Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sweet Red, White, and Blue

Hello Sweets,

Can you believe that we're already half way through our week?  I don't know why it feels like time is just flying by me, probably because I am counting down the days until I return to Texas and am reunited with my love :)  Has it been flying by for all of y'all too?  I am very thankful to feel more like myself today, not in as much pain as yesterday and actually got out of the house for a change too.  My version of "getting out of the house" is pretty minuscule compared to most people, but I picked up my prescriptions and some groceries so it's a win in my books :)

I am super excited about today's post, as I explained yesterday this specific recipe was completely out of my comfort zone and I was successful so I just couldn't wait to share it with all of y'all.  I don't know about y'all but I love me some pie, specifically cherry pie so I was super pumped when I came across this recipe.  It's not an apple pie, which is uber American, but it's pretty comparable in my books and very patriotic ;)  But enough talk, let's get to this delicious treat already!

Old Glory Cherry-Blueberry Pie (from My Recipes)
5C fresh sweet dark cherries, rinsed and pitted
3Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2C fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1C sugar
1/4C cornstarch
2Tsp butter, cut into small pieces
9" pie pastry (see tomorrows blog for recipe)
I wanted to show the monotonous process of pitting cherries lol

1)  Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl, mix cherries with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  In a small bowl, mix blueberries with remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. (yes I squeezed a fresh lemon lol)

 2)  Combine the sugar and cornstarch, gently stir 1 cup of the mixture with the cherries and the remaining 1/4 cup with the blueberries (I tossed it with my hands to be more careful).

 3)  Spoon cherry mixture over 3/4 of the pastry in the pan, leaving 1quadron free.  Spoon blueberries into the empty space.  Sprinkle the butter evenly over the fruit.

4)  Top with the stars and strips (I made an extra batch of pastry and cut it by hand).
tah dah! My stars are a little crazy looking lol

5)   Set pie in a foil lined 13"x17" baking pan.  Bake on the bottom rack until the fruit in the middle bubbles and the pastry is well browned (checking at the 1 hour mark).  If the edges brown too quickly (check after 40 minutes), cover loosely with tin foil.  Let pie cool on a wire rack for 3 hours, and can be left on the counter for 8 hours (max).  Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or whip cream.
so proud :)

So not only does it look like a mini flag, it also embodies the red (cherries) white (pastry) and blue (blueberries) aspect.  This was a very time consuming process, but that's not going to stop me from doing it over again and again.  This is going to sound a little crazy but an hour before this I made another pie, lol yes another one.  Nathan's coconut meringue, see :)

I know what you're thinking; 1) I'm crazy for doing two pies in one day and 2) I spoil him rotten.  Well I would have to say yes to both lol, since I made the pastry from scratch I had to make his with it as well (plus I love seeing him smile).  The cherry-blueberry pie isn't overly sweet at all, I was actually worried it was going to be tart because of the cherries (they can be sort of tart) but I had nothing to worry about all along :)  This is officially the "Canuckette Forth of July dessert", and I am going to make it every year from now on :)

During the middle of me writing this post my roommate came home and handed me a package that was sent to me by Nathan's aunt Cindy.  She told me she was sending me something to remind me of home while I'm here in Canada, yes I know I live in Canada but Texas is my real home.  Anyways back to presents :D, so I had no idea what to expect but I knew it would be great.  Considering the type of gift it would only be fair to share with all my lovely readers, yup it's a kitchen goodie.

Aren't they amazing!?!  I am so in love with them :)  Every since I met Cindy we've been pretty close and we have very similar taste.  Apparently when she and her husband (Nathan's uncle Michael) saw them they immediately thought of me and picked them up.  I am so very blessed with amazing people in my life, and could never thank them enough for the thoughtful gift.  Well I'm going to try and say thanks by baking something chocolate for her :)  Tomorrow I will share the pastry recipe with y'all along with a recap of our celebrations, it's a very good recipe that my bestie shared with me and now I'll share with you too!  Until next time......................................................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxoxo

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simply Sour

Hello Sweets,

I want to apologize in advance because this will be a fairly short post.  I had a hard time sleeping last night because of the needles I had earlier in the day, and I am still very sore :(  On the bright side, since I couldn't sleep I found myself looking for something to watch and came across a show I watched while in late middle school and high school.  See I have a soft spot for anything horror, and naturally I enjoyed watching "Tales from the Crypt".  Even though it is really old and sort of cheesy, it allowed me to forget about the pain even if only for a moment.  However, this is the first post in my fourth of July series :)  I only made two treats for the celebration as it was a small number of family that got together, so two posts will be about edible treats and the third will be about my very first fourth of July celebration.

