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Posts tagged ‘Recipe’

Making Cake Fondant: Easier than you Think!

My son is in Cub Scouts and needed to make a theme cake to bring to the Blue and Gold Banquet for his pack. This is a father and son project to come up with an idea and decorate their cake for this competition. They went over many options to go with the theme of “resourcefulness” like a pocket knife, camp fire, recycling, and a compass. My son chose a compass. Instead of trying to frost and then decorate a cake with frosting tips they decided to try fondant instead. We have a close friend that decorates cakes that advised us to go online and find a recipe for marshmallow fondant because it was really easy.

Although I can follow recipes I always worry about trying something that in my mind is hard, even if someone tells me it is easy. In the spirit of adventure I decided to jump in feet first and make this fondant. It is simply melted marshmallows, a bit of water and a ton of powdered sugar. Using my KitchenAide Mixer with the dough hook made it even more simple! I just added the melted marshmallow and water and began slowly adding the powdered sugar until it reached the consistency I wanted. I then pulled it out and continued kneading it with some additional powdered sugar until it was no longer sticky. Since we decided to do more than one color I did not add the coloring with the initial mixing. I had to separate out the dough into the amounts I needed and then put it back into the mixer one at a time adding the color. I did some additional kneading to make sure all the color was consistent with no streaks. I then wrapped each color in plastic wrap and placed them in the refrigerator as the recipe had stated (I found out later from our friend that refrigeration isn’t necessary if it is wrapped properly and will be used within a few days).

We had already made a cake which we had frozen. This makes it easier when trying to press the fondant on and around the cake. Before starting with the fondant they spread a thin layer of cake frosting on the cake to help the fondant adhere properly. For the fondant they placed it in between two pieces of plastic wrap and used a rolling-pin to roll it out thin. They cut out the pieces they needed for each part and placed them on the cake. Where corners met they were able to mold and pinch them together to make it more seamless. They also made templates for the letters and markings on the top, cut them out and placed them on the top of the cake. It was done in no time!

They had so much fun making this cake and seeing how quickly everything came together we want to do more. I think over spring break and the summer I will make some cupcakes, fondant of different colors, and get small cookie cutters and stencil templates to let my children decorate some cupcakes! We may even become adventurous and do a layered cake together.  LET THEM EAT CAKE!

To see the website for recipe and instructions on this easy marshmallow fondant click HERE.

Have you ever used fondant for your cake decorating?

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Fresh Bread Every Day: Easiest Recipe!

Photo Credit:artisanbreadinfive.com

I am a pro at making bricks instead of bread! My family loves homemade bread but even using a bread machine it was not always coming out the best or consistent. I also could not find a recipe that was simple enough to want to do every day. We have been trying to build a food supply and find things that we can , stock up on, store and easily make meals with. This was my dilemma because bread is one food that we felt was important to have as part of our food storage and learn to make it ourselves for times when it was necessary and not just for fun.

We had a friend at church show us an simple to make bread recipe and I couldn’t believe just how easy it is. This Artisan Bread recipe only requires 4 ingredients so anyone wanting to stock up on supplies this would be perfect to add to your food storage. You make it in a large batch and can refrigerate the remainder of the bread to use later in the week. Of course you can always do a 1/2 batch if you prefer. What is fun is you can also experiment with this bread and incorporate just about any flavor combination by adding mix in’s. I have tried Garlic Parmesan, Jalapeno Cheese, Italian Herb, Garlic & Green Onion, and 3 Cheese before but there are so many others you can try if you are creative. It can be fun to let your children help knead in the mix in’s. Although I have never tried it this recipe can be used for pizza dough, rolls and more.

Making the actual mix is also very easy so even first time bread makers can do it. The original prep is just adding and mixing. Then it will sit for about 2 hours to rise. You can then bake some of the bread at that time if you want or put the dough in the refrigerator. This does not require a bread pan but actually bakes on a flat baking sheet. If you have a stone pizza pan those work great too!  For future use during that week you simply pinch off the amount of dough you want and let it sit on the baking sheet for about 1/2 hr until it reaches room temp and it is ready to bake. You don’t even have to take the time to shape it pretty because you can literally just plop it down on the pan and bake it. Let’s be honest too, it can be pretty but it is getting cut and eaten in no time so does it really matter for most occasions? This smells amazing and I promise you will want to make more than one loaf each time.

