Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Count down week

Seven more days. Yep, seven more days until the kiddos will be back in school, and moms and dads everywhere will CELEBRATE (until they start helping with homework :-). Although I've only grandkids to enJOY getting to see go off to school, I love this time of year, mostly because it signals for me the beginning of fall! And with fall comes cooler, dryer air. I can't wait for these hot, humid days to disappear into our memories and frost to appear on the pumpkins and cornstalks. I love the scents of fall and getting to fill the house with the aromas of spices from freshly baked pumpkin bread, apple pies, and cornbread dressing (stuffing--for you northerners). I have to restrain myself to keep from pulling out the fall decorations as soon as July 4th. passes. But, once Labor Day comes and goes, it's time to put away all things summer and go for the golden colors of fall.

Until then, we enJOY the blessings of air conditioning and await the start of school. This week was a "modified" Nanna Week, again. I had Jacob over on Tuesday, Samuel on Wednesday, Emma was here today, and Madison will have her day with me tomorrow. Since I "forgot" (yes, the mental capacity isn't what it used to be!) to photograph Emma during the first "Nanna Week," I promised her another day to bake cupcakes, so I could include photos of her, as well. So, that's what we did this morning after we finished reading. Emma first thought she wanted to make strawberry cupcakes, then decided on vanilla cupcakes with a milk chocolate chip icing. For those who might like to have it, I've included the icing recipe below the photos. I rarely ever purchase canned frostings (if I do, they expire before I use them, then have to be tossed), because I just don't like the flavor or consistency. So, we made our own icing and used a boxed mix (Duncan Hines Classic Yellow) for the cupcakes.

Hope you enJOY the photos and recipe and will return soon to see what else is cooking in Nanna's Kitchen. (Cookbooks will be here soon... and I'll send out a special announcement when they arrive!)

Emma is getting taller and stronger so she can hold the hand mixer all by herself.

Reading the directions and measuring ingredients (and ADDING THEM) gives her a chance to practice her math and reading skills. Smart girl!!

Emma is very careful and precise about her work. She made sure she didn't spill a drop of water when she added it to the ingredients.

All three kids enJOY cracking the eggs. She cracked them and put them in the measuring cup first, to be sure they were good and had no pieces of shell with them. Then, she added each one to the bowl of ingredients.

Am I doing this right?

Looks GOOD to me, Emma!

Emma had to rush to a hair appointment (time to get all spruced up for "back-to-school" photos), so we she quickly added the warm "Chocolate Chip Icing" to the vanilla cupcakes (which were also still warm :-). It smelled soooo good!

The warm icing and warm cupcakes made a pretty chocolaty glazed top for the cupcakes.

OOPS! Gotta little bit of icing dripping down the side. Great way to take care of that----lick your fingers!


Finished product, set aside to cool.

Here's the recipe we used for Emma's icing:

Nestle's Milk Chocolate Chip Frosting Recipe

1/4 cup butter

1 cup Nestle's milk chocolate chips

3 tablespoons milk, plus more to thin, as needed

3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, give or take a smidgen

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave oven. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar and mix well with a fork or spatula. Add milk and blend. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add more milk to thin, if needed and stir until all lumps are gone and mixture is smooth. Frost cake or cupcakes while icing is still warm. It will cool and harden with a pretty shiny glaze from the butter and chocolate chips. Allow to cool before cutting.

Search Amazon.com for Nestle's chocolate chips

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Synopsis of "Nanna Week in the Kitchen"

Well, "Nanna Week" has come and gone, and so has July. I can't believe we're heading on the downhill side of summer---FINALLY! I'm sooooo ready. With 3-digit temps every day, it's been a challenge to even want to be in the kitchen, let alone cook anything that requires using an oven and burners on the stove. (Translation: We've enJOYed Subway and Quiznos sandwiches for a change, until the weather decides to cool!)

I think the grands had a good time last week, as each one had their own special "Nanna Day" (and night!). I allowed each child to choose a recipe and be as creative (within reason!---no worms or bugs for filler!) as they wanted in sprucing up the final product. Jacob invented "Molasses Vanilla Chip Cookies," which were oh so yummy, and he got carried away and kept adding those vanilla chips to his second dish--"Nieman Marcus Vanilla Chip Brownies." Madison took a "Brown Sugar Crisps" cookie recipe and created a whole new cookie that I think has to be the blue-ribbon winner. We named it "Snickers Crisps." Madie is a big fan of Snickers candy bars, so this was a perfect cookie for her. She also made "Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing." (Would you believe we grated/chopped 3 CUPS OF CARROTS for those babies?!... but they were well worth every grate/chop!) Emma's contributions, "Molasses Cookies" and "Devil's Food Cupcakes," were our first creations, on Monday, and I have already posted (see last week's posts) the recipe she used for the cookies. Actually, if you want to make Jacob's version of the "Molasses Vanilla Chip Cookies," (see photo below), you can use last week's recipe for Emma's "Molasses and Memories Cookies" and just add 1 cup of vanilla (white chocolate) chips to the dough after everything else has been added. Bake as directed on the recipe. I plan to post the other recipes over the next couple of days, so watch for these, if you're interested. If you don't try any others, you have to try the Snickers Crisps---and eat them when they are just warm out of the oven! I think I have a new favorite cookie! Thanks, Madison! :-)

Here are some photo highlights from the week:

Jacob has a sweet-tooth like his Nanna, and his "Molasses Vanilla Chip Cookies" definitely served as the cure for both our "sweet-teeth"! :-)

Madison did a great job icing her "Carrot Cupcakes" and was rewarded with getting to lick the beaters and spatula after she finished.

These were so yummy! I think Madie and I could have just had the icing all by itself, too!

Although the carrot cupcakes were winners, I think the "Snickers Crisps" won the prize!

My new "favorite cookie"! :-)

Although Samuel didn't invent any "new" recipes, he cooked his little heart out!

and of course, his dish was yummy, too!

After we cooked all week, Samuel finally got to spend the night and help me clean up my messy kitchen...
He loves the old kitchen sweeper! (even if it isn't plugged in :-)....

Vacuuming is "HARD WORK"! :-)

All in all, we had a wonderful week, and I made it to Friday without being totally exhausted.... But, I don't think I'll be doing two "Nanna weeks" back-to-back any time soon! :-)

Here is Madison's creative cookie recipe for the week:



Makes 3 1/2 dozen

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

• 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

• 3/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 large egg

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 1 cup salted whole peanuts

• 1 cup milk chocolate chips

• 1 cup KRAFT Premium Caramel Bits


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

2. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture; mix until combined. Stir in peanuts, milk chocolate chips, and caramel bits.

3. Use a cookie dipper to drop balls of dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 3 inches apart. These will flatten to 2 ½ or 3 inches in diameter as they cook. Bake cookies, until edges are just golden, about 12 minutes. Do not overbake or the caramel will stick to the pans (You want it just melted.) Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.