Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Beef and vegetable baked spaghetti squash

Tuesday:  Chicken provencal (still have not made this)

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Thursday: Chicken tikka and jasmine coconut rice

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, October 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sausage rolls and garlic fries

Tuesday:  Chicken provencal (didn't make this last week)

Wednesday: BLT's and soup

Thursday: Tacos, chips and queso

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chai Tea

Time for another Secret recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Angela's Kitchen.  Angela's recipes are all gluten, wheat and dairy free.  I will admit that I am not very familiar with making recipes that fit into those categories, but I did enjoy looking through all the recipes on Angela's blog.

I finally decided to make the slow cooker Chai Tea.  I love to drink tea, being English it's basically a requirement! Although my usual tea of choice is good old English black tea (Yorkshire Gold, please!) with a splash of milk, I thought that chai tea sounded lovely for autumn, if and when autumn decides to show up here in Texas!

18 cups water
1/2 cup honey
18 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
18 cardamom pods
12 allspice berries
1 1/2 inch crystallized ginger
12 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf 
1 star anise
5 tablespoons loose leaf black tea
Milk to serve

Place everything except the tea into the slow cooker, heat on high for 2 hours.  Add the tea and leave for an addition 30 minutes.  Strain the chai tea and serve with milk of choice.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sweet and sour pork

Tuesday: Chicken provencal

Wednesday: BLT's and soup

Thursday: Yellow chicken curry

Friday: Beef stroganoff

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Samoa Cupcakes

My favourite Girl Scout cookies are the Samoas or Caramel Delites as they are called here in Texas.  I think I have even tried to make a homemade version of the cookies before, but I found the recipe for this cupcake version over at Annie's Eats .  I tried them out for the bake sale at Randal's office, and they are so, so good.  The recipe has a shortbread cookie on the bottom of the cupcake however once they were baked I noticed that the cookies had risen to the top of the cake, I don't know what I did wrong but for the bake sale I'm just going to leave them out. I also used my favourite chocolate cake recipe instead of the one Annie used.

Chocolate Cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Shortbread cookies

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Place a shortbread cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Divide between baking cups and bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes.

8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp coconut extract

To make the ganache, place the chocolate into a small bowl and set aside, put the caramel sauce and cream in a medium saucepan.  Heat until simmering, then pour the hot caramel over the chocolate.  Let sit for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, then stir together and add the coconut extract.

Spread a layer of ganache over each cooled cupcake.

15 oz caramels
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp coconut extract
pinch of salt
3 cups shredded coconut, toasted

To make the topping, place the caramels and milk into a medium pan, heat until the caramels have melted.  Add in the salt, coconut extract and toasted coconut.  Place a scoop on top of the ganache topped cupcake.  Drizzle with remaining ganache.

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