Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Years

Life is too short to be sad
So make choices that make you happy

Life is too short to go without
So do the things you want while and when you can

Life is too short
To ever let an "I love you"
be left unsaid


So say it



Say you love those you love often
And mean it when you say it

No word has more power than love.

Be careful and generous with it.

Live a life with minimal regrets
Be happy now

Be yourself
Love yourself

Go into the New Year with a positive attitude and a goal to be happy and bring happiness with you where you go!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies


Ingredients:

About 1 Cup Caramel Sauce*

1/2 Cup Butter
3 Ounces Dark or Semisweet Chocolate
2/3 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2/3 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt

Pinches of Coarse, Kosher, or Flaked Sea Salt

Other Things:

Cooking Spray
9X9X2 Baking Tin

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium sauce pan melt the chocolate and butter together until just smooth over a low-medium heat. Remove from heat for 10 minutes.

Spray the cooking tin with cooking spray, set aside.

Add in the sugar and vanilla to the chocolate and whisk smooth.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and whisk well until smooth and glossy.

In a small bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Slowly sift the flour mixture into the chocolate and stir in with a wooden spoon. Once everything is smooth and blended. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake or the brownies will be dry.

While brownies are still warm and in the tin pour the caramel sauce over top in an even layer.

Sprinkle a small amount of the kosher, coarse, or flaked salt over the caramel. Allow everything to cool.

Slice into small squares and serve.

Enjoy!

* One Ingredient Caramel, Butterscotch Sauce or your personal favorite will work

Notes:

Been on a baking marathon tonight! I love the holidays!

Other Places:

Something else wonderful for the holidays:


Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fudge

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge

Tastes almost just like a Reese Cup

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Layer

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Peanut Butter, smooth is best I think, but Chunky should work as well
1 Teaspoon or 2 Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Chocolate Layer

7 Ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 Cups Dark, Bittersweet, or Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter


Other Things Required:

9X9X2 Baking Tin
Cooking Spray
Parchment Paper
Two Pots
Stainless Steel Bowl

Instructions:

Mist the cooking tin with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and mist with cooking spray again.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and peanut butter together until smooth and creamy and evenly blended together. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the powdered sugar roughly 1/3 cup at a time. Mixing well between each addition.

Pour the peanut butter layer into the baking tin and gently smooth into an even layer. Set aside for the time being.

Set a medium sauce pan over high heat to boil with about 1-2 inches of water in the pan.

In the stainless steel bowl measure in the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, salt and the butter. Place the bowl over the simmering water, creating a water bath. Whisk everything together over the simmering water until the chocolate has melted and everything is perfectly smooth.

Using a fork gently make some groove lines over the entire surface of the peanut butter layer. This helps keep the two layers together when you cut it.

Pour the still warm chocolate layer over the peanut butter layer, smooth until even. Be quick the chocolate will set very swiftly.

Chill in the fridge until completely cool and set. To serve cut into 1 inch squares with a sharp knife. Keep in an air tight container in the fridge when not serving.

Enjoy!

Notes:

My man-friend had a guys night today. They came over after their dinner and drinks and walked into my baking storm, this was the hit of the evening. Plus it was super easy which makes it a keeper in my books.

Other Places:

I also made Short Bread tonight, also a massive hit.

Spicy Pulled Chicken

Spicy Pulled Chicken


Goes great in tacos when you aren't in the mood for the typical beef filling. Plus Slow cooker recipe!! Who Doesn't love to come home to fresh made dinner?

Ingredients:

2-4 Bone in Chicken Breasts, or Thighs
1 Onion, Chopped
2-4 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2-4 Teaspoons Cumin Powder
Water or Chicken Stock
4 ounce Can of Green Chilies 
1/4 Cup Salsa

Instructions:

If desired lightly mist the slow cooker insert with cooking spray. Add about 1 cup of water or chicken stock, and whisk in the chili powder and the cumin. Add 1/2 of the chopped onion to the insert. Place the chicken breasts in the insert, add enough water to just about cover the chicken breasts. Toss the remaining onion half over top of everything else.

Turn the slow cooker on and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on high.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from slow cooker with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Allow to cool lightly, and then carefully with two forks shred the chicken, carefully removing any bones or unpalatable pieces.

Once Chicken is evenly shredded, add enough of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker to make the chicken moist and juicy but not soggy. Add the entire can of chilies and the salsa and stir to mix together.

Transfer chicken to a casserole dish and keep warm until ready to eat.

Spicy Chicken can be used in tacos or enchiladas, for a sandwich filling, or just about anything else you want.

I made tacos with home made shells, and filled them with shredded lettuce, diced peppers, cheese and green onions.

Enjoy!

Notes:

This was a serious boy-friend pleaser, he really likes the spice blend in this particular spicy chicken.

Also if you aren't a fan of spicy, you could also make BBQ style pulled chicken by omitting the chili powder and cumin from the slow cooker when cooking the chicken. Then leave out the salsa and green chilies after shredding the chicken and instead stir in some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist and about 1/2-1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. Then you have pulled chicken just like pulled pork.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dinner Party Ideas!

Exciting new page alert! I have been slowly building up a list of suggestions for dinner pairings, which would be great for nights when someone is having a dinner party! I plan to keep adding to this page from time to time.

Check it out here, or to the right under the "Spaces" headline.

Hope you enjoy!

