Homemade Buttermilk Waffles in the Griswold Waffle Iron

Hello, three-day weekend!!!  Here, on Fourmile Ridge, the weather has been phenomenal, Joss is loving Pre-K and the my cottage food biz has been growing (shameless plug coming . . . )

And these fondant unicorn cupcake toppers.  I can’t take it.  The candle is the horn – or corn as JT calls it.

I want to thank everyone for supporting me.  I guess it’s been about a year now and I have learned a lot – with a lot left to learn!  This week, thanks to a suggestion from one of the parents at school, I created a bakeshop page on Facebook, so people can see the photo collections of my projects.  I enjoy the photography just as much as baking.  I can still see coffee school in my future – along with a food styling course. You can see my work at Fourmile Ridge Bakery on FB.  🙂

Now that I’m super hungry . . .wouldn’t a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream be perfect for breakfast?  With my coffee?  I have a few leftovers hanging out in the garage fridge just begging to be gobbled.

Now, enough about cupcakes.  This post is about waffles and Griswold cast iron, of course.  Sid bought me an old old heart shaped cast iron waffle maker for Valentine’s day.  It is just precious and I absolutely love it.  You can read more about Griswold and it’s collectibility and value in my other blog posts, Part 1, Part 2 Part 3, and Part 4, they are all linked.

This beauty needs cleaned and seasoned, but it is just amazing!!!  That is one of the beautiful features of cast iron, it will be around forever and will work on the stovetop – just be careful not to drop it!

But, for this waffle recipe, I used my trusty Griswold (the heart-shaped waffle maker doesn’t have a name).

The spiral coil around the handle keeps it cool, to make the flip comfortable without catching a dish towel on fire or needing an oven mitt.

So, to use the waffle maker, spray the waffle maker with cooking spray, then bring up the temp on medium heat.  To make the waffle have a crispy crust, it needs to be HOT, pour in the waffle batter, top with whatever you like, close the lid, wait wait wait and then flip.  Respray with cooking spray after each waffle.  Of course, you can make these waffles in your electric waffle make too, just make sure it gets hot enough to give your waffle the crispiness that makes it delish.

And top with local maple syrup, Amish butter and some fresh fruit.  Lay the extra waffles on a sheet pan and freeze them individually for a couple hours.  Then place them in a reusable plastic container and reheat in the toaster as a huge time saver with zero waste and zero weird un pronounceable ingredients.  You’re welcome!!!

Fresh and homemade, super easy, with awesome flavors and minimal waste, these waffles will hit the spot!

Popovers and Honeymooning in Bar Harbor, Maine

First, a huge thank you to those of you still using my recipes and wondering if I was EVER going to post anything ever again!!!  Hello!  I did not forget about blogging; it is always in the back of my mind . . . just hanging out and waiting for me to get my stuff together and post!

Our lives have certainly been eventful for the past 6 months!!!!  I could never catch you up on everything!  But, first, Joss turned 5 in Disney and celebrated Halloween trick-or-treating at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party, which was amazing!!!

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Second, Sid and I got married!  I did the desserts and wrote the vows.  The day started out as a torrential downpour, then the sky cleared and we ended up with a beautiful summer day to celebrate Joss’ parents making a lifetime commitment.

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Joss was our flower girl and Sid’s sons and brother and my sisters and nephew, Mac, made up our wedding party.

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God love Mac; he’s a good sport!

Then, after the wedding, we went to Maine for our honeymoon.

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It was a life-long dream come true for me. I can only hope that life takes me back that way again someday.  The views, the food, the lobster, Acadia, the whale-watching expedition, the forest, the cliffs that reach right down to the ocean, the horse-drawn carriage ride, the lobster grilled cheese, lobster rolls and DID I mention the lobster!!!???

