Honey Candy

candy

Whenever we go to a farmers market or a craft show there is always a “honey” stand where they sell fresh honey, honey sticks, and honey candy.  The candy is very expensive.  A piece like the above picture is usually around $3.00 USD.  My daughter loves it and always buys some.  So this afternoon she decided to google how to make her own and she made it with a friend.

This is such a simple procedure and it made quite a few pieces.  The flavor is awesome!!  I am sure you could cut back on the sugar if you wanted but the amount of pieces this made, I don’t feel too bad letting the kids eat it.

Honey Candy:

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

Put all in a pan and bring to a rolling boil.  Continue to boil for 5 minutes and 30 seconds.  Carefully ladle into molds.

You can add cinnamon also for a twist on the flavor.  We are going to try it with lemon also so the next time anyone gets a sore throat we will try our own lozenges.

ingredientsmold

photo 4 photo 1 mold2photo 4-1

July 4th Celebrations

4th2

It’s as American as Apple Pie!!!  Today is a day of relaxation and celebration for our country.  I always make sure to save one of our frozen homemade Apple Pies to have with our cookout.  It’s our tradition!!  Here are some more pictures of our town parade and the last of our canned peaches and pickles from last year to be enjoyed!!  Have a great day!!

waiting photo 1 chase band 4th

Carrot Cake

cake

It’s Fathers Day tomorrow and the man of the house loves Carrot Cake.  I have a quick easy recipe for when I make it.  As always I was multi-task cooking making the cake and our Italian Pasta Salad for tomorrow’s dinner.

This recipe is so easy.  The part that takes the longest is trying to frost it pretty.

photo 1-1photo 2-2photo 1-5photo 2-5carrotsgoing incoolingfrosting time cream cheese frostingfrosting2cream frostinglayer 1half doneup highpretty

You can make this adding raisins, pecans, walnuts, and instead of carrots, zucchini.  But the man likes it basic.  Also it’s so much better for you to make your own frosting.  You know what’s in it and there are no preservatives.  If you don’t use it all store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Here is the recipe I use for our family Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

**this will make a three layer cake or I make a 2 layer and a square to leave unfrosted for the “Tween Queen” of this house who does not like frosting!!!

Preheat oven to 350

Grease and flour 3 round pans or two and an 8×8 square pan

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots (6 large that I run through my food processor instead of grating by hand)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, raisins, walnuts, pineapple, or anything you want optional

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.

Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frosting:

2 – 8oz bricks of cream cheese (room temperature)

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

2 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add all ingredients into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a mixer. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.
 

Key Lime Cake

cake5

Tonight is the kids school concert.  After the concert we will come home and celebrate how well they did with a piece of key lime cake.  This is from Trisha Yearwood’s recipe with a few changes.  As you can see I was multi-task cooking getting our sirloin steak ready for tomorrow’s dinner while the cakes were baking.

I have about 30 minutes from the time I get home until the kids get off the bus and I head out to do afternoon feeding of our animals.  Knowing tonight is the concert and we won’t be home until later evening I used that time to whip up this cake for an after concert treat and prepare part of tomorrow’s dinner.

cake3cak34cake2cake

I like to keep this cake light by serving with a tad of whipped cream.   I have also served it with french vanilla ice cream.  Of course I had to give the kids a piece when they came home.  They need their strength to sing 🙂

One 3-ounce package lime flavored gelatin
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cups lime juice from approx. 5 limes (you can use the little key limes but you will need quite a few)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour one 9 x 13 cake pan or 9×9 pans or 3 round pans

In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, granulated sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to mix well. Add the oil, lime juice, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until well combined. Pour the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the tops or inserting a toothpick. Cool.

You can frost with frosting of your choice or use the one under Trisha’s recipe here

Multi-Task Cooking

multi

In the past few posts of recipes I have used the phrase “multi-task cooking”.  In our crazy busy life this is one of the ways I keep my sanity.  I thought I would briefly explain how I do it and show how a quick few minutes of planning can really help you stay organized and efficient!!  I look through the freezer and plan which meats I will be cooking for dinner for 4 days.  I move them to the front of the freezer or place them in the fridge to thaw.

The picture above is from last night.  I marinated chicken in dressing for a 1/2 hour.  During that time, I par boiled Italian sausage to grill for tonight’s dinner, cooked the pasta for the chicken meal and made a quick fruit salad.  After 20 minutes the sausage was done and ready to cool to store until today for dinner.  I then put a pot of water in it’s place to boil the corn on the cob and lit the grill to preheat for the chicken.  Ten minutes later I cooked the chicken and seasoned the pasta with butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper while the corn was boiling away.  The chicken and corn were finished at the same time and dinner was served.

multi2

Later I set up the above before heading to bed.  The kids lunch boxes and the hot meals they will have instead of a sandwich and the crockpot with all the seasonings ready next to it for the Italian Sausage to be put in before heading out to work the next morning.  While making their lunch choices I will be seasoning the sausage and getting it slow cooking.

I have hot dogs thawing and while cooking the onions and peppers for the Italian Sausage tonight I will boil potatoes to make potato salad to go with our hot dogs for Wednesday evening.

It’s like a game pre-planning and multi-task cooking.  But it’s a game I like to play because it helps me make wise food choices for our dinners, offer a homemade meal to my family, and helps me utilize my time effectively so I have more free time for my kids, gardening, riding, walking or whatever else I choose.

 

Easy Chocolate Cake

cake

We love this easy chocolate cake recipe.  I always bake it in 2 pans (round or 8×8) as one will get frosted and the other will not because my crazy daughter does not like frosting.

I try to bake on the weekends and fit it in while preparing a meal.  This past weekend I made the macaroni salad while making chocolate chip cookies and last night I made chocolate cake for dessert for the week while grilling pork tenderloin.  It’s called “multi task cooking”.

