I’ll start with a picture of our weekly breakfast cake. Man…I take crappy pictures. I think that this should be my New Year’s resolution. Anyhoo, this recipe is from my Great-Aunt Inez who used to make this when she had too much milk and had to make sour cream (they were dairy farmers).

In a bowl combine; 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 cups of sour cream (I usually use yogurt) and 2 eggs. Add; 3 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar.

You can also add chunks of apple, pear, chocolate, nuts…

Bake in a big bundt pan at 350 for approx. 30 minutes.

We had the most wonderfully relaxing weekend. This isn’t to say we didn’t do tonnes and tonnes of stuff but we also took some time just to hang-out with each other and the baboo.

Saturday was about comfort food that took little effort and needed even less babysitting. I found this recipe quite some time ago and only got around to having it this weekend. I think it will go on the roster quite often now.

Slowcooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings
http://busycooks.about.com/od/chickenrecipe1/r/cpchickendumpli.htm

Ingredients:
•1 potato, peeled and chopped
•3 carrots, sliced
•1 onion, chopped
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 cup sliced mushrooms, if desired
•14 oz. can ready to serve chicken broth
•1/4 cup flour
•1/2 tsp. salt
•1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
•1/8 tsp. pepper
•2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2″ pieces
•9 oz. pkg. frozen baby peas
•1-1/2 cups Homemade Bisqwick Mix
•1 Tbsp. snipped chives
•1/2 cup milk
•2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Preparation:
In a 4 quart crockpot, mix potato, carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms if using. In medium bowl, combine chicken broth, flour and seasoning and mix until smooth. Pour over vegetables in crockpot. Add chicken.
Cover crockpot and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in center. Add peas and cover again. Cook on HIGH for 20 minutes until peas are hot.

In small bowl, combine baking mix with chives, milk, and melted butter and mix just until combined. Do not over mix.

If you don’t have any baking mix, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon snipped chives in a small bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter and mix with 1/2 cup milk; add to flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Drop dumplings by tablespoons onto hot, bubbling chicken mixture in crockpot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 20-25 minutes until dumplings are cooked through, fluffy, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 4

Now I just used a basic biscuit recipe (added some chives to them) but this sound quite nice too.
http://busycooks.about.com/od/homemademixes/r/bisquickbakingm.htm

You can make tons of recipes, including Parmesan Biscuits, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and muffins with this simple baking mix, saving you time and money.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutesIngredients:
•8 cups flour
•1-1/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
•1/4 cup baking powder
•1 Tbsp. salt
•2 cups solid vegetable shortening
Preparation:
In a large bowl, combine flour, milk, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal and the shortening is evenly distributed. Store in tightly closed covered container in a dark, cool place. Use in place of ‘Bisquick’ in any recipe.

I felt a little guilty about how easy it was to make the stew so I challenged myself and made Nigella Lawson’s Pistachio Souffles (I didn’t have ground pistachios so I just used ground almonds). I wish I had taken a picture but they disappeared too quickly.

I was also too lazy to type in the recipe but found it on;
http://teacia.blog.hr/2008/01/1623983471/nigellas-pistachio-souffle.html
who has a lovely picture which I swear mine looked like.

30g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing souffle cups
60g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting souffle cups and 1 Tbsp for the egg whites (feel free to add more, because at the end they are not sweet at all)
20g plain flour
150 ml full-fat milk
4 large eggs separated
100g unsalted pistachios, ground
2 drops almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange-flower water
5 larges egg whites
pinch of salt
6 x 10g good quality dark chocolate
6 x 250ml ramekins or souffle dishes

Preheat the oven at 200C / gas mark 6 and put in a baking sheet. Use a little butter to grease the ramekins and then dust with sugar, tipping out the excess.

Put the flour in a saucepan and add a little milk, just to blend. Then, stirring (whisking), add the rest of the milk and 60g sugar. Whisk over medium heat until it comes to boiling point, then whisk for 30 seconds and take off the heat, by which time it should be very thick. Let it cool a little and add the yolks gradually. Beat in the butter.
Add the gound pistachios, the almond and vanilla extracts and the orange-flower water, and mix in well.

Then, whisk all 5 egg whites together with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle over the tablespoon of sugar and then carry on whisking until thick and glossy. Lighten the mixture with some – up to a quarter – of the whites. Don’t be afraid of this, just splodge them into the saucepan (where the pistachio mixture is) and stir briskly. Now fold in carefully the rest of the whipped whites. Ok, this part here took me a while to understand. Isn’t it kinda weird to just add unbeated whites like that?! We are talking about the 4 whites that were separeted.

Pour 1cm of the mixture into each ramekin, then lie chocolate pieces on top and pour over the remaining mixture. Open the oven and as quickly but unhurriedly as possible, arrange the dishes on the heated baking sheet (which I forgot to do). Immediately, turn the oven down to 180C / gas mark 4 and bake for 12-15 minutes, when the tops will be scorched gold and risen high above the ramekins’ rims. Remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve absolutely at once (and I had to take photos). But one note of reassurance: you can open the door oven during baking; they won’t fall just because you’ve got the temerity to check in them 😉

Sunday was the day to take everything that we aren’t using to the baby resale store and then a quick trip to the grocery store to stock-up on the few things that we still get there. This led us to a nice roast chicken (stuffed with onion chunks and lemon wedges) and then a sweet tooth that needed to be tended to. The husband unit really wanted something with lemon but I’d used the last of them in our chicken so I came-up with something a bit more unique.

Orange Meringue Pie

Bake a 9 inch pastry crust. In the meantime in a small pot mix; six T. of cornstarch and the same of sugar. Grate in the rind of two oranges and slowly add (while whisking) 1 1/2 cups of water. Let this cook on a medium heat until it starts to bubble. Whisk often and let bubble for 2 minutes (it will sort of look like jello). Add the juice of the two oranges you zested (medium sized).

Meanwhile; separate six eggs. Add a few T. of the orange mixture to the egg yolks and beat (this will temper the eggs and make it so that they don’t turn into scrambled eggs). Add this mixture into the pot. Remove from heat and add 1 T. of butter.

Fold into the pie plate.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks and add 2 T. of sugar to make a stiff meringue.

Top the pie and bake at 350 degrees until the meringue is browned. DON’T leave the pie. This is one of those things (like toasting nuts) that isn’t done, isn’t done and then is burnt.

I will take some photos of this creation tonight. Due to the tonne of egg yolks in the custard it is super creamy and this is a rich pie. I managed a half of a piece but somehow the husband had three-he kept saying that it tasted like another.

While the pie cooked I logged into the Costco site and “made” calendars for all the grandparents and now I only have two more presents to go. I got a number of presents simply by logging onto my friend Sophie’s amazing jewelery site besobeads.com

Actually, one of the presents that I got is going to end-up in my jewelery box. I just don’t think that I can part with “Scotch on the Rox”.

I’ve thrown a spaghetti sauce into the good old slowcooker today so I’ll be in good shape tonight and might even make some pasta sheets for canneloni.

I intend on cooking a butternut squash up with a bit of nutmeg, garlic and parm. I’ll then sandwich these between two wonton wrappers for a cheaters ravioli and have it with butter and the last bit of sage that I salvaged from the garden before our freezing rain last night.

Have to come-up with something tasty to do with the left over chicken but that is for another day.

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