Whooped Cream

I’m pretty sure my mother did the same thing I do.  With six children, you can’t please every palate, every time.  So, in order to keep everyone happy, my mom didn’t make spicy foods often.  As I grew up and experienced foods outside our home, I learned that I loved spicy foods.

So, when I made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving Day today, I debated in my head about which spices to add to the pumpkin puree mixture.  As I made the pie, the BSFs were standing next to me on their Learning Tower (a fancy answer to dragging a chair over to the counter), and I decided to go the safe route.  I added the exact amount of pumpkie pie spice recommended by Libby’s on the can.

I knew that I might disappoint one adult or another with that choice, but the BSFs would likely prefer a mild flavored pumpkin pie.  After pouring my first pumpkin pie mixture into an empty pie shell, I found that I happened to have some left-over pumpkin pie mixture, so I added it to another empty pie shell and made a mini-pie of sorts.

This was my opportunity to introduce pumpkin pie to the BSFs for the first time this year before Thanksgiving Day itself.  Everyone in the family had a little piece of pie this afternoon.  It was a big hit with the BSFs.  I enjoyed it.  My husband did, too, but he felt it was missing something in the spice department.

I explained what I had decided to do with the spices…that I opted to use pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices of cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

And, that is when I realized what I should do.  I needed to whoop things up a bit.

The next item on my Thanksgiving to-do list was making fresh whipped cream.  So, I decided to add the spices to the cream to make up for the spice discrepancy in the pie.

My husband mentioned that a little spice, like cayenne, might be nice.

So, here is what I made.  And, YUM!

 It made the pumpkin pie.

These are the ingredients I used, but you can experiment and include what you love the most.

Spicy Cayenne Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Ingredients
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 to 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (depending on how sweet you prefer your whipped cream)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Cloves (depending on how spicy you want it)
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/8 tsp Cayenne (more or less depending on how spicy you want it)

Use an electric mixer for this job. For best results, chill your mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer prior to mixing the whipped cream.

When the bowl and whisk are sufficiently chilled, whisk the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in the mixing bowl on the medium-highest setting.

Beat the mixture until just before it begins to form peaks. It may look a bit frothy.
Add the remaining ingredients of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cayenne. Continue to whisk until peaks are firm, as you see here.

Take care not to over-whisk the mixture, as the whipped cream will take on the stiffer texture of butter. It will still taste wonderfully good, but the whipped cream will resemble whipped butter instead.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Spirited Pancakes

Halloween is around the corner and my older, “boo-tiful” BSF keeps asking for pancakes….

for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We’ve had pancakes three times this week already.

So, while putting together a batch of pancake batter, I got a little creative with my spoon.

We’ve been practicing the alphabet letters daily and the spelling of the word “B-O-O” all month long, so it seemed natural to spell the word out with pancake batter.

I added a ghost to the mix, too, just for good measure.

With the remaining batter, I made a regular, round pancake and topped it with orange & black sprinkles.  Upon contact with the griddle, the sprinkles melted into the pancake to create a light sugar-coated crust.

When pancakes were requested yet again this week, I added some orange soft gel paste to the batter and spooned pumpkins onto the hot griddle. The results were an orange-hued pancake on the inside and a giddy and pleased kiddo at the kitchen table.

These pancakes were a hit with the whole household.

I used to make pancakes with a box mix, just to save time, but a couple of years ago, I began searching for a recipe that was more flavorful than a box mix, and that cooked up fluffy, delicious pancakes every time. I found it.

As well, I bought myself a modest non-stick griddle. Now, making pancakes is a happy affair. I don’t burn them…every…single…time…like I did when I made pancakes in a skillet on the stove.

Ah, the simple joys of life.

Happy Halloween…and Happy Pancakes to you!

Fluffy Pancakes

Ingredients

3/4 cup milk
2 T white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 T butter, melted
cooking spray, if needed

Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Alternately, heat a non-stick griddle to 350F degrees. Pour 1/4 cups full of batter onto the heated skillet or griddle, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

*You can create your own free-form designs using a spoonful of batter and your imagination.

My Source:  www.allrecipes.com

4th of July Jello Jigglers

After such an awfully hot and humid 2011 summer season, I am rejoicing, to anyone within earshot, that the cooler weather this summer is an absolute surprise and a pure joy.

Now, I’m not talking about cooler weather such as that experienced in the Rocky Mountains at this time of the year.  Rather, I’m merely talking about temperatures below 100 degrees.

This is cause for celebration.

What better way to celebrate an occasion, any occasion, than with Jell-O?

When I saw this festive idea in my inbox, right before the 4th of July, I knew we had to try them out.

I got my BSF in the kitchen to help.  Since we spent a couple of days preparing and creating these treats, the excitement and anticipation grew in the eyes of my lil’ BSF.  In my book of moments-to-savor, this is golden.

