Saturday, February 9, 2013

Save a Turtle for Me !

Turtles are pretty cool, and I like the fact that people are trying to save the Sea Turtle.

I also like to eat turtles--the candy variety.

In one of my last posts,  I gave the recipe for toffee, with chocolate on both sides, which is really, really good.

Sometimes though, I make candy turtles. You know the caramel, pecan, and chocolate kind--you've probably eaten one or two.

I make my own salted caramel sauce to put on ice cream, so it is easy to boil it a little longer to make a thicker consistency as in caramel chews. The link <above> to make caramel on David Lebovitz's site is very informative. The consistency needs to be the same as what is put on caramel apples.  If you don't want to make your own caramel from scratch, you can buy the ones in bags in the candy aisle of the grocery store.  Unwrap them, and heat them so they are melted and soft (usually done in a double boiler).

The recipe I use to make the caramel sauce is below.  ***At step four,  after adding the cream, cook it longer so it will become thicker for chewy caramel.  This may take 5 minutes or may have to try it a few times for the right consistency.  Drop a little on a cold plate, then roll in your fingers and take a bite.

Click here for recipe

To put together the turtles, have ready,  roasted salted pecans, warmed caramel, and warmed chocolate.  When I say warmed I mean it should be thin and fluid, but as it cools down it will harden a bit.

Arrange a parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Place a teaspoonful of caramel on the paper,  then place 3 pecans into the soft caramel so they overhang on the outside, next, put a swirl of melted chocolate on top of the pecans making sure to center it so that the edges of the pecans are still showing.   Place as many as will fit onto the size of the baking pan, or as many as you can make with your caramel and chocolate.  I make small batches of 10 to 15, but you can decide what you want.

Let the turtles cool and solidify to the point where they can be picked up.  Store them in a covered tin or in a sealed plastic bag.  These can be frozen, or refrigerated, to be used later.  They will have to come to room temperature to be eaten. 

they should look like these when you are done

Sometimes, when I want more chocolate, I start with chocolate on the bottom, then add the caramel, pecans, and chocolate.  The end product is about 2 inches in diameter, big enough to get 2-3 small bites out of each one.

The turtles are easy to make and will impress your friends....if you don't devour them all yourself.

Hope your day is bright and cheery like mine,

I have lots of snow now but the sun is shining brightly. (and my snow removal crew has been here too!)


Friday, February 1, 2013

Un Petit Morceau

When just a small bit of sugar is needed.....try this.

Put some dried prunes and pecans in the food processor until chopped up.  Roll the mixture into small balls and then refrigerate overnight.  The next day,  melt some dark chocolate in the microwave just till warm.  Now dip the prune and nut balls in the chocolate and place on parchment paper to harden off. 

Store these in a cool place. one whenever you have a craving for something sweet.

Of course,  you can use any dried fruit and nut for these simple treats.  I put a pistachio on the tops of these.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Meat, or not to Meat....that is

A while back I watched a cooking show where the main dish was I was in the dark to what it you know?

I had to do some searching to learn that it is a meat pretender made from wheat gluten.  Apparently it can be found in the vegan aisle of the grocery store.  I've never seen it and I do shop that area.  You can make your own with very little trouble.

I get so curious, I just have to try these things for myself.

I found some recipes online, as well as a box of Vital Wheat Gluten on the shelf next to the sacks of flour at my local food store.  It was really easy to mix the wheat gluten with the seasoned liquid, then knead it for a couple of minutes, and shape it into some patties.  Then, I boiled it in water for 30 minutes, and it was done.  I got 6 patties from the small box.  I put them separately into plastic baggies to freeze for later meals.

The box bought at the store for about $3.00......all protein and no fat
After formed into patties, these needed to simmer in liquid for 30 minutes.

I ate all of them as if they were hamburger patties, although they can be sliced and chopped to use as a meat substitute in stews or stir fries.  To cook as a hamburger patty, I defrosted them and browned them on both sides in a skillet containing a little olive oil.  They were great!  The mouth-feel and chew seemed like real hamburger meat.

My seitan patty on a piece of bread with lettuce and other condiments

I realize many of you will not want to try these, but I'm just throwing it out there anyway.  I made a second batch later on, but baked the raw mixture instead of boiling it.  The last few minutes of baking I brushed the "meat" with a prepared barbeque sauce...this was also good.

***If you are gluten intolerant, this is definitely not for you.

Good online sites to gather information.  I got my first recipe on how to mix the dry powdered wheat gluten from this one.

