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Sunday, September 28, 2008

 

we did celebrate


today we had a little party for our little chloe girl. i cannot believe she is ONE. it's just completely crazy. i can't even talk about it. i get tongue-tied. how can it be? and how on earth can she be so lovely?

we had a small family gathering. i made the minestrone , the beef stew, salad. we got really good bread from a local bakery. we had deliciously just-picked apples and for dessert. . . Chloe Cakes. for her. my girl. her own cuppy cake! being a semi-healthfood mama, i had to do something fun and cakey, but also marginally healthy, so i made some applesauce cakes with maple cream cheese frosting. and she LOVED them. so, now they are officially dubbed Chloe Cakes. try them. i know you will agree that they are DE-LISH.

CHLOE CAKES
(applesauce cakes with maple cream cheese frosting)

INGREDIENTS

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 egg whites
1 ½ cups applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS
1. preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.

2. add egg whites, applesauce, cinnamon, cloves, salt and vanilla, then mix well. Add the flour and baking soda. stir until blended.

3. line cupcake pan with cupcake papers or grease well. bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool slightly, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. when cooled, frost with maple cream cheese frosting. sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

INGREDIENTS

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on your taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

Cream together cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add maple syrup and beat until well combined and smooth.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

 

an equinox celebration

i don't know about you, but we are all excited about fall around here. it's a favorite season in this house. so, we celebrated today!

we changed over the nature table from summer to fall. here's summer (this was taken before it was at it's most bountiful, but you get the idea).


fall pictures to come when there is more to see. it's always so fun to clear the table and watch it fill with new little treasures and delights from the outside world. it's a slow process and one that we savor.


then it was outside to light a fire and sing some "fall is here" songs while we collected some kindling.

we tried popping some corn, but it was only marginally successful. bb tried hard to make me feel better about it. "no, mommy, it's really yummy!"


and of course who can resist making s'mores when there is an outdoor fire in the midst!?

and now we can look forward to all the goodness of fall. the apple picking. the applesauce making. the lantern walk at bb's school. the sweaters we can unpack. the leaves we can jump in and harvest festivals we can go to. the pumpkins we can carve. we love it!


what are you looking forward to this fall? do you have any special family traditions?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

 

it's her birthday


today she is one.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

 

i need more sleep.

this is not the first time, but rather the THIRD where i have written half a post about something i had ALREADY POSTED ABOUT. that's right. i'm a loser. i'm tired and i officially have the worst case of "mommy brain" ever.

i mean, i can't even get my act together to post more than once a week or so. if that. but to then sit down and actually focus on a post finally and realize half way thru, "i've already written about these muffins. . . haven't i. . . ?"

ugh.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

 

cookie carnival :: september


after many wonderful suggestions from the carnival participants---this month it's going to be GRAPEFRUIT SANDWICH COOKIES!

wanna join in? please do! email me - kate (at) thecleanplateclub (dot) (net).

some folks who suggested recipes for september wanted to know if we'd done a certain cookie before, so here is the list of cookies we have made since we started on this crazy cookie ride:

august - chocolate hazelnut biscotti
july - blackberry bars
june - snickerdoodles
may - blueberry drop cookies
april - vanilla bean thins
march - raspberry swirl cookies
february - peanut butter and chocolate sandwich cookies

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Friday, September 5, 2008

 

summertime craftyness :: nature cards!

here is a little something i wanted to share. it's an on-going art project we've tended toward on art day. it's really a great project in part because it's different every time you do it. Nature Cards. easy and really fun.

here's what you do:
grab yourselves a basket or bucket or something like that and head on outside! start picking flowers, grasses, leaves that you see in your yard or neighborhood. gather pebbles, bark, moss, sand, shells, anything is you find will become the components of your art.next spread everything out on a cookie sheet or towel or something so that you can really see what you've got.
cut pieces of card stock in the sizes you prefer to work with, then cover with double-sided tape. once you have covered a few pieces start sticking your bits of nature on. it's really fun for little hands. and for mommy. . . it's sorta zen.when done: display! we use our "art string" to display our artwork. idea given to us by the fabulous amanda blake soule from her book The Creative Family.here's some of ours from this summer. try them with your little ones and then let me know how it goes!


