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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Easy Brown Butter {{ How to Make Perfect }}




I'm slow on trends I always have been and I'm sure I always will. I have always been the type of person that went with her own flow and when I got on board with whatever was trending at some point, typically it has already come and gone.

So let's talk brown butter?? Have ever had it? Tried making it? Never heard of it???

For me I know brown butter was sooooo last blogging season, I watch bloggers rave about it for a while, but never bothered to jump in to using it. So essentially it is new to me and I'm sure I am not alone in that. I came across it by chance when I was making a batch of Ghee (a totally other story.) And what I realized when making it is that the smell was close to divine and it reminded me of the nutty scent that the butter takes on when making butter crunch.

After doing a lot of intense of research (that translate that I Googled Brown Butter )I decided to try and make a batch. Needless to say this is something I wish I had paid more attention to. It is so painless and easy to make and when added to recipes it creates a whole new take on taste.

Trust, when I tell you that added to baked goods it kicks up the flavor ten fold and makes a good dessert so much better, like cookies. Have a great cookie recipe, well then this addition will make it a fabulous cookie recipe.  I went nuts trying it out in a million and one recipes, so I will start sharing my once great now transformed  fabulous cookie recipes next week. :)


The recipe I was "experimenting" with called for one cup of butter, so that is that amount I used to make a batch. I'm sure you can make more if you wanted to, but for me I tend to only make what I need at any given moment in time.

I started by placing one cup of butter in a small pan on medium heat to begin melting it. You don't want to heat it up to fast and burn it, so take you time. As it starts to melt, you will see the milk proteins beginning to separate from the butter fat.


It will begin to get frothy and bubbly, and a film of foam will float  on top. Keep it going on a low to medium heat as it continues to cook/. Swirl the pan or give it a stir every now and again to keep it browning evenly. Don't walk away or go do something else, as this is something that once it "turns" you want to be there.


As it continues to cook and the milk proteins continue to separate they will begin to float to the bottom and brown. It will start emitting a very nutty delicious smell. It's at this point you want to remove it from the heat as it will continue to brown off the heat and you do not want to burn the butter.


Transfer it to a heat safe container to cool off a bit. You can use it in recipes immediately or let it set up a bit.



Enjoy the yumminess!!!





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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Magic Giveaway {{Cash Prize $1100}}




Giveaways are fun ,especially when they are for cash AND especially when they are right around the holiday when the need to pad our pockets a little more is more pronounced. My kids have a ridiculously long list of things, demands really of what they would like for the holiday season, so a bit of extra money would help that along.



Although at the same time I think they are completely nuts, because there is no way in the galaxy they are getting even a quarter of what they want (demand) I'm trying to undo the spoiling damage that has been done in the past few years and bringing back to the idea and freedom of simplicity.

I'll let you know if it works or if they just laugh at me :) 

Anyway let's get on with it.This giveaway would not be possible without an awesome group of bloggers and businesses. They include Spaceships and Laser BeamsMighty DelightyThis Little MamaDesign DazzleA Wife A Mom A LIfePaperCandeeDoodlecraftMade by Cristina MarieSquared Party PrintablesBellaGrey DesignsPetite Bebe, I DO invitations by michelleMore Than PaperPSA EssentialsYumtasticsBauble YumzPartystockPretty My PartyAngelina's Dream PartiesParty With the WarriorsWe Heart PartiesGiggles GaloreJ'adore Lexie CoutureFancy Cakes LLCInkberry Cards + DesignCupcake Wishes & Birthday DreamsSamantha Walker LLCI Will InvitationsTempo di FestaRibbons Unlimited, Inc.Young Adult Moneybabiesartroom and Hello My Sweet. And that's not even everyone! Take a look at the Rafflecopter form to see everyone who so generously provided sponsorship.


$1100 Holiday Magic Cash Giveaway

November 21, 2013 at 12:00am - December 16, 2013 at 12:00am
Open Worldwide
PRIZE: One winner will receive $1100 USD payable via PayPal
Eligibility and Rules: This giveaway runs from 12:00AM ET on November 21, 2013 to 12:00AM ET on December 16, 2013. It is open to individuals over the age of the majority in their home country. The winner will be chosen randomly through the Rafflecopter form. It is the sole responsibility of the winner to adhere to all laws in their respective country, which includes payments to any governing tax body. This giveaway is void in any country where it is prohibited by law.
Claiming Prize: The prize will be sent via PayPal. The winner must claim their prize within 48 hours of receiving notice. If you do not claim your prize within this time frame, your entry will be void and another winner will be drawn. We don't want to have to do that! Please ensure that the email spaceshipsandlaserbeams [at] gmail [dot] com is on your "safe list."
Disclosure: This giveaway is a blogger-sponsored event that is in no way affiliated with PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media channel. If you have questions, email Stephanie at Spaceships and Laser Beams at spaceshipsandlaserbeams [at] gmail [dot] com.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter!

