Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting the Heat Out of The Kitchen!!!

It is that time of year again, I am NOT going to do much cooking in my kitchen.  It is in the exact middle of my house and even with the new stove hood, which vent the heat out, I don't want to do much cooking in there.

Today, the family is gathering for an early Memorial Week End BBQ.  We will of course have the standards, hot dogs and hamburgers, but I have secret surprise cooking for them.  BBQ Pork Spare Ribs ala Wonder Box.  I am about to put them on (9:30 am) and they should be absolutely falling off the bones by dinner time.  All I will have to run the stove is about 20-25 minutes and the rest will be done out on the patio, just o get the box out of the way.  Think of all the energy I will be saving.  Time will be saved to since I won't have to check them once they ore cooking.

I already have baked beans in one crock pot and the funereal potatoes will be going into another one as soon as the ribs are tucked into the Wonder Box.  The men can be manly and "man" the grill . . . not for me thank you very much!!

UPDATE:  As usual, I checked the temperature of the meat as soon as I opened the pot and bag.  They were still at 157 degrees, great !

The ribs turned out wonderful, in most respects, juicy and tender.  There was a little hole in the bottom of the bag, so some of the BBQ sauce leaked out and some of the water leaked in.  

Lesson learned:  Check for leaks in the baking bag!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Summer Weather and All of It's Fun is Here . . . .Early!

As I have been working  my little tushi off to get my belated garden in, I have been watching the news a lot.   In case you have missed it,  a lot of people have been losing their power, water  . .  and they are the lucky ones in some areas!  This was driven home when I read the following post on "Safely Gathered In". Click HERE.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake, to Thrill a 5-Year Old

Years ago, I learned to decorate cakes and thought it would be so wonderful to do special cakes for my kids as they grew up.  My hot old hands (even when I was young) would melt the icing in those bags so quickly, so I had to resorts to other methods.  Wish I had figured out how to use this "pouring"  candy frosting a long time ago. 


Learn to roll with the punches, make it easy on yourself!  Creating special memories can be fun and easy!!Now I can just have the kids guide me and give them what they want.  It is often no where near as grandiose as we imagine.  I have adopted the motto, " don't impress the adults, thrill the kids,"  I had more than one question about how I made this cake.  Smart moms, smarter than I was!!  

Texas Sheet Cake  and Candy Frosting  click HERE  This will also show the cake I made last year for Garrett's 4th birthday.  

So anyhoo, here is the low down on the birthday of our big 5 year old boy!!

The cake started with talking about fractions with Gabriel ( 6 year old brother).  This is how his mother and my other kids were also introduced to fractions. . .  cooking.  The idea got mixed reviews from the kids, but Gabriel thought it was OK since he got to help me make the cake . . after which, I taught him the "fine art of scraping the bowl". That of course is a VERY important part of baking.

Next night, Garrett (birthday boy) got to help me frost the TX Sheet Cake.  He made the same mistake that I tend to do, and went over the same spot too many times.  Poor little guy looked up at me with such great big eyes full of panic.  he was so sure that he had ruined his own cake.  It was OK when I told him that we could put the requested island full of dinosaurs over it.  The light blue frosting was poured over a coat of white frosting that was blocking out some of the brown from chocolate showing through.  Garrett loved the spray that gave the "water" a little more dimension.  Garrett was shown the fine art of scraping the pan after making the candy frosting for the cake . .  also a VERY important part of baking.

The island needed to have some height so that there could be the requested water fall on it, so I made the second cake in various pans and bowls.  It was supposed to be light chocolate so that would look better under the "sand".

We made a second batch of the candy frosting, tinted it a bit to make it tan colored and poured it over the "island".  Garrett was getting pretty excited at this point as he could see his dream cake coming together.  It was his job to place all of the fishes in the water and dinosaurs on the island.  I did have him leave some space on that one area for a surprise shark that Gabriel had helped me find.  It was BIG!! and had great teeth.

Garrett is talking about volcanoes a lot these days, so along with the shark, and water fall, I added some hot lava . . .  he seemed excited when he first saw it over at the park, just before his party and then all of a sudden, got upset and wanted it "off right now"!  It was just too late and then the guests started to arrive . .  what to do, what to do.

He finally accepted and went to play with the rest of the kids.  Whew!!  You really can't tell, but there is a little Tiki hut on the backside of the volcano.  I had hoped to put the five little candles at the top like fire coming out of the volcano, but he wanted to have the "five" candle up there.  Oh well, it was his cake.