Thursday, October 11, 2012
Been pretty busy lately, but trying to make more time to blog. I've gotten a part time job, and have begun gathering supplies in anticipation of the holidays coming. As a special Halloween treat for the people who actually read my blog, I will be offering free shipping on any item when you enter the coupon code: JACK0LANTERN
Monday, September 24, 2012
On September 7th 2012, I attended the 17th annual Chili Pepper Festival, in Bowers PA. I had a great time listening to live music, browsing and sampling the pepper related wares of the vendors, trying unusual foods containing peppers, and picking my own peppers. I came home with several pounds of peppers, 2 pepper plants, a bottle of strawberry jalapeno wine, and a bag of cayenne pepper peanut brittle. I will definitely be going back next year, but I will plan better.
The highlight of the pepper festival was picking my own peppers on the field excursion at Meadow View Farm. There were thousands of pepper plants, and over 200 varieties, it was a bit overwhelming. With so many beautifully colorful peppers, it was difficult to choose which ones to pick, I wanted them all. There were sheets available listing the names of the peppers, where in the field to find them, their heat rating, and their price. The prices were great, $1.00 a pound for heavy or large hot peppers, $3.00 a pound for all other hot peppers.
The first thing I purchased at the festival was some pepper plants! I don’t remember who was selling them, but they were selling many different varieties of pepper plants, all edible, and all $15.00 each. I got two, a peach habanero, and a mystery plant that I felt like I needed because it’s so colorful! I should really figure out what the mystery plant is, they told me, but I forgot. The people selling the plants said that they will continue to grow and produce peppers throughout the year, and for many years to come, as long as I keep them indoors when it’s cold. I very excited about having peppers all year long!
There were many unusual foods, most of them containing peppers. There was pepper ice cream, pepper peanut brittle, many different kinds of stuffed peppers, jalapeno cheddar pirogies, a lot a chili, and so many more that I just can’t remember them all. I tried a couple different things, kielbasa chili, crabby stuffed peppers, and zucchini carrot pancakes, and some cayenne pepper peanut brittle. The kielbasa chili was very good, probably my favorite of all the foods there, but it was a bit more like a soup than a chili. Of course it was full of peppers, onions, beans, and usual chili spices, but contained pieces of sliced kielbasa in like a hot spicy chunky tomato base. I found the crappy stuffed peppers a bit disappointing. They were expensive for what you got, you got one small jalapeno pepper for $3.00, it was stuffed with cream cheese and crab meat, and smoked. The smoky flavor overpowered all of the other flavors, and I felt like there was too much cream cheese, and it was cold. I liked the zucchini carrot pancake a lot. It was like a potato pancake, but made with carrot and zucchini instead of potato. I purchased some cayenne pepper peanut brittle to take home, it’s not overpoweringly spicy like some of the things there were. I’m going to try to make some similar peanut brittle of my own.
I will definitely be attending the pepper festival next year, and hopefully I will be more organized. I am going to make a list of what varieties of peppers, and the quantity of each that I will be purchasing. I ended up making a whole bunch of jams and jellies, (I will be putting up pictures and recipes later) and drying whatever was leftover. Oh, and next year I’m bringing a real camera, fully charged.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Today was too crazy to make cookies. I was going to make Russian Tea Cakes tonight, but some things came up with the family, so, I'm making them early tomorrow. There will be two cookie recipes posted tomorrow. I might be getting a new cookie mold tomorrow :)
Monday, December 5, 2011
Today I made Peanut Butter Cookies, they are a favorite among my family and friends, plus it's very simple. Even as a young child I would help my mother in the kitchen, this is one of the simple recipes that I was able to help with. I remember we would read the recipe together first, then I would help measure ingredients and mix. Baking is a lot of fun to do with children, I love cooking with my nieces.
I used the Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie recipe from the package of Crisco Butter Flavored Baking Sticks. I always remembered getting the big tub of Crisco, but they didn't have the butter flavor available in tubs at the store I went to. Anyway, here are the ingredients:
Peanut Butter Cookies
3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 stick Crisco Butter Flavor Baking Sticks or 1/2 cup Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Milk
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
1 3/4 Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
I also got a bag of Hershey's Kisses to put in some of them, this was my friends idea.
