Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In the kitchen: Not a whole lot of cooking going on. Our freezer is overflowing so we've been defrosting dinner a lot lately. I may get around to actually cooking dinner once or twice this week.
New with Embry: We had some problems last week with Embry a couple of weeks ago. All of the sudden she did not want to go to school in the morning. We poke with her teacher and it turns out that right around the same time they had a fire drill at school. After talking to Embry about it we discovered that it was not the alarm that she was afraid of, but the idea that there might be a fire at school. She understands just enough about fires to know that they are scary but didn't understand the concept of a fire drill being just for practice. I think J and I have convinced her that school is safe and that there aren't going to be any fires. Ever since she has gone to school in the morning without any complaints. (Although she still looks forward very much to the weekend when both she and Daddy get to stay home.)
New with Matthew: Matthew has two new amusing talents. One is that he likes to pull up on something, let go and just stand there. He's not holding onto anything and he has not tried to take a step, he must just like the way it feels to stand there balancing on his own. The other thing he's been doing a lot lately, especially when he is wrestling around on the floor with his sister, is to sit up on his knees, bang on his chest with both fists and yell. He looks and sounds like Tarzan or a gorilla showing his dominance over the other animals. It is hilarious. To quote one of my favorite Moms, Kate Gosslin from "Jon and Kate plus 8," "Boys are men from the day they are born."
I am grateful for: The wonderful city that we live in. We are never without something fun to do on the weekends. Last weekend we found a new park near Embry's school that has a huge playground, a carousel, and a butterfly house. We had so much fun there. But, I will have to get a little more creative with things to do once it gets too cold for Matthew to be outside for a while.
The weather outside: Well, it is definitely fall here now. It has gotten colder, but not so much that we can't spend the afternoon at the park.
I'm obsessing about: (I know it's early but...) What to make for Thanksgiving. We will be traveling up to Rock Falls for the holiday weekend and celebrating the day at my aunt's house. I'm pretty sure that I will be making a pumpkin pie. I found a new and very interesting recipe that I want try. I calls for both pumpkin and sweet potato in the filling. But, I also want to bring a non-dessert side dish. I've gone through all of my old recipes and didn't find anything. So, I guess it's on to surfing my favorite websites to find the perfect recipe.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. lemon juice
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Here's the recipe...the part about the egg yolk seemed very weird to me but it worked because the texture of the cookies was perfect.
French Butter Cookies
1 Large egg yolk, hard boiled
10 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1. Press egg yolk through fine mesh strainer into a bowl of stand mixer. Add butter, sugar and salt. and beat on medium speed about 4 minutes. Turn mixer to low and add vanilla. Stop mixer and add flour. Mix on low until just combined, about 30 seconds.
2. Turn dough out onto parchment and press into a cohesive mass. (Dough will seem dry, but will hydrate in the fridge.) Divide dough in half and roll each piece into a log 6 inches log and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment, twist ends to seal and compact into a tight cylinder. Chill at least 1 hour. Dough could also be frozen for up to 2 weeks.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place 1 inch apart onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Brush cookies with egg wash (1 egg white slightly beaten with 1 tsp water) and sprinkle with coarse (sanding) sugar.
4. Bake about 15 minutes, until edges are slightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes, transfer to cooling rack.
**For all of the cookies you see in the photo I made 2 batches of regular and one batch of chocolate (recipe follows).
For Chocolate Butter Cookies:
Follow recipe for regular, except reduce flour to 1 1/3 cups and add 1/4 Dutch-processed cocoa to flour.
For the sandwich cookie filling I simply melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and spread it between two cooled cookies.
For the pretzels you roll the slices of dough into balls and then into 6 inch long snakes. Then you form into a pretzel shape and bake like normal.
For directions on how to form the spiral and checkerboard cookies I would use the illustrations and video on cooksillustrated.com as it is much more complicated to explain here.
The recipe turned out delicious and Embry loved helping make so many different shapes in one afternoon. We had some melted chocolate left over and we couldn't let it go to waste so we all agreed that it was best drizzled over the pretzels. Yum!
Other possibilities...adding lemon zest for lemon cookies, toasted coconut, or almond extract instead of vanilla. And don't get me started on the sandwich cookie fillings...
Sunday, October 12, 2008
We decided to go pick out pumpkins first since the line was already long when we arrived at 10:00 am. We rode a tractor pulled trailer out to the patch, which the kids loved. Once we got out there I tried to convince Embry that both she and Matthew needed to get small (6 inches diameter or less) ones, so as to make carrying them all back easier. Of course, Embry wanted a big one for me AND for her AND picked out a huge 25 pounder for J. (Matthew did get a tiny one though).
Somehow we made it back to the parking lot with all 4 pumpkins and both kids. Next it was on the the rides and the animals. Embry jumped in one of the inflatable things and rode on one of the little kid rides.
When we got to the petting zoo she tried feeding a goat, but decided she didn't like it so much. The pony rides cost extra and were pretty lame, and she was scared of the camel, so we decided it was time for a snack. They had kettle corn, funnel cake, lemon shake-ups, etc. But, since it was near 85 degrees that afternoon we opted for the frozen custard. Embry had a sprinkle and marshmallow sundae and Matthew shared my sundae with fresh peaches, YUM! Then we headed home. I'll post pictures of the pumpkins after we get them carved/decorated.