ChocoMom

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  1. Breakfast! 2017 (Part 2)

    I apologize for conjuring up such awful memories. But, I can assure you that the drink I make is completely delightful when an expeditious, liquid meal is called for---and there is no egg fragrance whatsoever. I've been doing this for years, but only recently have fessed up to it publicly. (When my husband and kids found out, they taunted me endlessly- so I kept quiet for a good long while.) As long as there is fresh, strong, hot coffee around, its good. And ya know what? I'm just going to go on and share what exactly the concoction is- so it might give ease to everyone thinking about the SNL bass-o-matic, and bad egg experiences. I crack 1-2 eggs into a large mixing cup, add in 1-2 scoops of coconut oil, a large pinch of pumpkin pie spice (or cocoa powder), xylitol or stevia, and either coconut cream or HWC. Then, fill to near top with fresh hot coffee. Zizzzzz it with an immersion blender until its nice and foamy. Then enjoy. Sometimes, if I happen to have some hand- I'll add a scoop of pumpkin puree also. Makes it a bit more filling and satisfying.
  2. Breakfast! 2017 (Part 2)

    I did way better today for breakfast. No Liquid Chicken! Made an egg-bake "thing" on Sunday, with leftover roasted potatoes, tomatoes, feta, parsley, onion, turkey-ham, eggs and cheddar. It was a large enough pan that everyone was able to have some, with a few squares leftover for quick breakfasts. And, today was another hard workout...so it was great having that on hand!
  3. Breakfast! 2017 (Part 2)

    Dang! I should have perused through here before fixing breakfast today. I was void of patience, though. I had a good hard workout at the gym this morning with my girlfriends. Came home ready to die from hunger. I was just craving protein. So, rather than thinking it through and planning things out....I whipped up my Liquid Chicken Latte and guzzled it down. It did the job, but not incredibly satisfying, like when you sit down to actually EAT. Thank you all for posting such lovely pics and ideas for breakfasts. With all of these fabulous ideas, I really should be able to come up with something better and more satisfying.
  4. petite fours pricing ?

