Daily Archives: December 23, 2010

Tales From My Mother’s Kitchen

When asked what I was looking forward to most about coming home for the holidays, I would respond by saying my mother’s kitchen.

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Well, after my family and pets of course ;)

I’ve become accustomed to cooking and baking out of cramped apartment kitchens. I kid you not, my old place had a kitchen the size of a closet.

So coming home to my mother’s bright, spotless, spacious kitchen is something I always look forward to. Plenty of room for making messes and gorgeous light to take photos with!

I decided to take full advantage of it in order to make gifts for members of my large family. Read: two parents, two step-parents, two sisters, four step-sisters and one step-brother.

All those people can be hard on the wallet come Christmastime. Thankfully, some of them have a sweet tooth ;)

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First up is five ingredient puppy chow

This isn’t a very popular treat ‘round these parts, so I figured it would be something new and fun to give away. Plus you know me, the fewer ingredients the better!

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Another great thing about my mother’s kitchen are the 1970s kitchenware. Such as the bright orange plastic measuring cups featured above.

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Start off by melting together:

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter

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I did this in the microwave.

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Then put 9 cups Crispix cereal into a ginormous bowl. I never knew Rice Krispies made this cereal. I wonder if it’s different in Canada?

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Pour the chocolate mix over the cereal and gently stir. Some pieces will break but that’s okay. The smaller pieces will harden together into delicious clusters.

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Once everything is coated, start adding 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar to the mix.

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Keep mixing! Trying not to nibble on too many!

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You can spread this out onto a pan to let it dry. But that sounded like unnecessary dirty dishes to me, so I just put it straight into 1970s tupperware.

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My first time trying puppy chow and I am hooked! My family will be lucky if any actually gets gift-wrapped.

For the full recipe and directions click here.

Next up, I had the bright idea to make some nut butter for the fam. This is not a cheap alternative, as nuts are expensive. But the end results were worth it.

 

Maple Pecan Butter

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What you need:

  • 3 cups pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

This makes a lot of nut butter, so feel free to cut it in half if you’re a cheapskate like me.

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Roast the pecans in the oven right before you plan on making the nut butter. In my opinion, roasted nut butter is better than raw. Plus, it grinds better when roasted and still warm from the oven.

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Throw your two ingredients into your mom’s food processor. Ignore her vocal concerns about your past nut butter experiments starting fires and killing motors.

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Instead, blend baby blend.

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Keep scraping down the sides. Just when you think you can’t blend any more, blend a little more! It will take at least ten minutes. It will be a crumbly mixture for a long while before it finally turns buttery.

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Pecans and maple syrup were made to blend together.

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Sorry. No more bad puns.

 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter

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What you need:

  • 3 cups macadamia nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp canola oil (this is added so the chocolate doesn’t harden at room temp)

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Same deal as before, roast the nuts first.

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Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the microwave so it’s easier to blend.

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This will take no time to blend thanks to the addition of oil.

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Per usual, test the goods immediately. Bring samples to your mother to quiet her nagging protests from the living room ;)

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This is not what I picture a usual nut butter tasting like since macadamias aren’t quite as “nutty” tasting. It’s more of a sweet spread along the lines of a Nutella.

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The best part of making Christmas presents is saving a little for yourself!

The above are just my warm-up kitchen experiments. I just pulled a batch of these snickerdoodles from the oven. My first time baking and trying snickerdoodles – another sweet treat that isn’t well-known around here. Thus another unique foodie gift!

Tomorrow, my mom and I start our Christmas preparations with the turkey, meat pies, and Christmas Day breakfast. Then, on Saturday, my mother’s pristine white kitchen will turn into a firestorm of activity. Meat, gravy, sugar and wine will likely be all over the place.

And me? I can’t wait :)

 

Question of the Day: Are you giving away any foodie gifts this year?

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