There are just some things that taste better when they are homemade. Chocolate syrup is one of those things. It’s richer, sweeter in a better way, thicker, and more chocolaty with no aftertaste than the ones sold in stores.
I like making it on a regular basis and finding ways to switch it up. The original recipe calls for vanilla, but I have added cayenne pepper or cinnamon or almond or even coconut flavors to the syrup. Really, this is just a decadent topping for anything you can think of: cakes, ice cream, pies, milk, cocoa, coffee. It’s so good and easy to make. I hope you find it useful!
Homemade Chocolate Syrup
1 Cup cocoa
2 Cups Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla
Add all ingredients except the vanilla and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes (stir it all the time!) and then remove from heat. Once it’s cooled enough not to burn you, stir in the vanilla. That’s it! As it cools, this becomes a luscious syrup consistency that is so much better than the squeeze bottle you buy at the store.
If I had to grab just one of my kitchen appliances with a minute’s notice, it would be my pressure cooker. I use it at least two or three times a week and helps me get dinner on the table in record time. Now that it’s winter and of course everyone is sick, we eat quite a bit of chicken soup, and the pressure cooker is the perfect way to make it. This soup takes 30 minutes to make and tastes as if I cooked all day. It’s perfect.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup
Place frozen 2-3 pound chicken into the pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release pressure and set aside chicken. To the broth, add:
1/2 cup raw brown rice
Your favorite vegetables; I used a handful of baby carrots, two handfuls of baby kale, 10 Brussels sprouts cut in half, 1 cup leftover sweet corn from last year’s garden
Separate chicken from bones and return to pot
Add enough water to cover, making sure you don’t overfill (my cooker has markers on the inside, which I filled to the 8 cup mark)
Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes
Release the pressure quickly and it’s ready. The broth is rich and flavorful, the vegetables are done perfectly, and the chicken still has plenty of taste. It’s truly an easy way to make a meal.
If you save your bones from previous chicken dinners and cook them for the first 15 minutes, the resulting broth is basically free and full of nutrition. It’s another way to stretch your budget and still eat well.
These little gems are awesome! I never knew how easy it was to make glazed nuts, and wanted to use up the last of the nuts in the cupboard from our gluttony around the holidays. Now, we can eat these by the handful, or chop them up and top a cake or ice cream with something with a little bit of zing. I have had excellent luck getting my little chefs to eat salad with these added to the top. On to the recipe!!
Sweet and Spicy Glazed Nuts
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Stir after the first 10 minutes.
Pour baked nuts over parchment until cool.
Store in a glass jar, although they won’t last long.
Light and fluffy dinner rolls are perfect for any meal. These also make the best slider rolls. Once you see how easy my 1 hour dinner rolls are to make, you will never resort to plain old white bread again. The only tip I have is not to rush the recipe. It truly does take an hour for the dough to rise and become light and airy. It’s worth every minute.
1 Hour Dinner Rolls
Makes 2 dozen
1 Tablespoon + 2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 cups flour
In a mixing bowl, place warm milk, yeast and sugar.
Let stand for 15 minutes.
Stir in salt, butter and flour.
Let stand for 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Punch down, and form into balls the size of an egg(makes 2 dozen)
Place rolls onto a greased cookie sheet for single rolls, in an 8X8 pan for soft sided rolls with brown tops.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
For soft rolls, brush with butter as soon as they are removed from the oven.
If you shop with a tight budget, and only go once or twice a month to the store, there are inevitably going to be times when the larder is becoming bare and still it isn’t Grocery Day. With experience, these times become a day or two at most, but it is always nice to have someone up the proverbial apron sleeve, to make a meal feel special, without a lot of extras that you may be out of.
Tonight, I made rhubarb crisp for just that reason. It was served with homemade whipped cream, and was a big hit all around. There are fancier versions (like the photo of Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp above, by Vegan Feast Catering) But I am a huge fan of the Dump and Pray Philosophy. I know how it is supposed to look in the pan, and sprinkle or add, until I get there. Fortunately for this blog post, I measured just for you. Here is my recipe:
Simple Rhubarb Crisp
4-6 cups chopped rhubarb-measured loosely, it doesn’t matter as long as your baking pan is 1 inch full of pieces.
1 box red jello -raspberry, strawberry, it doesn’t matter
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup whole oats
cinnamon/nutmeg if desired
In a baking pan (I use 9X 13 inch cake pan) add the rhubarb. I like to do this with frozen rhubarb, partially thawed. The rhubarb will be juicy as it thaws. Break it up, so it evenly covers the pan.
Sprinkle sugars/jello powder/flour/oats over all.
Sprinkle with cinn/nutmeg
Place pats of butter evenly over the entire pan.
Bake 375 for 30-45 minutes, or until hot in the center and topping is slightly browned and bubbling on the edges.
Serve over ice cream or with whipped cream. Delish!!
Today’s crockpot summer supper, is a recipe that came about in a convoluted fashion, as so many scratch recipes do.
My garlic cloves were overpowering the rest of the fridge contents, and it is so hot, that heating the oven just seemed wrong.
I came up with this recipe originally as a way to eat wild game that was too gamey on its own. It is a wonderful base for beef as well, and tonight’s dinner proves it.
Quick and easy, place your ingredients in the crockpot and walk away. No miss, no fuss.
1 frozen beef roast 3-4 lbs
1 pkg onion soup mix or your favorite seasoning
1 can tomato paste
Garlic cloves (use plenty, they sweeten as they cook)
I start with a frozen roast and cook it all day on high. If hubs is late, I turn it off and keep it covered.
Serve with greens from the garden and a crusty bread. Leftovers are even better!