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They were huge and they were delicious.  We got these beauties at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound (linked) right across the bridge outside of Bar Harbor.  The lobster pound experience is very different than eating at a restaurant.  They cook the lobster for you and that is it!  The lobster pound provides the customer with a place to sit down and eat (sort of like a lean to or a couple picnic tables . . . if you want lemon, sauce, slaw . . . any thing other than the lobster, you buy it separately.  They even charge for the butter.  The lobster shell was completely full of meat.  It was rich, dense and just. so. huge.  I couldn’t even eat it all.  It was unbelievable.

Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound also ships seafood year round, overnight, right to your doorstep.  I would love to see that FedEx truck pull in on Fourmile Ridge.  😋

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I’m sure I’ll be posting more Maine pics later and talking about it for the rest of my life.  It was a phenomenal trip.

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Literally rolling fog.

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Sunrise at the top of Cadillac Mountain.  ☀️  Ah.

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Here’s Jordan Pond, so gorgeous, and the two mountains in the background, the Bubbles.  A couple months after I returned home, a blogger I follow, Mary, whose blog is called “Home is Where the Boat is”, did an amazing photo shoot at Jordan Pond called “A Virtual Picnic, Acadia National Park and Cookbook Giveaway” that I still enjoy.  After seeing the pictures and amazing food, I didn’t wait to win the cookbook featured in the blog post.  I went straight to Amazon and ordered it . . . the pics and recipes are stunning and truly an inspiration.  It’s called The Forest Feast Gatherings:  Simple Vegetarian Menus for Hosting Friends and Family by Erin Gleeson (linked).

Every shop in Bar Harbor carries popover pans (linked) and every book and guide in Maine mentions the popover. I was on a quest to find the most authentic popover to taste, made famous first, of course, by the McIntires of the Jordan Pond House (linked to 1915 original document by T.A. McIntire, Manager) beginning in 1890, when they were served with tea in the much-loved, cozy and beautiful, original Jordan Pond House, which tragically burnt in 1979.

The McIntires created a thriving business in the house, for 50 years, which had huge fireplaces and walls lined with birchbark.  The house became a social center, with high society events taking place there . . . the McIntires were welcoming, hospitable and the cuisine unparalleled.  The new Jordan Pond House is beautiful and carries on the tea and popover tradition . . . with long waits and impossible parking.

We found, from our carriage driver, that the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor has the original popover recipe and so we found it and I finally got to taste my very first popover.  I had no idea they were so popular!  Since I posted my popover picture on Facebook, I’ve had a bunch of people commenting on their familiarity with them! Hello!?  Am I the only person around who has never eaten a popover???

The popover is semi-hollow inside with a chewy outside and a custardy texture at the bottom, similar, people tell me, to a Yorkshire pudding (except I think the Yorkshire pudding is baked in a 13 x 9 pan???).  The popover can also be flavored with a dollop of pesto and/or cheese placed in the middle of the batter prior to baking and eaten with sweet or savory dishes.  Some people sub popovers or Yorkshire pudding in the place of mashed potatoes and even eat them with gravy.  Our counselor at school, Jill, says that she uses hot pan drippings in the bottoms of muffin cups, or the bottom of a cake pan to add extra flavor to the popovers.

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Asticou Inn, with a side of blueberry preserves, a blueberry mint mojito and a view of Northeast Harbor, I was pretty sure I was in heaven.

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I ordered my Nordic Ware popover pan (linked) on the way home from Maine in the truck, and it has been sitting in the pantry mocking me for months while I bake thousands of cupcakes.

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I finally got a break and BAM!  Popovers!   They are so simple!  Easy!!!  And there are a million different recipes for them.  If you have a favorite, post and share, please!  We’ll all love reading them . . . I already got one from Barbara, for Yorkshire Pudding.  Chris says he eats his with bean soup and Jill likes them with gravy!

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You’re welcome!

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I’m so hungry!!!

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Next time, we’re taking Joss!!!

Hummingbird Cake

The school year is drawing to a close and I am LOVING the idea of an early summer!  One. More. Week.

