Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Traveling Art Pouch - Dining out with Kids

I'm pretty sure we've all been there right?  The restaurant's packed, your server seems to be the only one who showed up to work that night, the kids are hungry, bored, and ready to revolt.  If you're lucky, you've at least ended up at a place that uses huge sheets of block paper and dispenses out a few broken crayons that you can attempt to entertain the kids with, but let's be real, how long can you really keep Tic-Tack-Toe interesting.   Or maybe that's just my life...

Read more and get the tut after the jump...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Caramel Crunch Bars

Is anyone else already thinking about Christmas?  Or Christmas goodies to be exact.  Every year I make an assortment of desserts to hand out as gifts to neighbors, teachers, family, etc, and I've been on the lookout for a few new things.  For me, not only do they need to taste amazing, but they need to be simple and quick to prepare, cause really, who has the time for complicated around the holidays!

I immediately turned to Baking from My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, she manages to come up with recipes that aren't so simple that they're boring, but not fussy and overly complicated.

Not exactly sure why Caramel is in the name of these bars, as there isn't a lick of caramel in them, but who cares, they were yummy!  The base layer of the bars is buttery with a little chew factor.  It's melt in your mouth goodness from the first bite of toffee to the crumbly base...mmmmmmm, definitely making it to my Christmas baking list.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chili | I think I Found a Winner

The leaves are changing and fall is in the air (or is it Autumn??).  No matter what you call it, I bet for most of you it's your favorite time of year, I know it is for me anyway.  I love to look out my kitchen windows and see the bright colors, and I really love getting to wear more clothes...I'm just not a summer girl.  But if all that wasn't reason enough to love fall, then the food would surely do it.  It's time for soups and stews, chili and chowder, and if you haven't already, dust off that crock pot, cause slow cooking season has arrived!

I've been making chili since high school, although back then I was in the kitchen just stirring the pot while dad did the actual cooking, it's still one of my all time favorites.  Over the years I've been trying a little this and a little that to perfect the recipe, and this year is no different.  Today I think I've found my new favorite!  Since chili is better the second day, it's not actually on the menu until tomorrow night, but if today's taste test is any indication of what tomorrow will bring, in heaven we will be.

I've tried a few sweet chili's and while they were interesting and I liked the sweetness, I really missed the smokey flavor.  And then I had a moment, an aha moment...Chipotle!  You get the sweetness from the brown sugar and the smoke from the Chipotle...they are perfect companions.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TWD | Flaky Apple Turnovers

What a great week to bake apple turnovers since we still had a bunch left from the orchards.  Julie with Someone's in the Kitchen picked this weeks Tuesday's with Dorie recipe.  Please go check out her blog, not only to get her thoughts on the turnovers, but to get the recipe!

I had major issues with this dough, which is probably more about me than the dough.  One day I'm going to be able to afford a big food processor, but for now it's just me and my pastry blender.  Most times that is enough, but I think it may have been my downfall here.  The dough was seriously dry, even after adding in a little more sour cream.  It just would not come together!  And chilling did not help matters, it just became a huge heavy brick that was nearly impossible to roll out.  I was forced to let it come to room temp just to roll, which we all know ruins a good pastry dough!

These little guys puffed up like you would not believe, I used the best for the photo here, but I should have taken at least one picture of a flop, they were pretty comical looking.  The turnovers were actually quite tasty though so it all worked out in the end.  I did however find out that 4 apples is way more than you'll need for this recipe, I bet I only used 2 little suckers, so if you're using store bought apples, I think you'd get away with just 1.

For a few of these, I mixed in some Red Currant Jam with the apples, they were awesome, wish I'd done this with more of them.  I didn't have good course sugar for the tops, so I used some homemade vanilla sugar, yum-e!  I definitely recommend giving these a try!