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30 December 2014

Double Duty: Crock Pot Cocktail Carrier


Planning a New Year's Eve soiree (or a New's Year Day recovery party)?  Planning to serve a hot drink?  If so, consider using your crock pot.  You can mix the drink up, warm it up, and even serve it directly from the crock.  One dish clean-up, plus you don't have to worry about keeping an eye on the stove or warming up individual servings.

Mmm...tasty!

23 December 2014

Smart Swap: Flour


Rather than using only all-purpose flour in your baked goods, why not try adding some whole-wheat or nut flour?
  • You can substitute whole wheat flour for up to 1/3 of the all-purpose flour in pretty much any cake, cookie, brownie, or muffin recipe.  Keep in mind that you might have to add an extra tablespoon or two of liquid; whole wheat flour tends to absorb more liquid than all-purpose.
  • Trying substituting up to half of the all-purpose flour in a brownie recipe for a nut flour.  Try ground almond or pecan meal - it'll give the brownies a nutty flavor.
Mmm...tasty!

17 December 2014

Leaf Pile

One of my favorite things about Autumn is crunching through the fallen leaves.

PB110104_ew

Around my neck of the woods, though, we don't usually have many leaves that stick around to be piled up; the wind usually sweeps them away to parts unknown.

16 December 2014

Soften Up!


You're raring to bake cookies, only to realize you forgot to set the butter out to soften.  It's still in the refrigerator, but you want to bake now.  But, you know that nuking it in the microwave can result in melted butter, not softened butter, if you're not careful.  What to do?

Trying cutting the cold sticks of butter into cubes or smaller pieces.  This will expose more surface area to the air and will speed up the softening time - go with 1/2" cubes and it could be as few as 15 minutes.  That would give you just enough time to gather up the rest of your ingredients and utensils and get the oven preheated.

Mmm...tasty!


12 December 2014

'Tis the Season


It's the holidays!  As usual, I am not ready for them and probably still won't be after they have passed, but c'est la vie.  You do what you can and just let the rest fly right by, right?

Today's Favorite Find - Microplane zesters.  I own 2 of the classic series zesters and one of the citrus zesters and I love them all.  I use them mostly for grating zest, but they come in handy for grating fresh spices and even hard cheeses.  And, guess what?  The blades are made in the USA.  Gotta love that!

Psst!  Go ahead and "Read more"...there's a giveaway going on today!

10 December 2014

Pretty in Pink

Nope, we are not talking about the Molly Ringwald film today, which on a side note, I might mention, I have never seen from start to finish, just bits and pieces here and there.

I know, I know - classic John Hughes "Brat Pack" film - I have no good excuse.

Let's talk pink (the color) now, eh?

Pink with sparkles.

PB010037_cew

09 December 2014

Butternut Squash


Butternut squash, it's everywhere.

A few tips for choosing a good one:

  • For the sweetest/most flavorful, look for one that's hard with matte skin and a dried out stem.
  • Choose one with a greater proportion of neck to seed-filled bulb - you'll get more flesh that way.
  • A whole butternut squash can keep for up to four months in a cool dry place.  Once it's cut, it will stay fresh wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to a week.  You can also freeze peeled chunks for months.
Mmm...tasty!

02 December 2014

Chocolate Bloom


That floury finish you sometimes see on chocolate doesn't mean the chocolate is bad or unusable - it's just a reaction to changes in temperature and/or humidity.  The chocolate is still perfectly fine to use, once you melt it or warm it up the bloom should disappear.  No one will know the difference!

Mmm...tasty!