The mister has had to listen to me moan and groan for weeks...ever since I started CrossShit, (my apologies, I must get that "S" key looked at, it always wants to replace the "F"). Last night, as I hobbled across the bedroom and eased my way into bed, looking every bit like some sort of wounded animal, the mister questioned why I have continued to torture myself. He thought he was funny and he started to laugh and then cough and then he went into full hacking mode. I waited until he was through with his spasm before I told him I'm going to Crossfit to build up my upper body strength so I will be able to lift him and change his diaper in his old age. And then I laughed. But it hurt my sides so I had to stop.
Really though, why am I enduring this torture?!? The only benefit I've seen is I can lift my fork a bit faster to my face! Every time I go they have me do more painful things. I tell them I can't do it, I whine and complain and I get no sympathy whatsoever...I hear, "You CAN do it, give it a try." So I try and so far I've been able to do everything ONCE...but once is not enough when it comes to Crossfit. No...they lull you into thinking it's just a few minutes of work for massive benefits. My trainer is so sweet and nice and little but underneath all that she is solid steel. STEEL! I know she can pick me up, spin me around and throw me across the gym without batting an eye. So I don't object out loud but in my head I'm screaming at her!!! I'M OLD!! MY FAT HAS HIGH-JACKED MY MUSCLES! I WAS BORN WITHOUT QUADS!! And she smiles at me and happily says: "You're going to do FIVE squats and then FIVE rows and then FIVE lifts and then FIVE burpees..." and then I stop listening. I mean, who in their right mind even understands that kind of language?!? Once again, in my head, I begin to add up all of those FIVES up and I tell myself I'm only doing half, no matter what, I'm in charge of myself and they can't make me do 20 things, and I'm old and there's just no way...I calm down, I reassure myself I'm only going to do 10...and then I hear, "THREE sets of FIVES. They want me to do 20 things THREE TIMES!!!! That's 60 things!!!
My neighbors, (I refuse to call them friends any more because they MAKE ME GO TO CROSSFIT) insist I show up and they act sympathic but then they say things like, "Only five? Wow, you're going easy on us!" or "I wasn't sore at all!" or "This isn't hard enough for me!" I have NO idea what's wrong with them...if you tell a Crossfit Trainer that something is easy, know what she does?!?! She makes it HARDER!!
So.So.So. Why do I continue to go?!? Well, you're looking at one of the reasons. This Lemon Meringue Pie was the reason I went to Crossfit last Friday. Because last Thursday I may have eaten TWO pieces of pie in one sitting. And I'm not even a fan of Lemon Meringue Pie!!! But this pie...manomanalive...it's so rich, creamy and decidedly lemon-y, it seduces your taste buds and before you know it, you're a fan...the Number One Fan of Lemon Meringue Pie in all the WORLD!
Wow - those pie crusts look bad...but ignore them, they shrunk so much it was almost like an introduction to crust on the plate! Now, look at that custard...really look at it...it's a thing of beauty, no? Let me tell you why this pie is different...and why it's better than any other Lemon Meringue Pie you've ever had...one word...ready? Limoncello. Cue the choir!! Let the Fat Lady out of her spandex and have her sing!!! Limoncello, an Italian liqueur, sends this pie into the stratosphere. Really. I kid you not. But let's say you are squeamish about using a liqueur...well, squeam not, because it only takes 1 1/2 tablespoons of Limoncello, so think of it as an extract, because really, it has as much alcohol in it as a good Vanilla extract does. And if you still don't want to use Limoncello, then skip it, the custard is good enough to stand on it's own...still plenty of lemon-y flavor, but don't tell me you did because I won't want to think ill of you.
Lemon Meringue Pie - Adapted From Emeril Lagasse, from his cookbook, "Emeril's Delmonico: A New Orleans Restaurant with a Past"
(This recipe makes a 9-inch regular pie. To make a deep dish pie, double the recipe. You will have about a cup of custard left over...cook's bonus!)
