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Everything posted by ChocoMom

  1. I haven't tried Walmart's online shopping, but I have tried Boxed.com - and except for a couple mishaps with mayo and bread, I've been exceedingly happy with product selection and availability. They've started carrying a few meats and seafood items, but I'm always a little leery about purchasing "fresh meat" without seeing it first-hand and examining it. Some of the pricing is a little out there- like cereal, but there are some fantastic deals. Everytime I purchase there, I can select 2 free sample items, as well. In the beginning, it was the big bulky items from Boxed, like TP, Papertowel, tissue, etc. that I'd get. Having that stuff delivered to my door is wonderful, esp in the winter. Compared to what Wallyworld charges, there are fantastic deals to be found with the Prince and Spring brand name items. Rarely have I found things out of stock. And ladies, if you are of that age group or have daughters that are----there is no "Pink Tax" on those kinds of items. Razors and pit are included in that grouping. They've got all kinds of condiments, snacks, cereals, snack bars, canned goods, drinks, bread, crackers, English muffins, bagels, etc. And, yes, they do have a fair selection of organic items. So, for your first order, you get 15% off the total. Sometimes they kick in other sale items. So, if you're not happy with what you are currently getting with other retailers, maybe take a look there.
  2. Deer Hunting Season- opening day here. 25 minutes into the hunt, hubby and the 13yo daughter got #1. Not quite as big as the one last year, but darn good in size. We have 6 more tags .....shall see how the afternoon hunt goes!
  3. What I would do, is start with about 1 1/2 cups of almond flour. And, by that, I mean the kind that had the skins removed is really fine. For a more stretchy texture, try adding a tiny bit of Xanthan gum - maybe 1/2 tsp. Then the salt, and maybe a little granulated stevia or xylitol (if you want it sweeter). Finally, add in a 2-3 TBs of melted butter or coconut oil (or some other kind of oil). I always add in a TB or so of ice water as well. Chill the dough, roll out or press into a pie dish. Without the addition of the Xanthan gum, my doughs usually come out more like a shortbread texture, but totally edible. For something on the savory side, using eggs and shredded cheese together with seasonings makes a marvelous bread-like crust.
  4. My photography skills are pretty questionable, but this is what I've just finished for the pre-Thanksgiving offerings. Flavors: agates--- Bailey's Irish Creme/Blonde Dulcey, milk green- Key Lime in Felchlin Edelweiss, Orange/Gold dendrite- Mango Passionfruit in E. Guittard 72%, Pink-silver- Thimbleberry, Center: Kahlua- Macadamia in Felchlin Maracaibo Criolait 38%. Not pictured are the milk chocolate and dark chocolate sea salt caramels.
  5. I'm voting for the chocolate-banana bread. You can make more than one loaf, freeze the extras or give them out as gifts. But the caramels sounds yummy too.....so, maybe do both!
  6. Today was treat.... my oldest daughter and I went out to lunch while I was waiting for my car to get repaired. We headed to La Cantina in Hancock- just over the lift bridge from Houghton. I hadn't been there since new owners took over, and oh my, what I've been missing!!!! She had a rather magnificent ribeye steak, with rice, guac, lettuce, tomatoes, etc...and tortillas. Made little burrito-like things out of it. I had a house speciality consisting of 4 different types of burritos- chicken, steak, ground beef, and I forgot the fourth one. No way could I finish it. I will be returning there very soon! Stunning amount of food for the price. Excellent service from a jovial waiter too. Loved it.
  7. @ptw1953 You are a brave soul, to let a 4 year old work with chocolate on his own! And, despite any mess or debacle, the chocolates are absolutely stunning! Seriously though, mess or no mess, these experiences you've gifted your grandson with may end up fostering a love of working with chocolate- or perhaps something else like pastries. You may have a great little chef in the making! If my grandma hadn't exposed me to confectionery work at 6 years old, I don't know that I'd have the love for it that I now have. If Daddy hadn't spoiled me with hot fudge sundaes at Sander's from toddler-hood well into adulthood, or shared countless Hershey Bars with me....not sure that I'd adore chocolate the way I do now. Much of what I do now was inspired by the most joyous and happy memories I hold dear. I hope your grandson will have those happy memories, and think fondly of them as he grows older.