Now I had always envisioned the fourth as a huge deal full of family bbq's, fun in the sun, and of course a crazy display of fireworks.  The last few years (according to Nathan) have been a little quieter but at very least I would get to experience "American" fireworks in all their glory!  So naturally I wanted to make somethings for the bbq portion, from scratch of course lol sometimes I go right in to house wife mode and there is no stopping me.  I wanted to make a beverage, a side salad, and a dessert but unfortunately I didn't have time to make the side salad (sad face).  So since I'm experiencing discomfort I thought I would start with the beverage and hopefully tomorrow I'll be as good as new, well at least to the best of my ability lol.

Fresh Lemonade (adapted from Disney Family Cookbook)
5-6 large lemons
1C sugar (I used about 3/4)
2qt water
an extra lemon to slice for garnish

1)  Cut the lemons in half and squeeze each of them into a large measuring cup.  *should yield 1 1/2C of juice*

2)  In a large pitcher or mason jar, combine the juice and the sugar.  Stir in the cold water and serve over ice.

I didn't use as much sugar as it called for (or what is depicted for that matter), because I didn't want it to be overly sweet but more tart.  Nathan's dad, who you may remember as the lemon lover from my lemon cookie recipe, loved it too!  I even mixed it with some iced green tea I had made earlier in the week and hello yummy town :)  I guess it all depends on your preference for lemonade, but I will tell you once you make it you will never go back to store bought or frozen again.

Well y'all I am going to go kick my feet up and relax in hopes of forgetting about the pain I'm in.  As always I love hearing feedback from each of you, so don't hesitate to drop me a line in the comment box or shoot me an email :)  Until next time........................................................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cola and Baking; The Forbidden Love Story

Hello Sweets,

Well with Monday under our belts it's only four more days until the weekend, but who's counting lol?!  I hope y'all had a wonderful day, mine was less then enjoyable and that is because I had a doctors appointment.  I know what you're thinking "doctors aren't that bad" and it's true, he's super nice and very personable which makes him really approachable.  My problem is the type of appointment it was, I had to get injections in my shoulders, neck, mid back, base of the skull, forehead, and temples :(  I know it sounds like a lot and it is, but it helps my quality of life while waiting for surgery.  I wouldn't wish this treatment on my worst enemy, that's because it is very very painful and I cannot wait for surgery so I never have to get them again :D  My doctor speculates that I will be one of few patients he will never see again, and as much as we like each other we're okay with that.

So yesterday I told you today's post will be a recap of a friends birthday we celebrated while I was in Texas, and as the title of the post shows there will be a very unusual ingredient involved.  I've talked about Dave before and would normally link you to his blog but he hasn't posted in eight months lol (finally someone worse than I haha jk), and he is also responsible for the cute little caricature of me specifically made for my blog.  This last trip Dave asked if I would make his birthday cake for the celebration he invited us too, and of course I said yes but I told him I had a new recipe that I think he'd enjoy and not to mention possibly the best chocolate icing I have EVER had.  I came across this recipe on Facebook (although I don't remember how) and as soon as I saw the title it had me intrigued, and now y'all ;)

Double Chocolate Cola Cake
1 can of cola (not diet)
1/2C oil (I used olive)
1/2C butter
3Tbs cocoa
2C all-purpose flour
2C sugar
1/2Tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2C buttermilk
1Tsp baking soda
1Tsp vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350F.  In a sauce pan; mix cola, oil, butter, and cocoa and bring to a boil.

2)  In another bowl combine sugar, flour, and salt.

3)  Pour the boiling cola mixture over the flour mixture and beat well.

4)  Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla making sure to mix well.

5)  Pour the mixture into a greased and floured 13"x9" pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from pan, cooling for about 10 minutes before frosting.
 I did a test run and made cupcakes first, needless to say they were yummy
Superman colors for the birthday boy :)

Chocolaty Frosting
1/2C butter
3Tbs cocoa
6Tbs cream or milk
1Tsp vanilla
3 3/4C confectioners sugar

*I must apologize for the lack of pictures, I only have the final product :(*

1)  In a sauce pan combine the butter, cocoa, and milk.  Heat until the butter melts.

