Favorite Cake Kitchen Tool

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Ok, ok.  I know.  Why don’t I just use a toothpick?  Same difference right?

I love this little kitchen tool.  It obviously takes up no space, no precious real estate in your gadget drawer.  And it is much easier to use when testing the doneness of your cakes.

You always want to be careful when you open the oven door when you’re baking a cake, that the loss of heat doesn’t affect the outcome of the cake.  So you have to be quick and efficient.

The toothpick is neither quick, nor efficient!  I have to open the oven door, pull out the rack, and insert the toothpick into the center of the cake.

With the cake tester, I can just reach into the oven with the door partially open and because it is so long, I can stick the cake tester in at an angle and figure out whether it’s done or not!

You can buy them for less than $4 here.  So worth it!

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Appliance Review – Blender

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Time for a new blender.

So many choices, so little time to properly research all the different brand names.

You can definitely google “blender reviews” and get a bunch of info on many brands, performance, price, material, quality, etc.  And you will see that what I am about to tell you rings true…

Here’s my 2 cents:

I had a $100 KitchenAid blender.  And it worked ok.  It didn’t “fully” blend. It didn’t pulverize.  And it certainly couldn’t handle ice well.  You’d end up with tiny pebbles of ice in your smoothie, which made it look like it had broken and made you feel a bit queasy when you drank it.

So when it stopped working all together, I decided to do lots of research to see which blender would work best.  I was looking at the Vitamix, the Ninja, the KitchenAids, etc.  Prices ranged from $100-$400.  And the promises were laid on thick.  I’m pretty sure that buying a Vitamix at $400 ensures that it’ll mow your lawn for you 2x a month.

I then noticed the reviews for a $34 blender.  And they were great reviews.  For an Oster blender.

I had pretty much sold myself on buying a more expensive version of the KitchenAid.  It had all the bells and whistles and promised to “pulverize ice”.

And then I got to thinking.  What if I got the Oster.  And I paid $34 for it and it worked.  And it worked for a few years and then I had to replace it with another $34 model that worked for a few years, etc, etc.  Pretty economical.  Not a bad idea…

and here I am.  Proud owner of an Oster blender.  2 years now.  Works like it did the first day.  Glass canister (can get it in plastic, but I wanted glass), pulverizes ice to smithereens, blends perfectly on medium speed (have never even used high speed) and the blades are just as sharp today as they were when I cut myself on them the 1st time I cleaned it!

 

 

Has Your Child Had Their Greens Today?

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Yikes!  I forgot to cook up some spinach/broccoli/swiss chard etc to go with my Beach Rose’s lunch.  She’s starving…what do I do?

This is the perfect backup veggie.

A freezer pak of salted already cooked soy bean pods.

So yummy.  Kids love them.

How do I know “kids” love them and not just my kid?  Well, let’s just say, to be safe, that kids who love peas will love soy beans!

Since they’re always in your freezer you can either plan to use them as your “veggie of the day” and thaw them on the counter or you can pop them into the microwave to defrost them in a matter of minutes.

Phew!  Disaster averted…daily veggie portion – check!

If It Melts In a Child’s Pocket…

than it doesn’t take much heat to melt it!

One guess as to what I’m talking about…

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Chocolate!

Be careful when using a double boiler to melt chocolate, or even a microwave.  Don’t forget that although M & M’s had a clever little slogan – “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” – it wasn’t true!  Those delicious little candies definitely melted in your hands if you held them for a while.

So, if chocolate melts easily in your hand and in a child’s pocket, it won’t take much heat for it to melt.

And it won’t take much heat to scald it.

A low simmer on the stove for a double boiler works great!

Don’t Be The Entertainer

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Jester:  A man who in the past was kept by a ruler to amuse people.  A person who habitually plays the fool.

It is easy to get guilted into being your child’s entertainer.

Geez, maybe I don’t spend enough quality time with them.  Maybe I should play 14 games of CandyLand.  Maybe I shouldn’t worry about my laundry and instead read to my little one.  She needs educational stimulation.  She doesn’t seem strong at math…probably need to do some flashcards with her.  That puzzle does seem hard; I’ll just help her.  Well, she didn’t sleep well last night, so I’ll just put dinner aside and pay attention to her since she’s whiny.  I’m the Mom, so I should be the one who teaches her…everything…better get on that…

No.  No. And no.

That’s not all your job.  Your focus is on running and maintaining the household.  And that does include loving, nurturing, disciplining and teaching your children.  Along with MANY other responsibilities.

Do not feel guilty for letting your child or children entertain themselves.  It’s ok if they are “bored” or don’t know what to do or needy.  That, believe it or not, is not your problem.  Part of their development, creatively and emotionally, relies on their being able to determine what to do with themselves.  How to occupy themselves.  How to play alone.  How to be alone.

And you have to have time to yourself.  Whether it truly is time to yourself to enjoy something you love to do, or whether it is to tie up loose ends within the demands of the household, its is integral that you allow yourself this.  Or you will end up going crazy.

You will drive yourself nuts because you will create an environment where your child/ren depend on you to entertain them and therefore will not be able to do it themselves and you will be behind in all you need to accomplish.   And thus your life will take on the characteristics of the jester.  In which you will be “ruled” by your children who wish you to constantly amuse them and you will be the fool who will not have your own life!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Let me just preface this posting of this scrumptious dessert by saying that I do not like whoopie pies.  And am not a huge fan of cream cheese in desserts – frostings, cheescakes, etc.

And yet…

These blew my mind.

They are so much fun.

And easy to make.

And goodness are they delicious.

Let the sweet adventure begin!

Whoopie Pies:

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Whisk 2 eggs, 2 cups light brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until smooth.

Stir in 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin.

(Ya got me.  I totally forgot to take pictures when I started making this recipe.  So by the time I’d remembered, my wet ingredients were combined.  Please forgive me?)

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In a medium bowl add 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice to 3 cups of all-purpose flour.

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Then add 1 teaspoon baking powder,

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1 teaspoon baking soda,

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and 1 teaspoon salt.

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Whisk to combine.

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Add the dry ingredients to the wet, about a half cup at a time, blending with each addition until smooth.

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Drop a heaping tablespoon of batter onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Use a moist finger or the back of a spoon to slightly flatten each mound.

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Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.

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Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:

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In a stand mixer, beat together 4 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup butter, softened and

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2 teaspoons vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

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Mix in about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar a half cup at a time, until the frosting is spreadable.

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Turn half the cookies bottom side up, spread with a heaping amount of filling and top with the remaining cookies.

Makes 10-14.

Incredible.  Dare someone who doesn’t like to pumpkin to not like one of these.  Dared my Mom.  She doesn’t like pumpkin.  She ate the whole thing and took one home with her for later!

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!