Peach Shortcake

PeachShortcake005

Mid-Summer in my neck of the woods means peaches. My peach tree tends to ripen late July, depending on the weather. It held off to the 1st week in August when all the peaches ripened just about at once. Nothing like an avalanche of peaches to make you put on your thinking cap. After giving away a LOT! I decided peach shortcake would be just the thing. Now it’s not complicated, but after all those peaches, I didn’t have too much brain power left. And it’s hot! So why not peach shortcake for supper. Or breakfast!

Hardware

Medium Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

Individual serving bowls

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of peaches, washed

½ to 1 cup sugar (your choice)

Can of Whipped Cream

Shortcake

PeachShortcake001

Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, chop up and put in the bowl. Continue until all of the peaches are chopped up. I didn’t peel them, just chopped them into bite-sized chunks.

PeachShortcake002

Pour sugar over the fruit. I know. Peaches are already sweet, especially ones ripened on the tree. But the sugar makes a syrup that you really need to have to pour over the short cake. Let stand in the refrigerator all day or all night to develop the syrup.

PeachShortcake003

In an individual bowl. Place your short cake/pound cake/muffin (I used a gluten free muffin, hubby used a generous slice of Sara Lee Pound Cake).

PeachShortcake004

Scoop generous portions of fruit over the cake.

PeachShortcake005

Spray your whipped cream over all. I’m pretty generous as you can see from the photo. If I hadn’t been lazy that day I’d have made home-made whipped cream. It’s just better, but, you know. Summer, lazy, heat. It was delicious.

Left over fruit can be used in yogurt, cereal, crepes, the sky is the limit.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your peachy abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Advertisements

Chile Spice Mix: Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

I know. I missed May and June. I can only plead that I was super busy but I haven’t forgotten you. Today I’m talking about chili spice. What’s that? It’s a spice mix that I use to flavor my chili! I know a lot of people just by those little packets at the store. That would work except I’m Celiac and most of those packets have additives in them that I can’t eat. Well, what’s a girl to do who likes chili? Make it myself. There are tons of recipes out there for the spices for chili. I started with a recipe that is courtesy of Tyler Florence from Food Network. I added my own twists.

This spice mix can also be used as a dry rub. I love it on spare and country ribs, especially.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Hardware

Food Processor

Meauring Spoons

Wax Paper

Canning Jar (to store it, especially if you double the batch)

 

The Chili Spice Mix Ingredients

The Chili Spice Mix Ingredients

Ingredients

3 dried ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded

2 T dried oregano (I used dried oregano from my garden)

2 T smoked paprika (my twist to Tyler’s recipe which called for sweet paprika)

2 T whole coriander

1 T cumin seed

1 T chili powder

1 T dried cilantro (my twist)

1 tsp cocoa powder (My twist. Every heard of mole?)

½ tsp cinnamon (my twist)

Breaking up the Chilies

Breaking up the Chilies

Get the food processor set up and ready to use. Spread the wax paper on the counter in front of you and by hand, open up the dried anchos, seed them and break the chilies up into small pieces. I’ve tried using big pieces but they just don’t grind up as well. No one wants to bite into a big chunk of a chili. If you’re smarter than I am, wear food prep gloves. Otherwise your fingers will be burning for hours. You could use the seed to flavor a cup of olive oil for hot chili oil and lemon spaghetti another day.

Chop the chilies

Chop the chilies

Add the whole coriander and cumin seed to the food processor.

Chilies, Corriander, and Cumin seed, chopped fine

Chilies, Corriander, and Cumin seed, chopped fine

Spin those together until the peppers, the coriander and the cumin seed and fine. My husband does NOT like biting into a coriander seed. So while I think it’s a big flavor punch, I try to get them crushed well

Heaping tablespoon of whole dried Oregano

Heaping tablespoon of whole dried Oregano

Add the dried oregano and cilantro. Pulse again to make those fine.

Adding powdered spices: Paprika, chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon

Adding powdered spices: Paprika, chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon

Add the powdered spices: paprika, chili powder, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Pulse again.

Spin again, covering the hole so you don't get spice mix all over the kitchen

Spin again, covering the hole so you don’t get spice mix all over the kitchen

Be careful as you take the lid of the processor on and off. The volatile oils from the dried chili will fry your nasal passages.

