Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake and a Pink Hyacinth!


 Here is a photo of my Pink Hyacinth! This one bloomed first as the tulips and Daffodils are still growing! How exciting to have a light pink flower blooming for Valentines Day! Yay!!! 

Here is my recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cake! I forgot to take a photo of it before we consumed it freely! It was pretty good but I have had better. Not sure what I did differently this time...

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBL cocoa powder
1 cup quick oats
1 3/4 cups boiling water
1 cup chocolate chips or 5-7 ounces baking chocolate, chopped up

Mix together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and the add to sugar mixture. Add boiling water to the oats and let rest until soft. Add oatmeal to cake batter, mix in with chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and put in pre-heated 350F oven. Bake for 30 minutes. 
Let cool while you make the traditional marshmallow chocolate frosting. 

6 TBL butter
6 TBL Milk
2cups sugar
1 cup chocolate chips 
1 cup mini marshmallows or 1/2 cup regular oneN
Melt sugar, butter and milk together  and boil for about a minute. Turn off heat and add in chips and marshmallows. Pour over cake as soon as mixed asit sets up quickly. Let frosting cool then serve! 

Happy Tuesday!
~ KT~

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chuckwagons and Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

Here is a picture of the finish "product"!
Today, I made "Chuckwagons". It is essentially a meat, cheese and biscuit cinnamon roll. I have no idea the history of this recipe except that it's been made in my family "forever"! So if you have any history on this dish, let me know! I grew up eating these and the best part of Chuckwagons is that they freeze well; I mean, very well!!!
So I made a quad batch and whatever we don't eat for dinner tonight I will freeze for when the new baby comes! It's so easy to pull out a bag, throw them in the microwave (or if you're like me and do not own one, the oven!) to reheat and eat!
Yay for homemade "fast" food!!!
My son renamed them "Truck Tires". He keeps correcting me when I call them Chuckwagons! Adorable!!!!
Here is the recipe for Chuckwagons or Truck Tires:
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil or softened butter
3/4 cup milk
1 pound cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef, venison, bison, or other ground meat of choice
Mix biscuit ingredients together, will be semi-soft. Roll out dough in 1/8inch rectangle (just like cinnamon rolls!) on a floured surface. Pat down ground beef on biscuit rectangle. Sprinkle cheese over meat, reserving some to sprinkle on each roll after cooking. Put on greased pan about 1/2" apart. Cook at 350F for 20-30 minutes. After pulling out of the oven, sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each Chuckwagon. Serve when melted or let cool and save for later!
~My notes on recipe~
I used peanut oil today and it worked just fine. I use regular milk but would like to try out buttermilk next time. I used 3 pounds of cheese for 4 batches today. 2 pounds Medium Cheddar and 1 pound Monterey Jack. I shred my own cheese because already shredded cheese never melts like it should.
I also made Chocolate Oatmeal Cake for desert- more on that tomorrow! Also this week I am making another of my family's classics! Pasties!!! They originated in the mines, basically they are a pocket sandwich. We serve them with gravy and ketchup as options. I like them plain sometimes too and a few times I've used bbq sauce and mustard as a side dressing just to try out something different.
One of the things I miss about living in the Great Lakes region is the amount of pasty shops where I could buy hot or frozen pasties so I could enjoy the fabulous meal without the work, if I was short on time! Friendly FYI: Pronounced pas-tee with the "a" being short like the word "cat". Pronounce it the other way with the "a" rhyming with "Katie" and you're a sure shootin' tourist!
So check back for my Pasty making and also for the Chocolate Oatmeal Cake recipe for tomorrow!
Happy Cooking!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Seasonal, Maternity, Nursing and Other Thoughts on Clothing Problems

Today I was "Pinteresting" (my own made up verb for it) and realized, for me, maternity clothing throughout the seasons is not a problem.

In fact, maternity clothing is the easiest type of clothing style, no matter what the season is! (Hello, it's baby season!)

Enter the post natal period and "Houston, we have a problem".

Now I have the problem of nursing friendly clothing, age appropriate clothing, seasonal appropriate clothing, so on and so forth.

