Friday, October 31, 2008

Cakes for the Fall Festival

I chose to bake cakes for the church's Fall Festival (aka the big event to replace Halloween) instead of volunteering to corral children. I made one last year, too.

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (I used white)

1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding

3/4 c. canola oil

3/4 c. water

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or any other baking nut)

1 cup cinnamon and sugar mixture

Mix together all ingredients at high speed for 8 minutes (this just seemed too long, so I only mixed for about 4 minutes). Grease bundt pan well with a pastry brush (or a good 'ol paper towel with butter smeared on it). Sprinkle 1 cup chopped nuts into pan; spread around. Nuts will cling to grease! Place 1/3 batter in pan; sprinkle with connamon and sugar mixture (and I added some of the nuts). Place another 1/3 of mixture in pan; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (more nuts). Place remaining 1/3 of batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or more, until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and turn over onto cake plate.

Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake
Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake
1 pkg. fudge cake mix (I used German chocolate cause that's all I had)
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold coffee
1 (12 oz.) pkg fudge chocolate chips (or any will do)
Mix everything together EXCEPT the chocolate chips. Then add chips and mix some more. Pour into well greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Cool and turn over onto cake plate. Top with Glaze Frosting.
Glaze Frosting
2 Tbsp. soft or melted butter
1/4 cup cocoa (the good kind for baking)
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring (or any flavor you like)
Powdered sugar (add a little at a time)
Milk (add a little at a time)
Mix all the ingredients together to desired consistency. Pour over cooled cake and top with chopped nuts.

I really wanted to keep the chocolate cake to eat myself, but knew that I would eat the whole thing. I'll just have to make another one.

They were both easy to make, though slightly modified from their internet recipes, as usual.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicken Stock and Soup

I have been craving homemade chicken soup, but it's been too warm here on the Central Coast to justify making a big batch of it. I finally bought a whole chicken to cook for the stock and figured I should just go ahead with it since it can be frozen rather easily.

As I sit here I can smell the stock cooking. I should probably go check it to make sure it's not bubbling over. My mom hates when I let things spill then forget to clean up the burners.

Ingredients for Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken
1/2 celery bunch, chopped
1 onion roughly chopped

In a very large stock pot, place the chicken, celery and onions with water to cover it. Boil until the chicken is tender and pulls easily from the bones.

Remove chicken and let cool. Pour the water (now chicken stock) through a sieve into a bowl to remove the pieces of celery, onion and any chicken. Keep the chicken, toss the veggies.

At this point you can either freeze the stock for later use or keep it to make a giant pot of soup now. (I froze half of mine for later.)

For the chicken, remove all the meat from the bones. Throw away any remaining bones, cartilege and any other undesirable parts. Cut or tear the meat into more bite-sized pieces to use in your soup (or freeze for a later use).

Chicken and/or Vegetable Soup - use only veggies if you like
1 quart soup stock/broth (use your chicken stock from above or any box/can broth)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 med potatoes, chopped; and/or rice; and/or noodles; and/or cooked beans
any combination of chopped fresh, canned or frozen vegetables (I know, but sometimes I use them), but I prefer to use seasonal veggies
2-3 chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
chopped, cooked chicken; or sausage; or ground meat; or cooked turkey
1 Tbsp oil (olive is my choice)
salt, pepper and other favorite seasonings to taste (I like lemon pepper)

Prepare all your veggies in advance (cause it makes it easier when it's time to add them to the soup).

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in bottom of soup pot. Add chopped onion. Let cook until translucent (so that they turn from yellowish white to clear and shiny). When onion is ready, add all of your veggies and meat (except noodles), then cover with all of the broth. If the broth isn't enough, add water to top off but not more that 2 inches from the rim of your pot.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 miinutes until all the vegies are cooked. Add your seasonings towards the end of cooking along with the noodles, so that the noodles don't get overcooked and become paste.

Turn off heat and enjoy with some fresh bread (you choose!). Grated parmesan cheese is also very lovely on top of the bowl of soup, too!