26 March 2011

Sunday's at Grandma's

My Grandparents were farmers who grew or raised probably 80 percent of their food. My Grandmother always had the root cellar that my Grandfather built for her full of her home canning. I remember many summer afternoons in the kitchen with her canning dozens of jars of tomatoes, beans, relishes, pickles and too many other veggies and fruits to mention. Her freezer chest was always full of strawberries, blueberries, pie crusts, sweet corn to name my favorites. She was a homemaker who ran her home more efficiently than I can even begin to explain.

Watching this I picked up many of my beliefs and ways of doing things one being keeping a well stocked household.

Some of the reasons I continue this tradition...
I don't have to worry about running to the store after working 10 1/2 hours and I'm tired and hungry.
If I get sick, or have a headache or just don't feel good...I have what I need at home.
I can plan my shopping trips around sales, my free time and how I feel, saving me money and sanity.
If the weather is bad, we'll have what we need until we can get out.

Living in Southwest Florida for over 20 years also was a motivator. Hurricane season can get rough. Even if the storm isn't headed directly at you, all of the surrounding people from every other direction will descend upon your town buying up all of your gas and food.
Our last year there Hurricane Charley payed us a visit. Spending that week in August in South Florida with no power was miserable because of the heat but we had everything else that we needed and were otherwise comfortable.
Now that I'm in Illinois there are other weather related emergencies that could easily happen such as tornadoes, snow storms and thunderstorms.
I think no matter where you live you should have at least two weeks worth of food and necessities stocked up.

So I hope you consider organizing your supplies and stocking up a little.

You can start by making a list of the household items and food that you use on a regular basis. When you see them on sale or find a great coupon for the item pick up two or three extras.

You'll save tons of money, time and your sanity.

23 March 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Spiked Orange Frosting

Hershey's Chocolate Cupcakes

1/2 stick of unsalted butter melted and cooled
6 tablespoons of Hershey's Cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk room temperature
1 egg room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/ cup boiling water

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
Line cupcake tins with papers

In a large bowl, sift together cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Mix ingredients for 2 minutes. Slowly add boiling water and continue to mix. Batter will be thin.
Bake approx. 25 minutes.

Spiked Orange Frosting (from the book Crazy about Cupcakes by Krystina castella)

3 tablespoons of orange juice
3 tablespoons of Triple Sec
3 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of orange zest
pinch of salt

In a small bowl mix the orange juice and Triple Sec.
In a medium bowl cream the butter. Add the sugar to the butter, alternating with orange juice mixture until desired consistency is reached.
Stir in 1/2 of zest and the salt. Beat on high speed for 1 minute until creamy.

Frost and put a pinch of leftover zest on top of cupcakes.


13 March 2011

Orange Kiss Me Cake

My Mom used to make this cake all the time through my childhood and it was my absolute favorite.

3/4 Cup Orange Juice-(I use the juice and zest of one orange)
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup shortening or butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp Triple-Sec Liqueur
2 Eggs
1 Cup Raisins
1/3 Cup chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and Flour pans

Mix orange juice with flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add butter, milk, eggs and triple sec. Mix approximately 2 minutes on medium speed. Fold in raisins and nuts.

Nut Topping
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup chopped Walnuts
1 tsp Cinnamon

1/3 cup orange juice-(I use the juice and a little of the zest from another orange)

Bake about 40 minutes for a 13x9 glass baking dish.

Drizzle the warm cake with the orange juice and sprinkle on the Nut Topping.

**This recipe originally called for 1 can of thawed orange juice concentrate. I modified that with the oranges and liqueur. Both ways are delicious!

06 March 2011

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf...

Tonight I tried Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf. I used pastured ground beef and local bacon so it was very juicy not greasy. This is a very tasty twist to meatloaf.

1 pound ground beef
8 or 9 slices of bacon
1 egg
1/2 cup panko
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Red pepper flakes to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

I mixed all ingredients and let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375
Shape meatloaf on your baking dish
Wrap the two ends with two slices and tuck under
Wrap the rest of the meatloaf.

Bake with foil tent for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and back for another 15 or 20 minutes until bacon is desired crispness.