Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Carrot Cake In Autumn

For all the baking I've done over the past little while, believe it or not, I've never made a carrot cake!  With it being autumn, and the farmers market is pretty much giving away bags of carrots at ridiculously low prices, I figured why not make a carrot cake, not like I didn't have the perfect recipe anyway!

A couple of years back, my sister-in-law gave me her secret family recipe for carrot cake.  She always made the cake when the family gathered and naturally I fell in foodlove with it!  One time she even made a cake just for me!  Well actually I was supposed to share it with my husband but being greedy like I tend to be sometimes, it wasn't really shared, more like he got a small sliver of a sample of it and I ate the rest.

Anyway, I got out my cheese shredder or whatever the thing is called, and went to town on the carrots.  I had no idea shredding carrots required so much elbow grease!  I did learn that I desperately need a new shredder because though the one I have is perfect for shredding cheese on lasagna, it's a whole 'nother story when it comes to carrots!!  (it looks like the one in that photo over there, good for cheese, but carrots, not so much!)

After following the directions carefully - and yes I was fully awake and clear headed so no baking mishaps this time - the batter was poured into the bundt pan .... rather, the NEW bundt pan that I finally got around to buying!!!  Truth be told, I really wanted to break that pan in! 

While the cake was in the oven I cleaned up the ultimate mess I made.  I had cake batter everywhere on the counter, on the coffee pot, ON THE TOASTER!!!

Sigh...

Sure, I was nervous during baking.  I know my track record with first-time-recipes.  But when the toothpick came out clean, and the cake was done, and it came safely out of the pan and onto the plate...  I used some of the creamy cream cheese icing I won on the top of the cake.  Just put a bit on the hot cake so it drizzled down the side and made more like a glaze effect. 

Then when it was cool, I had a small piece.  Ya, that's right ... a SMALL piece.  I'm trying not to over due the snacks since I'm still losing weight.  Bottom line is, the cake didn't last long because the husband loved it!  Gave some to my Mom and to my Mother-in-law to sample as well.  I"ll pick up a new shredder this week and make another cake, but until then, no more shredding carrots with that el-cheap-o shredder!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Won!!

When I checked the mail yesterday, I received a notice to pick up a package from the post office.  It drove me nuts trying to figure out what the package was since I couldn't remember if I'd ordered anything on ebay or etsy.  It wasn't any special occasion for anyone to be sending me anything either so I was completely baffled.

Then it came to me.  Not quite sure what jogged my memory but I did recall entering my info for a chance to win a cake pack.  Could that have been it?

I wasn't sure but I thought, hey could I really be one of the 100 winners of the Duncan Hines contest?  It really seemed too good to be true so I wasn't about to get my hopes up and have the package turn out to be something else.

I picked up the box today and opened it and oh how happy I was!!!  It was like Christmas almost but not quite.

I don't usually enter contests but I figured what the heck in this case.  The contest listed the prize as a cake mix and a limited edition cake server so not a big deal if I didn't win right.  

It was just a simple Duncan Hines contest that didn't require me to bake anything. All I had to do was simply like their page on Facebook and then jot down how I'd use the new Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix (because the purpose of the contest was to promote their red velvet box mix).  

Now I can't for the likes of me recall what I wrote but it must have been good enough for me to be one of the 100 winners of a gift pack that consisted of two red velvet cake mixes, two whipped creamy cream cheese icing, a cake server that says Duncan Hines Red Velvet on the handle, a red apron with the words Duncan Hines across the front and three coupons for free cake mixes! 

I know it may not sound like much to some folks but to me - a first time contest winner - it's the mother load!! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thankful

Oh the delight of a Thanksgiving dinner.

So Yesterday was the Canadian Thanksgiving and as per usual, dinner was divine!  The most wonderful aspect of it all is that our Mom's are great chefs!  Hey what were you expecting me to say with all that food between the two of them over the course of the long weekend.

We ate an abundance of:
  • turkey
  • chicken
  • stuffing
  • curried beef
  • rice
  • mashed potatoes
  • fresh vegetables
  • macaroni pie
  • fish
  • potato salad
  • green salad
  • can you say CHEESE CAKE and APPLE PIE!!!
I may have forgotten something but that's pretty much what I put into this belly of mine over the course of the weekend.  Many thanks to our Moms for their culinary skills.  Much appreciated especially since my culinary skills are somewhat lacking in the "skill" department.

I'm thankful that I have family to share love (and good food) with.  I'm thankful for the simple everyday things like our warm home, food in our cupboards, a soft bed to rest my head on each night, clothes to wear especially now that the temperature is dropping, our jobs that pay our bills, our good health, friends (and internet so I can keep in contact with those who are too busy to speak on the phone)... for our Lord Jesus Christ who loves me just as I am (which really blows me away sometimes because I'm a major work in progress)... for Gods Grace...  I can go on and on because I AM THANKFUL.

1 Thessalonians 5 14-18 KJV

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.   15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.   16 Rejoice evermore.   17 Pray without ceasing.   18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Apple Butter

Ever since I started dropping the pounds and exercising regularly, I've been in the kitchen baking up a storm! 

Strange but true!

