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20 October 2011

A Broad in the Can....

Is worth two if she made you look!  (Sorry, I really couldn't help myself.)

I wasn't sure what exactly to call this post since it's not baking and yet isn't totally in the braised category either.   You see, my best girlfriend and I decided to make -and can- apple butter.  I know, right.  Now, for most people, this might be a fairly innocuous event.  Sadly, or should I say hilariously, we are not most people.  While I'll concede this was not, by far, one of our funniest adventures (i.e...we didn't laugh til we peed, and no one stopped breathing) you can always bet there will be humor.
 

After having to return to her house to get her forgotten jars, BF and happy puppy arrived at my house.  We got happy puppy settled in with grumpy dog, who frankly, wasn't happy to see happy puppy at all.  I believe he used the term "whippersnapper" and reminded us of his age and his bad leg.  He's an 8 year old rat terrier and his leg was broken about 4 years ago.  It healed a bit gimpy mainly because he wouldn't quit trying to use it whilst it was broken and then didn't want to use it after it was healed.  He uses it when, and how, it suits his purpose.  Like jumping fences.  But will hold it up feebly and give you sad eyes that say "how could you, I have a bad weg."  Yes, he says weg to elicit extra sad brownie points.  It's pathetic really. 

Anyway, we started by coring and cutting up the apples, which were very juicy, according to my glasses.  We used Macintosh apples, my favorite for baking.  You don't peel and throw away the apple skin as it contains a lot of the flavor and pectin.  Next time we might peel the apples first and put the skins into a jelly bag or some cheese cloth, that way we can just take the bag of skins out and toss it to make the mashing of the apples a bit faster and easier.

We added water to the pot of apples and put it on the stove to cook.  It is now lunchtime.  BF volunteers to go get chinese food and I stay behind with HP and GD.  Happy puppy pees on the floor while barking at grumpy dog.  So, I clean up the puddle, stir the apples and take HP and GD outside.  We bark, poo, and chase chickens.  BF arrives with home with the food and comments on the fact that we are shoveling food in at an alarming rate.  The apples cook on.

Finally we arrive at the food milling portion of our program.  After one turn each we decide this is for the damn birds. All our secret fantasies of going back into whatever time to meet whatever hero, is the result of some type of brain injury.  We like plumbing, and grocery stores and personal feminine hygiene products that don't involve sheep.

Soon however, after much guffawing, we settled into a groove and decided, perhaps, we were being a bit hasty and it wasn't so bad after all.  The trick is not to put too much into the food mill at one time.   After we got all the apples milled, (and another HP/GD potty break) we measured our mash to make sure we got the right amounts of cider vinegar, sugar and cinnamon added.  Then, back on the stove it went.  We were feeling pretty good at this point and leafing through my Ball brand canning book, and decided we needed to make more stuff to can - Except meat and pickled fruit.  And maybe chutney.  Such eager little beavers are we. 

I had to dart down to the school to take dear daughter the camera, and when I returned BF informed me grumpy dog had had enough.  He put a smack down on happy puppy.  She was much more calm.  She also decided to stop barking at GD's butt, it apparently wasn't worth it.  Still, the apples cooked on.

The apples were beginning to get darker and thicken up, but it still had a more apple sauce type texture.  My sons came home from school, we had another potty break, more apple stirring, and dreams of canning greatness.  At this point HP is calm and somewhat sleepy.  GD decides she might not be too bad after all and does the 'smell my butt I'll be your friend' dance.  HP gives him the 'you're a loony' look.  After about 2 hours of boiling, we decided we were ready to can.

Canning really isn't that hard.  Just don't burn your arm with apple butter - or boiling water. Make sure your jars are hot, the lids are hot, and you clean the rims before you put the lids on and you are good to go!  Carefully put the filled jars into the boiling water and boil for the recommended amount of time.  For this, it was 10 minutes.  Remove the jars from the water and let them sit.  Some will seal right away and some may take a while.  Voila!


At first, the tasting consensus said it was cinnamon applesauce because of the texture.  The longer you let it cook, the smoother and darker it gets.  It's really quite good, and I have to say I'm glad we made it.  We used a recipe BF got from her aunt's old canning book.  I've looked online and you can find quite a few recipes for apple butter.  A lot of people seem to like to make it in the crock pot.   You can adjust the seasonings as you like, too.  We added more cinnamon than the recipe called for, you could add clove or nutmeg also.

Overall we had a nice canning experience - meaning nothing caught fire, required emergency medical care or like pants, let's say, needed changed.  Happy puppy went home happy and BF went home with 14 half-pint jars of apple butter and a dozen fresh eggs.  Life is sweet.

Interested in canning?  Check out these titles...

Product Details   Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff and Rinne Allen

Product Details  Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

~Mina

16 October 2011

Checking-In And More

ROW80 Check-In Is Here Again!

How did you fare this week on your goals?  We Broads did great!  We've nearly visited enough blogs to meet our combined weekly goal, so it looks as if we'll surpass it.

