Summer Drinks – Orange Julius

 

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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

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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!

‘For Two’ Recipe Blog

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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.

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

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Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

 

4 cups rolled oats (the 5-minute kind)
1+1/2 cups cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers (about 15)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

OPTIONS:
7oz marshmallow creme (Fluff) topped with 45-50 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped (S’Mores)
1 to 1+1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 to 1+1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. In a medium bowl whisk the oats, flour, graham crackers, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds the beat in both sugars, scraping down the side of the bowl.
3. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla just until combined.
4. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer, if it gets too thick for your mixer stir by hand until just combined.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or roll the dough out into logs in wax paper, and chill at least 1 hour but no longer than 4 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.
7. Scoop up slightly rounded tablespoonfuls of dough and lightly roll into a ball, or cut up your logs into dough slices. Place each about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets and bake 8 minutes.
8. Remove from oven to cool off on wire racks. Note: If making the S’mores version use the back of a measuring spoon to make a small indent in the center of each cookie before dropping teaspoonfuls (use another spoon to scrape it off the measuring spoon) of marshmallow fluff into each one and then push a kiss down into the center of that.
9. Store in one layer in a tightly covered container up to one week – although truth be told, they’ve never last that long around here.

I make these cookies almost weekly now. I routinely split the dough up into six measured out 10-oz blobs which I then roll into 2″ thick logs in sheets of waxed paper to create small bake batches. I twist the ends of the wax paper like a bon bon candy would be to seal the logs up, and chill them in the fridge for close to 2 hours before baking. Oh, and with my bench scraper (or the blade of my big chef’s knife) I flatten each end of the logs so all of the cookies are even and uniform when I cut them.

The husband loves when I add dried cranberries (Craisins) into these cookies, but I’ve also added other stuff like chocolate chips, nuts, Fluff & Hershey Kisses, etc. Be as creative as you like. There are some suggestions above at the bottom of the recipe listing. You can even wait till after you measure each blob out to add your extra ingredients to make six different cookie logs in one go as long as you’re organized enough to do so.

Conversely, these cookies are delicious enough to stand on their own without any extras added. Just the bare bones cookie dough, all on its own. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

Normally I split the batch of dough rolls to give three away to my in-laws, and reserve the other three to bake up small batches of a dozen bite size cookies for us to enjoy. I tend to bake one roll every other day to replenish our cookie stash. These cookies hold their soft, chewy texture really well, too. The proof of that is I left one cookie out all night by accident (OOPS) and the next morning it tasted just as fresh as it had the day before we made them.

This dough can also be frozen if you’re planning to use them at Christmas. I would recommend making these no longer than 3 months in advance if you so inclined to have your freezer that stocked up. I find making doughs and baking so many different cookies at Christmas stressful, so I like to start stockpiling around the last week of November and make one new cookie batch to freeze every week as time permits. In the end, all I have to do is cut, bake, cool and decorate as I wrap gifts. Saves me loads of time on doing dishes and fridge space as the doughs require chilling.

And finally, the logs should each yield at least 6 healthy cookies, or if you are modest or want to stretch the dough as far as you can make it go, you can probably make close to 16 thin cookies (but not paper thin — no one likes that!). I approach cutting up the long as I do cutting up sushi rolls. (Cut the log in half; line up those halves side by side and cut in half, and cut outward from there until all log sections are uniformly sliced up.)

Enjoy!