Saturday, April 30, 2011

Winner of April's Iron Chef Challenge: Baking Powder



This month winners of the Iron Chef Challenge featuring Clabber Girl Baking Powder is..........


Philippines Inipit
from Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner

Judge April Osburn; Clabber Girl’s Culinary Classroom Chef had the following to say about this winning entry.
"I chose this recipe/blog because I thought the recipe was unique and the blog was well written. She told the history of the recipe and had great photos. She made several references to Clabber Girl Baking Powder and even had a link to our website."

Congratulations to the winner who will be receiving a Clabber Girl Gourmet Gift Basket. And, Big Thanks to Clabber Girl for being our sponsor this month. Be sure to follow them on facebook for all the latest tips, news and recipes. And I hope you will all come back next month with some great Ham recipes and our sponsor will be Dakin Farms!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

slow cooker cookbook giveaway

As I mentioned earlier this week it is my blog's one year birthday, but the birthday present is for all of you... my followers. I was recently notified that one of my recipes was printed in the cookbook Country Comfort: Slow Cooker Favorites.  This cookbook is full of over 100 delicious recipes for you to fix in your crock pot.

This give-a-way will close at midnight on May 6th.  The winner will be announced on this blog on Saturday May 7th and will be sent their copy of the cookbook.
And on page 5 of this cookbook you will see my recipe for Egg Brunch Casserole.  Who doesn't want to wake up to breakfast already cooked for you?!?!?
So you can win this cookbook and add to your collection, or it could make a great Mother's Day present.  All you have to do is already be a follower of my blog on GFC (which you probably already are) and leave a comment.  Your comment is your entry for drawing.  (One entry per follower through GFC.)

For an additional one entry follow a Latte with Ott, A on facebook, then come back here and leave me a comment telling me you did so.  My fanpage for a Latte with Ott, A on facebook is a fun place and will keep you up to date with all my gardening and baking tips!

Good Luck and Thanks for following!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tiling

A couple summers ago Ott, E and I were driving in Wisconsin and drove past a field that had some water standing in it. I knew it had been quite a while since it rained and while making small talk I said, "looks like they need to replace the tile in that field." Ott, E gave me that smug look and said, "In hilly areas, they don't tile fields as extensively in Wisconsin because the rolling countryside produces natural drainage." ..... Oh.... duh... I thought.

While I was so engrossed in the nice flat farmground in central Indiana; tiling was just a normal way of doing business so it never really occurred to me that other areas of the country might not use tile. So seeing as how the idea of not tiling was new to me; I figured concept of tiling fields may be a new to some of you.

In a flat area you can look out across a field and see to the horizon; and while it makes for pretty sunsets, when we have wet springs like we have had here lately it makes for some pretty wet fields. With few hills and fine textured soils; poor surface drainage causes water to stand in fields for an excessive amount of time. For this reason some farmers choose to lay tile. Tiling is an artificial drainage system. Think of this as giant pores that increase the rate of groundwater movement. Drainage can only occur when it is located below the level of the water table.
Above you see pictures of equipment that digs the trench that corrugated plastic pipe (see below) will be laid in.
The pipe has perforations on the underside that allow water to seep in from saturated soil.  The trench then backfilled and once the field is planted you can't tell it was ever there.

Specialized laser guided equipment is used to know exactly where lines should be laid as well as how deep to ensure pipes are below the season high water table.
While the subject of tiling may not be glamorous or entertaining, I hope it is a little bit educational and the next time you drive by a flat dry field I hope you will appreciate the work that's going on underneath the surface. 
This post was linked to: Farm Girl and Farm Friend Friday on Verde Farm

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our yard is blooming all over

I love the look our our yard in spring. The grass is green, the tulips are blooming and so are the crab apple trees.

