Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups that are… Buttons!

4 Comments

Image

Hello friends!

See the above little buttons of deliciousness? So much yumminess in such a little, er.. button.

Why are they called Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, then?

I’m glad you asked.

It’s because they should (if you are a stickler for rules and such) look like these..

Image

These pretty cupcake size treats were made by Mercy Campbell, who originally found them over at Prevention, a blog by a clever lady named Nicole. Who also made them cupcake size.

But here’s the thing – those treats looked sooooo goood. AND they contain two of my  favourite foods in the world in one place (that would be chocolate and peanut butter) and.. I had no paper patty pans that size.  And small is cute, right?

Without further excuses ado, here’s how to make them.

Bottom Layer:
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted if it’s cold in your neck of the woods
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 packets stevia or 2 teaspoons of Natvia

Top Layer:
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 packet stevia or 1 teaspoon Natvia

Directions:

Put all the bottom layer ingredients in a bowl, and stir.

Put all the top layer ingredients in a separate bowl, and stir. (Complex, yes? :D)

Here you can choose how dedicated you want to be*.  If you want a pretty, defined line between your two layers, fill your patty pans or chocolate moulds with the bottom layer of mix, and freeze.  Wait for it to harden, and add the top layer. Refreeze.

You eat these goodies straight from the freezer, and if there any left (ahem!) you store them in the freezer, else your coconuty peanutbuttery chocolatey treats will melt back to their original gooey state.

Freeze.. Enjoy!

*It’s peanut butter and chocolate.  No way was I waiting an extra 15 mins.  I half filled each chocolate mould with the base mix, then immediately added the top layer.

Friends, these are yummy.  AND good for you, and quick to make!

Advertisements

Chocolate: not just for breakfast anymore!

22 Comments

Yes, Bloggy friends, it’s a chocolate so good for you, that you can eat it regularly, and guilt free.

You can!  Honest! 😀

I have to thank my Mama ♥ for this new addiction recipe: she is a great experimenter!

Now.. before we go any further, I must preface this with saying I am a heavy Lindt dark chocolate user.  If you’re a milk chocolate fan, you may want to try some of the tamer recipes out there using condensed milk to sweeten.  Or you could play around with this one and add more sweetener than I have.

I regularly use coconut oil and am happy with that taste, but if you and coconut oil are not well acquainted, try it with mostly butter first.  It won’t be as good for you (don’t get me raving on the benefits of coconut oil!) but you can build up to it.

Here’s the list of so-spanking-good-for-you ingredients that even your weirdest, most alternate, sugar hatin’ , barley green eatin’, homeschooling friends won’t grimace at.

Ready? 😀

3/4 cup honey ( I use raw.. because it’s good for you! But any honey with a mild taste will do.)

stevia to taste (it’s not necessary: you can add more honey, but stevia adds a big punch of sweetness with zero calories.  AND it contains nothing artificial. It’s a herb. 🙂 )

125 grams butter

1/2 cup coconut oil (now remember… if you don’t normally use it, add a couple of tablespoons, and make the rest of the measurement up with extra butter.)

1/2 cup cacao powder  (you can use more if you want a more chocolately taste, and this friends, is the beauty of this recipe: the amount of times you have to taste test it while making.  Glory!)

Almond meal. I used 125 grams, but you could add more.  It gives the mixture body, and almonds are yummy.

Mix the whole lot together.  There is no need to warm it, even, if room temperature has your coconut oil runny and your butter soft.  If it’s cold, or you are impatient, then warm in a double boiler enough that you can blend the ingredients.  It doesn’t need to cook in any way, it’s only necessary  to make the ingredients blend.

And now for the fun part…  (um… that would be more taste testing! 😛 )

Here you add whatever grabs your fancy.  I *adore* peanut butter.  So, if I have it on hand, I add great wads of peanut butter to the mix.  Oh, but not that stuff you buy in the supermarket that has no taste.  If you go to the health food shop (unless you are a REAL die-hard homeschooler and have your own super juicer that makes nut butters..  or you can just go to the health food shop as I do) they will grind it fresh while you wait, to the texture you specify.

Toasted, flaked almonds tossed in at the end are great, too.

What is truly, ruly, delectable if you have no peanut butter, is throwing a large handful of macadamias into your food processor and adding those along with macadamia halves, to your glorious, chocolately, experiment.  Then…taste, of course! You know, just to make sure there isn’t something else it needs…

You could try shredded coconut, dried fruit, any kind of nuts you fancy.

When you’re all done, pour it into a greased tray or Pyrex dish to set in the fridge.  The texture will depend on what your ingredient choices were, and it will come out more like a fudge than a hard commercial chocolate.  If it is not perfect for you, if it needs more sweetening, or less sweetening, or to have more texture, melt it down in a double boiler (or a bowl over hot water) until it is liquid again, and adjust!

Friends, experiment with me! 😀

Bounty!

29 Comments

Hello, Bloggy friends!

My garden grew. 😀

Here is December 5th, 2011.

Here is January 1st, 2012.

This week, we have been eating our corn.  We couldn’t help all feeling a little surprised that we planted corn, and … well, that it worked. 😀

Some of the other things, (see those lush looking Chinese cabbages?) didn’t work so well.  They grew, of course, but (shhh… it was very un-homeschooler-ish of me not to research properly!) it was the wrong time of year for them.  Being far too wet and hot, they looked scrumptious on the outside, but were rotting on the inside.  Completely unlovely of them. I’ve gone right off Chinese cabbages.

I was mildly concerned about my gardening.  Once, I thought I wanted to be a farmer.  Then I spent quite a bit of time on a farm.  😉

Would the idea of growing my produce be more appealing than the reality?  I have been known to get a lot more excited about the planning of something than the eventuality.

The garden has, despite my inexperience resulting in a few disasters, been a deeply satisfying, somewhat addictive project.  Today the Chicklette and I have discussed what to pull up and discard (capsicums are very prone to pests.  Currently we are growing them only to feed the bugs!) and what we should plant instead.

We’re thinking a LOT of snow peas: everyone adores to eat them straight from the bush. And sliverbeet. And pumpkin.  Have you tried homegrown pumpkin?  It is not only enormously flavoursome, but easy to cut.

But of course this time we will check that those things are in season to grow, and not assume that just because the nursery is selling seedlings, it must the right time for them.

Bloggy friends, if you don’t have a veggie garden, you should experiment.  There are many things you can grow in pots if you want to start small. It’s fun. Honest!  You should try. 😀

So Much Beautiful

32 Comments

Bloggy friends!

 

I have things to tell you!  😀

 

I can’t help sharing this story, because, because.. because it’s been such a delightful week, and I know that God loves me, and the world is full of good and beautiful things, and better, good and lovely people.

 

Last week we attended a regency garden party, and that, friends, is serious girl fun:  hair curled in rags (more on that later), gloves, fan, reticule, lace and ribbons… and all with very dear friends.  What more could a girl ask for?

(Please pardon my lens flare. : P )

 

Such an event would be quite sufficient to satisfy our need for ‘pretty’ for some time.  However, Friday found us seated in a country tea room in particularly dainty surrounds. A long-established florist shop, the Laidley Florist has diversified.  What could be sweeter than morning tea surrounded by beautifully arranged roses, jonquils, and orchids, with soft classical music and collected items designed to please the eye of the history lover?

Here, I confess that I was in almost mortal dread at the thought of confessing to Mr BB what the outing for six amounted to.  There were no prices anywhere (always a bad sign when you are paying for six.. ) and my  apprehension increased when the owner attempted to steer the younger children, in what I thought was an act of mercy, away from the fancier confections, and toward the gingerbread and scones.

Little did she know that Blossy, when faced with a dessert cabinet, is not steered by mere gentle suggestion.  Here is what she chose:

(Again, apologies for the photo: this and the tea room picture are from my phone)

When we made our selection, took our seats, and began cake and coffee, my Mama, sweetie that she is, tried to secret a fifty dollar note across to me, and claim it was her treat.  After some back and forthing (have I ever mentioned my Mama is persistent?!) I thanked her, and mentally considered it would go aways toward softening the reckoning.

Friends, you’d never guess?  I have no idea whether the proprietress desired to treat us, or whether perhaps that the Tea Room is so reasonable because the florist side of the establishment is the primary focus, but either way the bill amounted to twenty-six dollars.  Yes! For six very delicious desserts, four hot chocolates, and two coffees.  Staggering, yes?  If you live anywhere around the Lockyer Valley region, go post-haste into Laidley and visit the new tea room.  🙂

Two such lovely outings in a seven-day period is enough to keep anyone happy.  And it did.  But today I was at a garage sale with my Mama and sister, and was merrily hunting through fine china (don’t you love garage sales!? I am not, no, not even a bit, going to derail this story by telling you about the Royal Dolton cups I purchased for a dollar each) when I got chatting with the lady who owned the cups, and the sweet little rose butter dish I had to have.

We were comparing notes on china, moved on to garden parties, came to the belated Queen’s birthday high tea she was holding that afternoon, found we were both Christian, both homeschoolers (though this dear lady has finished schooling her twelve {!} children) and before I knew it I was not merely invited, but warmly encouraged to return that afternoon and attend the high tea.  Just imagine!

I (bravely, because have I mentioned before that I am a chicken?) returned in the afternoon, and was welcomed much as one might a favourite niece, or in this case, a sister in Christ one feels an immediate sense of kinship with.  The table was laden with all manner of delicacies, and four tea pots with different varieties of tea, and the room was decorated beautifully.  We sampled the fare, had a quiz on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth (in which I felt I poorly represented homeschooling, dates being something I never can remember!) and some history shared, some scripture read, we toasted the queen, and went home.  😀

What a lot of fun.  I just had to share. 😀

 

 

 

Serious Yum (or, Why Duck Fat Should Rival Gold in Price Per Pound)

14 Comments


Hello Bloggy friends,

 

I’m going to show you how to cook a duck.  But more importantly, I’m going to share why you should cook a duck. 😀

 

Ready for the serious, honest to goodness reason you should cook duck?  Despite it being fiddly, and apart from it being actually quite delicious?

 

(drumroll please… )

 

Duck fat.

 

Yes!  Duck fat.  Forget about nasty connotations the word “fat” has in health circles:  if this stuff clogs your arteries, it’s worth it. 😛

 

Here we go:

 

 

Buy a duck.  This one came with all the innards removed (which may  disappoint if you hanker after duck liver pâté, but .. I don’t.)

 

Rinse under water and pat dry with paper towel. So far it’s pretty simple, and just like cooking chicken.  But wait – it gets fiddly about now.

 

 

Tie the legs as you would with any large fowl, and tuck the wings under in that pretending to be a policeman apprehending a baddie style.  You know the sort of fold I mean?  You swivel the wings and tuck them under the bird so they don’t burn.  Pop your duck on a rack.

Then take a sharp knife, and carefully, OH so carefully, score the skin and fat of the duck in a diamond pattern.  The “careful” bit is all about not cutting through to the meat.  You don’t want a dry, old duck, and if you puncture the meat, that’s what will happen.  Yet, you do want to give the duck fat every opportunity to run out, and the skin to crisp.  So slice as deeply as you dare, but desist before striking the flesh.

Here’s a little more of the fiddly: the duck needs to cook for longer than a chicken to allow it time to drain away almost all the fat.  What’s more, you have to flip that bird every thirty minutes, and poke and prod it at each turn.  Most of the recipes I looked at state that ducks take up to three hours in the oven.  I imagine there wouldn’t have been much of mine left to speak of if I’d done that, and it took closer to 1 hour 45 mins in total cooking time, though with the fiddling with flipping and such, the procedure took close to three and a half hours from start to finish.

 

Here’s a pic at the first flip.  Take a pointy knife, or a sharp toothpick, and prick the skin between your scoring.  This allows the release of even more of the duck fat.  Then flip the bird over, and put her back in the oven.

If roasting in a shallow dish, you may want to collect the fat at each flip, so reducing the risk of a spill (and a burn!) by trying to collect it all at the end from a loaded dish.

Here’s the second flip stage – not. looking. so. yummy.  But it gets prettier. 😉

Again, prod that bird. Collect the fat.

 

At this stage, if you want to glaze your duck, gather:

1/4 cup honey
1/4 molasses
3 Tbls. orange juice
1 Tbls. soy sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.  Stir continuously until it becomes thick and syrupy.  You know this promises something good.

When your duck is pretty much cooked and no more fat is falling, drain all the fat from the pan and reserve.  Brush with glaze.

You’re almost there.  Pop her back in the oven for just 15 mins, then it’s rest for 15 mins (for both of you!), then… carve!  Seriously, by the time you’ve finished botherating with that duck, you will barely be interested in eating it. It’s good, yes, it does taste fine, but I doubt not that it is more fun for everyone else to eat, because after all that fussing, I’m cross at the duck.

 

Forgiveness, however, comes in the form of .. duck fat.  😀

 

Pre-heat your pan for roast veggies.  Toss in some duck fat, and it smells glorious from the moment it makes contact.  Want to see?

 

It’s not just that they are golden and crunchy.  It’s not just the soft creamy centres.  It’s the flavour.  Schmack!  I forgive the duck!  The potatoes are worth the duck.