  8. I was on the hunt for some veggies to go with Sunday dinner- and happened upon the heirloom carrots in the garden. Found another almost-ripe pumpkin, and a couple frostbitten spaghetti squash. The larger of the two squash made its way into the oven before I thought to take a pic. Due to our June flood, the squashes, carrots, and many other seeds "replanted" themselves haphazardly around the garden, so we ended up with a baby rutabaga and turnips mixed in the carrots.
  9. Nothing wild and crazy, just sticking to the basics here for my MIL's 80th birthday. Did 20 of these boxes for party favors. The heart is Thimbleberry ganache Guittard 72%. The dark red dome is wild strawberries and cream in Guittard 72%. The milk chocolate cubes are sea salt caramel in Guittard 38%, then topped with a mixture of Maldon sea salt- and smoked sea salt.
  10. I picked my concord grapes early this morning, and made grape juice- waterbath canning it the old way. Drop in a cup of washed grapes, 1/2 cup sugar, filled within 1/2" of the rim with boiling water, then can it for 15 min. It has to sit for 3-4 weeks, then ready for drinking. Then, this afternoon, I snuck out to the horse pen- trying to escape being pounced on by Roadrunner- locked myself in the pen, and picked apples from the Northern Spy tree. I could not believe how large the apples are this year! I embraced my inner-nerd, and proceeded to weigh each of the apples- 2 five gallon bucket's worth. The heaviest was 420 grams, the lightest weighed in at 313 g. And I barely scratched the surface. There are so many apples out there, I will processing apples until Christmas! LOL!
  11. This is still a work in progress, but I HAD to post it. This is a sexy looking, tart Thimbleberry ganache, that will end up in a bon bon eventually. I've never successfully made a Thimbleberry ganache--- so I am just freakin happy about it! It is a unique flavor to work with.
  12. @Artisanne Those look amazing!!! I have several of those gum stimulant things, but have only used them (thus far) for cleaning out the tight areas in molds, and trying an occasional stripe here or there. What incredible talent you have!!!
  13. ChocoMom

    Breakfast! 2018

    My feeble attempt at a "Keto" breakfast. Leftover asparagus with a 3- cheese sauce, topped with 2 poached eggs and a dash of black pepper. I know it does not look all that appetizing, but the flavors were there.
  14. Bouchon's Pate Sucree Apple/caramel/cinnamon filling butter crumb topping
  15. ChocoMom


    We had occasion to visit an Aldi about 3 hours from us- not a large one, but pretty decent. Today was 'cattle to the butcher' day, and since the butcher is within 20 min to the Aldi store, we went. The favorite finds today were: 1# Asparagus for $2.99 Organic Garden Veggie pizza for $3.99 (And they were fabulous!!!) Watermelons....$2.99 We bought a gob of other things---chicken breasts, butter for $2.55/#, cheeses, turkey bacon, almond milk, coconut milk, etc. Overjoyed with the total bill.
  16. No pics, and I promise you all....its a good thing. I can't have dairy in any significant amounts, but I was dying for ice cream. My back and knee are in bad shape, so going to the store for my favorite coconut based ice cream did not appeal to me. Instead, I improvised. Frozen Cool Whip ( I know, gasp!!!), Sander's Hot Fudge, and toasted sliced almonds. It wasn't pretty, and it sounds a little gross, but it totally hit the spot.
  17. @ElsieD Yep, that's the one. I forgot all about the cranberries! I had decided not to use cranberries right from the git-go because no one here likes them much, except at Thanksgiving. The apples were very tart, and they provided the balance that I think the berries might have added. I completely forgot they were part of the recipe.
  18. @Auspicious...The half gallon jars are good for canning juices, or dry canning. My Mom used to do three juices: grape, apple and tomato. For my half gallon jars, I went the dry canning route with oats, rice, pasta, dry beans, lentils, peas, and flour. A 50 lb bag of rice or oats can get infested pretty quickly with critters. The dry canning method preserves all those goods beautifully and for a long time.
  19. Apples are getting ripe early this year. I seized the opportunity to go pick back in the cow's inner paddock, while they feasted on hay. Had to tip-toe through a lot of crap (literally) to reach the best trees. For dessert this evening, I found a recipe for Apple Upside-down cake on Saveur. So here it is..... Caramel could have cooked a bit longer, but pretty tasty for the first attempt.
  20. "Bacon bits are like the fairy dust of the food community". - Jim Gaffigan ""Skinny people are easier to kidnap. Stay safe and eat cake" - Minions cartoon "People who love to eat are always the best people." - Julia Child
  21. I about died the first time I saw this. Found it on a greeting card someone gave me several years ago, so I had it blown up, framed and hung in my old workshop. It was a true conversation piece! Thanks for the reminder!!!
  22. When I started dabbling in all things chocolate (without my Grandma), I had little greenery ($) to work with, also. Over time, I acquired a used copy of the 1985 book Candymaking (by @Chocolot ) , and started from there. If memory serves me correctly, one of the alternative tools for tempering mentioned in there - and someone, please correct me if I am wrong - was to try using an electric frying pan to melt the chocolate, then table it, then warm again. This is the only method I used for the first couple years until I earned enough funds to purchase the small Rev by Chocovision. I would think the electric frying pan would still work as a melter, and you could probably just switch it off for the cooling time, then, hit the heat again when you're ready to dip. Are you able to get your hands on one of those where you live? The upside to this is, there is no water/condensation to be concerned about. The downside is the time commitment required for stirring/circulating. Perhaps a tweeked stand mixer with a paddle attachment set over the electric fry pan could act as a stirring mechanism. I could not find a setting low enough to do that with my mixer set- up back then, but with some finagling, maybe you could. For me, the electric fry pan was too shallow for a lot of hand dipping. So, I had to change my set up. I found my Mom's old, rectangular electric warmer/hot plate to keep the chocolate warm in a bowl. I found that wrapping a towel around the bowl acted as buffer against hot spots. (An electric heating pad or electric blanket would work also, but I always feared getting chocolate on the fabric. ) After adjusting the size of the bowl, and amount of melted chocolate, I was able to find a depth sufficient for my needs. The baby REV was a lifesaver for me, though. And, I threw every last bit of birthday money, Christmas money, bottle return money, and pocket change into buying that first one from King Arthur! Back when I bought it, over 20 years ago, I think it was over $400 USD. Whatever the cost was, it was still a lot of moolah to throw into a machine, but I am SO glad that I did. I do hope you find something that works to your satisfaction. It is such a joy to work with chocolate! =)
  23. No pics, but just finished canning 2 batches of blueberry jam. 12 c total of blueberries, and there are still 2 quarts left to wash and freeze. OY! Blackberries are next.....
  24. @ShelbyThis was the first time I've picked and used gooseberries. My granddad and great uncle used to love gooseberry jam, so that's where the idea came from to try and make jam. Made a rookie mistake while picking.... The berry bush is fenced in, and the owner told me how to open the fence, so I did. But, apparently not enough. Ended up getting my head stuck in the bush- which was awful- as I have long hair. Those pickers are something else! There was an additional 4 cups of berries leftover- so those are getting mixed with fresh blueberries and spread across cheesecake for dessert. YUM!
  25. Today was gooseberries. The first pic is 8 cups of cleaned gooseberries. The second pic is the jam. Mmmmmmm!
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