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This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday on Live and Love Outloud, Wordless Wednesday on a Beautiful Mess and Wordless Wednesday on Pinke Post.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bloggy Brunch Birthday Party

Well, believe it or not, it's been one full year that I have blogging here at a Latte' with Ott, A.  What I thought would be a weekly posting of whatever Ott, E and I were up to; has turned into an outlet for recipe sharing, gardening tips, picture showcasing, tenderloin eating, fashion obsession, travel enthusiast, party planning, decorating, Iron Chef Challenges, farm life living, canning, and even some random give-a-ways. Whew.... makes me tired just thinking about it all. But I probably wouldn't have lasted as long as I have or tried some of the things I have this past year without some awesome bloggy friends!!! 

Yesterday I was able to get together with some of these friends/bloggers and celebrate our 1 year Blog birthdays together at our Bloggy Brunch Birthday Party. They are a great group of gals and if you don't already follow them, I hope you will stop by and check them out!!!

In this picture on the left you see Heather from 3 kids and lots of Pigs.  She is the creator of the Real Farmwives of America and Friends and can raise 3 kids, help her family farm and still get dinner on the table.  In the middle is Jeanette from Fencerow to Fencerow, the wine drinking diva herself.  And on the right is Mindy from Mindyanapolis 500 who is just getting started in the blogsphere but we are all expecting big things from her.

What's a birthday party without food. (I brought the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.)
Pictured in pink is our mentor, coach, cheerleader and all around technical support guru Cris from Goodeness Gracious.  And in blue is Lana from Walking the off Beaten Path.  Lana leaves the best comments, so if she follows your blog, you are sure to get lots of opinions, support, encouragement and laughs out of her.  And then in the lower left part of this picture is Ginny from Gin and Juicy Juice.  She has the coolest blog title ever and always has an entertaining read on her blog.
Pictured on the far right is Leah from Buyer Beware.  She is the Hunk of Meat Monday cookin' Momma, and is always cooking up something savory.  And pictured on the left is Megan from Gal in the Middle.  She has the most random blog in the bunch and makes me laugh every time I stop by for a read.
Pictured here is Mary Beth from Alarm Clock Wars.  She makes getting out of bed every morning look hard, but being a veterinarian look easy.  And as someone mentioned yesterday, she makes Farm Machinery look and sound Sexy.  (Don't believe me?!?! Check out her blog.)  And in the lower right corner of this picture you will see Big D from Who is the Grown Up?  She is raising teenage daughters and blogging about all the craziness that brings to life.
Standing on the right is the newly wedded dairy farmer in the group Liz from 2 Maids a Milking.  She bakes up the prettiest cakes around.  (You've got to check out her coach purse cake.)

Being a little camera shy was from Jen from Mess Hall to Bistro who you all know as my canning week partner in crime.  And Leotien from Four Leaf Clover Tales who is another really funny blogger.  Anytime you need a laugh just stop by and she is sure to put a smile on your face.

Besides food and presents and games at this bloggy birthday party there were also awards.  Each blogger voted on their favorite blog in 5 different catergories and I am honored to say that I recieved one of those awards.  The INspiration Station Award, which was awarded to the blogger who inspires, is creative, organized, passionate, encouraging.

I am very humbled to think that these other bloggers find my blog inspiring.  I daily tune in to read what each of them writes and have enjoyed the friendships I have developed with them in the past year.  They have inspired me to keep on blogging so each of them I say a heartfelt Thank You!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

banana chocolOTTe chip muffins

Today I made muffins for a "bloggy brunch".  Not just any "bloggy brunch," but a "bloggy brunch" with the Real Farmwives of America and Friends.  As I'm sure you've figured out farm girls can cook, and I'll blog more about the brunch later, but I knew I had to whip up something great.  So I found this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and I figured when you put chocolate chips in anything you know it has to be good. 

