Ramblings of Random Rashawn

just a bit of everything

Lack of Ho Ho Ho-ness December 9, 2011

Filed under: Rambles — ramblingsofrandomrashawn @ 10:07 pm

I just can not get into the holiday spirits this year. I do not know what it is but I have done hardly any baking, the Christmas tree did not even get put up until today! I finally took down the Halloween window clings today and put up the Christmas ones. I want to blame it on the lack of snow. We had about 6 inches a couple of days after Thanksgiving, then it rained and it was all gone. Today we got a little sprinkle of snow but nothing like we should have in Michigan right now. I am thankful I do not have to drive in it but it doesn’t feel like Christmas time with out it.

I have gotten most of my Christmas presents purchased, just have a few stragglers to get. I have really got to start my baking though! I have a dozen cookies done, that’s it! The first Christmas party is on the 17th to and I am working 10 straight days right now. I really should be in the kitchen and not on here rambling but I felt the need to express myself.

I feel a bit more inspired tonight, with the tree up, window clings changed. I am watching Elf on a Shelf right now. Already watched Frosty, Frosty Returns and Yes, Virgina. Ok, that just made me sound like I sit in front of the television all day. Which I do not do!

Made a couple of recipes this week, Simple Orange Cake from Technicolor Kitchen and Mint Creme Oreo Stuffed Fudge Cookies from Becky Bakes. Got good views for the orange cake, as for the cookies those babies are waiting for Christmas cookie baskets! I don’t really think you can go wrong with a cookie stuffed inside another cookie though! I believe that is about all I have to say right now. I apologize for my absence. I need a brief talking to from a good friend to get me back on track!

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Butternut Squash Soup November 20, 2011

Filed under: Main Dishes,Recipes — ramblingsofrandomrashawn @ 6:03 pm

With Thanksgiving less than a week away now I am sure the last thing you really want to see is a recipe for a squash dish but this Butternut Squash Soup is so easy to make that now you won’t have an excuse to not eat before that big meal because you are too busy. Just whip up a batch of this thick, delicious soup now and throw it in the freezer, let it thaw and have a quick-lunch (or breakfast) the day of the big turkey.

I had some squash that needed to be used up and I had never actually tried a squash soup I figured I had nothing to lose. This took less than an hour and a half to make and eat! So take a break and enjoy a few of the last minutes of fall we have left for this year.

Ingredients

Butternut Squash Soup

Easy Print Out

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Shallots

2 Butternut Squash

3 small Baking Potatoes (I used Russets)

1 small Apple (I used a Golden Delicious)

1 32 oz. box  Chicken or Vegetable Broth (low sodium)

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Thinly slice the shallots. In a large stock pot over low heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are translucent. By the time you are finished with step 2 your shallots should look nice are translucent.

Wash your squash, potatoes, and apple throughly. Peel the squash, clean out the seeds and chop into 1 inch pieces. Peel the potatoes, peel and core your apple and cut both potatoes and apple into 1 inch pieces.

Add the squash, potatoes and apple to the shallots. Throw in a few pinches of kosher salt and some pepper. You can also add whatever other seasonings you like. I used Mrs. Dash original (because I might be slightly obsessed with it). Add in the box of  broth. Increase heat to medium high and bring ingredients to a steady simmer. Cook about 30 minutes or until everything is nice and tender.

Remove from heat once everything is tender and cool for about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender* blended all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Serve soup warm.

*Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender just use your regular blender. This will just take a few extra steps of transferring the soup back and forth between the blender and your pot until all the ingredients are blended. I do suggest a blender that is glass. I don’t know if a hot soup will melt your plastic blender. I am not responsible for any melted blenders!

 

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls November 15, 2011

Filed under: Breads,Recipes — ramblingsofrandomrashawn @ 9:25 pm

WARNING: If you do not like the use of butter please turn back now!

I don’t really know how you are going to resist reading this post. I mean just look at these rolls! Today was opening day for firearm deer season here in Michigan and I figured I would make some cinnamon rolls for the guys when they came back from hunting. When I found this recipe I was super excited because you don’t have to let them raise, they contain no yeast! They sure did come off as a hit with the guys also. I am definitely thinking Christmas breakfast with these. With a nice hot mug of black coffee who could resist?

Filling Ingredients

3/4 c. Brown Sugar, packed

1/4 c. Sugar

3/4 c. Pecans, chopped

2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon Butter, melted

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and blend with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set bowl aside.

