Friday, February 4, 2011

A "Winter Wonderland" makes me hungry!

Here are some pictures from my mom of the snow fall at their house as well as my little brother Weston and their dogs.

They have a bird feeder and 2 cardinals have taken up residence at the Reese House. This one is Rosalie, her mate's name is Rouseb. (Some good ole' Cajun names).




Our street after this morning's snow fall...



Since we haven't had any heat to the house the past few days we'd been eating mostly cold foods like cereal, chips, and coldcuts.... and I was DYING for something hearty and well what's heartier then chicken pot pie! So this morning I ventued out before the snow started melting to reveal the ice underneath and got some ingredients for a delicious pot pie recipe I use from "River Road Recipes IV". If you want it just let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.

Pie "filling"...


After filling my first pie crust I had some left over "filling" so I decided to put some in ramekins and use extra bits of pie crust to make a little topper with. I had to use a pizza cutter to create bands that I latticed over the pie...



Then I rolled out the excess dough and cut little circles to top the remekins with.

Turned out delicious and very filling!

I'd also been wanting to make these cupcakes but they take a LONG time and some TLC, since I wasn't going anywhere for a while I thought, why not!

Southern Caramel Cupcakes: (taken from Louisiana Cookin magazine February 2011)
Ingredients for the cake:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 sticks salted butter, softened
4 large eggs, room temp
2 3/4 cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Prehead oven to 350. Combine the sour cream and milk. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar then add eggs one at a time beating b/w each. In a seperate bowl combine the flour and baking soda then alternate adding the flour and sour cream mixture to the butter and sugar mixture ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla.
Pour into cupcake liners filling 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18 minutes and let cool before icing.

Ingredients for Caramel Frosting:
1/3 cup plus 2.5 cups sugar, in all, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1.5 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar over the bottom of a dutch oven (preferably cast iron). Set over medium head and stir until the sugar turns into a golden syrup.

This step takes a while and I'm still amazed that sugar turns into caramel just from heat alone.

When melted remove from heat and set aside. Add remaining sugar, flour, and milk to another large saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.



Add the milk mixture to the caramel and bring to a boil over high heat and stir until mixed in. Then decrease the heat to a low setting, cover, and let sit 2 minutes. Then increase the heat and cook until candy thermometer ready soft ball (238 degrees). Then add butter and take off of heat.
Allow to cool for about 1 hour or until the caramel reaches 110 degrees. Now add the vanilla and use your mixer with a whisk attachment to create a spreadable consistency. (I had to add some milk to mine to make it less dry). I decided to top mine with some pecans since the frosting tasted so much like pralines to me.



The cupcake recipe made 28 cupcakes and I'd been wanting to try some fruit buttercream recipies that I'd seen years ago so I just made lots of different frostings with the same cake base.

Raspberry Buttercream frosting (from Southern Living Magazine March 2009)


These pictures do the colors no justice. These cupcakes were as delicious and they were lovely. I adored the bright colors.




Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 (16oz.) package of powdered sugar
1/2 cup raspberries

Blackberry/Lemon Buttercream: (from Southern Living Magazine March 2009)



Make in the same way as the Raspberry Buttercream. Use 1 cup blackberries, and 1/2 tsp. lemon zest. Also you'll need an additional cup of powdered sugar for this one.
Quick Tip: Be sure to thoroughly dry the berries and make sure the butter is really soft. You can see the difference b/w the 2 buttercreams very easily b/c I screwed up the first one. The blackberry one has a much better consistency :)




I'm in love with this little spatula. It worked perfectly for icing the caramel cupcakes. I use it all the time when baking and icing cupcakes and highly recommend it.


I also bought this canister at Target a few weeks ago. This is the second size and I think it was ~$15.00. You just push the top down to seal and pop it up to allow the canister to be opened.




Michael was super excited to make some "snow ice cream". We'd made some last year and it was so delicious we couldn't wait for more. He took all the stuff to make it outside with him and just brought it back inside ready to eat :)


Finished product - yummy!


Snow Ice Cream
8 cups snow, or shaved ice
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions :
Place snow or shaved ice into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.

Quick Tip: I keep my cupcake decorating supplies in these little trays in my pantry for ease.
It's not shown here but I stack 2 trays and use one to place the cupcakes on to decorate with sprinkles, etc. and then I just shake out the excess, clean the tray and store it back in the pantry.

The aftermath...


On a side note: This morning Ezra came up to me with some fake hydrangeas I used in an arrangement on our coffee table and said, "Here Mama". SOOOOOOO sweet.

Smelling the fake flowers :)