Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Apple Pie - Oh my!!

You heard that right - Pumpkin AND Apple in one pie.

Randomly thinking this would be good, I did some net sleuthing and came across a few recipes. Turns out it really is just pumpkin pie + apple pie.

The combination brings about various contradictions though...

Pumpkin pie is best cold... apple is best warm!
Pumpkin is eaten with whipped cream... apple best with ice cream!
Pumpkin pie is single crust... apple pie is double-crusted!

What better way to solve all of these issues than by making one? And so I made two.

I used this recipe - except for the pumpkin pie part, I made half of the Libby's recipe - because in my family, pumpkin pie ain't pumpkin pie unless it's Libby's.

The recipe does not call for a top crust, but the conflict between pumpkin and apple pie bothered me enough that I was forced to make a compromise with the crust cutouts which I placed on top after the 20 twenty minutes of baking, when I removed the foil.

Not surprisingly, this was a very very tasty pie. Strangely though, it didn't taste anything like I thought it would. Certainly there was apple pie and pumpkin pie, and all the flavors you'd expect, but the textures were different, and the flavors melded in the most wonderful way.. Dan described it as a sort of apple cobbler.

Either way, I am very much making this again. It doesn't replace a pumpkin pie in any way, but it may be my new favorite over pumpkin pie.
Oh, and I served it warm, with whipped cream.
I was exceptionally please by the results.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Velvet Capes

Finally - DONE!

Taking on both Des and Brianna's capes (and aprons, I'll do those tomorrow) for Halloween was more work than I anticipated. I'm a novice sewer, so hemming etc. took much seam-ripping - often on the longer seams in the garments (AUGH!) ... but now they are done!

Trying to hem a garment meant for a toddler - that I was making too tall for the toddler is silly-hard. Toddler isn't going to stay still, and besides, since I was making both capes too big (so they'll fit later) the hem line was hard to measure. So, I improvised - I mounted a doll on top of the vacuum

Hey, it worked. Lol.

The capes are red velvet, lined with satin. They have tassels on the tips of the hoods (white for Brianna, black for Des) and frog closures in the front (white for Brianna, red for Des).

They have buttons on the inside to fold up the hem until the girls get taller, at which time the hem can be let down an additional 4 inches. 

I had to rip out a total of 6 seams, and re-cut one large piece. I'm too impatient for this sewing stuff, I make mistakes too easily because of it.

'Tis the Season for Pumpkins!

Tonight was a night of pumpkin happiness! Gem came over and we all carved pumpkins.

Gem brought along an electric carver - which we all decided was totally awesome, despite how completely cheap it was to use such a cheater device!

Des decorated her pumpkins with finger paints...

During all this, I was baking pumpkin butterscotch cookies! 

Yummers. Yet another winning recipe from Big Fat Cookies (at Dan's suggestion, I threw in some oatmeal, and it added some great texture to these very light, cakey cookies)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oatmeal Cookies, Snickerdoodles, and PUPPIES!

Chris and Brandy came over last night, in desperate want of cookies. I promised the making of cookies.. but it was soon discovered that I didn't have the necessary supplies, and we were all quite saddened.

So today, I went to the store and got stuff. And then made Oatmeal Cookies and Snickerdoodles! I shall bring some over to C&B later tonight.

The oatmeal cookies didn't turn out as well as the recipe usually does, which was sad. But they're still oatmeal cookies!

The snickerdoodles, however are AWESOME. I have had this great book, Big Fat Cookies from my Mom for probably more than a year now and only cracked it a few times to drool over the recipes, never to make any.. but now that I've tried one, I'm going to try them all, as soon as possible!

What are the rules about posting recipes from cookbooks on a blog? Can I do that? I dunno...

Anywho... what's been keeping me out of the kitchen lately?
The hunt for a dog! Finally, our family was ready to bring a dog back into our lives, and so we have been going to the local shelters quite frequently, looking for the right dog for us. Yesterday, we brought that dog home, and named her Gabby.

