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7/7/15

7 Year Old Twins Decorate Their Own Birthday Cakes with Grandma

Last year and this year I have baked the birthday cakes for our twin grandson's and they decorate them with small toys and candies and just have a ball doing so!  Next they put on candles and we arew ready to party!
We set up trays of goodies next to freshly frosted cakes of their choosing.

A few days ahead I shopped Cracker Barrel, the grocery, Walmart, and the Dollar Store for cake mixes, frosting, disposable pans, gummy worms etc, sprinkles, and lots of "boy" toys they like.
I DO NOT ABIDE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.   At any rate they loved the spiders, snakes, grasshoppers, commandos armed with guns and the assorted candies. 

Before hand I washed all of the toys in hot sudsy water, rinsed well, and air dried.  So they were clean and free of yuck.  After blowing out the candles I washed again and saved them for the boys to play with later.

Sam likes Strawberry cake and frosting.
Jack ordered chocolate cake and frosting.
Then they sang and blew out candles.
To assemble I frosted the cakes and arranged the "decorations" on a tray next to each readied cake and turned the boys loose.  They had a ball!

7/1/15

Good and Easy Basic Stir Fry Sauce with Options

Stir fry supper from the vegetable drawer with chicken and beef.
This sauce is adapted from one I had seen on food.com and made my own as you too can do!  Just tweak it to suite what's in your families taste and what is in your refrigerator.  Last night I rummaged through my vegetable drawer and came up with celery, carrots, red onion, 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, zuchinni, a sweet red pepper, and garlic.  There was about 1/2 pound of chicken and a pound of sliced steak I had left uncooked from our Sunday night fondue.  When stir fried and combined with this easy sauce it became a great dinner for two.  I did not make a starch because it made plenty of veggies and meat for a meal!

Ingredients for Basic Stir Fry Sauce:

1/4 C. soy sauce
1 1/4 C. water
1 T. grated fresh ginger  (I always keep this on hand in my freezer and it grates easily frozen.)
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 t. sesame oil
4 t. cider vinegar
1 T. sugar
2 T. dry sherry or 2 T. rice wine
3 T. cornstarch

You may want to try adding:
 
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
juice of a lime, optional
pinch of cilantro, optional
1-2 t. peanut butter, optional

Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch.  Whisk together in a large 2-4 cup measuring cup or bowl.  Place the cornstarch in a small dish.  Saute the meats and vegetables you have chosen. Just before it is time to add the sauce whisk in the cornstarch and cook together until thickened.  Serve hot!

You may also want to try adding an optional ingredient.  I added the red pepper flakes.








6/30/15

FONDUE Birthday Dinner for 6 with Steak, Chicken, & Orangr Dreamcicle Cake

All set for a fondue birthday dinner for six.
Our oldest grandchild turned twenty last week and asked Grandma for a Fondue  birthday dinner.  So after a hunt for what was left of our 60's fondue pot!  Success, I found it.  Easily I set up a large flat tray with the heat source, the stand, and the pot with lid.  Ours is stainless steel, ideal for a meat based cool.

THE MENU:

Beef, Chicken, and Shrimp Fondue
Baked potatoes
Vegetables with dip
Homemade sour cream vanilla bread
Orange Dreamcicle Cake

There were some contamination issues to solve as you need to ensure the participants NEVER handle the raw chicken, shrimp, or beef.  This was easily solved by me loading long bamboo skewers by threading the steak accordion style and the chicken securely on the skewers and pushing it an inch up from the pointed end.  This was dome well ahead of time and the skewers placed in a long glass baking dish, covered with plastic wrap, then refrigerated until about 30-40 minutes prior to cooking.  I removed it to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.  Just remember to remove the cooked meat with your fork from the skewer onto your plate.  Do not put the hot skewer into your mouth please!

I purchased a sirloin steak and placed it in the freezer for 45 minutes in order to partially harden it for slicing.  Next using my husband's filleting knife I trimmed the fat and sinew then sliced off long slender pieces just right to thread on the skewers and to ensure quick cooking.

Next I partially thawed a boneless skinless chicken breast and sliced 1/2"-3/4" pieces.  Cleaned and shelled shrimp can be done the same way.

Ingredients for Fondue Meat Course for Six;

1 1/2 pound Sirloin steak
1  pound boneless skinless chicken
1 pound cleaned shelled shrimp
3-4 C. peanut or grape seed oil
1 stick butter
1 t. salt
Sterno (heat source)

Prepare the meat and shrimp as indicated above and refrigerate.  This can be done a day ahead.
30-45 minutes before eating bring the prepared meat and shrimp to room temperature.  Combine the oil, butter, and salt in the metal fondue pot and heat to 375 degrees F. on the stove.  Light the Sterno and situate it under the pot stand.  Carefully carry the hot pot of oil to the stand.  You are ready to cook.  Each skewer will take from 1 to 3 minutes to cook based upon your liking.

The Sauces are a wonderful addition.  We especially like to dip the steak and chicken into a Horseradish Sauce.  Combine 1 C. sour cream, 2-3 T. horseradish, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Garlic Butter is also delicious, especially for the shrimp and chicken.  Combine 1 stick of melted butter with 1-2 cloves smashed garlic and let it meld at last an hour ahead.  1-2-3 Spicy Tomato Sauce  is made by combining 1 1/2 C. spicy hot catsup, 3 T. vinegar, 2 t. celery seed, and 1 clove smashed garlic.  Chill and remove the garlic pieces prior to serving.  It is GREAT with everything. We also set the A-1 Steak Sauce and the catsup on the table for the plain Jane's!

Emily's Dreamcicle birthday cake.
The cake, veggies and dip, and yeast bread links are listed her if you would  like to see how they are made.       thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2010/07/orange-dreamcicle-cake-and-birthday.html

Make your own Ranch dressing mix.
thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-best-homemade-ranch-dressing-recipe.html

Delicious yeast bread, make in or outside the bread maker. always good.
thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2013/11/sour-cream-vanilla-bread-best-bread.html

Happy Birthday Sweet Emily.