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Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Hundred Uses for Pastry

Pastry, even the world's best pastry, will only last so long in the fridge.  Eventually, one must bring oneself to part with the temptation of flaky, crumbly, melt in your mouth deliciousness.  More pie?  Not always the answer, my dear friend.

These are Oma's Leftover cookies.  Great-oma, as you may have guessed, was Dutch.  And not terribly well off.  And had a small brood of children to raise.  Even if she had been well to do, her wooden shoes would have surely overridden any flirtations with frivolity.

This is her method for using up pastry scraps.  I can hardly imagine there were many scraps, but what there was, she used.  I say it's a method, rather than a recipe, since no one has ever seen this really written down.  In fact, today may be the first time in our family's history it has been done.

Great-Oma's Leftover Cookies

Roll out pastry into a rectangle.  Spread liberally with butter.  Cover completely with brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Roll into a tube.  If the tube appears to be getting to thick (more than four or five full turns) cut the rectangle lengthwise and use two rolls.  Cut into 1/2" wide pieces and set on cookie tray.  Bake at 350 F until done.

This is the delicious result

Don't worry if a few fall over.  They will be equally edible.  Of course, to keep up appearances, you may want to taste test those 'seconds'
I'd love to tell you how long they will keep.  Around here, it's only a few hours.  My best guess would be a few days.  Let me know how they work out at your house. 1. 2.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Perfect Sugar Cookie - Or Not

I have found the world's most delicious sugar cookie.  It isn't a sugar cookie in the conventional sense that you whip up butter and sugar, etc. and then chill it and attempt to work with cold dough that invariably falls apart and you have to re-chill in order to make it bake up properly.  Or that you have to ice it in order for it to taste like much of anything.  No, these little wonders escape that fate.

Here they are, ostensibly shaped like oak leaves. Use your imagination, OK?  At any rate, E2 was helping and having a fantastic time, so it doesn't really matter what shape they came out as.  I didn't ice this batch, having used up my maternal patience for the day.  They still tasted absolutely delicious.

Light, flaky, buttery, flavourful.  Don't let the colouring fool you - that's a bit of a blunder on my part.  These are to die for.

Roll-Out Cookies

1 cup          unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups  white sugar
1                egg
2 t              vanilla extract and/or almond extract combination
2 3/4 cups  all purpose flour
2 t              baking powder
1 t              salt

cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and extract(s).  Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Slowly add to butter mixture.  Knead in a small amount of colouring, if desired.  DO NOT CHILL DOUGH.  Roll out onto floured surface, to approximately 1/8 inch thick, working in batches as necessary.  Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet at 400 F for 6-7 minutes or until slightly browned

Makes several cookies, perhaps 2 dozen, if you can keep from eating them along the way. 1. 2.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake

In the original recipe, the word 'luscious' is used.  And they couldn't be more correct.  This is originally a Kraft Cooking recipe.  It is the best magazine I don't pay for.  Anything that begins with a cake mix and four eggs, how can you go wrong.
I did make a few modifications for the sake of my sanity.  I didn't have any Cool Whip in the house, so I used some whipping cream instead.  And I was too lazy to use pecans on the top, so I omitted them.  Ditto with making four layers instead of just two.  It was a huge hit at Saturday night's food fest.

Here is the link to the Kraft site where the recipe is house ('cause I'm still too lazy to type it out here)

Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake 1. 2.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010


E2 is really enjoying her brother being away at school during the day.  She also has moments where she would probably enjoy it if her little brother would go away, too, but he's a little young for college just yet.

In preparation for some company tonight, we were baking and cooking fiends yesterday.  Helping in the kitchen is perhaps her favourite activity in the whole world.  Aside from maybe driving her brothers crazy.

My aunt offered us a plethora of blackberries from her property this year.  Being good and frugal (cheap?) like we are, we accepted.  I have no idea what to do with blackberries, really.  But given the shortage of cherries in our area this year, I figured maybe I could make them stand in.  And stand in they have

This is my version of blackberry pie.  Please ignore the small drip.  I should have taken a photo from the other side and then you would have never known.  But here I am, warts, pie drips and all

Elyza also made a pie:
It had to be EXACTLY like mommy's pie.  Criss-cross top and everything.  They devoured it last night with the babysitters.

