Monthly Archives: November 2012

Feline Friday

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No, we never have pet hair in our food.  Why do you ask?

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Fallen Angel Food Cake

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As I try to improve my cooking and baking skills, I’m trying to make favorite basics that I usually buy but have never made from scratch.  Now that I think of it I should make a list.  It’s kind of embarrassing how many fundamental recipes I have never attempted (pie crust, roast chicken, steak at home, and on and on…)IMG_0097_edited-1

I love angel food cake.  It’s sweet without being too much, relatively low on the bad-for-you scale, at least as far as cakes go, and is so delicious with strawberries.

So instead of buying one from the grocery store I decided to give it a try. I had a couple dozen eggs left over from Thanksgiving weekend.  I had grand plans of making a delicious egg casserole for my guests and went a little crazy in the Costco dairy case.  We got to chatting in the evening (it’s made the night before) and I forgot.  Sorry!  Needless to say, I didn’t know what to do with dozens of eggs.  Angel food cake is perfect because you use a dozen egg whites.IMG_0026_edited-1

That’s a lot of egg whites – am I the only one that thinks they’re kinda gross?  Luckily they turn into something magical.

When I mentioned to my husband that I was going to make an angel food cake, he asked for a chocolate angel food cake.  I wanted to stick with the traditional but did make a yummy chocolate glaze so he can have the extra sugar he so craves.

The recipe I used was from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  I’ve mentioned before how it’s my first stop when looking for a recipe and this was clear and easy.

I had mixed results.  Most importantly, it tastes delicious.  Much more flavor than the grocery store versions I buy.  It certainly doesn’t look as pretty though.  That’s definitely my fault but I’m not exactly sure what I need to change.  One thing for sure, I needed to rotate it during baking as recommended (I forgot).  Look how crooked it was!  whoops.

angel food_edited-1(it looks even more ridiculous in person if that’s possible)

It’s also not nearly as tall and fluffy as it should be.  I don’t know why that is.  Maybe I stirred the batter too much when I was folding in the flour.  Maybe I tapped the pan on the counter too many times.  The recipe calls for that – likely to get rid of air bubbles.  I did it a few times.  Maybe that was too much. Anyone know why I have a sinking, sloping cake?

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(pay no attention to the sinking hole in the middle)

The only negative was the time commitment.   I read through the recipe but must have skimmed over the cooling time. The recipe is super simple and has little hands-on time but it needs to cool in the pan upside down for 2-3 hours (and this is after the egg whites are brought to room temperature and it bakes for 50 mins)!  By the time I finished the cake and cooling, I decided to make the glaze the next day.

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Doesn’t matter, it’s only the two of us eating it and it tastes so good I had two pieces today (so far)!

Impromptu Baked Ziti

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I follow The Pioneer Woman’s blog feeds and this morning her Baked Ziti came across my computer screen.  It looked delicious and would allow me to use up some ingredients still in my fridge from the holiday weekend.  So I tried it tonight – no time like the present!

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I liked this because it wasn’t the typical recipe where you just dump pasta sauce and pasta in a pan.  The sauce is simmered for 25 minutes and contains sausage and ground beef which is not typical (or at least the baked ziti recipes I’ve had).  Amazingly, I didn’t even use all the mozzarella called for by the recipe.   I just couldn’t fit it in the pan.  I used a basic 13×9 Pyrex dish and it was stuffed.  I did put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any run over.  Couple things to think about:

  • This makes a ton of food.  Granted there are only two of us in the house but I’m hoping I can freeze this or we’ll be throwing a bunch away even after eating leftovers for days.
  • I used spicy sausage – I would definitely do that again.
  • It needs more Italian seasoning and/or red pepper flakes. Though in truth I have no idea how long my Italian seasoning was in my drawer.  It probably lost its flavor.
  • It took about 5-8 minutes longer than the recipe calls for.

Here’s the link to the recipe:

Baked Ziti

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I’ll definitely make it again, especially when feeding a crowd.

Thankful, All Weekend

We are so fortunate to have our all of both our immediate families in town. It makes our holidays so much easier to see everyone.  We spent Thanksgiving day with my husband’s family and then hosted a dinner Friday for my family.  It was such a treat to have cousins, aunts and uncles in from out of state for the weekend or willing to drive up from out of town for the evening.  We didn’t get enough time (do we ever?) but I am truly thankful for any time with these wonderful people that hold such a special place in my heart.

Thanksgiving:

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(sorry, Kristen – I didn’t get any photos of you or C.)

Friday and Sunday:

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Thankful – Day 11

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I’m thankful for my animals’ funny little quirks.

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Ollie loooooves snuggling next to my head.  It’s very sweet.  Well, until I wake up in the middle of the night to a face full of fur because he’s decided to sleep on my pillow.

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Thankful – Day 10

As I run around like a crazy person the next couple days making lists, shopping, cleaning and cooking, I am thankful I have family to come visit and a home where they can stay.

Thankful – Day 10

Wow, I’m a slacker. It has been four days!  I have two ‘subjects’ to post about that, frankly, I’m too tired to put up the pictures and write out.  But there is an easy one that relates to my weekend.  On Saturday, we went to dinner and a movie with friends.  I’m so thankful for the creative and talented artists in the entertainment business.  We saw Lincoln and I was blown away!  It was good as everyone said. Not just Daniel Day Lewis but Sally Field (wow!), T0mmy Lee Jones and James Spader.  The actors were great but this was one of those amazing movies where the sets and costumes really pulled you in too.  The fact that I was enthralled for 2 1/2 hours is pretty amazing because when we watch movies at  home I fall asleep about 20 minutes in regardless of the movie!  Anyway, I’m just glad there are people out there with the creativity and vision I couldn’t even imagine having.