Sunday, April 30, 2017

Crazy Spring Weather


Hello Spring in Missouri! Seriously. Floods and I'm pretty sure Microbursts. We lost 2 phones in a matter of 2 hours. Lightning struck the ground more than once. One point it struck right outside my parents bedroom where my dad and daughter were laying in dad's bed napping. Needless to say not much napping happened after that.

I'm pretty sure we had a microburst if not a full on F0 tornado... It dropped a tree limb down on our deck which I'm surprised it didn't A) take out the deck/rail or B) come through the back door. Another branch hit the end of the house and I'm surprised it didn't do damage. It flipped over a shed, tore off stuff from one of the outside barns, and POURED down rain to the point of flash flooding.

Hello Spring in Missouri!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter 2017

One tradition I really wanted to keep is getting pictures with Santa and the Easter Bunny at the respective holidays. So far Abug still hates the Easter Bunny. This year Tbug happened to be with us when we went to see the Easter Bunny. She's old enough I wasn't going to make her get in the picture, as you may notice from how she's dressed (just regular clothes) but Abug threw such a fit that we conned Tbug to be in the photo to keep Abug happy. We never did get Abug to smile, but this isn't bad I guess....

Mom bought Easter cookie cutters and asked that I make her some Sugar Cookies to take to work. This is what she got. Not bad I guess, right? Please tell me they're good 😀.

The night before Easter I wound up making cookies. I guess I was really in the mood for cookies. haha.

Easter morning we were up bright and early to head to Church, but not before we saw what the Easter Bunny brought Abug. She got a book on top of everything in her Easter basket there.

My handwriting says Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others? That was kind of the take away message from Easter Church Service.

Our attempt at a family photo (minus Tbug. This wasn't our Easter to have her 😔)

When we got back to my parents house Memaw showed up and Abug got another Easter Basket.

Since I was kind of responsible for the food, how about some food pictures because those are really the only other photos I have... bummer!



Monday, April 17, 2017

Carrot Cupcakes

Here it is Monday after Easter and I think I’m still in a food induced comma. I sure hope you ate well, I know I did! By now I’m sure you’re aware I challenged myself to bake all 12 cupcakes in the Food Network Magazine January/February 2017 edition. The editor says there doesn’t need to be a reason to have a cupcake, therefore one for every month. This month happens to be the Carrot-Walnut Cupcakes. Those would be perfect for Easter, right? We didn’t eat them on Easter though… nope, but the week of, you bet!

I should immediately point out, I didn’t put in the walnuts, that’s why the title says minus the walnuts. Mark doesn’t handle nuts real well (we’ll leave it at that.. haha) and I’m not crazy about Walnuts. If I had used any nuts, they would have been Pecans. I prefer the milder taste of a pecan over a walnut any day.

I wasn’t sure about these cupcakes when I initially started mixing up the batter. The smell of the cinnamon and nutmeg seemed to overpower the small amount of flour. Truthfully, how they know how to mix up to get exactly 12 cupcakes is amazing. Now If I could just learn to measure out exactly 12 cupcakes. I tried the ice cream scoop method and came up shy. If nothing else, I hope to learn how to make perfect cupcakes by this challenge!

In the recipe there was the option for walnut oil or vegetable oil. I used Canola Oil because it is interchangeable with Vegetable oil and that’s what I had on hand. I wouldn’t have used the walnut oil anyway for reasons listed above. Also, while were at it, instead of using my grater to grate up the carrots, I pulled out the small Ninja bowl and lightly blasted those things. It was a lot quicker in my opinion.

Like I said, I got close to measuring out the 12 cupcakes perfectly. I just had to pull a bit from some to make them all about the same fullness. I was surprised when they baked, I was fairly close!

While they were baking I started slicing my carrot slices for the candied carrots. After I had 14 in case I messed up a couple, I had a little snack. See, these cupcakes can’t be that bad for you… they have carrots, a nice orange vegetable in them.