Dough Ingredients

2 1/2 c. Flour

3 tablespoon Sugar

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 c. Buttermilk

7 tablespoon Butter, melted

1/3 c. Maple Syrup

 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a 9 inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in buttermilk, syrup and 2 tablespoons of melted butter and stir until combined. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth (dough will be slightly sticky. Mine was really sticky in the beginning so I kneaded in extra flour until it felt right).

Roll dough out into a rectangle about 12×8 inches. Pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter on, use a pastry brush or your fingers to spread it evenly over the dough. Pour the filling over the dough and spread it evenly, leaving about 1/2 inch broader around the edges.

Starting with the long side of the dough, roll the side up pressing as you go to create a tightly rolled log. Be gentle because it will stick to the counter a bit. Pinch the seam closed and cut into 8 even slices (I got 9 out of my batch) and transfer rolls into prepared pan. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Icing Ingredients

2 tablespoon Butter, softened

3 tablespoon Maple Syrup

Milk

1 c. Powdered Sugar

In a medium bowl, cream butter and add sugar. Mix until sugar and butter start to combine a bit. Add the syrup and whisk well, until the mixture is smooth. If it is to thick add milk until you get the consistency you want.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Pour the icing over the rolls. Serve warm!

 

Recipe adapted from Bakingdom

 

Chocolate Reese’s Cookies November 5, 2011

Filed under: Cookies,Recipes — ramblingsofrandomrashawn @ 10:49 am
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When I came across these cookies on The Faux Martha I automatically thought of Halloween. So I made a batch of these on Halloween and they are delicious! A bit of a pain in the butt to make but I think that is easy enough to change. These cookies call for being made into a log and froze and then sliced and baked. Well, I did this and my Reese’s Pieces didn’t stay whole and pretty, they were really hard to slice! So my solution, I will be making drop cookies with these next time. The cookie dough spread quite a bit when baked making them very crunchy. I hope that making drop cookies with my smallest scoop they won’t spread so far and maybe have a bit of softness to them. A girl can only hope, right?!

Ingredients

Chocolate Reese’s Cookies

Source: The Faux Martha

1 1/4 c. Flour

1/3 c. Cocoa Powder (she used dark and I used regular)

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

11 tablespoon (1 stick plus 3 tablespoon) Butter, softened

2/3 c. Brown Sugar, packed

1/4 c. Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 teaspoon Salt

5 oz. Reese’s Pieces (I used 1 and 1/2 4 oz. boxes)

Sift together flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a medium bowl

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth (but not fluffy). Add both sugars, vanilla and salt, beat until fluffy.

Add flour mixture beat until just blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add in the Reese’s Pieces and mix until distributed (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form a ball).

Place dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll into a 1 1/2 inch diameter log. Chill until firm (3 hours in the fridge or 30 minutes in the freezer).

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp nice, cut log crosswise into 1 inch thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, or until they look dry. The cookies will not have firm edges. Transfer to wire rack and cool.

Cookies!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies November 4, 2011

Filed under: Cookies,Frosting,Recipes — ramblingsofrandomrashawn @ 12:29 pm
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Have to apologize for my absence, I have no excuses for not posting these cookies sooner besides sheer laziness. Cold weather does that to me. It also puts me in a slump which makes me in horrible mood. But what would turn my mood around is one of these spicy cookies and big hot mug of tea! I found this recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen on FoodGawker and I instantly thought well aren’t those the cutest things ever (oh how I wish I could decorate cookies like that)! I grumbled a little bit that they were frosted, to me frosting belongs on cupcakes not cookies, but I reminded myself that they were sugar cookies. I didn’t frost the batch that I did because I was already having a bad day in the kitchen (should have run when I dumped the pumpkin pie spice all over the floor) but next time I will try it with the frosting. These cookies have a nice mellow spice taste to them that is not too overwhelming, they crunchy with a slight soft center. The only complaint I had to add almost another 1/2 cup of flour to them in order to get them to roll out. You can find the recipe here and I also posted it below.

Ingredients

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Source: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Cookies:

2 c. Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

16 tablespoon (2 sticks) Butter, softened

1 c. Sugar

1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 Egg

1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice, set aside.

In your stand mixer bowl cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of the bowl as needed, will take about  3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beat at medium speed until combined. Add in dry ingredients and beat on low-speed until just combined, scrap sides of the bowl as needed. Shape into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator onto a lightly floured surface. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

With rolling-pin, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut out cookies, placing on prepared baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place cookie sheet with cookies in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes until edges are just ready to turn the slightest bit light brown. Cool on wire rack before decorating.

Can't believe we don't own pumpkin cookie cutter!

