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Sugarfree peanut butter cookies

What to do when the kids want to bake but they really, REALLY don’t need anymore sugary treats? Google sugar-free cookies of course. But most required ingredients I’d either never heard of, or packed full of artifical sweetners,ew gross!

So after trawling a number of recipes, with the boys breathing down my neck, I decided to just throw stuff in a bowl and hope for the best.

With my two little helpers we cranked out a batch and they semi-passed the taste test. Master 4 and I liked them but fussy Master 5 did not.

We used:
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup dissicated coconut
1 egg
Mix together. Form into balls, gently press down with fork
Oven 180deg C for about 10min

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Gingerbread Men

The boys have been asking to make “shape” cookies for days, so today seemed like the perfect day to break out the cookie cutters & get down to business. They both agreed that gingerbread men would be ideal.

I chose a recipe here, then realised that I would need butter, of which there was none in the fridge! So I took a chance that peanut butter & a little oil would be a good substitute. And no brown sugar, so white it had to be. What’s a good recipe without a few substitutes, right?

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Smile for me boys!

150g of butter was called for so I started with half peanut butter & half oil. It ended up being far less a dough & more a crumbly mess so I added a little more oil until I got the desired consistency(about another 1/4 cup). But we got there eventually. Rolling & cutting was altogether a different story. Needless to say there are no pictures of this process as my hands were deep in oily dough!

I did, however, snap this mid bake

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The best part of baking….

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The worst part of baking…waiting & watching the clock

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The end result…nothing special, but at least they kept their shape & tasted like a cookie, albeit not a gingerbread one!

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Buttermilk Rusks

According to Hubby, rusks are strictly baby’s teething food. To a South African though, they are so much more. The perfect accompaniment to your coffee (or tea). Dunked, people they have to be dunked, but there is a knack for getting it just right. Not enough & it crumbles all down your front when you bite into one, too much & you end up with chunks in your drink. But when you get it right….ahhhh bliss

I have never been tempted to make my own as no one else would enjoy them with me so I usually save it up and pig out on them when in South Africa. Enter the black hole that is Pinterest and all manner of tempting recipes pop up every single day. When I spotted this pin, I was sold…

I checked I had all the ingredients. Turns out I didn’t of course, so I had to wait until grocery day to stock up. When I eventually got around to making them I was horrified to discover I had to bake them and then leave them in a warm oven OVERNIGHT to dry out. (recipe selection 101, read ALL the instructions BEFORE deciding on making it) Geez, talk about a let down. Anything that involved usually results in me skipping it and moving onto the next recipe. Add to that my slight paranoia over leaving my not-so-trusty-oven on all night while we sleep and I was in for a looooong dry time. I think I managed 5 hours before bed & then again the next morning for a couple of hours before we went out. Finished off once we got home, in the middle of which a friend popped around for coffee & we sampled the not-quite-done rusks. Tasted good but the texture was still too cakey in the middle. But you will be happy to know that they did eventually dry out properly & I have been enjoying one every night with my cuppa.

Other than that, the recipe was easy. Find it HERE

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500g of butter & 350g sugar…melt

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1.5kg of self raising flour!

Cream of tartar, salt & 500 ml buttermilk rounded out this ensemble nicely. She does advise making smaller ones over the quite large ones she made, but the rebel in me went with large ones too. Should have listened! Besides taking forever to dry out, smaller ones would have been more appealing to the kids. Although mine did give them ago, but never finished a whole one. I got 35 rather massive ones so I’m guessing you could easily get double if not more with smaller ones.

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They don’t look so big here but the photo is deceiving!

Would I try them again? No, probably not. They were/are tasty but I couldn’t be bothered with the kerfuffle of drying them out!

Fabulous Friday..

It’s not often I can say our Fridays are anything but diabolical! It’s our only weekday morning at home..after a busy week the boys are usually grumpy & not happy with anything we do. And let’s not even talk about when I attempt to venture out with them, even to the park. I’ve learnt it’s just not worth it. So we lounge around at home, attempting housework and, on a good day, baking.