She's of unknown breed (likely Dachshund, maybe terrier or chihuahua as well), and unknown age (totally seems to be a puppy, has her adult teeth, maybe 1?).
She's fun, she's energetic, she's *houstrained*, she's extremely tolerant of toddler antics, and she's cuddly!

So yes. Happy happy happy happy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Bread!!

I baked some more Pumpkin Zucchini Bread - same recipe as before but a slight modification - half the eggs, and replace with equal volume pumpkin!

Well, I think it is at least.

And I'm bringing it home to Mommy and Daddy.

They'd better love it, 'cause I got a booboo making it :( Stupid hot oven.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There's Red Thread and Fuzz Everywhere!

Who has time? Everyone seems to think that I do - since I bake and do crafty whatever whenever I can, but that's not because I have time, for sure.

If I want to bake - Des either has to be napping or helping - or I run back and forth from the kitchen to the living room - putting in a cup of flour, running to colour with Des, cracking an egg, running to get Des off the table.. etc.

If I want to do cake decorating, after the baking fiasco above, I must wait until Des is asleep, or Dan is home to watch her as I craft in the dining room/office - which is a dark lonely, messy room.

If I want to sew, I have to wait until Des is in bed, at night. I can't do it while she naps, because her naps aren't long enough to warrant taking out the sewing machine and all the items I need and then cleaning up and checking for needles before she gets up again.

That means that sewing eats into sleep time. Des goes to be around 9. I go to work around 7. You do the math.

So lately, I've been sewing. Costumes for Des and Briana, they are going to both be Little Red!! Oh the cuteness possibilities.. well I didn't want to make just a felt cape and buy a plastic dress, I wanted to make a cape she could dress up in for some time now - so I'm using velvet, which is expensive (nerve racking, don't make a mistake!) and I am lining the capes (which is apparently tricky). Much learning to be done here - many seams to be painstakingly ripped out (Mom, you know how I told you I sewed the front closed on the lining? Well guess what I did to the velvet yesterday? @#$%@!!!!)

Later I'll be making dresses, but for now, I've got one cape just about done...

oh and I'll hopefully do pumpkin seeds tomorrow. Hopefully - but I have to finish two capes and two dresses in .. what.. less than two weeks? EEEEKK!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Preparing Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

The other day, we had 12 pumpkins in the house. 4 were for carving/painting from the pumpkin patch, 8 were pumpkin pie pumpkins - because when I saw "2 for $3" I thought "OH hey! Now that seems like a deal... lets buy 500!"

So anyway. Since first baking with fresh pumpkin last year, I'm now a total advocate. It's cheaper, and really not difficult - also, for a little extra work you get pumpkin seeds out of the deal as well!

With my bounty of squash, I made Pumpkin Zucchini Bread. This is a *most excellent* recipe, not only was it a huge hit at work, but we've all been gobbling it up at home too!

Making Pumpkin Puree

Preparing pumpkin mash is easy (time consuming, but easy). Buy yourself some pumpkin pie pumpkins - yes, this is a specific kind, and not the huge ones they sell for carving. They might be sold as "sweet pumpkins" as well. These little guys will yield around 1 1/2 cup pumpkin mush each, so purchase accordingly. Wash the pumpkin, get a big knife and split it in half - if you cut everything but the stem, you can pull the sides apart and it'll pop in half pretty easily.

Next, get a sharp edged spoon and scoop out all the mush. If you want to save the seeds - do yourself a favor and try to scoop it all out such that it stays in a few big lumps - that means scraping into the walls of the pumpkins just a bit. This way separating the seeds from the goop will be a little easier.

Now, turn the oven on 350, and get a pan with edges (not a cookie sheet) and lay down a sheet of tin foil. Pour in about an inch of water, and place the pumpkin halves each cut side down. Stick them in the oven and let them cook until they give easily when touched - this is anywhere from 30 minus to an hour.

If your house starts to smell like Halloween (that wonderful cooking/burning pumpkin smell - I really do love it) check and make sure that the water hasn't all evaporated out of the pan, and replace if necessary - it keeps the pumpkin from drying out.