XOX
Miss BB

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Home Made Corn Tortillas and Variations

Home Made Tortillas with Maseca


Ingredients:

2 Cups Maseca Corn Flour
1 1/2 Cups Water
Pinch Salt

Instructions:

Preheat a dry cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Do not oil or grease. Dry pan is key.

loosely measure the flour and salt into a bowl. sift together. Add the water and mix with your hands until a soft dough forms that does not readily stick to your hands or crumble apart. If mixture is too dry add water one tablespoon at a time, if mixture is too wet add one more tablespoon of flour and mix again.

Divide dough into 16 even balls.

Either between two sheets of parchment paper or on a plastic wrap lined tortilla press, flatten the dough balls into tortillas that are about 1/2-1/4 centimeter thick.

Fry the flattened dough for a minute on each side, transfer cooked tortillas to a clean towel and hold warm until finished cooking the whole batch.

Tortillas can be re steamed and heated to use as soft corn tortillas.

You can bake the tortillas over two oven racks and make crunchy home made taco shells, they aren't quite the same as store bought, but at least you will know what is in them and when they were made. To make crunchy shells bake over two oven racks for about 7-10 minutes at 375°F.

Or finally you can lightly fry the cooked tortillas in hot oil for about a minute and make tostada or cut into smaller wedges for tortilla chips like restaurants make.

Enjoy!

Notes:

I know tacos aren't the most festive recipe for Christmas time, but my tummy wants to eat, what it wants to eat and I will not apologize for that!

Also Maseca is the only kind of corn flour I can get in ready supply and is thus the only one I have really experimented with. It is quite fine and I have the white variety and so far I have really enjoyed it. I have used corn grits and corn meal in recipes  because but this is really something quite different from those. It isn't too expensive and while I might not buy it all the time, I will at least keep experimenting with the bag I do have!

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?




Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread




Ingredients:

3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Butter, lightly chilled, easily cut into cubes, but not totally soft
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cups Sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of a food processor with a blade or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a sturdy fork, combine the flour, sugar, and salt until blended.

Cut the butter into cubes an pulse or mix until mixture is sandy and grainy.

Lightly mist a 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray. If desired line bottom with parchment paper as well.

Press the dough into the pan and try and make the top as smooth and even as possible. You can also brush the top with a bit of milk to help blend in any crumbs.

Score into squares and if desired, prick the top of each square with a fork.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and almost firm to the touch.

Run a knife along the score lines again. Allow to cool before removing from pan. The cut squares should come out easily once cooled.

Store in an air tight container.

A little bit of frosting on these cookies is also pretty good.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Yay for Christmas/Holiday season! Time for turkey dinners, and pies, and cakes, and cookies, and all the wonderful things!

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Basil


Spicy Mexican Shredded Roast Beef

Spicy Mexican Shredded Roast Beef

Ideal for enchiladas or a different spin on a taco filling. Or on top of nachos, in fajitas. .  . you get the idea.

Ingredients:

1-3 Pound Beef Blade Roast
6 Cloves Garlic
1 Small Onion
1-4 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2-4 Teaspoons Cumin
Enough water or broth to nearly cover the roast in the slow cooker
4 Ounce Can Green Chilies

Instructions:

Roughly chop the onion, an finely mince the garlic cloves.

Arrange half the onion and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker insert.

Add enough broth or water to not quite cover the roast in the slow cooker.

Sprinkle the chili powder and cumin powder over top of the roast.

Arrange the other half of the onions and garlic on top of the roast.

Turn slow cooker on, either 4-5 hours on high, or 6-8 on low.

After cooking the beef, remove the beef from the broth with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. Shred the beef with two forks by gently pulling it apart. Add about 1/3-4/5 Cups of broth from the slow cooker to the shredded beef, just enough so the shredded beef looks juicy. Add the entire can of chilies to the shredded roast beef and stir to mix in evenly.

Beef is now ready to be used in tacos, enchiladas, on nachos, etc.

Enjoy!

Notes:

I use this to make enchilada's at home, cook the beef in the slow cooker all day, shred and finish it when you get home from work, roll into a few tortillas with a little cheese, and toast in the oven. Serve with enchilada sauce, salsa, sour cream or what ever makes you happy. Quick and easy dinner is a nice dinner I think.

Also this is my man-friends new favorite meal, he even eats it as leftovers the next day and that almost never happens.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Fish Cakes and Caper Sauce

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Apple Upside Down Cake

Apple Upside Down Cake with Brown Sugar and Spice



Ingredients:

2 Apples, I like to use Granny Smith
Cooking Spray
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1-2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom
2/3 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1-2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Milk

Special Tools:

Tube or Bunt pan, Very well sprayed with cooking spray.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray the bunt or tube pan very well with cooking spray. Or butter and flour the entire pan.

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar with the ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Sift together well and set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle or with electric hand mixers beat the white sugar with the cubed butter until light, fluffy an pale yellow. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Beat in vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Peel both apples. Quarter and remove the core from one apple, and slice into very thin slices. Shred the other apple using a cheese grater into small bits, leaving out the core.

Sprinkle 1/4 of the brown sugar and spice mixture into the bottom of the well greased tube or bunt pan. Arrange the thinly sliced apples over the entire bottom of the pan into one thin even layer. Sprinkle another 1/4 of the brown sugar mixture over the top of the apples.

Mix the shredded apple into the egg, sugar, and butter mixture along with the flour mixture and milk. Blend well until combined.

Pour 1/2 the prepared cake batter over top of the apples. sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture over the top of the cake layer. Pour the remaining batter over top and spread out evenly.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to stand in pan 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter.

Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream for best results.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Best if eaten while still warm. This cake is nice but only lasts about two days. Goes great with ice cream or whipped cream.

Other Places:

What was Cooking one year ago?

Festive Maple and Cloves Ham