Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake

It is snowing, and snowing, and snowing!  The DIL is loving it.  She threw snowballs for the dogs to chase, built a snowman, and made a snow angel.  The weather is unusually warm and it is wonderful!
Tucker loving his snowballs!

I made this easy crockpot lava cake, so after the playing in the snow she could come in, have a hot cup of tea and a warm treat.  It was heaven on earth!

Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake
A Taste of Home online

1 chocolate cake mix, regular size
1-2/3 cups water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Transfer to a greased 4 qt. slow cooker (I used a crock pot liner instead.  Clean up was so much easier!)

In another bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.  Spoon over cake batter sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until toothpick inserted in cake portion comes out with moist crumbs.  Serve warm.  12 servings

1 year ago:    Hot Spiced Rum Apple Cider
2 years ago:  Leah

November 25, 2015   Sunrise 10:00 am  Sunset 3:15 pm  Temp. H 28/ L 27°F

Monday, November 23, 2015

Crock Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal with Pears

The curly haired boy and the DIL are here for a week.  They will be here for Thanksgiving and then head home.  The original plan was they would be here to help while I was recovering, but now we will have a fun visit!

They arrived Friday night, Saturday morning at 12:30 and we welcomed them home with a hot buttered rum next to the fire, since I have the mix in my freezer, and then off to bed.  In the morning, this warm, wonderful oatmeal was ready.  I have a little syrup warmed for the top, some chopped walnuts and a drizzle of cream and breakfast is served.

It is a bit of a trick, they will think I am making wholesome, good-for-you meals while they are home...nope.  We are starting with these baby back ribs on Saturday, and eating our way through the week, culminating with our Thanksgiving dinner, and then sending them home Friday, fat and full!

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
1 1/4 cup steel cut oatmeal
5 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar or more depending on taste
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 apples, peeled and cubed

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Add all ingredients and stir.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or warm for 8-9 hours.
I don't have a fancy crock pot with a built in timer so I have a timer I bought at the store.  I set the timer for midnight plug it in and let it go.

1 year ago:    Sourdough Potato Bread
2 years ago:  Apple Butter in the Crock Pot
3 years ago:  Brown Sugar Button Cookies and Grandma's Button Bag
4 years ago:  Whole Wheat Millet and Dried Fruit Bread

November 23, 2015     Sunrise 9:53 am  Sunset 3:21 pm   Temp. H 20/ L 18°F

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ganache filled Chocolate Cupcakes and the Complaints from Family

I had been home exactly 3 days and my family started complaining...about me...really?  I made a mess on the kitchen table, I use too many dishes when I cook.  My husband came into the kitchen as I was in the middle of making these cupcakes and dinner at the same time and had the nerve to say, "I never had the kitchen this messy when you were gone, and I cooked every night.  I made some remark like, "Well, if you don't want me to cook you can do it all."  Then my son walked into the kitchen and said, "Wow, the kitchen hasn't looked this bad in three weeks!"

So, I am not going to share my cupcakes with them...there.

These are delicious.  The dark chocolate ganache filling is a special surprise inside the moist, tender cupcake.  They are the perfect treat.  Add the ganache frosting and it is over the top.  They are so good you will look for a reason not to share, even if your family doesn't complain about what a mess you are.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling
from America's Test Kitchen 100 Recipes

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 oz.) dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup brewed coffee, hot
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
pinch salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) For the filling:
Microwave chocolate, cream, and sugar in medium bowl until mixture is warm to touch, about 30 seconds.  Whisk until smooth, then transfer bowl to refrigerator and let sit until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

2) For the cupcakes:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.  Place chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl.  Pour hot coffee over mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  Whisk mixture gently until smooth, then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

3) Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl.  Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth.  Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

4) Using ice cream scoop or a large spoon, divide batter evenly among prepared muffins cups.  Place 1 slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each portion of batter.  Bake cupcakes until set and just firm to touch, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.  Let cupcakes cook in muffin tin on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.  Lift each cupcake from tin, set on wire rack, and let cook completely, about 1 hour, before frosting.

