Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beam me up Scotty!

It appears that my little town experienced an alien abduction the morning after Christmas.   You know, if you follow my blog that I have No Mad Photography Skilz.  Therefore this is exactly what I saw from my Table that morning, minus bad photo distortion.  You can faintly see the lake in the back ground, this is just NW of the lake.  I'm thinking maybe the Pelicans have some secrets.  Here is a close-up, or rather, bad zooming to the 2 mile away target.  No it's not a reflection off the lake, the lake is frozen

Gotta love our Inversions.

Peanutty Chocolate Truffles

I tried a new candy this year.   Earlier in the fall I was mixing up a concoction of Hot cocoa mix, extra cocoa powder and Chocolate Complete Shake and Protein Shake to put in a large #10 can for the kids to use.  I figure they may as well get a little nutrition out of it, right?   Anyway it was also using up my 4 yr old cocoa packets.   As I was emptying them, I happened to notice they had recipes on them.  One was for Peanutty Chocolate Truffles.    I set one of those empty packets aside for further study.  Christmas was coming soon and what better time to make candy?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chocolate Fudge

We didn't have a lot of luck with the fudge this year.   I usually make mint chocolate, this year I tried by adding some mint Lindt (which is yummy by itself) it wasn't quite what I usually do.  I discovered that I need a new thermometer.  While it worked fine with my PB fudge it wasn't working with my toffee or chocolate fudge.  ???    I also did the spoon test and the cold water test so it wasn't so bad.  I just went with my gut.  It was definately edible!  
This is the recipe I used this year.  Aunt Teen's Creamy Chocolate Fudge.  I used a mix of all dark chocolate, no milk and added the marshmallow after the other ingredients had all melted/combined.  I also left out the nuts since it was mint.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Toads

My husband likes to make Christmas treats with pretzels.  And who am I to stop him?  This year was no different.  They always have a little something different each year.    The name came about because he started calling them turtles and my daughter said they didn't look like turtles, so, they became toads.  They are a bit toad-like at that.  

This year he decided to pair the nuts with the pretzels and just use dark chocolate to bind them.  I really like the less-sweetness of them.   He also made a batch with peanut butter and chocolate.  I liked the plain chocolate best but the pb ones were ok too.   In the past they have included marshmallow and pb and caramel.  Sometimes totally covered in chocolate.    I wonder what will evolve next year?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Tradition

One of may favorite traditions in our family is the annual Gingerbread house. Every year we do something a little different. This year we made a Gingerbread Barn.   Everyone gets to decorate a different side so it looks a little off balance but it's all for fun.  The kids main goal is to get as much candy on as they can.  That seems to be Dad's goal too, now that I think about it.   Mom's main job is designing, and baking.  That is a lot of gingerbread people.  Since I can only fit one side at a time on the pan it takes a good part of the day to roll it all out and bake. 

Here is the barn before it got decorated.  I always seem to forget which goes outside, the front or sides, so this time I got it wrong so to fix it the corners got a little extra frosting.

Mom's side is always a bit minimalistic.  If you look close you can see the animals inside.
Cow in the headlights!

Age 13 did the roofs.

Age 9's side.

Dad and age 5.11.5 worked together this year.

They also worked together on the back.  Although I suggested the Bremen Town Musicians.  Kid's don't know that story anymore though, even mine, I haven't seen a book with it anywhere.

The kids (including dad) can't wait until Christmas day when I allow them to dig in.  I'm sure a few pieces will disappear between now and then though.   

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Peanut Butter Fudge

Christmas is the best!  When else do we get to make loads of candy and cookies and not feel too guilty about it? This year I'm running behind on the goodies.  I'm going to have to really hurry to catch up.  Maybe those Christmas cards will have to wait until Valentines day.    I may like to make a lot of stuff but I am small potatoes compared to my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law.  Last time I was there for Christmas it was hard to keep away from the goodie-laden counter.

We've started out the season with a little Peanut butter Fudge.  It's been a few years since I made this and couldn't remember which recipe I liked best.  So I started with the marshmallow recipe.  The good thing about fudges made with marshmallow is they tend to end up creamier than without.  I remember making fudge (with black walnuts from our back yard!) with my parents when I was younger and they would have to beat it a long time.  Not so necessary with the marshmallows.  Maybe later I will have to try the other recipe, this one is fine but I wish it had a more peanutty flavor.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beef Stir-Fry

It has been a while since posting. Thanksgiving vacation got in the way. We took a trip to Sunny San Diego and skipped the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with or without family. It was a nice change but Christmas is also not seeming to make an appearance in our house due to being thrown off with the vacation. It's going to have a wait a while longer while I get over this cold I have developed today too.

But to update the blog a bit I pulled out this bad picture of my beef stir-fry. By now you know I am far from a good food photographer. Sorry.

I like bean sprouts in my stir-fry and this particular time I had a lot. Here is the recipe I made, more or less if you haven't figured that out by now.

1 pound flank steak cut small and thin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 carrot sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Combine steak, soy sauce and water in bowl and mix well
heat oil in pan and add steak. Cook till meat is no longer pink. Add Carrots and green onions, and ginger and cook a few minutes longer. Add Sprouts, almonds, oyster sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and soy sauce. Cook another minute until sprouts are desired tenderness.

Serve over rice.
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