Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Orange Julius Pops

Want an Orange Julius? Go to the mall.

That's how it was. That's what it was, a delightfully refreshing mall treat. Not anymore. Now, 4 kids later, I avoid the mall at all costs. Therefore, plan B.

Want an Orange Julius? Keep your freezer stocked with OJ concentrate.

As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and apparently, that of my family's as well. Last week we broke out the blender, and for some reason, I felt it was necessary to double the Orange Julius recipe. Turns out, it wasn't. We ended up with, oh, I'd say...a full batch left over.

Orange Julius isn't the kind of thing that keeps well in the fridge, and you know what they say...waste not, want not. Thank goodness for those popsicle molds that have been sitting (unused) in the cabinet for a million years.

Umm, not quite!

During one of my "Please don't nominate me for Hoarding: Buried Alive" moments, I must have gotten rid of them. Good thing my husband has ignored my continual nags to hook up our ice maker...we still have ice cube trays!

Orange Julius
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 sugar
1 tsp vanilla
ice cubes (10-12)

Blend all ingredients, except ice cubes. Continue blending adding one ice cube at a time until smooth. Serve immediately. For pops: pour into molds and freeze. OR pour into ice cube trays and once partially frozen, insert a toothpick into center of each.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Homemade Pancakes With...

If asked that question, I would have said no. But apparently, that's not the case...

I gave up Bisquick years ago, 12 to be exact. You see, I stumbled across a picture in a magazine of the most adorable teddy bear shaped pancakes with a tiny heart of strawberry jam right in the center. And the recipe...simple! Go ahead, say it...DUH! What did I know? I told you I used Bisquick, pancakes were a mystery to me.

For all these years, I've kept the entire magazine tucked away in a kitchen drawer, fully intact (minus a missing cover)...until today. When pulling it out to give due credit, not only did I find out that I was once a subscriber to Sesame Street Parents Magazine, I tore the recipe right in half. UGGH! 

Homemade Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Add egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. With whisk or large spoon, gently blend ingredients just until the batter is moist (lumps are OK). Do not over beat. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat (when a few drops of water sprinkled on to skillet sizzles, it's ready). To make shaped pancakes: Place heavy-gauge cookie cutter in skillet and fill 1/4 way with batter (or just ladle batter to desired pancake size and use cookie cutters to shape once fully cooked). Cook pancake for approx 2 minutes or until you see bubbles on top. Remove cookie cutter, flip pancake, and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes or until lightly browned.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fresh Raspberry Sauce

Summer's official! Bring on the food, the fun, and the sun! OH...and the kids...all of them, home, all day, every day...

So, how many days til school starts???? 

No great story here, just a craving at it's best.

Adapted from a fantastic strawberry filling recipe, this fresh raspberry sauce has already topped ice cream, filled pancakes, served as a layer in a yogurt parfait, and don't be surprised if it shows up in the center of a cupcake very soon!

Fresh Raspberry Sauce
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, allowing berries to break down. 

Boil an additional couple of minutes to thicken, stirring constantly.

Strain to remove seeds.

Serve warm or cold.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

No Buttermilk? No Problem!

Whether prompted by a craving, or perhaps, stumbling across a fun new recipe, I bake when the mood strikes, which sometimes finds me unprepared. Me, Miss Organization herself (insert BOLD sarcasm here), unprepared?  What can I say, I thrive on spontaneity and adventure! OK, so maybe my adventurous spirit peaks somewhere around homemade buttermilk...what of it?!

This may be an old trick for some, but it's one of my handiest tips. You see, my very favorite banana cake recipe calls for buttermilk...enough said!

Quick Homemade Buttermilk (or substitute, at least)
less than 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Place 1 tablespoon white vinegar in bottom of measuring cup, add milk to make 1 cup. 
Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir and use.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Crumb Coat Cakes

"Men are my hobby, if I ever got married I'd have to give it up." ~Mae West 

Well, I got married...twice! Good thing cakes are my hobby. Here are a few of the latest... 

To all of the graduates out there, CONGRATULATIONS!!

Summer Fun!

Don't forget your sunscreen!

M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E
Oh wait, it's Minnie!

I wonder...

Did Mae have this much fun?


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stuffed Strawberries

Wow, just when I think I'm gonna catch a break, life gets even busier. Could be that it's the busy season for my husband's company, could be all the end of school year "stuff", or could just be that we're diving in to summer full throttle! Yes, days are longer, but yards are needier, kids are crazier, and social calendars busier. Planned picnics and impromptu get togethers will become common practice during the next few months. The thing is, I won't always want to have time to bake. And I can see it now...the disapproving stares, the judgmental whispers..."This broad has a baking blog and shows up with a store bought pie?!"  No worries! Stuffed strawberries to the rescue! Quick, easy, and sure to impress! ;)

I was turned on to the stuffed strawberry when a friend brought Giada's version to a church fundraiser. The following week, with no time to bake, I decided to make them for "Whatever" Club (which is actually a book club we started 11 years ago). During my search for Giada's recipe (which I have yet to find), I stumbled across this one by the Deen Brothers, from Paula's Home Cooking, and the search was over.

Cream Cheese and Pecan Stuffed Berries
20 whole large strawberries, hulled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so the berries stand upright. Place berries, cut side down, on a serving platter. Carefully cut the berries into 4 wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms with a criss-cross cut. Fan wedges just slightly, taking care not to break them. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until combined but still stiff. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag with decorative tip, fill the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the stuffed strawberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Once again, thank you Food Network!

As for "Whatever" Club, formerly known as Book Club, well...that's a novel in the making. And with 12 (or maybe 13) co-authors, trust me, it's sure to be a best-seller! BTW...they loved the strawberries!