Just say NO! to Soy.

One of my fondest memories of kindergarden was having milk and a graham crackers everyday after our nap, yes! we had to lay down for a few minutes everyday.  I don’t know why we had to take a nap,  maybe it was a kinder and gentler time.

My mom packed a lunch for me almost everyday of my elementary school years that either included graham crackers or vanilla wafers.

I have many fond memories of using graham crackers to make S’mores while camping or summer back yard barbeques.  As a kid I loved to crumble a few of the cinnamon variety in a bowl and cover them with milk and eat it like cereal. A afternoon snack could be peanut butter spread on to a graham cracker.

So you can see I’m no stranger to graham crackers.

Over the past few years i’ve become a bit of a food nazi, being careful to read ingredients on boxes to stay away from  products that contain corn and soy.   A few people think I take my eating style to the extreme, but it works for me, and I have even gotten a few people to pay more attention to what they are consuming.

So a few weeks ago out of the blue I decided to buy some honey maid graham crackers, I even bought some marshmallow cream to make a quick S’more.  I don’t know what I was thinking but, I didn’t  even bother to do my usual check of ingredients on the label.

I had blind faith in the people of Nabisco,

and that friendly little  bee on the pretty little blue box.

When I did get around to reading the ingredients on the label I was shocked to see that the honey maid graham crackers contained more soy than honey.  I decided right then and there to “just say NO! to soy” and make my own.

So I checked the internet and found a few recipes, some of them by celebrity chefs.  But I came upon one recipe that sounded very easy that even included a recipe for marshmallows.  Yummy!  Visions of S’mores came dancing in my head.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

In a bowl of a standing mixer, add flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking power.  Stir to combine, then add butter and mix till you have  coarse crumbs. Add honey and water, mix until it forms a large ball.

Shape dough into a flat disk, roll between 2 sheets of parchment paper 1/4 thick for crispy cookies, thicker if you want softer cookies.  Cut into desired shapes and bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.   re-roll any remaining dough.  Don’t over bake!

I made them the other night, and let me tell you, they are yummy!  And the best part is……   Wait for it… They have real honey in them and NO soy!  Yay!

Because you make them yourself, you decide if you want them thin and crispy or fat and soft.

I  like to make my cookies big, fat and soft.

 But I did make some thin ones too!

   I will make these cookies again, because I already have an idea to make a all in one  S’more cookie.  I almost always tweak a recipe I like into something  a little more decadent.

P.S.   After reading the label I also discovered that the graham crackers were made in Mexico.  Since I have a choice of where I spend my money, and I try to buy American made when I can.

 

  I’m saying, adios to Nabisco.

 

 

 

 

 

XOXO

 

 

My Holiday Baking

Chocolate & Raspberry Shortbread.

Dough

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar together..add flour and mix till it forms the dough.

This makes enough dough to cover a 13 x 9 baking pan, or you can make 2 pans of  8 x 8.  I made one pan of 8 x 8 shortbread and saved the other half to make chocolate toffee bars…(Next recipe)

 

Choose your size pan.. and pat the dough into pan.

then cover with seedless raspberry jam..

if you use a 13 x 9 pan use the whole jar…8 x 8 pan use half of jar..I use this Jam…

bake at 325 for about 20 minutes…take out of the oven when done..while still hot.. sprinkle on…

Wait about 10 minutes…and then swirl melted chocolate and raspberry together

Now…. lick the knife…YOU know… you want to!

I had to also lick my camera len.. because… I’m a dork… I got chocolate all over my camera while taking these pictures!

 

Chocolate Toffee Bar

You need the above shortbread and…

I used the whole can…for a 13 x 9 pan…take them out of their wrappers and put into blender to chop into smaller bits…..pat shortbread into pan…sprinkle on the toffee bits…bake 10 minutes at 325…then sprinkle on chocolate chops..bake another 10 minutes…let cool an few hours and then cut into squares..

MORE recipes  coming soon….

 

Candy cane cake pops

Snowmen cake pops

Snowball cake bites

 

 

Chocolate cake bites with pretzel sprinkles

 Pecan Carmel.

 Sugar Cookies

 Merry Christmas to all

Love,

Janice

My latest Obsessions

I’m currently obsessed with quite a few  things.

 

 I’m having a lot of fun making Cake Pops!

  I find myself singing a little song while I make them.

It goes a little like this.

Bake  er  ella

 you’re as lovely as your name

~*~Bakerella~*~

All hail the mighty Bakerella,

 I just love this book!

Here are a few of the cake pops I’ve made.

For my first attempt, I made these for my daughters baby shower.

I made these for Halloween.

I plan on making these for Thanksgiving.

If you haven’t tried making cake pops yet,

  I can highly recommend it.

 They’re the hit of every party, and ever so yummy!

~*~

Soon the Holidays will be here

and Being the nut job that I’am

 I have a new Christmas decorating theme.

I think it would best be described as Winter Wonderland.