Here is where I'm coming from: I feel too old to be shopping in the Junior section, yet I feel too young to be shopping in the Women's section. I tried mixing and matching but it just doesn't work that way.

Enter in the nursing friendly category and that sharply limits your choices, especially if you don't use *tent covers for nursing and you want to remain modest while utilizing a fashionable scarf or moby-style carrier to nurse with/in.

*Side Note to tent covers: I found I received more dis-approving looks while using tent covers and it screamed to the world "Hello! I am feeding my baby and I am trying to hide it so pretend you just didn't see me!". However, when I nurse "discreetly" while baby is in a front carrier, a light layered look with a nursing top, or with a fashion scarf pulled ever so slightly no one notices! I never get looks or second glances!

 ~This is my personal experienced and why I have a problem with fashionable nursing friendly clothing~ 

My Solution* to this problem of dressing age appropriate, nursing friendly yet stylish clothing is simple. Yes, even in the hot months of summer when a little heater is hungry and needs to eat in public and it's too hot to wear the baby carrier. *see more ideas below!

This summer denim, or chambray shirts are "in", as well as loose, button down blouses. Score one for nursing friendly!

Pair a nursing tank with one of those button down cuties and you have a winning top combo. Pair with accessories like a necklace and/or scarf to nurse discreetly and keep a baby's busy fingers busy. Cute coordinating earrings would help too, sometimes its just easier to stick with pearl studs because they go with almost anything!

For the bottom half you can do anything! A maxi skirt, regular skirt, short shorts, Bermuda shorts, capris, skinnies or even the "in" look- wide legged pants, denim or not!

Shoes are the easiest, in the summer you have flipflops, sandals, cute beachy wedges and if you're in the mood for it heels! Just take it easy until you get your balance back after being pregnant for months on end! (Personal experience speaking again!).

For me, diaper bags are a tacky no-no.

I'm sorry, blue dinosaurs, Winnie the pooh, and pink bows in a soft cooler type texture just yells "I'm a mommy and you now know it!".

Nope, I'd rather have my bag yell "I'm a woman, wife, mother and you know it!".

My theory behind this is, I was 'somebody' before I got married and before I had babies. Getting married and having children doesn't change who I am, rather it makes me more of what I was, it makes me better! I don't want to leave my fashionable things, or things I enjoy behind me. Those days aren't gone completely! Just semi on-hold until the kids get a tad bit older. When they move away and start their own lives separate of mine and my husband's, I don't want to have a sudden "my life is gone, who am I now?!" moment. I'm still me and I feel that is important to show my girls. I'm a woman, I'm their daddy's wife and their one and only mommy.

Here's the key to my bag fetish: If I don't show my girls and my son for that matter, what a woman is like then who else will? I look around at the magazines and like that internet commercial says to do, I want to teach my children what true beauty, what true fashion is, what character is before the world does. It will happen!
So I need to show them first!

So whether I make my own bag or find a fashionable one to buy or trade for "diaper" bag use when baby comes. No one will be able to tell it's for a use other than it's original intended fashionable yet handy accessory use.

To sum it all up:
Summer nursing clothes can be fashionable, womanly but not necessarily matronly and you can find clever ways to wear your favorite styles of clothing and still nursing comfortably, discreetly and be comfortable knowing you look good and not frumpy!

Some more summer nursing ideas:
~Altered maxi dresses with buttons down part of the front, paired with a belt around the waist and sandals. Add a scarf if desired and worn over a nursing bra its easy, breezy nursing!
~The classic nursing top/tank with or without a nursing bra underneath. Pair with a :
Button down blouse
Denim/chambray shirt
Crochet/knit wrap or shawl
Fashion scarf
Coordinating blazer
Loose pull over top that can be lifted up but the nursing tank will still provide tummy/back coverage (Think an oversized, casual sweater or a tunic top)
~Bottoms are easy breezy!
Skirts, Maxi Skirts, various types of shorts, various types of pants. Just pair with whatever you feel best in that coordinates with your tops!
~Shoes are even easier!
~Bags should be easier but don't feel trapped in the traditional diaper bag! You can make, buy, or trade for "all-in-one" Diaper changing mat, and diaper/wipes, etc. holders to use in more than one bag! Just grab, place and go! Love that they also give you a place to change your baby on in public, especially since most of the time the diaper changing stations are out of the protective covers!
~Accessories!!! Don't forget earrings, even if 'just studs', or a simple necklace that baby can grasp onto while nursing. Scarves can take an outfit up a notch easily! Bracelets, even if to remind you which side was last can help break the "I just had a baby rut" in your post-natal emotions! In summer a simple pony can look great too! Lip gloss and mascara are easy fixes during the first few weeks post birth to lift your moods and make you feel like a woman again!
Belts can bring up the line of sight so people don't notice the post birth pooch (however temporary it may be or however long it sticks around)!