    One of the local bakeries here charges $2.50/each. Not sure if they offer a price break by the dozen or not.
  5. So, as I understand it, Chaga is a fungi type growth on birch trees. In cold climates, it grows on the outer part of white and yellow birch. Its supposed to have some good medicinal uses, though I didn't quite understand what exactly it does. This came up at dinner tonight, as a cousin was talking about it. We have an abundance of birch trees around here, so I was going to go hiking out in the woods with hubby, and see if we could lop a chunk off. Other than boiling it and sipping on the tea, not sure what else to do with it. Any ideas, recommendations or warnings? I thought about pressure canning it, as I am sure the high pressure and high heat would render some decently strong, potent tea. The Chaga lumps sound like they are very hard and would require substantial preparation in order to steep any kind of tea. So....pressure canning seems like a logical method to expedite the process. I'd love to hear thoughts on this... Thanks! Andrea
  6. There were so many, I don't know where to start! (I had over 400 at the time of the fire.) The three-dimensional bunnies, eggs, lambs, snowmen, high-heeled shoes. are near the tops of the list. Then there were the lips, and several different heart-shaped bon-bon molds. I think those came from NY Cake or BakeDeco/Kerekes.- or both. I know there was a Choco-flex, and a 3pc magnetic polycarbonate for shells, and the magnetic molds for use with transfer sheets. Not sure I want to replace that 3 pc for shells. That was a bit of pain to use. There were somewhere around 150 of the less expensive poly molds that I had accumulated when I lived the Baker's Nook---not going to replace all those except for a select few. The lambs and the fish on lollipop sticks were favorites. Its so hard to go back and think through everything that was lost, after accumulating them over 20+ years. Its working out okay for now, since I'm not in full swing. I will dos likely add more dome molds, since those seems to be popular with folks.
  7. Haven't had much time (or money) to rebuild the chocolate mold collection. But, I did manage a few items for orders this week. The swirly ones are Bailey's. The other two are dark chocolate-sea salt caramel, and MC sea salt caramel. I've got 2 of the grandkids here now 'helping Grammie" - mainly conducting taste testing and eliminating all evidence of rejects.
  8. Wow! What a fantastic endeavor! As a young kid, our church youth group held a soup kitchen on Cass Ave in Detroit. I was stunned at the hunger and desperation I witnessed. And, deeply moved by it. Years later, I volunteered as a worker, then as a kitchen captain for the SA soup kitchen. Made a lot of food, but in particular I remember making about a bazillion meatballs- but they were porcupine meatballs which has rice added as a way of stretching the beef and increasing the number of mouths to feed. They had a cookbook designed exactly for this purpose. However, not a lot of fresh produce was incorporated. The people there didn't care...they just needed a hot meal and warm smile. But, fresh produce was always in short supply. With warm weather around the corner, I'd think some kind of refreshing salads might be appealing. I was shown how to put together a basic recipe of Chopska salad by a dear friend from Bulgaria. I've stretched it and done all kinds of things to morph it into a main dish. Here is foundation: Cukes- diced tomatoes- diced onions-finely diced parsley- chopped Crumbled Feta cheese balsamic vinegar +olive oil+ salt+pepper for the dressing. This, all by itself, is a wonderful salad! I've added: Black olives Chick peas. I buy these dry, in bulk, and reconstitute them in salt water. They are high in protein and fiber, and some other essential nutrients. So....its a great addition. Chopped Kale Roasted peppers Tuna Artichoke hearts Palm stems (canned) mushrooms You can come up with a pretty hearty salad / main dish by experimenting and using what produce you've got on hand. I like the idea of storing broth for future use. Wish I could ship you some of the soup bones I've got! I have an abundance of pie pumpkins almost every year, and its easy enough to freeze the flesh. It makes a great, nutritious base for soups, (and for pumpkin bars and pies), later on in the year. Beets won't work for this, but, if you have an abundance of other root veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, turnip, carrots, and onions....pasties are the norm in this neck of the woods. Relatively speaking, meat is only a small portion of the ingredients and the kind/amount you add is up to you. Pie crust is not the healthiest ingredient, and rarely does anyone eat all of it, but it is inexpensive and holds everything together nicely. Typically, I dice up equal amounts of potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and onion. Add in ground beef and/or diced chuck or whatever. salt, pepper. Scoop into one half of a pie crust, add a pat of butter, and fold the rest of the crust over and seal it well. Bake for about an hour at 350-375. Some folks use a combination of pork and beef, others use chicken and add in broccoli and peas. One of the resources I've gone to, just for approximate measurements for groups of people is AllRecipes.com. I'm not saying a use a lot of the recipes there, but if you were looking for say, the portion of elbow noodles needed for 70 people, you can find a mac -n- cheese recipe, and type in the number of servings needed, then the recipe will calculate out the needed amount. When the oldest kid was still single, going to MTU, we'd have his house-mates and pals over frequently for meals. Cooking for 15-20 college age kids (12 boys!) plus the three kids I still had at home- took some serious calculating and creativity. So, I used this tool ALOT. Wish I could be of more help, but that is smattering of the things I've used over the years. Hopefully, there is something there you may be able to use. Bless you for your kind heart and desire to help so many!!! =)
  9. Crowd-pleasing desserts

    This is terrible, and speaks volumes about my family members. The best dessert, the one they actually FIGHT over... Snicker Salad. 8-10 Grannie Smith Apples (or some other hard, tart apple) 8 Snicker bars 2-3 Large tubs of Cool Whip 2-3 bags mini marshmallows. Dice the apples and Snicker bars. Add marshmallows, and mix. Add in the thawed Cool Whip. Mix until its combined. Then step back and watch the magic happen. =) I don't know if there are British equivalents for all these items, but I'll throw it out there just in case.
  10. Chocolate Class for kids ?