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Monday, September 1, 2008

 

cookie carnival :: august round-up!

it's the last carnival of the summer. and what a yummy way to end the season! it seems that most of the carnivalers this month liked this cookie as much as did.




i (like many of you) have never made biscotti, which was part of what made it fun. it's always a good time in the kitchen when i am doing something new. unless i muck it up. but fortunately, this time, i did not.

i've never been a huge fan of biscotti, but i can't really ever argue with the
chocolate hazelnut combo. and love coffee. LOVE coffee. so, it seemed like a good match. hot coffee, yummy dipping cookie. what's not to love?

this recipe surprised me, though. for me, it yielded a more moist cookie than i was expecting. it seems like biscotti is "supposed" to be really dry and somewhat hard. these were not. so, i wonder is it just about leaving them in the oven longer or what?

while contamplating this choice for the august carnival i learned that in itali
an biscotti means "biscuit." to be more specific they are named for the baking method. "bis" means twice and "cotto" means baked. i had no idea that this is how they were made. see...the cookie carnival is not only fun, it's educational!

here is the recipe we all used. as usual there were many of you who tweaked the recipe a bit here and there. which i totally encourage.


CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BISCOTTI

ingredients
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

preparation
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grind 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts in processor. Set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baki
ng powder and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl to blend. Add eggs and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup whole toasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2-inch-wide by 14-inch-long log. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.


Using long wide spatula, transfer baked logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Arrange slices, cut side down, on 2 baking sheets. Bake biscotti until firm, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely. (Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.)


T H E R O U N D - U P
thanks to everyone who participated this month!
(photo appears *ABOVE* the corresponding entry IF it was provided)


ellyn of Recipe Collector and Taster experimented with egg whites instead of whole eggs. read her post here to find out how and why!!



giz at Equal Opportunity Kitchen played along this month. (BIG apologies for leaving her off the roundup.) she's a self-confessed biscotti lover. read her post here.



lynn of Bites and Pieces forgot to add both the baking soda and powder. eek! read her post here to find out how that went.



sara angel of My Sweetest Day had the same problem i *always* do. the recipe didn't yeild as many as it said it would. what's up with that? read her post here.


brook of And a Cookie For Dessert (i keep thinking her blog should be called "brookie jar" it's either really stupid or really cute. i can't tell.) had this to say,"
I really enjoyed making these - it was exciting to see the logs rise up in the oven and then slicing into them for the second baking." read the rest of her post here.

julie of Someone's In The Kitchen can't stand hazelnuts. . . which i just can't even comprehend! read her post here. (no pic)


charlotte of Taylor Loves Chocolate feels she failed at the biscotti. sorry charlotte! read her post here to find out the full story.


rayrena of Happy Cows is fu
nny. this is the first line of her post, "Is there a better excuse for coming out of blogger hibernation? Chocolate. Hazelnut. Biscottti." read her post here. (and welcome her--it's her first carnival.)

michelle at Culinography was the only one (i think) to replace the hazelnuts with peanuts. read her post here. (and welcome her--it's her first carnival.)


mary ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen had this to say, "
These were great, an easy first time biscotti making experience for me. I will probably make these again because everyone here love the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate!" read her post here. (and welcome her, she's a first timer at the carnival.)


kitty at Boring History Girl says, "Now, there are two major problems with this recipe. Firsly the dough is so seriously delicious that you may be forced to eat it all before it even makes it into the oven." read the rest of her post here. she's a lot of fun, you won't be disapointed!


steph at A Whisk and A Spoon wows me with her photography again. she has a lovely style and i enjoy her writing a lot. read her post here.


susan of Slice of Sueshe had a minor kitchen disaster. she also did some fun tweaking (almonds, white chocolate..), which to me, is so fun! i love getting emails from all of you and seeing what you have done this month. read her post here.


jacque at Daisy Lane Cakes writes and awesome and chuckle-inducing post (thanks for that!) here is what she had to say about the "once baked" biscotti (she saved some to eat before sending the rest back to the oven)
They were awesome! I loved them so much I wanted to marry them. read the rest here.

megan of Megan's Cookin' deems these unworthy of her Christmas baskets. read her post here to find out why.


stacey of Simply Tasty also did some tweaking to the recipe. stacey used white chocolate chips and also melted and drizzled as you can see. she also cut back on the almond extract and used almonds instead of hazelnuts. read her post here. she actually comes back to the post days later to update you on how the biscotti went over. it's fun!

temperance of High On The Hog chose pecans rather than hazelnuts. she had never had biscotti much less baked it. until now. read her post here.


michelle of Something New is Cooking played along this month and she and her family loved the cookies she baked. read her post here.



christine of Cooking With Christine has also never had biscotti before much less made it herself. here is what she had to say,"Biscotti is AMAZING!!! Sure, it's crunchy, but it's not a traditional cookie. So, if you are from the "soft & chewy" cookie club like me, don't be afraid." read the rest of her post here.


natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies is one of us biscotti-makin' virgins. she confesses to not being a biscotti lover. until now. read her post here.


april of Abby Sweets played a long this month. and she was one of the many who replaced the hazelnuts she chose pecans. here is what she had to say, "Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to me, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it either." read the rest of her post here.

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