Sunday, December 30, 2012

Homemade Christmas Part 2

So I'm a little late here. I feel like a major slacker but the last two weeks before Christmas included sick kids, exhausted husband and kinks getting thrown my way. The last 4 days before Christmas I came down with the plague. I almost cancelled Christmas morning brunch at my house but I just kept trucking along and made it through. I made it until December 26th and then I deflated like a popped balloon! So my head is all swimmy and things that are stationary seems to be moving, in fact the computer seems to be giving motion sickness. I felt worse this time last year but I had come down with morning sickness that time. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that is not this case this time! Wow! this year has been CRAZY!!!! Anywhoooo, I'm rambling, maybe its the cold medicine  These are a few of the handmade gifts we made but I plan to show you more. While wrapping the gifts at 2:00 AM Christmas morning I realized I never did take proper pictures of my work. So I'll have to borrow a couple of things back to take some shots and remake some of the food items.

Christmas Morning with my men!!!!

Apple Butter

This is seriously one of the easiest things I've ever made. Luckily I have a Pampered Chef apple slicer so the hardest work was the clean up. I started it at 1:30 am, went to bed got up at 8:00 am stirred it a few times and it was done by 11:30 am I blended it and it was ready to can. I have a timer on my slow cooker so I didn't have to worry about checking it. I may have stopped around eight hours but I wanted the flavors to be a deep and rich as possible.
What it should look like at each stage

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
7-8 lbs of apple (I used Gala and Red Delicious but a tart apple would be good also)
1 1/4 cups raw sugar (adjust according to the sweetness of you apples)
3 TBSP molasses
1-2 TBSP cinnamon (I like mine with alot)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
(I didn't use them this time)

Peel, slice and core your apples. Place them into your crock along with the remaining ingredients cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir occasionally. Once they are done either mash with potato masher or use an immersion blender to smooth. (If you like it with more of a chunky texture use the potato masher) You can either can or freeze. It will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Bacon Bark

This may be the ugliest thing I've ever made but it may also get me a "BEST BIG SISTER IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE" award. My little brother may just be obsessed with bacon. So I remixed peppermint bark, tossed out the normal ingredients and Davidified it. 

Peanut Butter Bacon Bark
1 pack of bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cinnamon

12 oz Reese's peanut butter chips
6 oz white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Start by layering bacon onto a broiler pan. In a small bowl combine sugar, cinnamon and chili powder. Top the bacon with sugar mixture and pat down so that all the bacon is covered. Bake 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully the sugar will burn easily. Pull out and let cool. Once bacon has come to room temperature, chop bacon into fairly small pieces. Cover a baking sheet with wither wax paper. Pour peanut butter chips into a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chips are melted. (My microwave takes 1:00 to 1:30 minutes) Pour melted peanut butter chips onto wax paper smooth out into a flat rectangle shape. Top with your chopped bacon. While that cools melt your white chocolate chips in the same manner as peanut butter chips. Drizzle melted white chocolate over and let cool. Refrigerate until cool and hardened. Once hardened break into bite sized pieces. 

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix
(I made a double recipe which makes between 14-16 cups)

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix
5 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons salt
26 oz box of powdered milk
32 oz powdered creamer
2 cups cocoa
16 oz instant chocolate pudding
2 cups brown sugar
12 oz semisweet morsels
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. In a large heavy bottom skillet heat sugar over medium heat stirring often. Cook until sugar has liquefied and turned a dark amber. Pour onto baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and let cool and set until hardened. Once hard break into chunks and place into a food processor. Pulse into a powder. (I had to do it in batches) Combine all ingredients in a huge bowl and process in food processor in batches until all ingredients are combined and a fine powder. ( I used a medium plastic box with a lid to hold it all until ready to bottle) I poured mine into 16 oz powdered creamer containers that had been washed and cleaned with the label removed.

I also made this Praline SauceCoconut Lime Sugar Scrub and these Oatmeal Fudge Bars I did change a couple of things for the recipient, I added chopped macadamia nuts to the crust and swapped white chocolate for the dark. I have made the bars a couple of time by the recipe and I love, love, love them! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Morning Muffins!!!!