1 recipe of this pie crust, or you can use store bought crust
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons Limoncello lemon liqueur
2 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into pieces\
For the Meringue:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly-floured surface. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing gently to fit, trim the edge to within 1/2 inch of the pan, turn under and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dry beans or rice. Bake until the crust is set, about 12 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake until lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before filling.
Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, milk, water and a pinch of salt in a large non-reactive saucepan, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. As the mixture reaches a simmer and begins to thicken and turn clear (4 to 5 minutes), whisk in the egg yolks, two at a time. Slowly add the lemon juice, whisking constantly, and add the zest and liqueur. Add the butter 1 piece at a time and, whisking constantly, return to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour immediately into the prepared pie crust.
To make the Meringue: Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and remaining pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat, as this will make the meringue difficult to spread.
The pie does not need to be cold or even cool to top with meringue, but it shouldn't be straight-from-the-oven hot. Let it cool for just a bit, ten minutes or so and then, using a spatula, cover the pie filling completely with the meringue, going out of the pastry edges, so the meringue does not draw up or weep during baking. Make decorative peaks in the meringue using a dull knife or the back of the spoon.
To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown (1 to 2 minutes), watching carefully to avoid burning.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Serves 8. Sorry, no pictures of the pie sliced because it didn't stay on the plates long enough for me to get a shot!
What is the worst thing that could happen to ME during Thanksgiving week? My oven dies? The dishwasher springs a gasket?? The sewer backs up? My Kitchen-Aid blows a bolt? Nope...while those are all horrific things and would make any Thanksgiving a living nightmare, they are not the worst. Nope...this is the worst...the mister is sick. I'm talking sick as in reaching for tissues every 2 minutes, hacking up pieces of lung, spitting unmentionables into the sink, moaning, groaning, begging for every bit of my attention 24/7...Can you bring me some juice? Oh, could you put ice in it? Can I get something to eat? Maybe some soup? Do we have any jam? Do I have a fever? Come feel my forehead? Could you fluff my pillows? Do we have any more blankets? Could you please hand me the remote? Godfrey!!! There is NO end to his helplessness!!! The mister has a cold, I made the diagnosis myself. But he didn't listen to me, he swore he was dying, (imagine my surprise when he didn't), dragged himself to the doctor and the doctor had the NERVE to tell him his cold was walking pneumonia. Which is just another way of saying he has a cold, albeit a bad one, but still, we're not talking bacterial pneumonia or viral pneumonia...we're talking walking pneumonia, as in the mister should be capable of getting up and walking TWO FEET to get the remote...whatever...I sound heartless and cruel, I know, and believe me, when he is better and can once again wipe his own nose, I shall repent of my ill feelings and find a very small soft spot in my heart for him...but in the meantime, he has taken to his sick bed and I am on a very short leash!!
I'm sure there are many wonderful pumpkin pie recipes...I have only ever used one pumpkin pie recipe, for years and years, and it's the only one that has always graced our T-day table, it's this pie. It's a Paula Deen recipe and has butter in it, of course, along with cream cheese - it's rich and decadent and fabulous. But. But. But. I found myself reading the recipe on the back of the Libby's Pumpkin Pie can...where the Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe is printed, and wondered why it's famous? Couldn't be the evaporated milk?!! I have a hard time even typing those words - evaporated milk - gives me yucky chills up and down my spine! So I decided to tinker a bit...what if I substituted heavy cream for the evaporated milk?
Genius takes many forms my friends, and the latest form is of a Northwest middle-aged woman who hates waiting hand-foot-nose-and mouth on her sorta-sick husband. Moi. Pumpkin Pie Genius. Who knew?!? Really, this is one fine pie...the heavy cream makes the pie creamier and I added one extra egg, which give is a richer, more custard like texture...I'm telling you, this one is dang, dang, dang, dang, dang good...count 'em up and ring 'em out, this one gets five dangs on the Dang Meter!