I usually don't like cooking but I don't mind baking... probably because baking yields some pretty good desserts!

 
Last week I tried my hand at making apple butter in the slow cooker.  Now I've always wondered why it's called "butter" when it's more like a "jam" but anyway, it tasted pretty good.  While surfing the net for a recipe, I stumbled on Sweet and Savory by Sarah's recipe for apple butter in a crock pot. (click the link for the recipe and while you're there, surf her blog, she's got some pretty good recipes up in there!).  I followed her crock pot apple butter recipe almost exactly.  I say almost because I used one and a half of each type of apples I found at the outdoor market to jazz up the flavor.  When the pot still had room for more apples, I just diced up some Lobo apples that I had in a bag in the fridge from before.  My only issue with the recipe is it never tells you when to keep the lid off the pot once you've added the sugar and spices.  I had the first batch cooking for a while when I noticed the steam was causing the juice to build up so I got clued in and removed the lid and then finally it cooked down to a thick apple sauce type of jam (but not a smooth buttery butter).  My second batch came out just as good and slightly lumpy so I was a bit worried and googled up a Martha Stewart video that pretty much told me that was as good as my apple butter was going to get (though her recipe is different the outcome is the same in my opinion and I really enjoyed Sarah's recipe). 

The first sample of the "jam" I had on a piece of toast and it was marvelous.  Eventually I baked a small batch of biscuits.  It's safe to say I'll be making another batch in a few weeks because my jar is almost done!!

Next up is pumpkin butter which I never heard of but since I stumbled on a recipe somewhere I may as well give it a try. (will post the link to the recipe when I blog it's results).


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good Grief- It's the Hodgepodge-Vol 96

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer the questions provided by From This Side Of The Pond on your own blog then link up with the whole big wide world.  Or small wide world.  However you see it is fine.

Click on the link, join the fun, blog hop.

Here are my answers to this week's questions-



1. It's a brand new month...share one thing you're looking forward to in October.


Leaves changing colours! I enjoy watching the leaves change colours, then fall to the ground all over the place (my husband hates that they all seem to fall on his car). I enjoy how some homes decorate outrageously for Halloween. I just enjoy the whole season of autumn and it seems that October is synonymous for autumn in my book!

2. Is chivalry dead? Explain.
 
Maybe not dead but definitely on life support! I just don't see too many people going out of their way to help others in need of assistance.

3. On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts comic strip made its debut. Which character is your favorite? Which character is most like you? (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Shroeder, Snoopy, Woodstock, or Pig Pen) If you need a description click
here .


My favorite Peanuts character is Pig Pen. This dude doesn't seem to care what other's think of his appearance, he's the master of self confidence if anything. The character most like myself would be Charlie Brown... I just can't seem to get a break!

4. What's something you're competitive about?

I'm not competitive at all. I just do my own thing without competition, win or lose c├ęst la vie.

5. October is National Popcorn Popping Month...are you a fan? How do you like your popcorn?

Popcorn is awesome. I like plain popcorn, no salt, no butter. I know that sounds bland but I got used to eating it that way.

6. When did you first realize the world is small?

I can't say this was when I first realized the world was small but it comes pretty close. When I started dating Tony (who is now my husband), he brought me to meet his family, turns out I went to school with one of his sisters!

7. In terms of architecture, what's the most beautiful building you've seen up close and in person?

I'd have to say St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal.  click here for Wikipedia.
She's a beauty! If ever you're in Montreal, be sure to put that on your list of places to see!!!

























8. Insert your own random thought here.

Brain's been busy all week giving me a headache thinking too much about nonsense. Tell me to insert random thought here and brain suddenly shuts down. Go figure!


 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fright Night Again

I finally forced myself to watch the Fright Night remake that starred Colin Farrell and it wasn't easy to watch quietly either.  Oh no, I wasn't screaming scared, I was annoyed and criticizing the film!  Sad but true!

I always wondered why they would remake that movie.  Wondered why they would put Colin Farrell as the vampire!  At first I thought perhaps with new video technology and animation the film would be amazing, except for the addition of Colin Farrell, but I just refused to pay megabucks in the cinema to see it.  Sure, I went to the cinema to see the original way back in the 80s with my Mom.  Since that day I will forever call Fright Night "Mom's Scary Movie" because she watched most of the movie from behind her hands that were covering her eyes.  *giggles*

While surfing around Youtube I came across the remake in full.  Would you believe that even with the possibility of watching the film for free, I still was reluctant to fork over my time!

AND RIGHTFULLY SO!!! 

But in the end, I gave in to my curiosity and watched it.

The vampire in the 1985 version was sexy, the story was fairly interesting and it also starred Roddy McDowall, remember him from The Cat From Outer Space?  While the Fright Night remake tried to stick to the 1985 version, it sometimes went off in it's own direction.  And since when do vampires become "normal humans" again once the major vampire is killed?  Ok sure that happened in the first one too come to think of it but isn't that theory only for werewolves?   At least Colin Farrell didn't sparkle when the sun hit him like the Twilight vampires, instead he morphed into some real bad CGI vampire that somewhat resembled the one from the Van Helsing movie that Wolverine Hugh Jackman starred in, and turned to dust.