What, we left the house unaccompanied by children?  Is that possible?  A story for another day.

Here is the recipe my family uses for pie crust.  It is unique in the it uses milk instead of water.  And that it makes about 600 lbs of pie crust.  And that we have no idea who Margaret is.  Rumour has it she was a neighbour, but only my grandmother might know and that is a three house conversation I am just not prepared to have today

Margaret's Pie Crust

5 cups   all purpose flour
1 t         baking powder
1 lb       lard (chilled is best, cut into small pieces)
1 T       salt

1 egg     beaten
1 T        white vinegar
enough milk to make one cup

Start with only 4 cups of the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients.  I am lazy and put it in my stand mixer.  Gradually add the cut up pieces of lard.  You can use vegetable shortening if you must, I won't tell.  But I think the lard gives it a better texture.  Slowly pour in the milk mixture.  Then add as much of the last cup of flour as needed to make the dough the right consistency.  That is, moist, stuck together, but not sticky.  Be careful not to overmix.  That is the death of pie crust.

Chill before using.  It will keep up to two weeks in the fridge if you keep it in a tightly sealed bag or container.  Let it sit on the counter ten minutes or so before attempting to roll out on a well floured surface.

This is E2's take on the whole experience:

Maybe just on life period.  She is a little bit different 1. 2.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bacon Cheddar Chive Breakfast Muffins

Need I say more?  Seriously, these smell so good I nearly ate the entire batch.

 Here is the recipe for anyone who's interested

Savoury Bacon & Cheese Muffins

2 c        flour
1 T       Baking Powder
2 t        white sugar
1 t        mustard powder
3/4 t     salt
1 1/4 c  cheese - Italiano blend is suggested, but I had cheddar in the house
1/3 c     crumbled bacon

1 c        milk
3/4 c     oil
1/2 c     chives or green onion, finely chopped
2          eggs
1 t        corn syrup

Combine first group of ingredients, minus 1/4 c of cheese, in one bowl.
Combine second group of ingredients in a second bowl
Pour second mixture into first mixture and stir until just combined
Divide mixture evenly into paper lined muffin cups
Bake for approx. 20 minutes in a 400 F oven
Immediately sprinkle with remaining cheese when they are removed from oven

Best served warm 1. 2.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Midnight Rainbow

OK, so it wasn't exactly midnight.  More like seven.  But close, right?  I'm sure it was midnight somewhere.  At any rate, it was time for bed for E3s.  This little beauty appeared in the sky, for ever so brief a moment.

Here is the other end.  No sign of a pot of gold or anything.  Just  few, brief shining moments.  The kids alerted us to its existence, actually.  Perhaps in an attempt to further their scientific understanding of the world around them.  Or maybe just to delay bedtime. Hard to say.  It appeared the next evening as well.  I don't have any shots of that one.  I wouldn't want to appear redundant. 1. 2.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nativity Scene

I sewed this over the past weekend, for Goose's nephew, Josh's, birthday.  We will be celebrating over Thanksgiving weekend.  The eight little figurines and the creche were actually pretty simple to construct and sew.

It even has "Away In A Manger" printed on the back, which I think is very cute.  I decided to machine sew the openings closed, for durability.  And because my hands were just about done by the time this was finished.  Next time, I think I'll take longer to finish and hand stitch the openings closed.  It will give my slip stitch some much needed practise. 1. 2.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Quick but Chilly

I have been promising my girl for a few days now that I would take her to the park.  Today, when it is a mere 11 C outside, we went.  I bundled the two of them up and away we went.  Across the crazy busy road.  To the park that boasts exactly one slide, one dirty little play house, one teeter totter, two swings, and one weird little dinosaur thingy.  And lots of dirty, wet sandy underneath.

They had a blast

First, we went on the one of two swings that are there

E3 loved it

Here he is, contemplating his options at this wee park.

E2 loves the slide.  She picks out her own outfits, yes.  Why do you ask?

When they started huddling together for warmth (after about 10 minutes) I made an executive decision to head home.  And make hot chocolate.  With marshmallows.

And thus, mama has kept her word.  And her sanity. 1. 2.
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