Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Half a hog

We recently purchased half a hog. I'll just let that soak in for people who might think it's strange...
It was Husband's idea, and admittedly not a 'bad' one. Other than the fact that I have NO room for anything else in my freezer right now. It's full of 23lbs of sausage, 15lbs of bacon, ribs, tenderloins, ham roasts, and pork fish (wth right? I have no clue either).
This weekend when we were trying to figure out what to eat, we both concluded that it should probably be pork.

True right? Well..unless you are adverse to pork, which we aren't.
The 3 ham roasts take up the most space in the freezer, so I decided to take one on. However, even though I love ham..I'm not very experienced with it. Deli ham, Christmas/Easter ham, Granny's ham salad (which isn't even ham, it's bologna)..I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. So I called up my Dad and he told me to just cook it like a roast, b/c it IS a roast. And I found out he was right. It was a Sunday ham dinner, and it was good, really good!

Maple and BBQ Roast Ham
3-4lb ham (ours had 2 bones, fat, and skin on it-but just helped with the flavor)
granulated garlic
black pepper
bbq sauce*
maple syrup*
cajun seasoning

Oven on 375 (to start) and my ham was still partially frozen.
I put some garlic and pepper in the bottom of my roasting pan (the only pan I had that was big enough). Put in the ham and added more garlic and pepper to the top of it. Then added about 4 cups of cool water. Topped it with aluminum and put it in.
And I waited about 3 hours.
Up the heat to 425
I removed it and added 1 cup of maple syrup* and 1/2 cup bbq sauce*, covered the foil back and put it back in.
1 hour later I removed it again, removed the foil, and added another cup (the rest of my) syrup and a good shake of cajun seasoning.
This time when it went back in the oven, I left the foil off. I also 'basted' it with it's own juices about ever 15-20. Gave it another 45 minutes in there, then took it out to rest.
Let it rest up and cool-
Remove the skin/excess fat/bones (the dogs were happy that night!). Slice/shred the meat.
Oh..also right before I upped the temp I added in about 8 medium russet potatoes (peeled and halved).

Now this is just the way I did it. You can flavor this however you want. I saw a recipe for a peanut butter glaze. Pineapple is a classic pairing. Honey mustard would be awesome I think.

Pig is a blank canvas...and we are the painters.

*the syrup and bbq sauce I used were both homemade. I'm sure that 2 cups of maple syrup sounds extreme-but when it's the kind you make from sugar, water, and maple flavoring, it's not as intense as the real stuff. Also my bbq sauce..again homeade, VERY thin...so if you use a bottled kind, you might take a bit of the broth and thin it out a little. Or not and have a more intense bbq/maple taste.

And just WAIT until you see what I did with the leftovers!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Brazilian Lemonade

                   SO refreshing...such is a vanity shot...and yes that is a HUGE lime.
But this-
 Yeah..that's how most of my drinks end up. In my cup with my straw..it tastes the same whatever it's in..but this glass is WAY more practical for me!
Hubby and I LOVE Fogo De Chao it's up there as probably the #1 fancy restaurant right now...so good...it's a Brazilian place and they have this amazing lemonade. Thing is though..it's not 'lemon'...it's lime. I love it so much that I really don't care what they call it...as long as they keep making it. And now thanks to a new blog I found -I can make it at home!

Brazilian Lemonade
1 lime, cut into eight pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of ice
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of lemon-lime beverage

Take your first 5 ingredients, put them in a blender and blend ( I got until I can't hear any ice)-then strain the mixture into a measuring cup to remove the rind.
Now the original recipe says this is a two serving deal..I'm calling mine a one serving!
Pour 3/4 cup of lemon-lime beverage (*cough*Sprite*cough*) into a glass, add about 4 cubes of ice and pour over the 'mix'..give it a mix with a spoon...and take a long, smooth, drink of summery bliss.

Oh..and check out my little helper's new cooking-wear! (get wear..since she's wearing it?)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

BEST ever-Chewy Sugar Cookies

I've long been on the quest for (in my mind) the "perfect" sugar cookie. Not crispy, but not powdery soft. Substantial but not heavy...and slathered in frosting doesn't hurt either. Since I'm so often disappointed in sugar cookies, I've shied away. Since I have no patience, I assumed to get that 'perfect' cookie you'd have to chill, and roll, and blah-blah-blah.

