tastytuesday

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Toffee Tuesday

Our household is maybe a little lacking in holiday food traditions.  For most of our adult lives we have been traveling home for the holidays and so while we have done some piecemeal cooking here and there for celebrations on those visits, we have not had as much time to do stuff for ourselves.  This year, since we are much closer to family folks, we have the luxury of being able to do a little more holiday celebrating on our own.  One of my favorite holiday treats is toffee, and since I have never made it before, I figured this would be a good week to try it.

I am no candy making expert but I know two things about candy: temperature control is really important and it is something that often takes a little practice to master.  So for my first attempt at toffee I went with a super-simple recipe from All Recipes entitled Best Toffee Ever (sounds promising right?).

The ingredients are basic:

  • 2 cups of butter (aka. 1lb)
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds (I cut this down to ½ cup)
  • ¼ tsp salt

From there, the steps are pretty simple as well:

  1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.
  2. While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  3. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.
  4. Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Thanks to my beer-making digital thermometer watching the temperature was pretty simple, and I found that it went a little more slowly than I initially expected.  That was probably good, since this was my first run-through.

My results: delicious.  The toffee is not quite as crunchy as I like it, though that could be just because I have not let it cool for quite as long.  But the flavor is great, and it all seemed pretty fool-proof.  Looking forward to trying some more recipes out in the future (I am sure the family will not mind further experiments).

-Kat (Transparenting)

Today’s #tastytuesday is brought to you by butter! Snowshoe is helping to make my holiday cookies extra delicious! Sofubi two-packs and full character sets still available at circusposterus.com 🍪

Whoops!

Tasty Tuesday came and went and I owe you guys one! I’ve been mostly baking and doing slow cooker recipes - and forgetting to take pictures. The one above is a stock photo too. 

However to make it up to you, I’m sharing with you…

THE BEST SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE EVER. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 cups flour (all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Cream together butter and sugar.
  • Beat in eggs, vanilla and almond extracts. 
  • Stir in flour, baking powder and salt
  • Cover (or wrap in plastic wrap) and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit
  • Roll out dough on well floured surface
  • Cut into shapes 
  • Bake 6-8 minutes 
  • Decorate with royal icing :)

 - Kellie aka themamalogues

So this is a day late, but I’m still going to kick off a new venture today. Every week I will post #tastytuesday (just pretend it’s Tuesday), featuring art in conjunction with my favorite snacks and beverages. This week, an homage to rose-flavored lokum, which I can’t stop eating 🌹

2

Tasty Tuesday: Jambalaya

Disclaimer: I have never been to New Orleans.  So if you are looking for super-authentic jambalaya you should probably head elsewhere.  That said, if you have an evening you want to devote to cooking, and want a totally tasty result out of it: this recipe is totally worth trying.  So if you are so inclined, follow along with my Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Jambalaya experiment.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 cups tomatoe puree
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1lb shrimp
  • 1 can chopped clams
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Cilantro or parsley (for garnish)

I read through a couple recipes for jambalaya on the internet and elsewhere and split the difference between them.  The one main modification I made was treating the rice in the recipe more like risotto, and just cooking it in with everything else - result: better taste, more time involved.  This recipe took a fair bit of cooking time (1 ½ hours), but you could speed it up easily by cooking the rice separately rather than letting it slowly absorb the sauce.

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in the bottom of a big pan.  Once melted add the garlic and onion, and start to caramelize.  Once that has begun to happen add in the celery, red pepper, and chicken broth and stir together.
  • Next add in the rice, tomato puree, and spices.  Cook on medium-high heat, adding additional water as needed to keep the mixture moist but not soupy.
  • After about 30 minutes of cooking time add in the clams, shrimp, mushrooms, and spices.
  • Continue to cook on medium high, stirring often, and adding liquid when necessary.  The dish is ready when the rice is fully cooked.

The jambalaya was all sorts of tasty with some really rich flavors once it was all cooked down.  The little guy was kind of so-so on the shrimp, but was definitely pretty excited about the rice and did not seem to mind getting a fair few vegetables in with every bite.

There are plenty of ways to modify this recipe for vegetables that you have on hand, and it can easily be done with chicken or totally veggie, instead of going with the seafood.  No matter what, it was definitely a yummy experiment, and one I am likely to try again in the future!

-Kat (Transparenting)

Tasty Tuesday: Lazy Mug Cakes

Truth be told I actually made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread with Harry last night. They came out like 2 bricks of something that resembled partially baked play-doh. And I forgot to take photos. So, maybe I’ll try another recipe for p-bread again next week. 

Anyhoo…didja know cronuts are on the way out as far as trendy deserts go? These days all the cool kids are making mug cakes. Apparently there’s at least 100 ways to make cake, in a mug, in your microwave. Um, hello - the future is now, people!

Leslie here did me a solid by writing this book and enabling my laziness, so help the girl out and buy her book.