Here are a list of the blog posts we'd like to feature.  It is a list in progress, keep in mind.  
*Coffee-Talk ~ which will feature author interviews.  We don't want all the same questions that other interviewers ask.  Nope!  We'll be trying to entice those 'authorly' secrets to be spilled as only a coffee klatch can do.
*Brazen Books ~ offering our one of a kind reviews.
*Braised Broads ~ which will feature a food recipe and our thoughts on ease of preparation, taste of dish, cost or availability of ingredients, and cooking times.
*Broads on the Bake ~ which will feature a baking recipe with the same additions as above.
*Dinner and a Movie ~ which will feature a movie review of the Brazen Variety.
*What's A Broad Got To Say ~ open discussion on life!


Below, we've added our first new topic post! 



The Baking Broads!

Confession time.  I'm addicted to cooking ~ and to cooking shows!  As I'm in and out of the living room throughout the day, the Food Network is playing in the background, and I've always got one ear trained to listen for a recipe that whets my appetite. 

Sandra LeeThis week, I caught an episode of Money Saving Meals with Sandra Lee, entitled Tail-Gate Favorites.  In it, Sandra featured New York Cheesecake Cookies.  I adore cheesecake, so I had to try it out. 

This recipe was fairly easy, and doesn't use many ingredients - 10 in all.  They are also things you either have on hand, or can easily pick up at the grocery.  That's always a bonus - because for one thing, I'm operating on a budget.  Secondly, I don't have time to be hunting down rare (which also often means expensive) or hard to find items.



Just a few ingredients in the bowl make up the cookie part
 
It mixes up quickly, but is a bit dry and crumbly.  I had to shape it with my hands to make the indents for the cheesecake filling. 

The filling was super easy and delish!


 
Here are the little cheesecakes, ready to bake. 

These cookies came out fantastic!  My family loved them, and I've added this to my favorites.  I modified the recipe by omitting the lemon zest and adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to the filling (I was too lazy to stand there zesting with my little hand held grater)  I also added two minutes to the bake time for my oven. 

Here's how New York Cheesecake Cookies stack up: 

5/5 STARS

Common ingredients which are easy to find and inexpensive.

Delicious.

Not a cookie you can whip up in a hurry.  Shaping the cookies and filling take a bit of time.  Not difficult, but more involved than dropping a spoonful of dough on a tray and baking.



Do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe?

12 October 2011

A Round Of Words In 80 Days...We're Game!

Here's A Group For Writers Of All Varieties...
Click the link to find out what creator Kait Nolan has to say about her wildly popular and growing writing challenge that knows you have a life!

What Is ROW80?


In short, it's a place to set flexible writing related goals in which you can glean encouragement from fellow writers/bloggers/reviewers and benefit from accountability.  (Complete instructions/rules/guidelines below)

Here's what Mina and I would like to accomplish during Round 4:

*  We will check in at least once a week, offering a post that deals with some aspect of writing.  It may be a writer we'd like to showcase, a poem we've found or written ourselves, or our own quirky commentary on some shiny bauble/idea/thought/fashion/recipe/book/author that's caught our eye or attention. 

*  Both Moira and Mina will visit around and visit at least 5 blogs per week - that's 10 in all.  We may complete this for each check-in...but we like to maintain a bit of mystery!

*  Mina and I would like to develop some posting categories (I reference my sister's idea of a food related post-topic we'll call 'Braised Broads'...is that not the greatest?!) to organize our blog and add interest.  Eventually, we may incorporate a loose posting schedule.

*  Both Broads will post at least one book review per month.

*  The Brazen Broads would like to feature one author per month.  We're considering calling this 'Coffee-Talk' and hosting authors with new releases (both traditional and indie), spreading book love across the web!  Contact the Broads - Moira & Mina Naveen

That about sums up what we're working on!   Get the welcome wagon ready; the Broads are joining in the fun...



11 October 2011

Random thoughts and New ideas

Did you ever start to do something and then get distracted by something else?  I just had one of those moments.  I had an idea of how I wanted to start this post when I looked down and realized my keyboard is quite. . .um. . .icky? 

Anyhoo, We're doing some tweaking here at the broads, as you've probably noticed.  A little diddling with the background and fonts and such.  Any feed back would be wildly appreciated by the way.  You know, colors and setup, ease of use, and is the font easy to read.  That sort of thing.

We are also going to be tweaking our postings a bit.  Adding some new things and whatnot.  Don't worry, we're still all about the book reviews!  We have thought of adding a recipe post, which should be yummy.  Possibly called "Braised Broads"? 
Get it?  Ha!  Seeing as I really only use most recipes(excluding baking) as a loose guideline, well, let's say my posts should be informative, funny and slightly confusing.  But fearest thou not!  I have not lost a kitchen yet!

We might also throw in some posts about movies and what's on the boob tube.  We'll need a name for it, maybe "Things I've seen".  I'm sure we can come up with something much more witty sounding.  It'll basically be Moira and I sounding off about, well, things we seen.  Movies, both old and new, that we may or may not have enjoyed.  T.V. shows will get thrown in too.  I must warn you I have a penchant for B movies and nerd shows. 

As always, we love when you stop by and want you to be glad you came.  If you have any suggestions to throw our way feel free, we usually do.  For now, I'm off to clean the icky from my keyboard!

 ~Mina

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