Today they surprised me, even though they were uncooperative when we Skyped my parents in SA & my brother in Holland, they were happy little bunnies for the rest of the morning. They thought they were hilarious turning the switch on & off while I attempted to hoover but their giggling was so infectious I couldn’t get mad. 

I managed to distract them for awhile with a homemade marble run. Easier said than done to make with 2 little helpers ready to run off with the craft glue at every lapse in my concentration. It did take me longer to construct than the time it kept them busy but it was fun. I can currently hear the marbles dropping on the path outside so they are at least playing with it again.

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crude but effective

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no fighting…for a change!

They wanted to make cookies just before nap time (yes, we’ve gone back to napping for 45min in the afternoons, thankfully!) so naturally there was a little whinging before I managed to get them down, with promises they could decorate cookies when they woke up. I whipped up a batch of drop cookies, which I’ve not made this particular recipe before, and was disappointed. I won’t even link to it as I wasn’t impressed, they were far too cake like. But the boys were impressed that they were waiting for them when they woke, almost like magic. Master 2 grabbed 2 while we were putting them away, little monkey was too fast for me! At least I won’t be pigging out on them this weekend, the boys are welcome to them!

Next up, I wanted to try a cinnamon roll recipe I saw on Pinterest yesterday. Not something I would normally try as it’s not really my type of thing, but the photo just spoke to me *grin*. Hubby was very keen on the idea when I asked him if he would eat it. Coupled with the fact I had all the ingredients in the pantry it was a sure sign I had to make them.

I made the dough just before the boys woke up so it could rise for the 45min it needed, something I didn’t hold out much hope for to be honest. Not once has any dough I’ve made ever risen for me! Imagine my delight when I found that it did, in fact, do as it was supposed to do!!!! *insert happy little dance* (which the boys thought was hilarious I might add)

Of course, I couldn’t find my rolling pin anywhere so had to make do with a floured glass to roll it out to the desired size. Roughly 40cm x 52cm. Turns out that’s practically the size of my work area…my kitchen space is tiny!

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using my little helper to demonstrate the size

Both boys were up on kitchen chairs against the counter/sink to “help”. Master 2 was intent on grabbing any part of the rolled out dough he could reach & pulling, a tad annoying, but he got a little cocky & managed to fall down between the 2 chairs. He was more shocked than hurt but it did stop him being silly! Master 3 was after the flour…strange child

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yes, this went in his mouth

Next up, melted butter all over & sprinkle with brown sugar & cinnamon combo…

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not pretty to look at but YUM

Master 3 discovered that this combo was delish!!! Needless to say he got all the filling that leaked out onto the counter. Rolling was a little messy, although Master 3 didn’t complain, and cutting with thread was quick & easy. Made 16 just as the recipe said *insert another happy dance here*

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this is yummy mum

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you’re my favourite, mum

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My new favourite recipe…do yourself a favour & try it!

The Recipe as it appears on Like Mother Like Daughter
Cinnamon Rolls

Dough
2 1/2 tsp yeast (1 package)
1 cup milk (warmed)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 cups flour

Filling
1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBS cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 oz cream cheese
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 TBS milk

Vanilla Powdered Sugar Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 TBS half and half
1/4 tsp salt

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
2. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs and flour to the bowl and mix well.
3. Once the dough startes to come away from the edges, knead for about 5 minutes (if you are using your hands, dust them lightly with flour to avoid sticking) until a large ball is formed.
4. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
5. Lightly flour your counter top and roll the dough out until it is approximately 16×21 inches, and 1/4 inch thick.
6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
7. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
8. Melt butter for filling.
9. Spread butter over the surface of your dough.
10. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the surface of the dough (using the butter to make it stick).
11. Carefully roll the dough from the long top edge to the bottom edge.
12. Using thread (wrap the thread around the bottom of the roll, bring up and cross over each other and pull tight), or a knife, cut dough into 1 inch slices.
13. Lightly grease a baking pan (or 2)
14. Place rolls in baking pan and bake for about 12-14 minutes until they turn a lighten golden color.
15. While they are baking combine frosting ingredients (both recipes are delicious). Add more powdered sugar to the frosting if it is too runny, add more milk or half and half if it is too thick.
16. Remove rolls from oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before frosting.
17. Apply frosting generously to rolls.

