooth and blended.  On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three installments, alternating with the espresso in two additions, mixing after each addition only until the batter is smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  • Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.  Do not smooth the batter.  Bake until cupcakes spring back gently when pressed in the center (20-22mins.)  Carefully remove the cupcakes from the tin, set them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Now for the frosting!  I love a good chocolate frosting, and this recipe comes with one!  But I'll be honest ~ the last time I made these, I decided to frost half with awesome strawberry frosting.  Those were my favorite (& just in time for Valentine's Day!!!).  I'll give you both recipes, that way YOU can decide!

Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting
(makes about 1 1/4 cups - I usually double it!)
1T unsalted butter
1/3c sour cream (NOT low fat ~ HELLO!)
3/4t vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2c powdered sugar
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
milk, if necessary

In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream, vanilla, and salt to blend.  Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Add the chocolate and beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.  The frosting must be thick but spreadable.  If it is too thick, thin with drops of milk.  If it's too thin, chill it briefly, stirring occasionally, until adequately thickened.

Awesome Strawberry Frosting
1/2c real butter
1 (16-oz) package powdered sugar
1/2c finely chopped fresh strawberries

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 20 seconds or until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and chopped strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy.  (Add more sugar if frosting is too thin, or more strawberries if it is too thick.)


Friday, December 3, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

This past week, the kids were busy making gingerbread houses for a school extra credit project.  Having been one of those kids who grew up never making a gingerbread house, I wasn't quite sure how to handle this challenge.  But the twins embraced it.  One went off to find books at the library to help her in her pursuit.  The other put his ideas to print in an elaborately detailed drawing.  We all came out alive on the other side (mostly) ~ and better for it.  Here are the recipes we used:

Royal Frosting
5 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 T + 1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 c egg whites

Sift sugar, add egg whites and cream of tartar to sugar.  Comine ingredients with mixer on low speed, then beat on high for 2-5 minutes until the are snowy white and fluffy.  Keep the icing bowl covered with a damp cloth to retain moisture.

*This frosting was amazing - sort of like rubber cement.  Veronika Gunther, author of the book Making Gingerbread Houses says, "Buying prepared icing won't save you any time or effort - most icing contains shortening or butter that will soak into the gingerbread and could cause your house to soften and collapse."

1 T gelatin
1/4 c + 2T water
4 1/2 c powdered sugar

Dissolve gelatin in water, then add powdered sugar and mix well.  Keep mixture covered with wet towel.  If pastillage dries out, knead powdered sugar in just before using.

8 T unsalted butter (1 stick)
3/4 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
5 c sifted powdered sugar

Beat the first 3 and beat ingredients until soft.  Add milk slowly and beat mixture until it is very light.  Add sugar cup by cup.  Dust work surface with another cup of powedred sugar, turn fondant onto surface and work sugar in with hands. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cooking By His Design

I've decided to start a new endeavor.  Cooking.  I know - it's crazy radical and difficult for the world to fathon.  Or at least my family.  But it's here and now I'm accountable.

I'm pretty certain that His design for cooking is pretty far removed from what you'll find here.  But, as most things in this pruning known as life, part of the living is in the process of getting closer.  I imagine cooking at home is closer to His design for me and my family than, say, heading to the Bread Co for breakfast and lunch and having leftover Bread Co salad and mac-n-cheese for dinner.  I mean, seriously, who does that?  *cough*  While the kids fare with hotdogs and corn.  Again.

Now, I say this all a little tongue in cheek.  I actually love trying new recipes and providing a balanced and nutritious diet for my family.  Sometimes, busyness gets in the way of these noble goals.  But it shouldn't.  For me to be successful, and dare I say others as well, there are 3 small steps that must be followed.

1.  Prepare.  As in, making lists and knowing what is going to be prepared for dinner.  Say, more than 15 minutes before it's time to eat or the kids will have to go to bed hungry.
2.  Purchase.  As in, have things on hand, use what you have, and don't resort to taking a trip to Schnuck's 15 minutes before it's time to eat or the kids will have to go to bed hungry.
3.  Participate.  As in, have the kids help.  Man some days I am better at this than others.  I'd say I'm best at this when I have followed steps nos. 1 & 2.  Truly.

So, here's my new blog.  Less stories of Hawaii and coconut milk, more critical analysis of and sharing of recipes. Both old and new.

Bon Apetit!