Sunday 22 October 2017

Haunted Halloween Mini Cake #HalloweenFoodFun

Last year I really got into the Halloween spirit, and was making spooky treats for weeks leading up to it.  Check out this Spooky Brownie Haunted House and these Eyeballs, which were just a couple.  Suddenly, I look at the calendar and see that Halloween is just around the corner and I haven't done anything!   I also agreed and have been looking forward to being a part of this Halloween roundup of spooky stuff, as hosted by Family Around the Table.  But I was stumped for a recipe.

I turned to the experts... the kids.  When I asked them what they thought would be a great Halloween food, they both yelled "CAKE!"  In case you're wondering, cake is usually a front-runner answer in my household, so I tend not to consult these experts for all cooking inspiration.  Since we had no real reason to make cake, and no imminent company to help us eat such a treat, I ended up making a mini one.  In the end, I think this is actually a great way to make a themed cake for Halloween or other special days where there are already enough treats.  I mean really, even if I was taking this cake to a Halloween get-together, how much cake does one need?  I already eat my bodyweight in those little mini candy bars at these events.  There is already sugar overload all around you.  So contribute to it responsibly, by making a mini cake.

Since a cake is a blank canvas, how to decorate a mini-cake for Halloween is really up to you.  Halloween is a time of year that offers super fun and decorative candy, so it really can be as easy as just sticking some candy in your frosted cake (my kids love this kind of thing, and then they can actually do it themselves).  Or, you could just use orange frosting and then throw some black sprinkles on it.  I even saw some fun ideas out there where you make an easy stencil (like a spider, or bat), and sprinkle cocoa on a white cake to make a creepy sillouette.   You could also do a ghost stencil on a chocolate cake using powdered sugar to sprinkle and make the sillouette.

On the day I made this cake, my Halloween candy stash was at zero. What I did have were sprinkles, and white candy melts (the exact age of which was questionable).  I also knew I had black food paste....a color I don't really have any use for normally.

With these items, the kids and I concocted this:

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Italian Bread

It's Tuesday.  And it's fall.  After the crazy wind this past weekend, there are almost no leaves left on the trees now.  This time of year always means I'm using my slow cooker way more, and the baking going on here increases exponentially.   If my kitchen smells like something comforting for supper, I immediately feel warmer.  Fresh bread is no exception to this.  I love the smell of fresh bread at anytime of year, but it is even more incredible on a chilly, blustery day.  That's why I chose to make one of my favorite Taste of Home recipes this past weekend.  It's called "Mom's Italian Bread".    I'm sharing this for Taste of Home Tuesday this week, as hosted by Jolene's Recipe Journal.  Check out what else is being shared at the bottom of this post!

Mom's Italian Bread

Saturday 7 October 2017

Apple Cake #CookbookMonth

I may have a bit of a cookbook hoarding problem.  Just last week I did another purge of my collection.  Five lonely little books had to go.  If I haven't made anything out of them for a year or two, they have to make room for the newcomers.

Some books, however, will likely be safe forever.  These books are usually the ones that bring back special memories (I'm looking at you, Purity Cookbook, circa 1967).  I remember very fondly this tattered old book as being the first book that I baked chocolate chip cookies out of when I was probably 8.  If you're doing the math, no, I haven't aged suddenly.  My mom had a copy of it that was given to her by my grandma.  A few years ago, it was put back into print, and it was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for from my mom.

Others are ones that I simply collect.  I have Atco-Blue Flame Kitchen Holiday Cookbooks dating to the late 80s.  Every now and then I find one at a garage sale or on kijiji and am thrilled when it's a year I'm missing.  Anyone out there have a 1992 or 1994 they would like to part with?!  ......Ugh.  I'm such a cookbook nerd.

Anyways, my point is that I am passionate about cookbooks.  It's #CookbookMonth, and Amy from Amy's Cooking Adventures  is hosting a Cookbook Compilation roundup. She thought it would be fun to pick a recipe from a favorite community or compilation cookbook of some sort, and I agree!  Check out all the links at the bottom of this post, where you can find faves from a variety of talented bloggers.  I immediately wanted to take part because some of my favorite cookbooks are community compilation types.   I thought it would be so easy to pick a favorite recipe and write about it.  Well, I was wrong.  I have DOZENS of compilation cookbooks.  Since each one of these is still on my bookshelf, and survived all the purges over the years, it means that there are easily hundreds of faves in all of these books combined.

So, instead, I simply chose to try a new recipe out of one of them.  The book I chose is one that practically lives on my counter at this time of year.  It's called "In Season - A harvest of Okanagan recipes from Davison Orchards & friends".  I bought it on one of our summer trips to Vernon, British Columbia several years ago.  According to the foreward of the book, Davison Orchards has been around since 1933.  It's one of our favorite stops when we're in the area.  There's a petting zoo for kids, lots of fresh produce for sale, preserves, and pies.  Oh, the pies......   Anyways, on one of these trips, I purchased this cookbook, which contains beloved recipes from the Davison family, their friends and neighbours.  Every year, when I have an excessive amount of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, peaches, pumpkin, apples, or pears, this cookbook is my go-to source for ideas.  I have never made a failure out of it.