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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Black Midnight Cake on: January 27, 2017 10:24:37 AM

I got this recipe from a friend. it makes a beautifully moist, tasty cake.

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Grease and flour pan(s) (2 x 9" Square or Round. OR a 9x12 Oblong)

Sift together in a large bowl:
2 C. Flour
2 C. Sugar
2 tsp. B. Soda
1 tsp. B. Power
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 C. Cocoa powder

Beat in:
1 C. Milk
2 lg. Eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 C. Oil
1 C. Black Coffee
(The first time I saw it made, my friend poured coffee right from the coffee maker into a measuring cup and right into the batter.)

Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
For Square or Round, bake 35-40 minutes
For Oblong, bake 40-45 minutes.
Test for doneness with a toothpick.

When baked, remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes -- etc., etc., etc.

(Sorry about the picture. It's actually an Oblong, but the picture looks like a small square.)
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / My take on Mom's meatloaf -- with personal adjustments on: December 05, 2016 08:01:15 PM
I found this recipe in a "Taste of Home" magazine.
I use it fairly often. I, of course, adjust it to my family's tastes.
The original recipe is low-fat, & low-salt, but, with my adjustments, the recipe is (prob'ly) back to original fat and sodium,

Here is the recipe from "Taste of Home" website, with my notes added

1 egg white (2 whole eggs)
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
5 medium fresh mushrooms, finely chopped (we're not into mushrooms, so I skip)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I use Minit Rice instead)
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion (I chop one whole onion into it)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced (I use a small amount of minced jar garlic)
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves (I don't have it, so I skip)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean) (I use 2 lbs)
Barbecue sauce, optional (I mix 1/4 - 1/2 C. into the mixture)
I also add 1 Tblsp Beef Flavour boullion dust (OXO soup flavour)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray
In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Mix very well. Press into prepared pan.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer reads 160. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
Yield: 4 servings.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and sliced for sandwiches, or reheated for another meal.
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Spice Cake on: November 21, 2016 07:03:30 PM

I asked if he wanted another cake, or some muffins  Hubby asked for Spice cake. Carrot cake? No, Spice cake. Hmm -- I haven't a recipe for that ...
So, off to the cookbooks and recipe mags I go. Everything from "buy & make a box cake," to recipes that nearly require a pressurized kitchen.
Then, in the good ol' 5-Roses Flour cookbook I found this.
2 1/4 C. Flour
3 tsp B. Power
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Ginger
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Allspice

2/3 C. Shortening
1 3/4 C. Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/3 C. Milk

 Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease & flour pan(s). 2 round OR square, OR 1- 9X13 Oblong.
 Sift dry ingredients together including spices .
 In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
 Alternately add the dry ingredients and milk. (3 dry ingredient & 2 Milk additions)  combine lightly after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s)
30-35 minutes for round or square
35-40 (or 45) minutes for oblong pan.
Toothpick test (insert toothpick in centre of cake. If comes out clean, cake done. If there's crumbs clinging, let it bake a couple minutes longer)
Let cool 5 minutes in pan. Slide knife around between cake & pan. Remove cake from pan. Continue cooling on rack.
Frost as desired.
(Hubby asked for Cinnamon Frosting. I added cinnamon to the softened butter, then made regular frosting recipe. Worked just fine.)

4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Pumpkin Pie (makes 2 pies) on: October 08, 2016 08:15:39 PM
Start with Pie Crust

Mum's Never-Fail Pastry
5 1/2 C. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1 lb. Shortening
1 egg
1 Tblsp. Vinegar

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder well. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until the consistency of coarse meal with a few larger pieces.
Break egg into a measuring cup and beat slightly. Add vinegar. Fill to the three-quarter cup mark with cold water, and blend together.
With a fork, gradually stir in liquid mixture into flour mixture. Add only enough liquid to make dough cling together, and clean easily from the bowl.

Makes 3 Double-crust pies.

Roll out 2 pie shells. (The rest may be either used in 2 double-crust pies, refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure to put "date-made" on whatever label you use)

Pumpkin Pie Filling

4 Eggs
1 1/4 cup Sugar (can use 1/4 C Brown Sugar, 1 Cup white sugar)
1 X 28 oz can Pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cloves
1 tsp. Salt

3 C. Milk (Evaporated gives the  best texture, but part evaporated or all fresh milk may be used)

2 C. Whipping Cream (or 2 envelopes Whipped Topping)
2 Tblsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Beat in sugar. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Mix in.

Slowly mix in milk. Pour into pie shells. Bake on bottom shelf of 425F oven for 10 minutes. Turn down to 325F. Continue to bake until a knife inserted near the centre comes out clean. About one hour. Cool completely before serving.

Whip cream until stiff. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled pies before serving. Makes two pies.

Divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter, and what do you get?
(Answer Pumpkin Pi.)
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / (Hubby's) Jumbo Raisin Cookies on: September 03, 2016 07:18:50 AM

Yesterday, my husband visited a friend of his. (His friend is still single, and a touch spoiled by his mom.) Hus buddy shared some of the cookies his mom had dropped off. Which gave my husband the taste for Jumbo Raisin Cookies. I found a recipe, from a really old cookbook of my Mum's, named Jumbo Raisin Cookies.

