Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cupcake Camp - Recipes

This is my go-to chocolate cake mix. It's very much like a boxed mix but tastes so much better!

2 cups flour (I often use any of the following in combination whole wheat/white wheat/all purpose)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1 tbsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups hot water
2 tsp. vanilla

Basically mix it all together and bake! 350 degrees for 20 minutes (cupcakes), 30 minutes (layers), 35 minutes (sheet cake). Makes 24 cupcakes, 2 - 9" layers, 1 - 9"x13" sheet cake.

7-minute frosting - King Arthur Flour's recipe, but I cook the sugur/water until it caramelizes.
Candied bacon - did it really simple by taking cooked bacon, dusting with sugar and baking at 400 degrees until crisp. Watch it because it burns quick!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Missed Meals

Found some photos that I wanted to share of the beautiful produce I've gotten at Langwater so far this season.
This doesn't count, but a pretty strawberry plant from a picking trip.

Nice way to dress up a mummy hotdog - fresh pea shoots

fresh peas, spring onions and those crazy garlic scapes, and pink turnips!

The above veggies turned into a spring soup w/ a poached egg

Shrimp Pad Thai w/ Miracle Noodles

lemon chicken w/ peas & a beet salad

Tastes of Summer

Last week we went to a church friend's to get some pointers from an experienced jam maker. It was a great time and we all got a chance to chop, clean, fill, etc. We came home with a bunch of strawberry and strawberry rhubarb.

Later in the week I bought some rhubarb and blueberries at the produce stand. I picked a few scrawny stalks from the garden and added it to the rest, with a bit of ginger and then put in a jar of the strawberry jam instead of sugar. I boiled it until the rhubarb broke down then let it cool overnight. The next day we mixed it with some plain, fat-free Greek-style yogurt and some vanilla, then froze it in the ice cream maker. I thought it was very good but Shara thought it had a little too much ginger in it. She may be right, but it won't stop me from eating probably the whole container. Without any fat, it does need to soften in the microwave to be scoopable, but that's no real issue.

Look at the color!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My 4th of July Plans

Each year we have a great time helping at the Bridgewater Fourth of July festivities with our church. This year, Pinterest has been quite an inspiration and I'm hoping to make these:

And cupcakes. Can't decide if I want to do them like this or not:
But how cute! and it would be easy for people walking around. I'll have to see. Pinterest has so many great ideas I could spend hours there, but can't seem to get their widget to work here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekly Menu

Monday - bean & cheese quesadillas, avocado, tomato, lettuce salad
Tuesday - grilled mushroom burgers, grilled potato wedges
Wednesday - grilled chicken caesar salad
Thursday - sweet potato cauliflower soup (done in the slow cooker)
Friday - fish?

Monday, June 03, 2013

Improving on the Classic Chocolate Caramel Bacon Cake

Sunday was my daughter's dance recital and her birthday is mid-June so we take advantage of having family here from out of town to have her birthday celebration. She again requested a Chocolate Cake w/ Caramel Frosting and Candied Bacon. We made a little adjustment and decided Maple Frosting sounded good, but how about Maple/Caramel Fluff instead? Yes, that was what we were going for, and a success it was!

The cake is the Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake from King Arthur Flour. I used white wheat flour and 1/2 cup oil with the 2 extra yolks from the frosting. The cake wasn't smelling very chocolaty, so I put in a few ounces of chopped dark, Fair Trade Ethiopian chocolate. 

The frosting is based on King Arthur Flour's 7 Minute Frosting. I made a caramel sauce with a cup of white sugar (organic, unrefined) and a cup of maple sugar - heat until sugar melts, stirring constantly, then when it's reddish brown, add 2 cups of water - splatter, splatter, then simmer until 240 degrees - soft-ball stage. Then use the caramel in place of the simple sugar in the frosting recipe. Some of the caramel I kept out and cooked a few more minutes until it would harden more, and tossed hot with cooked, chopped bacon. I find this a good method to keep the bacon crispy. The bummer was what's hiding under all that frosting - the cake stuck very badly to the bundt pan, mostly because of the chocolate chunks, I believe. The pan really wasn't made for a cake like this, but maybe more for a coffee or pound cake - something with more fat. It really didn't matter because it was very good.