October 17, 2010

Cooking monster...

...not to be confused with Cookie Monster. I have really been cooking a lot these past few days, I have found so many recipes that I wanted to try.  Especially this time of year, when it's not too hot to have the oven on all day and of course the fact that there are apples and pumpkins everywhere!  Today I made some pumpkin butter.  It doesn't have butter in it like you may think, it's more like apple butter.  It wasn't my recipe, I found it here, the only changes I made were using organic brown sugar, pumpkin, and apple juice.  It turned out great, although it was not as thick as I was expecting.  I tried it hot off the stove on a piece of toast and it was amazing.  Most of it ended up in the freezer, awaiting it's fate....pumpkin pancakes! 

Speaking of butter, did you know you can make your own?  And did you know that it's pretty much the easiest thing in the world to make?  It isn't cost-effective though, it's not cheaper to make it yourself.  But it tastes better, and we make it to keep for our guilty pleasure....buttered popcorn.  All you need is heavy cream and a jar.  I used an old, clean Miracle Whip jar.  Put the cream in, and shake it till your arms fall off.  I used one of the little boxes of organic cream and it ended up making about 3/4 of a stick of butter and 3/4 cup of buttermilk.  Yeah, that's the bonus, you not only get butter but buttermilk too (which I saved to use in pancakes.)  As you shake it it gets really thick and coats the jar.  You will shake it and it will feel like you are doing nothing, but keep shaking!  If you look at the jar you will notice after that it starts to "peel" away from the side and you eventually have a big old lump and that's it.  But don't stop, keep shaking till all of the buttermilk separates and it sounds juicy :)    Just pour out the buttermilk into a container, rinse the butter with really cold water a few times, and then I take the butter out and give it a good squeeze.  That way you'll get out all of the liquid.  If you want it salted, add some salt and then pop it in the fridge till you need it.  Just a warning though, if you melt it in the microwave, like we do for our popcorn, it melts much faster then store-bought butter, so keep an eye on it.

Jason's video game marathon was yesterday (they did great, more on that when they have final totals!) so I was in charge of whipping up unhealthy snacks for the guys.  They had monkey bread, spicey Chex mix, chocolate chip cookies, and soft pretzels.  I must have been in a crazy cooking mood because the next day I made chili, chicken noodle soup, applesauce bread, and a few other things I've already forgotten about.   I've already got my list put together of what "snacks" I'm making for Christmas.  We always put together a little goody bag for our neighbor and some friends.  Can you believe it's only 2 months till Christmas!?!??!?!?!


  1. Go you! I made butter with my preschool students when I was a teacher. Just a little hint... adding a marble to the jar makes it a faster job. :) I'd love to know the kind of snacks you put in your goody bags for neighbors and friends... I'm thinking of doing something like that this year.

  2. Nicole - I am making ranch dressing mix, taco seasoning mix, cocoa mix, homemade vanilla and mint extract. I'm also planning on making treats like caramel corn, party mix (like Chex mix) and granola. If you want any of the recipes, let me know and I can share them with you :) Or at least give you the websites I stole them from :)