Handled

Originally, this last blog of 2015 was long winded about why as a child I was relegated to dishwasher duty. I am messy in the kitchen. Also there had been a paragraph or two about the number of people packed into my parents 4 bedroom bungalow for a week. It’s squishy and a little like camping only with a functioning kitchen and bathrooms. If camping were only this organized, warm and dry!

But none of those stories are as funny as the stories I am collecting from spending 7 days hanging out, in some form, with my nieces and nephews.

We just celebrated my birthday. It’s fun celebrating surrounded by kids who love any excuse to be celebrating. I baked a cake for the event and decided it would be fun to have my nieces and nephews ice it.

I had this handled.

This was my idea and as I began setting up to make the icing, oddly everyone above the age of 10 disappeared from the vacinity of the kitchen.

I had this handled.

Standing in the kitchen with my 5 little helpers all vying for attention, all wanting to be part of mixing the icing, two were arguing, two were pushing their chairs around the kitchen, colliding with each other and the 5th was cutely grunting something I couldn’t understand.

I had this handled.

Arranging the two fellas colliding was easy, next was refereeing the argument.

“So tell me what’s happening.”

“Well…”, said in a high pitched voice…

“Without the drama, just tell me the story calmly.”

“Well, she kept telling me the same thing over and over again,” her voice slightly rising, “and I already knew what she was telling me.”

“Ok, so you wanted her to cut to the chase?”

“Yes”

“Alright,” turning to the second little lady, “Your turn”

“Well, I was going to say all that, what she just said, but I was going to add one thing.”

“Ok, what’s that.”

Silence. Arms crossed.

Behind me the two little boys were getting restless. Dancing on their chairs, poking the bag of icing sugar.

“Auntie-dee-dee, how do we make icing?”

Not 5 minutes into our baking adventure and I was already not sure we’d all make it through unscathed.

New found respect for parents everywhere, how do they do this 24/7?!

The icing did get made, the cake did get iced however, before all that happened and 10 minutes into my adventure my sister stepped into the kitchen to give some tips on hardening up the icing.  I handed her my mixing bowl, relieved her of my niece in her arms and scooted out of the kitchen.

Handled 🙂

The “I can bake” wonderful Cream Cheese Frosting

The “I can bake” wonderful Cream Cheese Frosting

It has been a lonnngggg time since I’ve stood in my kitchen with the oven on, mixing bowls littering the counter and ingredients flying around. But today is a special day. It is the first day in many many months that I have had all to myself and I do not have to run off to work.

It is scary having downtime, what do you do? Sleep all day?

I have a hard time doing nothing. It can be a downfall and usually a stint at the cottage sets me right. Well today was sort of like a cottage day. I did my coffee run, posted my daily blog, replied to emails and did general “administrative” activities (I just wanted to use the word administrative, it sounds so…important).

I was trying my best to relax when I remembered that I’d been given a gingerbread cupcake mix at Christmas.

I didn’t start with the cupcake mix like one would expect. No, I decided that chocolate chip cookies would be fun to make first.

With the cookies out of the way I could concentrate on this much more complex task of cupcakes. I got the mix all together and ready to put in the oven when I decided to taste the batter.

It was gingerbread but a little like cardboard gingerbread.

Oh well they were in the muffin tins now and there was no going back.

But how to make these cardboard cupcakes taste better?

Well for whatever reason I have a package of Philadelphia cream cheese in my refrigerator. I am not sure what it was doing in there. Hmmm.

I look up a recipe online for Cream Cheese Icing and I find one on the Kraft foods website. It looks simple but I am a little worried about the word “gradually”. I like to dump all the ingredients in at once, turn the mixer to high (kind of like Amelia Bedelia) and let it whirl but this recipe is very specific.

Gradually turned out to be exactly what I envisioned. A sore arm from holding the mixer and keeping the flying icing sugar to a minimum.

The good news is I have a full batch of wonderful Cream Cheese “frosting” (as the website calls it). It is delicious. In fact it is so delicious that I no longer want to add it to the tops of the cardboard tasting gingerbread cupcakes.

I have put it in the fridge and well perhaps I’ll use it to frost my chocolate chip cookies!

The best Cream Cheese Frosting recipe (I’ve only tried one so who knows there may be a better one just don’t tell Kraft foods.)

1 Package of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese (250g)
1/4 cup of softened saltless butter
1 tsp. of vanilla
1 package of powdered sugar (16 oz. or 4 cups)

BEAT cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended.
ADD sugar gradually, beating after each addition until well blended.

Note
Recipe makes enough to fill and frost 2 (8- or 9-inch) cake layers.

That is right folks enough frosting for 2 cakes!! My cookies are going to be smothered in frosting and my arteries feel clogged just thinking about it…

What is your favourite recipe?

The “betcha can’t eat just one” snack

The “betcha can’t eat just one” snack

For all you snacking folks out there with little time but big appetite for snacks, this is one of my favourites and after several attempts on this simple recipe, I now am confident to share with all my loyal readers!

– 1 bag of small salted preztels
– 1 bag of Hershey kisses
– 1 bag of chocolate M&M’s (is there any other kind 😛 )
– 2 baking sheets (one for the oven, one for the freezer)
– Tin foil
– Oven (you can’t do this recipe, obviously, without an oven haha)

Pre-heat oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit. Cover ONE baking sheet in tin foil. Place the Pretzels in nice rows on the tin foil or if you like them all over the place like a crowded room that’s fine too! Unwrap the same number Hershey kisses as the number of pretzels laid out on the tin foil on top of the baking sheet. Place one unwrapped Hershey kiss on each pretzel. Place the baking sheet with tin foil, pretzels and unwrapped Hershey kisses in the pre-heated oven for 2 minutes! When two minutes is up, take the baking sheet out of the oven, place it on a pad. Place one M&M on top of each Hershey kiss that are now slightly melted on the pretzel.

Once you have completed this task, take a COLD baking sheet and pull the warm tin foil that has all the goodies off the hot baking sheet over to the COLD baking sheet. If you don’t have a second baking sheet, well, go buy one or get creative like the crowded pretzels.

Ok, once you have the tin foil pulled over to the new baking sheet with the lovely treats, place the whole thing in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden the chocolate.

Then they are ready to eat! And share-able, but trust me, you may not get to the sharing part 🙂