Final Mix

Final Mix

Storage

Storage

Pour the mix into a bowl and then into a storage jar. Glass is best, it won’t stain the way a plastic container might. Also note, the chilies did stain the bowl of my food processor. If you know of a way to get rid of the stain, I’d like to hear it.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you make your own herb or spice mix? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finished Cordon Bleu

Once in awhile, I like to get fancy and in February, I did just that. I happened to have ham and swiss cheese on hand and boneless chicken breast in the freezer so I decided to make chicken cordon bleu.

The first time I ever had this dish was when my husband and I were stationed in West Germany in the late 70’s. We went to a local Gast Haus (pub) in the small town where we lived and I spotted it on the menu. I’d heard of it in movies and books. Here was my chance to try it. It arrived on a plate by itself and covered the entire plate. Crispy and golden brown on the outside, the inside was a delight of tender white chicken wrapped around a ham and cheese center that just oozed out onto the plate when I cut into it.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Hardware

3 pie plates for the egg, flour, and bread crumb

Large frying pan

Cookie sheet lined with wax paper

Cookie sheet lined with foil and cooling racks

Long sharp knife

Cutting board

Wooden toothpicks

Wax Paper

Mallet or rolling pin to pound out the chicken breast

 

Ingredients

1 chicken breast per person, I used three as I was expecting a guest

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Cup flour (I used gluten free flour) seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs. I used dried thyme.

1 Cup bread Crumbs (I used gluten free crumbs I made myself)

2 eggs slightly whisked

2 slices ham per chicken breast

2 slices Swiss Cheese per chicken Breast

Vegetable Oil for frying

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Boneless Whole Chicken Breast

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Butterfly the Chicken

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Butterflied

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pound Thin

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All Butterflied

Butterfly each chicken breast lengthwise. Place between sheets of wax paper and pound uniformly thin. Place on the cookie sheet, lined with wax paper to hold until all breasts are prepared.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Line Half the breast with the Ham

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Top with the Swiss Cheese

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Secure all edges with toothpicks

Line one-half of each breast with the ham slices and cheese. Do your best to avoid the ham and cheese hanging outside of the breast. Fold over and secure edges with the toothpicks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Preheat Frying Pan

Add oil to the frying pan and heat to medium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1st egg wash

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coat with flour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2nd egg wash

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coat with Crumbs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown the bundles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Holding until ready to fry

Dip the filled chicken bundles in the egg, the flour to coat, then the egg, then the crumbs. Put the breaded chicken in the frying pan. Brown on both sides and move to the foil lined cookie sheet and place on the wire racks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown on Both Sides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ready for the Oven

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Baking

Bake for 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Serve. I had grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes as my sides.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Have you ever had chicken cordon bleu? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

AuGratin Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Tools: Potatoes, Cheese Sauce, Mandolin and Oiled Casserole Dish.

I’ve done scalloped potatoes on this blog before and AuGratin Potatoes are a close relation to them. I won’t go into the making of a white sauce again but all you have to do for AuGratin sauce is add in a cup or two of shredded cheese and your sauce is done. I used left-over sauce that I’d made a few days earlier for macaroni and cheese.

I don’t usually get this fancy but I had friends coming over for dinner and thought this would be a great side dish. The rest of the meal was grilled chicken thighs and grilled asparagus. Yummy!

Hardware

One 2 quart casserole dish oiled or buttered

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

3 pounds of white or yellow potatoes. I love Yukon Golds.

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese sauce, about 3 cups

Milk or half and half to thin out the cheese sauce

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Potatoes and Mandolin

If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Slice the potatoes.

AuGratin Potatos 006.JPG

Put the slices into the casserole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Warming up the cheese sauce so the casserole doesn’t take so long to come up to temperature.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Adding milk, salt and pepper to the cheese sauce

Salt and pepper the sauce. It makes seasoning the potatoes a lot easier.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saucing the potatoes

Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, doing a little stir to make sure the sauce gets to the bottom. Add the milk or half and half and stir again if there isn’t enough sauce to cover.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Casserole covered and ready to go into a 350 degree oven.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Serve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The finished AuGratin casserole

Feeds 6.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

 

Individual Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finished individual scalloped potatoes with green beans and sirloin steak

One of my favorite dishes is scalloped potatoes. My mom taught me to make it in a huge pan and nestle pork chops into it for a delicious one pan meal that fed two parents and six hungry kids. I have posted a gluten-free version of it on this website in the past. Today I’m sharing a recipe I saw on a Facebook post. Have you ever done that? Seen something that looked tasty on Facebook and gave it a try?

