Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: "Afternoon Tea"

Click here for the recipe for these apple puff pancakes.

Apple puff Pancakes Recipe

Here's the recipe for the apple puff pancakes from this week's menu. A wonderful light supper with a taste of fall.

Toni's (my mother-in-law) Apple Puff Pancakes
3 or 4 large apples (we used Granny Smith ---YUM)
1/3 cup butter plus 2-3 Tbsp more
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar (divided)

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples. Sautee apple slices in 1/3 cup butter for 5 minutes. Mix together 1/3 cup sugar with spices and add to apples. Cook over low heat 10 minutes.
Mix eggs, milk, flour, & salt. Beat well with a whisk or hand mixer till smooth.
Place 9x13 glass baking dish in hot oven with 1 to 2 Tbsp butter. When butter is melted, pour batter into dish and return to oven. Bake for 15 minutes. As soon as batter puffs up puncture puffed area with fork. Lower heat to moderate (350 degrees) and bake 10 minutes more.
Brush with remaining tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with sugar if desired. (I usually just brush with butter but leave off the extra sugar). Serve topped with hot apple mixture.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday's Tackle: Creating a baking center

I have been less than thrilled with my kitchen lately. It is small but I believe there is adequate storage space for the things I need. My problem was that I don't think I was using the space in the best way. There was only a rhyme and reason to a few select shelves and the rest of the cupboards and shelves were a hodgepodge of whatever happened to land there. I sat down with my niece who is here helping me till mid December. We made a plan of some "little bites" we plan to do this week to help meet some goals and deadlines. Then after lunch we tackled one area of the kitchen. I removed everything from the "book"shelf behind my curtain and turned it into the baking corner. I know that I will be doing a lot of baking in the next 2 months and the equipment and ingredients were spread out all over the kitchen. We sorted through spices and decorating supplies, put some Tupperware containers to new use, gathered up muffin tins and cake pans from to and fro and it is all reunited in this new home. Things that did not relocate are the glass Pyrex baking dishes because they fit perfectly between the top of the microwave and the shelf above it, and because they are also used for casseroles or other cooking tasks. Likewise the cookie sheets will remain nestled on their sides in the small space to the side of the microwave. The mixing bowls will also probably stay where they are in the only cupboard with extra wide shelves and because they are also used for so much more than just baking.
I am happy with what has been accomplished so far. I am very motivated to attack another area tomorrow. Maybe I will create a beverage center or group all the sandwich/lunch/school-snack supplies together.
"Before" Shots

The corner in it's original disorderly state. The hole on the middle shelf is where I normally store the crockpot which was in use today. It is temporarily going to remain on my counter in the corner. Since I removed all the cannisters from the counter I think I have room to leave the crockpot there without feeling too crowded.

This cabinet is probably my least favorite thing about my kitchen. It is a corner cabinet with really deep shelves. The only one I can reach all the way into without standing on a chair is the bottom shelf. The door will only open halfway because it bumps into the hood/vent over the stove. (Definitely poor planning on somebody's part). Although I do not use the food coloring and cake/cookie decorating supplies I had stored on the higher shelves that often, I will be using them in the next 2 months and now they are much easier to get to. I also discovered several half-full bags of salt, baking soda, etc that had gotten pushed to the back and then I had purchased another one, not knowing I had some in there to refill the smaller containers that I use to hold these items for daily use.

The corner cabinet as it is now after relocating the baking supplies. Almost 2 full shelves now empty and waiting for something else to be stored there. Something used rarely and not too small so as not to get pushed to the back and lost there. Any ideas?????

The microwave shelf-unit still holds the Pyrex baking dishes and cookie sheets, but the cake pans, bread pans, muffin tins, and some other assorted baking things have moved out of their old home in the bottom shelves and over "behind the curtain". The shelves over by the microwave are some of the easiest to get to and I am feeling like I should use them for pots and pans, plastic pitchers or some other items that I use every day.
The "After" Shot:

Cannisters have been relocated to the comfortable middle shelf which should make it almost just as easy to grab flour while cooking as it will be to get to for baking. It's just not on the counter anymore. If I find I absolutely cannot live without having my flour right by the stove for dredging meat and thickening sauces, I may just keep a small tupperware of flour by the stove and maintain the large cannister in the new spot.
Let me know what you think of the new plan. And check out what others are tackling today over at 5 Minutes For Mom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan October 27- November 2

No time to do a big post with the plans for the week and the little bites I will take to try and get some things accomplished. Maybe tomorrow.
I did write out a lunch/dinner menu for this week so I will share here and over at Laura's.

Monday: School Snack: Yogurt
Lunch: Quiche (one bacon & cheese and the other Ham & Broccoli)
Dinner: was going to be pork filets and buttered noodles but I got home late from the chiropractors so we just heated up some leftovers and the little ones had peanut butter sandwhiches,

Tuesday: School Snack: zucchini bread
Lunch: Crock pot beef stew
Dinner: either the pork filets that I didn't make tonight or my mother-in-law's recipe for "puff pancakes" (kind of like popover batters baked in a 9x13 dish) topped with cooked apples

Wednesday: School Snack: croissant with chocolate spread
Lunch: Salsa chicken over rice
Wednesday: fresh bran muffins with jam, juice, yogurt

Thursday: School Snack: apple slices or clementina oranges
Lunch: cream of broccoli soup, crackers
Dinner: pepperoni rolls, chips, raw veggies, pumpkin cake for dessert

Lunch/dinner Pack a picnic to eat while we are out doing sightseeing all day.

Saturday: chili and cornbread

Sunday: Buy broasted chicken from the restaurant around the corner with their patatas ali oli and a dozen croquetas as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

bloggy giveaway

OK, I have yet to win anything from any blog that is giving stuff away, but I'll still try every once in a while. I get an extra entry for blogging about this ... but then i let more people know about it which, if they enter, reduces my chances of having my name picked ..... hmmm. oh well, if I don't win maybe someone who is still looking for a Christmas gift idea for me will just send me one of these books. It looks interesting. I don't recognise the authors but do recognise the names of a couple of the people on the list of "endorsements" so I would definitely try it out, especially if it is free. :-)

Here's the link to the giveaway of the book Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not bad for the first time....

A couple of weeks ago my #1 son(13) entered his first "official" chess tournament, one that was organized on the weekend of our town festival days. This was the first time he was in a tournament with adults that had paid to enter and where there were cash prizes along with trophies for the winners. He was a bit intimidated by playing against men like his high school chess club coach, but he had a great time and ended up coming in 4th place among the other entrants under 15 years old and 1st place among all those who were playing in the tournament for the first time. He came home with a pretty impressive trophy (no cash, but that was no surprize) and a huge smile on his face.

Lots of concentration going on in the room.

Playing against his chess coach's son. He has yet to beat this little whiz kid but he gave him a good run for his money in this game.

A very pleasant surprise at the end of the day!