Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate has been a tradition in my house.  Every winter when we get enough snow to go outside and build snowmen I make everyone hot chocolate in a saucepan on the stove.  I don't know if hot chocolate packets are expensive but they seem expensive to me because they aren't as good as the real stuff.
It is my humble opinion that everyone should know how to make a great cup of hot chocolate.  If you have cocoa and sugar you can make a very basic cup.   With a few spices and vanilla you can make something wonderful.  

Single Serving Hot Chocolate Recipe:

Step one: add 2 tbls sugar and 2 tbls cocoa to a microwave safe mug.  
Step 2:  add 1/8 cup (not much) BOILING hot water
Step 3:  Stir until the chocolate sugar mixture is smooth
Step 4:  Add about 1 cup milk *warm the milk first or you can microwave in step 5.  For cold chocolate milk stop here.
Step 5:  Pop the cup in the microwave and heat 1 minute 30 seconds

Now for the fun part!  
In step 1 add:
*crushed candy candy for peppermint hot chocolate
*a sprinkle of cinnamon
* a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spices
*orange rind and cinnamon
*a couple drops of cherry almond flavor
or after step 5
*a few drops of almond extract
or a few drops of vanilla

To Simplify things I've made some hot chocolate sugar cubes :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall Flavor

Can you feel the change in the breeze?  It's early September but there is definitely an attitude of fall in the weather.  The day light is ending sooner as  chilly air settles over the land. Pumpkins are turning bright orange; making them much easier to find in my weedy garden :) and grocery stores are advertising tailgate party sales.
You can find this Vintage Harry and David  bear Creek Market Basket here: 

Get the picture?  It's time to switch from light summer meals to the rich, vibrant flavors of fall.  When you're planning an Autumn tea, include the flavors of fall with cinnamon, ginger, maple and pumpkin. 

Cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie spiced Sugar Cubes

Plan your  tea menu around what's available at the farmer's market.  Consider serving ham with pumpkin soup and maple nut cookies for dessert.  This is the best time for fresh apple cider spiced with cinnamon and cloves.  Make fresh fruit available to counter the heaviness of the fall menu.  I

Enjoy black tea with cinnamon spiced  hearts

Most of all, make time to enjoy the season and share a cup of coffee or tea with a friend.  Visit my Etsy shop, Wishingwell Art and Gifts

Friday, September 7, 2012

Royal House of Whimsy: More Regency Picnics

Royal House of Whimsy: More Regency Picnics: Yesterday the Emerald Valley Regency Society had another lovely picnic, this one at the Owen Rose Garden in Eugene . We enjoyed...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why Bake?

4 year old Donovan cracks eggs into a separate bowl before we add them to the dough.

    Donovan is missing his sisters who are both away at college, Big Time!  So We had to bake some cookies for them to share with their friends.

I love baking with my kids.  But the first rule is "The cook doesn't lick his fingers!"

       As parents we want to do as much as we can for our kids in college.  Filling out forms, waking them up for class, and sending them a lot of money is a bad idea.  Instead, make them cookies and let them handle it.  They can do it. They can . I promise.  They may make mistakes; miss deadlines; and over sleep.  But it's really OK.  They will have less time to get in trouble if they are cleaning up their own messes and (figuratively) making their own beds.
     And they will love a package from home with a short note, small amount of cash and something to eat.  A plate of warm cookies on the table after a long day is nice too.   That's how we should be parenting our college age kids.  Because they're technically not kids anymore.  They're adults.  And fresh coffee or hot tea served with sugar cubes so they don't make a mess :0) is a good idea.
     This made Donovan very happy as well :)

Add caption
Cowboy Cookies
Adapted from a recipe I found in Bon Appetite too many years ago to find it again:

2 c. flour                             1 C. Shortening or butter (I use half butter,

2 c. Oats                                     half shortening)

1/2 tsp. baking powder         2 large eggs

1/2 tsp. salt                          3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp baking soda                    3/4 c dark brown or turbinado sugar
1 tsp vanilla                         1 c toasted chopped walnuts
1/2 c. chocolate chips         (1 c. dried cherries, cranberries or raisins)

Mix Flour, Oats, baking powder, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl and set aside.

Beat the sugars and shortening/ butter until fluffy.  If you use crisco add 2 tbls. water.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.  Then add vanilla.

When the sugars, shortening eggs and vanilla are well blended add the dry ingredients and mix slowly until the mixture is well blended.

Add nuts, Chocolate chips, and dried fruit (if desired) and mix well. Refridgerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop 1/4 cup dough and make into a ball.  Place on cookie sheet (I like to line cookie sheets with parchment)  and smash just a little to make a flat disc.  Leave space between the cookies on the cookie sheet.  They will be big!

Serve with milk and Enjoy!