Monday, February 21, 2011
It's Soup Time...in a Jar.
We love a certain brand of pickles that come in large mason jars. And I've been saving the jars for various purposes- such as "lanterns" with tealights outside. But when I ran out of tupperware for some homemade soup, two freshly washed jars were the perfect containers to share soup with our neighbors. Now, because I didn't actually can the soup, they had to go in the fridge to eat immediately but gosh, they sure made that soup look nice! This is a ham, bean and lentil soup that my mom made at our house. We've put our butternut squash and apple soup in these jars too and it looks fantastic.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Nothing says love like a homemade peanut butter cup and it's easier than you think. Thanks to the Hungry Mouse, we were able to quickly create our own version of the Reese's classic using peanut butter, powdered sugar and chocolate chips plus some decorations for the top. Here's the easy how-to:
MAKING THE SHELL
Melt your favorite chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet or dark) in a bowl at 30 second intervals in the microwave- stirring in between until smooth. Because we were eating this immediately, it was no problem to use this method instead of tempering the chocolate. Once melted, using a spoon, place a large dollop of chocolate in a mini- muffin liner and spread up the sides using the spoon. Be generous with the chocolate and place in the freezer to quickly harden.
PLACING THE FILLING
We used a blend of 1 cup of peanut butter to about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mixed well. Adjust the stickiness with the powdered sugar to your desired consistency. A less sticky mixture is easy to spoon. Be sure to put a reasonable amount in the center of the shell and not up the sides. You will be covering this in chocolate and want to encase the filling in chocolate creating a chocolate seal- mmmm. We tried peanut butter alone and peanut butter with apricot jam but the possibilities are endless...could include s'mores, boozy fruit and other chocolate-friendly fillings.
Ok, I made up the chocolate seal but a large dollop of melted chocolate on the top does seal in the filling. Feel free to smooth it or swirl it. Then place in the freezer for a few minutes to harden quickly.
And to make this a Valentine's day treat, we used Wilton melting chips to draw designs on the tops. We also used them to make some hardened designs that were placed on the wet chocolate. The nice thing about the melting chips is that they too harden making these treats easy to bring home to your sweetie!
And there you have it...homemade chocolate peanut butter goodness in a matter of minutes. I'd like to make more of these with other fillings...
got any suggestions for me?
Monday, February 7, 2011
Kiwi Caipirinhas for Everyone!
Justin used to travel to Brazil and bring home cachaça, a spirit from fermented sugar cane. We made our own version of a caipirinha, the Platinum Caipirinha, at this past post. This year, I read about a kiwi caipirinha in Sunset magazine and we had to try it! And this is a cocktail that can become a mocktail with one easy substitution.
You can make this with cachaça or for a non-alcoholic version, substitute 7-up or mix a bit of both for a less potent version.
Muddle in a cocktail shaker
• One lime, cut into chunks
• One kiwi, peeled and sliced- reserve a slice for garnish
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 2 oz of cachaça (or substitute part or all with 7-up)
Shake over crushed ice and pour the whole thing ice, fruit and all into a glass and garnish with a slice of kiwi.
It's lovely to look at and quite delicious with or without the alcohol.
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