Enjoy.

This makes about 16 cinnamon rolls.

Coconut filled chocolate Easter eggs

Ok, so that sounds yummy doesn’t it?? Last week I made something similar after reading this over at Arohanui Vegan Love. Although mine looked like I’d made them from scratch & not at all professional(didn’t even bother taking photos), they were YUMMY!!!!!  Mini Bounty bars. Even Hubby, who usually avoids coconut, inhaled about 3 of them in one sitting. Master 2 loved them of course & even Master 3 ate one & declared it yum (he’s not big on trying “foreign” looking things)

Now, the original recipe is from here but as I am not vegan I wasn’t fussy with the chocolate. I used 2 vanilla flavoured slabs, melted them down, sampled some alot before dipping in my little coconut balls. I used a mini muffin tin but the amount of coconut I had didn’t quite pack to the top of 12. I got about halfway up each muffin hole. I didn’t use any nuts though as I had none. I didn’t so much dip them in the chocolate either, it was more a throw them in, roll them around & voila! Needless to say they were all gone by the time we put the kids in bed!

So I thought I’d try them again today but use the new egg shaped chocolate mold thingy I have. Also, I would try a slightly healthier version of chocolate (coconut oil, cocoa powder & honey/maple syrup) instead of normal chocolate. 

The coconut went in perfectly, 10min in the freezer & they was ready to come out. Being a plastic mold I didn’t bother to rub a bit of coconut oil into each “egg” so that they wouldn’t stick…rookie mistake! A bit of persuasion with a knife & they all came out, albeit not all in 1 piece!

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oops, a bit of chocolate managed to find its way onto the coconut a little ahead of schedule

I put a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of each (after I cleaned out the residual coconut & spread some oil in the molds), 10min in the freezer (while I kept the coconut cool in the fridge), dropped pieces of the coconut onto the solid chocolate & covered it all in yet more chocolate. Turns out I could probably have just spread the coconut in the bottom of a cake tin to set & then just broken it into pieces. Next time.

20min in the freezer while I washed up (the dishes AND myself, turns out sampling melted chocolate can get messy), started this post & refereed 2 exhausted little people.

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caught in the act!

And they didn’t turn out too badly….

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…just a little messy

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admittedly not very pretty, I decided to leave them as halves instead of sticking them together as they were actually quite big

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Master 2 thought they were fab!

When Hubby saw them his first comment was “that had better not be dark chocolate!” I assured him it wasn’t…well, not technically anyway. I did add more maple syrup than I would if I was going to keep them for myself, as I prefer dark chocolate, to sweeten it up for him (‘coz I’m a good wife *wink*). His response after one tentative nibble (I don’t think he believed me when I said that they weren’t dark chocolate!) was “hmmmmm Yum!” Seriously!

These are actually far richer than the ones I made with a chocolate bar so I’m sure they will last a little bit longer in the fridge…maybe!

Strawberry Pie

The last few days have seen our strawberry plants come back to life & spew forth loads of fruit!

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I was just going to puree them & freeze for smoothies but Hubby loves strawberry pie. So I thought I’d earn me some brownie points. A quick look on pinterest to find a recipe using ingredients I had in the pantry, and away I went.

