Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oreo Jack-o-Lanterns

(Sorry in advance for the horrible pictures, they were all done in haste, especially the last ones as I was trying to snap one before any more disappeared)
 My brother brought his 4 kids over for dinner, fun and trick or treating.  We had a jack-o-lantern pizza, monster juice (kool-aid with pop rocks poured into each individual cup- it was fun and really noisy!), dessert with bugs in it (an applesauce dessert with raisin in it- my youngest niece, she's 3, didnt want any because she thought the "bugs" were real:)  And these jack-o-lantern oreos that the kids decorated. 
 I had dipped the oreos (I used double stuf) in orange chocolate candy melts the night before and put the chocolate dipped pretzel stem on.  So they were all ready to be turned into super cute jack-o-lanterns.  I thought the kids did a great job and they really seemed to have a lot of fun.  They were a hit!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monster Cupcakes

The little babes and I attempted some monster cupcakes this week.  They definitly didn't turn out nearly as cute, or well done, as the ones in the magazine, but we had fun making them.  I was surprised and pleased with how much the girls were able to help with the whole process.  Although my Monkey was was more interested in eating all the "monster parts" than assembling them!
 You can find the instructions on the taste of home website, here.

This cute little purple guy was our favorite.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Caramel Chex Mix

Of course apples are the star of fall, but I think that caramel and fall make a pretty good match as well.  I make this mix all times of the year, but it wasnt until this fall that I realized how appropriate it seemed.  This mix would make a great addition to any party.  You could even "match" the holiday or your party by using particular m&m colors.  It has been likened to cracker jacks (which btw you could sub the chex for popcorn) and is pretty delicious.
Caramel Chex Mix

9 c. chex cereal (or popcorn)
1 c. peanuts (optional)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. of mix in's, such as chocolate chips, m&ms, raisins, etc (I just eyeball it and throw some in until it looks good, I doubt its ever 3 cups)

*In a large baking pan, I usually use one of those big foil roaster pans, combine the chex and peanuts
*In a medium saucepan bring the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Boil over medium heat, without stirring, for 5 min.
*Remove from heat and add the vanilla and then the baking soda (from frustrating experience, it seems to be important to add the vanilla before adding the baking soda.  Wierd things happened and made it unusuable!)
*Pour the caramel mixture over the chex and stir to coat, but dont stress about getting it even, it will even out as it spends time in the oven.
*Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 min.
*Pour it out onto a large piece of wax paper and break it apart as it cools.
*When it has cooled completely add your mix ins

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Butter and Rye Bread

The babes and I made butter yesterday.  It was a lot of fun.  We had gotten a "theme" box from the library, our theme being - The Farm- and we have been having so much fun with it.  It came with many supplies, but also an idea sheet for all the different subjects in school, like math, art, music, etc.  Of course my girls are pretty young, so we have kept it basic, doing a lot of counting, color sorting, singing (with an old Mac Donald puppet) and crafts.  One idea was to make butter.  The paper under the butter is one of the crafts we did.  They practiced their cutting and glueing skills by cutting out cow spots.  Besides the butter, I think my favorite craft so far was making a pink pig and then smearing brown finger paint "mud" all over him- the girls loved that!
Of course the bulk of the butter making shaking was left to me, but the girls had fun taking their turns at shaking up some butter.  We made some rye bread to smear our butter on.  Yum!!

Find a plastic jar with a screw top lid (I used a peanut butter container).  Wash a marble and put that in the jar.  Fill the jar about half way full of whipping cream.  (I threw a couple pinches of salt in since we usually buy salted butter)  Start shaking.  Keep shaking until the cream separates  into grains of butter and buttermilk.  Continue shaking until the butter solidifies.  Pour off the buttermilk.

German Dark Rye Bread (from the Hodgson Mill rye flour bag)

This bread was fine, but we thought it didnt have as much flavor as another rye bread I had made a couple weeks ago.  I had made that one in the bread machine since I felt a migraine coming on, so when I try it by hand I will post it.

3 1/2 cups rye flour
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten (I didnt use)
2 pkgs active dry yeast (1 pkg= 2 1/4 tsp)
2 cups warm water, 110*
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

*Put the warm water in a large bowl and add the brown sugar and yeast.  Allow it to sit and proof 5-10 min. 
*Add the molasses, rye flour, vital wheat gluten and cocoa.  Mix well and allow to sit for 10 min. 
*Mix in the melted butter and salt, then 1 cup of the all purpose flour. 
*Knead in enough of the rest of the flour to make a soft dough.  Knead for about 8-10 min.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat, cover and allow to rise about an hour, until doubled. 
*Divide your dough into two pieces, gently press out any air bubbles then shape into loaves and place in 2 greased loaf pans.  Allow to rise about an hour, until doubled.
*Bake at 400* 25-28 min.  Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.