2 C. Raisins
1 C. Boiling water

4 C. Flour
1 tsp. B. Powder
1 tsp. B. Soda
1. tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Allspice

1 C. Shortening
2 C. Sugar
3 eggs (1 at a time)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Nutmeats

Preheat oven to 350*F
Boil raisins until mucky. Set aside to cool. (Do not drain, need water)

Sift dry ingredients.
Cream sugar & shortening. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add dry ingredients, then raisins, vanilla & nutmeats.

(Will expand b-i-g)

Bake 7-10 minutes.
Makes 6-7 dozen large cookies.
6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Huckleberry pies on: August 21, 2016 08:27:10 PM

(Hubby cut it still a bit warm,)

Mum's Never-fail Pastry
5 1/2 C. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1 lb. Shortening
1 egg
1 Tblsp. Vinegar

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder well. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until the consistency of coarse meal with a few larger pieces.
Break egg into a measuring cup and beat slightly. Add vinegar. Fill to the three-quarter cup mark with cold water, and blend together.
With a fork, gradually stir in liquid mixture into flour mixture. Add only enough liquid to make dough cling together, and clean easily from the bowl.

Makes 3 Double-crust pies.

Berry pie with fresh fruit
Makes gooseberry, currant, BlackBerry, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, huckleberry, or Loganbery.
4 C. Fresh fruit
2/3 - 1 C. Sugar (or more)
1/4 C. Flour
1 1/2 Tblsp. Lemon Juice OR 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
If fruit is really juicy, add 2 tsp. quick-cooking Tapioca

Preheat oven to 450F . Line a pie plate with bottom crust.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand while rolling out top crust. Dump berry mixture into bottom crust, dot with butter, cover with top crust. Flute edge.
Slash top (use a fork to put berry initial in middle of top crust. "H" for Huckleberry, for example)
Bake in 450F oven for 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350F. Bake 35 to 40 minutes more or until golden brown.
7  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Some sound business advice on: June 21, 2016 05:26:48 PM
A friend on Facebook posted this. It references Cake making, but I think it's sound advice for all Handmade Crafts.
(Moderator: if this is disallowed, you are permitted to delete.)

8  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Hubby's Old-School Gold Totes. on: April 26, 2016 11:06:19 AM
This summer, my husband and a friend of his, are planning on going and finding, "The Mother Lode". Mike's friend has been reading books, poring over maps, and has decided exactly where they are going.
Mike had a thought that since his wife sews, she could make him some bags: "Gold Pokes", they used to be called.  Cheesy
So, he explained and drew me a picture of what he wanted.

Then, just to be sure that I knew what he was talking about, he drafted me a pattern.

I'm not sure if he knew that I had a whole bunch of old leather jackets that I had bought at a discount re-use store;but, he mentioned that having them out of leather would be really great, since that's how the old ones used to be.
So I showed him my leather jackets, and he chose one to make these beasties out of.

The two top ones are fairly large. They were made from the sleeves. (About 12-14" long) The two bottom ones were what Mike was originally planning. (Roughly 4X6")

Then, he was searching in a bag he keeps his cords in, and he realized it would be the right size and shape. So, he showed the bag and explained what he wanted.
This time, I drew up the pattern and explanation for myself.

Because the original little bag was not very heavy duty, he wanted to see what it would look like in a heavier duty fabric. So I made one out of denim.

And, the interior,

(I will make one out of leather -- eventually.)
What do you think, Craftsters and guests? Feedback welcome.
9  COOKING / Dessert / Cupcake Prices on: February 12, 2016 10:10:59 PM
I'm just curious. How much do you charge or pay for cupcakes.
I read on a Facebook post somebody charging $24 a dozen. Cute cupcakes certainly, but it sounded high to me ($2/cupcake). Then I google-searched it, and others said $3 to $4 per cupcake. Higher for red-velvet, or carrot, or cream cheese icing.
It's possible I'm totally out of the loop of bake-sales and the like. It seems high priced to me.
Is that what prices are?
10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Chae's Panda Hoody on: February 08, 2016 07:39:50 PM
Some 4 years ago, my daughter asked for a "Panda Hoodie". She'd even shared a link to show what she meant. She loved the idea, but she wanted one made by her Mummy.

Between procrastination and intimidation, I put it off until last month.

What intimidated me was the shoulder band on the back. I wasn't sure how I could make sure it was even all the way across.
Finally, I figured out that if I made it to the under-arm it would be broad enough, and even.
My fabric that I'd picked out for it was the perfect "ripeness", just right-aged.

So, even though it was after Christmas, I cut it out and put it together.

On Friday, I mailed it off. I didn't realize it was a statutory holiday today (Family Day). I was frustrated, because now that it was done, I wanted it THERE already!

She did get it today (stat holiday or no). I was so excited.
Once she opened it, she texted, "omg no way!!"
Then, she sent pictures.

Her from the front (note the black sleeves)

Her with the hood up (little black ears)

And the back view (black shoulders and a little black tail, down the bottom)

Now that it's done, and received, I'm very pleased and proud.

What do you think, Craftsters and guests? Worth being proud of?
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