Everyone knows that I am a huge fan of snow days, but I must admit . . . having the whole entire summer off is way way way awesome!!!!  In between all of the end-of-school-year hectic schedules, baking and playing with Joss, I have been forced to put my blog on hold.  I’ve missed it!!!

Speaking of Joss, she was A-MAZING in her dance review.  Almost walked right into the wall when she was heading off stage.  So proud!

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That’s her in the pink leotard.  We couldn’t find her black one anywhere.  And we still haven’t.  She is some kid!  But really, she loves ballet and has learned a bunch of French words for the moves.

I’ve been doing a little baking here and there.  Sid has been searching auction sites and collecting commercial equipment for the new space in the garage.   We’ve been looking online at commercial kitchen designs and trying to figure out what will work best for our space.  I am hoping to get a very nice used set of cabinets with black granite counter tops and a HUGE island for the new kitchen.  It’ll be perfect for baking classes and epic, I’m talking really huge, messes.  😏

Just substitute a woodsy view rather than a beachy view and black counters instead of the tan.  Oh and my double stack convection oven in place of the steamer.  Perfection.

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On a not-so-tickled note.  We also bought a giant, I mean ginormous 3-bay sink for cleaning up those messes.  I’ll be armpit deep scrubbing my guts out.  Good times.  BTW, the first position I’ll be hiring for is dish washer.  😆  Washing dishes is not my favorite.

I took some of my baking bucks and bought a printer to dedicate to printing edible ink frosting sheets.

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And I have been having a blast using it.  The food coloring ink prints perfectly.  Love!!!

I made this cake for my Mom, for Mother’s Day and since then, twice more.  It’s a recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for awhile.  Everyone at school was so confused . . . they thought it was hummingbird cake because it had a hummingbird on it, when really, I put the hummingbird on it because it’s a Hummingbird Cake.  Are you confused yet?

This recipe hails from the South, and incorporates ripe bananas (mashed), crushed pineapple and chopped pecans that have been roasted in the oven for a couple minutes to really bring out their flavor and add a wonderful texture to the cake.  This recipe is one of Southern Living magazines most requested and I can definitely see why.  I can’t get enough of this cake!

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So, if you’re into 3 layers of denseness and deliciousness with a hint of spice and a layer of whipped cream cheese frosting . . . combined with easiness and tons of flavor?  This cake just might be for you.  And your family.  Only because it’s too big not to share.

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I’m thinking leftover Hummingbird Cake is exactly what I need. . . for breakfast!!!

Samoa Cupcakes

Spring is such a tease.  A few weeks ago, it seemed as if we had finally kicked old man winter’s butt, but it was all an oh-so cruel hoax.  And now we’ve had snow for like the past three or maybe even four nights.  It’s ridiculous.

As the winter weather continues, so does the baking.  I’ve been super busy with cupcakes, cakes and cookies.  As I try to develop my style, I find myself being drawn more to flavor combinations rather than color or occasion cupcakes.  What does that mean?  Chocolate and yellow cupcakes with tinted frosting are in the words of Joss T, “Kind of a little bit boring.”  Although the cupcake matches the theme of the occasion, it’s lacking the interest of . . . say . . .

a Samoa Cupcake.

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See what I mean?

That is homemade caramel and chocolate ganache.  That is caramel buttercream with coconut I toasted in my very own oven.  Yes, it’s the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning and it’s snowy and freezing flipping cold outside, but that cupcake right there . . .that little sweet . . . has me tickled right to the tips of my icy toes.  Because, you see, peeps, for me, it’s not always about spending 82 hours on a fancy decorating scheme (although you know I can appreciate WOW factor).  For me, it’s about a funky flavor combination.

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Love at first bite, that “I must eat that now” factor because I’m dying to taste the flavor combination AND it appeals to my eyes – for me, the cupcake experience isn’t just that about visual appeal or matching the color scheme.

Am I making any sense at all here?

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And so, my faithful readers, I bring to you a tidbit of pure joy.  The Girl Scout Cookie in a Cupcake, the Samoa Cupcake.  Isn’t she gorgeous?  Funky?  And you better believe, tasty, in a borderline rated R way kind of delicious.  Yes, there maybe an eye-roll involved, especially if you eat one for breakfast.  With your first cuppa coffee.

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Sweetheart, come to Mama.

*This recipe is loosely based on Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes (linked) from Garnish & Glaze and King Arthur Flour’s Simple Chocolate Cake recipe.

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips and Maple Dip

Hello!  It’s your long-lost blogger/baker/liberry lady on Four Mile Ridge here.  Just in case you’ve been wondering, I’ve been going through some copious amounts of butter, sugar and flour in the evenings.  During the day, I’m scanning books and teaching technology to the Crick’s finest.  America’s future . . .👏🏼 📚 💻 little kids.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

JT had a round with a stomach bug and, luckily, Sid was able to stay home with her for a couple days!  While he was off, he ventured into the laundry room and managed to single-handedly sort, organize and match up and WEED ALL of the socks.  Yes, I just may marry this man.  Shooby Dooby.  What a job.

Speaking of this wedding:  we are going to visit the Shaw Mansion as a possible location for matrimony . . . tomorrow!  Reeeeaaallllly hoping for a great outcome!!!  Pics to follow!

Joss has been going through a sniffing phase.  Sometimes when I’m standing near her she’ll sniff me and give me a rundown.  A few days ago she said I smelled like donuts and ham.  Last night it was skunk and old tires (my belly hurt). Ha.  Sid couldn’t wait to post that one on FB.

Anyhoo, I’m not posting a recipe for a sweet today, oh no . . . today’s recipe is the salty to perfectly complement your sweets, an amazing make-ahead appetizer, or a simple, crunchy side for burgers or chicken on the grill.  Grrrrrillll?  Yes, indeedy, peeps, I said GRILL.  Ya see, we were experiencing an early spring warming trend here, and grilling was actually a viable (*vocabulary word of the day) option.  Now . . . it’s actually snowing!!!  We’re on a weather roller coaster – from perfection to possible blizzard in a week. Waaaaaa.

So, to make these chips, you’ll need a mandolin (linked to a best seller on Amazon) to slice your sweet potatoes very thin!  Please, I beg you, be very careful slicing these.  A mandolin is just like that paper cutter at school; I always cringe when I see people using it with their fingers too close to the cutting edge.

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Before frying, mix up the Maple Dip.  It’s a simple task.  Open a small container of plain Greek yogurt and mix in 2 Tablespoons of pure local maple syrup.  BTW, my sources say that it hasn’t been a good year for maple syrup.  My friend, Kristina, said that it has to freeze at night for the sap to run.  I guess it got too warm too fast.  Pure local maple syrup is one of my favorite sweeteners and recipe ingredients.  It has recently been proven to build immunity and just tastes awesome.  I love the distinctive flavor.

You can tweak the maple dip by adding a pinch of chili powder and cumin, a splash or two of sriracha or Redhot, or just leave the maple dip plain.  It’s awesome!

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Soak the slices in some water and heat up some canola oil in a deep fryer or a Dutch oven.  Heat the oil up to 375 degrees F and blot the chips a bit before frying (so the water doesn’t make the grease boil over).  Watch as they fry, use a metal spatula to stir them, making sure they are all fried evenly.  They take about  2 – 3 minutes or so.  As soon as they are done, toss them into a bowl lined with paper towels or deli sheets and salt thoroughly.  Eat with caution.

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Highly addictive.

Perfect Snow-White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Well, Sid had his gall bladder out.

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He came out surprisingly well and I’ve had a time trying to keep him off of his feet for the past 24 hours.  LOL!!!  No one was more surprised than me . . . I thought he’d be milking it for all it was worth!!!  Good Daddy!