Perfect Pumpkin Pie - Inspired by Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pin
9-inch, unbaked, deep dish pie shell (you can use store bought pastry or make your own, this is the recipe I always use)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) 100% pure pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves. Add eggs. Stir in pumpkin and gradually stir in heavy cream. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (If edges of pie are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.) Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream to serve, if desired.
Vases -seems too fancy a word to describe these, but they do hold water! They could be called containers because they can be used to "contain" things other than greenery and flowers, not sure what though.
The twigs can be trimmed to any size you want, I've left mine pretty long, about 9-inches, and I might trim them later, haven't decided yet, but what I have decided is I like them - a lot!
I went into the back yard and picked up branches that fell in the last wind storm we had, then trimmed off the little twigs with garden snips...I love that this is basically a FREE project! I left any moss I found on the twigs, it makes them more interesting.
Plastic food containers, because that's what I had but you could use empty food cans or even milk cartons - whatever you want. All you need to make three of these rustic wood vases is an hour of time...plus some plastic containers, a glue gun, glue sticks, and a little twine.
Our Thanksgiving table is going to be a bit rustic this year...it's just family so I'm not bringing out the finery...it will be more downhome...at least that's the plan and I think these containers will be perfect on the table.
For now they are filled with greenery (free) from the yard - when you live in the Northwest there is greenery everywhere. I will probably add some flowers for T-day...if I remember!
I know Thanksgiving is all about the turkey and the stuffing...and the pie. But if there was ever a time to consider a Thanksgiving CAKE, it's now and this is the one. It has everything goin' on, from the whipped cream topping to the custard filling to the pudding-like cake layers to the last fork-full that has to make room in an already stuffed stomach - this will be the one dessert your dinner guests remember.
From the very first banana-y bite to the last, it's refreshing without one itsy-bitsy hint of cinnamon, ginger, cloves or nutmeg...those holiday spices can reign supreme in pumpkin pie where they belong, but this cake, full of banana flavor and vanilla custard is the yin to the pumpkin pie yang.
Bananas, duh. Vanilla wafers, double duh. Those go into the best banana pudding on the planet...so a banana pudding cake had to have both of them in the mix! Basically the Vanilla Wafers become the flour...a rich, flavorful flour...in a word? Dewishish.
The cake layers are dense and moist - think bread-pudding - and they won't rise very much so if you bake them in 9-inch pans, they will look like those on the left above. If you bake in 8-inch pans, the baking time is increased just a bit and they will be thicker and look like those on the right above. Either way, they will be dang good! This one screams at the top of the Dang Meter, it's dang, dang, dang, dang, dang good. Make this one for your family and friends...make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or anytime you just want something yummy in your tummy.
(I did not use Trisha's filling recipe - it just wasn't rich enough so instead I used my all-time favorite custard recipe from Baking Illustrated...it truly is the best! Sorry Trisha!)
For the Cake:
Non-stick cooking spray for baking pans
3 ripe bananas
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 box (11 oz.) Vanilla Wafers, crushed (crush them in a food processor or put in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.)
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
The mister did it again. He was in charge of purchasing airline tickets for an upcoming trip...he said he would take care of it - leave it to him - he's got this. Should have known better. Mister and Missus Indecisive (the mister and moi) changed their minds/plans after he had purchased the tickets, a little fact that the mister declined to inform the missus of...it wasn't until the mister was sent into a spasm of uncontrolled kanniptions when he was told by Delta, "Sorry sir, but we do NOT refund money, you have one year to use the tickets and if you want to change them, you'll have to pay a fee..." that the missus was given ALL of the facts. But it doesn't end there...nope, again without consultation, the mister paid Delta $500 and rebooked the tickets...I'm pretty sure we would have had a lot more fun just flushing 500 one dollar bills down the shi$$er than GIVING them to DELTA for yet another one of HIS mistakes! I'll bet you're wondering where the mister is taking me? Not to Washington, DC like we had planned, or to New York, like we had discussed, or to Banff, which is on my bucket list and the mister knows I really want to go...no, none of those places. So I should be given some kind of badge for containing my excitement when the mister informed me, all jovial and giddy that he had rebooked our tickets to Knoxville so we could go see a University of Tennessee Basketball game. Oh, he had already bought the game tickets. And he's so happy. Happy, happy, happy. Me? Not so much.
