You see I was supposed to be going to a Christmas Craft Show on the weekend, but due to circumstances beyond my control it didn’t happen.
That means, that besides all the cool unique crafts and handmade stuff that I missed out on, I also didn’t get to buy fudge from some of the amazing fudge making folks that tend to frequent the Christmas Craft Show circuit.
I will also be missing another local Christmas Craft Show next weekend.
It’s not like I need fudge. I mean, really. Does anyone need fudge? No. Of course not.
Christmas Craft Show fudge is so good!
I could just make some fudge, I suppose.
I can never make it the way the super fudge makers make it, though.
It’s just not the same.
I have a decent recipe. A few, even.
There are plenty of recipes online.
There is no shortage of recipes, really.
There is merely a shortage of fudge.
I should just forget about it.
But I can’t.
Help me to feel less kooky.
Is there a treat-y food that you have very rarely, but that when you do have it it has to be made a certain way? Or come from a certain place?
Do you like fudge?
(Do you have some? Because seriously, I have needs!)
Feel free to share a recipe or your thoughts on fudge in the comments.
I will share my best fudge recipe here with you all another day, but have you seen this*?
*A very funny tweep – @evilpez4 – shared that and will be blamed in absentia for any and all fudge related weight gain this upcoming Holiday season.
Make Your Own Pizza Night is a long standing tradition at Chez Peady and I will not be the reason it stops.
Not being able to eat delicious, chewy, crispy, fluffy, flavourful pizza crust (without feeling horrible) has put a serious dent in MYO Pizza night for the last little while and, quite frankly, we’ve had a lot fewer MYO Pizza Nights as a result.
I have had rather hit or miss experiences with making gluten free crusts. I’ve made this cauliflower crust and had it turn out great, but I have also made this exact recipe and had it turn out terrible. There are myriads of cauliflower crust recipes now – most are still just a variation on the same theme – and I have yet to find a sure thing.
So this week when I knew we were going to reinstate MYO Pizza Night, I knew I needed to approach it from a more creative place.
First, I prepped the pizzas for my family using pre-baked pizza stone crusts and the toppings they enjoy most which we, pretty much, always have on hand. Everyone has favourites and MYO Pizza Night is a great time to get what you want!
Daddy-O likes lots of veggies, cheese, pepperoni, and fresh jalapeño slices. Muy caliente!
Thing 1 is a carnivore and if the entire pizza could be fashioned out of meats and cheeses he would be praising cheeses!
Thing 2 likes a variety of flavours just as long as it isn’t too spicy.
The easiest way for me to deal with this, usually, is to have everyone make their own, but in the interest of saving time (there was a movie in our FFFN* plans) I just used the pre-made crusts and whipped up two pies! One for Daddy-O (leftovers were today’s lunch!) and one for Thing 1 and Thing 2 to share (again, leftovers for lunch today!).
They turned out great** and everyone was happy with a very simple MYO Pizza Night to ease back in.
Now what the heck was I going to do?
The trouble with needing a gluten free option is that it does take a bit of planning and extra preparation. Oh look! Two things I almost never do for myself! Shocker, eh?
You know what I almost always do for myself though? Think. So, I thought about what I needed and wanted and came up with a simple idea.
I would make a Pizza-Alike. It would have a tonne of veggies and jalapeños and it would not have a crust at all. Weird? Yup. Delicious? You bet your sweet bell peppers, it was!
Here is what it looked like.
This is what I did.
I used a glass pie plate and lined it with pepperoni slices (you could use another meat as a base).
I added my cheese (mozzarella & cheddar).
I added sliced red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, some sliced jalapeño and a teensy sprinkle of parmesan.
I popped it into a 400 degree oven until it looked all melty, golden, yummy, and the pepperoni was crisp.
When it was ready, I removed it from the oven to let it cool a bit.
I sliced it into six wedges and placed them onto some paper towel and let them sit for a minute so some of the fat would be absorbed. (If you had a fat free or low fat pepperoni, based on this experiment, I’d say use that!)
Then I served up a few slices on a little plate with about a tablespoon of pizza sauce for dipping.
MYO Pizza Night Victory!
So tell me, are you gluten free? Do you eat low carb? Are there dietary restrictions *you* need to adhere to so you can be at your healthiest and happiest?
What alterations have you come up with so you can still enjoy your favourite foods?
Leave a comment and share with the whole class!
*Friday Family Fun Night. It’s a thing!
**The pizza crusts came from Costco and were an experiment. I was so happy they liked them. KISS! Simplicity rules!
Despite the fact that Thing 1’s trumpet book was missing, searching high and low was netting zero results, and I had pretty much resigned to the fact it was never going to be seen again.
It felt like a day for getting things done and since I had the car, had some errands to run, and some ingredients to restock, I headed to Costco.
I think that Costco on a Tuesday morning is your best bet. As compared to, say, Saturday – Oh! I see! This *is* the apocalypse – Tuesday was alright.
I typically put my budget blinders on as I walk through the door and focus on the needs (as opposed to the wants). Today was no different, though the list of needs was long, so it took some time to get out of there.
I promise I can justify every single thing that went into my cart. My splurges were a few gluten free ingredients so I can be well prepared for this journey of mine.
That is a weird word. It’s also weird that I consider basic ingredients to be splurges. Maybe it’s the sheer volume of stuff inside Costco. I’d like a bulk sized bottle of Lemon Juice. Sure I would, but I don’t want two. Where the heck would I put it?
