Boo, boo-hoo, make a boo-boo, boo(ze)…pick one and tell us how it relates to life lately. I actually can’t drink anymore because of my health issues, but if I could I’d choose Seagrams 7&7 or Malibu & Coke. That said I thought this shirt was rather appropriate for the year 2020.
Do you like the color orange? Would we find this color in your home? Your wardrobe? Peach-pumpkin-tangeringe…your favorite shade of the three listed? Nope, none of the above!
October 28th is National Chocolate Day. What’s the last chocolate something you tasted? I had a couple of hubbys’ whoopers last night. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being out of this world delicious, how would you rate it? They’re good, but my ALL time favorite is See’s milk chocolate Bordeauxs. I rate them a 10+
Life is like a box of chocolates or so says Forrest Gump’s mama. Would you agree? Aside from the pandemic fallout tell us one way this saying has played out in your life. YEP, I seriously agree. I had an aunt who used to say, “Man plans, God laughs”. And because she always said this to me I grew up learning to “roll with the punches”.
As October winds down tell us three things you loved about the month we’re bidding adieu. Oh this is easy!
- Fall decorating starts.
- The weather changes to cool and crisp.
- Cinnamon and pumpkin are acceptable flavors!
Years ago (2009ish) I participated in a baking group called, Tuesdays with Dorie aka TWD, where we baked exclusively from Dorie Greenspan’s cook book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. There was one particular recipe that I REALLY wanted to bake, but I had to miss that week for some reason and am FINALLY getting around to making it.
I love the simplicity of the brioche in this recipe, but LOVE that it’s a bit sweeter than your average brioche. The dough is better made the day before – you get much better results from letting it sit overnight. I happened to have bought some sour plum jam at the Christmas fair just to make this tart with! It’s really hard to find plum jam in the grocery stores, even before the COVID19 shortages. Your beautifully sweet brioche dough is filled with tart jam and fresh plum slices to create a really fancy and decadent coffee cake!
BRIOCHE PLUM TART pg 54-55
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup whole milk, just warm to the touch
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
- Put the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, and fit the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one.
- Working on low speed, mix for a minute or two, just to get the ingredients together. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 7–10 minutes, stopping a few times to scrape down the bowl and the hook, until the dough is stretchy and fairly smooth. The dough will seem fairly thin, more like a batter than a dough, and it may not be perfectly smooth which is fine.
- Transfer the dough to a clean lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, 30 – 40 minutes.
- Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.
- Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours.
- After that leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight – it will be tastier for the wait.
the NEXT DAY
- Generously butter the pan.
- Press the chilled dough into the bottom of the pan and up the sides – don’t worry if it’s not even.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is in the refrigerator, prepare the filling.
6 LARGE ripe plums, preferably Italian prune plums
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
- Halve and pit the plums.
- Slice each plum in half and then into 4-5 slices. Set aside.
- Toss the chopped nuts with the sugar and set aside.
1/4 cup plum jam
- Remove the tart pan from the fridge and push and press the dough up the sides of the pan.
- Spoon the jam onto the dough and spread it over the bottom.
- Arrange the plums cut side down in concentric circles covering the jam.
Scatter the nut mixture, and cover the tart lightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Place the tart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°.
- Bake tart for 20 minutes.
- Cover it loosely with a foil tent to prevent the crust from getting too dark, and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until the fruit juices are bubbling and the crust is firm and beautifully browned – it will sound hollow when tapped.
- Transfer the tart to a rack to cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.
NOTE: This tart looks BEST when it’s made in a 9 inch fluted pan, but I also love using my 9 inch spring form for just about everything these days. I made a second one, but was out of the plum jam now and nuts so I substituted blackberry jam and heath bar pieces for the nuts. Guess what? It was even better!!!!
With all the time at home I decided to do a little baking and came up with a new cookie recipe. I wanted to try my hand at exact and specific baking science measurements. This cookie recipe turned out chewy, flavorful and quite satisfying. Hubby LOVES them.
2 sticks unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour (see notes)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces white sugar
8 ounces brown sugar (see notes)
1 LARGE egg
1 LARGE egg yolk
1 ounce WHOLE milk
1 1/2 teaspoons QUALITY vanilla
5 ounces semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
5 ounces golden raisins
2 ounces craisins
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Melt butter and set aside to cool.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla.
