Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt's Angel Food Cake with Pink Clouds



At school Ian had been reading Eleanor and Amelia go for a ride. Apparently at the end of the book there is a recipe for Eleanor Roosevelt's Angel Food Cake with Pink Clouds, and Ian of course asked me to make it.
Everyone in our family loves angel food cake, but I have never made one from scratch. 
We loved the flavor of this cake, and my family didn't say anything about the texture.  I thought the cake could have had more height and been lighter.  This was probably more me, than the recipe though.  The "pink clouds" are very pretty and add a special touch.


Eleanor Roosevelt’s Pink Clouds on Angel Food Cake



1 cup cake flour  (Sift before measuring).
1-1/4 cups egg whites (10 or 12 eggs)
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1/4 teaspoon salt

Angle Food Cake
Sift flour at least 2 times and set aside.
Beat egg whites with beater until foamy.
Add cream of tartar and 1 cup of sugar gradually to the egg whites. Continue beating until egg whites stand up in peaks.
Add almond flavoring. Sift remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with salt and add flour and very gradually fold into egg whites
Bake in tube pan in 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Whipped Cream and Strawberries (Pink Clouds)

1 pint strawberries cut in half
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar




Spoon on top of Angel Food cake.

Fold berries into whipped cream. 





Source: Lightly adapted Taste of Home

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


I probably don't have to tell you that we're the kind of family that loves to cook.  Would you believe though that some days, we just don't want to step into the kitchen.
Well, let me introduce you to one of our best friends, the rotisserie chicken.
Now, the easiest way to serve one is right off the bone and sometimes we do.
I was feeling like a sandwich though and came up with this combo.
This is a really nice way to have a delicious dinner that your family will enjoy without having to spend a lot of time in your kitchen.
I actually had about one cup of the bbq chicken leftover and used it the next day for bbq chicken pizza.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
This recipe couldn't be simpler.  Add more or less of the chicken and bbq sauce to your liking. If you want to get a little fancy, coleslaw on the sandwich would be really good!

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
*Your favorite bbq sauce (purchased or homemade)
Toasted buns

Place the shredded chicken in a 2 quart sauce pan add as much sauce as you like (we like it really "saucy".  Stir well until heated through.  Place on toasted buns and serve immediately.

Balsamic BBQ sauce
This is one of our favorite sauces.  The kids made it one year for Brian for Father's day.

1 Cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbs. worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small nonreactive saucepan.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Simmer over medium heat until reduced by one third,  15-20 minutes.


Source:BBQ sauce, Giada DeLaurentiis


Weekend Plans:

Friends over for dinner
Garden
Baseball game
Paint the Queen's room
Have a lovely long weekend!
xoxo
Rachel


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Gatherings



Even though summer doesn't start officially for a few weeks.  It takes off in our minds this weekend.  I know many of you are looking forward to the lazy days ahead.  Summer is the perfect time to gather family and friends together.  This can be somewhat stressful, and we do NOT want stress in the summer!  I thought I would give you a few tips to make your get-togethers not only fun for your guests, but you as well.

1. Call and invite your guests 3-4 weeks in advance if at all possible and set a date.  If your guest asks if they can bring something, say thank you and YES.  This helps you out and lets them contribute to the occasion.
Good ideas would be: beverages, chips and salsa, fresh fruit, salad, or dessert  Let them know you will call and confirm the time and what they can bring a week before.

2. Plan your menu. I try to make our summer menus pretty relaxed and carefree nothing too fancy, but make sure you have plenty of food and beverages.  Bring out the grill!  The possibilities are endless with this tool.  Everything from appetizers to dessert.  Make sure you have enough gas/charcoal.  Enlist the help from the men in your life, they love fire.  Also take advantage of your grocery store.  You can purchase all sorts of dips, olives, cheeses, etc...these little things make life easier for you.  Here is a sample of a recent summer menu that we served:

Water,  Izzy sodas, Sparkling Wine (guest)
Olives, Hummus and pita bread (purchased)
Assorted gourmet sausages
Kettle Potato chips
Mangoes
Salted Caramel brownies (homemade)


See how easy that is!  I made the brownies in advance and Brian grilled up the sausages.  Everything else was purchased, but it was still a really nice meal.