Well, I did, mainly because this recipe looked easy and used very few ingredients. I love my traditional scalloped potatoes but it involves a lot of steps. Hey, I thought, let me try this easier version.

Hardware

One 12 cup muffin tin

Bowl (to hold potato slices)

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

One large sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme, or fresh if you have it

1 pint heavy cream

Vegetable oil

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Be sure to get sweet potatoes. There is a difference between the light yellow sweet potatoes and the dark orange yams we’re used to having at Thanksgiving. The yams would certainly work as would regular potatoes. Lots of options.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the bowl, mix the potatoes, melted butter, salt, pepper, and thyme.

IndiScallopedSweetPotato008.JPG

Lightly oil the muffin cups. Layer the potatoes in each muffin tin.

IndiScallopedSweetPotato009.JPG

Pour the cream into each cup. I had to lift the layers up to let the cream get all the way in.

IndiScallopedSweetPotato010.JPGIndiScallopedSweetPotato011.JPG

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Serve 2 cups per person.

Feeds 6.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Chicken Noodle Cassarole: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Leftovers. I know. It’s Christmas Day. You’re going to have left-over turkey, or beef, or even pork. Or later in the year, you’ll have left-over chicken, but not enough for everyone. What to do? Chop it up and mix it into a casserole. That way one chicken leg and thigh quarter will feed four instead of just one or two!

Mid-December I roasted four leg and thigh quarters because I was expecting company. They had to cancel at the last minute, so that meant I had leftover chicken. Not a problem. Hubby polished off some in his salad the next day. Then he asked if I’d make chicken noodle casserole. I was good with that.

So, here’s how you do it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients for Chicken Noodle Casserole

Hardware

2 quart sauce pan

2 quart casserole dish, lightly coated bottom and sides with olive oil

Silicone spatula

Food Ingredients

2 Cups of left-over chicken

1/2 pound of pasta (I use gluten free)

2 Cans of Progresso Gluten Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 – 1 cup chopped Celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

Tablespoon dried sage

1/2 tsp dried garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper

Optional: Instead of the canned soup, use 4 cups of white sauce, seasoned to taste.

 

Directions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pasta in Boiling Water

Bring water in the saucepan to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook only half-way, about 7 minutes (for my pasta), then drain and rinse.

Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saute Onions, Celery, herbs and salt and pepper

After you drain the pasta, in the same saucepan melt 2 T of butter and sauté the onion and celery until they begin to soften. Add the salt, pepper, and herbs. Add the canned soup (or the white sauce).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Corn starch Slurry

Note: I only had one can of the soup so I used a cup of milk (lactose free for the hubby) and a couple of tablespoons of corn starch to make a slurry. I added that to the onion/celery mix first and let it begin to thicken, then added the soup. Add the chicken.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Slurry and Soup into the Onions and Celery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chicken Added to the Mix

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pasta in the Dish

Put the pasta in the oiled casserole dish. Pour the saucepan mix over it and mix well. Add more milk or water if you think you need more sauce.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pour Chicken Mix over the Pasta

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mix Pasta and Chicken Sauce

Put into the heated oven for half an hour. Remove the lid and cook another 15 minutes to get those lovely brown crunchy bits on top. Remove from oven and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite casserole recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Basic Water Fondant: Chicklets in the Kitchen

Finished Peppermint patties and Truffles by Connie Cockrell

Mid-November, I start thinking about Christmas. A bit of thought is required because I like to make candy and ship packages of it back to my family in New York. The problem is timing. Mail slows down, a lot!, in December. So I want to get it in the mail as soon as possible after Thanksgiving so it can reach its destination in time to be enjoyed for the holiday. That means candy-making is competing for time with National Novel Writing Month, garden clean-up, conferences and Thanksgiving.

One thing I can do to help myself is to make some of the candy in advance. A family favorite is homemade peppermint patties. Fondant is the key to that creamy filling. Since I don’t live near a baking/candy store where I can buy packages of it, I make it myself.

This recipe is taken from the book, Homemade Candy by the food editors of Farm Journal and edited by Nell B. Nichols. Copyright 1970.

So, here’s how you do it.

Hardware and Ingredients for Fondant by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Liquid and glass measuring cups

1 cookie sheet

2-quart stainless steel pot

Silicone spatula

Bench Scraper

Food Ingredients

2 cups white sugar

2 T light corn syrup

3/4 cup boiling water

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 tsp almond extract

 

Directions

Almond extract is the traditional flavoring for fondant. Since I’m using the fondant for peppermint patties, I use peppermint extract. You can use any flavor you like: strawberry, maple, lemon, it’s all up to you.

