Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkins and Seeds

Yesterday evening we decided it was the perfect time to work on our pumpkins. Two days before Halloween- they won't have time to rot before the trick-or-treaters come.

DV was a great help getting the strings and seeds out of the pumpkin and I decided that with two pumpkins worth of seeds I should try something I hadn't done in years. Cook the seeds!

I must say, previously I haven't had much success with making edible pumpkin seeds, so I decided to go with a recipe that was definitely different. You boil the seeds first. It worked! The seeds are crunchy and delicious!!!

Here's the recipe:
First boil the pumpkin seeds- for every half cup of seeds add 2 cups of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (I used a little less than this.) Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Prepare your baking pan. Coat the bottom of the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the seeds and place them in one layer in the pan (I had to use 2 pans). Bake the seeds for 20 minutes or until the seeds are browned to your liking. I stirred the seeds half way through. Let the seeds cool completely in the pans before enjoying!!!!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Low sugar cookies- WFMW

I am not very trusting of sugar substitutes- being a chemist I know what they are and I know what they're not (natural.) So I want to serve low sugar treats for DV as much as the next mom, but I don't want to use Splenda or other artificial sweeteners.

So I have been searching for a good recipe for cookies which just uses only a little sugar. I have found it in "Italian Frosted Cookies" (you have to leave the frosting off for the low sugar effect.) The recipe comes from DV's Kindermusic book with a few modifications:

Italian Frosted Cookies
¾ cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp. orange juice (or apple juice)
3 cups flour
1 tbsp.
baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (325 convection)
Cream the butter and sugar; add eggs, vanilla, and juice. Combine flour and
baking powder in separate bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture. Knead
dough for about 5 minutes. Use tablespoons of dough, roll into lengths
and then
press ends together to form small rings. Let stand on ungreased
cookie sheet for
15 minutes at room temperature. Bake for 15 minutes or
until lightly golden.
Makes 4 dozen.

Note: The original recipe
called for a confectioner’s sugar and water glaze which the hot cookies would be
dipped in and then sprinkles added but these cookies are good plain.

This recipe works for me! The cookies taste a little like sweet croissants. Enjoy! For other Works for Me Wednesday ideas check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Christmas Shopping

We like to start our Christmas shopping early around here- in fact we started very early!

I bought one of DV's gifts last spring- it's a really cute kid's cookbook but he wasn't ready for it yet. Now he cooks with me all the time. See the photo over there of us making chocolate cutout cookies last Saturday. You can see we were wearing our Texas orange- go Texas- #1!!
Anyway, back to Christmas shopping- I have been watching out for sales and there have been some pretty good ones. Lenox has a great clearance section online where I have bought teacher gifts already and also gifts for my mother-in-law and mom.
One of DV's large gifts was bought at a consignment sale- a used train table! I can't wait until my parents are here for Thanksgiving- that will be SO much fun- plus they are going to help me refinish it. So it will be perfect for DV!
I love Christmas shopping! I have so much fun buying gifts for my family and friends. It is one of my favorite things about this lovely season.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Easy Shortbread

I haven't had as much time as usual for baking for IV and DV so I have been searching for quick, scratch recipes. This recipe is great because you can do everything in the food processor and the ingredients are ones I always have around. I found it in my local paper and modified slightly:

Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9" springform pan. In the food processor (or mixer) process the butter until soft. Add brown sugar and vanilla, process. Add the flour and salt; do not over mix. The dough should look a bit crumbly (see photo.) Press into pan using fingers. Combine 1 tbsp sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Cut into wedges and pierce each several times with a fork. Bake until golden brown and firm at edges while still soft in center. 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan and recut wedges. Store in an airtight container.
This is my entry in the works for me Wednesday kitchen organization edition! It works for me!