Herc Oven XXL

Herc oven XXL

We recently had our power go out twice.  We’ve had some crazy windstorms around here.  Luckily, we weren’t without power for long, but I was immediately grateful we have this!  (Now flashlights and batteries… got to work on keeping those where I can find them!)
I think this is such a genius product.    It’s an oven… that runs on TEA LIGHTS.  Yep, tea lights.  That means you can run it 24/7, you don’t need sunlight like a solar oven, you don’t even have to use it outside!  There are no fumes, except of course the yummy bread baking.  I am so impressed with this thing.  And while we got it for emergencies we break it out and use it on occasion just for kicks.  So zombie apocalypse, bring it on.  😉

Titan Ready Water is the company name and right now he’s offering a crazy deal, $50 off their Helius Rocket Stove, $30 off the Eco Herc, and a whopping $90 off the Herc Oven XXL (this is the one I have).  Did I mention you can not only bake bread in this, you could even roast a WHOLE turkey? Oh, and it folds up to about 2 inches thick!

Herc Oven XXL

Click on the links below for the PDF flyers for more information about each product and the sale prices.

 

Eco Herc flyer

HERC XXL

HELIUS Rocket Stove

Time Timer Review

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I’m not sure this is considered a timer.  I think life changer is more adequate.  Time Timer sent me their newest timer the “Time Timer Plus” and we are totally sold on these amazing timers.  Having a kiddo with Autism, the ability to visually see that red section shrink as the time passes has made the difference between her understanding and not understanding.  I have used timers before for her to try to help her understand how long she needed to work on schoolwork, or wait to have time on the computer, etc.  Until using this timer it never seemed to make sense for her.
I think if you are using it for a child with special needs or even just kids in general, you’ll find it super helpful.  It is completely silent as it runs and you can choose how loud you want the buzz to be when time’s up, or opt for no sound at all.  The buzz is not annoying or super loud, but loud enough that you’ll notice it.  And I love that I can look across the room and see how much time is left on it.  The main difference with this model and their other models is that the face of this model is completely enclosed, which if you have young children who might mess with the face it is most definitely worth it.  They do carry other styles as well as watches and I think the small 3 inch timers would be very handy for when we’re on the go, and the watch might be the only one Amelia will do well with too.
Finally, a timer that works!  This thing is a life saver.  Go check out their website, timetimer.com to see all their great timers.

Using Springerle Molds (and a giveaway!)

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My hubby knows me too well.  It isn’t something sparkly, shiny, or even floral I want on a special occasion.  No, not even diamonds are my hearts desire.  If he wants to make me happy he knows all he has to do is pick out pretty much anything from House On The Hill.  It’s a little system we have. 🙂
I love the intricate designs, and I am always amazed at what I find on their website.
The fun thing about these molds is you can use them to make lots of different things, not just the traditional springerle cookies.  House on the Hill has a variety of recipes, which you can find on their recipe section here.  You also get a free recipe booklet when you spend over $35 on their site (I’ve managed to get.. a couple).  🙂

If you can’t wait to try making something with springerle molds, today is your lucky day.  Connie from House on the Hill sent me the “single acorn” mold to play with, and has another one for one of you!  Details at the bottom of this post to enter!

This mold is perfect for fall, and I decided to make spicy gingerbread instead of springerle with it to start.
Tip: Usually you brush your mold with flour or powdered sugar, but for darker cookies like gingerbread lightly spray with non stick spray so they won’t have a floury appearance. 

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I also used it to make a cupcake topper using marshmallow fondant, and I got to thinking it would work well for bars of cake or dessert as well.

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I used the baroque owl here, and LOVE how it looks.
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To make, just roll out your marshmallow fondant (fairly thick, almost 1/2″).
Then brush your mold with powdered sugar or lightly spray with nonstick spray.  Place the mold on the counter and a piece of fondant on top, then push into the mold.  Use a rolling pin to roll over it if needed.  Where the design is especially thick (like the acorn on the single acorn mold, or the body and head of the owl on the baroque owl) I added a piece of fondant to kind of fill in and support that deeper area.
Flip mold and fondant over and slowly separate.  Cut excess off using a cutter or pinking wheel.  I thought about adding some disco dust or coloring it, but I really loved the all white look on these.

I made some walnut cookies with the walnut mold my hubby bought for me last Christmas.  This is so pretty paired with the acorn mold as well I thought.
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Walnut Cookies

For the Cookies:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried orange zest (or fresh zest of 1 orange)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 T butter, softened
4 oz dark chocolate, melted
2 oz heavy cream

Make cookies: Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and zest in a small bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until well combined.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Add the flour mixture slowly and mix well.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Separate the dough into 4 sections and take one section out of the fridge at a time (the dough will come out of the mold easier if very cold).  Brush walnut mold with confectioners sugar and press a ball of dough into mold.  Scrape excess off back if needed.  Use the point of a knife to help dough out of mold.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

Make filling:  Mix all the filling ingredients together until well mixed.  Place a teaspoon of filling on the back of a cookie and add another, pressing together lightly.

