Sunday, September 28, 2008
This past weekend, I talked JJ into going apple and pumpkin picking at a local orchard, Anderson Orchards. They were also having their big Fall Apple Festival. We had such a fun time there, the highlight being chestnuts for $4/lb! I usually find them at Kroger for $7/lb later on in October or November, so it was a great surprise!
The first time I ever tried roasting chestnuts at home, I didn't know you need to cut an X on the top. After roasting them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, I opened the oven and they exploded! Luckily I had glasses on so they didn't burn my eyes, but I had chestnut all over my hair and clothes.... not fun! Now, I know how to do it though - slit an X on top, it makes removing the shell much easier, too. Generally, if a chestnut doesn't open up on it's own when roasting, it's a bad one! Most of mine were good, and tasted delicious!
Posted by Ashlee at 9/28/2008 06:34:00 PM
Monday, September 22, 2008
I have had so many of you ask me when I’m going to be sending out treat packages again. While I’m glad you all love my baked goods, it gets pricy mailing them out and packaging them.
However, I don’t want that to keep me from sending you treats and baking! I decided the best way to deal with this is I will foot the bill for the baked goods, and I’m asking you to pay for the shipping and packaging.
Here is a little order form for my next round of baked goods. I hope that everything sounds appealing to you! I’m not opening this to strangers because of legal reasons with having Pumpkin in our house and not being licensed to sell food from home, however if you have any friends who won’t sue me (not that I have anything to take!) then please pass this along to them. I’d be happy to send packages to anyone, anywhere! If this goes well, I plan to do it each season to help get some experience and business.
I honestly hate making people pay, but I think you all understand that if you lived in Bloomington, I’d hand deliver it for free. Also, if I have you pay for shipping, I don’t have to leave anyone out of my mailings.
Happy Fall and Thanks for supporting me!
If you have trouble opening that link, leave me a comment or send me an email and i'll email you an order form!
Posted by Ashlee at 9/22/2008 05:56:00 PM
For dinner last night, I was home alone and I wanted something comforting and warm, a big bowl of pasta sounded perfect. I haven't made penne a la vodka in a while, and I had all of the supplies on hand, so I decided to go for that rather than pesto, and I added in some peas at the end.
Fall Harvest Salad
4 c. baby spinach leaves
1/2 granny smith apple, diced
1/4 c. dried cranberries and cherries
2 tbsp. shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 log crumbled cranberry and cinnamon goat cheese
2 tbsp. Newman's light cranberry walnut dressing
Arrange salad, top with dressing!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Whenever I need to make brownies, I go to 2 recipes, either Triple chocolate or Outrageous. This time, outrageous won! I iced them with a simple chocolate buttercream. I doubled the recipe and used my sheet pan for giant sheet cakes. They always come out perfectly!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.
When I decided to make vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, Tricia pointed me in the way of Bridget's White cake comparison. It was amazing to read all she had! I chose to make the Classic White Layer Cake from CI. I was not disppointed at all! They were fantastic, first flavor to sell out at the bakesale!
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Divide batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners. Fill about half way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Friday, September 19, 2008
My mom is participating in the Charlotte Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on October 24-25. To help her raise some more money (she's already raised around $7,100!) we had a bake sale! She asked me to bake for her, so we decided on 3 flavors of cupcakes, brownies, and 3 kinds of cookies. We had a great time, and raised over $500! I will be posting the recipes for each item as the week goes on!
I made everything from scratch in the church's kitchen because it has 2 ovens, which really kept things moving!
My schedule was:
Thursday: Make royal icing ribbons and buckeyes
Friday: Make 10 recipes of cookie dough and all butter cream icing
Saturday: Bake all cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and ice
Sunday morning: Bag up all items
Monday, September 15, 2008
Posted by Ashlee at 9/15/2008 03:50:00 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
1/2 lb. spaghetti (Ronzoni Smart Taste)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I decided to have someone very special taste test this risotto before we ate it, and she gave it a wagging tail! She even waited for me to take a picture - I think we've got stay covered!
(Pumpkin Spice being patient...)(...and finally, digging in!)
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Tonight I was in the mood for stuffed shells, but Kroger didn't have any shells. I settled with manicotti, which is basically the same. I use a basic recipe that my mom uses. They're very easy to fill if you use a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the end cut off. They're also very healthy when made with part skim cheeses and lots of veggies!
8 manicotti shells
2 c. zesty marinara
1 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 c. part skim ricotta
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of oregano
1/4 c. part skim mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spoon half the marinara into a baking dish.
Boil the manicotti in heavily salted water for 5 minutes, drain.
Mix remaining ingredients except mozzarella in a bowl. Spoon into a pastry bag with a hole cut off that's the size of the manicotti tubes.
Squeeze some of the mixture into the manicotti, place them in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Baked Egg Rolls
Thursday, September 4, 2008
For dinner tonight I had to put something in the crock pot since JJ and I would be eating dinner seperately. My best tool for that is a big one-pot meal (or crock pot) on the stove. As I was rummaging through the cubbord this weekend, I found a package of mixed dried beans my mom gave me to make a 6 bean soup. Rather than have a soup though, I decided to make it chili. I added some veggies and spices, and served it with the usual chili side - corncakes! This meal is very easy, spicy, and healthy!
2 tbsp. minced jalapeno
1/4 cup shredded cheddar