Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ants and Hamburgers

We are going to a hamburger cookout tomorrow after church and have been asked to bring dessert. See what we made. This idea is taken from a blog sister of mine at
Raising Olives and she got the idea from a book called Hello Cupcake!

Adorable name for an adorable book!
Anyway, Naomi and I had tons of fun in the kitchen.

First we gathered out ingredients. This amount is for a crowd, so we used 2 yellow cake mixes and 1 chocolate cake mix. Made cupcakes as directed. This made close to 5 dozen cupcakes. Most mixes make 2 dozen but we made the yellow ones a bit fuller to have a round top for the hamburgers.

We also needed:

a batch of my Grandma's buttercream icing recipe (see bottom) divided and colored ketchup red, mustard yellow grass green and chocolate brown,

2 packages of bridge mix (you only need the chocolate covered almonds)

sweetened coconut

green food coloring

18 small watermelon cadies

1/4 cup apple juice

2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

a sharp knife

For the ants in the grass we iced the top with green icing then sprinkled a bit of colored coconut (as grass) on top. Choosing carefully, we then put three ants in a row and set it aside.

Later, Naomi and I took turns carefully putting the feet and antena on the ants as well as giving them a watermelon slice to chase.

See how cute they turned out.
How for the hamburgers, you use a whole yellow cupcake cut in half (your bun) and the bottom half of a chocolate cupcake (the meat). On the bottom half of your bun, pipe mustard then place the chocolate piece. Then pipe katsup placing green coconut on top of that for the lettuce. On the top of your bun, use a pastry brush and brush lightly with apple juice and sprinkle with sesame seeds for an authentic looking bun. Place on top of the lettuce and set aside to dry.
See how it turns out.

Looks yummy huh!

I arranged these all on a large lazy susan with a cake plate on top. It will be fun. I hope I can get it there without any incidents. There is nearly 3 dozen. You would not have to make this many unless you were feeding a small army, as we are.

We had a lot of fun doing this but the best part was that Naomi and I had so much fun together! I pray that we will have many more times together in the kitchen, or anywhere, for that matter. She is a wonderful daughter!

I think I have mentioned in another post that my grandmother was a professional cake decorator so this recipe is tried and true. Hope you like it. We love it. I almost always have some put away in the back of the fridge. It's great on cookies too.

Grandma's Buttercream Icing Recipe

1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup plus 1t water
1 cup shortening (use Crisco, others don't hold together well)
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
1 t clear vanilla
(today I used regular b/c I didn't have clear and was coloring all my icing)

Beat powdered milk and water til thick then add shorteneing, salt and beat til creamy. Add sugar. Beat until heavy consistency and creamy. Add egg whites and beat til good and fluffy. Add vanilla extract. Store unused portion covered and refrigerated. Make enough to easily ice 2 9 inch round cakes.

Blessings for a wonderful Lord's Day, Suzie

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grape Jelly

Today we are making Grape Jelly at our house. This is our 10 year old grape vine, which has given us a bounty of around 15 pounds of grapes this year, after the birds of course.
What beauties! We washed. cleaned and juiced all these to make 12 and 1/2 pints of jelly.

These are concord grapes and they were so juicy and sweet this year. We had a lot of rain and they were larger than I think they have ever grown! These grapes have seeds in them so they take a bit of processing to get them into jelly.
Here is my very non-traditional way to extract the juice. I use my Champion Juicer! This is no typo! My mother used to boil and hang everything in the jelly bag, press it through a jelly sieve to separate the juice from the seeds but that all seems like a lot of work to me, and besides mom didn't have a Champion back then. Once I get the juice, I measure 4 cups of it, add 1/2 cup of water and put it on the stove to boil. When it comes to a boil, I add 7 cups of sugar and bring it to a rolling boil. Using liquid pectin, add it and cook it at a rolling boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat and hot pack in jars with lids from the hot dishwasher (she didn't have one of those either) and turn upside down for 10 minutes. Turn them rightside up and place them on a tea towel making sure that they are not touching each other. Tell your kids to come in and listen for the 'POPS' so that we all know they are sealed properly! When completely cooled, wash, label and store in a cool, dry place.
Now just do that a couple more times and you have all this!

As youngest son and I were out picking these grapes this morning, I saw several that the birds had knocked on the ground. That fruit that became separated from the vine had no chance to mature into anything edible.
This verse came to my mind:
'I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.'
John 15:5
May we all live to abide in him. Blessings, Suzie

Monday, July 19, 2010

Frozen Assets

Many have blogged about Once A Month Cooking and I suppose I will join the many who have already blogged on the subject. My favorite Once a Month Cooking Book is Frozen Assets Lite and Easy by Deborah Taylor-Hough. All of the chapter are organized by type of meal, ie: pasta, chicken, turkey, or beef. There are also seafood and vegetarian choices as well. Having them organized this way, I can buy what is on sale for the week and cook it for the freezer. It all becomes a 'Frozen Asset' to my family. I also like that all of the chapter are mini sessions, meaning, there are no more than 5 meals in one session. I can do that in one afternoon! I do not even attempt to cook ALL our food for a whole month in an entire session. As the title indicates, lite and easy. The recipes have been broken down and replaced with lower fat alternatives. Nutrition information is included with each recipe so it is easy for me to calculate Weight Watcher Points. I suppose I just wanted to share as I have struggled finding a system of cooking that works for our family. I like this method and especially like this book as it is much healthier and cost effective as well.

Blessings to you, Suzie E.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trip to Wyoming

~posted by Naomi

While my mom was in California me and my two brothers went up to Wyoming after my granddad's funeral. We stayed with my dad's dad for three weeks. We spent those three weeks going to parks, national monuments, and we even went four wheeling!
Almost every other day we went four wheeling. One time when me and my grandpa went four wheeling on top of the mountain we saw a herd of horses! We were on the four wheeler so we were able to get so close. We got some great pictures.

In one whole day we went to the sand dunes, bores tusk, and saw petroglifs.

Several times while we were in Wyoming our grandpa took us to Green River which was a town about 12 miles from where he lives in Rock Springs. At the green river our grandpa taught us how to skip a rocks!

Sometimes our grandpa would take us for drives in the mountain. On the very first day that we got there he took us up the mountain and he stopped somewhere for us to read a sign. We saw a four wheel trail up to what to us seemed at the time to be a big rock sticking out of the ground. From where we were standing the trail didn't look to long. Our grandpa said we could go and we thought we would only be about 10-15 minutes. Boy were we in for a surprise. Apparently grandpa knew it would take us a while so about 10 minutes after we started hiking he got in the truck and started to drive behind us. After we found this out me and my little brother got in the truck for little brakes but my older brother hiked the whole, long, hot way. It was steep climbing up to the "big rock" which our grandpa later informed us was called pilots butte. We got all the way to the top and looked where we had com from. all in all it took us about an hour to walk to the butte. we found a few caves up on top but we were strictly told NOT to go into the caves for fear of snakes and other animals that would not be so pleasant to encounter. we rode back and went home tired and dirty.

Our mom came on the 23rd of June to pick us up and take us home. We left the next morning and got home safely. We were so glad to meet our dad but over all I enjoyed the trip to Wyoming and sometimes wish we were still there.

~Blessings, Naomi