Monday, May 28, 2012

Batter Up! Colourful Cupcakes!

It feels as though is has been raining non stop. Baseball games have been cancelled, shoes have gotten know the drill.  Tonight the Boy and Hubby went to a concert and I got the evening to myself.  What did I do with my time to myself you ask? I baked cupcakes.  A friend's daughter is having her birthday party this weekend and they have asked me to bake the cupcakes so I wanted to play around with some colours in the batter.  I keep seeing these lovely multi-coloured and swirled cupcakes everywhere and it is high time I gave them a go.

Tonight I played with the colours of our favourite Major League Baseball team: The New York Mets! Orange and Blue were the colours of choice!!

So simple.

So easy.

So much fun.

Make your favourite white or vanilla cake batter. (Boxed cake mix is just fine)
Divide the batter into different bowls, one bowl per colour. Add a healthy dab of gel colouring (I used Wilton) and mix until the colour is well distributed.

Alternate colours into your cake pan or cupcake tins.

Swirl with a toothpick.

Bake as normal and allow to cool.

Mix up or favourite icing (or use a container of white icing)
Prepare an icing bag with a swirly type tip and paint the inside seams with gel colouring. I used a wooden skewer and that worked perfectly. Make sure to get more colouring than you think you will need into the seams.


The boys just came home from their concert and were giddy with joy about the Mets colours....

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.  (Stay dry)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What's Going On Around Here?

Baseball season is in full swing in more ways than one in the Little Kitchen.  Not only is the Boy playing ball, he is working at Shaw Park as a fan services rep for Winnipeg Goldeyes games! It really is the perfect job for him.  He gets paid to be at a baseball game, chat with people, and dance his heart out while pumping up the fans and cheering for our local team! (He also gets to throw out the free promo items to fans and help with tarp duty during the rain....he'd probably do all of that for free but we won't tell the organization that....) And yes, I will be attending games for the Boy's section so I can be a proper parent and harass is not only my job, but my duty!

 Have you ever felt so busy you put a whole bunch of things on the back burner while the front burner is on high? Have you ever found a whole bunch of pictures on your memory card and think "Hey, I still need to write a post about that?"....yeah, me too. I'm not sure if I really am that busy, or just think I am that busy, or just over thinking my blog so much that I'm not writing as much as I should be....sigh..... Have you ever then had your memory card act up and not work at all?  Yeah, me too! Life is good though. School is almost coming to an end for the summer.  Summer is so close, I can almost taste every last BBQ'd bit of it.

The other thing is full swing is BBQ season and we couldn't be happier! You may remember last summer's awful experience where some jerk stole by BBQ from my yard while we slept. Well, we lucked out with end of season sales and found ourselves a nice purty (and ginormous) BBQ.  You may also recall that I spent quite a bit of time out at the Little Cabin in the Woods BBQing up things such as bread and bannock as well as pizzas and all sorts of things at home.  This year I am hoping to keep the BBQ going.

As I mentioned earlier, my photos of the recent BBQ dinners vanished into oblivion with the malfunctioning memory card....oh well. Now I get to keep on cooking and taking photos!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Rum for Mom

Today I was spoiled rotten. We walked around the river walk at the Forks, bought some new yard furniture, and relaxed in the yard.  I even finished the book I was reading and can now move on to more blog reading.  I now have the evening to myself as the boys went to the Van Halen concert so now I am honouring my Mom's memory by sipping a rum based bevvie in the yard!  This one is another ginger syrup concoction!

Squeeze of lemon, squeeze of lime, cilantro leaves, 1/4 cup ginger syrup, 1 oz rum, top it off with cold club soda!

Happy mothers' day to all  moms out there!

Miss you tons Mom, love you even more.
Christmas with Mom and my sisters...I'm the little one in the middle!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ginger and Spice and Everything Nice: Homemade Ginger Syrup

Lemon lime basil with raspberries
 Way back in the dead of winter we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Hawaii and I am still day dreaming about going back.  Now that the sunshine is here and the grass is green, I am dealing with life off the island a bit better than before.  One of the tasty things we tried at the Honolulu famers' Market was a homemade ginger ale concoction from Pacifikool that was absolutely fabulous.  Ginger syrup mixed with sparkling water (or club soda) and flavoured with lime, berries, basil....I believe the boy took his cup back to that booth for a refill!

Blackberry mango lime ginger ale

Not only is ginger tasty, it also has huge health benefits if consumed regularly. Ginger is beneficial for the gastrointestinal system, motion sickness, arthritis, and it also is an antioxidant and can help boost the immune system! Those are just a few of the benefits of this spicy little rhizome! Find out some more info at these helpful websites:

World's Healthiest Foods

Health benefits of ginger

I looked up a whack of different recipes online and found pretty much the same basics: make a simple syrup infused with ginger.  A simple syrup is basically equal parts sugar and water boiled until the sugar dissolves and cooled down.

Here's what I did:

Wash then chop up a big ole rhizome of ginger into smallish pieces and place in a pot. ( To peel, or not to peel? The first time I made this, I peeled the ginger but the second time, I washed it well and chopped it up. I didn't notice a difference. This is strictly a personal preference)
Add to this pot:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
Bring to a boil, slap a lid on it, reduce the heat to medium, and let it steep for about an hour.

Allow the syrup to cool before draining it and storing in the fridge. This syrup hasn't lasted more than 1 week, because we keep using it up so quickly! Every recipe seems to say something different. Some say 2 weeks, some say they've successfully kept ginger syrup for 6 weeks in the fridge.

I have been using about 3 to 4 tbsp of syrup and topping the glass up with club soda. (I also squeeze some lime into the bottom of the glass first.

Other tasty add ins we've used this week:
  • fresh basil leaves
  • raspberries
  • backberries
  • mango
  • mint
  • lime
  • lemon
 When using the add ins, make sure to muddle everything at the bottom of the glass first, then add the ginger syrup, then add the club soda. (muddle is fancy talk for 'smash things up a bit')

You can test things out and use the amount of syrup you feel tastes the best. In general I have been using 4 tbsp to 1 cup of chilled club soda (1/4 cup syrup to 1 cup soda). I have made syrup twice in the past week now and have been making different concoctions ever since!

Mango lime basil

 I really love the hint of warmth left after drinking this. I find I prefer this to the prebottled brand names becaues I can really taste the ginger.  Mix it with all those add ins and the flavour possibilities are endless!  Now I just have to play with adding the liquor and my summer is all set!

Here is a few sites I looked at while deciding in what to do with the ginger.

Joy the Baker
Martha Stewart

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!