Now that your pumpkins are cooked, take out of the even and turn over to let the steam escape - let them cool. Now you need to remove the flesh from the skin. Either scrape it all out with a spoon, or, if cooked enough, you might be able to just peel the skin away. At this point, all you need to do is puree the pumpkin flesh with an immersion blender, stand blender, or food processor.

You can use it right away, or do like I did with what turned out to be 11 cups of pumpkin, and scoop 1/2 cups of it into a muffin tin and freeze.

Once solid, stick those pumpkin puree cubes in a zip lock bag and you have it for later!

I've read (but so far not experienced) that you really need to strain the puree well, get the extra liquid out, since some recipes don't do well with it - so keep that in mind. I've made pies and breads without bothering with the straining, and been fine.

Saving the Seeds

If you'd like to salvage the seeds from your pumpkins (this is good for while the pumpkins are cooking) get a bowl, a strainer and a cookie sheet, and put the pumpkin guts in the bowl, in the sink. If you scraped so that you have a few large lumps of guts, pick up a lump and just kinda squeeze the seeds out, throw away the guts. Once you've separated all the pumpkin from the seeds, fill the bowl with water, and stir the seeds up a bit to rinse and get the extra pumpkin goo off of them. Strain. Pour the seeds evenly over the cookie sheet. At this point you can either cook them straight away or just let them dry and cook later.

I'll post later my recipe for candied pumpkin seeds!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Decadent Derriere

Here it is.. the post I've been waiting for... the PIMPLY BUTT CAKE!!

Now, truth be told, it's not for the faint of heart. But all in good fun. So, to be fair, I'll put a ton of space between this text and the rest of this post, so you can run away if you want to. Get ready for some gratuitious grossness.

Although any person that is even partially human won't be able to resist the urge to scroll down to see what I'm talking about!

Now wasn't that fun? All that scrolling?
Anyway. Erin's brithday was last week, she just turned 29 again, and wanted a cake "so gross no one will eat it" and so.. after some brainstorming we decided that a pimply butt just might be gross enough. Pimples that you could pop! Hair! Butt!

So I got an air brush, in anticipation of detail and skin tone (was the cake just a really good excuse for an airbrush? you decide).

So here we go. The cake it'self was red velvet. Within the cake I swirled cream cheese lumps (think flesh and fat). Between the cake layers was red cream cheese buttercream and rasperry preserves. (blood, duh)

The cake was carved to look much like, as one co-worker described it "a burn victem"

Next, ivory tinted fondant.

Now, this is where I took some white buttercream in a piping bag, injected it under the skin, and made some pimples in choice locations. Then, airbrushing added detail thoughout. And.. tada! A nasty-ass pimply butt cake!!
Some work needs to be done on my air-brushing skills and technique, as I had to take off the colour on half and do it over - which then made it look a little wonky.. but I'm still exceptionally please with the results. I'm quite proud of this monstrosity.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I forgot about this place!

Quick update.... butt cake is this week. So far red velvet with cream cheese swirled in .. for you know.. ribbons of fat..
Yes, i'm going all out on gross for this, at specific request. It's fun too.
Although, it's harder than you'd think to find a proper photo at a proper angle of a not-so attractive male rear end.
Anyway... photos of that project soon to come. You know you're curious.

Other things I've been doing..

Cinnamon Roll Cookies - posted by Megan at The Black Oven.
These were *to die for*
Litterally. You felt the butter coursing through your veins moments after consumption. evil evil evil...

These will be some of the christmas cookies I make, for sure.

I got an air brush!
Oh boy it's messy funtimes. To practice with it, I made poker chip sugar cookies for Dan's friends to eat while they watched Vegas movies - in preperation for thier Vegas trip last weekend.

I made waaay too many and sent them to work on my way to the Spa.

The Spa! I went to the spa with Erin and it was most excellent. I spent the *entire* day there. Massage, Full Body Scrub, Facial, Pedecure, Manicure, Saunna... mmmmmm.. so lovely. We have vowed to take a mommy-day more often.

And last but absolutely not least.. Des has become my sous-baker. She is an excellent helper, and loves it! We made Erin's Peanut-Banana-Chocolate Bread together.

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