Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Bonus Recipe

To see Sabrina in action for the BB's Coeur a la creme, head over to My Baking Adventures!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mexican Dip

The kids haven't been cooking too much lately - these long, hot days seem to sap their motivation. All Alexander cares about it ice cream, although he had a molar pulled yesterday so I can understand that!

However, Sabrina made Mexican dip last night, a super simple recipe that I made up several years ago. It's so easy, and everyone loves it!

First, empty one can of refried beans into a bowl. Mash them up really well.

Next, add about 1 cup of salsa. We like our dip spicy but you can use whatever you like:

Then, add in 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheese. We buy the cheddar/monterey jack blend from Costco.
Stir everything together really well. You can cook it several ways:

1. Microwave it for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbling and hot.
2. Place it in a shallow, well-greased casserole dish and bake at 375 until hot - or
3. Pour it into a slow cooker (this works best when you are doubling or tripling the recipe) and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Serve with chips for dipping -

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chocolate Mousse - Crockpot Style

Sabrina saw this post on A Year of Crockpotting and thought it would be a great idea to make it for dessert this evening. Conveniently, we had everything on hand so it was super easy for her to get it going.

First, she whisked together the cream, egg yolks, sugar, coffee and vanilla in the crockpot:

Then she stirred in the 2 cups of chocolate chips:

We set the timer for 30 minutes - my crockpot is large so I warned her that it would cook faster.

After everything was hot and melted I helped her pour it into the blender.

It didn't "puff up" as much as we thought it would, but she poured it into ramekins, rapped them against the counter to remove some of the air bubbles, and chilled them.

Wow - it's very dense - not puffy like a regular mousse. She really enjoyed making it this way, it was certainly different than the traditional method - and if you need a good chocolate hit, this is the way to go!

Thanks Stephanie! We look forward to trying more of your great ideas and recipes!

Chocolate Mousse - A Year Of Crockpotting

2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
3 T sugar
1/3 cup cold, strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In your crockpot, add the heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and coffee. Whisk until combined. Add the two cups of chocolate chips.

Cover and cook on high for about an hour, or on low for about two. (Ours took 30 minutes) You are looking for little bubbles in the surface of the cream, and melted chocolate. Stir to combine the liquid and melted chocolate.

Very carefully, pour the mixture into a blender. You'll get about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid. Blend on high until it "grows" to about 5 to 6 cups, and doesn't seem like it will rise any higher.

Pour into serving dishes, and chill for 2-3 hours, or until set.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Smoked Salmon

This weeks recipe for Smoked Salmon spread was chosen by Ashley of The Spicy Skillet. A spicy skillet sounds like it would make some great stuff!

Ok, we have to start by saying this recipe really wasn't high up on our list - but you know, we have to try everything or else we'd be boring! And then no one would want to read our blog.

Alexander here: I got to use the hand mixer for the cream cheese and sour cream. Wow, this thing is cool! What else can I use it for?

I wanted to keep going but my mom said to stop. She didn't want it all over the kitchen.

Sabrina here: Our mom cut up the fish - it wasn't as strong as the tuna that our dad eats. We left out the horseradish because our dad wants to put the spread on his morning bagel and didn't want it to be spicy. Our mom thinks the horseradish would have been great.

At least I got a turn with the mixer!

Both kids: Well, we tried it and we really don't like it. But it was fun making it!

Thanks, Ashley!

Smoked Salmon Spread - Barefoot Contessa Family Style
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced
Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers

Ice Cream Sandwiches!

What better way to keep cool that with an ice cream sandwich? Especially if it involves homemade sugar cookies and homemade chocolate ice cream?

Tonight Alexander will demonstrate the proper way to make the perfect ice cream sandwich:

First, line up two sugar cookies:

Then, scoop up the chocolate ice cream and put it in the middle of one cookie:

Put the other cookie on top of the ice cream and gently squish them together. It looks like a hamburger!
Now, his favorite part - THE SPRINKLES! Roll the edges in rainbow sprinkles till they are completely covered:

Perfect! Great job, Alexander!