I’ve been doing a lot of baking, selling some stuff but I have missed blogging so much.

I love the baking schedule, early rise, get ‘er done, then have the rest of the day to play or catch up on the house, which is always destroyed by our four-year-old-one-child-demolition-team.  HoLy DiSaStEr ArEa, Batman!!! 😁

But Gosh. She’s. So. Cute.

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Mommy’s little mess-maker and beginning baker. 🎂👑💕

I’m not sure if she’ll be an expert at building – architecture and structures are certainly her thing . . . but she’s definitely gifted in demo and baking, of course.

So, I had 2 requests for white cupcakes that were to resemble snowballs.  I’ve never ever baked anything “white” before, but ever.  So I looked online, scanned my usual sources and I came up with a few recipes that looked interesting.  One that used champagne, but nothing that I thought would really turn out perfect.  So I printed them and saved them, figuring they would have to do.

Knowing Sid’s surgery would take awhile, I packed The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  Yes I read cookbooks, yes I’m nuts.

This cookbook was first copyrighted in 1896 (The Original Fannie Farmer 1896 Cookbook:  The Boston Cooking School, linked).

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I received my first copy of the book from my mom, which I lost in a move.  My second copy, I bought for $12 at a yard sale.  EXPENSIVE for a yard sale but so totally worth it.  My copy is the 1965 edition, but the book was re-edited in 1979 for the 100th anniversary edition and I just can’t wait to get my hands on it (Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 100th Anniversary Edition, linked).  New, it costs about $23 from Amazon, but I bought mine used for $11.00.  It’s coming soon!

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There are so many helpful guides in this cookbook; I just can’t wait to share them with you.  If you are a great home cook, or just beginning, this book is a must-have.

Fannie’s story is just amazing.  She was given every opportunity to succeed in a time when women were not really expected to complete an education.  She excelled at school, but endured a paralytic stroke when she was a teenager and was homebound for many years.  She finally regained her ability to walk, but a limp remained.  Farmer attended the Boston Cooking School once she regained her mobility.  She became the principal, then opened her own school.  During this time, Farmer created our modern day measurement method to standardize all recipes, which was a revolutionary concept at the time.  She also spoke to doctor’s groups about the importance of diet for the sick and children, and even lectured at Harvard.  She taught people about the importance of sanitation in the kitchen as well as nutrition.  What an inspiration!  The picture is from Notable Biographies, linked.

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Deborah Hopkinson, a children’s author, has also written an awesome book about Fannie and her measurements.  Mrs. Hopkinson visited George’s Creek Elementary last year and did a wonderful presentation with our students.  Her book is perfect for the budding baker in your house (Fannie in the Kitchen:  The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements, linked).

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This recipe hails from my 1965 edition and although I doubt that I ever use it with the prune and almond frosting filling that Fannie recommends, this recipe for Snow Cake is delicious and beyond perfect.  Thanks, Fannie!!!

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Fannie recommends reducing the the amount of cake flour by 2 Tbsp for cupcake applications.  Great idea!!!  I love these perfect domes.  They make me so happy!!!!  😍

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Use the standard amount of cake flour for cakes.  Fannie recommends 2 – 8 0r 9 inch pans.

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All ingredients should be room temperature.  Bring eggs to temp quickly by soaking them, uncracked (of course) for 5 minutes in hot water.  Set milk out for at least an hour or microwave for 20 seconds and stir.

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I love using white cupcake liners for white and yellow cakes, how appropriate for Snow Cake?

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Stir in the flour and milk by hand, alternatively, to keep your cupcakes tender.  Over-stirring makes them very tough.

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Fold the egg whites in very gently.

Awww, cupcake heaven.

 

 

Four Mile Ridge Wilderness Lodge Cookies

I love wilderness living.  The forest around our house is a never-ending source of inspiration, peace and sanity for me.

