Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Brownie, Two Brownie, Three Brownie, YUM!

Ever have a hankering for a brownie but you aren't sure if you want to make a few, a bunch or a whole pan?  Oh do I have a recipe for you!  I found this recipe for brownie mix when I was looking for recipes for our family canning exchange.  Now I don't really need it since our 20 jalapeno salsa turned out far less spicy than Andy had hoped… when I say less I mean like no spice at all.  Our jalapeno are apparently wimps.
This recipe is easy to mix up.  Dump the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk them up with a whisk.  Store this is a bottle with the baking instructions attached and you are ready to make brownies when ever you need them.  And for you edge liking folks - these are perfect - whip up a small batch each time and get double the edges.  I'm not an edge person, I like them as gooey as they can be.

The Best Brownie Mix

For the Mix:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the prepared Brownies:
See directions for amounts, depending on pan size:
Unsalted butter (melted), vegetable oil, OR liquid coconut oil
Eggs
Water
Vanilla Extract

Instructions

To Make the Mix:
Whisk together all mix ingredients in a large bowl. Place in an airtight container or gallon size ziploc bag. Store until ready to make brownies.
Note: you can also gift this brownie mix in a large jar. Just attach directions as written below!

To Make a 9x9” Pan of Brownies:
Mix 2 cups of Brownie Mix with 1/2 cup melted butter (or you can use vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil), 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon water. (If desired, add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips!) Spread in a 9x9” pan that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for about 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out 1” from the edge of the pan with only a few crumbs. Cool before slicing into squares.

To Make a Loaf Pan of Brownies:
Mix 1 cup of Brownie Mix with 1/4 cup melted butter (or you can use vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil), 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 teaspoons water. (If desired, add 1/4 cup of chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips!) Spread in a loaf pan (4x8 or 9x5) that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out 1” from the edge of the pan with only a few crumbs. Cool before slicing into squares.

Notes
You could also use a mini muffin or regular sized cupcake tin to make single serving brownies! Just be sure to grease them well with butter, shortening, or cooking spray with flour for easy removal (or use muffin liners). Baking time will be affected.

To make a 9x13" pan of brownies, mix 3 cups of brownie mix with 3/4 cup melted butter (or you can use vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil), 3 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water. (If desired, add 3/4 cup of chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips!) Spread in a 9x13” pan that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for about 22-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out 1” from the edge of the pan with only a few crumbs. Cool before slicing into squares.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Golden Orb of Summer in a Jar

Several years ago we had a peach marathon.  We were making jam for our wedding favors and ended up making 9 gallons of jam, 5 pies, 2 cobblers and endless amounts of canned peaches, we even froze some.  Needless to say we had gotten carried away with how many we picked.
We love canned peaches, but one of the hardest parts is figuring out how much syrup to make, how sweet to make it, sometimes it feels like  it cooks the peaches more than necessary, a frustration for sure.  I saw this method on Pinterest and I knew I had to try it.
Instead of making syrup - you fill bottles with sliced peaches, add the amount of sugar you desire for the heaviness of syrup you want, then fill with hot water.  This makes small batches a cinch.   You are able to can just a few peaches or a whole bushel without making one batch of syrup.

Take the skins off your peaches (dip in boiling water for 10-12 seconds, then into ice water, peal falls off).  Cut peaches into slices and place in clean jars.  Heat a pot of water.  Now add the sugar to the jars on top of your fruit.  1/2 cup per pint makes a nice light syrup.  Add more for a heavier syrup–up to about 1/4 cup per pint.  Double those quantities if you’re canning in quart jars.
Then pour your hot water into the jar over the fruit and sugar and prepare to process the jar as you normally would.  The sugar will dissolve in the water as the fruit is in the canner.
Wipe jar rims and threads. Place lids and bands on jars. Place jars on rack in deep stockpot of hot water from step 1. Cover, bring to a boil and process 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts. Remove jars from hot water and place, not touching, on dish towel and cover. Cool several hours or overnight. Test seals before storing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Field Editor : Sounds Fancy (too bad my picture is crappy)

