Showing posts from April, 2009

Daring Baker Challange

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.This is my inaugural adventure into the Daring Baker Challenge. While I am definitely a Daring Baker, I am by no means an expert baker. Being a dairy-free household means we do not eat much cheesecake. I had a fortuitous opportunity to experiment with this challenge while at the same time baking for a great cause.

I modified the presented recipe to make Mini Chocolate Mint Cheesecakes I made mini cheesecakes because the items for CASA needed to be individual. I chose Chocolate mint because I had several boxes of Girl Scout Thin Mints left in my pantry instead of the more traditional Oreos.

I have used water bath for Flan before but my flan dishes are much taller than my cupcake pans. I first used my lasagna pan for the bath as I do with my flan. But it sloshed and drowned the poor things. I switched to a cookie sheet and mastered the technique of removing…

Menu Planning Monday

Sunday - Shepards Pie - uses leftover pot roast from Shabbat
Monday - Popcorn Chicken, broccoli and oven fries
Tuesday - Pizza with homemade crust, leftover meat sauce from last week and non-dairy cheese.
Wednesday - Picnic - Salmon patty burgers, fruit, cookies
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Shabbat - Challah, Chicken Rollups with Fruity Couscous (an experiment - recipe to follow), Berry Crisp

Need some more inspiration, take a look at what others have on their menu this week a Orgjunkie

WFMW - Sheet Protectors

I love sheet protectors. We use them for lots of things. They make great pockets for papers that need to travel in the car.

We use them to make our own books like this one.

But the most common way we use it is with workbooks. Froggy likes workbooks or coloring pages but still tends to scribble over when part way through. Sheet protectors and dry erase markers pair together to make a reusable work sheet that will allow me to challenge her and yet withstand preschool frustration

Preschoolers need repetition and with sheet protectors I can provide true repetition, the same sheet over and over, rather than just the same concept.

Sunflower Garden

So the sunflower garden is under way. We have had two work sessions so far.

On the first day, we determined which direction was north using both a compass and the direction of the shadows at midday. It was neat to show the children the two options and that the answer was the same no matter how we got to the answer.

We placed the door to the house on the north side and marked out the rest of the walls.

That was enough for our first adventure.

On day two, we dug up the sod where we will be planting and added compost. We are planting only a 4 inch wide area around the house. Even so removing the sod turned out to be a great deal more work than originally anticipated.

The children had fun digging and breaking up the sod to save as much of the dirt as possible. The hit though was probably all the worms and bugs that we got to see and identify.

The step for day two was adding compost to the soil. Explaining what compost is and where it comes from was neat. It was interesting to see the di…

Menu Planning Monday

Because this week was not busy enough, I have lots of extra baking to do. Our local CASA is having a huge fundraiser this weekend. They expect roughly 400 guests. I and several others are baking treats for the crowd.

Baking List
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CookiesDouble Chocolate Truffle Cake Balls - a variation of these.
Mini Chocolate Mint CheesecakesGranolaBread for sandwichesI really need to make some more of the first two or something else entirely. Check back later in the week. I will update the baking list as I figure out what I am doing. I also need to figure out how I am transporting all the treats to the admin building. They need to be delivered on Friday and will be transported with everyone else's goodies on Saturday.

In addition to this, I am attending a baby shower on Thursday for which the requested gift is a freezer meal for mom. I think that is the best kind of gift an expectant mom can receive. I am going to make a lovely chicken and brown rice casserole that is e…

Chocolate Dessert Lasagna

1 (8-ounce) package no-boil lasagna noodles
2 pkgs cream cheese
1 pkg sour cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 1 minute. Drain them and put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and lay on paper towels to dry.

Whisk together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and eggs on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until it is well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and orange zest.

Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture into the bottom of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle some of the pistachios over the top and press on a layer of noodles. Repeat, ending with the cheese mixture and pistachios. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the lasagna has risen.

Remove the pan from the oven…

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole


--1 1/2 cups of brown rice-1 1/2 cups chicken broth
--1 1/2 cups milk, divided ( I used soy)
--3/4 cup flour --1 small yellow onion, diced --8 oz sliced mushrooms
-3-4 chicken breast halves or equivalent parts (1 used 3 huge frozen breast halves)
--1/2 tsp onion powder
--1/4 tsp black pepper
--1/4 tsp paprika


Combine all of the chicken broth (1 1/2 cups) and 1/2 cup of milk in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat on the stove. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup of milk with 3/4 cup flour. When the broth and milk have begun to boil, reduce heat, and slowly stir in the milk and flour mixture. When everything is fully incorporated, set the pot aside to cool.