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And although I love to visit the city, especially NYC, for girls’ trips and to see a show and have a fancy dinner, I just know I could never live in the city.

I need quiet and time to think, and although I’ve walked the road from here to the blacktop 1,000 times, the view from the road still takes my breath away.  When I look way out the hollow, I still want to take that picture, even though I’ve already taken it . . .

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Wouldn’t this be an awesome location for a log lodge, with a huge deck, covered and screen porches, rocking chairs, an outdoor fireplace, coffee, lunch and a bakery, and a masseuse on staff?  I can see a huge room used for sipping, snacking and knitting, scrapbooking and my fave:  basket weaving.  It would be awesome to have a relaxing peaceful place, especially for ladies!   I can just imagine looking out the epic windows at the mountain scenery and putting up my feet.  Maybe even step back in time.

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Then all of  you could come enjoy it with me!

But, until then, I’ll share it with you, every chance I get . . .

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Today, it’s 33 degrees, pouring rain, and the road is nothing but a sheet of ice, but we’re safe and cozy inside, with a back-up generator in case the power goes out.  But every year, come February, I do start missing spring and green.

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So, while I was looking for the Zuppa Toscano recipe on an Alaskan blogger’s page, I found a recipe for Wilderness Lodge Cookies (linked)  and I said to myself, “Self,  I need to make these for my imaginary lodge on Four Mile Ridge.”

They are hearty, flavorful and very differently delicious!!!

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To make the cookies spread less and maintain a softer texture, I switched the sugar ratios (and switched the light brown sugar to dark brown) and used less than the original recipe and used bread flour rather than all-purpose.  I also ditched the sweetened coconut and used organic medium flake, unsweetened coconut, so you get the flavor of the coconut without the stringiness and overly sweet taste.  I also used quick oats instead of old fashioned and doubled the chocolate chunks instead of chips (except for the garnishes).  I changed the raisins to craisins, but any dried fruit would be absolutely amazing!  The walnuts are a must and I like them lightly toasted, tossed in a dry cast iron skillet on low, for about 3 minutes, to make them fragrant and flavorful.

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So grab a cookie and “set” a spell . . . relax, talk and think spring, green and wilderness walks.

Four Mile Ridge: Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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Our little cupid . . .mwah!!!!

Relationships are tricky.  I’m really not the romantic, mushy type.  I mean, if you want to show me you love me, get a broom in your hands or wash a dish or 20 or fold a load.  Yes!  Now, that will Make. My. Day.

I go around thinking I’m pretty easy to live with:  I am Mommy, I’m (fairly) responsible, I do laundry like a fiend, I can cook, I can clean (YUCK), I can pay for my own stuff, and I am super good at coming up with one hair-brained scheme after another (it’s called creativity, darnit)!  I’m a real gem, I tell ya!  😉

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But, I must confess:  I am; a little bossy (in a good way, I mean I have leadership skills), I’m stubborn (in a good way, I mean I have the tenacity of a pit bull and I never ever give up), and I am driven (in a good way, of course, like I will make the same cake or pizza crust 42 times until I get the exact texture that I want).

BTW, make these I Want to Marry You Cookies.  They are delish.  And for a lovely V-Day, Flounder Stuffed with Crab Imperial is easy, yet appears fancy . . .

But easy to live with?  Maybe . . . Maybe not?

Sid would prefer to eat a can of ravioli and watch learning TV (this is a topic for another blog post, in its entirety, all by itself, dear Lord, help me) and search the sale sites for the perfect Suburban (Oh, please let this one, the one Sid has, be it.  The perfect one).

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So I expect him to take on more because I’m taking on more, and he says, “Ok.”

Now that is love.

And he brings me coffee.  😍

Four Mile Ridge: Super Bowl 50 Edition

Football = Food.