3. Clean your home.  I know ugh!  This is again, where you enlist help and do as much as you can in advance.  Try to do a "deep clean" a week ahead of time.  This would include: mopping, the bathroom, vacuum, dusting, and general pick up.  Katie and Ian are in charge of picking up their rooms.  The only thing I don't ask them to do is clean the bathroom and mop.  The day of your gathering pick up your home, vacuum, and wipe down the mirror and sink in the bathroom that your guests will use.

4.  Enjoy the outdoors.  If you have a patio, large yard,deck or porch have your meal outside.  It makes your gathering more festive and relaxed.  Plus it's summer you want to be outside.

5. The table. I like to use linens, I think it makes a nice statement without being fussy.  Over the years I have collected different tablecloths and napkins.  I mix and match according to the occasion.  I also like to use white dinner plates that can go in the dishwasher and flatware.  Again I think it makes the table look special, but if paper and plastic are your thing go for it.  I'm very low maintenance about the centerpiece.  I might use a potted plant, daisies in mason jars or just candles.  If you grow flowers use those.
 
6. Does your guest list include kids?  What will they be doing so they don't get bored? My two love water.  Water guns, balloons, pool, or just the hose will do.  Outdoor games, balls,bats,etc.  Bubbles are fun for little ones or even sidewalk chalk.  Make sure to tell your guests to dress appropriately.  If it rains...movie, games, wii, drawing/coloring.

7. Music.  itunes, pandora, or even cd's.  Make sure it is fun and festive and have your playlist ready to last the entire evening.

8.  Do as much meal prep as possible the night before.  This way your kitchen stays tidy and you have less to do the day of.

9.  Checklist.  Have one with all of the the tasks you need to do.  This way you don't forget anything.

10.  Most important have fun!  Because you have done so much ahead you don't need to be frantic.  Take a nice long shower.  Dress comfortably in something nice and cool.  I like to have everything done 30 minutes before guests arrive, this way I am nice and calm and ready to enjoy the evening.

I hope these tips help you enjoy your summer gatherings!  If you have any questions or can think of anything that I forgot please let me know in the comments.

xoxo
Rachel


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Queen's Room gets a redo



We've lived in our home for almost 10 years now.  The "Queen's" room was one of the first we painted and it is ready for an update.  It's taken on sort of a "granny" look that I'm not crazy about.  This room gets used quite a bit, but I can't help feeling we are not maximizing the space.
This weekend everything is coming out.  Yes everything!! After we are done painting, some but not all of the furniture will go back in.
As far as decor this is my inspiration.

I'm thinking creamy/ivory walls with sort of a French country look.
I'll keep you posted.
How about you friends, what sorts of projects do you have lined up for this season?  I would love to hear about it!
Have a great day!
xoxo
Rachel

Friday, May 20, 2011

Honey Ginger Iced Tea


It has been a really lovely week here.  Sunny, blue skies, cool breezes, and low 70's.
The weather put me in the mood for a refreshing drink.  During the cooler months, especially when we are feeling blue Brian makes us hot ginger tea.
I thought I would surprise him and make an iced version.  Brian LOVES iced drinks!
This is a cool, refreshing drink with a little kick.  Plus ginger is really good for you.  Change up your drink menu this summer, if you like ginger you will love this fun drink.

Honey Ginger Iced Tea

1/2-3/4 cup peeled and thinly sliced ginger
8 cups water
1/2 cup honey (warmed up)
mint for garnish (optional)
ice

Bring the water to boil in a saucepan over high heat.  Add the ginger and simmer for 15 minutes.  Cover the pan with a lid and let it steep for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove the lid and lightly crush the ginger.  Strain the mixture into a heat-proof pitcher add the honey and stir to combine.  Place in the fridge until cool.  To serve get a tall glass and fill it with ice pour over the iced tea and garnish with mint if desired.  Enjoy!

Weekend plans:

Spring fling at Ian's school (he's hoping to win some pop.)
Lunch with a friend.
Katie goes to her second middle school dance (I know the horror!)
Go to a 40th birthday party (Happy Birthday Spunk!)
Maybe pick out some plants for the garden.

