Monday, February 27, 2012

Best Biscuits EVA

I know a few who will disagree with me here (Lisa, Mom, I know you have your favorites) but these are, at least currently, my favorite.  I think what I like best about them is that they are drop biscuits - no rolling and cutting, no messy counter to clean up!

Best Drop Biscuits
(From America's Test Kitchen)
Makes 12 biscuits

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup buttermilk (cold) (if you don't have buttermilk, make your own clabbered milk by mixing 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice - let stand 10 minutes.  p.s. Don't try lime juice, trust me)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes) (I always use salted butter because I never have anything else)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Combine buttermilk and melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from side of bowl.

Using greased 1/4 cup measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment lined baking sheet, spacing about 1.5 inches apart.

(Sometimes you kind of have bang the 1/4 cup measure against the sheet to get the biscuit to plop out.)

Bake until tops are crisp and golden, about 12-14 minutes.

If you want the bottoms to stay crispy, transfer right away to a cooling rack.  The recipe also says to brush the tops with additional melted butter (2 tablespoons) but I never do that.  This recipe also works with whole wheat flour but...when I eat these biscuits I'm not exactly thinking about my health.  Ahem.

Yuuuuuuum.  So good.

Monday, February 13, 2012

They Didn't Get it From Me

Anyone who knows me even a tiny bit knows that me + sports = nope.  I'm just not athletic, nor am I very interested in becoming so.

Kathryn at top center.
So imagine my surprise when it turns out my girls do not totally suck at skiing.  Quite honestly, considering their performance with soccer this past fall, I was expecting that they would be following in my footsteps.  But I guess I forgot they get half of their genes from Curtis and he is quite a respectable skiier.  (And not bad at soccer and racquetball, too, so I guess there is hope for our kids...crossing our fingers.)

I had been hearing about their progress on the mountain from Curtis and their ski instructor (who is a friend of mine), but hadn't actually seen it for myself yet.  So last Saturday, I packed up the little kids and met Curtis and the "big" girls at the mountain for lunch and a little demo.

Here's a little video Curtis made of Viv going down the novice slope - after only three lessons!  (Well, and a lot of practice with dad!)

Kathryn is riding the lift (the novice lift, but still) all by herself these days.  She's so thrilled by it..

You can't really see, but that's Kathryn on the chair ahead, all by herself!
Dexter and Betty can't wait until they turn five and it's time for them to click into skis, too.  Watch out, Black Mountain!  There'll be Rices all over that mountain soon!

Fake homemade

Well, I guess I'm not even really pretending that these are homemade.  They're just homedecorated.  Seemed like the way to go this year.

I put these in little plastic treat bags and we'll be attaching them to the back of our homemade Valentine's this year for the girls' classmates.

I just bought Keebler Grasshopper cookies (which are sooooo good) and then melted and tinted some white chocolate, drizzled it on top and then the kids put on sprinkles while still wet.

Easy peasy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


 She keeps growing up.

We now take our meals in the high chair, like a proper lady.

Not that I want her to slow down, but oh MY does time seem to fly. 

Especially when I know she's the end of the Rice Train.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Making whoopie (pies)

If you're from Maine (or, I guess, Pennsylvania - the other state that tries to claim these little treats) you're familiar with whoopie pies.  Also, if you're related to me and live west of the Mississippi you might know what they are, owing to the over 100 whoopie pies that I made and sent out for Christmas this year.

Yeah.  That's a lot of whoopie pies.

Anyhoo, I've promised this recipe for some time now, so here goes.

Cake (Pies)
(Cathy Roberts' recipe, from Rockland Branch Relief Society Cookbook)

beat together:
1/2 cup Crisco (I use 1/2 butter, 1/2 Crisco)
1  1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup soured milk (or buttermilk)

mix and add:
1/2 cup cocoa
2 3/4 cup flour
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Scoop even blobs onto parchment-lined lined baking sheet (or greased sheet or use a silicone baking mat).  Bake at 350 degree for 12-15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.  Don't overbake.

Two options:  the first one is more traditional, I think, but not my favorite:

Option #1
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
Cook/boil until very thick, stirring constantly.  Refrigerate to cool.

Beat together:
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add to cooled cooked "goop" and beat well for 1-2 minutes or more.  It's done when it is fluffy and you can't feel the granulated sugar.

Option #2 (My favorite)
1 lb Fluff (marshmallow cream)
1 lb butter
2 cups powdered sugar
vanilla to taste (1-2 tsp)
Beat together until fluffy.

Unbutton your jeans and enjoy!