This recipe is supposed to make about 3 dozen, but I made mine smaller, so I ended up with a total of 54 cookies
Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Tools
My brand new nesting doll measuring cups and spoons(just came in the mail today), mixing bowls, a fork, a knife, 2 baking pans, butter flavored cooking spray, and my ingredients.
Step 2: Preheat Oven
Make sure that the rack is in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 375 F
Step 3: Combine Peanut Butter, Shortening, Brown Sugar, Milk, and Vanilla in a Large Mixing Bowl
I measured out the 3/4 cup of Peanut Butter, and put it in my large mixing bowl. The recipe on the package said to use Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, but I used this creamy natural peanut butter instead. I think it came out better this way, I like the texture and taste of the natural peanut butter.
Next I added the 1/2 a cup of Butter Flavor Shortening.
1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar firmly packed. It's amazing how much more Brown Sugar fits into a measuring cup when you pack it down.
Added 3 tablespoons of milk to the mix,
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract...
Oops! I accidently added the egg next, which didn't seem to be a big deal. The recipe says to mix the egg in after the rest of the ingredients are mixed well, but it didn't seem to make a difference to me.
Step 4: Mix Well
Then I mixed together all the ingredients with a fork, making sure to crush up all the lumps of brown sugar and crisco. This is the low tech version, the recipe actually says to use beat it together in an electric mixer on medium speed, until well blended.
Step 5: Combine Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt
Now I'm adding 3/4 teaspoon of Salt
3/4 teaspoon on Baking Soda
and 1 3/4 cups of Flour
Step 5 Mix All Ingredients Together
The recipe said to mix at lox speed until well blended, but I just mixed it with my fork again. The photo above is what I ended up with.
Step 6: Prepare Baking Sheet with Cookies to Go in Oven
I sprayed the cookie sheet with butter flavored cookie spray
Then, formed the dough into little round balls, about the size of a large marble,
and pressed it down with the fork, to make the crisscross pattern on top.
This is what they should look like.
Next I put them in the oven, on the center rack, and set the timer for 8 minutes. This was a bit too long, the first batch came out a bit darker than I would have liked, so I put the others in for 7 minutes. Bringing it down to 7 minutes made them come out lighter for the most part, but the ones towards the back of the oven were still a little dark. The next batch I put in the oven for 4 minutes, rotated the cookie tray, and put it back in for another 3 minutes. The batch that I rotated came out best.
Step 7: Take Cookies Out of Oven, Add Hershey's Kisses to some, and Let Cool
While cookies were still warm, I pressed a Hershey's Kiss into the center of a few of them
Once cookies were cool enough so they wouldn't fall apart, I transferred them from the backing sheet with a thin spatula...
to metal racks to cool.
I'm pretty happy with the way these came out. I'm excited to try another recipe tomorrow!
Saturday, December 3, 2011
It's starting to feel like the holiday season to me now, and I have so many things that I would like to accomplish! The best way for me to get things done is to just keep moving, force myself to be constantly busy. One of the things I have decided to do is make a bunch of different cookies for my friends and family, for Christmas. The plan is 12 different types of cookies, in 12 days... hopefully starting this Monday. I am calling this my "12 Days Of Christmas Cookies." I'm going to post about my experience making the cookies, and I will include the recipes. One of the cookie recipes are supposed to be prepared, then put in the fridge overnight, so, I might have to take two days to do that one if things get really crazy. Might make some candies and stuff also, but they won't count as part of the 12. Even though I have them all planned out, I want them to be a surprise each day so, I won't be telling you what kind of cookies I am making.
I finished the pincushions that I was working on
These will all be for sale in my etsy shop as soon as I finish posting them :)
Trying to multitask. I have the embroidery machine running, and I'm going back and forth trimming, cutting fabric, editing photos, and playing on the internet.
Friday, December 2, 2011
I've decided to make some new pincushions for my etsy shop, so I made a prototype that I'm going to use. I was thinking that mini pincushions would be cute stocking stuffers. Here is the test pincushion that I made for myself:
I have lots of pretty ribbon purchased from HollandFabricHouse, this one is my favorite. I thought the ribbon would look cute with the green fabric, and it's useful for holding my scissors that I use for trimming, since I'm always using them. I'm really happy with how it came out. I've finished one other one:
This one is for sale in my etsy shop. Here is the link if you are interested: http://www.etsy.com/listing/87698415/green-pillow-pincushion-deer-with
More mini pincushions will be finished soon.