    When I've done chocolates classes, I found that that particular age group does a great job with transfer sheets in molds, and fingerpainting dome molds. (Most, but not all, younger kids don't have a huge attention span, and just want to eat it. So, for them, I do the animal chocolate molds and use confectionery coating.) For ganache, I always pull a "Martha Stewart" and have batches made a day before. I do run the kids through the ganache process, letting them do all the work. I explain step by step not only the "what", but the "why". They get to decorate, cast, fill and back off the molds. If we have extra couverture left, then we dip berries. =) Are they coming to you, or are you going to them? Either way, you can use a small tempering machine. Though, if you have the EZ Temper - that will move things along quickly.
  11. Well, I don't know how much help this will be, but this is the recipe I had on my Pinterest page. Made it for my kids- hence the little M&M guys. Personally, I go for more nuts and not so much sugar/candy. This is a baked version---not a freezer version. I've done the freezer ones, and didn't like them as much. I think you can add other ingredients in---I always do when I feel like experimenting. Chewy Granola Bars Recipe: 2 1/2 c. Oats – quick rolled oats 1/2 c. Rice Krispies 1/4 c. coconut 1/2 c. M&M minis 1/2 c. brown sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 c. butter, softened 1/4 c. honey 1/2 tsp. vanilla Add all of the ingredients and mix together until combined. Press into a square 8×8 pan. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars. Let it set completely and then cut into bars. For thinner bars, press mix into a 9×13 pan. They seem to set a little better in the 9×13 pan.
  12. This is moving week for us- getting all the stuff at the condo, and moving into the re-built house. Getting furniture into rooms was on my list. So, as I was trying to get to a dresser that had been stored out in the pole barn, one of my two year old turkeys charged and body slammed me. I swear it was going to poke my eyes out! So, I pulled out my 9mm, and dropped it with one shot to the head. What does all this have to do with food preservation, you might ask. Well, I had to do something with the turkey meat! You don't always get a clean shot to the head, and I wanted to make the most of the situation. The legs and wings were incredibly tough- didn't bother to cut those apart. I did carve out the breasts and made an enormous pot of turkey-veggie soup, pressure canning it all. Still had another breast to deal with, so I just diced it can canned it too. Discovered several packs of soup bones that were taking up too much space in the freezer, so I simmered two packs for hours on Saturday, and canned 6 quarts of Beef-barley soup. The soup was fabulous, so as I come across more soup bones....you can guess where those are going!
  13. Snack Ideas Needed

    A friend gave me a box of these wonderful little Belgian cookies from TJ's....Speculoos. I don't have a TJ's near me, so I haven't a clue if they stock them regularly. On the occasion that I depart from lo-carb eating, I find myself dunking these in coffee, eating them mindlessly into oblivion. There are 2.5g sugar per cookie, which is incredibly low in my book. ;+) Another delightful snack - in these parts- is Trenary Toast. It's made in Trenary, MI- about an hour or so away from where I live. They ship it all over. It is basically an ethereal cinnamon toast. When my parents were alive, they'd come to visit us, and end up hauling bags and bags of it back to Detroit, for friends who had "placed an order" with my Mom, before they left on the trip. My Dad absolutely loved it. And, if anyone ever lived who knew more about dunking pastries or cookies in their coffee....it was Daddy. Darn tasty. I don't know much about Asian pastries, so I can't comment on that. But...those two little gems above might yield some smiles from your group. Another thought are those pre-made, frozen little quiche things- which Costco probably has. Yum. Not for anyone on a diet. But darn good, no matter!
  14. @gfweb.... DUDE!!!! I just saw your pics...we've got the same BlueStar ! I think I ended up with a 17" backsplash on it. It is absolutely a BEAST for cooking!! Seems to boil water in half the time of the old stove. Especially the front left burner- which I assume is the dominant one. They had to use 4 people, plus an air jack to install it. Its built like a tank. Your kitchen looks lovely, btw! Congrats!!!!
  15. I'm sure it can be done in an oven. How efficient that is, I don't know. I have not dehydrated things in the oven but with a rack set over a cookie sheet, I don't see why it wouldn't work- unless the temperature won't go low enough. I own a smallish dehydrator with 4 layers or so. This particular model allows for more layers to be stacked on, which can be purchased separately. So, depending on how well you like the finished product, you can add all the layers you'd like- or not. Since it comes with a solid plastic layer, I make fruit rollups sometimes as well. And jerky. Lots of jerky. I cannot possibly make enough jerky to satisfy the hubby and the teenagers. Its a handy machine, and you're not going to break the bank buying one.