I live in Southern California

So the closest I get to icicle’s, snowflakes and snowballs are the kind you buy at the store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Crystal Snowflakes

 

  Feather Poofs.

 

 Glamorous snowballs

 

 

 

How cute is this peacock?

Yes, there really are white peacocks, I saw some while traveling in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been going gaga for Mercury Glass, if you want some I suggest you act fast, before I buy  it all!

XOXO,

Janice

Octoberfest 2011

Lets face it

Octoberfest is a great excuse for eating and drinking!

Homemade Gingerbread cookies

 

Homemade Pretzels

 

Cheese and crackers

 

Pickles!

 

Was it a brat or a cheddar wurtz?

 

German wine to wash down the food

 

Brat, Sauerkraut, German Potato salad, German Goulash

 

Fraulein Stee, Fraulein Vivian, Frau April and Frau Janice

 

The reason for the Octoberfest party..Chad's Birthday!

A good time was had by all.

We laughted

We drank

And we ate too much!

 

Auf Wiedersehen!

XOXO,

Janice

 

Top Chef Challenge,,,,with Chef Fabio and Lisa Vanderpump

This past Sunday I went to a Top Chef Invasion in Hancock Park, CA.  It was to benefit the glaad Organization.

  Being a Top Chef fan I knew I had to be there!  Especially since Fabio Viviani was going to be there, and when I found out that Lisa Vanderpump was going to be hosting the event, I knew I couldn’t miss it!

  I’m big a follower of Fabio because his restaurant Cafe Firenza is located in Moorpark, the town where I have lived for the past 25 years.   I’ve been to the restaurant many times, and took a cooking class at Cafe Firenza before Fabio became a celebrity Chef, known for his appearances on Top Chef.

*The adorable couple*  Lisa and Ken 

 The always charming, beautiful and witty Lisa,  is my favorite Real Housewive. 

Love You Lisa! 

The Event was held at a private home in Hancock Park.

A food station  from  Border Grill with  chef  Susan Feniger

   Susan was the first celebrity Chef I followed.  Love you Susan!

 

Some beautiful Macaron’s

I couldn’t resist the raspberry ones..Yummy! 

 

Time for the Top Chef Challenge with Chef Antonia Lofaso and Chef Fabio Viviani.

 With the help of these Ingredients,  both chef’s cooked with a time limit of 10 minutes to come up with something delicious

And The winner of the Top Chef Challenge   *Golden Whisk*

 Goes to Chef Antonia (smiley) Lofaso.

I call her smiley because the girl is always smiling

   Congratulation Antonia!

P.S.

 And the award for best shoes goes to ……. Lisa! 

  This girl knows how to rock a pair Louboutin’s!

And Honorable Mention goes to…this guy!

For his amazing boots.

P.S. Thank you Bravo

XOXO,

Janice

Happy 3rd Anniversary,,,,, do it duckie style

July 2oth was the 3rd anniversary of my beautiful daughter April and her wonderful husband Chad.   I decided to make a cake for them to celebrate the day.  I knew what flavor I would make,   ( Lemon)   but I wasn’t sure how I would decorate it.

At first I thought I would do a lemon theme,  but then then I realized that idea might make them start thinking that I thought their marriage was a Lemon, which it’s not!    So I tossed out that idea.      My next thought was to go to Michaels  and check out the cake decorating department,  which I did,  but nothing inspired me.     I started wandering the store when  I spotted the wedding area.   Hum…….everything was the usual   * Yawn*  type of stuff,   till I spotted some cute rubber ducks that were dressed like a bride and groom!

 PERFECT!!       Then I spotted some cute Martha Steward Daisy’s to help cover up my lousy icing job.   I thought the cake needed a little something more so I went back to the wedding section.  It was then I noticed the baby section was right next to the wedding area. 

 Duh!       babies come after weddings right!   

    At least that is the order you hope for! 

 Then what do my wondering eyes spot?     Cute little baby duckies!  OMG!      this is so perfect, my daughter is almost 5 months pregnant  but we don’t know what the sex of the baby is yet.

  I’m hoping it’s a girl, and I keep telling my daughter it’s a girl……. 

So I buy one container of girl duckies     and one container of boys.

I thought how perfect,   this cake will tell a story.  I started crying at the thought of how wonderful of a day it was and how thankful and happy I was to have my first grand baby coming in a few months.   I’m such a cry baby!

But I couldn’t decide on how to incorporate the baby duckies on the cake.

It's a girl!

Or…. 

It's a boy!

So…I left the cake without any baby duckies on it.    Because…..

  I had an idea to hold a baby boy ducky in one hand and a baby girl duck in the other hand and hold my hands  behind my back and let my daughter choose which hand!    Guess what hand she chose?

THE GIRL DUCKIE! …….  Just More proof that it’s going to be a girl!

 P.S   The cake was delicious!   White cake, with Trader Joe’s lemon curd as filling, and homemade butter cream icing….Super yum!

The End