Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Friday, February 3, 2012

super bowl cupcakes

this week, i was given this adorable super bowl cupcake decorating set, which i had to put to good use immediately.  i almost couldn't wait to open the package to see how cute the decorations would look on my famous cupcake creations.

using baking cooking spray for the cupcake pans, i flour and grease them, so the cupcakes remove easily.  i never bake my cupcakes in the paper liners, but use them to serve and decorate the cupcakes.  on a recent post in this blog, my icing recipe was featured under maple icing.  i used this same recipe, but flavored the icing with Washington cherry extract, for a cheery cherry flavor.

all ready for the super bowl, we have been enjoying these cupcakes this week while watching the pre game feature shows.  thanks Karin....and good luck to Tom Brady, a real Michigan man.  go blue!

snowflake cookies

with not very much snow outside, i decided to create my own snowflakes this week and made old fashioned pizzelle cookies.  i often call these snowflake cookies, since they remind me of snowflakes covered in powdered sugar.

i have a Cuisinart pizzelle maker which works very nicely to create these cookies in a matter of minutes.  i was able to make 24 cookies in less then one hour with the non stick maker.  these classic Italian cookies can be flavored with lemon zest, anise, or just vanilla.  here is a lovely selection of vanillas that was given to me by a friend which offers a delicious variety of tastes for these cookies.

the maker resembles a waffle iron with the snowflake stamp being pressed into both sides of the cookie at the same time. along with the pizzelle maker comes a wooden dowel so that the cookies can be shaped, while still warm, into cones for ice cream or other cream filled desserts. a recipe booklet is included with the pizzelle maker, and many recipes can also be found online for these classic cookies.

once the cookies are pressed, i cool them on waxed paper sheets and dust them with powdered sugar on both sides.  next, the cookies can be trimmed with a sharp knife to even up the edges.

these cookies are wonderful for tea as they crisp up when cooled to create a delicate crunch when eating.  the cookies can be stored with waxed paper between the layers in a sealed container for several days.

for more information on the Cuisinart pizzelle maker, follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-WM-PZ2-Pizzelle-Press/dp/B00006F2ME

valentine's day cooking

today i was browsing through my cookbook collection and found one of my favorite cookbooks for valentine's day menus.  this cookbook features recipes from the northwest's favorite romantic inns, wineries, and restaurants.

included are a variety of offerings for breakfast, brunch, appetizers, salads, main dishes and desserts.  the cookbook also offers suggestions for flowers, perfect pairs of wine and cheese, romantic picnic basket ideas, music selections for both dancing and dining, and selections for romantic movie classics.

an entire chapter is devoted to detailed descriptions of the locations featured in the recipe section.  romantic lodgings, restaurants, inns, and bed and breakfasts are described with suggestions for visiting in the near future.

i think i might just try the champagne waffles, made with champagne to create a bubbly batter !  sounds amazing for breakfast... and maybe the chocolate dip for two for a post dinner treat.

for more information on this cute cookbook, please link to :  http://www.amazon.com/Best-Places-Kiss-Cookbook-Restaurants/dp/1570615632

serving dishes

for over thirty years i have collected a variety of serving dishes, platters, and tableware.  i often think that these collections are an obsession, since i enjoy searching for more each year.   i was looking through my holiday photographs and realized just how many different types of presentations are possible with these unique dishes.

i have several different sizes of olive plates, all different lengths and widths.  these plates can be used for a variety of relish options, including tomatoes, carrots, mini corn, and even pickles.  i often use them for cracker plates alongside dips and spreads.

the long narrow characteristic of these dishes makes them very attractive on the table and can be used as a focal point to attract attention to the colorful appetizers. i enjoy experimenting with different table presentations for each holiday.

winter oatmeal

during the colder winter months, i enjoy eating oatmeal daily.  both of these brands are my favorites, and i usually cook enough portions of oatmeal to last the week.

measuring the proper amount based on the package directions, i cook the oatmeal on the stovetop.  often, these brands take about 20 minutes to cook until perfection.  then, i save the oatmeal in the refrigerator and simply warm every morning in a matter of minutes.

oatmeal can be served with a variety of toppings, such as dried fruit, milk or half and half, nuts, fresh berries, maple syrup, brown sugar and even bananas.  i try to top my oatmeal with something different each morning and truly enjoy starting the day with this wonderful taste.  just delicious !