There is no limit to being fashionable during any of your life stages and in any season! It takes a little creativity, a little bit of your own personal tastes and sometimes a little altering to look Oh, la, la good! Don't settle for just what the stores sell you either! Thrift, make it your self, or have a friend make it for you and shop around too. It does help to think ahead before baby's birth to get a few go-to outfits for going out in public post-baby because who really feels like shopping the first week after birth. (Not this woman! I'd rather sleep as much as possible!)
I will post photos of my summer nursing fashions as I get them together for this year! Stay tuned (it may be a few months, but before June!

Happy Fashioning!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bread Pudding Part 2

Here is the winning bread pudding of last night!
Recipe adapted from:
"Granny's Bread Pudding" from the cookbook "Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen".
1/4 stick (4 Tbl) butter
1 loaf (about 9 ounces) French bread torn into 1 inch pieces
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 quart milk
~Melt butter and let cool- don't let it boil.
~Place bread in 9x13 glass casserole dish.
~In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs with a fork. Stir in the sugar and salt. Add the cooled melted butter and gradually stir in the milk. Pour this over the torn bread. Let stand for 30-45 minutes for he bread to absorb the liquid.
~While the pudding is standing, heat the oven to 350 F.
~Bake the pudding until risen, golden brown and not runny, about 45 minutes.
The recipe came with a recipe for Rum Sauce, however, we used a traditional Vanilla Sauce as follows:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbl corn starch
2 cups boiling water
4 Tbl butter
2 tsp vanilla
~Boil 2 cups water. While waiting for water to boil mix the sugar and corn starch in a 1 quart pan. Stir the boiling water into the sugar/corn starch slowly. Put all back on stove and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.
-Variations for the Vanilla Sauce-
You can use real maple syrup instead of vanilla.
You can use honey instead of sugar but only use 1 1/2 cups water.
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Battle of the Bread Puddings

Today I decided to make bread pudding since I had almost an entire, large loaf of French bread that was going stale. Since we don't want to let anything go to waste bread pudding, like in the old days, seemed like a good idea for dessert tonight to use up!

Since the loaf was so big I had enough for either a double batch of one recipe or two single batches.

I decided to make my husband's family recipe for bread pudding, handed down to them through the generations. It's a special recipe and I'm very, very excited to hand this recipe down to our children and keep the traditions going strong!

The other recipe is one that was in one of the new cookbook's my husband gave me and it has a recipe for Southern Style bread pudding. I love southern cooking. Actually I love most kinds of cooking because each style is unique and special to a different place in the country and even the world!

I will post later on the results. I have a feeling the family recipe will win. Mostly because of the raisins and cinnamon involved with it vs. the more plain but sweeter southern recipe. We shall see!

In other news winter finally hit our part of the country and while the sun is shining the brightest since we've been here it is only 4 degrees above 0! I'm used to having brisk winters like that so the temperature is not a complaint in my department but the sun sure makes that sky blue, blue, blue! Against the green of the pines with the snow on the branches, it is absolutely gorgeous out!!! Wow, what a beautiful world we live in, if we only take the time to notice the beauty around us! I'll try to get some photos while my next recipe of bread pudding is in the oven and post later this week!

Here is a photo of my very much missed Nubian doeling Dehlia in the springtime. I sure miss her and cannot wait to get some land and get a few more goats and other animals!
Happy Baking,