While I’m at it, this is not a sponsored post. I don’t know if Leslie’s gone big time enough to sponsor Tumblr posts yet, but she did talk to the fine folks over at BuzzFeed. Check out one of her recipes below or read the full article here for more recipes and helpful mug cake tips! 

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Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Bread

It is so incredibly humid and gross in Massachusetts right now. I dread leaving my house. I feel like the barbie doll from that Soundgarden video. September means fall and fall means pumpkin. And right now September is confused so I made some pumpkin bread to remind it who it is. And my 2 year old helped. 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 15 ounces canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup fresh (frozen) cranberries

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray cooking spray (or butter & flour) 2 9 by 5 loaf pans (or one loaf pan & place liners in muffin tin).

“Furst, we need to get stahrted, muma!”

  • Stir together sugar and oil. Watch that toddler doesn’t wet his finger and dip it in the sugar several times to taste (where did he even learn that?).

  • Stir in eggs and pumpkin.
  • Have your super cute assistant play with the measuring spoons while you combine dry ingredients in separate bowl.

  • Blend dry ingredients and water into wet mixture, alternating.

    the battah (with cranberries)
  • Add “extras” (cranberries/chocolate chips/nuts…)
  • Divide batter between your pans.

  • Bake muffins for 30 minutes (my loaf of bread took about an hour). or until cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let stand 10 minutes.

  • Remove from pans and cool.

For the benefit of my very pregnant friend, Megan, who’s due date is today - I hope my pumpkin bread urges fall to arrive. And if not, at least my house smells scrumplicious (word credit: Harry).

If you want to submit your fave recipe, or have me try one out for you please submit HERE!

- Kellie (themamalogues)

Tasty Tuesday: Parmesan Couscous

Back when I lived in Chicago and made very poor life choices I was given a gift certificate for a day of beauty at a spa. I got an herbal body wrap, a relaxation massage and a seriously kick ass recipe for Parmesan Couscous. 

The only time I’ve ever ripped a recipe out of a magazine that did not belong to me was for this couscous. It was one of the better decisions of my time in Chicago - nay - my life! I have never looked back. 

This couscous is a perfect side dish or lunch. I make it for EVERY SINGLE POT LUCK. And it is much loved by all. It can be eaten hot or cold. Leave out the cheese and it’s dairy free. I’ve never tried it with quinoa (which would mean it’s no longer couscous) but if you substituted it would work as gluten free and probably still be super kick ass.

AND OH MY GAWD ITS SO EASY! I swear it takes maybe 10 minutes to whip up a batch that can feed 6 adults.

Ingredients: 

  • box of parmesan couscous - the one pictured is my favorite
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 airtight container
  • a can of chick peas aka garbanzo beans. I’ve also used black beans. I used about 12 ounces of the 15 ounce can shown.
  • 2 plum tomatoes/one beefsteak tomato/10 cherry tomatoes - you choose your own adventure here, folks.
  • a bunch of green onions
  • ½ c of shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
  • olive oil - about 3 tablespoons
  • some garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil one cup of water. It boils quick. While it’s heating up open the box of cous and the season packet and mix the contents in the airtight container. Add the boiling water and stir to mix. Cover (burp that lid!) and set aside for at least 10 mins.

While the couscous is cooking, open and rinse the can of beans, chop up the tomato and the green onions. Mix in a big bowl and season with the salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

The couscous should be cooked after 10 minutes. It will be polenta-like in consistency.

Gently fold it into the bowl of the bean mixture - adding the olive oil to help combine. Add the cheese. As much as you want. Go ahead, be greedy.Mix and you’re done!

This is my specialty. It’s great for the summer since it doesn’t involve the stove and it’s quick. We didn’t tell him what it was and Harry ate it (toddler approved!). Plus, it’s pretty. 

If you want to submit your fave recipe, or have me try one out for you please submit HERE!

- Kellie (themamalogues)

Introducing The Amazing Mamalogues! Complete with apron for keeping my bangin’ bodysuit clean when I test out Tasty Tuesday recipes; a utility belt for holding toy cars, my cell phone and plenty of tissues; sheild for deflecting said toy cars; earpiece for calling in Super Hubs for reinforcement when Super Harry is having a super tantrum; and a cheeky attitude to take it all in stride!

Over on @growinguplast this week we’re talking SUPER HEROES! And you can be one, too! Pop on over to Marvel’s Create Your Own Superhero page to join in the fun. 

Don’t forget to share your creation with us by tagging #growinguplast!

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Pizza

Today I’m kicking off my new weekly feature - Tasty Tuesday! Each week I’ll share a recipe we like, or a new one I’m trying out. You guys can submit recipes, too. Just consider my family your culinary guinea pigs.

So, how corny is that title, huh? Super cheesey - just like the pizza I’m going to teach you to make! (see what I did there!)

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