None of the entries are mandatory but the more entries you do, the more chances you have to win!
(If you're running low on time, you can come back as many times as you like to finish the form and optimize your chances.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good Luck!!


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Delicious & Easy Spilt Pea Soup with Ham




It's a cold day here in New York. When I dropped the kiddoddles of at preschool this morning I was pretty surprised at how the cold air bit at our skin. It has been relatively warm here considering it's mid-November, so the cold was fast reminder that winter is well on its way.

I don't know about anyone else, but once the colder weather makes its appearance I want soup. Lots of it and in any and every variety that there is. Which brings me to a new favorite of mine.

Split pea soup.
Photo Credit
Strangely enough I made it all through my entire childhood and adulthood without ever trying this salty, yummy soup. I have encountered it more times that I care to admit, but never felt compelled to try it. Once I did, I understood the allure of this thick soup that has the capacity to fill the belly and warm the soul.

We had a ham bone leftover from a previous meal and my hub's told me that he was craving some pea soup. So this is how my day was spent. It's an easy enough recipe as the only time really spent is the minimal prep work and giving it a few stirs through out the day as it simmers down on the stove.

This is what you will need...
  • Leftover ham and ham bone
  • 6-7 Cups of chicken stock
  • 2 Medium Carrots chopped and qaurtered
  • 1 Package split peas (16 oz)
  • 1 Medium onion roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
In a large pot add in 2 tbsp butter. on low-medium heat. Chop your onion, garlic and carrots and add them to the pot. Cook until the onions are clear and carrots begin to soften. Add in your chicken stock, Ham bone chopped ham and spit peas and bring to a simmer. Once it all begins to simmer lower the heat a bit and let it cook down. The peas will all but disintegrate in the soup, giving it the trademark thickness it is known for.
I let mine sit on the stove all day, so by the time we eat at dinner time it is a thick, salty yummy meal. I top it off with some large, yummy, buttery browned croutons that I make, but store bought croutons work just as well!!

Hope you enjoy and this warms your family meals as much as it does mine!






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Monday, November 18, 2013

What Are You Baking On???




When I first started baking at home, I used a regular old baking sheet that can be found at any local grocery store. It did what I needed it to do initially, but as my baking adventures started venturing into different areas, it just didn't hold up to the standards I was looking for. Fast forward a few years to the present and you will find  me exclusively using aluminum baking sheets like this one.


                                             
I find them easy to use, they don't warp and the do the job I need them to do, so why should I use anything else. Typically I probably wouldn't have bothered trying anything else. But then I was contacted by the makers of Heirloom Baking Sheets to see if I wanted to try using one of their products. Since they offered it to me for free I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it out.



At first glance I didn't know what to think about it. It was shiny and pretty and had a nice weight to it, it was super thin with no sides, made of 100% stainless steel. When I started reading about how to bake with it is when it caught my attention fully. As it claimed that no parchment paper or greasing of the sheet was necessary.

What??????



That is something I can get on board with. I can't even tell you how many times I have been caught of guard in the kitchen not realizing too late (like at 11pm with a whole lotta dough to bake) that I am out of parchment. I use it religiously, as I like that my cookies never burn or brown too much when I use it.



So to say that I was super surprised that not only did my cookies not, burn or brown too much, they baked evenly and perfectly and came right off of the baking sheet with ease. They are all made in the USA as well, so that is a huge bonus for me as I will always buy USA made if and when possible!!


I used it for the cookies baked last week for the holiday vendor sale I participated in. I actually used my favorite and I mean favorite Cinnamon roll cookie recipe called Cinna-Bum Cookies from Sweet Hope Cookies read her post to understand the name more.  Lots of cookies baked to perfection and decorated to match!!


Best part of the deal is that because I liked the cookie sheet so much Heirloom has offered me a coupon code in which you would receive 10% off 2 or more sheets (limit 10) so you can have perfectly baked cookies as well!! Coupon Code is valid until 11/30/13 and is MDNOV13 just in time to get one to use for all that holiday baking or to purchase for the avid baker in your life!!!

