Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Penguin Christmas Sugar Cookies

This year I have gone with a penguin theme for my holiday cookies because my son's birthday party is going to have a penguin theme. He loves them! I am putting these on my blog so you can use the ideas if you'd like. If you would like to make your own, you can go to Sweetopia and get her great recipe for royal icing! It is really great, although, I have found that using the 10 second rule she uses makes the icing a little too tight for the fine details I create on these cookies. I add a little more water and use a 5 second rule. It just works better for the tiny tips I use.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

La Boca Farms Brunch, Norwich, NY

Today we ate lunch at the cutest little eatery I've ever seen.  OMG. The food is so good. I can't say enough about how impressed I was with this place. Organic, farm to table and fresh!  The name of the place is La Boca Farms and this seasonal restaurant was just opened weeks ago by the woman in white on the bottom right corner. They are only open on Sunday mornings for breakfast and lunch and only for another 5 weeks.  After that they take off for the South West for the winter.  Nice!  Upstate winters can be harsh!  If this place was open for coffee every morning, I would swing by before taking the kids to school and get a cup to go!

The picture on the left is the cheese and fruit plate which is what I ordered. It is so good and has great nuts, cheeses, fruit and crackers.

The coffee is AMAZING {Blue Bottle Coffee} and well, you can see that I loved it.  They offer a nice spread of sweeteners for your coffee too, including agave, vanilla bean simple sugar, farm fresh cream and local honey.

Below is the potato hash with sausage, peppers and onions. My 13-year-old son ordered it and LOVED it.

The French Toast was to die for.  Seriously. And don't even get me started about the Applewood Smoked Bacon.  OMG. 

 For my local friends, you go out Polkville Road about 4 miles and you will see the sign for La Boca Farms. They have done such a nice job with the place. The only issue.... they are only open for 5 more Sundays. They do breakfast and lunch on Sundays only for now. 9:00-2:00. (Maybe it is 8:00-2:00). See you there next Sunday.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cornbread Recipe

I must admit that I am not a big cornbread fan.   I never have been.... I blame that on the many box mixes I have had in the past.  This recipe may have changed my mind about that old Southern classic that we northerners have misunderstood.   

I like that it is made with actual cornmeal and flour and sugar and Greek yogurt and fresh corn.  I think this is the recipe I have been looking for.  Perhaps you, as a Southerner, will look at this recipe and tell me I am still misunderstanding, but this was WAY better than anything I have had thus far. It was moist and hearty and had a lot of texture due to the fresh corn kernels.

I would have linked to the recipe, but it isn't on the FoodTv site.  I will make this again.

I would wait a little while longer before loosening and slicing it as mine was not quite cool enough in 15 minutes.

Now that I've found a nice recipe, maybe I will invest in one of these!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Diets to Go? Really?

Being a foodie makes keeping weight off hard.  I workout most days of the week so that I can eat whatever I like (within reason).  But what about those weeks when I'm not feeling well, or days when my kids are home and have too many places to go for me to fit in my workout?   I'm wondering if anyone has tried diet meal plan sites that provide full diet meals (like DietToGo).  It seems like a convenient way to have meals in the freezer for those days when you just can't make it work.

Or am I better off just making up freezer meals with leftovers?  That is something I will have to remember to DO though.  LOL!  Those sites seem like a good idea for people who don't really cook or live on their own and need no other groceries, but do they work for a person with a family?  What do you feed everyone else?  If you've tried them, please let me know how they worked for you and if they are worth the added $$$$.

While looking around Amazon to find some related links for the end of my post (as I always do), I found these books about freezer meals! They might be interesting reads. Of course, I have seen websites for this kind of thing as well. Like this one: Pioneer Woman and Thriving Home.

It is good to know that I have so many choices, but if you have done any of the above, please let me know how it worked out for you.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Fun Recipe Card Kit and Freebie!

Look at this kit!  I WON it on a Sweet Shoppe Designs giveaway!  It is by designer Libby Pritchett.  I am so excited to make some fun recipe cards for my Grandmother's recipes which {ahem!} I have been doing for quite a while now.  I get bored with this project, so this kit is the perfect thing to get me back on track to get this job done. 

There are so many things you can make with just one kit!  Here's an example of a simple recipe card I made.  Now I can print as many as I need and so can you thanks to Libby for allowing me to share these cards made with her kit!  So fun.  Right click to save and print.
Here is a larger layout for you.  The others a pretty small.
This one is single and the next one will print two per page.

Off to get those recipes typed up!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Hot, Whole-Wheat Soft Pretzels

Seriously, can't you just smell them? 

Sliced horizontally, they make great hamburger buns.  If you do them as straight sticks, you can cut them and make them hot dog buns. Yum!

Soft Pretzels
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt or French grey sea salt
1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flours and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl,  cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for 5 minutes- 10 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat. Set aside.

3. Heat 3 cups of water to very warm  in an 8-quart saucepan and add the baking soda. Turn off the heat.

4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8-16 pieces depending how large you'd like your pretzels to be.  Dip the rope into the soda water holding onto the ends of the rope as handles. (It doesn't matter if the tips of the ends don't get submersed).  Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

5.  Coat with egg yolk and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake at 450 for 8-12 minutes or until deep brown.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pretty Posey Cupcake Wrapper Freebie

 I see this wrapper used for baby showers, or maybe a girly tea, but really it could be used for anything.  I think it is adorable!  I may have to come up with a party just so I can use it.

If you need directions regarding how to use these wrappers, go here.


I have been using the Reynold's Stay Brite cupcake papers.  They are AWESOME! They are lined with aluminum foil type of stuff and they actually really keep their cuteness after they are baked.  The paper ones always soak through and lose their prettiness after they are baked. 

Here are a few cupcakes I made using these baking cups. These were actually baked in these cups!

Anyway, here is a link to the Reynold's papers.  I love them.  You may be able to find them in your grocery store too.  I am going to look at Walmart to see if they have them.  I will let you know.

Reynolds Stay Brite Baked for You Sophisticated Bake Cups 36 Ct 2 Packs


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

School Is Out For The Summer Party

We are SO looking forward to Summer!  Tomorrow is the last day of school so we are having some kids over to swim (and/or) play videogames.  So, I set up the back porch for the party.  The pool is 68 degrees, so I think the kids will probably be playing outside and playing videogames. 
I used a needle and thread to string balloons and the banner.  The close-up of the letters are below.
I took some card blanks that I found at Walmart and decorated the fronts with letters.  I then put them over the string and stapled them to it.

I also made brownie cupcakes with a yummy buttercream icing to which I added extra salt.  It is really good! The recipe for the buttercream is below! I also made some little pin wheels as toppers.  I'm also serving some chips and such.
Here is the set-up for tomorrow.


The napkin wrappers are tied with Lifesavers. :-)
Buttercream Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened... don't melt it though.
3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp. milk
Beat the butter with the paddle attachment of your mixer. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar on low until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and add the vanilla, salt and 1 tbsp. milk.  Beat for 3 minutes.  If your icing is too stiff, add some more milk.  If it is too thin, add powdered sugar 1 tbsp. at a time. 
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