Saturday, April 30, 2011

Daring Baker's - Maple Mousse

This month the Daring Baker's were challenged to make maple mousse in an edible bowl. The challenge sounded fun, but I had absolutely no creative ideas for the bowl, so I wasn't sure if I was going to get around to it.  Evelyne, who hosted the challenge, suggested making a bacon cup which looks very cool, but sounds very heavy and greasy.  I like the idea of bacon sprinkled on top of the mousse, but a whole cup of bacon sounds a bit much. 

After much deliberation I decided to make a crust using pretzels, I had a lot left over after Maggie's last co-op day so it was a perfect way to get rid of them.  I made the crust the same way you would make a graham cracker crust and baked them in mini muffin tins.  Unfortunately my crust didn't work out very well.  I had made it too dry and then over baked it, so I ended up having only two that came out of the tins in tact.

The mousse on its own was delicious, but I love maple syrup.  If you don't love the stuff then the mousse would probably be too much. After my crust flopped, I kind of gave up on the project and just plopped some mousse in the two cups that did come out - which explains the ugly picture.  The rest I dished up in regular boring glass cups layering it with the crumbled crust that didn't work.  The saltiness of the pretzel crust was great with the sweetness of the mousse and provided a nice balance.  I think I preferred the layering since you got some sweet and salty with each bite.  With the two cups that did work there wasn't the same balance and the sweetness of the mousse was much more pronounced. This would be a great mousse in the fall served in a baked apple sprinkled with pretzels, or even bacon.  

As always the Daring Bakers' came up with some amazing creations.  A couple people did pancake cups which look fun.  Check them out, there are a lot of great ideas!

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blogCheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tortilla Bowls

I know my kids will eat more when they can serve themselves and build their own meal.  They would probably be very happy if we had a permanent salad bar in our kitchen. But, I don't make meals like this very often, mainly because I hate all the dishes that are produced.  It is so much easier when I just cook and plate it up for them.

Last night I played the good mom and did their favorite fix-it-yourself meal, Fajitas, with the usual options - lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, and chicken - but we changed it up a little by making tortilla bowls.

I have been seeing a lot of blogs using edible containers, I think partly because of the recent Daring Cooks Challenge, so I thought I would give it a try and it was a huge hit with the kids.  Using the bottom side of a muffin tin we arranged tortillas between the cups and then baked them at 350 until crispy, about 8-10 minutes.

Maggie had a great time designing different bowl shapes and would love to design a bowl for every meal.  Very simple, but one simple change made the meal a little more exciting and gave the kids an added an incentive to eat a little more.

This is my quick fix chicken I like to use when we have Fajitas.  I love it because you can use any type of precooked chicken, sometimes I pickup a rotisserie at the grocery store, but a lot of the time I use leftover chicken.  

Fajita Salad Chicken Filling
2 c. Cooked Chicken, shredded
1 small onion, diced
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. Cumin 
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Chili Powder

Saute onions until soft.  Add shredded chicken, broth and seasonings.  Cook until heated.  Serve with your favorite toppings.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011


It has been a while since I have written about any of the cooking I have done with the kids.  Mainly because we haven't been doing anything new.  My son hasn't been as interested in helping out in the kitchen, number two would be happy if we could make cookies everyday and the little one can't stop eating weird things, like flour, and then throwing it on the floor.  I still get them in the kitchen as often as possible, but they are often in for just a short amount of time and then they grow tired and move on to something else.

We were at the bored melt down phase last night when I discovered what will keep them in the kitchen - the stove.  Will had made the pancake batter and I had planed on taking over from there, but the whining and fighting began, so I offered them the chance to try and flip the pancakes if they could stop the complaining. I have always been nervous with them around the stove, I'm fine if they have knives, but the stove makes me nervous.  But desperate times call for desperate measures, it was complaining or the stove, and the stove bribe worked.

It would have been smart to start with something simple like scrambled eggs, but we were making pancakes so that's what we started with.  It was fun, but very messy.  The flip is definitely a hard skill to figure out.  Once you have it you're all set, but getting there can be tricky and it is one of those things that is hard to explain.  The only way to figure it out is to practice.  We had a lot of pancakes half in the pan half out and a lot of double decker pancakes.  But, they were all yummy, and now they can begin fixing me breakfast in bed.

Favorite Basic Pancakes
2 c. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Tbs. Sugar
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. Buttemilk
4 Tbs. Butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients, stir lightly to combine.  Add eggs, buttermilk and butter.  Gently stir together, batter  will have small lumps.
Heat griddle, brush with melted butter, or spray to just coat pan.
Pour a ladle full, about 1/4 cup for a small pancakes, onto hot griddle.  Evenly space pancakes.  Wait until tops begin to bubble then flip.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ice Cream

Co-op time at the preschool and this month we made ice cream in an ice cream ball.  This was a fun activity that all the kids could help with.  We used a simple recipe of just heavy cream and sugar, the kids voted 6 to 7 not to include strawberries.  With the ice cream ball the ingredients are poured into one end of the container and the other end is filled with ice.  The kids took turns adding a handful of ice, which was much more entertainment than I expected.  Once it was filled we began rolling it around the circle.  Once filled the ball is a heavy and it was hard for some of the kids to roll the ball across the circle, but they had fun coming up with different ways to pass it around.  The most popular was to chant "shake shake roll" as the ball went around the circle.  We weren't able to roll the ball enough to completely freeze the ice cream, so we had milkshakes instead of ice cream, but it was still a nice treat.

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream
1 quart Heavy Cream
1 Tbs. Vanilla
3/4 c. Sugar  (I used 1/4 c. vanilla sugar and didn't add the 1 Tbs of Vanilla)

Pour all ingredients into the ball, add ice to other end and roll until frozen.