To learn more about the Heirloom baking sheet please visit theme {{HERE}}

What kind of baking sheet do you use??? And would you ever consider trying something new???

Thanks for reading along!!





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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Butter Crunch Home Made (DIY) gift

With the holiday season just around the  the corner, I thought I would share some easy edible gifts.

This is a great indulgence type of gift perfect for the over indulgent nature of the season. Packed in a mason jar or a small candy box and decorated with a pretty festive ribbon. It's a nice little gift for teachers, friends, neighbors or anyone really as it is super delicious!!



This is a recipe my Mother shared with me and there is two things you should know about it....

1- It's delicious!
2-It's REALLY easy to make

This is what you will need....

1lb of butter
3 Cups of Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Cup of nuts chopped up...I used Cashew Nuts, but Brazil nuts and almonds also work.

Chocolate or chocolate candy melts
Candy thermometer
Jelly Roll Pan..or a baking sheet with sides ( ised a baking sheet that measured 12x16)
Pizza cutter
WOODEN SPOON

Ready?????

In a medium sized saucepan, melt your butter and add in your sugar and salt, mix it all up.
Keep mixing, and mixing at a medium- high heat right before it hits 300 degrees add in your nuts. AS it reached 300 degrees it will turn  lovely golden color.  Take it off the heat and pour it into your jelly roll pan or baking sheet. You do not need to grease or butter the pan before hand as the butter in the recipe is significant enough to where it will not stick to the pan .

Give it a minute or two and let it set a bit.

Run your pizza cutter through it to make little squares. You will know that it has set enough if the score marks don't disappear, if they do, give it another minute and try it again, repeat if necessary. Let cool completely. When it's completely cool, it will be very easy to break into little squares. You may want to dust it with some cornstarch to absorb the excess butter :)

Try not to eat too many pieces.

Melt your chocolate and chop up some more nuts to sprinkle on top. You could also use colored sprinkles to match the occasion or whatever you choose.


Dip it into the melted chocolate and set it on a cooling rack, I put some wax paper underneath to catch the drips. Sprinkle with nuts or whatever you like before the chocolate sets.

You can dip them anyway you like, they are thick enough that you could coat one side without getting your fingers all chocolaty when you dip them.

After they have all set..package them up and give them as yummy holiday gifts gifts! This recipe makes quite a bit, so you can make a few packages up using, tins, cello bags or boxes!!!




Hope you enjoy!!!


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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs







For the most part due to health issues I eat a grain free diet. It allows me to keep my blood sugar in check and helps me on my path to rediscovering my waistline. ( I know it;s there, it HAS to be!! ) I also know that is somewhat weird considering I write about the most sugar laden things possible.

But that is the irony of what I consider my life to be.

Anyhoo I went away on vacation in October and completely fell off my grain free wagon. Strangely enough I happened to land smack dab into a fluffy delicious, moist stack of pancakes and there I stayed for two weeks straight, well there and the beach too.

Gluttony at its finest.

Now that I am home I am moving back towards the grain free life (AHHHHHH I miss it) which for me means eggs...lots of eggs. They are packed with nutrition and have a great punch of protein to keep me from clawing my way out of sugar highs and lows.

And when I mention eggs, I mean hard boiled eggs.

Now there is one thing that I cannot stand about them, and that is keeping them intact while I peel them. Most times it's like chipping away at an iceberg and you are left with a weird picked at egg shape and a million and one thousand teeny, tiny egg shell pieces. I've tried all the suggestions I've seen around, alas none worked.


But while making them I found out something on accident. And now my hard boiled eggs peel easy and effortlessly every time.

Wanna know what I did????

I cracked them.


I found this out after I had dropped one and it cracked a bit. Out of the whole bunch it peeled super easy, so I put this new found information to the test.


They peeled easy after they were boiled.


AND after they had cooled in the fridge overnight!!


Just keep in mind when doing this, just make a small crack in the egg.  You don't want to break through the egg and have it oooze out when you are boiling them, you just want to almost disrupt the outer shell. Different eggs will yield different results, as some shells are more sturdy then others. . And how I do it is fill a pot with water, add eggs, bring to a boil for 7 mins. and remove from heat and run through cold water.

Easy, easy and no more hard to peel eggs!!


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