Cookie Crust – Attempt #1

CookieBase-3

The picture isn’t the best, but neither is the lightening in our dining room. Our track lighting was designed for mood and atmosphere, not food picture taking. My apologies.

I pressed 3oz of my Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie dough in each of the mini springform pans when making this butter tart torte and the accompanying yogurt cheese cake. I blind baked each crust for 8 minutes before cooling them down and then filling them up for the full bake.

I really liked this crust alternative. It turned out quite well and I’m happy with the results. The crust was crunchy enough to need my fork to pierce it, but not too crunchy to be hard to chew. It was the perfect kind of base for a yogurt cheese cake given the crust provided a lovely sweetness that complimented the unsweetened (for the most part) yogurt filling to this cake. This is going to be my new go-to crust for cheese cakes!

However, when it came to the butter tart, I found the crust’s sweetness compounded with the butter tart filling’s sweetness just made it overpowering. I’m not a fan of overly sweet desserts to start with, but after eating one piece, aloud I counted down to the onset of my first ever diabetic coma. And I don’t even have diabetes!!

Needless to say, I believe the husband’s family will love this butter tart tort with my cookie crust. It’s just the perfect amount of everything they love: butter to goo ratio, fruit to nuts ratio, and sweetness in the crust ratio. I think this will be hit with them because it isn’t with me. We tend to have differing tastes in desserts right across the board historically. 😉

Cookie Dough Pie Crust

pie-dough(Picture from Google Images)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a flaky pie crust kinda gal. I’m always choking and sputtering when I eat pie, and I also don’t enjoy the taste much. I know that leaves me in the minority, but there’s not much I can do about it besides conspicuously pick most of the pie shell away as I eat a slice when in public.

I’ve been considering how to make butter tarts without a crust for two days now. I still don’t have *the* answer. :-\ But, I have a few ideas for alternative butter tart presentations.

butter_tart_squaresOne idea is to bake them into squares with a blondie bottom. I came across butter tarts in squares like these great ones from MyFriendsBakery.ca, and while I like that idea a lot, I fear the traditionalists in my husband’s side of the family may reject my butter tarts if there not wrapped in pastry shell love.

I want to play around with making a cookie dough crust to see if that would work out or not. Wish me luck.

Summer Drinks – Iced Coffees

TPW_icedCoffee

[ Photo by Ree Drummond, ThePioneerWoman.com ]

There are few things I love more in the wickedly hot Summer months than iced coffee. Sometimes I crave it during the winter, but that’s when I know my hormones are out of whack and I dutifully warn my husband about the rough week that’s ahead of him with me. I’m a considerate wife like that. {ahem}

I have done all the iced coffee brews out there that start with hot coffee and found them all too painstaking and warm, and for awhile I was even using the powdered Starbucks VIA packets (which I recommend if you’re stuck at work – just add cold water and ice if you can get it, and you’ll be good to go!), but I have never made time to try the cold brew methods so many have sworn by.

I’m dumb. Really dumb. And possibly pathologically stubborn. (Don’t ask my family or husband to verify this statement. Please.)

So, here are a few recipes for cold brewing coffee I have been trying out recently that, if you love iced coffee like me, you will want to check out, too. Seriously. Do yourself this favour. Don’t ignore this idea any further. This will complete your life. I swear on my father’s grave!

1. The Pioneer Woman‘s dead easy recipe for brewing a month’s worth of cold coffee. I love her recipes; she never lets me down. And my husband’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree anytime I mention her infamous “crack noodles.” Anyway, I just realized something. She blogged this coffee gold in 2011, and I’m just now getting around to it. Clearly I need life coaching.

I like that her recipe is for the straight brew because that gives me a lot of options for add-in ingredients. I’m experimental when it comes to my coffee drinks, given enough time to think about what I have on hand and how I want it to taste. I don’t always have the time, though. I’m thinking this would be a great weekend brew. Especially if I want to do a great Thai iced coffee drink (with the sweetened condensed and regular milks) idea Ree mentions at the end of her post.