2)  Beat in the remaining ingredients and spread on the cake while it's still warm.

So as I am sure you noticed this is not your typical chocolate cake recipe, this was actually the first cake I ever boiled any ingredients for.  It's a really light and airy cake, which I think is caused by the carbonation in the cola.  It's not too sweet but it's very chocolaty (in a good way), this is definitely a keeper and will be made again most likely for Nathan's birthday (he loves chocolate cake).  The frosting is soooo good, I couldn't believe how delicious it was as I have made other chocolate icing before.  Needless to say these two recipes take the cake, see what I did there lol?

Well I am slowly getting through my back logged recipes that need to be posted, and I am really excited for the next few posts.  Why you may ask, well I am finally up to my fourth of July treats and I am really proud of one.  That one recipe forced me out of my comfort zone and to try something new, and I am proud to say it was a success but I will not be supplying clues to that one ;)  All I will say is that if you're afraid to try something new do it anyways, you'll thank yourself later.  Until next time........................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Medley of Marriage

Hello Sweets,

Well the weekend is coming to an end, and unfortunately I am feeling extremely awful :(  An intense migraine coupled with being nauseated and shoulder/neck pain, is causing me to be an unhappy camper.  I think  I did too much on my own yesterday, normally I have some assistance to help me with things around the house but I was home alone (cue the "AHHHH" lol).  Even though I managed to get through what I needed to do, my conscience was telling me I'd most likely regret it in the morning and here I am.  But since I haven't done too much today I figured I would try and get y'all the last wedding cookie recipe :)

So far we've had a banana cookie, a peanut butter cookie, and a chocolate chip cookie.  The last cookie was going to be in the shape of their newly shared last name initial "Z", so I wanted to "marry" the first three flavors together as to depict the vows of my sister and (now) brother in-law.  I know, I'm a complete romantic but I just thought it would be a really unique, fun, and different way to do a wedding cookie.  A single cookie that represents; my sister, my brother in-law, and my amazing nephew and their new endeavor as a married family.  My sister originally wanted me to do just a regular (possibly sugar) cookie, but when she heard my idea she liked it very much :)  So I present to you the "Zamora"!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2C + 1Tbs butter, softened
1/2Tsp cinnamon
1/4Tsp nutmeg
1/4Tsp cardamom
2/3C super fine sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2Tbs milk
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2C milk chocolate chips
1 1/4C self rising flour
1/3C peanut butter

1)  Preheat oven to 375F, lining two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.

2)  Gradually add in the egg, beating well after each addition.

3)  Mash the banana and add it to the mixture, beating well until smooth.

4)  Add the peanut butter and mix thoroughly.

5)  Sift together the flour and spices into the mixture, folding in with a spatula.  Add the milk to give it a soft consistency, then fold in the chocolate chips.

6)  Drop tablespoons of the batter onto the baking sheets, spacing well apart.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack.

 There you have it, the final cookie in what I am now dubbing "the wedding series".  This cookie is soft and not too sweet, it was a big hit.  Even though all the cookies weren't finished at the wedding, I packed them up and sent the married couple home with them.  Needless to say I got an email about a week later stating all the cookies were gone lol.  And now as promised I'll share some of the wedding photos with you :)
on our way!
my cutie nephew playing the shy guy
the kiss
Nathan, myself, Jose (groom), Asha (sister/bride), my mother Trish, and my step-dad Dan 
yea we're pretty awesome (except for my paleness :( )

celebrating and a special moment between mother and son <3  
"THE" cookies, in all their glory :)
tiny little table (so cute) for the kids
the candy bar, yum!
family dance :)
yup it's true I caught the bouquet and a special moment between my love and I during our dance
Finally caught him for a picture at the very end of the night

I hope you enjoyed the four recipes, if you have any questions or feedback regarding them just drop me a line :)  I also hope you enjoyed the pictures of my sisters special day that I've shared with you.  It was a day full of love, laughter, celebrations, and most importantly family.  It's a day that will forever hold a place in my heart and there were plenty of memories that were made.

Now that the matrimonial posts are all done and finish, we can get back to just creating more delicious treats in the kitchen to share with you :)  With that being said, tomorrows post will be another celebration for a very good friend of ours.  Yes it will be a birthday themed post, only because I was requested to bake his cake for him (apparently my reputation is spreading).  Until next time...................

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo