Friday, October 31, 2008

Blogging By Mail is Awesome!

I have been waiting, watching the Happy Sorceress' blog Dispensing Happiness for the event Blogging by Mail to come around again. I had never participated before and it seemed like a fun thing to do. So sure enough I joined in this time and received a fantastic package of goodies from Betsy of Food4Five.
10 wonderful items sent from CA- here they are....
The Bread and Chocolate Cookbook by Fran Gage- can't wait to try some of the recipes! A fine addition to my collection of cookbooks!
ScharfenBergen Chocolate- 1 baking, 1 10th Anniversary bar! Oh my!
Michael Mischer Chocolate w/ cherries bar- An San Fran artisanal bar!
Dried Blenheim Apricots- I haven't had apricots this wonderful for a long time. I love them as an appetizer with a small piece of Saga blue cheese on top!
Raw pistachios! Can't wait to add these to my holiday baking!
Asian Pear& Ginger conserve from Eating with the Seasons. Crack that baby open!
A hemp grocery bag also from Eating with the Seasons. So light, it's going right in my purse.
A beautiful blue leaf pottery dish, fits right into my decor!
Finally Clove Soap from Hawaii. I want to take this soap to bed and stick it under my pillow!!! The smell is heavenly! When I opened the box, the scent hit me and oh, man, it's incredible! I am such a dork- I took the wrapping paper it was in with me to smell in the car since I had to run errands right after I opened my box!!! I wish they had scratch n sniff and I could share!
What a fun exchange! Thanks Betsy! And thanks to Stephanie, the Happy Sorceress, for hosting the event!
My box went to Dagmar in Sweden.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Do Pizza!

Dear blogger- quit reducing my pics.....
I was thrilled to find that the DB challenge this month was to make pizza. It's always a fun time waiting for the beginning of the month to see what surprise recipe the Daring Baker host of the month has in store for us.
Our host this month is Rosa over in Switzerland, host of Rosa's Yummy Yums. The recipe is “Pizza Napoletana” from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice”. This is the first time I have baked a Reinhart recipe.
I have been looking for the perfect crust for years. One that is tender, but slighty chewy, and has a good yeasty taste. I haven't made pizza since last winter and now is a good time to get back into it.
And we were asked to really get into it and toss our pizzas like a real pizza maker.
So into my kitchen I go and mix my dough together the night before. Have I mentioned - I LOVE my Kitchen Aid??! The last time I made pizza, I was using a hand held mixer. The kitchenaid makes everything so much easier! Then into the fridge my dough went.
The next day came the real test. Forming the crust is always the hardest part for me.Usually I try to roll it out. But Rosa asked us to try to toss it with the knowledge that it will make it more tender. My dough seemed the right texture, so I floured up my hands and tried to toss like this. UH HUH..... I guess the key is getting the hands to move in a slightly rotating motion with the dough. It took a while, but by the 3rd try I was getting a little better at it. Still couldn't really toss it in the air though. I ended up kinda stretching/patting into the shape I wanted.
I made 3 pies this time and put half the dough in the freezer for another day.
One was tomato sauce w/cheese, one w/pepperoni, and mine was w/onion, mushrooms and black olives.
The sauce tasted sooo good on its own- baked on the pie- it lost the flavor. I will have to add a little more garlic, basil and parmesan next time, so I will post the sauce recipe when it is perfected. I will tell you the base was 1 small can of tomato paste and one 15 oz can of italian diced tomatoes. It was a great thick texture, so I will figure out the spices later.
The crust- well lets's just say I will keep looking. It certainly may be me, but it wasn't quite the taste I was looking for. The texture was not bad though.
You can find the recipe at Rosa's blog. You can connect to the Daring Bakers site by clicking their logo on the right.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apple Cupcakes w/ Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes, I know! Judging from the title of this blog, an apple recipe is long overdue! So to honor the fall season I made these cupcakes. The cake is moist and has a great apple taste. The icing comes from this recipe. I have used it with other cakes and it is always a winner. (NOTE to Blogger- uhh whats up with the tiny pic??)