All Ingredients combined and stirred

Combine all ingredients, except the extract and chocolate, in the 2-quart heavy saucepan and stir gently over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. I say stir gently because like all candy, you want to keep as much sugar crystallization off of the sides of the pot as possible.

 

 

Bring sugar mixture to a boil.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and Boil 1 Minute

Cover and boil for 1 minute. (This gives the steam inside a chance to wash any sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan.)

No picture of the next step. Sorry.

Remove the lid and cook to the soft ball stage, 238 to 240 degrees F. If you live in a high altitude area as I do, you’ll have to modify the temperature range to fit your altitude. See note below about my mistake. That step goes here!

Pour Mixture onto a cool, moist baking sheet

Pour at once onto a cool, moist baking sheet, platter or marble slab. Let cool until lukewarm.

Work with Spatula until smooth and creamy

Work with a broad spatula or wooden paddle until fondant is white and creamy. Add your extract of choice. Knead until smooth.

Place in plastic bag to mellow

Put in a plastic bag and close tightly. Place in refrigerator to mellow at least 24 hours or for several weeks!

 

 

 

 

Now, here’s a note. I tried three times to make this fondant.

Fondant is not turning creamy and white

You can see pictures here of the fondant not becoming creamy and white. It wasn’t until I was typing up this post that I see where I made my mistake. So if the fondant doesn’t come out, one fix is to add confectioner’s sugar.

Confectioner's Sugar to Fix

Poured mix into a bowl for easier mixing

Close to correct consistency

I added half a pound of sugar before it became the correct, well, close to correct consistency. I tried again a couple of days later and made the same mistake. That time I let the fondant sit on the cookie sheet, working it every half hour until it was close to the correct consistency.

Working the Fondant

What was my mistake? I skipped the cooking to soft ball stage step. Color me red! I wanted to share that fail with all of you. Not everything done in the kitchen comes out right. Laugh, and keep on going.

When you’re ready to make your patties, pull the fondant out of the fridge, and divide into 4 equal portions. Knead the fondant until soft then press into shape. For me, this would be one inch balls that I then press into a disk shape. I put the disks on a cookie sheet and let the fondant develop a skin. This will allow the discs to hold their shape when I dip them into warm, dark chocolate. Place the dipped candy on a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to harden in a cool place.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite candy recipe or biggest kitchen disaster in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books atwww.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Making Soap

Lavender, Soap,

Lavender Soap by Connie Cockrell

The kitchen isn’t just for making breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t know about you, but a lot of crafts get done in my kitchen. Not long ago I showed you how to make butter. Here is another craft that is fairly easy to do at home and the result is great for gift giving. Hoo! Anyone thinking about Christmas?

So, here’s how you do it.

Some hardware and ingredients for making soap

Some hardware and ingredients for making soap

Hardware

2 quart glass measuring cup

1 quart glass measuring cup

2 cup glass measuring cup

2 silicone muffin sheets (optional. 2 4X8 inch bread pans, lined with parchment)

1 cookie sheet

2 wire racks

1 large stainless steel spoon to still lye and water mixture

Stick Blender

4 quart stainless steel pot

Rubber Gloves and Eye Protection

Soap ingredients

40 ounces olive oil (not extra virgin)

10 ounces of coconut oil

16 ounces of warm water (from the tap is fine)

6.9 ounces of lye

1.5 to 2.2 ounces of essential oil, any scent (optional)

1/4 cup of crushed flower petals, chopped herb, whatever matches with your essential oil

Directions

Things move quickly when you’re assembling this so make sure you have all of the ingredients measured out, open and ready to add to the pot. Use glass and stainless steel so there won’t be any adverse reactions. Aluminum is not suitable for the measuring cups or pot.

Place the 4 qt. pot on the stove.

Olive Oil and Coconut Oil Melting

Olive Oil and Coconut Oil Melting

Add the olive oil and coconut oil. Heat on low for about 3 minutes, just enough to warm the olive oil so it melts the coconut oil. (Note: you can substitute rose oil or other oils for some of the olive/coconut oil mix.)

Lye and water and protection

Lye and water and protection

 

 

 

Adding Lye

Adding Lye

Stir the lye and water mix

Stir the lye and water mix

In the meantime put on the rubber gloves and eye protection. Wear an apron as well if you think you might splash. Lye is a caustic ingredient and will fizz up violently when you add it to the warm water. Keep your face away from the measuring cup. The lye and the lye water will burn your skin. Add the lye to the warm water. It gets very hot! Stir to dissolve. If you don’t stir, it will turn into a solid lump at the bottom of the measuring cup.

Stir lye water into warm oil

Stir lye water into warm oil

Turn off the oil if you haven’t already done so. Make sure the coconut oil is melted. Add the lye water and stir to combine with the same spoon you used for mixing the lye and water together. You can see in the pictures that I used a wooden spoon. I only use this spoon, with Lye written on it, for soap making. Since wood is porous and lye is poisonous, I keep it stored away from my cooking utensils.

Stir oil and lye mix

Stir oil and lye mix

 

 

 

 

 

Use the stick blender

Use the stick blender

 

 

 

 

 

Soap is thick and creamy

Soap is thick and creamy

Using the stick blender, mix the contents of the pot until the soap mixture is creamy looking. If you don’t have a stick blender you must stir vigorously for a long time until the soap is creamy looking. This can take half an hour or longer.

Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil

Lavender buds

Lavender buds

 

Stir in flowers and essential oil

Stir in flowers and essential oil

If you’re using essential oil and flower petals/herbs, put them in now and give the soap a final stir. Making plain soap is perfectly acceptable. I use half a recipe of soap every other time I make soap, to have plain, unscented soap to use for making shampoo.

Pouring soap into the muffin cups

Pouring soap into the muffin cups

I pour the soap from the pot into the 2 quart measuring cup and then pour into the individual muffin cups that are on the cookie sheet. I still end up spilling but it’s easier than pouring out of the pot or dipping. You use the method you think best. Note: you can substitute the bread pans, lined with parchment, 2 inch ends over the top of the sides and ends of the pan, for the muffin cups. Pour half of the soap into each bread pan.

Set the cookie sheet aside for at least 24 hours for the soap to begin to harden. You may have to let it sit for several days. If it’s too soft you end up scooping the soap out of the cups and trying to reform them. That’s what happened in my final picture. The soap is still good, just not very pretty.

Curing the soap

Curing the soap

Once you take the soap out of the muffin cups let sit on a wire rack for 4 – 6 weeks. It takes that long for the soap to “cure”. Then you can put it in plastic bags and use for hand washing, showers, whatever you want. Note: to remove from bread pans. Lift the ends of the parchment paper up and out of the pan onto a cutting board. If it doesn’t lift, run a thin knife around the edges of the pan between the pan and the parchment to loosen. Then cut the “soap loaf” into 2 inch thick slices to make bars. Let cure the same as the soap from the muffin cups.

I don’t use color in my soap because I’m looking for a natural product. However, if you’d like you lavender soap to be a lavender color, go ahead and use food grade coloring. I am guessing but I’d think a paste type food color would blend the best. Go ahead and experiment!

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite craft recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

BBQ Ribs and Twice Baked Potatoes

BBQ Ribs and Twice Baked Potatoes

BBQ Ribs and Twice Baked Potatoes

I live in Arizona so it’s grilling time just about all of the time. But even for the coldest places, you can grill well into the fall. I thought ribs and potatoes would be nice. Even better, the potatoes can be done on the grill, too! I went one better and used the last of my peaches to make the BBQ Sauce. Yummy.

So, here’s how you do it.

Rib Sauce Ingredients

8 small peaches, pitted

1/2 cup catsup

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 New Mexico Chili, roasted, seeded, and chopped fine

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp dried minced garlic

1 T dried oregano

1 T Worchester sauce

Halved peaches, New Mexico Chili and Ribs

Halved peaches, New Mexico Chili and Ribs

I pitted and halved the peaches and roasted them on both sides on the grill. I roasted the chili as well. When they were well charred, I put them in a bowl and covered them with plastic wrap to let them steam. Turn the grill to low.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

I put the remaining sauce ingredients in a saucepan and on low, began to heat it through.

Rib Ingredients

1 rack of ribs

Salt, pepper to taste

Olive oil

Coat the ribs with the oil, then salt and pepper.

Ribs

Ribs

Place the ribs on the grill, rack side down, and turn the temperature down to about 300 degrees. Cook, low and slow for about 4 hours.

While the ribs are cooking, finish the sauce.