2. Food 52 had posted a great cold coffee recipe that is very similar to Ree’s but it adds all of the sugar and ground cinnamon upfront, so it can stew overnight with the coffee grinds.

This was the first one I tried, and I have to say, it’s perfect. Nothing like pouring the already sweetened strained brew into a glass over ice and being able to drink it immediately. No fussing around with other ingredients because you’ve already added them the night before. This one is a no-brainer on those hot, sticky mornings where you just want to fill ‘er up, and rush out the door to work!

Food52

[ Photo from Food52.com ]

So, there you have it. Your two essential cold coffee brew ideas. Enjoy, and feel free to hit me in the comments with your own suggestions or recipes to add to this post. 🙂

 

Summer Drinks – Orange Julius

 

Orange-Julius-Pour-jpg

Mel, from MelsKitchenCafe.com, has been kind enough to blog about her homemade knock-off version of the mall drink my husband loves so much, the Classic Orange Julius. I said the other day on Facebook I would be testing this drink recipe in the days ahead to see if it needed any changes or if it was solid as a rock the way it is. I’m looking to make this drink lots over the coming hot days of summer, so the recipe has to be perfect.

And it is!

But, me being me, I made the executive decision to kill two birds with one stone and do away with the use of milk and vanilla extract by using Vanilla flavoured Earth’s Own Almond Milk (the only brand I will ever drink from now on because it’s so damn good and doesn’t spoil as fast as the other brands do).

As suspected, the almond milk blended beautifully and the flavour didn’t suffer one iota. In fact, it probably improved upon Mel’s recipe a smidgen. I hope she won’t mind my tweak.

The only other tweak I want to try out is for Lisa. It’s an idea I have for eliminating the sugar as she asked about on Facebook. I want to see if I can make this using the vanilla almond milk as well as vanilla Greek yogurt.

My reasons for using Greek yogurt is to thicken the drink up a bit, to see if it will blend a bit more towards a smoothie or milkshake type of drink. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a milkshake, you know? And the extra hit of flavour from the second source of vanilla hopefully will make up for the omission of the powdered sugar. Well, in theory it will, right? We’ll shall see. {crosses fingers}

And naturally, I will report all of my findings back to all of you here on my blog. 🙂

Pico de Gallo Salsa Dip

PicoDeGallo

[ Click picture to embiggen ]

Pico de Gallo Salsa Dip
2C diced up tomatoes of choice (I used grape, but you can use Roma)
1 small red onion chopped fine
1C chopped up flat leaf parsley or cilantro (if you have it onhand)
1/2 – 1 tea minced garlic
1/4 tea cayenne pepper (this & hot sauce are substitute for finely diced jalapeno pepper)
1/4 tea hot sauce (I use the Chinese hot pepper mix I use in my Asian dishes)
Freshly squeezed juice from one lime (more if you like it stronger)
S&P to taste

Mix well together in a large bowl and refrigerate in a mason jar for at least 24 hours so all of the flavours marry. (Though, at this point it will be rather tasty so you could serve it immediately if time isn’t on your side.)

Auntie Stacey’s Carrot Cookies

Auntie Stacey’s Carrot Cookies
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1/4 C white sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 C flour (your choice – I use all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 C teaspoon rolled oats
3/4 C carrots, shredded
1/3 C dried fruit or chocolate chunks (your choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Cream your butter and then mix in the sugars; add the yolk and mix till all is moistened.
2. Stir the flour and salt together; spoon into the mixing bowl with the machine running on its lowest setting.
3. Carefully spoon the last three ingredients into the mixing bowl while the machine is running on its lowest setting till everything is blended nicely.
4. Drop and flatten spoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes per batch.

Dip part of cookies into melted chocolate when cooled if PMS’ing.

It’s fun working from home

LockedOut

 

After checking on our garden beds, I became magically locked out of the house when magically the screen door and two big paned window doors magically shut and locked themselves.

I can see you between the blinds, honey!

