Friday, February 26, 2010

Too Many Irons in the Fire

I have always been a person who cannot just do one things at a time. I read two books at once, work on two projects at the same time, and etc. I think this time though, I've got too many irons in the fire. I have got so much going on right now. For the last several days I have been developing a web site for the items I sell at the Farmer's Market. I this something I love and would like to expand it from a passion to an passion with an great income. I know this is something I can make happen, I've got got to put my full effort into it! I went online and downloaded the forms to become an LLC and go get a Federal ID number, I've just got to come up with the money for processing fees. I would love to expand this to be able to have a commercial kitchen with a store front. Right now, I operate under the Ohio Cottage Food Law which means, I cannot take orders over the internet, I cannot sell outside of Ohio, and I cannot sell food that need to be refrigerated. This does limit me as to what I can and cannot sell. I have some great recipes for pie, but cannot sell them do the the refrigeration part. Long story short, this is something my main focus is going to be on this year.

Also, as soon as we get our income tax money back, we are remodeling our house. In several ways I am looking forward to having a normal house, but then again, I am not looking forward to the huge mess this is going to create. Our plans are to knock out the wall the separates our kitchen and TV room. Not as easy as it sounds! The wall is a bloom wall, meaning it goes all the way up stairs. If we tear it out down here, our second floor would come crashing down, so we have to support the floor/ceiling to take out the wall. The second challenge is in the wall itself. The wall contains the old stove pipes that were once used in conjunction with the old coal stoves. The previous home owner did not take the pipes out when they converted to a "modern" heating system. Instead, they enclosed the pipes in concrete and walled it in. This shaft runs up all the way into the bloom wall. This means, we have to tear a hole in our bedroom wall and take out the concrete and carry it out. Now, why an I going through all of this trouble over wall, my kitchen will be expanded to the two rooms. I will be able to have my kitchen sink in the kitchen instead of it's own little room. I will also be able to have a shower!!! The room where my sink currently is will become my bathroom and my old bathroom a laundry room. This will get the washer and dryer out of my kitchen. This project will also allow me to have kitchen counters and cabinets (house built without them). I will take plenty of pictures so everyone can see what I'm talking about.

As of right now, I still don't have a desire to do anything crafty. I think I am just burnt out. My sister referred some people to me to hem pants and I turned them down. I just down want to go near my sewing machine right now. I know this will change, it better, I have too much fabric!

So, that is a brief summary of what's happening in my life right now. I will try to post on here as much as I can.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tubby Little Snowman

One day, Jaiden started singing this song to me and I thought it was so cute! I had never heard it before. Last night we were down at my grandmonther's house and I asked her to sing it for me.

Here's Jaiden's singing debut:
video

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

King Cake


" The history of the King Cake has its roots in pre-Christian religions of Western Europe. Part of the Harvest celebrations that the pagans practiced was the sacrifice ritual. It was customary to choose a man to be the "sacred king" of the tribe for a year. That man would be treated like a king for the year, then he would be sacrificed, and his blood returned to the soil to ensure that the harvest would be successful. The method of choosing who would have the honor of being the sacred king was the purpose of the "King's Cake". Several men of the tribe, would eat of the cake A coin or bean would be placed in the cake before baking, and whoever got the slice that had the coin was the chosen one.

When Christianity extended its influence and began overshadowing the religions that came before it, many of the local customs were not outright abolished, but instead were incorporated into Christian tradition and given a new spin. Catholic priests were not predisposed to human sacrifice, so the King's Cake was converted into a celebration of the Magi, the three Kings who came to visit the Christ Child.
French settlers brought the custom to Louisiana in the 18th century where it remained associated with the Epiphany until the 19th century when it became a more elaborate Mardi Gras custom. In New Orleans, the first cake of the season is served on January 6. A small ceramic figurine of a baby is hidden inside the cake, by tradition. Whoever finds the baby is allowed to choose a mock court and host the next King Cake party the following week (weekly cake parties were held until Mardi Gras).