5) For Frosting
Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer and set bowl over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water.  Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until it is slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees, 2-3 minutes.

6) Fit stand mixer with whisk and whip mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1-3 minutes.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy.  (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter).  Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down beater and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary.  Spread 2-3 Tbsp. of frosting over each cooled cupcake.

1 year ago:   United Way Auction and Cranberry Shortbread
2 years ago:  Hasselback Potatoes and a Mouse in the House
3 years ago:  Ice Breaker Cocktail and Bonding with the new Sewing Machine
4 years ago:  Sweet and Spicy Smoked Salmon - the most requested recipe

November 18, 2015  Sunrise 9:36 am  Sunset 3:35 pm  Temp. H 0/ L -6°F

Monday, November 16, 2015

Home Again and Hot Buttered Rum

So I made it home from the last big trip.  If you remember from an October post I am due for hip replacement, and getting home was a welcome relief from traveling.  We had scheduled my surgery for Nov. 16, right after I returned, and knew that I had several months to recover before the big Spring Travel Push that starts in February.

I was sitting in my hotel in Kansas City and my cell phone rings.  It is the surgeon's office calling to let me know he is "in network with an exception" and they wanted me to give them $8,000 right then.  What?  I was so dumbfounded that I said, "I have to call my husband!  I'll call you back."

I called my husband, I said I wasn't going to pay that much, I am double covered.  I cried, I cussed, and then I called the office back and said we would find a surgeon in network.  The next couple hours was talking to the insurance company, the new surgeon's office, crying and cussing, and winding down to hiccups and a bad night's sleep.

So, in hind sight, it isn't that bad.  They did call us before, and not lay that bill on us after the surgery was done and we had no choice but to pay it.  This is not a life threatening issue.  We are meeting the new surgeon on Thursday and hopefully will be able to schedule in December (or I will have to wait until May), I am almost 75K with Alaska Airlines and this just might tip me over the edge (awesome for upgrades when I travel for work).  The downside is, I'll be in Seattle instead of Alaska (although I will get to see the curly haired boy and the DIL) and Dave will be stuck in a hotel for at least a week instead of the three days in Anchorage.  So, if you are reading this on the 16th, I would be in surgery right now - or finished if it is later in the day....nope.

So, that is my sob story.

Fairbanks is in full winter mode.  It is dark when I get home from work, it is cold and snowy outside.  Inside we warm up with a fire in the wood stove and I'm drinking a nice, steamy hot buttered rum.  It is the best thing to wash those pain pills down with.

Hot Buttered Rum Freezer Mix

1 lb. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb confectioners' sugar
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg


Melt butter over low heat, add brown sugar and confectioners' sugar, stir until mixed well.  Remove from heat, add ice cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir to mix completely.  Pour into plastic container and seal.  Store in freezer.

To make 1 serving:
Place one heaping scoop of ice cream mixture into mug.  Add 2 oz. rum and 6-8 oz. of very hot water.  Stir and enjoy.

1 year ago:   Stuffed Port Loin
2 years ago: Pumpkin Muffins and a Skewed View of the World
3 years ago: Pretzel Turtles and the Start of the Season of Eating
4 years ago: Roasted Tomatoes

November 16, 2015   Sunrise 9:30 am  Sunset 3:41 pm  Temp. H -18/ L -26°F

Monday, November 2, 2015

Meeting the New Great Niece

I'm taking a weekend break in Kansas at my brother's house.  I got to meet my new great niece, Jayden.  She is perfect in every way!  I spend a week around Kansas and fly to Texas for the beginning of next week.  I hope it is done flooding before I get there.

This is the fourth birthday of my blog.  I had planned on doing some give-away or something, but it will have to wait until I get home and can organize something.  So, happy birthday to my blog, we'll celebrate later.

1 year ago:   My Glimpse of Raleigh
2 years ago:  Kentucky Kiss and the Sprained Ankle
3 years ago:  Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream
4 years ago:  The Beginning

November 2, 2015   Sunrise 8:42 am  Sunset 4:26 pm   Temp.  H 27/ L 23°F