Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

Hey everyone! Yup, still alive! After a long break I have decided to come back to my little  blog. I think this time around it will be a bit different. I'll still be sharing food and recipes now and then, but posts will include more gardening, crafting and knitting, daily life, and sometimes might just be a picture. Pretty much whatever I'm feeling at the time. I know, less structured and always changing, but such is my life!

Nothing much out of the ordinary has happened in the last few months, but I'll fill you in on May. Here are a bunch of pictures... enjoy!

Our garden is really taking off this year. Hopefully we'll get some fruit from this apple tree!

One of my favorites! This lilac smells sooo good!

My 29th birthday was on Sunday. It was a perfect day! Lots of time spent relaxing, reading, knitting and strolling through the garden and property with Ben and my dog. It was also a day full of delicious food! Ben spoiled me rotten!


Dinner was a huge salad with greens fresh from the garden, cucumber, avocado, grilled asparagus, spot prawns fresh from the dock, and homemade garlic dressing with toasted almonds. It was DELICIOUS!

Here is the amazing cake Ben made for me. It was beautiful...

and drool-worthy! Lemon chiffon cake filled with fresh strawberries and lemon curd, frosted in whipped cream, and topped with more strawberries. Life is good (and so is cake)!

To completely change the subject, I have recently learned to knit, and it has become a new obsession! I am currently knitting wash cloths, flip-top mittens, kids fingerless mitts, baby Uggs, socks, a scarf, and a hat! Yikes! Here are a few of my recent projects.

Those of you that are still around, thanks for sticking with me!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Linzer Cookies

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you all had a good week. It's raining like crazy here, so I've been staying snuggly warm in our house, and knitting my little heart out. Tons of fun!

I'm also getting ready for Valentines Day, and I bet you are too! Here is a wonderful cookie recipe that your sweetheart, family and friends will all love! Each one is a valentine on it's own. You'll love the unique flavor combo, the shortbread like texture, and the snazzy (and easy!) decoration that finishes it off!

Aside from your usual stand mixer, spatula etc., you'll need a Food processor, zester (or the fine side of a grater), a rolling pin, and 2 cookie cutters (one large and one small, preferably of the same design).

Linzer Cookies
1 cup almonds
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
2 yolks
zest of 1 lemon
powdered sugar for finishing
1/2 cup raspberry jam, strained

Toast the almonds and let cool. Grind the almonds with 1/3 cup of the sugar.

Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and blend until it's as fine as you can get it. Set aside.

 Beat butter and remaining sugar in your mixer, add the yolks, vanilla and zest.

Beat in nuts and flour mixture.Form dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Roll out to 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface, and use cookie cutters (I used hearts, to keep it festive!). It's best to roll the dough as few times as possible, so get as many cookies from each rolling as possible. You know, pretend you're playing Tetris!

Leave half of your hearts whole, and use the tiny heart to cut out the center of the other half of the cookies.

Bake at 350* for 16 minutes, until edges just start to turn golden. Let cool. Spread wrong side (the side that had been down on the sheet) of  the whole hearts with a thin layer of the strained jam.

Using a sifter, dust the right side of the hearts with cut out centers with the powdered sugar.

Sandwich the cookies together carefully, and admire your handiwork!

Now get to bakin'! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CSN Zester/Grater Review

 How's everyone doing this week? I've been enjoying this slow time of year. Reading, knitting, kayaking, hiking and, of course, baking. I've also been playing with a few new toys I got in the mail! CSN stores let me choose some things from their stores to review, so after many hours of drooling over pages upon pages of fun kitchen stuff I chose 3 zester/graters.

I got 3 different ones, each of a different coarseness. The first is your typical zester, and I had to choose the one with the green handle. Of course. Some of the features are updated from the old version. There are nice little rubber caps on the metal edges, and the handle is nice and grippy. It even comes with a blade cover! I absolutely love this kitchen tool! It masterfully separates citrus zest from the pith without spraying the flavorful oils everywhere. It's easy to hold and use, is nice and sharp, and looks oh-so pretty! This is my absolute favorite, and I will use it all the time!

The second grater that I got is the same as the first, but with a coarser blade. It has the nice rubber tips and cushy handle (in black...they didn't have green :( . This one advertises on its handy blade cover that it's good for soft cheese, chocolate and such. I gave it a go on chocolate, which worked out as I was having hot chocolate at the time, and it needed that extra kick! The blades were nice and sharp, and put out a fine shaving of chocolate. It would be so easy for melting, or in my case, decorating baked goods! This should prove useful!

The third grater has all the same features, blah blah, but this blade is good for carrots, cheese, potatoes and the like. I couldn't resist trying it out immediately, so I whipped out some baby carrots and went at it!  Beautiful shavings were my reward. Next time I make carrot cake, this will be a life saver! No more crunchy bits in my bakes goods! This would also be great for latkes!

I can't wait to get down and dirty with these babies in my kitchen! Ben has been eyeing them since I opened the package, and I keep expecting to walk into the kitchen and find him guiltily grating and zesting his heart out. I'm so glad I got these, and I know they will be used frequently. They are great quality, so I know they'll be around for a long long time. I would absolutely recommend these to anyone looking for a zester! The shape and size makes these so easy to use, plus it's super fun that some of them have color options for the handles! Who doesn't like to accessorize in their kitchen?! You can find them here at the CSN kitchen store!

At the bakery I make linzer cookies all the time, and they require lemon zest. I'm going to give the green handled zester a go with that recipe, and then share it with you guys! These cookies are absolutely perfect for Valentines day (it's coming up quick!), not to mention totally delicious! Linzer cookies combine the nuttiness of toasted almonds with cinnamon and lemon for a unique flavor in the dough. Once baked, these heart shaped cookies are sandwiched with raspberry jam, and covered in powdered sugar. Just perfect for your sweetie! Make sure to check back for the recipe! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Glass Dharma Winner!

Hey everybody! SO sososo sorry about the delay in announcing the giveaway winner!!! Ben and I went on  vacation to Mt. Washington, and I brought my computer thinking there would be service. There wasn't! Despite my short freak-out session about not being able to post the winner, we had a wonderful time!

We stayed 3 nights, went tubing, and went snowshoeing! We had beautiful weather, and a nice little condo to hang out in! Because we had our own kitchen, we were able to do things like have french toast for dinner, and ice cream for lunch! Lots of snacking, lounging, hot chocolate sipping and movie watching ensued. Next time we go we want to try out snowboarding or skiing.

Do you guys have a favorite? I can't decide if I would try the skiing or the snowboarding. I've done both before. I remember liking skiing, and being ok at it. I did one class a long time ago for snowboarding, and spent most of the day on my butt, but I really want to try it again! We'll see when the time comes.

I suppose you're getting antsy about the contest! I guess I have made you wait long enough! The winner of the Glass Dharma giveaway is...
Theresa from Island Vittles!!!

Theresa- Please get your email address to me so I can have your gift certificate emailed to you!

Congrats Theresa! Thanks to all for reading, and participating! Hope you enjoy your new kitchen toys Theresa!

I promise that I'll be posting some good recipes soon! I think my phase of blog-slacking is over! Until next time!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Glass Dharma Giveaway!!!

Hello there foodie friends! Today I wanted to tell you about a new product I tried. Glass Dharma glass straws!

My first impression on taking these out of the box?  They're beautiful! I got 4 different types of straws: original straight, original bent, smoothie, and mini. Two of them have these beautiful glass bubbles of color on them. If I had multiple straws the colors would help a group of people tell which straw is theirs, but for now I just admire the color as I'm sipping!

I tried all of these, and I really like the straight original straw. The size is a comfortable fit for my mouth, it fits nicely into our kitchen glasses, and is easy to use. I like the mini straw too, it fits our smaller size of kitchen glasses perfectly! The bent straw has a great appearance, but it doesn't come with the color, and being glass the angle is not adjustable. Still a nice straw though!

My new favorite? The one I won't let anyone touch because it's MINE? The smoothie straw! I love smoothies, but I don't have an expensive blender, so sometimes they are chunky. Using a regular straw was pretty much impossible with my smoothies. The chunks would plug it up, and I just gave up on the whole idea. This new straw from Glass dharma is nice and wide, so no chunks get stuck, and I can just sip away to my hearts content! It also has a great little cleaning brush, so I never end up with grodey bits stuck inside.

Want to know a little more about Glass Dharma straws? They are perfect for everyone who wants to cut down on their plastic use, both for health and environmental reasons. These straws are:
-easy to clean
-suitable for hot and cold drinks
-dishwasher and microwave safe

Still unsure if you want something so fragile in your kitchen for everyday use? Don't be! Glass Dharma offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, AND a lifetime guarantee against breakage! It can't get any better than that!

So, you want some of these babies for yourself? I can help with that! I am offering a $25 Glass Dharma gift certificate to one person! Here's how the giveaway works:
-You must be a follower of Ravenous Rowie
-Go to the Glass Dharma web site, then leave me a comment on this post telling me what you want to get with your gift certificate if you win!
-I will randomly select one winner a week from today, on Monday January 31st!

That's pretty much it! Hope you all have a great week, and good luck with the giveaway! I think I'll go slurp something good through one of these awesome straws now!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chocolate Covered Caramels

Hey there friends! How is your week treating you so far? Not much going on here. I've been working on our property with Ben getting lots of firewood cut and stacked, having bonfires, and clearing brush. Things are slow at the bakery I work at, so not much going on there either.

I do have a great recipe for you today! These chocolate covered caramels are totally delicious, and you get quite a few from one batch. These would look so perfect in little bags with red bows, just right for Valentines gift giving! Your sweetheart , or your sweet tooth , will be happy!

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbs. butter
1 cup cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Butter a 7x12" baking dish.
Place all the ingredients except the vanilla in a large heavy saucepan, stir, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

-Reduce heat to medium, and cook at a slow boil until the misture turns golden and reaches 246* on a candy thermometer, 20-30 minutes.

-Then whisk in the vanilla, remove the pan from the heat, and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

When the mixture has cooled, cut it in 1/2" squares and wrap individually in waxed paper, or dip into tempered chocolate using a fork.

 If you dipped them in chocolate, place them on waxed paper/parchment paper/silpat until they have set. If you don't temper the chocolate, it may bloom.

-The caramels will keep about 2 weeks if stored in an artight container in a cool place.


P.S. check out my etsy shop! You can find some pics, and the link in my sidebar! Sorry about the guiltless self-advertising! O.K., not really ;)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chocolate Turtles

Hi everybody! So sorry, I know it's been a long while since my last post. It was nice to have a little break though. I've been so busy, plus I've been teaching myself to knit (SO fun!)! I'm feeling the craving for more good food and fun recipes though, so here I am!

Today's recipe is left over from my holiday candy making. These turtles always look so cute, and people are always impressed. Make them now for a sweet treat, or add them to your Valentine's Day "must make" list!

Chocolate Turtles ( by Cathy Burgett)
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup cream
2 oz. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

l lb. pecan halves, lightly toasted and cooled
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, tempered

Place the pecan halves in clusters of 5 (1 for the head, 2 for the arms, 2 for the legs) onto silpats. You should get about 28-30 turtles. I didn't have halves, so I used chopped pecans and just made clumps. They didn't look quite as nice, but they tasted just as good!

Make the caramel: Place the sugars, corn syru, cream and butter in a heavy-based wide pot, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often until a candy thermometer reads 248*, or hard ball stage.

-wait for the caramel to cool just a bit, and add the vanilla. Next, you can either put the caramel into a piping bag and squeeze it onto the turtles (more precise method, but more dishes and messier), or you can do what I did and just spoon the caramel onto each clump (takes slightly longer, but it's easier and neater).

-squeeze/spoon quarter-size pools of caramel onto the center of the pecan bodies using a circular motion. The caramel will sink down between the pecans, so a few layers of caramel will be necessary.

-Allow to cool for a few minutes until the circles are firm enough to pick up. Transfer turtles to a parchment-lined work surface.

-Push and adjust the pecans so that no spaces form between them. Allow turtles to cool completely.

To finish turtles: Temper the chocolate.
-Fill a parchment cone with the chocolate and pipe a quarter-sized round of it onto the parchment-lined sheets.
-Gently press the flat side of the cooled turtle into the chocolate.
-Pipe a coating of chocolate on top of the caramel, allowing a small amount of caramel to show around the edges.
-Allow chocolate to set. Store turtles in an airtight container at cool room temperature.

Enjoy, and have a good week!