Coming up tomorrow - Barefoot Bloggers!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We've Been Tagged!

How funny - our mom tagged us! Even though she already knows all this stuff about us, she thought it would be nice if we shared this with our readers. And we thought she was the only one that read our blog!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up

So here are our 6 random facts - our mom said we could do three each -


1. I really want to learn how to surf.
2. I can play "expert" on Guitar Hero III
3. When I am old enough, I want to buy a Lamborghini Murcielago. I'm saving my allowance now!


1. Even though we already have three dogs, I REALLY REALLY want my own dog - a Chihuahua or Pug.
2. I love scrapbooking and I have an amazing book that I did all by myself.
3. Babymouse series books are my favorite - the books are about a middle-school aged mouse named "Babymouse", and she loves cupcakes, surfing and reading.

So how it's our turn to tag someone - we chose:

April's daughter Abby from Abby Sweets
Dianne's daughter Alexis from Dianne's Dishes
Anna's daughter Fuzz from Cookie Madness

Please play along!

Wilton 1 - First decorated cake!

Today Sabrina and I had our second Wilton 1 class - and we got to decorate our cakes!

How do you think she did? She tried to make pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the icing bag tore and made a mess. She was getting frustrated because the instructor made it look so easy, but I kept telling her it takes practice!

Just look at those stars!

This is my cake - I was trying a bunch of different tips and borders, so it isn't picture perfect, but we had a great time and that's all that matters.

Next week, we are doing figure piping!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Avocado Pit - Progress Report

Well, the avocado pit is still with us - Sabrina has been changing the water and keeping a vigilant eye on it. The outer skin has cracked, and if you look really close, the bottom has the very beginnings of roots starting.

Stay tuned!

Sabrina's Roasted Peppers

The kids are back in the kitchen - after a few days away, they have realized that the food is better at home, especially when you make it yourself!

Sabrina wanted roasted peppers for her pizza tonight - so first, she blacked them on the barbecue. No point in heating up the kitchen if you can help it!

After she brought them inside, she put them in a bag to steam, so it would be easier to remove the skins.
Then she removed the seeds and the stem:

Then she cut them into strips:

She added sliced garlic and olive oil:

And here they are! Great job Sabrina! And the best part? They will stay in the refrigerator for several weeks - if they last that long!

Roasted Peppers

2 yellow bell peppers
2 orange bell peppers
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil

Roast peppers on barbecue until blacked on all sides. Place in ziploc bag and allow to steam for several minutes. Remove blackened skin, then open pepper and remove stem and seeds. Cut into strips, and place in a medium sized container. Place garlic on top of peppers, then drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beach Shots!

The kids are on vacation this week - so here's a few shots of what they did yesterday after we arrived in L.A.

First up - flying their kites:

Sabrina really got hers going:

But the pull of the water was too great, so they abandoned their kites, grabbed their buckets, and headed to the water. They built sandcastles which were quickly washed away by the rising tide.
Up for today? Universal Studios! But we have to convince Sabrina that there isn't anything scary there................

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Peachy Keen!

Now that the kids have mastered great ice cream, it's time to move on to frozen yogurt. It kills me to pay $3 per person each time we go to Golden Spoon, considering their cost is .25 cents a serving! Now there's a nice profit margin, along with a hefty serving of artificial flavor and color.

One of the kids' most loyal readers (besides their grandfather) is April from Abby Sweets. She requested that the kids try something with peaches - so Sabrina immediately thought of peach frozen yogurt!

After a quick online search, we found a great, easy recipe on - now, since fresh farmers' market peaches don't exist here, we had to use canned.

The verdict? Sadly, neither Sabrina nor Alexander liked it.

Me? I think it was amazing. Perfectly peachy, cold and refreshing - I had a small cup for breakfast! (c'mon, it's fruit and yogurt!) This will definitely help beat the heat - and there's no shortage of that now!