I used a recipe from gourmade at home

This is the recipe as it appears on her blog:
Strawberry Pie

Crust:

1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon sugar

Pie:

4 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and stir together until the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.
Dump into a 9-inch pie plate and press out evenly on the sides and bottom. Prick the crust all over with a fork (this allows the steam to escape while baking so that the crust doesn’t bubble in the pan).
Bake the piecrust in your preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool completely.
Rinse all of the strawberries in a colander in the sink. Haul (the process of cutting off the stems) and cut them into large chunks.
Put half of the strawberries into a heavy-bottomed saucepan on the stove along with the starch, sugar and water. Stir together until the cornstarch and sugar start to dissolve into the water.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until the sauce turns clearer and thickens. Stir constantly
Put the rest of the sliced, un-cooked strawberries into the bottom of the cooled piecrust. Pour the cooked strawberry mixture evenly over the strawberries in the piecrust, and chill until the filling is firm (about an hour). Slice the cooled pie into large wedges and serve with generous dollops of whipped cream.

Now, I didn’t quite have 4 cups of strawberries so I added a few frozen ones. I also worked under the assumption that cornstarch is the same as cornflour…I couldn’t be bothered googling it so I just went with that. The base was far to salty for us (and YES, I did only use 1 TEAspoon & not a TABLEspoon before anyone makes a comment. It is actually something I have been known to do in the past so I am extremely careful now!) I wouldn’t want it any sweeter though because of the topping but will definitely be using a pinch of salt over a teaspoon in future. My mixture also didn’t go lighter in colour…at all! So I just left it bright red, hoping for the best!

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It was missing the whipped cream but other than that(& the salt of course) it was tasty….

Coconut snowballs

So I stumbled across this recipe & new I had to try it. http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-coconut-snowballs-recipes-from-the-kitchn-181467 You know the drill, I’ll link directly to it when I’m back online on my desktop. Extremely easy & oh so yummy

 

This recipe is directly from her blog. Makes 12 small balls at roughly 50cal each

1 3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place 1 cup of shredded coconut in a food processor along with the coconut oil. Process on high speed, scraping down the sides periodically, until it reaches a paste-like consistency. (It does not have to be completely smooth like butter; some coconut texture is good.)Add the maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and process until well combined. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut and pulse until just combined.Shape the mixture into 12 (1-inch) balls and coat with the remaining shredded coconut. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before eating

Now I did sub in normal milk instead of the coconut milk & didnt use the extra coconut to roll them in but they still worked out great. Quite sticky to roll but that was just an excuse to lick my fingers after they were all done! Her photo does them way more justice than my rushed attempt!

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cupcake beauty

I was able to go to an “icing party” last night over at The Girl on the Swing She showed us a couple of techniques & gave us some helpful tips. It was fantastic, all the equipment you could possibly need to make your masterpieces at the end of the 2.5hr session. If you live in the Hamilton area then do youself a favour & head over to her facebook page to book a spot in her next “class”.

 

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Glorious carrots-vegan carrot bites

After reading this idea over at Arohanui Vegan Love I knew I had to try it. Now, I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I’m always up to trying new things. I love carrots, especially when combined with dessert, so this was a no-brainer.

I followed the link over to The Sweet Life & found the recipe to be very simple. A quick trip to the supermarket to replenish my stock of dates (the ones I had were pet rocks so I’m assuming they have been there awile!oops) and I got to work.

I must mention that I neglected to soak the cashews overnight as numpty here forgot, so I got them going first thing this morning. A quick look on google to check out the reason for soaking them (more nutritious & to soften) and to check what the recommended minimum time is. Apparently 7hrs should do it…turns out 6hrs works fine. Now if only I hadn’t over whizzed the mixture…a little too pureed!But still tastes like carrot cake, a really moist carrot cake that is. I was a bit sceptical about the cashew nut icing but oh my, it’s yummy! Granted, I was just a little impatient & didn’t wait the full 2hrs for it to freeze but who can wait that long?!

It needs to stay in the freezer or it goes squishy & I found that a pizza slicer thingy worked best to cut through the not yet frozen “cake”.

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