What are you up to this weekend friends?  I would love to hear all about it.
Take care.
xoxo
Rach

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream


For those of you that have been around for awhile you know that I love ice cream, and need no encouragement to eat it.  For some reason though, I forgot about my ice cream maker. 

I'm going to try to make more ice cream at home this summer.  I had the perfect opportunity the other day, because I had leftover salted caramel and some egg yolks left over from making an angel food cake.

I can't pick a favorite flavor it just wouldn't be fair to the others, but this is at the top of the list for sure!  Salty caramel + cream = heaven.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
I use skim milk in my ice cream which is kind of taboo, but it suits us just fine.  If you want a more creamy, rich ice cream use  whole milk. After the mixture was chilled I notice a skin formed on top.  I just stirred it in and once churned there were no problems.

1 cup cream
2 cups skim milk divided
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla or half of a vanilla bean cut in half and seeds removed

Get out a bowl that will hold all of the mixture once it is cooked. In that bowl place 1 cup of the milk,and place a mesh strainer on top of the bowl. 
Heat the cream in the microwave until very warm and set aside.  Meanwhile place the salted caramel in a 2 quart sauce pan and slowly heat up until warm, slowly add the cream and whisk in.

In a separate bowl whisk the yolks. Slowly add a small amount of the caramel/cream mixture and whisk constantly until combined.  Then put the yolk mixture back into the saucepan.  Cook the custard using a heatproof utensil stirring constantly and scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens.  I also use a thermometer, when it reaches 160-170 it is done.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the milk.  Add your vanilla and stir.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled about eight hours.

Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Enjoy!

Source:Adapted from David Lebovitz



xoxo
Rachel

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bits of Encouragement ~ Wisdom




"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

xoxo
Rachel

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Simple "Cheater" Churros


Ian came home a few weeks ago with a small post-it note that said "churros" on it. He stuck out his hand and gave it to me and promptly asked if I had heard of churros before.  I told him I had heard of them but never tried one.  He described in great detail about one of the little girls in his class who had brought them and how delicious they were.  Then he asked me so sweetly if I could make them for him.  Well, how is a Mom supposed to resist that.  So, I was on a mission to find I recipe that I wanted to try. 
Traditionally churros are made from a sweet dough and fried, then coated with cinnamon sugar.  Many versions also pipe the dough through a pastry bag, so the final outcome looks like a cigar shape.  Well I wanted to find a baked version.  I looked and looked and finally I found one I thought would be good, but I was not looking forward to pulling out the pastry bag. 
But then, Sue from Munchkin Munchies posted a recipe for cheater churros.  I decided this would be the way to go.
Oh, and it sure was the way to go.  Not only was Ian delighted and excited but the rest of the fam as well.  But then, who doesn't love puff pastry coated with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar??  Plus this recipe was so, so easy!  The hardest part...remembering to take the dough out of the freezer to thaw in your fridge the night before.

Oven Baked Churros

1 sheet of puff pastry thawed ( I used pepperidge farm)
1/8 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp.cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Unfold the puff pastry and cut it half half length-wise. Cut each half into 1-inch strips.  I placed my strips on a stoneware pan.  If you don't have one, lightly grease a sheet pan and line with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or more until lightly golden brown.

While the churros are baking mix together the cinnamon and sugar.  Remove the churros from the oven and using a pastry brush coat them with butter on one side then immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Let them sit and cool for about 5 minutes.  Serve warm.
Enjoy!
xoxo
Rach
This recipe shared with The Country Cook, A Peek Into My Paradise

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tiramisu Cake

We had an Italian theme for book club.  Here's what the menu looked like:

Assorted meats,cheeses,olives,mushrooms, and artichoke hearts.
Wine

This meal was spectacular!  I was in charge of dessert, so I decided on a Tiramisu Cake.  
I knew which cake recipe I wanted to use as the base and thought I would use an coffee/liquor mixture to soak the cake.  I thought I was going to use a custard from Marcella Hazan as the filling and then frost with sweetened whip cream and chopped chocolate.  Well, I decided to go a different route, and this is what I ended up with.  I was pretty pleased with the results, and the girls really enjoyed it.  If you enjoy tiramisu, you will love this cake.
P.S.
We did read a book... Water For Elephants.

