Feb 25, 2009

Favorite Pantry

A random Favorite Things Friday post...I realized a couple of months ago, that I have never lived in a house long enough to need to re-organize anything. About the time that we got to the point of needing a little fresh organization in our home, we would move, which allows for re-organization in and of itself.
Since we have lived in this house almost three years now, it is time to make a few adjustments. I started with the pantry...
Since we have wire shelving in our pantry, I started out by having The Man cut very thin pieces of plywood to fit the shelves. I covered them in contact paper, and now small bottles don't fall over, and the weight is a little more evenly distributed.
I also added baskets to contain things like bags of chips, granola bars, and small baking items.
I also put things like extra flour, sugar, and oats in plastic containers. I want to switch to all glass, but that will take time (and $).
I added a shelf of quart sized glass jars to contain snack items such as raisins, popcorn, nuts and trail mix, and The Man cut a couple of two by fours to give some heighth for the back row. Looks great, huh?
Finally, although my spices are in a different place in my kitchen, I count those as part of pantry organization. I added a couple of tiered lazy susans- one with sweet spices, and one with savory- to be able to see (almost) all spices at a glance. I used to keep them in a bin that I had to pull out every time I needed something.

In total, this project only cost about $20 (for the lazy susans, quart sized mason jars-which I actually already had, plywood and contact paper).

J's class

On Valentine's Day, we had strawberry cupcakes in J-Man's class. He really enjoyed the super sweet icing!
D received this uber cute V-Day necklace made from saran wrap and candy. He had a really difficult time not touching it for me to snap a photo.

Mason... chillin' with his Capri sun

J got off of the bus Monday afternoon, and said, "Guess what, Mama? I have something VERY funny to tell you.
Tomorrow is FAT TUESDAY!"
Ha ha ha ha ha ha.....
We celebrated Mardi Gras in his classroom with Masks and King Cake.

Ashley got the baby. I can only imagine what her mom thought when she went home and told her mother, "Mom, there was a baby in my cake."

Feb 22, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

I have never understood why hummingbird cake is named after a small bird. When I was a kid I wouldn't eat it at chuch potlucks because that sounded gross. For some reason a few weeks ago, I decided I wanted a hummingbird cake though, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. I asked everyone I knew if they had a good recipe, and no one did. Apparantly hummingbird cake is not that popular these days. I need a Great Aunt Edna who made it from scratch and who is willing to pass down the recipe to preserve it for future generations. No luck. I have no Great Aunt Edna.

I did find out some interesting theories on my quest for a recipe as to why it was dubbed hummingbird cake in the first place. One is that the cake is so good that it is eaten quickly like the rapid flapping of the small hummingbird's wings. Another is that it is so sweet like the nectar that the hummingbird drinks. Who knows or cares? The cake is just good.

Here is the recipe that I adapted, and it is delicious if I am allowed to say so. It is also very nutritious, but don't let that deter you from the moist yummy goodness that is this cake!

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

1 cup honey granules (sub white sugar if desired)

1/2 cup sucanot (sub brown sugar if desired)

1/2 cup coconut oil (or whatever oil you prefer)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 very ripe large bananas, mashed

1 cup crushed pineapple, with juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 large eggs, beaten

Preaheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour two 9 inch cake pans or three 8 inch cake pans.

Stir dry ingredients together and then add all other ingredients, stirring to combine. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with fingertips (about 20-25 min). Cool 10 minutes, invert to wire rack and cool completely before icing.

Buttercream Frosting

1 stick softened butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pound powdered evaporated cane juice (sub powdered sugar if desired)

Whip cream with a mixer or whisk. Move to another bowl. Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla and add powdered sugar continuing to mix with a paddle attachment until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.

After icing, cover top of cake with chopped pecans.

Feb 11, 2009

Getting Ready for V-Day!

Feb 6, 2009

Smoky Tomato Salmon Chowder

You guys are not going to believe this...

Wait for it...

Seriously, you should sit down...

It's Favorite Things Friday!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, if you are having trouble breathing, dial 911, and then keep reading because this is a good one.

It was a soup night, and fish was on the menu, so I made this Better Homes and Gardens recipe! Delish!

The only thing I changed was that once the soup was heated, I added 1/2 cup of heavy cream to make it more bisque- like.

Smoky Tomato Salmon Chowder
Start to Finish: 45 minutes

3 6-oz. fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets
1 to 2 tsp. chili powder
2 medium red sweet peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 medium sweet onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 jalapeño pepper,* halved lengthwise and seeded
2 14-oz. cans chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 large tomato, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
Chili powder
1. Thaw salmon, if frozen. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate while roasting vegetables.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place sweet peppers, onion, and jalapeño pepper, cut sides down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 15 to 20 minutes. Loosely wrap vegetables in foil; let stand 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place salmon in a shallow greased baking pan; fold under thin edges. Bake 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork; keep warm.
4. With sharp knife loosen and peel off skins from peppers; discard skins. Coarsely chop peppers and onion; transfer to large saucepan. Add broth and undrained tomatoes. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in chopped tomato and parsley.
5. To serve, ladle chowder into shallow bowls. Break salmon in pieces and divide among bowls. Top with avocado slices and sprinkle with chili powder. Makes 6 main-dish servings.
6. *Hot chile peppers, such as jalapeños, contain oils that may burn the skin and eyes. Wear plastic gloves when working with hot peppers or thoroughly wash bare hands with soap and water after handling them.

There are still plenty of soup days left this year, so definitely add this to your menu!!!!!

In joy, troye!
Post your favorite soup recipe to your blog, and add the link here. I would love to see what you have to share!

Feb 5, 2009

Coconut Oil Benefits

I have had a lot of question on FB about coconut oil, so I wanted to add a link to a great youtube expalining the health benefits here. Dr. Mercola promotes a certain brand, but as long as you get extra virgin and it smells like fresh coconuts you are fine. I cook everything with it- including bread- and it offers the best flavor of any oil out there!!!!!! Here's a little more 411: