Scrapbook Cookbook

 

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About ten years ago I revamped my recipe collection in a big way. First I threw out my dilapidated recipe box and hauled out recipes that I never used. Second, I found a cute whimsical Susan Branch cookbook kit with scrap booking pages and stickers. The book was cheap enough but cheaply made too, as I found out this year.

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Like many housewives who cook everyday, my recipe book started to show wear and tear. Then one day after making a delicious meal for my family, the books’ binding fell apart.  I busily shoved it on my little shelf in the kitchen and soon forget it’s desecration. Every time I reached for my recipe collection, the broken book with pages falling out reminded me that I had been doing this awhile and my book couldn’t keep up.

 

Last week, on an energetic whim, I set my mind to repairing and giving new life to my book. I searched our file cabinet and found a 1 ½ inch binder that one of the boys had used for school. I recycled it at the end of that year and put it in my stash of “ maybe I’ll use that someday.” I’m grateful for that because sometimes I throw things out in an organization fit.

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Next I found plastic page protectors to slip all the handwritten and computer copied recipes in. I highly recommend this step because we all know cooking can be messy and can stain and alter our nice cards.

 

What I especially love about the Susan Branch cookbook kit was that it supplied folders with heading for extra recipes. What I’ve always done is displayed my favorites, family favorites,my mom’s recipes,  Tom’s mom and dad’s and meme’s staunch winners on the pages and others can rest in the folders.

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I bought the cookbook scrapbooking kit on Amazon but you could do it yourself, if you have the supplies needed. You would need a 1 ½ inch binder, scrapbook pages, stickers, recipe cards, pouches for the miscellaneous recipes and page protectors. If you do buy the scrapbook kit, try to find one with a sturdy binder or buy the binder separately.

 

Now I can’t wait to cook and use my cookbook, that I gave new life to. It’s the little things that make me happy in the kitchen.

 

Good luck scrapbooking and happy cooking!

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla Twinkie Bundt Cake

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I made this cake for a special family dinner we had in January. We were preparing for our son to return to college and I wanted to make a special meal for the occasion.

Vanilla Twinkie Bundt Cake
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, optional ( I didn’t use this)
2 cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil, I used Canola oil
3 eggs & 4 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk

1.Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare Bundt pan by spraying or greasing. Set aside.

2.In a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3.In another bowl mix butter, vanilla and vanilla paste together until smooth. Slowly pour in sugar until well combined and fluffy. Mix with dry ingredients.

4.Add Canola oil and beat until incorporated. Beating eggs and egg yolks, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.

5.Carefully add ⅓ of flour into wet mixture, alternating with ⅓ buttermilk until all flour and buttermilk is added. Mix just until smooth.

6.Pour batter carefully into bundt pan, smoothing over the top.

7.Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

8.Remove and cool for 45 minutes. Then flip cake out of pan. You may have to go along the sides with a knife.
Marshmallow Cream

1 stick butter, softened
1 71/2 ounce marshmallow creme or Fluff
1 tsp vanilla

Beat until creamy. Transfer to piping bag or ziploc bag with corner snipped. This is a messy process so keep a damp kitchen cloth handy.
To Assemble Cake

This is messy, as well, so do it over a baking sheet to catch crumbs. Flip cake over. Cut 6 or 7 deep holes in the bottom of the cake. Be careful not to go all the way through. This is a challenge but after careful consideration, I successfully did this.

Once the holes are made, using your hands, burrow down and connect the holes to form a tunnel. Be careful not to puncture cake.

Clear the cake from the holes and discard.

Now start filling holes with cream filling. Do not overdo this because cake could burst open.

Once holes are filled, carefully flip cake over. Dust with powdered sugar.

Eat and enjoy!

 
Taken from the kitchenprepblog.com
http://thekitchenprepblog.com/2014/05/very-vanilla-twinkie-bundt-cake.html

 

 

 

This was a delicious cake! All the fuss and assembling was worth it in the end!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

Baking Tips

 

 

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I have never been formerly taught the art of cooking and baking. As a young woman, it never interested me and I only associated it with tireless house wives who considered it a chore. In seventh and eighth grade I had Home Economics classes and that was my first true introduction to it all. We made simple dishes, no bake cookies and rice krispies bars and I have a fleeting memory of cooking pudding on the stove.

 

 

 

 

My present baking knowledge is from observation of others and from trial and error by myself. I guess it’s true what some people say, that no matter how old you are, life is full of learning opportunities. Recently I wrote a post highlighting my friend Michelle’s exciting career as a baking instructor at King Arthur Flour. I asked her to share some useful baking tips for others and I ended up thoroughly surprised that I didn’t know some of the tricks.

 

 

 

Michelle informed me that most people’s mistakes with baking is using too much flour. People are always asking her why their bread comes out like bricks and pizzas like hard frisbees.  The key is using less flour. While many experts will tell you to measure in cups, King Arthur Flour encourages bakers to weigh the flour. A cup of King Arthur Flour weighs 4- 4 ¼  ounces.  By weighing flour and not using volume, you’ll be accurate with the amounts.

 

 

 

Another tip Michelle shares is when measuring flour, don’t pack it in the cup. ( if you are still using cups and not weighing) Instead, sprinkle the flour in loosely and level with a knife at the top. When I think of this, I think of the act of packing brown sugar in a cup. You want to do just the opposite because if you pack it, you have too much flour.

 

 

 

I have the King Arthur Baking cookbook and I noticed when browsing recipes, a commonality is the note of avoiding over mixing. I already knew this tip from blueberry muffin recipes. Michelle says to be careful not to overmix cookies, cakes, and muffins. If you mix the batter too much, there will be too much gluten. If you want tender baked goods, DO NOT OVERMIX!

 

 

 

 

A hint for amateur pie crust bakers, keep your butter cold when adding to your flour mixture. Also Michelle reminds us that using melted butter instead of softened makes a negative difference. For example,  when baking cookies make sure you leave out the butter overnight so it softens. Melting the butter will change the consistency. When you cream the butter and sugar you are supposed to put air bubbles in. If you use melted butter instead, it’s very hard to get the air in it. I didn’t know this, amazing fact!

 

 

 

 


Now that we learned some valuable baking tips…let’s get out there and bake! Use these techniques and see how much better your cakes, cookies and breads are! Share these tips with your family and friends and always have fun in your kitchen!

 

 

This weekend I’m baking a chocolate cheesecake for my son’s girlfriend’s birthday and old fashioned whoopie pies shaped like footballs for the Super Bowl. Go New England Patriots!

 

 

 

This is a heartfelt thank you to Michelle for her gift of time for the interview and her kindness.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

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My Vanilla Twinkie cake with marshmallow fluff inside

Petrified of Pie Baking

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My less than perfect cherry pie with a lattice crust and a cherry blowout.

If anything intimidates me in the kitchen, it’s pie baking. It all starts from mixing the dough perfectly to the rolling step and lastly fitting the crust over the pie. Because of these fears, most of the time I’ve stayed away from pies and baked cakes and cookies instead.

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My first pie baked when I was 24 years old!

I remember that first pie I crafted. I was 24 and living in our apartment in a tight kitchen place but got this desire to bake an apple pie. I got the recipe from Theo, my mother in law and away I worked. Truthfully it came out magnificent for my first one and received compliments and an empty plate from Tom. The crust came out perfect the first time but it wouldn’t last.

Here is the apple pie recipe Theo shared with me. It makes a delicious pie, using honey!

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon, I use 1 Tbsp cinnamon. It depends on your preference

2 Tbsp corn starch

dash salt

6-8 medium cooking apples (7 1/2 cups)

1 beaten egg for brushing over crust

coarse sugar to sprinkle atop crust

Place aluminum foil or pie guard around crust for first 30 minutes and remove after that.

Peel and slice apples. Add sugar and honey and spices. Coat with corn starch. Mix all together and place in prepared pie crust. Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 F. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and apples are soft.

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My cherry pie from Thanksgiving. The edges need some work but the pie was really tasty!

For years I’ve played the struggle game, mixing and measuring, holding my breath so it wouldn’t fall apart. No matter what I’ve tried it doesn’t come out right. Now 23 years have flown by and I think I got it right. I’m not stating it’s perfect but pretty darn good!

 

 
Back in November my mom shared a pie recipe that she had. I was skeptical…every time I’m optimistic about crafting the crust, it becomes a horror show! Yet, I managed  to bake a nice pie…with the best pie crust I’ve ever made!

Here is the recipe and believe it or not, it has vinegar as an ingredient!
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ cup ice water
¾ cup Crisco shortening

Mix flour together with salt and sugar. Add Crisco and work in dough, until crumbly. You can use a pastry blender or two knives. Add vinegar to ½ cup of ice water. Sprinkle a little at a time, moisten and gather dough together. Form two balls in bowl. Roll out on floured surface.

My next challenge is making the crust look halfway decent on the pie. The edges can be difficult but I’m going to practice and see how it goes. There are many decorative edges you can craft, from using a corkscrew, fork, pinching the crust and using the back of a spoon to make different designs.

Do you have trouble with your pie crust? Do you have any little pie crust secrets to share with me?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Grammy’s Mystery Mocha Cake

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The Doyle family, with my Grammy in the back and my dad, David Doyle , in the back on the right

In Dedication to Grammy Doyle, my Dad’s Mother

Irene Doyle, West Fairlee, Vermont

 
Every family has a staunch recipe that stands the test of time. It’s the go-to dish that always results in success. It’s passed down with pride and the unspoken agreement that future generations will do the same. My family has this recipe… it was my Grammy Doyle’s dessert recipe and you always could count on her making it at gatherings, whether it was my dad’s birthday or Christmas.

 

 
The word was that it was a secret, though I’m not sure of the origin. I’ll never know where my Grammy got it or if it was handed down to her. All I know is that it’s one of the few constants when going to her house and I will never stop associating Grammy with her Mystery Mocha dessert. Now that she is gone, this recipe means even more…a little reminder of what was.

 

 

 

When arriving in the small hamlet of West Fairlee, Vermont, one corner market stood. A traveler would see quaint simple houses. Next to the fire station stood my grandparent’s house on a little hill and when you rolled up the sloped gravel driveway, you spied a screened in porch. Amid dusty chairs sat an old forlorn piano, forgotten and well out of tune. All the grandchildren probably tinkered with the keys at one time or another.

 

 

 

This many years later I can still hear the rickety screen door, as if it  was on the set of the television show, The Walton’s. Inside the house you entered in the dining room, where was a huge wooden table that had fed six children at one time and all the visiting relatives through the years. Another prized piano stood beyond, where my Grammy played church hymns on it. This treasure was played often and every once in awhile she played for us.

 

 

The living room had wooden exposed beams, a rustic living space with a few windows to let light in. A long old fashioned radio stood on one wall, which belted out many Red Sox games. My Grammy and Grampa would sit and listen to the radio and play by play well into the seventies. Then years later a television stood there as well, but I think it was never the same to them as the play by play. As kids, we would creep over to Gramps, who would be relaxing on the couch and he would grab us and tickle us. Wth a silly grin and rolled up tongue, he was the tickle master. There were squeals of delight because he was fun and loving.

 
Mystery Mocha cake was often baked for my dad, since it was his favorite. He was her first born, David, and was and still is a chocolate fan. (I think this is where I got my chocolate addiction!) When my parents were married, my mom made it and I’m sure my stepmom makes it as well. Now my sister and I make it from time to time. My sons aren’t used to the rich chocolate taste and since it has coffee in it, they don’t care for it, but my husband likes it well enough and I do too.

 

 

 

It’s as if Grammy’s kitchen comes to life when I make Mystery Mocha, for it’s a family recipe and a reminder of her and our visits to the Doyle house. It does taste the very same, with rich, dark chocolate with a complement of mocha flavor from the double strength coffee. I think it’s more than a recipe but a bit of Grammy’s legacy in every bite!

 
Grammy Doyle’s Mystery Mocha Cake
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 square unsweetened baker’s chocolate
2 Tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup cold double strength coffee

Mix dry ingredients. Melt the unsweetened chocolate with the butter. Add the milk and vanilla. Put mixture into greased cake pan and top with the following: brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cocoa. Pour cold coffee over the top. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Serve for family or company. I recommend serving this rich dessert with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream!

An Autumn Tradition in a Country Kitchen💗

This is dedicated to all the bakers out there ,who put their heart and soul in their labor of love, especially my Aunt Sandy who passed away a few years ago.  When I think of my Aunt Sandy, baking with love comes to mind. Her cookies were delicious! She had a special way with baking and gave so much of herself to others. I miss her dearly and know that I’ll see her again someday.

 

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I love aprons and how when I tie one on, I become a baker of yesterday, representing years of aproned mamas baking their hearts out in their comfy warm kitchens.

 

 

 

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One of my favorite things in my kitchen is my antique pot rack. I consider it a country kitchen must.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Overlooking my work area with bar and all. Dont mind the dirty dishes. That’s a part of baking and will soon be scrubbed.

Traditions of Autumn and Pumpkin Pie

 

 

 

 

Not long ago in the midst of our fall setting I wished to bake a pumpkin pie. Every year when autumn arrives and our world wears its vivacious colors among the crooked branches,  I cook and bake comfort foods. Like many cooks, it’s a celebratory way to accept a new season and welcome frosty winter coming soon. It was to celebrate fall’s gifts to our family.

 

 

 

 

It was a quiet and tranquil Saturday. With my music filling my kitchen and inspiring my soul, I got to work. Twinkling kitchen lights winked at me as I gathered my ingredients. With a hasty snap, on went the the red and white striped apron , that’s when I mean business!

 

 

 

 

 

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This year my pie was very different as I experimented a bit with recipes and substitutions. A few months ago, I learned that I’m lactose intolerant and can’t digest milk and it’s products well. I found a good recipe on Pinterest using brown sugar instead of granulated and was up for a change. Next instead of using evaporated milk, I substituted half milk and half almond milk. I know what you are going to ask, did the almond milk make it watery? Believe it or not, it turned out terrific and I decided not to tell my husband about the changes. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t taste anything wrong until you mention the secret ingredients. So I played the hush game and Tom said it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever made! Then I enlightened him and he was fine about it.
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Being an old soul and belonging in an old fashioned kitchen, I love the idea of making and rolling out your own pie crust. With that said, can I make a huge confession? I stink at making good pie crust and I’ve discussed this with my mother -in-law many times. It always comes out crumbly and hard to manage, let alone cover a pie plate with. This time I cheated with a Pillsbury pie crust and it was great! There are occasions I try making my own. Thanksgiving is coming up and I’ll make the monumental effort to achieve a good pie crust all by myself!

 

 

 

 

Doesn’t the beaming light rays transform my pie into something majestic and angelic? He hee, I love this photograph as it depicts my magical feelings for baking in my kitchen, in my home. Baking for me is more than the mixing and molding your goodies to a delicious product. It’s being made in my country kitchen in the peaceful light of my surroundings with my oven and spatial counter space. It’s the heavenly scents wafting in the room and reaching our living area, enough for our cats to wake up and investigate. When I bake I’m transformed to the olden days where mamas spent days by the crackling stoves and hungry husbands came in from the barns with a smile and loving wink. It’s almost like I go inside a farmhouse from long ago and live that simple life for a bit.

 

Happy baking to all mamas and papas out there! This is a simple reminder to live in the joyful moments of your loving labors, whatever they made be.😉

 

 

 

 

From my country kitchen to yours!

All My Best,
Heart and Soul ❤️

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce🍅🍅🍅

 

 

Every Fall season I look forward to walking among my tomato plants, spying red and ripe fruit. With vim and vigor I snap them off the vine and dream of making delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. Most years I make endless batches, a weekend project lasting well into October. I relish harvesting these Crimson beauties and lining them up on my counter to see. Once they ripen and age a bit, it’s time to get to work!

 

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Where it all started

 

I put them tenderly in a hot bath and boil for a few minutes. You can tell when it’s time because the peelings will start to give in the water. Next I drain them and place in a cold water bath. Sit them in the bath for a minute or two. This helps peeling the skins easily. Peel the tomatoes and discard skins. Put tomatoes in blender or food processor to purée. Sometimes I skip this step for  a chunky sauce and I figure it will cook down.

 

 

Dice green pepper ( if you’re lucky you’ll have some garden ones, mine didn’t grow this year…beautiful healthy plants bearing one sacred pepper) and onion. Add tomatoes and a few cans of tomato sauce or jarred spaghetti sauce to thicken. This is kind of cheating but is homemade with the fresh tomatoes. I’ve added fresh carrots and zucchini before, a splash of olive oil and a tablespoon of sugar if you don’t add the carrots. Don’t forget the chopped fresh basil! Yummy!

 

 

 

Simmer an hour and shut off. Let set for awhile and then simmer again for 45 minutes. Let set. I do this in stages and have had great results. I usually save a portion for dinner that night and scoop into freezer containers. Let cool. Freeze and label.

 

 

It’s a great staple for pasta or eggplant parmigiana and is refreshing to find in the freezer in the dead of winter. It’s a gift tasting your harvest a few months later, some motivation to plant again in the spring!

 

While I’m knee deep in homemade sauce I’m thinking of possible other tomato uses. Do you have any ideas?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️