See-Through Fabrics du’Jour


Winners

[ Click picture to embiggen ]

While out shopping yesterday after a doctor’s appointment, I noted rather alarmingly that every blouse, top, shirt and dress the store Winners stocks for sale (and all of them apparently with designer labels on them) were all made with most paper thin, flimsy knit material I have ever seen. I held up one top and I could see a woman clear as day through it from three racks over.

Who would wear this stuff? Outside. Or to an office. I know I wouldn’t.

And then if that weren’t shocking enough, the prices being marked for these transparent garments were just as alarming. Winners touts itself as a shop that sells designer duds at discount prices, but the woman beside me picked up a blazer I could have made at home for less than $40 and the price tag as marked down to $699.99. Why? Because it had a Gucci label sewn into it.

(!!!)

I want to state here at this point that Winners is by far not the only store to sell this crap to the public. Their buyers simply buy what’s offered to them by the manufacturers. And hundreds of those manufacturers have their garments manufactured in big buildings that tend to collapse in far off lands where the workers are paid, typically, $0.20 per day by each manufacturer. Yes, you read correctly. That was the going rates quoted during the latest building collapse in Bangladesh.

I have also seen the same material used in garments sold at places like Old Navy, Target, Joe Fresh, etc. Winners by no means is meant to be singled out for any other reason than to set up my story of how I walked around the whole store and the only things I could find that weren’t made with this offensive material were jeans and lycra bathing suits.

Oh, people. We are in deep doo-doo if this is what manufacturers and retailers feel the market can, and will, bear for work tops that are made with the same material as bathing suit coverup tops are. This isn’t right! Women can’t dress for jobs in the workplace with these trashy garments. It’s not right to force women to wear three flimsy $50 tops just to cover her bra in the office. It’s not, so let’s get tougher with clothes manufacturers and demand better with our wallets. Let’s demand they go back to making decent, wearable daytime clothes that woman can not only feel better about buying, but feel confident about wearing outdoors.

Unless you work in a nightclub and depend on tips, or you live in a dumpster, this just isn’t right. Who do clothes designers think is buying their clothes – hoochie mamas? Are you a hoochie mama? I’m not! Therefore I won’t be buying many clothes from many stores any time soon.

I will be spending more money on a few bolts of fabric to make my own tops at home. Sure they will cost more with the materials and labour, but at least I will be able to control the fabrics used and the final outcome of how I present myself to the world. I’m not garbage, so why would I dress like I am?

 

Loose Leaf Lettuce – Harvest #1

LooseLeafLettuce-Side LooseLeafLettuce-Top

[ Click pictures to embiggen ]

From one small garden container, and just the mature leaves. I left the baby leaves to grow another few weeks. I still have three other containers to harvest from.

This is like Christmas!!!

(Albeit not the kind of Christmas you’re all used to, I’m sure. *ahem*)

I say that’s enough for one salad, but the husband argues that’s enough to feed a small country. Pfft. Don’t listen to him. He’s silly.

‘For Two’ Recipe Blog

ButteredPecanSconesforsite

[ Click picture to embiggen ]

I keep meaning to tell Ellen and Wendy about a blog that serves up recipes for two single servings. The blog is called Dessert For Two, and it’s run by the lovely and friendly Christina. She goes by @DessertForTwo on Twitter so if you ever have a question, that’s probably the best place to grab her attention.

I love this blog. Often I will want to cook or bake something out of the blue but I don’t want a million bits of leftover kicking around going stale after we’ve satiated our hankerings. This site fits the bill because Christina has probably already taken the time to figure out the reduced ingredient increments for whatever we want to make into a micro batch.

For example, today I was thinking I would make some scones for breakfast tomorrow, and not just any scones, but bacon infused scones. I went to her site, searched “scone” and a few recipes came up. I really like this one for Buttered Pecan Scones. Yummy. (See her picture above for what they look like.) All I have to do is follow one and sub out the flavour ingredients for the bacon, and I’ll be off to the races.

I will post my results tomorrow if they turn out as well as I think they will. Stay tuned.