- Pour butter into mixing bowl and add sugars, beating for 2 minutes until well incorporated.
- Reduce mixer speed and add egg mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Gradually add flour mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides. Chill dough for an hour before baking.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Using a cookie scoop scoop out portions onto prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake 12-13 minutes until golden.
- Let set 5 minutes before removing from the tray to cool.
- The main difference between bread flour and all–purpose flour is a matter of protein. Bread flour, which comes in white and whole wheat varieties, has a higher protein content than all–purpose, usually 11-13%. It’s called “bread flour” because most bread requires higher amounts of protein to produce lots of gluten.
- The darker the sugar, the chewier the cookie 😀
4 LARGE beets
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Wash and trim beets, but leave 2-3 inches of tails on.
- Cover baking sheet with foil and LIGHTLY spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake 35 minutes until fork tender.
- Cool 30 minutes.
- Trim again and rub off outer skin.
- Slice ¼ inch thick or julienne and place in canning jar.
- Whisk together water, vinegar, sugar and sea salt in saucepan until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Bring to a boil.
- Cool 15 minutes.
- Pour over beets and seal jars.
- Make a new and inventive dessert EACH week
- Make apple butter
- Roast marshmallows around the fire
- Curl up with a terrific book
- Take a drive to look at fall foliage
- Sip hot apple cider
- Finish several smaller quilts
- Eat chili – I have several different flavor chilis and try to get them ALL worked into the fall months.
- Decorate for Halloween
- Try a new soup or stew
- Make pumpkin cut out cookies with my new sugar cookie recipe
- Make some crafts with the munchkins
- Collect leaves and seed pods to decorate
- Take a walk and enjoy the color changing leaves
- Make jam
- Make homemade cocoa
- Bake banana, pumpkin and lemon bread
- Bake cookies
- Make Neighbor plates of goodies
- Make homemade Vanilla
- Make Christmas gifts
- Watch Christmas movies
- Watch MORE Christmas movies
- Listen to Christmas music
- Get updated addresses for my Christmas card list
- Burn cinnamon and spicy pumpkin candles
- Read by candlelight and lamplight
- Decorate House
- Read a wonderful Christmas book
- Decorate our Christmas tree
Have I mentioned that I LOVE fall? If you missed it, let me say it again. I LOVE FALL! And I especially LOVE fall clothing so this category deserves a second day 😀
Recently I ran into JC Penneys for some towels and passed by the shoe department and a sign that literally said Buy 1, Get 2 free! How do you pass up a deal like that? For me it was especially fitting because I have needed ALL new shoes as well as clothes since losing all the weight after that last surgery. Who would have thought you’d lose shoes sizes, but I did – an entire size! So this is my fun purchase where I not only took advantage of the sale, but also a 20% off coupon and was able to buy 3 pair for $64. 😀 My tootsies are staying toasty this fall!
I try to make my own Christmas cards every year, but years like last year full of health issues and surgeries from the HOUSE FROM HELL sometimes finds me sending out box cards. They are pretty cute, but I’m glad to be back to homemade this year as I managed to get them made personally again!
“CHRISTMAS” PINEAPPLE RUM PUNCH
4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
4 cups cran-pomegranate juice
1/4 cup red hots
2 cinnamon sticks + 1 stick per glass for serving
1 cup cherry spiced rum OR pineapple rum
FRESH pineapple chunks, FROZEN (optional)
- In a 3 quart slow cooker, combine the pineapple juice, cran-pomegranate juice, red hots and cinnamon sticks.
- Cook covered on low until heated through and red hots are melted.
- Add rum.
- Serve with FRESH cranberries and a cinnamon stick. Can be served warm or over frozen pineapple chunks.
NOTES: This can also be made on the stove, but use very low heat and watch that the candies don’t burn.
Christmas is such a busy time of year. I find getting through the season is ALWAYS easier with a basic schedule. While this is not a detailed extensive list, it IS a basic guideline for me to stay focused with. There are a lot of little things like making a list of the ELF on the SHELF shenanigans and things of that nature that don’t make this list, but still needs done.
I hope you’ll join me and have some fun this holiday season.