The mister is going to be the death of me. Nothing wrong with Tennessee, or Knoxville, nothing at all...but when you've had your heart set on one place and you get another...well, you get my drift. Now that THAT is off my chest, let's cut to the meat of this post - literally. Let's talk turkey. As in Fried Turkey for T-Day. We've talked a lot about turkey - I've chatted with many of you over the years about turkey...we all love turkey and a lot of us love fried turkey but we just don't want to risk an explosion or time in a burn unit or the house going up in flames! Watch the video clip above...who needs that?!? I was THRILLED to find out from my BFF Chris at Nibble Me This (who just so happens to live in Knoxville!) about this NEW oil-less turkey fryer!!! Chris is going to give one away on his blog - and I just had to tell you about it - I know you will want one as much as me, and what better way to get one than to win it?!
Look, this is a dream come true for me!! I'm getting nothing, nada, zilch from this telling you about this NEW fryer from Char-Broil - it's called The Big Easy. Go visit Chris, read all about The Big Easy oil-less turkey fryer and enter his contest...if you win, you can thank me by frying me up a turkey and Fed-Exing it to me by T-Day. That's all. I require so little.
Pic on left courtesy of Nibble Me This, hope you don't mind me lifting it Chris! By the way, when we come to Knoxville I will give you plenty of notice so you can fry me up a turkey!
The contest ends November 11th so get a move on.
I'm not lucky when it comes to contests so I checked with our local Home Depot about buying one - they are SOLD OUT!! I also checked with Char-Broil and they are on back-order...it will be 4 to 6 weeks before they get them in. So while we won't be having fried turkey for Thanksgiving (unless I win the contest, and then I'll be frying a turkey a day from now till Kingdom Come!) we will be having an oil-less fried turkey for Christmas!!! (Here' more good news...The Big Easy, with it's accessory kit AND shipping is under $175.00...not too shabby! Did you SEE that SANTA?!?!?!)
Having missed last month's quilt meeting I was very excited to welcome the girls to my home this month - I missed seeing them and all of their creations!! There was a lot of chatter, many things to get caught up on...someone lost 40 pounds, several of us claimed to have found them, someone had foot surgery, someone had a wedding, someone bought a truck...life is full of surprises! Of course, we also saw some great quilts...
Stephanie made the purple and green stripped quilt for Project Linus - someone will love this when it's finished! Stephanie brought in her quilted Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt - it is so, so pretty! She bought the top at Value Village and Terry quilted it for her - if I remember right it was pretty stretched out in a few spots so quilting it could not have been fun...but Terry is a master and you can't tell where it was stretched...it's just plain wonderful!
Speaking of panels...the little dresses are from one. Marsha purchased a big supply of that panel a long time ago and every now and then she cranks out another adorable quilt using the dresses as blocks...my Elsa would sure love one of those quilts...if only I knew where to get me some of those dress blocks...
Sometimes a fabric is just too pretty to cut up...and this Kaffe fabric is one of those. Lori added borders and will make this a whole-cloth quilt - it will be stunning!! This is one of those pictures that screamed to be cropped...but then you wouldn't have been able to see the wall that didn't get painted or the crutches or the bags...this just might serve as motivation for the mister to finally get the living room wall, that was patched SEVEN MONTHS ago painted!!!
Lori made this. It's amazing. Truly amazing. She said she spent five years on the applique...every border block is hand-appliqued with very intricate details! I regret not taking more pictures but when this quilt comes back - quilted and bound, I'll get more - you just can't believe the work!! Way to go Lori!