Tiramisu Cake




Cake:

1-½ cups flour
3 tbls corn starch
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 tbls unsalted butter, softened
1-½ cups sugar
3 whole large eggs
½ cup sour cream,room temp
2 tsp vanilla
For the coffee extract:

2 tbls instant coffee powder
2 tbls boiling water
For the coffee syrup:

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua



For the filling and frosting:

1 8-ounce container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbls Kahlua
1 cup cold heavy cream
3.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
For the cake:
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 8 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.
Pour into greased and floured 9-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the cake from the pan when you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
To make the extract:
Mix together the boiling water and coffee powder in a small bowl until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Take off the heat and stir in 1 tbls of the coffee extract and the Kahlua; set aside.
To make the filling and frosting:
Put the mascarpone in a mixer bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes, add the sugar, vanilla, and liquor and whisk just until blended and smooth.
Whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.
To assemble the cake:
With a serrated knife cut the cake in half. 
Place half cut side up on a platter. Using a small spoon drizzle about 1/3 of the espresso syrup onto half of the cake.  Spread some of the mascarpone filling onto that layer (about 1 1/2 cups).  Sprinkle about half of the chopped chocolate over the filling and press it into the mixture.  Now take the other layer, and on the cut side drizzle about half of the remaining syrup or more depending on how soaked you want the cake to be.  Then turn it over and position it over the filling.
Frost the cake:
Add about 1 to 1/2 tbs.(depending on how much coffee flavor you like) of the espresso extract to the remaining filling mixture and whisk so that it is completely incorporated.
Take the frosting and put it to the top of the cake, spread it out to the edges and onto the sides.  Refrigerate for at least three hours.  Decorate with remaining chopped chocolate and chocolate espresso beans.
Enjoy!


Have a great week!
xoxo
Rachel

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beauty



Healthy hair
Pretty Skin
Gorgeous smile

xoxo
Rachel


Friday, May 13, 2011

Chocolate, Caramel Pretzel Sundaes


Sorry that the blogging has been somewhat sparse these past few weeks.  Spring is a very busy time for me at work.  The kids are both in track/running club so that has also taken up some of our time.  Our load will lighten up in the next few weeks.
How do you like to "follow" blogs?  My favorite way is to be a "follower".  But, I know that isn't for everyone, so we have a subscribe link now.  Just type your e-mail in and you will receive the latest posts via e-mail.  Otherwise Young Adventures has a facebook page.  We would love it if you liked us!
Now for the good stuff.  My Mister loves pretzels covered with chocolate and caramel.  I had some leftover salted caramel from the salted caramel brownies that I made last week, and I wanted to use it up.  I also had chocolate ice cream and pretzels.  So I came up with this sundae.  Brian is quite particular about his desserts, but when I heard unusual sounds coming from his direction, I knew he liked it.  If you are the type of person that likes sweet/salty combinations then this is right up your alley.  These were so easy to make, and will be the perfect summer treat!

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Sundaes
I'm giving you general guidelines here and not exact measurements.  Feel free to experiment.

Your favorite chocolate ice cream
Caramel sauce
Crushed pretzels ( I used the short small rods)

In a sundae glass place a scoop of ice cream.  Drizzle on some caramel sauce and sprinkle with crushed pretzels.  Continue these layers until your glass is full.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Weekend Plans:
 We are going to "fondue" with the kids and watch Nanny McPhee 2.
Dinner at Bar La Grassa.  This is our second time there.  Recently the chef received the James Beard award for Best Chef in our region.
Katie Missions trip training.
A somewhat quite weekend.
How about all of you?  What are you up to this weekend?  
Have a great one!
xoxo
Rachel





Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day recap


The children and Brian planned a nice day for me on Sunday.
~ Church
~ A trip to Target to pick up our new camera
~ A wonderful indoor picnic lunch
~ Quiet time (so Mom could "play" with the new camera)
~ We watched Tangled (so cute)
~ Angel food cake, strawberries, and whip cream
Sure, the children were a little crabby in the morning.  Church went a little bit long which meant lunch was a little late.  That's o.k. though.
Thank you to my sweet children and darling husband for a wonderful Mother's day!  I know that we won't always get to spend Mother's day together, but I will always treasure these special memories that you helped create.
I love you three!

Love~
me

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's day friends!  Have a great week.

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