Spray pan with cooking spray. Add the rice and seasonings to pan. Chop up the onion, and add it with the mushrooms. Stir in your broth, flour, and milk mixture. The rice will turn a bit red from the paprika. Lay the chicken pieces on top.

Bake at 350 for approximately an hour or until all l…

WFMW - Freecycle

I love craigslist. When I need a specific something I look there. But Freecycle works for me for more everyday stuff. I get a great deal of my craft supplies there. Lots of the stuff I get off freecycle most people would consider junk. But I turn it into fun for the kidlets.

Sometimes I get a real find though. This weekend, a wonderful lady gave us 3 boxes full of fabric. All different kids of fabrics. There were quilting squares already cut which Froggy abscombed with to become bricks in Beit Hamikdash. There are some wonderful corduroy and flannels that I look forward to working with in the fall.

But what caught my eye right away were the classic style calicos. And there was jsut enough to make Froggy a cute summer dress. I used this pattern but made the bodice a different fabric from the rest. I had been planning to try the pattern forever and finally was inspired. The dress turned out great for a first attempt

The lace down the middle got washed out by the flash. Some day …

Pesach Additions

I am still fine tuning my Pesach kitchen. Every year I add a few more things I need to be able to make a better more pleasant homemade Pesach.

This year however the most important and most fun additions in the household are not in the kitchen but the school room. This year, we added a new haggadah for Froggy. I made it myself from a file I downloaded from Chinuch. This site is new to me and I am in love. It has so many wonderful resources like this one. For the cost of a some ink, Froggy was able to follow along at the seder and tell us what to do next. I put the individual pictures in sheet protectors and then all in a folder with center tabs. She was thrilled. Below is one page out of the book.

The second addition was a lot more work but still very successful. We made a big book which tells the Pesach story. Lots of cutting and pasting. Each "page" is actually a poster. They still need to be laminated so that they can be around for many years. Froggy liked helping…

Our Pesach

I hope you had as enjoyable a holiday whatever that may be as we did. Here are few of the highlights from our celebration.

Menu Planning Monday - Passover part 2

Pesach has been a truly joyous learning and sharing experience so far. As the holiday wears on, I am trying more new recipes and tweaking previous attempts in a fruitless hope of finding foods that Froggy will enjoy besides Crispy-Os and eggs.

Recipe Review

The brisket was a huge hit. It was gone before Shabbat which is record time. Froggy ate it for breakfast and lunch on Thursday as well as breakfast again on Friday. This from a child who does not normally like beef.

The kugel was awful. It tasted water-logged and flavorless even though I used half again as much onion and seasoning as the recipe called for.

I am still having issues with baking. Daddy liked the macaroons while I thought they tasted flat and not sweet enough. I will try a new recipe with a bit more honey and more vanilla. The flourless chocolate cake was okay but still much too dry for my preferences. That may be a function of Pesach though.

The Menu
Sunday - Apple Matza Kugel for brunch and Honey Garlic Chicken …

Menu Planning Monday - Pesach Edition

This is a fun special week for us. I am enjoying so much sharing the holidays with Froggy right now. She is at a very special stage now where she is finally old enough to understand the meaning of the holiday and have some sort of time sense. She is also old enough to meaningfully participate both in preparations and celebration.

This Pesach we are trying some new food stuffs

Monday Shepards Pie,broccoli
Tuesday - Search for the Hametz - The kitchen will get turned over today and we will have a picnic dinner on paper goods on the back porch. The outside table and grill are off limits for eating during Pesach.
Wednesday - First Seder -charoset, hard boiled eggs, Matzah ball soup, Brisket, sauted asparagus, potato kugel or carrot kishka, chocolate torte , macaroons
Thursday - Second Seder @ Shul
Friday - Shabbat - Matzah, Roast Chicken,mixed vegetable roast, baked potatoes, flourless chocolate cake
Saturday - Leftover Buffet

Friday Finds - Pesach Edition

I believe that reading books about a topic help children process and understand and engage with the topic. We love to read a whole passel of books for a couple of weeks around each holiday. It helps Froggy understand the timing and cycle of the year. So without further ado here are our Friday Finds for Pesach

Pesach is Coming and Pesach is Here - by Hyman and Alice Chanover. This wonderful pair were written back in the '50s but they are timeless. In these books, Mimmy and Joel get ready for Pesach and celebrate Seder with their cute family. Everyone helps and everyone enjoys the experience.

Let My People Go - by Tilda Balsley. This was a new find for us from the PJ Library last year. We fell in love with it and now include it in our readings every year. It is a raucous, lively retelling of the Passover story. But it is more than that. It is a script with each charactors lines in a different color to make an easy production for young people. One year I would love to do i…