It just feels so … so … excessive. It is weird, isn’t it? (But I digress …)
So, basics were covered (including the awesome chicken that went into our Taco Tuesday dinner!), meal plan ingredients were procured, and I completely avoided certain parts of the store.
Who does that?!
Actually, maybe it’s less weird and more practical… possibly even wise.
Then I caught sight of the Mums.
Did you know I was on Mum Watch? True story.
I have been looking for the giant Costco Mums since August. I am sure that when I was in Ottawa, if I waited until September I was out of luck! So, I am not exaggerating when I tell you I was thrilled to see so many beautiful Mums just waiting to come home with me. So, I did what any wise woman, who just so happens to be trying hard to remember to put herself on her own priority list, would do.
I bought two!
Tuesday was shaping up.
I came home and put everything away. Revved up the CrockPot. Put the giant Mums outside. Turned the pots. Turned them again, so they would be putting their best Mum foot forward. It was a sunny day and I felt very happy I went with my gut instinct and chose YELLOW*. It was a good choice. So pretty!
It was wedged between his dresser and the wall of the closet (which is where the dresser lives) because of course!
I went into the closet to assess the mess and before my heart completely stopped I saw the teeny corner of pink paper and my brain said, “Wait! Don’t die from the shock of the mess just yet. I think that is something.” (Thanks, brain! So specific of you.)
So, I reached down and pinched that little pink corner and whipped out “The King of Pride Rock“. No, no, *not* Mufasa, silly! The sheet music from band.. from last year… which is always tucked inside the trumpet book and ZOMG! THE TRUMPET BOOK!
Okay! I am done** with Tuesday! It’s been excellent and frankly, I do not want to tempt fate by asking for a single thing more.
How sweet it is.
Now, what kind of payback can I come up with to make sure this never happens again? Thing 1 owes me. I can’t get my time back, but I am sure there’s a life lesson*** in this whole scenario.
I’m taking suggestions.
*Well YELL is right in there, so you have to!
**Nope. I managed to get dinner going, go for a walk with my NS BFF, and just before bedtime took the jammified Things for a little drive to return library books and DVDs we had borrowed. The last time I returned DVDs, this happened. Tonight we saw a fawn. So beautiful! It’s been a lovely day.
Today is a very special day because two of my favourite people in the world – my NS BFF and my Ottawa BFF – celebrate their birthdays on March 6th. Isn’t that an awesome coincidence? I think so.
I always took it as a bit of a “sign” that Ottawa BFF was put in my path. She is generous, kind, smart, funny and knows more about wine than I could ever hope to know. We actually met because of one of her acts of kindness. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.
My NS BFF and I met in the first few weeks of our first year of university and we have been friends ever since. There’s nothing like a dry sense of humour and a mutual love of music to bond two people together so quickly! Also, you know someone is destined to be your BFF when you can call each other out on your B.S., pretty much right off the bat, which we did and it was awesome! Of course, there’s a story there, too, but I’ll also tell you that – wait for it – another time.
In honour of these very special women on their very special day, I am sharing a recipe for the most decadent and amazing chocolate cake in the universe… EVER! Yay, cake!
This cake is my NS BFF’s “Birthday” cake, made by her Mom every year. Isn’t that sweet? Since she is my BFF, I will not be telling you how many times this cake has been made. (Though, if you really wanted to, you might be able to figure out a round about number when you see the copyright information, but I digress..)
So, without further ado, I give you:
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
This is a rich chocolate cake that freezes beautifully and looks as good as it tastes. (Serves 8 to 10)
2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream (190 ml)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (3 x 85g squares)
1/2 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and beat for 1/2 minute at low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Then beat for 3 minutes at highest speed. Pour into greased and floured cake pans: 2 9-inch pans or 3 8-inch pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. For the frosting: In the top of a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate over barely simmering water. Remove from heat and cool. Add powdered sugar, then blend in sour cream and vanilla, beat until smooth.
Important Rules that Make this my BFF’s Birthday cake
Use a bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 – 70 minutes. Bundt pans make cakes fancy without anything “extra” at all.
The cake itself is very rich and doesn’t really need frosting. NS BFF’s Mom uses a chocolate glaze rather than the frosting.
A little dusting of confectioner’s sugar would be beautiful and is one way to lighten up this cake. Filling the centre with fresh raspberries or a variety of berries is also a nice healthy garnish.
This recipe is from a cookbook called “San Francisco à la Carte”* (p. 432), and though I have a scanned copy of the recipe, complete with sweet and personalized hand written notes from my NS BFF’s Mom (I like to think of these as “historical documents”), you can still find this cookbook by searching online and maybe, if you are lucky, at a second hand bookstore or yard sale!
As often happens in my life when I delve deeper into things I am interested in or working on, I discovered two very fun facts today about this book.
The first is that it was a Junior League of San Francisco project. I had no idea, as I had never seen the actual book before. This is interesting to me because another friend of mine – a new IRL friend – is a Junior League member here in Halifax and when I found the book online I had one of those “Eureka!” moments.
The second is that this cake recipe is featured in the beginning of “San Francisco à la Carte” in the suggested menus section, under “Barbeques-Picnics” as a part of a “Wine Country Picnic” menu. Ha! If that isn’t just perfect for my Ottawa BFF, I don’t know what perfect is!
Happy Birthday to my BFFs! My life is better with you in it and I am ever grateful for your presence.
Now, let there be cake!
“San Francisco à la Carte” Copyright 1979 by the Junior League of San Francisco, Inc. A Main Street Book published by Doubleday