Field Editor for Taste of Home- it sounds fancy doesn't it?  Not really but that is how Taste of Home Magazine knows me.  What does that mean?  I send them recipes - they send me the magazine - not a bad deal right?
One of the recipes I've submitted is for Chicken Pot Pie.  I have my usual recipe - but this one was more a throw together kind of dinner.  I usually make a double recipe so I can throw half of the filling in the freezer to make an easy meal for another night.  Please note - the final "beauty" picture on this recipe?  REALLY not my finest work… ugh.  Some days there is just no way to make you meal look as tasty as it is… it just looks like slop on plate.
If you want to give me a review or a few stars - head on over to my recipe at Taste of Home - I'd love some feedback - if you are willing.
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/community/easy-chicken-pot-pie-29

Easy Chicken Pot Pie 
Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 small onion diced
2 medium size potatoes, boiled and diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp season salt
3 cups diced/cooked chicken
1 cup cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 premade pie crust
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, cook carrots, celery and onion in vegetable oil until just soft. In a large mixing bowl, add veggies, boiled and diced potatoes, soup, milk, seasonings, cheese and chicken. Pour into greased pie plate. Top with premade pie crust and cut several slits in top of pie. Whisk egg and brush on top of crust. Bake for 30 minutes – until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Yield: serves 6

Note: Double the filling to make extra filling for the freezer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing Something Other than Weeds

Having a garden was one of the best things about having a house with grass - so we thought.  Ok we still think that.  It's pretty amazing to be able to go outside and grab a few tomatoes, some basil and be able to whip up dinner fresh off the vine.
Something we hadn't figured on… weeds.  Our perfect garden wouldn't dare to have weeds - would it?  Guess that's what happens when you go to Alaska in the middle of summer for a week… the weeds got so out of control - we never did regain control.  Despite all those weeds - our garden has been producing very well.
We've had an over abundance of tomatoes - cherries and Romas.  Canning tomatoes is so easy - I'm not sure why more people don't do it.  Really folks - it's easy… you cut up the tomatoes, heat them up a little, add some salt and lemon juice to the jar, fill it up - boil it for a while - done.  Canned fresh tomatoes.  You could even throw some garlic or basil in there to make Italian Canned Tomatoes.
Give it a try - don't fear the canner - it's just a giant pot of water with a metal rack inside… easy stuff.  
Note: I usually do the hot pack - mostly because if you do the cold you risk cracking your bottles.  I've lost WAY to many bottles learning this tip.

Tomatoes Whole, Halved, Quartered or Diced - Packed in Water 

You Will Need:
2-1/2 to 3-1/2 lb ripe tomatoes (about 8 to 11 medium) per quart
Water
Bottled lemon juice
Salt, optional
Glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Directions:
1.PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.WASH tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Trim away any green areas and cut out core. Leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves or quarters.
3.PREPARE tomatoes according to raw or hot pack recipe.
4.ADD ½ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot quart jar. Add ¼ tsp Ball® Citric Acid or 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot pint jar.
5.PACK tomatoes into hot jars according to raw or hot pack recipe. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
6.PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner 40 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Raw Pack 1.PACK tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
2.LADLE hot water over tomatoes leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired.
Hot Pack 1.PLACE tomatoes in a large saucepot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil gently 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
2.PACK hot tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
3.LADLE hot cooking liquid over tomatoes leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A bit of Christmas in August

Bayview Publishing and Craftways have released a new book for the Christmas season: A Cross Stitch Christmas – A Heartwarming Holiday.  You may notice a name in there that seems a bit familiar – ours!  We were honored to design a pattern for this year’s book.  It’s called Christmas Cheer on page 69.
Be sure to contact you local needlework shop to get a copy of this beautiful book.
01 09 10