The second batch I baked,  I used this site.

I haven't tried this burger recipe by Oprah yet but will looks fabulous.

If you want to get off the ground beef,  try some seitan.

Happy experimenting.....


Monday, January 7, 2013

Almond Toffee

For many years I have made almond toffee for my family and friends, but this year I didn't for some reason.  

A couple of days before Christmas, I got a request for my recipe for the toffee, so that person could make it as a gift for her friends. She said mine was the best.....wasn't that nice of her to say so. 

My recipe comes from an old Dinah Shore Cookbook, and is fairly simple to do. I like it because it has the fewest of ingredients, and doesn't call for any corn syrup.

My friend, T, made it without any problems.  She was pleased with her results.

If you care to try, the recipe is below: Be forewarned, once you know how to make it yourself, you will find all sorts of reasons to make another batch.

1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups whole unblanched almonds
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips  (Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds, lightly toasted

In a large, deep saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to boil.  Boil, stirring syrup until it changes to golden caramel color,  10-12 minutes.  Add whole almonds, increase heat to high, and cook until almonds pop, about 2 minutes.  Pour into a well-greased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan and cool.
Melt chocolate in the microwave -No more than 1 minute! -  spread on the top of toffee then sprinkle on half of the chopped nuts right away while the chocolate is still soft.  You will have to wait a few hours or overnight to flip the toffee over in order to spread more melted chocolate on the second side.  Add the chopped nuts on top of the soft chocolate.

I let my toffee boil longer to get a darker color.....but it can burn very fast so you have to keep stirring and watch carefully!!!    


I use a wooden spoon.  After you pour it out of the pan, soak the pan in water, and the spoon, it will all melt away without any scrubbing.

Only use real butter,  white sugar, and I add a little salt.  From start to finish it takes approx. 25 minutes until you pour the hot toffee onto the pan.

Good cooking!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy birthday....

If my Mom were still with us, she would celebrate her 96th birthday today.

She died 10 years ago,  not long after celebrating her 86th birthday.  It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed....she is very missed. 

She was a fun mom.  She participated fully in her children's lives in so many ways that enriched our lives. Her love of sports got us involved in softball, golf, tennis, football, swimming and skiing.  Mom was good at anything she did....a champion bowler, winning lots of trophies in her hometown league. 

There wasn't anything she wouldn't do for her own children, and all the neighbor kids too.  She flooded our backyard in the winter so we could ice skate, she built a three-ring circus in our big garage so we kids could perform for a crowd, this included grandstands, and a trapeze in the rafters. Mom was probably the best Den Mother for my brothers and their friends, doing projects to earn them many badges. 

Our birthdays, Christmas', and other holidays were approached with enthusiasm, and uniqueness.  I don't know anyone who had a Christmas like the ones my Mom created.  They were truly magical.  She was a good cook and tried to always be creative when making our birthday cakes....long before the fancy cakes we see now days. 

It was at her insistence that we bought a summer cottage so we could have beautiful warm weather fun every year.  She made sure the money could be found to buy speedboats, sailboats, canoe, fishing boat, diving boards, and any other article needed to have fun.  If we were going to be on a lake, then we would learn how to do it all.  Her house was always open to our friends and extended family members. 

Mom was a giver, and wanted to help others in any way that she could.  She often did without so a friend or a relative could have what they needed.  I know some of the things she did for others, but I'll probably never know all that she did. 

On top of all of this, she was very intelligent....not much got past her.  She fought for her rights and the rights of others when she felt they were being impinged upon....she would put together a well reasoned argument which often times changed the minds of her opponents. 

So....this is my Mom.....miss you!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not sure....yet

I tried to get back to writing awhile ago, but was informed I had used up all my free memory, or something.................I guess I posted too many photos....I don't know the rules......

so I've not yet made up my mind if I want to pay the monthly fee to continue.

I still enjoy reading others' blogs and making comments.

There's not much to post right now anyway....cold, gray skies, snow....we all know what that's like.
Actually, we've hardly had any snow, just a little dusting a couple of times so far. Anyhow.... I prefer snow to rain, it's so much prettier and more fun when going outside.  My snow removal crew is not making much money yet, but I'm sure that will change before the the winter ends. 

Here's wishing you a wonderful  2013!


*** I just posted this and it went through.....huh?   Maybe a new year makes the difference, don't really know.  I'll have to continue and wait to see what happens.