Slow cooker heaven – have you made desserts in one? YUMMY!

Here is a summer slow cooker recipe. For dessert. Its so delicious – enjoy!

Slow Cooker Caramel pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2(14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1graham cracker crust (9 inch)
  • 1(8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1(1 1/2 ounce) English toffee-flavored candy bars, coarsely chopped ( I don’t eat chocolate so use caramel candies instead)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour condensed milk in a 1 quart electric slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook 6 to 7 hours or until mixture is the color of peanut butter, stirring mixture with a wire whisk every 30 minutes.
  3. Pour into graham cracker crust; cool.
  4. Spread whipped topping over top, and sprinkle with chopped candy bar.
  5. Cover and chill.

And here are our twins with ice cream that is almost as tall as they are! Happiness is a hot day with cool ice cream!

Noah and Gabe with icecream June 2015

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And a couple more tips from ALLRECIPES.COM – enjoy!

 Here are the rest of the tips from ALLRECIPES.COM – (my last post had the first one about fresh baking powder etc) and I especially like the last one! ENJOY!

Below is the reason why I bake – two little boys each of whom lost a tooth last week – so cute!
Jonah lost one tooth

 2. Take the time to preheat the oven

Some ovens preheat in just minutes. Some take a ridiculous 30 minutes! Know thy oven. Know it even better by dangling an oven thermometer from one of your baking racks. Finally, you’ll know for sure that the temperature on the oven dial matches the temperature inside. While you’re at it, make sure your oven rack is centered for even baking.

3. Actually wait for your ingredients to come to room temperature

You know those recipes that call for room temperature eggs and butter? Stop ignoring them. You’ll be glad later when that smooth batter becomes a moist cake with a tender crumb.

4. Don’t overmix your batter

You wanted to be thorough, you say. Well, sadly, your cake can easily fall victim to your good intentions. Overmixing the batter (easy to do with a stand mixer, especially) can incorporate too much air and result in a fallen cake as it cools later on. It’s all about a light hand. Think gentle.

5. …but don’t undermix your batter, either

Not enough of a good thing can also cause drama: unintentional swirls of flour or sugar, nuts and raisins playing refusing to play with the wet ingredients, butter blobs. You’ll know your batter’s in a good place when nearly all the flour is absorbed.

6. Definitely grease, flour, and/or line your baking pans with parchment, per your recipe

7. Nope, nope, nope: Don’t fill your pan to the brim

Fill your cake pan(s) no more than halfway (unless the recipe says otherwise). Why? This helps ensure your cake will rise evenly rather than overflow into your oven like a cake batter volcano. Check our handy Baking Pan Conversion Chart for more tips on volume.

8. Smooth the top and tap the pan

Take your spatula and smooth the batter for your best shot at an even cake. Tap the pan against your countertop (tap-tap-tap-tap) to scare away any last few little air bubbles trapped within.

9. Resist the urge to open the oven and check your masterpiece every five minutes

You know why? You’re letting out all the hot air and temperature fluctuations make for an unhappy, uneven cake (or, worse, Total Cake Collapse, which hey, could make a good band name for a bunch of bakers). Resist until the last few minutes of baking when you should…

10. …But remember to check for doneness

Poke a wooden toothpick into the center of your cake about five minutes before its suggested baking time comes to an end. if it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs stuck to it, it’s time to pull your cake from the oven. Batter on the toothpick? Let it keep baking. Out of toothpicks? Use a dry spaghetti noodle.

11. WAIT until your cake cools before you frost it

Yes, this means you! Build adequate time in your day for this by counting backward from when you want to slice into the cake. Allow for at least one hour for your cake to completely cool before you frost it so that it goes on smooth and doesn’t tear blobs of cake along with it—it’s just not a good look.

12. And if all else fails…

Crumble up your cake and make trifle!

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Baking better cakes! Try these tests – easy and quick!

Here are my twin grandsons helping me bake last weekend.

NOah and Gabe tasting cupcake mixtureI love to bake. But my baking experiments are not always successful. I came across these hints in ALLRECIPES.COM and wanted to share them with you!

1. Make sure that your Baking Soda and Baking Powder are fresh!
Baking soda and baking powder are essentially chemical leaveners that react to temperature and other ingredients, so you are testing to see if the chemicals are still active. All you have to do is drop a little bit of the baking soda or baking powder into hot water (and vinegar if testing baking soda) and look for a bubbling reaction — if there’s fizzing, it’s still good to use!

This test will help you know if your baking soda or baking powder will help your cakes and muffins rise, or if you should go out and invest in a new package. It’s so easy to do and only takes a minute, so get testing!

What You Need

Baking powder or baking soda
Measuring cup
Hot tap water
1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon
White or apple cider vinegar (if testing baking soda)

Instructions

  1. Measure out the water: Measure out 1/2 cup of hot tap water.
  2. Add vinegar: Baking soda needs an acid to get a reaction, so add 1/4 teaspoon of a simple vinegar like white or apple cider vinegar to the water if you’re testing baking soda. If you are testing baking powder, you do not need to add any vinegar.
  3. Add baking soda or baking powder: Add 1/4 teaspoon of the baking soda or baking powder.
  4. Look for fizzing! After you add the baking soda or baking powder, look for an immediate bubbling or fizzing reaction. If it happens, your baking soda or baking powder is still good! If you see no bubbling, it’s time get replacements.
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A lemon guava tree – the perfect gift for the Urban farmer – from his kids and grandkids!