The classic king cake is oval-shaped, like the pattern of a racetrack. The dough is basic coffee-cake dough, sometimes laced with cinnamon, sometimes just plain. The dough is rolled out into a long tubular shape, then shaped into an oval. The ends are twisted together to complete the shape. The baby hidden in the cake speaks to the fact that the three Kings had a difficult time finding the Christ Child and of the fine gifts they brought.

The cake is then baked, and decorated when it comes out. The classic decoration is simple granulated sugar, colored purple, green, and gold (the colors of Carnival)."
The colored sugars on the cake also have meaning. The purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.

The girls saw a picture of a king cake in a magazine and got excited and told me that we had to make one. Since we were snowed in again yesterday, the girls and I made our very first king cake. We all had a lot of fun making the cake, but it took us all day!

Since this was my very first king cake, it came with a learning experience. There are some things I will do differently next year. I think that the cake baked a little too long, the top was a little hard and we didn't care for the icing. I also changed the amount of cinnamon/sugar mixture that went into the filling and omitted the raisins.

The recipe listed is WITH my changes. **As a tip: Anytime the recipe says to "let rise in a warm place free from drafts", put the dough in the oven with just the oven light on. The oven keeps the dough free from drafts and the light adds the warmth the dough needs to rise. (thanks to my friend Tiffany for this tip!!)**

King Cake

Cake:
1 c. milk
1/2 stick margarine
2 (.25) pkgs. dry active yeast
2/3 c. warm water (110*F/45*C)
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 3/4 c. flour

Filling:
1 c. sugar
2 Tbl. cinnamon
1/2 stick margarine, melted

Icing:
1 stick plus 2 Tbl. margarine, melted
4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4-8 Tbl. hot water

Colored Sugar
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
red, green, blue and yellow liquid food coloring

1. In a medium sized bowl, dissolve yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and warm water. Let rest for 5 minutes.
2. After 5 minutes, whisk the yeast to mix it until it is completely dissolves. Let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes.
3. Scald milk. remove from heat and add butter. Allow to cool slightly.
4. Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add eggs. Using the dough hook, being mixing the dough. Very slowly, add the milk and the yeast mixture. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2hours.
6. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
7. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles, about 1/2". Brush with melted butter.
8. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over each dough rectangle.
9. Roll up each dough, like a jelly roll. Place on a greased cookie sheet, using each roll to form a half circle. Pinch the ends of each roll together.
10. With sharp knife, make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals.
11. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
12. Bake at 350*F (175*C) for 20-25 minutes.
13. When cool, push the doll into the bottom of the cake and ice.
14. To make icing: In medium bowl, mix melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla; add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until glaze reaches desired spreading consistency.
15. For colored sugar: In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of sugar with yellow food coloring. Whisk to incorporate the coloring. Repeat with the green, and the red and blue(purple). If you mix yellow first, then green, then purple, you can use the same bowl and whisk.
16. Sprinkle sugars over the icing.
17. Sit back, relax, and eat a piece of cake, you deserve it!!





History of the King Cake taken from Mardi Gras Digest

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Name that Flag

First, I want to apologize, I know this is "Red Mommy Crafts", but I just do not have any inspiration to create or the desire to make any crafty right now. I think I am a little burnt out. However, I do want to continue posting different items. I know the crafting bug with hit me again, it's just not right now!

On with the post! Tomorrow night, a bunch of the family are getting together at my grandmother's house for dinner and to watch some of the Olympics. We are having a "Name that Flag" contest. So, I thought I would test your knowledge on the world's flags also. See how many you can get right. Answers will be posted Tuesday, after our dinner.

1.
A: Lesotho
B: Luxembourg
C: Liechtenstein



2.
A: Austria
B: Denmark
C: Poland


3.
A: Estonia
B: Laos
C: Greece


4.
A: Ghana
B: Germany
C: Jamaica


5.
A: Ivory Coast
B: India
C: Ireland

6.
A: Austria
B: Denmark
C: Latvia


7.
A: Mexico
B: Senegal
C: Morocco


8.
A: South Korea
B: Japan
C: Vietnam


9.
A: Jamaica
B: Cayman Islands
C: Bahamas

10.
A: United States
B: USA
C: United States of America


GOOD LUCK!!