We are hosting out Christmas Morning Brunch again this year and I plan on scaling back the food... well I planned on it but it doesn't seem to be happening... Last year I made this granola and laid everything out for granola parfaits and they were DELICIOUS!!!! However, I wanted to change it up this year. My Mom and I have a tried and true muffin recipe so I'm remixing it with these two lovely flavors and a third yet to be determined flavor. I know you're all like Strawberry Pina Colada at Christmas!?!?! Well, that is how I roll, stank you very much. I like to mix it up and get CRAZYYYYYYY y'all!  Okay, maybe I'm just sleep deprived. I probably shouldn't write these when I haven't been sleeping often or while I'm listening to a playlist made of mostly Prince, Michael Buble and Outkast. Whatevs. 

For Basic Muffins:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
Raw sugar for topping*

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease and flour muffin cups or toss in liners if you too cool to bother with all of that nonsense. (As you can see I am!) Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine  Make a well in center and set aside. In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add all of the liquid to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened and still lumpy. Add mix ins making sure not to over work. Spoon into cups approx 2/3 way full. Top with raw sugar and bake for 18-20 minutes.
* Optional but needed

For White Chocolate Pomegranate:
Prepare as above except
omit oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white chocolate
seeds from one pomegranate

For Strawberry Pina Colada:
Prepare as above except
omit oil
swap milk for coconut milk
1/4 cup diced strawberry (if using frozen no need to thaw mix in still frozen)
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup shredded coconut

You can see my sous chef admiring his work ready to dig in. 
and in other cuteness....
♥♥♥♥ Liam's new happy spot is staring up at the tree. ♥♥♥♥

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Homemade Chirstmas

This year for various reasons we are making all of our Christmas gifts, with the exception of some of the boys gifts. The first one I've made is for our parents aka the grandparents. Therefore if you are one of said grandparents
You will need:

Our first project was a hand print ornament. I used clear glass ball ornaments that I purchased at a craft store. I also bought a red paint pen and red glitter embossing powder. (If you don't own a heat gun you could use either paint or regular ink) For my oldest I used the largest ball I could find for the baby I used a regular sized smaller ball. The larger size comes in a 4 pack the smaller in a 12 pack. I used clear embossing ink and printed the boys hands, stamped on to the copy paper and sprinkled it with the powder. I used the heat gun to emboss the powder. I let it cool, cut out the shape of the hand. I took the top of the ornament off, rolled up the paper and slid it into the top of the ornament, replacing the cap afterwards. I used the red paint pen to write their name and the year. I finished it off with a red ribbon on the top. They don't photograph very well but they are adorable in person. To add contrast you can use either a different color paint pen or embossing powder but I liked the monochromatic color scheme. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

We have a few favorites around here that we eat at least once month if not more often, Chicken Tikka is one of them. It is easy and even though it takes a bit of time, it isn't constant, chopping, shredding, stirring, etc... I use the time to do my dishes, clean my counters, whip up a dessert, secretly dance around my kitchen to MC Hammer songs, or whatever my moods moves me to do.

Normally I make Quick Pickled Cucumbers or roasted broccoli and have Naan to go along with the rice. You'll definitely want Naan, pita or some sort of bread to soak up any last bit of sauce. I almost licked my plate tonight. But I am a lady, sort of, so I restrained myself.

For the Chicken Tikka Masala you will need:

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast

Combine yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a gallon size freezer bag, add in chicken and toss. Let marinate for an hour or more.

2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2-3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 Serrano or Jalapeno pepper diced (remember to remove the seeds unless you like it HOT)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoom garam masala
8-10 Roma tomatoes diced
1-1 1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

In a skillet melt butter and add in ginger, garlic and the pepper. Saute until slightly golden approximately 3-4 minutes then add tomato paste. Cook until darkened just a bit add in paprika and garam masala, cook 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes and a cup of water. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to food processor and process until a smooth texture. Add back to skillet and simmer while you grill chicken add in the remaining half cup of water if needed. I used my griddle but you can sear it in a skillet or on a grill. Grill until just brown on the outside and add to the curry. Finish cooking for approximately 5 minutes, could be more or less depending on your stove and size of our breast. Once chicken is cooked through stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve with white or brown rice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happenings and Sweet and Spicy BACON Wrapped Chicken

Currently I'm listening to The Joker by The Steve Miller Band, because I'm from the wrong decade, and looking through some of my Instagram pics. Now I'm going to force them on you before I give you my new, bad for you, splurge on calories, seriously I don't even want to know how bad it is for you chicken recipe. 

 Got my hair did!!! New cut, check! New color, still undecided!