Because I wasn’t candying walnuts also I halved my water and sugar. I kept them at a 1:1 ratio like the recipe called for. I’m not so sure I shouldn’t have just used the whole amounts. By the way, I’m not a fan of these candied carrots. They were kind of flavorless and had the consistency of a fruit roll-up in my opinion. I should probably try them again just to be sure, maybe next time I’ll follow the amounts and try it…

Now for my icing. Here is where I’d like to point out I HATE recipes that require me to use 6 tbsp of butter. That leaves 2 left over and what am I going to do with 2 tbsp of butter? #firstworldproblems. My cream cheese wasn’t full fat stuff. Nope, I had some fat free (like 2 oz) and the Greek Yogurt version. That’s what I had in the fridge, that’s what I used.

I made the icing up the night I made the cupcakes but placed in a ziplock baggie and put it in the fridge. I allowed the cupcakes to cool overnight and then pulled the icing out of the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before I used it so it would be easier to pipe on. I also just snipped the corner off my ziplock baggie. The icing was good. Hubby likes a thinner layer of icing, but either way, the icing was yummy.

I pulled my carrots out of the simple syrup compound and once they cooled a bit, I put them in a ziplock baggie also. They couldn’t go on until the cupcakes had been iced.

And then the finished product. I like a little less icing too but this wasn’t bad icing at all. The cupcakes, OH Wow! I couldn’t stay out of them. Sad but true. Don’t worry though, I didn’t eat all 12. Nope, I had help!

Carrot-Walnut Cupcakes

(Food Network Magazine, January/February 2017, pg 61)

For the cupcakes:

For the candied carrots and walnuts:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 Large carrot, peeled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 12 walnuts 

For the frosting:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, walnut oil and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in the flour mixture, then fold in the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and candied ginger with a rubber spatula.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds of the way. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan; remove to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the candied carrots and walnuts: Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Peel 12 long ribbons from the carrot using a vegetable peeler. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the carrot ribbons and cook until translucent, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully remove with tongs and arrange each ribbon in a small bundle on the baking sheet. Add the walnuts to the saucepan and simmer until glossy, 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the baking sheet; let the candied carrots and walnuts cool.
Make the frosting: Beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in the confectioners¿ sugar on low speed; increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy, 3 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag with a large round tip; pipe onto the cupcakes. Top with the candied carrots and walnuts.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

This one time I tried gardening....

Do you ever just wake up one morning and realize your day isn't going as planned? When I woke up this morning I wanted to do something, I just wasn't sure what. Today though was not what I planned.

My dad and husband planned on going and renting a bobcat. They planned on scraping the colts (horses) pen as well as the runs off the barn. Once that was done they were going to scrape out the back and put it more in a mound.

The more I thought about it that day the more I thought I wanted a garden so I started plotting and scheming where to put it and what to do. That's when I decided to do a raised bed garden. I figured I needed landscaping timbers but my dad told me he already had some Cedar boards in the barn I could have so I decided that's what I was going to use. While dad and hubby worked on scraping pens I went to working on finding boards, measuring boards, cutting boards, etc. Every so often I got help from them.

Once I had my frame built then it was time to go to the store and pick out what to plant in it. Yes, I kind of did that a little backwards but my mom offered to go with me so heck, why not. Plus the guys weren't ready to move "dirt" over for me just yet.

Did you know dirt is a four letter dirty word? In my Soil Science class back in college we were never allowed to call it dirt. Dirt doesn't do anything where soil grows plants.

When I got back to the house they were ready to move soil over for me so I took them up on it. Hey, it beat moving it one wheel barrow at a time! All I had to do was use the shovel and a rake and smooth it out.

We were planning on this being a vegetable garden although there was one flower added to it. Abug decided she wanted a pretty flour so we put it in the vegetable garden. Hey it added pretty color!

Otherwise we went with bell peppers, jalapeño peppers (opposite corners obviously), banana peppers (sweet and spicy peppers can't be near each other!), Beefsteak Tomatoes, Roma Tomatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, and I feel like something else but I can't think of it and it really isn't that large of a garden so maybe that was it.

I'm giving this garden thing a try again. The last time I tried it didn't work out so well. I'll keep you updated, but wish me luck!!!


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