Recipe adapted from House on the Hill

And for a non-food project you can use an air dry clay, such as Paperclay (House on the Hill sells it here) with the mold.  Stay away from Fimo, Sculpey, and such because they can take the finish off the mold.
After the clay was dry, I painted some with an antique gold paint (letting the paint be heavier in some areas, lighter in others, to highlight the details.)
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I also painted some dark red, then after drying I highlighted with the antique gold paint.  I glued them to loops of ribbon and they are my new favorite fall napkin rings!
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Giveaway Rules: To enter, just leave a comment on this post (with your email so I can contact you if you win).  One entry per person, U.S. Residents only.  You can enter now until October 5th.  Winner will be chosen at random and announced Monday October 7th on this post.
What would you make with this mold?

And the randomly chosen winner is…

Your 1 winners on “Using Springerle Molds (and a giveaway!)” are:

Andie M

Congrats Andie! I’ll be contacting you. 🙂

Walnut Cookies

Ingredients

    For the Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried orange zest (or fresh zest of 1 orange)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
    For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 oz heavy cream

Instructions

Make cookies: Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and zest in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Gradually beat in sugar. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture slowly and mix well. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  • Separate the dough into 4 sections and take one section out of the fridge at a time (the dough will come out of the mold easier if very cold). Brush walnut mold with confectioners sugar and press a ball of dough into mold. Scrape excess off back if needed. Use the point of a knife to help dough out of mold. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
  • Make filling: Mix all the filling ingredients together until well mixed. Place a teaspoon of filling on the back of a cookie and add another, pressing together lightly.
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    http://mystainedapron.com/using-springerle-molds-and-a-giveaway/

     

    Laptop Lunches Bento Box review (AND COUPON CODE!)

    I recently have done a lot of research trying to find some bento boxes for my family.  I love the idea of food being seperated, espcially for Amelia, since that is something Autistic kids struggle with.  After a lot of looking around, I settled on the bento box system from Laptop Lunches.  And I am super happy with them.

    While I don’t normally post on a friday night, (especially when I’m trying to get the site looking decent… still working on that one) I have a sweet deal for you I had to share!  

    Laptop Lunches is offering my readers a discount of 10%!   Just use the coupon code ” msabts” , good through September 1st.  

    I purchased the “bento lunch box 2.0”  which includes the outer case, and 5 inner containers, 2 lg containers (1 with a lid), 2 medium containers (1 with a lid), and a small dip/sauce container with a lid.)
    I also added an extra large container (look under replacement parts for these)  which you can swap out the 2 lg containers for, or add for days you need another container.  You can also buy “bento buddies”, which are extra containers that include one of the extra large containers, but for us we just wanted the extra large one for extra and not the others.

    I wasn’t sure  they would be large enough, but I have been pleasantly surprised and even realized other containers I’ve used didn’t hold nearly as much as I thought.  I have noticed a whole apple is usually too big to fit with the lid closed, but I just leave those on the side.  As you can see from the picture above, I use them with liquidy foods, like leftover posole  with no issues with leaking at all.  The lids hold everything in very well, I never have to worry even if it’s carried on it’s side about leaking.

    The dip/sauce container is amazing for condiments, dressings, dips, etc.  Sometimes I put a little balsamic vinegar and garlic olive oil in one for a dressing and I’m still amazed it doesn’t leak out!  I sometimes use this for dark chocolate dipped berries for a treat in hubby’s lunch too.

    Amelia loves having foods separated, so these work really well for her.
    Not only autistic kids, but kids with sensory issues in general tend to have a lot of issues with foods mixing.  The bento box takes that stress away so you can focus on getting them to eat more healthy, not worrying about a “mixing” meltdown.

    Here you can see the extra large container compared with the outer case.

    
    

    BEST cherry pitter ever, and flash freezing cherries and berries

    I know it’s about the end of berry/cherry season and I almost didn’t get my freezer stocked this year.  I barely made it, luckily.  I know I would be very sad in a couple months if that happened.  I had to share a great find with you.  I have a new best friend for cherry season.
    I couldn’t resist buying a big box of cherries at the farm market but I had promised myself I would buy a new cherry pitter before I bought cherries again.  I found the Progressive Cherry-It Pitter at my local Bed Bath & Beyond store and liked that it pitted 4 at once.  My old hand held pitter mashed the cherries and was excruciating on the hands.  I have bad wrists from working in restaurants and those things are awful on them.  I was hoping for just a little improvement even.
    In just an hour or so I had pitted over 20 lbs of cherries and my hand didn’t hurt at all.  While Progressive boasts that it contains all splatter, I did find that a little got on the counter, but clean up was NOTHING compared to before. And it takes up almost no room.
    Let me show you how it works: Here you can see the metal x shaped blades that push the pits into the case below.

    You choose either the small or large holes on the tray for size of cherries you have:

    Then place up to 4 cherries in the tray:

    Push cover down to puncture

    And you can see only a small x is made in the cherries, they aren’t mashed at all because it’s spring loaded.

    The pits drop down into the tray below, and there’s a very small hole on the underside of the cherries where the pit is pushed out.  I dry the cherries whole, or lay out on a silicone mat lined tray and freeze overnight to flash freeze.  Then I put them in ziplocks or freezer containers.  These are my favorite.  Since I freeze alot of berries I use the half gallon size for them.
    This method also works well for raspberries, blackberries, etc.
    This way they won’t freeze together in a big clump and you can measure out exactly what you want when you want them.  I’ve also noticed they don’t get freezer burned as easily (or at all) when flash frozen.
    I use these for smoothies, milkshakes, muffins, baked goods, you name it!

    Hand Grinder and Cracked Wheat Bread

    I came across these pictures today, buried in the surplus of recipes to share.  I think they are from over a year ago!  I really love this grinder we bought from our trusty food storage expert, Jan at Healthy Harvest(On a side note, I’ve known Jan from when I was a young kid and she was a friend of my parents.  Amazingly knowledgable and willing to help you learn! If you have any questions give her store a visit!)
    I’ve been wanting a hand grinder for some time now, since my wheat grinder doesn’t allow me to change the coarseness of the grind.  This one was so easy my baby could do it!  (And she totally loved helping too!)
    As you can see we ground it fairly coarse.
    To make cracked wheat bread, just substitute up to one half of the wheat in your favorite whole wheat bread recipe with a coarser ground wheat.  It adds a great nuttiness and heartier feel to the bread.

    Review: Tortilla Land Uncooked Flour Tortillas

    I like to make as much of our food as possible from scratch.  Or at least attempt doing so. 
    But the truth is, sometimes I need a break.  Autism and sleep disorders go together like PB and jelly… like Mork and Mindy… like Halloween and candy… like.. well, you get the picture.
    Amelia wakes up around 1:30 to 3:30 (if I’m lucky) about every other night. 
    And that’s WITH a sleeping aid.  So having some quick options on hand for dinner are an absolute must.
    I saw these at Costco awhile back and gave them a try.  I like making homemade tortillas and soft wrap bread for taco night, but they do take some time.  (And truth be told, I’m not sure my homemade tortillas ever taste as good as these!)
    These tortillas can be frozen, and keep quite well. 
    I seperate them into stacks of 8, lay flat in ziplocks and freeze.  When I need some for dinner, just put a bag in the fridge for awhile to thaw, they peel apart easily, and I’ve never had issues with tearing or anything.
    I throw them on a griddle, and they take no time at all to cook, turning just once.
    At around $7 for a package of 44 they are definetely economical as well.  I forgot to mention, they are located in the refrigerated section. 
    When life gets a little crazy and I know I’m just not going to be able to make a time-intensive dinner, taco night is an easy solution for us.  I almost always have on hand the ingredients for it, and it’s the main reason I keep a few containers of precooked hamburger in the freezer.  My family loves it, and having warm, soft, fresh tortillas makes it feel alot more comforting.  I am not a fan of “fast food”, but this is a fast option I can get on board with.

    Review.. and Giveaway!

    When CSN Stores recently gave me a gift certificate to review a product, naturally I had a hard time picking something, as they have everything from Briefcases to spatulas to curtains!  I finally decided on the Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker from cookware.com and LOVED it!

    It is definetely one of my new favorite kitchen tools.  I don’t love yogurt.  And my hubby? He REALLY does not enjoy yogurt.  EVER. NEVER, EVER.  But after I made some homemade we were both not only eating it plain, I am using it in all kinds of recipes.  We now use it in place of sour cream even.  Now, usually, you wouldn’t be able to substitute yogurt without noticing.  But this yogurt is so creamy and delicous that you don’t care.   This maker is incredibly easy and I loved that it has glass jars instead of plastic.  I also bought an additional pack of jars so I can have one batch in the making while the other jars are stored in the fridge. You can even get an extra tier to add to the top if you want to be able to make 2 batches at once.

    And CSN Stores is giving me a $20 gift certificate to use at any of their 200+ online stores to give to one of you lucky duckies!  (If I were you I would get the yogurt maker!)
    To enter, just leave a comment on THIS post by midnight on Friday the 19th with your email so I can contact you if you win. So, what would you get if you win?
    Winner will be announced this weekend sometime. Good luck friends!
    Winner is… #2! I’ll send you the info, congrats! Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Upcoming Review!

    I’m excited to do a review coming up for CSN Stores.  You can get anything from a bar stool to silverware there since they have over 200 online stores. I’ll be reviewing a Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker.  It’s fairly inexpensive, has good reviews, and I’m excited to finally get around to making homemade yogurt!

    I’ve been curious about trying one out for awhile now, and I’ll let you know how I like it!

    Giveaway Winner!

    And the winner of the CSN Stores giveaway is… (with a little help from Lucy Goose)
    Drumroll please….
    Comment number TWO!
    Kristy said…
    I am excited for you having a giveaway. Thank you for all the yummy recipes too.
    Congrats Kristy!  Have fun spending your gift at CSN Stores
    And thanks everyone for the great feedback on the site- I’m so glad I can help others get cookin!
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