I am posting a website here for this Artisan Bread that has the recipe, instructions and great step by step photo’s. You do not have to use the brands they list and certainly any large container with a lid will work too so just keep it simple with what you may already have!

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Valentines Day Red Velvet Cake!!!!

Photo Credit: grouprecipes.com

My husband’s family grew up loving Red Velvet Cake which quickly became a favorite of theirs for birthdays or special occasions. I had never tried one until I had married my husband. The recipe is said to be the actual Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake served at their hotel and after trying it you could certainly see why. Although if you search it online as Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake you will find a few variations of the recipe.

I have tried to make cakes from scratch before and they have never turned out as tasty or easy as this one. I have to admit that if I am short on time I have cheated and made a store-bought red velvet cake however I will not cheat on the icing. This icing is to die for! It is not like a traditional cream cheese frosting you will find on many Red Velvet Cakes. This one is almost like whipped cream but is very rich. It also is fairly simple to make as long as you follow the instructions and make sure the flour mixture is completely cooled before preparing the remainder of the icing.

This still is the cake my husband loves for his birthday and of course being red it is perfect for Valentines too. I am never so fancy as to do multiple layers as shown but I have cut the cake in half and put a layer of icing in the center. Although I have never done it before these would make really fun cupcakes for Valentines parties too. If you have never had red velvet cake, or never had this recipe you HAVE to try it! Click HERE for the recipe:

What is your favorite cake or frosting?

Best Crock-Pot Curry Chicken!

My husband had asked me to make some curry chicken after having some at a restaurant at the airport.  He found me an amazing recipe that I have changed the steps slightly to allow for an easy to make crock-pot meal instead of spending so much time in the kitchen cooking on the stove-top.  This is quickly becoming one of my top 10 dishes because the chicken just melts in your mouth and the sauce is packed with so much flavor!  There is a warning though.  If you cook this in the crock-pot while being at home all day it will be torture because it smells amazing and whatever you do don’t sneak a taste of it because I guarantee you won’t want to stop!

What is great is it includes my new best friend “Greek Yogurt” as one of the ingredients.  This is a spicy dish but can be modified by reducing the amount of red pepper flakes and chili powder as desired. It does require numerous spices but I found I had most of them already at home.  The one that I did not have was cardamom which I found to be expensive at Wal-Mart (around $11 for regular size bottle) but I since have seen it cheaper at other stores like Hubble and Hudson and will be looking at World Market and other specialty stores.  I am sure these spices can also be found cheaper online for a larger quantity and for the amounts of spice used in this and other similar recipes it may be better to eventually buy them in the larger bulk size.

See below for this amazing recipe.  Make it this week and let me know what you think!

Please share your experience with cooking Indian inspired foods and post your recipes!

Ingredients:

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 large yellow onion diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

10 pearl onions, peeled and cut in half

1 tbsp lemon juice

4-5 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt

1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes

1 tsp dried red pepper flakes

1 tsp dried mint leaves

1 1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp pepper (or freshly ground peppercorns)

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp coriander powder

2 bay leaves

prepared Jasmine Rice or Basmati Rice

Prepare a container with all the dried spices together except the bay leaves. (red pepper flakes, mint leaves, ginger, cloves, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, chili powder, turmeric, coriander). Saute pearl onions to a skillet with olive oil until slightly brown. Add the diced yellow onion and minced garlic (I use a food processor to chop the yellow onion and garlic up really fine). Saute vegetables for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add the spice mixture and stir. Add the can of tomatoes (if you don’t like chunks of tomato you can also briefly put this in food processor). Stir in the Greek Yogurt and mix well. Prepare the crock-pot and lay chicken thighs on the bottom. Pour the  tomato spice mixture over the top of the chicken and add two bay leaves. Set the crock-pot on the low setting and let it cook for 6 or more hours. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve with jasmine or basmati rice.