Starting to feel human again. I was beginning to feel like sweats pants with spit up and peanut butter stain were all I owned!

3 months old already!!! 

Splurged on some statement pants and boots! Momma needed a little treat. 

Date Night Chicken Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Due Date

Already fighting... 

i ♥ fall!!! 


knock off Poutine 
(no cheese curds to be found and the only cheese on hand was mozzarella) 
still sinfully delicious!

Already listening to Christmas music! 

My Doodle Bug!


The rest of the dinner needs some tweaking but the Chicken is worth sharing...

Bacon Wrapped Sweet and Spicy Chicken

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp garam masala
1/4/ tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
4-8 strips of bacon (depending on the size of you chicken, or your love for bacon)
4 boneless chicken breasts

Combine sugar and spices on a plate or in a small bowl. Pat seasonings onto chicken breasts, reserving some for the top. Wrap the chicken in bacon and top with remaining seasoning bake approx 20 minutes or cooked through. Cook time will vary depending in size.

I also made a pomegranate Sriracha dipping sauce but that is a recipe for another day! I'm not 100% pleased but the hubs tried to drink it then almost spit fire. True Story!

Friday, November 9, 2012

25 questions with a 3 year year old

Today I asked Caleb 25 questions I plan on asking him every year around his birthday for the next 10 years. I was afraid he would be coming out of left field with some of his answers, if you know my Caleb you know what I mean, but surprisingly he was pretty straight forward and answered them quickly and was very sure of his answers there were only a couple of wacky ones. A couple even shocked me. I had a hard time keeping up, next year I'm going to tape him so I can get as many exact quotes as possible.

1. What is your favorite color? Orange
2. What is your favorite thing to do? Go trick or treating with Daddy
3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas
4. What if you favorite vegetable? Carrots
5. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops and "Strawberry Cereal" ( I have know idea what he was talking about)
6. What is your favorite drink? Chocolate Milk and Lemonade
7. What is your favorite snack? Goldfish (Cheese Crackers) and Bananas
8. What is your favorite breakfast food? Muffins, I really like it when they have strawberries or chocolate chips in them, they go in my belly and taste so yummy. Do you like them, Mommy?
9. What is your favorite food? Macaroni and Cheese
10. What is your favorite food to make? Pizza
11. What is your favorite ice cream? Vanilla without Gummy Worms, they get hard and yucky in the ice cream.
12. What is your favorite candy? Lollipops and NimNims (M&Ms)
13. Who is your best friend? Brendan
14. What is your favorite toy? My  T-Rex that stomps and ROAAAARRRRRSSS
15. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Blow bubbles and draw with chalk and play Opthomas Prime (for those of you who don't know what that is go here)
16. What is your favorite game to play? Bot Garage on Bimps' iPhone (Bimps was supposed to be Gramps but Caleb had his own idea of what to call him)
17. What is your favorite thing to take to bed at night? Cuddles Monkey
18. What is your favorite outfit? Blue super hero shirt with all the best ones on it (which happened to be what he was wearing at the time... suspicous... boys...)
19. What is your favorite animal? Lion
20. What is your favorite song? ABCs
21. What is your favorite book?Green Eggs and Ham but what Caleb said was...  "The one where one man tries to get the other man to eat yucky ham and eggs. They were green and sooo gross but then he liked them. The end."
22. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween cause I get to dress up and get candy treats!
23. What is your favorite television show? Super Hero Squad
24. What did you pick for your birthday dinner? Tako Yaki or as he said "The place so I could watch the man cook with fire and it was so big and he made our food and it was AWESOME!"
25. What do you want to be when you grow up? Spider-man with a web shooter!!! Or a Ghost!

I'm going to type them up and print them out; as he gets older I will have him fill out a questionnaire form. I plan on making and 8.5*11 scrapbook page or three to go with each year so that I can make an album out of them. I will start this project with Liam, as well,when he turns three.

And for no reason other than cuteness:
 The boys in their Halloween costumes...

Liam the Lion. 

Captain America

What's for Dinner????

So these are some of the things we've been eating around our house lately. 
 Orange Honey Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Carrots and Brown Rice

 Baked Chicken Chimichangas with Refried Beans and Salad

 Curried Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

 BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potato

 Coconut Lime StirFry

 Lasagna Skillet

 Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan, Roasted Broccoli and Coconut Carrots

 Roasted Vegetable Strudel

 Thai Chicken Pizza

Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti