Monday, March 28, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

Hello everybody! I am finally back with a recipe. And boy is it a good one. First, I thought I would explain a little bit of where I have been.
I have been sick as everybody knows. And I think it's starting to clear up because I can taste again. Haha. However, I was a different kind of sick before this head congestion thing struck. Good ol morning sickness. That's right! Hubby and I are going to have a baby! While m/s was kicking my butt, I didn't do much cooking and wasn't interested in lots of food I usually am- so I didn't really feel qualified to write any food related posts. Well now I am on the track back thanks to food cravings (and less aversions, thank God).
Lately I had been thinking about making something with the dried cranberries in my cupboard. Then the other day while spending time with a friend at a coffee shop, the barista was passing out samples of cranberry orange scones. Yum. I've had these before and they are totally one of my favorite scones. Okay, cranberry orange scones it is.

This morning I began searching for a good reciple- preferably one that I already had all of the ingredients for. Then there it was. I had everything it needed in my kitchen. It was go time. I followed the recipe exactly. There really was no need to deviate from such a simple recipe. Glad I didn't because boy are those scones yummy! And they are literally fresh from my oven right now. I just finished eating my first scone while writing this paragraph. :)

Cranberry Orange Scones
recipe by Brown Eyed Baker

1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 1/2 c. + 2 tbl. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt (I forgot to add this since I was hungry for some scones and in hurry!)
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1 c. heavy cream
1 tbl. melted butter
some more granulated sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.
With your fingers, rub together the granulated sugar and the orange zest in a large bowl until everything is all nice and incorporated.
Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix together thoroughly. Mix in the cranberries.
Add the heavy cream and stir until combined. Lightly knead the dough on a lightly floured surface just until everything is combined. Too much kneading leads to a stiff and less light and fluffy scone.
Now you can pat the dough into a 8-inch circle and cut said circle into 8 even wedges. Place the wedges on the baking mat a couple inches apart. I like the look of round scones (that then puff out with the rigid edges) so I divided my dough into 8 portions and formed them into slightly flattened balls and placed them on the baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the scones with the melted butter and lightly sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they have puffed and are starting to gain a light golden brown color.
Allow to cool on a baking rack and enjoy. Yumm!!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Make Mine Chocolate

Since I am still sick and starting to regain the ability to smell and taste (there was about a week there where I couldn't smell or taste a darn thing- really makes food blogging difficult!) I want to write about something very close to my heart.
I realize this may sound weird for some of you, so let me give you a little history about me. Time to open up on the world wide web (kinda freaky).....
Growing up, I always had cats. I loved cats and I still love cats. Animals were always treated as a part of the family. They were spoiled, they went to the doctor and above everything else, they were and are loved.
Having pets always filled my heart with happiness. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way because as I got involved with the veterinary field I got to meet others that felt the same way I do about their pets- dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, yada yada yada.
I cannot wait until I can work in a veterinary setting to improve the life of animals, and by doing that, improve the life of the people who love them.
Okay, so how does all of this relate to rabbits you ask?
This story begins May of 2009. My at the time boyfriend and I were taking a walk around his neighborhood when he spotted a little brown rabbit- definitely not a wild jack rabbit- hoping along in someones yard next to a small family walking in the opposite direction of us. He asked if it was their rabbit, but it wasn't They had no clue it was even following them. So I walked up and scooped up the bunny into my arms. He didn't try to flee. He wasn't all skin and bones. Just a cute little rabbit that didn't know what was going on, probably looking for something to eat. Boyfriend and I walked around the entire neighborhood knocking on doors to see if anyone was missing a bunny- but those that answered declined. At this point it was getting dark and there was no way I was going to just set the little rabbit back down on the ground and walk away. I was instantly attached.

Just relaxing on the floor

Sammy grooming me

We brought the bunny back to my boyfriend's house because I had cats back at my parents place where I lived and I knew that predator animal wouldn't mix with prey animal very well. At least not initially.
We decided to keep Sammy and as soon as possible brought him to the vet. He was about 4 months old or so. Quite possibly someones baby Easter bunny that they decided they didn't want anymore and just set "free". I began studying up about rabbits immediately. I wanted to make sure that I was able to give our new little rabbit everything that it needed. Growing up with cats is a lot different than rabbits.
I have since learned so much about rabbits and how good of a house pet they really can make. But one thing has always been a soft spot for me- people that buy rabbits for young children, only to realize that a rabbit actually does requite some work and usually DON'T like to be held and then surrender them to a shelter to be euthanized or just set free in the backyard. It frustrates me to no end.
I see my little Sammy, and now also my little Daisy Marie and can't imagine how someone would not want to learn about and give them a great home. Sammy is very loyal. The little boy follows me around when he is out during play time. He gets back into his hutch with ease when it's bed time, and even likes to play chase.
Daisy is a little feisty girl. She loves her play time, but is still a little shy.
Here is where Make Mine Chocolate comes in. This website helps to inform anyone who is thinking of becoming a rabbit owner for the first, or third, or whatever time a little about what you are actually getting yourself into. Then the reader can decide if they would rather just have a chocolate bunny for Easter than a real life one.
Rabbits really do make wonderful pets. They each have different personalities like cats and dogs. Speaking of, they can (with some training and supervision) get along just fine with most cats and dogs.
Now that I have two bunnies of my own, I honestly can't imagine life without rabbits!
If you, or anyone you know is thinking about bringing a cute little bunny into your home for Easter, or for whatever reason, please check out Make Mine Chocolate and really think about the decision! :)

Other great rabbit resources:
My House Rabbit
House Rabbit Society
Rabbits Online- Forum

If you have any rabbit related questions, please send me an email. I'm not a vet, so I don't have all of the answers, but I would love to help if I can. :)

Baby Daisy next to a mug

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fortune Cookies

Happy Mardi Gras to everyone!! I don't have a recipe for King Cake, but I have another quick and fun recipe for everyone to try.
I love fortune cookies. It's always so fun after going out for Chinese to sit around the table with friends and hear the fortunes that each other received. I had no idea how easy they were to make until my high school foods class when we got to make them one day. Years later I can still remember how much fun I had making them and so I wanted to share the recipe with you. I don't know where this specific recipe came from- it was probably one of those just passed out in class and somehow all these years later I managed to keep it.
You could easily write up fortunes of your own- or even some announcement you would like to make on small stripes of paper and stick them in the cookies when you fold them up.
Since we are now in the year of the rabbit, I thought it would be nice to show pictures of my babies.



Yes, I have been looking for a reason since I started the blog to stick pictures of my rabbits in here. Since we are making fortune cookies and it's the year of the rabbit- what a better opportunity? :)

Fortune Cookies

1 egg white
1/8 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 c. all purpose flour
2 tbl. granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet- or put down one of those handy silicone mats. Also have out a muffin tin as this will be what we set the cookies in to cool off and harden up.
Mix together the egg white and the vanilla until foamy. Sift in the remaining ingredients and blend together thoroughly.
Place a heaping teaspoon of the batter on the cookie sheet in three or four places- about four inches apart. Thin out the batter into a bigger circle with the measuring spoon. You want to be able to just barely see through the batter.
Bake for 5 minutes until the edges just start to turn golden and the top looks dry.
Take them out and fold in half so you have a half circle, then take the two points and pull them together. (This would be the perfect time to slip in your paper fortune.)
Set the cookies in the muffin tin to finish cooling- they won't harden up as much as the cookies you get at the restaurant, but they will be very tasty.

Once you have made a round of the cookies, you can adjust the amount of batter on the cookie sheet as well as the thickness you spread the circles into to your liking. More batter = bigger cookies. :)


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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Buttermilk Pralines and Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters

Today is the last night for my decorating basics class. I'm still on the road to getting better from this cold. I really really dislike coughing. I think I have done enough of it in the last three days that I shouldn't need to for the rest of the year.
So to celebrate the last day of my cake decorating class, I thought I would post about some tasty candy that is good any time of the year. I made this around Christmas time- but they would be just as great for Easter or even a birthday. Make up a bunch and wrap them individually for Halloween.
The first recipe I found on (Better Homes & Gardens) while looking for something to do with the buttermilk I had in the house. The second came from Food Network a long long time ago. I actually have it hand written on the back of some piece of paper somewhere in the kitchen. Luckily, the recipe is super easy with very little ingredients.

Buttermilk Pralines makes about 3 dozen or so
(recipe from

2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. buttermilk
2 tbl. butter
2 c. pecans, slightly chopped (you want to have lots of big pieces)

Spray the inside on a heavy 2 quart saucepan with nonstick spray. Combine the brown sugar and buttermilk in the pan and cook over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Carefully attach a candy thermometer to the pan and lower the heat to medium low. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, or soft ball stage.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the butter, but don't stir. Let the mixture cool until the thermometer reaches 150 degrees F. Once cooled down, take out the candy thermometer and quickly stir in the pecans. Doing this will further cool down the mixture, so you have to work quickly from here. Beat the mixture with the wooden spoon untul the candy feels like it's thickening, but still looks glossy.
Drop the candy by tablespoonfuls (smaller if you desire) onto wax paper a couple inches apart because the mixture will spread a little. If the mixture in the pan begins to stiffen before you can finish scooping it out, mix in a couple drops of hot water at a time until the consistency you need returns. Let the pralines cool until set and then store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters
(The amounts are estimates. You can use more or less almonds, more or less chocolate as desired)
recipe adapted from Food Network

1/2 c toasted slivered almonds
24 individually wrapped caramels, quartered
1 c. chocolate chips

Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the almonds among 24 muffin wells (less wells if you want more almond per each candy).
On top of the almond slivers, place 4 of the pieces of caramel. This amounts to one caramel per candy. If you overfill the wells with almonds, the caramel won't be able to reach all of the almonds.
Pop the pan in the oven and watch carefully. About 5 to 8 minutes and the caramel will be melted. If left in the oven too long. it will all burn. Remove from the oven and let the candies cool just until hardened and easy to handle.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip each almond cluster in the chocolate with a couple forks and set on some parchment or wax paper to harden. Store candies in an airtight container.

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