Monday, April 6, 2009

Discovering the Food Network

Well, up until my mom moved in with us in August, we have never had cable. Now I'm sucked in. I've discovered the Food Network. Also, we now have a DVR which is also draining away my life. So now I record the shows I like so I can watch them at night when the girls are asleep. I'm a big fan of Paula and Giada. So I thought I'd comment on a few things I've made of theirs recently or plan to make soon.

First up is Paula (who reminds me so much of my friend Katy's mom). I'm not a health nut, so she's my kind of girl. The other day she had a chocolate show and I tried out a couple of the recipes. First I tried the 'Workaholics Hot Chocolate'. It had a million great reviews, but I thought it was too thick and sweet. As it got a little cooler it thickened more, it was like drinking warm pudding...not so appetizing. Also, it was too much work for hot chocolate. I'm a purist. All you should need for fantastic hot chocolate is a few really good quality ingredients.

This is the hot chocolate recipe I stand by (and have had lots of requests for the recipe, so I guess I'm not the only one who likes it). I got it out of a cookbook called Paris Sweets...

3 C whole milk
1/3 C water
1/3 C sugar
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Heat the milk, water, and sugar until just boiling. Place the chocolate in a blender then pour the milk over the chocolate. Blend for 1 minute. Top with whipped cream.

I've decided that the blender is essential for all hot chocolate. It makes it so smooth and frothy, it's sooo good. If you want to feel like you're really in France, dunk a baguette in it, Jared introduced me to that and it's yummy. We always get extra baguettes from Panera. Just remember that when you're making hot chocolate, you have to really like the kind of chocolate you're using, because that's what it's going to end up tasting like. I like Guittard.

Next up is Paula's Truffle Pie. I made this when we had the missionaries over and it was really good. Though I have to say I prefer my French Silk Pie. It was really easy to make and everyone seemed to like it. Although I wish more of it had been eaten because I ended up eating the last third of the pie for breakfast the next morning. Yikes! That's no way to lose the baby weight! Here's the link...

Giada made some Chocolate Orange Rice Pudding a few weeks ago that looked really good. My mom used to make rice pudding growing up. I thought, of course chocolate would improve rice pudding...but I was wrong. I tasted the pudding with the orange in it before I added the chocolate, and it was really good at that stage. So I would just leave it at that. I know, I can hardly believe I'm saying that something was better without chocolate, but this just was. Also, my mom always served it cooled, but I think it's best warm. So here's a yummy rice pudding recipe without chocolate...
3 C half and half
2 C whole milk
2/3 C Arborio Rice
3/4 C sugar
Zest of one orange
1 t vanilla
In saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Serve warm or spoon into bowls and cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating.

Starting a baking blog

Well, I've decided to start another blog. More for my fun than anyone else's. I'm sure not many people will be interested in what I've been baking lately and whatnot, but I thought this would be a good way to put my thoughts in one place and use it as a reference for things I've made. Hopefully I'll keep up on it. I'm sure I could do a better job on keeping up on our family blog too.
Also, I really hope that people will leave comments and suggestions. I always like more ideas!

To start off, these are a few random pictures I've taken over the last several months. I don't have pictures of the really good stuff, but these were fun times. The picture below was taken when we made halloween cupcakes for our neighbors. I got the spiderweb decoration idea from a magazine. I thought they were the cutest. Of course, the girls have their own decorating ideas!

These were some seriously yummy pumpkin muffins. I love pumpkin recipes, not just in the fall, but all year round. I think I got this recipe off the internet. But they turned out fantastic. I sprinkled sugar on before baking and that gave them a really great texture. yum! Here's the recipe- 1 1/2 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, sift together and set aside. Mix together 1 C canned pumpkin, 1/3 C vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 C sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 t salt. Stir in flour mixture. Spoon into muffin pan. Stir together 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 T sugar. Sprinkle over top of each muffin before baking. 350 degrees 25- 30 minutes.

Evelyn enjoying the muffin, wow, her hair has grown so much since the fall!

For her birthday, Ann really wanted a mermaid cake, so this is what I came up with. Obviously, the water is just icing dyed blue. The sand was fun though, first you frost the area, then cover it with crushed graham crackers so it really looks like sand. Ann loved it. I also just picked up a few decorations to stick in it at the local cake decorating shop (oh how I miss The Decorette Shop back in Portland).

These are the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies ever. I got the recipe from a co-worker back when I lived in Provo. Here's the recipe if you're interested - 1 C canned pumpkin, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 C margarine, 1 egg beaten, 1 C sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 C flour, small bag of chocolate chips. Beat pumpkin, baking soda, and margarine until creamy. Add the egg and sugar, mix well. Add flour, spices, and chocolate chips, mix well. Bake 350 degrees 12- 15 minutes.

Well, I already know what I want to do on my next couple of blogs, so hopefully I'll get to that soon and it'll be a bit more interesting (and not all fall related recipes).