For the apple cake I used a DH yellow cake mix,used the ingredients on the box, added 2 lrg chopped apples, 1 pkg cheesecake pudding and a little extra oil. In place of the extra oil you could use 1/2 cup applesauce. In place of the liquid, you could use apple juice or even cider for a little extra tang. I also added about 1 tbl of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.

Enjoy the fall!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Operation Baking Gals 10th Mountain Team Roundup

YAY! And a big thanks to all who participated.

We had a great show of support for our guy Richard of the 10th Mountain Division. I want to send a sincere thank you to all of you! We sent our soldier so much love!

Here is a roundup of what my fabulous baking team sent ….. Please visit the web sites of my team members that have one! You will not be disappointed! Such talent!

Melissa M - Lost Nation, Iowa

Yummy Banana Bread!

Courtney L - molasses spice cookies and snickerdoodles!

Mary - San Francisco, CA

snickerdoodles, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars, beef jerky, trail mix, instant oatmeal packets, tea bags and Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Ingrid - Winter Springs, FL

Mint Brownies and S’mores Bars, gum and Gatorade packets

Greg - New York, NY

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and coffee cake cookies, Halloween candy--Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids See his blog post here.

Linda - San Diego, CA

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies, peanut butter reese's pieces toffee chip cookies,
orange cranberry oatmeal cookies, crystal light raspberry lemonade, lemon heads,
sweet tarts, poppycock popcorn, small individual sized bags of freeze dried fruit, and
bags of 100 calorie pack cookies

Sandy - Jasper FL

Rice Krispy Treats, Chewy Cake and some Peppermint Candy.

I also mailed a newspaper from my area.

Patty Z - Westlake OH

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Joanne M - Westlake OH

Luscious Lemon Bars

Heather P - Brooklyn, NY

Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies, and Butterfinger Squares, plus included some real American candy, such as Jolly Ranchers

Pam - Longview TX

Harvest Walnut cookies, chocolate chip cookies , lemon coolers, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin, halloween candies--M&M's, butterscotch discs, peanut butter logs, mini chick-o-sticks, Ritz crackers with peanut butter filling, gum, Blistick lip balm and Corn Huskers hand lotion (fantastic for the really chapped hands).

Pam also was featured on her local TV station talking about OBG!

Janet A - Chicago IL


Nayeli H –

Chunky Vanilla cookies with white chocolate chips, chocolate chunky cookies with chocolate chips and a vanilla chocolate mix.


Oatmeal sandwich cookies. and some Cowboy cookies

Dolores F

"Dorie Cookies"- the Whopper drops and Chocolate chip cookies

Marca D – Chocolate Chip and Macadamia Nut Cookies!

Lucy MCharlotte NC

Chocolate chip/toffee cookies, Chocolate chunk/cherry/pecan brownies,

Cupcakes, and chocolate mini-Bundt cakes

what I used instead of packing peanuts: Jello instant pudding mix singles (have you seen these? They’re fabulous!), small packs of nuts, etc.

Jennifer CBristol CT

Chocolate Chip cookies and Oatmeal cookies!

Lisa WWilliamsville, NY

Zucchini bread, chocolate chip, peanut butter and some other assorted goodies

Amy JKnoxville, TN

Snickerdoodles, and oatmeal/white chocolate/coconut/pecan cookies

Susan – Orange cookies, devil food cake cookies and chocolate chips cookies

Kraft easy mac and cheese and some peanut butter crackers

Fran Z – Oatmeal Scotchie Bars.

Again, thanks for helping out. Watch for round 4 at Operation Baking Gals. And if you are from Northern Ohio (or want to support a soldier in Ohio) please consider helping here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Operation Baking - Northern Ohio

I have received permission from Susan of OBG to branch out into a regular group here in Ohio. If you would like to bake for soldiers with Ohio connections please email me at (putOBG in the subject line). We expect to ship at the end of each month

Please check out the website OH Bakes.