To start with I mixed up my dry ingredients.
 Then I put my wet ingredients in my stand mixer along with the bananas.  I figured I would let the stand mixer do all the work of mashing up the bananas.
 After adding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, I poured the batter into my greased muffin tins.
And then I sprinkled  walnuts on top of some of them before putting them in the oven, because some people don't like nuts. 
18 minutes later, I had a delicious muffin that turned out just great.
And here is a handy recipe card for you to print off and make these delicious treats for yourself. 
This post was linked to: Made it on Monday on Larks Country Heart, Muffins Monday on Talking Dollars and Cents, Melt in your Mouth Monday on Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, This Weeks Cravings on Mom's Crazy Cooking, 2 Maids a Baking on 2 Maids a Milking, Tasty Tuesday on Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Hearth N' Soul with A Moderate Life, Delectable Tuesday on Home Sweet Farm, Made from Scratch Tuesday on From Mess Hall to Bistro.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I'm Liking a Latte': Easter Treats

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This week I am Liking a Latte' these cute little no-bake marshmallow lamb cookies from Last Minute Mel.

Of course with lots of our own lambs running around on the farm, I'm partial to these cute little Easter treats, but they are so gosh darn cute I had to give them a shout out.

Picture from Last Minute Mel blog.


Mel has a great tutorial to show you how to make these cute snacks for your Easter get-together.  So be sure to stop by her blog for all the details.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

plOTTing and planting: Tulips & Pheasant Eyes

I have had tulips blooming for a while now and have more budded up and getting ready to bloom. So today I am sharing some pictures.

These are a type of Daffodil called a Pheasant Eye. 

This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday on Live and Love Outloud, Wordless Wednesday on a Beautiful Mess and Wordless Wednesday on Pinke Post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

peanut bOTTer brownies err... i mean peanut butter brownies

Firstly, I wanted to give a shout out to Everyday Ruralty for featuring me in her Barn Chicks who blog section today.  Head over there to learn more about my family's farm as well as other chicks who blog about life on the farm. (And she totally understands my obsession with my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer as she has two!!)

Around our house we are on a peanut butter kick, so this week I bring you a recipe for peanut butter brownies.

Peanut Butter Brownies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 eggs
1/2 cups butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, peanut butter, eggs, butter and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

Some variations you could add to this recipe would be only using chocolate chips instead of both chocolate and peanut butter chips. Also, I used creamy peanut butter, but if you used chunky that could give some more flair as well.

This recipe called for baking powder which ties in nicely with my Iron Chef Challenge for this month, featuring Clabber Girl Baking Powder.  Please check out the other great recipes linked up or link up one of your own.

This post was linked to: Melt in your Mouth Monday on Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, 2 Maids a Baking on 2 Maids a Milking, Tasty Tuesday on Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Hearth N' Soul with A Moderate Life, Delectable Tuesday on Home Sweet Farm, Made from Scratch Tuesday on From Mess Hall to Bistro.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ott, A's tips for baking with baking powder

Baking Powder is called for in a lot of recipes, but do you know what it does?  It gives the same action as yeast, but acts much more quickly.  It is a leavening agent that consists of a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and a moisture absorber (like cornstarch). It is used in batters where there is no acid present. such as many baked goods: cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, quick bread, etc.

Baking powder should be stored at room temperature in a dry place. A cabinet or pantry away from the sink or heat source (such as the stove, direct sunlight). Do not store baking powder in the refrigerator as it may shorten the shelf life due to condensation that occurs on the can.











One tip I wanted to pass along for measuring baking powder; when you first open a can of baking powder pull back the seal and bend it in half.  This will create a rim for you to use when measuring out your powder.  Simply scoop your measuring spoon down into the powder and pull out under the rim of your can flattening out your measuring spoon and giving you an accurate measurement. 
Baking Powder has a self life of about 24 months from the date of manufacture.  If you have older baking powder in your kitchen you can test it to see how effective it still is.  First stir the contents of the can to see if there are any lumps. Lumps are an indication that the baking powder has picked up moisture, and has started a reaction in the can. Next, stir 1 teaspoon baking powder into 1/3 cup of hot water. If it bubbles gently, it is fine to use.  If bubbles are few and far between, then you should probably get some new powder.