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I mean I was here.  I saw the Ravens play the Steelers.  I hated waiting in line for the subway. I hated staying up late, and I really hated when I was exhausted, yawning and the game went into overtime.  I was like WAAAAAA, but the pork tenderloin with slaw and sweet potato chips were, uh, yum.  And, of course, getting to spend some time with Sid, his ex-wife and her boyfriend is always a great time!  For Reals!  😂

I may be the only true American citizen that hates football.  And loves her boyfriend’s ex-wife.  I’m sorry.

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But I LOVE LoVe love football food.  I’m super excited to be making this tomorrow!

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I love this Pulled Pork Pizza (linked), but since I’ll don’t have any pulled pork on hand, I’ll sub out the pork for BBQ boneless chicken breast on my Homemade Grilled Pizza Dough (linked).   But, of course, my pizza – it’ll be football shaped.  Why, you say?   Because it’s the Super Bowl, goofball!

It’s a tradition in this house to make a Giant Peanut Butter Cookie (linked) Football with Peanut Butter Buttercream Fluff (linked).  If you haven’t made this yet, you need to!  And of course, write Super Bowl 50 on it.  Last year, I had to figure out the Roman numerals for 49.  Tricky, I tell yDSC_00332-199x3001a!DSC_0035 DSC_0030

These giant peanut butter cookies are hard to resist.  Of all of the goodies I bake, this is one I never get tired of.  It is Delightful Double Peanut Butter Deliciousness and the cookie stays sooooo soft.  Heres’ my thought:  If you only eat, like 1 centimeter sliced off at a time, you never really eat a whole cookie.  It’s more like a nibble.

Here’s the Standard Algorithm for Giant Peanut Butter Cookie Eating (Source:  CCRSS or College and Career Ready State Standards . . . aka Common Core *I’m kidding, sorta)  It’s the “new math”.  But I am not gonna make you figure out the standard algorithm yourself.  I will just give it to you.  Because I’m a librarian now!!!

1 cm + 1 cm + 1 cm + 1 cm + 1 cm + 1 cm + 1 cm + 1 cm < 1 whole cookie

My Giant Chocolate Chipper (linked) or Sugar Cookie is also awesome as a giant football!

Of course, I’ll save some room for Sid’s delicious wings.  His Sweet Hot Sauce is outrageous (back to food because all that math makes me sweaty).  Truly the best I’ve ever had, some buffalo chicken dip, a football-shaped cheese ball with crackers and, of course, to offset all the bad, we’ll have a football-shaped veggie tray (I’m sensing a theme here!) with Ree Drummond’s Blue Cheese Dip .

If you haven’t already, follow me on Pinterest.  I have pinned a few ideas for football parties, but my appetizer board is loaded with app ideas.

So, to those of you who love football . . . today is your day!  Scream at the TV like they can hear you!  Party like it’s 1999 and eat, drink and be merry!  But don’t drive!!!

I can’t wait to see the commercials!!!

 

Raspberry-Glazed Baked Mini Donuts

Please say a prayer for my dear friend, Kristina and her daughter, Paige.  Paige has a serious health issue and is going in for her third surgery in a two week period (for a total of 15 or 16).  She’s in kindergarten and has missed so much, and Kristina just registered to go back to school.  Paige is very uncomfortable, exhausted and they are both ready to come home.  So take a minute to say a prayer for a very strong family, who has endured so much.  Thanks!

Now, JT and I made these heart-shaped mini-donuts a few weeks ago.  They are just too cute.  Their texture is perfectly tender and they taste exactly like the powdered donuts, you know, the messy ones that come in the white bag?

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Once again, the donut batter is based on Sally’s recipe from my go-to cookbook, Sally’s Baking Addiction (linked)!  Sally’s Cookbook is a #1 best seller on Amazon and her blog is unbelievable!  And I just so happened to meet her in Pittsburgh a few months ago, at the Williams-Sonoma store, where she did a cooking demonstration.  I couldn’t speak (star-struck), but I was there.  Front row.