All flag pictures are from Flags.net

Friday, February 12, 2010

Boring Cupcakes, or are They??

Want a way to "WOW" anyone that eats your cupcakes? If so, you have to make these cupcakes!!

I got the idea from Omnomicon, where she made a beautiful rainbow cake. (side note: there is some language on her site that some people might find offensive.) I thought this would be so neat to make for Jaiden's school for St. Patrick's Day, you know, the rainbow with the gold at the end. My thought was to get some chocolate gold coins to decorate the top of the cake. Then, I thought, cupcakes would be so much easier for the kids to eat. So, I experimented today to see if it would work. I am so very pleased with the results! I am going to try to find some of those coins or some sort of Paddy's Day pick to put into each one.

Rainbow Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
(egg, water, oil, or whatever the box calls for)
1 box food color gels (not liquid food coloring)
homemade or store bought icing/frosting
24 paper cupcake cups

1. Make your batter according to the instructions on the box.
2. Divide your batter into 6 bowls by putting approx. 1/2 cup of batter into each bowl.
3. Squeeze the appropriate color into each bowl and stir well. (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) You will have to mix colors to get orange and purple.
4. Place the papers into the pan and lightly spray each paper with non-stick spray.
5. Decide what look you want for the cupcakes. I did one set starting with red, one set starting with purple, and one set in no particular order.
6. Place one teaspoon of 1st color in the bottom.
7. Place a teaspoon of 2nd color on top of 1st color in the middle. This will make the 1st color spread.
8. Continue placing the colors on top of each other.
9. Bake according to box directions.
10. Ice/frost you cupcakes.
11. Stand back and admire your results.

This is all the colors in the separate bowls


Before the cupcakes went into the oven


After the cupcakes came out of the oven


This cupcake is made with the purple on bottom and the red on top






This cupcake was made with the red on bottom and purple on top






This cupcake was made by just putting the colors in together




Here are the 3 different types all together

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Enough is Enough!!

It snowed, it's snowing, and it will snow! We got our first round of snow last Friday with another round yesterday and today, we are getting round three. The news is also predicting a round four to come through on Sunday with more "significant snow". We easily have over a foot (0.3m)of snow already on the ground. Ryan used the snow blower last night when we got a break in the snow, and an hour later, you really couldn't see when he worked. This really is an unusually high amount of snow for us.

I am staying inside cleaning and baking. The girls are getting cabin fever because it's just too cold to allow them to go out and play. My utility bill will be high again this month due to the very cold temps!

This is the amount of snow piled up on my outdoor table.


This is the side of the snow path where Ryan just plowed.


Can you find the girls' Barbie jeep?


This is what one of our cars looked like yesterday afternoon. It had been cleaned off from the last snow.


This is our grill.


Can you find the two lane road in front of my house?


This is the tree in my front yard.


This is a special treat for all of those who do not get snow.
video

Monday, February 8, 2010

Old Fashioned Caramels

All I have to say is, once you try homemade caramels, you'll never eat store bought again!! I found this old, handwritten recipe in a bundle of old recipes that I bought at estate sale last summer. Ryan and I both love caramel, so I thought I would give this a try!

Next time, I am going to make a change to the original directions. The recipe says to butter a pan and turn out onto wax paper when cold. The next time I make this, I am going to have wax paper already in my pan. The recipe states to cook this over a slow fire, which means low heat, but I cooked it over medium low and it did just fine. It took a little over an hour to get the caramel to temperature. I will be making this again!!

Caramels

1 c. milk
1/2 c. cream
1 c. sweetened condensed milk
1 c. light corn syrup
2 c. sugar
1/4 butter or margarine
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all but vanilla over medium high heat until caramel reaches hard ball stage, about 248*. Be sure to stay close by and stir constantly the last 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a well buttered 8x8 pan. When cold, turn into wax paper, cut and wrap.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Pickle Pops

Just when I thought I'd seen it all: