The animals are all doing fine and I am almost ready to give Mike the joy of doing all the chores. I just can’t quite get myself to stop yet. I still have 4 weeks until the baby is due so I am trying to “take it easy”. So for the next little while I suppose I will do some baking and get some meals in the freezer so after baby is here I won’t have to do much cooking for a little while. Not that cake is a meal or will end up in the freezer, but it’s a good place to start.
I know what you’re thinking, pregnancy craving and your favorite version of chocolate cake. Well, your wrong about the craving, if anything I would like a cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, with a big hot cup of coffee and not having to share either one. (The little boy seems to like coffee and doughnuts just as much as I do these days. It’s our Sunday treat.) As far as your favorite chocolate cake this probably isn’t it but it just might change your mind.
This is a simple, super moist, super soft, chocolate cake that is best left iced in a basic chocolate buttercreme and of course topped with rainbow sprinkles.
A little old fashioned.
3 1/3cupAll-purpose Flour
1 1/2cupCocoa Powder
3 1/2tspBaking Soda
Sift together all of the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl combine all the liquids.
Then add the liquid to the dry ingredients.
Whisk until smooth.
Divide the batter between two, 8 inch cake pans that have been greased.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or so. (Until done)
Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans.
** It is very important that all of the liquids are the same temperature!**
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Chocolate Buttercreme Icing
Chocolate Buttercreme Icing
Combine everything in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until smooth
It has been so cold and windy lately. Perfect weather for bone broth and soup. I have been making chicken broth regularly this winter. The little boy and I drink it like tea on these cold days. I have been wanting to make some homemade noodles lately, but then what to do with them? It’s time for some hearty Chicken Noodle Soup.
First things first; I put Lola in the craft room. One, I needed the counter space for making noodles and two, I didn’t want her to see me thaw and boil a chicken.
I don’t like to use chemicals in the house, usually I don’t find the need for something so harsh. In the event that the kitchen counter or other room in the house is used for an animal operating room or something of the sort, I bust out the bleach and give everything a good scrubbing before continuing. I don’t need scratch grains or pin feathers in the noodles.
Then it was on to making the noodles. I have a few different noodle/pasta recipes that I use depending on what I am doing with them. For soup I like egg noodles made with semolina flour. It’s a more course flour; about the texture of a fine table salt, not as thick as cornmeal.
For the soup itself, I start by making a simple bone broth using the whole chicken, skin meat, bones, the whole nine yards, toss in some carrots, celery, onions, garlic and salt. I let this simmer for a few hours at least. I then strip the meat from the bones and put that in my soup pot.
I strain the broth and put about 1 quart in the soup pot with the meat and reserve the rest for later use. You can use all the broth if you wish. I only use a portion because we won’t eat a batch of soup that big and I don’t like to can it once there are noodles in it- they get too mushy.
I then add fresh chopped carrots, celery, onions, parsley and a bay leaf or two. Bring this to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft but not mush. Add the noodles and simmer for about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
You may have noticed I didn’t give any amounts for anything except the quart of broth. It’s soup. I measure a lot of things but what goes in soup is not one of them. This I find to be personal preference. Some like all sorts of chunks and some like mostly broth. If you like chunks add lots of vegetables and meat if you don’t, use less. A little common sense and it will turn out just fine.
This is not some fancy sort of soup. It is good old fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup. When cooking with a real bone broth rather than bullion or something similar there really doesn’t seem to be a need to get crazy fancy. It will have great flavor as is. Too often any more, people are wanting to put their mark on something that has been done a million times over. It is not always necessary. Let the darn soup just be the classic goodness it already is!
We eat a lot of squash during the winter. The multitude of varieties gives way for all sorts of different cooking options, from my favorite Poppy Squash Pancakes, to Stuffed Acorn Squash, to this Cider Whipped Squash. It works with most any variety, though I prefer it with ones that have a darker orange flesh. This is a super easy recipe and a good way to “spice” up squash without getting too crazy.
Cider Whipped Squash
Cider Whipped Squash
1eachmedium Squash of your choice
1-2eachApplespeeled and cored
Peel the squash and remove the seeds.
Cut the squash into equal sized chunks. Do the same with the apples.
Place all of the ingredients into a baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until the squash is soft.
Once baked through, whip the squash as you would mashed potatoes.
When I think pork hock, or any knuckle/bone cut for that matter, I think soup. Last weekend Mike suggested pork hock for supper but not in soup. Apparently the German restaurant south of town makes them in a fashion other than soup. So I did a little searching. Everything I found was pretty basic, nothing too exciting. So as usual I decided to do my own thing.
I kept it basic as the other recipes I found did. I also added sauerkraut, and an apple for a bit of slight sweetness to counter to kraut just a little.
I know it’s not the most beautiful picture you’ve seen, but it’s a pork hock in sauerkraut. What did you expect? I can assure you it tastes really good despite my photography.
I served this with mashed potatoes, pork gravy and corn. Of course, we all dished our plates in the typical “mashed potato meal” way… mashed potatoes, topped with corn, then kraut, followed by meat, then gravy and before it was even tasted, add some salt and pepper. I used to be very particular about my food touching, I don’t know what has happened over the years but I now load my potatoes just like the rest of the family. (and I’m eating sauerkraut, something must have broke…)
German Pork Hock
German Pork Hock
Carrotssame amount as celery
1eachApplepeeled and cored
to tasteSalt and Pepper
Roughly chop everything except the bay leaf, pork and sauerkraut.
Place all the ingredients except the sauerkraut, including pork and leaf in a cast iron stock pot.
Add enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer for 2-3 hours.
Drain the cooking liquid and reserve it.
Add the Sauerkraut to the meat.
Place the pot in the oven and bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Basting as needed with the reserved liquid.
Use the remaining liquid to make a gravy if desired.
I really like Lara Bars as well as granola bars so does the little boy. Rather than buying them I have started to make a version of them at home. They contain less sugar and I can add or subtract ingredients to get different flavors. Below is the basic recipe that I came up with. They were a hit with the little boy and much less expensive than the store bought ones.
I have started to make a couple batches of these at a time and freeze them. That way I can just take out a couple at a time. He has been hooked on “cookies” lately and if I call these a cookie and keep them in the cookie jar, he doesn’t think twice that they aren’t a cookie per-say.
Little Boy Bars
2 ea. Eggs
1/2 c. Raisins
1/2 c. Figs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 tbsp. Molasses
2 tbsp. Honey
1/3 c. Natural Peanut Butter
1 c. Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 c. Ground Flax Seed
1 c. Old Fashioned Oats
In a food processor, blend the coconut, flax, and oats, just until they are evenly chopped. Set the oat mixture aside. Again in the food processor, place the remaining ingredients and blend until the raisins and figs are well-chopped. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Press the dough into the pan.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Allow the bars to cool before cutting.