These red, white and blue stars sure look pretty, if I do say so myself, and they taste light and sweet.  I think we’ve found a new traditional treat for our 4th of July celebration.

The details for making these jiggly, festive gelatinous delights are right here.

 

D-A-D’s Day

In our household, my husband and I are known for giving each other gifts from the heart (that’s code for handmade) or no gifts at all.  It isn’t because we are forgetful or poor planners, but rather that we are, for lack of a better term, minimalists.  We just don’t like “stuff” that collects in the house.  If the gift requires its own dusting, it doesn’t have a chance.  We simply don’t give each other wrapped gifts that often.

With that being said, the one thing that fills our hearts to the brim, and we don’t mind dusting, is a photographic reminder of our children.  Come on.  They’re our kids and we love them to pieces.

So, I went in search of something special for our BSFs’ dad.  Something he could display at his work place to remind him of his BSFs at home.

I came across this idea on Pinterest and I knew I had to try it.

Source: goo.gl via Celinda on Pinterest

I headed straight to Hobby Lobby to gather supplies.  In search of the perfect color, I stumbled upon a package set of Martha Stewart acrylic paints. Since I didn’t need a variety pack of 8 colors, I took the package of her paints in hand and found a similar color among the selection available. The 2 fl. oz bottle of Ceramcoat Caribbean Blue 02530 Acrylic Paint was a close match to the Martha paint I liked, so I went with it.

So this is how my version turned out.

We needed a handmade card to go with our gift.  I found this adorable idea on Pinterest.

For directions on how to make this super cute and easy card, click here.

We created this “I Love You This Much!” card for all the Dads in the family.  My BSF loved getting her hands traced and making words with the sticky letters. The Dads loved her handy work, too.  Here is how ours turned out.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

Birthday Blues

My BSFs are growing like weeds.  I can’t believe, when a birthday rolls around, that another year has passed.  As cliche as it sounds, these kids grow up way too fast, which makes me sad about the baby years slipping through my fingers, but happy about the exciting adventures ahead.  So bittersweet.

With my older BSFs birthday approaching, it was time to really plan the little details.  I didn’t want to go overboard with a big party.  Too much was going on in life that I just needed to KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly.  Still, I wanted my BSF to feel very special.  I wanted her birthday wishes to come to life.  I knew I could handle some complexity among the simplicity of our plans.  The little details were keeping me from tears when all I wanted to do was call my mom on the phone and share what I was doing for this party girl.

My oldest BSF and her BFF were born within hours of each other, so this was a joint birthday party plan. We went all out, without going all out.  Matching outfits and ice cream sundaes were in order.

The little details came together and the party made the kids very happy, indeed.

When it came to the birthday cake, my BSF had already made it clear.  BLUE.  She wanted a blue cake.  She wanted the frosting to be blue and the cake to be vanilla. Ok. I could do that, easily.  I’m a baker, but more along the lines of a small town/large family baker.  You know…baking for the masses in giant cake pans…cut squares…frosting spread on top…no frosting on the sides.  It isn’t about show and beauty, but about making sure everyone gets some.

It was decided that we’d make cupcakes for the party-goers and small cake rounds for the birthday girls.

For the cupcakes, I did some research to find a frosting technique that even I could master.  I started with my favorite go-to buttercream frosting, which you can find here, and I piped the buttercream using a 1M tip.  If you make this frosting, make a double batch. You’ll probably eat the first batch before you even frost a cupcake, so you’ll need extra on hand.  I mean it.  It is that good.

As well, I wanted my BSF to have her own prettily decorated personal cake.  Again, I researched to find a technique that was different from a regular 9×13 rectangular cake pan.  So, I decided to try something new to me.  I finally got myself a 5″ round cake pan.  I know, you seasoned bakers out there.  Welcome to the 21st century, right?

I practiced this pretty petal effect on a trial-run cake, the week before the party.  Ha-ha!  A reason to have that buttercream frosting in the house twice in one week was easily found.

Along the way, I learned that a good crumb coat is essential to making this technique shine.

Check out the tutorial on how to master the pretty petal effect.  It doesn’t take as long as it looks to decorate the whole cake.  This technique is forgiving, as well, when you make a mistake, but it does take a little patience.

The top of the cake felt neglected, as it really was, so I added some colorful sprinkles to brighten things up.

The cupcakes felt neglected, too, so I added colorful sprinkles to them, as well.

My dear, darling, super-creative, totally amazing friend, who is the mother of our BSFs’ BFF…Did you follow that?  You should because she really is awesome….added the tall, stunning candles to the cakes.

I was so excited that I finished all of the cupcakes and the birthday girl cake just in time for the party.  It was a labor of love for my sweet BSF.  I could really feel the connection to my mother with all this birthday preparation.  And, all the beautiful blue made my blues fade away for another day.