Thursday, July 26, 2012

White Cake Mix

I love my little baby, but I miss spending time with my big girl- we used to be together all the time. Recently I've been trying to make the most of the time I do have with her so we can really enjoy it, and one thing I decided to do was teach her to bake. And nothing is more exciting to an almost 3 year old than...


White Cake Mix (single use)

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup powdered milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Excuse the mayhem of mess surrounding the bowl, 3 year olds aren't very neat. Neither am I frankly...

What else you'll need

1 cup water
2 eggs or equivalent
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine mix with wet ingredients and stir. If you like colored cakes add whatever food coloring you want. My daughter asked for 'rainbow cake' and I took the lazy route. I also made it into cupcakes, because they are easier for kids to eat. Pour the batter into greased pans or tins.

Bake at 350 degrees F for the desired amount of time depending on the size of the pan. Another advantage of cupcakes is they are done much faster for excited and impatient children and husbands waiting for cake.

These were very delicious! I didn't use any icing because I wanted to cut down the sugar content (frosting has twice as much sugar as the cake itself!), but I think they would be even more amazing frosted. Maybe when the kids are older....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fast Food Burger Seasoning Mix

Back when I was pregnant this time I had a period where I constantly craved those little hamburgers from Mcdonalds. We eat organic, free range beef, but those tiny little hamburgers taste like being 8 years old and spending a day off school with your grandpa. They're tricky that way, and there is no time you crave comfort food more than during pregnancy.

I sent my husband so many times that he was embarrassed, and it was getting expensive so eventually I learned how to make them myself. I didn't come up with this recipe, but I did modify it to make it more user friendly without compromising the taste too much.

Fast Food Burger Seasoning Mix

1/4 cup salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

What else you'll need

1 pound lean ground beef
cheap hamburger buns
dehydrated onion flakes, soaked and chilled
dill pickles, sliced

Divide 1 pound of lean ground beef into 10 balls. Flatten each ball onto a square of wax paper and freeze until you're ready to use them.

Cook each hamburger in a frying pan on high heat, flattening with a spatula to cook it faster.

Use the cheap white hamburger buns that come 8-12 in a package. They are smaller than the 'good' buns most people use these days. Top with 1 teaspoon of dehydrated onion flakes soaked in water and chilled, 5 tiny dots of mustard, 5 small blobs of ketchup and 1-2 dill pickle slices.

Serve with shoestring oven fries, they aren't as greasy as McDonald's fries (unless you have a deep fryer) but they are the same size and shape.

This may seem labor intensive, but if you make a big batch of hamburger patties and get the toppings memorized they don't take any longer than any other burgers. They really do taste just like those little burgers at Mcdonald's. The secret is a combination of patty size, cooking method, toppings and seasoning. Now whenever I get a craving for the taste of childhood memories I avoid the questionable beef and make my own.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bacon Dill Potato Salad Mix

My latest mix was eaten without me (and therefore not fully tested or photographed) because my littlest girl was very sick this week and we spent a couple nights at CHEO while she recovered. As a result I haven't had much time for cooking anything else, so I'm going to post a mix I made earlier on this year while I was pregnant.

A friend of ours makes the world's best potato salad. It's legendary, and I'll never make anything that compares (the secret ingredient is bacon grease). But I wanted to try a mix that was similar (even if slightly healthier), so here it is.

Bacon Dill Potato Salad Mix

1 tablespoon bacon bits
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

What else you'll need

4 cups cooked chopped potatoes, cooled
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or oil and vinegar combo)
2 chopped dill pickles

Combine mix with mayo and pickles and then stir into potatoes until evenly coated. Keep refrigerated.

I served ours with salad and tuna sandwiches. It was eaten up very fast!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sugar Cookie Mix

I love frosted sugar cookies- the kind that come in many shapes and colors with each new holiday- pink hearts, Christmas trees, bunnies and shamrocks and pumpkins. My husband used to bring them home from a fancy bakery downtown near his old office, and every major holiday the neighbors bake some as well. After their latest batch last week I wanted more... so I decided to mix it up!

Sugar Cookie Mix (big batch- makes 4 uses)

6 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt

What else you'll need

1/4 cup butter (1 stick)
1 egg (or substitute)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine 2 1/4 cups of mix with wet ingredients and mix well, forming a firm ball of dough. Put the dough in the fridge to chill until it's firm enough to roll. I made my frosting while I waited.

You can make the frosting with icing sugar, food coloring and liquid of choice (milk, vanilla, lemon juice). I used lemon juice to make a lemony frosting this time.

Roll out the chilled dough on a well floured surface and cut into desired shapes. I used a dinosaur cookie cutter because my oldest daughter is into Dorothy the dinosaur from the Wiggles this week.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes until cookies are firm and very slightly browned. Frost cookies once fully cooled. Pardon my terrible frosting job, I can never get the hang of it. My cookies aren't pretty, but they sure are delicious. We served them to our guests on Canada Day and they got eaten up very quick!