But a couple weeks ago I was watching PBS and one of my favorite cooking shows came on...sorry Food Network..I love you, but PBS..well it's awesome. *pushes glasses up on nose and adjusts pocket protector* America's Test Kitchen..I LOVE it! They've got teams of chefs that really break down a recipe and try it a zillion different ways, then they give you the recipe for which way turned out best for them. This chewy sugar cookie does NOT disappoint. Ah..and does NOT need to be put in the fridge or rolled...also..no creaming method..in fact I didn't even use my mixer. Just my God given tools, wooden spoon, and a bowl.

Chewy Sugar Cookies (from America's Test Kitchen)

2 1/4 cups ap flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces cream cheese
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup veg oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Put sugar and cream cheese into a large bowl. Pour over melted butter, whisk to combine (some cream cheese lumps are ok). Whisk in oil. Whisk in egg, vanilla, and milk. Add flour and mix until it all comes together-don't overmix!
Roll into 2-tablespoon sized balls, place on greased cookie sheet, and flatten (I flattened with my fingers). Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes, turning the pan at around 7 minutes. As soon as you see that the edges are browning slightly..take them out!
Let them cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Let cool completely, then top with frosting of choice.
Note: ATK's original recipe had you roll the little balls in sugar before you flattened and no frosting (what?!). You can do that if you want to as well...but really if you have the frosting..why not use it? :)

My frosting of choice was the leftovers from the Triple Citrus Cupcakes...and I have to say..I'm not sure which I liked it better on..the cookies or the cupcakes! Slightly crisp on the edges, and chewy in the center. Heaven in cookie form.
The babies were even good 3 (that's right 3) days later (as long as they are kept in a ziploc or other container).

Remember, you've still got about 2 hours to enter the giveaway! Free brownies, come on!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Giveaway! Fiber One 90 calorie brownies

Brownies with ONLY 3g of fat, 90 calories, AND Fiber. Most important to me though? They taste FANTASTIC! There is no way I would ever think these babies only had 90 calories!
My husband is a bit of a fiber bar junkie. He eats at least 2 a day. I know right? He likes them b/c they fill him up at work, they are quick to eat, and hello...fiber. So when we got these in the mail...I knew I'd have to hide at least ONE box! Unfortunately..the kids found it and inhaled a few themselves....that's right..even my kids (3 and 1) LOVE these brownies!

 AND...that's right...the winner of this giveaway gets EVERYTHING pictured above! I got my goodies courtesy of MyBlogSpark! And you can too!
I'll pick the winner by random Saturday morning (the 25th of June). Make sure I have your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!

Mandatory entry: How do you make sure you get enough fiber in your diet??
My answer: Beans...lots of beans!

Additional entries (not required)-
Like Suzy's Cup-tin Creations on Facebook
Follow this blog publicly
Follow me on Twitter

Good Luck!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Triple Citrus Cupcakes

I'm all for giving credit where credit is due. And I know I've linked to her before here on Cuptin...but you all need to know...CB, well...she's my Cupcake Idol. My Cupcake Master. My Cupcake Martha. I think I just heard CB gasp all the way here in MO from CA. There...I said it. I'm not kidding. When I need a cupcake recipe...I'll flip through cookbooks first, and I might think about making one out of the book. But when push comes to shove...I check and see what kind of recipes CB has. True. Her red velvet...ROCKS my Husband's world. Her snickerdoodle cupcakes are requested again and again by my Ma and Brother. So a coworker of my husband asked me to make cupcakes for her daughter's 30th. And she asked for just vanilla and chocolate. Easy peasy. I'm all about trying to give fresh cupcakes...so I didn't bake them straight away...and she called last night and asked if she could change the order. Her daughter decided she wanted lemon. I lurve lemon. And I was happy to oblige the change.
I'd made lemon cupcakes before for a babyshower..and I'd used a box-doctor recipe, and they were good. But I felt like doing something more. So I went to the books...and I found a recipe and it sounded alright. Not fantastic...not lemony enough really. So I went to CB's. The heaven's opened and a beam of sunlight shone upon my computer screen when I discovered her Triple Citrus Cupcakes- I called up coworker and asked her "just HOW lemony can I go?" and I described the cupcakes as best I could...and she got excited. So I got to the store and got the necessary ingredients...got home, and got to bakin'!
Triple Citrus Cupcakes (by CB-iheartcuppycakes.com)
Made 24 cupcakes for me-
1 package Neufchatel cheese (like cream cheese)
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter (salted)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Combine N. cheese and butter, add sugar, orange zest, and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add in eggs one at the time-mix to incorporate after each addition. Add oil and mix completely-I let the KA-mixer go for a couple minutes.
While the mixer is working, combine your flour and baking powder in another bowl, and get your milk ready.
Add alternately...ending with flour.
I used my ice cream scoop to put these into cupcake liners (1/2 way full) and into a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes (turning at the 10 minute mark)