I have used many variations of flour and sweetener in this recipe and it always tastes fabulous.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat white flour or half almond flour etc.)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa p0wder    (I use the Hershey’s brand but whatever cocoa powder is fine)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely and frost or leave plain.

This is also very good served with ice cream or make a quick batch of whip cream with heavy cream and serve on top.  YUM!!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

choc cookies

Does anything say I love you better than a plateful of Chocolate Chip cookies???  The kids and man of the house coming into the wonderful smell of freshly baking cookies makes them feel the love and their excitement to get a hot cookie lets me know how happy they are.

Pick up a package of chocolate chip cookies in the store and read the ingredients.  It is SCARY!!  I have no idea what half of the ingredients are.  So I refuse to buy them.  These cookies above are made using the original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie recipe except I use Whole Wheat White Flour in place of regular white flour.  No one can tell the difference but I know they are a tad bit better for them!

choc 5 choc 4 choc 3 choc 2

 

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or whatever flour you choose like whole wheat white)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (I add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for a thicker cookie when baking)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I omit the salt but you can add it if you like)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels or any other semi sweet chip

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes.  This makes 56 cookies if you make about a teaspoon size drop of dough  (and your children have taken a few fingerfuls of the dough)

 

Keep a bag of chocolate chips in your house stocked all the time as these are so easy to whip up and you can spread the love also!!

 

Blueberry Pie

During season for fruits we make most of our pies and freeze them.  My daughter made this blueberry pie which we will be having for dessert tomorrow.  This was her first lattice crust she made completely on her own and she is proud to show it off at our little cookout tomorrow along with the Apple Pie we will have on Sunday celebrating Memorial Day.  We make crusts ahead of time and keep it in the freezer for when we need them.  If I do not have one, I have found the store bought crusts are just fine.

Making your own pie filling is so easy and so much tastier than canned!!  You also control what is in it so no preservatives. You can freeze your pies when assembled as we do and then pull it out and bake the same way you would for fresh listed below.  Make sure to assemble the pie and double bag it in very tightly sealed freezer bags.  It’s as good as the day you made it when you bake it.

Image

Image

I guess when you turn 12 you have to make faces in every picture. We make crust and keep it in the freezer for when we need to whip up a pie

Image

Image

Image

lay first 5 strips then fold 2 back and add cross strip folding 2 strips over the top

Image

next cross fold the 3 strips you did not the first time and lay strip across bringing the 3 back over it

Image

Trim the edges and then seal by pinching them together

Image

all done and the house smell great. Can’t wait until tomorrow!!

Filling:
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons butter (to dab on before cooking)
 Mix all the above (except for butter) in a bowl
Crust  (you do NOT have to make a crust you can easily use a store bought one but make sure it has 2 crusts in the package)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
4 – 6 tablespoons cold water
Make crust:

In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and the salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half; shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
With floured rolling pin, roll one round into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.
Place pie dish on a foil lined baking sheet for easy cleanup!!
Fill with blueberry mix from above.  Dot with butter around the top of the pie
Roll out second half of crust and using a knife slice it into strips for a lattice crust or lay it on top and cut slits to vent while cooking.  Seal edges
**For lattice crust you put one strips on one way.  Starting at the top fold back 2 strips and lay a strip across the remaining ones.  Put the 2 strips back down and fold the 3 strips back that you did not the first time and lay another strip across.  Repeat procedure.  (if you do not understand, google lattice crust and watch the youtube videos.  They explain it well and you can see them doing it).
Bake for 20 minutes and then cover edges of crust with tinfoil or crust edge cover.  Bake another 25 minutes or until crust is browned and filling is bubbling. 
Let set for at least 3-4 hours before slicing.  Overnight is best  (that is why I cooked our pie tonight for tomorrow).
   
   
   
   

Lemon Brownies

Image

Looking for a twist the next time you are the person to bring dessert or you want a special treat for your family, friends or just yourself???  This is the twist you need!!  I may hide these from my family!!

This recipe is from http://www.beckycharms.com

These are delicious and perfect for a summer treat!!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

this is from beckycharms.com website. Check it out for many more recipes

 

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour {King Arthur All-Purpose Flour}
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt {Sea Salt}
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

ICING

    • 4 tbsps lemon juice
    • 8 tsps lemon zest
    • 1 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar/powdered sugar)

    Directions:

    1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
    3. Zest and juice two lemons and set aside.
    4. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.
    5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.
    6. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
    7. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges.
    8. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.
    9. Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice.
    10. Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set.
    11. Cut into bars and serve.

Kale Chips

Image

There are no easier chips to make than Kale chips in my opinion.  They are crunchy, lightly salted and so good for you!!  My kids asked for them after school so I made a quick batch before one was off to softball practice and the other to hockey practice.

I posted earlier about growing your own scallions for life (ok not life but it says a really long time) and I had to get some to try it.  While getting the scallions the kale was laying there all green and pretty just calling me to buy it.  I figured I would use it in a stir fry but that was not to be.  It’s now gone.

If you have never tried Kale chips and you like broccoli (as they have a similar flavor) I suggest you grab a bunch of kale at the store and try these.  Besides tasting great they are truly a healthy snack and a good way to get those greens in your body!!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale cleaned and de-stemmed (that means pull the leaves off the middle stem)

sea salt

olive oil

mix the leaves in a tiny bit of olive oil (just enough to give them a shine) and sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt

lay them on a baking sheet and heat in a 350 degree oven until they are browning on edges and crisp to the touch.

Cool and Enjoy!!!

I could barely let mine cool enough to get a picture before my daughter photobombed and grabbed one.

Image