Friday, March 25, 2011

Kahlua Chocolate Cake

My Mom-in-law requested I get her this recipe a LONG time ago.  And I'm just now getting it up.  I promise it's amazing.  In fact, I promise you will never eat another plain chocolate cake, if you love Kahlua.  If you don't, well that's your problem.  I modified (do I even have to SAY this anymore) this recipe from a standard chocolate cake recipe in my better homes and gardens cookbook.

3/4 cup of butter
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose whole wheat white flour
1 cup Pastry Flour (Arrowhead Mills)
2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (Arrowhead Mills)
3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Kahlua

Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
Lightly grease 2 round (8" or 9") cake pans with butter (not the butter that's sitting out)
Place waxed paper in the bottom of the cake pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In medium bowl mix together all flour, gluten, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In large pyrex measuring cup (liquid) mix together milk and Kahlua.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium after every addition.  After all sugar has been added scrape sides of bowl and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla, beat.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after every addition until just combined.  Once everything has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for about 20-30 seconds more.  Spread the batter evenly into your cake pans.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes for until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove from pans.  I use the Pampered Chef Skinny Scraper to make sure that the edges don't stick when I remove the cake from the pans.  Peel off the wax paper.  Cool on racks.  Oh, you're so close to tasty goodness.  I'll post my icing recipe later.  It's a chocolate coffee icing.  Let the suspense build!

Sensational Stroganoff

This (gently modified) recipe comes via the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I give it a massively easy, and sensationally tasty five stars.  No one will ever want to eat hamburger helper again in your house.  I doubled it to feed our crew easily, so don't be fooled it does serve what it says.

1/2 lb boneless beef sirloin (I substituted for ground beef)
8 oz sour cream - Organic Valley is free of all allergens and doesn't have guar gum, a cousin to soy
2 tablespoons whole wheat white flour
1 cube of Edward and Son's Not Beef Bouillon
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups (about 1/2 large package) fresh baby bello mushrooms
1/2 onion
1 tsp - 1 1/2 tsp (taste) crushed garlic - we get ours at Trader Joe's
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 1lb package of egg noodles

Sirloin - thinly slice into small bite size pieces
Mushrooms - wash and slice
Onion - dice finely
Egg noodles - cook per package instructions

Make:  Place meat, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and butter in large skillet and cook over medium high heat until meat is done and mushrooms and onions have reached desired consistency.  If you are using sirloin and would prefer the meat to be less done, wait until the vegetables have cooked a little while before adding the meat.  While that is cooking, in a small bowl mix together sour cream, flour, bouillon, pepper, and 1/2 cup water.  Mix sour cream mixture into meat mixture and reduce heat to med low.  Stir mixture until it is thickened and bubbly, then add cooked noodles.  Serve with hot bread and green beans.  Tasty!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sewing Machine Sweater Mending Tip

Waste not, want not is a saying that someone's grandmother always said.  However, it definitely has merit.  Again, I hate throwing anything away.  There's something inside of me that screams, "BUT YOU COULD DO SOMETHING WITH THAT." Sometimes I force the little voice to shut it.  Other times, I listen, and then I have something available when I need it.

I'll be honest, I love my cardigans.  I have one in black, oatmeal, purple, navy, grey, ... and I'm in the market for a yellow, red, or green one.  They're not cheap items, and rarely do you find them at GoodWill, but sometimes you do.  It saddens me when they get a small hole in them, but with a little sewing machine magic and a cut up old t-shirt, I have a cardigan that looks new again.

Prep: Go to your local fabric store and match your cardigan to the thread they have there.  More often than not, they don't mind if you take a tail end of a thread out of the casing and make sure it matches.  At home cut a square of t-shirt material that is big enough to cover the hole on all sides from the inside, with extra on all sides.  Don't forget to wind your bobbin with the same color!

Let's do it: Place the t-shirt fabric on the inside of the sweater, set your satin stitch  to where it will cover the hole, but not much more than that.  Take great care to only sew the spot that needs mending.  After, cut the t-shirt fabric down making sure not to cut your newly mended sweater.  Whew, a few dollars and a little effort just saved your sweater.  It's worth it.

NOTE:  Old t-shirts make excellent reusable tissues.  Place 2 same side squares right side to right side and stitch with 1/4 inch seam almost all the way around.  Leave enough open to turn the square "right side out" turn in the unfinished edge and seam.  Easy, and a great way to not throw something into a landfill.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Apple Quesadillas

So, I should TOTALLY have more pictures of food, because that's what will have people flocking to this site, right? I thought about this the other night as I bit into something that I went, hmm, this would make a good blog, or flog... HA!  However, that would require me to, a) have a camera ready as I put hot food on a plate, b) not be trying to manage 5 children into the intricate game of "set the table and no distractions right now please" and c) not be trying to eat the food while it's... STILL HOT.  So, I'll work on that picture bit.  Promise.

Today's food blog comes from a modified recipe from the Whole Foods website.  I made this recipe the way they called for it at first, then decided to play with it the next time.  As follows.

Need:  3 Sharp Crisp Apples (think Honeycrisp or Fuji)
           2 Tortillas per person  (we use Rotiland Uncooked Roti-Tortilla because they are spms free)
                   *These are purchased at our local CostCo
           1/2 lb Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
           1 lime
           Sea Salt (I'll rant about this at a later date, read the ingredient list on your standard salt, DEXTROSE!)
           Chili Powder

Prep:  Slice the apples into extremely thin slices, put them into a bowl and squeeze 1/2 a lime over them, then season with 2:1 parts chili powder and sea salt.  I like mine to be very covered and use about a tablespoon of chili powder and 1/2 tbs salt.  1/2 tablespoon chili powder and 3/4 tsp salt is probably sufficient.  Grate your cheddar cheese and (mostly) precook your tortillas on a medium heat griddle ~325.

Now:  Layer the quesadillas on the griddle with a tortilla, cheese, apple slices from edge to edge, more cheese, and another tortilla.  Cook them slowly, and once the cheese begins to melt on the top side, flip them and cook until the cheese is nice and gooey.  Serve piping hot with a side of sour cream and salsa (if wanted), and ENJOY!  This is a flavor sensation that is an experience that you've probably not had before.