Other uses for baking powder besides baking: some use it as carpet freshener.  Simply sprinkle on your floors and vacuum up.  You can also pour some down your garbage disposal followed by some warm water to absorb orders. 

If you have any tips or hints for using baking powder I'd love to hear them, or if you have any recipes that call for baking powder be sure to link them up to this month's Iron Chef Challenge.

This post was linked to: Mingle Monday on Kd Buggie Boutique, Homemade Linky PartyMingle Monday on Add a Pinch.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge: Baking Powder Linky Party

The themed ingredient for April's Iron Chef Challenge is.............
baking powder

Rules: Chefs (aka bloggers) will prepare something using baking powder in the recipe, post the recipe along with pictures and any tips on cooking the dish. Posts must include two things: Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge Badge (code found in sidebar), and a reference as to where the recipe came from (cookbook or family).

Prize: The winning post will be announced on this blog the week of April 25th and the winner will receive a gourmet food basket filled with Clabber Girl products, including exclusive Clabber Girl mixes and Rex Coffee, valued at $100. 

Big thanks to Clabber Girl for sponsoring this event! Be sure to check out them out on facebook for lots of other great tips and recipes.

The Linky will be open from April 15th - 22nd.
Good luck and may the best chef win!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ott, E's request for a bunny cake


Like most cakes I bake as a newlywed; this one has a story behind it. But I'll get to that after I show you how I made a round cake look like an Easter bunny. In the interest of time I used a Duncan Hines Lemon Cake mix and tub of frosting. The yellow lemon color just looked fun and spring like to me.

After mixing up my cake, I poured the batter into my round cake pan. I have a big enough cake pan that it holds an entire cake mix. (This is really nice as it saves me having to make 2 separate layers.) I baked the cake and flipped it out onto a wire rack to cool.
After it cooled I cut the cake in half.  I then set the two halves of the cake cut side down on a cake plate. (I placed some icing on the inside of the cake halves to help them stick together.)


I then iced the cake entire cake with a tub on Duncan Hines Icing.
Next it is time to decorate. I used a big white marshmellow as the tail.
I used Jelly beans as the eyes and nose.  I then used chocolate sticks as wiskars. (but any of these decorations could be made from whatever else you have around the kitchen.)

Then I made ears out of scrapbooking paper. I simply cut the paper to look like ears, pinched the paper a little and stuck them in the cake.









Lastly I took shaved coconut and added some green food coloring.  (This is going to be my grass for the bunny.)
I placed that on the cake plate around my bunny cake. I then added some more jelly beans to look like Easter Eggs around our bunny.
Now isn't that a quick and easy way to make a cake look like a bunny. This cute cake could make a fun centerpiece or tasty dessert at your holiday table.
Now on to the story about the first time I made this cake for Ott, E. Last year on the Saturday before Easter; Ott, E and I were out on a walk. While we were talking I mentioned I was going to bake a cake for Ott, E to have for dessert on Easter. Ott, E asked me... "Are you going to make a bunny cake?"
"No" I said, while acting a little surprised at his comment. "I was just going to bake a cake."
"Oh" he said. "My mom would make a bunny cake at Easter time." I told him I didnt' have a bunny shaped cake pan and he explained that she didnt' either, she would just cut a round cake to make it look like a bunny. But he didn't know how she did it.

So I thought and thought and when my cake was done baking this is what I came up. I was quite proud of myself for thinking this up. I called Ott, E out to the kitchen to take a look at it. I asked him what he thought and he says, "Well it looks good, but thats not the way my mom makes it."
:)  (All I can do is shake my head.)  :)
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This post was linked to I'm Lovin' It on Tidy Mom, Tip Junkie Tuesday, Made by you Monday on Skip to my Lou,
 
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