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This mini-donut pan (linked)is super handy.  My sweetie bought me two of them and Joss just loves using them for any muffins or baked donuts.

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Note:  this is too much batter, the donuts had no holes.  This batter tends to be super sticky, so spray with Baker’s Joy.  I just sprayed with EVOO spray and they were hard to get out!

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Golden brown gorgeousness!!!

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A little dab of raspberry jelly and a little milk mixed in with a bunch of powdered sugar=pink glaze (perfect for the holiday!) Don’t forget the sprinkles!

Zuppa Toscana (Creamy Kale and Potato Soup with Italian Sausage)

Disclaimer:  I do not have ADD.  I do not know why this blog post is all over the place.  But it is.  Apologies in advance.  Read on at your own risk.

Barista Coffee School is in my future.

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I’m sure that I could change the world for the better as a barista.  One cuppa Joe atta time. ☕️  By the end of the this blog post, you’re going to be so happy that I learned how to insert emoji.  On the Mac, it’s Control Command Space Bar.  You’re welcome.

I think a coffee shop in the back room of my library would be completely appropriate.  Who needs speech anyway (sorry, Katie).  It’s not you or Dina, you two are wonderful neighbors to the library.  It’s just that I believe that the whole faculty would benefit from Monday morning espresso and a seasonal scone selection.  Sorta building on the Barnes and Noble concept, except the library materials are free.  Yes?  Can I get an AMEN?

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I’m also wondering if I can fit an espresso machine in the master bathroom?  It’s the only spot we have left in the house and it would be just so convenient.  I could barista immediately upon awakening.    Logical.  Keep my Barista Coffee School skills fresh.  And this, so soon after I said No More Kitchen Gadgets.  Good one.

I had an epic disappointment yesterday. A house that would have been perfect for my commercial kitchen went for foreclosure and I missed it by about 12 hours.  What an emotional rollercoaster.

And then there’s this:  I waited to hear about school closings, and our district was supposed to be open.  So I canceled my hair appointment and made the 8 dozen cookies I needed for an after school activity, Books Before Bedtime, then school closed.

Now, don’t get me wrong I like cookies.  But wth?  My principal, Tara, is going to buy them anyway.  God love her.

I can’t decide whether to just go ahead and grieve the loss of my summer vacation or just enjoy my impromptu winter vacation.  I think I’ll go with the latter, since there is absolutely, positively nothing I can do about the former.  There’s a lot of snow, and only so many places to put it.

I don’t know whether you know about this, but I have an Italian penpal.  She now lives in Norway, but she’s originally from the beautiful island of Sardinia.  Here are a couple pics I borrowed . . .

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Google it if you’re unfamiliar.  I’m talking one of the most beautiful places in the world. . . but anyway, Elisabetta and I have kept in touch since 8th grade, Miss Bond’s French class.  That’s about 30 years!  We even met in NYC about 10 years ago and spent about 10 days together.  We stayed in a youth hostel and shared a shower with strangers.  That sounds strange, but it’s true!  Good times, I tell ya.

Anyway, when I made Zuppa Toscana this weekend, I was thinking about her and wondering what other amazing Italian recipes she knows and if she could make a list, then I checked Wikipedia and saw there are so many!  Many of the Italian soup recipes date back thousands of years.  Now, that being said, I’m not really a fan of Olive Garden or many chain restaurants.  I always think the food is loaded with salt and comes in frozen; they just thaw it and stick it in the microwave, so I rarely eat at chain restaurants.  But this soup is enormously popular and loaded with kale (which makes me feel amazing) so I tried it.

Well, no wonder this recipe has been around for a bazillion years and Olive Garden is a multi-million dollar chain.  It’s incredibly easy to make and tastes crazy good.

I got my recipe from Pinterest.  Here’s a wonderful blog called Alaska from Scratch and I linked the recipe for Zuppa Toscana or Creamy Kale and Potato Soup with Italian Sausage. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you!

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Buon Appetito!

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