Brandy (DIL) got a gift card for Christmas from “the aunts” (my husband’s aMazing sisters) and she couldn’t wait to use it. She went through the site and finally narrowed her choices to a couple of things for herself (something she so rarely does it is a wonder she has clothes to wear!) and waited for months just to make sure.
What she ended up doing with that certificate touched me to tears and will always be held in my heart. She wanted to thank me for throwing her a baby shower so she searched and searched the site until she found me the neatest journal I have ever had. It is literally hand crafted with bamboo leaves and has a cinnamon stick enclosure. I’m going to try to scan it and see if the picture shows up well enough to share it. The pages are all handmade paper and I have decided to use it for our Wednesdays. We’ll each write something in it and maybe let the kids make a mark or two.
Pictures do not do these justice!
If that wasn’t enough, she also ordered me a dream-come-true scrapbook from the same place! It is also hand -made and has hand-stamped leaves covering it and I love it so much I’ll have to force myself to use it! These are pretty enough to place on a display shelf!
ANYway, we are using those to hold the journal of these shared times and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.
Yesterday, we had Laura, my other sweet DIL here with us and my son/her husband for a bit! He was down for an appointment on his way to being a fire fighter (he got hired so we are celebrating with him!) and they were in town. We women were talking in the kitchen while cooking and taking care of the littles and it was so nice.
Our menu was: broccoli & cheddar “stew” along with freshly baked rolls and chocolate cupcakes with cheesecake centers. It took awhile to prepare but was worth it!
For the Broccoli & Cheddar “Stew”, I sautéed a chopped red onion (preferred regular onions for this but had none) in butter and olive oil until softened a bit. I cook my vegetables less and less now to get more nutritional benefits from them and for the added texture. Brandy chopped several cloves of garlic and they were tossed in with the onions, olive oil and butter.
I simply made chicken broth out of the left over steamed water from the broccoli (steamed it, of course) and add that and some half-n-half (we are out of milk) until the desired consistency. I added shredded sharp cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and let a sprinkle of basil dance in.
After this, I snuck a “shot” of oyster sauce for flavor! The last part was just keeping it stirred, adding about 1/4th of the broccoli and using a hand immersion blender to blend everything up and then stirred in the rest of the broccoli.
I was late for the first time ever to get Braxton from school and was s haking when I frantically called to tell them I was on the way. I looked down and realized I could not go INTO the school with my apron all askew and things wiped all over it! Brandy left her soup, handed me the baby and picked him up for me. Praise God that is over and I hope I don’t do it again!
The rolls… food’s version of “Gone in 60 Seconds” ;)
Perfect Dinner Rolls
Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup, then leveled off
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.
To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups of the flour - on low speed with the paddle attachment incorporate the flour to create a wet, sticky mixture. Still on low speed, add 1 cup of the remaining flour and incorporate. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 cup flour. On low speed, mix the dough to incorporate the final addition of flour until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed to medium and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl - turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 -30 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate into a rectangle. Cut it in half vertically, then each half vertically again into thirds so you have 6 equal strips of dough. Cut each strip of dough into fourths by cutting horizontally to make 24 little squares of dough. Take each piece of dough and cup it lightly under the palm of your hand on a clean surface. Press lightly and start rotating and rolling the dough ball quickly so that it forms a nice little ball of dough. Once you get some practice, you can do this with both hands at the same time and really speed up the process.
Place each rolled piece of dough into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan in rows of 4 about 1/2-inch apart. Cover the rolls in the pan with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap and let rise to double while your oven is preheating to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) - about 20 minutes. If you want an even more golden color to the rolls, brush them with a little melted butter before baking. Bake for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!
Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt and baking soda. Stir in oil, water, vinegar and vanilla until blended. Pour mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
3. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop a heaping teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each cupcake. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/24/2009