1/2 stick (1/4 cup)of softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and beat the heck out of it. I added a little bit of yellow food coloring b/c that was requested by the coworker!
Frost and enjoy.

Husband-who is generally just a chocolate or red velvet cake eater..LOVED them.
I thought they were awesome as well. Such a nice change, so summery, and so bright. The cake has that nice light orange flavor and the cheese adds such a nice flavor. The frosting though...OH the frosting...so mouth pukering and delicious!!

I can't say ENOUGH good things about CB. Her blog might be Iheartcuppycakes...but I hope she knows how much IheartHER! You rock CB! Thanks for another great recipe!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Two layer Sprite jello

See those lovely layers? Sheesh..I should have made this for St. Pat's day!
I pull ALOT of inspiration from other blogs. Each time I think I have an original idea...I search it and there ya go..10 blogs that have had the SAME idea...and MUCH better pictures than I have! *sigh*
A month or so ago...I found a Jello GENIUS. And her blog gave me the idea for this nummy jello treat!
Two layer Sprite jello
1 sm package lemon jello
1 sm package lime jello
1 container Cool Whip
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup sprite
8x8 pan

Add jello packets to the boiling water, whisk to dissolve. Add Sprite, add Cool Whip-and whisk until combined. The mix will be cloudy. It's supposed to look like that. Then magically when you pour it in a pan and put it in the fridge...it will separate!

It's cool, it's creamy, it's tart and sweet...it's Jello...but amped up a bit!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kitchen Sink Chicken Salad

 Let's talk about chicken salad for a minute. Growing up I had chicken salad one way, and one way only. Canned chicken + miracle whip (alot of it)-the end. And I had/have no problem with that. When I was a teenager and worked with a lady to moonlighted (moonlit?) at a sandwich shop and was told of crazy things like grapes and apples being in chicken salad...I thought she was insane. Then I tried it. Wow. Not that I don't love my Ma's chicken salad...but the different textures really worked so well!
I had baked some chicken for dinner, and we hadn't eaten all of it-so I decided to give it a go..and I put EVERYTHING I could think of in it. Well..not EVERYTHING...but close to....
Baked chicken breasts (that I baked with salt,pepper, and granulated garlic)
Lemon pepper
Walnuts (chopped)
Dried berry blend (SO good..has dried sweet cherries, tart cherries, blueberries, cranberries and strawberries)
A Braeburn apple
Some celery
A couple jalapenos (seeded and diced finely)
A couple garden fresh radishes (shredded on my cheese grater)
And Mayo...just enough for it all to stick together.
This morning I ate it for breakfast on club crackers w/some swiss cheese...yesterday we all ate it on toast sandwiches...and by "we all" I mean-myself, Husband, our two kids, my in-laws (that's 3 more), the guy helping us install cabinets, and my Aunt Jane. There was ALOT of salad. But it was so good. No really. It was amazing.
My Mother-in-law is really easy to please-she likes it as long as she doesn't have to cook it.
My Father-in-law though...to get a food compliment out of him, well that means you must have really done a good job...and even HE liked it! Yay!

While I was trying to get a good shot of the food (playing with lighting, what do you think?) Bubba was behind the baby gate cheering me on!