Steaming the peaches and the pepper

Steaming the peaches and the pepper

Take the pepper out of the plastic wrapped bowl and with your fingers, remove most of the charred skin. It’s fine to leave a little on there. Cut the pepper lengthwise and deseed. Chop finely and drop into the saucepan.

Pureeing peaches

Pureeing peaches

Drop the grilled peaches into the bowl of your food processor or blender. Blend until the peaches are liquid.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Pour into the saucepan. Stir it all together and cook until the onions are cooked through and the sauce is thick and hearty. Take off heat and hold until the ribs are done. Then spread the sauce over the meat side of the ribs. Let cook at least 5 minutes.

Twice Baked Potatoes Ingredients

Three russet baking potatoes

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/2 cup shredded cheese, extra for topping the potatoes

Salt and pepper

Baking Potatoes

Baking Potatoes

Using one potato per person, scrub them clean, rub with oil and pierce with a fork. Bake on the grill or in the oven until completely done, 45 min – 1 hour. Take out of the oven. Let cool until you can handle them and cut them in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the potato, leaving a narrow shell of potato. In a bowl, mix the potato, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and chives until creamy.

Filled potato shells

Filled potato shells

Scoop the mixture back into the shells. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and cheese has melted.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite potato or rib recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chicklets in the Kitchen: Mint Water and Homemade Butter

I thought it’d be fun to share something different this month. Two things, as a matter of fact.

Mint Flavored Water

Mint Flavored Water

In the summer months I make flavored water. As a Celiac, I’m limited by my disease to drinks that have no additional, artificial ingredients. That limits me, usually, to water, iced tea, lemonade and the like. But I live in Arizona where it’s hot so I drink a lot of water. Don’t get me wrong, I like water but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little extra special. So I drop an herb like mint, thyme, sage, or rosemary into my filtered water and let it set until the herbs flavor the water. Sometimes I add fruit, like apple, strawberry, blueberry, or peach to the mix for something extra special.

So, here’s how you do it.

Ingredients

Fresh Sprig of Mint (Preferably from your garden!)

Garden Mint

Garden Mint

1 Qt Filtered Water

Mint Sprig in Water

Mint Sprig in Water

Drop the mint in the container

Pour the water over the mint. The water pressure is enough pounding to release the mint but you can bruise the leaves first if you want.

Filtered Water

Filtered Water

Done. Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before drinking. The longer it soaks, the more flavor you’ll get.

Also for fun, I sometimes make my own butter. Since most kitchens haven’t stocked a butter churn in decades, I use a mason jar to shake the cream. It’s the mechanical action that disturbs the cream and makes the butter molecules stick together.

So here’s how you do it.

Ingredients

Heavy Cream and Mason Jar with lid

Heavy Cream and Mason Jar with lid

1 Quart Mason jar

1 pint whipping cream (I use organic, gluten-free heavy cream)

Bring the cream to room temperature. You can do this when it’s cold, but it will take longer.

Pour the cream into the jar and put the lid on tight.

Pour the cream into the jar.

Pour the cream into the jar.

Shake. Shake it until you see the cream turn to whipped cream. Very handy trick if your beaters conk out on you.

Shake the jar

Shake the jar

Keep shaking. It doesn’t seem that anything is happening but trust me, it is.

It's at the whipped cream stage

It’s at the whipped cream stage

Shake some more. You miss it when the butter starts to form but it’s happening. Keep on shaking and soon you’ll realize that there’s a big blob of butter in the jar and the remaining milk.

It's Butter!

It’s Butter!

Pour off the milk which is now official butter milk. You can see from the picture I got nearly a whole cup of buttermilk from the process. Don’t toss that out! You can drink it straight or use it to make buttermilk pancakes.

Pour off the buttermilk

Pour off the buttermilk

Put the butter in a wide, shallow bowl.

Butter and remaining buttermilk

Butter and remaining buttermilk

Drain off any excess milk into your cup.

Press the butter with a spoon or a rubber spatula. You’ll notice the butter is very soft and when you press it, more milk comes off. Drain that excess into the cup. Repeat the process until no more or very little milk drains out.

Getting excess milk out of the butter.

Getting excess milk out of the butter.

Add a little salt. I used about 1/16th of a teaspoon. This is optional, you don’t have to add salt at all.

Add a little salt

Add a little salt

Mix it in and again, drain off any drops of milk. This time discard it if you’ve added salt.

Put into a dish and spread on your toast or those pancakes we talked about earlier.

Butter and Buttermilk

Butter and Buttermilk

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite fun recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.