Peach Frozen Yogurt - adapted from

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. gelatin
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs. corn syrup
1 1/2 lb. peaches (we used 2 15 oz cans, drained)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, gelatin and milk in small saucepan - let stand 5 minutes for gelatin to soften. Place over low heat, stirring, until gelatin dissolves - about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup. Allow mixture to cool. Puree peaches in food processor and add to gelatin mixture along with the yogurt and vanilla. Stir well, then chill for at least 8 hours.
Process according to the manufacturers instructions on your ice cream maker.

Friday, July 11, 2008


One of Sabrina's favorite TV shows is "Good Eats". Alton Brown presents useful information in a fun, creative way so that anyone watching can understand how and why things bake and cook the way they do. It always amazes me how much information the kids retain after watching an episode -

The other night was the show about pretzels. And, you guessed it, Sabrina and Alexander both said "Let's make them"!

I honestly had no idea they were so easy - of course, the mixer does most of the work! Sabrina laughed when I told her that pretzels were one of the Daring Baker Challenges.

She got a little frustrated in the beginning - the dough was elastic and kept snapping back.

Alexander just kept bashing at his until it did what he wanted it to do.

I didn't catch the reason for boiling the dough in water with baking soda. Maybe it flavors it?

One of Alexander's pretzels came apart in the water - ssshhh.
Boiled, salted and ready to go into the oven:

And 15 minutes later, you have this:

And are they good?

Sabrina here: Wow! These were great! My mom always says things are better when you make them yourself and I want to make these again! Like tomorrow! My dad ate his with mustard on it. I tried it, but didn't like it.

Alexander here: Can I have another?

Homemade Soft Pretzels - Alton Brown

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Our Week!

Weeee! It's our week to choose for Barefoot Bloggers! We were so excited to make this recipe - Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. It was so good, we made it twice - and the second time we decided that cornbread needs actual corn kernels in it. We also added roasted chile peppers instead of the jalapeños.

Our mom also taught us how to cut down a recipe, since this makes alot of cornbread.

Alexander here - It was really good. But my chili that we had with it was even better.

Sabrina here - It was a mouthful of chile pepper and corny goodness. Yum! What could be better than that? Next time I will make sure to not dump the chopped peppers all in one place.

It's also really good the next day - we put it in the toaster oven until it was nice and crispy. Thanks again Tara, for letting us join and choose a recipe!

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread - Ina Garten

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

More Ice Cream!

The always lovely April, who faithfully reads and comments on the kids' blog, asked if the kids could come up with an interesting ice cream that involved peaches.

Well, Sabrina has a really great idea in mind - so hopefully by tomorrow we will have it ready for viewing!

Creativity - Sabrina Style

While we were at our local Michael's store signing up for Wilton classes, Sabrina found a cute pair of flip flops that just begged to decorated. A bottle of glue, faux-crystal charms, a little imagination, and she was good to go:

She takes her crafts very seriously:

How cute are these?
The only gripe I have is the bottle of glue we bought - the salesperson said it would make the charms stay on even if the sandals got wet. Yeah, well so does my hot glue gun!

Sabrina signed up for the Wilton 1 Class, which starts on Saturday. They normally don't allow children under the age of 12, but as long as I stay in the vicinity of the classroom, the instructor said it was fine. Sabrina is so excited!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Avocado Project

The kids had an avocado left over from dinner the other night, and Sabrina wanted to know if she could make the pit grow into a tree. After a quick Google search, she discovered that you can, in fact, grow a tree from the pit.

Of course, it will take 20 years for it to bear fruit. She said she can wait. I asked her what she planned on doing when the tree was too large for the house. Her response? "Oh, I've got time to figure that out".

After she printed the instructions, she gathered her supplies: toothpicks, a clear glass, and the the most important part - the pit.

She secured the pit with the toothpicks - it looks like an alien!!

Now, she must keep the bottom fourth of the pit submerged in water at all times, and it should begin sprout within a few weeks.

I hope this project has a happier ending than the caterpillar.