Helen's grandson returns this week from a two year mission in England. Her daughter Michelle (Hi Michelle! We MISS you!!!) made this quilt for her son and Helen brought it in to show us. Those flags are from a panel - who'd have thunk?! Very cool - I'm sure he will love it! And congrats to him for serving and to mom and grandma for supporting (letting him go!)...two years is a long time go without seeing the boy...speaking of...I haven't seen my boy for two weeks!!! Pretty much the same thing...two years/two weeks...yep, best be lighting a fire under him to come see his mom!
Jenny made these adorable placemats - the "whiskers" lift up on so a napkin can be slipped under on one side and silverware on the other - what kid wouldn't like setting the table using these?! So cute Jen!! And good luck this weekend at the Block Party Quilt Show in Issaquah...I know you have a quilt entered!
Ardith made this quilt for her 15 year old grand-daughter. Some of those blocks read a bit yellow, but that's just from poor lighting. Her grand-daughter picked out the fabric so she is sure to love this quilt! And the quilting is beautiful!
Neva made this sweet table runner as a donation for the Eastlake High School Bazaar. Two leaf blocks and a border - simple, easy and very do-able!! This would make a cute gift!
And finally, this last quilt was made by Denise. You've seen it before but now it's beautifully quilted and bound - nicely done Denise!
After our show and tell we had a monster lunch! Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup (not shown) Brussel Sprouts and Greens with Warm Bacon Dressing Salad, Deviled Eye-ball Eggs, Pimento Cheese Sandwiches and a Caramel and Toasted Pecan Tart for dessert (also not shown). Since I usually host the October meeting, the girls have dined at my Halloween table many times...so this year I wanted to surprise them with something different. I think they all got a kick out of Frank - who is a dead ringer for the mister!
I inserted two long rectangular boxes into the legs of a pair of clean, old jeans, which were slit to make room for them. I used a bunch of parsley to cover one box, and the parsely held the deviled eye-ball eggs in place so they didn't slide around. I used cooked spaghetti to cover the other box, and once it was dry, it held the pimento cheese sandwiches. A clean shirt was stuffed with newspaper and then a plastic cauldron was buttoned-up into place - it held the salad. Frank, needless to say, was very cooperative, he hardly made a move!
After the ladies left I was a bit sad...it all ended too soon! I managed to rally in time for the trick or treaters and while we didn't have very many, maybe only 20 or so, it was a very fun Halloween. The Slaughterhouse has now been dismantled - all ghosts, goblins and ghouls have been boxed up and put away until next year...well, except for the mister.
Let me state for the record that Jillian is a real person who also happens to be my imaginary daughter-in-law. When I would visit my sister and her tribe, Jillian was usually there, she lived a few houses down. Jillian and my niece Gabby are bestus friends...and I loved sitting in on their conversations as much as they loved sitting in on my sister's and mine...good times all the way around. Now Jillian is all grown up and married with a baby on the way!
Ever since Jillian was 12 or 13 I have told her what a wonderful DIL she would make...and perhaps I had delusions of an arranged marriage between her and the boy - alas, no one else did!! I have no doubt that Jillian's real mother in law loves her dearly - as she should - but I wanted Jillian to know that her imaginary MIL loves her, too! A circle quilt seemed like the best way to say that.
Do you know what it means to have a pregnant imaginary daughter-in-law? It means I'll soon have an imaginary granddaughter!!! Lots of pink for my imaginary grand-daughter...with a black-stripped binding to give it a little pop...or...a little bit of normal surrounded by a little bit of crazy! Should remind Jillian of me! This quilt only measures 40 x 40 - so it's the perfect size for an infant and a car quilt.
Three little burp cloths and 3 matching headbands...every girls needs those! I wanted to get Jillian's gift in the mail Monday morning...so Sunday, the day after our first wind storm of the season, with the power still out, I took everything outside so I could get a good picture...pine needles and all. It was quite the storm - fortunately our power came back on after 24 hours - some people weren't that lucky and were without power for several days! The best thing about a wind storm is the morning after - when the air is filled with the scent of cedar and pine...it's heavenly!
Have a happy baby Jillian...please give my imaginary granddaughter a hug and a kiss from her imaginary grandma! Oh, and send pics!
C'mon, jump on the pumpkin bandwagon! It's a bit crowded there, what with all the pumpkin things there are to make...but if there is only one, just one pumpkin recipe you need to make, it's this one. Baked, moist, delicious donuts with a cinnamon-shooogah coating...your family will thank you, your friends will thank you and the haters will have one more reason to hate... Pumpkin Donuts...share them only with those who are worthy.
Ahhh schucks, go ahead and say it, we've never looked better. So true. The mister, who is not amused by any type of Halloween hoopla was put on notice two weeks ago that he was going to participate. He grumbled and growled and threw his usual fits, daily, saying he wanted no part of any make-up or picture...but then I did the unthinkable...I wrote on his calendar ON the day we would take the pictures...IN INK, thereby sealing his fate. You see, as long as the mister has notice and it's written on his calendar, he will cooperate...not happily, mind you, but then, he's never happy, no surprise there. Maybe it's because he was promised donuts, I'm not sure, but as you can plainly see in the pic above...the mister looks down right jovial...for him!
The boy and his bride have a thing for skeletons...so when I saw this pan at Williams Sonoma I had to get one for them and one for me so I could have plenty of edible skeletons when they come to visit! One batch of donut batter made 8 skeleton heads - the mister was pleased as they were larger than the donuts...more to eat, man happy.
"Donuts" were also baked in my mini-Bundt pan...this recipe can be used in all kinds of bake-ware so if you don't happen to have a donut pan, no worries! Just use what you do have and it will turn out every time! I opted to glaze the skeleton heads with a simple vanilla-powdered sugar and milk glaze and the mini-Bundt "donuts" were glazed with an apple cider icing. So this is a versatile recipe...bake them and glaze/frost them any which way you want...they will all disappear as fast as you can make them!
Did I mention these are easy? One bowl easy. You have NO excuse not to make these! And since we are only half-way through Fall, you have plenty of time to ride the pumpkin bandwagon before it heads for the barn.
Pumpkin Donuts - Adapted From King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, and ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
tiny pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two standard donut pans. Or you can use a standard muffin tin or mini-Bundt pan - they just won't be donuts but no one will mind.
In a medium bowl combine oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt and baking powder and beat until smooth. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.
Fill the wells of the donut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each. If you're using a muffin tin or a skeleton pan (!), fill each well about 3/4 full. The recipe makes about 15 donuts so you'll need to bake in two batches, unless you have two pans.
Bake the donuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you're making muffins, they'll need to bake longer, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove donuts from oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges and transfer them to a rack to cool.
While donuts are still warm, but no longer fragile, gently shake them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar. If you've made muffins or skeleton heads, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar. Cool completely and store at room temperature for several days. Don't wrap leftover doughnuts tightly in plastic; they'll become soggy. If you're not going to consume all of the doughnuts at one sitting, add the final coating of cinnamon-sugar only to those you'll eat; store the rest, without their sugar, on a plate covered with a cake cover; or in a plastic bag that's not fastened shut. Add cinnamon-sugar coating just before serving.
"Mmmmmm…doughnuts." – Homer Simpson
"Whether you take the doughnut hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit." - Haruki Murakami
Here's what you don't know: My typing ability today has been severely hampered, every bone in my body aches, including my pinky bones. Only one thing can cause this much pain...Crossfit, or, as I like to say, especially after being incapacitated for nearly THREE DAYS, CrossShit. It sounded like a good idea, especially after seeing friends who have drastically changed their bodies...but as we all know, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is. Go ahead and try to get a visual of me in a gym...and if that doesn't make your morning mocktail come shooting out your nose, envision this: I had to JOG around a parking lot, lift weights, walk on my hands and tippy-toes at the same time, lunge, yes lunge, do push-ups AND SQUATS...over and over and over.
According to Wikipedia: "The squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, quadriceps. Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the size of the legs and buttocks."
INCREASING THE SIZE OF THE LEGS AND BUTTOCKS!!!! What the #$*@!!!
