Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Break Bento

Here is the bento I put together for today's lunch. It features the meatballs that I made last night, which were, though I say it myself, extremely tasty.

Here is a close-up on that saucy, homemade goodness:

A post on how to make them is coming soon.

Happy Bento!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

For Christmas dinner Bryan made a special request. He wanted twice baked potatoes.

For those looking for the milk-free version of this recipe, scroll down to the bottom.
The potato in the photo above is milk free.

Now, me being allergic to milk, this is nothing that I have ever made. He offered to have his mom make them... but I wasn't having it. If he wanted twice baked potatoes, his lovely wife (that's me) was going to be making them. No offense to my wonderful mom-in-law, Leslie, but I like to cook for my man!

I did call Leslie for the recipe, though. I love Leslie's "recipes." She knows how to make these things by heart and never has amounts or times. :) Here is what she told me:

Bake potatoes and let them cool. Apparently if you don't let them cool you ruin the skins. Slice lengthwise and scoop potato into bowl.

Got it. Easy stuff.

Add cubed up Velveeta, a small amount of milk, butter, and a little salt. Mash it up.

At this stage, Bryan came into the kitchen and looked at my hand-held potato masher with some confusion. He informed me that his mom always used a mixer to "mash" her potatoes, and that the Velveeta should be more combined. Fair enough.

After a few moments of discussion over the meaning of the verbs mash and mix I realized this was his special order, and if the man wanted it mixed, so be it. Incidentally, it did seem to incorporate the Velveeta better with the mixer.

Now all that remained was to scoop it back into the shells and return them to the oven to warm them back up.

But those looked horribly bland, so I decided to spruce them up with some bacon. I later learned his mom used to sprinkle paprika -- but she didn't mention that during our brief phone conversation, so I went with bacon. And who doesn't love bacon?

I cooked up several slices of bacon

And used my kitchen shears to make my own bacon bits.


Now don't these potatoes look nicer?

Meanwhile, I was determined to try these wonderful creations for myself, after a fashion. I had purchased some faux milky products and looked up a version of this recipe that called for sour cream too.

I started with Vegan Gormet Cheddar which I shredded into a mixing bowl.

Next I added some Tofutti Sour Supreme, Earth Balance vegan butter and some salt, and mashed it up:

I stuffed them back into the skins (which I had cut the opposite way so I didn't accidentally eat the wrong ones!) and topped them with bacon. They went into the oven at 375* for about 20 minutes to warm them all back up.

They were really good. And delightfully different than my everyday fare. In fact, I may have had a few too many of them. Just sayin'.

Measurements of ingredients. If you were making 6 large baking potatoes non-dairy you would use about:

8 ounces Tofutti Sour Supreme
1/3 cup shredded Vegan Gormet Cheddar
3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
salt & pepper to taste


Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Layer Cake

For dessert after tonight's Christmas dinner, I wanted to serve something special. So I decided that a tall layer cake would be festive.

I used two boxes of Pillsbury Devil's Food cake (which I love, because it has no milk in it) and made three layers. I later learned that I could have used one box of mix, and cut two rounds in half to make a four layer cake instead. Perhaps I will try that next time.

I let them cool overnight. Then I cut the rounded tops off of two sections (opting to leave the top section round for a homemade, abundant look) and popped them in the freezer, which I had heard somewhere makes them easier to frost.

I made up a TON of frosting. I used 5 Tablespoons of margarine, a big bag of powdered sugar, which I sifted, and an undetermined amount of orange juice. (I added the OJ in a tiny bit at a time so I wouldn't end up with runny icing as I have so many times in the past.)

I placed a small dollop of frosting on my cake stand to hold the first layer in place, and put it on. Then I lined the outside with parchment paper to keep the crumbs and frosting off of my display plate.

I spread the frosting on the top of the first layer (using a butter knife since I don't have a proper spatula for such things).

I stuck the next layer on. So far so good.

I did the same thing, frosting the top, and leaving some space around the edge.

I put the top piece (notice how it is still rounded from the oven) on.

I put a big glob of frosting on and spread it around the top.

Looks good enough to eat already, eh?

Next came the part I was most worried about: frosting the sides. I got the outsides coated, but you can see there are tons of crumbs in it. But I kept telling myself that is how it is supposed to be, and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to set up.

The second coat of frosting did go on a lot easier. See how it is covering up all those crumbs? Yay!

I think, with practice, I could make it all smooth the way they do in a bakery.

But this time, I just made it all "purposefully wavy" and called it good.

I removed the messy parchment paper, and viola! My cake is ready for tonight:

Hope that your Christmas is a merry one, and that you are filled with the joy that Christ brings!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peanut Butter Ball Time

This is the time of year to dust off your favorite goodie recipes and make them up. Here I am at my parents house, earlier this week with a plate of cookies and candy to share:

The candy on the plate are Peanut Butter Balls, and they were SO delicious last year I just had to make them again.

I took them to another party last night and everyone loved them. So make sure and check out the recipe.