Monday, February 8, 2016

Fruit Roll Ups, Unrolled

Since I'm on a hunt for the best way to make a "pink cake" with natural, flavorful ingredients, I found myself with a surplus of strawberry purée. I did some quick brainstorming and decided to make homemade fruit roll ups aka "fruit leather" aka Strawberry Snacks. Since I didn't do any rolling, the fruit roll up name doesn't work. Fruit leather doesn't sound very delicious, so I'm going to pass on that name. I had to make up a name...Strawberry Snacks. Maybe you can think of something better? I'm open to suggestions. That's all I've got.

I used the recipe from Fifteen Spatulas. The directions were descriptive and easy to follow. The only change I made was with my purée. Since I had already made it for the cake, it was strained through a mesh sieve. I don't think that made a huge difference, but it does look a tad more smooth. 

Before cooking...

After 15 minutes...

Spread out, before the oven...

Baked at 170 for 3 hours...

After the mixture was done baking and cooling, my daughter and I cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. This is a fun project for little ones. It's not dangerous or too messy, yay!


The flavor is super strawberry-y. They are easy to make, gluten and dairy and nut free, and healthy-ish. Don't let that purée go to waste! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pink Cake...Second Attempt


A few days ago I showed you my first attempt at pink cake for my daughter. It was pretty good, but I wanted to experiment some more. Today I made a strawberry version. I used the same recipe as last time, but I used strawberries instead of raspberries.

As I had hoped, the color is a bit more pink, and not quite so purple. Yay! The flavor is delicious! You can definitely taste the strawberries. It's still not pink pink. I'm sure I could add a few drops of food coloring to punch it up, but I'm not bugged that it looks a little natural...it is!

This time I frosted the strawberry cakes with a buttermilk buttercream frosting. It's a super combo.  I'll share the frosting recipe below. Once I feel like the cake is WOW, I'll share that too, but I'm just not there yet. 

I baked the cake in two 6" pans. I halved the original recipe, and that amount was just right for my small cake. I baked them at 325 for 28 minutes. 

BUTTERMILK BUTTERCREAM 

Ingredients 
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature 
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions 
Combine heavy cream with vinegar in a small bowl, set aside. 

Cream your butter until pale. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Mix well after each addition. 

Add your cream mixture two teaspoons at a time to your butter and sugar mixture. Once it has all been added, check your consistency. If it is too think, add more heavy cream one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pink Cake...First Attempt


Raspberry Purée...delicious flavor, easy, pretty color. Kind of pinkish. This may be a winner. 

My daughter wants a pink cake. I'm okay with a little dye, but I try to avoid it in large doses. Bleh! I found several recipes with strawberry purée, but the color is quite pale without adding some food coloring. I figured raspberries have a more intense color. She was pleased! I may try a combo next time with a drop or two of red coloring. I'll keep ya posted on my science experiment. ;)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Chicken(less) Pot Pie Soup

Sometimes it's cold outside and nothing hits-the-spot better than a bowl of homemade soup.  The best soup I've had in a while is my friend's Chicken(less) Pot Pie Soup. The name sums it up: tastes like chicken pot pie (in soup form), minus the chicken, and minus the fuss of the crust.  I am so glad she shared her recipe with me, and she kindly agreed to let me share it with you!


CHICKEN(less) POT PIE SOUP
Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 bay leaf
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tbsp flour
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt
pepper
fresh parsley

Directions
Melt the butter with the oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add in the onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaf.  Add a pinch of salt to prevent browning.  After a few minutes season with pepper and poultry seasoning.  Continue sauteing until the onions are translucent.

Add in the flour.  Cook, while stirring, for a few minutes to create a roux. Continue stirring, and slowly add in a cup of the stock.  

Add the potatoes to the pot, and add enough broth until they are just covered. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Finally, add in the peas, corn, and cream.  Simmer for another 4-5 minutes to cook the peas and corn.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh parsley.    

I served the soup with my favorite flaky biscuits.  Of course, you could make this with chicken too, but my meat-loving family didn't have any complaints.  They really gobbled it up!  Yay for kids (and adults) eating vegetables! Next time, I will double the recipe so I can freeze some for a quick meal on a busy day.  I hope you enjoy this delicious bowl of coziness!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sweet or Salty?

The new year is in full swing.  No major resolutions here.  I am just going to keep on keepin' on.  Hope you are off to a fantastic start.  If it's not fantastic, I hope it's at least mostly good.

I tried a new recipe a few nights ago...GOUGERES! Fancy name for the savory version of cream puffs.  You make them with the same pate a choux dough, but instead of sweet fillings and toppings you mix in cheese and other savory bits.  I made cheddar cheese and chive gougeres because I wanted to make a post for Joy the Baker's #bakingbootcamp challenge.  They were very, very delicious.  For all of the recipe details, please visit her site. I made mine humongous so we could use them as sandwich buns. Yummers!

Last year, okay only a couple of weeks ago, I made the sweet version of her recipe.  Dark chocolate cream puffs!  Of course they were a hit. Cream puffs never disappoint, never ever. Here's a picture of the tastiness.  Now I want to make more.

If you are a curious about other magical things you can make with this wonder dough, say "hello" to the Paris-Brest or these crazy good eclairs.

Happy New Year! x

Friday, January 1, 2016

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cooking with Kids

I include my daughter in as much cooking and baking as I possibly can. I wish I could say it's magical and fun. It is, but it is also challenging. You see, I like order. Toddlers are the opposite of order. 


Here are some of things I do to stay sane...

BE PREPARED
Prep ingredients. Sometimes I let her measure, but other times I measure ahead of time. At the very least, have all of your ingredients out in one spot. Toddlers can do crazy things if you turn your back even for a moment. Ask me sometime about the milk in the water gun incident. Yikes. 

EXPECT A MESS
If you expect it, you won't be bugged by it. I *try* to accept the mess as part of the process. 

LET THEM TASTE 
As much as possible, let them have little tastes. It's fun to see their reactions to new things. It also keeps them really engaged. I like to taste things as I cook too, so I get it. 

It is worth the effort to see how excited they are when they see their masterpieces. Kids love to feel like they are an important part of the team. Don't we all? 

***I will be baking more over the next few days, but I'm headed in to hibernation until January. I'll post some pictures of our feasting then. Happy Holidays! Stay lucky!***