Icing:

4 c. Powdered Sugar

1/4 c. and 1 tablespoon Cream

1/2 c. Butter

2 teaspoon Vanilla

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat cream and butter until butter is melted. Stir in vanilla and sugar. Remove from heat, and beat with electric mixer until smooth and thick.

Icing sets up very quickly , if it becomes hard to work with, place in microwave for 10-15 seconds and it will re-soften and be smooth again.

*As always, please check out the original recipe over at Sweet Pea’s Kitchen and the pictures posted in this post our mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think Pink Cupcakes October 22, 2011

So this year I wanted to do something for the lovely survivors in my life. I decided that pink cupcakes would be an awesome idea to let them know that I am thinking about them! I got the wonderful idea from the blog Love from the Oven who did pink cupcakes as a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen. So I whipped up a batch of the pink velvet cupcakes and topped them with homemade buttercream, decorated them with lovely pink sugar and sprinkles, boxed them up and delivered them in the rain and wind to my 3 lovely ladies. Posted below is the pink velvet recipe from Love in the Oven and my buttercream recipe that I use.

Ingredients

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

Source: Love from the Oven

1 cup Butter, softened

1 1/3 c. Sugar

Pink food coloring

3 eggs

2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 1/2 c. Flour

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 c. Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake tins with liners. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Once light and fluffy add the food coloring. Start with a small amount and increase to your desired color. Blend well with butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add in vanilla and beat well.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Add 1/3 of the dry mix to the batter and beat until well combined. Add in 1/2 the buttermilk, beat until combined, followed by another 1/3 of the dry mix, then the remaining buttermilk and finally the remaining dry mix. Batter may look a little lumpy after buttermilk is added, but beat well and it will combine.

Fill paper liners about two-thirds full and bake at 350°F for approx 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Watch cupcakes closely in the last few minutes of baking so do not over brown. Allow to cool in cupcake pan before removing to cooling rack.

Filled Liners

Classic Buttercream

Source: Wilton

1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla (or Almond) Extract

2 tablespoon Milk or Water

1 c. solid Vegetable Shortening (mom swears by butter)

1 tablespoon Meringue Powder

1  lb. sifted Powdered Sugar (approx. 4 cups)

Sift the sugar and meringue powder into a large bowl. Cream shortening, flavoring and milk or water (I use water so I don’t have to refrigerate). Gradually add sifted dry mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed. Add additional water while mixing to get the consistency you want (I added about another tablespoon).

Finished Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

Think Pink October 21, 2011

Filed under: Rambles — ramblingsofrandomrashawn @ 8:16 pm

The first week and half to two weeks of October felt a little more like June with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s so I have enjoyed October more the usual. But now that the temperatures have dropped to the mid 40s and the weather has turned rainy and very windy it actually feels like fall around here I was able to realize that it was October! October is Breast Cancer awareness Month if you did not already know. I am a proud supporter of breast cancer research, pink is my color for the month. My grandmother, Aunt Peggy and my Aunt Shelley have all been diagnosed with breast cancer. So being a supporter of finding a cure is something I do not take lightly. This year I took a moment to reflect on how much these three ladies mean to me.

My grandmother, well she’s my grandma! I cannot imagine my life without her. She is a strong woman, she raised 7 children 5 of which were boys. That takes a strong woman. She was the first in the family to have breast cancer. It was devastating for the family. When she started chemotherapy I promised her if she lost her hair I would shave my head and we’d be bald together. Now 8 years later she is still cancer free and she never lost her hair.

My Aunt Peggy was diagnosed a few years after my grandmother. She is my Godmother so I basically think of her as another mother, most people say we act a lot a like (I have her nose). She is my grandma’s oldest, my dad’s big sister. It came as a shock to everybody once again. She had the usual radiation and chemo. and is also cancer free still.

My Aunt Shelley is my dad’s sister-in-law and one of the funniest people I know. Love this woman to death! Her breast cancer was a bit more severe then grandma’s or Aunt Peg’s. She is missing a bit of her girls (as she’d call them). But she is strong none the less. She had a biopsy done a lump this year but it came back as scar tissue so we can say that she also is cancer free!

I love to be able to say that my family members are now cancer free but I mourn for the those that have lost loved ones to this disease. Remember to always have your yearly exams and do monthly self breast exams. If you are uncomfortable doing this remember that things we do for our health are not always fun. I touch my breast because I care about me!

It is easy to donate for the cure. During October (even year around) you can find many cute pink items that when purchased a certain percentage of the proceeds are donated to find a cure. Send your pink Yoplait yogurt tops in and they will donate 10¢ per lid to Susan G. Komen (you can even redeem your lids online now). You can also donate directly to Susan G. Komen here.