Our children and grandchildren gave us the perfect fathers day gift – a Lemon Guava tree to add to the Little Farm! We had a planting ceremony – so adorable! And a lovely weekend together. So much fun!

Jack Jonah Noah gabe planting fathers day tree June 2015

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Sleepover and Cupcakes – great combination for grandkids!

The first time all four boys slept over – in the same room! So much fun! Of course baking is always part of the fun – and tasting the cupcake mixture too!

Jumping into our bed in the morning  (early……) to watch a scary movie……

Jack Jonah Noah Gabe first time sleeping over Jun 20 2015
Noah and Gabe getting ready to taste cupcake mixture Larraine turning on stove for cupcakes with Noah and Gabe

 

NOah and Gabe tasting cupcake mixture

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Family time – what could be better! Our annual family week – most of the family were there!

Once a year we go away as a family ( anything between 25-45 of us) and have 7 glorious days together. The kids ADORE it as do the parents.

Here are some of the activities we do.

We have Grandma’s Cupcake Afternoon ( lots of grandma’s and grandkids around).We have the GUYS COOK night – when all the men/guys bbq for us! YUM!

We  have the Family Photo – whew what an effort to get everyone to smile at the same time! We swim – all the time. The adult parents get two nights out without the kids while the grandparents – all sets – babysit. We have a Grandparents night on the town – we go to a movie – fun but very sedate! We have Chinese evening, Mexican evening and then one afternoon excursion to a museum of some kind.

All in all,  it is a time of laughter and fun and much love all around. How blessed we are! I can hardly wait for next year!Segil Family Week 2015 Palm Springs

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Some adorable pet pictures – makes me happy! And you?

Here are some adorable pet pictures which made me happy. Hope they cheer up your day?

Kitty yoga Puppy with pay Dog on torn up sofa Rooster on puppies cat lying on deck chair puppies on child dog waking up person

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Leftovers – some creative ideas with Basmati Rice

When we first got married 46 years ago, and especially living on frugal means in Canada for a year and then during our first years in the USA, we made do with lots of leftovers – and some of the dishes we ate were economical and delicious. Rice is a great staple that can be mixed with any leftover meat, fish, or chicken along with chopped tomatoes and onions and a bit of olive oil – and before you know it, that leftover protein is looking quite appealing! Basmati Rice is the best rice to use – it is a delicately flavored long-grain rice grown in India. It’s an extraordinarily perfumed long slender grained rice, more commonly known as simply Basmati. It has a different, nutty flavor and is heralded as the best quality of rice. The most authentic procurement happens at the foothills of Himalayas. Brown Basmati is also cultivated but the creamy white translucent grains are more common. It is a non sticky rice which only elongates upon cooking. There are many qualities of Basmati rice available.

Making Leftovers Work ( Note you could make this vegetarian by adding lots of different vegetables including beans for protein and no meat/fish/poultry)

Ingredients:

  • Leftover meat, fish or chicken/turkey
  • Cooked Basmati rice
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped ( you could also chop and add peppers, chives, peas, carrots)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs  ( or dried if you don’t have any fresh) to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Cut the leftover meat, fish or chicken/turkey into bite sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to a frying pan and saute the onions until translucent. Add the tomatoes and saute until soft.
  3. Add the cooked rice and mix
  4. Add the protein and mix until full heated.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs over the mixture and serve immediately.
White Rice

White Basmati Rice

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Fava Beans – have you ever tried them? Very high in protein and delicious

Fava beans ( also known as Broad Bean) are  a pain to prepare since they have TWO skins – the green one that grows on the outside and then the skin that surrounds the actual bean.  They are a species of Bean grown originally in North Africa and Southeast Asia but now they make up part of the healthy Mediterranean diet that we read so much about – so replacing meat with these beans a few times a month is good for you!

There are about 2-3 beans in each pod. So it takes a while to prepare just one cup of beans and they go down very fast. So I came up with a novel way to prepare them that cuts the effort somewhat. These beans are very high in protein and quite versatile. One does not see them very often but we tried growing them this season at The Little Farm and were thrilled with the results – they were prolific and we added them to a number of dishes.  The recipe below is by far the easiest.

fava_beans Fava beans inner shell

Fava Beans in the Oven

Ingredients:

  • 10 Pods of Fava Beans
  • 4 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the olive oil onto a baking pan and put the fava pods onto it and mix it around so that the pods are moistened all over with the oil. Sprinkle kosher salt on the pods and mix again turning them so that the salt is all over. Place under a hot broiler in the oven for 20 minutes – watching carefully so that they do not burn – the amount of time will depend on the thickness and size of the pods.
  2. Take them out the oven and split open each pod to remove the two or three beans inside.  Then cut the very end of each bean and squeeze out the inner bean – just like you would eat edamame! YUM!
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Babysitting is the best fun when you are a grandparent!

Here are the four grandsons in the bathtub – only little ones can have so much fun with water! A fair amount arrived on the floor but there was a mass mopping up after the bath – so all was well. Lots of laughter and splashing to be sure! Four grandsons in the bath may 2015

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