So here's what you do know: I'm crazy. And if ME going to CrossShit doesn't prove that then me baking SEVEN gingerbread houses while my buttocks were on fire from being INCREASED should...and it might even get me commitment papers!
...And They're coming to take me away Ha Ha
They're coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time, and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
and they're coming to take me away ha ha...
So crazy is as crazy does. To further illustrate the slippery mental health slope I am on, let's do some math: Haunted Halloween Gingerbread Houses + lots of candy + 12 year old girls = the perfect storm! And it was a storm! A storm of eating and gluing and creating - it almost made me forget my increasing buttocks.
Gingerbread dough is smushed into a baking sheet; after baking the pattern is placed on top and the pieces are cut out with a knife, then set aside to cool. The gingerbread hardens as it cools. I baked seven houses; you get one house per baking sheet, so it was a loooooooong day! May I remind you, Crazy is as crazy does.
Alas, I was out of black food coloring and out of time...I needed the houses to be assembled so they would set. The white frosting was bothersome to be sure! They just didn't look like haunted houses! After a quick run to Home Cake Decorating I returned with black food paint...the houses were set and once the white was painted over, they looked much better (an extra step, next time I'll make sure I have black food coloring on hard...wait...next time?!? Hahahahaha, as if! Im not THAT crazy!)
The houses smelled sooooo good! I purchased a lot of little candies for the girls and some pretty cute halloween decorations from Home Cake, like skeleton heads and ghosts made from sugar. Plus they had Peeps ghosts and pumpkins and lots of tubes of black, orange, yellow and red frosting...basically enough to decorate their gingerbread house many times over!
The girls also made Mummy Pizzas for their dinner...I thought having them eat real food would counter the effects of the mass quantities of candy they ATE...it did not. If anything they were more hyped up when they left than when they arrived! Note to self: Protective gear and ear plugs should be worn around 12 year old girls.
The little darlings...hard at work on their houses...ahhhh, brings a tear to my eye...and then another and another and another...I shall always look at these pics and think of the horrendous PAIN IN MY arse, legs, arms, neck, back, feet...
Then again...these pics are pretty swell...their houses are crazy cool! They did such a great job - so, so cute, I mean so, so hauntingly horrendous. Don't you just love the ghost coming out of the window? And the spider web on the roof?
How about the "body outline?" And the candy corn roof spikes? I think the girls might have some skills that would get them jobs in the food industry, law enforcement or perhaps a life of crime!
Haunted Halloween Gingerbread House - Adapted From Linda Millward
Makes one gingerbread house.
For the gingerbread house:
2 3/4 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites at room temperature
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Mix ingredients thoroughly and chill for several hours or overnight. Roll out dough so it's about 1/2-inch thick and approximately 15 x 17-inches. Carefully place dough onto cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Do not under-bake! Place pattern on hot gingerbread and cut immediately. Lift carefully and cool on rack. The gingerbread should be very hard when cool, if not, the pieces can be laid back on the cookie sheet and baked for 5 to 10 minutes longer, if necessary. Frost/glue the houses together with royal icing and decorate with assorted candies.
Royal Icing: In a mixing bowl combine all icing ingredients and mix until icing stands in stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Keep frosting covered at all times with a damp cloth, as the icing dries quickly and becomes very hard. I put the icing in a Zip-lock style bag, snipped off a little tiny bit of a corner and used that to squeeze the icing out just where I wanted it. Plus, a plastic bag will keep the icing soft and usable.
For the house pattern:
Roof: Cut one piece of cardboard 4 1/4-inches square. Cut out two roof pieces.
Sides: Cut one piece of cardboard 4 1/4-inches by 3 3/4-inches. Cut out two side pieces.
Front and back: Cut one piece of cardboard in a rectangle, 4 1/4-inches by 6 3/4-inches. Mark the center on one short side of rectangle. Measure up each long side 4-inches, then draw a line from there to the center that you marked on the short side. Cut on the line, forming a point. Cut two pieces from this, a front and a back.
"And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread." – William Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost