Sunday, August 25, 2013

Biscuit Beignets!

Are you ready for back-to-school?
These tasty treats are our favorite way to celebrate.
And once you try them you will be hooked!

Biscuit beignets (or donuts as we call them in our house) have been a family tradition since I was a little girl myself, so regardless of how sinful these bitty bites of heaven might be, they are really nothing more than pure comfort food!

Growing up we loved cooking biscuit beignets with mom and they really are fun to make.

Messy . . . but FUN!  So let's get started!

You will need:
1 can of 'exploding biscuits'
powdered sugar
cooking oil

1.  Grab your assistants and open your can of biscuits.  We prefer buttermilk or butter tastin' but not the flaky layers kind.  They don't seem to work as well, but will certainly do in a pinch!  My assistant is so stinking cute this morning with his little bed head - mmmwah!
2.  Cut your biscuits into thirds and poke a hole through the middle of your slices.   Kids can help with this part.
3.  Meanwhile, heat 1-2" of cooking oil (I use canola) in a pan.  Make sure it's good and hot when you place the donuts in to fry.  They should bubble and rise to the top immediately when you drop them in.  Like all recipes that include frying, don't overcrowd your oil to keep the temperature constant.  I fry mine on a medium-medium low heat, but you will soon figure out what works for you.  Often, this depends on how many helpers you have for the next steps - ha!  Since I don't use a deep fryer, you need to flip 'em to cook both sides!
4.  Remove from the oil when they are golden brown and let drain/cool on paper towels.  They look wonderful already, don't they?
5.  Drop into a bag of powdered sugar and Shake! Shake! Shake!  This is another great step for kids to help with - see?!
6.  Remove from powdered sugar and place in your serving bowl . . .


There is always a HUGE problem with my sous chefs eating the beignets as soon as they come out of the bag - so watch out!  One can of biscuits should make 36 beignets, but that many never, ever make it to the table.  So if you're feeding a crowd at breakfast, you might want to go ahead and grab another can.

7.  And a toast to back-to-school or whatever the occasion may be!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Spend a Day with Chickadoo Suz!


Well summer is almost 'officially' over around here (though no one's told the weather -whew it's been HOT) and some kids have already started back, so we spent last week trying to squeeze in a few more adventures and make a few more memories before the first bell rings.

Which led us out to Manvel with some friends for a visit with Chickadoo Suz, owner and operator of My Chicken Diaries, and you can read all about her and how she became 'Chickadoo Suz' by heading here!

 Our adventure began with a greeting from Chickadoo Suz, who was dressed the part with her feathered headpiece and bedazzled boots!  Before we could go any further, everyone was asked to scrub their shoes to help keep germs out of the chicken coop!  Then we stepped into her garage-turned-classroom for an introduction to the rules on the farm - Safety, Respect, Choice and FUN!  We also spent time in the classroom learning about chickens and where they come from.

Then we headed out to see for ourselves what My Chicken Diaries is all about!

Turns out Chickadoo Suz could be keeping diaries on more than just chickens, because there were geese, ducks, turkeys and guineas too!  She's even got a donkey and a goat, though 'Billy' was making himself scarce during our visit.

We did get to meet Lenny though!  In fact, ALL the animals on the farm have names and somehow Suz keeps track of them all!

Sheep and Snacks both (hesitantly) held a young chicken, but they really enjoyed visiting and holding the newborn chicks!

This little fella was only one day old - so new that he didn't even have a name until we came along - now he goes by 'Maverick' because he seemed to have an independent, adventurous spirit already . . . not unlike the the little fella holding him as well!

We we lucky enough to have some cloud cover that morning, but toward the end of the tour, things had started really heating up, so we stopped in a shady spot for a swing . . .

 . . . and a chance to feed the chickens!

Suz has learned a lot about chickens since she moved out to Manvel and started My Chicken Diaries, and she was an expert at sharing her knowledge (and love) of the animals in an educational and entertaining way!  The kids and I had lots of questions and she patiently answered every. single. one. {Smile}  Accounting may have been her career, but teaching is definitely her vocation!

Then we headed back for some (bring your own) snacks and water before starting on a craft!  Chickadoo Suz has a wall FULL of recycled materials and donated supplies for making bookmarks, headbands and your very own chicken.  Sheep thought about a bookmark until Suz mentioned that everyone was welcome to make up a story about their very own chicken and tell it to the rest of the group.  Well, that got my little storyteller's attention and soon everybody wanted to make chickens.

After all, it is a chicken farm!

I didn't get a picture of Sheep telling her story because I had switched to video (duh!) by then, but they were both wonderful and I was one proud mama hen!

Sheep was even able to earn a Girl Scout 'Egg-ceptional Observations' Patch for her visit to the farm.  If you're interested in earning this patch for your scout or your troop, here's a link to the GSSJC requirements!

While we settled up, the kids relaxed in the shade on the swings.

Ahhh . . . Summer!

There is just no substitute for experiential learning in my opinion, and it seems to be in short supply in public school these days.  So if you're looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids, your class or your troop, check out My Chicken Diaries and say hello to Chickadoo Suz.

You'll be glad you did!

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Melted Ice Cream Cake!

That's right!  It's cake AND ice cream in one yummy place!
 And nothing sounds better on a HOT August day!

I came across this quick twist on a traditional bundt cake on Pinterest (Don't 'cha just love Pinterest?!) from Cookies & Cups and knew I had to try it for myself because it sounded so simple and I already had the ingredients!

Like my favorite cupcake recipe from Recipe Girl, this recipe begins with a box mix, which makes it even simpler to whip up for guests - or just yourself for that matter!

It only has three ingredients:
1 box cake mix - ANY flavor
1 pint ice cream, room temperature - ANY flavor
3 eggs

You can't get much easier than that!  And think of all the flavor combinations {drool}  For complete instructions, please visit Shelly's blog by following the link above.  You'll be so glad you did - lots and lots of yumminess there to try!

She topped her cake with whipped cream, but I have fallen in love with the cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes, and they top all their delicious bundts with cream cheese frosting so I did too.  So tasty!

Cream cheese Frosting:
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
powdered sugar
cream to thin to consistency

 I made sure to cool my cake completely before frosting, then squeezed it through a piping bag.
Finally, I topped it with a diy crepe paper magnolia leftover from our Belles and Beaus Ball.

Check out Shelly's instructions (super simple) and give this one a try!

Happy Summering Y'all!