Thursday, October 21, 2010

Microwave Chocolate Cake

This is for when you have One of Those Days. You know the kind I’m talkin’ about. They’re the ones when you wish you could just crawl back into bed, or escape to a warm sunny beach in the Bahamas, or sit and watch a chick flick completely uninterrupted while eating something rich and chocolate-y!
Thanks to my dear friend Kris, I found that recipe!
When I’m having One of Those Days, the last thing I often feel like doing is baking a complicated dessert or sharing. With this you don’t have to do either.
All it takes is a few simple ingredients, a coffee mug and a microwave…
First get out one standard sized (11 oz or larger) microwave safe coffee mug.
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
dash of salt
into the mug and whisk together with a spoon. You can even use the Tbsp, then you have fewer dishes to do! Bonus!!!
brownie mug 02
Then add
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp cold water
splash of vanilla
and mix thoroughly. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom well.
Then fold in
a small handful of chocolate chips
brownie mug 04
Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Let sit for 1 minute in microwave.
brownie mug 05
Remove and let cool a bit before eating.
brownie mug 06
It is really hot and gooey (sort of reminds me of lava cake) and perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

My friend Susie makes these phenomenal pumpkin bars and she gave me the recipe. I could hardly wait to make them! They are good with or without frosting. This time I used maple flavoring in the frosting and it complemented the pumpkin perfectly!
4 eggs, 1 C oil, 2 C sugar, 15oz pumpkin puree

Mix ingredients well.

Add: 2 C flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp soda, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Pour into greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min.
pumpkin bars 01
Frosting: 1 6oz pkg cream cheese, 3/4 stick of butter, 1 TBSP milk, 1 TBSP vanilla (or 1 tsp maple flavoring) and 4 C powdered sugar.
pumpkin bars 02pumpkin bars 03
They’re even better with a cup of coffee!
pumpkin bars 04

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Real Pumpkin Spice Latte

I love pumpkin spice lattes on a cool crisp autumn day! Unfortunately they are just not usually in the budget. But my friend Kris in Taiwan sent me this recipe for crock pot lattes that have real pumpkin in them! The other bonus, unlike the coffee shop version, this one’s GF! This recipe makes enough for two. So invite a friend over and enjoy!

2 cups milk
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or you can use: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee

Pour milk and coffee into crock pot. (A small one works best). Whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

Cook on high for 2 hours or until hot.

Whisk again before pouring into mugs. Top with whipped cream if desired.

pumpkin spice latte 01 I even splurged and bought this cute little owl mug at a thrift store downtown just because I thought it was perfect for sipping pumpkin spice lattes from. :o)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Caramel Apples

Every October we buy 5 juicy tart Granny Smiths and make caramel apples. But we just don’t make plain caramel apples. Ours are little works of art! They look so pretty sitting on my little vintage plates! But not too pretty to eat… LOL

But here’s the recipe for the caramel.

1 can condensed milk

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/8 tsp salt

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring very often to keep from burning, until it reaches 250. Remove from heat.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla.

Place popsicle sticks into washed and dried apples.

apples and onions 02

Dip into caramel, covering completely.

Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper.

If you wish you may drizzle with melted chocolate or sprinkle with nuts, candies or sprinkles.

Place in fridge until firm.


caramel apples 01

caramal apples 05 caramal apples 04

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sugar and Stick Free

I learned this trick several years ago and I LOVE it! Why grease and flour your pan when baking cakes or quick breads? Instead of flour use sugar… It gives your baked goods this yummy sweet crisp crust and everything you bake slips right out!

sugared pan 01

Pancake Syrup

I really don’t like that we go through so much pancake syrup around here! All I can think about it how much high fructose corn syrup we are consuming. I would love to be able to afford real maple syrup but that would require a second mortgage on the house or for one of the boys to get a full-time job.

My friend Stephanie told me she makes her own pancake syrup from a recipe that was her mother in  law’s. I was so excited to try it! Not only do I love making things myself but I have this really snazzy syrup container to put it in!

It’s really easy to make and you just store it in the fridge. And it’s perfect on pancakes and waffles!

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water.

Bring to a boil over med heat, stirring occasionally. Let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let rest for 1 minute.

Stir in 1/2 tsp maple extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Store in fridge. It will get thicker after it cools.

pancake syrup 01

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our Favorite Salsa

I have no idea what this salsa is really called but I know that we LOVED it last year! I am also thankful that although I lost it my friend Ann Marie still had the copy I gave her!

8 cups chopped tomatoes

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 1/2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped jalapenos

1 cup chopped bell peppers

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp pickling salt

2 1/2 tsp cumin seed

crushed red pepper to taste

Mix all this in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Our Favorite Salsa - The Backyard Farmwife



Our Favorite Salsa - The Backyard Farmwife

Remove from heat and stir in the juice from 1 lime and 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro.

Fill hot pint jars to 1/2” headspace and process for 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Let rest 5 minutes before removing from canner.

Our Favorite Salsa - The Backyard Farmwife

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This recipe for enchilada sauce is pretty tasty and easy to make, too. Pour it over whatever meat-stuffed tortillas you like, top with shredded cheese and you’re done! Oh, you should bake them before you eat them… :o)

Bring 4 cups water to a boil. While water is coming to a boil, whisk together 2/3 cup cold water and a scant 2/3 cup flour until smooth.

enchilada sauce 02

Whisk in

1/2 cup chili powder (I use a combo of regular and hot chili powder)

2 tsp ground cumin

4 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

enchilada sauce 01

Boil and whisk for 3 minutes.

enchilada sauce 03

Stir water/flour mixture and slowly pour into boiling mixture. Whisk well to eliminate any lumps. Continue to boil and whisk for 1 minute.

enchilada sauce 04Roll either flour or corn tortillas with the meat of your choice (shredded beef, chicken or pork or ground beef). Place into glass baking dish with a little sauce on the bottom. (I forgot this step in the picture… oops!)

enchilada sauce 05enchilada sauce 06Top tortillas with the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

enchilada sauce 07enchilada sauce 08Bake at 375 until cheese melts and enchiladas are heated through.