Pickle Party!

Sometimes you just don’t question where ideas come from. This was one of those times. A Facebook invite popped up from a friend for . . . a Pickle Party!

He provided the vinegar, liquids, and spices, and everyone brought their own jars and whatever they wanted to pickle.

14224873_10154456810451798_6558571669635365642_n

The Fellow and I ended up bringing mushrooms and green beans since that was what I had in the fridge. We made an apple cider brine that I feel pretty confident will turn out yummy.

We quickly realized that having multiple pots of vinegar boiling in an enclosed space was probably not the best of ideas, but once we got the windows open and fans going, it cleared out. It was a lot of fun; everyone chatting and swapping ingredients, recipes, and ideas!

14222368_10154456810586798_817420204814856308_n

Our host also made a special appetizer in advance – Koolickles. Yes, you read that right. Koolickles. Kool-Aid soaked pickles. Apparently, they are a delicacy from the Mississippi Delta region. They are a cherry, sweet, dill pickle infusion, and they are amazing!

Here’s the recipe from Taste of Home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar (32 ounces) whole dill pickles, undrained
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope unsweetened Kool-Aid mix, flavor of your choice

Directions:

  1. Drain pickles, reserving juice. In a small bowl, combine the reserved juice, sugar ,and Kool-Aid, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Slice pickles; return to jar. Pour juice mixture over pickles. Discard any remaining juice. Cover and refrigerate for one week before serving. Store in the refrigerator up to two months. Yield: 3 cups

Try it; it’s interesting!

14225351_10154457625481798_8759314556469774448_n

 

Death by Decadence – Chocolate Cake

We celebrated my mother’s birthday along with Memorial Day this year, so Grammy and I headed down home for a picnic. We had ate outside on the deck and had burgers, chips, baked beans, macaroni salad, and corn roasted on the campfire. We ate out on the deck since the weather was finally warm!

As usual, I made my mother’s birthday cake. This year it was a monstrosity of a cake; it took nearly a full jar of peanut butter to complete!

Unfortunately, the project was pretty time consuming, and I was on a deadline so I wasn’t able to do a step-by-step, but I’ll give you a synopsis as best I can.

I only had one cake mix, so I stretched it. I added 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup oil, and 1 egg. Since this was going into a chocolate cake, I made the sugar a slightly heaping 1/4 cup and added 2 T cocoa powder.

I always substitute out milk for water when making a box cake, a trick I learned from an amazing woman and talented cook back when she made my 14th birthday cake!

I baked the cake in 3 pans. On one of the layers of cake, I used a bowl to cut out the center leaving a hole.

Then I whipped up some peanut butter icing. I have absolutely no measurements for this. I used nearly a whole jar of peanut butter and a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar and a drizzle of vanilla. Whip on high and add in milk until you reach your desired texture. Good Luck. Godspeed.

Now comes the fun part. I laid my first cake layer down on the plate and drizzled it with Hershey’s syrup. After the syrup, I spread straight-from-the-jar peanut butter. On top of that, I piled on the peanut butter frosting. Next came the cut-out cake layer. I filled the hole with Peanut Butter M&Ms and more Hershey’s syrup, and peanut butter and peanut butter frosting followed. Finally – the last layer of cake. I used almost all of the frosting to over the outside of the cake. This cake probably weighed 10 pounds.

13339634_10154191846016798_2905571545203967347_n

In the remaining frosting, I crumbled some of the cake that had been cut from the center layer. I set the cake/frosting mixture aside while I worked on the next step: chocolate ganache. Now, this was my first attempt at ganache and I followed Martha’s recipe. I bought mini Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I don’t think that the cocoa count was high enough.

Next time I’ll be sure to get a more quality chocolate. I drizzled the ganache over the cake, crumbled the cake/icing mixture around the edges and scattered in some mini and whole-sized Reese’s Cups and finished it off with a sprinkle of peanuts. This cake was layered, drizzled, smothered, scattered, and decadent! You should’ve seen my mother’s face when I pulled off the lid of the cake carrier.

13320011_10154191838356798_255515490964434218_n

It was such a pretty day that when we rolled up she and Daddy were out on the hammock.  We had corn on the cob roasted in the fire ring and ate on the deck. Nothing like country living.

This month has involved so much traveling! I went to Canada, Pittsburgh, up above Harrisburg, down home in WV and the next trip will be to the beach! I hope the warm weather holds out because I need some salt water to soothe my soul.

Comfort in a Cookie

I can smell spring, can’t you? I am so excited. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s coming.

Until it gets here though, I thought I’d experiment with a warm cozy recipe.

Two things that I love: tea and cookies. A special treat for me is a cup of Chai. Chai tea is warm, spicy, frothy, and delicious. However, I usually don’t splurge five dollars for a single warm beverage.

Sometimes I just have to have my chai fix, so I was excited to find an affordable powdered chai mix! It’s from Pacific Chai and is around $4.00 at Wal-Mart. One container makes about 13 servings. At 38 cents a cup, that is a price I can handle.

IMG_20160226_073743

I also love drop cookies. They are easy and homey. I had made a batch of snickerdoodles  during the blizzard and thought that I could convert that recipe into a chai cookie to create a spicy and delicious comforting treat.

I added two tablespoons of the powdered chai mix to the regular snickerdoodle recipe, and it worked awesomely! The first bite tastes like your traditional snickerdoodle and it follows with that wonderful spicy chai flavor.

 

I gave a few plates away on a plain white plate with a ribbon and a Twinings Chai Tea bag to follow the theme.