And that’s it, bloggy friends.  How to blow hours of your precious reading time cooking, to get glorious potatoes.  Or of course you can purchase a tub of duck fat from IGA.  (But where’s the adventure in that?  😉  )

 

 

 

 

 

Eat Your Greens (and Ice-cream)

18 Comments

 

Hello bloggy friends,

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen.  Want to see? 😀

.

.

.
.
Dip is an easy way to eat a lot of raw  vegetables.  And while creamy dips have their place, I prefer mine fresh and clean tasting.
So… here it is:

Baby Spinach and Cashew dip.

 

Wash and dry 180 grams of baby spinach (that convenient amount is the weight of a bag of baby spinach you can purchase in the fresh produce section, pre-packed.)
I grabbed a tiny handful of new basil leaves from the pot by the back door – but if you don’t have any, don’t fret.
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup roasted cashews
one clove of garlic

Drop it all on a large cutting board, and chop.
When it’s fine enough to cling together, scrape it into a bowl, add the juice of half a lemon,
and enough olive oil to make a moist dip consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste, and … pop that dip in the fridge, put the oven on, and hunt out the wraps/flat bread that have sat, ignored, in the cupboard for (shhh…. ) far too long.
Line a large tray with baking paper.

Place the wrap on the tray, brush or spray with olive oil (or coconut, or palm fruit, or whatever takes your fancy), grind a little salt over, slice into good, dipping sized pieces, and bake until brown and crisp.  A few carrot straws, some slices of cucumber,  crunchy flat bread thingos, and homemade spinach dip… it’s yummy stuff, folks.

And for afters?  (Because, you need afters, after a …snack?  Yes, sometimes you do 😛 )

Ice Cream

This is so easy to make, and is highly customisable (I’m sure that’s a word).

 

My Mama makes it with crushed maltesers, or (my favourite) crushed violet crumble mixed through, as a slice, and gives it a base and lid of malt biscuits.  Our farmer friend recently used the same recipe with frozen, whipped bananas – very nice!  So I had to try it.  Ready for this deeply complex recipe?  Here we go:

Whip 600 mls of cream

Fold in 1 tin sweetened condensed milk

Add your favourite fruit/chocolate/nuts

Spread into a dish, and freeze.

Too easy!!  😀

I chose to go with the whipped banana and blueberries, with blueberries to garnish, but the options are endless; honey and macadamias, smashed up (your fav choc bar here), mango, plain vanilla…  I’m not such a sweet tooth, so I added another 200mls of whipped cream to the same amount of condensed milk.  It’s a quick, fun thing to make with the little people of the house, and although it is not as fluffy as regular ice-cream, it was well received here.

 

Lastly, and this has nothing to do with food, but I just want to show you… aren’t these pretty?

 

 

Hey…. Pesto!

8 Comments

Bloggy friends, home made pesto is adorable.  Just adorable.

This is my first adventure with it, and I am sold, and am convinced that it is worth the effort.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ⅔ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic (I used one large-ish teaspoon of crushed, but you can experiment with your quantity)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, wash and dry your basil leaves. Your hands will smell incredible after working with this aromatic herb 🙂

Next, gather your other ingredients and measure the quantities.

Lightly, lightly, toast your pine nuts. (The quantity of pine nuts in the photo was for four batches of pesto.)

You can toast them in the oven but it’s summer here, making the oven my mortal enemy.  So, if it’s hot, toast them dry (the heat will bring out the natural oils) in a fry pan over a low heat.  Be sure to move them constantly, and take them off the heat a little sooner than you think – they will keep cooking for a bit, even when removed from the heat source.

There are two ways you can tackle this pesto chopping business: by hand, or in the food processor.  I went with the “pretend I’m Italian and have nothing better to do” option, and did it by hand, but I’m sure it would still be glorious in the food processor.

Whichever method you choose, try adding a portion of all your ingredients in progressive stages.  At the end you will have some very finely chopped, saucy ingredients, and some in larger sizes that impart a distinct and personal flavour.

After the chopping process is complete, add a squeeze of lemon juice, seasoning to taste, and olive oil to your desired texture.  Squish it into a container, making the top smooth, and seal with a layer of olive oil – that is, if you don’t run off and make a big dish of chicken and pesto pasta – pronto! 😀

pssst….  I forgot to mention; if you make multiple batches, it will keep in the freezer for several months.  🙂

Older Entries