Cat & Cauldron
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Cat & Caluldron and The Magic Garden

In case you’re wondering where Cat & Cauldron has gone, I’m busy tending to the garden. This is the time of year when I spend more time outdoors and less time in the kitchen.  So if you’d like to see what’s been going on, please visit my Gardening Blog, The Magic Garden:  http://gardenofmagic.blogspot.com/

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Decorated my broom.  I love Spring!

Decorated my broom.  I love Spring!

Dressed up my wreath today for Spring.  Hopefully, next weekend I’ll have some time to add more flowers to the garden.

Dressed up my wreath today for Spring.  Hopefully, next weekend I’ll have some time to add more flowers to the garden.

Cabbage Braised with Italian Sausage

I made this twice now.  It’s from a blog called Michelle’s Kitchen Notebook.  It was delicious.  There’s a lot you can do with this dish as far as adding different seasonings.  The first time I made it I used Thyme.  The second time I used Sage.  I also added mushrooms.   I made it with both Italian Turkey Sausage and Spicy Pork Sausage.  It’s very simple to make and I served it over steamed rice.  

This is a photo of I took of Monty, my friend’s thoroughbred.  We shared many rides together, but now he is retired and happy as can be just being a horse.  Today is his 30th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Monty!

This is a photo of I took of Monty, my friend’s thoroughbred.  We shared many rides together, but now he is retired and happy as can be just being a horse.  Today is his 30th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Monty!

I found this cat teapot at an antique shop in Pasadena.  I like to use it when we make catnip tea.

I found this cat teapot at an antique shop in Pasadena.  I like to use it when we make catnip tea.

CHOCOLATE MAGIC CUPCAKES

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a broom bristle inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.  (I used the HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING recipe and added some instant coffee granules to give it a Mocha flavor.)

CHOCOLATE MAGIC CUPCAKES

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a broom bristle inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.  (I used the HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING recipe and added some instant coffee granules to give it a Mocha flavor.)

Planting more Calla Lily in the Moon Garden today.

Planting more Calla Lily in the Moon Garden today.

From the gift shop at Sheridan Gardens.

From the gift shop at Sheridan Gardens.

Last weekend I visited Sheridan Gardens (http://www.sheridangardens.com/)  It is a quaint little nursery with a vegetable garden and an adorable gift shop.  There are lots of things for Spring.  I picked up these peeps (salt and pepper shakers).

Last weekend I visited Sheridan Gardens (http://www.sheridangardens.com/)  It is a quaint little nursery with a vegetable garden and an adorable gift shop.  There are lots of things for Spring.  I picked up these peeps (salt and pepper shakers).

This weekend I created a moon garden with Candytuft, Alaska Azalea, Calla Lily, Dusty Miller, Geranium, Ranunculus, Alyssum, Impatiens and Hydrangea. I have Moon Flower that’s just now starting to germinate and an Angel Trumpet on the way for Summer.  For fragrance, I have herbs, lemon thyme, lemon verbena and several types of mint.  It will look lovely for the full moon Monday evening.

I made these today based on a recipe I found on Martha Stewart.com.  Wow.  Simply amazing.  The frosting tastes like strawberry icing.  I highly recommend making these - especially since Valentine’s Day is coming up.
Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

I made these today based on a recipe I found on Martha Stewart.com.  Wow.  Simply amazing.  The frosting tastes like strawberry icing.  I highly recommend making these - especially since Valentine’s Day is coming up.

Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg whites, room temperature

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold

Pinch of coarse salt

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.



Molasses Cookies
1 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg 
3/4 cup molasses 
3 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
Directions:  In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and egg until well blended. Stir in molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Molasses Cookies

1 cup butter, softened 

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg 

3/4 cup molasses 

3 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger 

Directions:  In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and egg until well blended. Stir in molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Getting the garden ready for Spring.  Daffodil brings good luck if work close to the heart.

Getting the garden ready for Spring.  Daffodil brings good luck if work close to the heart.

INGREDIENTS:

CHOCOLATE FUDGE

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow crème (If you live near a Fresh & Easy, get the Fluff – it’s better then the Kraft stuff for this recipe)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts (if desired) and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.

INGREDIENTS:

CHOCOLATE FUDGE

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow crème (If you live near a Fresh & Easy, get the Fluff – it’s better then the Kraft stuff for this recipe)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts (if desired) and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.